Harry Mount has a piece in the Daily Mail:

As a new book on Latin has become a surprise Christmas bestseller. It's author shares with us 'Ut amator latinus sis', which means, if you'll forgive the pun, 'How to become a Latin lover':

Being savaged by Monty Don is not too bad, really - a bit like being smothered in the furry arms of a tousle-haired teddy bear. All the same, when the TV gardener attacked me a few days ago for perpetuating a class war by promoting Latin, I thought it was a bit much.

I was on Radio 4 discussing my book about Latin, in which I attempt to explain my love for the language - a book which, to my great surprise, has become a Christmas best-seller.

Monty Don's point was that Latin has been used for centuries as a sneaky way of making the middle classes feel more elite; and of putting down the working classes who couldn't get a decent education.

He's certainly right that some people use Latin to show off: barristers with their actus reus (guilty act); gardeners with their digitalis purpureas (fox gloves). And one should be suspicious of those who call more than one genius genii or refer to the auditoria in the local cinema.

But anyone can be annoying with their knowlby Harry Mount edge, using it for squashing people instead of informing them. That's not the same, though, as saying that Latin was intentionally used to exclude the poor from a proper education, as Monty Don suggested.

Until successive Conservative and Labour governments did their best over the past 40 years to dismantle grammar school education, Latin stood alongside other arts subjects - English, French, History, take your pick - as perfectly normal for bright pupils of any class to learn.

It's only since class war was declared on grammar schools, and since Latin has, as a result, retreated to public schools and a dwindling handful of grammar schools, that the language has become the elite subject attacked by Monty Don - who was himself lucky to benefit from a classical education at £24,000-a-year Malvern College and Cambridge.

In 1960, 60,000 children did Latin O-level. Now, just 10,000 do the more basic replacement, the GCSE. And, of these, in 2004, only 3,468 came from state schools.

That slump is the biggest for 500 years. Until the 1900s, classics had been the staple diet of basic British education for half a millennium.

But just because our philistine government has taken away the opportunity to learn challenging, improving subjects at state-run schools, it doesn't mean that people shouldn't go looking for that improvement themselves.

That's why my new book on Latin has been doing so well, selling over 1,000 copies a week. It fills a small hole in the yawning gap hollowed out in the British education system.

Fifty years ago, my book wouldn't have found a publisher. The basic Latin introduction it provides would have been taught as a matter of course in any grammar school in Britain.

No longer. As last week's Ofsted report showed, more than half of England's schools are failing to provide children with a good standard of education. A third of a million children leave school every year without a basic understanding of maths and English.

This is why there is a boom in self-help books such as mine, and Eats, Shoots And Leaves, Lynne Truss's surprise hit of Christmas 2004, which instructs you about grammar and punctuation and has now sold three million copies. The success of authors like us depends on education's failure.

My book is supposed to appeal to anybody who's interested in Latin - whether they have done a lot of it, a little or none at all.

I've lost count of the number of people who have told me they're buying it for their children because those children aren't getting the education their parents took for granted a generation ago.

I was lucky enough to start learning Latin at the age of nine. Yes, there were a lot of rules and words to learn, but the point about Latin is that they are simple rules and familiar words for a nine-year-old to understand.

The nine-year-old brain is particularly good at absorbing information. Once you know Latin, you remember it for good. It's always there, as a framework to underpin your understanding of English.

As a child, I remember particularly enjoying learning how English words derived from Latin ones.

I loved discovering that dominoes are derived from dominus, meaning 'master'. The hoods worn in 1710 by Italian priests were called dominoes. Black, with holes cut into them for the eyes, their name got passed on to the black rectangular playing blocks with their white dots.

How exciting it was to discover that the word 'candidate' came from candidus, meaning 'white'. The term emerged because Roman candidates for election wore togas covered in white chalk to make them stand out.

And what a pleasure it was when you discovered a word with two Latin ancestors, like ' regicide', from rex or regis, meaning 'king' or 'of the king', and caedo meaning 'I kill'.

The fact is that Latin is the most influential language in the history of civilisation - it's something which shouldn't be restricted to an elite. Know a little Latin and you open up 500 years of English literature (as well as a thousand years of Latin prose and poetry).

Latin not only helps you with simple things like the storylines of English literature, so heavily based on classical stories. It also helps you to understand the classically-schooled minds of those who wrote great English literature - for half a millennium up until the 19th century, Latin was the mark of the educated man.

Knowing Latin is like sticking on a pair of X-ray specs. Suddenly you expose the Roman layer that lies beneath the skin of modern Britain; and not just modern, elite Britain, as Monty Don would have it.

With Latin and its history behind you, you end up seeing more everywhere - not only in English literature, but in the way our buildings are built, the way we talk.

The most obvious legacy the Romans left us after their two invasions (Julius Caesar in 55BC, then Claudius in 43AD) was our language. If you understand Latin you'll never leave a sentence dangling in thin air, without the right verbs, nouns and adjectives in their proper place.

You'll also know how those words have changed since the Romans used them. And, if you know exactly how they've changed, you'll know how to use them better.

The father and son writers Kingsley and Martin Amis once had a good row about the word 'dilapidated'. Kingsley said you should use the word however you wanted. His son insisted on sticking to its exact sense: from lapis, meaning 'stone', dilapidatus means 'having stones removed'.

According to Martin, you should really only use it strictly - in the sense that a part has been taken away from the whole.

So Martin Amis acknowledged that you could say that the Parthenon was dilapidated, because the ancient Greek temple had lost lots of its stones in the last 2,500 years. But he wouldn't call, say, the Royle family's sitting room dilapidated because, although run down, it remains structurally sound.

It's a silly row that demonstrates a serious truth. You drive better if you know how a car works; you handle language better if you know how it's built.

And no one would say that knowing how to handle the English language is a thing that should be restricted to an elite, would they?

The growing list of reader comments is worth a read too ...
Brief item from the Leader:

In addition, the production went on location to Santa Pola, the Santa Barbara castle, Petrel and Terra Mitica in Benidorm for the filming that carries a budget of 78 million euros, more than thirty of which were spent in the Valencian Community.

The film, that stars Gerard Depardieu as Obelix and Alain Delon as Julius Caesar is partly produced by the Valencian company Sorolla Films and is set to be released at the end of January next year.

The production of the film that was shot 100% in Alicante has served to pinpoint the City of Light as the latest major production centre for feature films, and is currently playing host to the latest project from director Jean Jacques Annaud ‘Her Majestic Minor,’ described as a mythical comedy that takes place before the founding of ancient Greece, and following that the City of Light will play a major role in the shooting of the new film starring Johnny Depp – ‘Shantaram’ – which will see several sound stages transformed into Indian locations.

I had bookmarked this page a while back on this for some reason ...
The incipit of an item at Bits of News (which might be a blog, or it might be a news site ... can't tell) which folks might want to track down (especially if they can read the original Norwegian article):

Archaeological findings have strengthened notions amongst scholars that quite a few Norwegians, from the farthermost north of Europe, in all likelihood served as soldiers in the Roman legions.

Ancient weaponry, cups and coins all points towards a more extensive cultural exchange between Norway/Scandinavia and the Roman Empire than previously assumed, an assumption, (article in Norwegian only), Professor Heid Gjøstein Resi at the Cultural Historical Museum, at the University of Oslo also seems to agree with.

Yes, I believe Norwegians served in Roman legions," he says, and continues;"We have been able to confirm that artifacts found in old graves in Norway, which at first were believed to have originated elsewhere, do indeed have their origins from the Roman Empire."

In 1895, during the excavation of the grave of a Norwegian warlord, dating back to 200 A.D, buried near the little village of Avaldsnes on the west coast of Norway, scientists found a sword with a silver ornamented scabbard, a silver ornamented shield, bracelets and four gold rings, artifacts and weaponry that indicates very well that this warlord might have served in the Roman legions, according to Professor Lotte Hedeager at the Institute of archeology, Oslo University.
Michael Brand (director of the Getty) writes a piece for the LA Times giving the Getty's side in the recent spate of news reports:

I am saddened that talks between the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Italian government over Italy's claim to objects in the museum's antiquities collection have broken down. I want to make it clear that the Getty remains open to resuming those discussions.

When I became director at the museum last December, I made it a priority to resolve claims not only of Italy but of the Greek government. I visited Rome to begin negotiations within my first month of full-time work, and Athens a little while later. We have made great progress in our negotiations with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture: We have returned two works of art and are in the final stages of resolving the status of the two remaining objects.

The Getty entered its discussions with Italy in the same spirit. The Italians challenged Getty ownership of 52 objects. I was heartened when Italy's minister of culture, Francesco Rutelli, confirmed my feeling that an accord could be reached but that it would require compromise on both sides. In June, an agreement in principle was reached, and on Oct. 5, both parties signed a "term sheet" that set out what had been agreed on and established a process for working toward resolution of the remaining issues.

It was agreed, for example, that the Getty would return 26 objects and that Italy would drop claims on six objects as well as provide significant loans to the Getty. We asked Italy to consider a creative solution for the "Cult Statue of a Goddess," — the so-called Aphrodite — involving immediate joint ownership during a period of collaborative research, and then, if necessary, a willingness to submit to neutral, binding arbitration to resolve its ultimate fate. With respect to the "Statue of a Victorious Youth" — the so-called Getty Bronze — a Greek statue of an athlete found in international waters off the coast of Italy in 1964, the Getty agreed to provide a formal, written position regarding our claim to ownership.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the Getty team returned to L.A. believing this deal (which we were assured was fully authorized) had finally provided a fair path to resolving past differences and a framework for future collaboration between the Getty and Italy.

But then everything changed on the Italian side, for reasons that no Italian official has been able, or willing, to explain. In correspondence with the Getty, the Italian Ministry of Culture put forward new demands, as if terms had not been agreed on in October. We were also disappointed to be informed that joint ownership of the cult statue would not be possible. What was even more discouraging, however, was that before receiving our document on the "Statue of a Victorious Youth," Italy announced unilaterally that no final agreement would be possible without the transfer of this one object.

Believing that face-to-face discussions were the only way to bring our negotiations back on track, I led a team back to Rome in early November. We came to that meeting, presided over by Rutelli at the beginning and end, prepared to make significant compromises, including the immediate transfer of title to the cult statue. Eventually we were told formally — for the first time in almost 10 months of negotiations — that the political climate in Italy precluded any agreement without the transfer of the "Statue of a Victorious Youth." With no room for further discussion, the meeting ended.

I cannot compromise on the "Statue of a Victorious Youth." The Getty is a California trust, which means in essence that our collections are publicly held. No director of any such museum can "de-accession" or transfer ownership of works of art without a legal basis.

I understand that Italy's claim to the bronze is an emotional and political issue. But such claims cannot override the substantial legal evidence supporting the Getty's ownership of the statue, including the fact that the statue was obtained by the museum in 1977 only after Italian courts had declared that there was no evidence that it belonged to Italy. Indeed, in all Italian legal proceedings regarding the bronze, the Culture Ministry has never before asserted a legal claim for this object.

I believe that the Getty would have already finalized its agreement with Italy if the unique bronze athlete had not been part of the mix. Nonetheless, I still believe that a fair and reasonable agreement can be achieved. I would welcome the opportunity to show the minister the Getty Villa, the only museum in the United States dedicated to Roman, Etruscan and Greek art and culture. I am eager for him to see personally the effect the magnificent works of art displayed there have on the public and scholars, who visit the Getty from around the world. It is for these visitors, who clearly value the ability of art to illuminate our shared histories, that we must find a mutually satisfactory and comprehensive solution.

Whether or not that happens in the immediate future, I believe it is appropriate for the Getty to return to Italy the 26 objects included in the agreement we signed jointly in October. I also believe that it is appropriate for the Getty to continue to study the origin and ownership history of the Aphrodite statue for up to one year. If at the end of that year we cannot conclusively present a legal case for Getty ownership of the statue, it too will be given to Italy.

Similarly, we plan to provide the ministry with information related to all of the other objects claimed by Italy so there can be no doubt about the seriousness of our efforts to resolve those claims based on solid research of all available evidence. Regrettably, however, as matters now stand, we will be going forward with these returns and this research without any guarantee of reciprocal loans from Italy.

The Getty and the Italian ministry must find a way to resolve our impasse, or both sides risk jeopardizing the extraordinary exchange of ideas and knowledge that emerges from international collaboration in the study and preservation of Italy's cultural heritage. We have already introduced a new acquisitions policy — one that makes the Getty the first U.S. art museum to adopt strict UNESCO standards — as our contribution to our mutual goal of eliminating the desecration of archeological sites and the illicit trade in antiquities.

We acknowledge that the Getty must do its part to resolve this matter. But Italy must resist the temptation to allow political concerns to eclipse the goal of art museums around the world to give the public access to our shared art and cultural heritage.

... and that it is all about politics and -- specifically -- about getting jabs in at the U.S. in a 'politically inoffensive way', consider that Italy still hasn't gone after any of the museums in Europe for items which must be in a similar category.
I think we've blogged in the past about Robert Kennedy and his quoting of Aeschylus (can't find it right now, though) ... in the New York Times this past weekend, there was an op-ed piece of interest but not available to all and sundry. But since it's already appeared on the Classics list and some folks are sending it to me directly (thanks 'Agathon'!), it seems worth putting up:

Emilio Estevez’s movie, “Bobby,” introduces the martyrdom of Robert Kennedy to another generation of Americans, but it was Robert’s reaction to his brother’s death that is really most instructive to the young.

Robert Kennedy was dining at home on Nov. 22, 1963, when J. Edgar Hoover called. “I have news for you,” Hoover began coldly. “The president’s been shot.” Kennedy turned away from his lunch companions, his hand to his mouth and his face twisted in pain.

In the ensuing months, he was devoured by grief. One of his biographers, Evan Thomas, writes: “He literally shrank, until he appeared wasted and gaunt. His clothes no longer fit, especially his brother’s old clothes — an old blue topcoat, a tuxedo, a leather bomber jacket with the presidential seal — which he insisted on wearing and which hung on his narrowing frame.”

But during March 1964, he visited Bunny Mellon’s estate in Antigua, and spent the vacation in his room, reading a book Jackie Kennedy had given him, “The Greek Way,” by Edith Hamilton.

“The Greek Way” contains essays on the great figures of Athenian history and literature, and Kennedy found a worldview that helped him explain and recover from the tragedy that had befallen him. “When the world is storm-driven and the bad that happens and the worse that threatens are so urgent as to shut out everything else from view,” Hamilton writes, “then we need to know all the strong fortresses of the spirit which men have built through the ages.”

Classical scholars often scorn Hamilton because she wrote in a breathless “all the glory that was Greece” mode, but her book changed Robert Kennedy’s life. He carried his beaten, underlined and annotated copy around with him for years, pulling it from his pocket, reading sections aloud to audiences in what Thomas calls “a flat, unrhythmic voice with a mournful edge.”

Kennedy found in the Greeks a sensibility similar to his own — heroic and battle-scarred but also mystical. He shared the awful sense of foreboding that pervades the work of Aeschylus and Sophocles, and that distinctly Greek awareness of the invisible patterns that connect events to one another, how the arrogance men and women show at one moment will twist back and bring agony later on.

Hamilton is at her best describing the tragic sensibility, the strange mixture of doom and exaltation that marks Greek drama. It was based on the conviction that good grows out of bad, virtue out of hardship, and that wisdom is born in suffering. Kennedy memorized a passage from Aeschylus, which Hamilton quotes twice in her book:

“God, whose law it is that he who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget, falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despite, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.”

Kennedy, recovering from his brother’s murder, found in the ancient Greeks a civilization that was eager to look death in the face, but which seemed to draw strength from what it found there. The Greeks seemed more convinced of the dignity and significance of life the more they brooded on the pain and precariousness of it.

Kennedy underlined a passage of Hamilton’s book in which she summarizes the rippled nature of Greek optimism: “Life for him was an adventure, perilous indeed, but men are not made for safe havens. The fullness of life is in the hazards of life. And, at the worst, there is that in us which can turn defeat into victory.” If they were doctors of the spirit, the Greeks’ specialty was to take grief and turn it into resolution.

The story of Kennedy’s grief is the story of a man stepping out of his time and fetching from the past a sturdier ethic. He developed a bit of that quality, which greater leaders like Churchill possessed in abundance, of seeming to step from another age. Kennedy became a figure in the 1960s, but was never really of the ’60s. He promoted many liberal policies but was never a member of a team since he drew strength from somewhere else.

And the lesson, of course, is about the need to step outside your own immediate experience into the past, to learn about the problems that never change, and bring back some of that inheritance. The leaders who founded the country were steeped in the classics, Kennedy found them in crisis, and today’s students are lucky if they stumble on them by happenstance.

In the midst of my swampedness and a couple of hiccups with my main spider service, I've decided to try (for the next few weeks, anyway) changing my approach to the ClassiCarnival. I think I'm going to make it into something more 'carnival-like' in the sense that it will be a summary of the best posts and it will only come out once a week rather than every day. The day will be Sunday (which has always been the busiest day at rc and so should be good for traffic at the various blogs). Just thought you'd like to know ...
In malis sperare bene, nisi innocens, nemo solet.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 653)

No one is accustomed to hoping for good things in the midst of adversity, except the one who does no harm.

pron = in MAH-lees speh-RAH-ray NEE-see IHN-noh-kehns NAY-noh SOH-let.

Comment: The presumption is that if something adverse is happening to you, then you have no reason to be optimistic. It's probably your fault. If someone wants to think that way about their difficulties, it is probably a waste of time to argue otherwise. However, if we ever wonder or question how to be in the midst of adversity, then it might be worth rethinking this attitude.

The Romans, for one reason (religion) or another (various
philosophies) understood life in terms of Fate. Someone had decided.
And being "innocens", that is innocent of doing any harm, probably also included not having a fate that called for adversity.

What if, though, adversity is simply what I have to work with today?
My roof leaks. I have to deal with that. My car breaks down. I have to deal with that. I stumble and hurt myself, or worse, a loved one dies. These are the events in my life, today, that I have to work
with. They are not going away. Why add to the difficulty of dealing
with them by heaping on some blame for them? They each, in their own way, invite me to stop and look at my life (my finances, my contacts, my resources, my health, my relationships, my priorities), and if I allow, these adversities can actually bring me to a place of gratitude.

Stuff is going to happen today. How are we going to work with it?
It's a question that implies a variety of possibilities.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
From the Daily Star:

The Italian contingent of the newly expanded United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) stumbled upon the unexpected this week. Rather than cluster bombs or other sinister detritus resulting from this past summer's 34-day Israeli bombardment, the troops found a cache of antique earthenware and ancient human remains.

The Italian team made the archaeological discovery while it was in the process of building new roads in the area surrounding its headquarters in the Southern village of Tebnin.

Captain Magistreti, media officer for the Italian contingent, said the troops will deliver the antiquities to the Lebanese Directorate General of Antiquities with help from the Lebanese Army.

Magistreti said it would be premature to speculate on the historical era to which the earthenware belonged "before they are examined by specialized archaeologists."

Ali Badawi is the director of Lebanon's archaeological sites in the South. He said he suspected the clay pots might belong to the Roman or Byzantine eras, which corresponds to the third and fourth centuries AD.

In a separate announcement, Deputy Italian Foreign Minister Ugo Intini said Friday that Italy, along with other members of the international community, was working hard to put an end to the nasty cycle of political assassinations that have wracked Lebanon, beginning with the killing of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri in February 2005 and running through Tuesday's murder in broad daylight of Industry Minister Pierre Gemayel. Intini stressed that Italy was committed to helping Lebanon fend off any resurgence of civil war.

Intini spoke after paying a visit to the Italian contingent of UNIFIL on Friday. He participated in the funeral service for Gemayel on Thursday as a representative of the Italian government, and met with Prime Minister Fouad Siniora on the same day. Intini quoted the Lebanese premier as saying he was ready to hold dialogue with both Syria and Iran. Intini added that the European Union was also expected to discuss the situation in Lebanon with both Syria and Iran. Intini said Iran and Syria should come to realize that "Lebanon is a gathering place, and not a source for discord and hostilities."

Before he left Lebanon on Friday afternoon, Intini also held a meeting with members of the Italian UNIFIL contingent in Tebnin. The troops briefed him about the humanitarian nature of their mission in Lebanon, including the clearing of cluster bombs and other unexploded ordnance. They also showed Intini the earthenware fragments and bones they had discovered.

While archaeological excavations and the care of objects from antiquity fall rather far afield of the Italian team's duties, Italy is particularly sensitive to issues of national heritage and cultural patrimony, and has played a leading role in efforts to retrieve looted antiquities from several international museums, including the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston and, most recently, the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Earlier this week, Italy insisted that the Getty return 46 artworks in its collection that were allegedly stolen, smuggled out of the country and eventually sold to the museum. The Getty, however, disputes Italy's claims on at least half of the artifacts - most notably with regard to a bronze statue called "The Statue of a Victorious Youth" and a 2,500-year-old limestone marble statue of Aphrodite, which the museum maintains was discovered in international waters in 1964. Italy, nonetheless, wants it back. Other countries that have been aggressively pursuing the repatriation of looted antiquities include Greece and Egypt.
Interesting memories in a Thanksgiving op-ed piece in the Press Republican:

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it focuses on the right things: food, football and family.

When it's gray outside, the kids are home, the biggest stress is whether to choose pumpkin or apple pie, and you settle in to watch the Dallas Cowboys lose — well, it's time to give thanks.

I don't know how they celebrate Thanksgiving in schools today. It's extremely difficult to celebrate anything without offending someone. Maybe they just ignore it. In elementary school we used to celebrate with stereotypical and inaccurate historical costumes and pageants. It was fun. But when I was a senior in high school, I really learned what it meant to give thanks.

Latin was difficult for me. That's an understatement. By the 12th grade I was completely lost. That year we read "The Aeneid." It's a long poem written by a man named Virgil, and it's about Rome.

I can still remember its opening lines, "Arma virumque cano." By June it was all that I knew. We had lots of tests and I failed most of them. That was one reason I was not on the basketball team for the whole season.

For the final examination in June, our teacher, Father Minogue, said that he would choose about 30 lines of the poem. "Gentlemen, you will translate those lines and you will parse all of the words that I choose for you to parse."

That's what my friends said he said. I heard him say that I would fail the test and never get out of high school.

There were about a million lines in the Latin poem and he was going to choose 30 of them? Then he would ask us to translate? And parse? I knew what translate meant, just couldn't do it. But that "parse" stuff really confused me.

I asked Coffey, who knew everything, what the word meant. He said, "Parse? Well, if it's a verb, you know, you tell whether it's first person-singular-present-indicative-active. And if it's a noun, you explain what case it is and why. You do that kind of stuff for all the words."

That did not sound very familiar, so I wondered how I would tell my parents that I'd be around the house longer than we had expected.

My backcourt partner, Jimmy Cox, was a much better student than I was. Of course. But he was also worried about Virgil and his Aeneid. He said, "I'd like to get a really good grade, but there's so much to study." I said I'd like to get a grade above zero.

Wonderfully, the day before the test, Jimmy had a plan. "Get your textbook and your trot," he said.

So I found my textbook, which I had lost a month ago. And my "trot," the very literal English translation of the poem that I used when I was stuck, which was every day.

"We're going to figure out what lines Minogue will choose," said Jimmy.

"Good idea. How will we do that?"

"You go home and just keep looking. I'll do the same thing. Try to remember what Minogue liked to read out loud in class," Jimmy said. He had an advantage over me here because he could actually remember the class. "Call me tonight, and we'll prepare the ones you choose and the ones I choose."

It was a ridiculous plan, but the only hope I had.

At 11 p.m. I called Jimmy. Amazingly, out of the kabillion Latin lines, we both chose the same 30. They had something to do with a guy named Priam. We memorized the translation. Jim taught me how to parse the Latin words by looking at the English ones, and I memorized that, too.

If we were right, Jim would ace the test and the course. And I'd be able to plead for mercy and a diploma with a straight face.

The next morning I sat in the last seat in the row. Jim sat in the first seat.

Father Minogue entered and distributed the test. "Take one and pass it back," he said. And Jim did. But before he passed the tests back his fist went up and he said "Yes! It's Priam!"

It was time to give thanks.
The incipit of a lengthy piece in the New York Times on 300:

THE story of “300” — the popular comic book mini-series and, soon, a film from Warner Brothers — began when Frank Miller, the series’s creator, was 6. The year was 1963, and “The 300 Spartans” was in theaters. In this telling of the battle of Thermopylae, Richard Egan played the Greek king Leonidas, who in 480 B.C. led 300 warriors in a doomed battle against the much larger Persian army, and David Farrar, regal in robes of purple and green, was the Persian king Xerxes. The film’s dialogue and staging may seem a bit quaint now. But the young Mr. Miller was stunned as he watched its climax, in which the few remaining Spartans are slaughtered in a hail of arrows.

“It was a shocker, because the heroes died,” Mr. Miller said in a recent telephone interview. “I was used to seeing Superman punch out planets. It was an epiphany to realize that the hero wasn’t necessarily the guy who won.”

As a young comic book artist and writer, Mr. Miller would return again and again to the concept of heroic, often seppuku-like sacrifice. In “The Dark Knight Returns,” which many credit with reinvigorating the Batman franchise, an aging Bruce Wayne goes out in a blaze of glory in an outmatched battle against his old pal Superman. In “Sin City” one hero shoots himself in the mouth to protect a loved one; another is executed by a corrupt system after ridding the world of not one but two cannibals.

“I tend to be drawn to characters who might die disgraced to the world, who technically lose whatever combat they’re in but win the moral victory,” Mr. Miller said.

Over the years the story of the famous confrontation at Thermopylae in 480 B.C. stuck in his mind. In the mid-’90s, Mr. Miller started work on what was to become “300.” He researched the battle, spoke with scholars and traveled to Greece, to the site of Leonidas’ last stand. He studied the armor and philosophies and fighting methods of the Spartans, and finally, working with the colorist Lynn Varley, created a series that in 1999 won three Eisners and two Harveys, awards considered among the comics industry’s most prestigious.

In delivering “300” to the screen in March, Warner Brothers will face the challenge of realizing Mr. Miller’s distinctive vision of the bloody battle while avoiding any sense that it is simply extending a series of Greek-theme epics that began with Wolfgang Petersen’s “Troy” and Oliver Stone’s “Alexander,” both released in 2004.

Zack Snyder, the 40-year-old director who is now completing postproduction work on “300,” is only too aware of the danger that some viewers might find it hard to distinguish his movie from its more star-driven predecessors, neither of which had a spectacular run at the box office. “I could see Hollywood not wanting to do it,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to do it.”

Sitting in his office in an editing facility in Burbank, Mr. Snyder was surrounded by Spartan helmets, a shield peppered with puncture holes and, as a reminder of the precedents, swords from “Alexander” and “Troy.” “We got them from the Warner Brothers prop department,” he said, grabbing one, feeling its heft. “The ones from ‘Troy’ were better.”

To judge from excerpts Mr. Snyder screened this day, he and his co-writers, Kurt Johnstad and Michael B. Gordon, have managed to evoke anything but a classic battle epic. The film’s high-flying acrobatics and over-the-top combat scenes remind one of Zhang Yimou’s “House of Flying Daggers”; its fantastical computer-generated beasts evoke the “Lord of the Rings” series or “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe.” As for the Persians, no tired robes and goofy hats here. These warriors sport chrome Kabuki-style masks and gold rings in their brows, noses and nipples. And then there are the pitched battles, with spears ramming through eye sockets and innards, all played out against a perpetually overcast sky.

All of this is perhaps truer to Mr. Miller’s work than to history. Mr. Miller says that while he strove for historical accuracy whenever possible, art won out in certain areas. The real Spartans, for instance, wore heavy body armor, clunky stuff that weighed about half as much as they did: handy in a pitched battle, but hardly sexy or eye-grabbing, certainly not for an action comic.

“My first versions of the soldiers looked like beetles,” he said. “They looked like they couldn’t move faster than two miles an hour.”

So Mr. Miller ditched the armor in favor of a more natural look. In his series, Leonidas and his warriors wear red capes and little else; when in battle, they cover their privates in what appear to be leather Speedos. “When you look at the ancient Greek vase paintings, you’ll see that soldiers are drawn nude, for the same reason I did,” Mr. Miller said.

For his part, Mr. Snyder, an admirer of Mr. Miller’s work, went to great lengths to reproduce the look and texture of the comic books. He photocopied the series, cut out all the frames, then glued favorites into notebooks, one per page. He would then sketch what he thought might happen before each frame, and what might happen immediately after. Voilà: instant storyboard. He pulled out a notebook to show how it was done. “So this frame is the shot,” he said, revealing a picture of the Spartans pushing an army of Persians off the edge of a cliff. “So now I have to figure out, how do I get there? And what happens next?”

Mr. Snyder began his push to make “300” after releasing his remake of the cult horror film “Dawn of the Dead” in 2004. The next year he created a test shot for the proposed film. It was three minutes long, he said, with “lots of killing.”
From the Cyprus Mail:

AN inscription has been found by archeologists conducting excavations in the Lower City of Amathus that provides new information about Cypriot society in the Ptolemaic period, a statement from the Antiquities Department said yesterday.
The inscription was found on the floor of the interior doorway connecting two rooms and is as old as 3rd century BC. Although it is quite worn, it consists of 12 verses and is one of the longest texts from the Hellenistic period discovered in Cyprus. This inscription with arithmetic in Greek may refer to land portions given by the Ptolemaic General. It appears that it was laid in the floor in secondary use. Once the inscription is studied further, it is expected to provide more information about that period.

Another noteworthy find was a large gold cross that must have belonged to a high ranking official of the early Byzantine period (7th century AD). It was discovered in the complex of rooms with few fragments of paintings on the walls, and a lot of coins were found on the floor in the same room with the cross. The official may have resided in the room or in the entire complex.

Apart from the above, the movable finds also consisted of plaster interior architectural fragments with plant and geometrical motifs, vessels, lamps, copper objects, Hathoric capital and a pithos jar found in the southeastern corner of a room on the main avenue leading from the Amathus West Gate to the Agora. Also an almost life-size head depicting Alexander the Great was found in the room with inner arch, but its features were almost worn away.
The dig lasted six weeks and this was the last season of the second series of excavations carried out by the Department of Antiquities in the Lower City of Amathus. Overall conclusions will be published in separate volumes in the near future. Following the necessary conservation work, the excavated remains will be open to the public.
Check out the end of this piece from the CBC:

The collection at the Afghanistan Museum in Exile, created in Switzerland in 1999, will be sent back to Kabul now that the situation in the city has been deemed stable.

The museum's officials decided to let the collection go after UNESCO, the United Nation's cultural agency, determined the Afghan capital is safe enough, according to The Art Newspaper, an international publication that covers the visual art world.

The museum is in the village of Bubendorf, 20 kilometres outside of Basel. Swiss scholar Paul Bucherer-Dietschi established the museum to house artifacts from the war-torn country.

Bucherer-Dietschi is the director of the Swiss Afghanistan Institute in Bubendorf, which safeguards historical papers about Afghanistan.

At the start of the museum's creation, Bucherer-Dietschi had been arranging to relocate the collection at the Kabul Museum through UNESCO. But it proved to be too difficult under the Taliban regime.

Although some pieces were taken out of the museum between 1999 and 2001, most of Afghanistan's cultural legacy was destroyed when the Taliban ransacked the museum in March 2001.
Continue Article

The Taliban were toppled by a coalition of U.S.-led forces and Afghanistan's Northern Alliance in late 2001.

The Swiss museum became a repository of Afghan artifacts donated by private collectors from around the world and has about 1,300 objects.

It includes 200 archaeological items, including finds from Ai Khanoum, such as a gargoyle of Alexander the Great's fighting dog and an important foundation stone from the site. All this material is to be handed over shortly to the Kabul Museum, which was reconstructed two years ago.

Pieces will be transferred to Kabul starting early in the new year.

Anyone know what this "gargoyle of Alexander the Great's fighting dog" is?
Interesting excerpt from a lengthy piece in the New York Times on the Archimedes Palimpsest:

The Archimedes Palimpsest, sold at auction at Christie’s for $2 million in 1998, is best known for containing some of the oldest copies of work by the great Greek mathematician who gives the manuscript its name. But there is more to the palimpsest than Archimedes’ work, including 10 pages of Hyperides, offering tantalizing and fresh insights into the critical battle of Salamis in 480 B.C., in which the Greeks defeated the Persians, and the battle of Chaeronea in 338 B.C., which spelled the beginning of the end of Greek democracy.

The palimpsest is believed to have been created by Byzantine monks in the 13th century, probably in Constantinople. As was the practice then, the durable and valuable vellum pages of several older texts were washed and scraped, to remove their writing, and then used for a medieval prayer book. The pages of the older books became the sheaths of a newer one, thus a palimpsest (which is pronounced PAL-imp-sest and is Greek for “rubbed again”).

After the Christie’s sale the manuscript was left at the museum by the private collector for conservation and study. This year imagers at Stanford University used powerful X-ray fluorescence imaging to read its final pages, which are being interpreted, transcribed and translated by a group of scholars in the United States and Europe.

The new Hyperides revelations include two previously unknown speeches, effectively increasing this renowned orator’s body of work by 20 percent, said Judson Herrman, a 36-year-old professor of classics at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa. He is one of a handful of classicists who have written doctoral dissertations on Hyperides.

Hyperides lived from 390 or 389 B.C. until 322 B.C. and was an orator who made speeches at public meetings of the citizen assembly. A contemporary of Aristotle and Demosthenes, he wrote speeches for himself and for others and spoke at important political trials. In 322 B.C. Hyperides was executed by the Macedonians for participating in a failed rebellion.

“It’s a spotlight shining on an important moment in history,” said Mr. Herrman, currently a fellow at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, N.C. Until the new leaves were found in the palimpsest, most scholars believed only fragments of Hyperides survived beyond the Classical period. The mystery of Archimedes’ treatise on combinatorics, the Stomachion, was solved in 2003 by deciphering the palimpsest. Now W. Robert Connor, the president of the Teagle Foundation, which provides education and financial resources for education, called the discovery of new Hyperides text a “tour de force of the first order.”

A combination of high-tech imagery and old-fashioned deciphering, sometimes letter by letter, was used to resurrect the older text, revealing a slice of Athenian history in the days after its devastating defeat by Philip II, king of Macedonia and the father of Alexander the Great, Mr. Connor said. “The number of times you get a new text is very small,” Mr. Connor, a former professor of classics at Princeton said. “It’s like hearing an old violin played at a superb level.”

Cecil Wooten, a professor of classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who attended a Hyperides presentation by Mr. Herrman on Nov. 13, called the discovery “interesting and significant.”

“Although Hyperides is a very important fourth-century Greek orator, one of the canon of 10, we have very little of his speeches, and much of that is fragmentary,” Professor Wooten said in an e-mail message.

Michael Gargan, a professor of Classics at the University of Texas at Austin, said, “Every bit we get is important.” Mr. Gargan, a major scholar on ancient Greek law, noted that Hyperides wrote many speeches and had a leading reputation in antiquity, but only about six of his speeches survive.

“This obviously will contribute a great deal more,” he said. “I eagerly await seeing the text.”

In one recently discovered speech, Hyperides talks about the number of boats (220) — a number not previously clear— belonging to the Greek side in the Salamis battle, Mr. Judson said. In another speech, after the Battle of Chaeronea, he argues that the tragic defeat was the result of chance, not bad policy. In a political case Hyperides supports the Demosthenes policy that led to the Athenian defeat.

“For we chose the noblest policy and we believed it necessary to free the Greeks by taking on the risks ourselves, just like before,” Hyperides argues in a passage translated by Mr. Herrman and transcribed by Natalie Tchernetska of Riga, Latvia, a project scholar and specialist in Greek palimpsests, whom Mr. Herrman credits with first identifying the material.

“One must assign the start and the suggestion of every risk to those who make the motion, but the outcome of these things is to be assigned to chance,” Hyperides argues in the speech. “Diondas proposes the opposite happen: not that Demosthenes be praised for his policy but that I give a defense because of chance.”

Professor Herrman said the material also gives new information about inheritance laws in Athens and suggests a different timing for the Demosthenes case.

Historians had always believed that the trial of Demosthenes took place before the battle of Chaeronea, which Athens lost to the Macedonians, but the newly discovered speech shows that it was after the battle, Mr. Herrman said. “We had no idea of what the content of the trial was,” he said. “Now we have an Athenian view of their own defeat.”

Some very nice photos of the palimpest accompany the original article ...
Dorothy King sent this one in (thanks!) ... a lengthy piece in ANSA on how the Getty-Italy dispute is heating up:

Italy is pinning the blame on the John Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles for a halt in the return of pillaged art treasures.

"The talks broke down because they suspended them. It was a unilateral decision," Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli said Thursday.

The Getty has halted the return of stolen artefacts in a fresh dispute over a magnificent bronze statue of an athlete.

The Getty's curator, Michael Brand, wrote to Rutelli two days ago to express his "deep regret" that 20 out of an earmarked batch of 46 works would be retained.

Rutelli, who will be in New York next week for related talks with the Metropolitan Museum (Met) on Italy's new drive to regain lost treasures, voiced "surprise and disappointment" at the Getty's move.

The artefacts which the Getty has decided to keep include a bronze statue of an athlete attributed to the Greek sculptor Lysippos, which the Californian museum acquired in 1977.

It was found off in the Adriatic, off the Marche port of Fano, in 1964. In an apparent about-turn on the question of the masterpiece's provenance, the Getty has now reverted to a previous claim that it was found in international waters and does not belong to Italy.

Italy does not dispute that the bronze was outside territorial waters when it was discovered, but stresses that it was taken out of Italy illegally.

The Lysippos bronze has proved the main sticking point in implementing a preliminary agreement reached last month.

"We regret the fact that this object stands in the way of an accord but our conscience is clear in keeping the work," Brand said in the letter to Rutelli.

In the case of another now-withheld masterpiece, a marble Venus found at the Ancient Greek colony of Morgantina new Enna, Sicily, Brand said the Getty would have been willing to return it - in joint ownership - if joint investigations established it had been plundered.

But that prospect has faded with the breakdown in negotiations.

It is not entirely clear whether the other 26 works on the original 46-long roster will be affected, or will come home as agreed.

"If they want to give Italy back these works which they already agreed to return, let them," Rutelli said.

Italy has already begun putting on show archaeological finds recently returned to Italy after years in the US.

Earlier this year, Italy signed what some hope will be a groundbreaking deal with the Met. This envisages the return of artefacts in exchange for loans of equivalent value.

As well as the Met and the Getty, two other US museums with huge antiquities collections have come under the scrutiny of Italian investigators: Boston's Museum of Fine Arts and the Cleveland Museum of Art.

The Boston Museum has inked a similar deal to the Met's.

In November the Getty, reputedly the world's richest museum, returned three of 52 allegedly stolen Italian treasures it had acquired.

A former curator of the John Paul Getty Museum, Marion True, is on trial in Rome for allegedly acquiring stolen artefacts. It is the first such trial of an American museum curator.

Some of the works which the Getty was due to return were set to be exhibited as evidence in court.

The February 21 agreement with the Met ended a 25-year wrangle over disputed antiquities.

The objects included one of the Met's gems, a sixth-century BC painted vase called the Euphronios Krater.

It is widely regarded as one of the finest examples of its kind.

Italian art police presented the Met with strong evidence that the red and black terracotta vase, or calyx, was stolen from the Etruscan burial site of Cerveteri near Rome in the early '70s.

The agreement also covered four ancient vases from Apulia (present-day Puglia) and a large collection of silverware stolen from Morgantina.

The vases will come home shortly, the Krater by January 15 2008, and the silverware by January 15 2010.

In the meantime, in exchange for getting the long-sought pieces back, the Italian government will loan works of equivalent beauty and importance to the Met.

Met Director Philippe de Montebello has said he already has a "wish list" of loans.

In his talks with Rutelli on November 29, de Montebello is expected to go over some of the fine print of the February accord.

The Met deal and the True trial have signalled that Italy is getting serious about recovering lost artefacts.

By setting a precedent that could be used by other countries - notably Greece - Italy has sent alarm bells around the art world.

Rutelli reiterated on Thursday that "it is our government's duty to make it clear that all the world's museums which exhibit ransacked Italian works must return them". A 1970 UNESCO convention, which both Italy and the US have signed, bans the import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property.
We can get a bit of catching up in this a.m. ... check out Pope Benedict's thoughts on the Laocoon group, from Catholic Online:

The light of beauty that shines from within a work of art allows humankind to sense the truth of God’s unique plan for the world, Pope Benedict XVI said, noting that Vatican Museums are a place where “Christianity and culture, faith and art, the divine and the human constantly intertwine.”

In Nov. 24 evening remarks in the Hall of Blessings in the Vatican's Apostolic Palace, the pope reminded Vatican Museums directors and employees that of the more than 4 million visitors to the museums this year – 200,000 more than in 2005 – a large part most "are not Catholics … and many are not even believers."

"The approach to Christian truth through artistic or socio-cultural expressions has a greater chance of appealing to the intelligence and sensitivity of people who do not belong to the Catholic Church, and who may sometimes nourish feelings of prejudice or indifference towards her,” he said.

In 1506, Pope Julius II purchased marble statue of Laocoon, a Trojan high priest and his two sons being strangled by a sea snake, which Pope Benedict called during his speech as “magnificent.”

That work became the centerpiece of a group of Vatican statues, which then grew into a papal collection that became the Vatican Museums. Today, the Vatican Museums now house about 150,000 works of art and artifacts divided into more than 25 distinct collections ranging from ancient Egyptian, Greek and Etruscan to the modern.

This year, the Laocoon has become the focus of a special exhibit and a special Vatican stamp.

“Visitors to the Vatican Museums, by dwelling in this sanctuary of art and faith, have the opportunity to 'immerse' themselves in a concentrated atmosphere of 'theology by images,'" Pope Benedict said.

The pope said that the "a truth written into the 'genetic code' of the Vatican Museums” demonstrates that the great Classical and Judeo-Christian civilizations “are not in opposition to one another, rather they come together in God's unique plan.”

Referring to the sculpture of Laocoon that could be defined as “profane,” Pope Benedict said that it, “in the setting of the Vatican, acquires its full and authentic light.”

“It is the light of human beings formed by God; of freedom in the drama of their redemption, drawn between earth and heaven, between flesh and the spirit. It is the light of a beauty that shines from within the work of art, and brings the spirit to open itself to the sublime, to the place where the creator encounters the creatures made in his image and likeness," he said.

"The museum truly shows how Christianity and culture, faith and art, the divine and the human, constantly intertwine,” Pope Benedict said.

“A temple of art and culture such as the Vatican Museums requires the beauty of the works to be accompanied by the beauty of the people who work there: a spiritual beauty that renders the atmosphere truly ecclesial, impregnating it with the Christian spirit," the pope told the museums employees.
Hi y'all,

Real life has caught up to me this week and I need a couple of days to get caught back up. As such, rc will be on hiatus for today and possibly the next couple of days. Sorry for the inconvenience.

ante diem viii kalendas decembres

29/30 A.D. -- partial solar eclipse in the eastern Mediterranean which is sometimes associated with the crucifixion

62 A.D. -- death of the satirist Aulus Persius Flaccus (source?)

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Felicissimus and Firmina

1977 -- the discovery of a tomb believed to be that of Philip II of Macedon is announced

1998 -- death of John Chadwick
In addition to the ClassiCarnies, scroll down and reread the Capitoline She Wolf thing ... Walter has added some interesting comments (and I've responded with my usual naive ones) ...

Ed Flinn has an interestingly-patinaed Salonina/Romae Aeternae ...

Irene Hahn has a couple of items of interest ... a thing on Procopius ... she also has links to an online exhibition she's been working on of drawings and photos by Mort Walker (yep ... the Beetle Bailey guy) of Roman ruins and the like during WWII ...

Glaukopis links to some Classical inspiration from Ursula le Guin ...
From YLE:

Francia fumificationem in locis publicis vetat
23.11.2006, klo 15.42

Administratio Franciae legem accepit, quae fumificationem tabaci in locis publicis vetat.

Illa lex mense Februario vigere incipiet et ad omnia spatia interiora pertinebit, in quibus homines laborant aut quae populo sunt aperta.

Deverticula nocturna, cauponae, thermopolia tempus transitionis unius anni habebunt, quo spatia hermetica, aeri non pervia, fumificatoribus aedificent.

Moderatores locorum publicorum, si nova lege vigente fumificationem permittere voluerint, spatia fumificatoribus apta parare debebunt, ex quibus fumus in alias aedificii partes non vagatur.

Ex computationibus statisticis apparet quina millena hominum in Francia quotannis morbis ex fumificatione passiva ortis mortem obire.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
From the Sofia Echo:

A unique silver Thracian coin form the 5th century BC was presented in Bulgaria's city of Plovdiv.

The coin was unique because it was minted during the ruling of the Thracian king Sitalk. Up to now historians believed that coins were not minted during Sitalk’s reign, Focus news agency reported.

The coin weighted 3.7 gr and had its diametre was17 mm.

A horseman and some syllables could be seen on the head of the coin, Focus said. Acording to sources Sitalk had a 50 000 horsemen cavalry. An eagle holding a snake was prepresented on the tail of the coin.

Numismatist Dimitar Kostov said this was the first of its kind coin to be found in Bulgaria.

The price of the coin could reach 50 000 to 60 000 euro in an auction.
From Novinite:

Bulgaria's top archeologist Georgi Kitov toned down the harsh criticism of his colleagues at a National Geographic article on the country's Thracian heritage.

Known as Bulgaria's Indiana Jones, Kitov is presented in the magazine as using bulldozers to unveil the Thracian tombs before the looters beat him.

"I am not insulted," Kitov said, as cited by 24 Hours daily. "The authors have every right to share with the readers what has impressed them most. Everything I have told them is just as they have told it in the article. It can't be otherwise as Kenneth Garrett, whose photographs illustrate the article, spent an average of eight-nine hours with us every day."

"I personally told them I am trying to get ahead of the looters. That's true," Kitov admitted.

A day earlier two of Bulgaria's most prominent archaeologists, featuring in the article, publicly denounced it, saying it aims to discredit the country and drive foreigners away.

They say the article turns a blind eye to the significance and nature of the ancient Thracian culture and barely mentions the ancient sanctuary of Perperikon and the Valley of the Thracian Kings. According to them its tone and subjectivity marks a U-turn from the publications in the foreign press so far. All the more so because Kenneth Garrett, whose photographs illustrated the article, had said he was enamoured by Bulgaria during his stay here.

It is still being considered whether to file an official complaint to the National Geographic magazine main office and demand that a new article on the topic is published.

You can find the issue in question on your newsstand (it should still be available), but if you want a taste, here's the online tease. Personally, I've never understood the cock-strutting that seems to characterize archaeologists in Bulgaria these days ... it's not very useful on any level.
The incipit of some lengthy hype in the current Network World:

Results of a high-tech research project to be released next week promise to finally unravel much of the remaining mystery of a 2,000-year-old astronomical calculator.

Since its discovery in 1902, the Antikythera Mechanism -- with its intricate and baffling system of about 30 geared wheels -- has been an enigma. Our knowledge of its functions has increased as computer-based imaging, analysis and X-ray technologies have evolved. During the last 50 years, researchers have identified various astronomical and calendar functions, including gears that mimic the movement of the sun and moon.

But it has taken some of the most advanced technology of the 21st century to decipher during the past year the most advanced technology of the 1st century B.C.

No artifact this complex has been recovered from the ancient world, though there are numerous written references, by Greek and later by Arab writers, to different types of geared mechanisms. The level of mechanical sophistication found in the Antikythera Mechanism was not to be seen again until the rise of European clock-making during the Middle Ages, more than a millennium later.
Revealing the results

An international team of researchers will reveal the results of this most recent research, carried out over the past year with help from HP Laboratories and X-Tek Systems, a U.K.-based manufacturer of high resolution X-ray inspection equipment. The Antikythera Mechanism Research Project, a joint effort by researchers in Greece and the United Kingdom, hosts a two-day conference starting Nov. 30 in Athens.

The team includes astrophysicists, radio astronomers, mathematicians and philologists (philology is the study of ancient texts and original documents), reflecting the complexity of the Antikythera Mechanism (see related story detailing the research project group).

Team members wouldn't comment beforehand on the details. But they are confident they've unraveled many of the remaining puzzles.

"We believe we've found the functions with regard to the sun and moon movements, and to its calendrical function," says Michael Edmunds, a professor in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Cardiff University in Wales, and a specialist in the chemical composition of galaxies. The Mechanism caught his interest when he was working in 2000 with a student who chose the device as a research project.

"We believe we [now] understand what the gear trains did," Edmunds says. Other advances include definitive tooth counts, and new details of gears and their assemblies.

In addition, the team more than doubled the number of letters previously found on the device, to more than 2,000, and has translated these, says John Seiradakis, a professor with the Department of Physics, Aristolean University of Thessaloniki, in Greece. ...

There's more ... the original article has some links to slide shows and the like of the mechanism ... I think we've mentioned before that the project has a website, but I can't seem to connect to it this a.m..
ante diem ix kalendas decembres

ca. 101 -- martyrdom (?) of Clement I
From the Courier-Journal:

Hayden Lane was a little surprised when the interview request came.

Injured offensive linemen who have played their last college football game don't usually garner much ink. But this 6-foot-6, 275-pound senior tackle for the University of Kentucky shouldn't be allowed to fade into Wildcats history just yet.

Though Lane is right at home in a history book.

Understatement of the year candidate: It's a rare starting offensive lineman in the Southeastern Conference who can pick up a copy of Virgil's "Aeneid" and read it in its original Latin.

Lane can.

"You could say I'm different," Lane said.

He finished his degree in anthropology and classics in 3½ years with a 3.95 grade-point average. While he was a sophomore on the football field, starting all 11 games in 2004, he was a senior in the classroom. He averaged about five hours of sleep a night that year while completing his senior project, he said. He started work on his master's in history last year. An example of that workload: One class he's taking now -- just one -- has 16 required texts.

He's writing his master's thesis on the elements of religion, magic and prophecy in Lucan's epic poem "Pharsalia."

When's the last time they talked about that on "SportsCenter"?
Blocks and books

Coaches got used to bloodshot eyes from Lane. They also got used to all-out effort. His list of honor societies reads like the Greek alphabet. He's a first-team academic All-American. But he also started 24 straight games as an SEC lineman, which makes him a lot more than just a pretty GPA.

"He doesn't say a lot," said teammate Jacob Tamme, another of the five current Wildcats who graduated in 3½ years. "But you know the guy is brilliant. He's a guy who, ever since I've been here, coaches have been able to point to and say, 'Do it like him.' "

At one point,Lane wanted to be a real-life Indiana Jones, even if he was playing for Kentucky. He studied some biblical archaeology, but now says he wants to get his doctorate and settle down at a university, where he can teach and continue his research and studying.

"To achieve what he's achieved (in football) at the college level, and perform at the academic level in a difficult curriculum like he has, is almost unheard of," UK coach Rich Brooks said. "It's in the top three to five percent in the nation, what he has been able to achieve, in my mind."
'The right way'

You'd like to see a Rudy-esque ending on Lane's football story, but those don't happen often. Lane lost his starting job at tackle after this season's opener and didn't start again until the ninth game because of injuries to other linemen. He played well at guard in the biggest win of his career, the Wildcats' upset of Georgia. But two minutes before halftime in the next game, while blocking for a field goal against Vanderbilt, Lane suffered a dislocated wrist. He has undergone surgery, but it's unlikely he'll return, even for a bowl game.

"I'd have taken it better if it had been on an offensive play and not a field goal," Lane said. "But my attitude was that I went down playing as hard as I could. That's all you can do."

Still, Lane not only got to study history, but to be a part of some with UK's bowl run this season. A guy this smart has to have something to teach the rest of us. I asked him for his parting advice:

"You don't have to be a genius to read and study and do what you're supposed to do," he said. "Do what people ask, whether it's running 10 sprints or getting to class on time. Do it the right way, to the best of your ability."
I suspect many ClassiCarnies will be taking time off for the next few days ...

David Parsons has an excerpt from a piece about 'Latin revivial' in the Spectator ...

Kristian Minck adds a bit of detail to explain a recent article on his Ancient Transportation blog ...

N.S. Gill has a feature on Vesuvius ...

Ben Henry sent in (thanks) this link to a companion website for a program on NOVA's Science Now about assorted papyri and their reconstruction, etc. (this is exactly the sort of thing which every documentary about something ancient should have ... someone at PBS 'gets it' when it comes to marrying the web and television) ...

... and as long as we're watching videos and the like, folks might be (or not) interested in an NPR interview with Robert Harris drawing parallels (of course) between ancient Rome and the U.S. ....
majordomo @ Merriam-Webster (something strange about the explanation of this one, no?)

circumscribe @ Wordsmith

epulose @ Worthless Word for the Day

trencherman @ Dictionary.com
From YLE:

De obstinatione Cubanorum
17.11.2006, klo 11.18

Cooperatio Unionis Europaeae et Cubae multum difficultatis habet Cubanis obstinate recusantibus, quominus auxilium populis egentioribus praebitum a civitatibus Europaeis recipiant.

Condiciones enim politicas sibi propositas non accipiunt.

Monendum tamen est necessitudines inter utramque partem commerciales florere et dimidiam fere partem peregrinorum, qui Cubam obeunt, ex Europa venire.

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

Four members of a shipping family were charged yesterday in connection with a large collection of illegal antiquities that was found earlier this year at a villa on a tiny Aegean island.

Prosecutor Eleni Raikou brought criminal charges against Despina Papadimitriou, the alleged owner of the villa on the island of Schinoussa, and her three children, Alexandros, Dimitris and Angeliki.

The four suspects have been charged with illegally possessing, receiving and trading antiquities. Authorities said that 152 artifacts were found at the villa on Schinoussa and at the family’s Athenian home in Psychico, northern Athens.

The total value of the items which have so far been assessed by experts is 982,000 euros.

The artifacts, some of which are more than 3,000 years old, were discovered when authorities raided the two homes in April in what is considered to be one of the biggest antiquity hauls in Greece.

Despina Papadimitriou is the sister of the late antiquities dealer Christos Michailidis, who died in 1999. Sources said the four suspects told authorities that they inherited the collection from the London-based dealer.

Michailidis worked with London-based dealer Robin Symes. The Papadimitriou family was involved in a two-year legal battle with Symes and eventually won the right to half the collection amassed by the two men.

However, sources said that witnesses told authorities that some of the antiquities arrived on the island six months before police raided the villa.

In a separate incident yesterday, four people were arrested for illegally digging next to an archaeological site in Priasos, Crete.

Police said they arrested the suspects after finding a metal detector, digging tools and various weapons in two cars at the site.
The battle continues ... latest salvo detailed in the Independent:

The battle between the world's richest museum and the Italian state took a turn for the worse yesterday when the Getty museum in California walked out of talks over the restitution of looted antiquities.

Michael Brand, the director of the Getty, has sent a closely argued, six-page letter to Francesco Rutelli, the Minister of Culture, saying he is "deeply saddened" by the failure to reach agreement after more than a year of talks, and announcing the end of "these present negotiations". Mr Rutelli's office said the letter had been received "with surprise and disappointment".

At the centre of the dispute is an enormous marble and limestone statue of the goddess Aphrodite, sold to the Getty for $18m (£10m) by a British antiquities dealer who was jailed last year. The statue, one of the glories of the Malibu museum, is claimed by the Italians to have been dug up by grave robbers in Morgantina, Sicily, and illegally exported to Switzerland, where the British dealer Robin Symes sold it on to the Americans.

The Americans point out that the man who sold the statue to Mr Symes, a Sicilian named Renzo Canavesi, provided a document stating that the statue had been privately owned since 1939, and that at least one authority on the archaeology of Morgantina says there is no evidence that Aphrodite came from there.

John Paul Getty, the oil billionaire who once said "the meek shall inherit the earth but not its mineral rights", took a swashbuckling approach to the task of filling his museum with masterpieces, and encouraged his employees to do the same. This helped it to become within a couple of decades the rival of far grander museums. But today, as nations such as Greece and Italy begin robustly to defend their rights to their own patrimony, the ruthlessness of old has become a liability.

In summer last year, the then curator of antiquities at the Getty museum, Marion True, was put on trial in Rome accused of acquiring antiquities illegally, a prosecution that sent a shock through the antiquities departments of some of the world's greatest museums. The Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts reached agreements with Italy's Culture Ministry to return numerous antiquities which Italy claimed had been looted.

Reaching an agreement with the Getty has proved far tougher - precisely because, according to an insider in the Culture Ministry, of the ongoing trial, which has introduced an element of antagonism that the two sides have been unable to transcend.

This week the Getty agreed to return 26 objects which Italy claims were looted. The Italians have waived their claim on six more objects, which were in dispute. But that leaves another 20, including Aphrodite, that Italy wants and the Americans have no intention of surrendering.

Last week Giuseppe Proietti, a senior official at the ministry, said: "I will suggest the Italian government takes cultural sanctions against the Getty, suspending all cultural co-operation." Regarding the 26 pieces returning to Italy, Maurizio Fiorilli, a lawyer with the ministry, said: "The pieces will come to Italy not as a concession but as a seizure ... that is part of our legal process."

The Getty's director, Michael Brand, who claimed the museum now has an acquisitions policy "that is the strictest of any North American art museum", said he could only hope for "a change of heart on the Italian side".
From the People's Daily comes news of another bust in Bulgaria:

Bulgaria's anti-mafia units and Customs agents joined efforts to foil an attempt of a large-scale antiques smuggle on Wednesday, reported BTA.

Over 14,400 ancient coins were found in a train going from Sofia to Vienna. The precious coins were packed in several milk and juice cartons, hidden in a cavity in one of the compartments.

Other antiques, such as ceramic lamps, antique crosses, rings, earrings and tiaras were also discovered, along with figurines, arrowheads, and phallic statuettes, BTA reported.

The whole stash weighed over 67 kilos.

The Customs estimate that each coin is worth up to 1,500 euros (1,920 U.S. dollars).

According to the smugglers, they had planned to transport the antiques abroad to Europe and finally to the United States with the help of European auction agents.

Located on the Balkan Peninsula as the center of the ancient Thracian Empire, Bulgaria once created a brilliant civilization. Archeologists have discovered in Bulgaria numerous antiques from different epochs.
The Hibbing Daily Tribune begins a Thanksgiving piece with a bit o' ClassCon:

Greek mythology tells us that the god Zeus had what we might consider a rather brutal father. His dad, named Cronus, acquired his own throne by overthrowing his father Uranus, who had confined his offspring to the Underworld in fear for his crown.

Urged by his mother, Rhea, Cronus escaped from his nether world prison known as Tartarus, revolted, and took over his father’s realm–but not before Uranus warned that the same fate awaited his son.

Fearing that curse, Cronus found a simple solution for the threat of his own children: he devoured them, one by one. Only Zeus escaped that fate when his father was tricked into consuming a rock which he believed to be the newly-delivered boy.

Hidden on the island of Crete, Zeus was suckled and raised to manhood by a goat named Amalthaea, who fed the boy by using her own horn as a drinking vessel.

That horn came to be known as a cornu copiae, literally a “horn or plenty,” and is easily recognized today as the curved horn overflowing with fruits and grains that we see gracing so many Thanksgiving celebrations.
Centre College asks Lee Patterson twenty questions:

1. Position/title: Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics.

2. Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.

3. Career highlight: Presenting a paper on Alexander the Great at the University of Reading in England. (But my first article, a piece on Pompey in the journal Latomus, is pretty special, too.)

4. Signature class: "Foreigners in the Ancient World." (I designed this course at UC Davis. It covers Greek and Roman perceptions of and interaction with foreigners.)

5. Recent publication/exhibition/performance: "Alcman's Partheneion and Eliade's Sacred Time."Classical and Modern Literature 25.1 (2005): 115-127.

6. Family details: Recently celebrated my 10th anniversary with my wife Teresa. I have five stepchildren and (soon to be) eight step grandchildren. And I'm only 38!

7. Hobbies: Love science fiction! In literature, television and film.

8. Pets: None now. (I miss my dogs and cats.)

9. Prized possession: My 44 original Kenner Star Wars action figures from the 1970's, along with ships and play sets, all in good condition. If only they were still in their original packaging!

10. Last book read:A Grief Observed by C. S. Lewis.

11. Memorable trip/vacation: England (April 2005).

12. Favorite movie:Star Wars (original).

13. Favorite album: Can't say, but I love Enya, ABBA and classical music.

14. Favorite food: My wife's fried chicken.

15. Favorite smell: Again, my wife's fried chicken.

16. Person you most admire: Gandalf (Oh, wait, does it have to be a real person?)

17. Living figure you'd most like to meet: Anyone with whom I'm likely to have a really good conversation, like Dan Brown, Seth MacFarlane, Ronald D. Moore or J. Michael Straczynski

18. Historical figure you'd most like to meet: Herodotus, assuming I can handle his Ionic Greek accent.

19. What would you be doing if you weren't teaching at Centre: Teaching elsewhere, if lucky.

20. Describe yourself in three words: Cogito ergo sum.
We mentioned t'other day that Mary Beard was commenting on this theory, which has now made it to the English-reading press ... from Discovery.com (rather strange first couple of grafs, though):

The icon of Rome's foundation, the Capitoline she-wolf, was crafted in the Middle Ages, not the Antiquities, according to a research into the statue’s bronze-casting technique.

The discovery quashes the long-prevailing belief that the she-wolf was adopted as an icon by the earliest Romans as a symbol for their city.

Recalling the story of a she-wolf which fed Romulus, the legendary founder of Rome, and his twin brother, Remus, after they had been thrown in a basket into the Tiber River, the statue has been always linked to the ancient world.

It was thought to be either the product of an Etruscan workshop in the 5th century B.C. or the masterpiece of the 6th century B.C. Etruscan sculptor Vulca of Veii.

It was believed that the Romans later adopted the wolf since her defiant stance and raised eyebrows seemed to reflect Rome’s liberation from the Etruscan rule.

On the contrary, scholars have long established that the bronze figures of Romulus and Remus were added in the Renaissance, in accordance to the legend of Rome’s foundation.

"Now incontestable proofs tell us that also the she-wolf is not a product of the Antiquities," Adriano La Regina, former Rome’s archaeological superintendent and professor of Etruscology at Rome's La Sapienza University, wrote in Italy’s daily "La Repubblica."

According to La Regina, analysis carried out by restorer Anna Maria Carruba during the 1997 restoration of the bronze statue showed that the she-wolf was cast as a single unit. This technique was typically used in the Middle Ages.

"Ancient bronzes differentiate from those made in the Middle Ages because they were cast in separate parts, and then brazed together," La Regina said

First used by the Greeks and then adopted by Etruscan and Roman artists, the technique basically consisted of brazing the separate joints using bronze as welding material.

The new dating of the Capitoline she-wolf was not revealed at the presentation of the restored statue in 2000. The Capitoline Museum, where the bronze is displayed, claims the artwork traces back to 480-470 B.C.

"Analysis and findings from the restoration were ignored," wrote La Regina.

Indeed, it might have not been easy for the Romans to accept that the archetypal symbol of Rome was cast in the relatively recent Middle Ages.

The she-wolf was one of the favored images of Benito Mussolini, the fascist dictator, who considered himself the founder of the New Rome. He sent various copies of the bronze to American cities.

The Capitoline she-wolf was also used in the poster of the 1960 Rome Olympics and is one of the most popular items among souvenir sellers in Rome.

Gregory Warden, a professor of art history at Southern Methodist University who specializes in Etruscan bronzes, found the suggestion that the she-wolf may be medieval "intriguing." But, he does not consider the matter closed.

"While the statue is singular, and thus difficult to compare to other Etruscan statuary, I do not think that the technical argument is fully persuasive, since we have so little comparative evidence for large-scale bronze casting in the Etruscan world," he said. "We certainly cannot assume that Etruscan bronze-casting techniques would always have been identical to those of the Greeks."


Walter scripsit:

I see none of the articles mention the damaged section of the She-Wolf's hind quarters.

The damage believed to have been caused by a lightning strike in 65BCE and mentioned by Cicero?

If the original was damaged by a lightning bolt in 65 I wonder if the Romans would dare to repair it for risk of angering the Gods again? A message was sent, best not erase it :).

Or could it be just coincidence that this much later copy happened to get damaged somehow?
Or could it have been a cast of the damaged original, now lost?

In Catilinam, 3.19
M. Tullius Cicero (Cicero)
Nam profecto memoria tenetis Cotta et Torquato consulibus compluris in Capitolio res de caelo esse percussas, cum et simulacra deorum depulsa sunt et statuae veterum hominum deiectae et legum aera liquefacta et tactus etiam ille qui hanc urbem condidit Romulus, quem inauratum in Capitolio, parvum atque lactantem, uberibus lupinis inhiantem fuisse meministis.

You remember, of course, that in the consulship of Cotta and Torquatus a large number of objects on the Capitol was struck by lightning, images of the gods were overthrown and statues of men of old overturned and the bronze tablets of our laws melted; even the statue of Romulus, the founder of Rome, was struck--you remember that it was a gilt statue on the Capitol of a baby being given suck from the udders of a wolf.

De Divinatione, 1.20
M. Tullius Cicero (Cicero)
Hic silvestris erat Romani nominis altrix, Martia, quae parvos Mavortis semine natos uberibus gravidis vitali rore rigabat; quae tum cum pueris flammato fulminis ictu concidit atque avolsa pedum vestigia liquit.

  Here was the Martian beast, the nurse of Roman dominion, Suckling with life-giving dew, that issued from udders distended, Children divinely begotten, who sprang from the loins of the War God; Stricken by lightning she toppled to earth, bearing with her the children; Torn from her station, she left the prints of her feet in descending.

De Divinatione, 2.47
M. Tullius Cicero (Cicero)
' Romulus lactens fulmine ictus; urbi igitur periculum ostenditur, ei quam ille condidit.'
' The statue of the infant Romulus,' you observe, ' was struck by a thunderbolt; hence danger was thereby predicted to the city which he founded.'


I confess I've never seen this connection made before to the statue in question, although I now see it is mentioned in Richardson. I imagine the art historians will suggest that the lightning damage isn't securely dated and could date from the Middle Ages as well based on the fact that it was mounted on a column (and so in a position to take such damage). What I've been wondering (in between computer crises at school) is whether the Chimera of Arezzo will now come under closer scrutiny as well ...
ante diem x kalendas decembres

c. 70 A.D. -- martyrdom of Philemon and Apphia

c. 117 A.D. -- martyrdom of Cecilia
I guess we call this the 'off season' for the ClassiCarnies (and/or my spiders are having problems crawling this a.m.) ...

Ed Flinn has a Gallienus/Athena ...
dolorous @ Merriam-Webster

invidious @ Wordsmith

impignorate @ Worthless Word for the Day

mollify @ Dictionary.com
From YLE:

Copiae silvarum augentur
17.11.2006, klo 11.17

Credebatur iam in eo esse, ut silvae orbis terrarum in annos deminuerentur. Quae condicio rerum autem ex inopinato in melius conversa est, ut censet grex investigatorum internationalis, cui praeest Pekka Kauppi, professor Universitatis Helsinkiensis.

Cum copia arborum in multis orbis partibus, praesertim in Sinis et India, magno incremento augeatur, fieri posse, ut interitus silvarum triginta annis proxime futuris omnino impediatur.

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

Latest Conspectus Rerum Latinus from the EU ...

Latest headlines from Akropolis World News: Jack the Ripper pictured, Argentina and Iran in confrontation, who tried to kill Litvinenko?
A while back we learned that Italy was threatening to cut off the Getty from 'cultural transactions' ... seems the threat worked ... from Forbes:

The J. Paul Getty Museum announced Tuesday it would return 26 ancient artworks that Italy contended had been looted or smuggled from the country.

The museum did not indicate when it would return the objects, saying it was awaiting instructions from Italian culture ministry officials. It also denied knowingly buying any illegally obtained objects.

In exchange for the items, Italy's Ministry of Culture agreed to provide long-term loans of other objects, museum director Michael Brand said. But negotiations over Italy's demands for other Getty antiquities broke down this month, and Italian officials threatened to cut cultural ties with the Los Angeles museum.

"While we continue to hope that the Italian government will honor its commitment to work collaboratively with the Getty in the future, as it agreed to do in October, the Getty's transfer of objects is not conditioned on any such arrangement," Brand said in a statement. "Quite simply, we believe that transferring these objects to Italy is the right thing to do, whether or not we now receive anything in return."

A call to the Italian consulate in Los Angeles seeking comment was not immediately returned. In Rome, Minister of Culture Francesco Rutelli could not immediately be reached for comment late Tuesday night. Culture minister spokesman Michele Ansaldi did not immediately return a message seeking comment left on his cell phone.

The museum previously returned three works, but the fate of dozens of others, including a prized statue of Aphrodite, remained unresolved despite months of talks.

The museum will continue to look into the origins of the statue, and "if this research suggests that the statue should be returned to Italy, the Getty is prepared to transfer title," the museum said. The research was expected to be completed within a year.

Dismayed by the deadlock in negotiations, Giuseppe Proietti, a senior Italian cultural official, told the Los Angeles Times in a recent interview that he would suggest the government "take cultural sanctions against the Getty, suspending all cultural cooperation." That could include working with Italian institutions on research, cultural studies, excavations, exhibits or artwork loans.

Getty officials said they still hoped for an agreement.

"We are prepared to resume talks focused on building a productive long-term relationship at a moment's notice," Brand said.

The Getty said a sticking point in reviving the negotiations was a demand that the museum return another statue often called the Getty Bronze, or "Statue of a Victorious Athlete," a Greek work believed to date from around 300 B.C.

Brand said he met with Rutelli in Rome on Nov. 17 and told him that the bronze would not be returned.

The museum believes the bronze was found in international waters in 1964, and Italian courts have ruled there is no evidence it belonged to Italy, Brand said.

The museum has clashed with Italian and Greek officials over allegations that former antiquities curator Marion True knowingly received dozens of archaeological treasures between 1986 and the late 1990s that were stolen from private collections or dug up illicitly.

True and American art dealer Robert Hecht are on trial in Rome, accused of trafficking in stolen artifacts. They deny wrongdoing and the Getty trust continues to pay for True's defense.

Also on Tuesday, an Athens prosecutor filed criminal charges against "persons unknown" for illegal excavation, smuggling and receiving stolen goods, in connection with an ancient golden wreath owned by the Getty museum that was allegedly looted in Greece.
Different versions of this one popping up in my box ... this one's from Kathimerini:

Criminal charges were filed yesterday in connection to the alleged theft and illegal sale of an ancient gold wreath which is now owned by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

In the latest development in Greece’s investigation into illegal antiquities, Athens prosecutor Andreas Karaflos issued charges of illegal excavation, smuggling and receiving stolen goods against “persons unknown.”

An investigation by the Attica police’s illegal antiquities department revealed that the funerary wreath was sold to the Getty Museum in 1993 for $1.15 million and that five people were involved in the artifact illegally reaching the USA.

According to the police probe, the wreath, which dates to 320-300 BC, was discovered by a farmer in a village in Serres, northern Greece, in 1990 while he was performing an illegal excavation.

The wreath was then sold to two Greek men in Munich, Germany, police sources said.

With the help of a Serb man, the pair contacted an antiquities dealer in Switzerland who arranged for a deal to be reached with the museum in LA.

Greek authorities believe that former Getty curator Marion True played a key role in the exchange. True is on trial in Rome accused of having knowingly bought stolen artifacts for the museum. True denies any wrongdoing.

Sources at the Culture Ministry said yesterday that the police investigation strengthened Greece’s hand in trying to negotiate for the return of the wreath. The Getty Museum has already returned two ancient sculptures to Greece after pressure from the government.

Greek authorities are also in talks with the museum over the return of a 6th century BC marble statue and are investigating how this and a number of other antiquities ended up with their current owners.

Interesting that one year ago today (give or take), we first began getting news reports about the wreath in question ...
Gianfranco Boggio-Togna post this onteresting/potentially-useful item to the Classics list yesterday:

Technica, a suite of LaTeX packages for typesetting literary texts,is available on CTAN:


The `examples' directory holds nearly 100,000 lines of texts in seven languages, including Greek and Latin.

The suite may be freely used for non-commercial private or academic purposes.

Ut ager quamvis fertilis sine cultura fructuosus esse non potest, sic sine doctrina animus.
(M. Tullius Cicero, Tusculanae Disputationes, 2.13)

As a field, however fertile, is not able to be productive without cultivation, so is the mind without education.

Pron = oot AH-gher KWAHM-wis FER-tih-lis SEE-nay kool-TUR-ah frook-too-OH-soos EHS-say nohn POH-tehst seek SEE-nay dohk-TREE-nah AH-nih-moos.

Comment: I will keep with the agricultural analogy. I grew up in "the country" next door to grandparents who raised most of the vegetables that we ate. We had a huge family garden like many families in our community. My grandfather's spring ritual always including hiring a man with a mule and plow, or, a man with a tractor, to break up the soil into deep furrows. Then, with his own smaller plow, he would till the soil into plantable rows.

He told me once that the first plowing broke up the soil compacted by the winter, helped identify large rocks, roots, etc, but that we had to be very careful not to till the soil too much. If it were tilled too much, it would become fine and then muddy when it rained, and the water would not drain well, but would crush the seeds planted and the roots of the plants we were growing. Cultivating the field was, then, an important balance between not enough and too much.

So, as Cicero says, the human mind and education.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
ante diem xi kalendas decembres

53 B.C. - Death of Marcus Licinius Crassus in Mesopotamia shortly after his defeat at Carrhae
Today's little tour ...

Irene Hahn has something on Procopius ...

Laura Gibbs latest roundup including a (n easy) Roman Sudoku ...

Glaukopis has found an interesting Homer-inspired CD ...

Today Nikolaos has an embedded video lecture thing which looks at the connection between Plato and alchemy ...

N.S. Gill notes an ancient parallel in a modern hunting accident ...

If it's a clear night tonight, you can look for Cassiopeia ...
palinode @ Merriam-Webster

subjacent @ Wordsmith

micrology @ Worthless Word for the Day

subaltern @ Dictionary.com
From YLE:

Multi ex hemicrania laborant
17.11.2006, klo 11.17

Amplius quinquies centena milia Finnorum, praesertim feminae aetatis iam constantis, morbo hemicraniae laborant.

Quae quamvis ita sint, saepe fit, ut hoc incommodum in sedibus operandi parvi pendatur. Huc accedit, quod plerique hoc vitio aegrotantes aut medicum adhibere nolunt aut remedium sumere cunctantur.

Dicitur hemicrania in Europa frequentior esse quam asthma, diabetes mellitus, epilepsiaque, si haec tria in unum conferantur.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: De investigatore Russo venenato
Suzan Mazur has an interview with Medici Conspiracy author Peter Watson ... here's an excerpt:

Suzan Mazur: You make the case early on in the book, establish the importance of what the Italians have been doing in terms of reclaiming their ancient art. You highlight the Etruscans having the "earliest urban civilization in the north Mediterranean" and say they were as much "founders" of Western civilization as Greece and Rome. That they were excellent at science and technology, for instance, and built stone arches, paved streets, aqueducts and sewers, which the Romans are sometimes given credit for.

Then you describe the Greek vase painters - particularly the brilliant red-figure artists of the 6th-4th centuries BC, who were their day's Michaelangelo, Raphael and da Vinci and produced paintings of a quality "the world would not see again until the Italian Renaissance." You mention that these vases - red-figure as well as black-figure - were placed in Etruscan. tombs. And then you note that maybe as many as 100,000 of these tombs - Etruscan and others - were robbed by Bob Hecht, Giacomo Medici and the organization, the "cordata".

Would you pick up there and comment further on the destruction, which resulted in a loss of half of Italy's Greek and Roman culture?

Peter Watson: It began with the discovery of Giacomo Medici's archives [following raids by the Swiss and Italian authorities] and three senior archaeologists being assigned to those archives. It was a first for these archaeologists to have the leisure to examine so many objects.

Normally archaeologists can only see these things for a day or two when they come up for view prior to an auction. When other people are jostling to see them. When you can only get a few minutes with some of the objects. Or if they come into a gallery, you can go and have a quick look. Whereas with the Medici material, the archaeologists were let loose amongst all the objects and were able to link many of the objects, as we show in the book, with specific tombs.

There was that quote from Gilda Bartoloni [an Etruscologist at La Sapienza University, Rome] where she said that normally an average archaeologist would be lucky to come across two important tombs in a career. But that in Medici's warehouse there was material from about 50 important tombs. The archaeologists basically know what an average tomb consists of. So it's possible to work out from the number of objects that are there, how many tombs have been plundered. On the ground, like we saw when we were in Foggia, in Apulia, are the pits the tombarolis make. So the archaeologists have some idea of the scale of damage.

Let's just stick to the world of classical archaeology for a minute. The world of classical archaeology is a finite field. We know there are roughly speaking 16,000 Cycladic sculptures in the world. We know that there are so many thousand Apulian vases, black figure attic vases, etc. It is a finite world that can be measured.

So this is how they arrived at the conclusion that 100,000 tombs have been looted. The calculation can be made from what is known, from the number of tombs that have been properly excavated over many years. According to Ric Alia's research [Archaeologist, Boston U] , for instance, one vase on average is found in every nine tombs. So the dimensions are known.

... the rest ... quite an eyeopener (I have to get the book).
An excerpt from a piece in the (Carnegie Mellon) Tartan:

Merwin has been translating works from other languages nearly as long as he has been publishing his own work, across multiple languages and time periods. He offered to the audience only one small translated work, what is said to be the only poem ever written by the emperor Hadrian of Rome. Merwin said that this was a poem he frequently returned to for its simplicity and beauty, a poem so elegant that he didn’t believe it could truly be the only poem written by this man, though possibly the only one saved.

... I'm assuming what Merwin presented was this:

Little soul little stray
little drifter
now where will you stay
all pale and all alone
after the way
you used to make fun of things

Taken from a page at Poetry Magazine with some commentary by Merwin. Here's the Latin ... from HA Had. 25 (via the Latin Library):

animula vagula blandula,
hospes comesque corporis,
quae nunc abibis in loca
pallidula rigida nudula
nec, ut soles, dabis iocos!

... said to be written as he (Hadrian) was dying.

Felix qui quod amat defendere fortiter audet.

Happy is he who dares to defend bravely that which he loves.

pron = FAY-licks kwee kwohd AH-maht day-FEHN-deh-reh FOR-tih-tehr OW-deht

Comment: What a tricky saying to consider in these times. I note first that this is a proverb from medieval times, when religious crusades were not unheard of, when violence in the name of religion was not only considered, but considered the right thing to do to destroy those who opposed or were preceived to oppose the true faith.

I note, second, that the happy man is described as he who dares to defend that "thing" that he loves. The Latin "quod" is neuter. The man described is defending "what" he loves: ideas, property, power, beliefs. It does not say "who" he loves.

I am making a modern, psychological, relational distinction. Most of us are clear that self-defense, which includes family and loved ones, is justifiable. What is less clear, and less comfortable, for me in this tiny world of differing views is that it is any longer a laudable and happy thing to fight to defend my ideas. For the FREEDOM to express my ideas goes back to relationships, again, but the ideas themselves--not worth killing someone else in order to preserve.

Ideas, thoughts, beliefs, opinions--these are not reality. We are led to think that they are, but they are not. We have been shaped by Decartes' words that because we think, we exist. But, our being and our thinking are not the same thing. Ideas, thoughts, beliefs and opinions are vapors. We cannot touch them.

How long did we fight (or were told we were fighting) for the idea of "democracy" in Viet Nam? And then, when we left, so many thousands dead on both sides, communism prevailed? And today, our president visits communist Viet Nam and notes how far two former enemies have come.

I hope that is true. I would like to think that we are less ready to kill to defend a "what" before considering the "who" that we will be destroying.

Last, it strikes me that every time I go to defend my "what", I must attack a "who". Aren't the who more important than the what?

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
From IranMania:

The Iranian publishing institute Nashr-e Tus has recently released the Persian version of “The Greeks and the Barbarians”, a book that responds to the false information given by Western historians, particularly Herodotus, about Iran during the Achaemenid era, MNA reported.

Iranian scholar Amir-Mehdi Badi’ has authored the book in French based on his 40 years of study and research.

With his great knowledge of Latin, Greek, English, French, and German, Badi’ has utilized first-hand sources in writing the book.

The Persian translation of “The Greeks and the Barbarians” is scheduled to be introduced during a ceremony at the Iranian Artists Forum tomorrow.

Morteza Saqebfar, Ein Ruhbakhshian, and Qasem San’avi from the translation and editorial team as well as some Iranian scholars such as Iraj Afshar, Kamran Fani, Jaleh Amuzegar, Turaj Daryaii, and Mohammad-Ebrahim Bastani Parizi plan to attend the ceremony.

... hopefully this will get translated into English ...
A bit of catching up ...

N.S. Gill tells us about the cornucopia ...

Ross Scaife points us to a preprint of Greg Crane's article on ePhilology ...

Michael Gilleland recounts Tom Tulliver's learning of Latin ...

Ed Flinn has a Gallienus/Salus Aug. ...

Irene Hahn reviews Adrian Goldsworthy's Caesar ...

Adrian Murdoch's Romulus Augustulus book will be out soon ... there's also an interesting post finding a parallel in Ammianus to an incident in Iraq ...

Laura Gibbs' latest roundup ...

Nikolaos embeds a documentary about some Atlantis theories ....

Eurylochus notes the return of Odysseus et al ...

Kristian Minck writes about the Roman Suspension System ...

Mary Beard reveals and will be examining the claim that the Capitoline wolf that is a symbol of Rome was actually made in the Middle Ages ... (I wish someone would point out that the head of the darned thing -- especially the ears -- doesn't look at all like a wolf ... something that's bugged me for years and years and years, but maybe European wolves are different) ...

I've probably missed something along the way ...
From YLE:

Torvalds in heroum numero
17.11.2006, klo 11.16

Redactores actorum septimanalium Americanorum nomine Time, cum anniversarium sexagesimum editionis suae Europaeae celebrare vellent, sexaginta homines elegerunt, quos pro heroibus habent.

Unus eorum est Linus Torvalds, programmator Finnus triginta septem annos natus, cui titulus herois propterea datus est, quod systema in machinis computatoriis operandi sollertissime renovavit.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Georgium Bush Vietnamiam visitare

Latest headlines from Akropolis World News: Dutch government forbids burka, earthquake in Lourdes, Puskas has died
Thrasonical @ Merriam-Webster (new one to me!)

exigent @ Wordsmith

schizothema @ Worthless Word for the Day

exacerbate @ Dictionary.com
From the Dartmouth:

Paul Christesen '88, assistant professor of classics at Dartmouth, was named the New Hampshire Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching on Thursday. Each year CASE honors four professors nationally and several Aon the state level for their commitment to undergraduate teaching. They focus on criteria including professors' involvement with students, scholarly approach to teaching and learning, contributions to the undergraduate institution and recommendations from colleagues and current and former students. According to Dean of Faculty Carol Folt, Christesen is known for forming strong relationships with his students and for creating discussion groups and atmospheres that allow students to speak on academic and personal topics. "More than anything else, this award is a reflection of the fact that Dartmouth is an ideal environment for teaching and for learning and a recognition of the outstanding quality of Dartmouth's faculty and student body," Christesen said.
I think we mentioned something about this or something similar back in the early days of rc ... whatever the case, as this opinion piece from Saukvalley.com shows, there's no dearth of silliness in the war on religious images in the US:

Was is it a mistake to think that a statue named after an ancient Greek goddess had a place on the Ogle County Judicial Center lawn?

By all accounts, the answer is yes.

In this day and age, where the separation between church and state is so closely monitored, to the point that court cases and protests erupt over the Ten Commandments, menorahs and Nativity scenes, it should have occurred to the good folks who conceived of the art formerly known as "Demeter Over Illinois," that there would be opposition.

Some people probably thought the furor over Demeter was much ado about nothing. In some circles, folks snickered at those who took offense to the statue. Heck, it's not as if Demeter is a real god, right? It's just a mythological character, like Hercules and Pegasus the winged horse - figures of fantasy.

Well, that's not exactly right. Demeter, Zeus, Hades and the rest of the pantheon of Greek deities were worshiped as gods, much like their Roman counterparts Pomona, Jupiter and Pluto. An ancient Greek crossing paths with a Roman and a Jew would likely debate the merits of their respective gods, each thinking theirs was equal if not superior to the others.

With the appearance of Jesus Christ, and the subsequent rise of Christianity, the Greek and Roman deities fell out of favor, fading from the religious to the merely mythological.

But make no mistake, it does not change what they are.

Thus we think those who bristled at the idea of Demeter taking residence at the courthouse were somewhat justified in their indignation. If Demeter is allowed here, why not a bronze statue of Jesus Christ or the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh, or an artistic carving of the Star of David in stone?

Because, at this point, our courts have decided that such displays would violate the separation of government and religion. Right or wrong, it's the law, and as such, putting a statue of Demeter there would have been a violation, in our opinion.

Then a curious thing happened. As those in opposition to the statue were busy signing petitions against it, the Ogle County Board called for the name of the statue to be changed to "Agriculture - Mother of Civilization." Amazingly enough, the artist, David Seagraves, agreed to the change, and we believe his approval reveals something about his work which should serve to defuse the religious furor it sparked.

You see, the name itself was not necessarily an important part of the work. Was Seagraves inspired by the idea of Demeter, who is the goddess of - or represents - agriculture? There's little question of that. So that leaves the question of whether the statue is simply a goddess under an assumed name.

We think not.

Strictly speaking, Demeter was not known to be a giant who carried buildings in the folds of her dress. One would be hard pressed to find such a depiction in any book on the subject. As it stands, "Agriculture - Mother of Civilization" is a wholly original work which personifies agriculture through the image of a woman spreading farm buildings like so many seeds across the land.

In that respect, she is a symbol, in human form, of something intangible that makes us all human. Like the Statue of Liberty in New York with her torch held high, the Statue of Freedom resting on her sheathed sword and holding the laurel wreath of victory, or Blind Justice with eyes covered and gripping her scales, "Agriculture - Mother of Civilization" was created in the tradition of art which is not only allowed on public land without respect to religion, but is celebrated and revered.

The statue is not a graven image, or a golden calf to be idolized, it's simply art.

Now that it has been installed, let's hope that we all can accept it for the thing of beauty that it is, and realize we have bigger things to worry about.
Interesting theory ... the press release from AlphaGalileo on this story gives a Classics connection:

Professor Timothy Darvill, Head of the Archaeology Group at Bournemouth University, has breathed new life into the controversy surrounding the origins of Stonehenge by publishing a theory which suggests that the ancient monument was a source and centre for healing and not a place for the dead as believed by many previous scholars.

After publication of his new book on the subject - Stonehenge: The Biography of a Landscape (Tempus Publishing) - Professor Darvill also makes a case for revellers who travel to be near the ancient monument for the summer solstice in June to reconsider. Instead, Professor Darvill believes that those seeking to tap into the monument’s powers at its most potent time of the year should do so in December during the winter solstice when our ancestors believed that the henge was ‘occupied’ by a prehistoric god - the equivalent of the Roman and Greek god of healing, Apollo – who ‘chose’ to reside in winter with the Hyborians, long believed to be the ancient Britons.

The basis for Professor Darvill’s findings lies in the Preseli Mountains in west Wales where he and colleague Professor Geoffrey Wainwright have located an exact origin for the bluestones used in the construction of Stonehenge some 250 km away.

“The questions most people ask when they consider Stonehenge is ‘why was it built?’ and ‘how was it was used?’” says Professor Darvill. “Our work has taken us to the Preseli Mountains to provide a robust context for the source of the bluestones and to explore various ideas about why those mountains were so special to prehistoric people”.

“We have several strands of evidence to consider. First, there have folklore in the form of accounts written in the 14th century which refer to a magician bringing the stones from the west of the British Isles to what we know as Salisbury Plain,” he continues. “It was believed that these particular stones had many healing properties because in Preseli, there are many sacred springs that are considered to have health-giving qualities; the water comes out of the rocks used to build Stonehenge and it’s well established that as recently as the late 18th century, people went to Stonehenge to break off bits of rock as talismans.

“Also, around the Stonehenge landscape, there are many burials, some of which have been excavated and amongst these there are a good proportion of people who show sings of being unwell – some would have walked with a limp or had broken bones – just the sort of thing that in modern times pressurises people to seek help from the Almighty.

“In the case of Stonehenge, I suggest that the presiding deity was a prehistoric equivalent of the Greek and Roman god of healing, Apollo. Although his main sanctuary was at Delphi in Greece, it is widely believed that he left Greece in the winter months to reside in the land of the Hyborians – usually taken to be Britain.

“Altogether, and with the incorporation of the stones from Wales, Stonehenge is a very powerful and positive place of pilgrimage, although whether the monument’s healing power actually worked is a matter for further discussion,” he concludes.

I didn't know Apollo 'holidayed' among the Hyborians ...


Randolph Bragg scripsit:

From the UNC classics site article on Delphi (http://iam.classics.unc.edu/loci/del/16_hist.html ):

"Apollo shared the sanctuary at Delphi with Dionysus. Every fall Apollo departed for his winter quarters in the land of the Hyperboreans (a distant fabulous land in the North), returning in the spring. During his absence the Pythia did not deliver oracles, and Dionysus ruled over Delphi"



Hmmm indeed; I figured they meant Hyperborean (I'm assuming that's the journalist's slip and not Darvill's) but I've never read the British Isles as the identity of the place ...

See also: Glaukopis' comments on this (from a different angle) ...
Aha ... someone clearly griped to the Observer ... from their 'corrections' column:

'Don't blame the drink; blame the pressure to drink' (Opinion, last week) referred to city-centre bars 'which turn into vomitoriums at mignight'. Far from being a place to be ill, a vomitorium is actually an architectural feature, a passage situated below or behind a tier of seats in an amphitheatre, through which the crowds could 'spew out' at the end of a show.
6.00 p.m. |HINT| The Last Man Standing
He was a priest, soldier and scholar. The first century historian,
Flavius Josephus, is the most frequently quoted scholar when it comes
to the history of Jesus' time. His vivid descriptions of historic
events give us a clear picture of Roman times. But is it an accurate
picture? Is there archaeological proof? We get a profile of the
controversial historian.

6.30 p.m. |HINT| Crucifixion
In ancient times, thousands of people's lives ended, excruciatingly,
on the cross. Despite the fact that so many were crucified, little
physical evidence of it remains. We investigate why there is so
little archaeological proof and visit the only known artifact, a foot
with a nail through it, in an Israeli museum.

HINT - History International
A piece in the Herald Tribune about treehouses suggests, inter alia:

Many famous people have escaped to childhood treehouses -- John Lennon (of the Beatles), Winston Churchill, the Roman emperor Caligula and Queen Victoria when she was a young princess.

A quick Google (since I had an allergy attack during the night and right now my attention span is virtually nil) suggests the story stems from Caligula hosting banquets in some sort of treehouse, which I don't recall reading in either Suetonius or Dio. Anyone have a source for that story?
I think I missed this one yesterday:

Amare simul et sapere ipsi Iovi non datur.

It is not given to Jupiter to love and at the same time to have any sense.

pron = ah-MAH-ray SIH-mool eht SAH-peh-reh IHP-see YO-wee nohn DAH-toor.

Comment: Nor is it given to many of the rest of use to have any sense and to be in love at the same time. The energy that surges through us called passionate love tends to busy all of our other circuits, including the "sensible" ones.

I guess this is what makes Roman gods and goddesses consoling (we cannot deny it--we are still reading their stories and are still entranced with their images and symbols almost 3000 years later) to us. They are just like us. They are us.

And that's the rub here, if we wish to look. The gods of human beings are always large mirrors of themselves, large projections, if you will. Before some of you light the bonfires to toss me into, keep reading.

I am fascinated by the passive voice and what it implies here. "It is not given to Jupiter himself . . . "

Given by whom?

Despite gods of all stripes being projections of us (of this, I am confident), I am also intrigued by this some-other-force which silently and secretly seems to craft the images and symbols and stories of our gods--that we keep telling over and over and over again. It is a deep, abiding wisdom that finds its way around and through all gods and goddesses. (Genuflecting to Star Wars) this Force is Mystery. It shows us ourselves. It allows us, over and over again, to see ourselves and to choose what to do next, based on what we see.

See a god that is fickle? Wish to keep being that way?
See a god that is judgmental? Wish to keep being that way?
See a god that is harsh and unloving? Wish to keep being that way?
See a god that seems small-minded? Wish to keep being that way?

See a god . . . see ourselves. What do we wish to do, having seen?

This Force invites reflection.

May the Force be with you.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
Slow news week, so here's something weekendish from the Boston Herald:

Call him Alexander the Swiped.
The 4- to 5-foot-high bronze statue of the legendary Macedonian conqueror was knocked from his granite pedestal in Roslindale and hauled away by crooks on Monday or Tuesday, a crime that was not reported until yesterday, police said.
“I’m outraged,” Mayor Thomas Menino said last night. “It’s a shame that somebody would have the mental state to want to steal the statue.”
The 300- to 400-pound statue was a given to the city in April 1997 by the mayor of Athens, Greece, Dimitris Avramopoulos, to symbolize a tie between the Greek city and Boston, often called the Athens of America.
“We have a very close relationship with the mayor of Athens,” Menino said. “I have to call him tomorrow and tell him that this great gift has been stolen.”
Locals called the crime immature.
“I don’t know why you’d want to steal a statue,” said Bianca Lafontant, 19, of Roslindale standing near Roslindale Village. “What are you going to do with it?”
Police would not comment on the motive, however the statue heist comes on the heels of a Lawrence crime where crooks stole bronze cannons from the gravestone of the city’s first Civil War casualty, Sumner H. Needham.
“I think it was a couple of high school kids who took it as a senior prank,” said Francesca Etienne, 15, of Roslindale.
The statue was surrounded by a small courtyard called “Alexander the Great Park” decorated with Greek columns and partially enclosed by a heavy black metal fence.
A sign posted near the statue warns potential trouble makers that the area is monitored by cameras. Police would not say whether or not they have video of the crime.

And just to prove how truly slow a news week it is, here's a followup to this slow newsweek story from CBS:

The four- to five-foot bronze statue of Alexander the Great weighing as much as 400 pounds that was thought to be stolen from Roslindale Square was actually out for repairs, according to a man who says he was called to fix the statue.

Charlie Zgonis, owner of the Olympia Marble and Granite in Needham says his company was called the Saint Nectarios Church in Roslindale to come and fix the bust of "Alexander the Great."

"We found out it was missing last night," said Zgonis. "The worker that's doing the work called me up, you know, 'It's all over the news!…I'm watching Channel 4 and every over channel has it that it's missing.'"

The statue is described a four to five foot bronze statue weighing between 300 - 400 pounds, according to a Boston police press release.

Zgonis says the granite at the base of the bust was loose and church officials were afraid the statue's head was going to be stolen. Zgonis apparently donated the marble and granite for the base when the statue was dedicated in 1997.

According to Zgonis, his company has not been able to bring the bust back because of all the wet weather we've been having. Zgonis expects to have the statue back at the church by Tuesday.

On Friday Boston Police filed an incident report stating that sometime between November 13, 2006 and November 14, 2006 the statue was stolen.

"I've talked to the detectives and police and all of us had a good laugh," said Zgonis.

In other news, we've confirmed that the Parthenon remains in Athens and the Colosseum remains in Rome. Talks continue.

2.00 p.m. |DTC| Alexander the Great: Murder Unsolved
Unravel one of the strangest mysteries of ancient times, the
suspicious death of history's most extraordinary leader, Alexander
the Great. Experts attempt to decipher if his early death at age 32
was caused by disease, excessive drinking or even murder.

4.00 p.m. |SCI| Death of the Iceman
After 10 years of forensic study, x-rays reveal an arrowhead lodged
in the shoulder of a 5,000-year-old body found in the mountains
between Austria and Italy. Scientists theorize the shepherd was
likely fleeing attack when he was overcome by hypothermia.

6.00 p.m. |HINT| The Seven Wonders
Egypt, land of the pyramids, mighty monuments constructed in the
early days of history. Monuments that endure to this day attracting
visitors across the world. Many visitors come to Egypt to see one
pyramid in particular, the Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza, one of
the Seven Wonders of the World, the most celebrated man-made
constructions of all time. Of the seven, only the Great Pyramid of
Cheops survives, but history and archaeology are able to tell us the
stories of all seven, including the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the
Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Pharos of
Alexandria. And for the first time in some 3,000 years, viewers see
the Seven Wonders restored to their original glory. Features expert

8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Prostitution: Sex in the City
Once upon a time, being a prostitute carried no stigma--in ancient
Sumeria and Babylon, that is. And in certain cities in ancient
Greece, harlots were associated with sacred activities at temples.
Even in the American Wild West, there was a degree of tolerance. So
what happened through the years? We'll investigate innumerable
stories about the changing social position of the "ladies of the
night" throughout history, and find out why prostitution is called
the oldest profession!

9.00 p.m. |HISTU| The History of Sex: Ancient Civilizations.
In this hour, we study sex in the ancient world--from Mesopotamians,
who viewed adultery as a crime of theft, to Romans, who believed that
squatting and sneezing after sex was a reliable method birth control.
We also look at revealing Egyptian and Greek practices--from the
origins of dildos, to intimate relations between Egyptian gods and
goddesses, to the use of crocodile dung as a contraceptive.
ante diem xv kalendas decembres

ludi Plebeii (day 14) -- the Jupiterfest is almost over

9 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Vespasian

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Alphaeus and Zacchaeus
From YLE:

De cognitione geographiae
17.11.2006, klo 11.16

Cognitio geographiae iuvenibus Americanis pessima est, ut patet ex percontatione, quam National Geographic nuper divulgavit.

Duae partes illorum adulescentium Iraquiam in mappa mundi ponere non sciebant, et tertia pars respondentium ne civitates Ludoviciam et Mississippiam quidem in tabula Civitatum Americae Unitarum repperit, quamvis tempestates has regiones affligentes effecissent, ut instrumenta communicativa omnium oculos ad eas converterent.

Tom Bergman
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Another quiet day ...

Michael Gilleland has an interesting comparison of translations of a chunk of one of Pindar's Nemeans ...

Ed Flinn shows us another Valerian ...

Dorothy King is spreading the word on an Iraq Archaeology Appeal ...

Speaking of Valentinian, Adrian Murdoch tells us about his (Val's) death ...

Irene Hahn tells us about some upcoming book chats ...

Glaukopis is pondering the 'image' of Classicists ...

Laura Gibbs' latest roundup (including another Roman Sodoku) ...
amalgam @ Wordsmith (very interesting 'path')
CNet has a top ten list of nerds and geeks, among whom is Diogenes ... here's what they say about him:

A contemporary of Socrates, Diogenes puts modern geeks to shame. If you think being holed up in your room playing videogames is intense, consider Diogenes. He spent many of his years living in a barrel outside the temple of Cybele in Athens, formulating philosophies. Alexander the Great is said to have visited Diogenes in his barrel, but from inside the dark barrel the only thing Diogenes could bring himself to say to Alexander was, "Stand out of my sunlight".

If you check out the rest of the list, it's clear there is a serious omission -- the other ubergeek of the ancient world, namely, Archimedes. You know that if he were alive, he'd be tapping away on a Linux-equipped box that he either put together himself or seriously modded. He'd be a subscriber and frequent contributor to Make and would have numerous videos on YouTube (but his would 'work'). He'd probably be an advisor to the Mythbusters gang (if he wasn't telegenic and could take a hosting job himself) and about this time of year he'd be enjoying his success at a pumpkin chuckin' contest ...

Of course, Archimedes' nomination ultimately comes from the manner of his death ... here's the version from Valerius Maximus (via the Archimedes home page)

I should say that Archimedes' diligence also bore fruit if it had not both given him life and taken it away. At the capture of Syracuse Marcellus had been aware that his victory had been held up much and long by Archimedes' machines. However, pleased with the man's exceptional skill, he gave out that his life was to be spared, putting almost as much glory in saving Archimedes as in crushing Syracuse. But as Archimedes was drawing diagrams with mind and eyes fixed on the ground, a soldier who had broken into the house in quest of loot with sword drawn over his head asked him who he was. Too much absorbed in tracking down his objective, Archimedes could not give his name but said, protecting the dust with his hands, "I beg you, don't disturb this," and was slaughtered as neglectful of the victor's command; with his blood he confused the lines of his art. So it fell out that he was first granted his life and then stripped of it by reason of the same pursuit.

... and, of course, that's his image up there in the banner of rc ...
6.00 p.m. |HINT| The Odyssey of Troy
What is it about the legendary city that more than 3,000 years after
its fall, we still try to unravel Troy's mysteries? Scholars attempt
to answer the question by researching the Greek poet Homer, possibly
one of the greatest poets in Western Europe's history, and his epic
tale of love and war, and comparing his text to archaeological sites.

6.00 p.m. |DTC| Spear of Jesus
In the Hofsburg Museum in Vienna, Austria, lies a metal spearhead
said to have been used to pierce the side of Christ during his
crucifixion. For the first time, scientific testing will establish if
this ancient relic really is the Spear of Christ.

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

HINT - History International
DTC - Discovery Times Channel
Linguam compescere virtus non est minima.

To take control of one's tongue is not the least virtue.

pron = LING-wahm kohm-PES-keh-reh WIR-toos nohn ehst MIH-nih-mah.

Comment: Compescere can also mean "to consider the activity of" as well as to take control of. Becoming aware of how I am using language and then choosing to curtail it is no little feat, and for me, personally, apparently will take a lifetime! Speech gives the ego a stage, and the stage is always open and available. Unfortunately, the ego does not note very well that every other human being walking along does not wish to be in its audience!

One can choose an inner stage where the ego is no longer the actor, but an audience of one. This inner stage is the theater of reflection.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
ante diem xvi kalendas decembres

ludi Plebeii (day 13) -- the Jupiterfest is still going on

42 B.C. -- birth of the future emperor Tiberius
The ClassiCarnies are rather quiet of late ... something going around?

N.S. Gill has a piece on Greek Solstice activities honouring Poseidon ...

Ross Scaife has put a couple of items of interest up at the Stoa ... one, about Classics in the Million Book Library ... another on ePhilology (link to an article by Greg Crane) ...

Ed Flinn has a coin of Justinian ...

Ioannis Georganas links to an interesting article on Ptolemy's Alexandrian coinage ...

Laura Gibbs' roundup (featuring another Wheelock crossword ... hmmm ... how would you say 'roundup' in Latin? What did Roman cattle guys do?) ...
From YLE:

Pinguitudo Europaeis imminet
10.11.2006, klo 11.59

Ordo mundi sanitarius (WHO) monuit pinguitudinem Europaeorum, quae usque continuaretur, iam incremento oeconomico imminere.

Viginti tres centesimas virorum et triginta sex centesimas feminarum in Europa iam obesitate laborare, ex liberis circiter tertiam partem superpondium habere.

Homines pinguescere, cum cibis nimis adipatis vescerentur et corpus exercere neglegerent.

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

Latest Conspectus Rerum Latinus from the EU ...
hoi polloi @ Wordsmith

putative @ Dictionary.com

The Classics Technology Centre has a list of 'school words' ...
Not sure of the value of these ones ... found by detectorists in Bulgaria. From the Echo:

A number of valuable artifacts were found in five houses in the Pernik region and five people were detained.

Among the finds are 309 Roman silver coins, Focus news agency reported. Policemen also found a Bulgarian medieval cross, a Roman bronze amulet and jewels from different time periods, Focus news agency reported.

The treasure hunters possessed five metal detectors used to find the artifacts.

Representatives of the National Museum of History said that the finds were very valuable. They were probably found close to Priboi village, where a Roman settlement was located, Focus reported.

Also on November 15 the Pleven History Museum received 11 000 artifacts that police seized from treasure hunters.

Museum director Mihail Gruncharov said that this was the biggest collection received so far.

The valuables were seized between July and November 2006. Among them are 7000 Roman coins, weapons, mirrors and dishes.

Check the photo ...
From BMCR:

Roger S. Bagnall, Raffaella Cribiore, Women's Letters from Ancient Egypt. 300 B.C.-A.D. 800. With contributions by Evie Ahtaridis.

Patricia A. Rosenmeyer, Ancient Greek Literary Letters: Selections in Translation. Routledge Classical Translations.

D.J. Woolliscroft, B. Hoffmann, Rome's First Frontier: the Flavian Occupation of Northern Scotland.

Peter France, Kenneth Haynes, The Oxford History of Literary Translation in English. Volume 4: 1790-1900.

From Scholia:

Hanna. M. Roisman, Sophocles: Philoctetes

Emma Griffiths, Euripides: Heracles
8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Engineering an Empire: Carthage

11.30 p.m. |HINT| Roman Murder Mystery
During an excavation of Flixton quarry in Suffolk, England,
archaeologists unearthed something unexpected--a shallow grave with
four human skeletons lying haphazardly at the bottom. We join
archaeologist Martin Brown as he tries to uncover who these people
were, when they lived and why they seem to have suffered untimely

HISTU - History Channel (US)
HINT - History International
Qui timide rogat docet negare.
(Seneca, Phaedra 593-4)

The one who asks timidly teaches the one he asks to say "no".

pron = kwee TIH-mih-day ROH-gaht DOH-ket nay-GAH-ray.

Comment: I find this proverb worth self-application. Do I ask my
questions of myself boldly or timidly? The way of inquiry of myself,
reflection within myself, determines the direction I will go. If I
inquire of myself timidly, I will find a wall, a "no" in front of me.
What if I inquire of myself boldly?

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
ante diem xvii kalendas decembres

ludi Plebeii (day 12) -- the Jupiterfest goes on and on and on ...

305 A.D. -- martyrdom of Gurias

1907 -- birth of Nicholas G.L. Hammond (The Genius of Alexander the Great, among others)
A bit of a backlog this a.m. ...

Ben Smith has the latest installment in his series on the Eusebian Canon ...

Joel Morrison's class is studying Archimedes (by the way, that image which graces the banner of rogueclassicism is Archimedes pondering his books when the Romans come a-killing ... a question I'm often asked) ...

Dorothy King is soliciting questions for an Ask Dorothy feature ...

Ginny Lindzey just loves Latin ...

Glaukopis has a sort of gift list for Classicists ...

Adrian Murdoch has found an excellent bibliography of children in the ancient world ...

Laura Gibbs' roundup ...

Nathan Bauman has some thoughts on Odyssey 13 and 14 ...

If you're itching for some more coverage of that Spanish ship find and can't wait for Explorator, check out Ioannis Georganas , Glaukopis, and/or PhDiva (all different sources) ...

Semi-tangential to the purview of this blog, the Stoa links to some teaching strategies using Google Earth ...

Latest papers put up at the Princeton Stanford Working Papers in Classics page:

Die Katharsis im sokratischen Platonismus (Katharsis in Socratic Platonism)
Christian Wildberg, Princeton University
Abstract - In this paper, written in German, I am exploring the concept of purification (katharsis) in early Platonic dialogues. The evidence suggests that this variant of katharsis, which possesses a marked cognitive dimension, might well have Socratic roots. More importantly, however, its serves as a useful backdrop for an understanding of Aristotle's enigmatic conception of dramatic katharsis as broached in the Poetics. Modern discussions of the latter have so far largely ignored the Socratic-Platonic precursor, with which Aristotle was undoubtedly familiar.

Performance, Text, and the History of Criticism
Andrew Ford, Princeton University
Abstract: I argue that the study of ancient criticism is unduly narrow unless it combines an awareness of the materiality of culture—of the forms in which literary texts were produced, circulated, stored up, and accessed—with an appreciation for how strongly performance traditions could shape the reception and valuation of such texts. To illustrate, I analyze the 25th chapter of Aristotle’s Poetics to show that the theory behind “Problems and Solutions” was less significant culturally than the many-formed game of using poets in ethical debate. Also included is a brief overview of work since Vol. 1 of the Cambridge History of Literary Criticism (edited by George Kennedy in 1989) that fruitfully confronts the idea of the work of art as text with the reality of the work of art as performance.
blatterer @ Worthless Word for the Day

inexorable @ Dictionary.com
From YLE:

Saddam Hussein capitis damnatus
10.11.2006, klo 12.03

Saddam Hussein, pristinus Iraquianorum dictator, in supremo tribunali Iraquiae damnatus est, ut laqueo suspenderetur.

Antequam poena exsequatur, sententiam mortis in tribunali appellationis confirmari oportet. Si iudices huius tribunalis causam legitime actam esse censuerint, supplicium de Saddamo intra unum mensem sumetur.

Etiam Barzan Ibrahim, frater Saddami consanguineus, et Awad Hamed al-Bander, dux pristinus tribunalis revolutionarii, capitis damnati sunt.

Vicepraesidens Taha Jassin, capitis absolutus, in carcerem sempiternum conici iussus est.

Praesidens Iraquiae Jalal Talabani supremum tribunal iuste et legitime egisse affirmavit, sed de iudicio facto sententiam non dixit. Crimen, quo Saddam cum adiutoribus suis damnatus est, fuit caedes centum duodequinquaginta shiitarum, quae in oppido Dujail anno millesimo nongentesimo octogesimo secundo facta est.

Illa caede Saddamum ulcisci voluisse, quod sicarii eum in eodem oppido occidere paulo ante conati essent.

Postea novum contra Saddamum iudicium susceptum est, in quo ille genocidii Curdorum accusatur. Una eiusdem sceleris accusantur sex alii viri, in his consobrinus Saddami Ali al-Majid, qui a gaso contra Curdos adhibito Ali "Chemicus" vocatur.

Centum octoginta milia Curdorum illa caede perisse aestimantur.

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

Latest headlines from Akropolis World News: Saviola and Messi KO, more about Iran, Anna Frank's tree cut down
Today's Frank and Ernest:

Source ...

Today's Rubes also has potential:

From the Turkish Daily News:

Representatives of several Bodrum-based nongovernmental organizations visiting London to take part in an international tourism fair held in the British capital found that no official petition has been filed with British authorities to return King Mausolos' mausoleum to Bodrum, its original location.

The mausoleum, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is currently being exhibited at the British Museum.

A campaign was launched in early 2005 by the municipality of Bodrum for parts of the mausoleum on display in London to be returned to Turkey.

Bodrum Peninsula Promotion Association (BOYTAV) Chairman Mehmet Kocadon, one of the NGO representatives visiting London, told the Doğan News Agency that British Museum officials said no official petition had been filed to date and that the mausoleum's return to Turkey was impossible at present.

The mausoleum is on display in hall 21 at the British Museum, where it was put on show around 150 years ago.

Lawyer Remzi Kazmaz said that 124,000 signatures had been collected for the petition to date and submitted to the Culture and Tourism Ministry two months ago. "Now we are waiting for the ministry to take action. We will file a lawsuit at the European Court of Human Rights, depending on the reply we receive from Britain," Kazmaz said.

Queen Artemisia commissioned the mausoleum for her husband, the king of Caria, who lived between 377 and 353 B.C., in Halikarnasos. All that remains today are some stones from the mausoleum, which was built in 350 B.C. by the architect Pythea.

There is also a painting of the mausoleum executed according to a description recorded by the historian Plinius.

British archeologists discovered the mausoleum, which is believed to have been destroyed during a major earthquake, and Lord Stratford Canning launched excavations in 1846 with special permission from Sultan Abdülmecit.
From 24dash:

A Roman gravestone discovered on a Lancaster building site will stay in the town for good, council bosses have announced.

Nearly 2,000 years after the 6ft tombstone was carved, it will be restored before being put on permanent display in Lancaster City Museum.

The internationally significant find, unearthed at a site on Aldcliffe Road last year, has been bought for the public and is currently being restored by archaeologists.

Cavalryman Insus Vodullus's tomb features a carved frieze depicting the warrior gripping the severed head of a barbarian.

Inscriptions on the stone reveal that he was a curator with the ala Augusta auxiliary cavalry unit.

Split into three parts, the tombstone is being cleaned and reassembled by experts at Lancashire County Council's new St Mary's Conservation Centre.

Edmund Southworth, county museums officer at Lancashire County Council, said: "We know he was a cavalry unit curator - but curator in those days was the equivalent to a military quartermaster or a junior officer in a modern army.

"When the works are complete and it goes on display it will be one of the most complete Roman tombstones ever discovered. It will be of international significance."

Stephen Bull, curator of military history and archaeology at the county council-owned Museum of Lancashire, said: "We can date it from between 75AD and 125AD by the style, and the movement of Roman armies at that time.

"This stone offers us a crucial insight into the history of Lancashire and is an iconic part of Lancaster's dramatic past. The carving and inscription will add detail to what we know about the Roman auxiliary cavalry and its equipment."
8.00 p.m. |HINT| The Last Man Standing
He was a priest, soldier and scholar. The first century historian,
Flavius Josephus, is the most frequently quoted scholar when it comes
to the history of Jesus' time. His vivid descriptions of historic
events give us a clear picture of Roman times. But is it an accurate
picture? Is there archaeological proof? We get a profile of the
controversial historian.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| Crucifixion
In ancient times, thousands of people's lives ended, excruciatingly,
on the cross. Despite the fact that so many were crucified, little
physical evidence of it remains. We investigate why there is so
little archaeological proof and visit the only known artifact, a foot
with a nail through it, in an Israeli museum.

10.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Mysterious Death of Cleopatra

HINT - History International
DCIVC - Discovery Channel Civilization (Canada)
From a q & a column in the Miami Herald:

Q: Where did ''abracadabra,'' a word commonly used by amateur magicians, come from?

H. Rosenfeld,


A: According to the Oxford English Dictionary, abracadabra is ''a meaningless word of mysterious sound.'' Nevertheless, it has a long history. Its first recorded appearance is in a poem written in the second century by Quintus Sammonicus Serenus, physician to the Roman emperor Caracalla. Since it contains various medical remedies of the day, the poem served as a teaching tool.

The OED notes that abracadabra was an incantation to be inscribed on an amulet in the form of an inverted triangle and was worn about the neck to keep fever and other maladies at bay.

The origin of the word, though, is unknown; it may have come from Aramaic, Christ's native tongue, or Hebrew. Another theory is that it's related to the word ''Abraxas,'' derived from the Ancient Greek word for ''god.'' In the Ancient Greek numerology system, which originated with Pythagoras more than 500 years before Christ's birth, the value of Abraxas indicated it could ward off evil.

From the earliest times, all societies have believed that words, if spoken in a prescribed manner, possess magical or sacred qualities, and for that reason, incantations, spells, spoken rituals or prayers change little as they pass down through generations. Whatever its origin, since its use by Roman citizens 1,800 years ago, the ''abracadabra'' spell seems to have arrived in the 21st Century little changed.
I've been meaning to revive this long forgotten (by me) feature ...

8.00 p.m. |HINT| The Seven Wonders

Egypt, land of the pyramids, mighty monuments constructed in the
early days of history. Monuments that endure to this day attracting
visitors across the world. Many visitors come to Egypt to see one
pyramid in particular, the Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza, one of
the Seven Wonders of the World, the most celebrated man-made
constructions of all time. Of the seven, only the Great Pyramid of
Cheops survives, but history and archaeology are able to tell us the
stories of all seven, including the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the
Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the
Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Pharos of
Alexandria. And for the first time in some 3,000 years, viewers see
the Seven Wonders restored to their original glory. Features expert

9.00 p.m. |HINT| Ancient Rome:Circus Maximus,Nero,&the Pantheon

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

HINT = History International
Improbus est homo qui beneficium scit accipere et reddere nescit.
(Plautus, Persa 762)

There is something wrong with the one who knows how to accept a kindness and does not know how to return one.

pron = ihm-PROH-boos ehst HOH-moh kwee beh-neh-FEE-kee-oom skit
ahk-KIH-peh-reh eht
REH-deh-reh NEHS-kit.

Comment: What a wonderful view into the kind of human exchange that
heals, and the kind that steals. This is an energy exchange. The
really authentic human being knows how to accept a kindness and how to
return a kindness. And a really sad and broken human being only knows
how to take the kindness and walk away. No sense of gratitude. No
sense of the balance of kindness to be shared. No sense of the
opportunity that awaits any offer of kindness that we make. This person is one who has not allowed himself to be kind to himself. How can he possibly offer that to another?

I am pretty sure that I know how to accept and return kindness. I
also know, looking back over my shoulder, that there have been plenty
of times in my life when I have taken and not returned. My own
history gives me a renewed sense that this is an evolution of human
spirit that we can grow in. And, I suspect, that every time we accept
a kindness, the new seeds of that growth are planted in us. We see a mirror that allows for some memory of who we really are to stir. And then, we
plant those seeds in those to whom we give a kindness.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
ante diem xviii kalendas decembres

equorum probatio -- the official cavalry parade of the equites

ludi Plebeii (day 11) -- the Jupiterfest continues

252 A.D. -- martyrdom of Serapion
Things are picking up ...

Dorothy King recaps an article about Etruscan wall painting from Minerva Magazine ...

Adrian Murdoch has found an interesting 1950sesque piece from Jerome ...

Laura Gibbs' roundup (featuring another Wheelock crossword) ...

Amicus noster Phil Snider is hosting/proposing a patristics carnival over at Hyperekperisou ...

Glaukopis points us to an article on swearing in the Classical World by Barry Baldwin (note in passing ... I'll soon be putting up some of Dr. Baldwin's Classical Corner columns from Fortean Times ... as soon as report cards are done) ...

Ed Flinn has a rather bland Valerian today ...

The New Jersey Classics Association has put up its Fall 2006 newsletter ....

Dan Diffendale has put an interesting (albeit dated) article online: F. Weege, "'Oskische Grabmalerei," Jahrbuch des Kaiserlich Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts 24 (1909). (it's a somewhat large pdf, so it might take a while to download)

... some servers appear to have gone kablooie in the midst of writing this; I'll do a bit of catching up tomorrow if necessary ...
plinth @ Merriam-Webster

errant @ OED

lariat @ Wordsmith (never knew that one!)
From YLE:

Unio Europaea poenae mortis adversatur
10.11.2006, klo 12.01

Finni, qui hoc tempore praesidium Unionis Europaeae tenent, monent Unionem mortis poenae in omnibus rerum condicionibus adversari; ideo ne Saddami quidem poenam esse exsequendam.

Quamquam in commmunicatione ministerii a rebus exteris Finnorum commemoratur Unionem Europaeam facinora administrationis Saddami Hussein iterum iterumque condemnavisse.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: De futuro ministro primario Palaestinorum
This is just silly ... and excerpt from somewhere about roulette:

The roots of roulette are theorised to originate in China where a similar game was played by Chinese monks. These monks spread their religion and other cultural aspects (roulette) to the masses, as well as Dominican monks. The Dominican monks in turn traveled around the world and introduced the game to West. There are others who believe that Ancient Romans used to turn the chariot wheels on the side and spin them as a form of entertainment.

... no, moron, the Romans drove the chariot as a form of entertainment ...
Another very interesting Museum-Case-associated piece by Suzan Mazur in Scoop ... here's the incipit:

With a searing ancient Near East focus, Hicham Aboutaam, the 30ish Lebanese antiquities dealer sweeps into the back of his Phoenix gallery showroom in Manhattan to greet me. He is dressed in French elegance, his handshake somewhat reserved. I later notice the smooth, manicured, almost translucent quality of his fingers -- certainly absent any trace of anything freshly dug up.

I've come unannounced to view Phoenix Ancient Art's controversial Greek & Roman exhibition of vases from the 6th century BC-4th century BC. The promo said most of them were acquired by a Swiss collector -- a Dr. C.J.D. -- "during the course of his archaeological studies in the 1960s and early 1970s".

Aboutaam tells me right off that C.J.D. are not the real initials of the previous owner. But the individual, still alive, insisted on anonymity in exhibtion and sale of the collection as a precondition to the sale to Hicham and his brother, Ali.

Beginning to sound like the Dorak Affair? (See… Scoop: Suzan Mazur: The Dorak Affair's Final Chapter)

Brother Ali runs the Geneva branch of Phoenix Ancient Art, where raids were carried out in March 2001 by Swiss and Italian authorities, and antiquities seized.

The Italian government has issues with the brothers because of their business dealings with Giacomo Medici, who's appealing a 10-year sentence in Rome for antiquities trafficking.

The Aboutaams have also been under the scope because of Hicham's 2004 guilty plea to a misdemeanor federal charge of falsifying import documentation related to a silver drinking vessel from Iran that Phoenix sold for $950,000 (some experts say it's a fake). Ali Aboutaam was convicted that same year in Egypt and sentenced in absentia to 15 years for smuggling.

... the rest
Looks like the enewsgods are trying to make up for the dearth of stuff of late ... this one has numerous versions but here's the one from AP via Yahoo:

A shipwrecked first-century vessel carrying delicacies to the richest palates of the Roman Empire has proved a dazzling find, with nearly 2,000-year-old fish bones still nestling inside clay jars, archaeolgists said Monday.

Boaters found its cargo of hundreds of amphoras in 2000 when their anchor got tangled with one of the two-handled jars.

After years of arranging financing and crews, exploration of the site a mile off the coast of Alicante in southeast Spain began in July, said Carles de Juan, a co-director of the project, who works for the Valencia regional government.

The ship, estimated to be 100 feet long with a capacity for around 400 tons of cargo, is twice the size of most other Roman shipwrecks found in the Mediterranean, de Juan said in an interview with The Associated Press.

Its cargo of an estimated 1,500 well-preserved clay amphoras was used in this case to hold fish sauce — a prized condiment for wealthy Romans, he said.

For nearly 2,000 years, the 3-foot-tall amphoras lay undisturbed except for the occasional octopus that would pry one open, breaking the ceramic-and-mortar seal in search of food or shelter.

Besides the size of the ship and good condition of its cargo, the site is also important because it is so easily accessible — in just 80 feet of water about a mile from the coast. Other wrecks are so deep they cannot be examined by scuba divers.

"I am not going to say it was on the beach, but almost," said de Juan, who was among the first divers to examine the shipwreck in 2000.

"We knew it was an important find but had no real idea until now," he said. "It is an exceptional find."

The last time a ship of this size and quality emerged was in 1985 off Corsica, he said.

Javier Nieto, director of the Center for Underwater Archaeology of Catalonia and not related to this project, also called it immensely important because of the good condition of the cargo. No other Roman shipwreck is currently under study in the Mediterranean, he added.

"For archaeologists, a sunken ship is a historic document that tells us about ancient history and how its economy worked," Nieto said from Barcelona. "This ship will contribute a lot."

This ship probably sank in a storm while sailing back to Rome from Cadiz in the south of what is now Spain. The storm must have been ferocious because it is odd for such a vessel to have been so close to shore.

"The crew did not care about the cargo or money or anything. They headed for land to save their lives," de Juan said.

De Juan and the other co-director of the project, Franca Cibercchini of the University of Pisa in Italy, presented their first report on the site at a marine archaeology conference last week in the town of Gandia, near Valencia.

When word of the find first spread in 2000, pirate scuba divers raided the site and stole some of the amphoras. This forced the Valencia government to build a thick metal grating to cover the remains and protect the jars.

What remains of the wooden structure of the ship itself — about 60 percent — is buried under mud in the seabed, de Juan said.

The cargo probably also includes lead, which the Romans used for plumbing, and copper, which they mixed with tin to make bronze for everything from plates to jewelry.

The fish sauce is no longer in the amphoras because the seals were not hermetic and could not withstand 20 centuries under water. But traces of fish bone remain inside and these will help researchers determine how the sauces were made, de Juan said.
A number of versions this one bouncing around too ... from the LA Times:

Following directions in the Dead Sea Scrolls, archeologists have found the latrines used by the sect that produced the scrolls, discovering that efforts to achieve ritual purity inadvertently exposed members to intestinal parasites that shortened their lives.

The young male zealots who established their sect at Qumran chose a life of austerity and isolation, but they could not have foreseen the hardships created by their religiously imposed toilet practices, researchers said Monday.

"They paid a high price for their holiness," said archeologist James D. Tabor of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, one of the coauthors of a paper appearing in the international journal Revue de Qumran.

"Some people might laugh, but it is terribly sad," he said. "They were so dedicated and had such a strenuous lifestyle, but they were probably lowering their life expectancy and ruining their health in an effort to do what is right."

The discovery of the unique toilet area provides further evidence linking the scrolls to Qumran — an association that has recently been called into question by a small but vociferous group of archeologists who have argued that the settlement was a pottery factory, a country villa or a Roman fortress, but not a monastery.

The Dead Sea Scrolls, the revisionists claim, were actually hidden in the caves of Qumran by Jews fleeing the devastation of Jerusalem during the Roman suppression beginning in AD 66. The majority of archeologists, in contrast, argue that the scrolls were copies produced by a small sect, generally called the Essenes, who lived at Qumran.

Because the location of the latrine was specified in two of the most important scrolls found at the site, its discovery provides strong evidence associating the settlement with the scrolls, Tabor said.

Tabor and his colleagues "make a pretty good case," said Hershel Shanks, editor of the Biblical Archeology Review. Nonetheless, he added, "the argument about whether it is an Essene community will go on for many years and maybe never be settled."

Interest in Qumran dates back to 1947, when Bedouin tribesmen discovered three ancient manuscripts in a cave on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, about 10 miles south of the West Bank city of Jericho. Subsequent searches yielded about 900 manuscripts and fragments dating from about 250 BC to AD 68.

Some of the manuscripts are copies of books of the Old Testament, while others are related to more mundane aspects of life.

The Catholic priest Roland de Vaux excavated part of Qumran in the 1950s and concluded that it had been inhabited by an apocalyptic Jewish sect that copied the manuscripts and eventually hid them from the invading Romans. That conclusion is still widely accepted.

The Essenes are one of very few ancient groups whose toilet practices were documented. The 1st century Jewish historian Josephus noted that members of the group normally dug holes and buried their waste outside the city. The group was not allowed to defecate on the Sabbath, he said, because its members were prohibited from leaving the city.

Two of the Dead Sea Scrolls note that the latrines should be situated northwest of the settlement, at a distance of 1,000 to 3,000 cubits — about 450 to 1,350 yards — and out of sight of the settlement.

Mulling these guidelines, Tabor noted that there is a natural bluff about 1,000 yards northwest of Qumran, blocking the view of the area behind it. The soil there, he said, "looked different" from that around it.

Eventually, Tabor and Joe E. Zias of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, an expert on ancient latrines, went to the site and took samples from the area and from other areas.

"The earth was so nice and soft, while the rest of the desert was very hard," Zias said. "In fact, I broke my pick collecting control samples from the other areas."

Zias sent samples to Stephanie Harter-Lailheugue of the CNRS Laboratory for Anthropology in Marseille, France. She found preserved eggs and other remnants of roundworms, tapeworms, whipworms and pinworms, all human intestinal parasites.

Samples from the surrounding areas contained no parasites, while a sample from the stable area of the settlement contained a species of animal worms.

"The evidence shows conclusively that the area was a toilet," Zias said.

Had the waste been dumped on the surface, as is the practice of Bedouins in the area, the parasites would have quickly been killed by sunlight. Buried, they could persist for a year or longer, infecting anyone who walked through the soil.

The situation was made worse by the fact that the Essenes had to pass through an immersion cistern, or miqvot, before returning to the settlement. The water would have served as a breeding ground for the parasites.

The ritual cleansing "is a total immersion, which means that it gets in your ears, in your eyes and in your mouth," Zias said. "It is not hard to imagine how sick everyone must have been."

The sickness is reflected in the Qumran cemetery, which had been partially excavated previously.

"The graveyard at Qumran is the unhealthiest group I have ever studied in over 30 years," Zias said.

Fewer than 6% of the men buried there survived to age 40, he said. In contrast, cemeteries from the same period excavated at Jericho show that half the men lived beyond age 40.

Folks might also want to check out Tyler Williams' roundup of posts he has done in the past on Going Potty in the Ancient World ...
Lots of versions of this one bouncing around ... this one's from the IHT:

Dutch archeologists have discovered an estimated 200 silver Roman coins, several jewels, an armband and a ring hidden in a clay pot, the city overseeing the dig said Monday.

The city of Cuijk, near the Maas river, 130 kilometers (80 miles) southeast of Amsterdam, said archeologists found the cache while excavating in an area where new housing is to be built.

So far, most of the treasure in the pot has only been examined with x-rays.

The first coin to be removed and cleaned bears the emblem of the eccentric Roman emperor Elagabalus, who reigned from 218-222 A.D., the city said.

"During the uncovering of the pot, it became apparent that it was placed precisely at the spot where a bolt of lighting struck," a statement by the city said. "Further study will have to determine whether ... the pot could have been buried as an offering, or if the inhabitants by chance had left these valuables hidden in this spot for fear of theft."

The area, known as "De Nielt," shows signs of Stone Age settlements. Romans first arrived in the area under Julius Caesar around 53 B.C., but the Netherlands south of the Rhine river wasn't firmly under Roman control until nearly a century later.

The people who lived there would likely have belonged to the Dutch tribe known as the Batavians. By the end of the third century A.D., De Nielt was colonized by German tribes from outside the empire — or at least parts of the settlement adopted the German building style.

The area fell into disuse, was inhabited again briefly in the early Middle Ages, and was again abandoned.

The company leading the dig, Becker & Van de Graaf, said its field excavation of the Roman-era settlement was complete, and it expects the remaining work will take about three months.

... it just occurred to me that stuff like this in the past probably gave rise to all those tales of 'buried treasure' ...
Nescit naturam mutare pecunia puram.

Money does not know how to change a pure nature.

pron = NEHS-kit nah-TOO-rah moo-TAH-ray peh-KOO-nee-ah POO-rahm.

Comment: This proverb without a context (as far as I know) immediately
makes me ponder our most recent political season, and it matters not
whether you are red or blue.

Money, used to pummel us with commercials. Money, that lobbyists
receive to influence government. Money, that lobbyists obtain for
their "employers". Money, that legislators "pork" over for their
districts in covert ways.

Where is this pure nature that cannot be corrupted by such money?
This proverb pretends an easy dichotomy between purity and impurity.
The reality of human life is much more complext, and much more gray
than "pure" and "impure" would suggest.

What the proverb does raise is the question of integrity. How much
money would it take to purchase my pure nature? There's a nice and
disturbing thing to ponder on a Monday morning after elections.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
idus novembres

rites in honour of Jupiter

epulum in honour of Jupiter

rites in honour of Feronia

rites in honour of Fortuna Primigenia

rites in honour of Pietas (?)

ludi Plebeii (day 10) -- the Jupiterfest goes on and on and on ...

36 B.C. -- ovatio of Octavian for "his" victories over Sextus Pompeius in Sicily; the real author of the victory, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, was granted the corona rostrata

354 -- birth of Augustine
Wow ... nothing in my mailbox this a.m. (but it's just as well since I slept in) ... must be technical difficulties and/or exam time somewhere ...

Ed Flinn has a Gallienus/Laetitia Aug ...

Michael Gilleland has found another Asyndetic privative adjective example ... he also has something expanding (sort of) on his earlier post from Poggio's Facetiae ...
From YLE:

Comitia Americanorum
10.11.2006, klo 12.01

In USA die Martis comitia facta sunt, in quibus tota camera inferior sive repraesentativorum et tertia pars senatorum creati sunt.

Simul etiam gubernatores triginta sex civitatum designati sunt.

In utraque camera republicani, qui res in Iraquia male gessisse iudicantur, cladem acceperunt.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: De futuro ministro primario Palaestinorum

Latest headlines from Akropolis World News: German Wolf dies, Stephen King moves to love, new synagogue in Munich
sanctimonius @ Merriam-Webster

ab ovo @ Dictionary.com
From a piece in the Telegraph comes a suggestion which deserves to be brought up more:

There is an unanswerable case for a check on all this through post-legislative scrutiny of measures to see whether they fulfil their intent. Better still, we could adopt the practice of the ancient Greek colonists at Locri Epizephyri, in what is now Italy. There, a Locrian who suggested any new law was required to make his case standing before an assembly of the people with a cord around his neck. If the law was rejected, its proposer was strangled.
From the Times (hat tip to Dorothy King):

DAVID WILSON excelled as a classical scholar and Roman archaeologist, as an aerial photographer, and as a historian of dance. David Raoul Wilson was born in 1932. His interest in Roman archaeology developed at school when he learnt excavation techniques from Professor Sheppard Frere on the bombed sites of Canterbury. A scholarship in classics to Oriel College, Oxford, caused him to delay his National Service until 1955, though four years in the Oxford University Cadet Force allowed him to complete eight weeks of basic training and to pass the selection board for officer training before graduation and his call-up. He passed out from Mons Officer Cadet School as Senior Cadet with the Stick of Honour and was posted to 1 RHA at Münster (Westfalen). Though tempted to consider a short-service commission he decided to return to Oriel to become an archaeologist.

Supported by a scholarship and then the fellowship of the British Institute of Archaeology at Ankara, he undertook two seasons of fieldwork in northern Anatolia (Bithynia, Paphlagonia and Pontus). As Wilson was beginning to write up in his third year of study, Professor Sir Ian Richmond invited him to become his research assistant at Oxford.

While finishing his PhD thesis, he worked as a Roman archaeologist, assisting Miss M. V. Taylor, editor of The Journal of Roman Studies and working with Richmond on the revision of R. G. Collingwood’s classic The Archaeology of Roman Britain (1930). He was pleased that he was able to exert “great influence” in the choice of illustrative material for the revised work.

In 1965 after an exhilarating trial flight, Wilson began his second career as an aerial photographer, joining Kenneth St Joseph’s pioneering team of aerial photographers and photo-interpreters at the Cambridge University Committee for Aerial Photography (CUCAP). He was also responsible for overseeing the publication of the revised The Archaeology of Roman Britain, and was appointed St Joseph’s senior research assistant in 1965, in which year he married Gay Marsden. Their marriage survived only into the mid-1970s, and they celebrated their amicable separation with a fancy dress ball.

While with CUCAP he developed new skills involving oblique and vertical survey photography that was relevant to many areas of research: agriculture, archaeology, ecology, forestry, geology and geographical subjects of all kinds. He submerged himself in undergraduate and extramural teaching and the publication of educational textbooks such as the Roman Frontiers of Britain (1967).

In these years the Cambridge flying programme extended its range from mainland Britain to Ireland, France, the Netherlands and Denmark. It was also the period when simple archaeological reconnaissance began to expand into the mature sub-discipline that it now is. Wilson’s contribution to that growth took many influential forms. In the air he was responsible for hundreds of archaeological discoveries, many of them never acknowledged, while, on the ground, his rigorous standards ensured the consistent technical excellence of the CUCAP collection and its supporting catalogues. He was elected a Fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, in 1971, and edited the papers presented at an international symposium in London, Aerial Reconnaissance in Archaeology (1975).

The Council for British Archaeology adopted the symposia committee as its own research committee in archaeological aerial photography in 1975 and Wilson was one of its most distinguished members for many years. He served as chairman of the committee for the Anglian region — comprising Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire — and was instrumental in the establishment of the Aerial Archaeology Foundation and the journal, Aerial Archaeology.

He was a founder member of the Aerial Archaeology Research Group (AARG) and he made regular contributions to both the annual conference and the group’s newsletter. He played an important role as a catalyst for the publication of books and articles about aerial photography, including the splendid Cambridge Air Survey volumes published under his direction during the 1980s and 1990s, which brought the message of aerial photography to new audiences in the UK and around the world.

Wilson was a founder member of the National Association of Aerial Photographic Libraries (NAPLIB), honorary secretary (1989-93), president (1993-96) and past President (1996-98) and the driving force behind the publication of the NAPLIB Directory of Aerial Photographic Collections in the United Kingdom (1993), and his own The Care and Storage of Photographs: Recommendations for Good Practice (1997). He was a perpetual inspiration to all who care for air photographs and appreciate their irreplaceable importance as sources of information and understanding about the landscapes of yesterday and today.

When Professor St Joseph retired from Cambridge in 1980, the university declared his Chair to be personal and Wilson, who richly deserved the accolade, was instead appointed curator, an increasingly demanding role that combined the traditional skills of aerial photographer, archival conservator, librarian, academic researcher and teacher combined with entrepreneurial ability to ensure CUCAP’s survival in an increasingly competitive university world.

In addition to his editorial role at Cambridge, Wilson produced a stream of papers on subjects as diverse as Neolithic causewayed enclosures, Roman-Celtic Temples (1975) Roman Villas (1974), Roman forts and smaller Roman towns. His study of the mechanics of crop mark formation led to Air Photo Interpretation for Archaeologists (1982, revised 2000), one of the most accessible introductions to the discipline.

In 1980, shortly after their marriage, Wilson’s second wife, Elizabeth Wallwork, led him to the dance floor, launching him into his third career. She introduced him to early dance and the Capriol Society for Courtly Dancing, and his research yielded several excellent books on the subject, including Domenico of Piacenza (2006), a transcript of a 15th-century Italian dance treatise.

Retirement from university work in 1997 allowed Wilson to concentrate on historical dance. In the following years, alongside his voluntary work with the Cambridge Cancer Help Centre and others, he helped to set up a national resource centre for historical dance for the Early Dance Circle and catalogued its substantial archive. In February the Early Dance Circle recognised his contribution to the study of early dance with the first Peggy Dixon Trophy.

In his final weeks Wilson was hard at work updating Roman Britain from the Air 1977-84 (1987) and had already completed the first revision, from 1985 to 1990, with Rebecca Jones. He also finished his magnum opus, the complete study of the basse danse from its earliest form to the latest, found in the late 16th-century volumes of Caroso and Negri. This is now awaiting publication in the US.

His wife, Elizabeth, predeceased him in 1993.

David Wilson, aerial archaeologist, was born on October 30, 1932. He died on August 6, 2006, aged 73.
The ClassiCarnies have been uncharacteristically quiet of late ...

Michael Gilleland is pondering (once again) an Attic idiom ...

Adrian Murdoch notes the Attila connection with Jack Palance's passing (and in an interesting bit of synchronicity, on the day JP passed, our morning 'religion reading' from the principal was all about Attila and Pope Leo)

Mary Beard is defending her reviews of a recent series on Rome ...

Tim Parkin passed this one along (thanks!) -- Rosetta is a new online journal devoted to things ancient and archaeological

Issue 9.29 of Explorator has been put up at the yahoo site ... the Ancient World on Television listings will be similarly posted soon ...
Brief item from AP via Yahoo:

The archaeological museum of Iraklio on Crete will close for repairs on Nov. 13, the culture ministry said Wednesday.

The museum, which contains the world's richest collection of artifacts from the island's Minoan culture (3000-1100 B.C.) attracts around 250,000 visitors annually.

The minister did not say when the museum would reopen.

Ioannis Georganas adds some details ...
I think we've mentioned this before ... from the Tehran Times:

Iranian archaeologists plan to raise an ancient ship recently discovered in the Persian Gulf, but they lack the equipment necessary to allow divers to work at a depth of 70 meters.

The ship was discovered about two months ago by Daryakav Company workers who were fishing in the Persian Gulf. Archaeologists believe it dates back to the Parthian or Sassanid eras based on the shards brought up in fishing nets and the large amphorae discovered on the ship. Amphorae were used during the Parthian and Sassanid eras.

“Raising the ship is a major operation which requires skillful human resources and equipment,” Daryakav managing director Zolfaqar Arabzadeh told the Persian service of CHN on Thursday.

Diving with ordinary equipment would be lethal at a depth of over 40 meters.

“The ship and its cargo are 70 meters underwater and diving without special equipment would result in the death of divers at such a depth. Thus we need saturation diving equipment,” he added.

Saturation diving is a method of prolonged diving, using an underwater habitat to allow divers to remain in the high-pressure environment of the ocean depths long enough for their body tissues to become saturated with the inert components of the pressurized gas mixture that they breathe: when this condition is reached, the amount of time required for decompression remains the same, whether the dive lasts a day, a week, or a month.

Iran lacks the saturation diving equipment required to study the ship’s status and its cargo.

“The equipment is very expensive, but the project is invaluable. The ship will be the most unique vessel found in the Persian Gulf’s history if it is raised. In addition, the job requires people with diving expertise, whose numbers can be counted on the fingers of one hand,” Arabzadeh noted.

Experts believe that Iranian cultural officials should regard it as a national project because the ship is further proof that the gulf is Persian.

The Payvand coverage includes a small movie of the obstacles they're dealing with ...
From Hollywood.com:

Mel Gibson Gets Latin Business Award
Hmmm ... this one seems suspicious ... from Novinite:

Antiques are on sale on a Bulgarian website, an investigation of Darik Radio has revealed.

The website offers amateur photos of the historical treasures taken at private homes around the country. The initial price of the valuable objects is BGN 2,000 and it eventually reaches BGN 30,000.

Among the most precious objects on the website are a gold Thracian goblet, a gold earring, and a gold Roman coin portraying Roman emperor Domician. The site displays bronze statues from the 3-4th centuries AC, a gold coin from the reign of Byzantine emperor Zenon, and a statue of the Greek god Zeus.

According to Internet rules the creators of the auction bear no responsibility for the origin of the goods on sale. The contact with the seller is established only via the Internet and the face-to-face meeting takes place only after that.

Historical and cultural treasures found in Bulgaria are offered in all the auctions scheduled to be held by the end of the year, the general department for combating organised crime told Darik Radio.

There will be other scandals similar to the one that broke after Christie's auctioning house offered for sale the unique silver platter discovered in Bulgaria, the country's antiques contraband fighting task force envisage.
From Discovery Channel comes an update on that exhibition in Rome, sans the howler of the AGI piece we mentioned earlier:

Italian restorers have brought to light unique, bright, multicolored marble decorations that even contemporary Romans never got to admire.

The marbles crafted in a technique known as opus sectile, were designed to decorate the floor and walls of an ancient Roman palace more than 1,600 years ago. However, the roof of the palace collapsed during construction and the mosaics remained buried for centuries.

"Not even the owner of the palace was able to see this wonder," said Francesco Rutelli, Italy's minister for cultural heritage.

Whatever caused the roof to collapse 1,600 years ago is unknown, but the accident actually ensured the works' preservation. By covering the decorated floors and walls for centuries, the marble was protected.

Visitors at Rome's Museo dell'Alto Medioevo (Museum of the High Middle Ages) are able to admire the newly restored spendid decorations in a room which recreates the original hall of the palace. The floor and three walls out of four are covered by the marbles.

The marbles represent the only example of an almost totally restored, Roman version of opus sectile.

The art form, which translates to "cut work," is created by fitting together cut pieces of marble of different colors. The pieces are fitted together like a jigsaw puzzle.

While the works on display in Rome have been reassembled according to the ancient Roman style, the opus sectile art form first originated in Egypt and Asia Minor.

"It was similar to mosaic, but more highly valued and clearly seen as more indicative of luxury. It required numerous large pieces of fine and varied marbles, rather than small tesserae, which could be made from scrap material," said Katherine Dunbabin, professor of classics at McMaster University in Canada and author of the book "Mosaics of the Greek and Roman World."

Dating to the 4th century AD, the fully recovered opus sectile was supposed to enrich one of the main halls of an aristocratic palace facing the sea at Porta Marina, near Ostia, not far from Rome.

The remains of the building, with thousands of opus sectile fragments and pieces of the collapsed blue glass paste ceiling, were first unearthed in 1959. For five decades restorers worked at piecing together the marble puzzle.

"The result is splendid. The marbles are alone worth the journey to Rome," Rutelli said.

While the floor features decorations of octagons, circles and star-shaped drawings, the walls are dominated by scenes of animals fighting, flowers and geometrical motifs. Two human figures are also depicted.

"Most likely, one is the young owner of the house," said Maria Stella Arena, the museum's director. "The other, represented with a halo, could be either a classical image of Jesus or a highly esteemed philosopher."

According to Dunbabin, the marbles exhibit unusually fine workmanship, with the individual pieces cut to the precise shape and fitted carefully together.

"This is certainly the most complete example of sectile decoration, on both walls and floor, that we have. Other surviving pieces tend to be smaller, or out of context," said Dunbabin.

From ANSA:

The Sicilian island of Pantelleria, midway to Africa, has yielded fresh Roman treasures that have spurred local officials to call for a full-fledged open-air archaeological park across the island .

"We've unearthed amphorae and urns in a necropolis that came to light during building work. The finds on the island have now reached a critical mass that makes an archaeological park imperative," said Sicilian culture chief Lino Leanza .

"With the prehistoric village of Mursia, the San Marco acropolis, the Punic-Roman shrine at the Lake of Venus and the late Roman settlement at Scauri, we have all the potential for putting the island on the world culture map," Leanza added .

He laid particular emphasis on a collection of marble Roman heads depicting Sicilian governors and emperors .

Pantelleria was a crossroads for all the major civilisations of the ancient world and this should be reflected by making it an open-air museum, the official argued .

Any such project would have to "take into account" the thousands of migrants who reach the stepping-stone island each year on their hopeful way to points north, he added .

But the art superintendent at the western Sicilian city of Trapani, which governs the island, is confident of getting government money to fund the project .

"My superintendency fully endorses the idea of a so-called territorial park stretching across Pantelleria," said the official, Giuseppe Gini .
Remember that big antiquities bust on Schinoussa? Here's a (somewhat strange) followup from Kathimerini:

The findings of a police investigation into the massive antiquities haul from the island of Schinoussa have been submitted to a public prosecutor, law enforcement authorities said yesterday.

Police discovered hundreds of antiquities in April on Schinoussa, which is south of Naxos, in what is suspected to be part of an international smuggling operation.

Officials described the stash as the largest in stolen antiquities ever found.

Despina Papadimitriou, who owns the house where the antiquities were discovered, has played down her role in the incident by saying the ancient objects belonged to her brother, who died years ago in Italy.

A decision on whether charges will be filed is expected soon.

Ahhh ... the 'some older boy said I could have this' defense. And we're wondering whether to file charges? The brother, of course, was Christos Mihailidis, an associate of Robin Symes ... earlier pieces did mention that they were believed to have owned the house.
From Kathimerini:

Professor Vassilis Aravantinos, Ephor of Antiquities for Viotia and Larymna since 1993, is to give an extremely interesting lecture at King’s College in London for the Greek Archaeological Committee (UK) on Monday, November 13. Aravantinos, who is also director of the Thebes Archaeological Museum, has directed major excavations in the region and published extensively on his findings. Two years ago a publication on important findings in a vacant lot in Thebes, near the area of the Elektra Gates, connected to the worship of Heracles, attracted international interest. As Kathimerini reported this week, this led the Culture Ministry to plan an archaeological site in the center of the town. The Central Archaeological Council (KAS) issued a ruling setting aside the vacant and adjoining lot for the purpose of highlighting the artifacts. It is a great honor for the Greek Archaeological Committee (UK), whose chairperson is Matti Egon, to have this distinguished archaeologist give the address on the findings that date from the 8th century BC. This will be the first time that the professor has presented his findings in Britain. The artifacts include parts of decorated tiles, inscriptions (one of them referring to Apollo Ismenios) and also a number of rich votives (pottery and other dedications). Excavations to the west of this area revealed further evidence of a cult, including bases of small altars, fragments of Daedalic-style statues and a large number of vases, as well as remains of sacrifices. Based on the discovery of these rich finds, Aravantinos argues that the cult in this area is related to the hero Heracles and his family, the Heracleides. The committee, founded in 1986 to mark the 150th anniversary of the Greek Archaeological Society, was led by Matti Egon from 1986 to 1993. Julie Kallios and Irene Lemou each had stints at the helm before Egon took the reins again in 2004. Apart from its lecture series, the committee grants scholarships for postgraduate studies in Britain in Greek archaeology, provided by Matti Egon, the Greek Archaeological Committee, the Leventis Foundation and Nikolaos I. Hatzipateras in memory of Irene N. Hatzipatera.

From the LA Times:

Frustrated by the J. Paul Getty Trust's refusal to return a prized statue of Aphrodite and a score of other antiquities, Italian officials are threatening to impose an unprecedented "cultural embargo" on the Los Angeles museum that would prevent its borrowing any artwork from or conducting research in their country.

The impasse in talks came as new evidence was submitted Friday in the criminal trial of the Getty's former antiquities curator that the museum chose not to pursue information about the Aphrodite statue's origins when presented with an opportunity a decade ago.

Marion True told prosecutors in a statement entered into evidence that in 1996 the statue's former owner provided the Getty with photos of the 7 1/2 -foot depiction of the goddess and offered several fragments still in his possession.

But True said she was "highly skeptical" of the man's motives and decided it was "inappropriate" to accept his invitation to meet in Switzerland, according to a copy of the statement obtained by The Times.

That decision looms large today for both True and the Getty, because the marble and limestone figure has come to play the starring role in the dispute between Italy and the trust.

To Italian authorities, the statue symbolizes what they see as the museum's brazen exploitation of the illicit trade in ancient art. Getty officials say there is insufficient evidence to determine exactly where the statue comes from, and they have so far refused to return it.

Four months ago both sides announced an agreement in principle for the museum to return "a number of very significant" artworks in exchange for loans from Italy.

Since then, the Getty has quietly offered 26 objects, including masterpieces such as a marble statue of Apollo and a sculpture of mythical griffins devouring a fallen deer. Italy, in turn, agreed to withdraw its claim for six objects that it conceded may have been found outside its borders.

But deciding the fate of the 21 remaining disputed objects, dominated by the Aphrodite and a bronze statue of a young athlete, has proved difficult.

"Basta!" said Giuseppe Proietti, a senior cultural official, in a recent interview, using the Italian word for "enough."

"The negotiations haven't made a single step forward," he said. "We will not accept partial solutions. I will suggest the Italian government take cultural sanctions against the Getty, suspending all cultural cooperation."

Francesco Rutelli, Italy's minister of culture and vice president, was awaiting the latest response from the Getty before deciding whether to go ahead with an embargo, but he warned Friday that time was running out.

"I tried to explain it amicably to the people responsible for the Getty for the last six months," Rutelli said in a statement to The Times. "If they still haven't understood it, I'm afraid the process of conciliation will end and a serious conflict will begin."

According to another Italian official familiar with the Getty negotiations, the embargo would mean "no excavations, no exhibitions, no cultural studies…. The Getty is out of order in Italy."

Several museum experts said such an embargo would have symbolic effect but might otherwise be limited because Italy has not been generous with loans in the past.

"It's a fight for world opinion," said Ruth Weisberg, dean of the USC Roski School of Fine Arts. "It's certainly an attempt to embarrass and isolate the Getty."

Getty officials acknowledged the impasse but said they were still hopeful an agreement could be reached soon.

"My sense is that wisdom and reason will reign here, and the two sides, Italy and the Getty, will find a way to get past whatever problems exist in the short term," said Getty spokesman Ron Hartwig, adding that the museum continues to evaluate information about the Aphrodite statue.

Since talks started with the Getty in January, Italy has forged cultural agreements with New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston's Museum of Fine Art, which both agreed to return objects in exchange for loans of antiquities from Italy.

The Getty's negotiations are complicated by the criminal case against True, who is accused of conspiring to traffic in looted art. Although she was forced to resign last year for unrelated reasons, the Getty continues to pay for her defense, and museum officials have been worried that giving back objects might further implicate the former curator.

In addition to the dispute over the Aphrodite statue, Italian authorities cite several causes for the recent breakdown in talks.

Unlike the other museums, the Getty has sent attorneys to negotiate rather than its museum director, Michael Brand, who has participated sporadically, Italian officials say.

"With the Boston MFA and the Met, our counterparts were the directors," said Proietti. "With the Getty, it is lawyers. This is an obstacle to realizing a cultural agreement."

Italian authorities also say the Getty's negotiator, Ron Olson of the Los Angeles firm Munger Tolles & Olson, has approached the negotiations as a "commercial" deal, concerned more about how giving back valuable artwork would affect the inventory of the $5.5-billion trust than about cultural issues.

For example, they say, Olson has stressed repeatedly that if the Getty returned all the disputed objects it might trigger an investigation by the California attorney general into whether the trust's board was adequately safeguarding the nonprofit's assets.

A spokesman for Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer, whose office regulates nonprofits in California, said, however, that any potential investigation would focus on whether the Getty board was negligent in purchasing the antiquities in the first place — not on whether any or all of the art should be given back.

Italian cultural officials were also offended by Olson's inclusion of the U.S. ambassador in a recent round of talks, something they interpreted as a clear attempt to politicize the cultural negotiations.

Olson would not comment on the negotiations.

Records show that his firm has hired private investigators to investigate the origin of the Aphrodite, something the museum chose not to do in 1996, according to True's statement.

True said Harold Williams, then-chief executive of the trust, received a letter from a Swiss man who claimed to be the previous owner of the statue. The letter included several photos of the figure, including one of its marble head.

According to the statement, Williams passed the letter to then-museum Director John Walsh, who forwarded it to True with a note, "What do you make of this?"

"We both agreed it was strange and suspicious," True said in the statement.

True wrote that she was able to confirm with the dealer who had sold the statue to the Getty that Renzo Canavesi was indeed the former owner, but declined the man's invitation to meet in Switzerland because she was "highly suspicious about his motives" and did not "deem it appropriate" to meet.

"If Canavesi provided additional information about the statue's provenance, how was the Getty going to confirm or disprove the information?" True wrote. "If Canavesi did know where the piece came from, why had he not simply provided his information?"

In other cases, True has said that antiquities dealers held back fragments of objects sold to the Getty so they could later try to sell the missing pieces to the museum for large sums of money.

Walsh, Williams and True's attorneys did not return calls seeking comment.

Hartwig, the Getty spokesman, would not disclose what the trust's recent investigation had uncovered.

"We are continuing to look at certain pieces of evidence," he said. "This is a very complex object. There is a lot of information about it that needs to be carefully looked at and deciphered."

I join Dorothy King in marvelling at Marion True's command of the obvious ... from Bloomberg:

The J. Paul Getty Museum's former antiquities chief said the market for ancient art is probably the ``most corrupt'' of art markets, with unscrupulous dealers peddling smuggled goods, according to a written statement made to a Rome court where she's on trial for buying loot for the Getty.

Marion True, the former antiquities curator of the Los Angeles-based Getty, the world's wealthiest art institution, said she fought the illicit trade by tightening the Getty's acquisition standards, and by purchasing and documenting objects of unknown origin so they wouldn't be lost to the private trade.

``The museum had to accept the premise that the majority of antiquities available on the market had, in all probability, been exported from the countries of origin illegally,'' True, 58, wrote, explaining why the Getty adopted policies that restricted artifacts it could buy.

True's lawyers submitted her statement today to the Rome Tribunal as evidence in her trial, in which she's charged with conspiracy and receiving stolen antiquities for the Getty's collection. True denies the charges.

Among the steps she took to battle the illicit trade was a ban on buying objects that hadn't been part of a known collection or been documented in a publication before 1995. Last month the Getty further limited its antiquities purchases in most cases to those documented before 1970.

``I knew, in fact, that the antiquities market was filled with risks for those who wished to purchase objects, as it included many unscrupulous dealers, who had no qualms about selling fakes or objects that had been stolen or exported illegally from their country of origin,'' True wrote in the 19- page memo, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News.


She wrote the statement to clarify and add to comments she made in earlier questioning by prosecutors, one of her lawyers, Francesca Coppi, said.

Judges in the case will base their ruling both on written evidence submitted to the court and verbal testimony of witnesses. A transcript of her earlier questioning, conducted in Los Angeles, is already in evidence.

True hasn't testified in the Rome court and isn't required to be present at the trial, which started a year ago and which she has attended once.

Her statement, which casts True and the Getty as reformers in a corrupt market, comes as the Getty negotiates with Italy over government demands that the museum return some of the 52 disputed antiquities in its collection.

True, who was antiquities curator from 1986 through 2005, said in her statement that when she took the job she helped draft a memo to the Getty board to explore whether it was possible to continue to collect antiquities in a tainted market.

``The memorandum pointed out that the antiquities market was probably the most corrupt of the art markets,'' she wrote in her statement to the Rome Tribunal.
Not just matters Classical land in my mailbox ... in Canada we honour those who have served and who are serving on November 11 :

On November 11, 1999 Terry Kelly was in a Shoppers Drug Mart store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. At 10:55 AM an announcement came over the store's PA asking customers who would still be of the premises at 11:00 AM to give two minutes of silence in respect to the veterans who have sacrificed so much for us. Terry was impressed with the store's leadership role in adopting the Legion's "two minutes of silence" initiative. He felt that the store's contribution of educating the public to the importance of remembering was commendable. When eleven o'clock arrived on that day, an announcement was again made asking for the "two minutes of silence" to commence. All customers, with the exception of a man who was accompanied by his young child, showed their respect. Terry's anger towards the father for trying to engage the store's clerk in conversation and for setting a bad example for his child was later channeled into a beautiful piece of work called, "A Pittance of Time".

Click here to watch ...

If you can read this, thank a veteran ...
ante diem iv idus novembres

ludi Plebeii (day 7) -- the festival in honour of Jupiter continues

251 A.D. -- martyrdom of Trypho (maybe ... maybe not)

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Tiberius

1870 -- birth of Michael Rostovtzeff (author of The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire and the Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World among other things)
A realllllllllllllllly slow news day ... let's see if the ClassiCarnies will pick up the slack:

Irene Hahn reviews Imperium ...

Adrian Murdoch finds some more online sources for epigraphy ...

Glaukopis links to a preview of the upcoming season of Rome ...

Ed Flinn has a coin from a quasi-autonomous Synkletos ...

N.S. Gill is appropriately talking about the Catilinarian Conspiracy ...

Laura Gibbs' roundup (including another Wheelock Crossword)

Troels has some photos from Perge ...

Over at the Friends of Classics site, a pile of Peter Jones' Ancient and Modern columns have been posted ...

Elsewhere in the blogosphere:

Spot-on has a discourse on Thucydides ...

Blogcritics rather uncritically considers the question of how crazy Caligula was ...
fumifugist @ Worthless Word for the Day

peripatetic @ Dictionary.com
From YLE:

De opibus energiae Australiae
02.11.2006, klo 16.36

In Victoria, civitate Australiae, electrificina pneumatica aedificabitur, quae in hemisphaera meridiana omnium maxima erit.

Praeterea in Australia ergasterium solare construetur, cum moderatores huius continentis maxime nitantur, ut ante annum bis millesimum sextum decimum (2016) decem centesimae electricitatis Australiae ex opibus energiae renascentibus gignantur.

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

From BMCR:

Luigi Santi Amantini, Dalle parole ai fatti. Relazioni interstatali e communicazione politica nel mondo antico.

D. Brendan Nagle, The Household as the Foundation of Aristotle's Polis.

Keith Seddon, Epictetus' Handbook and the Tablet of Cebes. Guides to Stoic Living.

Alfred Thomas Barton, Gulielmi Shakespeare Carmina quae Sonnets Nuncupantur Latine Reddita (ed. Ludwig Bernays).

G. Veltri, Libraries, Translations, and 'Canonic' Texts. The Septuagint, Aquila and Ben Sira in the Jewish and Christian Traditions. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism, 109.
Dulce est desipere in loco.
(Horace, Odes 4.12.28)

It is sweet to play the fool for a little while.

pron = DOOL-kay ehst day-SIH-peh-reh ihn LOH-koh

Comment: This is the last line of a sympotic poem (written for the men's club when they gather to eat and drink and tell stories) in the last of Horace's four books of odes. The themes here are those that Horace uses in the other sympotic odes of the earlier books: it is spring, and he invites a man too busy with business to stop and rest and enjoy the countryside and good wine and company. Of course, the man is too busy for such. The last line is the last friendly or not so friendly urge: it really can be just what the doctor ordered to just be silly for a little while. (For a much better commentary, cf. Timothy Johnson's Symposium of Praise, U of Wisconsin Press, 2004.)

Play. Take off. Rest. Do nothing worth while. Play the fool. And if done on the spur of the moment, all the better.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
Amare et sapere vix deo conceditur.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 22)

Loving and understanding is hardly conceded to a god.

pron = ah-MAH-ray eht SAH-peh-reh DAY-oh kohn-KEH-dih-toor.

Comment: This proverb may tread on tender turf. So, let's reflect gently.

Why might anyone offer these as words of wisdom--that loving and
understanding are qualities that we cannot attribute to god?

The problem, as I see it, is the traditional view of god--as a being
out there somewhere--as a being separate from creation and from human
beings in particular. This version of god, which is still I think the
mostly commonly accepted one, if we can allow our refelction to
see--portrays god as a kind of medieval king--the one in charge who
lives in the castle up on the hill.

He does not love his subjects. He does not understand his subjects.
He does not love because he does not understand, and he does not care
to understand because he does not love. It is not because he is cruel
so much as that he is disconnected.

Hence, the problem. But, what if "god" were understood not as
separate, not as distant, not as other?

This sense of god, then, would at least be as loving and understanding
as those who know that the other kind of god is neither of these.
This sense of god would be reflected in every instance of authentic
loving, of real understanding.

And understanding this is not something that anyone else can work out for us.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
ante diem v idus novembres

ludi Plebeii (day 6) -- the Jupiterfest continues

2348 B.C. -- the Great Flood began (according to Polyhistor)

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Orestes in Cappadocia
colligate @ Merriam-Webster

vespiary @ Wordsmith (I just happen to be preparing one of these for display as we 'speak' ... it's the size of a watermelon)

congeries @ Dictionary.com

The Classics Technology Centre this week offers us some 'toy terms' ...
Kind of quiet this week in general, no? Anyhoo ...

Michael Gilleland has an interesting Attic Idiom ...

David Parsons stumbled upon a reenactment of the trial of Hermogenes ...

Ed Flinn has a coin of Justin ...

Troels has some comments glossing Mary Beard's post of t'other day ...

Adrian Murdoch has found some 'leading' comments ...

Laura Gibbs' latest roundup features a crossword based on the Perseus story ...

Joel Morrison is talking about his students' exam experience ...

Ginny Lindzey finds her job interfering with her work (or the other way around?) ...
From YLE:

Nova murium species inventa
02.11.2006, klo 16.34

In Europa et quidem in Cypro nova mammalium species inventa est.

Investigatores enim, cum ibi in ululis perscrutandis occupati essent, in quendam murem novi generis inciderunt, cui postea nomen scientificum Mus cypriacus inditum est.

Dicitur hic rosor maiore capite, grandioribus dentibus caudaque longiore praeditus esse quam Mus musculus, quo nomine mus domesticus in zoologia nuncupatur.

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

Latest Conspectus Rerum Latinus from the EU (can't remember if I mentioned this one yet)

Latest headline from Akropolis World News: J. Bond sets new record, Latin Lovers needed, terrorist gets life sentence
From the list at the Star Tribune:

President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush will honor the following National Humanities Medal and National Medal of Arts recipients for 2006 today.


Fouad Ajami, Middle Eastern studies scholar, Washington; James Buchanan, economist, Fairfax, Va.; Nickolas Davatzes, historian, Wilton, Conn.; Robert Fagles, translator and classicist, Princeton, N.J.; the Hoover Institution, Palo Alto, Calif.; Mary Lefkowitz, classicist, Wellesley, Mass.; Bernard Lewis, Middle Eastern studies scholar, Princeton; Mark Noll, religion historian, Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind.; Meryle Secrest, biographer, Washington, and Kevin Starr, historian, San Francisco, Calif.
I don't usually quote from the NYTimes in toto, but this one seems worthy of such treatment:

A year after putting an American museum curator on trial on charges of acquiring antiquities illegally, the Italian government has had some impressive results. Relying on court evidence and aggressive public diplomacy, it has persuaded the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to surrender some of their finest artifacts. And ancient artworks at other museums are now firmly in Italy’s sights.

Yet negotiations have stalled with the very institution that has been Italy’s biggest target: the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, whose former curator, Marion True, is being tried in Rome. (The proceedings resume on Friday.)

Negotiations with the Getty have been “disappointing,” the Italian culture minister, Francesco Rutelli, said in an interview on Wednesday. “I don’t think they understand the gravity of the situation,” he said. “You have a major museum, and it is exhibiting dozens of stolen artifacts.”

At issue are 52 works in the Getty’s collection that Italy says were illegally excavated and spirited out of the country. People close to the negotiations, speaking on condition of anonymity out of concern that their remarks could arouse personal antagonism and jeopardize the talks, say the Getty has made it clear that it is prepared to return about two dozen objects on the list. They add that the Italian government has struck 6 more from the original list of 52 because the evidence does not point definitively to an Italian provenance.

Yet the talks have bogged down in recent weeks as a dispute has deepened over other important pieces on the list, including a rare fifth-century B.C. limestone statue of a Greek deity, possibly Aphrodite, acquired by the Getty in 1988; and a fourth-century B.C. bronze statue of a heroic youth sometimes attributed to the Greek sculptor Lysippos, acquired in 1977.

Michael Brand, director of the Getty Museum, declined to specify which objects were in dispute or to supply specific numbers. “It’s fair to say there are some objects we both agree that will go back to Italy, and some we both agree won’t,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s all the stuff in the middle that is the problem.”

Those works pose complicated questions for the museum as it tries to resolve the dispute with Italy without lowering the bar of proof that it will demand before returning a priceless antiquity.

Many of the works on which the two sides agree can be traced to the Italian art dealer Giacomo Medici, who was convicted on smuggling conspiracy charges in 2004, and are pictured in confiscated photographs that indicate that they were clandestinely dug up in Italy.

By contrast, the Aphrodite sculpture, whose origin has been contested for many years, was never handled by Mr. Medici, and there are no photographs indicating it was excavated from an Italian site.

The Getty bought the sculpture for a reported $18 million from Robin Symes, a London dealer. According to court records, Mr. Symes had acquired it in Lugano, Switzerland, from a Sicilian named Renzo Canavesi, who provided a document stating that it had been privately owned since 1939. In 2001 Mr. Canavesi was convicted in Sicily of having illegally exported the sculpture with false papers, but the conviction was overturned two years later.

Citing accounts from Sicilian tomb robbers, the Italian police have long argued that the sculpture was dug up at Morgantina, an important ancient site in central Sicily, the same origin given in the Italian Culture Ministry’s claim. But Malcolm Bell III, an archaeologist who has directed a dig at Morgantina for many years, says there is no scholarly evidence to suggest that the statue came from there.

In 1998 an Italian stone analysis of the Aphrodite concluded that it closely resembled stone found in parts of central-western Sicily, although it did not pinpoint a precise location. Getty officials point out that they informed the Italian government of its acquisition at the time of purchase, and no Italian claim was forthcoming. They also argue that the same kind of limestone might be found in other parts of the Mediterranean.

The bronze statue, which the Getty bought from a dealer in London for around $4 million, was discovered by Italian fishermen in the Adriatic near the Italian town of Fano in 1964. Although it was passed on to the international art market through Italy, it is unclear whether Italian patrimony laws apply to it.

“It was found in international waters, which is a whole different story,” Mr. Brand said.

Still, because of their price and rarity, both the bronze and the Aphrodite have become popular symbols in Italy of the Getty’s appetite for their country’s antiquities. They are often referred to as the Venus of Morgantina and the Fano Bronze. Their return could carry far more importance than any number of Greek vases that were sold by Mr. Medici, objects that are already plentiful in Italian museums.

More than any other major American collecting museum, the Getty has adopted tough standards to minimize the possibility of buying or accepting looted antiquities.

Last month the museum approved new measures to screen out any item whose documented provenance does not stretch back at least to 1970, the year that Unesco adopted a convention prohibiting the illicit circulation of cultural property. Mr. Brand said the new rules would make it much more difficult for the museum to buy antiquities.

Despite the negative light that the Rome trial has thrown on the collecting habits of American museums, other institutions, including the Met, have resisted adopting similar acquisition standards.

The Getty has also returned several pieces to Italy, conceding that they might have a murky past.

Yet as Ms. True’s trial resumes in Rome, the full complexity of the Getty’s predicament is being thrown into relief.

Officially, the Culture Ministry’s claim to the 52 works is utterly separate from the trial, and any accord reached to return the objects would be independent of its outcome. But the Culture Ministry is also a civil party to the case against Ms. True, and there is no doubt that the trial has added to its leverage as it seeks to obtain some of the Getty’s most prized works.

A trial hearing on Oct. 18, for example, was devoted to police testimony suggesting that the Aphrodite sculpture was dug up at Morgantina. Shortly after that hearing, Mr. Rutelli, the culture minister, suggested that the Getty’s “room to maneuver is narrowing” in negotiations with Italy.

For Getty officials, the linkage involves elaborate calculations about just how returning certain objects might affect the outcome of the trial. “There are objects we might have come to some sort of understanding about in our discussion, but there is also the legal discussion,” Mr. Brand said. “What does it mean if a piece doesn’t go back? What does it mean if it does?”

But he said he remained optimistic that the differences could be worked out, and emphasized that the Getty board was committed to resolving the dispute as soon as possible.

Mr. Rutelli, on the other hand, said Wednesday that he was “more pessimistic” than he had been in the past.

“It would not be a small thing” if the talks broke down, he said. “Until now, we have negotiated out of the spotlight, but the spotlights could light up.”
From the Local:

Archaeologists excavating ancient graves in western Sweden have found shards from ceramic vessels made in the Roman Empire, in a find that could challenge assumptions about contacts between people in Sweden and the Romans.

The graves in Stenungsund, around 45 kilometres north of Gothenburg, have been dated to between the years 1 and 300 AD. The remains of burned bones from two people were found, along with the pieces of ceramic.

"There are pieces from four or five vessels in each grave, and we have never previously found so many in Sweden," said Bengt Nordqvist, who is leading the dig for the National Heritage Board (Riksantikvarieämbetet).

"They were possibly made in northern Italy or France. Over in Europe this kind of discovery is normal, but in Sweden it is very unusual."

"The discovery shows that contact between Sweden and the Roman Empire was possibly much greater than we used to believe."

The excavations have been going on for around a month. They are being carried out because of plans to use the ground for football pitches.
From the Colgate Maroon News:

In the early morning hours of Saturday November 4, when most of Colgate's campus was in bed, a small group of students and faculty were gathered in the Ho lecture room finishing the marathon reading of Virgil's Aenied that had begun 12 hours earlier. Fueled by an interest in the classics and the desire to hear such a work read out-loud, in addition to the coffee and cookies provided by the Barge Canal Coffee Company, those that participated in the event succeeded in completing the trilogy of Virgil's epics in the event known as the Aeniedathon.

Sophomore Shannon Young, who organized last semester's readings of both The Odyssey and The Iliad, was also the brains behind the Aeniedathon. Due to the epic's relevance to Colgate's curriculum, she contacted the Western Traditions Professors and Classics departments and found interest among both faculty and students, especially Classics concentrators. As a major event in the story was Aenias founding Rome, Oliveri's was the chosen food provider for the event. In addition, attendees were able to sign up to receive tee-shirts reading, "Aeniedthon - and you thought Troy lost."

The event was set up so that the Classics Department read the first few books in Latin, and then Classics students were able to read by switching from Latin to English translations of the texts. Visiting Fellow in the Classics Eugenia Lao said that, by listening to the Latin, people could really hear the rhythm of the epic.

Professor Lao had very positive things to say about the intimacy and affects of the event. "It was an incredibly comfortable situation where you could feel the power," she said. "You were able to experience the poem at a slower pace and have more time to feel the story."

In comparing the Aeniedthon to the Odysseothon and the Iliathon, Young felt that it was more intense. "The event was planned for 12 hours and we actually read for most of the time," she said. "It felt more like a marathon."

Young said that her planning of the Aeniedathon, in addition to the two previous readings, stemmed from a strong appreciation of the works and support for the act of reading out-loud. "We focus so hard on getting good grades that we miss out on enjoying what we are actually learning," she said. "You gain a lot from a story by reading it out-loud."

Senior Sarah Miller, a Classics concentrator, attended the event and participated in the reading of one of the 12 books along with several of her classmates. She said that she thought the Aeniadathon was a great idea. "There were good people, good food, and good reading," she said.

Sophomore Susan Anderson, also a reader, arrived at 1:30 a.m. and picked up her translation to read at around 3 a.m. "We got behind schedule because the books were so long," she said. Anderson, who also attended the Odysseothon and Iliathon, expressed her feelings in completing the trilogy. "It's sad that the Aenied was the last of the classical epics and we have to move on," she said.

Professor Lao was very supportive of the event's correlation to both the Classics Department and Colgate's curriculum as a whole. "We were excited by the fact that Shannon decided to bring the classics to a wide audience," she said. "She was not only supporting the Classics but a core value of the university -to read great books."
DK sent this one in (thanks!) ... from the BBC:

Archaeologists hope a plan to build 20 new houses in the centre of Canterbury will turn up new information about the Roman occupation of Britain.

The Rosemary Lane site, which is on top of two Kent Roman military bases, will be excavated before building begins.

"The base established at the Conquest was re-established in the 60s AD, maybe to do with the Boudiccan rebellion," said archaeologist Paul Bennett.

"There is always the prospect of finding something new."

Mr Bennett, of Canterbury Archaeological Trust, said the Iceni uprising led by Boudicca caused pandemonium in the Roman province of Britannia.

"The base which appears to have been constructed at that time was finally abandoned about AD70," he said.

"This was possibly associated with more Roman troop movements up north.

"Even though you know the bare bones of what is going on in the city, there is so much more to discover."

The site is currently a car park for 89 vehicles, but Canterbury City Council said the spaces were surplus since new car parks had been built in Whitefriars shopping centre and Castle Street.

No plans have yet been submitted but the site, which is in a Conservation Area and Area of Archaeological Importance, has been scheduled for housing.

"The most important thing is that the development shouldn't destroy what is underneath," said Mr Bennett.

"There are ways of building a house now on rafts that keep its foundations out of the archaeology."
Omnia scire volunt omnes, sed discere nolunt.

Everyone wants to know everything, but they do not want to learn.

pron = OHM-nee-ah SKEE-ray WOH-loont OHM-nays sehd DIS-keh-reh NOH-loont.

Comment: It does say "everyone", and not "they". This proverb tempts
me to think of "those people" who want to know everything but who are
unwilling to learn.

But I can be one of "those people" as easily as anyone else. Teachers
can be those people as easily as students. Learning requires
something beyond what the ego is usually willing to put up with. Real
learning does, anyway.

Real learning might mean spending time with a book. But, more likely,
it means listening. Watching. Obseving. Observing within.
Observing without. Stepping back. Reflecting. And reflecting. And
reflecting some more. And refraining from jumping to judgment.

Ah. And that's it. When we want to know everything and don't want to
learn, it's because we love jumping to judgment--on others, or things,
so that we, the ego, are safe.

Real learning is huge. And my ego lives in a tiny little universe.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
ante diem vi idus novembres

mundus patet -- the mundus was a ritual pit which had a sort of vaulted cover on it. Three times a year the Romans removed this cover (August 24, Oct. 5 and November 8) at which time the gates of the underworld were considered to be opened and the manes (spirits of the dead) were free to walk the streets of Rome. [can anyone confirm for me that the Celtic Gwynn ap Nudd 'opened the gates to the underworld' on this day too?]

ludi Plebeii (day 5) -- the festival in honour of Jupiter continues

30 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Nerva
Today's smorgasbord:

Laura Gibbs' educational materials roundup ...

Troels has some more mutilated and reused inscriptions ... he also gives the Roman Provincial Coins site the thumbs up ...

Ed Flinn has a Gallienus/Horse ...

Ginny Lindzey tells us about some of her fave bits of reading material ...

Elsewhere in the blogosphere, I note that the Bookslvt blog has suddenly turned up in my scans with an interview with Catherynne Valente (who is a writer of fiction with a Classics degree) and a review of a book called the Foreshadowing, which has an Homeric thread running through it ... and at one of the blogs at ProgressiveU there's a piece on the importance of ancient divinities ...
From YLE:

Nova murium species inventa
02.11.2006, klo 16.34

In Europa et quidem in Cypro nova mammalium species inventa est.

Investigatores enim, cum ibi in ululis perscrutandis occupati essent, in quendam murem novi generis inciderunt, cui postea nomen scientificum Mus cypriacus inditum est.

Dicitur hic rosor maiore capite, grandioribus dentibus caudaque longiore praeditus esse quam Mus musculus, quo nomine mus domesticus in zoologia nuncupatur.

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

Latest headlines from Akropolis World News: Fear in Iraq around Saddam sentence, North Korea rejects Japan, elections in Nicaragua
peroration @ Merriam-Webster

ejulation @ Merriam-Webster

agrestic @ Dictionary.com (although they forget to mention 'Latin')
From MPT comes this one, which has obviously lost something in translation, temporal and otherwise:

The grave stele of the Roman period has been discovered by the citizens of the village of Zabeni, Bitola region while they conducted construction works.

- It is fragmented marble segment of monument, which with additional analysis will give an answer to the question whether there is new archaeological locality in the village of Zabeni or it belongs to already discovered one from the Neolithic period, Anica Gjorgjievska, the archaeologist of Bitola museum, said.

Gjorgjievska said that it was possible underground waters to throw out the grave stele.

This discovery starting Tuesday is under the authority of the Bureau for Protection of the Cultural Heritage.

... the version from MakFax seems a bit better:

An ancient tomb stone dating from the Roman era has been uncovered today in the Bitola's nearby village of Zabeni, Makfax's correspondent reported.

Mentor Huseinovski found the plaque, dating from the 3rd century A.D., while digging through his yard.

"I was digging a hole by the duct in order to build a crossing bridge over to my doorstep. I found the plaque dug in about half a meter into the ground", said Huseinovski, who notified immediately the Bitola's Museum and Office for Protection of Cultural Heritage.

The preliminary findings of the archeologists suggest that an artifact is likely to be a segment of a family tomb.

The value of the archeological artifact is yet to be determined as Huseinovski family is still pondering what to do with it.
... for denizens of the Classics list or teachers or Cicero or something:

MB Myer passed this good news along (thanks!) ... according to Fr. John T. Zuhlsdorf's blog, Father Foster has relocated and is teaching Latin again!

[apologies for yesterday's misspelling of MBM's name!]
ante diem vii idus novembres

ludi Plebeii (day 4) -- the major festival in honour of Jupiter continues

63 B.C. -- Cicero accuses Lucius Sergius Catilina of various misdeeds (the so-called Second Catilinarian Conspiracy) ...

8 B.C. -- Death of Maecenas, patron of Vergil, Horace, and many other artists in Augustan Rome
... almost forgot!

irreption @ Worthless Word for the Day

obfuscate @ Dictionary.com
A smattering of items today:

David Parsons has posted a bunch of items in support of an Open University Latin/Greek thing ... it's most economical to just link to the main page ...

Laura Gibbs' latest roundup ... and I think I missed this one ...

Mary Beard listens to the radio and offers some comments on early Christianity ...

N.S. Gill (now) has a list of the Top Ten Myths about Ancient History ...

Ed Flinn has a Gallienus/Virtus ...
From YLE:

Lingua Hibernica in UE officialis
02.11.2006, klo 16.36

Vetus sermo Hibernicus, quo gentes Gallorum sive Celtarum olim loquebantur, anno proximo ineunte una e linguis Unionis Europaeae officialibus evadet.

Hoc consilium non solum omnibus Irlandis magno gaudio est, sed etiam eis laetitiam parat, qui iam metuebant, ne illa lingua historica omnino emoreretur.

In Irlandia sive Hibernia hodie circiter quattuor miliones incolarum sunt, quorum tertius quisque se linguam Hibernicam aliquatenus callere opinatur.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Homo adivinans duxit Americanos ad Saddamum Hussein
From BMCR:

M.G. Angeli Bertinelli, A. Donati, Il cittadino, lo straniero, il barbaro, fra integrazione ed emarginazione nell'antichità. Atti del I Incontro Internazionale di Storia antica, Genova, 22-24 maggio 2003. Serta Antiqua et Mediaevalia, VII.

Filippomaria Pontani, Eraclito. Questioni omeriche sulle allegorie di Omero in merito agli dèi.

Glenn R. Bugh, The Cambridge Companion to the Hellenistic World.
From ANSA:

An Ancient Greek statue that blew Michelangelo's mind when it came out of the Roman soil 500 years ago is to be feted as the icon of the Vatican Museum's celebration of its first half thousand years .

The Laocoon group - a dramatic, almost baroque depiction of the death struggles of a snake-entangled Trojan priest and his two sons - exploded into Renaissance Italy in 1506, shaking sculptors' very conception of the possibilities of their medium .

"We picked it as the totemic work that marked the start of this great collection," said Museum Director Francesco Buranelli .

"It changed artistic perceptions forever" .

Accordingly, the show charts the influence which the work exercised on artists as varied as Sansovino, Rubens, Bernini, Arturo Martini and Salvador Dali' .

Arranged in five sections, the show features loans from some of the world's greatest museums - the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the British Museum, Louvre and Hermitage - as well as royal collections like those in Windsor Castle and the Chateau de Fontainebleu .

The Laocoon group was found on Rome's Colle Oppio at the site of Trajan's Baths on January 14, 1506 and immediately recognised by Michelangelo as the famed first-century AD work of Hagesandros, Athanadoros and Polydoros of Rhodes .

Pope Julius II, Michelangelo's patron, snapped it up and made it the pillar of the Vatican's statuary collection, along with the serene Apollo Belvedere opposite it. Laocoon (pronounced 'lah-ock-o'-own' was a far-sighted priest who warned the Trojans against accepting the Trojan Horse from the Greeks, with the famous words in Virgil's Aeneid "Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes" (I fear the Greeks even bearing gifts). The Trojans ignored his advice and an enraged Laocoon threw his spear at the Horse, spurring Poseidon, who was supporting the Greeks, to send sea-serpents to strangle him .

His story and the work it inspired are regarded as symbolising patriotic self-sacrifice. The Vatican's Laocoon exhibition runs from November 16 to February 28 .

From Middle East Times:

A marble frieze from the Acropolis in Athens that was taken to Sweden by a naval officer 110 years ago and remained in his family's possession until last year is to be officially returned to Greece this week, a Stockholm museum announced Monday.

The marble fragment comes from the Erechtheion temple, built around 420 BCE and known for its ornamental decoration and pillars in the form of statues of women known as Karyatides, the Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities said.

Birgit Wiger-Angner, a retired gym teacher, turned the piece over to the museum after reading an article about Greece's desire to recover friezes from the main temple of the Parthenon, which were taken by Britain's Lord Elgin in the nineteenth century and that London refuses to return.

Wiger-Angner inherited the piece - measuring 20 centimeters (7.8 inches) wide and eight centimeters high - from her father, whose brother Henning Lund acquired it from the Acropolis around 1895-96 and took it to Sweden.

Until February 2005, the frieze served as a decoration in Wiger-Angner's home.

Wiger-Angner is due to hand over the piece to Greek culture minister Georgios Voulgarakis at a ceremony to be held at the Acropolis Friday, the museum said.

Suzanne Unge-Soerling, assistant head of the museum in Stockholm, said that it was of great historical interest.

"Today the Erechtheion temple is a long way from being complete ... the frieze is a piece of a puzzle ... and the small number of similar pieces that have emerged ... are mostly held by museums, for example the Metropolitan in New York," Unge-Soerling said.

The fact that the frieze was not left in the open has helped preserve the piece from the effects of pollution.

Paint that once adorned the temple has disappeared due to the twin ravages of time and pollution, whereas some traces of paint remain on the piece to be returned Friday, Unge-Soerling added.

The museum displayed the frieze since Wiger-Angner turned it over to the institution in February 2005.

After its return to Greece the piece will feature in a new Acropolis museum currently under construction in Athens.
From AGI comes news of an interesting exhibition, and an unfortunate howler:

An artistic jewel of the ancient architecture comes into life again, it is visible for the public after almost five decades of difficult restoration works. The only example of inlay work of coloured marbles (opus sectile) almost totally recovered, belonging to the 4th century ad and coming from Porta Marina in Ancient Ostia will be today one of the highlights of the Museo dell'Alto Medioevo in Rome, where it will be displayed in a great hall with three sides out of four covered almost entirely by splendid marbles with intriguing and colourful animal drawings, flowers and geometrical reflections, and the original floor decorated with star-shaped drawings, octagons and circles combined with sumptuous elegance.The exhibition was inaugurated to the public this morning by the minister for culture Francesco Rutelly who was accompanied by the museum director Maria Stella Arena, by the supervisor in Rome Eugenio La Rocca and by the director of cultural goods in Lazio Luciano Marchetti. The rich decoration adorned one of the main halls of a monumental Roman palace at the end of the maximum decuman in Ostia (a very long road in Ostia), near the sea which the room itself was facing. In particular, there are splendid images of animals having a fight, mainly lions against gazelles, and the motif of a pergola on a horizontal line along the three sides of the hall, perhaps to indicate that hall, or at least the exedra at the end, was used as a triclinium, that is a banquet. There are also the paintings of two human figures. One of them could be the young owner of the house and the other one seems a classical image of Jesus, with an aureole, even if - according to experts - he could be a 'homus sacrus', a philosopher or a highly-esteemed thinker in that ancient age of passage from paganism to Christianity.
Ars est celare artem.

Art is to hide the art.

Pron = ahrs ehst kay-LAH-ray AHR-tehm

Comment: 22 years ago, we were living in a small town in north Alabama. There was a woman in the community who taught painting lessons in her basement every Wednesday evening. I had always wanted to "take art", but for a variety of reasons, never had the opportunity. This opportunity was just 5 houses down the road from my house, and so, for 2 years, I began offering to myself the weekly delight of packing up my box of paints and brushes and going down the street to paint.

22 years later, I am still painting. Over the years, my painting has changed, hopefully for the better. One thing has not changed. On that very first night that I ever put a paintbrush to canvas and attempted to make art, I found that all sense of time disappeared, and for 2-3 hours I could be completely caught up in the making of art. That is still true. Picking up a brush and selecting colors to work together on a canvas or a piece of paper lose me from my self-consciousness. This is what the proverb means for me as a painter.

Really good artwork does this for those who view it, too. The viewer gets lost into the artwork, and is lost to the thought, even if momentarily, that this is something that someone created on canvas, or paper or in clay or concrete and steel. In fact, I think that this proverb is descriptive of anything that humans do that they love to do. The art of the thing they do is that they do it without self-consciousness, and the result of what they do invites others inside it to experience its beauty.

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive
This just in from the Classicists list:

Preparation of a Supplement volume for LIMC: Call for information about new material

The Foundation for the Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae (LIMC) is preparing a Supplement volume for LIMC. Numerous archaeological discoveries in recent decades (volume I of LIMC was published in 1981) have not only brought to light mythological figures not previously attested, but also enlarged and modified our knowledge about known figures; a Supplement is therefore a necessity.

Since the completion of the Lexicon (1999) the Foundation has been actively updating its documentation on mythological iconography. A complementary bibliography for LIMC, realized by the archive centres of Heidelberg and Würzburg (the Academy of Sciences of Heidelberg) (http://www.rzuser.uni-heidelberg.de/~m99/limc/) and a database with complementary bibliography realized by the French LIMC team in Paris (http://www.mae.u-paris10.fr/limc-france/ ; access with free registration) are available online. In addition to its own efforts, however, the Foundation also now urges readers of this message to draw the Foundation's attention to new representations of divinities, heroes, heroines and personifications from the Greek, Etruscan and Roman worlds as well as from the eastern and western peripheries of those worlds.

In order to be included in the Supplement, a mythological figure should either be entirely absent from the already-published volumes of LIMC or, if already known, should meet certain criteria:

a) originality of the iconography: a figure represented in a so far unattested mythological episode or depicted according to a new schema;
b) chronology: earlier or later evidence for the figure concerned, in contrast to evidence previously attested;
c) medium: a mythological figure represented in a medium so far not attested (e.g. mosaic, glyptic, etc.);
d) origin: a mythological theme not hitherto attested for a given place or region.

In addition, any new representation which is rarely attested or accompanied by unusual inscriptions will be included in the Supplement. On the other hand, fresh evidence for themes and iconographic schemata already well-documented in LIMC will be excluded.

If you know of any representations - whether or not already published - which meet the above criteria, the Editorial Office of LIMC will be extremely grateful if you can bring them to their attention (P.O Box 614, CH-4001 Basel; Limcbasel@unibas.ch) before June 30th, 2007.

As well as sending in your own material for the Supplement, it would be a great help if you could *forward this message* to any colleague who you think may themselves be aware of relevant new material.

Richard Buxton
President, LIMC Foundation
ante diem viii idus novembres

ludi Plebeii (day 3) -- the major festival in honour of Jupiter continues

63 B.C. -- Lucius Sergius Catilina and his co-conspirators meet, with nefarious plans for the morrow

15 (or 16) A.D. -- birth of Julia Agrippina ("the younger"), daughter of Germanicus, sister to the emperor Gaius (Caligula), mother of the emperor Nero, wife of the emperor Claudius ... a very powerful woman
Quiet a.m. emailwise ... must be a server or two down somewhere ...

N.S. Gill tells us about abbreviations in inscriptions ...

Glaukopis gives us some reasons to learn Latin (including a Get Fuzzy cartoon which I appear to have missed) ...

Irene Hahn looks at Gibbon's comments on Constantinople ...

Eric saw Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day on Saturday -- doyen (why did I think that word was Japanese in origin?) ...
From YLE:

Castro in publicum prodiit
02.11.2006, klo 16.37

Fidel Castro, praesidens Cubae octoginta annos natus, postquam morbo implicatus diu latuit, rursus in publicum prodiit itaque ostendit se adhuc in vivis esse.

Apparuit enim septimana vergente in televisione statali Cubana, ubi veste gymnastica indutus in telephonum loquens et acta diurna legens videbatur.

Idem publice affirmavit se ex enterotomia sibi mense Iulio facta in dies convalescere.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Merkel et Blair novum pactum aeris caelique protegendi facere velle

The latest Conspectus Rerum Latinus from the EU ...

Akropolis World News has been updated ... here's the latest headlines: Fear in Iraq around Saddam sentence, North Korea rejects Japan, elections in Nicaragua
From BMCR:

Charles Brittain, Cicero: on Academic Scepticism.

C. J. Smith, The Roman Clan: The Gens from Ancient Ideology to Modern Anthropology.

Erin O'Connell, Heraclitus and Derrida: Presocratic Deconstruction.

Edward M. Anson, Eumenes of Cardia - A Greek among Macedonians. Ancient Mediterranean and Medieval Texts and Contexts; Studies in Philo of Alexandria, 3.

Marwan Rashed, Aristote. De la géneration et la corruption. Nouvelle édition.

Kouremenos, Parássoglou, and Tsantsanoglou on Janko on Theokritos Kouremenos, George M. Parássoglou, Kyriakos Tsantsanoglou, The Derveni Papyrus.

From Scholia:

Philip Hills, Horace
Catching up with our ClassiCarnies:

Some roundups from Laura Gibbs here ... and here ...

Irene Hahn has some background on Constantine for an upcoming chat about Gibbon ...

Glaukopis tells of a musical Troy ...

Ed Flinn has a Salonina/Diomedes ...

Michael Gilleland has some Facetiae from Poggio ...

Ginny Lindzey writes about reading Latin aloud (among other things) ...

Father Foster's latest is up at Father Coulter's page: Our popular "Latin Lover " explains how the Pontifical Academy of Sciences could possibly be connected to lynxes! All this and more. (I think this is a repeat) ...

The latest edition of our Explorator newsletter has been posted at Yahoo ... I'll be getting to the Ancient World on Television listings later this afternoon and they'll be available via Yahoo as well ...

We've added quite a few jobs to the list at rcjobs ... a couple of conferences have been added to the rc conferences board ... and a couple of calls of papers at rc calls for papers ...
From Lynn News:

THE REMAINS of an intricately decorated Roman villa in a Gayton Thorpe field are being re-covered and grassed over again to protect delicate archaeology from being damaged by treasure hunters.
More than 2,500 visitors turned out to see the site on an open day in August after excavations revealed the villa was much larger than previously thought.
The oppulent villa, dating from between 160 and 180AD, is believed to have been home to generations of wealthy families and includes an elaborate mosaic – now the only recorded mosaic in situ in Norfolk.
The foundations were first excavated in the 1920s and the mosaic remained partly exposed for around 40 years until a hut protecting it fell into disrepair. Now, after examining and recording the archaeology at the site, the villa is part of an area of land being re-covered to protect it from future damage.
Historic environment countryside adviser for Norfolk Landscape Archaeology, David Robertson, said although the villa was protected by law as an ancient monument it was still vulnerable to attacks by nighthawks – treasure hunters with metal detectors who search fields without landowners' permission and damage archaeology to search for finds.
He explained that in the 1920s farming had been allowed to continue on fields covering the archaeology, with restrictions on the depth ploughing could be carried out.
But under a new environmental stewardship scheme launched this year by the government's Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) farmers can be offered subsidies to protect areas of their land for environmental and archaeological ends.
Mr Robertson said a lot of the farm had already been put down to grass but did not know if there would be plans to uncover the villa again as under most of the ten-year stewardship schemes re-excavation was not allowed.
A final report on the dig, jointly financed by Heritage Marketing and Publications and Chris Birks Archaeology, is expected to be ready for publication by December 2008.
For more background on the project log on to www.heritagemp.com/gaytonthorpe.asp
As I put together Explorator this a.m., I am just noticing the 'gesture' (contributed to by the ravages of time) that the 'modest' Venus at the Michael C. Carlos Museum seems to be making:

A Venus for the 21st century! More photos
From the Boston Globe:

"AD DEUM qui laetificat juventutem meam," I said with a proud flourish. As an altar boy, it was my sacred privilege to recite such antiphons in response to the priest. "I will go unto the altar of God," he had just said in Latin, the opening phrase of the Catholic Mass. My reply translates as, "To God who gives joy to my youth." But 50-some years ago, when I enacted this ritual, translation was unthinkable. The sacrament was conducted in Latin, a realm of language to which few lay people had access.

To exchange the meticulously memorized verses with the priest was indeed a joy to my youth, involving prideful satisfaction at a first intellectual achievement. For us altar boys, as for the whole Catholic people, Latin was said to provide a structure of meaning that was untouched by the fact that the verses themselves were meaningless. Latin may have been a dead language, but it was the living symbol of all that we were taught to value about our faith -- its unchangeability (Didn't Latin date to the birth of the Church?); its hierarchy (Latin was the language of those to whom God gave power); its order (Latin's rigid conjugations diagrammed the absolute truth); its universality (the Mass was equally incomprehensible everywhere).

The note of unchangeability loomed above all, which is why early rumblings about Mass in "the vernacular" were rudely dismissed by every monsignor to whom I ever handed cruets. If the Latin Mass was good enough for Jesus, it was good enough for us.

I witnessed the subsequent battle over what language to use at Mass, not realizing it was a replay of an earlier battle over what language to read the Bible in. When Protestant reformers challenged the clerical establishment of the Catholic Church in the 16th century, their first treason was translation. With the help of the printing press, they put the Scriptures into the hands of ordinary believers, undercutting the proprietary power of the clergy.

The prophet of English translation was a priest named William Tyndale, whose version of the New Testament appeared in 1526. A decade later, precisely for this translation, he was burned as a heretic, but the English people hungrily consumed his outlawed verses, both as readers and as hearers, transforming not only the faith, but the language.

As I learned from the scholar David Daniell, the majesty of Tyndale's work stands as a cultural milestone. When the King James Version of the Bible was published most of a century later, in 1611, fully 85 percent of its New Testament was taken over directly from Tyndale. The English of William Shakespeare was Tyndale's English.

Countering the Reformation, the Catholic Church emphasized Latin more than ever, a rigidity that did not end until my time. The dismissive monsignors of my youth were wrong. The first vote taken by the bishops of the Second Vatican Council in 1962 concerned liturgical reform, centering on use of the vernacular at Mass. If the Council fathers had voted against worshipping in language ordinary believers could understand, the revolutionary impulse driving that Council would have been stopped dead in its tracks, but the tally was overwhelmingly in favor. The Latin Mass was finished. With that single vote, the Council set loose a current of change that is still running.

Once Catholics entered into the mystery of the Mass as literate participants instead of as dumb spectators, an unprecedented renewal took hold. The vitality and warmth of today's typical liturgy, involving intelligible encounters with sacred texts, has Catholic parishes surprisingly full, even in a time of widespread disillusionment with clerical leadership. The structure of order that was embodied in the old tradition, and its language, turned out to be dead letters in comparison to the meaning and nourishment that now regularly draw Catholics to the Eucharistic meal. What Tyndale did for English, English has done for American Catholicism. And so with other vernaculars, elsewhere.

One still hears of Catholic nostalgia for the Latin Mass. Classicists regret the loss of the Church's museum function. Esthetes decry the banalizing of liturgy in which all worshippers are fully able to participate. More pointedly, reactionaries have never stopped campaigning for the restoration of Latin, understanding its twin significance as symbol and pillar of the old order. Unsurprisingly, that campaign has been reinvigorated lately, with a blessing from Pope Benedict -- a futile shoring up of a rapidly collapsing clericalism. But Catholic Latin is a lost cause. For which one says, "Deo Gratias."
Terry Jones comments in the Observer:

In 59BC, Julius Caesar declared he was so shocked by the incursions of the dangerous Helvetii tribe into Gaul, and the suffering of the Gaulish peoples, that he had himself appointed 'protector of the Gauls'. By the time he'd finished protecting them, a million Gauls were dead, another million enslaved and Julius Caesar owned most of Gaul. Now I'm not suggesting there is any similarity between George W Bush's protection of the Iraqi people and Caesar's protection of the Gauls.

For a start, Julius Caesar, as we all know, was bald, whereas George W Bush has a fine head of hair.

In any case, George W Bush is not personally making huge amounts of money out of it. The money-making is all left in the capable hands of companies like CACI International, Blackwater Security and Haliburton.

It's true that Vice-President Dick Cheney's stock options in his old company, Haliburton, went up from $241,498 in 2004 to $8m in 2005 - that's an increase of 3,281 per cent.

But then Dick Cheney is bald.

The point I'm trying to make is that there is absolutely no comparison to be made between Julius Caesar's invasion of Gaul in 58-50BC and George Bush's invasion of Iraq.

I mean, Julius Caesar had the nerve to pretend that the Roman state was being threatened by what was going on in Gaul. He claimed he had to carry out a pre-emptive strike against the Helvetii in the interests of homeland security. In reality, his motives were political. He desperately needed a military victory to boost his standing in Rome and give him the necessary popular base to seize power.

George W Bush, on the other hand, was already in power when he invaded Iraq and, in any case, he didn't need to boost his popularity, because the popular vote had nothing to do with his getting into power in the first place. Julius Caesar was also a very adroit propagandist who made damn sure that his version of events prevailed. He even wrote eight books about his wars in Gaul to make sure it did. George W Bush doesn't need to go to such lengths. He has Fox News.

When Julius Caesar claimed his glorious victory over the Helvetii, he made it sound as if he had destroyed a vast army of 'wild and savage men'. Julius Caesar reckoned he had slaughtered more than 250,000 'insurgents'. In fact, documents found in the remains of the Helvetii camp showed that out of 368,000 people, only 92,000 had been capable of bearing arms.

In other words, it wasn't an army that Julius Caesar massacred, but a whole population including women, children, old and sick, which, I suppose, is one thing that George W Bush and Julius Caesar do have in common: pretending civilians are armed insurgents.

But there the similarity ends. One of the most fundamental differences between Julius Caesar and George W Bush is that Julius Caesar counted his dead, whereas George W Bush can't be bothered. It seems that, as commander-in-chief, George W Bush instructed his soldiers not to count the enemy dead. So the fact that he still sticks to an estimate of only 30,000 dead Iraqis, even when a recently published study in the Lancet suggests he's slaughtered at least 655,000, can only be the result of his extraordinary modesty.

Why else would he dismiss the study as pure guesswork or claim it had used a 'methodology [that] is pretty well discredited', even though the US government has been spending millions of dollars a year to train NGOs in this exact same methodology? Julius Caesar would have seized on the figures with alacrity.

And that is the biggest difference of all: Julius Caesar was an ambitious, vainglorious, would-be tyrant. George W Bush is a modest and self-deprecating one.
Today's Frank and Ernest:

Source ...
ante diem iii nonas novembres

39 A.D. -- birth of the poet Lucan (Marcus Annaeus Lucanus)

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Germanus (et al) at Caesarea
Anguillam cauda tenes.

You are holding an eel by the tail.

pron = ahn-GWEEL-lahm KOW-dah TEH-nays.

Comment: I don't touch snakes. But, I've seen those who do pick up
snakes hold them very closely by the head. Holding a snake, or an
eel, by the tail gives the creature too much wiggle room, so to speak.
If it is poisonous, the wiggle may mean real harm. If it is not
poisonous, then perhaps it will "play" with you.

What situation do we "hold" too loosely, too carelessly, at too much distance?

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive

A handful of items today ...

Laura Gibbs daily plethora of posts (with a Wheelock Crossword) ... (and I might have missed this one)

Mark Goodacre writes some advice on how to survive the SBL meeting (or any large academic conference, for that matter) ...

Durandir is rethinking Latin exam formats ...

... while Ginny Lindzey is pondering pacing in Latin classes ...

Joel Morrison mounts a campaign to reintroduce Latin plurals to the language ...

Adrian Murdoch has found trailers for The Lost Legion (didn't know they had recreational vehicles back then ... sorry, it's the antihistamines) ...

Ed Flinn has a nice Gallienus/Pax ...

I don't think I mentioned this Franklin Adams/Horace post by Michael Gilleland (but it looks familiar?) ...

Tonight's astronomical assignment ... see if you can find Aries (good luck) ...

We should also add that we're now monitoring a new blog -- Apocryphicity by Tony Chartrand-Burke -- it's devoted to early Christian apocrypha and should provide us with something to look at every now and then (and reminds me to put my rc definition back in the sidebar somewhere!) ...
From YLE:

Castro in publicum prodiit
02.11.2006, klo 16.37

Fidel Castro, praesidens Cubae octoginta annos natus, postquam morbo implicatus diu latuit, rursus in publicum prodiit itaque ostendit se adhuc in vivis esse.

Apparuit enim septimana vergente in televisione statali Cubana, ubi veste gymnastica indutus in telephonum loquens et acta diurna legens videbatur.

Idem publice affirmavit se ex enterotomia sibi mense Iulio facta in dies convalescere.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Negotiationes UE cum Turquia maximo in periculo
Hat tip to Dorothy King, who passed this one along ... from the EADT:

ARCHAEOLOGISTS in Colchester have uncovered a major Roman find in the heart of the historic town.

The Head gate was one of the main Roman entrances to the ancient walled settlement and was situated where St John's Road, Crouch Street and Head Street now meet.

And on Saturday members of the Colchester Archaeological Trust (CAT) found the structure's central pier, proving that the gate had two arches and not one, as some people had speculated.

The Head gate was found at the south west of the ancient walled town, and fed a road that ran up what is now Head Street and then down what is now North Hill, at the bottom of which was another gate.

Across that road ran another east/west thoroughfare, which went from Balkerne Gate - part of which is still standing near the Mercury Theatre - down the High Street to a fourth gate.

Phillip Crummy, director of CAT, yesterday said the discovery of the Head gate's central pier was significant.

He said it was made while CAT was monitoring works on the road on behalf of BT and Lowery Ltd, who were fitting cables in the area.

Mr Crummy added the gate was probably built between 65 AD and 80 AD and was demolished in 1753.

“We dug a hole about three metres by two metres and found the central part of the gate,” he said.

“The part we have found is surprisingly well-preserved and was not very deep - we didn't think it would be so good. It stands to a height of about 400 millimetres and was not as deep as we might have expected.

“It was the chief gate in the medieval period, but what we see is Roman. It is a square block which would have been the central pier of a double-arched gate, which would have had a guardroom on top of it with a few windows.

“We were pretty sure we had found a small part of it in 1988, when a pavement was dug up, but this is now pretty definite.

“It is a very good find and we are very pleased. We would like to thanks BT and Lowery's for making it possible for us to do this.”
No ... not that kind. From the Cambridge Evening News:

A ROMAN silver stud up to 1,900 years old was found by a metal detector enthusiast.

It may now be acquired by the British Museum after a coroner ruled it should be classed as treasure.

Mike Cuddeford was searching land at Wixoe, near Haverhill, when he made the discovery.

Dr Peter Dean, Greater Suffolk Coroner, ruled the find was treasure at an inquest in Bury St Edmunds on Tuesday.

The British Museum is interested in acquiring the stud, and a finder's fee will be divided between Mr Cuddeford and the landowner.

John Newman, an archaeologist at Suffolk County Council, described the find as "moderately unusual" and said around six similar ones were found each year.

He expected the stud, which depicts a boar, to be valued at hundreds rather than thousands of pounds, and the finder's fee would be 50 per cent of this.

Mr Newman told the inquest the stud, which was found in August and is 10 millimetres in diameter, could have been one of a set.

He said: "It is quite a high quality item which a good silversmith has produced for somebody quite well to do to wear on an apron or belt.

"It could well have been one of a set. It is certainly Roman and it could be 1,700, 1,800 or 1,900 years old."

Dr Dean ruled that a Tudor silver gilt dress hook found near Stowmarket and 26 Bronze Age copper artefacts found near Bury St Edmunds were also treasure.

He said: "Whilst most of our time is spent investigating sudden deaths, the historic roots of these medieval duties still exist.

"It gives a fascinating glimpse of the historic background of this area. It is an important part of the Treasure Act that it preserves these finds that might otherwise have been lost, and gives museums a chance to acquire them."
Popgadget -- a gadget site I don't regularly visit -- mentions the CoCo nose clamp, which, we are told, "promises to transform your ugly nose to one similar to Queen Cleopatra’s." I'm sure the creators haven't seen ALL of the images of Cleo (like this one) ... or, judging by the device itself, perhaps they have.

SEMA Show Preview: Hercules opens Latin sales office

... long overdue, some would say.
There's a number of versions of this one accumulating in my mailbox this a.m. ... here's the version from AccessNorth:

Delta Air Lines maintainance inspectors moved the hulking engine case of a Boeing 757 from beneath the giant scanner in a lead-enclosed X-ray room and gingerly replaced it with the head of a 1,900-year-old Roman marble statue of Venus.

Thursday's X-ray scans at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport are the first step in a months-long process to reunite the late first century statue of the goddess of love with its head.

Conservators at the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University, which bought both pieces in June, will study the X-rays to see just in how many points _ besides the neck _ the statue has been broken before and how the old repairs are holding up. They're using Delta's volunteered equipment and inspectors because of their ability to find the tiniest cracks in hard materials.

Conservators will look for rusting metal pins that might have been inserted to fix cracks in the Venus' thigh, her calf, even the bundle of hair drooping on her neck.

Once they establish the condition of those repairs, which could date from antiquity or as recently as 200 years ago, they will know how best to put the 4-foot-6-inch statue back together.

"I spend two-thirds of my time reversing other people's good intentions," museum conservator Renee Stein said jokingly of old repairs.

Re-attaching the head, which was last documented on the body in 1836, will be the hardest part in the restoration of this marble copy of an earlier Greek bronze sculpture that many scholars argue is the most widely reproduced female statue in antiquity.

While there are thousands of similar images of Venus in all sorts of sizes and materials, the restoration of this one is particularly significant because few statues are as large and nearly intact as this one, missing only the right arm.

First, Stein will have to remove an old pin that was inserted in the head to prop it up on a display stand, as well as the lead insert on the base of the neck. Next, she'll drill through the plaster and most likely replace the rod with a stainless steel pin.

Because the jagged edges in the break between the head and the neck were smoothed over, curators will have to study how much space to fill in once the pieces are superimposed again.

Then, after more testing of cleaning materials to wipe off the greyish patina, sometime in spring, Venus will again strike her provocatively protective pose at the Carlos.

The statue catches the goddess off guard as, having removed all her clothes to take a bath, she glimpses an unseen onlooker. She tries to cover herself with her hand, while a small figure of Eros rides a dolphin at her feet, a reference to the goddess' birth from the sea.

The statue probably stood next to a fountain or pool in the gardens of a luxurious villa somewhere in the Roman Empire, possibly in today's France, where it was first documented in the collection of Napoleon's art adviser in the 1830s, said Jasper Gaunt, curator of Greek and Roman Art at the Carlos.

The museum bought the statue for $968,000 at a Sotheby's auction in New York. A private collector in Houston, Texas, had agreed to sell the head at auction to the buyer of the body.
Brief item from Xinhua:

A chamber tomb belonging to the Roman period was found in southwestern Turkey in a construction site, Turkish semi-official Anatolia news agency reported on Thursday.

According to the initial inspections, tear bottles, antique ruins, and bones assumed to have belonged to humans were found in the chamber tomb in Milas town of Mugla province, said the report.

Milas Museum Curator Erol Ozen was quoted as saying that they completed the determination work in the town and they will start the excavations.

"According to our first findings, the chamber tomb belongs to the Roman period. The bones decayed because of the high humidity inside the tomb. We will make our final declaration after we complete the rescue excavations," he said.
From Center Daily:

THE MID-TERM campaigns have offered up perhaps the most venomous volleys of political advertising in U.S. history.

Everything from race, sexual appetite, corruption and patriotism has been fodder for mudslinging and nastiness. And the many modes of transmitting the negative words and pictures, from broadcast and print to the Internet, ensure that Americans will be inundated with personal attacks on opponents right up to the election, day and night.

Yet as Americans ponder how much of it is true and how much pure vindictive blather, we might note that we're rather backward compared to the pointed, frank and refreshingly honest political ads of the Romans more than 1,900 years ago. True, there were no TV sets or print ads. But the citizens were fairly literate and involved in daily life. They met in public forums, and debated the wisdom of their politicians.

And when it came to swaying elections, the Roman "ad men" used walls, creating graffiti as well as paintings and formal signs. The remains of Pompeii, buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., provide us with examples of Roman political advertising copy.

We may think that political action committees, 527s and special-interest groups are modern inventions. Not so. Look at one group that supported Marcus Priscus for duovir, or magistrate: "The fruit dealers... unanimously urge the election of Marcus Holconius Priscus as duovir." It should be noted that, for similar offices, the goldsmiths wanted Gaius Cuspius Pansa and the mule drivers "urged the election of Gaius Julius Polybius."

Often, advertising was done by individuals and was of a personal nature. Someone who agreed with the muleteers wrote: "I ask you to elect Gaius Julius Polybius... he gets good bread." Another wrote: "If upright living is considered any recommendation, Lucretius Fronto is well worthy of the office." That sure has a modern ring to it.

Today, media buyers worry about their ads appearing at the right time in front of the right audience. In Pompeii, some worried about their ads lasting out the day.

One wrote: "His neighbors urge you to elect Lucius Statius Receptus duovir with judicial power; he is worthy. Aemilius Celer, a neighbor, wrote this. May you take sick if you maliciously erase this!"

In today's elections, any dark past of a candidate is carefully concealed by managers and handlers. But the ancient Romans had no problem advertising what a candidate was really about. Two happy-spirited writers thought they could help their candidate by writing, "We ask you to elect Marcus Cerrinius Vatia to the aedileship. All the late drinkers support him." And one unsavory group let its feelings be known with the line: "Petty thieves support Vatia for the aedileship." Or perhaps Vatia's opponents wrote it - we'll never know.

In the modern era, we continue to be inundated with ads pushing the best and worst qualities of the ambitious and egocentric - whether those qualities are accurate or fabricated is academic.

We haven't quite gotten to the point where a weary public finally cries, "Enough!" and demands a better form of political education that avoids having to slither in the gutter.

But it may have happened in Pompeii. One anonymous writer probably reached the point of "ad exhaustion" - maybe ad nauseam is more appropriate - when he wrote: "I wonder, O wall, that you have not fallen in ruins from supporting the stupidities of so many scribblers."
Non quia difficilia sunt, non audemus; sed quid non audemus, difficilia sunt.
(Seneca, Epistuale Morales 104.26)

It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare; but it is because we do not dare that things are difficult.

pron = nohn KWEE-ah dif-fih-KIH-lee-ah soont, nohn ow-DAY-mus; sehd kwid nohn ou-DAY-moos dif-fih-KIH-lee-ah soont.

Comment: Everyone likely has an application for these words. They describe the interplay in our minds over why things as we see them don't work out as we would like. The basic message is that things have not worked out as we would like because we lack daring. We lack boldness. Often that is true. Often enough things don't work out because we give up before we try. We say: "it could not be done. It was too difficult." Or, we say, I think perhaps much more often: it could only be done this way.

In this last approach, what is lacking is a boldness of imagination, not brute force. In these days of increasing war and violence in our world, I am more and more convinced that what we lack is a boldness of imagination, not a lack of brute force. What if brute force, violence and war were not options? We would be left with our imaginations to resolve what goes ill in the world.

Or to try and say this more generally: what if the status quo doesn't work? Now, what can I imagine that might?

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive

ante diem iv nonas novembres

1656 B.C. -- traditional date for the start of the Great Flood (according to one calculation)

285 B.C. -- Ptolemy II Philadelphus ascends the throne of Egypt as co-ruler with Ptolemy I(by one reckoning)

188 A.D. -- martyrdom of Eustachius/Placidus (in a bronze bull!)

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Justus of Trieste

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Victorinus of Pettau

315 A.D. -- martyrdom of Carterius and his companions (soldiers under Licinius)
enatic @ Worthless Word for the Day

ostracize @ Dictionary.com

... and it's curious that Merriam-Webster doesn't mention perseverate as having Classical roots of some sort (does it?)
A quiet day in ClassicsLand:

... we can also note that Lucian's Mimes of the Courtesans (trans. "A.L.H.") is up at Sacred Texts ...

Dorothy King has some items on the Capture of Jerusalem (see also an earlier post on the Theodosius Monastery that I think I missed) ... there's also some assorted archaeology news ...

Michael Gilleland has a post on Walking on Water ...

More useful stuff from Laura Gibbs ...

N.S. Gill tells us about Prometheus ...

Troels has an interesting post about the 'innocent' era of collecting antiquities ...

I'd link to the Stoa, which has some interesting audio files, but it looks as if it has been hacked or something's gone kablooie with the stylesheet ...

And now for the Carnivals within the Carnival:

Nikolaos Markoulakis has the latest Carnival at Tropaion ...

Fellow Flames fan (and the Flames need fanning right now) Michael Pahl hosts the latest Biblical Studies Carnival which has quite a few items of interest ...
From YLE:

Violentia in Iraquia crescit
27.10.2006, klo 11.35

Comitiis parlamentariis appropinquantibus apud Americanos de bello Iraquico magis quam ante disceptari coeptum est.

Alii flagitant copias in Iraquia augendas esse, alii autem censent eas inde omnino deducendas esse.

Praesidens George W. Bush iam confessus est violentiam in Iraquia grassantem cum bello Vietnamensi comparari posse.

Quamquam Americani copias suas, quae sunt Bagdati, auxerunt, illis non contigit, ut urbem pacarent.

Impetus terroristici Bagdati frequentiores fuerunt quam umquam ante et mensis Octobris fuit unus ex cruentissimis inter totum bellum Iraquicum.

Hoc mense iam septuaginta Americani in Iraquia mortem occubuerunt.

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

Only a small part of the Dimosio Sima ancient cemetery has been excavated. The entire area, measuring 1,100x40 meters, contains the graves of such notable figures as Thrasybulus, Cleisthenes, Lycurgus and Solon.

The first digs and expropriations took place in the 1870. Another part of the cemetery was discovered in February 1997 at 35 Salaminas, during construction work for a new theater. Four mass graves were found containing bones and grave ornaments (red-figure vases and white lekythoi) dating to the time of the Peloponnesian War. The Culture Ministry announced the expropriation of the adjacent plots of land so that the monuments could be uncovered in their entirety, with the prospect of linking them to the Dipylon site and including them in the unification of archaeological sites, then being planned.

Now no excavations are in progress, and the much-discussed expropriations seem to have been frozen “due to unclear ownership status.”

A metal structure blocks the grave monument from the view of passers-by, and a small, rusty notice board at the top of the structure notes that “work was done here to highlight the Dimosio Sima.”

“Those of us who still live in Kerameikos feel that nobody cares about discovering the graves of renowned Athenians,” notes Bouzanis, “Kerameikos is a neighborhood with many ruined houses. You’d expect the expropriations to go ahead on Salaminas Street and on the shacks nearby which have become garbage dumps.” He believes that as long as the authorities are too timid to take action, “then not only will the Dimosio Sima cemetery not be unearthed or the area enhanced, but we will end up living here with the trash, the no-hopers, the nightlife types and whatever else flourishes under such circumstances.”
A while back we mentioned a case in which some guys claimed to have found a Roman ring which later turned out to have been purchased from eBay ... here's an update on the case from the Oldham Advertiser:

TWO men charged with perjury after claiming to have found an historic Roman ring in an Oldham field – which later turned out to have been bought on eBay the week before – have been cleared.

Gary Moore and Colin Hilton, both 34, handed in the ring last November and a treasure trove inquest was held in August to determine whether they could keep it or whether it should go to a museum because of its historical importance.

But the hearing was stopped when the eBay evidence came to light, and the case then handed over to the police.

Gary and Colin were charged with perjury – for allegedly claiming they had found the ring in a bid to get more than they had paid for it off eBay – but have now been told that all charges have been dropped.

They have always maintained that the ring was planted in the field by a friend as a prank and that they had no knowledge of its background.

Gary said: "A third party has already admitted to me that he put it there, knowing we would be metal detecting there. I haven’t seen him since – he has made himself scarce.

"Me and Colin knew nothing about this. We have followed the law and I am an innocent man.

"I don’t know what will be happening with the ring now. I just want everyone to know we have been cleared. My name has been dragged through the mud."

The ring was inspected by the British Museum, which dated it to the first or second century, and found it to be 85 per cent gold and 12 per cent silver.

It was sold on eBay for £42.23, but could be worth hundreds of pounds.

Gary said: "I worry it might put people off declaring what they have found, but it won’t stop me metal detecting."
Solem . . . e mundo tollere videntur qui amicitiam e vita tollunt.
(M. Tullius Cicero, De Amicitia 23.47)

They seem to remove the sun from the world who remove friendship from life.

pron = SOH-lehm ay MOON-doh TOHL-leh-reh wee-DEHN-toor ah-mih-KEE-tee-ahm ay WEE-tah TOHL-loont.

Comment: Anyone who reads this proverb, who has even a single friendship, will have his/her own immediate application and interpretation of what it means to them. And I am content to let today's comment come from Cicero himself and the reader.

Cicero says, after these words that friendship offers a certain refuge of care in life. He acknowledges that human beings must often make choices that are not easy. Friends provide solace in those times when we are caught making those difficult decisions.

Is friendship, for you, like having sunshine in the world? If so, how so?

Bob Patrick
(Used with permission)
Latin Proverb of the Day Archive

kalendae novembres

ludi Victoriae Sullanae (day 7) -- games held in honour of Victoria commemorating Sulla's defeat of the Samnites in 82 B.C.

82 B.C. -- Lucius Cornelius Sulla is victorious over the Samnites at the Battle of the Colline Gate

36 A.D. -- major fire at Rome

1903 -- death of Theodore Mommsen

1993 -- death of A.N. Sherwin-White (The Roman Citizenship, among other things)
Apologies to folks if I seem to be neglecting your blogger blog of late ... server upgrades there resulted in a pile of blogger-based blogs simply republishing ALL of your posts, sometimes repeatedly, and my Squeet mail service was swamped ... I've been deleting en masse in between allergy attacks (I should be having another one of those in the next hour or so, alas) ...

Eric at Campus Mawrtius has some of Auden's thoughts about Catullus ... he was also up early this a.m. posting about John Calvin ...

Ioannis Georganis tells us the Dendra Cuirass is on the move ...

Eurylochus has been chatting with Misenus and Aegle ...

Ed Flinn has a Valentinian/Cross (and notes a bit further down that his absence was due to a stroke! Macte Esto Ed!)

Michael Gilleland has more Kiplingalia ...

Phil Harland has a Hallowe'en-inspired post ...

Troels has a preview of a conference on Roman Egypt ...

Several blogs have mentioned/are mentioning a thing in Prospect Magazine by Allan Massie on the renewed popularity of Roman-themed novels ... honestly can't remember if we mentioned it already or not ...

I couldn't spot Perseus last night (damned light pollution) ... but tonight we can look for Pegasus ...
rhadamanthine @ Merriam-Webster (there's a word you don't hear every day)

prevaricate @ Dictionary.com

The rhadamanthine Grade Seven teacher gave the prevaricating student a detention.
From YLE:

Praesidens Israelis in crimen vocatur
27.10.2006, klo 11.34

Actores Israeliani nuntiaverunt se crimen praesidenti Moshe Katsav illaturos esse.

Iam antea vigiles rettulerant testimonia stupri et molestiae sexualis ad causam praesidenti inferendam suppetere.

Katsav, vir unum et sexaginta annos natus, qui quinque filios habet, suspectus habetur, quod decem feminas molestaverit.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Photographemata militum Germanorum horrorem movere

... and Radio Bremen has their version of Nuntii Latini up, with news from the month of October ...

On the Greek side, here are the latest headlines from Akropolis World News: Viking treasure found, bomb kills 30 in Baghdad, Dalí Museum shows unknown painting
From the Community Press:

Latin might be stagnant in some parts of the world, but the Indian Hill middle school and high school embrace it.

Just ask Sherwin Little, who started the Latin Club 24 years ago. One of the three Latin teachers at Indian Hill High, he is also the president of the American Classical League, which celebrates classical languages.

He said more than 160 students from the school are members of Latin Club this year. An estimated 30 students from the club will travel to Rome in the spring to learn about Italian culture and how Latin was incorporated in the the country.

Erin Jansen, 17, joined the club in sixth-grade. A co-consul of the club, the junior from Indian Hill said the club is bonding more this year.

"In the past it kind of fell apart," she said. "I remember in seventh- and eighth-grade that we only went bowling."

Little said the club is trying to plan at least two events a month, which could attrach more students to the club. A toga party and skit shows at a nursing home are events in the coming weeks.

"I just really want the students to execute the things they are planning," Little said. "They are responsible for making things happen ... and they are doing a great job so far."

Club members recently walked around the track at Tomahawk Stadium in the name of breast cancer - the morning after the Homecoming dance at the high school, raising $1,200, Little said.

Lindsay Barber, 16, remembered that day well.

"We all probably got about four hours of sleep," said the junior from Indian Hill. "It was fun though."
From Typically Spanish:

Construction work on the second ring road round Alicante and El Campello has been halted by the discovery of the remains of a Roman villa.

The site has been found next to the Carretera de Aigües and a decision on what to do will not finally be taken until the excavation by archaeologists at the site is completed.

The find of such a villa, dating from about 2,000 years ago, in a place so far from the coast is described as quite rare.

... don't know about anyone else, but I'm really getting tired of archaeological finds being described as 'rare' ... it's like describing the sky as blue.
From Ha'aretz:

In 73 CE, the Roman governor of Judea, Flavius Silva, laid siege to Masada with Legion X Fretensis. When the walls were broken down by a battering ram, the Romans found the fortress' defenders had set fire to all the structures and preferred mass suicide to captivity or defeat. Masada has since become part of Jewish mythology, as has the name Silva, who Josephus Flavius mentions in his writings. It is therefore no great surprise that Hungarian archaeologist Dr. Tibor Grull, studying in Israel three years ago, was excited to discover a stone tablet during a visit to the Temple Mount with a Latin inscription of the name of Masada's destroyer.

Grull asked officials of the Waqf, the Muslim trust for the Temple Mount, where the tablet came from, and they explained it had been found in the large hole dug in the mount in 1999 when the entrance to Solomon's Stables was opened. The Hungarian archaeologist received rare permission to photograph and document the finding. In October 2005, Grull published the discovery in the journal of the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research.

Particularly interested in the find was Bar Ilan's Dr. Gabi Barkai, who has been sifting through Temple Mount dirt for the past two years. The dirt, in which many finds dating as far back as the First Temple period have been discovered, was dug from the same hole by Waqf personnel and taken from the same area - the south-east side - from which the inscription fragment was taken. Barkai contacted Grull and included Grull's work - which had not received exposure - in a comprehensive article on the sifting project at the Temple Mount, slated for publication in the next edition of the periodical Ariel.

Grull's photographs of the stone tablet are first being published in Haaretz. The five-line monumental inscription is 97 centimeters by 75 centimeters. The text itself is damaged. Barkai, relying on Grull, says the inscription is undoubtedly the dedication carved into a victory arch, and it includes the Latin word for "arch."

"This is the only evidence we have of a victory or memorial arch the Romans built on the Temple Mount after the destruction of the city and the Temple," Barkai notes. "This is the first evidence of reconstruction, carried out by the Roman army, immediately after Jerusalem's destruction, about fifty years before Aelia Capitolina was founded."

Barkai says the inscription memorializes Flavius Silva, the conqueror of Masada and governor of Judea from 73 to 80 CE. The missing section of the inscription apparently mentioned Roman military commanders Aspasianus and Titus. The inscription also mentions a previously unknown person named Atnagorus.

The Waqf, which is opposed to archaeological digging on the Temple Mount, apparently has the tablet itself. Due to Waqf opposition, only areas surrounding the Mount itself, the City of David and the southern Western Wall, south of the Wall Plaza, and the western area of the wall north of the plaza - the Wall Tunnel - have been excavated until now.

no photo accompanying the article, alas ...
Folks who were kind of blase about the New York Times' coverage of Fagles (see, e.g., this interesting post) might want to check out the likely short-lived coverage from the Independent , the Chronicle (AP coverage), and -- especially -- the New York Sun.