As mentioned a couple of times by now, we're off to Sicily, and so to keep y'all visiting either rc or the blogs we visit, I'm going to give away some 'trade secrets' as it were an publish a complete list of all the blogs/sites I visit on a daily (or so) basis in various ways. [My purpose isn't entirely benefactorial ... I have hopes of getting internet access somewhere during our trip and hopefully I'll get to check in on some of these myself on my handy little Axim (anyone else think Axim is a Latin adverb describing Lizzy Borden?)]. Ecce:

General: Ancient History (N.S. Gill)
Archaeology in Europe (David Beard)
Ancient and Modern (at the Friends of Classics site)
Sauvage Noble (Angelo Mercado)
Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean (Philip Harland)
Stoa Consortium (directed by Ralph Scaife, various contributors)
Laudator Temporis Acti (Michael Gilleland)
blogographos (owned by Debra Hamel; various contributors)
Curculio (Michael Hendry)
Hobbyblog (Ed Flinn)
William Blathers (William Annis)
Towards an Iconography of Iconoclasm (Troels Myrups)
Roman History Books and More (Irene Hahn)
Muhlberger's Early History (Steve Muhlberger)
Memorabilia Antonina (Tony Keen)
Thoughts on Antiquity (Chris Weimer)
Glaukopidos (Glaukopis)
Campus Mawrtius (Dennis and Eric)
Vergil (Vergil ... turn off the sound)
PhDiva (Dorothy King)
Bread and Circuses (Adrian Murdoch)
Archaeoastronomy (Alun Salt)
Elginism (owner?)
homo edax (Varro)
Roman Times (Mary Harrsch)
Mediterranean Archaeology (Ioannis Georganas)
Tropaion (various authors)

Martialis (is this blog still active?)
Classics in Contemporary Culture (Ditto)


Life of Antoninus Pius
Under Odysseus

Spanish Language (except for the Los Suenos, I'm not sure how 'alive' these are; I've only recently started monitoring them):

Los Suenos de Hermes
La fragua de Vulcano
Tempus Fugit
Incipit Titivillus
Raco de Classiques
Marina y las Musas
de sirenas y piranyas
Piram i Tisbe
el cuaderno gris (does appear to be alive)
Latin ies Bunol
Festina Lente
Tempore Capto
Departament de LLati
El Gran Julio Cesar
Carpe Diem (seems alive)

Latin Teachers:

ARLT (author?)
Atriades (someone at Taunton School)
The Latin Zone (Ginny Lindzey)
pro linguae Latinae Magistris (Mark Keith)
magistra dixit (owner?)
Bestiaria Latina (Laura Gibbs)

Greek and Latin Language:

Akropolis World News (on hiatus until the end of September)
YLE's Nuntii Latini (on hiatus until the end of summer)
Radio Bremen's Nuntii Latini (should be updated around August 1)
Lingua Latina (K.C. Kless)
Commentarium Meum (Josephus)


Paleojudaica (Jim Davila)
NT Gateway (Mark Goodacre)
Philo of Alexandria (Torrey Seland)
Hypotyposeis (Stephen Carlson)

Online books:

The Online Books Page at UPenn
Project Gutenberg's latest additions


Ancient World of Greece and Rome (livejournal)
Classical Greek (livejournal)
Communitas Latinitatis (livejournal)
Roma Antiqua (livejournal)

Roma Antiga (Portuguese)

Done With Mirrors (checked on Thursdays for Carnival of the Etymologies ... hasn't been done in a while)
Michel van Rijn's Art News
Humbul Humanities Hub Classics Resources (nothing new in quite a while)
APA What's New Page
ABZU recent additions

Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics

I think that's all of them ... one of my rss monitoring things isn't working right now, so I might have left someone out. Feel free to drop me a line if you feel your blog has been left out.

Rogueclassicism should return to normal publication in the final week of August. Have a good summer!
From BMCR:

Leofranc Holford-Strevens, Amiel Vardi, The Worlds of Aulus Gellius.

Alessandro Barchiesi, Ovidio: Metamorfosi, Volume I (Libri I-II). Traduzione di Ludovica Koch.

Umberto Roberto, Ioannis Antiocheni Fragmenta ex Historia chronica. Introduzione, edizione critica e traduzione. Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur, 154.

Nardelli on Olson on A. Bernabé, Poetae Epicae Graeci. Response by Jean-Fabrice Nardelli.

Drew A. Mannetter, Book 7 of Caesar's Bellum Gallicum with Introduction, Text, Vocabulary and Notes.

Fabian Reiter, Die Nomarchen des Arsinoites: Ein Beitrag zum Steuerwesen im römischen Ägypten. Papyrologica Coloniensia XXXI.

Rosalba Panvini, Lavinia Sole, L'acropoli di Gela: stipi, depositi o scarichi. Corpus delle stipi in Italia 18.

Zahra Newby, Greek Athletics in the Roman World: Victory and Virtue.

David French, Canhasan Sites 2. Canhasan I: The Pottery. Monograph No. 32.

Shadi Bartsch, Thomas Bartscherer, Erotikon: Essays on Eros, Ancient and Modern.

Irmtaut Heitmeier, Das Inntal: Siedlungs- und Raumentwicklung eines Alpentales im Schnittpunkt der politischen Interessen von der römischen Okkupation bis in die Zeit Karls des Grossen. Schlern-Schriften, 324. Studien zur Frühgeschichte des historischen Tiroler Raums, 1.

Christopher Leslie Brown, Philip D. Morgan, Arming Slaves: From Classical Times to the Modern Age.

Albertus Bernabé, Poetae Epici Graeci. Testimonia et Fragmenta. Pars II: Orphicorum et Orphicis Similium Testimonia et Fragmenta. Fasciculus 1.

Karl Galinsky, The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Augustus.

We're off to Sicily tomorrow, so this will likely be the last ClassiCarnival for quite a while (don't worry ... I'll post my blogroll later today so you can 'keep up') ...

Ginny Lindzey has more thoughts on Latin Certification ...

Adrian Murdoch has some links to some German articles on Varus ... and Waldgirmes ...

Michael Gilleland is looking at solus/monos in prayers ...

Michael Hendry has some Classical things that warm his heart ...

I think I've forgotten to mention Ed Flinn's coins for a while, so here's a link to the main page ...

At the ARLT blog (can't find the name of the author!), there are some letters from the Times about the Latin kerfuffle ...

Laura Gibbs has some proverbia de pace ... and some English words derived from pax ...

N.S. Gill tells us about Phoenicia ...

Lingua Latina (who owns this blog?) is writing about Religio Athenis ...

Dorothy King links to an Il Messaggero piece on Rome, China, and India ...

Alun alerts us (via blogographos) of the fourth part of Terry Jones' Barbarians being available online (I missed it too!)...

New blog for the blogroll types: ...

New online book: Robinson Ellis' translation of Catullus (1871)

Latest headline from Ephemeris: De factione paederastarum
Just saw this on Fox as I was doing the previous item ... found it at msnbc too:

John Jordan “Buck” O’Neil never got a free pass in life.

The grandson of a man brought to this continent a slave, O’Neil moved to Kansas City to avoid racial persecution in the Deep South. He played baseball during an era of segregation, and earlier this year was denied entry into the National Baseball Hall of Fame by a special 12-member panel.

It figures that on Tuesday night, when the 94-year-old O’Neil stepped into the batter’s box during a minor league All-Star game, nobody could quibble over an intentional walk.

Except maybe O’Neil and a few thousand fans.

“I just might take a swing at one,” he said before Tuesday night’s Northern League All-Star game.

Leading off for the West in the top of the first inning, O’Neil argued with the umpire after the first pitch from Kansas City T-Bones pitcher Jonathan Krysa sailed high and was called a ball. After another high pitch that narrowly missed his head, O’Neil took a called strike before being walked, as planned.

O’Neil ambled to first base, then took a lead off the bag as if he were going to stay in the game before being pulled for a pinch runner.

After the top of the inning, T-Bones owner John Ehlert announced that a trade had been brokered to bring O’Neil to the T-Bones, allowing him to also lead off the bottom of the inning.

In his second at-bat, O’Neil took three balls — all of them high and greeted with a chorus of boos from the crowd — before swinging at a pitch and almost spinning off his feet. Possibly lost in the novelty of the inning, the umpire gave him two more balls before sending him down to first base with his second walk of the night.

The T-Bones signed O’Neil to a one-day contract, making him the oldest man ever to play professional baseball. He surpassed 83-year-old Jim Eriotes, who struck out in a minor league game in South Dakota earlier this month, by more than a decade. [more]

One of those 'nice' stories, but also one which reminds me of Roman story of some aged actor (in their 90s?) being brought out for a final/encore performance -- the name escapes me (I've got Polus in my head, but that was a different aged actor). It also reminds me of (although obviously isn't parallel to) Pliny's famous observation (9.6) about chariot factions and drivers changing colours in the middle of the race:

Si tamen aut velocitate equorum aut hominum arte traherentur, esset ratio non nulla; nunc favent panno, pannum amant, et si in ipso cursu medioque certamine hic color illuc ille huc transferatur, studium favorque transibit, et repente agitatores illos equos illos, quos procul noscitant, quorum clamitant nomina relinquent.
Check out the incipit of this msnbc piece about the Barry Bonds steroid thing:

Hubris has been the bane of many a hero.

It took down Bellerophon, who became so enamored of himself he thought he deserved to saddle up Pegasus and ride up to Olympus to party with the gods. Zeus had other ideas, however, and Bellerophon was awarded a life sentence of misery as a blinded cripple.

But hubris does not apply solely to Greek mythology, as a certain Giants slugger with the body of Apollo may be about to find out. Barry Bonds sought out his own Olympus, but the modern day Zeus — the United States federal government — just might shoot him down. The sad thing is, if it weren’t for Bonds’ hubris, this whole saga could be over by now.
From something called Reponse Source (seems to be a press release) comes this incipit:

Following a warning from scientists linking asthma in children to indoor swimming pools, Allergy UK today awarded its “Seal of Approval” for a new alternative to chlorine.

The award comes as hot tubs, spas, swimming pools and inflatable pools become the “must have” accessory as Britain swelters in the sun.

The technology was discovered by the Greeks, and is used today by NASA for keeping drinking water clean in space. It works by deactivating bacteria, rather than aggressively killing it.

Instead of chlorine, Pristine Blue uses a natural copper sulphate solution at levels permitted for use in drinking water. It has been approved in the US for use in all 52 States, and is used there in 600,000 pools and spas.

... the company's website doesn't seem to mention the Greeks. Anyone know whence comes this claim?
The ClassiCarnies have been busy:

Mary Beard tells us about what an academic's life is really like ...

At Under Odysseus, Eurylochus tells us they're planning to leave (it appears) ...

Adrian Murdoch is pondering an interesting online dispute at Bryn Mawr Classical Review (I gotta catch up on all this) ... he's also pondering the Roman labour supply ...

N.S. Gill has some Latin Marriage Vocabulary ...

Michael Gilleland finds a Certain Pleasure in Words ... a translation/paraphrase of Horace Ode 1.38 ...

Laura Gibbs is offering us some latin tales about donkeys ... here, too ... there are also some timely proverbia about war ...

A couple of interesting items brought to my attention by Abzu:

Sestier, Jules-M., La piraterie dans l'antiquite

Schueth, Carl, De Poenulo Plautina quaestiones criticae

Last, but certainly not least, Powerblog alerts us to googlevideo of the Monty Python skit wherein Greek Philosophers take on the Germans ... here's part 2 ...
Hmmm ... we're off to Sicily ourselves in a couple of days ... from the Telegraph:

Mount Etna, the largest active volcano in Europe, threw fire and rocks more than 800ft into the air yesterday.

Etna, which is almost 11,000ft high, sits 18 miles from Catania on Sicily's east coast. Several villages lie on its lower slopes, but the Italian government said yesterday that the lava was flowing away from them, and that there was no immediate danger.

The explosions are coming from two holes near to the top of the volcano, creating a lava field more than a mile long which is flowing at a rate faster than 90 cubic feet a minute. Even though the eruption has continued for three days, scientists said it had lost little of its force.

Etna is in an almost constant state of activity, but is not considered particularly dangerous and its slopes are home to farms and vineyards that make use of the rich volcanic soil. The last major eruption was in 2002.

We'll be spending most of our time near Agrigento, but the kids wanted to go to Etnaland ...
An interesting press release ... if you're an Elementary/Middle school teacher you'll recognize Marzollo as the author of the I Spy series of picture books which Grade Seven boys often prefer to sign out as opposed to actually reading something:

Encompassing the most compelling stories ever told, Greek myths are a literary source that flows through many popular books for older children including the Lightening Thief and the Harry Potter series. Award-winning author Jean Marzollo has written and illustrated appealing retellings of these myths just for children ages 4-8. In Marzollo's Little Bear You're a Star, Let's Go Pegasus (July 2006) and Pandora's Box (September 2006), younger children can get to know prominent mythological characters before they encounter them in the upper grades of the elementary school core curriculum.

"In my school visits, I found that young children recognize the names Zeus, Medusa, Pegasus and Hercules from movies and TV shows. What they know is not always faithful to the original tales of ancient storytellers Ovid and Hesiod, nor is it always coherent," says Marzollo, author of I Spy and former editor of Scholastic's kindergarten magazine, Let's Find Out. "By learning Greek myths when they are young, children will have a solid base to build upon when they reach upper elementary school grades."

Marzollo paints the vivid illustrations in her Greek myths series in separate pieces, scans them and uses Photoshop to compose the finished art. A Greek chorus, in the guise of a lively cartoon animal, comments on the action in the whimsical drawings that border each page. The chorus further explains the action and gives children their first experience with Greek myths as a literary form.

"I love being able to create both the words and the art for children. All of me goes into these books, my teaching background, my writing skills, and my experience with children," she explains. Marzollo's other works,, have won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award, been featured on the Today show and appeared on the New York Times bestseller list. Her Shanna First Reader series has been adapted for television by Playhouse Disney.

Marzollo is eager to retell these myths because she feels storytelling is often short-changed in the classroom as schools continue to emphasize testing. Children read myths as pure entertainment because they are action-packed, suspenseful and deal with universal themes. For teachers and parents, reading these stories with children is an enjoyable way to foster a love of reading.
Interesting OpEd from the Christian Science Monitor:

Who is the rightful owner of ancient artifacts - the famed Elgin marbles taken from the Parthenon, say, or the elegant Nefertiti head? Is it the museums and collectors housing them, or the lands from which these antiquities came?

The question takes on more relevance with each new case of ownership being passed back to the country of origin. In February, the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art agreed to return several prized items to Italy. Last week, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles agreed to return two ancient works to Greece. Both countries claimed the items were stolen.

The Getty deal has emboldened Greece, which is drawing up a list of hundreds of suspect objects. "Whatever is Greek, wherever in the world, we want back," Giorgos Voulgarakis, Greek's minister of culture, told the British newspaper The Guardian.

That might send shudders through the museum world, but the key criteria for Greece and other countries is valid: They seek objects they believe were taken illegally. But just as important, they should keep in mind the concept of stewardship - the care of an object and the idea behind it.

In 1970, a UNESCO treaty banned the illicit trade of cultural items, though it excluded works purchased before that year. Still, the contemporary market has been a hot one for clever tomb robbers, and countries have often lacked evidence to win their cases.

Determining the history of legal ownership, or provenance, is not easy. Time passes, wars happen, documents are lost. Even when the history is known, it can be open to interpretation. Greece wants its "stolen" Parthenon marbles back from the British Museum. The museum says they're not stolen - that Lord Elgin received permission from the Ottomans, who ruled Greece in 1801, when removal began.

Museums have played a needed role protecting and displaying antiquities that otherwise may have been destroyed, harmed, or forgotten through neglect in their place of origin. Is it possible to untangle cases decades or hundreds of years old, or handle what may be a sea of new rendition requests?

And yet, the museum world has proven itself capable of dealing with information gaps and legal complexity - returning, for instance, many art works stolen by the Nazis to rightful owners. It has also become more sensitized to provenance. A 2006 survey by the Association of Art Museum Directors, which includes museums in North America, showed that two-thirds of members have adopted the association's 2004 provenance guidelines.

Meanwhile, the countries of origin are doing their part. Italy's been ferocious in investigating stolen antiquities. And Greece has improved its preservation practices, building a museum at the foot of the Parthenon to hold antiquities, including the Elgin marbles, should they ever be returned.

In recent rendition cases, parties have moved toward compromise, such as ownership reverting to the country of origin in exchange for long-term loans of valuable objects. The emphasis on loaning moves the art world further in the direction of stewardship - perhaps a more meaningful framework in an ever more globalized world.

Now here's the problem with the 'current trend' of returning items without some sort of portable antiquities scheme accompanying it (Greece offers finders 10% of the value of a found artifact, I believe, but I'm not sure how that system works). What the current trend of getting the Getty or whoever to return artifacts of questionable provenance will ultimately result in is a further narrowing of the antiquities market itself and NOTHING will end up being offered to museums. All the 'good stuff' will be sold under the table to private collectors and the academic world will never ever see it. What is worse (potentially) is that all this ultimately will also just drive the prices of illicit antiquities up, making them a more alluring commodity for folks to seek out and sell to their local 'dealer'. And I can't help but wonder whether we'll be hearing of more cases (like the one in Turkey) where real items are switched for fakes ...
A link to this appeared on the Classics list yesterday ... the relevant excerpt from Variety on the next season of Rome being, alas, the last:

News that "Rome" shuts down after two seasons comes as some surprise -- show is a solid ratings performer and has sold well overseas. But with the commitments to several new drama projects, HBO has deemed "Rome" a two-season-and-out series, and Albrecht reminded TV writers that the network has no set criteria for how it schedules and orders shows.

Albrecht also noted that "Rome" is not inexpensive. He characterized it as both an "enormous investment" -- the show's $100 million production budget was widely reported -- and "the most cost-efficient show we do," having production partners in the BBC and Italy's RAI.

"The BBC and RAI are only signed for two seasons. It's a big (financial) bite for them. And for us," Albrecht said, earlier noting that the project was initially conceived as a miniseries. "Then again, we may decide that the food in Rome is so good and figure out a way (to keep it going)."

Of course, what they don't tell us is that second (and potentially subsequent) seasons should (in theory) be cheaper to produce. A big chunk of the original cost was the elaborate sets and costumes and most of those must already exist ...
Interesting item from Wanted in Rome:

Emperors Julius Caesar and Nerone will be put on trial respectively in the new theatre production "Imperatori alla Sbarra" complete with judge, jury, lawyers and public prosecutors. Twelve people will be chosen from among the audience each night to form the jury and who will pronounce their verdict of guilty or not guilty.
Julius Caesar’s "trial" will take place from 17-24 July (Mon-Fri at 21.00) while Nerone will be placed under the spotlight from 24-28 July (Mon-Fri at 21.00). Both shows are written by Corrado Augias and Vladimiro Polchi and directed by Giorgio Ferrara with music by Alessandro Nidi.
Screenwriting is drawn by classic authors such as Cesare, Cicerone, Svetonio, Plutarco and William Shakespeare. Entrance is free.

Of course, years ago Trevor Hodge did something similar for CBC Radio (and I know they were broadcast on ABC as well) ... In the early days of RealMedia I bugged the CBC to make them available online but they told me it was too much trouble to track down the authors, yadda yadda yadda, for permission ... when I offered to track them down, I received a rude email from some CBC lugnut to leave them (i.e. the CBC) alone.
Not much going on today:

N.S. Gill is talking about Nero and the fire ...

Michael Gilleland has a trio of posts of interest ... one on the Sirens' song ... a pithy quotation from Sophocles ... a flatulent piece from the Greek Anthology ...

Ed Flinn has a Gallienus/AeternAug ...
Now the Toronto Star gets in on the Zidane thing by encouraging he turn to Stoicism (!) ... here's the incipit:

Patience and time do more than strength or passion.

— Jean de La Fontaine, 17th-century French author

To this day, my mother insists that Robbie Alomar had cause in 1996 to spit on umpire John Hirschbeck. A lip-reader from youth, she says the ump provoked Alomar by calling him "a goddam faggot, you're just a goddam f-----g faggot."

"What was Robbie supposed to do?" mom asks. "Just take it?"

Well, yes, I think, although I don't say so to this ardent fan of Alomar even after the zenith of his career with the Blue Jays. Or that I considered Hirschbeck a bigot who should have been retired years ago.

The Good Book tells us to turn the other cheek. High school coaches admonished us, "Don't get mad, get even."

"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you," my grandfather would say, reciting his favourite Kipling as we sat in our boat for hours, dangling our fishing poles in the cathedral silence of the Muskokas in hope that an unlucky trout would wander by, "... you'll be a Man, my son!"

There was not much talk that I recall of the consequences for straying from these trite-sounding truisms, though we would learn about them the hard way soon enough.

But Stoicism, the philosophy of self-control and rational, emotionless thinking, has made insufficient progress in the world since its first appearance in Athens just over 2,300 years ago. "No man is free who is not master of himself," wrote Epictetus, one of the earliest Stoics. Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher, said: "If you are distressed by any external thing, it is not this thing which disturbs you, but your judgment about it. And it is in your power to wipe out that judgment now."

... the rest (although there is no more ClassCon). Meanwhile, the Washington Post gets in on the Homer analogies towards the end if its treatment of Zizou:

"The truth is that it is perhaps not so easy to stay in the skin of an icon, demigod, hero, legend," writes Bernard-Henri Levy in the Wall Street Journal. He describes Zizou's violence as "the man's insurrection against the saint." When the player apologized for setting a bad example, he correctly noted, "I'm a man before anything else."
The instruction here for children and parents who encourage boys and girls to make it in the real world of sports (or business or politics or whatever) is that games have rules that require physical and emotional discipline. A good athlete has to learn how to keep his cool. He has to see himself in relation to his humanity, not his celebrity. In the opening scene of the "Iliad," Homer introduces us to the legendary Achilles behaving like a sulking adolescent, a poor sport indulging a jealous temper tantrum. Achilles is not introduced as the towering warrior. His weakness lies not only in his heel.
Psychologists describe Zizou's head butt as the equivalent of road rage. Others see it rooted in the hard knocks he took on the streets of Marseille where his Algerian origins provoked bigotry and prejudice. But he overcame great obstacles to get where he was. He probably got where he was because of those great obstacles. Hence that's no excuse. Like a recovering alcoholic or drug addict who talks to kids about the ravages of self-destruction, Zizou can now talk about self-control as the most important element of character. That's the way anyone can keep from becoming a bum.
Inspired by its recent success with the Getty, Greece is apparently going after more ... an excerpt from Time:

For decades, Greece has noisily lobbied for the return of relics — especially the British Museum's Elgin Marbles, which were stripped from Athens' Parthenon in the early 1800s. Its efforts got a big boost last year, when Italian authorities put former Getty antiquities curator Marion True on trial for trafficking in looted works. Then in February, New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art agreed to return to Italy the Euphronios krater, a 2,500-year-old vase.

The Greek government is negotiating with the Getty for two other artifacts — a gold funerary wreath from the 4th century B.C., and a 6th century B.C. marble statue of a young woman. And it won't stop there. Time has seen an internal Culture Ministry memo listing 10 more wanted works.

They include a grave marker from 340 B.C., housed at Harvard's Sackler Museum; icons of Sts. Paul and Procopius allegedly stolen from a 14th century church in Greece and now at the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library in Washington; and Byzantine frescoes of the prophet Elijah and St. Andrew, which, according to the memo, the Odigia Foundation Icon-Institute in the Hague says it bought from a London gallery in 1996.

The Greeks are certain that more relics will return. "This is just the beginning," says Culture Minister George Voulgarakis. "We will scour the globe and recover them one by one."
Payne, Mark. On Being Vatic: Pindar, Pragmatism, and Historicism

In this paper I argue that the large truth claims made in Pindar's gnomic language have a correspondingly large cultural function since they instantiate the capacity for unprecedented conceptual invention within a culture that lacks any master discourse in which its own self-understanding is embedded. I discuss the famous Nomos basileus fragment and its handling by Callicles in Plato's Gorgias, and by Holderlin in his Pindar Fragments. I argue that, by using Pindar's claim as a starting point for reflections of their own, these thinkers recognize its contingency, and future orientation, as vatic speech.

American Journal of Philology 127.2
In a bit of a rush this a.m. ...

Lingua Latina is talking about the escalating situation in Israel/Lebanon/Gaza ... (can't remember the name of the owner of this blog)

Michael Gilleland alerts us to an, er, interesting quote from one of Ralph McInerney's novels ... and while not Classical, per se, one cannot help but be interested in the annual Bulwer-Lytton contest ...

N.S. Gill tells us about Thomas Bulfinch ...

Laura Gibbs has a tantalizing followup ...

Irene Hahn is looking at Marius' relationship with the military ...

Dorothy King updates us on the Lydian Hoard kerfuffle ...

Recent gleanings from ABZU:

H. Jolowicz, "Case Law in Roman Egypt," Journal of the Society of Public Teachers of Law, 14 (1937), pp 1-16

Marc, Jean-Yves, Les agoras grecques d'apres les recherches recentes

Maravelia, Amanda-Alice, "The Orientations of the nine Tholos Tombs at Mycenae", Archaeoastronomy no. 27 (JHA, xxxiii (2002)

Father Foster's latest: When our popular Latin Lover takes us by the hand giving us linguistic insight into our Pope's first speech...

Latest from Ephemeris: De Corea septemtrionali punita

Issue 9.12 of Explorator has been posted ... I'm going to try and get Ancient World on Television listings for the rest of the summer done later today ...
The Observer is one of those annoying newspapers which goes the extra mile to only make a summary available on the web rather than reproducing the entire article ... with that in mind:

The Emperor Nero, reviled down the centuries as a psychopathic, debauched, wife-beating matricide, was probably Nero the Hero as far as the people of Roman Chichester were concerned.
A crucial element of this new theory, put forward by archaeologist Miles Russell, is a large stone Roman head found at Bosham.
Writing in the magazine British Archaeology, he argues that this was part of a huge statue of Nero in AD59-64, and one of the most important archaeological discoveries yet made in the Roman province of Britain.
The rest of the statue has never been found.
This identity is not accepted by all archaeologists, but despite attempts made to render the face unrecognisable, after the Emperor's death, Mr Russell's view is that it is Nero.

... the tease for this month's British Archaeology says:

Prehistorian Miles Russell has a controversial theory about Roman Britain. Contrary to popular myth, he says, Nero was highly regarded in Britain, and celebrated with major statues. Russell says several Roman heads, including a famous bronze sculpture from Suffolk said to be emperor Claudius, are in fact of Nero.

... we'll have to wait until next month to see how it all pans out, I guess.
From Kathimerini:

Ecologists expressed fear yesterday that the construction of a new road running through an ancient site on the Cycladic island of Andros will lead to the destruction of valuable antiquities.

The Network of Cycladic Ecological Organizations said plans to build a road through the Mycenaean-era site in Kato Palaiopolis would result in the “irreversible and immediate destruction of the antiquities.”

Campaigners also argued that the site lies within a protected zone and authorities should not allow the road to be built there.

Authorities on Andros said the road would help bring visitors to the site. “The main reason for building the roads is for access to the archeological site and to help the excavation work. We want it to be accessible and attractive for visitors,” said the head of the local authority, G. Maltabes.

He pledged the road would be “narrow” and that locals would benefit from its construction.

The final decision will be taken the Central Archaeological Council (KAS), which has already visited the island to assess the project.
From the Chronicle:

The Athenian artist Polygnotos took enormous care when he painted the dance between Herakles and a satyr on a ceramic wine jar. The red-figured stamnos was created around 430 B.C., probably for ceremonial use -- possibly in celebrations of Dionysus, the raucous god of wine and theater. Today that stamnos lives on a pedestal with protective glass, inside an air-conditioned gallery of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.

How did it get there, exactly? And where was it for more than two millenniums?

Was it excavated by archaeologists who carefully recorded its whereabouts? Or by amateurs with brutal shovels and guns?

Was it ever plundered in a war?

Answering those questions with very non-Dionysian precision is crucial to answering another question with real-world repercussions:

Does the MFAH really own that wine jar?

When it comes to the art market, international law is clear and Napoleonic: Owners are guilty until proven innocent.

Laws governing national patrimony vary from country to country, and in many places predate the international laws that apply: 1972 UNESCO Convention and 1995 UNIDROIT accords. In the U.S., Los Angeles-based attorney Thaddeus Stauber explained, "we have some protection for Native American work and work found on federal property. But we (also) have the idea of individual property rights.

"Many countries, though, have laws that anything within its borders belongs to the state -- you may own something as an individual, but you cannot export it."

If an art object was wrongly acquired at any point in its history, its current owner may have to surrender it. At an increasing clip in recent years, such legal wrangling has ensnared institutions, collectors and curators.

Survivors of the Nazi regime and their heirs are reclaiming stolen artworks. This spring, after seven years of litigation, the Austrian government returned five Gustav Klimt paintings to the heiress of Adele Bloch-Bauer; Nazis had stolen them from the family in 1938. One of them -- the luminous portrait of Bloch-Bauer -- sold in June for a stunning $135 million.

Compared to antiquities, the Nazi cases seem simple. Nazis kept records, and it's been less than a century since they seized work. For antiquities, the alleged crimes can date back thousands of years.

For instance, Greece has for decades demanded that the British Museum in London return the famous Elgin Marbles. In the 1800s, while an Ottoman sultan ruled Greece, a British ambassador received the sultan's permission to remove the frieze from the Parthenon. Although the Ottomans were the country's recognized government, Greece claims that the marbles' removal was immoral.

More recent scandals have embroiled American museums. Curator Marion True of the J. Paul Getty Museum, in Los Angeles, is currently in an Italian court, charged with buying illicitly unearthed Greek antiquities for the museum. True and co-defendant Robert Hecht, an antiquities dealer, have denied all wrongdoing.

And in February, the Metropolitan Museum and the Italian government reached an agreement whereby the museum will return 21 objects Rome claimed were illegally excavated.

Legal ownership of works in the MFAH has never been challenged, perhaps in part because its antiquities collection is diminutive for a major museum -- only 389 objects, about half of which are small coins and amulets. By comparison, the J. Paul Getty Museum lists 44,000 objects and the Metropolitan Museum counts 70,000, many of which are monumental -- not only in scale, but also as art and as historical examples.

But the MFAH's collection of antiquities is growing, one object at a time. And each new object requires a clean bill of health stretching back thousands of years, through the muddy haze of wars and looting and even legitimate -- if often undocumented -- trade.

When the MFAH first considered buying the Herakles stamnos, it studied the jar's history with extreme care.

"In today's environment, the collector needs to exercise due diligence," said Stauber, who specializes in financing, governance issues and litigation for charitable corporations. "That includes doing research in depth on provenance."

"Provenance" means "origin" or "source." In the art world, provenance encompasses every known detail of an object's life -- where, when and by who it was made; if it was exhibited or documented in a book or catalogue; when and where it was sold or disappeared.

It's a tough order, given that art theft is older than the Roman sacking of Greece and as current as looting of archeological sites from Peru to Iran. It's the job of the collector, whether private or public, to evaluate the record.

When MFAH curator Frances Marzio suggested that the museum acquire the stamnos with the dancing Herakles, the jar came with a well-established provenance. There are some gaps in its history -- not unusual in an object that is 2,500 years old.

It is attributed to Polygnotos, a vase and fresco painter active in fifth century B.C. His century was that of philosophers and historians, from Sophocles and Plato to Herodotus; it included the playwright Euripides the sculptor Phidias, who created the Parthenon friezes.

Both sides of the red-figure jar salute Herakles, the son of Zeus -- in Greek mythology master of the gods -- and the mortal Alkmene. Herakles' Roman name, Hercules, is synonymous with strength, and he's known for the labors he had to perform.

But this stamnos shows Herakles at play: On one side of the jar, a robed, wreathed and bearded Herakles stands facing a maenad, a young female worshipper of Dionysus who's about to pour a libation from her pitcher into Herakles' extended kantharos (a cup with raised handles). The other side depicts Herakles wearing the skin of the Nemean lion he defeated as his first labor. Herakles plays a double flute while a naked satyr dances and seems to reel in front of him.

The stamnos stands 10 inches tall, and though it is missing its lid, the ceremonial vessel is in very good condition.

"Research indicates that it was probably exported in ancient times and buried in ruins or a grave," curator Marzio said. "Quality vases like this, which were used to mix wine, would most often be only on display in a home, and were often interred with their owners."

According to the Vatican Museum, which also owns a Polygnotos vase, Greek ceramics such as the stamnos were imported primarily from Attica, the area around Athens, to Etruria, a region in central Italy. Stamnoi were "quite recurrent" in Etruscan tombs.

In 1828, a farmer working on one of Lucien Bonaparte's estates in Canino stumbled upon one such a tomb. It was full of clay vessels and jewelry.

Lucien's older brother, Napoleon, had sent him to Tuscany and given him the title of Prince of Canino. But he was "bored out of his mind," says Jasper Gaunt, a specialist in Greek art and curator of the Michael J. Carlos Museum Museum in Atlanta, "and he began to explore the land."

Gaunt estimates Bonaparte's caches of pots at 2,000 to 3,000 among the "tens of thousands of similar jars" that are known.

Lucien Bonaparte was a rare collector, Marzio said. "Everyone at the time wanted the marbles, but he really liked the pots. There are people who say he looted the land," she said, "but you need to remember Italy was not a country then, and Bonaparte did find these objects, which then went all around the world."

Importantly, for the stamnos' provenance, Bonaparte recorded his finds in his memoirs, and scholars of that era also reported the finds.

Sales in the mid-1800s in Paris, London and Frankfurt dispersed Bonaparte's findings to museums from St. Petersburg to the Louvre. The MFAH's Herakles stamnos dropped out of sight sometime later.

It reappeared in the late 1930s in Ugo Donati's Arte Classica gallery in Rome. When Donati's family took refuge from Mussolini, they moved the antiquarian shop to Lugano, Switzerland.

That's where Ferruccio Bolla, a nascent collector, found the Herakles stamnos in 1950. Bolla was 39, and it was the first of what would be many more acquisitions.

Bolla made his antiquities available to scholars and museums. The Herakles stamnos was carefully described and analyzed in the bibles of ancient Greek art -- the scholarly volumes written by Barbara Philippaki (1967) and J. D. Beazley (1968). Other publications, including the exhibition catalog for Stamnoi, presented by the J. Paul Getty Museum in 1980, illustrated and discussed it.

And though the piece received wide public exposure, its authenticity and Bolla's right of ownership were never questioned.

Two years after Bolla died in 1984, the Herakles stamnos sold at auction in Basel. It was offered again in 2000 by Christie's New York. It did not sell, then, but in 2003, Phoenix Ancient Art, a gallery in Lugano, offered the piece to the MFAH.

That fall, Marzio presented the Herakles stamnos to the museum's Collections Committee. She also prepared a brochure for the men attending the MFAH's traditional, men's only One Great Night in November, when patrons Meredith Long and Fayez Sarofim pledged the funds for its purchase. The museum would not disclose the purchase price, but it is valued at $250,000-$350,000, according to Marzio.
From AFP via SAWF:

Hidden behind overgrown weeds, apartment blocks or simply lying in a corner of countryside are the remains of dozens of ancient settlements, unearthed by archaeologists and subsequently abandoned, simply because the Greek state lacks the capacity to catalogue them all.

"It's not possible to clean and preserve everything, it would take a lot of money to weed all the sites and fence them off," says Athina Hatzidimitriou, secretary of the union of Greek archaeologists.

One of these sites is Lamptres, an ancient settlement near Koropi, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of Athens. Another is Megalohori, an ancient coastal village 170 kilometres south of the capital that has been left to the elements for the past 30 years, according to local authorities.

Part of the problem lies with Greece's legislation on antiquities which complicates efforts to care for these sites.

Under Greek law, each time a potentially valuable discovery is made during the construction of a new building, all activity must stop until archaeologists can inspect the find.

But with so many Greek towns built over or near ancient settlements, ministry workers spend more time responding to the calls of town-based property owners than taking care of existing discoveries elsewhere.

"Like Italy, Greece is rich in antiquities, (so rich that) it is impossible to take a full inventory, it would require a lot of money," says Maya Komvou, an archaeologist and director of administration at the Greek ministry of culture.

Greece currently spends a bare 0.7 percent of its annual budget on culture, supplementing the maintenance of its archaeological sites with European Union funds.

Komvou at the culture ministry notes that a number of small sites have been restored in this fashion, including the ancient theatre of Argos in the Peloponnese, the prehistoric site of Emporio on the island of Rhodes, and the ancient site of Kathrea on the island of Kea.

Next in line to open to the public "soon" are the ancient mines of Lavrion, a town 60 kilometres south of Athens, whose silver ingots bankrolled the legendary Athenian trireme fleet of antiquity in the fifth and sixth centuries BC.

"Our goal is to preserve a certain geographical balance between regions, and a historical one between ancient and Byzantine sites," with the ancient sites demanding the most funds, says Komvou.

Some archaeologists argue that given the growing volume of global heritage, preserving everything is impossible.

"The big problem with archaeological activity is that people cordon off areas that cannot be protected, humanly, financially or technically," says Dominique Mulliez, director of the French Archaeological School at Athens.

"One has to have the courage to say that not everything merits the same treatment," Mulliez adds. "I'm a bit worried about this tendency to worship the smallest piece of wall that comes out of the earth, and to impose excessive protection that blocks out life," he says.
From the Toronto Star (!):

"Iste canis XXIV/VII/CCCLXV pedet," queritur pater.

"Non est potens sui, Tata," Betty Billyque aiunt, quibus nil interest si Walter pedat.

"Parvi refert si interdum ventum emittat," Billy dixit cum soli in suo conclavi cum Waltero congressi essent.

Betty quoque dixit caninos crepitus nullum negotium sibi praebere. Walter eiusdem scilicet animi innocens circumspiciebat, dum spatium suo odore subinde implebat.

Note to readers: You will not find the above included in the course material of any university classics department.

There's the small matter of Walter and his special gift, for one. If Walter Canis Inflatus figured as a key character in Virgil's Aeneid, there's a good chance Troy might never have been sacked by the Greeks. And you'd have to rewrite the whole damn story after that.

Still, you have to admit: Even the domestic travails of Walter the Farting Dog take on a certain epic quality once rendered in Latin. It's just not the same when, in the English version of the children's blockbuster, Walter's flatulence drives would-be robbers from the family home. Where's the gravitas in that?

But translate Walter into Latin, as the mutt's publisher has done, and poof, he's transformed.

"It's a highbrow, but quirky, interesting thing to do," says Lindy Hough, co-publisher and editorial director at California's Frog, Ltd., which has sold more than a million copies of the original English version.

"We thought it was worth doing, partly because Latin shouldn't die out as a language that people study."

Hough, who took Latin in high school and college, figures people remain curious about the ancient tongue.

"So when you see a book that combines something tremendously contemporary, like this story or its language, and you see Latin, which is this classical, beautiful language, it's kind of a lovely combination."

It also elevates Walter into a fairly select group of beloved children's books that have, in the last few years, been translated into Latin. So, if you've been pining for Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis, pine no more.

Ditto Cattus Petasatus and Quomodo Invidiosulus Nomine Grinchus Christi Natalem Abrogaverit (As in, hats, cats and Grinch).

But why would anyone want to re-read these classics in Latin?

"People with a smattering of Latin may get a kick out of seeing something that's familiar in a different sort of way," speculates Michael Dewar, a professor in the classics department at the University of Toronto. "Some people may enjoy the intellectual challenge."

Throw in quirky stocking stuffers and birthday gifts, and you've got at least the makings of a small market. In the past two years, Frog has shipped more than 8,000 copies of Walter Canis Inflatus.

That may be a tiny fraction of the English-language sales, but "there are many books you'd die to sell that many copies of," says Mark Ouimet, associate publisher at Frog.

As it happens, there's a long history of translating famous children's books into Latin, starting with Winnie Ille Pu in 1960.

That was soon followed by Lewis Carroll's Alicia in Terra Mirabili.

"When it all began, it was diplomats amusing themselves," says Dewar.

But it seems to have picked up steam lately, a trend that may coincide with a revival of the classics, proper.

How many people actually plough through these books — as opposed to admiring them on their bookshelves or in the washroom magazine rack — is hard to tell.

Happily (for him), Dewar does know this: Student interest in the classics has also picked up markedly in the past few years.

At U of T, for instance, about 400 students are doing at least a minor in classic civilization. That's up from only 100 in 1997, the year that Dewar joined the faculty.

"People are more open-minded about classics than they were 20 years ago," says Dewar.

He suspects that, ironically, Latin's removal from the list of compulsory high school subjects may have piqued post-secondary interest, since students no longer rank Latin along with cod-liver oil as something to be unwillingly endured.

And while the translations of children's books may not always rank up there with Virgil, at least they might help novice readers of the language gain more confidence.

"It is also good for us in that it reminds people Latin is a language," says Dewar.

"You can actually express anything in Latin, because it's a real language."

Then again, having given poor Walter some deserved dignity, it might still be best to draw the line at Latin novelizations of Beavis and Butthead.
From IOL (Ireland, not South Africa):

A mortar bomb from the Second World War was found today in the archaeological ruins of Pompeii, Italy, police officials said.

The bomb was discovered in the rubble of the Surgeon’s House, the archaeological site next to the Roman Basilica, the ANSA news agency said.

Police from Pompeii secured the area as tourists looked on until the bomb squad from Naples arrived.

Police said the public was never in any danger.

The device was removed from the ruins and the bomb squad defused it in a controlled explosion in a nearby ditch, ANSA said.

Unexploded bombs dating back from the Second World War are found frequently throughout the region of Campania, where Pompeii is located.

Train and bus services were closed one day last year in June as a precautionary measre against a controlled explosion of a bomb found near the Circumvesuviana train line.

... I think that's the second such bit of weaponry found there in the last decade or so ...
From the Sofia Echo:

Archaeologists discovered an ancient theatre lying beneath the remains of the Serdika amphitheatre in Sofia's centre.

Archaeologist Borislav Borislavov described the site, discovered by his colleague Zharin Velichkov as the 'most sensational discovery of the season', Focus news agency reported.

Discovering an earlier theatre beneath the remains of another one was unprecedented, Velichkov said. The theatre was build in second century AD during the reign of emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, also know as Carcalla.

Velichkov is working on the remains of the largest amphitheatre on the Balkans for a second season. The amphitheatre was built in third century AD during the reign of emperors Dioclitian and Konstantine the Great. The arena measures 60.5 metres in width.

The archaeologists would seek additional funding for the excavation of the theatres from the Culture Ministry.

... wonder if it was a post-earthquake rebuild
pridie idus quinctilias

Mercatus -- as often, a lengthy festival was followed by a few market days

218 A.D. -- the emperor Elagabalus is coopted into all the priestly colleges
spectral @ Wordsmith

arrant @ (hmmmm)
Sorry I slept in this a.m. ... second trip to the golf course wore me right out ... in any event, today you'll notice I'm identifying blog authors, not blogs ... time to make them all into celebrities (if they aren't already!):

Adrian Murdoch is looking at Roman loan agreements ... with a minor correction ... and a followup ... [note in passing: the 'low' annual interest rate was pretty much 'standard'; the only time Roman law allowed higher interest rates was in situations usually referred to as 'bottomry loans' (i.e. loans to a ship captain who would pay back after his voyage) -- a high risk venture required a higher return (and interestingly, a number of women are involved in such loans in the Codex Justinianus)

N.S. Gill is playing with a fun little Latin Program ...
Irene Hahn is looking at friendship in ancient times ...

Mary Beard underwent some 'media training', and the experience seems like it could help folks in many situations ...

Dorothy King features some, er, Classical undies ...

Laura Gibbs offers some proverbia de undis (not undies) ...

Ed Flinn has a Salonina/Apollo ...

This was mentioned on the Latin list yesterday ... the latest In Our Time is a nice little podcast on Greek Comedy ...
Okay ... I've read this one a couple of times now and my mind is still in boggulo ... from the Sofia News Agency:

A museum in south Bulgaria has left out on the street bones of Thracians, found at different archaeological sites in the region, a newspaper revealed Friday.

Stray dogs have been rummaging the findings for days, residents of Kardzhali have told 24 Chasa daily.

Workers had to take pieces out of the museum storehouse after its land was denationalized and had to be restored to previous owners.

Bones, ceramic items and fossils can be seen piled up next to the street, a reporter has said after visiting the site.

The newspaper informed the police, and authorities immediately ordered for the museum items to be brought back indoors, 24 Chasa says.

The Thracian bones have been recovered from Tsarkvitsa, Sedlovina, Sedlare, as well as the ancient sanctuary of Perperikon.
... or just Tony? An excerpt from an op-ed piece in the Telegraph commenting on Tony Blair:

But the example of Aristides the Just, the ancient Athenian statesman famed for his integrity, might appeal more strongly to Mr Blair. The Athenians had the custom of ostracism, enabling them to banish for 10 years whichever person received the most votes, which were cast by writing on a potsherd the name of the person you wanted to chuck out of the city.

Plutarch tells us that on the day of the voting, an illiterate man from the country gave his potsherd to Aristides and asked him to write "Aristides" on it. The latter asked if Aristides had ever wronged him, to which the bumpkin replied: "No, and I do not even know him, but I am sick and tired of hearing him everywhere called 'the Just'."

This captures the feeling many people have about Mr Blair. We recognise that, like Aristides, he has done the state some service, but we are fed up with his insufferable self-righteousness.
Remember a while back there was a 'scandal' in Italian Academe because the subject matter of the Greek exam was leaked via the internet? Here's what ultimately happened ... from AGI:

The leak of news on the Internet on the written test in Greek for the Liceo Classico during the school leaving exams did not effect the correct development of the exam, confirmed the minister for Education, Giuseppe Fioroni, replying to a question during "question time". The publication of the title of the extract of Greek by Plutarch, explained the minister, happened after 8 in the morning, the time fixed for the start of the written tests and could therefore not have influenced the students who at that time were all inside the exam hall and could not communicate in any way with the outside world. Fioroni, who recalled how in insuring secrecy on the content of the tests the ministry was helped by the Communications Police who did not record any leak regarding the text of the written tests, has ensured that no violation was reported neither by ministerial inspectors who invigilated the judicial commissions. With regards to translating the extract, explained Fioroni, no help could have come to the students "from just knowing the title of the version and even less from that of the work as it is a notably large and textually and philologically complex collection of writing and as such difficult to specify the proposed part".
Today's ambiguous exerpta and headlines:

Hadrian Gets an Extension

... hair? Or perhaps it's related to this:

In-form rider Aaron Spiteri was disappointed that Taurus was a scratching from the Derby due to a minor injury but he's happy that his pick up ride and stablemate Hadrian drew well in the number one marble.

or this:

Remote Roman fort manned by 500 Croatian and Bosnian infantrymen
ante diem iii idus quinctilias

ludi Apollinares (day 8)-- games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo

431 B.C. (?) -- dedication of the Temple of Apollo outside the pomoerium (and associated rites thereafter)

100 B.C. (?) -- birth of G. Julius Caesar (another possible day)

ca. 251 A.D. -- martydom of Myrope
conurbation @ Merriam-Webster

cataract @ Wordsmith

florid @
Stuff to peruse before y'all hit the links ... golf or web (I'm doing both today!):

Lingua Latina has some final World Cup thoughts ...

Hobbyblog has a Gallienus/Fides Militum ...

Iconoclasm offers us a reviewish thing of David Mattingly's latest ... there's also (I just noticed) a piece on Late Antique Mosaics in Belgium ...

Bestiaria has some proverbia de nautis et naufragiis ... there's also a list of all the Apostle Thomas posts ...

PhDiva DK points us to a German article on Globalization in the Roman Empire ...

Also: US posted to the Classics list a very useful item: Animals in Graeco-Roman Egypt and Beyond - A Select Bibliography (a 22-page pdf!)

Nothing really classical about this one, except very tangentially (the Stoa points us to it and connects it to Augustus' horologium), but the latest bit of marketing of McDonald's in Chicago is seriously cool ...
From Horncastle Today:

A TWO thousand year old pot was one of hundreds of Roman finds on the site of Horncastle's skate park on the playing fields.
Muckton archaeologist Marc Berger was joined by volunteers from the Horncastle Skatepark Committee Support Group (HSCSG) for the dig.
He explained: "The finds seem to be a mixture of early and late Roman times, but none from the middle.
"This signifies maybe the Romans moved away from the area for a while - it could have been a peripheral settlement."
He said the area was most likely to be the site of a Roman house.
Many of the items were black-burnished wear - thought to be one of the commonest types of Romano-British pottery, dating back to 120AD.
There were also
reddish coloured samian wear, bone fragments and some bronze age items thought to date back as far as 2,000BC, as well as five Roman coins.
But, the 'star find' was a first or second century pedestal pot decorated with a wavy line pattern which was quite common at the time.
Mr Berger explained: "This was quite an ornamental pot. It was made to be looked at and to show something off - whether it be flowers or food.
"This makes Mareham Road more of a Roman Road than originally thought."
One of the first finds was uncovered by HSCSG secretary Sue Hopper. It was a copper alloy ring, the size of a key ring which could have been a fastener for something like a belt, or maybe a very early key ring.
Although the finds belong to the HSCSG Mr Berger suggested the items could be displayed locally such as at the library or at the City of Lincoln Museum.
The items will now be sent to a Roman expert to be dated and identified.
Today's ambiguous headline:

Plato plots comeback

... I guess he wants to cash in on Leo Strauss' popularity ...
Folks with a bit of time might want to listen to the most recent episode of Bill Moyers' Faith and Reason ... the interviewee is author Jeanette Winterson and about half way through they start yakking about Greek mythology and Greek notions of what a hero is ... a somewhat hamfisted view, alas ...
In the wake of yesterday's piece on Zizou's head butting incident, JG of Classics list fame sent in another one comparing ZZ to Achilles (thanks!) ... the incipit from a piece in the Opinion Journal:

Here is one of the greatest players of all time, a legend, a myth for the entire planet, and universally acclaimed. Here is a champion who, in front of two billion people, was putting the final touches on one of the most extraordinary sagas in soccer's history.

Here is a man of providence, a savior, who was sought out, like Achilles in his tent of grudge and rage, because he was believed to be the only one who could avert his countrymen's fated decline. Better yet, he's a super-Achilles who--unlike Homer's--did not wait for an Agamemnon (in the guise of coach Raymond Domenech) to come begging him to re-enlist; rather, he decided himself, spontaneously, after having "heard" a voice calling him, to come back from his Spanish exile and--putting his luminous armor back on, and flanked by his faithful Myrmidons (Makelele, Vieira, Thuram)--reverse the new Achaeans' ill fortune and allow them to successfully pull together.

And then this valiant knight who is a hair's breadth from victory and just minutes from the end of a historic match (and of a career that will carry him into the Pantheon of stadium-gods after Pelé, Platini and Maradona); this giant who, like the Titans of the ancient world, has known Glory, then Exile, then Return and Redemption; this redeemer, this blue angel dressed in white, who had only the very last steps to scale to enter Olympus for good, commits a crazy incomprehensible act that amounts to disqualification from the soccer ritual--the final image of him that will go down in history and, in lieu of apotheosis, will cast him into hell.
We've been following this story in Explorator for the past couple of weeks ... not sure if there's been as thorough a background piece on what the case is all about, though, so here's a good one from the LA Times:

For decades, scholars at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute have painstakingly pieced together ancient clay tablets they had on loan from the government of Iran — deciphering the cuneiform writings and studying what these thousands of fragments revealed about the history of Persia.

But now, this treasure trove sits in the middle of a politically charged legal battle that has museum professionals worried about the willingness of other countries to loan artifacts to the U.S.

A federal court last month upheld a decision to seize and sell off the collection, in order to raise funds to compensate Americans injured in a terrorist attack in the Middle East. The reasoning, according to court documents, is that the Islamic Republic of Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism.

The lawsuit dates back to a 1997 attack in Israel, when suicide bombers attacked the Ben Yehuda mall in downtown Jerusalem. Five people were killed and more than 190 were injured. Hamas, the party that controls the current Palestinian government and has received some support from Iran, claimed responsibility for the bombing.

Some of the survivors were Americans, who filed suit in federal court in Chicago against Iran in 2001. They said that the country was responsible for their injuries because of its support of Hamas.

A federal judge in 2003 ruled in their favor and, when Iran didn't appear in court to fight the claim, awarded the survivors more than $400 million.

That opened the way for the plaintiffs to go after Iran's assets in America — including the collection of ancient Persian tablets.

Patty Gerstenblith, a professor of cultural property law at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, said this was believed to be the first case to link cultural artifacts on loan to terrorism litigation.

"The question now becomes, 'How do you treat cultural artifacts? Are they to be seen like any other kind of property, like land?' " Gerstenblith said.

Attorneys for Iran, who appeared in federal court here Tuesday, are appealing the seizure. They claim they are protected by a legal principle known as sovereign immunity, which states that governments can't be sued like regular citizens.

A hearing in the case is slated for Monday in federal court in Chicago.

The Department of Justice has tried to intervene, by filing court documents claiming that the country's national interest would be better-served if the dispute were settled through diplomacy instead of legal action.

The University of Chicago and the Field Museum, a natural history museum in Chicago that also has a collection of ancient Persian artifacts from Iran, are defending the Islamic regime. Museum officials said they worried that turning over the on-loan artifacts could create a chilling effect, and were concerned that nations would curtail their willingness to share priceless objects — and that American artifacts could be at risk of being seized while touring overseas.

The decision also has sparked outrage among Iranian citizens, who fear the thorny relations between Iran and the U.S. could lead to an important part of their heritage being lost forever.

The tablets and other artifacts, which date back to the Achaemenid period (550 BC to 330 BC), were excavated in the 1930s by a team of U.S. archeologists digging near the site of Persepolis (in southern Iran).

Over the years, researchers in Chicago and in Iran discovered that the tablets were records of administrative details, including "salary and wages of government employees and workers, child benefit to mothers with babies, [and] offerings to gods and temples," said archeologist Shahrokh Razmjou.

Even the condition of the items offers a nod to the past: Some of them were broken when the army of Alexander the Great set fire to Persepolis in 330 BC, during the last of the wars between ancient Greeks and Persians.

Standing at a table in her windowless office in the basement of the Iran National Museum in Tehran, chief archeologist Zahra Jafar-Mohammadi carefully pulled out from a small wooden box a yellowish clay tablet, one that had been returned to Tehran from the Chicago museums. (University officials say that between 1948 and 2004, two-thirds of the collection was sent back.)

Most of the tablets are small enough to fit into the palm of a person's hand. Many were broken, forcing scientists to sift through thousands of shards to piece the tablets back together.

She's still waiting to see the estimated 5,000 tablets and 10,000 clay fragments that remain in Illinois.

"Auctioning off these pieces would be a catastrophe," Jafar-Mohammadi said.
Not sure how this one came about in the Telegraph ; probably trying to get in on the Latin kerfuffle ... anyhoo, it's a semi-subtle bit of promotion for the author's online Latin course:

David Cartwright has developed a thoroughly modern way to teach the classical language

No more Latin, no more French, no more sitting on the old school bench..." So went the old end-of-term celebration rhyme, putting Latin first in the list of things children would be glad to see the back of.
David Cartwright teaches Latin at Dulwich College
David Cartwright teaches Latin at Dulwich College, but his internet classes are equally popular

Latin had a bad press for generations. It was regarded as dull, difficult and dead. But things have changed in recent years: modern course material focusing on the rich variety of Roman life, film and video, TV dramas, documentaries and the internet have brought the Romans and their language to life.

So Latin is no longer dull and, far from being dead, is enjoying a new lease of life. It cannot be made easy, but it is certainly more accessible. Sadly, though, in spite of the reinvigoration of the subject, the number of children studying it has declined, not least because Latin, once so widely compulsory, is now no longer even on offer in many schools.

When it is available, it has to compete with other subjects, usually modern languages. In my school, that means German, Italian, Spanish and even Mandarin, alternatives that are inevitably seen as more "relevant".

However, Latin is beginning again to stand on its own two feet. The pupils who choose it confront a real intellectual challenge and are better equipped than ever before to appreciate the language in its broad cultural context.

Parents approve, too, and many react enthusiastically, even passionately. As one told me: "I loved Latin and am very sorry I didn't take it further. My son is so lucky. I think it's an important and undervalued subject and I wish I could take it up again."

Now, some of these supporters of the Classics are perhaps getting a little carried away, but others are clearly genuine. So, too, are the increasing numbers who express regret that they never had the chance to learn Latin at school. Thirty years of teaching the subject and talking to parents suggest to me that there is plenty of interest in Latin - but how best to satisfy it?

For many, perhaps, the prospect of taking it up is just too daunting. Most course books are, naturally enough, designed to be used by teachers and are aimed at children. Evening classes are often inconvenient, and Latin is not always available. Private tuition, if you can get it, is expensive. The average busy, working adult lacks time and energy: it is easier not to bother.

What kind of course, I began to wonder, might tempt him or her to make the effort? A teach-yourself course, easily accessible and reasonably priced, would be ideal. Students would then be able to do the course at their own pace, at a time and place of their choosing, unencumbered by the demands of fellow learners, formal lessons, inflexible programmes and deadlines.

I have written such a course, taking the student up to GCSE level in 50 lessons. It is for sale on Ebay, the online market place ( Each lesson consists, when printed, of between three and five A4 pages and contains some new grammar or syntax, some vocabulary, some explanation or theory and some exercises with answers. Lessons cost 99p each and can be bought, singly or in a sequence, at any time to suit the buyer. You work when you wish and you cannot fall behind.

The tone of the course is fairly rigorous and traditional. It eschews the colourful cartoon characters and speech bubbles that can be found in many modern language courses and are apparently considered essential if the attention of today's children is to be engaged. It is designed to appeal to adults who want a no-nonsense approach and to intelligent, academically minded students who feel patronised and frustrated by text books that look like comics.

The course requires some rote learning and includes translation exercises both from and into Latin. It does not shy away from linguistic jargon, but gives clear definitions of all terms used. The links between Latin and English are often referred to in the hope that the course will indirectly shed light on the workings of the latter.

Latin is famously "logical", but it is a language, and a sophisticated one, not a mere intellectual puzzle. It is, of course, impossible to weave much linguistic subtlety into the early stages of learning, but Latin's remarkable flexibility of word order is illustrated from the beginning, in the hope that the student will soon become acclimatised to a mode of communication that is profoundly different in this one crucial aspect from his own. The student should even develop some feeling for the rudiments of good Latin style.

The majority of my new students are doing the course out of general interest, some of them parents and children together, but others - historians, lawyers, medics - are looking for some knowledge of Latin to help them in their professional lives. Their reactions have been very encouraging: the lay-out, clarity of explanation, pace and variety have all met with approval.

For more details of the course, including users' comments and feedback, go to and search under: "The Latin language lives! Learn now! Lessons by e-mail." And, while you have the site open, why not treat yourself to a lesson?
ante diem iv idus quinctilias

ludi Apollinares (day 7) -- games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo

100 B.C. (?) -- birth of G. Julius Caesar

67 A.D. -- martyrdom of Paulinus of Antioch

1536 -- death of Erasmus

1922 -- birth of Michael Ventris, who would decipher Linear B
dendriform @ Wordsmith

iris @ Wordsmith too (?)

lampadedromy @ Worthless Word for the Day

connubial @
Lots of news today ... let's see what the ClassiCarnies are up to ...

Iconoclasm alerts us to the start of the 2006 dig season at Sagalassos ...

Ginny Lindzey has a rant about Latin certification issues ...

Hobbyblog has a Delmatius/Gloria Exercitus ...

And this seems the appropriate venue to point to a followup from last week ... we mentioned a Guardian article about recreating the sound of a Greek chorus, referring to something at BBC Radio 4 ... you can listen again to the program now (I haven't had a chance yet)

Glaukopidos has fallen into the world I have fallen into ... does anyone know of a university which would give JSTOR and/or MUSE access off campus to alumni and or 'people in the neighbourhood'? ...

Latest headline from Ephemeris: Virum vicenarium sclopeto necasse patrem, matrem, aviam

Fans of Classical influences in architecture might want to check out a new (?) blog which came to my attention called the Classicist ...

... I note as well that Atlantic Magazine has a piece called The Curse of the Sevso Silver ...
From the BBC:

Archaeologists excavating part of a Roman villa in Somerset have unearthed a mosaic of Daphne and Apollo.

The mosaic, which dates back to the 4th Century, is part of the Dinnington Roman Villa site near Ilminster.

It is thought to be the only one of its kind in the country to feature the figures from Greek mythology.

The treasure was uncovered by a team of experts from Somerset County Council and students from Winchester University and Taunton's Richard Huish College.

Dinnington Roman Villa was first discovered when a plough turned up pieces of mosaic tile.

It was later made the subject of an archaeological dig for the Time Team television show.

Time Team expert Dr David Neil said: "This is one of the highest quality mosaics yet found in Britain. The story of Daphne and Apollo is not depicted on any other known mosaic in the country."

Councillor Justin Robinson said: "The survival of the archaeological remains is particularly good and we need to assess how the site can be protected for future generations."

A number of the finds from this year's dig have been taken away for further study and testing, while others have been covered up to protect them from the elements - the site is not open to the public.

According to Greek myth, the Sun God Apollo was struck by one of Cupid's arrows, causing him to fall in love with Daphne, the daughter of River God Peneus.

Fleeing from Apollo, Daphne prayed to her father for help, and was turned into a laurel tree.
Amid the Latin-is-hard kerfuffle, we get this item from the Evening Star (I've included the sidebar:

IT may have been missing from the timetable since the 60s but one Ipswich school is today bringing Latin back to the classroom.

Around 20 children have signed up for the course which will run from Chantry High School starting this week.

The lesson has not been seen in state schools in the area for the last 45 years and there is currently only one school in Ipswich to teach the subject.

But the extinct language has not made a total comeback and is still off the curriculum - instead it is being taught as an after-school subject.

Helen Thorne, advance skills teacher, said: “The government approached schools and asked them to put on after-school classes and this is what we have chosen to do.

“We will run it as a year course and if it works well we may even bring it back during the school day.”

The subject will be taught to youngsters from 11 to 18-years-old in the internet-based classes which will mean children can also work from home.

To make it more interesting from the more traditional Latin class, which hundreds of adults in England can remember, it will be based on a project of Pompeii.

Youngsters will be given texts to transcribe and learn about what happened to the city.

Mrs Thorne said: “They will learn about the people who lived there and what happened to them. It will be made interesting by role play and texts which will come about during the course.

“They will have to learn to read, speak and write Latin during the classes.

“We feel it is important because it will help them with their English classes, their geography, history and science too.

“I think it is great that a state school can re-introduce the subject. It shouldn't just be for public schools.”

Five teachers from the school have already had their heads in the books learning the subject so they can run the after-school lessons.

Latin facts -

n The most practical reason for Latin study is that it also teaches English as our language is largely based on Latin.

n Larger words in the English language, with between three to five syllables usually derive from Latin.

n Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in the region around Rome, called Latium.

n The Latin alphabet derived from the Greek and remains the most widely used alphabet in the world.

n Although now widely considered an extinct language with very few fluent speakers and almost no native ones, Latin has had a major influence on many languages that are still thriving.

n Six out of every ten English words used in common language are derived, at least indirectly, from Latin, and an even greater proportion of scientific words are derived directly from Latin.

Words English has taken from Latin -

n Alius (meaning other) was taken to form the word alien.

n Optimus (meaning best) was taken to form the word optimist.

n Femina (meaning woman) was taken to form the word feminine.

n Domus (meaning house) was taken to form the word domestic.
From IOL:

Egyptian archaeologists have discovered carvings with Greek inscriptions dating back to the era of the second-century Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius, the Supreme Council of Antiquities announced on Tuesday.

The carvings, believed to form part of the altar of a temple, was unearthed while archaeologists were excavating in the area around Pompeii's Pillar in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria.

"This carving is composed of six lines of writing in the Greek language on a stone which is 50cm by 36cm long," said Zahi Hawass, the secretary general of the council.

Hawass believes the writing dates back to the ninth year of Aurelius's rule which lasted from 161 to 180 AD.

It appears to be an exaltation to the God Serapis, a composite of Egyptian and Hellenistic deities, including Zeus and Helios, as part of efforts to integrate Egyptian religion with that of their Hellenic rulers.

The council also announced that works were currently under way to restore the area around Pompey's pillar, the tallest ancient monument in Alexandria.

"The project to develop the area of Pompeii's pillar at a cost of 10-million Egyptian pounds will be finished within the next year," said Mohammed Abdel Maqsud, a senior official of the council.

The 27-metre-high granite column is located on Alexandria's ancient acropolis and was originally part of the temple of Serapis.
From ANSA:

American, British and Italian archaeologists have made a major new find at the ancient Roman site of Stabiae, one of the hottest and most happening resorts in ancient times .

Stabiae has been neglected over the years because of its more famous neighbour Pompeii and because, frankly, there wasn't much to see there .

But now a key new partnership has been set up to dig the whole area of the ancient 'Gomorrah-on-the-Gulf' .

Stabiae was in fact much naughtier than supposedly raunchy Pompeii and things went on there that have would have made a Roman patron - never mind matron - blush .

According to Pliny the Elder, who died when Vesuvius belched down its wrath on the Neapolitan resort towns, Pompeii was a place you could safely take your daughters, while Stabiae was strictly for the wild oats sowing set - or wilder stuff yet. Thanks to a ground-breaking Italian law, local archaeological authorities have forged a partnership with the US-based Restoring Ancient Stabiae (RAS) foundation .

The latest product is the peristyle (surrounding colonnade) of the so-called 'Villa San Marco', a large Roman villa which was mostly excavated several years ago - only the second on the site .

"It's quite obviously the peristyle. One can tell from the spiral-shaped decorations," said Marian Zappei, an archaeologist from Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei (SAP) .

"This is a very exciting find," she said .

"This discovery was made possible by the unstinting and unclouded sponsorship between SAP and Restoring Ancient Stabiae, a relationship cited by the State Department as the best example of cultural heritage collaboration between Italy and the United States," said RAS Vice President Andrew Bell of the University of Maryland .

Villa San Marco, which extends for about one square hectare, is a luxurious Roman villa with baths, a large porticoed garden with a pond, and a lovely view over the Bay of Naples .

About 0.3 hectares of the lovely building - getaway heaven for a Roman patrician - still have to be unearthed .

The first Roman villa to be found at the site, Villa Arianna, is about three times Villa San Marco's size but most of it (2.3 hectares) is still underground .

This was excavated by Swiss archaeologist Karl Weber between 1757 and 1762 .

RAS and SAP - which has built on a pathfinding agreement with the Packhard Humanities Institute for the preservation of the other ancient Roman city in the area, Herculaneum - now intend to probe a third spot where a large building, baths and fishpond are believed to be buried .

But RAS - which groups several American universities, the University of Birmingham in the UK and Naples' Federico II University - eventually plan to turf up the whole 40-hectare site of the ancient sin city .

The peristyle - under which was found Stabiae's first skeleton, apparently crushed by falling masonry - has merely whet RAS's appetite .

"We want something much livielier than that," Webb said .

"We're very eager to get down there. Who knows what saucy secrets we'll find?"
Check out what Microsoft is calling (at least at this point) it's forthcoming iPod competition product ... from PortalIT:

Microsoft bosses might have a thing with Greek mythology, as they decided that their upcoming iPod competitor shall bear the code-name “Argo”.

According to Seattle Times columnist Brier Dudley, Microsoft's new device will be much more than an iPod alternative. It seems that Microsoft is aiming at several birds with the same stone, because, as Dudley puts it,

“this is more than just another MP3 player. It will also compete with game players from Sony and Nintendo that have long had Wi-Fi and work as media players, Internet terminals and communication devices.”

Originally, Microsoft's new device was supposed to be focused only on features that the iPod didn't have (yet), such as a wireless Internet connection.

In Greek mythology, “Argo” was the ship that Jason used when he left overseas in search of the Golden Fleece. While he did retrieve the Fleece, everything else managed to crumble in his life, and legend says Jason died when the ship collapsed on him. Hope Microsoft won't encounter a similar fate.
As might be expected, I've spent a good chunk of the last couple of days wading through alerts for 'greek tragedy' referring to Zizou's actions t'other day. They've all been boring and not worth anyone's time ... an editorial from the Hindustan Times is a bit better though in its ancient literary refs, even weaving in some Camus (one of my fave authors from university days) ... the final bit:

Camus in his essay, ‘The Rebel’, writes: “What is a rebel? A man who says no: but whose refusal does not imply a renunciation. He is also a man who says yes as soon as he begins to think for himself. A slave who has taken orders all his life, suddenly decides that he cannot obey some new command. What does he mean by saying ‘no’? He means, for instance, that ‘this has been going on too long’, ‘so far but no farther’, ‘you are going too far’, or again ‘There are certain limits beyond which you shall not go’. In other words, his ‘no’ affirms the existence of a borderline.”

In every act of rebellion, the rebel feels heartbreak at the infringement of his rights. Zidane knew what would happen once his head crashed into Materazzi’s sternum. But he also felt the complete and spontaneous loyalty to certain aspects of himself. And this is what has given the ‘disgraced’ 34-year-old from Marseilles the sheen of the anti-hero.

The banal comments from certain sections about Zidane’s ‘ugly act’ spawning a million head-butts in thousands of school fields misses two points: he hadn’t planned it this way, and that he doesn’t really care. Television commentators, never mind Fifa prefects, can’t comprehend why a grown man, a celebrated genius, has to ‘throw it all away’. By reacting in an ‘unprofessional’ manner — both in terms of description as well as judgment — Zidane chose one set of values to be more important than the other. In other words, he became a ‘stupid’ footballer and a heroic man in the eyes of one — himself — at the same 109th minute.

Zidane’s ‘stupidity’ is only matched by that of another mortal, the tragic hero of Homer’s Iliad, Achilles. Instead of playing it by the rules of war and the norms of decency, Achilles avenges the death of his closest friend Patroclus by tying the slain body of his killer, Hector, to his chariot and dragging it around. He knows that this ‘foolish’ act is bound to earn the wrath of the Gods, whose favourite he had been till that moment, and which will quickly lead to his own death. “Achilles... cares not a jot for public opinion, to which most people bend the knee for better or for worse... He had better beware of our wrath, great man though he is. What is he doing in his fury but insulting senseless clay?” Homer makes Apollo the Sun God say.

The sense of how to act (or not act) against wrongs varies from person to person. It is the social man, living according to the ‘rules of the game’, who knows how to act and how to practise restrain, no matter what the provocation. But as with Zidane on Sunday night and Achilles on a different field, Camus’s rebel stubbornly insists that there are certain things in him that are ‘worthwhile’, even if it ends in personal shame.
Speaking of the Getty (see below) ... from the Times:

A LOST masterpiece by Rubens that inspired many of his greatest hunting scenes has been sold to the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

The Calydonian Boar Hunt, painted in 1611 or 1612 and for years mistakenly attributed to a follower of Rubens, surfaced at the Paris auctioneers Jean-Marc Delvaux. Instead of its estimate of €10,000 (£7,000) it sold to an unknown buyer for more than €300,000 — at which point other bidders started to realise its true provenance.

That figure pales against the millions that collectors are prepared to pay for a Rubens. Four years ago another rediscovered painting, The Massacre of the Innocents, smashed auction records when it exchanged hands for £49.5 million.

It is thought that the painting was sold on to the Getty Museum by the London agent Hazlitt, Gooden & Fox. The oil-on-panel work was previously only known from later copies and engravings. The attribution to Rubens has been confirmed by David Jaffe, senior curator of Flemish paintings at the National Gallery in London. He told The Times yesterday: “This is an exciting discovery as it represents Rubens’s earliest known hunt scene, which became one of the great themes of his painting career.”

Sir Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was the pre-eminent artist of the 17th century, as well as being a diplomat, linguist and scholar. He was knighted by both Charles I and Philip IV of Spain.

During eight years in Italy, from 1600, he was particularly inspired by ancient and Italian Renaissance art. Returning to Antwerp, he continued to travel as both courtier and painter. During repeated visits to London, Madrid and Paris he was able to act as a diplomat while also accepting royal commissions for art. When he came to England in the late 1620s he was asked by Charles I to paint the ceiling of the Banqueting House in Whitehall.

Michael Brand, director of the Getty Museum, said that The Calydonian Boar Hunt was one of the greatest paintings by Rubens in the United States. “It is seldom that a ‘lost’ painting of such an innovative historical subject by an artist of this calibre comes to light again,” he added.

Rubens was depicting the mythological hunt as told by Ovid. His composition portrays the moment when Meleager thrusts a spear into a boar, surrounded by hunters and the bloodied figure of a fallen warrior.

Painted on his return from Italy, it reflects his study of statues from antiquity and reliefs on Roman sarcophagi, which inspired the pose of his subjects and the composition.

Mr Brand said: “The Calydonian Boar Hunt shows Rubens at his most daring and inventive.”

Scholars believe that the artists kept the work in his studio to inspire him as he continued to develop the theme of the hunt and related subjects through the years.

It will be unveiled to the public this week, displayed among the museum’s collection of paintings by Jan Brueghel the Elder and other Rubens contemporaries.
From the Sydney Morning Herald:

EMBOLDENED by the J. Paul Getty Museum's decision to return two prized antiquities, Greece will demand more repatriations, the culture minister, Giorgos Voulgarakis, has said.

"Whatever is Greek, wherever in the world, we want back," he said on Monday. He hailed the Getty's decision as "a huge success both for Greece and other countries".

Asked how many works were in question, Mr Voulgarakis said: "We're not talking about a handful; we're talking about hundreds of artefacts that have ended up in many different places around the world."

Byzantine icons as well as archaic and classical antiquities are expected to be among contested items.

The move was announced a day after Greece's accord with the Getty. The Los Angeles institution agreed to surrender the two sculptures - an ornate 2400-year-old black limestone grave marker and an archaic votive relief portraying two women bearing gifts to a goddess - after talks lasting less than three months.

The relief was stolen from the French archaeological school on the island of Thassos at the turn of the 20th century. Getty bought it for his personal collection in 1955. The tombstone, engraved with the image of a dead warrior called Athanias, was illegally excavated near Thebes between 1992 and 1996. Athens had pressed for the return of the works for the past decade.

Monday's announcement in a statement by the museum and Greek officials leaves unresolved the fate of two other artefacts, which are of greater archaeological significance and value.

The statement said the two parties hoped to reach an agreement by the end of August. Such a deal is likely to include long-term loans of Greek antiquities to the Getty, following the model of Italian agreements forged during the past year over disputed artefacts.

"The Greeks have been very generous with the range of possibilities they are offering," said the Getty's Australian director, Michael Brand, in a statement from Canberra, where he is on leave.

A Greek law enforcement source said on Monday that a criminal investigation into the Getty's acquisition of one of the other disputed items, a gold funerary wreath, might lead to criminal charges.

Targets could include Marion True, the Getty's former antiquities curator, who recommended acquiring the artefact, and board members who approved the acquisition, the source said. True is being tried in Italy on charges of conspiracy to traffic in looted art.
Howzabout be a major influence in hiphop culture? From the LA Times (you have to read a bit to find the ClassCon):

Law 5: So much depends on reputation — guard it with your life.

Hip-hop producer DJ Premier boiled this law down to "Reputation is the cornerstone of power" and had it tattooed on his arm.

Law 8: Make other people come to you — use bait if necessary.

New York rapper L.G. had this one printed, epigram-style, on the in-leaf of his underground mix tape, "Industry Co-Sign II: The 14 Tracks of Power."

The two laws are found among "The 48 Laws of Power," a 1998 book that bundles anecdotes from history's great schemers — Casanova, Machiavelli, dancer and courtesan Lola Montez, Chairman Mao and con man "Yellow Kid" Weil among them — to make urgent points about how to come out on top in life. The book became a bestseller (it was on the Wall Street Journal's list for 11 weeks), and now, largely as a result of rap artists' growing sense of themselves as an entrepreneurial warrior class, is finding new life as the bible for behavior in the hip-hop world.

Rappers write lyrics about the book ("The only book I ever read I could have wrote: '48 Laws of Power,' " Kanye West rapped in a famous freestyle), they refer to it in interviews ("In 'The 48 Laws of Power,' it says the worst thing you can do is build a fortress around yourself," Jay-Z noted in Playboy) and they study it as a guide to succeeding in the cutthroat music business.

"The book is like a martial-arts manual for the business," said Quincy "QD3" Jones III, a rap producer turned filmmaker who is making a feature documentary about "The 48 Laws' " hip-hop connection. "It teaches people in our demographic how to think more holistically about their business practices."

Some reviewers had a different take when the book first appeared. "By the 36th law, you start to feel unclean and worried about your own morality," said one. "By the 44th, you have accepted the fact that you are basically immoral and so is the world. By the time you reach No. 48, you are saying: 'Right, who is my first victim?' "

Law 27: Play on people's need to believe to create a cult-like following.

As his book's influence spreads, author Robert Greene, a self-described "geeky white guy," is fashioning himself into an unlikely consigliere to hip-hop's elite. He's been enlisted to collaborate on a business book with 50 Cent, the multi-platinum-selling rapper whom Forbes magazine has called "a masterful brand builder and a shrewd businessman" and who famously survived being shot nine times.

"A lot of people who identify with the book are people who've had problems dealing with powerful people," Greene said in an interview. "I used to be sort of like that. I learned the hard way." Now, in addition to his rap following, Greene, 46, advises such maverick business chiefs as producer Brian Grazer and American Apparel Chief Executive Dov Charney.

"The music industry is a brutal world," Greene said. "A lot of rappers figured out that they had to control things and learn how the game's played or else they were going to be continually exploited. That's what brought them to the book."

Shout Out to 'Scarface'

Hip-hop, with its regional rivalries and short attention span, doesn't seem to be a culture likely to assimilate the cautionary tales about French courtesans, Italian nobility and American hucksters detailed in "The 48 Laws." But rap music can be carbon-dated by the outside influences it has used to define itself, and in many ways the book is perfect for this moment.

Throughout the late '80s and early '90s, rappers often recited dialogue from Al Pacino's 1983 gangster classic, "Scarface," in songs; the character's ruthlessness and ambition exemplified hip-hop's mercenary self-image and ideals at the time. Then in the mid-'90s, Sun Tzu's 2,500-year-old military strategy treatise, "The Art of War," became rap's most shouted-out book, for much the same reason super-agent Michael Ovitz distributed copies to his staff during his tenure at Creative Artists Agency. Emphasizing outmaneuvering opponents through superior gamesmanship, the book found a natural application in an increasingly competitive business, one in which rappers felt like perpetual underdogs.

But in the early 2000s, as hip-hop became the dominant sound on the pop chart and its players began to wield real clout in the industry, they began to present themselves more as street-savvy, self-made millionaires than as gangsterish outsiders. "The 48 Laws" spoke to this new sense of a broader, more mature power base while still flattering their self-image as formidable warriors.

Law 38: Think as you like but behave like others.

With urban music industry heavyweights Island Def Jam's Lyor Cohen and Warner Music Group's Kevin Liles among early adopters of its principles, Greene's book began influencing the way deals were made.

"It might be a situation where you act one way and then you think about 'The 48 Laws of Power' and you totally restructure your thought process," said Violator Management & Records' Chris Lighty, one of hip-hop's most influential talent managers. "You start to think ahead on how you want to manipulate a situation in your favor."

L.G., who won the 2005 Underground Music Award for best male rapper and whose mix-tape album cover replicates the copper-and-blue cover of Greene's book, said "The 48 Laws" has given him a tactical advantage when he negotiates record deals.

"My manager passed me the book because he knew a lot of things in there can be used to interact with different people in the industry," L.G. said. "I use it in my business meetings, speaking with people to feel them out, to see what their motives are."

According to Jones, the book became ubiquitous in the culture after trickling down from management to artists. "It's been a three-tiered thing," he said. "First, it was the power players in the business who discovered the book. Then they'd pass it on to the artists. Then, once they talked about it in songs, it spread to the audience."

The path from street corner to corner office is common in hip-hop. Ruthless Records' late founder Eric "Eazy-E" Wright, Island Def Jam's Jay-Z and G-Unit Records' 50 Cent are but three of the most notable examples of drug dealers turned rappers turned record label chiefs. In the absence of formal business educations, many in hip-hop's executive class have turned to "The 48 Laws" for lessons in boardroom brinkmanship.

"We're businessmen, not gangstas," said Lighty, whose clients include Busta Rhymes and 50 Cent. "We have tax ID numbers, we have to figure out overhead just like any Fortune 500 business. And this book is a helpful tool, in that a lot of individuals in hip-hop haven't had the luxury of going to college. It's a means of growing their ingrown savvy."

Law 28: Enter action with boldness.

The chapter that begins with this law is about a poor, unknown Italian Renaissance poet named Aretino. "He attacked the pope by writing a scathing poem about him and tacked it on every street corner," Greene said. "Overnight, he became famous."

The lesson: "If you're low, choose a big target and attack them as boldly as possible," he continued. "You have nothing to lose."

According to Greene, the law finds frequent application in rap — 50 Cent has staked his success on it, Greene said.

Since 2003, 50 Cent has verbally abused a constellation of hip-hop stars, including Ja Rule, the Game, Jay-Z and Lil' Kim, in his songs. And he has disparaged such institutions as British Airways, Fox News commentator Bill O'Reilly and the New York Times in interviews. In April, the rapper lashed out at Oprah Winfrey, complaining in an interview with the Associated Press that the talk show host rarely invites rappers to appear on her program. As an aside, he said her disapproval would probably enhance his street credibility: "I'm actually better off having friction with her."

Anger management issues aside, he has sold more than 20 million albums, parlaying that fan base into an acting career, successful clothing and shoe lines, a record label and a video game.

"He doesn't have irrational anger," Greene said. "The guy's totally under control and smart as a whip."

"A lot of people don't like viewing these artists as smart people," he continued. "They cling to the idea that they're these emotional, thuggish creatures. They don't want to give them credit for being smart about business."

Law 15: Crush your enemy totally.

Greene says he is untroubled by the possibility that laws such as this one, or its close cousin, Law 42, "Strike the shepherd and the sheep will scatter," could provoke violence in the rap world.

"The violence on the street is internalized. It has nothing to do with my book," he said. "They're not going to kill because of it. If you read the book carefully, you understand that emotions and violence are the most unpowerful things you can do."

Still, some of the more aggressive social maneuvering advocated by "The 48 Laws" is considered over the top even by the urban music world's intensely competitive standards.

"The stuff about dissing another man to get ahead, some of the more cutthroat ideas — that's not something I'm going to apply in my life," said DJ Premier. "I'm on board with about 85% of the things he says in the book. But not everything."

Law 48: Assume formlessness.

Greene grew up on the Westside, attended Palisades High School and has a degree in classical studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. He held a series of media jobs — as a freelance magazine writer and documentary film researcher — and worked his way through several low-level film industry positions before teaming up with book packager Joost Elffers in 1996 and assembling "The 48 Laws."

Greene comes off as pensive and soft-spoken, despite the take-no-prisoners tone of his books (his follow-up to "The 48 Laws," 2001's "The Art of Seduction," is also an international bestseller, and "The 33 Strategies of War" was published in January).

If Jones has his way, Greene will become even more of a household name in hip-hop circles. For his "48 Laws" film, Jones plans to mix documentary-style interviews with rappers and label heads, vignettes of people enacting some of the historical scenarios described in the book and commentary by the author to illustrate each of the laws.

And even though Greene has yet to meet many of his hip-hop admirers, he is both shocked and delighted to have been embraced by the rap community.

"I'm a total fish out of water," he said. "But to be honest with you, meeting 50 Cent or hanging out with Jay-Z, I'm in seventh heaven."
ante diem v idus iulias

ludi Apollinares (day 6) -- games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo

1896 -- death of Ernst Curtius (historian/archaeologist)

1941 -- death of Sir Arthur Evans (excavator of Knossos)
vitreous @ Wordsmith

noctuolent @ Worthless Word for the Day
Apologies for little content yesterday ... not sure if there was a hiccup in the internet or what, but not much came through email-wise yesterday ... in any event, here's what we've seen today:

A couple of items from Hobbyblog: a Gallienus/Gryphon ... and a Gallienus/Apollo ...

Laudator has a modern example of an asyndetic privative (tricolon, no less) ... there's also an interesting item on forms of address ...

Mary Beard reveals that she's definitely (rather narrowly) old school when it comes to justifying why folks should take Latin ... clearly doesn't understand marketing ...

... and there's some more letters in the Times, for those following the Latin-is-hard kerfuffle ... here too ...

Bread and Circuses points us to some ClassCon in an impending New York Dolls reunion album (I guess 60% dead isn't enough to preclude a reunion?) ... he also wonders why Hollywood hasn't made a film about Hermann ...

At Under Odysseus, they've let Helenus go ...

Old School reviews that Greece: Secrets of the Past IMAX thing ...

Antoninus Pius has discovered an interesting piece of Magic ...

Bestiaria has more material on Thomas the Apostle ...

Roman History Books is looking at Gibbon's vindication of Christianity ...

Glaukopidos alerts us to HBO's Rome coming out on DVD soon (my current project is to see how many episodes I can fit onto my Axim so I can watch it while sojourning in Sicily) ...

Campus Mawrtius is questioning Andrewes' portrayal of Cypselus ...

Acta Sententiaque is blogging UFl's Summer Latin Institute ...

From ABZU comes word of the following online material:

W. L. Westerman, Slave Systems of Greek and Roman Antiquity (it appears to be the whole thing via Google Books) ...

R. M. Dawkins The Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia at Sparta

Hans Schaal ,Griechische Vasen aus Frankfurter Sammlungen

Jane Ellen Harrison, Themis: A Study of the Social Origins of Greek Religion

Christine Alexander, Greek Athletics

Alfred de Ridder, Catalogue des Vases Peints de la Bibliotheque Nationale

Hermann Winnefeld, Die Villa des Hadrian bei Tivoli
Not sure why this would be in Investors Business Daily (via Yahoo), but ecce:

The great mystery regarding the life of Roman poet Publius Ovidus Naso -- or as we know him, Ovid -- was what forced him into exile in A.D. 9.

That it was decreed by no less than Emperor Caesar Augustus himself is clear. Augustus's successor, Emperor Tiberius, later upheld that decision despite Ovid's pleas for leniency.

Ovid's offense must have been grave. Yet no record survives and Ovid himself never cleared up the matter. The closest he came was saying it involved a "poem and a mistake."

"My fate drew me on, and I was witty to my own undoing," he wrote in his work "Tristia."

Still, in its own way, the exile was the ultimate tribute. It showed that Augustus found the poet's works so powerful and so potentially dangerous that he actually feared their influence on Rome. Yet Ovid (43 B.C. - A.D. 17) was so popular that the emperor dared not execute him either. Exile was, apparently, the only solution.

Ovid had the last laugh. His work long outlasted the Roman Empire. Today Ovid is universally seen as one of the greatest and most influential of the classical poets and a major influence on Western literature. Milton, Shakespeare, Pope, Marlowe, Lord Byron and Shelley, among many others, drew directly from him.

Mastery Of Form

How did he transform and transcend? Ovid mastered the forms of the poets that preceded him--such as Virgil -- and merrily reinvented those forms by adding wit, whimsy, wordplay, satire, ironic detachment, double meaning and paradox, among other new literary conventions.

Sara Mack, professor of classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, says the key to Ovid's spirit is his "airy mocking freedom."

"Ovid transformed everything he touched. Using the ordinary Latin poetic vocabulary in its simplest forms, he made it sing in a new way," Mack wrote in her study, "Ovid." And he could make the words sting as well as sing.

"Sacred cows were no match for his irreverence," Mack wrote.

Ovid didn't set out to be a troublemaker. Born into a wealthy Roman family, he was expected to enter into a life of politics. He studied in Rome under the top educators of his time and traveled widely before accepting a midlevel legal position in the government.

But he loved poetry, then considered the highest form of writing. Staying true to himself, he quit his administrative post to devote himself full time to poetry, much to the initial consternation of his family.

He was a popular success quite early on with the publication of "Amores" ("The Lovers") in about 25 B.C. The work was based on a traditional style of elegiac poems: short poems addressed to lovers, long on vivid imagery and strong emotion.

To make his work stand out, Ovid put his own subtle spin on the form. Some poems aren't addressed to lovers at all. Others include wry commentary or poke fun at traditional Roman beliefs regarding love. Some repeat what earlier poems described but with a different -- even contradictory -- perspective, inviting the reader to ponder what's being said and who's more truthful.

Ovid was one of the earliest users of what's now known as the "unreliable narrator" -- a voice speaking directly to the reader whose characterization of events is subtly contradicted by the descriptions he gives, forcing the reader to decide what's actually going on.

"The poet's fruitful freedom knows no bounds and takes no oath to tell it as it happened," he said in "Amores."

Building on the success he had with "Amores," he followed the work with a series of similar pieces, which were often witty, humorous and bawdy in tone. There was "Heroides" ("Epistles of the Heroines"), "Medicamina Faciei" ("The Art of Beauty"), "Ars Amatoria" ("The Art of Love") and "Remedia Amoris" ("Remedies for Love").

Completely New Approach

Constantly seeking to innovate, Ovid created a new literary form altogether with "Heroides," a collection of letters -- actually monologues -- supposedly written by mythical women to the men they love. For the first time such classical figures as Ulysses' wife, Penelope, Medea and Helen of Troy have their say. The work showed that a poet could write in voices completely different from his own.

Unafraid to speak his mind, Ovid ventured into social commentary with his next works. He used humor liberally to keep readers' attention. "Medicamina Faciei" was literally about the proper use of cosmetics, a subject that's turned into deadpan comedy by the grave seriousness with which it's discussed.

In "Ars Amatoria," Ovid uses the same method to poke fun at the rules of dating. The first two books are addressed to men. The final one was to women. All counsel such methods as flattery, deception, pretense and even outright lies. All are again discussed in a deadpan, even scholarly, tone.

That was followed by "Remedia Amoris," which counseled on how to cure love. One bit of advice: be sure to see your loved one in the morning before he or she has a chance to wash and present himself or herself.

Seeking new challenges, Ovid then turned to more ambitious projects. He wrote a tragedy based on "Medea" that was acclaimed in its day but unfortunately is now lost.

Flouting Convention

He spent the bulk of his energy on his magnum work, "Metamorphoses." Ovid used a theme of physical, and usually supernatural, change to link what are otherwise 250 otherwise unrelated tales from Greek and Roman legend. It's an epic poem in length and breadth but subverts the convention of such poems as Virgil's "Aeneid."

"Everywhere the strategy of the 'Metamorphoses' is to take the heroism out of the heroic while professing to write in the heroic mode," Mack noted. The poem is bawdy, irreverent and funny. Adventures become slapstick farces. Heroes dawdle rather than act. The gods themselves act childishly.

"Ovid's achievement in the 'Metamorphoses' is to transmute what ought to be a profoundly depressing vision of the existence into a cosmic comedy of manners," wrote E.J. Kenney, professor of Latin at Cambridge, in the introduction to the Oxford University Press edition.

Unfortunately, his irreverence got the better of him, and Caesar Augustus forced him to leave Rome for Tomis (modern-day Romania). Some scholars assume Augustus took personal offense at something Ovid wrote. Others see it as the result of the emperor's efforts to tighten social mores. Either way, Ovid was sent to such a far-flung outpost of the empire that hardly anybody there spoke Latin.

Ovid was dismayed but not deterred. He wrote "Tristia" ("Sorrows"), a lament of his exile that's one of the earliest examples of autobiography. In that and other works he pleaded to return to Rome. Yet he also asserted his independence in the work.

"Here I am, bereft of country, home and (family), everything gone that could be taken from me. My art is still my companion and joy. Over that, Caesar could not get jurisdiction," Ovid wrote.

The poet died in exile in Tomis in A.D. 17.
From the Sofia Echo:

The archaeologists who recently discovered a Thracian village applied for state financing for the excavations, planning to make the village a cultural tourism destination.

The project already received funds from several private companies and from Plovdiv municipality, Focus news agency reported.

The money would be needed for the conservation of the remains and the construction of a shelter, Konstantin Kisyov, head of the Plovdiv Archaeological Museum and leader of the archaeological team, said.

The new site was situated near the road from Sofia to Kazanluk and could easily be included in cultural tour packages, Kisyov said.

Archaeologists re-covered a fortress stone wall, the foundations of the king's palace and unique decorated gilt tiles. The utensils used for import of Mediterranean wine proved that the king had sufficient political and economical power to trade with the Greek cities.

All the remains date to fifth century BC.
A bit of 'progress' ... from the Herald:

The J. Paul Getty Museum has agreed to return two artworks at the center of a major dispute with Greece, officials said Monday.

In a joint statement, Voulgarakis and Getty Director Michael Brand said negotiations would continue on the return of two other ancient masterpieces that Greece claims were illegally excavated and smuggled out of the country.

Voulgarakis said he was "extremely satisfied" with the decision and voiced optimism that similar moves would follow from the Getty and other international museums.

Getty spokesman Ron Hartwig said details were still being finalized about when the two pieces might return to Greece. The artifacts have been displayed at the Getty Villa in Malibu, Calif., which houses the museum‘s extensive antiquities collection.

The agreement came after intense pressure from Greek authorities, who said they were able to prove the works were looted.

Authorities have stepped up their campaign for the return of looted antiquities, thousands of which are believed to be displayed in museums and private collections worldwide.

One villa belonged to the Getty‘s former antiquities curator, Marion True, who is on trial in Rome for allegedly having knowingly purchased stolen artifacts for the museum from Italy. True, who was out of Greece during the raids, has denied any wrongdoing.

Last month, the Getty said a tentative agreement had been reached in negotiations with Italian authorities over allegedly illegally obtained antiquities. Italy has been negotiating for the return of dozens of artifacts.

From Ha'aretz:

Prisoners are likely to be transferred from Megiddo Prison to make way for archaeologists and tourists, after the discovery of an ancient Christian prayer house - considered the oldest in the world - at the site last year.

In the spring of next year, the first stage of a new plan will be implemented and the four-dunam area of the prayer house will be placed outside the prison boundaries and opened to the public.

A plan to develop the site, which is in Wadi Ara, is shortly expected to be approved by the government.

It was drawn up by officials in the Prime Minister's Office and the Antiquities Authority together with the Megiddo regional council. The plan was presented last week to Minister Ophir Pines-Paz who is in charge of the authority.

Within four years, the prison is expected to be moved from its present site to another location.

The building in which it is located, which dates back to the British Mandate, will be turned into a center for tourists interested in ancient Christianity and the nearby airfield will be expanded to allow for pilgrim flights.

736637The government is expected to fund most of the construction, which will cost millions of shekels.

The ancient church was discovered in the course of an archaeological dig at the prison last year.

The oldest known Christian prayer sites date back to the middle of the fourth century, but experts who have visited the Megiddo site believe it goes back to the start of that century.

The date is based on shards and coins found at the site, as well as three Greek inscriptions on the mosaic floor of the church.

The Antiquities Authority decribes the site not as a church but as a "prayer house" since it was apparently located inside a Roman officer's private home, according to one of the inscriptions. Christianity became a legal religion in the Roman empire in the year 313.

Other findings that are indicative of early Christian rites are the central symbol of the fish, found in the mosaic, (later changed to a cross) and the fact that in one of the inscriptions, Jesus is referred to as "the lord Christos," a term which later disappeared.

President Moshe Katsav showed pictures of the site to Pope Benedictus XVI who is expected to be invited to pray there when the site is opened.
From Washington Technology comes the news:

Julius Caesar joined Science Applications International Corp.’s research, development, test and evaluation group in McLean, Va., as senior vice president for product development. Caesar most recently was sector vice president, professional and engineering services, at EDO Corp.
Interesting item from USA Today:

As a waypoint on the ancient Silk Road, the metropolis of Palmyra had it all, broad towers, impressive temples and enviable trade. Water from local wells even contained fluoride, limiting that scourge of the ancients — tooth decay.

But just as the wealth of Palmyra vanished, leaving behind ruins in the Syrian desert, a new study suggests its waters may also have been ruinous in the end for the city's inhabitants.

Palmyra today is a World Heritage Site, a designation bestowed by the United Nation Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in 1998. About 140 miles southeast of Damascus, the trading town known as Tadmor to the ancients, later Palmyra, had been a center of trading since around 2000 B.C. But the town really bustled during the Roman Empire, and was filled with magnificent buildings throughout the 1st and 2nd century, starting during the reign of Roman emperor Hadrian in 129 A.D.

He renamed the oasis town "Palmyra Hadriana." Modest guys, those Roman emperors. The city's wealth faded with the decline of Roman influence in ancient Syria.

Starting in 1990, Japanese archaeologists have been excavating the Southeast Necropolis of Palmyra and examining remains from the Roman era. Despite Palmyra's prosperity, "skeletal remains uncovered from the underground tombs of Palmyra have been found to retain an arthropathy of the joints, especially in the knee joint, bone fracture, marked bone lipping, spur formation, and eburnation (smoothed bone cavities)," reports the team led by Kiyohide Saito of the Archaeological Institute of Kashihara in the current Journal of Archaeological Science.

Fluoride in small concentrations is thought to deter microbes that cause tooth decay, the reason why about 66% of public water supplies in the United States are now fluoridated, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the Palmyrans' symptoms, along with discolored teeth, point to "fluorosis," a skeletal and enamel-damaging syndrome caused by ingesting too much fluoride over a long time, the researchers note. Looking at two large tombs for example, 25 of 33 individuals (76%) had discolored teeth in one, and 45 out of 65 (69%) had discolored teeth in the other.

Palmyrans drank, and still drink, water from wells tapped from ground water by long tunnels called "qanats" (an excellent Scrabble word). The area's geology and water table has been stable for about 7000 years, meaning water conditions now aren't greatly different from those during Roman times. In a bid to estimate the fluoride burden suffered by the town's ancient inhabitants, the researchers analyzed the water from these wells. Fluoride levels were as high as three parts per million in the water, a level that a National Academy of Sciences report in March warned could lead to fluorosis.

To further check, the archaeologists also ground up seven discolored teeth from tomb inhabitants, and compared them to seven others without discoloration, to reveal their fluoride concentration. In a chemical reaction, fluoride tends to replace some calcium in tooth enamel, making overexposure to fluoride particularly worrisome for children with growing teeth and bones. The ground-up teeth revealed that in the most discolored ones, about 22% of the calcium had been replaced by fluoride. "Thus, it was possible to directly verify that the ancient inhabitants of Palmyra did suffer from fluorosis," they conclude.

Although the plight of these long-gone people may seem merely of academic interest, concern about fluorosis exists today. U.S. Public Health Service standards call for fluoridated water to not exceed 1.2 ppm in drinking water. But about 200,000 people nationwide drink water with levels above 4 ppm, tapped from wells naturally high in fluoride, according to the National Academy of Sciences report. About 10% of kids in towns with these water supplies develop severe tooth enamel discoloration from fluorosis, weakening their teeth. The report also raised concerns about such high levels of fluoride being linked to bone fractures, like those suffered by the ancient Palmyrans, but it did not come to any final conclusions.
Something from CHN which gets into our territory:

Following the sensational verdict of the American Federal Court to confiscate Iranian artifacts in favor of families of Israeli victim of the 1997 suicide bombing in Jerusalem, the second shock has came by the statements made by Abbas Salimi Namin, Director of the Office for Iranian Contemporary History Studies, who has claimed that Persepolis was constructed on the remains of an Elamite city by non-Persian tribes, most probably the Russians! This claim has been strongly rejected based on valid reasons by large numbers of Iranian experts and historians who refused to accept such a remote idea. Using strong evidence, Iranian experts all agreed that only Achaemenids are accredited for construction of Persepolis.

Parviz Rajabi is one of those experts who have been issuing statements to prove that this claim is absolutely groundless. “Although the ministerial documents were written in Elamite language during the Acahemenid era, the civilization that existed in Persepolis historical site belonged only to the Achaemenid dynasty and not any other tribe or dynasty,” said Dr. Parviz Rajabi, Iranian historians and the author of “Forgotten Millennia”.

In an interview with CHN, Rajabi insisted that Persepolis historical site which was the throne of the Achaemenid kings has its roots in the Achaemenid civilization, and its archive and treasury department which still exists in the area was a place for keeping those inscriptions that are now being kept at University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute and have turned into a subject for heated debates.

Although Alexander the Great is mainly responsible for devastating the ancient palace of Persepolis by setting it on fire, Rajabi believes that Alexander unintentionally helped preserving the earthen inscriptions of this palace as the ministerial documents and earthen inscriptions of the Achaemenid throne were turned into bricks due to the excessive heat created by fire and did not destroyed over time.

“Some 3000 earthen inscriptions were unearthed during the archeological excavations in Persepolis in 1934which were transferred to the United States to be studied at University of Chicago. In addition to these inscriptions, 400 boxes full of antique objects were also taken out of the country,” added Rajabi.

Last week, Salimi Namin claimed that the existing inscriptions at Chicago University belong to the Elamit civilization and not Achaemenid. This claim was unanimously rejected by other historians believe that the discovered earthen inscriptions in Persepolis show that this historical complex was constructed by the order of Darius I, the Achaemenid king, in which the art of the Achaemenids from all its colonies were implemented.

“As Darius the Great has mentioned in his inscription, Persepolis was constructed by his order. Yet the artistic and professional abilities of other states in the realm of the Achaemenid Empire were also implemented in its construction. Maybe, some of the stone and silver works used in the decoration of Persepolis were created by foreign artists; however, they were designed by Persian architectures by the order of the Achaemenid King,” said Abdolmajid Arfaei, researcher of ancient languages.

In response to the claim made by Salimi Namin that Persepolis was a semi-constructed monument and Persian architectural style was not used in it and that it belonged to the civilization of Russian tribes (!) Arfaei explains that not only Darius but all the Achaemenid kings ordered to carve an inscription by completing the construction of every part of Persepolis to mark the process of construction. “These inscriptions were written in three languages: Ancient Persian, Elamit, and Babylonian. Besides, Persepolis was not a semi-constructed monument but it was a gigantic complex which was under continual construction and restoration during the Achaemenid dynastic era.

Despite the claim by Salimi Namin that the inscriptions at University of Chicago are in Elamite language and some important information were hidden in them about the Elamite civilization which were destroyed by archaeologists, Arfaei believes that all these inscriptions are absolutely Achaemenid documents. “I have seen and undertaken studies on these inscriptions several times. These earthen inscriptions are the accounting documents of the Achaemenid kings which they collected about their empire,” said Arfaei.

What came as a surprise to most experts and archeologists after they heard Salimi Namin’s claims was that despite so much evidence, the Achaemenid identity of these artifacts has been ignored by him. “More than 33 subjects can be seen carved in these inscriptions such as: transportation rates, financial accounts, paid expenses, workers’ wages, name of the employees in the Persepolis complex, transfer expenses, child allowance paid to mothers who gave birth, and many other similar cases, most of which related to the territory of the Achaemenid kings,” added Arfaei.

Alireza Asgari, archeologist in Fars province and expert in Achaemenid and post-Achaemenid studies, is also another archeologist who has strongly rejeted the claims made by Salimi Namin. “Denying the construction of Persepolis by Persians is just like denying it is day after seeing the sun in the sky. The order of Darius the Great which can be seen on four big inscriptions indicates that he asked for construction of Apadana when such palace did not exist. This by itself rejects all the nonsense claims that Persepolis was not constructed by the Persians,” said Alireza Asgari.

Apadana was the ceremonial palace in the Persepolis complex constructed to celebrate special events, especially Norouz (Persian New Year celebrated on 21st of March). Having 36 columns, Apadana was the largest monuments in Persepolis.

Regarding Namin’s claim that the Jews attacked Persia during the reign of Xerxes, Achaemenid king who ruled from 485 to 465 BC, and massacred 77,000 people, Asghari believes that this claim has no ground either and there exists sufficient evidence to reject it. “In many historical books, it has been mentioned that Achaemenid kings were very moral and just and respected all the religions and cultures in the extent of their domain. The Jews never massacred Persians during the reign of Xerxes because Cyrus the Great, the Achaemenid king, was very popular and highly respected among the Jews and they looked at him as their savior,” added Asghari.

Referring to another claim by Namin where he says that it was not Muslim Arabs who attacked Iran for the first time, Asgari believes that there are also numerous evidence about the attack of Arabs to Iran and their prevail over the Persian nation and it does not have any relation with the Islamic beliefs. “We do not have the right to distort the history and deny some facts due to religious prejudices,” explained Asghari.

In any case, it seems the unsupported statements made by the Director of the Office for Iranian Contemporary History Studies, who has a BS in computer science from Britain and has five years of research experience in history, has not only offended the national feelings of many Iranians, it also has created a disturbance in the public opinion by trying to distort thousands of years of history and civilization which part of the identity of 70 million Iranians and their source of pride. According to Dr. Mir Abedin Kaboli, archeologist of the Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization of Iran, the existing reasons that Persepolis was constructed by Persians during the Achaemenid dynasty are strong enough to reject all such baseless claims; yet “the people who claim something else must present their proofs and evidence.” It is undoubtedly correct to argue that expressing such groundless claims is contrary to a person’s duty to protect his or her ancient history which must be safely transferred to the next generations.
Lots of stuff to occupy your time before the Italy-France tilt ...

The Mediterranean Archaeology blog has recently revived, with its latest post on that Theseus Ring debate ...

Thoughts on Antiquity is looking at CM's First Man in Rome ...

Roman History Books tells us about Marius' surgery ... there's also a post on Frontinus ...

Laudator finds an asyndetic privative adjective in Lucretius ...

NS Gill reviews some historical fiction set in Roman Britain ... she also tells us about Dionysus ..

Bestiaria has more on Thomas the Apostle ... here's another ...

At Hypotyposeis SC brings together all his posts on the Testimonium Flavianum ...

Lingua Latina makes its final World Cup prediction ...

Father Foster's latest: Our popular "Latin Lover " informs us of a linguistic link between the word nuncio and Cupid!

Explorator 9.11 is up at Classics Central ... AWOTV will be up later tonight ...
Got a bit of catching up to do ... first, from BMCR:

Ulf Gregor Hamacher, Senecas 82. Brief an Lucilius. Dialektikkritik illustriert am Beispiel der Bekämpfung des metus mortis. Ein Kommentar.

Suzanne Amigues, Théophraste. Recherches sur les plantes. Tome V. Livre IX.

A. Chaniotis, T. Corsten, R. S. Stroud, R. A. Tybout, Supplementum epigraphicum graecum. Volume 51 (2001).

Mary R. Lefkowitz, Maureen B. Fant, Women's Life in Greece and Rome. A Source Book in Translation. Third Edition.

Niall Rudd, The Common Spring: Essays on Latin and English Poetry.

Rex D. Butler, The New Prophecy & "New Visions": Evidence of Montanism in The Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas. Patristic Monograph Series 18.

Dieter Flach, Varro. Über die Landwirtschaft. Texte zur Forschung 87.

Chrysanthi Gallou, The Mycenaean Cult of the Dead. British Archaeological Reports International Series 1372.

Fotini Skenteri, Herodes Atticus reflected in occasional poetry of Antonine Athens. Studia Graeca et Latina Lundensia 13.

Immanuel Musäus, Der Pandoramythos bei Hesiod und seine Rezeption bis Erasmus von Rotterdam. Hypomnemata, 151.

Giovanni Reale, Diogene Laerzio. Vite e dottrine dei più celebri filosofi. Il pensiero occidentale.

Philip J. van der Eijk, Hippocrates in Context. Papers read at the XIth International Hippocrates Colloquium. University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 27 - 31 August 2002. Studies in Ancient Medicine 31.

Hugh Bowden, Classical Athens and the Delphic Oracle. Divination and Democracy.

Michael Link, Die 'Erzählung' des Pseudo-Neilos. Ein spätantiker Märtyrerroman. Einleitung, Text, Übersetzung, Kommentar. Beiträge zur Altertumskunde, 220.

N. M. Kay, Epigrams from the Anthologia Latina. Text, Translation and Commentary.

Kitts on Nardelli on Kitts, Sanctified Violence in Homeric Society.

Eberhard Heck, Antonie Wlosok, L. Caelius Firmianus Lactantius. Divinarum Institutionum Libri septem. Fasc. 1 Libri I et II. Bibliotheca Scriptorum Graecorum et Romanorum Teubneriana.

Martin Bommas, Heiligtum und Mysterium. Griechenland und seine ägyptischen Gottheiten. Zaberns Bildbände zur Archäologie.

O. Hekster, R. Fowler, Imaginary Kings: Royal Images in the Ancient Near East, Greece and Rome. Oriens et Occidens 11.

From RBL:

Invention and Method: Two Rhetorical Treatises from the Hermogenic Corpus

Invention and Method: Two Rhetorical Treatises from the Hermogenic Corpus

From the Times:

David Mattingly, An Imperial Possession: Britain in the Roman Empire




Legion Arena (demo)

Elizabeth E. Keitel, Sententia and Structure in Tacitus Histories 1.12-49

This paper argues that a close reading of Tacitus Histories 1.12-49 is crucial for understanding the work as a whole, since this unit of narrative functions very much as a paradigm for the account of all the phases of the civil wars in 69. Throughout this section, Tacitus uses sententiae about fundamental themes concerning fides, amicitia, and adulatio to structure his account of Galba's fall and Otho's rise and to draw attention to issues that will become increasingly important in the subsequent phases of the civil war. Certain episodes, such as Galba's speech to his newly adopted heir Piso (Histories 1.15-16) are especially useful for articulating and foreshadowing the breakdown of traditional values among all groups involved in the struggle for power at Rome. At the same time, these episodes pick up on and develop central historiographical themes explored previously by Thucydides and Sallust. The paper focuses especially on the warping of fides and amicitia played out amongst Galba's own circle of disreputable advisors, comparing the account with Plutarch's version to bring out what is especially Tacitean about it.

Arethusa 39.2
The Ottawa Sun has an excerpt which I'm sure everyone has heard in one form or another:

Newspapers have been a source of news since 130 B.C. -- Before Christ, Before Caesar and Before Cronkite.

The earliest recorded daily journal is the Acta Diurna. Historians disagree over the genesis; some say the idea was Consul Publius Mucius Scaevola's, while others attribute it to Tiberius Sempronious Gracchus.

Acta Diurna was chiselled onto heavy stone tablets, which ruled out home delivery. Instead, the tablets were posted in public structures.

The tablets reported deaths, marriages, divorces, wars, speeches, legal decisions and political events.

... never heard the Acta being credited to anyone before. Any source?
From the Standart:

Sensational archeological finding near the village of Vassil Levski, Karlovo region, central Bulgaria is expected to attract thousands of tourists. "The oldest Thracian city with a large royal residence dating back to over 2500 ago was discovered," said archeologist Kostadin Kissiov. He is the leader of the excavation works with the Museum of Archeology in Bulgaria's second largest city of Plovdiv. We started a year ago but it is now that our efforts were rewarded with a finding that has no match, Kissiov thinks. He dates the site to the 5th century BC. It spreads on the vast for its time area of 2.5 ha. This is the oldest Thracian settlement ever found. The other similar town is Sevtopolis that is now on the bottom of Koprinka dam, at five kilometers from the town of Kazanlak, central Bulgaria. The royal residence is of monumental size and is tile-roofed like no other of the Thracian buildings discovered so far. Fine Thracian and Greek pottery has been found that evidences for the ruler's contacts. The whole residence is still to be unearthed that will probably show who the ruler was. "Unfortunately only a small part of the ancient settlement will be unearthed because it lies in private property," Kissiov explains. Besides there is no money for developing the site. Funds are raised only through private sponsors despite the long-submitted conservation project in the Culture Ministry.
6.30 p.m. |HINT| Greek Legacy in the West
During the 4th century BC, Sicily, once a stopping point for the seagoing Phoenicians, became the "new Greece" of the west. Our journey takes us to the various cultural centers that dotted the island, such as Syracuse, Agrigento (with the exquisite Valley of the Temples), and Selinus (modern-day Selenunte). Our trip highlights the theater in Syracuse, visits the Villa del Casale and Villa Filosofiana, both with typical Roman mosaics, and Agrigento with its numerous temples possibly built by Theron's slaves. Features 3D graphics to illustrate Syracuse's theater, the Temple of Concordia at Agrigento, and the temples at Selinus.
Boy ... they're digging up statuary everywhere. From ERT comes news of an Artemis from Larissa:

A unique statue depicting a female figure, probably the finest the land of Thessaly has brought to light, was unearthed Thursday at Larissa’s Ancient Theatre during restoration works.

The headless statue depicts goddess Artemis and probably dates back to the mid-1st century BC. A short tunic is wrapped around the statue with an animals’ skin on top, while the main body is richly decorated.

Archaeologist and Director of Larissa’s XV Directorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities Athanasios Tzafalias, who is supervising the excavation works, ranked it among the finest statues ever created in Ancient Thessaly.

The statue is 80cm tall and the whole structure is estimated to have been 1.65cm to 1.70cm tall based on the body.

The statue of goddess Artemis is probably one of the most important finds that will be exhibited at Larissa’s Archaeological Museum upon its completion.

A small photo accompanies the original article.
From Reuters:

Greek goddesses and female knights descended on Jean-Paul Gaultier's catwalk on Friday, in a fall-winter haute couture collection where clothes transformed women into dark and disquieting heroines.

The French designer, famed for daring clothes like popstar Madonna's famous cone bustier, mixed muslin, satin and velvet with python leather, rooster feathers and red fox fur in a show held in a white-tiled ballroom at Gaultier's headquarters.

Models, with hair combed in the shape of a top hat, were named Medea, Cice, Pandora, Melusina or "Belle de Jour" -- maybe a reference to the character in the Luis Bunuel movie played by Catherine Deneuve, who sat in the front row of the show.

"I thought it was wonderful. These are couture clothes, clothes that can totally be worn and others made to inspire dreams, to make people dream really," Deneuve told reporters.

A model named after Alcyone was dressed in black sequin trousers and black cock feather jacket with winged sleeves that gave the impression the model would fly away, like the Greek demi-goddess who threw herself into the sea after the death of her husband and was later transformed into a bird by the gods.

Gaultier's colours for next fall and winter will be dark -- blacks, deep greens, greyish blues, burgundy reds, interspersed with a dramatic fuchsia sheath dress.

A black organza cocktail dress that could seem conventional at a first glance revealed a naughty plunging back decollete held up by spinal cord-looking strap, showing that the French designer still loves to mock the fashion establishment.

A sheath wedding gown, crowned with a sparkling candelabra holding a white veil, concluded the show with loud rounds of applause and cheers, under the watchful eye of Eric Labaume, president of the Jean-Paul Gaultier house.

"The restructuring of the brand is well advanced and going faster than initially expected. There is a sort of turbo effect thanks to these very good collections," Labaume told Reuters.

Accessories, increasingly targeted by luxury-hungry mortals who cannot afford haute couture outfits, are also helping turn around the Gaultier brand, Labaume said.

Gaultier is also 35 percent owned by Hermes.

Far from Gaultier's hip crowd, the show of Elie Saab, the Lebanese fashion star, attracted Middle Eastern princesses and the Beirut high society who applauded stunning evening dresses mixing sequin and beads with satin and lace.

Black and deep blue gowns, their Empress Josephine tops with satin or spangle belts and plunging back views, offered just the kind of sexy-but-chic look that many Lebanese, and a growing list of Hollywood A-list stars, are looking for.

"Saab makes every lady feel like a film star. I feel so elegant and so special when I wear his dresses. I think he has become one of the best designers in the world," said Lebanese singer Julia Boutros.

Gaultier and Saab rounded off a three days of haute-couture shows in Paris.

Plenty of photos at Yahoo ... the models aren't identified, alas, although my guess is that this is either Medea or Circe.

An article sent in by Explorator reader HC (thanks!) is in Arabic, but relates the discovery of a statue (in a well?) in Baalbek. It does look like Alexander ...

Update: it was a well, according to this brief article, which also suggests the statue might be of Heliopolis (Helios, shurely)

From ANSA:

A rare collection of Greek, Roman and Etruscan finds went on public display this week, following renovation work at Florence's National Archaeological Museum .

Over 500 precious artefacts, previously kept in storage, are now housed on the second floor of the museum, located through 17 rooms .

"The second floor was actually restructured around ten years ago but until now has only been used to house temporary exhibits," said Carlotta Cianferoni of the museum director's office .

"This reopening will showcase pieces that have long been locked away in the warehouses. They reflect the history of the museum itself, and its growth and development within Palazzo della Crocetta" .

The museum was set up in 1870 by King Vittorio Emanuele II, during the brief period that Florence was capital of the newly united Italy, and merged with a 15-year-old Egyptian collection .

Today, the museum houses one of the most important collections of Etruscan art and artefacts, and has Italy's second largest number of Egyptian finds .

Among the most important pieces on display is a massive bowl known as the "Francois bowl" after the archaeologist who discovered it in western Italy in 1844 .

Dating back to 570BC, it was created by a potter called Ergotimos and decorated by an artist called Kleitias. It is painted with a motif of intricate, detailed black figures from mythology, most of which identified by inscriptions .

There is also an extensive collection of Greek and Roman bronze statues, in a variety of sizes. Once part of the Medici Family's famous collections, they were donated to the museum by Florence's Uffizi Gallery in 1890 .

The selection includes a massive horse's head, which was believed to have once formed part of a Greek equestrian statue, as well as the so-called "Torso of Livorno", part of a body that was in Cosimo de Medici's collection, dating back to the 5th century BC .

The changes in the museum include a brand-new entrance way, with various panels explaining the layouts and contents of the rooms .

The new route through the second floor starts with Etruscan finds and continues through a section devoted to Ancient Greece, including some of the earliest finds from the Cyclades Islands and Cyprus .

The final stage sees a room on one side of the corridor devoted to the Late Bronze Age and the Renaissance, and on the other, bronzes from Roman times .
From mercatornet (an Australian source):

There is no denying that the classical languages, Latin and Greek, have sustained quite a battering in the past 50-odd years. My intention is to understand the (apparent) demise of the classical languages, and to highlight their returning with a vengeance, now taking place before our very eyes, thanks mostly to the Internet.

It has been rightly said that method more than content was the real drawback in the teaching of Latin and Greek before they were "squeezed out of the curriculum."(1) But that is not the whole truth.

My contention is that to teach Latin it is not enough to know it. Talent and the passion for teaching it are equally necessary, regardless of method. That combination has always been a rare one. No wonder that Latin teachers were nicknamed "gerund grinders" in the English speaking world. Moreover the contents were (and still are wherever Latin and Greek are taught) boring, with no apologies.

Gerund grinders

What the situation was when Latin was widely taught in the West can be gauged by the following stories:

In our small high school, situated in the remote Adirondack mountain fastness of northern New York, we had an extraordinary Latin teacher... Miss Juliette Proulx. ...Actually, as many of us think about it now, it is obvious that we received some of our best English instruction ever in first year Latin. Grammar, syntax, vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, diction, and a lot more besides was pounded, thrust, slipped, or delicately scalpeled into our often inert and sometimes resistant psyches... the results achieved were phenomenal. Most high school graduates of that era could write, and express themselves in other ways, at least as well as most, and a lot better than many, of today's college graduates.(2)

The Juliette Proulxes of this world do not come a penny a dozen. To achieve those phenomenal results she took her charges "through the long, dreary class periods, five days a week, forty weeks a year, for three years."(3) That makes it 600 classes. A Miss Proulx could do it. Many couldn't. For instance:

A teacher may know the subject matter well, but not how to make others love it. I loved, and still love, Latin... [I]n 1941, during the war, I taught the humanities in a private school not far from Naples. I was very young, just out of university. I was given a secondary class. To my astonishment those boys, all below 20, were completely ignorant of Latin and Greek. Naïve and innocent as I was, I told the director. He said: "Start from scratch." I replied: "I'll try, Father, but I fail to understand how they have made it to secondary in such a state." Reply: "Mind your own business and don't ask questions."... I spoke to the boys. They told me they hated Latin, they had always hated it, they saw it as an imposition, and to cap it all, "it was of no use."(4)


Few, possibly none of those who lament the demise of the classical languages ever refer to contents. They seem to take it for granted that De Bello Gallico, Cicero's Orationes, Virgil's Aeneid are the right texts to pound, thrust, slip or delicately scalpel into the psyches of 11-15 year olds, and that a whole book of the Odyssey and/or Iliad can do for young men of 16-18. It is clear why so many hated the thing. It was knowledge without understanding; parts wrenched out of context with the sole purpose of making people pass an exam set by some panjandrum of officialdom.

I still remember my surprise when, in the last year of secondary, I came across a sentence in a textbook casually remarking that the New Testament is a Greek classic in its own right. Of course, we never as much as touched it. But the more time passed, the more that never-forgotten remark prompted the obvious question: why did we not learn Greek in the familiar text of Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles? The 28 chapters of Acts are, I think, the most action-packed book in the whole Bible. Neither the Odyssey nor the Iliad can stand up to Acts for sheer drama: shipwreck, danger-studded travel, beatings, riots, dramatic rescues, confrontations, conversions, miracles and what not.(5) That text would have taught us not only Greek, but also history and religion in a unitary vision hardly found elsewhere.

Half a century after leaving school I read some texts of St Augustine in the original Latin. The Confessions delighted and thrilled me as few other texts ever did (despite having read it before in translation), but De Ordine startled me. Here was Augustine's own introduction to philosophy, clear, complete, amusing, in his superb style and unique turn of phrase, not to mention its Platonic dialogue form. What a delight it would have been to know it instead of Caesar, Cicero and Virgil.

The same question nagged: Why did not our curriculum drafters give us not only Latin but also philosophy with Augustine's De Ordine? How much more would school have approached the Greek idea of σχολή, the productive and contemplative otium that it is supposed to be, instead of the hell it has become! While pointing no fingers at supposed or real wreckers of classical education, I would politely remark that thanks to them entropy is taking care to re-establish the disturbed equilibrium.

Ad modum recipientis (6)

In the low-tech world of yesteryear the powers that be dictated: that the classics should be taught according not to the intellectual needs of a Christian society but to those of a bunch of pagan Humanists; that the method by which they were to be taught was by grammar munching rather than by textual examples; that everybody, including oves et boves et universa pecora(7) could learn Latin at the rate of 200 classes a year; and that unless you could translate up to certain standard you would not get the coveted certificate, diploma, degree or what have you.

But nature is not mocked. As Cicero once sharply noted, "the wise are driven by reason; ordinary minds, by experience; the stupid, by necessity, and brutes by instinct." As égalité, disguised as democracy, burst into the classical precincts, ordinary minds, the stupid and the brutes inevitably ended up overwhelming the wise, and no reasons could be offered to them why Latin and Greek should be in the curriculum, not because there weren't any, but because by nature no reason could make any impression on them.

Pockets of resistance remained. A 1987 study, well before the coming of Internet, revealed that, "Pupils who studied Latin were eight months ahead on word knowledge, one year in reading, 13 months in language, four months in spelling, nine months in mathematics problem solving, five months in science and seven months in social studies".(8) In today's high-tech world things are changing fast, making learning what it should be: fruitful and pleasing.

It is true that one swallow does not make a summer, but it is also true that a keen birdwatcher will note it in his notebook. In this case the swallow's name is W.N.(9), a Kikuyu fourth year engineering student, who decided to have a go at Latin in January 1999, before enrolling in university. In November that year he wrote:

Puto te cupidum scire quomodo ego in Kenia vivens Latine discere potui. Erat tempus quando philosophiam discere mea intererat. Ad id ergo, unum librum, cuius titulus erat "The Christian Philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas", legi, in quo erant multa Latine scripta. Propterea visum erat mihi Latine studere incipere...Primum librum "The Revised Latin Primer" legere incepi, sed per ipsum Latine discere erat maxime difficile. Postea librum "Teach Yourself Latin" emi. Ex mense Marchi huius anni, quando librum emi, usque nunc istum legere nondum complevi, sed multa per ipsum iam didici.

Sed mihi maximum auxilium auferunt ad Latine discendum capsellae magnetophonicae quas ad magistrum meum misisti. Paene cotidie unam ex illis capsellis auscultare soleo, et propterea nunc facillime possum Latine cogitare, legere et loqui.(10)

The above answers any question one may want to ask about the difficulties and/or the usefulness of Latin. The Internet did the rest. By joining a Latin discussion group, this young East African astonished not only the members of the group but also the United States SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Text) examiners, scoring 800 out of 800 in their Latin test.


In The Confessions Augustine writes:

And I was sent to school to become literate, the usefulness of which I just could not see, poor me. But the moment I showed sluggishness in learning, I was thrashed... Every grown up was making fun of my being beaten, the greatest evil I experienced. My parents joined in, despite their not desiring me harm.(11)

Both Juliette Proulx and Augustine, I am sure, would look at Ms Sue Shelton of Florida High School with a mixture of envy and amazement. Sue teaches Latin online to the whole of Florida and, as the motto of the school has it, "Any time, any place, any path, any pace." Oves et boves drop out if and when they wish. The rest soldier on and become proficient. They even get a certificate in the end.(12)

Certificates, diplomas and assorted pieces of paper have always been powerful but low-tech weapons of officialdom. They are now being challenged in more than one way. Anyone willing and with a talent for the classical languages can pursue them on the Net, free to learn as his teachers are free to teach. Beatings, coercion, hatred and resentment are already as unnecessary as written qualifications. And maybe even at the European Commission there will one day be enough Latin speakers to dispense with the veritable army of translators and their sheaves of bureaucratese.

The Internet has the merit of combining equality of opportunity -- the dream of every egalitarian -- with a no-nonsense, elitist rewarding system. When Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) walked from Toul in Alsace to Rome in 1902, on reaching Italy the only person who could understand him was a priest, whom Belloc addressed in Latin.

Today clergy and laity find themselves on a rigorously level playing field. Any member of either group can access the Latin course on offer by the Salesian Athenaeum(13) since March 2002. Or he can go to Sue Shelton,(14) or anywhere else mouse clicks may take him.

It is ironic that the revival of Latin should be spearheaded by Finns and Germans, who understand the importance of this so-called dead language better than Italians or Spaniards. Radio Finland started broadcasting news in Latin beginning in 1982, and Mr Wilfrid Stroh celebrated the 1985 bi-millenary of Augusta Vindelicorum (Augsburg) with a symposium where Latin was the only language of communication. The participants' parting shot was:

Qui studia Latina
non colit fideliter,
in ima latrina
despereat crudeliter.(15)

which paraphrases Cicero's more elegant (and concise) Non tam praeclarum est scire Latine quam turpe nescire.(16) Here we have freedom, both of learning and teaching. Friends of freedom and of the classical languages, welcome on board.

... for the source notes, please see the original article.
6.00 p.m. |HINT| The Roman Empire in North Africa
Journey back in time to the fertile territories of Northern Africa, which inevitably became part of the Roman Empire after the Punic Wars. Using stylish period reconstructions, location photography, groundbreaking 3D graphics and animation, and commentary by leading authorities, we take viewers on a tour of what remains of the major Roman cities in the region, including the underground city of Bulla Regia, the city of Dougga, and the Colosseum of El Jem, and cover many aspects of Roman life in the colonies.

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

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

ludi Apollinares (day 2)-- games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo

feriae Ancillarum -- a festival in honour of the "maids" who helped save Rome from a Latin attack in the days after the Gallic sack

rites in honour of Juno Caprotina -- rites possibly associated with the above in which Latin women offered sacrifices to Juno Caprotina under wild fig trees (the branches of the tree were also somehow used ... the old canard of 'fertility ritual' is usually mentioned in this context)

rites in honour of Consus in the Circus Maximus -- 'public priests' offered a sacrifice to Consus (possibly in a role of presiding over grain which has been stored underground) at his underground altar (was it uncovered for this?) at the first turning point in the Circus

eighth century B.C.? -- death/disappearance of Romulus (traditional, obviously)

267 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Pales (and associated rites thereafter)

175 A.D. -- the future emperor Commodus dons his toga virilis

c. 200 A.D. -- martyrdom of Pantaenus (a Stoic!)

1586 -- birth of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel (amasser of the Arundelian Marbles)
genuflect @
Busy day ahead and a bit of a busy day at rc:

Mary Beard blogs about blogging ... maybe her experience will get more academics doing the same ...

Hobbyblog has a Valerian/Diana (interesting Diana) ...

Over at Under Odysseus, construction of the wooden horse proceeds apace ...

Roman History Books tells us about Gaius Marius' origins ...

Bestiaria offers us another tale of Thomas the Apostle ...

Congrats to Jim Davila, although the congrats are accompanied by regrets that Paleojudaica will likely slow down a bit ...

Latest headline from Ephemeris: Libertas, aequalitas... patriotismus
Victoria Pagan, Shadows and Assassinations: Forms of Time in Tacitus and Appian

This paper considers the challenges involved for historians in negotiating the temporal gap between a violent event, such as an assassination, and their own subsequent representation of this moment. If the assassination of a central protagonist is inevitable, what techniques can a historian use to maintain a sense of moral complexity and to sustain an audience's interest? Analysis of specific case studies, Tacitus's account of Galba's assassination in A.D. 69 (Histories 1.36-43) and Appian's narrative of Julius Caesar's murder in 44 B.C. (Civil Wars 2.111-17), demonstrates how historians deploy a range of creative rhetorical techniques to maintain tension. The paper argues that, while the trope of foreshadowing has its place in such narratives, the devices of "sideshadowing" and "backshadowing" also have the potential to add complexities, generate suspense, and point up moralism.

Arethusa 39.2 (2006)
Interesting item from the Guardian:

Until recently, we had little idea how ancient Greek music might have sounded. But now, for the first time in 2,500 years, we have a chance of actually putting together the available information. Our notion of what the music of ancient Greece sounded like comes from fragments of 60 musical scores on Egyptian papyri, the first of which was discovered in the 19th century. Naturally, it is unlike anything imagined by the inventors of opera, who in Renaissance Italy decided to create a new kind of music drama in an attempt to re-create ancient Greek theatre. The Renaissance scholars' biggest problem was that they hadn't the foggiest idea of how that theatre looked or sounded: notably, was it spoken or sung?

I was interviewing Oliver Taplin, professor of classics at Magdalen College, for a Radio 4 programme when the idea of reconstructing the music of ancient Greece popped into my head. The programme, In Chorus, considers the history and attractions of an activity - singing together - that seems to have existed for as long as society has. Its origins predate the great Greek dramas of the 5th century BC, which emerged from even earlier Dionysiac (read: drunken) celebrations; but its first documented appearance is in those tragedies of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides, where the Chorus, while not taking part in the action of the play, comments upon it and reacts to it.

Taplin was able to answer that first question for me. At the time of the Renaissance, it was believed all the acting parts in Greek theatre had been sung. "We now believe only the choruses were," he says. "But they did have the right idea about it being one-note-per-syllable: audibility was the crucial thing. These Greek choruses were highly trained - and entirely paid for by rich citizens as a form of taxation." (Bleed the rich to pay for a Covent Garden chorus? Not a bad idea.)

"Greek tragedy is an odd form of drama because the plot keeps getting interrupted by this chorus, who keep insisting on singing and dancing," Taplin continues. It sounds more like a musical than an opera, "except the choruses weren't part of the plot; more a kind of meditation on it, like the chorales in a Bach Passion".

I was nagged by a desire to hear what this music - such an integral part of the drama - sounded like. I asked Taplin if we could use his translation of a chorus from Sophocles' Oedipus in the programme. He agreed, but only if I got it set to music. I decided to make something as near as possible to the spirit of the original - and to record and broadcast it, too.

Taplin pointed me towards Roxanna Panufnik, who in 2003 had been commissioned by the English National Ballet to compose a ballet score on the Greek myth of the swan-fancying Leda. (Sadly, the ENB ran out of money and the ballet has yet to be performed.) Panufnik had gone to the greatest authority on ancient Greek music, Dr Martin L West of All Souls, Oxford, for clues about how to compose it. "I wanted to understand the structures of Greek dance, the equivalent of our minuets and so on, and to understand their principles of melody, rhythm and modes, which were quite different from ours," says Panufnik.

What she found was surprising. "It was pretty funky stuff, with a kind of rhythmic wildness that didn't appear again in western music until the beginning of the 20th century." West, amazingly, had managed to reconstruct - from those 60 fragments and the contemporary descriptions - an entire system of modes and rhythms. "There were ancient technical writings about how to sing the music and how to interpret the notation, but nobody could put them together," he says. "People have played and recorded the fragments of scores, but as far as I know nobody has tried to compose in the style of ancient Greece - although I did once put a scratch choir together for a demonstration at an Oxford triennial conference."

The sequence I asked Panufnik to set to music is Taplin's translation from the final chorus of the Sophocles play, when Oedipus has had to admit the truth - that he has unwittingly killed his father and married his mother. The tragic hero vows never to look on the sun's light again, and the chorus of old men - Oedipus's companions - try to draw some desperate moral from the situation. "It's a lament, so I used the Dorian mode - different from the Dorian mode we know from Gregorian plainchant in that it has extra quarter-tones above the second and sixth, and the eighth is in fact the ninth ..." explains Panufnik (in other words, take the white notes on a piano from D to D, insert extra notes between E and F and B and C, miss out the top D and play E instead.)

In a sense, Greek chant is not unlike Gregorian chant. The chorus (of 12 or 15 men) sang in unison, accompanied by a double-reed instrument called an aulete - and by all accounts, danced at the same time, albeit a stately, tai-chi-style dancing of the sort you might see in a Robert Wilson production. "It's hard to say whether different composers had different styles," says Taplin. "The rhythm of the music follows the rhythm of the words, so in a sense there's less freedom." Panufnik agrees: "The words drive you forward. The biggest difficulty for me was that I couldn't modulate to another key, which we are sort of conditioned to do and which gives music a shape and direction. Here that is all provided by the words, the drama."

The other main element is the rhythm. Panufnik used a dochmiac rhythm (a foot of eight uneven syllables in pairs of five and three) and uneven bars of 5/8, 7/8, 6/8 and 8/8 to express the emotional anguish of the passage (The all-seeing eye of time/ has - despite you - hunted you, and discovered the same womb/ gave birth to your children too; judged your marriage as ... incestuous/ wretched son of Laios! All I can do is lament you/ pouring sorrow from my mouth ...)

Hearing this sung for the first time was eerie: voices from the past if ever there were. Panufnik's setting captures the strangeness of this archaic, alien music - its quarter tones, its rhythmic shifts, its visceral rawness. Like much else of ancient Greece, this music seems to have died completely, though there may be hints in south-east European folk music, and notably in the "open-throat" singing technique of Bulgarian folk choirs. It was easy to believe that the origins of this music lay in Dionysiac rites, where the chorus of lithe young men would prance about in leather shorts adorned with a huge phallus.

The choir who recorded Panufnik's piece for us, Canticum, put aside ecclesiastical leanings to give us full-blooded Balkan emoting, turning a Pimlico church into the theatre of Epidauros - though alas, we couldn't convince them to don their strap-ons.

The episode will be on BBC Radio 4 on July 11 ... hopefully it will be available via 'listen again'.
In theory, we'll hear more about this one ... from Il Grecale:

Eccezionale scoperta archeologica a villa Faragola. Una statua risalente al II secolo d.C. è stata ritrovata in ottimo stato di conservazione nell’area termale dell’antica residenza in agro di Ascoli Satriano. La scoperta rientra nella IV campagna di scavi iniziata lo scorso 12 giugno sotto la direzione scientifica del professore Giuliano Volpe, docente del corso di laurea in Beni Culturali presso l’Università degli studi di Foggia. Iniziato quattro anni fa, in stretta collaborazione con il Comune di Ascoli Satriano e la Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici della Puglia, gli scavi di Faragola costituiscono un’importante rinvenimento a livello nazionale ed internazionale. L’eccezionale scoperta verrà presentata domani mattina, alle 10 presso la Sala Consiliare del Comune di Ascoli Satriano nell’abito di una conferenza stampa alla quale prenderanno parte, oltre al professore Giuliano Volpe, la dottoressa Maria Turchiano, il rettore Antonio Muscio, Giuseppe Andreassi, Soprintendente per i Beni Archeologici della Puglia, Domenico Lo Melo, assessore regionale Diritto allo studio e Antonio Rolla, sindaco del Comune di Ascoli Satriano.

There's a photo accompanying the original article, but it's not of the statue. In fact, I'm not sure what it is a photo of ...
Susan Mazur questions some of the recent coverage of Robert Hecht and his claims in regards to the Marion True trial ... here' the incipit:

"Bully Bob" Hecht is best known for escorting Italy's priceless Sarpedon Euphronios vase to the US in 1972 and selling it for personal profit to a private museum that gets public funding -- the Metropolitan Museum of Art; his price was $1million. Hecht is also known for his threatening fist, including an attempted assault on this writer.

The two episodes are not unrelated. They are facets of Hecht's ruthlessness, of his violent history.

Now indicted by the Italian government for trafficking in stolen antiquities -- 94 are listed -- and on trial in Rome, the 87-year old remains at-large on Manhattan's Upper East Side (defendants are not required to attend their own trials under Italian law), where he continues to charm news organizations like his hometown paper, the Baltimore Sun.

Hecht and the Sun recently entertained one another at Park Avenue's Union Club. The paper assigned a reporter to the story ("Shadows in a Tomb" 6/18/6) who had no background in antiquities and then quoted Hecht saying: "There is no concrete proof that these things were illegally excavated."

The Sun headlined the story: "For years, Robert E. Hecht sold many of Italy's national treasures. The question is: Was he stealing it?"

It then wrapped up the piece with an astonishing statement from Baltimore's Walters Art Gallery director Gary Vikan:

"I don't think there's a museum in this country that doesn't have something that Bob Hecht sold them. . . . 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."

Thanks to Bob?

-- What of the serious charges brought against Hecht by Italian prosecutors? --trafficking in stolen antiquities, i.e., plunder, "rape of the Earth" -- as Met Ancient Near East expert Oscar Muscarella so aptly puts it .

-- What of Hecht's assault on classmates at Haverford College reported by the late John L. Hess in The Grand Acquisitors?

-- And at the American Academy in Rome? Former Met director Tom Hoving, who bought the Sarpedon Euphronios bowl from Hecht in 1972, writes this in his "Hot Pot" series:

"I knew him [Hecht] from 1953, when I was living in Rome, when he'd left the prestigious American Academy because he threatened a colleague for having made eyes at his wife."

-- Then there's Hecht's attempted assault on me at an Upper East Side art exhibition for citing his arrest in Turkey over looted antiquities in my coverage for The Economist of the Hunt-Sotheby's auction -- "Coining it in" 6/23/90:

"Mr. Hoving declined [the Euphronios wine cup], because he had just paid $1m for a Euphronios bowl which the Italian government claimed had been looted from an Etruscan tomb. Mr. Hecht said he had bought it from a Lebanese businessman whose father had acquired it in a trade for some coins; but he was arrested in both Italy and Turkey on charges of buying looted antiquities. Mr. Hoving did not wish to burn his fingers again."

Hecht, more than a year later, was still agitated over his Economist "outing", mentioning me in his August 27, 1991 handwritten letter to Turkish journalist Ozgen Acar: A Preview Of Bob Hecht's Memoirs .

-- Peter Watson picks up on the trail of Hecht's arrest in his new book, The Medici Conspiracy:

"At the time he [Hecht] was persona non grata in Turkey following a scandal in which, on an internal flight from Izmir to Istanbul, he had taken out some ancient gold coins to examine them. . . . On arrival, police were waiting for Hecht, arrested him, and seized the coins, which they discovered had been illegally excavated. . . . He had also been arrested in Italy in the early 1960s. . .but acquitted."

-- Watson also highlights Hecht's treachery with a story in the book about Zurich art dealer Frida Tchacos who told Italian prosecutor Paolo Ferri that antiquities dealer Robin Symes told her "Hecht was a dangerous man", and that she found Hecht "vindictive" and was "afraid of him". Watson noted other figures in the antiquities world were similarly "intimidated" by Hecht, and that Hecht threatened to expose anyone who cut in on his territory, etc.

... more.
... nothing of interest.
pridie nonas julias

ludi Apollinares (day 1) -- games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo

late fifth century B.C.? -- in the wake of the aborted attack on Rome by Coriolanus, the senate dedicated a Temple of Fortuna Muliebris (and there were associated rites thereafter)
progenitor @

hubris @

bilabial @ Wordsmith

paranomasia @ Merriam-Webster
Another very quiet news day ...

Hobbyblog has a Valerian/Apollo ...

Lingua Latina is holding off (for now) predicting the World Cup Final ...

... and as long as we're talking World Cup, there's a bit of ClassCon in the final 'graph of this Baseball Toaster post ...

Bestiaria tells us about Thomas the Apostle ...

N.S. Gill is having a discussion about the Etruscan language ...

More Gibbonalia at Roman History Books ...

A quick little tour of recent updates to several sites at Los suenos de Hermes ...

Campus Mawrtius features an Alcaic Fragment by Thomas Gray ...

Sauvage Noble is looking at some verse treatments of divine names ...
John Arthur Pomeroy, Theatricality in Tacitus's Histories

Following on the work of Bartsch and Shumate, this paper analyses the role of historian as theatre critic and considers the types of public display put on by different protagonists in Tacitus's Histories. Major figures such as the emperors and their generals are placed in positions where they are required to display the correct public forms, while various groups within the text offer their own evaluations (almost always different from the implied conclusions of the meta-audience, Tacitus's own readers). Certain scenes of display are repeated, such as the progress of a successful general/emperor through his territories or an emperor's address to his troops to justify his claims for power. These scenes prove especially useful focal points for analysing Tacitus's didactic techniques in the Histories.

Arethusa 39.2 (2006)
9.00 p.m. |HINT| Athens, the Philosophers, & Apostle Paul
This episode will focus on a man whose message would change the course of world history: the Apostle Paul. We'll survey his life from the time he was known as Saul, a notorious persecutor of Christians, to his radical conversion on the Damascus Road, to his world changing missionary campaigns. Bible maps come alive as we show a bird's eye view of his famous and sometimes perilous missionary journeys. Along the way, we'll further explore Athens and visit the Agora, and survey the revolutionary thought of the Athenian philosophers Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Then we climb to the top of the Areopagus, or Mars Hill, in the shadow of the Acropolis--the site of one of Paul's most famous speeches.
ante diem iii nonas quinctilias

Poplifugia -- a festival of origins which were forgotten by the time folks began writing about things; it possibly commemorates the flight of the people from Gauls in the fourth century, but that seems a rather strange thing for Romans to build a festival around (even with the story of Tutula/Philotis* attached to it).

feriae Jovi

*From Seyffert's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities, s.v. Caprotina:

The festival [sc. of Juno Caprotina] was connected with another, called Poplifugium, or the "Flight of the People," held on the 5th of July. Thus a historical basis was given to it, though the true origin of both festivals had been probably forgotten. After their defeat by the Gauls, the Romans were con­quered and put to flight by a sudden attack of their neighbours, the Latins, who de­manded the surrender of a large number of girls and widows. Thereupon, at the sug­gestion of a girl called Tutula (or Philotis), the female slaves disguised themselves as Roman ladies, went into the enemy's camp, and contrived to make the enemy drunk, while Tutula, climbing a wild fig-tree, gave the signal for the Romans to attack by hold­ing up a torch. The Poplifugia were cele­brated by a mimic flight. [...]

Here's the account from Plutarch's Life of Camillus:

They say that the Latins (whether out of pretence, or real design to revive the ancient relationship of the two nations) sent to desire of the Romans some free-born maidens in marriage; that when the Romans were at a loss how to determine (for on one hand they dreaded a war, having scarcely yet settled and recovered themselves, and on the other side suspected that this asking of wives was, in plain terms, nothing else but a demand for hostages, though covered over with the specious name of intermarriage and alliance), a certain handmaid, by name Tutula, or, as some call her, Philotis, persuaded the magistrates to send with her some of the most youthful and best-looking maid-servants, in the bridal dress of noble virgins, and leave the rest to her care and management; that the magistrates, consenting, chose out as many as she thought necessary for her purpose, and adorning them with gold and rich clothes, delivered them to the Latins, who were encamped not far from the city; that at night the rest stole away the enemy's swords, but Tutula or Philotis, getting to the top of a wild fig-tree, and spreading out a thick woollen cloth behind her, held out a torch towards Rome, which was the signal concerted between her and the commanders, without the knowledge, however, of any other of the citizens, which was the reason that their issuing out from the city was tumultuous, the officers pushing their men on, and they calling upon one another's names, and scarce able to bring themselves into order; that setting upon the enemy's works, who either were asleep or expected no such matter, they took the camp and destroyed most of them; and that this was done on the Nones of July, which was then called Quintilis, and that the feast that is observed on that day is a commemoration of what was then done. For in it, first, they run out of the city in great crowds, and call out aloud several familiar and common names, Caius, Marcus, Lucius, and the like in representation of the way in which they called to one another when they went out in such haste.

[I'm experimenting here]
concupiscible @ Worthless Word for the Day

apotheosis @
Bit of a slow news day ...

Bread and Circuses offers us another virtual tour type thing ... this time from the Hermannsdenkmal ...

Hobbyblog has a Constantius/Gloria Exercitus ...

Lingua Latina is commenting on the amazing Italian victory yesterday ...

NSG has some Latin words relating to death and dying ...

Los suenos de Hermes has gathered together a list of Spanish-language Classics blogs (most have just started up, apparently in response to a challenge, t'other day)... here's a taste of what's going on at three of them (I'll feature more in the coming days ... my Spanish only works for about half an hour or so (or until I realize I'm reading Spanish; then it suddenly disappears ... there must be a word for this phenomenon)):

La fragua de Vulcano chatas about that parapegma from the baths of Trajan ...

Tempus Fugit has a nice little photo gallery of assorted artifacts ... (I wish more folks would make use of flickr)

The Department of Greek and Latin at IES Serpis has just commenced their blog ...

... I do like the idea of a Classics Department having a blog to keep folks informed of what's going on; much more realistic than having a newsletter which gets published once and forgotten about (personally, I think posting something on a departmental blog should be something which every departmental secretary should be doing (by now) as part of their regular duties ... they post things on bulletin boards) ...

** for those wondering, the Bibliobloggers are blogging the SBL meeting (excellently, as usual) again; I think I'll just compile them all into one post seriatim at the conclusion of the gathering ...
From ANSA:

Italian archaeologists are working hard to unearth more of the largest Roman city ever uncovered, a colony that served as a bulwark against barbarian invasions before being destroyed by Attila the Hun .

Aquileia in today's far north east, once the third-biggest city in Roman Italy, had been largely wiped off the map by foreign attacks and centuries of stone looting. But some of its ancient splendour remained in traces of its baths, temples, port, public buildings and private dwellings .

Specialists from the University of Udine have been bringing the city back to renewed life so as to make the place - one of Italy's World Heritage sites - more interesting for the visitor to look at .

"We're now focusing on uncovering the lay-out of the public baths, one of the largest and plushest of the fourth century AD, measuring more than two hectares," said lead archaeologist Marina Rubinich .

As a term of comparison, the largest baths in the famous buried city of Pompeii are about half the size. The Udine University lecturer also said her team was gathering together scattered pieces of the city to exhibit in a revamped museum on the site .

A set of precious mosaics that are now in a local museum will, by contrast, be reinstalled in their original location, she said .

"The aim is to make the city more understandable for the visitor," Rubinich said .

To help with this goal, university experts are making a 3-D computer reconstruction of the baths .

"We hope to have the first stage of the project completed by this time next year," she said .

Aquileia was founded as a frontier fortress in 180/181 BC, initially serving to ward off Gaullish invaders .

The outpost was soon linked to present-day Bologna and Genoa and began to thrive commercially after gold was discovered nearby in 130 BC .

It was the starting-point of several important roads leading to the north-eastern part of the empire including ones to Trieste and present-day Klagenfurt in Austria .

When Marcus Aurelius made it the main fortress of the empire against the barbarians of the North and East in 168 AD, it rose to the height of its greatness and soon had a population of 100,000. It later became a naval station and had its own mint, hundreds of whose coins have been found .

In the 4th century AD the local bishop obtained the rank of Patriarch and the first in a series of major religious congresses was held there. An imperial palace was constructed in which emperors after the time of Diocletian frequently stayed, and the city often played a part in major power struggles .

At the end of the century, a Roman historian ranked it ninth among the great cities of the world .

But it was so utterly destroyed by Attila's Huns in 452 that it became difficult to recognize the original site. The Roman inhabitants, together with those of smaller towns in the neighbourhood, fled to the lagoons, laying the foundations of Venice .
7.00 p.m. |HINT| The Roman Conquests
Although Caesar invaded it in 54 BC, Britain wasn't conquered until 43 AD when Claudius established Roman garrisons at Lincoln, York, and Chester. Viewers go inside this savage period of British history and enter the battlefield from an unique perspective--of those who fought and died there. And a bloody period it proved to be for the Romans had not reckoned on the ferocious campaign mounted against the all-powerful Legions under the leadership of the legendary Queen Boudicca.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| Greek Legacy in the West
During the 4th century BC, Sicily, once a stopping point for the seagoing Phoenicians, became the "new Greece" of the west. Our journey takes us to the various cultural centers that dotted the island, such as Syracuse, Agrigento (with the exquisite Valley of the Temples), and Selinus (modern-day Selenunte). Our trip highlights the theater in Syracuse, visits the Villa del Casale and Villa Filosofiana, both with typical Roman mosaics, and Agrigento with its numerous temples possibly built by Theron's slaves. Features 3D graphics to illustrate Syracuse's theater, the Temple of Concordia at Agrigento, and the temples at Selinus.

9.00 p.m. |HINT| Oracle at Delphi, Olympics, & Alexander the Great
Our overview of Ancient Greece will start by exploring Athens. We will examine the decisive role that great city (and Greece as a whole) played in philosophy, government, athletics, and religion--and see how it helped shape the ancient world. We'll drive to Delphi to uncover the mysteries of the great Oracle, the ancient world's most renowned fortune-teller. We'll also learn the origins of the Olympic Games and explore the revolutionary thought of King Pericles who transformed the Acropolis into an architectural marvel that epitomized classical Greece. Finally, we'll investigate the life and military conquests of Alexander the Great and see how the spread of Hellenistic culture helped produce the context for the entire New Testament world. Hosted by Dave Stotts.

10.00 p.m. |HINT| Friends, Romans, or Countryman?
An ancient secret, lying deep beneath a school playing-field in Bristol, England is unearthed when bulldozers move in to clear the land for a new housing development. The diggers uncover a large block of unusually shaped stone, which turns out to be part of a lidded box--a Roman sarcophagus dating back to the 4th century AD. It's a delicate and difficult operation to move the one-ton coffin without disturbing its contents. Once opened, there's a surprise in store. The coffin contains not one, but two bodies--a man and a woman. It's the first double burial ever found in a sarcophagus in Britain. But who are the mystery pair? What was their relationship? Husband and wife? Or mother and son? And where did they come from? The team of expert archaeologists, historians, medical artists, and forensic scientists piece together the clues.
ante diem iv nonas quinctilias

13 B.C. -- dedication of the Ara Pacis (not sure where I got that ...)
[apologies for forgetting to do this one yesterday]

tercentennial @

latrinology @ Worthless Word for the Day

vetitive @ Wordsmith
Happy 4th to our American friends!

AM at Bread and Circuses has been busy ... he posts a link to a virtual tour of the Kalkriese museum and site ... a report on the bath excavations at Aquileia ... a piece on the cultural identities of auxiliaries ...

Mary Beard finds some medieval parallels of colossal chryselephantine statuary and decides they probably weren't as tacky/vulgar as she (and I) thought ...

Both Glaukopidos and Campus Mawrtius are commenting on the Homer-was-a-woman thing ...

Hobbyblog has a Gallienus/Tyche ...

Bestiaria weighs in on the Latin-is-too-hard kerfuffle ...

Via Abzu, we get a number of interesting things:

Haynes, Ian Military service and cultural identity in the auxilia. In: The Roman army as a community. Journal of Roman Archaeology supplementary series (34).

The online supplements to Guide de l'epigraphiste ... (you know, stuff like this really should be done as a 'registered' wiki sort of thing; ditto TOCS-In)

Corpus Medicorum Graecorum / Latinorum (German site with a text of Galen so far)

James J. O'Donnell, Cassiodorus (full text online)

Latest headline from Ephemeris: Vina luxuriosa anni 2005 inopinate cara fiunt...
[I'm going to experiment with posting abstracts of current journal articles ... hoping I can do one a day]

Haynes, Holly. Survival and Memory in the Agricola

Haynes analyses how Tacitus responds to the problems of speaking, writing, and remembering after a period of terror, comparing this response with modern parallels, such as the psychological aftermath of Pinochet's regime in Chile. In particular, the paper considers what the figure of Agricola as constructed by Tacitus might represent for the survivors of Domitian (and what that literary construction can tell us about Tacitus's own guilty feelings). The memorable description of those who outlived that emperor as nostri supersites, "survivors of ourselves" (Agricola 3.2), suggests that tyranny (even after it has gone) generates a kind of death, even for those who did not actually lose their lives. In this context, Tacitus's Agricola can be read as an assertion of self, or a self-representation, after a time when terror has almost erased the possibility of speaking about oneself or anything else. Yet this is still a cautious work, even a paradoxical one: rather than writing about Domitian himself, Tacitus instead chooses as a subject his father-in-law, who represents the victims of the Domitianic era without actually having been murdered. Even Agricola himself is an ambiguous figure, whose virtues are advertised by sententiae that leave the reader on the ropes. In the end, Agricola occupies a dual role in the text that bears his name: he serves to exemplify both the best one can do under a tyrant and the worst that such a "best" represents. Thus Agricola is used to articulate Tacitus's morally ambivalent feelings about his own conduct under Domitian. The paper concludes that what was good about Agricola will be remembered because Tacitus wrote about it, but shows how the price of writing was the difficult plumbing of his own tortured past.

Arethusa Volume 39, Number 2, Spring 2006
From the Guardian:

Sniffy classicists, who have always looked down at the European Union as a pale imitation of their beloved Roman Empire, will be delighted. Having pinched the Romans' idea of a single currency, the EU has now decided to embrace Latin.

Finland, which is running the EU for the next six months, is to publish weekly news bulletins in Latin on its special EU presidency website.

Leaders of the Unio Europaea, who have had a wretched year grappling with the Constitutio Europaea, will be reaching for their dictionaries at their next shindig in Bruxellae.

The EU's notorious jargon, which baffles all but the saddest Brussels anoraks, turns into poetry when translated into Latin. The miserable Common Agricultural Policy becomes the majestic ratio communis agros colendi, which literally means "common scheme for cultivating the fields".

Classicists can catch up with the news in Latin every Wednesday thanks to two energetic Finnish Latin scholars. Tuomo Pekkanen and Reijo Pitkaranta already have a cult following among Finnish classicists who tune in every Sunday night to Nuntii Latini, a five-minute Latin news bulletin broadcast on YLE, Finland's BBC equivalent.

Dr Pitkaranta said: "Latin is not dead - it is still very much in use in different forms across the world today. Italians, French and Spaniards all speak a new form of Latin. I hope that EU documents are soon translated into Latin which is such a clear language."

Mia Lahti, the editor of the Finnish presidency's website, said: "Using Latin is a way of paying tribute to European civilisation and it serves to remind people of European society's roots, stretching back to ancient times."

Classicists hailed the initiative by Finland which is the only country, along with the Vatican, to broadcast news in Latin even though the Roman empire never reached Scandinavia.

Dr Bruce Gibson, a classics scholar at Liverpool University, said: "Finland has a distinguished tradition of classical scholarship and respect for the classics. The Finns are experts in languages: many Finns are fluent in Swedish and English as a matter of routine.

"Though their own language is not a descendant of Latin, perhaps the Finns realise that Latin still provides a common linguistic and cultural heritage to Europe, and therefore are doing everything to promote it during their presidency. Other European nations closer to home might want to take note."

Boris Johnson, the Conservative MP who recently wrote a book comparing the EU unfavourably with the Roman Empire, was impressed. The author of The Dream of Rome said: "I think this is wonderful, I hope everybody reads it. The best and most significant step for European integration would be to oblige every child in Europe from the age of 14 to read Book Four of [Virgil's] The Aeneid.

"It is the best book of the best poem by the greatest poet. That would do far more than anything else to build up a common European culture. That is what is missing now: an awareness of our European civilisation and common roots."
From Ha'aretz:

The Tiberias municipality is planning to build a public park on grounds containing the remnants of the Roman city center. The park project has the financial backing of Finance Minister Abraham Hirchson. The park is to be named for Tiberias-born Ozer Berkovitz, the Finance Ministry's wage division official who died of cardiac arrest a month ago.

Several prominent archaeologists oppose the plan because, as one put it, "it will be forever rued if Tiberias loses such an important cultural asset, that any other city would be proud of." However, the Israel Antiquities Authority, which is expected to have a major role in the park's construction, does not object to the plan. The district archaeologist, Dina Avshalom Gorni, wrote to the mayor that the authority "views the part as an important plan" and that "there is no objection in principle to the park plan" on condition that the site be designated an archaeological park.

The park, including an amphitheater and recreational facilities, would cover 30 dunams along Lake Kinneret at the southern entrance to the city. Tiberias Development CEO Alvit Freund came up with the idea a year ago. Her plan met with objection from Professor Yizhar Hirschfeld, an archaeologist who has been conducting excavations in the area for close to a decade, with municipal help. Hirschfeld says excavations here would uncover synagogues and the main shopping thoroughfare.

The struggle over the park took a turn several weeks ago after the municipality decided to name it "Park Berko" for the late treasury official. The municipality held an evening in Berkovitz's memory two weeks ago, at which Hirchson announced that the treasury would cover half the costs. Since then Hirschfeld has been under increased pressure to remove his objections to the project.
8.00 p.m. |HINT| The Roman Empire in North Africa
Journey back in time to the fertile territories of Northern Africa, which inevitably became part of the Roman Empire after the Punic Wars. Using stylish period reconstructions, location photography, groundbreaking 3D graphics and animation, and commentary by leading authorities, we take viewers on a tour of what remains of the major Roman cities in the region, including the underground city of Bulla Regia, the city of Dougga, and the Colosseum of El Jem, and cover many aspects of Roman life in the colonies.

9.00 p.m. |HINT| Ancient Rome: Circus Maximus, Nero, & the Pantheon
As we continue our survey of Ancient Rome, we'll take a look at a dark period in Rome's history--the reign of the notorious Emperor Nero. We'll also look at Roman recreation and see the high value they placed on public entertainment by visiting the legendary Circus Maximus--the birthplace of chariot racing (and, of course, the forerunner to NASCAR). We'll discover how the fire started at the Circus Maximus sparked the first great outbreak of state-sponsored religious persecution under Nero. Then we'll explore the religion and spirituality of the ancient Romans which will lead us into an architectural marvel that continues to leave structural engineers awed and mystified: the Roman Pantheon. We'll look at the who, how, and why of this incredible structure and go inside and explore its beauty and breathtaking design.
ante diem v nonas quinctilias

324 A.D. -- Victory of Constantine over Licinius at the Battle of Adrianople
Pile of stuff in my box, but I think I posted a bunch of it yesterday ...

Lingua Latina is predicting a Germany-France final ...

Hobbyblog has a Valerian/Victoria ...

Antoninus Pius weighs in on the latin-is-hard kerfuffle ...

Bestiaria has proverbia de umbris ... and de nocte ...

In a related post, Laudator talks about umbrellas ...'s N.S. Gill rounds up the 4th century B.C. ...

ARLT points us to a really nice (if somewhat pricey) Roman calendar for the classroom ...

The seventh Biblical Studies Carnival is up at Daily Hebrew ...

Latest headline from Ephemeris: De impetu in Gazam

Latest headlines from Akropolis World News: Jaap Penraat has died - Divided Cyprus leaders break silence.

Yesterday I was confused about the kerfuffle over the naming of vehicles destined for Mars ... Old School has a post which clarifies things
From Forbes:

Weeds with stone-splitting roots. Relentless traffic belching pollution. Tourists trampling across the once palatial residences of emperors. Earthquakes and terrorism waiting to happen.

From the imposing stone bulk of the Colosseum to the romantic ruins of imperial luxury atop the Palatine Hill, the Eternal City's monuments, once pillaged by foreign conquerors, today face an array of perils old and new.

Rome's fragile ruins have the urgent attention of teams of monument "doctors," armed with such high-tech instruments as micro-cameras probing for weak spots.

So far, the Colosseum has made it through two millennia, its imposing stone bulk still standing after quakes, lightning strikes, pillaging, traffic tearing round it and subway cars vibrating below. And now, following the terrorist bombings in London and Madrid, the great stadium where gladiators once thrilled the masses is equipped with metal detectors.

"The Colosseum is always worrisome because of the threat of an earthquake," said Giorgio Croci, an engineer who has been studying it for years.

Topping the experts' list of potential perils these days is the Palatine Hill.

"The Palatine is an area extremely dense in monuments in a more precarious state," said Croci in an interview in his studio on the Aventine, another of ancient Rome's seven hills.

"Frightening" and "terrifying" are the words used by Giovanna Tedone, an architect for the Palatine from the state's archaeology office, as she points out fissures and piles of crumbled brickwork during a walk around the towering ruins.

Roots of wildflowers and weeds bore through brick, and rainwater seeps through stone, forcing authorities to close most of the Palatine's 67 acres to tourists climbing up from the Roman Forum.

Green netting encloses a section of crumbled wall, built by the aristocratic Farnese family in the 16th century, which collapsed along the edges of the Domus Tiberiana in November. The wall gave way at night, when the Palatine was closed, and no one was hurt.

"We had the gods on our side," said Irene Iacopi, the archaeologist in charge of the Palatine and the Roman Forum.

Four architects and an engineer have spent months poking the Palatine's insides and monitoring cracks, using endoscopes similar to those that detect disease in human innards. The technology "helps us to do what we couldn't do before," says Angelo Bottini, the state's top official for archaeology in Rome. "All you need is to make a little hole in a wall, put in a probe and you get an image of the inside."

Excavations on the Palatine in recent decades have turned up wonders such as the Emperor Augustus' house, including two rooms with stunning frescoes of masked figures and pine branches which archaeologists hope to open to tourists once the Palatine is safer.

Much of the Palatine is still unknown, especially its underground passageways.

"We don't know where the tunnels end," said Croci. "In some tunnels there are frescoes covered with dirt. There is still a world to explore."

The national budget, sagging under the cost of generous pensions and health care, can't keep up with the pace of archaeology in a city where "every day there's a discovery," Culture Francesco Rutelli, a former Rome mayor, said at the unveiling of a recently excavated 7th century B.C. frescoed Etruscan tomb of a warrior prince.

Archaeology authorities get to keep 80 percent of ticket sales at Roman sites, but the income doesn't cover the costs of preservation, said Bottini, the archeology official.

When results of the $1.25 million Palatine mapping project are turned in this month, the monument doctors will start checkups on other sites: the ancient forums, Trajan's Markets, Nero's Golden Palace and the Colosseum.

The Domus Aurea, as Nero's palace is known, reopened six years ago after a $3 million restoration, only to be closed again in December when heavy rains put it at risk of collapse.

While Croci says the Colosseum "has an incredible, extraordinary resistance," Rome has an earthquake every few centuries, the last at the start of the 18th century.

The engineer said relatively cheap measures could improve its safety, such as cables sunk vertically down the stone as anchors.

"From an engineering standpoint," he said, "Rome's monuments can go on for 10,000 more years."
Okay ... this is weird. From the Australian (originally in the Times):

HOMER could have been a woman, according to a forthcoming book by a specialist in oral literature.

Historian and linguist Andrew Dalby is challenging the accepted gender of one of the most influential writers of all time -- the poet who created the Greek epics The Iliad and The Odyssey in the seventh century BC.

Dr Dalby said: "There is no direct evidence of the poet's identity and therefore no justification for the customary assumption that the two epics were composed by a man."

Women have a long tradition worldwide as makers of oral literature, he said, citing Sappho, the best-known female poet of ancient Greece, and Enheduanna, the woman mentioned on a Sumerian tablet who thus became the first named poet in the world.

Dr Dalby, whose study Rediscovering Homer will be published in September, said: "It is possible, even probable, that this poet was a woman. As a working hypothesis, this helps to explain certain features in which these epics are better -- more subtle, more complex, more universal -- than most others."

The Iliad, set during the Trojan War, tells the story of the wrath of Achilles, while The Odyssey tells the story of Odysseus as he travels home from the war. They are among the most significant poems of the European tradition.

Dr Dalby anticipates objections to his hypothesis, particularly as no early author claimed that the poems' creator was a woman. He said: "This objection fails completely, however, because no early author describes or names the singer who saw these two poems written down. We are given no sex and no name -- certainly not Homer, who is seen as a singer of the distant past."

He said the idea that Homer was the author was first proposed in "one ill-informed post-classical text -- the anonymous Life of Homer, fraudulently ascribed to Herodotus".

Challenging the theory that early Greek singers and poets were almost always men, he said: "The fact that women did not usually perform for a public audience that included men explains why no ancient source exists to tell us how Sappho's poems were performed."

Acknowledging that other scholars have said the Iliad feels like the work of a man, he said: "The Iliad is largely about male heroics in war and the great majority of its characters are men whose aim is to kill one another ... Women, though telling the same stories, are capable of telling them from a different angle and with an added depth, dealing sympathetically with the feelings and motives of women characters. No one will deny that the poet of The Iliad does this."

Anthony Snodgrass, emeritus professor of classical archaeology at Cambridge University, said The Odyssey could have been written by a woman because it is about "a world at peace in general terms, with domesticity, fidelity ... endurance and determination rather than aggression".

But he added: "The idea of a woman writing The Iliad and not being bored out of her mind by the endless fighting and killings is a bit more far-fetched."

The issue, he said, lay in whether the same person wrote both poems. "Most of us now believe the same person did."

What is "direct evidence"?
9.00 p.m. |HINT| Ancient Rome: The Caesars & the Arch of Titus
In this host-driven series that presents history in a thoroughly entertaining and thoughtfully engaging manner, Dave Stotts travels around the world for a fast-paced encounter with the people, places, and events that have shaped the world as we know it today. Our host in the driver's seat, Dave Stotts, is a guy who knows not to take himself too seriously as he humorously interacts with different people, cultures...and cars of our world. He'll drive you down roads less traveled to bring you face to face with history like you've never seen it before. In the first episode, we begin our look at the history of Western Civilization with an exploration of the ancient Roman Empire. From its early legendary beginnings, to the glory days of the Roman Republic, to the rise of the Caesars, we'll overview the establishment of the greatest Empire the world has ever known.
A busy weekend ...

PhDiva DK offers a number of posts/links ... one on Marius' Military reforms ... a link to a Rassegna article on the possibility that Augustus' birth-house has been found ... a Dumbarton Oaks tome on Byzantine Magic ... a very interesting askos from the British Museum ...

Bread and Circuses is talking about Roman Tax Avoidance ... there's another one about price fixing and speculating too ...

Roman History Books has some Gibbonalia about travelling ... there's a post about Scipio Africanus as well ... and one on the Battle of Zama ...

Bestiaria has proverbs about the 'earthy' perception of the body ...

N.S. Gill is looking at Pythagoras and the Hippocratic Oath ...

At Under Odysseus, they've met Helenus ...

Issue 9.10 of Explorator has been posted at Classics Central ... the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television Listings will be up later today.

Father Foster's latest: Our "Latin Lover " tells the story of Hannibal and goes animal friendly ... I should also note in this context that Fr. Coulter has set up an online archive of past Latin Lover files (thanks to CC for the tip) ...

Laudator is pondering Nyx, Nox etc. ...

Abstracts for the War, Culture, and Democracy in Classical Athens conference (going on this week in Sydney) are available online ...

Ginny Lindzey is talking about AP Latin ...

Pro Magistris finds some Classical references in the latest Superman flick ...

Latest headline from Ephemeris: De cruentis Kalendis Iuliis

Latest headlines from Akropolis World News: Women in Kuwait vote for first time - Poisonous chamaleon snake discovered.

The Radio Bremen version of Nuntii Latini has been updated with news from June ...
From Athens News:

ARCHAEOLOGISTS say they have discovered a 4,500-year-old ceremonial centre, the oldest ritual site in Greece.

Excavations resumed for a few weeks this summer at Dhaskalio Kavos - Kavos for short - on the tiny island of Keros, after a lull of nearly 20 years. The problem with the site had been that it was disturbed by looters, who made a lucrative trade in the 1960s of the now famous minimalist Cycladic figurines. As a result, archaeologists could never be sure whether fragments of the Cycladic statuettes had been smashed in antiquity or more recently by smugglers.

That puzzle has now been solved by this year's excavation on an undisturbed patch of the site dating to 2,500BC.

"All the material found was already broken in fragments before it became buried in ancient times. Moreover, the rarity of joining pieces (as well as the different degree of weathering of the fragments) makes clear that they were broken elsewhere and that they were brought, already in fragmentary form," says an announcement from the team of Greek and British archaeologists who head the dig.

The puzzle of the broken fragments has come to be known as the "Keros enigma".

The materials come from as far away as Naxos, Amorgos, Syros and probably mainland Greece, they say, making Dhaskalio Kavos "the first major ritual centre of Aegean prehistory".

Archaeologists, led by Colin Renfrew of the University of Cambridge, say they were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of finds. "The quantities of such material (fine pottery, marble objects) found at this site rivals the total of the finds excavated from all the known Cycladic cemeteries," the announcement says. They have ruled out the possibility that the site was a cemetery, because teeth would never turn up among the sherds.

They suggest that the rituals may have spanned enormous distances across the Aegean, and taken many days to complete. "The rituals involving breakage may have been initiated elsewhere, with the ritual deposition at Kavos on Keros forming the last phase in a more complex process."

Next summer's excavation is expected to reveal whether there was a sanctuary at Kavos and attempt to find a contemporary settlement on the nearby islet of Dhaskalio. Joining Colin Renfrew on the current dig are Neil Brodie (also from the University of Cambridge), Olga Philaniotou (Greek Archaeological Service) and George Gavalas.
From the Guardian:

Does dancing in a circle, decked out in ancient garb, in the dead of night, while banging a tambourine, constitute a crime? This is the question many of the big-beards in the Greek Orthodox Church have been forced to ask as the realisation has dawned that Apollo-loving pagans are among us again.

If the black-shrouded paragons of resolutely Christian Greece thought they could keep the believers of ancient polytheism at bay, they have had to think again. Last week, like a thunderbolt from Zeus himself, an unexpectedly large horde of pre-Christian devotees descended on Mount Olympus for the annual Prometheus festival. Many wore white robes although a minority, it is true, came wearing little more than their love for the 12 ancient gods. But a bit of near-nudity notwithstanding, their arrival might have gone unnoticed had it not been for the fact that there were 4,000 of them dancing in the wood-encircled meadow halfway up the mountainside.

Even worse, for Greeks who take their church and nationalism very seriously, a large number came from distinctly foreign fields. And as the pagans from Canada, the UK and Europe heartily sang ancient Orphic hymns, dedicated to the glorification of the summer solstice, the sound rippled all the way to pagan-hating Athens.

Greek identity is very much part and parcel of Greek Orthodoxy, and few things get under the pillar hat of a Greek Orthodox priest more than these sort of heretics. They take threats to their religion very seriously. Since the Byzantine empire, priests have reserved especial scorn for those who want to resuscitate the idols of a degenerate dead religion. Apollo, Zeus, Hermes and Athena might add to Greece's allure for tourists but, so the logic goes, when taken more seriously than their plaster models they are positively dangerous.

'What their worshippers symbolise, and clearly want, is a return to the monstrous dark delusions of the past,' hissed Father Eustathios Kollas who presides over the community of Greek priests. 'They should be stopped.' But that may be easier said than done. There could be as many as 60,000 practising pagans in a country that still imprisons those who proselytise.

This year, despite fierce protests from the Orthodox Church, pagans were allowed to set up a cultural association. Now they want to take their battle to the ancient temples of Greece in the hopes of one day having the religion officially recognised.

'We want to conduct our rituals there,' says James O'Dell who flew in from Croydon, south London, for the Olympian festival. 'Our religion may sound strange but we're actually quite boring and normal, apart from this.'
Maybe it's the lack of caffeine, but I don't understand the problem here ... the incipit of an AP piece from the Orlando Sentinel:

NASA on Friday named its new lunar spacecraft Ares 1 and Ares 5, using a Greek word for Mars, the planet where the space agency eventually hopes to land astronauts.

NASA chose Ares (pronounced AIR-eez) over hundreds of other proposed names, rejecting choices that included constellations and figures from ancient mythology.

But two mythology experts questioned whether officials had erred and inadvertently named the ships for a Greek god of war, rather than the Roman term for the Red Planet.

"Ares is a name that is used to refer to Mars, and it connects to our vision to go to the moon and on to Mars," NASA exploration chief Scott Horowitz said at a Cape Canaveral news conference.

... so what's the problem?
From the BBC:

Make-up used by the "footballers' wives" of Roman times is on display at an antiquity festival in south Wales.

At the Roman "military spectacular" in Caerleon cosmetics expert Sally Pointer will show how society beauties of the day made themselves glamorous.

Her range make-up includes scrubs to polish the skin, foundation pastes, blushers, eyeliner and perfumes.

But not all will be exact replicas, because Romans often used poisonous ingredients such as lead.

Ms Pointer - a manager at the National Museum in Cardiff - has recreated a number of centuries-old products.

She said ancient Rome could be behind many current fashion trends and compared its high society women to the footballers' wives of today.

"I don't think it was very different at all. There was a huge following of gladiators, much as they do footballers today," she said.

"They used to sell gladiator sweat as a beauty treatment, they would sell it in souvenir pots.

"It's no different than someone wanting to take home a sweaty shirt - exactly the same idea."

And Ms Pointer, who trained as an archaeologist and has been involved in re-enactment for 13 years, also said it was possible Romans shared our obsession with designer products.

"There's clear evidence there were very fashionable perfume-makers and cosmetics manufacturers, and you could get knock-off versions of the things they were selling as well," she told the BBC News website.

Ms Pointer has used Roman recipes to recreate her products.

Her "experimental reconstructions" could give a real sense of what life might have been like, she said.

The museum manager has reconstructed a face cream excavated in London a couple of years ago which was made from fat starch.

But she said it was not always possible to use authentic Roman ingredients.

"They're safe enough to experiment with, but not safe for everyday use. Some are downright poisonous."

"Lead is the classic: they used a lot of lead certainly in some Roman make-up. In itself it's a good face powder - it's the most lovely fine clingy white powder imaginable.

"It's a shame it is toxic and accumulates in your system and does horrible things to you."

Other ingredients the Romans used for beautifying themselves were olive oil, beeswax, saffron and rosewater.

The weekend will also feature Roman re-enactors, the Ermine Street Guards, and a 10-strong troupe of scantily-clad gladiators called Ars Dimicandi, who will show off their fighting skills in the town's amphitheatre.
From the Toronto Star:

In the city where Jesus preached and was killed 2,000 years ago, a controversy is building that could shake the foundations of the religion founded in his name.

The James ossuary, the purported burial box of Jesus' brother declared a fake by Israeli authorities three years ago, is at the centre of a Jerusalem court battle over alleged forging of antiquities.

The ossuary, with the inscription "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus," made a big splash when it was unveiled to the world nearly four years ago at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum.

The trial, on hold for more than a month due to scheduling delays that plague the Israeli court system, resumes Tuesday with the testimony of Avner Ayalon of the Geological Survey of Israel whose examinations of the ossuary helped lead to charges be laid.

With barely one-quarter of the prosecution's 124 witnesses called since the trial began last fall, and the defence team expected to call at least as many witnesses, the case is expect to take years to make its way through the court system.

"Trials in Israel are really something special," deadpans defence attorney Lior Bringer in a telephone interview from his office in Tel Aviv.

His client is Oded Golan, an antiquities collector charged with forging part of the inscription on the ossuary and faking two other artifacts.

Experts called as witnesses have contradicted each others' testimony — with one going so far as to say she will leave the profession if the limestone ossuary is a fake and another saying the entire controversy may be the result of an over-zealous cleaning.

One German expert even alleges that the Israeli Antiquities Authority "recently contaminated" the most contentious part of the ossuary, its inscription, in such a way that earlier tests cannot be reproduced.

Through it all, the on-again off-again trial of Golan and two of his colleagues has exposed the seamy underbelly of trade in ancient artifacts — a world of deception, forgery and secret deals that Golan says is becoming even more secretive thanks to efforts to crack down on dealers.

That puts the archaeological heritage of the country at risk, he says, as artifacts are taken out of the country with little or no documentation of their origins rather than risk trouble with authorities.

"The less important (antiquities) are sold to tourists and the most important are taken out of Israel," Golan says in a telephone interview from his home in Tel Aviv, where he is under house arrest.

The exact origins of the ossuary are not known. Golan, one of the largest collectors in Israel, says he purchased it from an Arab antiquities dealer in the mid-1970s for a bout $200.

He was still in university at the time, studying industrial engineering. The ossuary spent the next 15 years in his parent's apartment, including a stint on the balcony. At one point, it may have even been used as a planter, though no one can remember for sure.

Golan then took it to his apartment for several years, before putting it in storage along with about 3,000 other items in his collection. Only the most beautiful of his antiquities are kept in his apartment, he says, and the plain box now known as the James Ossuary did not qualify.

It was not until a French scholar, André Lemaire, stumbled across it in Golan's storage shed in 2002 that Golan began to realize how significant it might be. Within months it was on display at the ROM, and within a year the subject of a police investigation.

Its route from tomb to trial is mapped by rumour, hearsay and speculation. Golan says the dealer he bought it from told him it came from Silwan, a village south of the Old City of Jerusalem. Others suggest it came from a tomb uncovered in the 1980s, or from one raided by thieves in June 2000.

The uncertainties of its origin, however, have only added to the intrigue and scientific debate over its authenticity.

At the centre of the debate is a report by the Israeli Antiquities Authority, a government body that stores and authenticates ancient objects for scholarly research, that declared in June 2003 that the ossuary was authentic, but that part of the inscription was forged.

Both the ossuary and the inscription, "James, son of Joseph," date to the time of Jesus, the authority declared. But the second part of the inscription, "brother of Jesus," was a modern forgery. A crude attempt to apply artificial patina under high temperatures was made to hide the forgery, the authority said.

"The patina was not created under natural conditions," report contributor Yuval Goren says in a telephone interview from Israel, where he is an archaeology professor at Tel Aviv University.

The report relies on what is known as an isotopic test, meant to compare the composition of patina on the ossuary to others of a similar age.

If the patina of two ossuaries are the same, they are about the same age. If the patina inside an inscription matches the patina outside, the inscription was made when the ossuary was new. Patina is a darkening that come with age.

The results, Goran says, show that the ossuary itself dates from the time of Jesus, but that parts of the inscription do not.

"The patina on the rest of the ossuary was created in normal cave conditions," he says, adding that the patina inside the inscriptions did not match that on the face of the ossuary.

That means the inscription was made later, with a fake patina added, possibly by dissolving in water patina taken from the rest of the ossuary and then spreading the resulting paste into the inscription and baking it on.

"I don't know about the motive and I don't know who did it," he says. "The bottom line is that the patina in the inscription is not natural."

His conclusions have come under severe attack, however, with the criticisms mounting since the Golan trial began last fall.

In one court exchange with Bringer, noted Israeli palaeographer Ada Yardeni said she would resign as an expert on ancient inscriptions if the ossuary is fake.

"Yes. I said that I would leave the profession," Yardeni said on cross-examination, confirming a story in Biblical Archaeology Review, the first publication to report news of the ossuary four years ago,

Making the criticisms all the more visceral is the questioning in archaeological circles about the use of isotopic tests themselves.

In a report that the review's editor Hershel Shanks called a "bombshell" in the Jerusalem Post last month, Wolfgang Krumbien articulated the growing concerns of many experts about the antiquities authority tests.

An internationally recognized expert on patina from the University of Oldenburg in Germany, Krumbien declared that the tests done by the authority were "irrelevant" and should never have been conducted.

Isotopic tests, he wrote in a report prepared for Golan's defence team, can only be used when on objects stored in ideal cave conditions and at steady temperatures.

But there is plenty of evidence that the James ossuary was not kept in such conditions. In fact, Krumbien found, it is likely that wherever the ossuary spent much of the past 2,000 years, there was either a flood or a cave-in of the wall of the tomb, which damaged the ossuary.

"The cave in which the James ossuary was placed, either collapsed centuries earlier, or alluvial deposits penetrated the chamber together with water and buried the ossuary, either completely or partially," he wrote.

As well, he wrote, he was able to find microscopic bits of patina within the inscription that matched the patina on the outside of the box, indicating that the lettering dated to the origins of the ossuary itself.

He attributed Goren's failure to find the patina to aggressive cleanings that removed almost all the patina from the lettering.

Goren declined to comment on the Krumbien report, saying he will do so when called to testify before the trial. He was not sure when that might be.

Ed Keall, a retired curator at the ROM responsible for the ossuary when it was in Toronto, says he saw the patina in the inscription by using powerful microscopes. He also saw evidence that the ossuary — pockmarked along its bottom edge — had been buried or immersed in water for extended periods.

"It's all eaten away, like a piece of cheese," says Keall, who remains optimistic that both the ossuary and the inscription date to Jesus' time.

"I have yet to be given any unequivocal evidence that it's false," he says.

He is quick to add, however, that the question of the ossuary's authenticity may never be settled, particularly since aggressive cleanings by antiquities dealers looking to boost the value by enhancing the inscription and by the antiquities authority have made it more difficult to find patina in the inscription.

Once the trial is over, however, Keall would like to see an open forum organized to discuss the ossuary and to debate the various opinions about its authenticity.

Shanks of the Biblical Archaeology Review is already working on pulling together such a forum, though he sees no need to wait until after the trial.

The problem, he says, is that Goren has said he won't discuss the matter until after he has testified, and Shanks says the forum can't be held without him — meaning the debate will just have to wait.

"It would be like staging Hamlet without Hamlet," Shanks says from his Washington office. "It can't be done."
An FSU press release thing:

Digging on a remote hilltop in Italy, a Florida State University classics professor and her students have unearthed artifacts that dramatically reshape our knowledge of the religious practices of an ancient people, the Etruscans.

"We are excavating a monumental Etruscan building evidently dating to the final years of Etruscan civilization," said Nancy Thomson de Grummond, the M. Lynette Thompson Professor of Classics at FSU and director of the university's archaeology programs in Italy. Within the building, de Grummond's team located in early June what appears to be a sacrificial pit and a sanctuary—finds remarkable for the wealth of items they are yielding that appear to have been used in religious rituals.

Nearly every summer since 1983, de Grummond has taken groups of FSU students into Italy's Tuscany region to participate in archaeological digs at Cetamura del Chianti, a site once inhabited by the Etruscans and ancient Romans. In the final days of this year's program, de Grummond and her students unearthed what she calls "the most thrilling" find she has seen in 23 years at Cetamura.

She explained that the Etruscans, who once ruled most of the Italian peninsula, were conquered and absorbed by the Romans in the second and first centuries B.C.E. ("Before the Common Era"). Prior to that time, however, they were a highly advanced civilization that constructed roads, buildings and sewer systems and developed the first true cities in Europe. They also built large, complex religious sanctuaries—which may have been the purpose served, in part, by the Cetamura structure.

"The building has a highly irregular plan, with stone foundations 3 or 4 feet thick," she said. "One wing of the building is about 60 feet long, flanking a space that has walls running at right angles. Some walls run on a diagonal to the grid, or are curved. There are paved areas alternating with beaten earth floors and what I believe to be a large courtyard in the middle. Some of the foundations are so heavy and thick that they could easily have supported multistoried elements.

Within the building's courtyard, de Grummond said, is a freestanding sandstone platform that likely served as an altar. A few feet away, she and her students unearthed "the most fascinating find of all - a pit filled with burnt offerings for the gods.

"In all, the pit contained approximately 10 vessels, some miniature and thus clearly intended only as gifts for the gods," de Grummond said. "On the other hand, several of the vessels were quite large, including one storage vessel, probably for grain, and a huge pitcher, probably for wine. There also were little cups for drinking and a bowl for eating, as well as a small beaker of the type that holds oil or spices. All of these vessels were ceramic, some ritually broken and but with most or all of the fragments buried together in the pit. Further, most of the pots seem to be locally made rather than imported. They were offering to the gods their own special creations.

"We should be able to restore these vases and have quite a splendid array of Etruscan pottery dating from a single moment and a particular place in their history," de Grummond said.

Also of great interest to de Grummond was the discovery of some 10 iron nails deposited in the pit, all in an excellent state of preservation.

"These reflect what we know from ancient texts in Latin that note that the Etruscans treated nails as sacred, and regarded them as symbolizing inexorable fate," she said. "They had a ritual practice in regard to their deity Nurtia in which they would hammer a nail into the wall of the temple each year as a tribute to the goddess. We cannot yet be sure about the cultic significance of the nails of Cetamura, but they may well relate to the passage of time and thus to the sacred calendar of the Etruscans."

One of de Grummond's students also unearthed an Etruscan inscription on a shard of pottery that contained the name of a little-known Etruscan god, Lurs.

"Almost nothing is known about Lurs, but we may have at Cetamura some very rare evidence about his worship," she said.

De Grummond is a leading scholar on the religious practices of the Etruscans, a people whose culture profoundly influenced the ancient Romans and Greeks. "The Religion of the Etruscans," a book written and edited by de Grummond and Erika Simon, another expert in classical archaeology who served as the Langford Family Eminent Scholar in Classics at FSU in 1999, was published last spring. De Grummond soon will release another book, "Etruscan Myth, Sacred History and Legend."

De Grummond said she hopes to continue excavating the Cetamura sacred area, and building on nearly a quarter-century of knowledge that she has gathered there.

"It is a bit eerie to have excavated something so central to my own lifelong interest in the myth, religion and rituals of the Etruscans," she said. "Without a doubt, this is one of the most exciting of the discoveries I have experienced."

For previous news on Cetamura, see
A Duke University press release:

John F. Oates, 71, died at the Forest at Duke in Durham on Saturday, June 24, 2006.

Oates was professor emeritus of ancient history and classics at Duke and was recognized as one of America's outstanding papyrologists and a leading expert on Egypt in the Ptolemaic period.

He was born in 1934 and educated at Yale University and also was awarded a Fulbright fellowship for Study at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens in 1956-57.

After teaching at Yale, Oates moved in 1967 to Duke, where he played an important role in the building of the Department of Classical Studies. Oates served the department as chair from 1971 to 1980, and simultaneously served the university as chair of its Humanities Council (1975-79). He served four years as president of the American Society of Papyrologists and was a trustee of the National Humanities Center.

In collaboration with R. S. Bagnall, K. Worp, and the late W. H. Willis, the Checklist of Papyri, Ostraca, and Tablets, now a standard for reference to published papyri. A Checklist of Arabic Papyri has more recently supplemented the earlier volume.

Oates also co-founded with Willis the Duke Data Rank of Documentary Papyri, a searchable, electronic corpus of previously published Greek and Latin texts. He also, in collaboration with Duke University Library, oversaw the creation of The Duke Papyrus Archive as a pioneering resource that presented in digitized form almost 1,400 pieces.

Oates is survived by his wife of 49 years, Rosemary Walsh Oates; his daughter, Dr. Elizabeth Oates of Durham; and son-in-law, Dr. John Shin; granddaughters, Catherine and Alexandra Shin; his daughter, Emily Oates Wingfield of Richmond, Va.; and son-in-law, Alan Wingfield; grandchildren, Julia and Henry Wingfield; his son, John F. Oates, Jr. of Raleigh; and daughter-in-law, Mary Ruffin Hanbury; his daughter, Sarah Oates of Glasgow; and son-in-law, David Cross; grandchildren, Laura and Emma Cross.
From CollegeNews:

Jinyu Liu, assistant professor of classical studies at DePauw University, has been awarded a 2006 David Stevenson Fellowship from the Nonprofit Academic Centers Council (NACC). The Stevenson Fellowships -- which total two this year -- are designed to advance the work of faculty members of color who teach and conduct research in philanthropic and nonprofit sector studies. Dr. Liu's award will support her research work on philanthropy in classical cultures, entitled "Pagan Philanthropy versus Christian Charity: 'Secular' versus 'religious' philanthropy from a historical perspective."

"The 2006 Fellows come from diverse fields -- law, public policy, humanities, classical studies -- an indication that new scholars of color are coming into the field of nonprofit and philanthropic studies from a variety of disciplines," says David Renz, chair of the NACC Fellowship Committee, as he announced the two Stevenson Fellows, along with two others selected for William Diaz Faculty Fellowships. "Bill Diaz and David Stevenson would be excited by their work, which we are pleased to honor by these awards," he added.

Of her research, Dr. Liu states, "The project will investigate the decline of pagan philanthropy in the Later Roman Empire and the connections, if any, between pagan philanthropy and East College Spring Walk 2004.JPGChristian charity. Only sparsely studied in the past scholarship, these topics represent a missing chapter in the history of philanthropy. This proposed project is intended to fill the gap through an investigation of philanthropic activities during the transitional period from the Roman Empire to the early Medieval Period, during which Christianity triumphed over 'paganism,' and Christian aristocrats triumphed over pagan aristocrats. The significance of this study lies in its outstanding potential to contribute to a deeper understanding of secular philanthropy versus religious philanthropy, and of the roots of Western philanthropy. Ultimately, this research will inform the ongoing discourse on the ways in which philanthropy as a social phenomenon was conditioned by the historical, social, and cultural context.'

She continues, "In this connection, I believe that such a historical inquiry bears significant ramifications on the study and operation of the nonprofit sector and philanthropy in contemporary society. This is not going to be a lone project but will involve workshops, conference presentations, course development, and student research projects. This project, therefore, will have long-term impact on not only my research priorities but also the curricular development at DePauw. Since there is a solid and lively tradition of charitable activities among the DePauw students, it is my hope that a course like Philanthropy in History could help the students bring intellectual discourse into their activities, and ultimately carry the meaning of their activities to a higher level."

The Faculty Fellowship Program was established in 2004 by the NACC with the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to honor the contributions of David Stevenson and William Diaz, two snacc logo.gifcholars in the fields of philanthropy and nonprofit management who died in 2002, and to encourage the development of new research in the field of nonprofit and philanthropic studies.
Kathimerini offers this update on what's going on with the Acropolis restoration:

Restoration work on the Acropolis monuments has hit “another small delay” but this should not hinder the overall course of the project, Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said yesterday after touring the ancient site.

The ministry will release further funding, if necessary, to tackle the latest glitches, which have arisen in the Temple of Athena Nike and the Parthenon’s vestibule, Voulgarakis said. Since 1999, more than 28 million euros has been spent on restoring the Acropolis, the minister said, noting that 86 percent of these funds came from the European Union. Voulgarakis said cutting-edge technology would be used to analyze the condition of the Acropolis’s peripheral walls, which will also be restored.

Voulgarakis also expressed his satisfaction with the progress in construction of the New Acropolis Museum, which he said was ready for the return of the Parthenon Marbles (currently in the British Museum) and other fragments in other foreign museums. “Greece now has the infrastructure to accommodate all the missing parts of the Parthenon,” he said.

The minister also heralded planned features for the new museum, including a virtual-reality theater which will project three-dimensional movies about the history of the Acropolis monuments.

As for the old Acropolis museum, its possible demolition is being debated. “The building is no architectural monument,” the president of the Committee for the Conservation of Acropolis Monuments (YSMA), Haralambos Bouras, said.