ludi Victoriae Sullanae (day 6) -- games held in honour of Victoria commemorating Sulla's defeat of the Samnites in 82 B.C.
286 -- martyrdom of Quentin
(M. Tullius Cicero, Pro Plancio 33.80)
A grateful spirit is a singular virtue--not only because it is the greatest, but also because it is the mother of all the remaining virtues.
pron = GRAH-toos AH-nih-moos ehst OO-nah WEER-toos nohn SOH-loom MAHK-sih-mah sehd EHT-yam MAH-tehr weer-TOO-toom OHM-nee-oom reh-lih-KWAH-room.
Comment: What is a virtue and what is not a virtue is fodder for religious and philosophical argument. When there are absolute doctrines at play, devotees can bash each other with their views. This or that virtue is superior to another based on one's absoltue doctrine. The absolute doctrine props up the religion or philosophical system. The religion or philosophical system props up something much more fragile--the individual's ego.
My ego ALWAYS prevents me from being grateful. Egotistical concerns have me so busy trying to take care of what I think I will die without that I cannot pause and realize how much I already have.
But when I do take that moment--ego aside--and wonder at how much I enjoy in this moment, all other concerns seem to pale.
It's a moment worth taking at this time of year.
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
De sarcinis manualibus statutum
27.10.2006, klo 11.33
Commissio Europaea de sarcinis manualibus, quas viatoribus aeroplanorum secum habere licet, statutum dedit.
Novae limitationes ad id spectant, ut pericula ex liquidis materiis displosivis imminentia praecaveantur.
Illud statutum, quod inde a mense Novembri valebit, latices per portas inspectionis transportare vetat.
Maxima quantitas eiusdem materiae liquidae, quae viatori permittitur, est unum decilitrum. Statutum pertinet ad omnes avolationes, quae ex aeriportibus Unionis Europaeae fiunt, quodvis sit destinatum itineris.
Commissio censet ita fieri posse, ut securitas viatorum in omnibus Unionis Europaeae partibus par sit.
Students are invited to share in a celebration of classical studies at the Indiana State's second annual Fall Latin Fest today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Dede II at the HMSU.
Latin Fest is a free event where students will have the opportunity to "learn more about ancient Greece and Rome," said Marilyn Bisch, an instructor of Latin in the department of languages, literatures and linguistics.
The event is sponsored by the ISU chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, the department of languages, literatures and linguistics and the Student Government Association.
Bisch said the first Latin Fest was in April 2005 to mark the traditional date of the founding of Rome in April 753 B.C.
"This first Fest was such a success," Bisch said, "that we added a Fall Latin Fest in October 2005."
"There will be a variety of presentations throughout the day by ISU students of classical Greek and Roman language and culture," Bisch said.
Also, Bisch said there will be a series of 10-minute illustrated talks called "Roman Wonders" given by ISU alumnus Don Shorter of Fort Wayne.
"Guests are invited to come throughout the day to view presentations, play fun classical games designed by students, and enjoy free refreshments," Bisch said. "We'll also be holding a used book sale, offering a chance to have your picture taken with Zeus, and taking orders for Latin T-shirts."
According to Bisch, all funds raised through these sales will support Eta Sigma Phi's educational outreach activities.
Junior English liberal arts major Hannah Burris, president of Eta Sigma Phi, said "I think students should come to Latin Fest because it should be a really fun event. They won't be forced to participate in anything they don't want to do, and they can get free snacks and browse through books while they're there."
Marine Cotte and co-authors studied samples of those unique red pigments from wall paintings in a house near Pompeii that was buried under ash during the infamous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A. D. The paint, which used pigment made from red mercuric sulfide (called Cinnabar, HgS), was preserved under ash until excavations began in 1988. Since the 1990s, however, the brilliant red paintings have darkened and deteriorated.
In a report scheduled for the Nov. 1 issue of the ACS semi-monthly journal Analytical Chemistry, the authors describe how they used micro x-ray fluorescence and x-ray absorption spectroscopy at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility to determine how the darkening could happen. The findings will help curators and restorers to develop better methods for preserving the brilliant artwork from ancient Rome, the report states.
Red Pompeian paintings, very famous for their deep intensity, are currently suffering from darkening. The origins of this darkening degradation are not clearly identified yet and remain a major issue for curators. In the specific case of cinnabar (HgS)-based red pigment, a photoinduced conversion into black metacinnabar is usually suspected. This work is focused on the blackening of red cinnabar paintings coated on a sparry calcite mortar. Different samples exhibiting different levels of degradation were selected upon visual observations and analyzed by synchrotron-based microanalytical techniques. Atomic and molecular compositions of the different debased regions revealed two possible degradation mechanisms. On one hand, micro X-ray fluorescence elemental maps show peculiar distributions of chlorine and sulfur. On the other hand, X-ray absorption spectroscopy performed at both Cl and S K-edges confirms the presence of characteristic degradation products: (i) Hg-Cl compounds (e.g., corderoite, calomel, and terlinguaite), which may result from the reaction with exogenous NaCl, in gray areas; (ii) gypsum, produced by the calcite sulfation, in black coatings. Metacinnabar is never detected. Finally, a cross section was analyzed to map the in-depth alteration gradient. Reduced and oxidized sulfur distributions reveal that the sulfated black coating consists of a ~5-m-thick layer covering intact cinnabar.
Russell Crowe has revealed he would love to make 'Gladiator 2'.
The 42-year-old actor, who played Roman warrior Maximus in Oscar-winning film 'Gladiator', says he and director Ridley Scott are always thinking up sequel ideas - despite Crowe's character dying at the end of the first movie.
Crowe told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper: "The idea of doing a 'Gladiator 2' comes up all the time but we've made it very difficult for ourselves by killing off my character in the first one.
"We have an idea but it never seems to have sufficient credibility. It just comes back at us and says, 'Are you kidding?' Maybe we are kidding. Maybe we just enjoy talking about it."
There have been many rumours about possible plots for 'Gladiator 2' including a prequel plotline, or a sequel with a descendent of Maximus as the lead character or even Crowe's character coming back as a ghost.
Anyone wanting to know more about Elvis Presley singing "Nunc hic aut nunquam" only has to put the words into Google's little-known Latin search engine to not only get a translation but also to find a little more about the way Latin is re-surfacing in some curious places.
We should be unsurprised that the Vatican is easing restrictions on the Tridentine or Latin Mass by enabling it to be celebrated without special permission or that the Vatican newspaper should suggest (as it has) that Latin should be the official language of the EU. They would, wouldn't they? But these are only symptoms of a deeper trend. Finland, which holds the current presidency of the EU, broadcasts the news in Latin on national radio to a claimed 75,000 listeners, which on a per capita basis is reported to be more than some BBC Radio 4 programmes get. "In Latin we have more listeners in the world than for Finnish broadcasts," Professor Tuomo Pekkanen, who does the translations, told the BBC. The Finnish presidency also publishes a regular news in brief column in Latin. One of the reasons is to remind people of "European society's roots stretching back to ancient times".
It ought also to remind us that Latin was once the nearest to a common language Europe is ever likely to get. It is fascinating that the internet should in this way be assisting in a modest revival of Latin even if only for hearing an audio of Aesop's fables or taking Latin-speaking holidays. You can't keep a good dead language down.
Est pabulum animorum contemplatio naturae.
(M. Tullius Cicero, Academicae quaestiones 127)
The contemplation of nature is food for the human being.
pron = ehst PAH-boo-loom ah-nih-MOH-room kohn-tehm-PLAH-tee-oh nah-TOO-rai.
Comment: In Georgia right now (at least Atlanta and northwards) the
veracity of the proverb is not in question. Even a quick, cursory
drive almost overwhelms anyone who can take in the colors of autumn
leaves. They are colors for which "orange, yellow, red, etc" do not
But, any aspect of nature is worth our contemplation. The darker side
as well as the brighter side. Today at sunset begins an ancient
Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced Sow-wen) in which the
veil between worlds thins, and people are invited to reflect on their
lives, the beginning and the ending, on ancestors, on the land, on the
falsehood of polarizations that our culture seems to thrive on; that there is, finally no us and them. Only "us. It is inner work, this
May we all find a little space for ourselves in these days when the
veil thins, to feed our lives.
27.10.2006, klo 11.33
Finni, ut rettulerunt magistratus ab informatione nationum septentrionalium, telephonulis portatilibus magis loquuntur quam ceteri septentrionales.
Finnia est etiam unica terra septentrionalis, in qua singulae familiae telephonula portatilia in locum fixorum notabiliter substituerunt.
Dani autem et Norvegi nuntios textuales saepius telephonulis mittunt quam Finni.
Thirty priests and at least five bishops from dioceses throughout France have expressed their public dissent against the reported soon-to-be released motu proprio that will ease restrictions for all Latin rite priests to offer the Traditional Latin rite of Mass, as well as their displeasure with the recent erection of the Institute of Good Shepherd, made up of five former priests of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and several seminarians. Reportedly, another ten priests, many from South America, have expressed serious interest in joining this newly founded traditionalist institute in Bordeaux, France.
Thirty French priests wrote an open letter recommending that the Pope and priests attached to the Church’s 1,600-year liturgical traditions “work in the world as it is…rather than plunge us back into the liturgical life of another age.” Also, the Catholic newspaper, La Croix, quoted Toulouse Bishop Robert Le Gall as saying, “This could create grave difficulties, especially for those who have remained loyal to Vatican II.”
Perhaps this was a last-ditch effort to attempt to derail a document that is reportedly in its final stages before promulgation. Indeed, Institute of Good Shepherd Superior General Philippe Laguérie expressed his sincere hope that the motu proprio would be promulgated prior to the next meeting of the French Episcopal Conference, scheduled on November 7.
“Forsan et haec olim meminisse juvabit,” Aeneas tells his exhausted, shipwrecked followers in “The Aeneid,” Book 1. “Maybe someday you will rejoice to recall even this.”
Legions of high school Latin teachers used to joke that the line also applied to their miserable students, just then embarking on Virgil’s epic, with 12,000 lines of dense, highly inflected Latin verse ahead of them: battles, catalogs, run-on similes, thickets of arcane vocabulary, and arduous slogs between the good parts, like Dido and Aeneas having sex in the cave (Dido “ablaze with love, drawing the frenzy deep into her bones”) and that excellent passage in Book 9 when Turnus splits Pandarus in two, right down the middle, leaving his head to roll loose on the ground.
Veterans of those arduous classroom campaigns, as well as succeeding generations of students for whom Virgil was never on the reading list, can now turn gratefully to Robert Fagles’s new English translation of “The Aeneid” (Viking), in which that ancient war horse emerges as a work of surpassing beauty, feeling and even relevance, everything that teachers used to say it was.
“I usually try not to ride the horse of relevance very hard,” Mr. Fagles said recently at his home near Princeton University, from which he recently retired, after teaching comparative literature for more than 40 years. “My feeling is that if something is timeless, then it will also be timely.” But he went on to say that “The Aeneid” did speak to the contemporary situation. It’s a poem about empire, he explained, and was commissioned by the emperor Augustus to celebrate the spread of Roman civilization.
“To begin with, it’s a cautionary tale,” Mr. Fagles said. “About the terrible ills that attend empire — its war-making capacity, the loss of blood and treasure both. But it’s all done in the name of the rule of law, which you’d have a hard time ascribing to what we’re doing in the Middle East today.
“It’s also a tale of exhortation. It says that if you depart from the civilized, then you become a murderer. The price of empire is very steep, but Virgil shows how it is to be earned, if it’s to be earned at all. The poem can be read as an exhortation for us to behave ourselves, which is a horse of relevance that ought to be ridden.”
The publication of this “Aeneid” is the end of an epic journey of sorts for Mr. Fagles, now 73, who before turning to Virgil translated first “The Iliad” and then “The Odyssey.” He is one of very few translators to make it through all three of the great classical epics, and to his surprise, he has become famous in the process. Both his “Iliad,” which came out in 1990, and his “Odyssey,” appearing in 1996, were unexpected best sellers, and his publisher has similar expectations for “The Aeneid,” in bookstores on Thursday.
Some of the success of the Homer translations is doubtless attributable to the glamorous, high-powered audio versions, released almost simultaneously with the print ones. Derek Jacobi recorded Mr. Fagles’s “Iliad,” with great rhetorical force, and Ian McKellen his “Odyssey,” with particular feeling for the more intimate moments.
This is the way Homer meant us to appreciate his poems, Mr. Fagles pointed out: by hearing them. Noting that another great British actor, Simon Callow, had been recruited for the new “Aeneid,” he said that, though written down, that poem too is a kind of performance.
But another reason for the success of the Fagles translations is that there turned out to be a far greater audience for them than either the author or the publisher had anticipated. “I was very surprised,” Mr. Fagles said, “because I’m an academic, and a lot of hand wringing goes on in the academy about the illiteracy of the public. The great joy of this work was to discover that there is in fact a great number of very intelligent, hardworking readers out there.”
Mr. Fagles himself never slogged through “The Aeneid” as a high school student. He didn’t begin to learn Latin and Greek until he was a junior in college, and he taught himself. Even then, he recalled, he had “Homer on the brain.”
An only child who was 14 when his father died, he was particularly struck when he read a version of Andromache’s lament in “The Iliad,” when she mourns not just for her dead husband, Hector, but for their now fatherless infant son.
“Every now and then you pick up a book, whether it’s Homer or Dante or whatever,” he said, “and you read something and think, ‘My God, that’s such a perfect image of me.’ When I read that passage, it wasn’t just that I could identify with the situation, but that the text took that situation and made it universal.”
NIU is home to about 36 different fraternities and sororities. The large Greek letters adorning the houses on Greek Row make it different from a lot of other places around campus.
The letters let people know exactly where they are, but what do all these Greek letters mean?
Fraternities and sororities began as secret societies that allowed students to freely discuss subjects that were frowned upon in the college classrooms.
Greek letters in fraternities and sororities were first used in 1776 as a response to other secret societies' preferred activities of drinking at the local taverns, according to Classics Studies Professor Lucinda Alwa.
John Heath, a student from William and Mary college, and four other students decided their school needed a secret society that focused on knowledge and where they could discuss the events going on at that time. Its motto was "Philosophia Biou Kubernetes," which means "philosophy guide for life."
The initials of the Greek words, "Phi Beta Kappa," were engraved on their secret society's medals. To maintain secrecy, the group referred to itself as this and Phi Beta Kappa eventually became its common name.
Massive 100-meter long walls, at places two meters thick, have made archaeologists to believe that they are about to come to a sensational finding – the venue of the ancient town of Antigonea, third century BC. They say that ethics still does not allow them to definitely state the discovery until they find a written proof that Antigonea was located in the place of Gradiste near Negotino, along the Vardar River. Still, according to the findings so far – the walls, ceramics, glass items, jewelry and coins, they probably found themselves in front of the town walls last summer.
Archaeologists of the Museum in Negotino and the Museum of Macedonia worked on the site above a hill at 300 meters above the sea level between early august and late September. The purpose of the excavations were the walls on the west and south sides of the hill, which are visible from the road leading to Negotino.
“We found 100 meters of the wall. The older part of stone and mud were erected in the Hellenic period, and the upper layers were up-built under the Romans when they attached the stones with mortar, archaeologists Kiro Angelovski, custodian counselor at the Museum in Negotino and head of the excavations says.
Older layers have yet to be discovered. Archaeologists have not braved to lower the level of earth fearing ruining of the massive walls. So far, the walls are the most sizable indicator that Antigonea was located at Gradiste in Negotinio. The archaeologists support this thesis with many findings at the “economic” facility near the hill where the suburban part of the ancient town was located.
Dominus vobiscum and the Latin Mass are making a comeback.
The traditional Mass in the ancient language that once mesmerized Catholics and mystified non-Catholics may be easier to find on a Sunday morning under a ruling expected soon from Pope Benedict XVI.
The pope's "indult" would allow the Tridentine Mass, as the Latin Mass is called, to be celebrated without special permission.
Now, a bishop must approve use of the Latin Mass in public, although priests always could do it privately.
Only the shrinking population of Catholics over age 50 can recall the hallmarks of the Tridentine Mass, celebrated almost entirely in Latin by the priest and worshipers, including seven Dominus vobiscums (The Lord be with you) and seven answering Et cum spiritu tuos (And with your spirit).
The priest faces the altar, his back to the congregation, which spends most of the service on its knees. Worshipers also kneel to take communion on their tongues from the priest or a deacon. No lay Eucharistic ministers or lay readers are allowed. The Mass includes long periods of silence as the priest prays almost silently in Latin.
But it's the Gregorian chant and the singing of the Kyrie, the Credo and the Agnus Dei that attracted Catholics to St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Jensen Beach last Sunday for the only Latin Mass in the Diocese of Palm Beach, which includes Martin, St. Lucie, Indian River, Okeechobee and Palm Beach counties.
"You get the sense of being holy and spiritual," said Jon Bell, director of the seven-voice choir, who drives from Fort Pierce for the Mass. "The language lends that feeling."
About 60 worshipers attended the 3 p.m. Mass, but later in the season the Mass draws 150, said the Rev. Thomas Rynne, pastor emeritus of St. Martin. He began saying the Tridentine Mass in 1993, a year after some parishioners approached him and wrote then-Bishop Keith Symons for permission.
"They like the solemnity and the depth of some of these prayers in Latin that is irreplaceable," Rynne said.
"It's a link among Catholics all over the world," said Lisa Buscher, 44, who attends with her husband and two school-age daughters. "You have the same Latin Mass everywhere in the world. It's the language of the church."
Most of those in the St. Martin pews were older, and many of the women wore head coverings, a requirement before the Second Vatican Council in 1962. The council led to revamping the Mass and revising its liturgy, requiring it to be said in the vernacular, the language of the people where it was being celebrated.
"I like knowing that Catholics have used these same words for hundreds of years," said Brian Garland, 26, of Jupiter. He and his fiancée, Ramona Copceac, 25, of Delray Beach like what they said was the more intensely spiritual feeling the Latin brings.
The Latin Mass has been approved by more than two-thirds of American bishops, and at least 220 Latin Masses are celebrated each Sunday nationwide, according to the Coalition in Support of Ecclesia Dei, a Catholic group that prefers the traditional Mass.
But there has been no groundswell of requests for the Latin Mass, say Rynne and other clergy in the diocese.
"I haven't heard of anyone asking for it," said the Rev. Michael Driscoll, pastor of St. Jude Catholic Church in Boca Raton and director of liturgy for the diocese. "I think to some people it's nostalgic. But some want to go back to the past. They're beating their heads against the wall" since the church is unlikely to abandon the vernacular Mass.
The current Pauline Mass, established in 1969 and named for Pope Paul VI, was designed to be better understood by worshipers and to encourage participation.
The Latin Mass, with its silence and ancient tongue, led people to say the rosary or other prayers during the service, instead of the prescribed prayers.
"They prayed in spite of the Mass, not with the Mass," Driscoll said.
The new Mass and other Vatican reforms also led some to break away from the church, including the late ultraconservative French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who was excommunicated in 1988 after consecrating four bishops without Vatican consent.
His Society of St. Pius X continues to use the Tridentine Mass.
Papal observers say the loosening of restrictions on saying the Latin Mass is an attempt by Benedict to show goodwill toward the traditionalists.
A traveling St. Pius society priest says a Latin Mass at 11:30 a.m. Sundays at Queen of the Most Holy Rosary Chapel in Lake Worth for a small congregation.
While some are nostalgic for the Mass of their youth, "others are caught up in the mysteriousness of the Latin Mass, the language they don't quite understand," said the Rev. Thomas Skindeleski, pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach and the diocese's director of spiritual life. "They aren't distracted by guitars or drums or the handshake of peace."
The church is encouraging more use of Latin hymns and Gregorian chant in the Pauline Mass, he said, to maintain a connection with the church's universal tongue.
"People come to me and say they want the Latin Mass, and I ask them if they understand it. They say yes, and I say, 'Since you understand it so well, I'll give the sermon in Latin,''" Skindeleski said with a laugh.
Even after the pope eases restrictions on the Latin Mass, it's unlikely Catholic churches will need to install the old-style communion rails or to require 10-year-old altar boys to begin memorizing Latin responses.
Besides that: "An awful lot of priests have never said the Latin Mass," Rynne said. "It would be new territory for them."
Culture and Tourism Minister Atilla Koç said on Friday that efforts to save the threatened ancient city of Allianoi were continuing, noting that excavations started in 1994 would be kept up next year.
In response to a parliamentary question filed by Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) deputy Zübeyir Amber, Koç said that efforts to save the ancient site in I.zmir's Bergama district had begun at the same time as completion of the planning stages of Yortanl? Dam.
He said the relevant ministries had approved plans to save what they could of the city, with the dam's owner, the State Waterworks Authority (DSI.), allocating YTL 1.18 million to help the process.
Allianoi's rescue excavations will stop when the site is flooded by the waters of Yortanl? Dam. According to customary practice, the DSI. would by now have released water and flooded the ancient city. However, the I.zmir Board of Monuments overruled the decision and designated the area a cultural and historical heritage site of the first degree -- informing the Energy and Natural Resources Ministry of their decision -- and asked the DSI. to postpone the flooding and find a way to protect the cultural heritage of Allianoi before operating the dam.
Koç said: "Most of the nongovernmental organizations that are interested in the matter want the dam construction to be canceled. Such requests are forwarded to the Energy Ministry and DSI. headquarters."
The Culture and Tourism Ministry had decided to postpone flooding the dam until ways to protect the city were decided on, Koç said, noting that his ministry had set up a board of experts and the report they had drafted was sent to the I.zmir Protection of Culture and Nature Council.
NGOs up in arms:
Both volunteers and environmentalists have taken action against the likelihood of the 1,800-year-old ancient city of Allianoi being flooded by Yortanl" Dam, the construction of which is proceeding. Environmentalists warn that the city will be flooded next November if no measures are taken.
Villagers from the surrounding areas and people earning their living from agriculture dependent on the city are in a dilemma. On the one hand, residents are happy about the water they will be supplied with thanks to the dam, but on the other, they are upset that the historic town will be flooded.
Everyone in the region has extended their support to the campaign "Don't Let Allianoi Be Flooded," launched by environmentalist members of the Allianoi Initiative Group. Indeed, the group is still seeking both national and international support to save the ancient city.
Lawyer Arif Ali Cang", spokesman for the Allianoi Initiative Group, said the ancient city was declared a first grade archaeological site in 2001 by the Izmir Board to Protect Cultural and Natural Sites.
Stating that the ancient city cannot be ruined in any way, Cang" said this is not true in practice. "We heard the Culture and Tourism Ministry recommended that the DSI. coat the area [with clay] to protect it and that the DSI. agreed to this. [However] such a coating can inflict further damage," he explained.
"Under these circumstances, we'll file a complaint with the public prosecutor's office against the parties responsible for damaging the city.
"A 2,000-year history is being sacrificed for a 50 to 60-year-old project. We don't say that the dam should not be constructed, but the project should be modified in a way that will prevent Allianoi from being ruined.
"We had previously applied to the DSI. for a change in location of the dam. We haven't received a reply. Now we'll wait until May 7. If we don't receive a response before that date, then the process of filing a lawsuit will begin. I hope we'll obtain good results, but if we can't, we'll resort to international courts. The city is the people's inheritance and needs protection. The Turkish Republic must protect the city in accordance with the Constitution. Turkey has signed many agreements on this issue (Allianoi). Also, those responsible will face penalties under the law in the event of changes that are detrimental," said Cang".
Archaeologist Ergün Karaca, from the group overseeing excavations in the ancient city, gave more information on Allianoi's history. "It had been used until flooding in 1997. We've been excavating since 1998 and found a number of sculptures, old coins and ceramic objects. More importantly, we haven't come across any other architectural structure like the one here. It's a contradiction that a very well-protected health spa healing people throughout history is now to be ruined by human beings."
However, DSI. officials made it clear that the dam is to irrigate 18,304 hectares of the Bak"rçay River basin, considered Turkey's most productive agricultural land.
History of the city:
Historically Allianoi was known as the "native land of the health god Asklepion." It was established in the Hellenistic era and reached its most brilliant period in the second century under Roman Emperor Hadrian's rule. It had a reputation for being an excellent healing center for over 15 centuries.
According to historical findings, the ancient writer Aristides went there to in the hope of curing some unknown illness. Allianoi has spring waters in the therapeutic 45 to 55 degrees Centigrade range and it was the best-known center for thermal curative treatments during Hadrian's rule (A.D. 117 to 138). Recent excavations have revealed two ornate gates, streets with amazingly clean marble stones, shops, houses with perfectly protected mosaics, large squares, public fountains and insulas (places for resting after a bath). Surprisingly, the latest findings were some of the most perfectly preserved ever seen at an archaeological site; this was because they had been previously covered by alluvial soil.
Allianoi has yielded many artifacts and discoveries spanning the Roman to Byzantine periods. Since 1994 numerous parts of sculptures, ceramic pieces, metallic findings and glass artifacts have been recovered. Allianoi's treasures were exhibited to the public in 2000.
In September Europa Nostra together with the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) and the European Association of Archaeologists sent a letter to Ali Babacan, the Turkish minister of state for EU relations, and to other members of the Turkish government on this matter but to date has not yet received a reply explaining the position of the Turkish government. At the same time Europa Nostra launched an on-line campaign (www.europanostra.org/save_allianoi.html) seeking wider citizen support for the Allianoi appeal. This campaign continues to gain momentum, with supporting signatures received from 25 countries.
Plans by a Geneva museum to sell two ancient manuscripts for millions of dollars have drawn consternation from scholars around the world.
They fear the sale of the papyri, which date back to the 2nd century, could precipitate the break-up of a unique collection of around 50 texts held by the Bodmer Foundation.
The Bodmer, based in Cologny just outside the city, says it needs to raise money to guarantee the long-term future of its museum, which opened only three years ago.
But around 20 academics from Switzerland and abroad are calling for the sale of two manuscripts – gospels of St John and St Luke – to be halted.
According to Paul Schubert, professor of ancient Greek at Geneva University, the collection to which the texts belong is one of the most extensive and valuable of its kind in the world.
He says it contains New Testament codices, other Christian texts and three comedies by the Greek playwright Menander, which were all found together.
"One of the jewels of the [Bodmer] collection is this set of ancient books from the second to fourth century AD that all belong together," Schubert told swissinfo. "It is the same as if the British Museum decided to sell one panel from the Parthenon frieze."
The professor, who is a specialist in ancient papyri, said colleagues both at home and abroad were also concerned about the "hushed" way in which the sale was being conducted.
He said they only got wind of it after an academic tipped them off earlier this year that Yale University in the United States was being lined up as a possible buyer.
"We don't know to whom they want to sell; we don't really know what they want to do with the money. Is it really to pay for the museum or to buy other things?" said Schubert.
"We are just trying to draw attention to the fact that something has to be done. Selling the prize assets to keep an institution running is not the right way to do it. They are just shooting themselves in the foot," he added.
The Geneva University professor suggested that the museum would be better off selling items of which they had two copies, adding that he hoped the cantonal government might be persuaded to intervene.
The reaction from the academic community has infuriated Jean Bonna, chairman of the foundation's board, who insists the body is acting in the best interests of the museum.
Bonna explained that the foundation urgently needed to raise capital to help cover the organisation's annual running costs of SFr1.8 million ($1.4 million).
He added that the foundation hoped to make around $9 million from the sale of the papyri, which he stressed had already been published in their entirety. The transaction has yet to be completed.
"We always knew that the [foundation's] capital would be insufficient to run this museum, and ever since we opened the museum we have been discussing what to sell," he said.
"It's a responsible choice we have made after much reflection and taking all the interests into consideration," he added.
Bonna pointed out that the manuscripts would be going to a museum, university or major library in Europe or America where they would still be accessible to researchers.
"The by-laws of the foundation are extremely clear: they allow us – if we need the foundation to survive, which is the case – to sell anything from the foundation," he said.
The mere mention of the words mensa, mensa, mensam... will bring on the sweats in some people. The hours spent learning all those lists. And the pointlessness.
That's what Winston Churchill thought when he was learning Latin at Harrow in the late 1880s. The method of teaching the subject was the same then as now: rote-learning of tables - in this case, literally. Churchill was asked by his Latin master to decline mensa, meaning "table". He was confused as to how it was possible that the same form, mensa, could be used in the nominative, vocative and ablative:
"Then why does mensa [in the vocative] also mean 'O table'?" I inquired, "and what does 'O table' mean?" "Mensa, 'O table', is the vocative case," the master replied.
"But why 'O table'?" I persisted in genuine curiosity.
"'O table' - you would use that in addressing a table, in invoking a table."
And then seeing that he was not carrying me with him: "You would use it in speaking to a table. If you are impertinent, you will be punished and punished, let me tell you, very severely."
Winston Spencer Churchill, My Early Life (1930)
Churchill had a point. You'd never address a table, except perhaps to swear at it, when you stub your toe. And, even then, you'd use it in conjunction with a swear-word (Sanguinea mensa - "Bloody table").
Still, once you get used to these annoying little quirks, they soon stop jarring.
Your aim is to recognise the oddities and absorb them into a smooth English translation, not into the clumsy sort of English that sounds like it's been translated word for word from the Latin.
The genius at capturing this stilted idiocy is Molesworth, hero of the Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle books of the 1950s.
Molesworth gets the constipated feel of badly translated Latin spot on: "The Gauls have attacked the camp with shouts they have frightened the citizens they have killed the enemy with darts and arrows, and blamed the Belgians. They have also continued to march into Italy. Would it not be more interesting if they did something new?" The biggest oddity of all is word order.
'I you love' - Latin word order
We put our verbs at the start of our sentences: "I send batches of flowers hourly to Cameron Diaz."
The Romans like to put the verb at the end, as in: "I batches of flowers hourly to Cameron Diaz send."
So the traditional Latin word order is subject, object, verb; but you can play around with it, as lots of Romans, especially poets, did.
For example, Virgil wrote his own epitaph for his tomb in Naples and went wild with his word order: Mantua me genuit; Calabri rapuere; tenet nunc Parthenope; cecini pascua, rura, duces.
"Mantua gave birth to me; The Calabrians took me away; now Naples [Parthenope is the city's anthropomorphic name, from the Greek for 'maiden-face'] holds me; I sang of fields, farms and leaders."
Even though you won't necessarily be able to translate this, you can see that the subject jumps around in each clause.
Mantua and Calabri are in the traditional position, at the beginning of the clause. Parthenope is at the end, while cecini, the verb ("I sang"), is at the beginning of its clause, English-style.
On the whole, stick to the subject, object, verb rules, but be aware that they can change.
Sex in ancient Rome
The three Latin sexes or genders are masculine, feminine and neuter. We have the same ones - he, she and it.
The difference is that most of our nouns are neuter.
We call a cucumber or a soul "it", where the Romans considered cucumbers (cucumis -eris) masculine and souls (anima -ae) feminine.
The Latin approach is not as annoying as it seems. It soon becomes second nature that words that end in -us (such as dominus and Augustus) are masculine; -a words (such as mensa, Diana and Camilla) are feminine; and -um words (bellum, pilum, castrum) are neuter. There is, however, a minority that don't follow this simple pattern.
The other thing that becomes second nature is that adjectives should agree with nouns: ie masculine nouns take masculine adjectives, feminine take feminine and plural nouns take plural adjectives.
This can provide room for showing off in English; eg the plural of persona non grata - an unwelcome person - is personae non gratae.
The neuter adjective is wonderfully pliable. On its own, it can be used to mean an object with the qualities of that adjective. So nigrum means "black", but it also means "a black thing". That "thing" is itself fairly pliable and can be twisted to mean "circumstance".
As a result, in extremis literally means "in extreme things", but it also means "in extreme circumstances" and ended up being popularly used to mean "on the verge of death".
Nomina stultorum semper parietibus haerent.
The names of fools always stick to the walls.
pron = NOH-mih-nah stool-TOH-room SEHM-pehr pah-ree-AY-tih-boos HAI-rehnt.
Comment: This proverb made me laugh out loud. I've walked the streets
of ancient Pompeii, excavated from the volcanic ash, and I've seen the
graffiti that the Romans were famous for. They did, indeed, write
their names, their politicians' names, their lovers' names, their
enemies' names, and their own names all over the walls.
Metaphorically, though, isn't it true, that those who become fools,
out of daily practice of stupidity, or those who become Fools, out of
a complete openness to the flow of life, are known by the walls of a
place? Their names, deeds and reputations are told by the "walls"
that society builds around them.
If the walls could speak, what would they call us?
Fossa occisorum in Lappeenranta
20.10.2006, klo 10.29
In urbe Finniae Lappeenranta fossa communis occisorum reperta est, in qua corpora undecim hominum terra obruta erant.
Ex quo tempore ossa ibi iacuerint, nondum liquido constat. Sepulcretum in campo tentorio nomine Huhtiniemi, ubi investigatores Instituti archaeologici Universitatis Helsinkiensis hoc autumno effossiones faciunt, in lucem venit.
Hic locus ideo examinari coeptus est, ut cognosceretur, essetne aliquid veri in rumore apud populum inveterato, ex quo in Huhtiniemi inter bellum cum Russis gestum magnus numerus militum fugitivorum Finnorum morte multatus est.
Greek Minister of Culture George Voulgarakis recently called for a two-year national restoration program to take advantage of some of the 24.4 billion euros (30 billion dollars) allotted to Greece in EU structural funds for 2007-2013.
"It is imperative to organize the restorations in the country," the minister in charge of restorations, Demosthenes Giraud, told AFP. "The most pressing projects are the theaters, but these undertakings require a lot of time and are very expensive."
"We have to draw up a list of buildings that are the most important to restore," he said. "Each village wants its own ancient theater, but this is impossible."
Several surveys are already underway at famous archeological sites in the towns of Nemea and Epidaurus in mainland Greece, and on the southern Aegean island of Delos.
The four fallen columns at the temple of Zeus in Nemea are set to stand tall once again, and the renowned rotunda in Epidaurus, the "tholos", will undergo renovations.
Delos' antique theater will also receive a facelift with the help of specialists from the prestigious French School of Athens (EFA) -- the 250-year-old academy in charge of archeological research and maintenance on Delos and other sites throughout Greece.
Constructed in the beginning of the 3rd century BC, the theater sits near the sea and at one point could seat up to 5,500 spectators.
Plans presented to Giraud last month call for a refurbishment of two thirds of the theater's crumbling foremost tiers.
"The French studies are ready and we want to move forward with them and integrate them into the European financial program," said Giraud.
As with the Delos project, the decades-long restoration of the Acropolis is also being realized via EU funding and international cooperation.
The unique cadre of specialists working on, as Voulgarakis puts it, "the most important restoration project in the world," are among the best on the international scene.
Restoration expenditures for the six-year period encompassing 1999 through 2005 reached around 28.5 million euros (35.7 million dollars), 86 percent of which was covered by EU funds.
For 2005-2006 alone, the EU allotted 10.5 million euros (13 million dollars), while the Greek treasury provided another two million euros.
The scientific work carried out at the Parthenon, the Propylaia and the small temple of Athena Nike is at the source of international cooperation with South Korea -- which used the expertise on its stone pagodas -- Italy, Mexico and recently, with China.
Not every country's interaction with the famous temple has been as friendly, however.
In 1806-11, at a time when Greece was part of the Ottoman Empire, agents of British ambassador Lord Elgin removed several sculptures from the Parthenon.
Depicting gods, monsters and men, the sculptures are currently housed in London's British museum.
Greece has demanded the return of the so-called Elgin marbles for over 20 years, complaining that the works -- masterpieces executed at the height of the Greek classical period --were illegally removed and part of its national heritage.
Earlier this month Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis announced that the new Acropolis museum would be completed by mid-2007, a move that will put increased pressure on the British government to return the marbles.
A total of more than 116 million euros (145 million dollars) of EU funds was directed towards conservation and restoration work in Greece in 2000-2006.
The Ashmolean Museum has just launched the most advanced coin website in the world. Roman Provincial Coinage Online comprises one of the largest collections of images and related inscriptions from the ancient world, which is searchable by iconography, place, and time. It is an exciting development for those interested in ancient coins, in classical archaeology, and in Roman history.
The guided searches, integrated images, interactive maps and linked tutorials put the site a generation ahead of other web-based numismatic publications.The website was developed by the University’s Academic Computing Development Team. It is built around a substantial database of Roman Provincial Coinage in the Antonine Period (AD 138–192), which was put together as a result of a research project directed by Professor Chris Howgego of the Ashmolean Museum and funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and the University.
It contains information on 13,730 different coin types from 386 cities, and is based on 46,725 individual specimens. The database is based on the ten most important and accessible collections in the world, and on all published material. Roman Provincial Coinage Online has been designed as a model for putting the rest of provincial coinage online in the future, from its beginning in 44 BC to its end in AD 296/7.
Professor Howgego said: ‘It was decided to publish online in order to make this extensive body of information and images about the Roman world available in the most flexible and user-friendly way possible. We hope more people will use the material within a wide variety of classical and archaeological studies. This facility we are providing for online users should make the material far more accessible than conventional publications. We hope this will encourage museums, collectors and dealers to feed back new material so we can continue to update the website and make the conventional publication more complete.’
‘Roman provincial coinage’ includes those coins not produced under the imperial authority of Rome. They fall within the period of the three and a half centuries following the death of Julius Caesar in 44 BC. Coins struck in the name of cities represent the most common type of provincial coinage. Cities usually produced bronze coins, which circulated locally and provided most of the small change in the Eastern half of the Roman Empire.
The website is at http://rpc.ashmus.ox.ac.uk/
The embattled J. Paul Getty Museum is updating its art purchasing policy to require evidence that a piece has been in the United States for at least 35 years after being legally removed from its country of origin, the director said Thursday.
The update was done to keep up with British museum standards and was not a big departure from the Getty's current practices, which conform with international guidelines, museum director Michael Brand said.
"What I'm trying to do is make sure everything I do here as director is clear, transparent," said Brand, who took over the post in January.
Brand said the changes did not arise from allegations that former antiquities curator Marion True knowingly received dozens of archaeological treasures between 1986 and the late 1990s that had been stolen from private collections or dug up illicitly. True and American art dealer Robert Hecht are on trial in Rome, accused of knowingly trafficking in stolen artifacts. They deny wrongdoing.
Getty officials have also denied wrongdoing. The museum has returned three objects, including an Etruscan bronze candelabrum that Italian authorities believe was stolen from a private collection.
When buying art, the new policy requires the Getty museum to obtain evidence that the piece was in the United States by Nov. 17, 1970, when the UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property was signed.
The policy also requires proof that the item was legally taken from its country of origin before or after that date.
Halloween is actually one of our oldest holidays. The first celebrations were with the Celts in what is now Great Britain, and northern France. The Celts date back to over 2500 years ago. They honored Samhain, the god of the dead. They had a festival for him on Oct. 31 called the Vigil of Samhain. They believed that during this festival spirits of the dead roamed the earth. People wore costumes so the spirits would not recognize them. So, yes, wearing costumes on Halloween came from the Celts. Believe it or not we also get trick-or-treating from them. Farmers used to go to rich homes and ask for food. If they did not get any the farmers would play mean tricks.In early Ireland they carved turnips for Jack-o-lanterns. When they came here they used pumpkins instead.
The Romans also had celebrations around the same time of year. In late October they celebrated The Feralia, a celebration for the dead. In addition on Nov. 1 they celebrated Pomona, the mistress of fruit and gardens. They laid out things for her such as fruits and nuts in thanks for the good harvest. When the Romans came to Britain around 50bc. the three festivals started to come together.
The result of the festivals coming together is our Halloween. When the Romans invaded France many of the Romans stayed there.
Alexander Mazarakis Ainian, of the University of Volos in Greece, spoke to the public Tuesday at the McClung Museum auditorium. The lecture, entitled “Architecture and Society in Early Iron Age Greece — a Reassessment of Evidence,” included material from Mazarakis Ainian’s past research along with recent developments and archaeological discoveries.
Along with being the chair for the Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology at the University of Thessaly, Mazarakis Ainian is also a leading authority on the Greek Iron Age. He has written two books and numerous articles, along with making several important archaeological discoveries.
“He excavated a ninth-century metalworking site at Skala Oropou, near Athens, where he found evidence for the transition from bronze to iron working technology,” said Aleydis Van de Moortel, the secretary/treasurer for the Department of Classics.
Perhaps the most monumental discoveries of his career have been the excavations of two Greek temples: one on the Cycladic island of Kythnos and the other at Soros. The temple at Kythnos revealed an untouched inner shrine boasting more than 1,400 artifacts. The artifacts discovered included different metals and terra cotta figurines, and the Soros temple produced evidence for ancient Greek dining, all of which he discussed in his lecture.
“Such finds are extremely rare and have thrown new light on dedication and dining practices in Greek temples,” Van de Moortel said. “We are now finally finding out how these temples were used by the people.”
Mazarakis Ainian began the lecture by addressing topics from his thesis and book, “From Ruler’s Dwellings to Temples.” He went on to discuss the relationships between the arrangement of ancient Greek buildings and the organization of their societies. He produced mass amounts of evidence, differentiating between monumental temples, sanctuaries for divinities and heroes, as well as child burial grounds. Mazarakis Ainian’s speech was also accompanied with several images of fascinating artifacts including iron tools, lamps, drinking cups and a plaque-like object revealing one of the oldest inscriptions of a family name known to date.
Mazarakis Ainian packed a lot of information into a relatively short amount of time. It was apparent that he was passionate and dedicated to his field of work, especially since Greek Iron Age evidence is considered “flimsy” in the scientific world.
“It takes a lot of work to bring this type of evidence together,” Van de Moortel said.
After the lecture, he answered questions for audience members as they munched on refreshments at the reception.
The University of Tennessee is one of just five universities that Mazarakis Ainian will be speaking at this year, including New York University (Institute of Fine Arts), Columbia University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Bryn Mawr College. He was brought to UT by the support of University Seminars Program of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation.
Mazarakis Ainian will also be lecturing on Oct. 27 in Hodges Library, room 213. He will be speaking about dedication practices and dining practices in Greek temples, respectively.
Kathryn Jarvis, a popular Latin teacher at West Springfield High School, died last week after a 16-year battle with breast cancer.
Her students, family and colleagues said she displayed unrelenting quiet courage to the end. To them she was unassuming, always going the extra mile and turning the spotlight away from herself to her students.
And many of her students never knew how sick she really was. During many daily lunch breaks, she would endure chemotherapy sessions and then return to school to finish her classes.
"She was a born instructor, a born teacher," said her husband, Allen. "Once the school year started, her personality changed. She would get this energy, and she'd always want to be at school."
"I get teary eyed now at the letters that came in from students at the end of the year telling her about how much she meant to them," Allen Jarvis said. "That she had that remarkable talent is amazing. I never thought to do that with any of my teachers when I was a student."
At last Friday night's homecoming game, an event usually saturated with celebration, the night instead began with a moment of silence. At halftime, students wearing purple and white togas carried a banner in memory of Jarvis. As they walked past the bleachers, shouts of "We love you Mrs. Jarvis!" rang out and were accompanied by cheers and applause.
Tiffany Ip and Andrew Furth were two of Jarvis' students in the procession. Ip was her student for four years.
"Magistra was the nicest person in the world," she said referring to Jarvis with the Latin word for teacher.
Furth, a junior who was in Jarvis' class for two years, said, "She helped me so much. She's the reason I continued taking Latin. The way she taught made me appreciate the language more, made me want to learn it."
Jarvis had stopped teaching only two weeks ago.
"What a teacher," West Springfield Principal David Smith said. "There are people out there who, 70 years from now, when they look back on influential people in their lives, will remember Kathy Jarvis."
A full-time teacher at West Springfield since 1988, Jarvis, 58, was essentially a one-person program, Smith said.
"Latin is not in high demand like Spanish or French," Smith said. "She was a remarkable woman and a truly unique person. Even when she was in this heavy duty chemotherapy, she would joke with me about who had less hair."
Jarvis would have had three classes on the day she died, Tuesday, Oct. 17. Smith spoke to each class.
"Professionally, working with those kids kept her going," he said. "She probably lived longer because of those kids than if she had been an accountant or somebody who sat at a desk. She thrived off of them."
Jeanne Burnes subbed for Jarvis while she was sick last year and has now replaced her as the Latin teacher.
"You could watch Magistra teach, and you would never think she was sick or tired," Burnes said. "When she got up in front of the board with the chalk in her hand, she would make things sing."
Burnes wiped away tears as she spoke of her colleague, adding that "the only two things she would talk about were her family and this family here at school. I'm very fortunate to have known her."
Burnes is planning a school-wide Saturnalia, a party named after the god Saturn, in Jarvis' honor before the Christmas holiday.
Jarvis and her husband married in 1968.
"I was an Army captain when I married her," Allen Jarvis said.
The couple have three children, Allen-John, Joel and Julie, and four grandchildren.
"Kathy grew up in Massachusetts, and our parents had homes on Cape Cod. We were childhood sweethearts," Allen Jarvis said. "She is my personal hero, my number one love, now and for the rest of my life."
Up until the end, Jarvis was with her students, even as her husband called 911 just days before her death as she began taking a turn for the worse.
"I had her sit up, and, while we were waiting for an ambulance, I heard a knock at the door. I opened it, and this young girl asked if this was Magistra's house," Allen Jarvis recalled.
"I said it was, and she said she knew Kathy wasn't feeling well and asked if it was OK to say hi. I asked Kathy, and she said it was all right and when this little girl went in to talk with her they both lit up and started talking," Allen Jarvis said, pausing. "I don't even know who the girl was."
The Jarvis family has asked those wishing to send flowers instead to send money to West Springfield High School in the name of the Kathy Jarvis Memorial Fund.
Her family hopes, as were her wishes, that with both the donated proceeds and the revenues of the Saturnalia to give a $500 to $1,000 scholarship each year for the next four years to a worthy Latin student that needs financial assistance.
Jarvis' wake will be held at Everly Funeral Home in Fairfax Friday, Oct. 27, from 2 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 7 p.m. The memorial service will begin at 7 p.m. She will be interred Nov. 9 at Arlington National Cemetery.
Non omnibus aegris eadem auxilia conveniunt.
(Celsus, De Remediis 3.1.5)
The same remedies are not appropriate for all sick people.
Comment: Taken as a metaphor, this has applications to many situations. Not all teaching/learning methods are helpful to all students. The residents of some Atlanta area neighborhoods would be glad to hear that "not all buildings fit in the same neighborhoods" after watching historic bungalows being torn down to build what have become known as McMansions. In language work, one soon learns that the same meaning does not always fit every use of a word.
And so it goes. It has become fashionable over the last 20 years to bash "situational ethics", and those who do would like to return to some notion of absolute right and wrong--most often where they are right and anyone who sees it differently is wrong (which, by the way, is just an extreme version of situational ethics). It also depends on who is interpreting their favorite verses from their own particular sacred writ.
Human experience is very varied, and no two situations are ever exactly alike. Approaching a new situation requires some reflection on what fits here, now. What fits here and now may be similar to what fit in a similar situation before, but it's that ounce of difference that will make for a good outcome, or a disaster.
Ban Ki-Moon novus secretarius
20.10.2006, klo 10.28
Novus secretarius generalis Nationum Unitarum designatus est Ban Ki-Moon, minister a rebus exteris Coreae Meridianae.
Qui vir sexaginta duos annos natus in locum secretarii generalis hodierni Kofi Annan succedit, cuius principatus mense Decembri exeunte finem capiet.
Ban Ki-Moon, dum conventui generali gratias pro honore sibi allato agit, ait dignitatem Nationum Unitarum ex eo aestimari, quantum pauperrimus quisque ab illo ordine adiuvaretur.
Sibi propositum esse coetui Nationum Unitarum suo proprio exemplo praesidere.
The famed brothel of Pompeii, one of the ancient city's main tourist attractions, is reopening after much-needed restoration .
Lovers of the ancient and naughty have been forced to wait a year, while the premises were revamped, to enjoy the brothel's famously explicit pictures .
They'll get their fresh peeks at the notorious erotica when the restored building is unveiled on Thursday .
The wall paintings, which depict a wide variety of sexual acts and positions, are one of the biggest draws for the estimated one million visitors Pompeii attracts each year .
The so-called Lupanare - from the Latin word 'lupa' (wolf), a codeword for prostitute - is located in the port area of the city, which was buried by an eruption of the nearby volcano Mt Vesuvius in 49 AD .
"It's the only purpose-built brothel in Pompeii," said Pompeii's Archeological Superintendent Pietro Giovanni Guzzi. Experts say there were small cat-houses above shops all over the city but the Lupanare was a mecca of no-holds-barred prostitution and one of the favourite destinations of visitors even in ancient times .
Scions of patrician families who had their villas in luxury resorts across the bay (now part of Naples) poured into Pompeii's Lupanare to slum it and enjoy some uncomplicated, no-nonsense sex .
The rooms in the Lupanare are small cubicles with a ledge along one side that was in ancient times covered with a mattress .
The erotic pictures, painted in a rough hand, are mostly found over the entrances to the rooms and are believed to have advertised the sort of act the room's sex workers specialised in .
The second floor is thought to have contained wooden beds that were burned in Vesuvius's hot ashes Scrawled throughout the two-storey building are graffiti singing the joys of sex and praising the abilities of some of the prostitutes who worked there .
Q. The word for "Greece" in the native Greek is "Hellas," so how did it become "Greece" in English? Even the word "Hellenic" is an English word meaning "having to do with Greek culture." And how did we get "Germany" from "Deutschland"?
A. I wondered this, too, while watching on television the 2004 Olympics in Athens and hearing the crowd chant "Hell-as! Hell-as!"
It turns out that both "Greece" and "Hellas" have Greek roots, but "Greece" was adopted by the Romans (as the Latin word "Graecus"), and later adopted into English, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. The OED says Aristotle uses "Graiko" as the name for the first inhabitants of the region.
"Germany" also comes from Latin. The Romans called a large European region "Germania," which they apparently borrowed from the Gauls (the ancestors of the French), according to the OED. (The name may come from the Old Irish word "gair," meaning "neighbor," or "gairm," meaning "battle cry.")
English actually started out using "Dutch" (from the Old German word for "people" or "nation") as the adjective for both Germany and the Netherlands. But beginning in the 1500s, English speakers started to restrict "Dutch" to the Netherlands and picked up "German" for, well, Germany, even while the Germans themselves kept Deutschland."
Q. My native language is Greek, and I notice when a word is used in English with a different meaning than the original Greek one. This makes me wonder if those words really have a different meaning or they are simply misused. For example, "eon" in Greek means 100 years, but in English it means a very long but unspecified time. "Dilemma" is used in English to mean "problem." In Greek it means a difficult choice between two (and only two) options.
-- Theo Vlahopoulos, Chicago
A. `Aion' is pretty flexible in Greek," says Helma Dik, a classics professor at the University of Chicago who specializes in Greek linguistics. "The specific `century' meaning is relatively recent. For the ancient Greeks, standard time reckoning as we know it didn't exist."
The word "eon" doesn't appear in English until about the 1600s, usually with the meaning of "eternity," especially in religious and poetic use. Since then, scientists have assigned "eon" as the standard term for one billion years, because British English used to use "milliard" for the American "billion" and "billion" for the American "trillion."
"Dilemma" literally means "two assumptions," because the Greek "lemma" means "thing taken" or "assumption," according to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. A usage note in the Merriam-Webster entry says we shouldn't worry about the literal meaning. People who say "dilemma" are not trying to talk about how many choices they have, Merriam-Webster argues, but rather "the unsatisfactoriness of the options."
It may be a dead language, but Pinkerton Academy students are signing up for Latin classes in larger numbers than ever before.
"Latina est scelesta," is the slogan on T-shirts worn by students at the Derry, N.H., high school where the ancient language is making a comeback. Translation: "Latin is wicked hot."
Haverhill High School students and teachers have known that all along. While Latin enrollment in some area communities has dipped and then made a comeback - as in Pinkerton's case - Haverhill High classes have held steady.
Haverhill High has always been focused on Latin and currently offers six Latin classes with a total of 105 students, said Bernard Nangle, acting principal and former head of the school's world languages and social studies department.
The number of Latin classes and students enrolled has remained close to 100 over the years, and the students taking it learn more than a language, Nangle said.
"It's one of those classes that gives you history and special context," he said. "It's a good basis for anyone in a government course, social studies. All things Western come out of it."
He also said Latin fulfills a college admissions requirement for a language or social studies class.
Pinkerton Academy - the high school for the New Hampshire communities of Derry, Chester and Hampstead - has seen increased enrollment in its Latin program in recent years. While school enrollment has dipped slightly, Latin teacher Mat Olkovikas said the school had to add classes to accommodate the program's 50 to 75 new students. Between 200 to 250 Pinkerton students are now enrolled in Latin.
Pinkerton isn't the only area school that offers Latin - Londonderry and Salem high schools in New Hampshire, and Lawrence and Haverhill also have thriving programs - but Pinkerton is the only one that has seen such a dramatic increase in the number of students studying the language.
Though few people speak Latin anymore, students said they are drawn to the language because it helps with SAT scores and vocabulary, and they are looking for something other than the traditional foreign languages.
Teachers at Pinkerton said there is no clear reason why the Latin program is growing so quickly, other than that they have been actively marketing the program to incoming freshmen in recent years.
Last year, junior Alison Reichard and other Pinkerton students visited Derry's Gilbert H. Hood Middle School to talk to eighth-graders about Latin. She said some of the eighth-graders didn't know Pinkerton offered Latin until the visit.
Olkovikas said he hopes to visit both Derry middle schools as well as the schools in Hampstead and Chester to introduce the eighth-graders to Latin in the future.
Even at schools that haven't seen a tremendous increase in the number of students studying Latin, enrollment has remained strong.
Latin teacher Flora Sapsin started the Londonderry High School program more than two decades ago with a handful of students. Now, the school's program has about 150 students. She said the program's enrollment has remained steady in recent years.
At Salem, N.H., High School, about 60 students are enrolled in Latin at three different levels, humanities Director James Slobig said.
Pinkerton juniors Reichard, Ian Lonergan and Kate Middleton all had their own reasons for taking Latin. Reichard wants to be a veterinarian. Lonergan has always wanted to take an ancient language. And Middleton wanted to take something different.
Now that they are in the program, the students say they like the smaller classes and the fact that they get to speak in English - the classes focus on reading and writing. Students taking French, Spanish, German or Russian have to speak the language.
Latin classes aren't just about conjugating verbs, the students say. Reichard said they learn a lot about Roman and Greek mythology, culture and philosophy.
The students read in Latin from the first day of beginner Latin, Olkovikas said. In the second year of the program they read poems and literature in Latin. By Latin IV, students are reading Cicero and Virgil.
"It allows you to flex your mental muscles," Sapsin said.
She and Olkovikas said about 60 percent of English comes from Latin. And the students can see it when they get vocabulary lists from their English teachers.
What makes Latin cool
Learning a language meets a college admissions requirement
Helping understand difficult vocabulary, especially on the SATS
The history of Rome is part of the course
Better understanding Western Civilization because much of it is based on Roman government and culture
Lacrimae pondera vocis habent.
(Horace, Heroides 3.4)
Tears bear the weight of the voice.
pron = LAH-krih-mai POHN-deh-rah WOH-kis HAH-bent.
Comment: These words come from the beginning of Horace's third
of the Heroides. He says that the letter the reader is about to read
is stained with the tears of the woman who wrote it, tears, he says,
which bear the weight, carry the power, of the voice. Read the words,
otherwise, but read the voice between the words, in the stains of
We don't talk much about the power or weight of tears in our culture.
Mostly, as a male child, I was told not to cry. At times, I was
threatened for crying. I learned, well, not to cry. I remember
finding tears again when my first child was born. Or, more honestly,
they found me. They welled up and overcame me, and they did speak
much more powerfully than words could have at the time. And, to be
honest, those tears at the birth of my first child not only contained
feelings of joy at her birth, at the wonder of it, nor only the deep
relief that my wife survived what had become an emergency C-section,
but those tears also contained something of my own childhood pains and
losses that had laid buried until then.
There. There's one example that I could keep writing about for hours.
What a bore that would be for the reader. More to the point, where
and when, lately, have tears carried the deep weight of your voice--a
voice unarticulated in words? Or, when was the time that tears overtook you and spoke your voice far better than your words did? What do those tears have to say to you--the only true recipient of their meaning?
Ban Ki-Moon novus secretarius
20.10.2006, klo 10.28
Novus secretarius generalis Nationum Unitarum designatus est Ban Ki-Moon, minister a rebus exteris Coreae Meridianae.
Qui vir sexaginta duos annos natus in locum secretarii generalis hodierni Kofi Annan succedit, cuius principatus mense Decembri exeunte finem capiet.
Ban Ki-Moon, dum conventui generali gratias pro honore sibi allato agit, ait dignitatem Nationum Unitarum ex eo aestimari, quantum pauperrimus quisque ab illo ordine adiuvaretur.
Sibi propositum esse coetui Nationum Unitarum suo proprio exemplo praesidere.
Much has been researched and written about the patrician and ruling class of ancient Roman society, but Lauren Petersen, associate professor of art history at UD, has focused her research on the lives and activities of everyday people, especially freed slaves or freedmen, based on material culture, looking at their homes, their art and their tombs.
Her new book, The Freedman in Roman Art and Art History, published by Cambridge University Press, examines the lives of freedmen in Pompeii and also Rome and their place and role in the Roman hierarchy.
The slaves, who came from all over Europe and North Africa, may have been freed for a number of reasons, Petersen said--their master freed them after his or her death, they bought their freedom with funds they secured, they were freed before a magistrate on account of diligent work. Frequently, they continued to work at the same trade for their former masters, but not as slaves, Petersen said.
“Perhaps the best-known Roman freedman is not a historical figure at all but a literary character, Trimalchio, an outrageous protagonist in one chapter of Petronius's famous novel, the Satyricon,” Petersen wrote. “This character [is] a fabulously wealthy but boorish ex-slaveŠ.” The conclusion of Petronius is “work could make an individual wealthy, but it could not suffice as a traditional means to achieving elite status.”
Scholars have depended on Trimalchio for information about freedmen since former slaves did not leave written testimony, except for their epitaphs, according to Petersen.
The result has been a stereotyping of freedmen and a dismissal of their art as crude imitation of elite art.
Petersen examines homes and tombs of freedmen, and rather than imitating the elite Romans, her research indicates the free born and freedmen shared a common culture, although the freedmen had more modest dwellings, gardens, artwork and tombs.
“This membership in Roman society is arguably what mattered most, for freeborn and freed alike,” Petersen wrote, “and may go some way toward explaining why, excepting for scale, so many Roman houses and villas largely shared a common visual and cultural language.”
Petersen spent several summers in Pompeii researching the book. It was a family project with her husband, Stephen, taking numerous photographs for the book while their young son, Miles, amused himself playing with his trucks and cars in Pompeii while his parents worked.
A graduate of Santa Clara University in California, Petersen discovered her passion for art history while a senior in college. While working after college, she took art history courses and then entered graduate school, receiving her master's degree from Florida State University and her doctorate from the University of Texas in Austin. Specializing in Roman art and architecture, she has worked on Etruscan/Roman excavations in Italy and received grants from the American Academy in Rome, the National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright and the Getty Foundation.
A coalition of Christians, angered by the marketing of deceased saints' body parts over the Internet, is calling for a boycott of eBay until the company gets more vigilant about ending the practice.
The Los Angeles-based International Crusade for Holy Relics (ICHR), an independent group with about 200 members, plans to begin its boycott on All Saints Day, Nov. 1. The group is also urging sympathizers to petition top eBay officers for stricter policies and practices.
The moves come after years of discussions with eBay failed to rid the site of class-one relics, such as the bones, fingernail clippings and hair samples of venerable figures in Christian history.
"They're such a large, monstrous machine, eBay is, that all of a sudden you just throw your hands up in the air and say, `Oh my God, what can we do?'," said ICHR President Tom Serafin. "Well, what we can do is an actual boycott, to stop spending money until they stop giving (sellers) a platform to sell the remains of the saints."
In some Christian traditions, such as Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, relics of the saints enjoy a sacred status that's reinforced when believers offer gestures of respect. Conversely, Serafin said, that sacred status is undermined when body parts -- whether authentic to the saints or mere forgeries -- get bought and sold as objects of trade.
For its part, eBay permits the sale of hair but prohibits marketing other class-one relics on its site, according to spokeswoman Catherine England. Since the company doesn't prescreen anything before it gets posted for sale, she said, eBay depends on its "community" of users to notice if a bone or fingernail has surfaced so policy enforcers can remove it.
Yet with 105 million items for sale on the site, and 6 million new ones added every day, England said, eBay can't guarantee that nothing illicit gets posted.
"We still have a limited number of resources, and we have to prioritize," England said. Keeping firearms off the site, for instance, carries more urgency than blocking the trade of religiously sensitive materials.
Just how many class-one relics surface on eBay in a given year is unknown, though Serafin said dozens can be found at any given moment.
Example: in mid-October, a reporter could find a package of three to four hairs, allegedly tracing to 19th-century saint Don John Bosco, listed for $100.
The Archaeological Institute of America isn't endorsing the boycott, but President Jane Waldbaum said she is concerned about eBay creating a marketplace where stolen or forged relics can command a profit.
"It sets a very bad example," Waldbaum said. "It encourages a trade in dubious materials from the past ... They might have been looted from archaeological sites" or graves.
Serafin said eBay's policy of removing relics after they're reported to the company is ineffective. The reason: after a day or two, prospective buyers may have already copied down the seller's contact information.
"By then, the damage is already done," Serafin said. He proposes that eBay create a panel of relics specialists to help eBay staffers keep class-one objects off the site entirely.
"They do it with weaponry and pornography," Serafin said. "Why can't they do it here?"
England, the eBay spokeswoman, said the company relies on various industry and government experts to provide guidance for staffers to take a range of troublesome materials off the site as soon as they appear. In early October, eBay reached an agreement to let experts from the British Museum help oversee the antiquities trade, which is commonly marked by stolen objects and forgeries. eBay has not ruled out establishing a similar oversight mechanism for sacred relics, England said.
"With the ICHR in particular, we've had conversations with them in the past, and they've made a choice not to continue in those productive dialogues with us any longer," England said.
Still, she added, "We're always interested in hearing from interested parties and organizations, so there is an opportunity for (further) conversation there."
Like the boy at the party with cheese straws stuck up his nose, it has been caught doing something vaguely disturbing - indulging a penchant for Latin.
It is the only country in the world which broadcasts the news in Latin.
On its EU presidency website one can find descriptions of meetings in Latin. But love of the language of Rome goes deep.
I am in a hotel somewhere comfortably north of Helsinki. It is off-season, so the place is deserted. There are dark brown mock logs, lining one side of the room. Fake beams on the ceiling, chocolate-box pictures on the walls.
There is also a man in the corner of the room singing Elvis Presley's songs in Latin, like Can't Help Falling In Love - or Non adamare non possum.
It sounds a little like Italian but rather more stilted - like Italian sung by a Finnish person.
We are a long way from Memphis.
The singer is Dr Jukka Ammondt, an academic whose twin passions, it appears to him, march in lock-step.
"The legend of Elvis Presley lives for ever, and it's of course very important to sing Elvis Presley's songs in the Latin language, because Latin is the eternal language," he says.
Mia Lahti, who edits the EU presidency website, is like many Finns an optimist at heart. But why do a website in Latin?
"The website is in English and French," she says.
But they have their secret language: Conspectus rerum Latinus, or "Latin News in Brief".
"I know there are people who are angry because, for example, in their childhood they had to read compulsory Latin. But also I think it might be interesting to read the news in brief in Latin," Ms Lahti believes.
Lurking within the world of EU Latin, which is only marginally more difficult to comprehend than EU English, is one delightful statistic - more people subscribe to the newsletter in Latin than to the one in French.
The Finns are clearly having their revenge on French President Jacques Chirac, who once dismissed their food as the worst in the EU.
The news in Latin on national radio gets 75,000 listeners, which may not sound like much, but on a per capita basis is more than some BBC Radio 4 programmes get.
This is the final piece in the Finland Latin jigsaw.
"In Latin we have more listeners in the world than for Finnish broadcasts," explains Professor Tuomo Pekannen, who does the translations.
"Latin is more known abroad than Finnish," he adds.
Perhaps Finland wants to dominate the global news agenda in the same way Elvis once dominated the music scene.
A Roman-era marble bust of Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 BC - 322 BC), was unearthed during recent archaeological excavations at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens. The 46-centimetre (18-inch) bust, an excellently preserved likeness of the 4th century philosopher, was unearthed together with the busts of Roman emperor Hadrian (31 centimetres) and of a priest, possibly, of the Theatre of Dionysus (34 centimetres).
Aristotle's bust is considered to be the best of all existing ancient ones.
A Roman-era bust of the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle found beneath the Acropolis in Athens has confirmed some contemporary reports attesting to his hooked nose, a senior archaeologist told AFP today.
The 46-centimeter marble bust of the famous philosopher who lived over 2,300 years ago and taught Alexander the Great is "the best-preserved likeness ever found", archaeologist Alkestis Horemi said.
"This is the only bust portraying the philosopher with a hooked nose in line with ancient descriptions," said Horemi, who supervises archaeological and conservation work at the Acropolis site.
Out of 19 other known Roman-era busts of Aristotle in existence, some show the philosopher's nose as straight or upturned, Horemi said, adding that these works are copies of earlier Greek originals.
Dating from the late first century A.D., the latest bust was found during excavation work that preceded the construction of Greece's new Acropolis Museum, situated near the south of the ancient citadel.
A representation of a bearded, resolute-faced man in his sixties, the bust had probably adorned a Roman villa, Horemi said.
The excavation work for the new Acropolis Museum also unearthed two more Roman-era marble busts, one probably representing a priest and another depicting the Roman Emperor Hadrian, who reigned from 117 to 138 A.D. and was an avid admirer of Classical Greece.
Non viribus aut velocitate aut celeritate corporum res magnae geruntur
sed consilio, auctoritate, sententia.
(M. Tullius Cicer, De Senectute 17)
Neither by force nor by speed nor by swiftness of body are great
things done, but by plan, authority and purpose.
pron = nohn WEE-rih-boos out weh-loh-kih-TAH-tay out
keh-leh-rih-TAH-tay KOR-poh-room rays MAHG-nai geh-ROON-toor sehd
kohn-SEE-lee-oh owk-toh-rih-TAH-tay sehn-TEN-tee-ah.
Comment: Cicero writes this in his essay "On Old Age". So, an old man
is not going to argue in favor of physical strength, swiftness, speed?
He likely is not, because he has found over time that those things
begin to fail. Cicero commends for important things, great things,
what is needed: a plan, authority and purpose. We know from his life
and writings that he valued these things. We also know that in the
end, his love of the Republic, his attempts at preserving the Republic
did not prevail, despite plans, authority he held as Roman Consul and
the exercie of what I am sure he considered good purpose. In the
end, his enemies, and he would say the enemies of State, killed him
and placed his severed head and hands on stakes in public view.
I am not so confident to say that great things happen either by
strength or by honed mental skills or by collected power. Sometimes,
great things happen by all of these things. Sometimes in the presence
of them all, great things don't happen. And someimtes, it seems,
fortune is involved.
So, why bother? What's left? If we have strength, we should use it
well. If we have swiftness and speed of body, we should use them
well. If we have a plan, or authority, or judgment, we should use
them well. And in using all of these things well, let the using of
them and the doing of them be the reward. When we are done, we could
simply let them all go, and the things that will emerge will emerge.
In some respects, Cicero was a failure as a leader of Rome (others
will argue otherwise). But no body of work in oratory, philosophy and
epistelary literature survives as large as his, nor as well-read.
Reinfeldt iter in Finniam fecit
20.10.2006, klo 10.28
Fredrik Reinfeldt, primus minister Suetiae recens creatus, Idibus Octobribus iter in Finniam suscepit, ut praesidentem Tarja Halonen et collegam suum Matti Vanhanen conveniret.
Diurnariis, qui ex eo de scandalis novum regimen Suetiae vexantibus quaerebant, nihil respondere voluit sed ait se sperare fore, ut sibi tandem occasio daretur vera argumenta politica tractandi.
Constat iam duas ministras in regimen Suetiae lectas propter res privatas munus deponere coactas esse.
The discovery and subsequent history of the Sevso treasure deserves to be the subject of a book (Not for sale yet - the 'cursed' 14 pieces of silver worth £100m, October 17). However, it also provides a sorry commentary on the difficulties governments have in attempting to stem the illicit trade in cultural objects.
I have long tried to prod the government into taking a more proactive stance on this issue, and there has been progress in recent years - most notably in 2003 when I had the privilege of steering a private member's bill through the Lords, which resulted in the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act being passed. As Lord Renfrew said, the Sevso treasure was probably looted and therefore "ranks as tainted goods". It could well have come within the scope of the law, but unfortunately the act only applies to objects discovered after 2003.
These 14 magnificent pieces of late Roman silverware first entered the public eye in 1990 when Sotheby's tried to sell them on behalf of the Marquis of Northampton. When Sotheby's took the treasure to New York, Lebanon, Croatia and Hungary all made claims to it.
Lebanon withdrew its claim once the Lebanese export licences were exposed as forgeries; Croatia's claim could not be substantiated; and Hungary's claim was not well presented at the New York hearing and was also dismissed. The court, however, noted that the marquis had chosen not to try to prove his title to the treasure. The marquis subsequently sued the lawyer who had advised him on the purchase and received an out-of-court settlement.
Since the US court case ended in 1993, the treasure has been hidden from public view. This is a tragedy because it is a magnificent find. But, as Roger Bland said, "under government guidelines for museums no UK museum could ever acquire or even borrow it". It is doubtful whether any other museum in the world would wish to acquire it either.
Wherever the treasure comes from - and Bonham's now states that its origin is unknown - it is difficult to see how it could have been moved from its country of origin and into Britain legally.
Unlike Lebanon and Croatia, the Hungarian government has maintained its claim and there is now a considerable body of circumstantial evidence to suggest that the treasure was indeed found in Hungary. This includes the story of its original discovery in the 1970s by Joseph Sümegh, who later died in mysterious circumstances; the name Pelso (the Latin name for Lake Balaton) on the large dish; and the fact that the National Museum in Budapest has in its collection a silver tripod found at Polgárdi in the 19th century, which looks very like another object from the hoard.
None of this evidence has been fully considered and there is an urgent need for a full examination of the origins and ownership of this treasure before determining its ultimate destination. While the treasure remains here with its status unresolved, it represents a standing challenge to the effectiveness of the measures in force in this country to combat the trade in illicit antiquities.
· Lord Redesdale is secretary of the all-party parliamentary archaeology group
FROM Herodotus and Homer to the warriors of Ancient Greece the mystic utterances from the Oracle of Delphi were regarded as sacrosanct. But now the hugely influential pronouncements of the oracle are said by Greek and Italian archaeologists to have been the result of oxygen deficiencies in the priestesses’ brains.
Delphi, which draws tourists by the thousand each year, lies on the almost sheer side of Mount Parnassus in central Greece. Great fissures in the cliff overlooking the site mask deep geological faults through which toxic gases seep to the surface, reducing oxygen in the cave — the Navel of the Earth — where the priestess de- livered her often obscure political oracles.
The priestess, known to the ancients as Pythia, would thus be in a state of mild anoxia — a partial lack of oxygen in the brain — inducing the ecstatic trance that classical writers said brought forth the oracles. They, however, claimed that Pythia entered her trance by chewing laurel leaves while sniffing the vapours of hallucinogenic herbs.
Two years ago a team headed by George Papatheodorou, Emeritus Professor of Geology at Patras University, and Giorgio Etiope, of Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Vulcanology, detected traces of methane, ethanol and carbon dioxide in the narrow cave where the Pythia is believed to have sat on a tripod while uttering her messages, often in high-pitched shrieks.
“There is a close relationship between the site of the Delphic Oracle and its geology,” Dr Papatheodorou told Kathimerini newspaper. “The site lies on a fault where gases leak out. These gases cause an oxygen reduction that induces a mild hypnotic state that could well produce hallucinations.”
The gases were detected in the summers of 2004 and 2005 by a sensor placed on the floor of the cave where the Pythia reputedly sat. “We have formulated a scientific hypothesis that we believe is a credible scenario,” Dr Papatheodorou said.
The historian Plutarch, who himself served as a priest at Delphi, wrote that a sweetish odour inundated the premises while the Pythia was in her trance. This, according to Dr Papatheodorou, could have been ethylene gas, though no trace of it was found during the recent search. “Nothing can be ruled out, as geological changes could have taken place since ancient times,” he said.
To the ancient Greeks the Delphic Oracle was the supreme divine word. But its often ambiguous pronouncements were shamelessly reinterpreted to suit particular policies and interests. Some modern writers speculate that the Pythian trance was an elaborate fraud, and that the priestesses were highly alert and well informed about Greek affairs thanks to a network of agents.
DID PYTHIA GET IT RIGHT?
1100BC According to Greek tradition, the Oracle dates to soon after the Trojan War. Heracles is said to have consulted it, and to have received the order to perform his Twelve Labours to atone for unwittingly killing his own children
c700BC Aristodemos, King of Messenia (present-day Kalamata), asks the Oracle how he can defeat the neighbouring Spartans. He is told to sacrifice a “virgin of his own royal race”. He has his own daughter put to death, but loses the war anyway
664BC The Oracle advises the Locrians of southern Italy to rule that anyone proposing a new law should do so with a rope around his neck, so that if the motion failed he might be hanged with a minimum of public inconvenience
480BC Faced with invasion by the Persians, the Athenians are advised by the Pythia that “wooden walls” will save them. The term is later taken to mean the ships with which Athens defeated Persia at Salamis
c430BC Herodotus wrote that King Croesus asked if he would win if he attacked Persia. The Oracle replied that if he did, “he would destroy a mighty empire”. He did attack, but his own empire was destroyed
c420BC Someone asks the Oracle: “Is there anyone wiser than Socrates?” and receives a blunt “No”, probably the shortest answer issued from Delphi
279BC: A timely thunderstorm helps a small Greek force to defend Delphi against an onslaught of Gauls. The Gaul leader, Brennus, kills himself in shame
Adulatio perpetuum malum regum.
(Q.Curtius Rufus, 8.5.14, adapted
Praise is a perpetual evil for kings.
pron = ah-doo-LAH-tee-oh per-PEH-too-oom MAH-loom RAY-goom
Comment: Imagine that you have the power of life and death. Imagine
individuals coming around you daily to tell you how wonderful you are.
They come subtley, always under the pretense of other things, normal
things, and yet always manage to work into the conversation how
wonderful you are, how smart you are, how much they need you.
Can you imagine (I can!) how you might look for these people each
day--for the daily boost? Can you imagine that their thoughts and
opinions might begin to matter a bit more? Can you imagine how they,
with their flattery, begin to control you who have the power of
absolute life and death?
While none of us are kings and queens, we do have power. Can we
imagine how easy it is to give away to those who flatter us?
Praemium Nobelianum pacis
20.10.2006, klo 10.27
Praemium Nobelianum pacis accipit hoc anno Muhammad Yunus, vir Bangladesanus, qui argentarius pauperum dicitur.
Is enim, cum paupertatem ex orbe terrarum auferre vellet, annis septuagesimis sedem nummariam instituit, quae pecuniam hominibus omnium miserrimis et mendicissimis commodaret.
In clientibus suis eligendis talem rationem sequi solet, ut, quo quisque sit egentior, eo dignior habeatur, cui pecunia credatur.
On a windy expanse of the Chihuahua Desert in New Mexico, the gangly 9.8 kilogram contraption began to climb up a thin carbon-fiber belt hung from a crane.
Directed toward the craft from the ground was an array of 135 mirrors to concentrate the blinding New Mexico sunlight to an intensity equal to 300 suns. The beam shined on the climber's high-efficiency solar cells. With a muffled whirring, it rose 10.7 meters.
Only 59,544 kilometers to go.
The solar-powered elevator car, dubbed the Jolly Roger, is one of a dozen prototypes from around the world for a device that could lift humans and cargo into geosynchronous orbit aboard a futuristic space elevator.
It's an admittedly bizarre idea, but NASA has taken it seriously enough to host a global competition offering US$150,000 (HK$1.17 million) to the team that can lift the most weight to the top of a 61m tether in the shortest time. Instead of carrying heavy fuel, the machines must get their energy beamed onboard from sources such as sunlight, microwaves or lasers. That energy is then converted to electricity to drive the crafts' motors.
NASA is also backing a related contest to find a material strong enough to support an elevator whose top floor is marked "S" for space.
Aerospace giants such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin haven't taken the idea seriously, but NASA is seeking inspiration from the general public through its Centennial Challenge program.
The origin of the space elevator seems to trace back to 1960 when Russian Yuri Artsutanov proposed hanging a ribbon from space to transport material into orbit, said Roger Gilbertson, of the Spaceward Foundation, which is coordinating the elevator competition for NASA.
The idea took off when science fiction legend Arthur C Clarke used it as the basis for his 1979 novel, The Fountains of Paradise. Clarke described an umbilical built out of "a continuous pseudo-one-dimensional diamond crystal" a few microns thick that stretched from the fictional equatorial island of Taprobane to a satellite in geosynchronous orbit.
The space elevator quickly ascended into the pantheon of far-out sci-fi ideas, right up there with warp speed and teleportation.
But it was only in the late 1990s that scientists began taking the idea seriously, after some scientists said that carbon nanotubes might be strong enough to serve as the space elevator tether. The idea has stoked the field. The first space elevator contest took place in 2001. The winner made his device out of Lego. It traveled 3.05m, Gilbertson said.
NASA sponsored its first elevator games last year. Now there are as many ideas on display as there are teams.
Brian Turner, designer of Jolly Roger, has sunk about US$30,000 into his creation so far.
Turner's design is a variation on the mythical Archimedes Death Ray, which the ancient Greek mathematician allegedly devised to set enemy ships ablaze by bombarding them with concentrated rays of sunlight. The Jolly Roger generates 40,000 watts of power and its solar cells get so hot they have to be cooled by water.
FURTHER well-preserved remains of Colchester's Roman chariot racetrack have been discovered by archaeologists working on the town's garrison redevelopment.
Experts have uncovered an intact piece of the Roman Circus's wall foundation beneath Napier Road, to the South of Flagstaff Road in Colchester.
The wall, which is approximately 12m long, was discovered while developer Taylor Woodrow was undertaking excavation work as part of the redevelopment of the area.
The curving section forms part of the semicircular eastern end of the stadium, which would have been opposite the gates near where the chariots started their races.
The first of the remains of the Roman Circus - the name given to chariot racetracks of the time - were discovered on late 2004, when archaeologists were carrying out exploratory digs before the undeveloped Abbey Field site was built on.
New findings indicate that the track itself had been lowered to provide a firmer surface to race on, and that the removed topsoil was used to provide the banks on which the spectator seating was built.
Philip Crummy, director of Colchester Archaeological Trust (CAT), now estimates that the circus could have held up to 15,000 spectators.
Following the recent discovery a meeting was held between Taylor Woodrow, English Heritage, Colchester Borough Council, RPS and the Colchester Archaeological Trust, to discuss the best way in which the wall could be preserved.
Construction of utility services along Napier Road would have, with normal construction methods, destroyed the wall.
However, a method of tunnelling underneath will ensure that the remains are preserved for posterity.
Yesterday Mr Crummy said: “You can see quite a clear curve. It is all foundations - there is nothing above ground.
“Some of the foundations in certain parts of the circus were removed in the medieval period. But here they are intact almost all the way across the width of the street.
“We haven't quite sorted out exactly where the gates at the east end were, but we think we have found the central barrier, which was a partition in the middle of the arena.
“We do, however, know it is 450 metres long which makes it one of the largest outside Italy.”
Peter Andrew, Taylor Woodrow Eastern regional managing director, said: “It is fantastic to unearth another piece of the Roman chariot track and discover more about the Roman Circus which is such an important part of Colchester's history.
“We will endeavour to preserve the wall as much as possible for future generations.”
Robert Masefield, archaeological consultant from RPS said: “This latest find helps us to understand the extent to which Colchester and indeed Britain itself was Romanised.
“The circus foundations we unearthed last year were generally poorly preserved, so to find this section of surviving wall is particularly important and helps us to increase our knowledge even further.”
Information on Colchester's Roman Chariot track and artefacts discovered last year are currently displayed for public viewing at the Bryant Homes marketing suite on Flagstaff Road.
Crux ancora vitae.
The cross is the anchor of life.
pron = krooks AHN-kor-ah WEE-tai.
Comment: I can find no source for this proverb. Many readers will
already know various Christian interpretations of this saying, so I'd
like to offer one of the older interpretations of the cross.
The cross was used as an auspicious symbol in many ancient civilations
such as ancient India, Greece, and among the various Celtic tribes.
It had variations, but a most common form was the equilateral cross
where all of the arms are of equal length.
Among the Celts, the equilateral cross seemed to have been a symbol of
the four directions and the four elements associated with them: air
(east), fire (south), water (west) and earth (north). In many wisdom
traditions, it was believed that all things that existed came from
these four elements. Ovid's Metamorphoses holds that same idea to be
true. Thus, the four elements as the foundations of creation were
ideas and symbols common across many ancient cultures. As foundations
for all that is, these four elements themselves might be called
"anchors of life".
Various qualities were also attributed to these elements: air (mind
and intellect), fire (passion and creativity), water (emotion), and
earth (the body). We may now recall the famous drawing of DaVinci's,
the Vitruvian Man where the human body stretched out in four
directions takes on a cruciform. And if we apply the associations of
the elements: the mind, passion/creativity, emotions and body, we see
that they come together to form a life.
I find the cross and the four elements association to be a helpful way
of reflecting on things at times. In any situation, relationship,
problem, etc, I can ask: what is reasonable (air)? What is creative,
or what is fueling/driving this (fire)? What is fluid and mutable, or
overwhelming (water)? What is solid and stead, or sluggish, slow,
lethargic (earth)? How do they all inform the one? What is the one
of which they are a part, the anchor?
They were digging the foundations of a new multi-storey car park under the Vatican.
But what the bulldozers uncovered was an ancient world of the dead - a Roman necropolis, or burial site, dating back to the time of Christ.
Since then the excavations have brought to light more than 200 tombs, arranged on multiple levels and in remarkable condition.
In addition to funerary inscriptions they have uncovered a wide assortment of statues, vases, terracotta urns, coins and skeletons.
The burial site paints a complex picture of life and death in ancient Rome and for the first time gives archaeologists a valuable insight into the life of lower- and middle-class Romans.
Some of them were simple artisans, buried with clues to their trade.
In the tomb of a set designer for Pompey's theatre, there are the symbols of a compass and a T-square.
There are the tombs of a letter carrier, a circus horse trainer and a slave who was freed and later rose to a respected position in the household staff of the Emperor Nero.
But they have also uncovered skeletons of paupers, possibly slaves, who were buried without names and in simple wooden caskets.
"We found a little Pompeii of funeral life, " said Giandomenico Spinola, head of the Vatican Museums' classical antiquities department.
"We have had the mausoleums of Hadrian and Augustus," Mr Spinola said. "But in Rome we are short of these middle- and lower-class burial places."
In some parts of the necropolis lie the tombs of much wealthier Romans. Some of them are complete with ornate funeral altars.
The inscriptions help to fill out family trees and they provide an important insight into daily life.
There is the sarcophagus of a male member of ancient Rome's class of knights, who died as a teenager and was remembered in death with a sculptured figure with hands outstretched as if in prayer.
The kind of figure known as an orante was widely taken as an early symbol of Christianity.
Before archaeologists could begin the excavation, they had to clear tons of dirt and rock.
In the second century there had been a landslip on the hill which helped preserve some of the tombs.
Black-and-white mosaic flooring was unearthed depicting Dionysus, an ancient god of fertility and wine, along with a grape harvest scene.
It has all been carefully restored in the Vatican Museums' laboratory and placed back in its original location.
From specially constructed walkways, visitors can look down on the skeletons, including that of an infant buried by loved ones who left a hen's egg beside the body.
The egg, whose smashed shell was reconstructed, was either a play thing or perhaps was left by the family as a symbol of rebirth.
Throughout the necropolis there are a number of terracotta pipes that emerge from the tombs.
In ancient times families would sit by the grave and picnic, occasionally pouring wine, milk or honey down the pipe to feed the dead.
Originally the necropolis ran along the edges of an ancient Roman road, the Via Triumphalis (Triumphal Way).
Now we know that the area uncovered is just a small section of a much bigger necropolis that would have covered a large part of the hill.
But many of the secrets will remain buried.
Archaeological digs like this are expensive - the work carried out so far has cost the Vatican around 400,000 euros (£268,851) - and the current site is now surrounded by the imposing stone pillars of the new multi-storey car park.
The advance of the modern world has, for the time being, put paid to any further excavations.
Italian and Swiss officials signed a deal Friday aimed at making it harder for smugglers of archaeological treasures to use Switzerland as a conduit for stolen antiquities.
Under the deal, customs officials of the two countries will have to ensure that importers of antiquities from both Italy and Switzerland have proof of the artifact's origin and of its lawful export from the neighboring country.
A 1939 Italian law makes all antiquities discovered in the country property of the state, making export of objects found after that date illegal. Authorities contend that looted Italian treasures have often made their way to Switzerland, and from there onto the international market, including European and U.S. museums.
In one of the more spectacular cases, a 1995 raid on the Geneva offices of an Italian art dealer, Giacomo Medici, yielded thousands of photographs and pieces of artifacts police say were looted from Italy. He was later sentenced to a 10-year prison term on art trafficking charges.
The case has since led to the criminal prosecution of Marion True, a former J. Paul Getty Museum curator on trial in Rome accused of knowingly purchasing stolen artifacts from Medici and other dealers. True and Robert Hecht, an American art dealer also on trial on the same charges, deny any wrongdoing.
"The art market in Switzerland is an important market," Swiss Interior Minister Pascal Couchepin said after signing the deal in Rome with Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli. "We strongly wish to have an ethical, clean and responsible market."
"Traffickers will have to go somewhere else," Rutelli told reporters, adding that the growing awareness of the illegal trade "is making it increasingly difficult to sell stolen or looted art."
The deal only protects artifacts that date from before the 16th century, and both ministers expressed hope that it will be extended to safeguard art produced from the Renaissance onwards.
Attica's ancient monuments survived earthquakes as powerful as 6.5 on the Richter scale in antiquity due to their sheer size and expert construction, according to study by experts at the National Technical University of Athens.
The study, carried out by the university's antiseismic technology laboratory for the Public Works Ministry, focused on the remains of the Temple of Zeus in central Athens. Scientists carried out simulations of earthquakes on a model and a computer-generated version of the temple to determine the likely impact of such a tremor, analyzed the marks on the original monument and concluded that it had probably endured a 6.5-magnitude quake.
«The (monuments') endurance is attributable to their large size and the method of their construction,» the head of the study, Yiannis Psycharis, told Kathimerini. «If a large tremor does not destroy a construction it leaves traces that allow us to draw certain conclusions,» according to Psycharis who has conducted similar studies on the Parthenon and other ancient monuments in the past.
Scholars turned out in force on Thursday night for the launch of the first full edition of the Derveni Papyrus at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki.
The oldest book in Europe, the Derveni Papyrus is an Orphic, eschatological text that discusses the fate of the soul and the role of the Furies. A mystic, often allegorical text, it was written in the last quarter of the fourth century BC. Scholars who have studied it describe it as «the most significant new evidence about ancient Greek philosophy and religion since the Renaissance.»
The book was found in 1962 in a grave at Derveni, in Thessaloniki. Some scholars object to the fact that the book has not been made accessible to other researchers. The Institute of Philosophical Research, directed by Apostolos Pierris, decried what it called «a major scandal in scientific chronicles.» It also accuses the team of scholars, professors Kyriakos Tsantsanoglou, Theokritos Kouremenos and Georgios Prasaoglou of Thessaloniki University, of hiding the papyrus for decades, delaying its scholarly and critical publication and thereby depriving «the international community of scholars of any access to such a significant text.»
Why was there no scholarly Greek publication for 26 years, despite the fact that, by 1982, the researchers had read 80 percent of the text?
«Because we had to complete it, which included interpreting all of the legible surviving text on 26 scrolls,» Tsantsanoglou told Kathimerini. «It was a difficult task, since we had to assemble that gigantic puzzle which would lead to its integrated form. The first, unauthorized publication in 1982, in a foreign scholarly journal, set us back, as it formed the basis of numerous studies on the Derveni Papyrus.»
As time passed, the papyrus became common property: «In Europe and America,» said the professor, «there were 100 papers and three publications on it. But we went ahead with our research. In 1993 we added another seven columns, which were presented at an international conference.» The Greek researchers followed up with more publications, but there was no official publication.
Besides, the religious and philosophical interpretation was not easy. «Gaps made the task difficult to understand what was allegorical and what was literal in the approach used by the author of the text,» he added.
The dispute flared up in June, when the Greek Culture Ministry announced that the Patras Institute of Philosophical Research and Oxford University were to collaborate on a new study of the papyrus.
At a press conference in the presence of Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Petros Doukas, Pierris and lecturer Dirk Obbink of Oxford announced that they had begun taking photographs for the philosophical analysis of the text, describing those who had studied it so far as «not equal to the stature of the find.»
Following approval by the Central Archaeological Council, the new research team undertook to decipher the text by electronic means. More than 200 charred chunks of papyrus went under the microscope again for a new deciphering and reading, this time with the use of micro-phase photography.
Meanwhile, the researchers at Thessaloniki University completed the first full edition of the papyrus. «The Derveni Papyrus» is in English with a Greek translation and commentary by Tsantsanoglou, Kouremenos - who is professor of papyrology - and Georgios Prasaoglou, who is associate professor of classics.
Other speakers at the presentation were professors Richard Hunter of Cambridge University, Franco Montanari of Genoa University and Gregory Nagy of the Harvard Center of Greek Studies.
Sir, The exhibition at Bonhams of the Sevso treasure (letter, Oct 19) displays in London for the first time for academics and specialists one of the most important and magnificent collections of late Roman silver. It is offensive of Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn to imply that any criminal act may have been committed, either by Bonhams or by the owner of the treasure, the Marquess of Northampton 1987 Settlement.
Sixteen years after failed litigation in New York to wrest the treasure from Lord Northampton’s settlement there is no further evidence from any source to cast doubt on the settlement’s title. It is inappropriate for the Hungarian Government to make continuing baseless claims of title to the treasure in circumstances where its case was dismissed after a full trial and after three levels of appeal, all of which failed.
LUDOVIC DE WALDEN
Legal adviser to the Trustee of the Marquess of Northampton 1987 Settlement~
Sir, Lord Renfrew’s letter does little to promote the rational discussion about the exhibition of antiquities in England but uses language that is emotive and at times close to offensive.
Since the exhibition opened at the beginning of this week, Bonhams and the settlement have received widespread and enthusiastic support for making these wonderful objects available for inspection and enjoyment by academics, distinguished collectors and museums.
Bonhams has a long-established and jealously guarded reputation for integrity in all areas of its business, including its distinguished and highly regarded antiquities department. We have played an active part in the shaping of the recent English law on the sale and exhibition of antiquities. Our belief that we acted correctly in deciding to exhibit the silver is in no way affected by Lord Renfrew’s letter.
Criminia qui cernunt aliorum non sua cernunt.
Those who so easily discern the crimes of others do not even see their own.
pron = KREE-mih-nah kwee KAIR-noont ah-lee-OH-room nohn SOO-ah KAIR-noont.
Comment: Jesus is said to have asked how a person might remove a
splinter from someone else's eye while he had a huge timber stuck in
I learned several years ago a practice called "the mirror". It works
like this. If I find myself reacting to someone else, that is a signal
that the mirror is at work. I have unwittingly found someone who is
showing me myself. If I will simply take time to observe "the mirror"
he/she will show me something about myself that I had been pretending
was not true.
It's that simple. And it's that difficult.
And then, discerning others' faults becomes a way of really seeing
something that I can do anything about.
Benjamin Leonard D'Ooge was a professor of classical languages at Michigan State Normal College, now Eastern Michigan University, for more than 50 years. During his time at Eastern, he earned a national reputation as a leading figure in classical education. In fact, it did not matter in what part of the country a student began their study of the classical languages; they were most likely introduced to it through one of D'Ooge's books.
D'Ooge was born in Grand Rapids on Jan. 10, 1860. He graduated from the literary department of the University of Michigan in 1881. From 1881 to 1883, D'Ooge was the principal at the high school in Coldwater. In 1884, D'Ooge received his master's of arts degree from U-M. For the next two years he was an instructor of Latin at U-M. He married Jennie Pease of Ann Arbor in 1885.
D'Ooge moved to the Normal School at Ypsilanti in 1886, to chair the classical languages department. "Ambitious to excel, we shall look for large and enthusiastic classes in the foundation languages and ancient literature,'' noted The Ypsilanti Commercial after D'Ooge's appointment.
From 1899-1901, D'Ooge studied in Europe and received a doctorate from the University of Bonn.
D'Ooge found contentment in his private library of more than 800 books, including many rare editions, at his home on Forest Avenue. He perhaps added to his own library with the many books he wrote or co-authored including "Viri Rome,'' 1895, "Easy Latin for Sight Reading,'' 1897; "Caesar's Gallic War,'' 1898; "Second Year Latin,'' 1899, and many more. D'Ooge also made many contributions to various magazines.
D'Ooge was known as "the professor who studies more than his students.''
So it may come as a surprise to learn that he did not always enjoy the classical languages. "I despised it when I started out,'' he said. "Later I became an enthusiast.
"The value of Latin as a vocabulary builder and as a background for the study of modern languages is sufficient to warrant any effort which the student finds himself compelled to exert. It is well to remember that from 60 (percent) to 70 percent of the English speaking words are of Latin derivation.''
D'Ooge was active in the community as a member of the Congregational Church, the Kiwanis and the Twenty Club. He was also a member of the Phi Upsilon fraternity, Phi Beta Kappa and was a patron of the Arm of Honor fraternity at the Normal.
D'Ooge retired in 1938, and after the death of his wife moved to live with a daughter in Allentown, Pa. He died there March 7, 1940. So ended a life of achievement.
Prosecutors in the trial of a former J. Paul Getty Museum curator retraced the steps of an ancient statue they say was smuggled out of the country, and is now one of the most significant pieces in a dispute between Italy and the Los Angeles museum.
The prosecution presented testimony and documents reconstructing the route that the fifth century B.C. statue of the goddess Aphrodite took from Sicily to the Getty, which bought the piece for $18 million in 1988.
Italy has been cracking down on antiquities trafficking and campaigning to recover artifacts it contends were stolen or illegally exported from the country and sold to European and U.S. museums.
As part of these efforts, former Getty curator Marion True and American art dealer Robert Hecht are on trial in Rome, accused of knowingly trafficking in stolen artifacts. They deny wrongdoing. Their trial resumed Wednesday after a lengthy summer break.
Fausto Guarnieri, a former police officer, testified Wednesday that he first received anonymous tips in the late 1980s of the existence of a secret dig at Morgantina - the Greek settlement in Sicily where the "Venere di Morgantina" is said to have been found.
The tips came from illegal diggers angered that rival raiders had sold precious statues found at the site for a very low price, he said.
At the same time, as they prepared to acquire the Venus, Getty officials wrote letters to Italian authorities, inquiring if the statue had been stolen.
Guarnieri said that no connection was made then between the Venus and Morgantina, and authorities responded that the statue was not on their lists of stolen artifacts, but that they would investigate. Only a 1997 analysis of the statue confirmed it was made out of the same stone as fragments found in the Morgantina illegal dig, he said.
Prosecutor Paolo Ferri then showed the court documents from subsequent investigations that reconstructed the statue's voyage.
A 1986 receipt made out by an Italian who claimed to own the statue says it was sold in Switzerland to a London-based dealer for $400,000 after "it had been in my family's possession since 1939."
Ferri suggested the ownership claim was fake, reminding the judges that 1939 was the year Italy passed a law making all antiquities found in the country property of the state.
Ferri also showed documents that accompanied the statue as it traveled from Switzerland to Los Angeles through London, noting that the weight of the crates carrying it increased dramatically with each step. He said this was an indication that the statue was sold in pieces at different stages, a technique smugglers use to get more money out of buyers.
Lawyers for True have always maintained that their client acquired this and other disputed pieces in good faith, without knowing of their supposed illegal origin. Defense lawyer Francesco Isolabella stressed that point while cross-examining Guarnieri on Wednesday, repeatedly questioning how Italian authorities followed up on the Getty's original inquiries about the statue.
"From (1988 to 1997) they didn't do anything," Isolabella later told reporters. "They didn't ask for the Venus back, they never asked questions on its origin."
The fact that the Getty had made inquiries on the artifact and later made it available for the 1997 analysis was proof of the museum's good faith.
True and Hecht were not in court Wednesday. Their lawyers said they could show up for the next session, set for Nov. 10, and would be available to take the stand.
The 7-foot statue of Aphrodite is only one of dozens of artifacts Italy wants returned from the Getty. Negotiations between the museum and the Italian Culture Ministry have so far failed to yield a deal.
Last month, Boston's Museum of Fine Arts returned 13 disputed ancient artifacts to Italy in exchange for loans of other treasures. Earlier this year, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art signed a similar deal for the return of 21 pieces, including a collection of Greek silverware from Morgantina.
But what if the British Museum won't collaborate? (It has so far shown no inclination even to discuss the issue, let alone change its mind.) Then, says Pandermalis, there will be big, empty spaces. "Maybe, in those places, we should just say, 'Go to London,'" he murmurs, before embarrassment prompts both of us to change the subject and emote over the stunning view of the Acropolis instead.
In the always bitter, often ugly, battle over the marbles, nothing has threatened to shift the debate as much as this. Each day, as the 14,000-square-metre building goes up, Athens is literally chipping away at the argument that the sculptures are better off in the sombre Duveen Gallery of the British Museum in London. The New Acropolis Museum, designed by the Swiss-American architect Bernard Tschumi and co-sponsored by the European Union, will finally put paid to the claim that modern Greece has nowhere decent enough to house the remains of its golden age. For the Greeks, it will be the ultimate propaganda tool, more eloquent than any number of complicated legal arguments.
"Soon we'll be able to accelerate efforts for the marbles' return, find a different approach, perhaps a friendlier one," pronounced the Greek culture minister, Georgios Voulgarakis, when he visited the site earlier this year. A consummate politician, Voulgarakis is not one to speak out of turn. In recent weeks, perhaps fearing the "evil eye", he has refused to comment on how Europe's longest-standing cultural row might be handled in the critical months ahead.
But then, in the arena of contested antiquities, events are in many ways moving faster than policies. In his relatively short time in the post, Voulgarakis has had more lucky breaks than any of his counterparts to date - breaks that may well have an impact on the fate of the Par thenon sculptures.
The first came with an unexpected offer to return a chunk of the decorative floral band that once adorned the Erechtheion to Greece. For decades it had been in the possession of Birgit Wiger-Angner, a Swedish woman who had inherited it from her father, who, in turn, had been given it by an uncle, a former naval officer who had acquired the relic on the streets of Athens in 1895. Handing the fragment over this year, Wiger-Angner said that she could not, in good conscience, keep "what rightly belonged to the Greek people".
In July, the world's richest art institution, the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, went further. In a ground-breaking move, it agreed to surrender two prized antiquities to Greece. For years Athens had tried, and failed, to reclaim the artefacts, an ornate 2,400-year-old tombstone and a votive relief dating from the 6th century BC, both removed by looters in the 20th century. But after three months of exhaustive negotiations - and with Greece promising a merry-go-round of other objets d'art on long-term loans - the Getty board announced that "it would be right" to yield the pieces.
This repatriation closely followed not only similar agreements with Italy, but an extra- ordinary decision in February by New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art to return a number of contested items to Rome. Not least of these was the Euphronios krater, its most prized ancient Greek vase, for which trustees paid a sensational $1m in 1972. Announcing the move, the director of the Met, Philippe de Montebello, said that although he remained against restitution, he knew that, in this case, the request for repatriation "was not going to go away".
Then, last month, it was the University of Heidelberg's turn. After years of being beseeched by Athens to hand over the marble fragment of a foot belonging to the Parthenon's northern frieze, the university conceded to the demand. At a ceremony to welcome back the sculpture, Voulgarakis could barely contain his excitement. "The Parthenon marbles have started to come home," he declared. "This is the first time that a request for their return has been accepted. The silent agreement among those in possession of them has been broken."
Culture in transition
There has undeniably been an important change in international cultural policies. Attitudes towards disputed items in museum collections have altered significantly, and dubious acquisitions policies are increasingly being questioned. As prosecutions have grown, restitution claims have flourished both in number and sophistication - testimony, say campaigners, to the growing power of cultural politics in the 21st century. All of which makes a nonsense of the argument that returning the Parthenon marbles would open the floodgates to other claims. The floodgates are opening anyway.
"We see the prevailing cultural environment as one of transition," says Christopher Price, deputy chairman of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, "from one that emphasised ownership, retention and monetary value to a new era in which context and voluntary agreements to co-operate have become the engine of development."
In this spirit, the Greeks have "put aside" the issue of ownership and have proposed instead joint curatorship of the marbles through the establishment of a branch of the British Museum in Athens. And they are willing to be generous. In return, London can have its pick of countless treasures - the British trustees have already been promised any number of Minoan antiquities for a major exhibition in 2009.
"Greece has made it clear that it is seeking collaboration and cultural co-operation for any solution to the reunification of the Parthenon sculptures," says Eleni Cubitt, who has run the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles from her north London home since 1983. "The director of the British Museum will realise that it will be to his own benefit to seek a solution." Already, she says, the cultural establishment has undergone a change of heart - imperceptible but growing - as the benefits of "collaboration" and "joint curatorship" become more apparent. All polls taken over the past decade have shown that a majority of the British public wants the marbles back in Greece. In a September 2002 MORI survey the number of Britons supporting the return of the sculptures exceeded the number who want them kept in London by eight to one.
Yet, despite this - not to mention the common sense of housing all the artefacts belonging to a single structure in one place - the idea of a progressive international cultural policy appears to have bypassed Tony Blair's government. New Labour has preferred to follow the lead of the British Museum and its civil-servant allies at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. For its part, the museum sticks to its argument that the division of the surviving sculptures is of "maximum public benefit for the world at large". Its website claims that this "allows different complementary stories to be told about them, focusing respectively on their importance for Greece's national heritage and world cultural history".
Campaigners for the return of the marbles to Greece say it is dis ingenuous of the government to continue to take its cue from the British Museum when it knows the trustees are against even discussing the matter. "It is the British government and not the British Museum that is responsible for cultural policy," says David Hill, who presides over the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures.
"The carvings were placed in the British Museum by the British government. The government appoints most of the trustees to the museum and is responsible for the legislation that dictates how the museum is run."
The political cowardice over the issue has been matched only by political hypocrisy. Time and again in the 1980s, when Labour MPs could afford to be honest, there was widespread support for the return of the sculptures, with both Neil Kinnock and Michael Foot promising, as opposition leaders, that they would go back.
In 2000, an Economist poll showed that 66 per cent of all MPs would vote for the sculptures to be returned to Athens. Of that figure, 84 per cent were Labour. In 2002, the then minister for health and current minister for culture, David Lammy, went further. In a letter to Professor Anthony Snodgrass, the historian who chairs the UK reunification committee, he wrote: "I would like to take this opportunity to express my support for you and the work of your organisation."
On 10 October, a Commons cultural select committee began taking evidence in an inquiry set up to assist the government on future legislation for museums and cultural property. Among the issues expected to be discussed are art looted during the Holocaust and restitution claims by "first peoples" - claims that have soared since the British Museum, at Blair's prompting, amended its rules to allow the return of indigenous human remains from its collections.
"Blair promised John Howard he would do it during a visit to Australia," says Christopher Price, himself a former Labour MP. "That shows that where there's a will, there's a way." Price insists that the select committee's inquiry offers an opportunity for Labour members to put "real pressure" on the government to come up with a co-operative solution to the Greek marbles.
"If they can do it with bones, then they can do it with stones," he says. "The pressure on Britain to co-operate on this issue is mounting, and it's going to become irresistible when the New Acropolis Museum opens."
Salus civitatis in legibus sita est.
(M. Tullius Cicero, In Verrem 2.1.4, adapted)
The safety of the state is situated in the laws.
pron = SAH-loos kih-wih-TAH-tis in LEG-gih-boos SEE-tah ehst.
Comment: Cicero has in mind the safety of the "state" of Rome, of the
Republic, so we should be careful not to hear him defending individual
rights or civil rights. Those would have been foreign, still, for
him. However, his idea is transferrable. The safety of what a
society values does reside in its laws.
If a society, such as ours, historicaly places great value in things
like due process, the right to face one's accusers, a speedy trial,
and the protection against cruel and unusual punishment, then change
in those laws, according to this proverb, establishes a real threat
against the safety of a society such as ours.
Manifestationes in memoriam
13.10.2006, klo 10.21
Moscuae et Petropoli complures centeni homines in manifestationes congregati Annam Politkovskaja, imagines eius portantes, commemorabant.
Apud sedem legationis Russiae Helsinkiensem circiter mille homines candelis ardentibus memoriam eius vespere diei Dominici colebant.
Societas diurnariorum Russiae ait caedem Annae Politkovskaja velut pectus rei diurnariae Russorum transfixisse.
Scriptorum chorus omnis amat nemus et urbes fugit.
(Horace, Epistulae 2.2.77)
Every chorus of writers loves the grove and flees the cities.
pron = skrip-TOH-room KOH-roos OHM-nihs AH-mat NAY-moos eht OOR-bays FOO-ghit.
Comment: Horace is one of several Roman poets whose poetry was of a different kind than had been the "usual" fare. Epic poetry had been the poetry of the city-state, the vehicle by which proud peoples told their stories of heros and battles. With the images and cadence of epic poetry, they had "explained" their reason for being. They had clarified what was important.
Horace lived through the civil wars that nearly destroyed Rome, fighting for a while on what would appear later to be the losing side. He lost his family's home and property to illegal seizures and in order to live had had to keep silent about it.
He would find a voice, though, in his verses. And often enough, these lighter verses of lyric (but not always bearing light messages) would turn to the beauty of the sacred grove: the trees, the stream, the joy of simply being there. Indeed, here he would have it that the whole chorus of Roman poets has fled the city (the place of epic concern and war) and moved into the quiet and beauty of the grove.
Adversity can overwhelm and destroy a life. It can also open that life to a new vision and a new appreciation for what life means and how it must be lived.
“At some point while I was reading ‘The Odyssey,’ where Odysseus has been shipwrecked and washed up on the rocks and is trying to save himself, I realized that this could be a Caribbean story,” poet Derek Walcott told the press at a luncheon yesterday in Athens.
The poet, playwright and 1992 Nobel laureate in literature is in town to deliver a lecture tonight for the Megaron Plus series at the Athens Concert Hall (see What’s On) and receive an honorary doctorate from Athens University tomorrow.
He was explaining, no doubt for the umpteenth time, what led him to write his epic poem “Omeros.”
“When I began to write ‘Omeros,’ I said don’t do this, because it will lead to these sorts of questions,” he joked.
But the close parallels he observed between the civilizations of the Aegean and the Caribbean, with their stories of ships and fishermen, is a powerful theme threading through his work.
He loved the “freshness, gustiness, wind, sea, light, waves and action” that he found in Homer. “The one image that Homer has given to the world is that of a sail, a ship leaving and coming back,” he said.
Walcott’s own work is steeped in images of the sea and of the lives and dreams that grow on it and around it. Some poems hark back overtly to Homer, as in “Archipelagoes,” from “Map of the New World”:
At the end of this sentence, rain will begin. / At the rain’s edge, a sail. // Slowly the sail will lose sight of the islands; / into a mist will go the belief in harbors / of an entire race. // The ten-years war is finished. Helen’s hair a gray cloud. / Troy, a white ashpit / by the drizzling sea. // The drizzle tightens like the strings of a harp. / A man with clouded eyes picks up the rain / and plucks the first line of the Odyssey./
Elsewhere, as in this excerpt “Adios, Carenage” from “The Schooner Flight,” the tale is still timeless but the scene and the language are redolent of the Caribbean:
In idle August, while the sea soft, / and leaves of brown islands stick to the rim / of this Caribbean, I blow out the light / by the dreamless face of Maria Concepcion / to ship as a seaman on the schooner ‘Flight,’ / Out in the yard turning gray in the dawn. / I stood like a stone and nothing else move / but the cold sea rippling like galvanize / and the nail holes of stars in the sky roof // till a wind start to interfere with the trees.
Walcott’s artful incorporation of the vernacular among the multiple registers in his verse was a challenge for his Greek translators. Katerina Anghelaki-Rooke and Stefanos Papadopoulos, who have done a marvelous job of translating his poems into Greek for Kastaniotis publishers. Anghelaki-Rooke and Papadopoulos worked on Walcott’s poems together for three months. They chose not to employ an equivalent for the Caribbean element, said Anghelaki-Rooke, because it would have been impossible to convey the flavor by means of some Greek dialect.
Choosing which poems to translate was a tough task, she said, with a strict limit on the size of the book. But one of the criteria, wisely, was to select poems that would work in Greek.
One hopes that the next edition of the volume will get some more meticulous proofreading to weed out solecisms like dual spellings of the author’s and one translator’s names.
Asked about the burden of the poetic past, Walcott sympathized with Greek writers: “It must be tough to be a Greek poet, having to deal with the weight of all that stuff,” he said. “Any young Greek poet who lifts a pen is lifting a column.”
The living room echoed with the syllables of a long-dead language as members of the Princeton Latin table greet a new arrival, wet and bedraggled from the driving rain outside. He serves himself from a table of food that sits in front of a Virgil-stuffed bookshelf.
"What we're taught about Latin is so much focusing on reading proficiency," said Leah Whittington GS, the founder of the table, as her new guest sat down. "But the more I internalize it, the more it's my own language, the better reader I become of Virgil and Horace and all the Latin authors I love."
The table usually meets in Chancellor Green and has 10 to 12 attendees, but once a month the students meet informally in a more intimate setting, in this case, Whittington's living room.
Will Sullivan '09 is the only undergraduate regular at the Latin Table. "It's one of the few places where you can have a real intellectual home that's not graded," he said.
Most of the participants at the table last night trained in spoken Latin with Father Reginald Foster, who, as the Vatican Latin Secretary, translates the Pope's edicts into Latin. Foster hosts a free Latin course each summer on Janiculum Hill in Rome.
John Kuhner '98, the sole Princeton alum at the table and now a Latin teacher at the Delbarton School in Morristown, N.J., took Foster's course as an undergrad. Yet he said he had been doubtful about the prospects for a Princeton Latin Table when Whittington first floated the idea. "I never thought it was possible here because [the University] is so small," he said.
As an undergraduate at Harvard, Whittington had already founded a Latin table there. Subsidized by Harvard's classics department, the Latin table met weekly in a Bertucci's restaurant in Harvard Square.
"I went to the Harvard Latin Table because they had free pizza," said Anna Dolganov GS, who attended Harvard a few years behind Whittington, before coming to Princeton. "But this is far superior."
"The level of conversation here is very high because people have been practicing a long time," Whittington said, noting that the Harvard table was largely made up of undergraduates with limited speaking experience.
Conversations at the Latin Table embody the major controversies of modern spoken Latin. Thanks to a year of study in Italy, one regular member speaks ecclesiastical Latin, which uses pronunciation similar to that used in medieval church liturgy. The rest of the table, on the other hand, speaks Erasmian Latin, closer to the way Latin was spoken in ancient Rome.
The other great controversy is how to translate modern words into Latin. Pizza, for instance, can just be "pizza," Whittington said. But another technique is to find an existing Latin word that is similar to the object in question. In this case, pizza can also be "laganum," an ancient Roman word for a piece of flat bread.
"Once you learn [to speak Latin]," participant Rosa Andujar GS said, "you wonder why everyone doesn't learn Latin this way."
Whittington said she was "totally thrilled" by the success of the table. "I love it. It's so exciting to do a new thing, and now I get to do it right a second time."
The greatest gods of Greek mythology are all equipped with valuable accessories. Zeus has his lighting bolts, Poseidon has his trident and Thomas Winter, a professor of classics and religious studies, has his skateboard.
Winter, who is 62-years-old, has been skateboarding for about 15 years. Originally, Winter wanted skates that could be easily mounted and dismounted. He took the base and wheels of a pair of old fashioned roller skates and fixed them to an 'L'-shaped tube. Winter could stand on the two bases and hold them onto his feet by pulling up on the tube. He eventually came to realize that he only needed to use one foot and that the tube was unnecessary.
So I just took a skate platform with the wheels under it and put some skateboard duct tape on it.
"I'd step on it very carefully, scoot a couple of times and roll," Winter said. "And thus was born the world's smallest skateboard."
Winter still has "the world's smallest skateboard," except the variation of it that he has today is made from a child's roller skate that allows for tighter turns.
The next logical step was to get an actual skateboard, Winter said. While he does prefer to get around under his own power, whether it is by bicycle, roller skates, inline skates or even ice skates, Winter understands that a car is necessary when he has a lot of errands to run downtown.
"Usually I'd throw a bicycle in the trunk and then bicycle from wherever I was able to find a parking place," Winter said.
Winter eventually realized that it would be a lot easier to replace the bicycle with a skateboard.
"I was having so much fun skateboarding from wherever the heck I parked to the campus and then from the campus to where I parked that I found myself doing two things: whishing that I'd parked farther away and making excuses to drive so I could have some skateboard fun," Winter said.
Winter has never had any trouble while skateboarding on campus except for heavy traffic. Students never give him any problems, and professors and other faculty have never expressed any objection to it either.
One professor was amazed that Winter would do this at his age. Winter looks at it a little differently.
"I think it's a good thing at my age to still be limber enough that I can balance on a skateboard of any size," Winter said.
Winter has received a very positive reaction from students. One student told Winter that his skateboarding is a good way to distinguish older students from newer students: Winter will skate by older students with no reaction at all, while newer students will stare at him in amazement with their jaws open.
"When I first saw him I thought it was a little out of control," said Andrew Hover, a sophomore German major at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a student in Winter's Classics 180 course. "I'm used to it now, and it's just another ordinary thing on campus."
One thing that is extremely important to Winter is staying fit and active for his entire life. After the death of his brother, who was 340 pounds at the time of his death when he suffered from his third heart attack, Winter realized it was a message he needed to get across to his students.
"There was a student who told me that seeing me roll by made him think about staying fit himself," Winter said. " 'Look at him at his age' was the sort of thought. From time to time, I permit myself to think of myself as - watch out, here comes a pun - a role model."
Nelson poet Cliff Fell found Dylan had used lines from prolific Roman poet Ovid on his album Modern Times, recorded this year.
Last weekend he received an e-mail from New Zealand-born Harvard University professor Richard Thomas congratulating him on the findings and saying he would include them in his lectures and a book he was writing.
He teaches courses on the classics, including Ovid, and on Dylan.
Fell said he stumbled across the borrowed lines when he was studying for a poem he was writing about Ovid.
He said two of Dylan's songs, Workingman's Blues and Ain't Talking, lifted translated lines from Tristia, a book of poems by Ovid.
For example, Fell compared Dylan's line "no one can ever claim that I took up arms against you" from Workingman's Blues with Ovid's "My cause is better: no one can claim that I ever took up arms against you".
None of this explains the popularity of Roman novels with readers. Part of the answer is clear: readers like to be entertained by strong narratives, larger-than-life characters and dramatic confrontations. But why are more novels written about Rome than about Tsarist Russia—where you also find those things? Why Julius Caesar and Augustus rather than Louis XIV or even Napoleon—subject of innumerable biographies but few novels?
I would hazard this explanation. However dimly or unconsciously, there persists the idea that Greece and Rome matter, that they are part of our inheritance. Salvatore Settis quotes John Stuart Mill writing in 1859: "The battle of Marathon, even as an event in English history, is more important than the battle of Hastings. If the issue of that day had been different… the Britons and Saxons might still be wandering in the woods." "This image," Settis writes, "of Greek history as universal history requires the Romans not just as cultural intermediaries but as the institutional, military and administrative structure by which the Roman empire created the right context for 'classical' culture to put down roots." Though Settis casts some doubt on the validity of this view, and draws attention to the "superficial" nature of much contemporary interest in the classical past, there nevertheless remains, even in our global cultural economy, something of the sense that we grew out of Greece and Rome. People may have only a vague notion as to the exact nature of our debt to antiquity. They may be—indeed, must be—further from understanding classical culture than those belonging to earlier generations, whose education was dominated by Greek and Roman texts. Nevertheless, Greece and Rome continue in some way to matter as other periods of history, and other cultures, do not. Those of us who write and read novels set in the ancient world are striving to absorb something of its significance. Our novels may offer only a shadowy representation of the reality of Greece and Rome, but even that shadowy version is preferable to classical culture being submerged in the dark.
Bulgaria is seeking enhanced support from UNESCO and the EU funds to protect its relics and treasures from Thracian times.
A project worth EUR 3 M will seek European funding for the construction of a museum, a visitors center and tourist paths on Perperikon - an ancient sanctuary in the bosom of the Rhodopes.
Archeologists Georgi Kitov and Nikolay Ovcharov held a press conference Wednesday reporting on their impressions from a visit to France. They attended the inauguration of Bulgarian golden treasures' exhibition in a Paris museum.
The two said UNESCO Secretary-General Koichiro Matsuura has promised to allot USD 25,000 for reconstruction of Perperikon complex and Tatul tomb damaged by recent hard earth shatters in the area.
The world's heritage caretaking organization is also considering the idea of pronouncing the Valley of the Kings, near Kazanluk, a collective monument of cultural heritage.
Since 1984, art and archaeology professor William Childs '64 GS '71 has awoken most summer mornings at 4:15, early enough to buy fresh bread for the students he brought to Cyprus to excavate the ancient city of Marion.
The purpose of the dig, which was completed this year, was to determine the earliest points of interaction between the Cypriot copper mining center and ancient Greece. While previous research had found that trade between the two areas had developed by the sixth century B.C.E. and was strong into the fourth century, Childs and his group looked for potential Greek influence as far back as the ninth century.
Childs began the program primarily as a teaching tool for his students, more than 100 of whom have taken part over the years.
"We meant to continue the long tradition, since the 19th century, of training students to dig," Childs said.
While in Cyprus, Childs and his fellow archeologists, along with graduate and undergraduate students, reached the dig site by 5:45 a.m. to await the arrival of the sun and local "dig boys" who assisted in the excavation. For the next three-and-a-half hours, the group dug through the trenches, finding coins, lamps and terracotta shards.
"A lot of what you do in archaeology is kind of monotonous, lots of meticulous note taking," said Marya Grupsmith '07, a classics major who participated in the most recent dig. "But when someone finds something exciting ... everyone would come racing over."
After a half-hour break for "second breakfast," one of the five meals they ate daily, team members dug for another three hours before stopping to escape the afternoon sun and temperatures that often exceeded 100 degrees. With those six-and-a-half hours of digging per day, the group extensively excavated five sites, whose origins ranged from 312 B.C.E. — when Marion was destroyed by Ptolemy — to the eighth century.
The ancient city of Hadrianoupolis, located in the Black Sea province of Karabük, has a veritable zoo portrayed in ceramic on its crumbling walls, reported the Anatolia news agency.
Speaking to Anatolia, archaeologist and Hadrianoupolis excavations head Ergun Lafl said they have found unique mosaics during excavations at the site.
Noting that Hadrianoupolis, or Paphlagonia in ancient times, was established in the first century B.C. and was inhabited until the eigth century, he said the site was the region's largest province of the period.
He said this year's excavations focused on four major areas called Bath A, Early Byzantine Church A, Byzantine Church B and Rome Tomb, adding: "The excavations we conducted earlier this summer in the center of the ancient city uncovered 13 main sections of a Roman period bath as well as unique mosaics featuring many animal figures, such as horse, elephant, panther and deer. Some of the mosaics depict 12 species of bird. The mosaics are as magnificent as the mosaics unearthed in the ancient city of Zeugma in Gaziantep."
Lafl said the depictions of animal figures on mosaics were excellent and unique samples of mosaic art from the late Roman period.
"The mosaics show the importance of the region in terms of late Roman period mosaic art," he added.
MUCH less publicised than the touristy destinations of Delphi and Olympia, Ancient Messene is by no means a poor relative. An important Hellenistic centre - often referred to as "the city of statues" for having yielded a rich crop of marble sculptures - the Peloponnesian city, founded in 369BC when Epaminondas restored Messenians to their country, has turned out to be an inexhaustible treasury that continues to reveal its secrets.
The ancient city is situated at the foot of mount Ithome, where an 8th-7th century BC settlement had already existed prior to Messene's founding. The mountain's summit is crowned by the Monastery of Voulkano, a 16th-century convent which was built over the strategically placed sanctuary of Zeus Ithomatas, Messina's patron god. Nestled between the mountain and the ancient site is the well-watered village of Mavromatti, the base since 1987 of an archaeological team that, under the auspices of the Archaeological Society of Athens and the supervision of Crete University professor Petros Themelis, has been conducting excavation and restoration works on the site.
"Pausanias is our main source," Themelis told the Athens News. The traveller and geographer who set foot in Messene in the middle of the 2nd century AD is known for his precise and detailed descriptions of the ancient cities of the Peloponnese, Attica and Boeotia. Nevertheless, there are a few inconsistencies which Themelis believes can be put down to the traveller's processing of his draft notes into a fully-fledged account of his impressions following the end of his wanderings. "Until recently we have been led to believe that the sanctuary of Messene [one of the principal deities of the city together with Zeus Ithomatas] was in the wider area of Asklepieion," said Themelis, "but now we have identified it in the Agora."
At the moment, restoration work is a priority because of the crew's commitments with the Third Community Support Framework which involve the site's delivery to the public by the end of 2007, complete with suggested routes, a ticket kiosk, snack bar and toilet facilities. Nevertheless, excavations continue in the Agora. Digs at the Agora's northern side that started four years ago have uncovered a colossal portico. The stoa is 186m long, its northeastern corner surviving in pristine condition. Approximately four times the size of the Asklepieion, the Agora, Themelis' team believes, is Messene's future and is expected to play a vital role towards the site's unification. "The Agora is vast. It is the only part that hasn't been excavated thoroughly and is open to future generations of archaeologists," said Themelis.
An important sanctuary which has been identified but has not been excavated yet is that of Isis, the Egyptian deity associated with fertility - and elsewhere the protectress of sailors - who was also adopted in the Mediterranean region. "We started digging," said Themelis, "but upon realising that this massive sanctuary - which is the size of Asklepieion - will yield hundreds of sculptures and other finds we decided to stop for the time being. We plan to return once the restoration work is completed and time will not be as scarce." Two sanctuaries on the slopes of Ithome, one attributed to Artemis Limnatis, the other still unnamed, are also expected to reveal more about the ancient city in the future.
The team came across new cults - such as the one of Dionysus - which are not even mentioned in Pausanias' writings. Among the Hellenistic sculptures that adorned the mainly Roman theatre was the pedestal of a now lost bronze statue whose inscription revealed that it was commissioned by a Dionysia contest organiser. "We have been searching for a Dionysus sanctuary in the vicinity of the theatre as we have indications that the theatre often hosted performances in the god's honour," said Themelis.
As opposed to the lesser known finds, Messene's monumental Arcadian gate, which has been repeatedly depicted on engravings, is one of the city's landmarks, providing an outstanding example of 4th century BC military architecture. Consisting of an outer and an inner gate - the former one being protected on either side by two square-shaped towers - the city's north gate, which connected Messene with Arcadia and Megalopolis was recently given the Europa Nostra award for outstanding conservation work. As part of a restoration project set to be completed in the next two years, a German team of helpers is currently surveying Messene's 9.5km-long fortifications.
The city's uniqueness lies in the fact that unlike other archaeological sites like Olympia and Delphi whose role was confined to adoration purposes, Messene was not a religious centre alone but a fully-developed city with a social and political life of its own. Furthermore, its habitation was permanent throughout the centuries despite its apparent decline in the 4th century AD. "Messene knew prosperity even in the devastating Roman times," numismatist Kleanthis Sidiropoulos who has been working with Themelis for over two decades now told the Athens News. Though it was no longer a city by then, it continued to exist as a dispersed village even during the Frankish occupation. "Habitation in the ancient city ceased with the Ottoman occupation when the population moved to the modern village of Mavromatti," said Sidiropoulos.
Benefactors played an important role in Messene's prosperity during Roman times. In Messene at the time lived a family of great financial and political power which even gave birth to a senator. The Saethidas family financed the conservation of the 3rd century BC marble and granite Hellenistic theatre whose capacity can be compared to that of Epidaurus, restoring it, thus, to its past glory. An inscription which runs in the form of a sequel on two neighbouring pedestals documents the family's contribution to the revival of the theatre and other public buildings.
An impressive three-storey-high proscenium was added to the monument in the 2nd century AD, as it comes out from the pedestals of decorative sculptures representing members of the Saethidas family and Roman emperors. As part of the crew's restoration work in the theatre area, architectural fragments that have fallen in the orchestra have been numbered, photographed and transferred to the area behind the theatre so that they can be studied and eventually restored to their initial position. Many pieces had been broken and left behind. Missing parts which were stolen from the theatre when it was no longer in use were obviously incorporated into adjacent constructions like the nearby 9th century AD basilica.
This 'recycling' of construction material was particularly popular in the early Byzantine years. Heads of statues were chopped off and metal joints were taken from stones to be used anew. The Arsinoe fountain house, a public building of decorative character which consisted of three shallow cisterns, is a striking example of this widespread practice. "In the poor years of decay, fragments of the fountain and the theatre were used for the construction of a watermill which has a colonnade in place of a wall. We have even found the miller's savings, a hoard of 246 coins," said Sidiropoulos.
The recently identified sanctuary of the city heroine, Messene, has acquired political significance. The sanctuary was full of inscriptions associated with the founding of the city, the distribution of land and public life. The most important of these, which served as a pedestal for a bronze sculptural group of Dioscouroi, documents by means of four resolutions the collision between the inhabitants of Messene and Megalopolis over border disputes which required the intervention of judges from Miletus.
Another unusual find in the vicinity of the Messene sanctuary involved the uncovering of skeletal material that belonged to children and dogs together with fragments of the vessels in which they had been buried. When the cemetery in which they were buried was dissolved for reasons that Themelis' team of archaeologists is not aware of, the bones of the children and their companion animals were transferred to an area which was considered sacred so as not to disrespect the dead.
The greatest part of the Asklepieion complex, the site's best preserved area, was brought to light as a result of the excavation activities of Anastasios Orlandos from 1957 to 1974. A sanctuary of Demeter on the Asklepieion's northwestern side certifies to the area's use as a place of worship from as early as the 7th century BC. Built in honour of Asklepios - who was acknowledged not only as a healer but as the founder of the city - the sanctuary is a unified construction, with Asklepios' temple and altar at its centre, standing out for its symmetry. Nowhere else in Greece do we encounter a complex of stoas with an interior and an exterior row of columns which are both of the Corinthian type.
A Doric column, which was unearthed by Orlandos and was later studied by Themelis, was an offering by seven Greek cities, including Melos and Kythnos, in honour of Damophon. The most important sculptor of the late Hellenistic period in southern Greece Damophon had created all Asklepieion sculptures with the exception of a bronze statue of Epaminondas. At the eastern wing of the complex, the Bouleutirion was associated with the city's public and private life, while the most important room (oikos) of the western wing was dedicated to the cult of Artemis. The rectangular building at the south of the Asklepieion has been identified as a Hellenistic bath.
Forming a single architectural unit, the Gymnasium and the Stadium were where Messenian youth trained along with being instructed in mathematics, philosophy and poetry. Works carried out in the Gymnasium include the collapsed columns' restoration to their initial place and the shaping of the Stadium. Of particular interest are two funerary monuments which are currently being restored. Broken sarcophagi were found in one of these two monuments which was attributed to the influential Saethidas family. Protruding from the city walls like a bastion, "the Heroon functioned as a tower at the end of the city," said Sidiropoulos. "In the same way that the family was a tower for the city," he said, "their grave assumed the place of a tower in the fortifications." The other funerary monument is cone-shaped and resembles a Japanese pagoda. The monument was demolished by the so-called metal hunters but the dispersed pieces have been recovered including the stone door. Unfortunately the graves were partly looted.
Some of the city's most impressive excavated sculptures are exhibited at the Mavromatti museum. On display is a Roman copy of a Hermes statue from the west stoa of the Gymnasium - the original being attributed to the school of Praxiteles - and some of Damophon's statues such as the larger-than-life head of Theban Heracles and his left foot, and statues of the young girls who served as the initiates of Artemis. Also on show is a statue of Isis Pelagia (meaning from the Open Sea) depicted on the prow of a boat as the protectress of sailors, a Roman copy of Artemis Laphria (the Hunter) and the rare statue of a late Roman emperor (perhaps Constantine the Great), a globe in his left hand, the work of a local atelier which used a Hellenistic female statue as raw material.
"Excavations in the last 20 years have yielded 15,000 finds and are pretty soon expected to rise to 17,000 finds," said Themelis. "It's what we refer to as 'the revenge of the helots'. Though ancient Sparta is lost in time, Messene managed through its finds to re-emerge from the past." This figure does not include coins, some 8,000 finds. "Mostly Hellenistic and Roman coins were found either in isolation or in hoards and span a vast geographical area from Italy to Asia Minor and from Macedonia to Egypt and Northern Africa," said Sidiropoulos.
"At the moment we are flooded with finds and space is lacking in both the museum's exhibition and storage areas," said Themelis. "The only remedy is to dig less intensely," he said, adding that there are plans for a new 3,000 square metre museum outside the ancient city which will give the site the exposure that it deserves.
mors ianua vitae.
Death is the portal to life.
pron = mohrs IAH-noo-ah WEE-tai.
Comment: Based on what I have been able to find (very little) about this proverb, it apparently comes from pre-Christian Rome. In other
words, some Romans held the belief that death was an entry way into
another dimension of life. Christians appropriated the saying
themselves. Metal rock groups have made whole albums out of this
Latin proverb. One group calls itself by the proverb, and another song
spins out multiple verses about how death will unite the singer to the
I only summarize these to point out that there is not an "obvious"
meaning or angle to this proverb.
The first of November approaches. Ancient peoples, Romans and their
Gallic, Celtic and Germanic neighbors to the north to name a few,
celebrated Oct. 31-Nov 2 as a thinning of the veil between this world
and the other worlds. During those three days they experienced their
ancestors walking among them. It was a time to commune with the
dead,but not too much! Romans cleansed their houses with fava beans,
took food and wine to the graves of their dead and feasted with them,
but also asked them to keep their distance. Centuries later,
Christians adapted these holidays into All Saints and All Souls days.
As the trees turn their colors and the air grows cooler for us in the
norther hemisphere, we might allow these signs of things dying to help
us reflect on what life has brought us, what letting go might mean,
what waking up on the other side of winter's death might bring, and
then just be here, in the Fall, and live into death as it comes to our
part of the earth. Sound macabre? No death (winter), no spring.
Death, from an earth-centered view--really is the portal to life.
Sir, A decade ago the antiquities market in London was, in effect, unregulated — one former minister described it as a “thieves’ kitchen”.
Since then the UK has ratified the 1970 Unesco Convention on Illicit Antiquities, and Parliament has passed the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003, and one hoped that matters had significantly improved.
However, Bonhams the auctioneer has this week put on display at its galleries in Bond Street the Sevso Treasure, one of the most notorious assemblages of antiquities without known provenance to surface in recent years.
Had these 14 pieces of late Roman silver been dug up after 2003, to offer such antiquities for sale would possibly be an offence under the Act, at any rate if the present owner knew from what country they had been exported.
In the mid-1990s a court in New York awarded possession to the current owner, the Marquess of Northampton. However, this was because the claimants, the governments of Hungary, Lebanon and Croatia, whose land was part of the Roman Empire, had not made a sufficient case for the silver. Therefore, I believe that the matter of rightful ownership is still fully to be clarified. The Hungarian Government still claims the Sevso Silver and is pursuing the matter.
Presumably the British Government would find it difficult to grant an export licence for the Sevso Silver if there were any move to export it, yet for any museum in Britain to put it on view would offend the Museum Association’s code of ethics. It is an affront to public decency that a commercial dealer should do so — even if many archaeologists, such as myself, will take the opportunity of going to inspect it.
Is it not now time that the marquess tried to determine from which country it was originally exported, apparently without legal export permit, and took steps to return it to its land of origin?
EMERITUS PROFESSOR LORD RENFREW OF KAIMSTHORN
McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research
A fifth-century B.C. statue of the goddess Aphrodite held court in Rome yesterday as the trial of a former curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and an American antiquities dealer resumed after a long summer hiatus. Fausto Guarnieri, who once worked for Italy’s art-theft squad, testified that nearly 20 years ago tomb robbers led him to a site in Sicily where the statue had been dug up. The limestone-and-marble sculpture, now a highlight of the Getty Museum’s antiquities collection in Malibu, Calif., forms part of the case against the former curator, Marion True, who is accused of dealing in stolen artifacts. Italy has also demanded that the statue be returned. But Ms. True’s lawyers argued that after Italy was officially advised in 1988 that the Getty Museum had acquired the statue, its government showed little interest in the Aphrodite’s origins for almost two decades. “Italy never questioned the purchase,” said one of the defense lawyers, Francesco Isolabella. “Now, years later, it’s become a crime.” The trial is being closely watched by American museums whose antiquities collections are also in the sights of Italian prosecutors.
Among the world's most famous cat haters were Genghis Khan, Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon and Hitler. This gives you a good idea of what kinds of people hate cats. Mohammed, Leonardo da Vinci, Abraham Lincoln, Florence Nightingale, Sir Winston Churchill, and Albert Schweitzer are among the most famous cat lovers.
A LARGE number of ancient stone anchors have been found off the coast of Cyprus near a temple dedicated to Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, suggesting it was once one of the most commonly visited places in the eastern Mediterranean.
The Sanctuary of Aphrodite, nine miles east of the bustling resort of Paphos, was for centuries renowned as the centre of the cult surrounding the goddess.
It was probably the leading tourist attraction of the ancient world. The cache of anchors is likely to have been formed when they snapped free of their docked ships during storms.
A local spear fisherman alerted archaeologists last year to the anchors, most of which are in very good condition.
The construction of proper harbours began only in the fourth century BC, during the Hellenistic Period.
Herodotus, the ancient historian, recorded a custom by which every woman had to give herself once to the service of Aphrodite by waiting in her sanctuary until a stranger came to make love to her. The practice was regarded as a solemn religious duty, not an act of lustful indulgence.
Herodotus uncharitably claimed that while "tall, handsome" pilgrim women soon managed to get home again, "ugly ones" would have to wait for three or four years before fulfilling their duty.
But sailors had another reason to pay their respects to Aphrodite and bring offerings: she was the protector of seafarers for whom Cyprus was a trading centre linking east and west.
Archaeologists found some 120 anchors which have yet to be raised and dated but archaeologists are confident some are from the late Bronze Age, 1650 to 1100BC, and will cast new light on ancient trading patterns and settlements.
"This anchorage will also help us understand sea-borne trade between Cyprus and the countries of the Middle East," said Dr Sophocles Hadjisavvas, managing director of the Thetis foundation, which is committed to protecting Cyprus' underwater cultural heritage and sponsored the investigation.
The finds should also deepen knowledge of trade within the island itself, when the absence of roads meant goods were mostly transported by ships hugging the coast.
The project was directed by Duncan Howitt-Marshall, who is working on a PhD on Cypriot maritime archaeology at Magdalene College, Cambridge.
Because the anchors have yet to be raised, archaeologists are reluctant to give their precise location but say the nearest village is Kouklia, site of the ancient city of Palea Paphos.
Nearby is Petra tou Romiou, where a towering rock soars from the sea off a pebbly beach. This is Aphrodite's legendary birthplace where, according to the poet Hesiod, she emerged from sea foam whipped up by the sun-god Uranus.
The painter Botticelli celebrated her more decorously. His Birth of Venus shows her wafting to shore naked on a scallop shell, her hands well-placed to protect her modesty.
No evidence of construction has been discovered at the site of the anchors. "On land, there are some buildings probably related to this anchorage," Dr Hadjisavvas said.
The anchorage is likely to have declined as a trading hub as it silted up. Writers in the Roman period speak of pilgrims arriving at the sanctuary in a procession by land from Paphos, by then the site of a large man-made harbour.
Eighth wonder of world?
THE temple of Aphrodite on Cyprus may have been a popular stopping-off point for travellers, but for some reason it failed to make the official tourist guide for the ancient world.
The Seven Wonders of the World was compiled in the 2nd century BC by Antipater of Sidon as a guidebook for early tourists.
The list was designed to tell people about the most extraordinary places to visit in the known world without travelling into potentially dangerous areas.
According to Antipater, the best sights on offer were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Walls of Babylon, the Temple at Ephesus and the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, both in modern-day Turkey, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia in Greece and the Great Pyramid in Egypt. Later, the list was updated, with the Lighthouse at Alexandria replacing the Walls of Babylon. All apart from the Great Pyramid were destroyed by fire or earthquakes.
The idea has inspired other "Seven Wonders" lists, which have included landmarks such as the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal, as well as modern feats such as the Channel Tunnel and the Empire State Building.
Studies conducted by the executive committee of Bisotun world heritage site revealed the existence of several springs inside the mountain on which several ancient reliefs and friezes including an inscription denoted to Darius the Great, the Achaemenid king, have been carved, posing serious threats to this archeological site. This is while Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) has not yet considered any budget to protect these historic evidences. Cultural heritage experts have repeatedly warned that negligence toward the problems Bisotun is currently dealing with would result in destruction of this 2500-year-old historical site.
Darius' inscription is only one of many inscriptions carved on this mountain. It marks the birth of the ancient Persian alphabet and is one of the most invaluable cultural evidences of the Achaemenid dynastic period (550 BC–330 BC).
According to Abdolazim Shahkarami, geophysicist and member of Bisotun's executive committee, penetration of water into the horizontal cracks in the inscription has caused serious damages to this world heritage site. "Restoring the cracks to prevent the leaking of water, and scraping and restoring the stone slab that is located on top of the inscription to prevent the flow of water and mire onto the inscription are among the most important measures which must be taken as soon as possible to save the inscription of Bisotun. We are still waiting for the budget to start the salvation project of Bisotun's inscription," said Shahkarami.
Shahkarami emphasized that restoring the stone slab which was placed above the inscription to protect it from being eroded by water is the first priority in saving the Bisotun inscription since this stone itself is being destroyed due to natural causes and needs to be repaired.
According to Maliheh Mehdiabadi, director of Bisotun mega project, the request for allocation of budget to restoration works on Bisotun was submitted to ICHTO more than two months ago; however, the Organization has not responded to this request yet.
Located 30 kilometers northeast of Kermanshah, the historical site of Bisotun consists of numerous valuable historical remains such as the Median Temple, Darius the Great's relief and frieze, Seleucid statue of Hercules, and the Sassanid monument of Bisotun. It is considered a unique historical site in Iran. The most important features of the complex are its Babylonian and Elamite cuneiforms.
Last July, Bisotun was registered in the list of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites based on a decision made by the World Heritage Committee on its 30th session, held in Lithuania. Bisotun is the 8th Persian heritage inscribed in UNESCO's list.
Every October Fr. Reginald has a first meeting for his new and former Latin students in his popular upper classroom at the Gregoriana. Typically, over one-hundred Latin students from all over the world are gathered.
This year, the class meeting was a little different. Today, Fr. Foster announced with great regret that his renowned Latin program would no longer be held there, after over thirty years, as per the Jesuit administration.
"Last Saturday evening," he explained, "We received a scrambled e-mail at my residence in Rome (the Teresianum), not addressed to me, but to my superior." The letter explained that, "Fr. Foster would be no longer teaching Latin at the Gregoriana."
The administration had cancelled Fr. Foster's Latin program and substituted another class for that time-slot. Their reason was cryptic: "Too many students are taking Fr. Foster's Latin without paying tuition." True, many of the students were not registered with the Univeristy, but everyone knew how renowned this Latin program was while drawing latinists from all over the world.
Yes, OK, I have cheated. I admit it. It was only once, I was about 15, and I justified it to my conscience on the grounds that the wheeze was simply brilliant. I was asked to translate a piece of English prose into Latin, and it happened that the passage was from Plutarch who wrote - as every Education Guardian reader knows - in Greek. Suddenly I had an idea. There was an old and largely deserted school library, full of calfskin volumes of prodigious antiquity.
I was certain that mouldering somewhere would be a translation of Plutarch from Greek into Latin. It would be a beautiful thing, lovingly inscribed and illuminated, and so completely irrelevant that no one would even have opened it for about 300 years.
In a fever of excitement, I started fantasising about that monkish feat of scholarship, and the gorgeous Latin with which the translator would have rendered Plutarch: so concise, so pungent, so euphonious. And it would be mine! I could see the pipe of my teacher, the great Mr Hammond, falling from his lips as he beheld the fluency of my constructions.
So after rugby I stole into the library and, together with my friend Garrood, I started scouring the thousands of gold-chased spines. I could see the librarian watching us with mounting suspicion. And then, blow me down, there it was! Plutarch in Latin, exactly as I had predicted. Snorting with laughter, we transcribed it, and handed it in.
I will never forget my disbelief when we got our marks. The flaming monk had obviously been nodding over his scriptorium. Beta/alpha was the verdict, and Mr Hammond's view of the monk's efforts was that "apart from the obvious howlers, much of this runs very nicely".
Howlers, eh! Well, Mr Monk, I said to myself, than you very much. I don't know what things must have been coming to in the Middle Ages, when your average monk couldn't even translate Plutarch. I found the whole thing so laborious, so depressing and so counter-productive that I never once tried cheating again.
It's not just the terror of being found out. The reason most of us don't cheat in our academic work is that you feel so dissatisfied. You are not just cheating your teachers and the rest of your class and your future employers. You are cheating yourself. You haven't really assembled the work, you don't understand how it fits together, and you lack the pride and interest of real authorship.
One of the most beautiful and infamous treasure hoards of the 20th century, 14 pieces of Roman-era silver of staggering quality, will resurface today on display in London, to the consternation of leading archaeologists who regard it as archaeological loot.
Although Bonhams auction house, which will display the Sevso Hoard, insists no sale is planned, the Marquess of Northampton who bought the silver for an undisclosed sum in the 1980s recently said he "hopes" the silver will be sold, and that it has "cursed" his family. It now belongs to a trust he founded.
But the Hungarian government has written to Bonhams to protest at the exhibition and reiterate its claim that the silver was found on Hungarian soil and illegally exported from the country.
Lord Renfrew, retired professor of archaeology at Cambridge, an expert on illicit antiquities, said: "It looks very much as if it is being touted about again. Whether anyone can actually prove it, it is pretty sure that it was looted, and as such it ranks as tainted goods. This is very distasteful."
The Sevso Treasure, with a notional value of more than £100m, had probably already passed through the hands of several dealers before it came to London in the early 1980s, and was bought by the marquess on the advice of the late Peter Wilson, a former deputy chairman of the auction firm Sotheby's.
It is believed by many archaeologists to have been illicitly excavated in Hungary and smuggled out of the country in the late 1970s, and to have cost the life of at least one man. It was last seen in public in 1990, when a planned Sotheby's auction was abandoned after Hungary, Yugoslavia and Lebanon all claimed but failed to prove ownership through the US courts, which found that the marquess was the legal owner.
The marquess, whose estates include more than 30,000 acres and magnificent stately homes in Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, sued his legal advisers after the Sotheby's auction was abandoned, and received a substantial but undisclosed settlement out of court.
The 14 pieces of fabulous silver include four enormous platters, the size of bin lids, each containing up to a stone of pure silver. They may have been made in a Greek workshop for a staggeringly wealthy Roman client, possibly the Sevso who gave the hoard its name in the inscription: "May these, O Sevso, yours for many ages be, small vessels fit to serve your offspring worthily."
The Hungarians believe the silver was found in the late 1970s by Jozsef Sumegh, then a 22-year-old quarryman. He was found hanged in 1980. He is believed to have first hidden the pieces, then sold them on the black market. His death was first explained as suicide, but the Hungarian authorities now believe he was murdered - possibly to extinguish the origins of the silver.
Bonhams will show the silver at private viewings in London. The glossy invitations, sent to collectors, academics and archaeologists, describe it as "the finest surviving collection of ancient silver known to exist".
A spokesman for Bonhams said: "We think it's an astonishing collection, obviously, and we're very flattered to be asked to show it. There is enormous academic interest in this silver, but it has been locked in a vault for the last 16 years. It seems better to us to put it on display than to have it locked away, and we are thrilled and privileged to be given the opportunity to do that."
Roger Bland, a former coins expert at the British Museum, head of the portable antiquities scheme for recording archaeological finds, was astounded when his invitation arrived. "It is very difficult to see what Bonhams hope to achieve through this private viewing. Under [government] guidelines for museums no UK museum could ever acquire or even borrow it. I think the circumstantial evidence points strongly to its having come from Hungary, and I hope that it goes back there and is put on show for public benefit."
The pieces resemble those found near Lake Balaton in the 19th century, now in the national museum in Budapest, and one is engraved Pelso, the Roman name for the lake.
In Budapest Eva Hajdu, responsible for the Sevso case within the ministry of culture, said negotiations with the marquess broke down some years ago.
She said the Hungarian government believes it could win a legal claim. But no such claim has yet been lodged.
"We would like to announce to Bonhams, and to the art world, that this is Hungarian property," Ms Hajdu said.
Retired detective sergeant Richard Ellis, formerly of the art and antiquities squad at Scotland Yard, who for years tried to track the provenance of the silver, said: "Am I 100% certain of what happened with it? No. Let's say that the evidence stacks up, and that there is a total lack of evidence on the other side. And from what I have seen of the evidence, I do not believe that that man committed suicide."
The Sevso Treasure, 14 massive Roman era silver bowls, salvers and ewers, believed to date from between 350AD and 450AD, was brought to London in the early 1980s with an export licence from Lebanon, later claimed to be a forgery. The Hungarian government, backed by many experts, is convinced the hoard was found in their country in 1978 by a quarry worker, and illegally exported. The silver was bought as an investment by the Marquess of Northampton, on the advice of the late Peter Wilson, former chairman of Sotheby's. In 1990, when a Sotheby's auction was announced and the silver was on display in New York, Lebanon, Hungary and Yugoslavia all lodged legal claims to it. In 1993 the American court found that none could prove title, and that the marquess was the legal owner - but the silver, left without any agreed provenance, has been regarded as unsaleable.
Experimentum nucleare Coreae Septentrionalis
13.10.2006, klo 10.21
Corea Septentrionalis nuntiavit se primum experimentum nucleare fecisse. Ita illa dictatura Stalinistica, pauper et inclusa, futura est nona in orbe terrarum potestas, cui arma nuclearia esse constat.
Experimentum Coreae Septentrionalis a moderatoribus orbis terrarum et a Consilio Securitatis Nationum Unitarum severissime condemnatum est.
Americani novas contra Coream Septentrionalem sanctiones a Nationibus Unitis flagitaverunt, Coreani Meridiani nuntiaverunt se potestatem nuclearem sibi propinquam pati non posse.
Etiam Sinenses, qui foederati fideles Coreanorum Septentrionalium esse solent, eos reprobaverunt.
Minister primarius Iaponiae dixit illo experimento nucleari stabilitatem Asiae Orientalis mutari.
The best marketing device Dia Scoufaras has for her new store is her own youthful face.
Scoufaras is selling a line of facial creams, body lotions, shampoos and soaps that contain an ingredient found only on the Greek Island of Chios: mastic.
It's a resin that comes from the mastic tree and it's the key component in the creams produced in Greece by Sodis Laboratories. Scoufaras is the first retailer to introduce the products to Quebec.
"Greeks have been using mastic for thousands of years," Scoufaras said.
"And the ancient Romans would import mastic wood from Greece and dip it into the resinous oil from the tree. They used it as a toothpick and toothpaste."
Not that long ago, universities played a very different role in the public imagination, and top academics seemed to glitter as they walked. At a Berlin banquet in 1892, Mark Twain, himself a worldwide celebrity, stared in amazement as a crowd of a thousand young students “rose and shouted and stamped and clapped, and banged the beer-mugs” when the historian Theodor Mommsen entered the room:This was one of those immense surprises that can happen only a few times in one’s life. I was not dreaming of him; he was to me only a giant myth, a world-shadowing specter, not a reality. The surprise of it all can be only comparable to a man’s suddenly coming upon Mont Blanc, with its awful form towering into the sky, when he didn’t suspect he was in its neighborhood. I would have walked a great many miles to get a sight of him, and here he was, without trouble, or tramp, or cost of any kind. Here he was, clothed in a titanic deceptive modesty which made him look like other men. Here he was, carrying the Roman world and all the Caesars in his hospitable skull, and doing it as easily as that other luminous vault, the skull of the universe, carries the Milky Way and the constellations.
Mommsen’s fantastic energy and work ethic—he published more than fifteen hundred scholarly works—had made him a hero, not only among scholars but to the general public, a figure without real parallels today. The first three volumes of his “History of Rome,” published in the eighteen-fifties, were best-sellers for decades and won him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1902. Berlin tram conductors pointed him out as he stood in the street, leaning against a lamppost and reading: “That is the celebrated Professor Mommsen: he loses no time.” Mommsen was as passionately engaged with the noisy, industrializing present as with the ancient past. As a liberal member of the Prussian legislature, he fought racism, nationalism, and imperialism, and clashed with Bismarck. Yet Mommsen knew how to coöperate with the government on the things that really mattered. He favored reorganizing research in the humanities along the autocratic, entrepreneurial lines of the big businesses of his time—companies like Siemens and Zeiss, whose scientific work was establishing Germany as the leading industrial power in Europe. This approach essentially gave rise to the research team, a group of scholars headed by a distinguished figure which receives funding to achieve a particular goal. Mommsen’s view was that “large-scale scholarship—not pursued, but directed, by a single man—is a necessary element in our cultural evolution.” He won public support for such enterprises as a vast collection, still being amassed, of the tens of thousands of inscriptions that show, more vividly than any work of literature, what Roman life was like. He also advised the Prussian government on academic appointments, and helped make the University of Berlin and the Prussian Academy of Sciences the widely envied scientific center of the West—the Harvard, you might say, of the nineteenth century.
The model that Mommsen represented was revered and imitated around the world.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, professorial asceticism moved from the home to the workplace, where it took new forms, most notably that of productivity on an epic, and sometimes eccentric, scale. The new model professor wore himself out: greatness of mind and depth of learning, like beauty, could be attained only through suffering. Christian Gottlob Heyne, who integrated the visual arts into the formal study of antiquity, also ran Göttingen’s university library—one of the largest and best organized in Europe—and published reviews of some eight thousand of the books that he obtained and catalogued for the university’s collection. Heyne’s pupil Friedrich August Wolf became legendary by similar means. As a scholar, his importance rested on his 1795 “Prolegomena to Homer”—an enormously successful book, though only the first volume ever appeared and it was written in Latin—which argued that the Iliad and the Odyssey were collections of originally oral poems, assembled by the poet-scholars of Hellenistic Alexandria. But what really made him a celebrity was his combination of daring and self-denial. Wolf insisted on registering as a student not of theology but of philology, even though the few available jobs for graduates were for ministers rather than scholars. Heyne showed him his desk, piled with letters from schoolteachers “who tell me that they would be glad to be hanged, from actual destitution,” but Wolf persevered. He replaced the student’s usual pigtail with a wig, so that he would not have to go to the barber; stayed away from the taverns where students caroused and the salons where they met young women; and even stopped attending lectures, since he thought that his time could be more productively spent reading the assigned books. He infuriated his teacher by reading ahead of the class and taking out all the library books that Heyne needed to prepare his lectures. And his reward came soon: a professorship at Halle, at the age of twenty-four. This brilliant, bitter nonconformist paradoxically became a model for later generations of students. No wonder observers praised Mommsen’s ceaseless industry so extravagantly half a century later: he was not only doing history at a superb level but also living an ascetic ideal that still mattered.
Gibbon says that on this day, as he sat musing among the ruins of the Roman capitol, while the barefooted friars were singing vespers in the Temple of Jupiter, he first conceived the idea of writing the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
13.10.2006, klo 10.19
Finnia, penes quam est praesidium Unionis Europaeae, experimentum Coreae Septentrionalis facinus provocativum appellavit et declaravit Unionem una cum societate internationali actiones contrarias praeparaturam esse.
Id autem necesse esse, ut societas internationalis unanimis maneret et discrimen rationibus politicis et cooperatione amoveretur.
Emergency excavations by archeologists in Narges Tepe, located in the northern Iranian city of Gorgan, led into discovery of a grave belonging to 3000 years ago containing skeletons of a mother and her infant as well as a dog and its whelp. Archeologists at Narges Tepe have also been able to unearth a grave containing the skeleton of a man buried while sitting on his horse.
Abbasi also said that the skeletons of the man and his horse which were found in another grave in the same area belong to the first millennium BC as well.
The teaching of English grammar, punctuation and spelling has been handed over to the classics department at a leading independent school which is providing remedial lessons for new entrants.
Richard Cairns, the head teacher of Brighton College, East Sussex, says he is appalled by the sloppy writing of many pupils coming to the school at the age of 13.
He has introduced a compulsory weekly grammar lesson for all new pupils, which is taught by classicists, who say there can be no progress in Latin or Greek unless children have a grasp of the building blocks of language.
"For too long, too many English departments have neglected to teach the basics, opting instead for the instant gratification of lessons in literature, " he said.
"The consequence is a generation of young people with no understanding of the role of the apostrophe."
Mr Cairns said people might regard the lessons as a reactionary step but they could also be viewed as visionary. "What matters is whether they prepare children better for the future."
Ever since the first kiss was recorded in Vedic scriptures in 1500BC, the dilemma of how, when and whom to kiss has vexed the minds of nervous socialisers. From AD14-37, the Emperor Tiberius banned kissing to try to stop the spread of the disfiguring disease mentagra.
Gravissimum ex iis lichenas appellavere Graeco nomine, Latine, quoniam a mento fere oriebatur, ioculari primum lascivia, ut est procax multorum natura in alienis miseriis, mox et usurpato vocabulo mentagram, occupantem multis et latius totos utique voltus, oculis tantum inmunibus, descendentem vero et in colla pectusque ac manus foedo cutis furfure.
Non fuerat haec lues apud maiores patresque nostros et primum Ti. Claudi Caesaris principatu medio inrepsit in Italiam quodam Perusino equite Romano, quaestorio scriba, cum in Asia adparuisset, inde contagionem eius inportante. nec sensere id malum feminae aut servitia plebesque humilis aut media, sed proceres veloci transitu osculi maxime, foediore multorum, qui perpeti medicinam toleraverant, cicatrice quam morbo. causticis namque curabatur, ni usque in ossa corpus exustum esset, rebellante taedio.
Small addendum/emendandum to the report ... Ti. Claudius Caesar means the cheerfully odd Claudius (reigned 41 to 54), not the earlier, strangely odd Tiberius, his uncle, who was Ti. (Iulius) Caesar.
Even when most of their time is taken up my homework, busy students are still curling up with a book, mostly at night. The books they like bend genre lines and put Virgil at the same level as Harry Potter.
Briana Roorda, a junior, also enjoys reading the classics. She lists "The Aeneid" by Virgil, a Greek epic written in the first century BC, as one of her top three favorite books.
Top scholars have gathered in Rome this week to discuss the exciting and controversial idea that Sardinia is the lost island of Atlantis .
The theory, developed in a book by the Italian journalist Sergio Frau, has drawn international acclaim but also fuelled heated criticism .
Despite selling 30,000 copies in Italy, a detailed 20-point appeal by 250 academics has dismissed the book, claiming it sensationalizes Sardinian history .
But the theory received a major boost last year, when the United Nations cultural heritage body UNESCO organized a symposium on the issue in Paris, suggesting the idea was worth serious consideration. Academics, archaeologists, geologists and historians from across Italy are now meeting in Rome's Accademia dei Lincei to look at the theory in closer depth and discuss possible paths of future research .
The meeting has also been timed to coincide with the opening of an exhibition on Frau's ideas, originally shown in Paris last year. "Atlantika" uses Frau's book, "The Pillars of Hercules", as a springboard for exploring theories and ideas on the legendary island and its whereabouts. Neither the location nor the existence of Atlantis have ever been confirmed .
The first documented mention of the island dates back to ancient Greek philosopher Plato - circa 427-347 BC - who said it was destroyed by a natural disaster, possibly a tsunami .
Traditional theories have placed it somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean because Plato said it was beyond the Pillars of Hercules which, according to another ancient writer, Erathosthenes, were at the Strait of Gibraltar .
But Frau believes Erathosthenes, a librarian and geographer who lived in Alexandria in the third and second centuries BC, got it wrong and that the Pillars of Hercules were actually on Sicily .
Frau had his brainwave after seeing a print of two maps of the Mediterranean as it was in the Bronze Age .
One showed Tunisia and Sicily almost touching; the other, of the Straits of Gibraltar, was remarkably similar .
Frau thinks Erathosthenes moved the pillars because in the 120 years between Plato's era and his, the Greek world changed dramatically, and the strait between Sicily and Africa was no longer at the outer reaches of the Empire .
Furthermore, geological shifts and rising sea levels widened the distance between Tunisia and Sicily, contributing to Erathosthenes' mistake and reinforcing it over time .
If the Pillars of Hercules really were in Sicily, Sardinia would be the obvious location for Atlantis .
Frau's research has revealed that the Nuragic civilisation - named after the Nuraghes (stone towers) that were built on the island - flourished on Shardana (Sardinia) between 1400-1200 BC .
A catastrophic event, possibly a tsunami, is thought to have wiped the Nuragic people off Sardinia during the Bronze Age, around 1178-1175 BC .
Although Plato dated Atlantis to 9,000 years before his time, many historians think he meant 900 years, basing their judgments on his descriptions of the writing and bronze to be found on the island .
Furthermore, if the Pillars of Hercules were moved to the Straits of Sicily, Frau argues that many classical writings become more accurate in geographical terms .
For example, Herodotus writes of Corsica and the ancient city of Tartessos in one story as if they were near one another. If Tartessos were beyond the Pillars of Hercules in Gibraltar, the journey from there to Corsica would take more than a month by boat .
Another writer, Dicearcus, says that the end of the Adriatic is further from Greece than the Pillars of Hercules. "Malta and Gozo square up with this description, but not Gibraltar," Frau said .
The exhibition runs in Rome's Accademia dei Lincei until November 12 .
But Istanbul is also a justification for Pamuk's profound decision to become a writer who writes in the same family building in which he grew up.
Ours is the age of migration. To stay or to leave is the question that dominates adolescence. Often it expands to a choice of country - or more often the dream of that choice. The pain, necessities and consequences of migration have become one of the great themes of the literature of our time. Never more explicitly than in The Satanic Verses.
Alas, that novel is not famous for its commanding theme and Salman Rushdie's insistence on its long history. Should we back Lucretius or Ovid, he has his characters ask. Do you break from yourself by leaving the boundaries of your birth, or is moving a vital act of freedom that leads to the discovery of who you are? To stay, or to go, and what then happens?
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Nor was the “House of Vettii,” a replica of an ancient Roman edifice now under construction in a Lawrence High School courtyard.
For a couple of hours each week — and on some weekends — students are shoveling, hammering, drilling and painting their way to recreating elements of the famous home of a well-to-do resident of ancient Pompeii.
Pompeii was destroyed in a volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. But in the late 19th century, homes such as the House of Vettii were uncovered, revealing the art and architecture of the era.
The LHS courtyard project began about a year and a half ago, when the interior was painted.
But more progress will come this year, including adding a small Roman-style granite pond, walkways, columns, fresco-like paintings and a stage portico for poetry recitations or small plays.
“Hopefully the far portico will be done in April,” said Jason Lichte, the LHS Latin teacher who is overseeing the project.
Lichte said the project has been funded with $9,500 in donations from local businesses and organizations, and a recent $3,000 grant from the Lawrence Schools Foundation.
“We have to spend a lot of money this year, or we lose it,” Lichte said.
The 70-by-40-foot courtyard currently has a fountain donated by the Class of 1999, a deck, gardens and a small natural-style pond.
The latest work on the project involves taking out the gardens, remodeling the deck and constructing porticos and covered walkways along the courtyard walls.
“The covered walkways will make this look more like an ancient courtyard, like courtyards found in Pompeii,” Lichte said. A 4-by-7-foot rectangular Roman pond will also be built.
About 250 students, including members of the Latin Club, those taking Latin classes and several advanced art students, are involved in the project, Lichte said.
“I think they like it,” Lichte said. “Because instead of having to memorize Latin, some days they’re out here working. Also, they can figure out what it was like for ancient Romans to build things and all the processes they had to go through to make these things happen.”
Some of the students provide the brute strength for dirt work and construction. Art students in Wendy Vertacnik’s and Deena Amont’s classes are working on paintings and mosaics.
Lichte said there was a very common mosaic found on Pompeii’s doorsteps that said, in Latin, “Beware of the Dog.”
So the LHS students will create a mosaic on a walkway portico that says “Cave Leonem” which means “Beware of the Lion (LHS’s mascot),” Lichte said.
Among the students involved is Jeremy Bell, who has done some of the custom construction work.
“It’s actually just starting to take off this year,” Bell said.
“It was pretty amazing to see it,” Lorenz said. “Now we can really see what we’re going to do.”
Lichte said students who went on the March trip will try to incorporate some of elements, such as fountains, at LHS.
“But we also want it to be a functional space,” he said.
For example, in April, LHS will host a Latin competition for Kansas Latin high school programs.
Opening and closing ceremonies will be held in the courtyard, and students will be able to speak on a stage area at one end, he said.
During that event, “all the students are in togas,” Lichte said. “You can’t get in without wearing a toga.”
Other functions will be for other LHS teachers to use the space for poetry recitations, small plays or just to study.
Lorenz said students were making a lot more progress this year and were working during seminars and during their free time.
But the project won’t be done for some time, Lichte said.
“If future generations of arts students want to come in to do more, there will always be something to do,” he said. “But hopefully we’ll get all the heavy construction done in the next two years.”
Fallaces sunt rerum species.
(Seneca, De Beneficiis 4.34)
The outward appearances of things are deceiving.
pron = fahl-LAH-kays soont RAY-room speh-KEE-ays.
Comment: It's not so much the outward appearance of anything that is
the problem. It's the inner reaction we bring to the outward
appearance of things that can create conflict.
Saepes in confinio Mexici
05.10.2006, klo 18.18
Senatus Civitatum Americae Unitarum legem de saepimento tutelari in confinio Mexici ducendo accepit et quidem ita, ut octoginta senatores pro hoc consilio sententiam ferrent, undeviginti autem eidem adversarentur.
Munus huius obstaculi erit impedire, ne homines ex Mexico illegaliter in Civitates Americae Unitas immigrent.
In finibus Americanorum hodie undecim fere miliones Mexicanorum versantur, quorum dimidia pars iure habitandi caret.
Italy has abandoned controversial plans to build a bridge between the country's mainland and the island of Sicily.
The structure would have crossed the Messina Straits, forming the world's longest single-span suspension bridge.
But Italian MPs voted to scrap the proposed construction, saying they had other priorities for Italy's impoverished southern island.
There were also concerns that organised crime networks could hijack the lucrative project.
A total of 272 MPs voted in favour of abandoning the bridge proposal, while 232 voted to continue.
The project had been promoted by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. Two motions put forward by his centre-right Forza Italia party to keep the bridge project did not pass.
News about the project, on the drawing board since the 1960s, was greeted with fury by centre-right deputies.
"Prodi's government is against Sicily," said Renato Schifani, a Sicilian member of parliament for Forza Italia.
"It wants to strike at our region, where the majority of voters opted for the right."
But many experts had warned that the vast project would inevitably enrich southern Italy's organised crime networks.
There were also fears that the bridge, some 4km (2.5 miles) in length, would not be capable of withstanding an earthquake.
The motion included proposals to spend some of the money set aside for the project, estimated at 4.4bn euros ($5.5bn; £2.9bn), on other transport improvements on the island, which has long been economically weaker than the mainland.
Discordia ordinum venenum est urbis.
The discord of the social classes is the poison of the city.
pron = dis-KOR-dee-ah OHR-dee-noom veh-NAY-noom ehst OOR-bis.
Comment: Discord between the social classes is poisonous, and not just
in the city. In the world, too, it is a poison. To me, this is a
statement of fact. The more enticing question that we fail to ask is
why there is discord between the classes. When the question is
raised, it is frequently dismissed with simplistic answers.
I'll offer a school example that mirrors social discord. Why is there
frequently discord between teachers and students? The simplistic
answers that are offered back usually include the immaturity of
students (multiple versions of "kids these days"), the confusion of
parents (various versions of "parents these days"), and the
interference of government in schools or church in schools--the
faceless "them" that is "above us".
In other words, when we even raise the issue, the simplistic response
is that "they" are the problem. "We" are just living our lives.
How do teachers use their power? Any teacher who answers that one
question honestly (or, better, asks his/her students to answer the
question honestly about them) learns an important lesson about discord
in their classroom, if there is any.
How do social classes use their power? How do the social classes with
the most power use it? Ask those they use it on.
Saepes in confinio Mexici
05.10.2006, klo 18.18
Senatus Civitatum Americae Unitarum legem de saepimento tutelari in confinio Mexici ducendo accepit et quidem ita, ut octoginta senatores pro hoc consilio sententiam ferrent, undeviginti autem eidem adversarentur.
Munus huius obstaculi erit impedire, ne homines ex Mexico illegaliter in Civitates Americae Unitas immigrent.
In finibus Americanorum hodie undecim fere miliones Mexicanorum versantur, quorum dimidia pars iure habitandi caret.
Rheochem owns 33.3 pct of Zeus Petroleum, which in turn has a 10 pct interest in the Athena well which is operated by Canada's Ithaca Energy.
A UK-led team is challenging cherished ideas on Greek mythology by proposing an alternative site for Ithaca.
The island was said to be the home of Odysseus, whose 10-year journey back from the Trojan War is chronicled in Homer's epic poem the Odyssey.
Most people think the modern-day Ionian island of Ithaki is the location.
But geologists are this week sinking a borehole on nearby Kefalonia in an attempt to test whether its western peninsula of Paliki is the real site.
The scientists hope to find evidence that the peninsula once stood proud, separated from Kefalonia by a narrow, navigable marine channel. It is only within the last 2,500-3,000 years - and long after Homer's time - that the channel has been filled in, the team contends.
"We can't prove the story of the Odyssey is true, but we can test whether Homer got his geography right," said Edinburgh University geologist Professor John Underhill, who is supervising the drilling operation.
At issue are a few lines of hotly debated text, in which Homer describes Odysseus' native land.
Click here to read the passage
He talks of low-lying terrain, furthest out to sea and facing dusk.
The team, which includes geologists, classicists and archaeologists, argues that modern-day Ithaki does not fit this description.
It is dominated by high ground and, being on the eastern side of the Ionian arc of islands, actually looks - if anywhere - towards "dawn and sun".
"This has always been a contentious issue since antiquity," said James Diggle, a professor of Greek and Latin and fellow of Queens' College, Cambridge.
"Many different candidates have been suggested and the general feeling has been that the island that has the same name now - Ithaki - must be Ithaca, but it simply doesn't square with all the geographical information we have about the original Ithaca.
"The suggestion we advocate, and are now testing with the geology, is a radically new one; involving as it does splitting the island of Kefalonia into two," he told BBC News.
The Paliki solution was first proposed in Robert Bittlestone's 2005 book, Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer's Ithaca. Paliki is certainly flatter than Ithaki, and the most westerly point in the Ionian arc.
But to prove its hypothesis, the team will have to show - at the very least - that the sea once flowed through a tight channel that is now the Thinia isthmus joining Paliki to the main part of Kefalonia.
On the face of it, this a tall order - literally: the highest point on the isthmus is some 180m above sea level.
To suggest the Mycenaean landscape could have changed so radically in so short a time seems extraordinary, especially since modern seismic surveys in the area indicate the amount of uplift experienced by Kefalonia over the past 3,000-5,000 years is perhaps 6m at most.
The team's argument is that the channel has been covered by a colossal infall of rock from the surrounding hills, particularly those on the eastern side of the Thinia valley.
"The bedding planes all dip very steeply towards the valley, and they are natural planes along which landslip and rockfall can occur - and do, periodically," explained Professor Underhill.
"This happens in winter, never mind in the frequent earthquakes they experience there. There are very interesting Pathe news pictures taken after the devastating earthquake of 1953 which demonstrate that whole hillside degraded significantly; huge volumes of rock came off the slopes."
This week's investigations involve sinking a 100m-plus borehole at the southern end of the valley. If the Paliki solution stands up, it should find a loose aggregation of rock and debris through the core's entire length.
"If we hit hard rock, the theory will not fly," said Professor Underhill.
But assuming the borehole is successful, then the team will apply for funding to carry out a more extensive programme of drilling. Ground-penetrating radar, gravity and seismic surveys have already been conducted; carbon-14 and other dating techniques would need to be brought in to prove the infall occurred in the right timescale.
The team is encouraged by the writings of the 1st-Century-BC Greek geographer Strabo, who mentions the existence of a channel many years after Homer is presumed to have lived in the Ionian region.
And, of course, this is by no means the first time that science has sought to match current features on the landscape with Homeric descriptions.
The city of Troy featured in the Iliad is now widely recognised to have been in north-western Turkey. A study of river sediments in the region would even seem to fit with aspects of the military campaign that Homer's story says eventually led to the destruction of the city.
If the existence of a Bronze Age channel on Kefalonia is proven, it is quite likely to set off anew heated arguments about specifics and meaning in the Odyssey.
And some will continue to contest Ithaca's location. Sarantis Symeonoglou is professor of art history and archaeology at Washington University in St Louis, US. He has spent years trying to tie locations on Ithaki to details in the poem.
"I have been digging [there] longer than anyone, since 1984. I already have solid evidence that the site of the city of Odysseus is where Homer says, on the saddle of Aetos, at modern (and ancient) Ithaca. The palace is in a terrible ruined condition, but identifiable! I found a corner of it," he told BBC News in an e-mail.
John Bennet, a professor of Aegean archaeology at Sheffield University, UK, commented that any new discovery of a channel should be viewed in a wider context.
"For the archaeological world, what is very interesting is the possibility that there has been major geographical, geomorphological change on the island of Kefalonia, which means the way people have lived on the island has changed significantly from the Bronze Age into the broadly Classical period.
"As a result of that there will be a new phase of general archaeological data that will benefit all of us."
Semper magnae fortunae comes adest adulatio.
(P. Valleius Paterculus, Historiae Romanae 2.102.3)
Praise is always near as a friend to great fortune.
pron = SEHM-pehr MAHG-nai fohr-TOO-nai KOH-mays AH-dest ah-doo-LAH-tee-oh
Comment: This is a statement about the use of power--the power of
flattery and sweet-talk, of congratulatory back-slapping by those who
want something of what the recipient of their praise has.
Paterculus identifies it as great fortune. It could be political
appointment. It could be a job. It could be attention, or time spent
with the powerful one.
In short, this kind of power relationship means that the "friend" is
really afraid--fearful that he/she will not get what the powerful one
has, or seems to have, to offer.
It's a sober reflection on those we call friend, those we congratulate
and flatter. Are we friends, or afraid?
IRA vim deposuisse videtur
05.10.2006, klo 18.18
Exercitus Irlandiae liberandae (IRA) actionibus suis nefariis finem fecit neque iam pro causa sua armis certabit.
Quod apparet ex relatione, quam commissio, cuius est processum pacis Irlandiae Septentrionalis custodire, nuperrime divulgavit.
Idem documentum monstrat etiam Sinn Fein, alam politicam illius exercitus, suo promisso satisfecisse et eo tendere, ut proposita sua rationibus politicis peragantur.
On Thursday, October 12, as part of celebrations marking the fifth centenary of the Vatican Museums, the new section of the Roman necropolis on the Via Triumphalis will be opened. The sector came to light in 2003 during building work on a parking lot within Vatican City.
Excavation work in this area was undertaken by archaeologists from the Vatican Museums who uncovered a cemetery, part of the same complex that was discovered between 1959 and 1960. The two areas constitute part of a large burial ground along the old Via Triumphalis which led from Rome to Veio (Isola Farnese) over Monte Mario. Thanks to this latest discovery it is now possible to visit two of the most complete and well-documented necropolises of imperial Rome: the one on the old Via Cornelia (which can be visited in the excavations under St. Peter's Basilica) and this one on the Via Triumphalis.
Archaeologists have found around 40 small and medium-sized mausolea, and more than 200 individual graves on various levels, many with inscriptions. Most of the tombs - which date from the end of the first century BC to the beginning of the fourth century AD - are well preserved, and some have decorations, frescoes and mosaic floors.
Funerary altars, urns, and sarcophagi with figures in bas-relief have also been brought to light. Of particular interest is the sarcophagus of a young 'equites' (knight), Publius Caesilius Victorinus (270-290 AD), which shows a figure in prayer next to a tree and with a bird above. Some of the tomb inscriptions specify the profession and/or the place of origin of the occupants, while some of the altars have holes to hold flower garlands.
The archeological site may be visited on Fridays and Saturdays in groups of no more than 25 persons. Reservation is obligatory and may be done by sending a fax to Vatican Museums - Office for Special Visits (no. 0669881573) or by writing to email@example.com.
Police in Athens have arrested a Greek man suspected of illegally possessing some 450 ancient and late mediaeval artifacts, authorities said on Tuesday.
The suspect, identified as an 81-year-old former mine owner, was arrested during a raid on his Athens home on Monday, police said.
Officers confiscated the collection, which dated from as early as prehistoric times and was the most important seized in Greece in recent months.
Police said the artifacts included two marble heads — of a youth and a young woman — 147 silver and copper coins, jewelry, metal and pottery figurines, some 50 vases, bronze arrowheads and axes, a bronze dagger and spearhead, as well as 21 religious icons.
Police did not provide precise dating for the seized artifacts.
Under Greece's strict protection laws, it is illegal to own, buy, sell or excavate antiquities without a special permit. Any items found accidentally must be handed over to authorities.
A historic landmark which represents the most northerly walled frontier of the Roman Empire has been nominated to become a World Heritage Site.
The Antonine Wall runs 37 miles from Bo'ness, near Falkirk, to Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire.
It is now in the running along with two other UK landmarks for the accolade, the UK Government has announced.
The bid has been supported by five local authorities throughout central and the west of Scotland.
The wall was built in about 140 AD to keep Pictish warriors out of the Roman Empire after the conquest of southern Scotland.
It became a monument to the reign of Emperor Antonius Pius but was abandoned after just a generation, in about 165 AD.
If accepted by conservation body Unesco, the wall, along with the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct in Wrexham and the Anglo-Saxon twin monastery of Wearmouth and Jarrow, will join the list of 27 UK World Heritage Sites.
Scottish Culture Minister Patricia Ferguson said: "The Antonine Wall is an outstanding international archaeological treasure.
"This touch of Roman civilisation in central Scotland is a reminder of the many European links our country has and this bid for World Heritage Site status is widely supported."
The UK nominations, together with those from other countries, will be submitted to Unesco in February 2007, 2008 and 2009, with the final decisions being made by the World Heritage Committee the following summer.
THE Pope is taking steps to revive the ancient tradition of the Latin Tridentine Mass in Catholic churches worldwide, according to sources in Rome.
Pope Benedict XVI is understood to have signed a universal indult — or permission — for priests to celebrate again the Mass used throughout the Church for nearly 1,500 years. The indult could be published in the next few weeks, sources told The Times.
Use of the Tridentine Mass, parts of which date from the time of St Gregory in the 6th century and which takes its name from the 16th-century Council of Trent, was restricted by most bishops after the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).
This led to the introduction of the new Mass in the vernacular to make it more accessible to contemporary audiences. By bringing back Mass in Latin, Pope Benedict is signalling that his sympathies lie with conservatives in the Catholic Church.
One of the most celebrated rebels against its suppression was Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who broke with Rome in 1988 over this and other reforms. He was excommunicated after he consecrated four bishops, one of them British, without permission from the Pope.
Some Lefebvrists, including those in Brazil, have already been readmitted. An indult permitting the celebration of the Tridentine Mass could help to bring remaining Lefebvrists and many other traditional Catholics back to the fold.
The priests of England and Wales are among those sometimes given permission to celebrate the Old Mass according to the 1962 Missal. Tridentine Masses are said regularly at the Oratory and St James’s Spanish Place in London, but are harder to find outside the capital.
The new indult would permit any priest to introduce the Tridentine Mass to his church, anywhere in the world, unless his bishop has explicitly forbidden it in writing.
Catholic bloggers have been anticipating the indult for months. The Cornell Society blog says that Father Martin Edwards, a London priest, was told by Cardinal Joseph Zen, of Hong Kong, that the indult had been signed. Cardinal Zen is alleged to have had this information from the Pope himself in a private meeting.
“There have been false alarms before, not least because within the Curia there are those genuinely well-disposed to the Latin Mass, those who are against and those who like to move groups within the Church like pieces on a chessboard,” a source told The Times. “But hopes have been raised with the new pope. It would fit with what he has said and done on the subject. He celebrated in the old rite, when Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.”
The 1962 Missal issued by Pope John XXIII was the last of several revisions of the 1570 Missal of Pius V. In a lecture in 2001, Cardinal Ratzinger said that it would be “fatal” for the Missal to be “placed in a deep-freeze, left like a national park, a park protected for the sake of a certain kind of people, for whom one leaves available these relics of the past”.
Daphne McLeod, chairman of Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, a UK umbrella group that campaigns for the restoration of traditional orthodoxy, said: “A lot of young priests are teaching themselves the Tridentine Mass because it is so beautiful and has prayers that go back to the Early Church.”
# The Tridentine Mass is celebrated entirely in Latin, except for a few words and phrases in Greek and Hebrew. There are long periods of silence and the priest has his back to the congregation
# In 1570, Pope St Pius V said that priests could use the Tridentine rite forever, “without scruple of conscience or fear of penalty”
# Since the Second Vatican Council, the Tridentine Mass has been almost entirely superseded by the Mass of Pope Paul VI
# Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who took the lead in opposing the reforms, continued to celebrate the old Mass at his seminary in Ecône, Switzerland, and formed a dissident group. He was excommunicated in 1988
# The advantages of the Mass, according to the faithful, are in its uniformity and the fact that movements and gestures are prescribed, so that there is no room for “personalisation”
Non recipit stultus verba prudentiae.
The fool does not accept the words of the wisdom.
pron = nohn ray-KAY-pit STOOL-toos WHER-bah proo-DEHN-tee-ah.
Comment: A proverb like this can lull us into a dangerously simple mind.
We can read this and silently conclude: "fine, now, only to
decide who the fools are and who the wise are, and everything will be
perfect." I am inclined at this point in my life to understand this
approach as disastrous. It is the separation that creates so much
suffering in our culture.
Consider another approach where the fool and the wise belong together,
where to have the one requires the other, where to be the one is to be
the other. This is a very fluid approach, a constantly changing
approach, and one that can open the door to wisdom for
everyone--everyone who is fool enough to accept it, that is.
Wisdom can be that difficult truth that the fool does not wish to hear
or accept. We call such a fool "denial" and "ignorance" and
"stupidity", and I have been them all. I may be again, tomorrow. In
such circumstances, I need wisdom to confront me and make me feel my
resistance so that I can hear the truth.
Wisdom can also be that status quo position, that conventional wisdom,
that incontrovertable doctrine, that "fact everyone accepts" and that
only fools question. We may find ourselves asking difficult
questions, making fun, protesting, marching with signs and stepping
out of the faceless crowd to raise a voice or simply take a stand. In
that case, so called wisdom needs the fool to make truth visible. I
have been that kind of fool before, and I may be again.
You see, when we see that foolishness and wisdom are always linked,
are really necessary, one for the other, we can see them both in
ourselves, always. When we view them as utterly separate, we grow
pale and quiet and hope that no one points a finger at us--before we
can point one at them.
Urbs Vasa 400 annorum
05.10.2006, klo 18.16
Die Lunae quadringenti anni acti erant, cum Vasa, urbs Finniae in ora Bothniae Australis iacens, condita est.
Postridie enim Kalendas Octobres anno millesimo sescentesimo sexto (2.10.1606) accidit, ut Mustasaari, emporium mediaevale, cui postea nomen Vasa inditum est, a Carolo IX, rege Suetiae, privilegio urbis donaretur.
Itaque non mirari oportet Carolum XVI Gustavum, successorem eius hodiernum, una cum regina Silvia mense Augusto proxime praeterito Vasam visitavisse, ut urbi de anniversario gratularetur.
Time was when it seemed safe to regard the works of Plato as intellectually superior to the racy romance novels of, say, Nora Roberts. In underground Washington, those days are over.
Consider the hoo-ha over new subway posters that try to capitalize on the percentage of people with advanced degrees living in the region.
The Greater Washington Initiative, a business group devoted to attracting investment to the area, put up the posters, which feature side-by-side photographs: of a man reading Plato’s “Republic,” under the caption “Greater Washington Subway Reading,” and of the same man poring over a romance novel, under the caption “Average Subway Reading.”
The reaction from romance writers — and readers — was as fast and heated as a steamy sex scene.
Greece's marathon campaign to reclaim the 2,500-year-old Parthenon sculptures from Britain will be boosted by a long-delayed Athens museum set to open next year, the premier said Monday.
Greece hopes the landmark structure, purpose-built to showcase finds from the ancient Acropolis, will eventually host the collection — even as a permanent loan — despite repeated refusals from the British government and British Museum officials.
"Once the museum is completed, Greece will have a very strong argument for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures," Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis said. "We are taking a very important step to finally realize a dream that unites all Greeks."
The ancient marble masterpieces originally decorated the upper parts of the Parthenon, built between 447 and 432 B.C. They were removed in the early 19th century — when Greece still belonged to the Turkish Ottoman empire — by British diplomat Lord Elgin.
Athens argues the sprawling €129 million ($162 million) building will allow the sculptures to be reunited for the first time in 200 years, in a direct line of sight with their ancient home.
During a visit to the building site at the foot of the Acropolis hill, Karamanlis said the museum will be ready "in the first half of 2007." Officials say it will then open to visitors by the end of next year.
"It will be the most modern archaeological museum in the world," Karamanlis said.
Initially scheduled for completion before the 2004 Athens Olympics, construction of the 20,000-sq. meter (215,000-sq. foot) glass and concrete museum was delayed by long-running legal fights and new archaeological discoveries at the site.
"Most of the work has now been done," project director Dimitris Pantermalis said. "Much of the glass paneling is now in place, we have even put in the escalators."
The two-story building will be capped by a glass hall containing all the Parthenon sculptures in Greek possession. The glass walls will allow visitors a direct view of the ancient temple, some 300 meters (yards) away.
Blank spaces will be left for the British Museum sculptures.
The 14,000-sq. meter (150,000-sq. foot) exhibition area will contain more than 4,000 works — 10 times the amount currently on display at a cramped museum on the Acropolis. Most have never been exhibited before.
Pantermalis said work will soon begin to move the larger sculptures from the old museum to the new building.
"They will probably be hoisted off the Acropolis by crane, and then moved here by a kind of cable car," he said.
The museum was designed by U.S.-based architect Bernard Tschumi in collaboration with Greece's Michael Photiades. It will incorporate, under a glass cover, building remains from a 3-7 century Athenian neighborhood discovered in the 1990s during preliminary work on the site.
Visitors to the Vatican soon will be able to descend into an ancient world of the dead, a newly unveiled necropolis that was a burial place for the rich and not-so-affluent during Roman imperial rule.
The necropolis, which was unearthed three years ago during construction of a parking lot, will open to the public this week. One archaeologist said Monday that sculptures, engravings and other objects found entombed with the dead made the find a "little Pompeii" of cemeteries.
The burial sites, ranging from simple terra-cotta funerary urns with ashes still inside to ornately sculpted sarcophagi, date from between the era of Augustus (23 B.C. to 14 A.D.) to that of Constantine in the first part of the fourth century.
From specially constructed walkways, visitors can look down on some skeletons, including that of an infant buried by loved ones who left a hen's egg beside the body. The egg, whose smashed shell was reconstructed by archaeologists, might have symbolized hopes for a rebirth, officials at a Vatican Museums news conference said Monday.
The remains of the child, whose gender was not determined, were discovered during the construction of the walkways, after the main excavation had finished, said Daniele Battistoni, a Vatican archaeologist.
Buried there were upper-class Romans as well as simple artisans, with symbols of their trade.
"We found a little Pompeii of funeral" life, said Giandomenico Spinola, a head of the Museums' classical antiquities department.
"We have had the mausoleums of Hadrian and Augustus," Spinola said, referring to majestic monuments along the Tiber in Rome, "but we were short on these middle- and lower-class" burial places.
The burial sites help "document the middle class, which usually escapes us," said Paolo Liverani, an archaeologist and former Museums official who worked as a consultant on the site. "You don't construct history with only generals and kings."
Among those buried in the necropolis was a set designer for Pompey's Theater, notorious for being near the spot where Julius Caesar was stabbed to death. Decorating the designer's tomb were some symbols of his trade — a compass and a T-square.
An archivist for Emperor Nero's private property and mailmen also were buried in the necropolis.
Unearthed were black-and-white mosaic flooring and other decorations, including figures of a satyr and Dionysus, an ancient god of fertility and wine, along with a scene of a grape harvest.
A male member of ancient Rome's class of knights, who died as a teenager, was remembered in death with a sculpted figure with hands outstretched as if in prayer. The kind of figure, known as an orante, was widely taken as an early symbol of Christians.
The necropolis ran along the edges of an ancient Roman road, Via Triumphalis, and is distinct from another necropolis that followed the lines of another ancient road, Via Cornelia, whose ruins can be seen under St. Peter's Basilica.
The Via Cornelia necropolis is considered to hold the tomb of St. Peter, the first pope.
De experimento nucleari
05.10.2006, klo 18.19
Moderatores Coreae Septentrionalis nuntiaverunt se experimentum nucleare facturos esse, ut defensionem civitatis suae contra inimicitias Americanorum corroborarent.
Qua re audita multae nationes, in iis Corea Meridiana, Iaponia, Britannia illud inceptum concorditer condemnaverunt.
Quin etiam Sinenses duces Coreanos ad temperantiam hortati sunt.
Cleveland Museum's antiquities officials have failed to respond to my email request for information as to how the museum acquired the South Italian Medea vase in 1991 recently cited on this page Cleveland's Got Prized South Italian Medea Vase. The vase was part of a highly controversial auction of the Hunt brothers' collection at Sotheby's in June 1990. However, an informed source close to the Italian investigation advises that Italy will pursue the Medea along with other pieces now in Cleveland's collection of ancient art.
In Colombia, they like to tell a joke about the promiscuity of women in this southwestern city near Colombia's lush coffee fields: If you ask a Pereira woman to sit down, she lies down.
These days, however, some Pereira women are carving out a new image for themselves more befitting of a Greek myth than a tasteless joke. In the ancient Greek Aristophanes' antiwar play, Lysistrata, women of several villages withhold sex from their husbands to secure the end of the Peloponnesian War.
In early September, a half-dozen Pereira women decided to withhold sex from their boyfriends -- many of whom authorities say belong to gangs -- until they dropped their weapons and found a new way of life. Now, the man who helped organize this so-called ''sex strike'' in this city of 450,000 says about 100 more women have joined and countless others are sympathizing with them.
''We can't keep talking about how the law is king here when there is no law,'' said Julio Gómez, the strike organizer and the top security advisor for the mayor's office. ``We have to look for alternative solutions.''
And so they have, reaching out to youngsters who have made this the most violent city in Colombia with incentive programs to push for them to hand in their weapons and sex strikes to make them think about their actions.
Helen of Troy had never been the subject of a serious study until Bettany Hughes's Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore. Now the historian of the classical world is coming out with a C4 series on the subject. Hughes tells me she has had to bear many a slight from older, male academics who cannot conceive of a good-looking woman discussing the ruins of a late Bronze Age temple. But she had hoped that the battle of the sexes would remain cerebral. Not quite.
When Hughes decided to investigate Bronze Age wrestling, she relied on a group of body-building archaeology enthusiasts, all from Sparta. And therein lay the problem. In her preceding series, on Sparta, Hughes had explained how Spartan men practised homosexuality.
This was deemed unacceptable by the unreconstructed machos who, while purportedly showing Hughes the holds of contact sport, took great pleasure in throwing the petite historian to the floor.
Tom Sienkewicz, Capron Professor of Classics at Monmouth College, is the editor of "Ancient Greece," a new three-volume encyclopedia recently published by Salem Press, Inc.
The encyclopedia is an A-Z survey of Greek history and culture from its earliest archaeological remains to the Battle of Actium in 31 B.C.E., when Greek civilization merged with Roman to become Greco-Roman civilization. Greece's ancient history serves as the touchstone for much of Western history that followed.
Encompassing heroic tales of Homer and the philosophical musings of Plato, the bloody Peloponnesian Wars between Athens and Sparta and the vast empire of Alexander the Great, "Ancient Greece" is written for students and general readers of all ages.
In addition to previously published essays, the encyclopedia includes 29 specially-commissioned essays. One of the new essays, "Women's Life," was written by one of Sienkewicz's former students, Joe O'Neill. The 2001 Monmouth College graduate is a doctoral student in classics at the University of Toronto.
TWO ancient languages are sparking an unexpected revival in the increasingly lost arts of punctuation and grammar in the nation's schools.
A revival in the popularity of classical Greek and Latin and ancient history is teaching high school students something that many are failing to grasp in modern day English classrooms.
"I have a greater grasp of grammar because I learn (classical languages)," said Year 12 student Samantha Taylor, one of about 200 students who will sit Latin for the HSC in NSW this year.
"I understand verbs, clauses and nouns."
Ancient history, Latin, philosophy and classical Greek dominate the suiteof HSC subjects Ms Taylor is studying at the Sydney Church of England Co-educational Grammar School (Redlands).
Ancient history is a popular pathway into classical languages and for the past two years enrolments in this subject - now the seventh-most popular for the HSC in NSW - have overtaken those in modern history in that state.
There is little doubt that the study of classics is no pushover: it is intellectually demanding and requires the reading of texts in Latin and ancient Greek.
Experts argue that is why the skills it engenders in students - analysis, argument, presentation - are so useful in the workplace. And employers know it.
But that is probably not why students are drawn to classics.
Lecturer Alastair Blanshard said the exoticism and colour of the ancient world appealed to students and offered an escape from the mundane.
"It's a world where all the things that you would want to happen are happening," he said.
"There's a lot of appeal about the politics. When you see current politics and you see the endless senatorial inquiries and the things drowning in red tape, it's quite nice to imagine a world where it's all sorted out by daggers on the senate floor."
In a classical world, things were much clearer; leaders could conquer a world that was less constrained by Christian morality. There was more sense of adventure, more sense of play.
The Australian National University's classics convener, Elizabeth Minchin, said the increase in popularity of the classics was creating stronger demand for those subjects in universities. She said 16 universities now taught classics to some degree. Some such as Monash, had reintroduced it after closing courses in the wake of 1996 budget cuts.
Sydney University is among those institutions experiencing rapid growth in the classics.
Its undergraduate enrolments in ancient history and the classics now stand at 1417, a 22 per cent increase on2004.
Dating back to the 153 BC, the historical 'Hercules Statue' sits on a cliff in Bistoun Mountain, Kermanshah province.
All visitors to Zagros Mountains have seen the historical ’Hercules Statue’ and have written materials to describe this ancient artwork, Iran Daily reported.
The unique relic has been carved out of the boulder some 300 meters from the east of the inscriptions of the Achaemeinid King Darius on a cliff in Bisotoun Mountain, Kermanshah province.
Western archeologists and tourists who have visited the monument believe that the relic dates back to 153 BC, coinciding with the reign of Mehrdad I of the Arsacides dynasty.
Following the commissioning of Silk Road in 1958, the valuable artifact was located along the road in full view of all travelers. Of course, the relic has suffered a lot of damage due to numerous visits to the area.
In addition to this, the theft of the statue’s head in 1977, which was recovered after a while, as well as destruction of its hand and body in 1979 are among the other damages inflicted on the monument.
In 1977, the then cultural officials took some measures to restore the historical statue.
One of the undertakings was to create a molage of the head of Hercules and install it in place of the original one but unfortunately it was vandalized several times so that the number of the molages made for the purpose reached eight.
In an interview with Iran Daily, head of Bisotoun Cultural Heritage and Tourism Research Center said that the monument depicts a strong and completely unclothed image of a person with curling hair and beard who is reclining on a pedestal measuring 214 centimeters by 76 centimeters under the shade of a tree.
Shokoufeh Mehdiabadi added that Ira Alex or Heraklis is the most famous hero in ancient Greece stories. He was the son of Zeus, the ancient Greek god of gods.
The Late Hellenistic Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria has been neglected in studies of theories of mind and language in Post-Aristotelian Philosophy. Philo's dualism distinguishes immateriality and materiality in our language (logos). His arguments about the nature of mind and his explanations of the relation of speech to the mind, divine or human, draw heavily from Stoics and Platonists. Philo appears to present contemporary Platonist, anti-Stoic arguments that mind is of a different nature than body. Also, Philo deserves credit as our first detailed, surviving expositor of the view that meanings are thoughts, presented to the world in speech.
Starting next week, Rome will show off the 13 disputed antiquities that Boston's Museum of Fine Arts recently returned in a victory for Italy's aggressive efforts to gain back ancient treasures the nation contends were illegally exported.
The exhibit "Archaeology celebrates: 13 masterpieces come home" will run Oct. 10-29 at National Roman Museum.
Late last month, Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli and Museum of Fine Arts director Malcolm Rogers signed the deal for the return of the antiquities.
Among the artifacts are a statue and a bas-relief believed to have decorated Hadrian's Villa outside Rome.
The agreement promises loans of other Italian treasures to the MFA.
Under a 1939 law, all antiquities found in Italy must be turned over to the state.
Rogers contended the treasures were purchased in good faith, but that the antiquities were returned after Italian authorities presented them with fresh evidence of their illegal origin during yearlong negotiations.
Italy's efforts to regain its antiquities include criminal prosecution. Marion True, a former curator for the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, is on trial in Rome along with American art dealer Robert Hecht for alleged trafficking in looted artifacts. Both have denied wrongdoing.
Earlier this year, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art agreed to return 21 artifacts to Italy, but Boston's antiquities were the first to come home to Italy.
After the Rome exhibit, the pieces will go to museums closer to their places of origin.
Phoenix Ancient Art, one of the world's leading dealers in rare, high quality antiquities from Western civilizations, today announced that its exhibition, "The Painter's Eye: The Art of Greek Ceramics. Greek Vases from a Swiss Private Collection and Other European Private Collections," will be unveiled at its New York City gallery on October 20, 2006, opening to the public on October 21, and remaining on view until November 11, 2006. This will be the first time that this particular collection of vases will be going on public display, some of which have not been seen in over 30 years. "We pursued this collection for five years, knowing that the opportunity to obtain such a rare collection of Greek vases, painstakingly selected for their beauty, quality and integrity, would probably never present itself again," says Ali Aboutaam, president of Phoenix Ancient Art. The exhibit will be accompanied by the publication of a corresponding scholarly catalogue featuring the 26 pieces, which range in date from the mid 6th century B.C. to the late 4th century B.C. A number of these wonderful vases have previously been unpublished, highlighting the timeliness of Phoenix's decision to bring such treasures of antiquity into the light. "When most people think of ancient art, one of the first images that come to mind, perhaps now more than ever, is a Greek vase," said Hicham Aboutaam, co-founder of Phoenix Ancient Art. "The power of these timeless works of art to evoke the glories of Western art in the public consciousness is extraordinary." "Even in antiquity, Greek vases were treasured as trophies and heirlooms," says Ali Aboutaam. Voracious foreign demand also led to their travel and export throughout the Mediterranean. The most skilled potters and vase painters would develop their own followings in much the same way that paintings collectors today look for Picassos or Rembrandts." While no actual Picassos are on display, Phoenix's show certainly features some of his ancient equivalents. Painters such as Macron, Dikaios and Brygos, among the masters of their craft, present compositions executed with a grace and beauty that illustrate an incredibly high level of draftsmanship and aesthetic sensitivity. It is easy to see how these vessels have attracted devoted collectors for over 2,000 years, from Roman conquerors to Enlightenment era intellectuals to modern day diplomats. In this case, the names of the collectors can be of just as much importance as the names of the artists. Consider two beautiful and unusually large amphorae, or wine vessels, with lively depictions of satyrs and maenads in the midst of their drunken revels. They were excavated and published by Lucien Bonaparte, the Prince of Canino and half brother of Emperor Napoleon I. One of the highlights of the show displays a brilliance of craftsmanship and design that is matched by an equally fascinating history: a 6th century B.C. amphora by the Antimenes Painter depicting Heracles battling the Nemean Lion -- arguably one of his finest works -- hails from the early 19th century collection at Capesthorne Hall, one of Britain's great country estates. Home to the Bromley-Davenport family, this marvelous vase belonged to Sir Edward Davies Davenport (1778 - 1847), a politician and intellectual who fell in love with the Classical world and amassed his collection during his European Grand Tour. A number of the vessels are also decorated with genre scenes of daily life, which are sure to be of interest to both casual students of antiquity as well as to seasoned collectors and academics. Themes such as a music lesson, the cleaning of a fish for a meal and athletes exercising are treated with equal care, the lively, colorful images giving us a tantalizing glimpse into the ancient world. Located at 47 East 66th Street in Manhattan, the gallery will be open to the public Monday - Friday, 11 am - 6 pm and Saturday - Sunday, 12 pm - 5 pm. For more information call 212-288-7518 or visit http://www.phoenixancientart.com.
After some 35 weeks of wait, the third season of "Battlestar Galactica" is finally set to premiere on SciFi Channel Friday night. And if the media hasn't given the talented men and women behind the scenes enough pressure, the fact that this season could determine whether "Battlestar Galactica" becomes a permanent part of television greatness, or be known as simply nothing more than a one-hit wonder, is ever-present on people's minds.
Producer David Weddle has been through it all, and as we rejoin humanity on New Caprica, things are only going to get more exciting.
"I think the first five episodes are the best work we've ever done," Weddle told SyFy Portal's Michael Hinman. "Characters you love will die, others will betray themselves and others, still others will have their hearts and psyches broken, and others will be propelled on paths they never dreamed possible. So go to the bathroom now, because you're going to have to hold it for a long time."
When we left the Battlestar Galactica, the Battlestar Pegasus and the ragtag fleet at the end of Season 2 back in March, the Cylons found the planet that President Baltar (James Callis) said they would never find, and sent occupying forces to the planet. Some have compared this shift to more recent events here at home like Sept. 11, 2001, and the American occupation of Iraq, but Weddle says it goes even beyond that.
"Obviously, the mythology of our show is influenced and informed by the post-9/11 world we live in," Weddle said. "How could it not be? But we have tried very hard not to make the events and characters in our show a direct one-to-one allegory of today's events. In this way, we hope it will serve as an allegory for the entire human existence.
"Certainly, you can find parallels to the moral dilemmas and crises our characters face in World War II, the American Civil and Revolutionary Wars, the Punic Wars, and the Greek siege of Troy." Weddle said he and writing partner Bradley Thompson have two-volume sets of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey translated by Robert Fagles, and refer to it often.
"I find many parallels in Homer's epic, and in works like Euripides's The Trojan Women to the stories we tell on 'Battlestar.'"
DREAMS of a skatepark being operational in Horncastle this summer have been dashed.
Earlier this year the Horncastle Skatepark Committee Support Group (HSCSG) was given the money by Horncastle Town Council to carry out an archeological dig on the site in preparation for the base to be constructed.
But, due to the Roman items uncovered - including coins and pottery, work cannot go ahead this year.
HSCSG chairman David Hopped explained: "While it was our hope to install the equipment we have constructed for use this summer, we are still awaiting the finalised report from the archaeological dig due to the significance of the finds and the need for analysis by experts."
He added the dig had to take place to comply with conditions imposed by East Lindsey District Council's planning department and says the group 'makes no apology' for complying precisely and thoroughly with these.
However, the summer saw the group receive a 'very positive' ROSPA report after an inspection of equipment built by members and the necessary insurance is now in place.
Mr Hopper added: "I have been constantly amazed by the unerring enthusiasm shown by the people of Horncastle to the skatepark project.
"The support received from individuals, groups, organisations and businesses has been overwhelming.
"On behalf of the HSGSG, I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all because without their help the project would not be at the advanced stage it has reached."
The group is now looking forward to 2007 when it carry on with its project to provide and maintain a skatepark which will be available at any time, free of charge, to anyone who wants to use it.
Vir bonus est quis? Qui consulta patrum, qui leges iuraque servat.
(Horace Epistulae 1.16.40-41
Who is the good man? He is the one who takes care with the advice of
the senate, who serves the law and justice.
pron = weer BOH-noos ehst kwis? kwee kohn-SOOL-tah PAH-troom kwee
LAY-gays yoo-RAH-kweh SEHR-waht.
Comment: Horace defines a good man by describing one who does his job
well according to the traditions and expectations of his society. He,
in this case, is an attorney who pays attention to the leaders of his
land, who does his work according to the law and on behalf of justice
(as the society defines it), and he is a man who has all of his bases
covered. He takes on no trivial suits. He has guarantors and
witnesses to back up his cases.
Two generations ago, we would have called him "Perry Mason" or the like.
And this is one way of defining the good human being: the one who
meets social expectations. This is a definition of goodness from the
Given current events in our own society, we might want to also inquire
about the interior of a person. Does it match the exterior? Is there
It is easy to get caught in jumping through the hoops to meet external
approval without paying attention to the interior of one's life. But
if our attention begins with the inner life, the exterior
tends to follow suit. Often enough, society won't understand, but
this kind of person will be at peace.
Dialogum inter religiones esse necessarium
28.09.2006, klo 10.55
Summus Pontifex Benedictus XVI delegatos terrarum islamicarum in Arcem Gandulfi, ubi residentiam habet aestivam, die Lunae vocaverat.
Affirmavit se orbem musulmanum aestimatione et reverentia prosequi sed monuit mutuam inter religiones reverentiam esse necessariam; dialogo authentico opus esse, ut omnes contentiones in spiritu proficuae consensionis remitterentur.
Archaeologists working on the Quantock Hills in Somerset have uncovered evidence of a substantial Roman villa with a mosaic floor in the main room.
The findings are part of a six-year study carried out on six separate sites around the area.
The dig team said the villa at Yarford is one of the most westerly villas with mosaic floors found in Roman Britain.
It was subjected to three seasons of excavation but has since been buried again to protect it for the future.
The excavation was jointly carried out by the University of Winchester, Somerset County Council and English Heritage.
Dr Keith Wilkinson, from Winchester University, said: "This was an unexpected and exciting discovery and was an important and significant site on this part of the Quantock Hills.
"If there is one villa, then the chances are that others will be found in due course."
Also discovered at the Yarford dig is a large prehistoric site dating from the Iron Age around 500 BC.
The floodwaters have not arrived yet but the Yortanli dam is ready. As his team of tireless diggers ignores the sizzling Anatolian heat to uncover the secrets of Allianoi, Dr Ahmet Yaras had the look of a condemned commander about him.
It would, he said, be death by drowning for the world's oldest known thermal spa. "And still," he exclaimed, his eyes scouring the wooded hillocks of the ancient settlement, "there is so much to find."
Days after Turkey's government gave its blessing to the construction of the controversial Ilisu dam in the south-east of the country, archaeologists in western Allianoi have accelerated efforts to salvage a 1,800-year-old health centre that is arguably the most impressive and best preserved on the continent of Europe.
Not since excavations began in 1998 has the quest to unearth the mysteries of the complex been so fraught with the knowledge that time is running out. The Yortanli project was completed last November and only pressure from both inside and outside Turkey has kept the floodgates closed.
Laying the foundation stone for the Ilisu plant - a project that campaigners claim will wreak "cultural mass destruction" on the historic site of Hasankeyf while displacing thousands of Kurds - the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, summed up the dilemma thus: "On the one hand, you have the increasing demand for energy and a bright future for Turkey; on the other history, culture and an inheritance that belongs to all humanity. We have to find a solution. We have to make peace between the two sides."
In Hasankeyf, on the banks of the river Tigris, authorities have earmarked €25m (£16.9m) to relocate antiquities that include Assyrian, Roman and Ottoman monuments despite the idea being dismissed as risible by experts.
But in the case of Allianoi, an assortment of monumental streets, squares, churches, bridges, gates, fountains, hot springs and stores, such measures are impossible to take. "You can't remove any of the monuments there," says Gunhan Danisman, the vice-president of the Chamber of Architects in Istanbul. "The only way to save them is to stop the dam filling up."
The ruins of Allianoi are among the few "asclepions" - or therapeutic centres - ever discovered. Testimony to the extraordinary sophistication of urban planning and hydrological engineering during the Roman era, archaeologists believe that with its curative waters, the spa city complemented the legendary asclepion at nearby Pergamon. There, patients were healed through psychotherapy to the accompaniment of music.
Artefacts found on the site, including bronze surgical instruments, suggest it was a prominent health centre from the second century BC to the 11th century AD. Having survived earthquakes in AD 178 and 262, the site has been spectacularly preserved beneath alluvial soils.
But it would not withstand the waters of the Yortanli dam. Lying at the centre of its reservoir along the Ilya river, officials and archaeologists agree that with the opening of the flood gates the antiquities will be immediately submerged. Once inundated, an estimated 12-15m of silt will cover the city.
The irrigation project was first proposed in 1970 to benefit fewer than 6,000 farm families in the region. Fed with the extra water, fields that presently produce single crops of cotton, tobacco and melons should yield several harvests a year.
"In Bergama [Pergamon] there is no industry and unemployment is a big problem," says Hasan Astarlar, a member of the town's municipal council. "Farming is the only way out but our fields don't have enough water. There are no irrigation canals, another big problem when the weather in recent years has become so hot."
But the town of 52,000 people is divided. Some 500,000 tourists visited Allianoi last year. Locals realise that while the technology exists to build modern dams, it cannot "make the past" and the sort of monuments that draw the crowds.
"History is very important for Bergama," Rasit Urper, the bustling town's moustachioed mayor, told the Guardian. "Building the dam was very expensive. It's not something we can just ignore now, but we also believe that Allianoi should be saved. Our hope is that we'll be able to build a protective wall around it with the help of the international community."
So far, that option has been ruled out on the grounds of being more costly than the dam itself.
Opposition to the project has mounted both at home and abroad. Last year, the EU's top enlargement official, Olli Rehn, warned that the destruction of the site would not only result in "irretrievable loss to the cultural memory of Europe" but also reflect badly on Turkey's image as it negotiated EU membership.
Under pressure, Turkey - a secular state governed by an Islamic party - has deferred opening the dam, but with crucial elections next year, and the battle for votes along the country's traditionally liberal Aegean coast a priority for the conservative government, fears abound that political expediency may win the day.
"Turkey doesn't love its archaeology," says Dr Yaras, wearily shaking his head. "All over this country there are dam projects that pose similar problems for archaeologists, but with this government we have the added problem that it only values monuments from the Islamic period. I worry that with elections coming up, the Yortanli dam could be turned on overnight."
Should that happen, campaigners say they will have to store their hope in technology enabling future generations to unearth Allianoi again.
"All dams after a certain time fill up with alluvial soil," says Professor Danisman. "My hope is that in 35 years, say, excavation techniques will have become so sophisticated that we will be able to discover Allianoi under the earth again."
When Adolf Hitler went to Rome on a state visit in 1938, trip organizers realized at the last minute that their German translation of text explaining historic sites was lacking. They turned to a young scholar, Herbert Bloch, who was working on a government excavation project. Dr. Bloch stayed up two nights rewriting it, even though, as a Jew by birth, he was an unlikely candidate for helping out the dictator who had caused him to flee his native Germany and seek refuge in Italy, his colleagues said.
It was a quandary, he would later tell fellow scholars: `` `Shall I refuse to do this and poke Hitler in the eye or shall I do it and help the people who have helped me?' And he preferred to help the people who had helped him," said Christopher Jones, a former student, now a professor of classics and history at Harvard.
Hitler enjoyed the exhibit -- and the explanatory text -- so much, he came back for a second, unscheduled visit. Dr. Bloch went on to become a leading authority on ancient and medieval architecture, teaching at Harvard for four decades.
Dr. Bloch died from cancer Sept. 6 at the Chilton House in Cambridge. He was 95.
Less than a year after helping the Italians with that translation, he was forced to flee Italy, as he had Germany, when anti-Semitism mounted. His brother Egon, who had remained in Germany, later died in Auschwitz.
When he arrived in America in 1939, Dr. Bloch already had an impressive academic background. He had studied ancient history, classical philology, and archeology at the University of Berlin from 1930 to 1933. He earned his doctoral degree in Roman history from the University of Rome two years later.
He was fluent in Greek, Latin, Italian, and of course his native German. So he was a valued member of the group of researchers excavating Ostia -- a seaport thought to have been founded by the fourth king of Rome -- as part of Benito Mussolini's interest in reviving the Roman empire.
Dr. Bloch stepped up his research of Roman historiography and archeology as a professor at Harvard, where he quickly rose in the ranks. He became a full professor in 1953, and two decades later, held the Pope Professorship of the Latin Language and Literature. All the while, he was busy studying brick-stamps, the markings that help historians and archeologists trace the origins of a structure's building blocks.
His work to uncover the history of Monte Cassino, a historic monastery on a 1,600-foot hill overlooking Cassino in central Italy, filled three volumes, ``Monte Cassino in the Middle Ages," which was published in 1986. He toured out-of-the-way places all over Italy researching and taking photographs for the books.
``It's a staggering work," said Jan Ziolkowski , chair of the Classics Department at Harvard. The books were massive, he said. ``I'm talking about not just a regular book size -- pages that are almost the size of the old Life magazines."
While studying Monte Cassino, Dr. Bloch came across a puzzling series of documents, and after a bit of detective work was able to prove that the abbey's librarian had forged ancient documents to exaggerate the historical significance of the abbey. Dr. Bloch ascertained that some of the facts described in the documents were wrong. He documented his findings in ``The Atina Dossier of Peter the Deacon of Monte Cassino," published in 1998 -- when he was well into his 80s.
``He was able to put two and two together where other people may have missed it," said his daughter Mary Alice, of Bedford.
He used his extensive knowledge of the classics in his family life as well. On a trip to the White Mountains, he was hiking with his twin daughters, who were 8 or 9 at the time, when they all got lost.
``He sat us down, and we spent the whole night on a thin fallen log, him between us," said Mary Alice . ``He told us the whole story of the Odyssey beginning to end."
``He could be enthusiastic about any number of subjects and really talk for hours," said his daughter Anne , of Arlington.
His wife, Clarissa (Holland), died in 1958. His second wife, Ellen (Cohen), died in May 1987.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Oct. 21 in The First Church in Belmont.
Cleanup is set to begin within days at the first of three ancient World Heritage sites damaged in the summer's Hezbollah-Israel war _ a crumbling old castle rising from the Mediterranean whose foundation stones are now coated with oil sludge.
Tens of thousands of dollars from European and other donors will go toward repairing the damage at the three sites _ first at this ancient Phoenician port city whose history stretches back 7,000 years, then to Roman ruins at Baalbek and Roman-era frescos in Tyre.
But officials say they also worry that many other historic sites, such as old souks, or markets, not listed by UNESCO as World Heritage sites, also were damaged and are getting less attention.
In Byblos, once teeming with fishermen and tourists, the famous ruins of the crumbling castle-fortress, which have provided the backdrop for dozens of international concerts, are now blackened at the base with scum from an oil spill. The oil spilled after Israeli air strikes hit fuel storage tanks on Lebanon's coast in mid-July, during the war against Hezbollah.
"The stones of the two ancient towers at the port's entrance, and all the archaeological ruins, are very stained. The site is in immediate danger," said Mounir Bouchenaki, who headed a UNESCO team that traveled to Lebanon to inspect the sites after the Aug. 14 cease-fire.
The cost of the cleanup could be around $100,000, and the work is expected to start within days after money arrives and coordination with Lebanese officials is completed, he said.
Byblos, one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world, has been linked to the legends and history of the Mediterranean region for thousands of years and is directly associated with the history and diffusion of the Phoenician alphabet.
The English word Bible is believed to be derived from Byblos, meaning "the papyrus," or "the book."
The charming harbor town is a major tourist site where international summer festivals are held every summer.
The site must be cleaned before winter to prevent permanent damage, said Bouchenaki, who also is director-general of the International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property.
Other challenges await.
Down the southern coast at Tyre, valuable frescoes in a Roman-era tomb were shaken to the ground. And inland, a block of stone at the Roman ruins of Baalbek was toppled. In addition, already existing cracks in the temples of Jupiter and Bacchus at Baalbek may have widened because of vibrations from bombings in the area, says the UNESCO team and Lebanese officials.
Lebanon, a Mediterranean country of 4 million people, has five UNESCO World Heritage sites: Baalbek, Tyre and Byblos, plus Anjar and the Holy Valley of Qadisha and the Forest of the Cedars of God in northern Lebanon.
The country's archaeological treasures have already been damaged by earthquakes and wars _ some of them looted during Lebanon's 1975-90 civil war.
The sites were spared any direct hits in the war between Israel and Hezbollah, but those at Byblos, Baalbek and Tyre are in urgent need of repairs, according to Lebanese officials and the UNESCO team.
Across the country, dozens of other old traditional buildings, hilltop castles and ancient bridges were damaged.
"We are still taking stock of our losses," said Omar Halablab, director general of Lebanon's Culture Ministry.
Bouchenaki agreed that more serious damage was done to other, non-listed historic structures, old souks and buildings all over the country, particularly in south Lebanese villages near the border with Israel.
"We think that another mission is necessary to study the impact of the bombings on the sites which are not listed as World Heritage sites, but are equally important," he said.
Bouchenaki said further research using sophisticated photographic measurement technology would be needed to determine the extent of damage to Baalbek's colossal structures. The temple is located just few hundred yards from the center of Baalbek, a Hezbollah stronghold that was repeatedly targeted by Israeli bombing.
Frederique Husseini, director general of Lebanon's antiquities department, said other sites, such as the old souk in Baalbek and 18th- and 19th-century buildings in eastern and southern Lebanon were devastated in heavy combat and bombing.
He said Lebanon had requested $550,000 in aid from European donors to restore part of the souk in Baalbek and $900,000 for the restoration of buildings and old castles that were damaged.
"We are still waiting for the money," he said.
A digger being used by workmen on a building site in Kent has unearthed 3,600 bronze Roman coins dating from AD330 to AD348.
Archaeologists from Kent County Council (KCC) were called to the site in the Medway Valley after the digger arm overturned a pot containing the coins.
"The workmen saw all these coins come pouring out of the digger bucket," said Maidstone Museum's Laura McLean.
They will be transferred to the British Museum for cleaning and recording.
It is then hoped the hoard of coins can be put on display in Kent.
The county council's Andrew Richardson said: "In four years of dealing with all the treasure in Kent I have never dealt with anything on this scale.
"The remarkable thing is that someone has gathered these coins together and stashed them because they were no longer legal tender."
Dr Richardson said the coins featured the head of Roman Emperor Constantine and other powerful figures from the time.
The Cambridge New Greek Lexicon has already been nearly eight years in the making. But the growing range and sophistication of the project made it imperative to find extra funding, which until now has had to be raised independently of the research grant system, with the help of various benefactors.
The Arts and Humanities Research Council has now awarded the team the maximum grant available under the Resource Enhancement scheme – enough to pay for two of the three lexicographers’ positions for another three years. Although funds are still needed to secure the third post, it is hoped that by 2010 the lexicon will be complete and ready to go to press. If so, it should become available to students during the early part of the next decade.
Its compilers have created a huge electronic database which, by searching hundreds of ancient texts, can provide immediate access to all the material they need. The book is also being designed so that students, who at present often have to rely on outdated dictionaries, will be able to use it with ease.
Professor Pat Easterling, chair of the lexicon’s management committee, said the book would have a “two-fold mission”.
“It is going to be a portable lexicon, meant for readers of all sorts,” she said. “One aim is to provide the student with something more user-friendly and up to date. The other is, we hope, to produce something that is valuable to scholars looking for entries composed according to modern methods of semantic analysis, as in the new Oxford English dictionary."
New lexicons are needed as new research into the Ancient Greek language is carried out. Our understanding of Ancient Greek is changing constantly, as new words are discovered and existing sources are read and re-read in greater detail. Further modifications need to be made as the teaching and study of Greek and the meanings of English words change over time.
The project to create a new lexicon was begun in 1998 by Dr John Chadwick, a Cambridge academic distinguished for his collaboration with Michael Ventris on the decipherment of Linear B. His initial aim was simply to revise the intermediate edition of Liddell & Scott's Greek-English Lexicon, a student version published unchanged since the end of the 19th century. However, once the inadequacies of the work became clear, the decision was taken to start afresh.
To achieve this, the Cambridge team entered into collaboration with Perseus, an American digital library with a huge databank of Classical texts. From it, a database has been created large enough to fill 30 CD-Roms, which enables them to find each occurrence of an individual word in the original Greek texts.
“We are doing something that is radically new, not based on existing lexicons but going back to the original sources,” Professor James Diggle, the lexicon’s principal reader, said. “Because our database enables us to see each word in its context, we don’t have to go to our shelves and take down each book, as we would have had to do in the past. And that gives us a unique opportunity to produce something far more radical and innovatory. It has allowed us to jettison the classifications that exist and start again.”
The completed lexicon will be published in print form by Cambridge University Press and will also be available for consultation online as part of the Perseus Digital Library.
Multorum manibus grande levatur opus.
Important work is made light by the hands of many.
pron = mool-TOH-room MAH-ni-boos GRAHN-day leh-WAH-toor OH-poos.
Comment: My source says this is anonymous but I am pretty sure that
Hilary Clinton said this in a book a few years ago! Oh, but she
didn't say it in Latin. I am sure that if she had said it in Latin,
people would have taken it seriously, because anything in Latin is
Okay, now tongue removed from cheek. These are sensible, true to
experience, words that represent a powerful phenomenon. When human
beings work together on something that is difficult, they make it less
difficult, and they accomplish much more easily what one person might
find simply impossible.
I enjoy working in a school district where Latin teachers, via email,
share with each other, often on a daily basis, things they are
creating for their classes. Just yesterday, I emailed a teacher
that I knew had created a project, rubric and instructions for a
literary devices. Within 2 minutes, I was copying her documents to
give to my Latin IV students. The proect was just what I needed for
my students, and the shared efforts of another teacher made my work
day a little lighter. This is one little example.
The converse is also true. Little tasks become
much more burdensome when the hands of others are withdrawn.
Leaves me wondering to what task I put my hands today.
De Unione Europaea amplificanda
28.09.2006, klo 10.56
Commissio Europaea die Martis suasit, ut Bulgaria et Romania certis condicionibus anno proximo ineunte in Unionem Europaeam asciscerentur.
Adhaesio autem illarum terrarum, antequam officialis fiat, in parlamentis singulorum membrorum Unionis comprobanda erit.
Consultationes etiam de Turcia et Croatia asciscendis fiunt.
At Jose Manuel Barroso, praeses Commissionis Europaeae, censet post Bulgariam et Romaniam in Unionem acceptas amplificationi moram interponendam esse, donec quaestio de lege Unionis fundamentali soluta sit; illa lege accepta Unionem efficacius quam ante agere et nova membra asciscere posse.
Bulgarian archaeological expedition discovered an ancient Thracian man's skull, which had undergone cranium surgery.
The skull was found near the Southeast Bulgarian city of Svilengrad, where archaeologists make rescue excavations.
The trepanation was done for medical reasons and it is the first one believed to be from Thracian times, chief archaeologist Georgi Nehrizov commented. The find is dated year 2500-1800 BC.
During the 2000s, Bulgarian archaeologists made discoveries in Central Bulgaria, which were summarized, as "The Valley of the Thracian Kings". On August 19 2005, some archaeologists announced they had found the first Thracian capital.
Thracians were numerous tribes that developed from a mixture of invading Indo-European and indigenous peoples in the Balkans over the centuries, starting from the Early Bronze Age. They figure in the Iliad as allies of the Trojans, hailing from Thrace.
Master’s student Carolyn Willekes uses her “bareback laboratory” to research ancient cavalry, while Taylor Hayward is perfecting a tiny device that will help soldiers detect chemical weapons. These student researchers are part of a new generation of U of C students who are learning through research. They’re building their own knowledge and generating ideas that may one day change the world.
THE SIGNS that the ancient Greeks and Romans are close to Carolyn Willekes’ heart are abundant. First there is the convincing way she pivots in her chair when demonstrating how archers mounted on horseback fired their arrows. Then there’s the fact that she gets a little breathless—as though her words were galloping ahead of her—when talking about Alexander the Great’s use of his cavalry. If you still need convincing, all you have to do is look a little closer to her heart because Willekes wears a necklace adorned with a copy of an Alexander coin and a small talisman used by modern Greeks to ward off the evil eye. This combination of the ancient and contemporary is also found in her approach to research. Willekes defended her master’s thesis last August and started on her PhD a month later. Although a master’s thesis called The Greek Warhorse: Its Breeding, Training and Military Role wouldn’t seem to offer a lot of scope for primary research, Willekes devised a simple way of testing her theories: She just gets on a horse with her bow and arrow (or sword or spear) and goes for a ride.
Willekes, 25, has been around horses ever since her parents gave her riding lessons for her 10th birthday. This practical knowledge was key to devising her research question. “I thought what if I took my knowledge from training horses and knowing what horses are actually like and tried to figure out how you actually put them on a battlefield?” she says. “Because if you know anything about horses it seems like the worst idea in the world. These things are afraid of everything and they’ll run away from anything.”
Along with fellow students Ryan Jones, who has a talent for making weapons, and Alison Mercer, whose parents own horses, Willekes has created a kind of bareback laboratory. In her master’s thesis, she writes about her findings regarding the sarissa, a long spear used by the Macedonian cavalry, which scholars generally believed to be about 4.5-metres-long. But Willekes was suspicious of that claim “If you have a small pony and no saddle or stirrups, how is that going to work?” she asks. “We made one that was 3.5- metres-long, and it wobbles like spaghetti when you ride.” She concluded that the sarissa could have been no more than 2.5 metres long. According to Waldemar Heckel, her thesis supervisor, Willekes’s research has larger implications. “Carolyn’s work shows that new methods can be applied,” he says, “and also that what is generally dismissed as ‘reenactment’ can be a very serious business—indeed an essential pursuit.”
WILLEKES’S WORK also demonstrates how student research can be an essential pursuit, one that makes real contributions to knowledge in a variety of fields. (Her work also shows how learning can flow from student to professor because, although he is a little afraid of horses, Heckel promised he would learn to ride if Willekes stayed at the U of C for her PhD. He intends to honour his pledge.)
Even when the research does not lead to anything as dramatic as overturning a previously held belief, the work has dramatic benefits for the students who undertake it. “New ideas, if they are to have any value, must be based on a fresh study of the evidence available,” Heckel says. “Students need to have access to the same materials in order to understand and evaluate a scholar’s conclusions.” In other words, research inculcates a solid approach to studies in diverse fields. What’s more, it is just as important to the undergraduate as it is to the grad student, to the aspiring academic as to those for whom the thought of starting a PhD immediately after completing a master’s produces either tears or laughter.
The Romans had a saying: Qui filiolus planto dementis primoris planto pop astrum. (“Those whom the gods would make mad, they first make pop stars.”) Or they would have, if they’d had any pop stars.
Professor Laronde described the excavations of the French Mission in Apollonia near to Al-Bayda, 115 miles north-east of Benghazi and 12 miles north of Cyrene.
Established in the 7th century BC, Apollonia was the port of Cyrene, for more than a millennium. It was founded by Greek colonists and became a significant commercial centre in the southern Mediterranean. It remained autonomous from Cyrene during the Roman period, and even surpassed it as the major city of the region in the 6th century AD. The theatre is sited in a particularly picturesque location by the sea. Other buildings include the Eastern, Central and Western Basilicas and the Byzantine Palace.
Profesor Laronde pointed out that in the 2nd century BC there were two harbours in Apollonia linked by two channels. Much of the town is now under water.
Tombs from the 4th century BC have been preserved by the Libyan Department of Antiquity and 400 pieces of pottery from the tombs are being restored by an Italian working in Paris. They include pottery with decorations of the goddess Eros searching for a lover and the goddess Athena victorious over her enemies.
In the 2nd century BC a wall protected the town from the sea and from rebellions in Cyrene Mosaics from the 2nd century BC have also been discovered in Apollonia along with bronze coins and small statues made from marble and terracotta.
Excavations have also been carried out at Erythron Latrun a small village 38 kms east of Apollonia. The site was abandoned after two basilicas were discovered by an American researcher in 1960.
The French team built a 360 metre wall to protect the site and the Libyan Department of Antiquities has established a good relationship with the local tribes to ensure Erythron is respected.
Some of the granaries are now under the sea. In ancient times the sea level was five to six meters lower than today.
The Society for Libyan Studies, which organized the lecture, promotes and co-ordinates the activities of scholars working on the archaeology, history, linguistics and natural history of Libya. It publishes a journal, detailed reports on its field projects, and a popular series of travel books. It also runs a regular lecture series in London on a wide range of topics relating to Libyan culture and heritage, which are open to the public.
The Society is supported by the British Academy, oil companies operating in Libya, its book sales and its members. Since its foundation in 1969 the Society has sponsored many differing projects in Libya within the subject areas of archaeology, education, geography, geology, history and Islamic law. Hitherto it has concentrated on supporting long-term archaeological projects and their subsequent publication, including excavations and surveys at Euesperides (Benghazi), Sidi Khrebish (Berenice), Cyrene, Lepcis Magna and in the Fezzan, but recent projects have included a multi-disciplinary survey in the pre-desert valleys of Tripolitania, Islamic excavations at Barca (El Merj) and Medinet Sultan, and the publication of excavations conducted at Sabratha and Lepcis Magna in the 1950s.
These are not (okay, not just) the ravings of a madman. They're legitimate questions I'm asking people I work with on a regular basis, and the future of our company - and yours - depends on the answers.
What's with the chickens? Well there's a story here...
Back in the days of the Roman Empire, armies would carry cages full of sacred chickens. When a decision needed to be made, they'd crumble food at the bottom of the cage. If the chickens ate, it was a good sign. If they didn't, it was a bad omen you ignored at your peril.
This may seem a strange way to make life or death decisions but if you knew how most year-end sales projections were created these days you'd appreciate any system that has objective measurement and at least a 50 per cent success rate attached to it. At least birds either eat or they don't.
Anyway, this is the story of Publius Claudius Pulcher, a young, handsome and headstrong general during the Battle of Drepanum in 249 BCE. He was all set to fight the Carthaginians in a sea battle. They had the numbers, they had the attitude and they were Roman. What could go wrong?
Well, it seems the chickens knew something he didn't. They wouldn't eat - a sign that something was not going to go well. But Pulcher was so sure of himself he threw the chickens into the sea, shouting "Ut biberent, quoniam esse nollent" which roughly translated means: "If they don't want to eat, let them drink". The modern equivalent might be, "What do marketing and engineering know? We're the ones out there with our customers".
Well you can guess what happened. He got his toga handed to him and wound up in disgrace. He was charged with a combination of incompetence, sacrilege and treason and exiled from Rome. Now that's a performance review you can sink your teeth into….
The point is that whatever the source of the data, there was good reason for caution and the person responsible for making the decision ignored the agreed-upon measurements. The whole organization knew how the decision should have been made. The chickens either ate or they didn't - and if they wouldn't eat today, you put off the battle until they did.
People who find treasure may be breaking the law if they do not report it to the authorities, eBay and the British Museum are warning.
The museum has set up a specialist team - under its Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) - to make sure antiques are legally sold by eBay sellers.
Some traders in archaeological finds are unaware they may have to be declared under the Treasure Act.
Illegal listings will be reported to specialist Met Police detectives.
English, Welsh and Northern Irish archaeological finds which constitute "treasure" must be reported to the local coroner or the PAS under the Treasure Act.
Metallic objects made up of at least 10% gold or silver which are at least 300 years old are classed as treasure.
Some coins with lower amounts of gold or silver could also be classed as treasure.
Failure to report finds deemed to be treasure is a criminal offence under the act.
Items spotted by the PAS being sold on eBay illegally have included gold and silver Roman rings.
Staff from PAS - which is run by the British Museum on behalf of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA) - will contact sellers to make sure they have reported items and are entitled to offer them for sale.
The British Museum's Roger Bland told BBC News: "There are definitely some people who know perfectly well what they're doing. They're selling finds on a regular basis all the time.
"But when we contact people who are selling objects we think should be reported as treasure there's quite a few more who I think genuinely do it out of ignorance because they don't know about the law."
Chris Batt, chief executive of the MLA, said the partnership would mean illegal listings could be stopped and action taken.
"Doing so is vital because such activity is not only illegal but could also damage the archaeological record as, without effective reporting, valuable insights into our past could be lost forever," he said.
An eBay spokesman said educating its customers "on what to look out for when buying antiquities on eBay and informing sellers of their obligations is of paramount importance".
As part of the joint initiative, the site has created a guide to buying and selling antiquities which offers advice on reporting obligations.
Under the Treasure Act, metallic objects made up of at least 10% gold or silver which are at least 300 years old must be reported to the local coroner or the PAS.
Some coins with lower amounts of gold or silver could also be classed as treasure.
Items spotted by the PAS being sold on eBay illegally have included gold and silver Roman rings.
A draft bill designed to enhance protection of Greece' ancient treasures and make it easier to arrest antiquities smugglers is expected to be ready within six months, Culture Minister George Voulgarakis revealed on Tuesday.
He also announced that a meeting later the same day between culture ministry officials and representatives of the Getty Museum to begin the second round of talks for the return of two ancient Greek artifacts that Greece believes were smuggled out of the country illegally.
In the meantime, the culture ministry was continuing contacts with the Italian culture ministry to exchange information and tactics regarding ways to combat antiquities smugglers.
Greece's Culture Ministry launched a new round of talks in Athens Tuesday with representatives of Los Angeles' J. Paul Getty museum on possibly bringing two ancient Greek treasures home, officials said.
Greece claims the works — a gold wreath dating from about 400 B.C. and a 6th-century B.C. marble statue of a young woman — were illegally excavated and smuggled out of the country.
A Culture Ministry announcement said Getty officials would be examining Greece's documentation backing up the repatriation claim.
Officials have said a possible deal could involve long-term loans of Greek antiquities to the Getty.
The talks follow a groundbreaking agreement in July for the return of two ancient Greek sculptures in the private U.S. museum's collections. Under intense pressure from Athens, the Getty board concluded that "it would be right" to hand over the pieces, which date back to the 6th and the 4th centuries B.C.
These artifacts were returned last month and are currently on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.
Thousands of plundered artifacts have been smuggled abroad by organized gangs, ending up in museums and private collections.
Now, for the first time in years, Athens has launched a concerted effort for their repatriation — starting with the Getty.
Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis warns Greece will seek the return of "every ancient Greek artifact for which we have evidence that it was illegally excavated or trafficked."
On Tuesday, he told reporters that Culture Ministry officials are working with their counterparts from Italy — another Mediterranean country with a rich cultural heritage at risk from looters — on tackling the problem.
"We have had very good contacts with Italy on matters of requesting the return of antiquities or fighting smugglers," he said.
Afghan art restorers are learning skills in Italy, hoping to be able to repair some of their country 's cultural heritage damaged by years of civil war, Italian news agency ANSA reported.
"The aspiring restorers will be mainly taught how to clean and re-attach fragments of wall paintings and frescos, as well as how to consolidate the backing for mural works," the Italian Cultural Heritage Ministry said in a press release.
The young men and women will work at Rome's famed Art Restoration Institute, which has produced some of the most skilled restorers in the world.
They will also polish their practical skills at the ancient Greek sites of Heraclea and Siris, near the city of Policoro in the southern Italian region of Basilicata.
Many art works were badly damaged in the civil wars that raged through Afghanistan in the 1980s and 1990s.
The Italian-trained restorers will get down to work as soon as they complete their course in November, organizers said.
Curarum maxima nutrix nox.
(Ovid, Metamorphoses, 8.81-82)
Night is the greatest nurse for troubles.
pron = koo-RAH-room MAK-sih-mah NOO-triks nohks.
Comment: Night seems to afford us a place to consider who we are and
how we feel. And very often what we see and imagine in the night
seems like only a dream in the light of day.
Which is more real? Which is true? Are the dreams and plans
conceived of in the night the truth that the pressures and cares of
daytime eat and chisel away? Or, are the things dreampt and imagined
in the night insubstantial mental frolics that burn away by the light
of truth in the morning?
I'm not sure it matters which position one takes. The reality is that
twice a day there is a moment when night and dark meet, and I suspect
that it is only in that meeting that we each find what is true. To
ignore the balance that the other half of the day brings likely leads
us into places that we will regret later.
That means, we get two reminders each day, technically speaking, to
allow for the opposite of what we consider to be true to speak to us,
inform us, and help us find our way--as the world turns (and that's
not a soap opera!).
Calamitas traminis magnetici
28.09.2006, klo 10.52
In Emslandia, regione Saxoniae Inferioris, tramen magneticum in calamitatem incidit, cum contra currum operarium, qui in eadem orbita erat, magna velocitate impegit.
Viginti quinque homines in illa collisione, cuius causa error humanus esse dicitur, perierunt.
Tramen magneticum in orbita speciali vi magnetica sustinente et propulsante levitat.
Velocitatem quadringentorum quinquaginta chiliometrorum horalium assequi potest, sed calamitosum tramen, quod in itinere probationis erat, tantum centum septuaginta chiliometrorum velocitate vectum esse nuntiatur.
Tramen magneticum eiusdem generis hucusque tantum inter urbem Sanghaevum et aeriportum eius in commeatu publico adhibetur.
The problem goes back to the ancient Greeks, particularly to Pythagoras, the philosophical giant who dreamed the dream that became modern physics. Pythagoras almost certainly learned his famous theorem about right-angled triangles from the Babylonians, but we owe to him a far greater idea: “All is number,” he declared, becoming the first person to say that the physical world could be described by the language of mathematics.
Pythagoras also gave us the idea of the “music of the spheres,” a set of mathematical relationships that would describe the structure of the universe itself. His vision would eventually give rise to the scientific revolution led by Copernicus, Kepler, Galileo and Newton. The search for a theory of everything today is the latest version of the ancient Pythagorean quest for divine “cosmic harmonies.”
Though many cultures have developed sophisticated mathematical traditions, including the Chinese, the Arabs, the Indians and the Mayans, the West is the one that came to see the material world as an embodiment of mathematical laws. And from the beginning, the search for such laws was viewed as an innately male activity.
The Pythagorean society of the fifth century B.C. was a cradle of mathematical research, but Pythagoreanism was also a religion, and like many Greek cults its beliefs were dualistic. For Pythagoreans, reality consisted of two parts: on one side were the mind and spirit and the transcendent realm of the gods; on the other side were the body and matter and the mundane realm of the earth. Like many Greek thinkers, the Pythagoreans associated the mind/spirit side of reality with maleness and the body/matter side with femaleness.
Pythagoras introduced numbers into this mix and put them on the male side of the ledger. In the Pythagorean system, thinking about numbers, or doing mathematics, was an inherently masculine task. Mathematics was associated with the gods, and with transcendence from the material world; women, by their nature, were supposedly rooted in this latter, baser realm.
At the end of the Middle Ages, Pythagorean interest in a mathematical approach to science began to gain ground, and it is here that we begin to see the seeds of modern physics.
“The creation of number was the creation of things,” Thierry of Chartres wrote in the 12th century, when the first universities were formed and academic learning was formalized. The universities were founded to educate the clergy, and since women could not be priests they could not attend. Many university departments did not admit women at all until the early 20th century, and physics departments were often among the last to accept students and professors who were women.
The Pythagorean association of mathematics with transcendence was easily imported into a Christian context, giving rise to the idea of the Judeo-Christian god as a mathematical creator. When Stephen Hawking links a theory of everything to the mind of god today, he is reiterating an essentially Pythagorean view. But this godly-mathematical connection also sat easily with the Catholic tradition of a male-only priesthood. Thus, from the start, women were excluded from this academic field and its associated sciences.
EBAY is clamping down on unscrupulous traders illegally selling ancient gold and silver coins.
The auction website has linked up with police and the British Museum to create a trading guide.
People finding treasure trove have to report it, but some sell it instead.
Now Ebay vendors must make clear items have been reported. Suspect listings will be passed to police. Det Sgt Vernon Rapley, of the Met, said: "We hope this has a real impact on illicit sales."
Italian cultural authorities have said publicly for several years that the Cleveland Museum of Art owns looted antiquities that should be returned to Italy. But so far, the Italians haven't communicated directly with the museum.
An article in Friday's edition of The New York Times quotes Francesco Rutelli, Italy's minister of culture, as saying that negotiations with the Cleveland museum over allegedly looted artworks would "accelerate."
But Timothy Rub, director of the Cleveland museum, said: "to date, no official of the Italian government has contacted the Cleveland Museum of Art about this issue or specifically identified any works in our collection in which they might be interested."
Rub added that should such a contact occur, "we would of course be perfectly willing to enter into conversations with Italy."
Rutelli's statement was part of an article about the decision of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston to return 13 archaeological treasures Italians say were looted from Italian soil.
Some of the objects were purchased by the Boston museum through American art dealer Robert Hecht, who is on trial in Rome along with former Getty Museum curator Marion True on charges of dealing in illegally excavated art.
Last year, Paolo Ferri, the prosecutor in the case against True and Hecht, said that court documents mention the Cleveland Museum of Art in connection with the charges against the dealer. But Ferri said he knew of no plans by the Italian government to bring formal charges against the museum.
The Cleveland museum bought eight works from Hecht between 1951 and 1990 including a lekythos, or olive oil jar, purchased in 1985, which falls within the period under investigation by Italian authorities.
In 1995, Italian police uncovered evidence in a raid on a warehouse in Switzerland that they say proves the links between tomb raiders, known as tombarolli, and Hecht and True. Their trial began last November.
Archaeology lectures, Dr. Susann Lusnia of Tulane University, "Augustus, Mussolini and Meier: The Ara Pavcis Revisited," Roberts Recital Hall at University of Alabama-Huntsville Room 419 at 2 p.m. and "Usurping History: Septimius Severus and the Roman Forum," Chan Auditorium, 7:30 p.m., free, 824-6114.
“Keep the ‘Art’ in ‘Smart’ and ‘Heart,’ ” Sydney McGee had posted on her Web site at Wilma Fisher Elementary School in this moneyed boomtown that is gobbling up the farm fields north of Dallas.
But Ms. McGee, 51, a popular art teacher with 28 years in the classroom, is out of a job after leading her fifth-grade classes last April through the Dallas Museum of Art. One of her students saw nude art in the museum, and after the child’s parent complained, the teacher was suspended.
Although the tour had been approved by the principal, and the 89 students were accompanied by 4 other teachers, at least 12 parents and a museum docent, Ms. McGee said, she was called to the principal the next day and “bashed.”
She later received a memorandum in which the principal, Nancy Lawson, wrote: “During a study trip that you planned for fifth graders, students were exposed to nude statues and other nude art representations.” It cited additional complaints, which Ms. McGee has challenged.
The school board suspended her with pay on Sept. 22.
In a newsletter e-mailed to parents this week, the principal and Rick Reedy, superintendent of the Frisco Independent School District, said that Ms. McGee had been denied transfer to another school in the district, that her annual contract would not be renewed and that a replacement had been interviewed.
The episode has dumbfounded and exasperated many in and out of this mushrooming exurb, where nearly two dozen new schools have been built in the last decade and computers outnumber students three to one.
A representative of the Texas State Teachers Association, which has sprung to Ms. McGee’s defense, calls it “the first ‘nudity-in-a-museum case’ we have seen.”
In regione caecorum, rex est luscus.
In the realm of the blind, the king has one eye.
Pron = in ray-ghee-OH-nay kai-KOH-room reks ehst LOOS-koos.
Comment: Before all else, I must acknowledge that Erasmus has used a
community, the blind, as a metaphor for something negative. Some
people think that paying attention to these kinds of things can be
dimissed by calling it "pc" talk. When I first learned to take note
of this use of language, I thought of it as a way of demonstrating
respect for all kinds of human beings. This was clearly not a concern
of Erasmus, and he was using "the blind" as a negative metaphor.
Now, when you think of a "realm of the blind" as a metaphor for
something, some organization, some community or agency or system, what
comes to mind?
As a metaphor, it seems to imply a system of people who cannot "see",
who have little wisdom, little sense, little trustworthy direction.
And then Erasmus plays out the metaphor. In such an organization or
system, the leader, the king is the one who can "half see". One step
up from no insight at all makes one the king.
Such reflections are supposed to help us laugh a bit--release some
stress. Otherwise, we rage, or we cry, or we become hopeless.
Perhaps we find ourselves, today, in the midst of such a kingdom of
those who have no insight, no wisdom, and it's driving us crazy. And
then, along comes the leader of the realm, and we see why there is
such craziness--he can barely see himself. Laugh a bit, and then take
In the Thebaid, Statius follows Vergilian epic precedent in using economic language, including prosaic financial terms, for its ethical connotations. These connotations are based in Roman notions of how improper modes of commodity and reciprocal exchange can disrupt society and lead to violence. This article considers how Statius uses this language to provide further insight into his characters' motivations and, in particular, to distinguish between the warring brothers of the Thebaid by assimilating the behavior of Eteocles to that of a stereotypical merchant and Polynices to a young Roman prodigal.
The Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicitas has often been read as a factual account of early Christian martyrs. Without denying its historicity, I nonetheless reconsider this important narrative in light of its own emphases on rhetorical sophistication and contemporary Christian education. Reviewing the literary work as a whole, rather than preferring "authentic" sections attributed to Perpetua, I find an inherent sense of logic guided by oratorical notions. Sequential, progressive, beautifully argued, the Passion of Saints Perpetua and Felicitas is not only about rhetorical contests but is itself a subtle and intriguing rhetorical work that rewards attentive reading.
28.09.2006, klo 10.53
In urbe Budapestino Hungariae magnae hominum turbae contra regimen reclamitaverunt, cum phonotaenia quaedam palam facta esset, in qua primus minister Ferenc Gyurcsany confitetur se civibus mentitum esse, ut in suffragio mense Aprili habito victoriam reportaret.
Oppositio politica flagitare pergit, ut ille munus deponat.
Praesidens Estoniae creatus
28.09.2006, klo 10.54
Praesidens Estoniae creatus est Thomas Henricus Ilves, factione democrata socialis, qui die nono mensis Octobris munus praesidentiale suscipiet.
Ille est delegatus Europae parlamentarius quinquaginta duos annos natus.
Antea etiam munere ministri rerum exterarum in Estonia functus est.
Competitor eius fuit praesidens hodiernus Arnold Rüütel.
ARCHAEOLOGISTS digging on the site of a Roman settlement in Liss have discovered the skeleton of a dog they believe was offered as a gift to the gods 1,600 years ago. Archaeozoologist Sheila Hamilton-Dyer, told The Herald it was not uncommon to find dogs at the bottom of Roman wells and “Brutus” , as the Liss volunteers have christened the remains, was probably placed in the well by Roman settlers. “Dogs are found at the bottom of Roman wells on about half of the sites excavated,” she told The Herald. “It’s probably associated with the fact that they were associated with death, and I think this dog was already dead when it was thrown or placed in the well, judging by the ‘floppy’ way it was lying.” She said she believed it might have been placed there as a gift of thanks, for protection and to mark the end of the life of the well. “We know the well was finished, because the wall had already collapsed and the dog would have been put there as a messenger to the underworld.” Ms Hamilton-Dyer said the dog was male and stood about 64 centimetres to the shoulder - a bit shorter and slightly more well built than a modern greyhound. “It may have been a hunting hound. It was adult, but relatively young, and had in the past had a couple of minor injuries, but nothing too serious.” Ms Hamilton-Dyer has also established what Brutus had had to eat before he died, as she discovered chewed up bits of beef bones around his girth. Dogs in Roman world, she told The Herald, were valued as companions, guards and hunters, but were also associated with the afterlife, the underworld, death and healing. Muntham Court in Sussex had many dogs in a well associated with a first-century shrine, and at Staines, 16 dogs were found in a well with a Samian bowl. The dig, organised by the Liss Archaeological Group, will be open from 10 am to 4 pm tomorrow (Saturday) and then it will be covered over until next September.
TODAY it's home to a Leeds school with more than 1,000 students.
But backtrack 2,000 years and the site of Allerton High in Moortown could have been occupied by soldiers from one of history's largest empires.
The east end of the site may have once contained a Roman camp, it has been discovered.
The discovery was made by surveyors preparing for a new £25m school to replace the current buildings in two years.
In the meantime, a group of Allerton pupils aged 11 and 12 studying the Romans will be taking part in an official archaeology dig to investigate the site.
"This is so exciting," said Allerton's head teacher Elaine Silson. "The building programme itself is a fantastic opportunity for us to design and build a new school for the 21st century. To find historic links here to past generations is a real bonus."
According to Ordnance Survey maps dating back to 1847, the existing school was built on a site called Camp Town. In the south-east corner of the grounds, which was once a sandstone quarry, there is a clearly-marked historical camp.
The school's deputy head Heather Scott, who is also chair of the Secondary Committee of the Historical Association, said there was no evidence that anyone has investigated the site before.
But there was, she said, a mention in the "Mannour Books of Leeds" from 1709 of a "garth named Campo" and the existence of remains of a Roman road on what is now Stonegate Road between Meanwood and Moortown.
"The digs will be a great learning opportunity for the students," said Mrs Scott. "They may even end up contributing to our understanding of Romans in this part of the country.
"Given where this site is, it may have been used as a post for soldiers on their way to York or Hadrian's Wall."
Darren Dobson, project manager for the new school building, said: "We are looking forward to working with the West Yorkshire Archaeological Service (WYAS) and the contractors to plan an archaeological investigation on the school's site.
"The school is very keen to involve the students in a hands-on dig and the WYAS are indicating that there will be four trial trenches needed for this investigation.
IN the autumn of 68 B.C. the world’s only military superpower was dealt a profound psychological blow by a daring terrorist attack on its very heart. Rome’s port at Ostia was set on fire, the consular war fleet destroyed, and two prominent senators, together with their bodyguards and staff, kidnapped.
The incident, dramatic though it was, has not attracted much attention from modern historians. But history is mutable. An event that was merely a footnote five years ago has now, in our post-9/11 world, assumed a fresh and ominous significance. For in the panicky aftermath of the attack, the Roman people made decisions that set them on the path to the destruction of their Constitution, their democracy and their liberty. One cannot help wondering if history is repeating itself.
Consider the parallels. The perpetrators of this spectacular assault were not in the pay of any foreign power: no nation would have dared to attack Rome so provocatively. They were, rather, the disaffected of the earth: “The ruined men of all nations,” in the words of the great 19th-century German historian Theodor Mommsen, “a piratical state with a peculiar esprit de corps.”
Like Al Qaeda, these pirates were loosely organized, but able to spread a disproportionate amount of fear among citizens who had believed themselves immune from attack. To quote Mommsen again: “The Latin husbandman, the traveler on the Appian highway, the genteel bathing visitor at the terrestrial paradise of Baiae were no longer secure of their property or their life for a single moment.”
What was to be done? Over the preceding centuries, the Constitution of ancient Rome had developed an intricate series of checks and balances intended to prevent the concentration of power in the hands of a single individual. The consulship, elected annually, was jointly held by two men. Military commands were of limited duration and subject to regular renewal. Ordinary citizens were accustomed to a remarkable degree of liberty: the cry of “Civis Romanus sum” — “I am a Roman citizen” — was a guarantee of safety throughout the world.
But such was the panic that ensued after Ostia that the people were willing to compromise these rights. The greatest soldier in Rome, the 38-year-old Gnaeus Pompeius Magnus (better known to posterity as Pompey the Great) arranged for a lieutenant of his, the tribune Aulus Gabinius, to rise in the Roman Forum and propose an astonishing new law.
“Pompey was to be given not only the supreme naval command but what amounted in fact to an absolute authority and uncontrolled power over everyone,” the Greek historian Plutarch wrote. “There were not many places in the Roman world that were not included within these limits.”
Pompey eventually received almost the entire contents of the Roman Treasury — 144 million sesterces — to pay for his “war on terror,” which included building a fleet of 500 ships and raising an army of 120,000 infantry and 5,000 cavalry. Such an accumulation of power was unprecedented, and there was literally a riot in the Senate when the bill was debated.
Nevertheless, at a tumultuous mass meeting in the center of Rome, Pompey’s opponents were cowed into submission, the Lex Gabinia passed (illegally), and he was given his power. In the end, once he put to sea, it took less than three months to sweep the pirates from the entire Mediterranean. Even allowing for Pompey’s genius as a military strategist, the suspicion arises that if the pirates could be defeated so swiftly, they could hardly have been such a grievous threat in the first place.
But it was too late to raise such questions. By the oldest trick in the political book — the whipping up of a panic, in which any dissenting voice could be dismissed as “soft” or even “traitorous” — powers had been ceded by the people that would never be returned. Pompey stayed in the Middle East for six years, establishing puppet regimes throughout the region, and turning himself into the richest man in the empire.
Those of us who are not Americans can only look on in wonder at the similar ease with which the ancient rights and liberties of the individual are being surrendered in the United States in the wake of 9/11. The vote by the Senate on Thursday to suspend the right of habeas corpus for terrorism detainees, denying them their right to challenge their detention in court; the careful wording about torture, which forbids only the inducement of “serious” physical and mental suffering to obtain information; the admissibility of evidence obtained in the United States without a search warrant; the licensing of the president to declare a legal resident of the United States an enemy combatant — all this represents an historic shift in the balance of power between the citizen and the executive.
An intelligent, skeptical American would no doubt scoff at the thought that what has happened since 9/11 could presage the destruction of a centuries-old constitution; but then, I suppose, an intelligent, skeptical Roman in 68 B.C. might well have done the same.
In truth, however, the Lex Gabinia was the beginning of the end of the Roman republic. It set a precedent. Less than a decade later, Julius Caesar — the only man, according to Plutarch, who spoke out in favor of Pompey’s special command during the Senate debate — was awarded similar, extended military sovereignty in Gaul. Previously, the state, through the Senate, largely had direction of its armed forces; now the armed forces began to assume direction of the state.
It also brought a flood of money into an electoral system that had been designed for a simpler, non-imperial era. Caesar, like Pompey, with all the resources of Gaul at his disposal, became immensely wealthy, and used his treasure to fund his own political faction. Henceforth, the result of elections was determined largely by which candidate had the most money to bribe the electorate. In 49 B.C., the system collapsed completely, Caesar crossed the Rubicon — and the rest, as they say, is ancient history.
It may be that the Roman republic was doomed in any case. But the disproportionate reaction to the raid on Ostia unquestionably hastened the process, weakening the restraints on military adventurism and corrupting the political process. It was to be more than 1,800 years before anything remotely comparable to Rome’s democracy — imperfect though it was — rose again.
The Lex Gabinia was a classic illustration of the law of unintended consequences: it fatally subverted the institution it was supposed to protect. Let us hope that vote in the United States Senate does not have the same result.