Genera animalium rarissima
: Nuntii Latini
23.02.2007, klo 10.33
Consociatio zoologica Londinensis consilium iniit, quo prohibere conatur, ne genera animalium omnium rarissima omnino emoriantur.
Hoc anno in illo indice circiter decem species insunt, e. gr. vespertilio in orbe terrarum omnium minimus et delphinus quidam in flumine Ianzekiango vivens.
Sunt autem, qui metuant, ne hoc delphinorum genus iam disparuerit.
A fitting tribute has been made to Emeritus Professor Bob Milns, AM, with the University of Queensland's Antiquities Museum recently renamed in his honour.
Professor Milns retired in 2003 after 33 years as UQ Professor of Classics and Ancient History, during which time be built the museum into an invaluable resource for teaching and research.
“The name Bob Milns has become synonymous with Classics, Ancient History and the Antiquities Museum at UQ,” University Vice-Chancellor Professor John Hay, AC, said.
“Under Bob's leadership, the museum has grown into one of the country's finest collections of its kind – a reflection of the quality of his scholarship and passion for the discipline.
“Renaming the museum is a well-deserved and appropriate tribute to his ongoing contribution to the University of Queensland and the community at large.”
A graduate of Leeds University and Cambridge, in both of which he gained first-class honours, Professor Milns was appointed Chair of Classics and Ancient History in 1970, holding the position until his retirement.
An expert on Alexander the Great and his father, Philip II of Macedon, Professor Milns on taking up his appointment fostered the display and promotion of the then small collection of antiquities, which has since been joined by over 1,000 objects – the oldest dating back over 4,000 years.
“I always insisted that the objects in the museum, while belonging to the University, are also public treasures,” Professor Milns said.
“I've always believed that they should be promoted outside the University, and that the public should have the opportunity to come and see them.”
The museum's focus is on Greek and Roman artefacts, with a particularly strong collection of ancient coins.
Professor Milns said the museum continued to be popular with school groups, UQ students and scholars from around the world.
“The history of both Greece and Rome very definitely underpin western civilisations,” he said.
“It's not just the historical figures, but the philosophers, the playwrights and the poets, and people understand and appreciate this and they want to come and learn about them.”
In addition to serving as head of department for many years, Professor Milns held several positions within the University's administration including as a UQ Senator and long-serving member of the Academic Board.
His many awards include Member of the Order of Australia (1997), a Centenary Medal in 2003, and the “Niki” award of the Australian Hellenic Council for distinguished service.
Since 2004 he has been an Honorary Research Consultant within the discipline of Classics and Ancient History, a position he plans to hold for many years to come.
“I cannot really imagine a life without contact with my discipline and my students and those two things mean being here at the University of Queensland in an honorary capacity as long as the ageing bones and brain will allow,” Professor Milns said.
Non ergo fortuna homines aestimabo sed moribus; sibi quisque dat mores, condicionem casus assignat.
(Macrobius, Saturnalia 1.11.10)
pron = nohn EHR-goh fohr-TOO-nah HOH-mih-nays ai-stee-MAH-boh sehd MOHR-ih-boos SIH-bee KWIS-kway daht MOH-rays kohn-dih-kee-OH-nem KAH-soos ahs-SIHG-naht.
Therefore, I will not evaluate people by their fortune in life, but by the way they act; each one crafts for him or herself ways of behaving in the world; chance assigns to each his or her condition.
Comment: Perhaps at first glance this proverb gives credence to separating a person's behavior from his or her condition in life. It certainly articulates why they should be viewed differently. The condition a person is born into is not his or her own choosing. A person's parents and their choices and behaviors are not his or her own choosing. How teachers and other adults treat a child is not the child's own choosing.
So, how a child "learns" to react to those things which he or she has no control over is not about choice either.
We who work with other human beings could do well to keep this in mind. The most humbling reality that I face each day (and too many days, I forget this) is that I have no idea what kind of world, what kind of treatment, what kind of life my students are walking into my room from each day. My first words to him or her may be the first act of kindness they have met in the last 24 hours. Or, it may be just another act of brutality, even if to me, it seems like "demanding student responsibility".
The older I get, the less freedom I think we really have as human beings--until we get clear about the forces that shaped us early in life. Only then can we begin to "give to ourselves ways of behaving in the world". Up until we get clear about who and what shaped us as children, our ways of being in the world are merely ways of surviving what was done to us, however mild or severe.
Character, finally, is not an image we craft for ourselves. It is nothing less than excavating our own lives and finding out what lies layers deep beneath us. Then, we begin to make choices; then we begin to take baby steps in freedom.
Comitia parlamentaria futura
: Nuntii Latini
23.02.2007, klo 10.33
Die duodevicesimo mensis Martii (18.3.) in Finnia comitia parlamentaria instituentur, ut apud nos quarto quoque anno fieri solet.
Numerus candidatorum duo milia quattuor efficiens idem fere est atque abhinc quattuor annos.
Petitores ex duodeviginti factionibus sunt ac quidem ita, ut plerique eorum cum partibus parlamentaribus hodiernis stent.
The only Roman emperor's sceptre to have been found has gone on public display in Rome for the first time.
The sceptre, which is topped by a blue orb that represents the earth, was discovered at the end of last year and is believed to have been held by Emperor Maxentius, who ruled for six years until 312AD.
Maxentius, who was known for his vices and his incapacity, drowned in the Tiber while fighting forces loyal to his brother-in-law, Constantine, at the battle of the Milvian bridge. Archaeologists believe that Maxentius' supporters hid the sceptre during or after the battle to prevent it from falling into enemy hands.
It was found at the base of the Palatine hill, carefully wrapped in silk and linen and then placed in a wooden box. Alongside it were other boxes holding two other imperial battle standards and ceremonial lance heads. The depth of the burial allowed archaeologists to date the find to Maxentius' rule.
Sceptres, often two to three foot ivory rods topped with a globe or an eagle, were introduced by Augustus as a symbol of Rome's power. They would be carried by emperors while riding in chariots to celebrate military victories.
While emperors were often pictured on coins and in paintings holding a sceptre, no example of the real thing had been found up until last year. "We have never seen them for real before, there have been no similar findings," said Angelo Bottini, the head of Rome's archaeology department.
Clementina Panella, the archaeologist at Rome's La Sapienza University who made the find said that the grip of the sceptre was made of Orichalcum, a legendary gold-coloured brass alloy which parts of the sunken city of Atlantis were said to be forged from.
"These artifacts clearly belonged to Maxentius, the sceptre is very elaborate," she said.
Darius Arya, a professor at the American Institute for Roman Culture, said it was an "amazing" find. "You don't find that kind of wealth in Rome, you find fragments and pieces, but not in such good condition." The sceptre is now on display at the National Museum of Rome.
The Palatine Hill has yielded several important discoveries in the last few months, and is the focus of a major reconstruction plan.
The Italian government has stepped up attempts to preserve its cultural heritage, and has earmarked €20 million to save the hill from crumbling. More money will be raised in a telethon on Italian television.
Meanwhile, the government has ordered a police investigation into the disappearance of an ancient statue, which is thought to have gone missing when the famous Riace warriors were dredged from the sea in the 1970s.
The 6ft 6in warriors were one of Italy's most important archaeological finds, and attracted over a million visitors when they first went on display.
The two existing statues were spotted by Stefano Mariottini, a scuba diver on holiday. However, Giuseppe Bragho, an art detective, said a third statue "completely different from the other two", as well as two shields and a lance, were seen on the sea bed by Mr Mariottini.
The statues are so lifelike that when Mr Mariottini first saw them, half-buried 300 metres from the Calabrian coast, he thought he had found a set of corpses.
My guess is that the writer looked up orichalcum in a dictionary and found a reference to Plato's Atlantis story, so just tossed it in.
Instructive on the use of this alloy is the publication from The American Numismatic Society from 1964, "Orichalcum and Related Ancient Alloys" (Numismatic Notes and Monographs No. 151) by Earle C. Caley. Imperial Rome seems to have had a monopoly on this alloy. It was mostly used for coins, sestertii, dupondii, semises and, sometimes, asses (the latter mostly under Nero). However, there are some other, non-coin objects that have been found and discussed in the monograph. It is very interesting that this scepter if of this material.
Mr. Obama's entry into the contest for the nomination has set off the most spectacular political swoon I have ever seen or, for that matter, read of in American politics, JFK included. You might have to reach back to Alcibiades in ancient Athens to find something comparable. Mr. Obama instantly set hearts aflutter and passions soaring among Democrats (and many independents and even a few Republicans).
Italy's art police are looking a third ancient statue thought to have gone missing when the Riace bronzes were removed from their watery hiding place.
Italian Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli asked the Protection of Artistic Heritage to investigate the claims of art sleuth Giuseppe Bragho, an expert on the Calabria region where the bronzes appeared in 1972, ANSA said.
Bragho said a diver reported at the time that he saw "three statues, probably made of bronze ... one of them lying on its side with a shield on its left arm."
The two recovered statues are on display at the Reggio Calabria museum.
Bragho said a third statue and other items found by the diver, never made it to the museum and have been sought since. He said he "tracked down and photographed a series of documents which indicate an alarming scenario" but did not reveal what the scenario was.
_Coffee, the Lacedaemonion Black Broth._ Your "notes on Coffee" in No. 2. reminded me that I had read in some modern author a happy conjecture that "coffee" was the principal ingredient of the celebrated "Lacedaemonian black broth," but as I did not "make a note of it" at the time, and cannot recollect the writer from whom I derived this very probable idea, I may perhaps be allowed to "make a query" of his name and work. R.O.
_Coffee, the Lacedaemonian Black Broth._--Your correspondent "R.O." inquires what modern author suggests the probability of coffee being the black broth of the Lacedaemonians? The suggestion, I think, originated with George Sandys, the translator of Ovid's _Metamorphoses_. Sandys travelled in the Turkish empire in 1610. He first published his _Notes_ in 1615. The following is from the 6th edit. 1652, p. 52.:-- "Although they be destitute of taverns, yet have they their coffa-houses, which something resemble them. Their sit they, chatting most of the day, and sip of a drink called coffa (of the berry that it is made of), in little _China_ dishes, as hot as they can suffer it; black as soot, and tasting not much unlike it (why not that black broth which was in use among the Lacedaemonians?) which helpeth, as they say, digestion, and procureth alacrity," &c. Burton also (_Anatomy of Melancholy_) describes it as "like that black drink which was in use among the Lacedaemonians, and perhaps the same." E.B. PRICE.
_Lacedaemonian Black Broth_.--Your correspondent "W." in No. 11., is amusing as well as instructive; but it does not yet appear that we must reject the notion of coffee as an ingredient of the Lacedaemonian black broth upon the score of _colour_ or _taste_. That it _was_ an ingredient has only as yet been mooted as a _probability_. Pollux, to whom your correspondent refers us, says that [Greek: zomos melas] was a Lacedaemonian food; and that it was called [Greek: aimatia], translated in Scott and Liddell's _Lexicon_, "_blood-broth_." These lexicographers add, "The Spartan black broth was made with blood," and refer to Manso's _Sparta_, a German work, which I have not the advantage of consulting. Gesner, in his _Thesaurus_, upon the word "jus," quotes the known passage of Cicero, _Tusc. Disp_. v. 34., and thinks the "jus nigrum" was probably the [Greek: aimatia], and made with an admixture of blood, as the "botuli," the _black_ puddings of modern time, were. Coffee would not be of much lighter colour than blood. A decoction of senna, though of a red-brown, is sometimes administered in medicine under the common name of a "_black_ dose." As regards the _colour_, then, whether blood or coffee were the ingredient, the mess would be sufficiently dark to be called "_black_." In respect of _taste_, it is well known, from the story told by Cicero in the passage above referred to, that the Lacedaemonian black broth was _disagreeable_, at least to Dionysius, and the Lacedaemonians, who observed to him that he wanted that best of sauces, hunger, convey a confession that their broth was not easily relished. The same story is told with a little variation by Stobaeus, _Serm_. xxix., and Plutarch, _Institut. Lacon_., 2. The latter writer says, that the Syracusan, having tasted the Spartan broth, "spat it out in disgust," [Greek: dyscheranunta apoptusai]. It would not have been unlike the Lacedaemonians purposely to have established a disagreeable viand in their system of public feeding. Men that used iron money to prevent the accumulation of wealth, and, as youths, had volunteered to be scourged, scratched, beat about, and kicked about, to inure them to pain, were just the persons to affect a nauseous food to discipline the appetite.
R.O. _Lacedaemonian Black Broth_.--I should be glad to know in what passages of ancient authors the Lacedaemonian black broth is mentioned, and whether it is alluded to in such terms as to indicate the nature of the food. It has occurred to me that it is much more probable that it was the same _black broth_ which is now cooked in Greece, where I have eaten of it and found it very good, although it looked as if a bottle of ink had been poured into the mess. The dish is composed of small cuttle-fish (with their ink-bags) boiled with rice or other vegetables.
Mediis sitiemus in undis.
(Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.761
pron = MEH-dees sih-tee-AY-moos in OON-dees.
In the middle of the ocean, we will be thirsty.
Comment: This saying comes in the middle of the story if Iphis and Ianthe in Ovid's Metamorphosis. In short, Iphis' father tells her mother just before Iphis is born that he has prayed for a son, and if a girl is born, she is to be killed. Iphis' mother does her own praying, and the goddess Isis responds that she will help her. A baby daughter is born, and only Iphis' mother and nurse know. Her mother orders that it be told that a son is born, and Iphis' father names the baby (thinking it a son) Iphis, after his own father. Ovid notes that Iphis' mother was relieved because Iphis is a name that is common in gender to boys and girls.
Iphis grows up a girl, pretending to be a boy in order to escape the fate that would happen if the truth were known--all the way to the day of her betrothed wedding to a girl who thinks, too, that Iphis is a young man.
Iphis, seeing what is about to happen notes: on the wedding day, in the midst of the ocean (apart from her gender--life has been very, very good to her), they will, finally, be thirsty. (Nature will not lie. Nature will reveal the lie in the midst of an otherwise wonderful life).
Ah, but Isis appears at the last moment, and true to her promise made to her mother who feared for her baby's death, turns Iphis into a boy.
And so, this expression is a codified way of saying that one is, despite all other blessings, running short of what only nature, and a miracle, could supply.
This story is rich in symbolic meanings. Among them, we might note that the "miracle" happened in this story because a parent made a judgment out of pride, and another made a plea out of love. Love won the moment.
The power of love can be like that. Child abuse also happens so often in settings like this.
There is a marvel to wonder at: how these same patterns express themselves in all of our lives.
Which pattern shall I play into today: pride, or love?
De reliquiis Henrici et Birgittae
: Nuntii Latini
23.02.2007, klo 10.32
Reliquiae Ecclesiae cathedralis Aboensis denuo investigabuntur, cum speretur fore, ut rationibus hodiernis utendis de iis aliquid novi cognoscatur.
In numero harum reliquiarum sunt calvaria radiusque Sancti Henrici episcopi et pileus Sanctae Birgittae.
Traditum est Henricum conditorem et primum episcopum ecclesiae Finlandensis fuisse eumque a rustico quodam nomine Lalli necatum esse.
Experts are excited about a rare coin unearthed by an amateur treasure hunter which could change the accepted ancient history of Britain.
The silver denarius which dates back to the Roman Republic — before Julius Caesar made Rome an empire — was unearthed near Fowey in Cornwall.
Dating from 146 BC, it shows how ancient Britons were trading with the Romans well before the country was conquered in AD 43.
"It proves that there was a lot more going on between the continent and ourselves," said Anna Tyacke, Finds Liaison Officer at the Royal Cornwall Museum.
Cornwall had trade significance because of the tin and copper it produced, but that economic activity is not well documented before the third century AD.
Coins were relatively rare, of high value and often stayed in circulation for more than 100 years — which makes dating the find harder.
Sam Moorhead, Finds Adviser of Iron Age and Roman coins at the British Museum, said: "It may have been the wages of a Roman legionnaire, who earned about 300 denarii a year in the Roman imperial period — after the conquest.
"You could probably have got about eight loaves of bread for a coin like this, or eight litres of wine.
"Vineyard labourers would have earned between a half and one denarius a day. Whereas to be a senator you had to have at least 250,000 denarii in the bank."
The silver coin was minted in Rome and carries the likeness of Roma wearing a winged helmet, plus the name of a Caius Antestius, its maker.
"Roma is a personification of Rome, rather like Britannia is a personification of Britain," Mr Moorhead explained.
The reverse of the coin carries a picture on horseback of the mythological twins Castor and Pollux, who were believed to have helped the Romans in battle.
"Vixere FORTES ante Agamemnon" (There were great men before Agamemnon) - Horace.
Ctesias was a Greek doctor at the Persian court c400 BC. His books survive in fragments; NG Wilson (Photius, Duckworth, London, 1994, 1,1,54 78)provides a generous English sampling. While his Persian History is sober, with the odd weird moment (e.g. man crushed by falling hailstones), his India is a non-stop avalanche of amazing stories. He wrote just before Greeks went there with and after Alexander the Great. The Ctesian message is clear: foreign is funny.
Livy's Roman History abounds with lists of prodigies. They derived from priestly records, a provenance presiding an inherent portmanteau formula: these things are supernatural, hence need no explanation. Livy himself could sometimes rise above this level, while (rightly) insisting that what people believe is always important in context; cf. FB Krauss, An Interpretation of the Omens, Portents, and Prodigies recorded by Livy, Tacitus, and Suetonius (Philadelphia, 1930)
Pliny (AD23-79) addressed his Natural History to Prince Titus. He claims it contains 20,000 facts from 100 authors, plus his own researches. This "lunatic enterprise" (classicist Peter Jones) serves tip fortean fodder alongside mundane fare, often without discrimination, though Pliny does enjoy lambasting "Greek credulity" regarding (e.g.) werewolves. His Preface can sound like Fort himself , e.g,. "Most of us seek agreeable subjects, while topics of immeasurable abstruseness treated by others are dunned in the shadowy darkness of the theme."
Aulus Gellius (Attic Nights, bk. ch4 -second century AD) exemplified the contents of some dilapidated Greek volumes of Mirabilia acquired in Brindisi -cannibals, dog-faced ;aid one-legged men, hermaphrodites mid sex-changes from female to none - in modern tabloid spirit, claiming "disgust with such worthless writings" while eagerly devouring them.
His contemporary Phlegon of Tralles, a secretary to Emperor Hadrian, wrote Long-Lived Persons (fragmentary) and Book of Marvels (Englished by W Hansen, Unit. Exeter Press, 1996). His emphasis is on giant bones, human freaks, multiple and monstrous births, and sexual oddities, especially women becoming men-for an 18th century French parallel to this last, see the Gentleman's Magazine, 4 Aug 1734, p455. Known technically as Paradoxography, Phlegon's stuff is compared by Hansen both to Ambrose Pare's Renaissance tract On Monsters and Marvels and to supermarket tabloids.
For readers unable to stomach the complete Livy-his later books suggestively survive only in epitomes - one Julius Obsequens produced a dumbed-down cull entitled Book of Prodigies, in which each year's forteana are jammed together without discrimination or comment. Obsequens (4th century AD) was probably a pagan seeking to combat the new industry of Christian history and miracle - the reverse being palpable in, notably, Augustine's City of God.
The Byzantines had their paradoxographical cake and ate it, perpetuating the pagan material whilst subordinating it to the Christian strain. Photius is the perfect example. Adoring such stuff, he preserved (e.g. Bibliotheca, chsl88-90) much that would otherwise be lost, but blots his intellectual copybook when (ch190 para146h) blasting one item, the New History of Ptolemy Chennus, thus: "His worst feature is that he does everything he can to explain his absurd yams." What would he have said about Fort's (e.g.) "Procession of the Damned" (Books, pp3-15)?
NB: Genius, Livy, Obsequens, and Pliny are all translated in the Loeb Classical Library series (Harvard University Press).
HISTORIANS have delivered a second and potentially devastating blow to the Italians' reputation for sartorial elegance.
Fresh from last month's news that the Roman occupiers of County Durham committed the ultimate fashion faux pas, wearing socks with their sandals, comes the shocking revelation that they were also responsible for inventing the quintessential symbol of 21st Century British youth - the hoody.
In recent months, the hoody has been banned by shopping malls, its wearers have been made the subject of court orders and it has been blamed by politicians for society's ills.
However, it now emerges that, far from being a recent phenomenon, the hoody was the must-have fashion item for Britain's Roman occupiers, both rich and poor, nearly 2,000 years ago.
Indeed, Britain was the centre of a cottage industry churning out woollen hoodies to be exported across the Empire.
The Roman hoody, or birrus Britannicus, is among the objects recreated for display at a new exhibition at Durham University's Old Fulling Mill Museum, on the banks of the Wear at Durham City.
At Home With The Romans is aimed at introducing children to aspects of domestic life among the invaders and includes board games, coins and mosaics among the rare artefacts found in the North-East.
Curator Craig Barclay said: "One tends to think of Romans being dressed in togas, but the popular dress form was in fact the hoody.
"Essentially, it was a primitive anorak or a waterproof cloak, which was made in Britain but exported as well."
Evidence of the fashion disaster comes from an edict from the Third Century Emperor Diocletian, which tried to set a maximum price for the in-demand garments, and also from pictorial evidence on Roman tombstones, including several from York.
Mr Barclay said: "It is quite ironic that the type of clothing for which Britain was famed in Roman times was the hoody. I am sure it would have been much appreciated by soldiers on Hadrian's Wall."
A possible solution to the Parthenon Marbles dispute between the British Museum and the Greek government has come from a most unlikely source — a gathering in Greenland. Meeting in the depths of the Arctic winter, museum professionals and representatives of indigenous peoples recently assembled in the tiny capital of Nuuk (formerly Godthab) to discuss global strategies on repatriation of cultural heritage.
The Greeks had originally decided to send Minister of Culture Georgios Voulgarakis, but when his officials examined the flight schedule, they realised that he would have to leave Athens for a whole week, missing too much government business. Instead, Greece was represented by Nikoletta Valakou, director of the Athens Ephorate in the Ministry of Culture. In her address, she spoke of the importance of the New Parthenon Museum which is scheduled to open later this year.
Immediately afterwards, Jonathan King took the floor. As the British Museum’s keeper of Africa, Oceania and the Americas, he gave an ethnographer’s view of restitution. He argued that repatriation represents a focus on the past, and "cultural diplomacy" is the way forward.
Both sides politely and eloquently put forward their positions, and a resolution of the century-old dispute seemed just as far away as ever. But following the Nuuk meeting, the director of the Greenland National Museum and Archives, Daniel Thorleifsen, told The Art Newspaper that he hoped the "Greenland example" would be an encouragement to the British and the Greeks.
In an unusual example of cooperative repatriation, Denmark has returned museum material to its former colony, which achieved home rule in 1979. Greenland remains part of Denmark, but is internally self-governing. Its population is only 56,000, living in an area almost ten times the size of the UK. Nuuk is the smallest capital in the northern hemisphere with 13,500 people.
The repatriation was organised at the level of museum professionals, and was based on the principle that both Greenland and Denmark should hold “a representative collection” of objects from Greenland. The first items restituted in 1982 were a collection of 200 watercolours by Aron of Kangeq (1822-69), an Inuit seal hunter and the country’s most important artist.
By 2001, 35,000 objects (mostly archaeological) had been returned from to Greenland from Denmark’s National Museum, leaving around 65,000 pieces in Copenhagen. The Nuuk museum, established in 1966, now receives around 7,000 Greenlandic visitors and 15,000 tourists a year.
When the conference closed on 15 February, it was hoped to issue a Nuuk Declaration, but the wide range of participants (from organisations of Maori to Sami people) meant that immediate agreement could not be reached. Instead a set of general principles were accepted, which included a call on museums to divide material “in equitable ways”. Among the participants was Professor Jack Lohman, director of the Museum of London, who left Greenland having heard a wide range of views, but still feeling that there are “a lot of issues to be addressed” on repatriation.
YOU join us in that cradle of civilisation, Greece. But there won't be much sun protection required on the Adriatic this afternoon: the skies are thick with murderous thunder and lightning.
Despite the inclement weather, a bunch of manly men - 300 to be precise - are standing around in little more than leather loincloths and comfy sandals. They are shouting "hoo-hah!" and beating their chests as their mulleted hair flaps in the wind. They have an urgent appointment at the Hot Gates. No wonder they're eagerly stroking their swords.
Click to learn more...
No, they're not German tourists, and nor is the Hot Gates a lap-dancing club. They're elite Spartan soldiers, the toughest of the tough in the warrior culture that defined the Ancient Greek city state of Sparta. Back then, no one messed with the Spartans; hundreds of years of battlefield dominance had seen to that. But now, with the time fast approaching 480 BC, Sparta is under attack from the evil god-king Xerxes. He wants to conquer Sparta like he's conquered much of the rest of the known world. But he knows the Spartans are macho guys. So just to be sure of victory, Xerxes sends a big army to fight them. A really big army. A million-strong army, in fact, with lump-faced giants, phantom soldiers with sharpened teeth, armoured elephants and battle rhinos thrown in for good measure.
"Come and have a go if you think you're hard enough" - or ancient Greek words to that effect - says Sparta's King Leonidas. He positions his 300 soldiers at the Hot Gates, a narrow corridor between cliffs through which the Persians will have to pass. Let the Battle of Thermopylae - one of the greatest ever, military history fans - commence... But hang on - is King Leonidas speaking with a Scottish accent? Indeed he is. That's Gerard Butler playing the lead the role in 300, a full-on period film based on the graphic novel of the same name by Frank Miller (Sin City, The Dark Knight Returns).
In this epic the 37-year-old from Paisley is rippling with so much muscle as to be almost unrecognisable. He has played more than his fair share of action/hero/macho roles, from Beowulf to Attila The Hun, to Lara Croft's boyfriend in Tomb-Raider to The Phantom Of The Opera. But in this big-budget blockbuster he takes the energy biscuit.
"It wasn't about becoming Schwarzenegger," Butler says of his bulging bod. "I wanted to have power and agility and speed - but I also needed to bulk up to fill the role of the king. I had the armour on my arms designed in a particular way so you could literally see the veins and the meat bulging out of the side. My arms were massive! I'd be working on them with weights and I'd feel my arms were gonna fall off. But I just didn't stop."
For seven months, Butler and his fellow cast members, with the aid of a team of trainers, went overboard in the gym. He adhered to a strict protein-rich diet, and for the duration of the shoot he even gave up the full-strength Marlboro Reds which, during our lunchtime rendezvous in Los Angeles, Butler smokes like there's no tomorrow. Just as you've never seen Butler like this, you've never seen a swords'n'sandals epic like 300. It uses cutting-edge digital technology to create an ancient world with an almost painterly quality. Against this, director Zack Snyder (Dawn Of The Dead) and his team of stunt coordinators set up a beautifully orchestrated orgy of spearing, chopping and beheading. "It's a warrior ballet," says Butler.
"You knew you were climbing into a different world. There was something very un-Hollywood about it. It didn't feel like a stoodio film," he adds with a hint of an American twang. "Even though it felt like a big film, the characters weren't your typical epic-style characters. I often felt we were more like the bad guys. You know, this is no Troy, this is no Alexander - I didn't have time for either of those movies. They were flogging a dead horse there."
This sunny lunchtime in LA, Butler is less like a king than a laidback dude in artfully distressed jeans, leather jacket and an array of bangles and threads adorning his wrist. He has apartments in London and New York these days. But, having lived in LA on and off for a couple of years, he's West Coast in both senses: bit of a Glaswegian wide boy, bit of a Hollywood player, with the occasional lapses into California spiritual speak and American accent to prove it. He also brings with him the tiny wee dog - a miniature pug named Lolita - that, in some La La Land circles, speaks of celebrity status.
He looks his 37 years, with crinkles round his eyes and grey in his hair. But he's still buff some months after finishing filming 300, a legacy of the intense makeover to which he subjected himself for a film that may - after years of 'next-big-thing promise' - finally propel Butler into the spotlight. His fitness today is also the legacy of a more humdrum obligation for the rising Hollywood star: he's just been photographed for the cover of Men's Health, and had to rediscover some of his 300-era shape. "And I just didn't have the same motivation," he grins. "I was also about to shoot a love scene with Hilary Swank."
Butler has been filming in Ireland with the double Oscar-winning actress in a romantic comedy called PS I Love You. "The truth of my character was that he was a limo driver who liked beer."
Butler had to convincingly show off his pecs for the benefit of the magazine... and then his beer belly for the movie. "I went from one body to another in nine days!" Such intensity - of work, of obligation - suits Butler. He came to acting relatively late, after abandoning his legal career in Edinburgh just before he was due to qualify as a solicitor. He enjoyed a roaring twenties, drinking too much and doing "stupid" stuff like hanging off buildings and dodging traffic.
"One of the things we would do as lawyers at the fancy dress Halloween cheese'n'wine ceilidh is drink a glass of wine and smash it off our heads. I always had to go that bit further. I would line up five glasses then smash them off my head. One night I did it when I was in Paisley with my buddies. I was so drunk I stuck it right in my nose! It bled for six hours; I lost so much blood I was getting weak. And I had this big flap of skin hanging off."
He can laugh about it now, with the easy confidence of someone who hasn't touched a drop for "nine years and one month". No, he'll never drink again, and, no he doesn't miss it. "I'm at the stage where I've never had a drink. I have no connection to it whatsoever. The smoking is my next battle. But we're born on earth to be set with these challenges."
But he doesn't want to get "too deep" into the self-destructive aspect of his nature back then; it's too pat, he says, to draw a link between his father being absent for most of his childhood (they were reconciled, but he died of cancer when Butler was 22). "They were crazy times," he admits. "Some of them were done in fun. Some of them were done through a lot of pain that was going on. But now I love the fact that all of that's happened. It's toughened me in a severe way."
Still, his walks on the wild side may come in handy for his lead role in his "passion project", a biopic of Robbie Burns. The as yet unmade production is long running and oft discussed, and it seems Butler has been annoyed by snarky comments on who might appear in the movie with him.
"This is where I wish people in Scotland would understand. People speak out when they really have no idea about the economics of putting a movie together - perhaps when we make it there'll be a couple of Americans in it. And they'll get pissed off about that. But if there weren't it might not have been able to get made. You're trying to make what is an incredible story about an incredible man. But it's period, which is expensive and risky, because much as we love Robbie Burns, trust me, he's not as known around the world as we think he is. Especially not in Los Angeles!"
Still, he's confident they can finally start filming next year. "And hopefully if things keep going the way they've been going for me then it'll be far easier to make the film."
Indeed. Butler is by no means a household name, but he has achieved a rewarding twin-track career (with the 'bi-coastal' lifestyle to match): roles in big Hollywood-friendly fare alongside performances in more thoughtful material including Dear Frankie. But if the advance buzz on 300 is correct - Butler says that in test screenings it scored better results than any previous movie made by Warner Bros, including The Matrix - he may, finally-at-last-no-really, be about to break into the big time.
300 may be a bit daft and OTT; all the hacking and chopping does get a little tiring after a while. But it's truly an eye-frying feast. And it may well have paunchy British men scurrying off to pump some iron sharpish.
"If it does, that can't be a bad thing," laughs Butler, as he draws enthusiastically on another fag. "I hope it doesn't send them home to spear their wives."
Tomorrow, Iranian and Greek philosophers will come together in Athens to discuss their common viewpoints on Socrates.
Although Iranians have developed their own philosophical doctrines throughout the centuries, they have always honored ancient Greek philosopher Socrates as the founder of philosophy.
The 2-day conference entitled "Socrates in the Doctrines of Iranians and Greeks" will be held at the Parnassus Association Hall in Athens on February 23-24.
Secretary of the conference Mohammad Reza Darbandi said the event aims to bring Iranian and Greek philosophers together and explore Socrates from the viewpoint of Iranian philosophers.
Several Iranian and Greek scholars will give lectures on Socrates such as "Socrates from the Viewpoint of Muslims", "Who is the Real Socrates?", "Was Socrates a Prophet"? and "Self-Knowledge from the Viewpoint of Socrates and Iranian Philosophers".
The conference is sponsored by the Iranian cultural attaché in Athens, Greek Parnassus Literary Association and Tehran-based Islamic Culture and Communications Organization.
Last year, Iranian philosophers participated in a similar conference on "Plato and Sohrevardi" at Parnassus Association in Athens.
The missing link of the Thracians civilization's history has been found in Bulgaria's ancient sanctuary of Perperikon.
A team of archaeologists is to announce the phenomenal historical finding on Friday.
It concerns the transition from the late Bronze Age to the Iron one.
The researches of Perperikon highlight an almost unknown period from the time when the Thracian culture had developed and the time of the Trojan War.
In the ancient sanctuary complex Perperikon (Eastern Rhodope Mountains) was found the missing section in the Thracian' history.
The discovery treats the transition between the latest Bronze Age and the beginning of the early Iron Age.
The examination of Perperikon and Tatul ancient settlements gives light to one almost unknown and unexplored period from the Thracian' history.
This is the time of the formation of the Thracian' culture and the time of the Trojan War.
While this events are known from written information, the explorations in the Eastern Rhodopes gives material evidence for the Thracian' culture.
Bulgarian archaeologists announce on Thursday they have made an incredible discovery in the Perperikon area, an ancient living region of Thracians.
The archaeologists said last summer they discovered the missing link in Thracian's history. They have found evidence for the transition from the late Bronze epoch to the early Iron epoch.
At the end of the Bronze epoch, as a result of cataclysms a global system is destroyed. Scientists call the system "East Mediterranean Civilization". After its end, there came the so called "dark ages" - a period, who until recent was a mystery for archaeologists.
According to Associate Professor of ancient history Krassimir Leshtakov, during the "dark ages" Thracian tribes have lived peacefully, thus creating a highly developed civilization. Finally, the world can see the "fruits" of this civilization at Perperikon.
The living area has been around 12 square kilometres, which is much more than the one of Troy for example,
Archaeologists found many objects, such as mould for casting axes, bellows used in smelting industry, arrows, melting pots and pivots. All these objects prove that Perperikon has been a metallurgical centre 13 centuries BC.
Specialists even talk about temple economy, which existed also in Crete and the Middle East. Thracians had games, typical of Egypt and Mesopotamia, which involved fortune telling and astronomy.
The earliest traces of human civilisation discovered so far at Perperikon were dated to the late Neolithic Period, 6th-5th millennium BC.
The ancient Thracian city of Perperikon is located in the Eastern Rhodopes, 15 km northeast of the present-day town of Kardzhali, on a 470 m high rocky hill. The city is called "The Sacred" because of te famous sanctuary and oracular shrine dedicated to Dionysus of the Bessi was situated there.
A legend tells that Alexander the Great himself had sacrificed upon the altar of Dionysus.
Fortuna opes auferre, non animum, potest.
(Seneca, Medea, 176)
Pron = for-TOO-nah OH-pehs ow-FER-ray nohn AH-nih-moom POH-test.
Fortune is able to take one's wealth away, but not one's character.
Comment: This is going to sound, perhaps, a bit morbid. I have a trip to Italy coming up with some students, and so once again, I will put my body (life, future, etc) into a large hunk of metal and allow it to be hurled across the Atlantic ocean. And so I will spend some time considering "what if . . ."
It's a little morbid, but it's also real. What if . . . something happens to me and I don't make it? Fortune can take really everything away from me that I touch every day as my life. If that happens, can I still be really who I am? The ultimate example of that is: could I go down in a plane crash and be my real self?
I spent some time while in seminary going every week to visit a Trappist monk at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Conyers, GA. I read his obituary in the paper yesterday. He was 85. He once told me that Trappist monks have this exercise called the "dying daily"
exercise. They lie down on their bed and envision themselves dead.
Morbid. But, it's a way of letting go of all the stuff. My old friend, the monk, finally made his practice real. He laid down one last time, and did what he had practiced. Eventually, we all do.
This is really not morbid. It's life. We have today. As I see it now, we live our best life today, and then we lay it down. Entirely.
Let it go. All of it. And if we wake tomorrow, we do that again.
When the last day comes, whenever it is, we will have lived some really full, wonderful days. We will have lived some really difficult, trying days. Even the most ordinary ones will have been really wonderful. Why? Because we lived out of who we really are.
De programmate nucleari concordia
: Nuntii Latini
16.02.2007, klo 13.14
In consultationibus multilateralibus, quae Pekini de programmate nucleari Coreae Septentrionalis fiebant, concordia constituta est.
Summa rerum haec est: Coreani Septentrionales principale reactorium nucleare intra duos menses claudent et a nationibus peregrinis magnam copiam petrolei aliudque auxilium oeconomicum accipient.
Praeterea Americani Coream Septentrionalem ex indice terrarum terrorismo faventium tollent.
Eripere vitam nemo non homini potest, at nemo mortem.
(Seneca, Phoenissae 152-3)
Pron = eh-RIH-peh-reh WEE-tahm NAY-moh nohn HOH-mih-nee POH-test aht NAY-moh MOR-tehm.
Anyone can take a person's life away, but no one is able to take death away.
Comment: This proverb expresses everything in terms of the negative:
taking things away. It wants us to know that finally, there is a negative beyond which nothing can be retrieved. You can take a life.
You cannot take the taking of a life away.
I think it begs a question: Can we give life? No? Why not? Yes? How?
And, if you think no, then reflect on the "no one" of the proverb.
And if you think yes, reflect on how it is that you give life TODAY.
NB: I've made a decision. These emails of the Latin Proverbs of the Day will come to an end on March 15, 2007--the Ides of March. Historically, it is a
day of "endings" (Julius Caesar was killed by his "friends" and political opponents that day). And, I will say that I have a new project in mind, which I will announce on March 21 by email--March 21, also known as Alban Eiler in Celtic lands and traditions. There's a hint.
Putin in tertium praesidentatum rogatus
: Nuntii Latini
16.02.2007, klo 13.13
In colloquio interrogatorio canalis televisifici Al-Jazeera Vladimir Putin narravit moderatores civitatum Arabicarum et quosdam duces terrarum Europaearum se rogavisse, ut unum adhuc praesidentatum susciperet.
Accuratius autem non aperuit, qui aut quibus ex terris illi duces Europaei essent, qui id in colloquiis privatis petivissent.
The legendary female warriors, the Amazons, often mentioned in Homer's “Iliad” and almost all documents written by ancient Greek writers such as Plato and Socrates, are known throughout the world as powerful symbols of female virility and the ancient goddess sects. The Black Sea coastal city of Samsun, known as the city where Mustafa Kemal Atatürk began the Turkey's 1919 War of Independence, also happens to be the home of the extraordinary Amazons, who were a nucleus of fear and fascination in ancient texts.
Work has begun in Samsun to highlight the Amazons as yet another of Turkey's ancient cultural assets. The Samsun Metropolitan Municipality plans to construct a miniature city reflecting the time of the Amazons in the city's Batı Park, reported the Anatolia news agency.
The Samsun Metropolitan Municipality Governor Kenan Şara said they would be building a miniature Amazon city on a 40,000 square meter area in Batı Park. He said they were currently working on the project and that a 12-meter tall Amazon statue that will be erected in the park was under construction.
Noting that they aimed to make Samsun a tourist city by highlighting its cultural and historical heritage, Şara said, “It is acknowledged that the Amazons lived in an area between the Kızılırmak and Yeşilırmak deltas around Çorum. That is why we will create an area in Batı Park representing the geography they lived in and including streams symbolizing Yeşilırmak and Kızılırmak on both sides of the city. We will build a miniature Amazon city and people visiting the park will be able to see Amazon statues and relief work.”
Şara said they believed that the miniature city would attract the interest of tourists, adding that the project would gradually be developed and all things related to the Amazons would be included.
Şara also said that Samsun was the city of Atatürk and work would always continue in order to develop the city in that regard as well.
The Amazons were an ancient nation of women warriors who lived in the city of Themiskyra, located near the Terme (Thermedon) River in modern day Samsun. Tales of these fierce warriors abound in ancient Greek literature and mythology, even though the Amazon tribes indeed existed. Amazons were thought to remove one of their breasts in order to use their bow and arrow more effectively, however visual data from paintings and carvings demonstrate otherwise. The Amazons are known to have settled in the Black Sea region in 1200 B.C. and each year a festival is held in their honor in the Terme district of Samsun.
I'm not sure about any modern plans, but back in the 4th Century there was a plan to do just that. A couple authors tell the story, with distinctly different spins; Vitruvius De Architectura 2.2-3 and Plutarch Moralia 335c
Maybe that's been confused with some sort of modern attempt?
Knidos, located at the extremity of the long Datça peninsula near Bodrum, was built partly on the Anatolian mainland and partly on the Island of Triopion, connected by means of a causeway that became two grand harbors remaining more or less intact even today. Knidos was a city of high antiquity featuring a number of ancient worshipping sites, including mostly intact statues of Demeter and temple complexes for Aphrodite and Dionysus among others.
Tekir, Knidos' modern handle, is awaiting sponsors for plans to restore the area. Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, Datça local authority Mustafa Kaya said the Corinth temple and the ancient fountain in the ancient city needed some restoration work, which required financial support along with a supply of electricity. "As you know, there is no electricity in the ancient city of Knidos and it is highly costly to bring such a facility to the city. We are in search of a sponsor to carry out restoration works," he said, adding that the ancient city and the excavation site have been lit via generator power.
"The area where Knidos is situated is also a small port in which the anchored boats need electricity and a generator can't fulfill all the need. When we find a sponsor, both the ancient city and the boats at the port will have electricity and their problems will be solved," Kaya noted.
Noting that they gave great importance to the promotion of Knidos, he said, "We prepared around 2,000 CDs for Knidos, with some promotional information and photographs. Another of our plans is also to release a book about our ancient city."
The ancient city of Knidos lies 35 kilometers from Datça and used to be an advanced city in terms of science, architecture and arts as well as home to the famous astrologist and mathematician Eudoxus, the Persian historian Ctesias, as well as Sostratus, the builder of the celebrated Pharos at Alexandria. Euryphon's students founded the second most famous medical school of their time in Knidos. Also, the sundial, developed by Eudoxus, a great inventor of his time, has attracted numerous domestic and international tourists including boat owners. The ancient city of Knidos had its fair share of remarkable denizens throughout its history.
Knidos also has some of the most impressive ruins on the peninsula. The agora (marketplace), two ancient theaters with the capacity of 20,000 and 5,000, an odeum (a theater), a temple of Dionysus, a temple of the Muses, a temple of Aphrodite and a great number of minor buildings are the major attractions in the area.
Frank M. Snowden Jr., 95, a Howard University classicist for almost 50 years whose research into blacks in ancient Greece and Rome opened a new field of study, died Feb. 18 at the Grand Oaks assisted living home in Washington. He had congestive heart failure.
As a black man, Dr. Snowden was a rarity in classics, but ancient history consumed him since his youth as a prize-winning student at the Boston Latin School and later at Harvard University. His body of work led to a National Humanities Medal in 2003, a top government honor for scholars, writers, actors and artists.
Much of his scholarship centered on one point: that blacks in the ancient world seemed to have been spared the virulent racism common to later Western civilization. "The onus of intense color prejudice cannot be placed upon the shoulders of the ancients," he wrote.
Dr. Snowden's most notable books are "Blacks in Antiquity: Ethiopians in the Greco-Roman Experience" (1970), which took him 15 years to research, and "Before Color Prejudice: The Ancient View of Blacks" (1983). Both were published by Harvard University Press.
Using evidence he found in literature and art, he showed that blacks were able not only to coexist with Greeks and Romans but also were often revered as charioteers, fighters and actors.
Because Romans and Greeks first encountered blacks as soldiers and mercenaries and not slaves or "savages," they did not classify them as inferior and seek ways to rationalize their enslavement, he said.
William Harris, a Columbia University professor who specializes in Greek and Roman history, said Dr. Snowden was the first person to write in a serious way about blacks in antiquity, and his books influenced other scholars, including George M. Fredrickson ("Racism: A Short History") and Martin Bernal ("Black Athena").
However, Harris said: "Snowden really wanted to find a world in antiquity which was without the plague that inflicted America throughout its history, and he pushed the evidence too far to find an ideal pre-modern, pre-medieval world. There was undoubtedly some racism in antiquity, but he talked it down to being minimal. . . . He was right, to a point."
M.I. Finley, an eminent Cambridge University classicist, once wrote in The Washington Post that "Blacks in Antiquity" tended toward overstatement but that it was "at least something" in a much-neglected field.
Frank Martin Snowden Jr. was born July 17, 1911, in York County, Va. He was raised in Boston, where his father, a former Army Department civilian who specialized in race relations, became a businessman.
He graduated in 1932 from Harvard University, where he won a classics prize for an essay he signed "Plato" because anonymous submission was required.
"If you look in the Harvard Library index under Plato, you find one card that says, 'See Snowden,' " he liked to joke in later years.
At Harvard, Dr. Snowden also received a master's degree in classics in 1933 and a doctorate in 1944. His doctoral dissertation on slavery and freedom in Pompeii formed the basis of his later scholarship.
After early teaching jobs at what was then Virginia State College in Petersburg and Atlanta's Spelman College, he joined the Howard faculty in 1942 and spent many years as classics department chairman. From 1956 to 1968, Dr. Snowden was dean of Howard's College of Liberal Arts, overseeing all undergraduate programs. He helped start the school's honors program.
Starting in the late 1960s, Dr. Snowden was criticized by more militant students and teachers for his disapproval of Afrocentrism, a movement to highlight the roots of black culture often at the expense of white European civilization. Some historians likened Afrocentric teaching to "ethnic cheerleading," a position Dr. Snowden also held.
"If you're white and you criticize Afrocentrism, you're a Eurocentrist racist," he said. "If you're black and criticize it, you're a black duped by white scholarship." Above all, he thought that Afrocentrism read "20th-century biases back into antiquity and by seeing color prejudice where none existed."
During the Vietnam War era, Howard, like other universities, attracted student protests over the war and academic concerns. As a faculty leader, Dr. Snowden was a frequent target of student anger, and at one point he was hanged in effigy with university President James M. Nabrit Jr. and Selective Service director Lewis B. Hershey. He resigned his deanship soon after.
Dr. Snowden was fluent in Latin, Greek, German, French and Italian. He first visited Italy in 1938, when he won a Rosenwald fellowship, and went back a decade later as a Fulbright scholar. A frequent lecturer abroad on State Department-sponsored tours, he was named cultural attache at the U.S. Embassy to Rome in 1953 at the urging of Ambassador Clare Boothe Luce.
Time magazine reported that his appointment combated "two of the standard Communist-propaganda charges against" the United States, "that 1) Americans are materialistic and cultureless, 2) the Negroes are downtrodden."
His appointment did not prevent condescending attitudes from occasionally emerging. According to a news attache at the embassy, one visiting congressman appeared to criticize Dr. Snowden for writing his doctoral thesis on slavery in the Roman Empire.
"Well, since you are a Negro, I suppose that was of special interest to you," the congressman said.
"Actually, my special interest was in the fact that nearly all of the slaves in ancient Rome were white," Dr. Snowden said.
The congressman stomped off.
Dr. Snowden was married to the former Elaine Hill, a high school art teacher, from 1935 until her death in 2005.
Survivors include two children, Jane Lepscky of Washington and Frank M. Snowden III of New Haven, Conn.; four grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
Dum bibimus, dum serta, unguenta, puellas poscimus, obrepit non intellecta senectus.
(Juvenal, Satires, 9:128-9)
Pron - doom BIH-bih-moos, doom SAIR-tah, oon-GWEN-tah, PWEL-lahs POHS-kih-moos, ohb-REH-pit nohn in-tel-LEHK-tah seh-NECK-toos.
While we are drinking and demanding garlands, oil and girls, old age sneeks up on us unknown to us.
Comment: Another way of putting this might be as a statement: When we wake up one morning and discover that old age has definitely arrived (however one determines that) what do we want to look back over our shoulders and see?
The best answer to that (only fools try to answer this question for others--so call me a fool) may be that we are utterly unattached to the past, and that we are fully at peace to have arrived at old age.
It still leaves ME asking for myself: am I living today in a way that I can let today go when today is over, and not regret it tomorrow? If so, old age, when it arrives (I'm sure that aging is happening, but not ready to call myself "in" old age) will be just like another day.
That would be nice.
Nigricolor in USA candidatus praesidentatus
: Nuntii Latini
16.02.2007, klo 13.08
Iam quadraginta anni acti sunt ex quo homines nigricolores segregatione phyletica finita in USA iura civilia acceperunt, sed nunc primum fieri potest, ut vir nigricolor praesidens Americanorum designetur.
Ille est Barack Obama, senator democrata Illinoisianus, qui quidem hucusque breve tempus in politica operatus est.
Acerrima autem competitrix eius est Hillary Clinton, femina omnibus notissima, quae hoc tempore plures apud democratas quam Obama fautores habet.
Razismus, suspiciones moresque veteres profundissimas apud Americanos radices usque habent et multi sunt, qui de praesidente nigricolore ne cogitare quidem possunt.
In 1982 The State Historical Museum acquired a set of a gold funeral wreath and three pair of earrings from the KGB. According to the given information the objects originated from the clandestine excavations in Anapa or its vicinities. The complex of jewellery discussed is chronologically close to the burial in the tomb II, excavated in 1975 in Gorgippia, which may be dated not later than the middle-third quarter of the 2nd century AD. The fact that the plaque of the funerary wreath finds parallels only among the medallions from Gorgippia, and was most probably hammered in the same matrix as these objects, gives grounds to discuss the complex of finds as most probably originating from the necropolis of Gorgippia. Having in mind the wealth of the complex, the time and the circumstances of its acquisition, it may be tentatively supposed, that the finds originate from a monumental tomb, excavated in Gorgippia in 1978, which was robbed several years before. Regrettably, we will never find out about any other objects and the complete inventory of this tomb will remain unknown.
Greek officials have publicly presented no evidence that a controversial ancient bronze statue of Apollo bought in 2004 by the Cleveland Museum of Art was looted from Greece or any other country. Nor have they launched a claim to have the Apollo returned.
But according to the Louvre Museum in Paris, officials from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture threatened to withdraw the loan of 19 antiquities from an upcoming exhibition on the work of the great ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles unless the Louvre agreed not to exhibit the Apollo.
"Greece made the withdrawal of the Apollo of Cleveland a condition sine qua non of its participation and therefore its loans to the Praxiteles exhibition," the Louvre said in a statement Friday. "The Louvre had no other choice but to withdraw its request" to borrow the sculpture from Cleveland.
The Louvre account, which differs in details from statements offered by Greek cultural officials, nevertheless shows how the Cleveland Apollo has become a focal point of the latest effort by Greece to halt the illegal trade in looted antiquities.
Malcolm Bell III, an art historian at the University of Virginia and a leading figure in the international debate over looted antiquities, said that Greece's action regarding the Apollo "is a warning that unprovenanced antiquities should not be purchased. I admire them for taking that position."
Timothy Rub, director of the Cleveland museum, said the institution has always acknowledged that the Apollo has gaps in its provenance, or ownership history. But he said it was wrong for Greece to raise its objections with the Louvre rather than by contacting the Cleveland museum directly.
In December, an unnamed source from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture told Agence France Presse that the Cleveland Apollo "was probably sold illegally after it was found in the 1990s by an Italian vessel in international waters between Italy and Greece."
Rub has said the Cleveland museum's research shows the Apollo did not come from the sea, and that "to have someone object to its inclusion in exhibition on basis of an unsubstantiated report is unfair."
Until recently, Greece, Italy and other countries rich in ancient treasures have asked museums in Europe and America to return antiquities when they had proof that they had been looted.
Soon, in fact, the Cleveland Museum of Art will send a delegation to Rome to discuss an Italian claim that objects in the museum's collection were looted.
Greece, however, took a harder line when it objected to a plan by the Louvre to exhibit the Cleveland museum's Apollo at an exhibit starting March 23.
Maria Volioti, an archaeologist in the Greek culture ministry, said Thursday that Greece objected to the loan of the Apollo because of the gaps in its provenance, which raise the possibility that it may have been looted. She also said that the objections to the Louvre were stated gently and were not meant, in her words, to "threaten" or "blackmail."
The Louvre, however, said that Greece delivered its ultimatum over the Apollo in the strongest possible terms, in writing and in person during a meeting in Athens in January.
The Cleveland museum bought the Apollo in 2004 from Phoenix Ancient Art, whose principals, brothers Ali and Hicham Aboutaam, have run afoul of authorities in the United States and Egypt.
But the museum bought the Apollo only after scientific evidence showed that the sculpture was excavated more than a century ago, and hence was not subject to recent laws aimed at halting trafficking in looted antiquities. Furthermore, the museum says it has a written statement from a German lawyer saying the Apollo was in his family's collection in the early 20th century.
Rub and other Cleveland museum officials have said it's better to buy, study and exhibit works such as the Apollo than to let them disappear into private hands, perhaps forever.
The Louvre has signed a 1970 UNESCO convention aimed at halting the illegal trade in looted antiquities, but it considered the Cleveland Apollo worthy of exhibiting.
Not being able to show the work "constitutes a major harm to the scientific community, which is losing a unique opportunity to evaluate this piece in connection with other works presented in this section of the exhibition," the Louvre statement said.
Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis admitted yesterday that he learned last week about potentially one of the most significant archaeological finds in Greece for many years by watching a TV news bulletin rather than being informed by his staff.
Voulgarakis made the comment during a press conference to mark his first year in charge at the Culture Ministry.
He wanted to use the opportunity to give a rundown of the achievements during his time as minister but he also revealed some of the problems that blight his department.
“There are sticking points and slow reflexes at the ministry,” Voulgarakis said. “I was informed about the discovery of the ancient theater in Menidi by the TV news programs.”
The minister blamed the poor response on junior ministry staff.
Excavation work at a site in Menidi, northern Athens, led to the discovery last week of sections of an ancient Greek theater which is likely the fabled 4th century BC ancient theater of Acharnae, according to archaeologists, who said it may be a “sensational” find.
Greek and foreign archaeologists have been searching for the Acharnae theater for the past two centuries.
Voulgarakis also accepted that his ministry had not handled well last month’s auction in London of heirlooms once owned by the former Greek royal family. He said that experts were currently cataloging all the valuable items at the former royal estate in Tatoi, north of Athens, to make sure the same mistakes would not be made again.
Despite the problems described by the minister, he said that he was pleased by his first year in the job after he was reshuffled – in a surprise move – from his previous position as public order minister.
“I think things are going well,” said Voulgarakis, who emphasized his satisfaction with Greece securing the return of a number of artifacts from abroad.
He said that he would now like his ministry to focus on issues relating to contemporary culture such as cinema and books.
WHEN a shocked gardener dug up human bones on her allotment a major police operation went into action.
Officers arrived at the plot of land in the Palmerston Road allotment site in Woodston, Peterborough, and immediately set up a crime scene.
Forensic officers carried out a detailed inspection under the cover of a white tent, while a police officer stood guard outside.
Hardy allotment holders already working their land watched the police activity on Saturday afternoon with bemusement.
Some feared the keen gardener, who has not been named, had dug up the remains of a murder victim buried under her vegetable patch.
However, a vital clue was later unearthed when the remains of what is thought to be an ancient Roman bowl was discovered alongside more bones.
Today, the bones and the pottery were being examined by a forensic archaeologist who will attempt to work out how old they are, and how they came to be buried beneath the allotment.
Cambridgeshire police spokeswoman Kate Burke said: "The allotment holder discovered a number of bones, which we believe to be human.
"An investigation is under way and we are currently trying to work how the bones came to be buried at the site.
"A forensic archaeologist visited
the site on Sunday and he is carrying out tests. We hope he will be able to tell us how old they are."
Allotment holders and local residents yesterday spoke of their shock at the discovery.
Nicola Pepe (66), who lives in nearby Queen's Walk, has been an allotment holder at the site for more than 40 years.
Speaking at the scene, Mr Pepe said: "I have been coming here almost every day since 1966 and I've never seen anything like this happening before.
"I was just walking past and saw the gates open, so I thought I would come and check everything was OK. Then I saw the police.
"I'm shocked to hear that bones have been found in the soil. I would love to know how they got there."
A man in his 60s, who lives in New Road, said local people were keen for the bones to be identified quickly.
He said: "Everybody has been talking about it. There are rumours a skull was found, but it's hard to know what the truth is.
"I suppose it's possible the bones could be really old and part of some ancient burial site. If so, that would be fascinating.
"We're all hoping they have not been dumped there recently."
The allotment has been closed to the public while the police investigation is completed.
The article analyses the depictions of archers in so-called 'Scythian' clothes (a high sharp cap or a rounded hood, a caftan and trousers) in Attic archaic vase-painting. The author concludes that these figures were neither conceived as real ethnical Scythians, nor associated by vase painters or their customers with this or any other people. The clothes were rather an iconographic conventionality symbolising a second rank character accompanying a hero. The latter was depicted as a hoplite. The 'Scythian' clothes corresponded to the character's function, not to his ethnical identity. This scheme in vase-painting existed between c. 530 and 490 BC, and then went out of use, because after the Greco-Persian wars these clothes began to be associated with ethnical identity, though not Scythian, but Persian. The real prototype of the 'Scythian' archers were the archers of different ethnical groups first of Median, and later of Persian army. The 'Scythian' attire of the archers on the vases, therefore, has nothing to do with the real Scythians of the North Pontic area.
In Lusitania de abortu suffragium
: Nuntii Latini
16.02.2007, klo 13.06
Portugalienses, olim Lusitani dicti, de abortu lege permittendo suffragium populi habuerunt.
Maior pars suffragantium novam legem probavit, qua abortus primis decem graviditatis septimanis permitteretur.
Suffragium autem non obligat, quia minus quam dimidium ex ius suffragii habentibus ad urnas venit.
Ex his sexaginta fere centesimae (59,3%) novam legem sustinuerunt, circiter quadraginta centesimae (40,7%) mutationem noluerunt.
Nihilo minus minister primarius Jose Socrates, cuius factio socialistica maiorem in parlamento partem delegatorum habet, affirmavit novam legem perlatum iri.
Ex lege vetere abortus in rarissimis tantum casibus permittitur.
Temples that archaeologists have unearthed in the eastern Rhodope Mountains in Bulgaria are about a thousand years older than the pyramids in Egypt and the Mesopotamian civilization, experts claim.
Archaeologists Ana Raduncheva and Stefanka Ivanova said in an interview for BTA that the whole system of temples in the Rhodope region dated back to the Vth millenium B.C. This is almost 4,000 years before the Thracian people settled on these lands.
At the end of the Chalcolithic Age, the rock temples were abandoned for a large period of time. The Thracians rediscovered them about 2,500 years later, the archaeologists claim.
Doris Lynn Kays, born October 25, 1946, passed away the morning of February 14, 2007. She leaves behind her devoted husband of 38 years, William Kays; parents, J. Edgar and Glenice McIntire; younger brother, James McIntire; and nieces, Megan, Morgan and Mandy McIntire. A native of San Antonio, she graduated from Robert E. Lee High School in 1964. Doris was a spirited and loyal graduate of The University of Texas, receiving her Bachelors Degree in 1968, and Masters Degree in 1970, and an avid fan of her favorite football team, the Longhorns. In 1968, she was hired as an English and Latin teacher with the North East Independent School District and taught at MacArthur High School for 17 years. Doris continued to work for the district as the Instructional Specialist in Language and Curriculum, then the Foreign Language Consultant and finally as the Director of Curriculum Compliance and Foreign Language. She retired from NEISD in January 2007, with 39 years of service amongst friends. Doris treasured the time spent with family, friends, colleagues and students. Losing her is immeasurable and while our sorrow is deep, we know she would rather find joy in our hearts at this celebration of her life.
It was one of the Culture Ministry’s grandest plans for the Olympics – but was never implemented. Highlighting the Egyptian temple at Brexiza as part of an archaeological and tourist itinerary that would have included the site of Rhamnus, the Marathon Museum, Tymbos and the Tsepi cemetery would have been an interesting project for an archaeological site in Attica that is significant both for its size and the finds that have been unearthed there.
That was the theory, but in practice the prefecture rejected the project. Now it has been saved at the last minute at the initiative of Culture Ministry General Secretary Christos Zachopoulos, who has found a way to include it as a sub-project to technical work on the Lavrion mines, thus securing the sum of 400,000 euros, which will come from Third and Fourth Community Support Framework funds.
Iphigenia Dekoulakou, excavator of the Egyptian temple and an archaeologist with 35 years in the field, sounded the alarm. “The walls must be stabilized or the temple will collapse. Fragile materials and damp are the temple’s basic problems.”
A visit to Mikro Elos in Brexiza on the borders of the Marathon and Nea Makri municipalities is revealing.
Partly underwater, partly overgrown with weeds and separated from the sea by a road, the site is eye-catching. Dotted about are statues of Osiris and Isis – copies of course, as the originals are in the Marathon Museum.
The excavation is barely complete and the need for stabilization and conservation work is urgent.
One of the most recent finds was a bronze head and hand that were taken for restoration to the Piraeus Museum, which is the only place that has the appropriate workshop.
The pool, which is half inside, half outside the fence “was something common in villas on the outskirts of Rome,” explained Dekoulakou. They were used mainly to raise fish and were always close to the villa. “They were common there, but here it is a unique find.”
Since 2001, when she began exploring the site, Dekoulakou observed that the temple surrounds a four-sided court, with sides of unequal length ranging from 60.5 to 64.6 meters, onto which opened four grand portals, one on each side. “The entrances had marble steps, thresholds, pilaster strips and lintels, on the exterior of which is a relief of a solar disk with a tail. To the right and left of each of the entrances were four marble pedestals for statues, two inside and two outside the gates.”
The entrances were like bastions and emulate the style of Egyptian portals. Since the discovery of the first two Egyptian-style statues on the site in 1968, six statues have been found, including an intact marble sphinx, a gray stone sphinx in two pieces and a portrait of Polydeuces.
Dekoulakou told us how, when she first went to the site in 2001, she saw what looked like little mounds, as if antiquity thieves had been at work. “We started there to see what they had taken. But we discovered the south portal. We realized there were four and we found them all.”
In fact the site had not been raided: “They had dug a hole but luckily that hadn’t found the two large statues of Isis and Osiris; they missed them by half a meter.”
What more does the excavator expect from the dig? “Sculptures and the rest of the architectural shape of the temple. But the stabilization work has to come first.”
Seventy rare oil lamps
Among the outstanding finds from the Brexiza site are 70 large lamps, the only ones of their kind. As Dekoulakou points out, “it is their size – 40 centimeters wide from the handle to the wick and 12 centimeters high – that makes them unusual. On them are relief busts of Serapis and Isis.”
What are they doing at Nea Makri? “It is not a question of the area but of the cult. We have evidence from a 4th century BC inscription that a temple to Isis was founded in Piraeus. The cult of Isis and the Egyptian gods gradually spread throughout the Roman world. In Greece, it was linked to Demeter and Aphrodite, because the goddess possesses features that can be adapted to the cult of the Greek deities. She was the protector of agriculture in Egypt, the god of love and marriage, the protector of women.”
Skeletons dating back to the 1st Century have been discovered by archaeologists working at an Anglian Water site in Lincolnshire.
The water company called archaeologists after a geographical survey showed The Wong in Horncastle could contain important artefacts.
The archaeologists found coins, pottery, tweezers and 30 skeletons at the site.
The items have now been sent to specialists for cataloguing.
The site was originally being surveyed by the water company to see if waste water systems in the area could be improved.
Naomi Field, director of Lindsey Archaeological Services - the company called in by Anglian Water - said the find threw up some questions.
"The biggest surprise was finding the cemetery itself. We weren't as surprised about the ditches we found as aerial photographs indicated there may be some.
"But we weren't prepared for the scale of the site as the ditches are very big and deep," said Ms Field.
She added they believed the site had been a burial ground for the Roman community living in Horncastle.
The items have all been washed and have now been sent to experts for more in-depth analysis.
Anglian Water spokeswoman Collette Nicholls, said: "The find here can help plot the whereabouts of the settlement and the nature of that settlement for the very first time.
"The quality of some of the pottery found suggests the community was more than just a farming outpost."
THE city s history could be re-written following the discovery of a Roman amphitheatre.Grant McCabe reports on a find dating back to 300AD which has left experts stunned.
THE city s history could be re-written following the discovery of a Roman amphitheatre.Grant McCabe reports on a find dating back to 300AD which has left experts stunned.
A 150ft-wide Roman amphitheatre is buried under woodland near Peterborough, archaeologists have revealed today.
Experts are already hailing the find as one of the most important ever made.
Only a handful have ever been unearthed across the country, and its discovery could change how historians view Roman Peterborough.
The amphitheatre was found at the Bedford Purlieus site, near Wansford, by archaeologist David Hall during a survey he was carrying out on fields and woodlands throughout the county.
He said: I am very excited by this wonderful find. We are looking at a construction dating back to about 300 AD, which would take us back to the time of the Romans.
From surveying the land, the building is quite clearly of a semi-circular shape, with a diameter of about 50 metres.
Mr Hall, who is now a freelance archaeologist, following several years of working for English Heritage, has more
than 30 years experience working on land throughout the country.
He stumbled across the amphitheatre while using specialist equipment on the land to test its age.
He said: The varying resistance in the soil can then determine the shape and size of what is underneath.
In layman s terms, it is like a radar on a ship finding what is nearby.
Mr Hall believes, from the contours of the land, that the first remains of the amphitheatre, an outside wall, could be found by digging as little as 5ft down.
Today, Roman archaeology expert Hedley Swane, of the Museum of London, claimed the discovery was a find of extreme importance, and would change the interpretation of Roman Peterborough.
Mr Swane said: For an area that had a population of only 2,000 in Roman times, it is remarkable that such an area had an amphitheatre.
You would never expect such a small site to possess such a venue, and I am fascinated at this potential development.
Should this be uncovered, then it will change what experts have previously thought about the area.
Talks are now underway with the Forestry Commission, which owns the land, about the best way to excavate the site.
Only 12 Roman amphitheatres have been found in the UK.
Some antique affinities to FT192:8's miscellany of chopped choppers.
Pharoah Merneptah's Karnak inscription (c.1220BC) inventories 13,230 captured male organs - penile servitude indeed. Greek 'Bobbitting' begins with Hesiod's account (Theogony, v159-200) of how Cronos under maternal orders lopped off his father Uranus's crown jewels with a flint sickle and tossed them into the sea - Aphrodite was born from their resultant spume. Genital-religious associations recur, pagan and Christian. Leviticus 21.10 forbids monorchids ("bath his stones broken" - King James version) to approach the altar. Unknown vandals (FT191:16) chose to deface phallic statues of Hermes. Athenagoras (Legatio, ch21) recommends the castration of pagan gods as proof they are not divine.
Fanatic followers of Cybele often self-castrated, evoking the bilateral scorn of Seneca (fr34) quoted by Augustine, City of God, bk6 ch10 para2; cf. Pliny (Natural History, bkll ch109 para261) who elsewhere (bkll ch100 para263) says human testicles are uniquely crushable by injury or natural causes. Catullus penned a poem (no.63) about one such devotee, Attis. Church Father Origen de-balled himself through an over-literal interpretation of Matthew 19.12 ("There be eunuchs which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven's sake") - "judged it prudent to disarm the tempter," gibed Edward Gibbon (DFRE, ch15). Augustine (Confessions, bk8 ch8) considered and rejected this cure for youthful lusts.
Periander, tyrant of Corinth, ordered 300 boys castrated for the lucrative (severance pay?) eunuch market (Herodotus, Histories, bk3 ch48). According to Pliny (bk9 ch41 para80), they were rescued by murex fish stopping the boat through deliberately clinging to its sides. Panionius, a notorious eunuch-merchant, castrated Hermogenes. Falling afterwards into the latter's clutches, he was obliged to un-man his four sons, who were then forced to reciprocate (Herodotus, bk8 chs105-6) - the balls were now clearly in the other court.
Domitian (Suetonius, Life, ch7) banned castration. It was also illegal in Byzantium. But the law was an ass. Christian martyrs were often mutilated, also homosexuals and bestialists. Though figures of fun (Gibbon, ch19, rails against "this imperfect species"), eunuchs had top court jobs reserved for them. Several Byzantine patriarchs were non-orchid (like Goebbels in the British army song), likewise Justinian's generals Narses and Solomon. The latter was unlucky; losing his infant tackle "through an accident with the bedclothes" (Procopius, Histories, bk3 chll para6).
Over in the West, Geoffrey, father of Henry II, as Gibbon (ch59) tells it, "ordered all the Chapter of Seez, with the bishop-elect, to be castrated, and made all their testicles be brought him in a platter. Of the pain and 'danger they might justly complain; yet, since they had vowed chastity he deprived them of superfluous treasure".
Castration was a punishment for Roman adulterers (Horace, Satires, bkl not v45), whereas the Hellenic reprisal was to stuff a radish up the culprit's arse - a fundamental difference. Lucilius (Satires, bk7 frs303-5) mentions a Roman who "lopped off his cock and cods to spite the wicked woman;" Varro (Menippean Satires, v235) also alludes to a self-castrator.
Nero (Suetonius, Life, ch28 para1; Dio Cassius, Roman History, bk63 ch12 paras4-13) castrated and married the boy Sporus because of his resemblance to wife Poppaea, whom he kicked to death while pregnant - an unorthodox venture into same-sex unions. Roman wags remarked that the world would have been better if Nero's father had had such a wife.
The Byzantine princess-historian Anna Comnena shall be our figurative ball-breaker. Angry at her husband's timidity, which had spoiled their would-be coup d'etat, she (Nicetas Choniates, Chronicle, bkl chlO) "felt justified in strongly contracting her vagina when his penis entered deep inside her, thus causing him great pain" - a meat-and-vag case of sexual politics.
"Never Mind the Bollocks" - Sex Pistols
The portrait being unveiled today is on a par with a country that knows no bounds, a country–as Vigneault sang–whose spirit has been strengthened more by winter than by any other season.
Look at the portraits in the foyer. Each of the faces of those who served as governor general before me reflects a moment in time, and each of these works of art is an original piece of this institution's history.
Pliny the Elder said that the art of creating portraits was born of the need to conquer absence.
One night, so the story goes, a young soldier went to visit his fiancée one last time before joining his regiment. A lamp cast a shadow of the young man on the wall and the young woman decided to trace his shadow so that she would always have an image of her love, who would soon be so far away.
That may just be a romantic story, but it does convey the meaning and importance of portraits in our society. They are a means of remembering a presence, of reflecting a life, of celebrating a journey.
So what story will this particular portrait tell us?
Adrienne Clarkson knew, and herself said, that "the parameters of our society are fixed by climate and geography," which may be why she was drawn to winter like the needle of a compass points to the North.
This choice was in fact a commitment to the Arctic that guided her throughout her mandate as 26th governor general of Canada.
She herself said that she was "rather pleased that (hers) is the only official portrait of all the governors general from 1867 on that has snow as its setting."
In her journal, Mary Pratt, who painted the portrait, described one of her watercolours in which, all bundled up, hands in her pockets, with one booted foot forward, Adrienne Clarkson looked a little "like a Tibetan warrior somehow."
I know, dear Adrienne, that, although surprising, this comparison pleases you.
It refers to the strength of character of an exceptional woman who will remain, for my generation and generations to come, a model of determination and daring.
In your travels across the sixtieth parallel, you reminded us how vast Canada's true dimensions are, but I would also like to honour the tremendous effort you and John Ralston Saul made in bringing the historic polish back to this institution and its relevance to Canadians.
My husband, Jean-Daniel Lafond, and I share your unfailing commitment to culture. Culture as a means of shaping and inhabiting the world.
We would also like to add another dimension by using new technologies, while continuing to make Rideau Hall a place for reflection, where everyone has the opportunity to consider the very best Canada has to offer.
Of all the powerful moments of your mandate, this is one that many of us will remember.
How can anyone forget the faces of the veterans you accompanied to Normandy on June 6, 2004, as commander in chief of the Canadian Forces?
Sixty years earlier, as young soldiers, they sacrificed their youth–and many of them their lives–to liberate women and men they did not know from the chains of oppression and tyranny.
Those faces are forever etched in the memories and hearts of the entire world.
Finally, Adrienne and John, I would never forgive myself if I did not mention your passion for nature, thanks to which the gardens at Rideau Hall truly came into full bloom.
Please also know that Canadians–and especially the women of Canada–join me in applauding the creation of the Cup that bears your name to celebrate excellence in women's hockey.
The Clarkson Cup was presented for the first time in July 2006; it was given to the members of the Canadian women's Olympic team, with whom I was foolhardy enough to join in a little game in Turin.
You have left a rich legacy and– as Pliny the Elder would say–your portrait, which we are about to unveil, will serve as a reminder of your presence in this institution and among your predecessors.
Tortures were among the gruesome spectacles staged for the 12,000 people who attended performances at the Roman amphitheatre in Chester some 2,000 years ago, according to new evidence.
A gladiatorial torture block has been discovered in the centre of the arena, which was once the largest in Roman Britain.
The huge stone slab, with an iron fitting fastened into the surface, would have been used for chaining victims during spectacles.
The find has astonished archaeologists, who now realise that two similar stones found in 1975 had been completely misinterpreted until now. They were believed to have simply marked a processional path.
Their real purpose was confirmed by an image of such stones in a mosaic of gladiators found at a Roman villa at Bignor, West Sussex, in the 19th century.
The new evidence proves that gladiatorial activities at an amphitheatre thought to have been modelled on the Colosseum in Rome went way beyond ceremonial military displays.
Whether the victims were human or animal is unclear at the moment. One theory is that the blocks were used for executing criminals, who would be cast into the arena together with violent beasts. Archaeologists say that spectactors may also have been treated to a fight between chained bulls and bears.
The stone was found about 13 feet (4m) below ground, during the final stage of a three-year excavation by English Heritage and Chester City Council.
Dan Garner, one of Chester’s archaeologists, said that previous theories suggesting the arena was used for military tattoos or drill practice could now be “firmly banished”: “I dare say that people met a rather brutal end in Chester’s arena some 1,900 years ago.”
Tony Wilmott, an archaeologist with English Heritage, said: “What is certain is the Romans’ flair for mass entertainment. By chaining victims to these blocks along the long axis, they are trying to make sure that spectators have the maximum view of whatever was happening and preventing victims from sheltering against the arena wall, where they could be seen by only half of the audience.”
The amphitheatre was rediscovered by chance in 1929, having disappeared from sight in the 14th century. Although it was once one of the larger arenas in Northern Europe, little of it has survived.
Half of the remains are buried beneath the site of an 18th-century building. Most of the original stones were used to build the city walls and the adjacent church in the 11th century.
The discovery will be presented at an international symposium, entitled Roman Amphitheatres and Spectacula: a 21st century perspective, to be held in Chester this weekend.
Archaeologists will learn how the excavations have revolutionised what was known about the amphitheatre, shedding fresh light on its architecture. Evidence shows that it once had eight vaulted stairways serving as entrances.
Mr Wilmott, who is chairing the symposium, said: “Further analysis of the architectural scheme according to classical proportions has enabled English Heritage to reconstruct the height and grandeur of the amphitheatre. It shows that it had a highly elaborate, two-storey stone decorative treatment on the exterior, which is extraordinary and seldom found north of the Alps. Its closest parallels are the Colosseum itself in Rome and the amphitheatre of El Djem, Tunisia.”
He said the findings would change the way historians thought not only about Roman Chester but also about the social and cultural meaning of amphitheatres and spectacles across the Roman empire.
Other finds have revealed that the spectators — mostly made up of the thousands of le-gionnaires stationed at Chester — would have tucked into ribs and chicken while watching the tortures and other spectacles. Tiny bowls decorated with images of gladiators suggest that the spectators also liked to have a souvenir of a good day’s torture.
Visitors to the Vatican are getting a heads-up that nothing is eternal -- at least when it comes to the Holy See's museums. Admission prices just went up by a euro to 13 euros, and opening hours have shrunk for visitors not affiliated with organized tour groups.
Until very recently, doors opened at 8:45 a.m. Under the new rules, which went into effect last month, Vatican-approved tour groups with reservations will still be able to get in at that early hour, but individual visitors must wait until 10 a.m.
Vatican officials say the shorter hours are part of a plan to control overcrowding by phasing in a mandatory reservation system over the next year for all visitors, whether they are on a group tour or not. Tour groups are being given priority now, they say, because they are easier to manage.
But some in the Italian tourism industry say that when you add the time waiting in line -- which can be two hours or longer in the summer -- and the fact that tickets are sold only until 12:30 p.m. in the off season and 3:30 p.m. in high season, visitors not part of a group may have barely enough time to see anything at all.
And of course there is much to see: Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, for instance, and the rooms Raphael painted for Pope Julius II. These treasures of Western art are, for many tourists, a principal reason to visit Rome in the first place.
But the number of visitors to the Vatican has nearly doubled in the last 10 years, hitting a high of 4.2 million in 2006, and has resulted in the overcrowding of a structure originally built to accommodate a Renaissance papal court, not up to 20,000 visitors at a time shuffling around one another.
Between enormous tour groups and rowdy school-trippers, a visit to the Vatican Museums can become "more of a traumatic than an artistic experience for tourists," said Paola, one of several guides who were interviewed and who asked that their full names not be used for fear of offending the Vatican.
The changes come as many Italian cultural sites take measures to control overcrowding.
Before a booking system went into effect at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the lines at the entrance rivalled those at the Vatican. While the Uffizi caps at 900 the number of visitors who can be inside at one time, some 1.5 million visitors managed to tour the galleries last year. Once a major restructuring project is completed in four or five years, the number of people allowed in at one time is expected to increase significantly.
The Colosseum, too, has a booking service, but because all visitors have to pass through security checkpoints, with 3.9 million visitors a year, lines are inevitable. "It's still pretty fast," said Rossella Rea, the archeologist in charge of the monument.
But it could be faster, so a new entrance point is being developed at the eastern end of the Colosseum. If financing allows, a now-closed section of the main floor's walkway will be restored this year, so visitors will have more space to spread out. Granted, the Roman amphitheatre is large (it once held 80,000 ancient Romans), but tour groups still manage to trip over one another.
But at the Vatican, critics worry that the shorter hours will lengthen the lines, which on some days reach nearly a kilometre around Vatican City's walls to the colonnade of St. Peter's Square. Now, people will still line up, but "they won't have the certainty that they'll get in before the museums close," said one American guide who asked not to be named.
Still, something must be done about the overcrowding, said Francesco Buranelli, the director of the Vatican Museums.
"The snaking line is under everyone's eyes; it's jaw-dropping, even though it does move pretty fast," he said, notwithstanding the increased security measures at the entrance after Sept. 11, 2001.
The new hours, he said, were the first step toward the mandatory reservation system that will go into effect in January and that museum officials said will allow them to spread out visitors during the day. For now, favouring tour operators, who bring in more than a third of total visitors, is seen as a "convenient choice to help the museums through this transition," Buranelli said.
Unlike many other cultural institutions, the Vatican Museums were among the first museums to have audio guides, and a restaurant has operated within its walls since 1975.
It has also been selling guidebooks and monographs on its collections for some 20 years, recently branching out into new lines, like the high-end Vatican Library Collection, which includes merchandise like reproductions of documents from the Vatican's archives and facsimiles of papal seals.
Rem actam agis.
(Plautus, Pseudolous 260)
Pron = rehm AHK-tahm AH-ghis
You are doing something (that has already been ) done.
Comment: This is either a scolding (you are doing something that's already been finished!), or this is a humbling reminder. As much as I love creative and ingenious activity, it reminds me that the vast majority of human activity is a repeat, a cycle, a circle, a pattern that we keep repeating. Until we learn. So that we can learn. So that we can point a finger and say: look, this is wisdom.
So, sitting around (our computers) and repeating proverbs is something that has been done before. :)
De inundationibus Indonesiae
: Nuntii Latini
09.02.2007, klo 11.10
Aquae diluviales, quae Iacartam, urbem principem Indonesiae his diebus obruerunt, die Martis (6.2.) paulatim descendere coeperunt.
Quae quamvis ita essent, etiamtum superficies aquarum tribus fere metris supra limitem inundationis, qui dicitur, usque manebat.
Imbribus et inundationibus Indonesiam affligentibus saltem quadraginta quattuor homines necati sunt et quadraginta fere milia civium propter morbos cutaneos et ventrales a medicis curantur.
Ordines circumiectales non dubitant, quin, nisi Indonesia tot silvicidiis vastata esset, fieri non potuerit, ut tanta clades naturae accideret.
Thomas G. Rosenmeyer, professor emeritus of Greek and comparative literature at UC Berkeley, died at his home in Oakland on Feb. 6. He was 86.
Professor Rosenmeyer died unexpectedly, according to UC Berkeley classics Professor Tony Long, a close friend. He had been experiencing heart trouble and was due to receive medical treatment, Long said.
Professor Rosenmeyer became a Cal faculty member in 1966, and early in his career played a central role in creating the Department of Comparative Literature.
In his scholarship, his hallmarks were his fluency in comparing literary sources from many European traditions and his sensitivity to the nuances of language, Long said.
Professor Rosenmeyer, an expert on classical Greek literature, published numerous articles on Plato early in career. His books include "The Masks of Tragedy" (1963), "The Green Cabinet: Theocritus and the European Pastoral Tradition" (1969) and "The Art of Aeschylus (1982). Turning to Latin literature later in his career, he wrote "Senecan Drama and Stoic Cosmology" (1989).
Professor Rosenmeyer lectured widely in this country and abroad and was a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society, servicing as president of the society in 1989.
He was born in Hamburg, Germany, and fled to England in the late 1930s. He was detained as a German citizen and sent to an internment camp in Canada.
After World War II, he completed an undergraduate degree at McMaster University near Toronto. He earned his doctorate at Harvard University in 1950 and taught at Smith College, the University of Iowa and the University of Washington before coming to Berkeley.
He retired in 1990 and held several visiting positions elsewhere. At Berkeley, he kept up a brisk pace of reading and seeing friends until the end of his life.
"At the moment of his death, he had 30 books out from the University of California library," Long said. "That's so typical."
Professor Rosenmeyer's wife of 56 years, Lilo, died last year. He is survived by two daughters -- Patricia Rosenmeyer of Madison, Wis., and Katherine Fabiunan of Fresno -- and three grandchildren.
The Nasher Museum of Art is about to unwrap a monumental gift.
The Past is Present: Classical Antiquities at the Nasher Museum opens today. The exhibit consists of more than 50 ancient relics selected from an anonymous donation that nearly doubles the size of the Nasher's permanent collection.
The exhibit is co-curated by Carla Antonaccio, professor of archaeology and classical studies, and Sheila Dillon, Andrew W. Mellon assistant professor of art history. The two professors co-teach a class in which students participate in the research and cataloging of the collection.
"We are a teaching institution," said Anne Schroder, curator of academic programs at the Nasher and coordinating curator of The Past is Present. "We consider the museum a laboratory."
The antiquities exhibit provides both students and the surrounding community with significantly greater access to ancient art of such high quality, she said.
"It used to be that students would have to go to other museums to see works like these and now it's here on campus," Schroder said.
Seven classes have been able to study the collection in the first year since its arrival at the Nasher.
Students have had the opportunity to examine artifacts out of their cases in a seminar room in the basement of the museum, where they are permitted to use flashlights, black lights and magnifying glasses to explore the work in its minutest detail.
"It's always great to handle objects," Antonaccio said. "One of the greatest part of this project was getting students right in front of the objects without Plexiglas in front of them."
Schroder points to the "Attic Black Droop cup" (550-500 BCE) as one of the highlights of the collection. The cup, which boasts exquisitely intricate design, provides insights into its ancient culture of origin.
The curators and their students have selected six concepts by which to organize the exhibit. Themes such as "Women, Beauty and Adornment" and "The Greek Mixer: Symposia and Drinking Games," resonate particularly with the Duke student community. The past is present indeed.
The exhibit is also significant to the present in the context of current events in the art world. In light of the recent controversy over stolen antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, Nasher staff took every precaution in establishing the integrity of the collection.
"Since we've been here we've had to turn down several gifts," Schroder said. "We do ask for documentation, provenance, history of the pieces."
If ownership cannot be established, the museum is legally and ethically bound to refuse donations of antiquities.
"We did consult with University lawyers, because it is extraordinary to acquire such antiquities, and to be sure that we [legally] can," Schroder said.
After obtaining the legal go-ahead, the museum was thrilled to accept a donation of this magnitude and import-an addition that will undoubtedly enrich the character and depth of the Nasher collection, as well as the museum itself as an academic institution.
Three BYU professors have uncovered mysteries in ancient Egyptian writings aided by new technology that allows people to see inscriptions invisible to the naked eye.
The professors Roger Macfarlane, Stephen Bay and Thomas Wayment, have been working on deciphering these writings on papyrus found in an Egyptian dump where an ancient city known as Oxyrhynchus previously existed. The papyri are now housed at the University of Oxford in England and studied by various scholars around the globe.
The technology developed by BYU called multispectral imaging, can penetrate through dirt, stains and other material on the papyri, making it possible to expose obscured lettering.
"BYU has made the most substantial advance in reading these papyri in over 100 years," said Macfarlane, associate professor of classics at BYU. "We are beginning to learn where the BYU technology makes given problems go away."
Multispectral imaging uses filters from ultraviolet to infrared waves of light to see through the dirt and stains on the papyri surface. These filters reveal what was written on the papyri over 2,000 years ago. BYU scholars have found original texts from the Bible and even new apocrypha using this technology.
Specific material in these texts include an unidentified Christian apocryphal Gospel, a new ending to the Gospel of Mark, a different version of two verses in the book of Philemon, and a missing section in Luke 22:43-44. In the King James Version, these verses in Luke talk about Christ shedding blood in the Garden of Gethsemane.
This material raises many questions, such as whether the Oxyrhynchus collection contains the original text of the Bible or if there are mistakes in the papyri.
Scholars have only brought less than five percent of the Oxyrhynchus texts to life, Macfarlane said.
Thomas Wayment, associate professor of ancient scripture at BYU, has shown through his studies of the papyri that most of this five percent needs to be redone because of the errors of scholars using the wrong technology.
Wayment said the Oxyrhynchus papyri are unique compared to other collections in the past.
"They're the most extensive collection of early Biblical text that exists and it's the largest collection of papyri in the world," he said. "We have the potential to publish the oldest New Testament manuscripts."
Wayment, Macfarlane and Stephen Bay, plan to publish their findings in the future. BYU also plans to continue working with Oxford for many years on the collection.
In addition to the Oxyrhynchus papyri, Wayment, along with a group of BYU students, plans to publish a book that will contain early Christian apocrypha for 2 to 3 centuries after the death of Christ. Wayment said most apocrypha are now in Greek and publishing this material in English will expose many unknown gospels to the public.
Seth Kohrman, a senior from Decatur, Ind., majoring in ancient near eastern studies, is one of the students involved with this project and on the Oxyrhynchus collection. Kohrman said he has learned a lot about the gospel from his studies.
"In a funny way it has strengthened my testimony of the gospel and the Book of Mormon especially," Kohrman said. "There are over 5,600 manuscripts of the New Testament, not to mention all the apocryphal writings we are working on now, and none of them contain the New Testament as we have it today. This shows me personally of the immense importance of the Book of Mormon. Without it, we would be lost and confused."
Jon Rainey, a student from Prescott, Ariz., who graduated in December with a Bachelor of Arts in classical studies, is also working on the Oxyrhynchus papyri. He currently edits several fragments of the texts and has enjoyed his experience.
"The Oxyrhynchus project is very extensive and has involved the collaborative efforts of many of the brightest scholars out there throughout the last century," Rainey said. "It brings a lot of prestige to BYU to be able to add the names of three of our own papyrologists to that list."
In addition to these recent findings from BYU, scholars around the world are also studying the ancient texts.
Although many papyri have been translated already, there are still thousands left untouched at Oxford.
"I don't know how long we have, until the things sitting in shoeboxes in this or that university turn to dust, but we've got to get rolling," said Duke University professor, Joshua Sosin, in a November 2006 PBS broadcast. "There are a great many, I mean, many thousands of papyri that are sitting in boxes in dark hallways, waiting to be read."
U.S. director Zack Snyder uses cutting edge technology to tell an ancient tale in his new film "300," an ultra-violent depiction of the legendary battle between Spartans and Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.
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Severed limbs fly, decapitations get the slow motion treatment, Persians get gorged by a charging rhinoceros, elephants are dashed on the rocks and blood is everywhere.
And it is all achieved thanks to computer generated special effects through the almost exclusive use of blue screens behind actors on which the background is later superimposed.
Based on a graphic novel of the same name by Frank Miller, "300" does not pretend to be realistic or historically accurate, Snyder told reporters in Berlin, where the film had its world premiere this week.
"What I wanted to do was take the graphic novel and say this is the movie experience that I want the viewer to have," said the director, whose only previous feature film was the 2004 horror hit "Dawn of the Dead."
"That's the gift of cinema, that you get a perspective that may be you don't normally take."
Critics in Berlin enthused about the quality of the action, although the comic book approach left central character Leonidas "a two-dimensional creature in this 3D world," according to an otherwise glowing Hollywood Reporter review.
Warner Brothers, the studio behind "300," will hope Snyder can repeat the box office success of another Miller adaptation "Sin City," which made $160 million worldwide from a $40 million budget, according to movie site www.boxofficemojo.com.
But it was not easy getting the project off the ground, according to producer Gianni Nunnari, especially because the release of "Troy" in 2004 led to what he called "sandal fatigue" in Hollywood.
Miller's inspiration for the novel came from watching the 1962 movie "The 300 Spartans" as a boy, when he first encountered the idea that heroes do not always have to win.
Inspired by the tale of a group of 300 Spartans under King Leonidas holding out against the advancing Persian masses led by Xerxes, he traveled to Greece to the site of one of the most famous last stands in history.
"All my life I wanted to tell this story because it's the best story I've ever encountered," Miller said in production notes distributed to promote the movie.
"There's a reason why we are as free as we are, and a lot of it begins with the story of 300 young men holding a very narrow pass long enough to inspire the rest of Greece."
Gerard Butler, the Scottish actor who plays Leonidas, and Brazil's Rodrigo Santoro, playing Xerxes, were peppered with questions about their chiseled physiques in the torso-revealing capes and shorts that they wore.
"I started training about four months before the film started, pretty much six hours a day," Butler said.
"Basically, I screwed myself up. It was phenomenal for me to have the conditioning of the mind as well, and really get into the Spartan way. And I have to say I did, by the time the film started, feel like a lion."
Sections of an ancient Greek theater were discovered on Thursday during construction work in an Athens suburb, archaeologists said.
Until now, only two such buildings were known in the ancient city where western theater originated more than 2,500 years ago.
Fifteen rows of concentric stone seats have been located so far in the northwestern suburb of Menidi, according to Vivi Vassilopoulou, Greece's general director of antiquities.
"Another section appears to lie under a nearby road," she told The Associated Press.
"(The remains) were discovered during excavation work, supervised by archaeologists, for a new building," Vassilopoulou said. "But it is still very early to offer any conclusions."
The structure has not yet been dated, and further details are expected to emerge following a full excavation.
Menidi is thought to be built over the ancient village of Acharnae, the largest of a string of rural settlements outside ancient Athens. Ancient writers mention a theater at Acharnae, but no traces of it had been found until now.
The village was linked with Dionysos, the ancient god of theater and wine, as the Athenians believed that ivy -- his sacred plant -- first grew there.
Built in semicircular tiers on hillsides, ancient theaters were monumental, open-air structures that could seat thousands of spectators.
Theater first emerged as an art form in late 6th century B.C. Athens, where ancient playwrights competed for a prize during the annual festival of Dionysos -- in whose cult the art originated.
The works of Sophocles, Aeschylus, Euripides and Aristophanes were performed in the theater of Dionysos under the Acropolis.
Originally a terrace where spectators sat on the bare earth above a circular stage, it was rebuilt in stone during the 4th century B.C. and could sit up to 14,000 people.
Vitia nostra regionum mutatione non fugimus.
Pron = WIH-tee-ah NOS-trah ray-ghee-OH-noom moo-tah-tee-OH-neh nohn FOO-ghee-moos.
We do not flee our errors by a change of locations.
Comment: I remember some school changes while I was growing up:
moving from AL to GA and then from GA back to AL, from middle school to high school, from high school to college, and from college to graduate school.
At each of those transitions, some thought occurred to me that the change of location would be nice. Whatever troubles I had at the time, so I thought, would vanish with the new setting, and I could "start all over". That never materialized of course, because, as I would learn, and as this proverb asserts, the change of location doesn't make our errors, our problems, our anxieties, our worries, our griefs, our hatreds and fears go away, nor are we able to leave them behind.
They are our stuff, and they move with us.
At some point, it began to dawn on me that it was not the physical move that mattered. It was the interior moves that mattered. Face the fear. Own the hatred. Dissect the worry. Feel the grief. Take responsibility for the error. And slowly, sometimes dramatically, the interior landscape begins to change.
De inundationibus Indonesiae
: Nuntii Latini
09.02.2007, klo 11.10
Aquae diluviales, quae Iacartam, urbem principem Indonesiae his diebus obruerunt, die Martis (6.2.) paulatim descendere coeperunt.
Quae quamvis ita essent, etiamtum superficies aquarum tribus fere metris supra limitem inundationis, qui dicitur, usque manebat.
Imbribus et inundationibus Indonesiam affligentibus saltem quadraginta quattuor homines necati sunt et quadraginta fere milia civium propter morbos cutaneos et ventrales a medicis curantur.
Ordines circumiectales non dubitant, quin, nisi Indonesia tot silvicidiis vastata esset, fieri non potuerit, ut tanta clades naturae accideret.
It’s worth buying the catalogue. It outlines the story of our 2,500 year fascination with this extravagant creature: a tale that dates back to the era of Alexander the Great, who, having conquered the Persian Empire, marched his army across the Hindu Kush and into the Punjab. From there he returned with a novel pet: a small green bird with a rose-pink collar and blue cheeks, to which he subsequently lent his moniker. It came to be known as the Alexandrine parakeet.
By Roman times, Verdi tells us, parrots had become well known in the West. Because of their ability to speak and perform, the Ancient world regarded them, he says, “as creatures capable of breaching the dividing line between nature and culture”. And, according to legend, when Julius Caesar returned triumphant from the battle of Actium, he was greeted by a parrot squawking “Ave Caesar” — proof not only of its acumen, apparently, but also of its prophetic powers.
Ancient Greek graves holding the remains of warriors slain in the Peloponnesian War, one of antiquity's deadliest conflicts, will soon be accessible to visitors in Athens, an archaeologist said on Wednesday.
"We have the remains of Athenian warriors of the Peloponnesian War carried there from battlefield funeral pyres," supervising archaeologist Haris Stoupa told reporters.
"We're not sure of the exact battle as we were not fortunate enough to find engravings," she added.
Discovered in the Athens district of Kerameikos in 1997, the site is part of a one-kilometre-wide cemetery dedicated to Athenian warriors and prominent citizens that still lies mostly buried under modern buildings.
The cemetery was created shortly after the Battle of Marathon against the Persians in 480 BC and remained in use until the Roman Wars against Carthage, Stoupa said.
According to 2nd-century Greek chronicler Pausanias, among heroes buried there is Pericles, leader of Athens during the city-state's golden era that saw the building of the Parthenon.
Archaeologists will place a protective canopy over the site to enable visitors to see into the graves, Stoupa said.
The project will be completed in 2008.
Pitting two superpowers of the era - democratic Athens and oligarchic Sparta - against one another, the Peloponnesian War raged on and off for nearly 30 years (431-404 BC) across Greece, with related conflicts in Asia Minor and Sicily.
It was a disaster for Athens, and established Sparta as the dominant power in ancient Greece
Bruce Manning Metzger, professor emeritus at Princeton Theological Seminary and an authority on Greek manuscripts of the Bible, has died at age 93.
Metzger, who was born in Middletown, Pa., died Tuesday of natural causes, according to The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home Princeton.
At the time of his death, he was the George L. Collord Professor Emeritus of New Testament Language and Literature at Princeton Theological Seminary.
The son of Maurice and Anna Metzger, he earned a bachelor's degree from Lebanon Valley College in 1935, a bachelor of theology degree from Princeton Seminary in 1938 and a doctorate in classics from Princeton University in 1942. He became an ordained minister with the Presbyterian Church in 1939.
Metzger began his teaching career at Princeton Theological Seminary in 1938, where he stayed in the New Testament department for 46 years. During his time at the seminary, Metzger developed 25 courses on the English and Greek texts of books in the New Testament.
He was also involved with committees in the production of three new editions of the Scriptures: the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament (1966), the Reader's Digest condensed Bible (1982) and the New Revised Standard Version (1990).
In 1986, Metzger was elected to the American Philosophical Society in the class devoted to the Humanities and in 1994 he was awarded the F.C. Burkitt Medal by the British Academy for his contributions to biblical studies.
Metzger is survived by his wife of 62 years, Isobel Mackay Metzger, two sons and a sister. A memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 20, in Princeton.
The wind ruffles the leaves of the date sapling in its planter, and Dr. Elaine Soloway quickly shields it. "There's only one plant like this in the world, and I'm still worried about it," she says. Methuselah - that is the sapling's name - is indeed unique. In 2005, Soloway, from Kibbutz Ketura in the Arava, germinated it from a 2,000-year-old date seed found at Masada.
For the past two millennia, since approximately the time of the Great Revolt of the Jews against the Romans, in 66-73 C.E., the seed lay dormant, until Soloway and her team breathed life into it, making it the oldest seed ever to germinate.
For two years, the seed was kept in isolation in a plant nursery to protect it from the modern diseases to which it would have been vulnerable. Now that it is stronger, Soloway is planning on transplanting it. "I think it has a future," she says.
Last week, Methuselah underwent chronological testing, using the radioactive isotope Carbon-14, which confirmed that the tree grew from a seed that lived when the Romans ruled the land.
If the sapling continues to flourish, Soloway believes they will be able to renew a species of date that grew in the Kingdom of Judea at that time. Soloway says the type of date grown by ancient Judeans disappeared in the centuries following the repression of the revolt.
Dates presently grown in Israel were brought here from other countries in the Middle East, particularly Iraq, and do not derive from ancient stock.
"People tell me the tree I'm raising looks like a typical palm you might see in your dentist's waiting room," says Soloway, who teaches at Ketura's Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. "But that's not true." Soloway says the first leaves that have sprouted are extraordinarily long. "We don't know yet if it's a male or a female, but if it's a female, in another two or three years we'll be able to know how dates tasted in Judea in ancient times."
According to historical sources, that taste was splendid. The Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder, who lived in the first century C.E., wrote that Judea's dates were known for their succulence and sweetness.
The date was identified so closely with Judea that Roman coins minted after the end of the Great Revolt depicted among its symbols a palm tree, together with the words "Judea Capta."
The seed from which Methuselah sprouted was found in a jar into which the inhabitants of Masada threw the pit of the dates they ate. Together with dozens of other seeds, it was found during excavations in the 1970s conducted by Professor Ehud Netzer.
The idea of germinating the seed came from Dr. Sarah Salon, of the Natural Medicine Research Unit of Hadassah Hospital, Ein Karem.
Soloway said that to resuscitate Methuselah, she soaked the pit in warm water and fertilizers. She then planted it "on Tu Bishvat, for luck." Soloway says she did not believe the seed still had life in it. But then, six weeks later, "the bed cracked, and two weeks after that, the first leaf came out. It was like a miracle, but the plant was still at risk. It had a strange color, a kind of marble-white. Apparently there was something wrong with the nutritional components in the seed, Soloway recalls. "In any case, when the seedling started to grow roots, after a few months, it didn't keep it from growing."
Soloway, 54, who comes from a California farming family, has been living at Ketura for more than 30 years. She deals mainly with medicinal plants at the Arava Institute, which trains people for environmental leadership roles. "To bring back the date palm of Judea to the world is not only a symbol, but is also useful to agriculture," she says. "But we are also trying to bring back other plants from the biblical period."
Soloway is also growing frankincense and myrrh, plants mentioned in the Bible, in her hothouse. She is now trying to acclimate the plants, which were brought from Somalia and Yemen. "Incense was made from these plants in the days of the Bible, but they apparently have characteristics that can make them very useful to modern medicine - especially as anti-inflammatories," Soloway says.
Eve Sussman, a self-described “sculptor who makes video,” became an art-world darling at the 2004 Whitney Biennial with “89 Seconds at Alcazar” — the 10-minute piece based on Diego Velasquez’s “Las Meninas” painting.
She’s worked nearly three years on a new video, this time drawing inspiration from Jacques-Louis David’s 1799 painting “The Rape of the Sabine Women.” Instead of showing the 80-minute film in a museum, this time she’s taking it to the public with free screenings at the IFC Center next week.
The film transplants the myth about Romulus founding Rome to the 1960s. Sussman turned the Romans into sleek-suited G-men who wander Berlin’s Pergamon Museum to a soundtrack of coughing. The Sabines are butchers’ daughters walking around Athens’ Agora meat market to a score of sharpened knives. The climax — where the Sabine women attempt to intervene in a battle between their men and Roman abductors — was filmed with 700 people in a choreographed clothes-ripping fest at the Herodion amphitheater in Athens.
“We kind of put the idea of the painting behind us and then looked more at the myth,” Sussman explained at a discussion following a recent screening. It plays up “love triangles, longing and desire. The myth is about men and women and gender roles, and to place it within this era where the roles were so clear.”
Sussman worked with the Rufus Corporation, an ad hoc group of artists, dancers, actors and musicians she founded who collaborated on “89 Seconds at Alcazar.” She likened the Williamsburg troupe to a dance company or an experimental theater group. “That doesn’t happen much in the art world, but that model was always interesting to me,” she said.
For the dialogue-less movie, which was shot like a documentary, they collected 200 hours of footage and 6,000 photographs. The actors improvised and the music was played on location.
“When I first saw this project, I said [to Sussman], ‘Blow off the musuems, you should show this in a theater,’” said Anne Pasternak, president and artistic director of Creative Time, the public arts group presenting Sussman’s film. “You can look at every second of every scene as a painting or photograph.”
But Sussman was nervous about the venue.
“You walk into a theater and people expect Hollywood,” Sussman said. “This is more fluid. I guess we can handle it.”
Quid Vladimir Putin dixerit
: Nuntii Latini
09.02.2007, klo 11.09
Vladimir Putin, praesidens Russiae, interrogatus, quid de Finnia ad confoederationem Nato adiungenda sentiret, negavit se credere securitatem orbis terrarum meliorem redditum iri, si Finni ad illam societatem accessissent.
"Multo praestat", inquit, "viribus unitis adversus varios terrores internationales super omnium cervice pendentes pugnare quam structuras militares iuxta confinium Russiae admovere. Talia consilia ad relationes Finniae et Russiae corroborandas nihil conferunt."
Under the threat of a boycott from Greece, the Louvre Museum in Paris has withdrawn a request to the Cleveland Museum of Art to borrow and exhibit an ancient bronze statue of Apollo, which Greece believes may have been illegally acquired.
Timothy Rub, director of the Cleveland museum, said Tuesday that he still has not been contacted directly by Greece about its claims regarding the Apollo, which he called "unsubstantiated."
He said he would try to contact Greek authorities to discuss the Apollo.
The rising dispute over the sculpture, which stands 5 feet tall and is attributed to the ancient Greek sculptor Praxiteles, is the latest chapter in the effort by Italy, Greece and other "source countries" rich in ancient treasure to shut down the black market in looted antiquities.
Italy and Greece have already launched negotiations with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and other museums to have antiquities returned.
Rub agreed recently to meet in Rome with Italian cultural authorities to discuss claims that unspecified antiquities in the Cleveland collection were looted from Italian soil.
He said that "if the museum acquires an object and it is proven after the fact that it was wrongly acquired, the museum would feel duty-bound to return it to its rightful owner."
In the case of the Cleveland Apollo, Agence France-Presse reported in December that Greek officials had asked the Louvre not to exhibit the sculpture, saying that it was probably sold illegally after having been found in the 1990s by an Italian vessel in international waters between Italy and Greece.
The report, which did not name the source of the accusation, said Greece was threatening to withhold loans of artworks to the Louvre exhibition.
As of Tuesday, Maria Pantou, director of the Ministry of Culture in Athens, had not responded to a fax sent to her office in January by The Plain Dealer requesting information about the Greek allegations. Her name and contact information were provided by officials at the Greek Embassy in Washington, D.C.
Petros Tsarouchis, an embassy spokesman, said Tuesday he couldn't comment on the Apollo, because he had no specific information about the issue.
The Cleveland museum, which bought the Apollo in 2004, has said its research shows that corrosion and welds on the surface of the sculpture prove it has been out of the ground at least a century or longer, and thus is not covered by recent laws aimed at preventing the ongoing looting of ancient sites.
The research also shows that the work was not recovered from the sea.
Furthermore, the museum has signed statements from a German lawyer who said the work belonged to his family during the middle years of the 20th century.
Archaeologists and cultural officials in America, England and Italy have nevertheless deplored the purchase of the Apollo by Cleveland, saying that the museum's research did not prove without a doubt that the work was free of taint, and that such purchases only encourage tomb raiders to continue looting.
But Rub said in an e-mail that "the museum has no reason to assume that the acquisition of the statue was not in conformance with all applicable laws."
Wow, this just gets more and more bizarre.
Greece is saying the statue was found in international waters by some unspecified Italian vessel, but can't or won't back up this allegations.
Additionally, unspecified "Archaeologists and cultural officials in America, England and Italy..." claim the Cleveland Museum has not proven "without a doubt" that it is looted. Just what sort of proof would satisfy them? I seriously doubt any would. It is more likely that it is just jealousy that they didn't get their hands on it first.
The Cleveland Museum has, at least in my view, done an excellent job in due diligence and has solid refutation of all the accusations, just on the basis of the testing and conservation of the piece.
What generations of an east German family thought of as a piece of neoclassical garden sculpture was tentatively associated yesterday by a US museum with one of the greatest lost masterpieces of ancient Greek statuary.
For the time being, the Cleveland Museum of Art is fighting shy of a direct claim linking the slender bronze youth it bought from an international antiquities dealer with the Apollo Sauroktonos — the lizard-slayer — fashioned by Praxiteles in the fourth century BC.
Praxiteles, active from 380 to 325 BC, is among the top five ancient Greek sculptors. A marble statue of Hermes discovered in Olympia in 1877 and exhibited at the local museum is considered to be the only surviving piece fashioned by the artist.
“It is very important for us to make claims we can prove,” Museum Director Katharine Lee Reid told the New York Times. “We all feel strongly that it is early and very important.”
The 1.5-meter-high bronze of the youthful god aiming a dart at a lizard on a tree replicates the two surviving marble copies of Praxiteles’ Apollo that were made during Roman times. But Cleveland Museum experts believe it is an earlier work.
“This magnificent sculpture has several stylistic and technical features that we associate with monumental Classical Greek bronzes, and ancient testimony attributing to Praxiteles and Apollo Sauroktonos in bronze greatly adds to the work’s importance,” Michael Bennet, the museum’s curator of Greek and Roman Art, said yesterday.
The museum bought the work from the Geneva gallery of Phoenix Ancient Art Dealers. It had belonged to a family in east Germany (before WWII) which used it as a garden ornament, believing it dated to the 18th or 19th century. After the war, it was cut into pieces.
THE biggest archaeological dig to have taken place in Horncastle has unearthed a haul of unexpected finds, including about 30 Roman graves.
The team of 10 archaeologists will leave this week but investigations will continue into the pottery, jewellery, coins, skeletons, soil and other materials they have taken from the site, on the town's playing fields.
"We knew from aerial pictures and a geophysical survey there was a Roman field system in the area but we have had some surprising finds," said Naomi Field, a partner in Lindsey Archaeological Services.
"We were not anticipating burials - that was a bonus."
She said previous human remains from the Roman period found in Horncastle had been from cremated bodies. The skeletons found in the latest excavations, however, were 'inhumations', or burials in earth, indicating a change in customs.
Some had been in coffins, some were found to be burials on top of earlier burials and one skeleton was found with a brooch, which was probably used to fasten a cloak in which the person was buried.
Supervising archaeologist Gavin Glover said the dig on the site - where Anglian Water will now lay new sewerage pipes - revealed different phases of activity by the Romans over the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries AD and by Bronze Age people centuries earlier.
"More work needs to be done off-site to discover the status of the people here," Mr Glover said. "We half expected to find grave goods, but there were none, unless they were perishable items that have long gone.
"We have found relatively fine wares, definitely not of local manufacture, and a range of other items but no buildings.
"Nothing as large as this has ever been excavated here before. The exciting thing now is to put together all that we have found to get a better picture of the people who used this area."
Barhale Construction will move onto the site next week to carry out the £500,000 sewerage scheme for Anglian Water, which will include the laying of twin pipes over a 180-metre length. The sports pitches which have been disturbed will be reinstated.
One of anthropology's most enduring mysteries - the origins of the ancient Etruscan civilisation - may finally have been solved, with a study of cattle.
This culturally distinct and technologically advanced civilisation inhabited central Italy from about the 8th century BC, until it was assimilated into Roman culture around the end of the 4th century BC.
The origins of the Etruscans, with their own non-Indo-European language, have been debated by archaeologists, geneticists and linguists for centuries. Writing in the 5th century BC, the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus claimed that the Etruscans had arrived in Italy from Lydia, now called Anatolia in modern-day Turkey.
To try and discover more about the Etruscans' movements, Marco Pellecchia at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Piacenza, Italy, and colleagues have analysed mitochondrial DNA in modern herds of Bos Taurus cattle in the north, south and central regions of Italy. This genetic material is passed down the female line from mother to offspring.
The team found that almost 60% of the mitochondrial DNA in cows in the central Tuscan region of the country - where the Etruscan civilisation is thought to have arisen - was the same as that in cows from Anatolia and the Middle East. There was little or no genetic convergence between cows from the north and south of Italy and those from Turkey and the Middle East, the researchers say.
Pellecchia notes that no archaeological or genetic traces of Etruscan culture have been found elsewhere between Turkey and Italy. This, combined with the Etruscans' famed nautical prowess leads Pellecchia to conclude that the Etruscans and their cattle arrived in Italy by sea, and not by land.
Mark Thomas, a human geneticist at University College London in the UK, says that European cattle tend to be genetically very similar, so the study's conclusion is plausible.
Iuvenile vitium est regere non posse impetus.
(Seneca, Troades 250)
Pron = you-when-EE-lay WHI-tee-oom ehst REH-geh-reh nohn POHS-seh IHM-peh-toos.
It is an error of youth not to be able to control one's impulses.
Comment: Ah, that's because:
Adults don't overeat.
Adults don't drink too much.
Adults never spend too much money on things they cannot afford.
Adults never have indiscriminate sex.
Adults never say things they regret.
Adults never lose their temper.
Adults never feel jealous or envious.
Of course, you understand the absurdity of these statements, and so, I hope, the absurdity of a long-held notion that young people are so out of control. No more so than many of their adult counterparts.
The issue, it seems to me, for all human beings, regardless of age is:
1) To feel our feelings. No one gives out brownie points for suppressing the actual notice of our own feelings, passions or emotions. Not only do we not get brownie points for suppressing our feelings, passions and emotions, we get sick if we do.
2) Once we feel our feelings, to start an internal dialogue about what they mean, and how to express that meaning in our lives in a way that help.
Ways that help us, help others (or at least don't hurt others).
3) Recognizing our own feelings enables use to see others more deeply, humanly, compassionately.
I am clear on this: we cannot extend one more ounce of compassion to another that we have not first allowed for ourselves.
And, with reference to this proverb: any adult who finds a young person too impetuous, or out of control with regard to a particular feeling, emotion or passion is telling you that he/she hs not been honest about that feeling, emotion or passion in his/her own life.
Antony and Cleopatra, one of history's most romantic couples, were not the great beauties that Hollywood would have us believe, academics have said.
A study of a 2,000-year-old silver coin found the Egyptian queen, famously portrayed by Elizabeth Taylor, had a pointed chin, thin lips and sharp nose.
Her Roman lover, played by Richard Burton, had bulging eyes, thick neck and a hook nose.
The tiny coin was studied by experts at Newcastle University.
The size of a modern 5p piece, the artefact from 32BC was in a collection belonging to the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle, which is being researched in preparation for the opening of a new Great North Museum.
Clare Pickersgill, the university's assistant director of archaeological museums, said: "The popular image we have of Cleopatra is that of a beautiful queen who was adored by Roman politicians and generals.
"Recent research would seem to disagree with this portrayal, however."
The university's director of archaeological museums, Lindsay Allason-Jones, said: "The image on the coin is far from being that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
"Roman writers tell us that Cleopatra was intelligent and charismatic, and that she had a seductive voice but, tellingly, they do not mention her beauty.
"The image of Cleopatra as a beautiful seductress is a more recent image."
The silver denarius coin would have been issued by the mint of Mark Antony.
On one side is the head of Mark Antony, bearing the caption "Antoni Armenia devicta" meaning "For Antony, Armenia having been vanquished".
Cleopatra appears on the reverse of the coin with the inscription "Cleopatra Reginae regum filiorumque regum", meaning "For Cleopatra, Queen of kings and of the children of kings".
The university hopes more forgotten treasures will come to light before the Great North Museum opens in 2009.
Laboribus vendunt dei nobis omnia bona.
Pron = lah-BOH-rih-boos WHEN-doont DAY-ee NOH-bees OHM-nee-ah BOH-nah.
By the struggles of being human, the gods sell us all good things.
Comment: Let's consider our lives for a moment. What is the last significant struggle that you faced? (Significant means--it got your
attention.) What did this struggle have you face in your life? What change did it invite you to (whether you accepted the invitation or not)? How did that struggle make an expansion of your life, of your vision, of your perception of the world possible? Did that struggle in some minor or major way rattle the real you loose from your ego for a moment (or longer)?
These are the gifts of the gods, the good things that the divine in and around and among us has to offer us, and they most often come in the midst of a struggle.
Tumultus pedifollicus Italiae
: Nuntii Latini
09.02.2007, klo 11.08
Societas pedifollica Italiae interdixit, ne hac septimana in Italia ulla certamina pedifollica aut ad series nationales aut ad ludos internationales pertinentia ponerentur.
In causa huius decreti est tumultus violentissimus in Sicilia nuper factus: in stadio enim Catinensi, dum grex Panhormitanus cum manu Catinensium de victoria certat, res subito in tantam perturbationem erupit, ut quidam custos publicus interficeretur et complures spectatores in nosocomium propter laesiones graves deportarentur.
In an effort to create a chronological assessment of Turkey’s cultural assets, parts of the ancient Greco-Roman regions of Pisidia and Karia are currently being excavated and studied.
As part of the Archeological Settlements of Turkey Project (TAY), Oğuz Tanındı, professor of prehistory at İstanbul University’s Department of Archeology, established TAY in 1993. Tanındı said that their excavation currently includes findings from the Stone and Bronze Ages and that they have been working on archeological sites from the Greco-Roman age in Anatolia and Thrace for the past four years.
Tanındı said their project in Pisidia -- which includes Afyon, Burdur, Isparta and Konya -- is being led by archeologists Senem Özden, and their project in Karia -- which includes, Aydin, Burdur, Denizli and Muğla -- is being led by Mete Aksan.
Tanındı said: “The project includes data on 555 caves that date from 950 B.C. to the period of the Roman Emperor Theodosius in 395. There are 282 caves in the Pisidia region and 273 in the Karia region. An additional 1,511 findings have been added to the research of the region. The map of the city, the architecture and findings were included in the 200 visual material and the map of Pisidia and Karia showing the location of the caves were included in the project.”
In every card made for each cave there is the information on the name, height, width, depth, region, province, town and location of the cave, and there is also a Greco-Roman dictionary that has 70 words included in the files.
In the Karia region there is Aphrodisias, Didyma, Halikarnassos, Kaunos and Knidos in Muğla. In the Pisidia region there is Ikonion in Konya, Laodikeia, Keraitai and Sagalassos in Burdur and Tymbriada in Isparta.
In the past, treasure hunters easily ransack these sites for money and gold. As economic burdens increased, these two regions were attacked by thieves, robbers and old civilizations.
Though it wouldn't grow into a commercialist tradition for years, many believe that the day itself grew from a period between mid-January and mid-February, which was the month of Gamelion, dedicated to the sacred marriage of Zeus and Hera. This was a much simpler time when all the men didn't work extra-hard, but they probably let an idea come from their hearts. They would wine and dine, romance and serenade that special young boy they loved.
Archaeologists in York have uncovered more secrets of the city's Roman past in a vast cemetery being excavated outside the ancient walls.
The biggest find on The Mount is a large stone sarcophagus though to hold the skeleton of a wealthy resident.
Experts are also discovering that then, as now, the more money you had the better your burial ceremony.
Some bones from the site have revealed the other end of Roman life - a woman stabbed in the throat and murdered.
The teams of archaeologists have also uncovered the foundations of a wall which they believe would have formed part of a Roman mausoleum.
Dig expert Steve Timms said: "There were various rights for people who came to visit this (burial) area. Perhaps they would have had picnics or feasts at some of the shrines or gardens.
"Different religions may have had other rights as well, there is evidence in the Roman world that people would come back (to the site) to remember their ancestors and celebrate their lives, having feasts and meals."
In an effort to preserve the contents of the stone sarcophagus, army experts were called in to use a minute camera to probe inside the coffin to ensure that nothing would be damaged by moving it.
Osteo-archaeologist Malin Holst, an expert in bone identification, said she hoped to find a skeleton laid out exactly as it would have been left two thousand years ago.
The experts believe the body would have been that of a person of high status, buried in a stone coffin made of quarried stone weighing a tonne and a half.
Ms Holst said the woman who had apparently been murdered suffered a grim end: "She was stabbed seven times in the throat from the front. The attack severed her vertebrae into several pieces. "
Nec piscatorm piscis amare potest.
(Robert Burton, 1577-1640, English writer)
Pron = neck pis-kah-TOH-room PIS-kiss ah-MAH-ray POH-test.
The fish is not able to love the fisherman.
Comment: If I am driving (a little fast), I cannot love the police car with the radar gun out in a hidden bend in the road. If I am a teenager walking down the hall at school, I cannot love the teacher who is standing the hall looking for someone to bust for a clothing violation. If I am a server in a restaurant, I cannot love a haughty customer who is criticizing everything I do.
Point: if you want love from others, you cannot go fishing for them--that is, try to hook, hurt, harm, harass and harrowing them.
You must honor them.
The Culture Ministry has refused to lend the Louvre Praxitelis’s famous sculpture “The Ephebe of Marathon” for inclusion in an exhibition dedicated to the ancient Greek sculptor, stressing that the artifact is on a list of works that cannot be moved. The ministry’s Central Archaeological Council decided to refuse the French museum’s request on January 23 on the grounds of this list, Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis said. Voulgarakis’s French counterpart Renaud Donnedieu de Vabres had earlier described Greece’s refusal as “very sad.”
Now, let me get this straight.
As I read earlier, Greece refuses to co-operate with the Louvre's Greek sculpture exhibition if they show the Cleveland Apollo. The Louvre caves to that demand. Now, that having been done, Greece says the Ephebe of Marathon cannot be moved to be part of the exhibition.
I think I need to go back to my Greek composition textbook and figure out just how one says "How to win friends and influence people" in ancient Greek.
Apart from his name, what did a Roman-era Christian martyr have to do with the millions the Hallmark card company, chocolatiers and florists rake in on Feb. 14?
Not much, according to Ingrid Holmberg, past chair of Greek and Roman studies at the University of Victoria.
Several interesting and conflicting details emerge when searching for the origins of today's Valentine's Day. Apparently there were as many as three St. Valentines, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia. The one most linked to all the latter-day hearts and flowers is the St. Valentine put to death about 270 AD by Emperor Claudius.
The legend is that this Valentine continued to wed young lovers in defiance of an edict by Claudius the Cruel. The emperor had banned weddings, as lovestruck young men were reluctant to enlist in his army.
For his treasonous championing of true love, Valentine was beaten and beheaded on Feb. 14.
This coincided with the month-long festival of Lupercalia, in which young men drew a girl's name as a partner for the festival.
This could be the primitive origins of today's Valentine's cards. Except Holmberg can find no proof for this Roman-era literary exchange between the sexes.
Worse still for romantics, Holmberg says the sentimentalizing of St. Valentine isn't rooted in Roman history, but some time in the Middle Ages. "A total medieval fabrication," she says, although the legend fits that period's concept of courtly love.
Nonetheless, the professor confirms one St. Valentine was martyred by the Romans around Feb. 14, 270 AD. Far more likely, she suspects, for helping Christians escape than anything as secular as romance.
"The Roman Catholic church isn't going to celebrate a romantic figure. If he was, they'd probably erase him from the record," the pragmatic professor says.
St. Valentine's legend aside, the seeds for some modern traditions might have sprouted with the Greeks and Romans. Early in the new year, both had what could loosely be described as extended fertility festivals, roughly coinciding with Feb. 14.
"Whether they're connected with Valentine's Day is dubious at best," says Holmberg, increasingly sounding like a Valentine's Day spoilsport.
One recorded feature of Lupercalia involves priests smacking young women with the bloody skins of dogs and goats. This was to encourage fertility, says Holmberg.
The red of the blood is the colour most associated with today's valentines.
Today's valentine heart-shape bears little resemblance to the actual blood-pumping organ. One argument says it really represents female buttocks. Not just any female's but those of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love.
More academically at home among the Greeks, Holmberg doesn't dismiss this. The Greeks, according to the professor, did revere buttocks. So much so that they erected a statue known as Aphrodite Kallipygos, which is roughly translated as "the goddess with the beautiful buttocks."
The valentine heart shape is also seen in the seeds represented on an Aegean coin, adds Holmberg. They are the seeds of the now-extinct silphium plant, which, according to Wikipedia, was an early herbal contraceptive.
Bow-and-arrow-toting Cupid began infecting unsuspecting young lovers in Roman times. He's the son of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.
Any armchair Freudian worth his fantasies knows what Cupid's arrows symbolize. So too all those long-stemmed red roses landing on desktops and doorsteps Feb. 14.
While Holmberg remains professionally skeptical regarding any classical connections to Valentine's Day, she does join in the fun each year. She has been sending her husband Valentine's Day cards for 12 years.
I'll never forget my first (and only) meeting with Silvio Berlusconi, in the mid-1980s. The TV tycoon walked up to me at a friend's New Year's Eve party in Milan, and firmly planted a kiss on my lips. What was I to make of this untoward greeting? The self-made billionaire's apparent infatuation with a fashion model, also at the venue, suggested to me that Italy was a polyamorous playground. It was ever thus.
While Italy's status as a single political entity is fairly recent (1861), its fractious past recalls centuries of sybaritic commerce. The whispered confidences, the secret rendezvous, the rippling orgies, the feuds and the lavish restitution gifts -- all these delightful and often deceitful elements of love have been the modus operandi of Italy's cast of political paramours since the beginning of the Empire. Small wonder that Rome is the capital of romance, and the alleged birthplace of St. Valentine.
As it turns out, the early Roman poets were the bards of erotic romance. One was the daring and original Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso, 43 BC-17 AD), who wrote The Art of Love (Ars Amatoria), (translated by James Michie, Modern Library, 2002), a witty and notoriously frank manual of seduction. A sample of this surprisingly modern tome confirms that 2,000 years have done little to change Italy's perception of love, vanity, temptation and sexual intrigue.
"Love is like warfare," Ovid begins, "and no assignment for cowards." He teaches the ardent lover how to "win" his mistress, and moves on to instruct this novice of amour how to "retain" her: "Good looks are something, but charm of manner is a great deal more. Pleasant words -- like music -- are the food of love." Ovid's advice does not stop there. "Promise, promise, promise," he writes. "Promises cost you nothing. Everyone's a millionaire where promises are concerned." The wicked darling of Rome continues, "Do not imagine that I am going to act the rigid moralist and condemn you to love but one mistress."
These words would seem to reveal that Ovid was unaware of the female as an autonomous lover in her own right. (A fact that Berlusconi, 70, seems mysteriously to have overlooked as well.) It was Ovid's ill fortune to publish The Art of Love at a time when the Emperor was trying to institute a new moral order. He set penalties, for example, for those who remained childless, or who didn't marry. The thrice-divorced Ovid had many amorous conquests, often with women who had endured years of spousal infidelity. Lest things should get out of control, Ovid advises Art of Love practitioners to "beware of exciting jealous furies." That's advice Berlusconi could have used.
The Italian Renaissance celebrated its own expression of love and Casanova (Giovanni Jacopo Casanova de Seingalt) was the perfect embodiment of Venetian culture at its height. Seducer, necromancer, gambler, spy, swashbuckler, entrepreneur, wit, philosopher and poet, Casanova (1725-1798) is largely remembered from his autobiography Story of My Life (translated by Stephen Sartarelli, Penguin Classics, 2001), which established his reputation as one of the world's most famous lovers. This memoir, an extraordinary 12 volumes (approximately 3,500 pages), also relates his encounters with political and literary figures, and provides an enchanting journey into the heart of the Venetian Serenissima (most serene and lovely).
"Recollecting the pleasures I have had formerly, I renew them, I enjoy them a second time, while I laugh at the remembrance of troubles now past, and which I no longer feel," Casanova wrote, probably referring to his numerous sexual exploits -- 122 women, according to his own count, from noblewomen to nuns -- all willing partners. Casanova's behaviour may have been reprehensibly libertine, but Italy could not keep its eyes off him.
Perhaps Casanova's accounts of his erotic exploits set the bar unnaturally high for subsequent Lotharios, especially in light of the somewhat competitive nature of the Italian male. Unspoken expectations of seductive power still haunt them. But the realm of the rake, perhaps especially on the Italian peninsula, has never been exclusively masculine. From Tullia d'Aragona and Fiammetta Bianchini through to Veronica Franco, Italian women have also played a central role.
In fact, they have also held great authority. One book that captures feminine power and passion in Italy is Anthony A. Barrett's Livia: First Lady of Imperial Rome (Yale University Press, 2002). In this fascinating historical exposé, the British Columbia-based author of previous books on Caligula and Agrippina resurrects the desires, sacrifices and motives of the empire's first lady. And, not unlike Veronica Lario, the wife of Italy's former prime minister, Livia appears to have maintained a "deliberate reserve" throughout her married life.
Rivers of ink have flowed in misogynistic prejudices concerning Livia's influence on her husband, Augustus, during his reign, and legend holds that she deliberately poisoned his heirs. The emperor was said to be so fearful of poisoning that he would only drink from a flowing stream and eat figs directly from the tree in his own garden It is common belief that the Empress smeared some poison on the tree-borne figs and urged Augustus to pick the tainted ones, resulting in his untimely death.
Poison, it is worth noting, has always been rooted in matriarchal Italy, and its history induces a kind of nostalgia, resurrecting a time when women were the custodians and on par with the gods, even if these attributes did not grant them any real power. Readers might keep in mind that, with the exception of the Vestal Virgins, women of antiquity could not participate in politics. Making things even more dire, they exercised very little authority in their marriages. Roman women, many as young as 12, were passed directly from father to husband. Even so, a woman could still become famous or notorious, and the most aspiring managed to achieve great power by eliminating her opponents with sophisticated poisons.
In the end, Barrett's Livia is a much more complex woman, an astute political contriver who understands the psychology of love in the patriarchal world. She would heartily have approved of how Berlusconi's wife, Veronica, 50, dealt with her husband's philandering when she heard of his public flirtation with two young and beautiful women who subsequently kissed and told. Veronica, although furious, tempered her response as coolly as Livia would have. Instead of flying into a rage, she wrote a letter to the newspaper demanding a public apology (not having received one in private) from the ex-prime minister. What Italians would call a brutta figura (bad show).
But politics and love are, as always, difficult to disentangle in Italy. The newspaper she chose was La Republica, the paper that had sought to dethrone Berlusconi right from the start of his career. I think he got the message.
A recent DNA-based survey suggests the roots of Etruscans, a pre-Roman civilization in Italy, lie in Anatolia.
According to the research conducted by genetic scientists in Italy's Pavia University, the roots of Etruscans were in the ancient Lydian region in Anatolia. The scientists have reached the conclusion by examining 322 Mitochondrial DNA Variations derived from the three districts in Italy's Toscana region where the Etruscans once lived as well as comparing their sequence variation with that of 55 western Eurasian populations.
The results also support the information about Etruscans given by famed Greek historian Herodotus, known as the father of history. According to Herodotus the Etruscans immigrated to Italy from the Lydian region, Turkey's modern provinces of İzmir and Manisa.
The origin of the Etruscan people has been a focus of major controversy for the past 2,500 years and several hypotheses have been proposed to explain their language and sophisticated culture as well as their origin. The research is thus considered to be an important development supporting the Etruscan people's Aegean/Anatolian origin or the direct genetic input from the Near East, a scenario in agreement with the Lydian origin of Etruscans.
The results were published in the "American Journal of Human Genetics," reported the Anatolia news agency.
A village in central Italy is demanding that the Metropolitan Museum of Art return an Etruscan chariot more than a century after it was allegedly smuggled out of the country, according to a new book published in Italy.
In ``La Biga Rapita,'' or ``The Stolen Chariot,'' Italian reporter Mario La Ferla writes that financier John Pierpont Morgan had the 2,600-year-old chariot illegally transported from Italy to France, where it was kept in a basement of the Credit Lyonnais bank. The artifact was then shipped to the U.S., where it became the Metropolitan Museum's property in 1903, the year before Morgan became president of the Met, the book says.
The Etruscan chariot is billed by the Metropolitan as a centerpiece of its new Greek and Roman Galleries, which are scheduled to be inaugurated on April 20.
The accusations come a year after the museum agreed, following talks with the Italian government, to return a 2,500- year-old vase as well as 20 other disputed items. Boston's Museum of Fine Arts in September returned 13 classical works to Italy. The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, California is in negotiations over disputed Italian artifacts.
According to La Ferla's account, in 1902, a local farmer in the town of Monteleone di Spoleto, near Perugia in Umbria, found the chariot buried on his land. He sold it for 950 Italian lire (64 U.S. cents in today's money), enough to buy tiles for his roof.
The chariot was stored in Rome, where, according to the book, J.P. Morgan acquired it and transported it to the U.S. In 1903 it became the property of the Met, and a year later the banker became president of the museum, a position he held until his death in 1913.
The chariot's expatriation drew protests at the time from members of the Italian parliament, who saw it as a violation of Italian law, according to La Ferla's book.
Tito Mazzetta, a lawyer with the Atlanta firm Lipshutz, Greenblatt & King whose mother was born in Monteleone, is representing the village, the book says. Mazzetta said in a telephone interview that he is working on the case on a pro bono basis, hasn't filed a lawsuit and has yet to get the backing of the Italian government. The town of Monteleone or the region of Umbria might take legal action alone, he said.
Mazzetta said that although after 100 years the statute of limitations has expired, ``we are strong on moral and principle grounds,'' as, he said, the chariot was smuggled out and Italy was deprived of a part of its cultural heritage.
Metropolitan Museum Director Philippe de Montebello wasn't available for comment. Museum spokesman Harold Holzer said there are no legal grounds for returning the chariot. He said it was purchased from a dealer more than a century ago.
``You can't reverse world history and trade,'' he said in a telephone interview.
NERO'S ULTIMATE ORGY Rome, AD64
The Romans were fond of a slap-up dinner, preferably one that involved gluttonous excess and lashings of promiscuity. But, according to the historian Tacitus, one banquet - organised by Tigellinus for his deviant emperor, Nero, AD64 - stands out as the most "prodigal and notorious" of the lot.
In Book V of The Annals, Tacitus writes that "the entertainment took place on a raft constructed on Marcus Agrippa's lake. It was towed by other vessels, with gold and ivory fittings. Their rowers were degenerates, assorted according to age and vice."
Although Tacitus' recollection of the event does not extend to a menu card (there, are, however, details of eye-watering sexual feats), we may assume the feast ran along the lines of the one mapped out by Petronius in his Satyricon. At that banquet guests were treated to dormice sprinkled with poppyseed; sow's udders; a hare with wings attached, to represent Pegasus; a calf boiled whole and wearing a helmet; and more than 50 other Roman delicacies.
Nudo detrahere vestimenta quis potest?
(Plautus, Asinaria 92)
Pron = NOO-doh day-TRA-heh-reh wes-tih-MEHN-tah kwis POH-test.
Who is able to take away the clothes from the naked?
Comment: this is the equivalent of "You cannot get blood out of turnips", or "you cannot give what you don"t have", or more bluntly:
"you"ll get it when I have it".
There is some real honesty in this kind of saying. For those who would try to do what they really have no ability to do, it is an invitation to be honest about that. For those who would abuse the poor or those caught in a bad place, it is a warning to see more clearly.
If a man or woman is naked, you cannot take his/her clothes because of a debt owed to you.
I"ve had to confront a student or two recently about missing work or lack of effort (at all). I think it was the right thing to do, given the circumstances, but reflecting on this proverb leaves me wondering: due to circumstances that I know nothing about, are they left with nothing to give, nothing to draw on" Are they the "naked" that I am asking clothing from" The bottom line is that I don"t know.
Considering the possibility humbles me.
De frigore hiemali in Finnia
: Nuntii Latini
09.02.2007, klo 11.07
Inde a primis diebus mensis Februarii Finnia tantis frigoribus hiemalibus vexatur, ut temperatura non solum in Lapponia, sed etiam in regionibus mediae Finniae ad quadraginta fere gradus infra zerum descenderit.
Quantam vim hoc tempus gelidissimum ad vitam cotidianam habuerit, vel inde apparet, quod consumptio electricitatis ad summum fastigium evecta est.
Praeterea commeatus publicus claudicavit, cum nonnumquam accidit, ut tramina propter vitia technica ex gelu exorta ad metam hora constituta non pervenirent.
Researchers have excluded a large Greek contribution to any Pakistani population but provide strong evidence in support of the Greek origins for a small proportion of Pathans.
The study was conducted by researchers from the Biomedical and Genetic Engineering Division of the Dr AQ Khan Research Laboratories, Pakistan, Unit of Prenatal Diagnosis at the Laiko General Hospital, Greece, The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, UK and the Department of Genetics at Stanford University, US, and was published in the European Journal of Human Genetics (2007) as ‘Y-chromosomal evidence for a limited Greek contribution to the Pathan population of Pakistan’.
It investigated the origin and the genetic relationship of these three Pakistani populations with the extant Greek population. The research was done by typing a large set of markers from the male-specific region of the Y-chromosome in 77 Greeks and 875 Pakistani individuals.
The DNA samples of 952 unrelated males were analysed, extracted directly from peripheral blood mononuclear cells in the case of the Greek samples and from the EBV-transformed lymphoblastoid cell lines for the Pakistani samples. The Pakistani samples included Burusho, Kalash and Pathan individuals whose informed consent was obtained.
Values were estimated based on STR variation within haplogroups. Population pairwise genetic distances (the number of steps between a haplotype in one population and the closest haplotype in the second population, averaged over all comparisons) were calculated and median-joining networks were constructed using a five-fold range weighting scheme whereby weights assigned were specific for the haplogroup and took into account the Y-STR variation across the haplogroup in the Pakistani and Greek populations.
The network was also used to estimate the time to the most recent common ancestor (TMRCA) and a genetic distance matrix was used to construct phylogenetic tree by neighbor-joining method.
The combination of biallelic markers identified 12 Y-chromosomal haplogroups or lineages in the Greeks, 17 in the Burusho and 15 in the Pathan populations, while only eight Y lineages were found in the Kalash population. Principal component analysis of Y haplogroup frequencies incorporating published data from European and West Asian populations revealed that the Pakistani populations cluster together and separately from the Europeans, which is consistent with the study’s earlier conclusion.
The genetic distances between the populations were calculated using measures that were more sensitive to recent events. Pakistani-Greek population pairwise values based on the variation of STRs within haplogroups ranged from 0.131 to 0.213, with the lowest value between the Pathan and the Greeks. Pairwise genetic distances ranged from 4.3 to 8.1, with the lowest value again between the Pathan and the Greeks. Phylogenetic analysis using the matrix of genetic distances between populations with tree validation also demonstrated that of the three Pakistani populations, the Pathans were closest to the Greek. These results therefore suggest that there might have been a low degree of recent Pathan-Greek admixture.
To investigate this possibility further, the researchers have examined individual lineages. Clade E lineages were more frequent in the Greeks (21%) as compared to Pakistan (4%). The majority of haplogroup E chromosomes belonged to clade E3b and all Greek and Pakistani samples were resolved into the branches E3b1 (M78) and E3b3 (M123). Among the three Pakistani populations claiming Greek descent, this clade was observed only in the Pathans. The Pathan samples belonged to clade E3b1 that constituted 17% of the Greek samples.
A median-joining network of clade E Y-chromosomes was constructed in order to examine the genetic relationship between these Greek and Pathan samples. A duplication of 10 and 13 repeat units was observed in the clade-E-derived Y-chromosomes for the trinucleotide repeat DYS425 and this locus was, therefore, excluded from the network. The most striking feature of this network was the sharing of haplotypes between the Pathan and Greek samples. One Pathan individual shared the same Y-STR haplotype with three Greek individuals, and the other Pathan sample was separated from this cluster by a single mutation at the DYS436 locus. This demonstrated a very close relationship between the Pathan and Greek E lineages.
What gives a strong indication of a European, possibly Greek, origin of these Pathan Y-chromosomes is the map shown in the figure, which shows a major concentration around Macedonia and Greece, with a low scattering in other European countries, Tunisia, West Africa and the Pathans.
The Pathans were the only population among the three that claim Greek ancestry in which clade E was present. This branch is observed in Europe, the Middle East, North and East Africa with a suggested origin in East Africa. Sub-clade E3b is common in Europe and probably originated in Africa. Compelling evidence in support of the genetic relationship between the Pathan and Greek E3b1 Y chromosomes was provided by the median-joining network. One Pathan shared a Y-STR haplotype, that included a duplication of 10 and 13 repeat units for the DYS425 locus, with three Greek individuals and the other was separated from this cluster by a single mutation.
According to the analysis in the study, none of the Pakistani populations, except Pathans, had a large male contribution from Greece. It is worth emphasising that the chances of picking up rare events largely amplified by drift affecting a limited portion of the population cannot be discounted. The genetic data alone do not tell us when the Balkan chromosomes arrived in Pakistan and it is necessary to turn to the historical record for this. There has been no known Greek admixture within the last few generations, but in addition to Alexander’s armies, the possibility of admixture between the Greek slaves who were brought to this region by Xerxes around one hundred and fifty years before Alexander’s arrival, and the local population must also be taken into account as well as the fact that at that time, Afghanistan and present day Pakistan were part of the Persian Empire.
Therefore, keeping in mind the analysis and observations done by the researchers and the results that they arrived at, it can be concluded that of the three nations - Burusho, Kalash and Pathan - only Pathans can be concluded to be descenders of the Greek.
Dr Rossiter measured the metabolic rates of modern athletes rowing a reconstruction of an Athenian trireme, a 37m long warship powered by 170 rowers seated in three tiers. Using portable metabolic analysers, he measured the energy consumption of a sample of the athletes powering the ship over a range of different speeds to estimate the efficiency of the human engine of the warship. The research is published in New Scientist today (February 8).
By comparing these findings to classical texts that record details of their endurance, he realised that the rowers of ancient Athens -- around 500BC -- would had to have been highly elite athletes, even by modern day standards.
Says Dr Rossiter: "Ancient Athens had up to 200 triremes at any one time, and with 170 rowers in each ship, the rowers were clearly not a small elite. Yet this large group, it seems, would match up well with the best of modern athletes. Either ancient Athenians had a more efficient way of rowing the trireme or they would have to be an extremely fit group. Our data raise the interesting notion that these ancient athletes were genetically better adapted to endurance exercise than we are today."
Dr Rossiter worked closely with Professor Boris Rankov, Professor of Classics at Royal Holloway, University of London to interpret the details of the endurance of the ancient rowers from classical texts. Many of these texts were originally collected and used to estimate sustainable ship speeds in The Athenian Trireme (CUP, 2rd edition 2000), which Professor Rankov co-authored.
For example, one account talks of the Athenians quelling a revolt in Mytilene on the island of Lesbos in the eastern Aegean. The Athenian assembly ordered all Mytiline's men to death, and despatched a trireme to carry out this command. The next day, the assembly relented and sent a second trireme to halt the massacre. According to the records of Thucydides, this second trireme would have made the journey in about 24 hours, rowing in shifts and eating while they rowed, so the ship could travel non-stop.
Says Dr Rossiter: "From these details we can estimate the average sustainable ship speeds. Then, using the reconstruction we measured the metabolic demands of the human engine required to sustain these speeds. If the historians are correct, we would struggle to find enough people at that level of fitness today to power the ships at those speeds."
Triremes were a huge technological advance, allowing Athens to dominate the seas. They had a strong keel, taken forward into a huge spike covered in bronze plates, which meant they could ram and hole enemy ships -- a new technique in naval warfare. To ensure sufficient impact to cause damage, the triremes had to reach great speeds -- so were designed with more than three times more rowers than earlier warships. By placing the rowers on three tiers, the ship could remain a manoeuvrable length and weight.
The trireme used in Dr Rossiter's research, Olympias, was built in the 1980s and was used to carry the Olympic flame to Piraeus, the port near Athens, at the start of the last Olympic Games. It is now housed in a museum in Piraeus.
Beneficium accipere est libertatem vendere.
(Publilius Syrus Sententia 48)
Pron = beh-neh-FIH-kee-oom ahk-KIH-peh-reh ehst lih-ber-TAH-tehm WEHN-deh-reh.
To accept a favor is to sell one's liberty.
Comment: "Beneficium" can be translated as "benefit, kindness, favor".
And this little insight really does get to the nitty-gritty of many our human dynamics.
Yesterday morning, for example, NPR did a story on the recent arrest and pending trial of a Mississippi man accused of killing civil rights workers 30 years ago. It's just the latest of several trials like this, where justice is finally having it's day in one of the worst periods of our history. At one point, the reporter asked the rhetorical question: why did local authorities not prosecute these men way back then?
I found myself responding out loud to the radio. "Because those "in authority" had too many connections with the accused!" I had in mind, among other things, these benefits, favors, etc that Publilius speaks of.
The really deep cut of this proverb is this: when I do an act of kindness, a favor, offer a benefit, is it really an act of goodness,
kindness, generosity? Or, is it a quid pro quo? Make that
distinction, and the liberty either vanishes (because it was a quid pro quo that comes with the expectation of a return favor), or liberty remains in tact because one human being offered, out of his/her freedom, real goodness, to another.
It's that simple. When I do a nice thing for another, do I expect ANYTHING? If so, it was not a nice thing. It was a business deal.
And those deals cost something.
Praesidens Israelis munere liberatus
: Nuntii Latini
02.02.2007, klo 14.15
Parlamentum Israelis praesidenti Moshe Katsav a munere liberationem concessit, quam ille petiverat. Katsav ad interim discedit, quia fieri poterit, ut de stupro aliisque facinoribus accusetur.
Loco eius in praesidentatum ascendit Dalia Itzik, praeses parlamenti, quae futura est prima in Israele praesidens femina.
Greece and the J. Paul Getty museum have signed an agreement for the return of two ancient treasures that Athens claims were illegally excavated and smuggled out of the country, officials said on Wednesday.
The artifacts - a 4th century B.C. gold wreath and a 6th century B.C. marble statue of a young woman - are the last of four antiquities successfully reclaimed by Greece from the Getty.
They will be handed over to Greek officials by the end of next month, under the deal signed in Athens late Monday by Greek Culture Ministry Secretary-General Christos Zachopoulos and Michael Brand, director of the private Los Angeles museum.
"This signing confirms the climate of trust and mutual understanding (between Greece and the Getty), and creates new prospects in their relations," the Culture Ministry and the museum said in a joint statement.
The signing follows an informal agreement in December for the works' return.
In September, the museum returned two stone sculptures dating to the sixth and the fourth centuries B.C. following pressure from Athens, which has launched an aggressive campaign for the return of looted Greek antiquities held in museums and private collections abroad.
These are on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.
Authorities have arrested 52 people in a major crackdown on a suspected ring of antiquities looters from dozens of sites in southern Spain, the Spanish Civil Guard said Wednesday.
The raids took place in several provinces, including Seville, Madrid and Barcelona, where police searched at least 68 homes, said Civil Guard spokesman Jose Manuel Escudero. Some 300,000 pieces have been recovered, including gold coins, vessels, amphoras and other objects, he added.
He said investigators consider the operation to be the largest against archaeological looting worldwide.
Among those arrested were 30 suspected thieves, 13 middlemen and nine collectors, who appeared to have been often motivated by investment rather than artistic and historical interest, Escudero said. The Civil Guard said the collectors were interested in "selected" pieces of archaeology.
Those arrested were not immediately identified.
The investigations stem from documentation seized in 2005 in an operation in which 10 people were arrested for looting underwater archaeological sites off the coast of Cadiz, the Civil Guard said in a statement.
The Civil Guard said the suspects arrested Wednesday made daily trips to the sites that they had previously located with sophisticated metal detectors and excavation manuals, and did the looting at night. In most cases, they were helped by security guards at the sites, who gave them access, the Civil Guard said. It said some 31 archaeological sites had been looted all together.
The members of the ring kept the pieces of less importance for themselves, while the ones that they considered very valuable were sold for large sums of money to collectors in Madrid, Barcelona, Cadiz and Seville.
Some of the pieces were also sold in other European countries.
Mysterious photographs from the 1970s are to be brought as evidence to prove that the so-called ossuary of James, the brother of Jesus, is authentic. They are to be presented by attorneys for Oded Golan, the antiquities dealer charged with forging the item, which when it was made public, was dubbed "the most important archaeological discovery from the beginnings of Christianity."
The photographs, copies of which have reached Haaretz, have already been examined by an American expert and are to be submitted as evidence in court. But they do not remove doubts about the item, which touched off a storm in the archaeological world.
In December 2004, after a lengthy police investigation, the State Prosecutor's Office indicted Golan and three other Israelis for what they called the most serious case of antiquities forgery ever uncovered in Israel.
Golan, 55, a Tel Aviv resident, was charged with allegedly masterminding a ring responsible for the fabrication of antiquities over a period of more than 15 years. According to the charge sheet, the group stands accused of attempting to sell items to museums and wealthy collectors for millions of dollars.
The indictment states that in 2001 or shortly before, Golan forged the inscription on the ossuary (bone receptacle) and that at approximately that same time, also forged the so-called "Joash inscription."
The ossuary was unveiled in a press conference in Washington, D.C., in October 2002. It was inscribed in Aramaic with words interpreted as "Yaakov the brother of Yeshua," alluding to the fact that the individual whose bones it held was Jesus' brother, James, mentioned in the New Testament. A geological test commissioned by the owners of the ossuary and confirming the authenticity of the find was presented at the briefing.
A panel appointed by the director of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), Shuka Dorfman, determined in June 2003 that the inscription on the ossuary was "added recently," while the ossuary itself was authentic.
In the defense's photographs, dated 1976, the ossuary is shown on a shelf, apparently in Golan's home. In an enlargement, the whole inscription can be seen with great difficulty. The photo was examined by Gerald Richard, a former FBI agent and an expert for the defense. Richard testified that "Nothing was noted that would indicate or suggest that they were not produced in March 1976 as indicated on the stamps appearing on the reverse side of each print."
Golan's attorney, Lior Beringer, told Haaretz that the photos support the defense's position. "The prosecution claims that Golan forged the inscription after the beginning of 2000. But here is a detailed report from an FBI photo lab that states that the inscription existed at least since the 70s," Beringer said. "It is unreasonable that someone would forge an inscription like this in the 70s and suddenly decide to come out with it in 2002," he added.
The date of the photo is also significant legally because any antiquity discovered in Israel since the passage of the 1978 Antiquities Law belongs to the state.
The IAA refused yesterday to comment on the new finds and would say only that the matter was being dealt with by the state prosecutor.
The photos join experts in Israel and other countries who have tried to disparage the credibility of the IAA panel, in what the IAA at the time described as a well-orchestrated campaign backed by interested parties. The accusation was leveled against Hershel Shanks, the editor of the Biblical Archaeology Review, published in the U.S. Shanks' identification of the ossuary brought him credit worldwide. He funded the exhibition of the ossuary in a Toronto museum, from which money poured in from thousands of visitors to the organizers, including Shanks. Shanks has told Haaretz in the past that he is motivated by the desire to get to the truth in the matter.
But it is the way the ossuary was found that seems to raise the most doubts. Golan, whose friends say his knowledge is "phenomenal," said that for years he did not realize that he had of the most important archaeological finds in the world on his shelf. When asked by Haaretz about this in an interview, he explained, "It didn't set off any bells, I am not an expert in Christian tradition."
Nemo omnia scire potest.
(Varro, De Re Rustica, 2.1.2)
Pron = NAY-moh OHM-nee-ah SKEE-ray POH-test)
No one is able to know everything.
Comment: This saying is a helpful reminder of the wonders that we stand before as human beings. Honestly. None of us can know everything, and in this day of information explosion, that becomes more obvious than ever before.
These words also make me aware of a subtle and perhaps surprise inversion of experience.
If I act is if I know it all, doors shut. People shut down.
Communication ceases. And the possibilities for discovery vanish.
Why should anything remain open if I act as if I know everything?
If I acknowledge the limits of my knowledge, immediately, the door opens. Which door? The door to inquiry, discovery, creativity, sharing of information (I may not know a thing, but you might!), and on a spiritual level--the door to trust and communion opens. When I acknowledge my own personal limits, I am inviting others to trust the honesty of my humanity, and to risk the same with their own.
In these dangerous days in our world, I am not sure that there is a spiritual principle more important, than unwrapping our vulnerabilities before each other, and inviting trust.
Allergiae apud Finnos increbruerunt
: Nuntii Latini
02.02.2007, klo 14.14
His quadraginta annis allergiae apud Finnos quadruplicatae sunt.
Ex investigatione novissima, in Academia Finnica facta, allergiae sunt in Finnia quater crebriores quam in parte Careliae Russica.
Ibi autem et pulvis domesticus et aqua notabiliter plura microbia continent quam in Finnia. Microbia systema immunitatis subigunt et contra allergias tolerantiam et tutelam praestant.
Ex hygiene nimis bona facile sequitur, ut microbia in domibus non tantopere vagentur quam in condicionibus minus hygienicis.
Itaque investigatores praesertim parentibus infantium suadent, ut nimiam hygienen evitent.
Friends and colleagues: The catacombs of Rome, underground cemeteries where early Christians took refuge, played an important role in the development of modern archaeology. See how that took place in The Witnesses of Silence: Discovering Rome's Catacombs, the latest video feature on our nonprofit streaming-media Web site, The Archaeology Channel (http://www.archaeologychannel.org).
This film retraces the rediscovery of the catacombs, subterranean burial places and hideouts beneath the streets of ancient Rome. It finds in the dark galleries the traces of early explorers and the signatures, graffiti and inscriptions they left. These early underground explorers include legendary figures such as Antonio Bosio and Giovanni Battista de Rossi, the scholar who laid the scientific basis of modern Italian archaeology. This film sheds new light on an underground world where silence dominates but images retell stories voiced many centuries ago.
Archaeologists in Italy believe they have discovered an example of eternal love after the discovery of two skeletons buried between 5,000 and 6,000 years ago, hugging each other.
Elena Menotti, who led the team on its dig near the northern city of Mantova, described the find as "an extraordinary case".
"There has not been a double burial found in the Neolithic period, much less two people hugging, and they really are hugging," she said.
Menotti said she believed the two, almost certainly a man and a woman although that needs to be confirmed, died young because their teeth were mostly intact and not worn down.
"I must say that when we discovered it, we all became very excited. I've been doing this job for 25 years. I've done digs at Pompeii, all the famous sites," she said.
"But I've never been so moved because this is the discovery of something special."
A laboratory will now try to determine the couple's age at the time of death and how long they had been buried.
Stultum est timere quod vitare non potes.
(Publilius Syrus, Sententia 580)
Pron = STOOL-toom est tih-MAY-reh kwohd wee-TAH-ray nohn POH-tehs.
It is foolish to fear what you cannot avoid.
Comment: Oh, if it were only so easy to reason away emotions! I think this is a perennial mistake. Emotions are like water (an ancient correspondence, by the way). They can overwhelm us. They can terrify us. They can make us crazy. They can leave us confused. Have you ever tried to reason with a wave in the ocean? Reasoning with emotions is just as effective. They come rolling in, anyway.
Publilius Syrus does, though, capture a truth. What we are not able to avoid (like the wave) is coming. We must find some way to deal with it. When I stand on the shore, wading into the ocean, and see the wave coming, I usually turn my back to it, and I back into it.
That's to protect my face, and because I have a little more stability backing into them. But, the wave will hit me, and I will get drenched. And then it passes, and I get deeper into the ocean where I can float and enjoy the support of ocean water.
And so it is with emotion, and with the events in our lives that we cannot avoid They are coming, and we will get drenched with them.
They may frighten us, or sadden us, or anger us, or depress us, or astound us, or wow us. We'll get through, just like taking the next breath. We will get through, unless we go under the water, and refuse to come up for air. So it is with emotion. We can choose to stay buried beneath it, and refuse to breathe, and it could overcome us for good.
That's where the fear has to be something we make a choice about.
When the unavoidable is coming, and it terrifies us, we may go under for a minute. We must remember to come up for air. And breathe. And this wave will pass. The sun will shine again. The moon will rise again. And we will have found a little more strength, a little more wisdom, for living. We can float for a while, in the great ocean of our lives.
Quid George Bush dixerit
: Nuntii Latini
25.01.2007, klo 17.35
Praesidens Civitatum Americae Unitarum semel in anno orationem de condicione patriae facere solet.
George Bush, cum die Martis illam contionem apud parlamentum haberet, ait se maxime niti, ut Americani decem annis proxime futuris consumptionem benzini quinta parte deminuerent.
Idem dixit sibi propositum esse numerum horreorum materiae combustibilis, quae in America essent, ad annum bismillesimum vicesimum septimum (2027) decemplicem reddere.
Quod ad politicam exteriorem attinet, Bush consilium suum de copiis in Iraquia augendis defendit et a legatis parlamentaribus petivit, ut patienter exspectarent, donec illud consultum bonos eventus haberet.
The Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University has received a monumental gift of ancient Mediterranean art that doubles the size of the museum's antiquities collection and includes objects nearly 5,000 years old.
The gift from an anonymous donor, to be officially announced today, was collected from the 1920s to the early 1980s and includes about 220 pieces in gold, terra cotta, bronze, ceramic, marble and amber.
"It actually complements the older collection," said Duke archaeology professor Carla Antonaccio. "I'm not telling my students they have to go to Raleigh now" to study the N.C. Museum of Art's ancient objects.
About 60 antiquities -- including 45 pieces from the gift -- will be on view in a new exhibit titled "The Past Is Present," opening at the Nasher on Feb. 15. Other objects will be available for students and scholars to study. Museum officials and classics professors declined to identify the donor but said the gift came from someone with longtime Duke ties, not an alumnus.
The gift comes amid a roaring controversy about ancient objects looted from excavation sites and acquired by museums.
The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Boston Museum of Fine Art have returned antiquities to Italy and Greece under questioning about how the objects were unearthed. Meanwhile, former Getty antiquities curator Marion True and American art dealer Robert Hecht are on trial in Rome on charges of trafficking stolen artifacts. And looting in Iraq has become an urgent concern among archaeologists.
Kimerly Rorschach, who became the Nasher's director in 2004, said the museum has turned down several gifts of antiquities since her arrival because of incomplete documentation. When the anonymous donor approached the museum in 2005, she assumed the same problem would exist.
"You say, "Well, do you have a bill of sale for this?' " Rorschach said. "To our delight, we were able to accept."
The Nasher is working on a policy for accepting antiquities, but Rorschach said she is inclined to turn down gifts that aren't documented before 1970, when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization adopted a convention to tighten antiquities trade. Both the Getty and the British Museum have adopted the same standard.
"You don't want to acquire things that are excavated recently," Rorschach said. "There is a link between the market and clandestine looting of sites. We don't want to contribute to that in any way. ... Pretty soon, the Iraq War will be 10 years ago, and we know we won't want to be acquiring work that was sold at that time."
Malcolm Bell III, a University of Virginia archaeologist and a leading proponent of stricter museum acquisition policies, lectured Friday at the Nasher. He and Antonaccio are co-directors of excavations at Morgantina, a major archaeological site in Sicily that dates back to 1000 B.C.
"It is extraordinarily difficult to excavate areas raided by looters," Bell said, noting that thieves with metal detectors damage artifacts they think are worthless and rip objects from their original context. "The art market erases the history of ownership that museums otherwise work very hard to protect."
At a Friday preview of the gift, Anne Schroder, curator of academic programs, stood before a Greek Droop cup from the sixth-century B.C. It was done in the hallmark burnt umber-and-black style known as black figure, and Schroder pointed out the intricate figures painted underneath horses and warriors and the detailed patterning toward the stem.
"It sends chills up my spine," Schroder said.
Other highlights of the new collection include an exquisite sculptural gold disc with four bees and a flower, possibly worn as a pendant in the seventh century B.C., and an almost perfectly preserved amber dolphin from Southern Italy.
The exhibit allows stunning visual connections: A Greek white ground lekythos, or storage vessel, from the fifth century B.C., shows a woman with a mirror in the background; the same case holds an Etruscan mirror of near-identical shape.
JULIE ANDREWS frolicked across the Alps singing it in The Sound of Music and generations of children have learnt their musical scales by remembering it.
Now Do-Re-Mi has been traced back more than 2,000 years to one of the greatest poets of ancient Rome.
According to a book to be published next month, the origins of the song lie far from the female deer and ray of golden sun in the Rodgers and Hammerstein version sung by Andrews to the von Trapp children. Instead, it was penned as a mnemonic by a medieval Italian monk who drew on a melody which accompanied Horace’s Ode to Phyllis, written in the 1st century BC.
The research has been carried out by Stuart Lyons, who won a classics scholarship to King’s College, Cambridge. A businessman who chairs the Airsprung Furniture Company, he did the work in his spare time.
“The monk who invented Do-Re-Mi took the music from a song written 1,000 years earlier by a pagan poet and songwriter and told a lie about it because he didn’t want to go to the stake (for heresy),” Lyons said.
In his book, Horace’s Odes and the Mystery of Do-Re-Mi, Lyons argues that Horace was a writer whose words were set to music rather than the conventional wisdom that he was a lyric poet. It shows that the missing link between The Sound of Music and Horace was Guido D’Abruzzo, an 11th-century Benedictine and music scholar born in Pomposa, a monastery on the Adriatic coast.
It has long been known that D’Abruzzo wrote the words to the mnemonic - although the original, taken from a medieval Latin poem, begins “ut (rather than do), re, mi, fa, so, la”. D’Abruzzo’s tune was different from the modern version, but used the same system of ascending notes.
Lyons believes he has found clear evidence that D’Abruzzo borrowed the tune from Horace. The link appeared when he unearthed a 10th-century manuscript of Ode to Phyllis at Montpellier University in France.
The notation above the words - although not recognisable as the modern tune of Do-Re-Mi - was almost identical to the tune used by D’Abruzzo.
“The melody truly belonged to the Ode,” said Lyons. “It is the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me in academic discovery. It is incredible to solve a mystery that is 1,000 years old.”
Stephen Harrison, professor of classical language and literature at Oxford University, said Lyons was in “respectable scholarly company” in his belief that Horace’s odes were originally sung to music. But he said it was “speculative” to suggest that a Horatian tune could have survived on a manuscript to be read by a monk almost 1,000 years later.
I know this is the fault of the Times rather than you, but wasn't it Guido of AREZZO who wrote "Ut queant laxis"?
The origins of the famed buried city of Pompeii have emerged from years of excavations, an international conference in Rome was told Thursday.
The first Pompeii was not built by the Romans or even by the Greeks who preceded them, but by an ancient people called the Samnites, Pompeii heritage Superintendent Piero Guzzo told a packed audience of archaeologists and scholars.
Wielding photos of inscriptions, votive offerings and even entire buildings, Guzzo said "a new season of studies has begun". "For the first time we have come to understand how Pompeii was born and not just how it died," Guzzo told a three-day conference here on ten years of work by archaeologists from all over the world.
"The most exciting discoveries were the frescoed buildings with precious mosaics, still perfectly intact, dating back to the Samnite foundation of the city in the Third Century BC," Guzzo said.
"The fresco in the so-called House of the Centaur is one of the oldest found at Pompeii or indeed the whole of Italy," said Fabrizio Pesando of Naples' Oriental Institute.
"The true Pompeii is not the Roman one that was buried by Vesuvius in 79AD," Pesando said.
"Its golden age was in the Second Century BC, as shown by these buildings," he said.
"Pompeii has become, once again, a great laboratory for research".
Oscar-winning director Roman Polanski is gearing up to make a dramatic thriller based on Robert Harris' best-seller 'Pompeii'.
The budget for the flick, set against the backdrop of Mt Vesuvius just before and during its eruption, is projected to be around 130 million dollars, making it Polanski's most expensive film by a wide margin.
It revolves around a young engineer who has to repair an enormous aqueduct whose destruction threatens the Roman Empire.
"I got seduced by the writing. In general terms, when someone tells me to make a movie set in ancient times, I say it's not my cup of tea. But I liked that it was a thriller," Contactmusic quoted him as saying.
"It will be very dependent on visual effects. It's always challenging to do something a little different, but that's what keeps me going," he added.
The script of the film will be written by Harris, and it will begin shooting this summer in Italy.
Archaeologists have discovered that what had been thought to be a relatively small, down-market amphitheatre in Britain was in fact a top-of-the-range, though admittedly more intimate, version of Rome's famous gladiatorial arena.
Indeed, this British Colosseum - in Chester - may well have been built as a replica of the one in Rome, possibly on the orders of the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, who was in Britain at the time.
Although it was much smaller than the Colosseum, its outer wall appears to have had a blind arcade of 80 arches, giving it a superficially similar appearance to the one in Rome. If the archaeologists' calculations are correct, Rome and Chester were the only places in the Roman world to have amphitheatres with that number of arches.
Chester's inhabitants appear to have been enthusiastic supporters of their Colosseum. Evidence suggests that the audience gorged on salmon, oysters, hazelnuts, venison, lamb, pork, beef and chicken. The "entertainers" did not have such a good time. The archaeologists - led by Dr Tony Wilmott of English Heritage and Dan Garner of Chester Archaeology - have not only found broken daggers and bits of shattered armour, but also fragments of body parts.
In all, the archaeologists found 10 pieces of human bone - a bit of jaw, a top vertebra, part of a leg and several fragments of skull (two of which show signs of fracture). In the centre of the arena, a large stone block was found with the remains of an iron tethering ring set in it. It is likely that victims were tied to it while trying to protect themselves against wild animals.
The gladiatorial contests must have been important for the local economy. Outside the building, traders built ovens to meet the demand for roast meat, and stalls almost certainly sold gladiator-related souvenirs.
The amphitheatre, built about AD100, was completely rebuilt about 100 years later to resemble a scaled-down version of Rome's Colosseum.
Political corruption, murder, and the balance of power are three elements in the independent short Roma Sub Rosa: The Secret Under the Rose.
The short is a period piece set in Italy and was written by former Union City resident Jim Thalman.
It debuted last June on Adelphia Cable Channel 17 WHDT in California and has received critical acclaim at film festivals throughout the United States and abroad since its first screenings in February of 2006.
Following the overwhelming response, WHDT scheduled a second telecast in July, and additional networks have brought the film to 1.4 million homes across the country.
Now Roma Sub Rosa is scheduled to take on the Big Apple with a film screening set for Saturday, Feb. 3, at OS Art House at John Street Grill, 17 John St. at 8 p.m.
"On the eve of war, a politician's empty words echo the glories of war as a generation of field officers decided that the murder of a politician is a wiser course of action than to knowingly march thousands to the death," said writer and co-producer Thalman. "People love the incorporation of mafia into the Roman Empire, and they can relate to it. Within this world there is no room for politicians, they would sooner get murdered before getting any fame or power."
"This film is an alternative to what we have seen on the Roman Empire," said Thalman. "For the most part Roman stories on film are told from a very British perspective, and has nothing of the Italian culture laced in."
Set in 212 B.C. Southern Italy, 162 years before Caesar, the story follows a "ragtag army" of new recruits lead by Lt. General Cornelius Scipio (played by Thalman). The recruits are among the newly formed Meridian Armies, which have been sent out by the Roman Senate to put an end to the violence brought by Hannibal of Carthage.
"This is from the Italian perspective, which is based on family," said Thalman. "Within Roman culture it is about loyalty to family, and nothing else matters."
These soldiers fighting alongside one another are like family, loyal to each other. Their leader Scipio is among the veteran soldiers, who instigate a plot to assassinate the politicians, who according to Thalman seek the glories of war at the price of soldiers' lives.
"It's very prison yard," said Thalman. "We have spun a conspiracy [and tell the story] of a generation of ambitious young men and how they come to power, which they do so by murdering one man instead of through these large battle sequences."
The plot thickens
So the question becomes, do the lives of a few justify the means to save hundreds of others?
For this group of soldiers it does. Thus begins a web of negotiations, blackmail, marriage and murder to seize control of the Meridian Armies. It is the allegiances of these great families that put an end to squabbling politicians, and become the powerful families of Rome.
"It's much more akin to films like the Godfather and Goodfellas," said Thalman. "It's a crime story set as a period film."
The film follows the group in a sequence of events that take place from sunset to sunrise.
"We follow each of these eight men, which ultimately become, and this is a fact, the powerful founding families of the Roman Empire," said Thalman.
These men take specific courses of action to fulfill their purpose of assassinating the Imperator, or crown prince, without instigating a civil war amongst the army.
"This happens in a war camp on the verge of civil war with over 1,000 men, with the potential to turn on each other," said Thalman.
Building a franchise
Following the success of Roma Sub Rosa, which was completed in November of 2005, Thalman and Cobblestone Pictures, who released the film, will continue with an additional three-part installment.
"We started with this film as a pilot, and it has been playing to great notoriety around the world," said Thalman.
The film is set to screen next in Canada. Thalman and Cobblestone Pictures are also in negotiations to possibly bring the film to Spain.
"It's gaining momentum and a great popularity, so through that we have been able to solidify second monies and production deals to shoot the four part [series] needed to sell this franchise," said Thalman.
Roma Sub Rosa was made on a budget of just over $50,000, and had a majority of their costume armor and weapons donated by the Warner Bros. Studios.
"There is a huge popularity for ancient pieces right now, and Rome in particular, thanks to shows like HBO's Rome," said Thalman.
The second film will continue with the hunt for Hannibal, the third will involve the capture of Carthage, and the final installment will be titled All Roads Lead to Rome.
"When they get back to Rome is when it becomes the most dangerous," said Thalman. "The soldiers have garnered wealth and made enemies, and vendettas have formed against them."
Screenplays for the following films are completed and in the works with a couple of well-known actors expressing interest in the films.
"There is universality to it," said Thalman. "Even though its set in 212 B.C. its something that any 16 or 18 year old can understand because it's mafia. It's the Sopranos set in Rome."
Roma Sub Rosa was directed by Michael Fischa; produced by Matt Walsh, Klint Macro, Jim Thalman, and executive produced by Joseph Sanchez, Arian Blanco, and John J. McMahon.
For more information on Roma Sub Rosa visit www.romasubrosa.com
In a city where traffic rumbles past the Colosseum and soccer fans celebrate victories among the remains of the Circus Maximus, it comes as no surprise that relics of the glory that was Rome turn up almost every day, and sometimes get in the way of the modern city's needs.
The perennial tug-of-war between preserving ancient treasures and developing much-needed infrastructure is moving underground, as the city mobilizes archaeologists to probe the bowels of the Eternal City in preparation for a new, 15-mile subway line.
Eyesore yellow panels have sprung up over the past months to cordon off 38 archaeological digs, often set up near famous monuments or on key thoroughfares of the already chronically gridlocked historical center.
Rome's 2.8 million inhabitants can rely on just two subway lines, the "Metro A" and "B," which only skirt the center and leave it clogged with traffic and tourists. Plans for a third line that would service the history-rich heart of Rome have been put off for decades amid funding shortages and fears the work would grind to a halt amid a trove of discoveries.
Those discoveries may now be just a shovelful away as archaeologists dig through more than 17 million cubic feet of earth, documenting finds that go from modern to Roman times. They will then sit down with planners of Rome's "Metro C" line to discuss the engineering nightmare of shifting stairwells and redesigning stations to preserve any relics of note.
"It's bit of a slalom to preserve the finds and still get the subway done," said Fedora Filippi, the archaeologist who oversees a dig in front of the baroque church of Sant'Andrea della Valle. "This is the daily life of urban archaeologists who must confront difficult and fascinating sites like this one."
In mid January, working amid the noisy traffic jam created by the dig, Filippi uncovered the massive cement foundations of a Roman public building dating back to imperial times.
Filippi said that further study is needed, but the 13-foot-thick wall could belong to a swimming pool or to a temple dedicated to the goddess Fortune, parts of a monumental complex built in the area by Agrippa, trusted general and son-in-law of Rome's first emperor, Augustus.
Other finds emerging across the city include Roman taverns found near the ancient Forum; cellars of 16th-century palaces located in the middle of Piazza Venezia and Roman tombs found outside the walls containing the remains of two children encased in amphorae.
Under Italy's strict conservation laws, it will be up to the state's archaeological office for Rome to decide whether a find will be removed, destroyed or encased within the subway's structures.
Angry rows between conservationists and urban planners frequently erupt when state archaeologists descend on building sites where finds have been made, snarling or canceling projects.
Countless public and private works have been scrapped over the years in Rome and across Italy, and it is not uncommon for developers to fail to report a find and plow through ancient treasures.
In 1999, the government defied preservationists by going through with a parking garage that sliced through a Roman villa during hurried preparations for the Holy Year celebrations. The decision caused outrage especially due to the previous discovery of mosaics and ceramics from the villa in a garbage dump on Rome's outskirts.
Archaeologists and planners have since learned to work together, said Francesco Rotundi, project manager for Metro C.
"There is an increased awareness on everyone's part," he told The Associated Press during a tour Thursday of the archaeological dig in the historical Piazza Venezia. "Solutions are found, even if they require more time and money."
Pointing to a hand-drawn sketch of the site, Rotundi said planners had already moved a circular underground corridor to avoid destroying the remains of a Renaissance palace located by the dig.
The archaeological probes are needed only to clear the way for stairwells and air ducts, as the line's stations and tunnels in the center will be dug at a depth of 80-100 feet _ below the level of any human habitation ever, Rotundi said.
The euro3-billion ($3.9-billion) project is due for completion in 2015, but parts of the 30-station line are scheduled to open in 2011, sporting high-tech automatic trains transporting 24,000 passengers an hour.
Locals and visitors say the new subway is painfully needed.
"There aren't sufficient lines to get to all the major attractions," said Steve Scanlan, a 48-year-old Londoner on vacation with his family. "You have to use taxis, buses, which are more troublesome."
But the delays may not be over yet. Archaeologists say no major finds have been unearthed so far, but most of the digs still have to reach the earth strata that date back to Roman times, where plenty of surprises may be lying in wait.
Male nudes are the norm in Greek art, even though historians have stated that ancient Greeks kept their clothes on for the most part. New research suggests that art might have been imitating life more closely than previously thought.
Nudity was a costume used by artists to depict various roles of men, ranging from heroicism and status to defeat.
"In ancient Greek art, there are many different kinds of nudity that can mean many different things," said Jeffrey Hurwit, an historian of ancient art at the University of Oregon. "Sometimes they are contradictory."
Hurwit's newly published research shows that the Greeks did walk around in the buff in some situations. Men strode about free of their togas in the bedroom and at parties called symposia, where they would eat, drink and carouse. Nudity was also common on the athletic fields and at the Olympic games. (Because there are so many images of Greek athletes, some lay people have assumed the Greeks were in their birthday suits all the time.)
However, nudity was often risky for the Greeks.
"Greek males, it is generally agreed, did not walk around town naked, they did not ride their horses naked, and they certainly did not go into battle naked," Hurwit said. "In most public contexts, clothing was not optional, and in combat nakedness was suicidal."
Warriors and heroes are often, but not always, represented in the nude. Artists demonstrated the physical prowess men used to defeat their enemies. But, as Hurwit said, if you can go into battle naked, you've got to be pretty good.
However, heroes weren't the only men disrobed by ancient artists.
Hurwit's research, published in the Jan. issue of the American Journal of Archaeology, also found examples of defeated, dying and dead naked men. In these cases, nudity was chosen to represent the subjects' vulnerabilities.
Meanwhile, common laborers were also drawn undressed, illustrating their sweat and muscles to show how hard they worked. Gods and people of higher social class were sometimes — but not always — depicted in the buff to demonstrate their place in society.
Hurwit's research of these nuances of Greek art also offers a glimpse into the cultural source of our civilization today.
"We can try to understand ourselves and our conception of what it means to be a hero and to exceed normal expectations," Hurwit told LiveScience. "The more we know about other cultures, the deeper we will be able to understand our own culture and ourselves."
It would be a lot easier to have more confidence in this if the author didn't believe that the Greeks of the Classical Period wore togas.
Si sol splendescat Maria purificante,
Major erit glacies post festum quam fuit ante
Residents of a remote Chinese village are hoping that DNA tests will prove one of history's most unlikely legends — that they are descended from Roman legionaries lost in antiquity.
Scientists have taken blood samples from 93 people living in and around Liqian, a settlement in north-western China on the fringes of the Gobi desert, more than 200 miles from the nearest city.
They are seeking an explanation for the unusual number of local people with western characteristics — green eyes, big noses, and even blonde hair — mixed with traditional Chinese features.
"I really think we are descended from the Romans," said Song Guorong, 48, who with his wavy hair, six-foot frame and strikingly long, hooked nose stands out from his short, round-faced office colleagues.
"There are the residents with these special features, and then there are also historical records about the existence of these people long ago," he said.
Studies claiming that Liqian has Roman ancestry have greatly excited the impoverished county in which it is situated. The village is now overlooked by a pillared portico, in the hope of attracting tourists. A statue at the entrance of the nearby county town, Yongchang, shows a Roman legionary standing next to a Confucian scholar and a Muslim woman, as a symbol of racial harmony.
Even entrepreneurs have caught on: in "Imperial City Entertainment Street" there is a Caesar Karaoke bar.
Rome to China map, Roman descendants found in China?
The town's link with Rome was first suggested by a professor of Chinese history at Oxford in the 1950s. Homer Dubs pulled together stories from the official histories, which said that Liqian was founded by soldiers captured in a war between the Chinese and the Huns in 36BC, and the legend of the missing army of Marcus Crassus, a Roman general.
In 53BC Crassus was defeated disastrously and beheaded by the Parthians, a tribe occupying what is now Iran, putting an end to Rome's eastward expansion.
But stories persisted that 145 Romans were taken captive and wandered the region for years. Prof Dubs theorised that they made their way as a mercenary troop eastwards, which was how a troop "with a fish-scale formation" came to be captured by the Chinese 17 years later.
He said the "fish-scale formation" was a reference to the Roman "tortoise", a phalanx protected by shields on all sides and from above. Gu Jianming, who lives near Liqian, said it had come as a surprise to be told he might be descended from a European imperial army. But then the birth of his daughter was also a surprise. Gu Meina, now six, was born with a shock of blonde hair. "We shaved it off a month after she was born but it just grew back the same colour," he said. "At school they call her 'yellow hair'. Before we were told about the Romans, we had no idea about this. We are poor and have no family temple, so we don't know about our ancestors."
Another resident, Cai Junnian, 38, said his ruddy skin and green eyes meant he was now nicknamed Cai Luoma, or Cai the Roman, by friends. He has become a local celebrity, and was recently flown to the Italian consulate in Shanghai to meet his supposed relatives. The professor's hypothesis took almost 40 years to reach China. During Chairman Mao's rule, ideas of foreign ancestry were not ideologically welcome and the story was suppressed.
Mr Cai said his great-grandfather told him that there were Roman tombs in the Qilian mountains a day and a half's walk away, but he had never connected them to the unusual appearance he inherited from his father. "People thought I had a skin problem," he said.
The blood tests are part of a project undertaken by scientists and historians after local authorities loosened control over genetic research. The results will be published in a scientific journal. But Prof Xie Xiaodong, a geneticist from Lanzhou University, cautioned against over enthusiasm.
"Even if they are descendants of the Roman empire, it doesn't mean they are necessarily from the Roman army," he said. "The empire covered a large area. Many soldiers were recruited locally, so anything is possible."
The issue has split the university's history department, with some scholars supporting the claim, some rejecting it. Prof Wang Shaokuan poured scorn on Prof Dubs's thesis, saying the Huns themselves included Caucasians, Asians and Mongols.
A possible new honor society is looking to revitalize ancient languages and cultures on Gonzaga's campus later this year.
Robert Prusch, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, last week officially approved the formation of a chapter of Eta Sigma Phi, an honorary collegiate society for students of Latin and Greek, clearing the way for the submission of a new chapter petition.
"The classics program ties the humanistic, Catholic and Jesuit together," Prusch said. "This affirms the importance of the program to the college."
The project to bring Eta Sigma Phi to campus began with and has been led by a single student. Patrick Withers, a sophomore political science, economics and classical civilizations major, realized over the winter break that there were no extracurricular activities specifically dedicated to the classics at Gonzaga and became interested in Eta Sigma Phi as a way to fill this gap.
The plans for the society are already finding appreciation from other classics students.
"It legitimizes my interest," said Mary Elder, a junior English and classical civilizations major.
Withers, who had no experience in the classical languages except for Latin hymns sung in choir before coming to Gonzaga, took his first class on a whim to try something new.
"There's something very powerful about learning something the way some people have been for hundreds if not thousands of years," he said. "It links you to Thomas Aquinas to Karl Marx to Hegel."
He hopes the society can bring together classics students outside of their courses and foster precollegiate interest in the field by tutoring at local schools like Gonzaga Preparatory School that offer classes in Latin.
Tarin Richards, a sophomore who is hoping to fit a classical civilizations minor around her chemistry major, sees the opportunity to tutor as an especially good way to get more involved with the classics.
Fr. Ken Krall, S.J., instructor of Latin and Greek languages, is prepared to serve as adviser to the local chapter of Eta Sigma Phi.
"Classics are a traditional part of Jesuit education since its inception," he said, excited for the opportunity to have such a spotlight on the classics department while its emphasis at Jesuit universities and seminaries has waned in the latter part of the century.
Should the petition for a Gonzaga chapter be approved at the Eta Sigma Phi national convention in April, it will become the 12th honor society on campus, standing alongside those concerned with accounting, education and engineering.
The society's introduction to campus will coincide with a change in the leadership of the classical civilizations department. Andrew Goldman, an assistant professor of history, will be assuming the position of chairperson from Fr. Patrick Hartin, a professor of religious studies, in an effort to bring a greater focus upon the cultural and historical aspects of ancient societies to the department.
In addition to promoting the study of the ancient Roman and Greek languages and their respective cultures, Eta Sigma Phi works to form relationships between classics students at different universities. It also holds annual translation contests and hosts a national convention, according to its Web site.
Membership in Eta Sigma Phi will be available to all who have completed a course in either the Latin or Greek language with at least a 'B.'
In eadem es navi.
Pron = In AY-ah-dehm ehs NAH-wee.
You are in the same boat.
Comment: Which boat is that? You are in the same boat that I am. I am in the same boat that you are, and this may be the most power, best kept secret among human beings. We simply have so much more in common than we have as a difference.
We do have differences. Some people are vegetarians for a variety of reasons from environmental, to a concern for animal rights, to religious requirements to cultural conformity. Some people are meat-eaters for the same variety of reasons. The food choices are different. But, at our core, we all get hungry; we all need food; we all must eat to survive; we all need healthy, nutritious food in order to thrive. Which is more significant: the kind of food we eat, or that we need food and nutritious food in order to be human?
This is one example among what I imagine to be an endless number of human experiences which in their personalities bear differences, but which at their core are distinctly "in the same boat".
The day we wake up and see this will be the day of Peace.
Rerum in Somalia condicio
: Nuntii Latini
25.01.2007, klo 17.34
Milites Aethiopiae, postquam copias regíminis Somaliae in bello cum islamistis gerendo adiuverunt, Mogadisio, ex urbe principe Somaliae, paulatim recedunt, et in locum eorum tutatores pacis Unionis Africae venient.
Dicuntur milites paci tuendae etiam ex Africa Australi, Libya, Tansania Congoque in Somaliam missum iri, sed sunt, qui dubitent, an copiae tam magnae satis celeriter comparari possint.
A group of international specialists in Roman law and Greek and Latin Philology has turned to Boalt's renowned Robbins Collection as work begins on a new critical edition of Roman legal texts, the first installment in a project expected to continue over the next decade.
The team of scholars gathered at Boalt Hall for a week in July 2006 to plan the first volume that will build on the writings of Roman law scholar Otto Lenel, whose 1889 Palingenesia juris civilis has served as a fundamental text of Roman jurisprudence and the history of legal thought in civil law countries for generations. The newly initiated Corpus Scriptorum Iuris Romani project is organized by the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane (IISU)—a research institute within the public Italian university system—together with more than a dozen universities in Italy, Germany, Spain and France. Leading the editorial team is Aldo Schiavone, professor of law and IISU director.
The inaugural meeting was organized by Schiavone and Boalt professor Laurent Mayali and hosted by the Robbins Collection, which ranks among the foremost research libraries in the world in the fields of religious and civil law. In addition to its more than 340,000 titles, the collection also includes microfilm of all the medieval canon and Roman law manuscripts in the Vatican Library.
Julianne Gilland, assistant director of the Robbins Collection, explained that the aim of the project is to produce a series of volumes to be published during the next 10 years. Each volume will focus on one or more the Roman jurists, and include an introduction to his career and work, a reconstitution of the existing fragments of his writings, and a modern Italian translation of these passages from Latin annotated for the reader.
"Because this editorial team consists of experts from many different countries, it was crucial that this initial meeting take place where they would have all the resources they needed to work together intensively and synthesize a great deal of information within a short time for this … phase," Gilland said. "Working at the Robbins Collection enabled them to do that."
The July gathering also paid tribute to David Daube, a preeminent Roman law scholar who began his studies of Roman law with Otto Lenel in Germany as a young student and taught at Boalt for 23 years.
It was high noon when Doreta Peppa, a woman with long, dark locks and owlish eyes, entered the Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus. At first, tourists visiting the Athenian temple thought they had stumbled on to a film set. It wasn't just that Peppa cut a dramatic figure with her flowing robes and garlanded hair. Or that she seemed to be in a state of near euphoria. Or even that the group of men and women accompanying her - dressed as warriors and nymphets in kitsch ancient garb - appeared to have stepped straight out of the city's Golden Age.
To the astonishment of onlookers, Peppa also began babbling Orphic hymns, before thrusting her arms upwards into the Attic skies and proceeding, somewhat deliriously, to warble her love for the gods of Mount Olympus. But, then, for the motley group of modern pagans coalesced around the temple's giant Corinthian columns, this was a special moment. Not since the late fourth century AD, when the newly Christian Roman state outlawed all forms of pagan worship, had a high priestess officiated on the sacred site.
Armed with white doves, Peppa, a former advertising executive, was not going to hold back - even if it meant defying the furious Greek officials and riot police gathered at the second-century temple's gates, unwilling to stop the ceremony for fear of provoking a violent confrontation. "Sixteen and a half centuries is a very long time to wait," she said. "After so many years of Christian persecution we were finally able to call on Zeus, our king-god, to bring peace to the world ahead of the  Olympics. For us, it was a very, very big thing."
So big, that like a thunderbolt from the deity himself, the one-hour ceremony has achieved the near-impossible task of unnerving Greece's powerful Orthodox church. Since Peppa's performance 10 days ago, hierarchs have redirected the venom they usually reserve for homosexuals, Catholics, Jews, Jehovah's Witnesses, masons and the "barbaric" Turks at the "miserable resuscitators" of the degenerate dead religion. In fire-and-brimstone sermons priests have slammed the "satanic" New Ageists and fulminated against their idols.
For years, Orthodox clerics believed that they had defeated Greeks wishing to embrace the customs and beliefs of the ancient past. But increasingly the church, a bastion of conservatism and traditionalism, has been confronted by the spectre of polytheists making a comeback in the land of the gods. Last year, Peppa's group, Ellinais, succeeded in gaining legal recognition as a cultural association in a country where all non-Christian religions, bar Islam and Judaism, are prohibited. As a result of the ruling, which devotees say paves the way for the Greek gods to be worshipped openly, the organisation hopes to win government approval for a temple in Athens where pagan baptisms, marriages and funerals could be performed. Taking the battle to archaeological sites deemed to be "sacred" is also part of an increasingly vociferous campaign.
But Ellinais, whose members range from elderly academics to young professionals, is not the only sect to practise the ethnic Hellenic faith. Those who claim to "defend the genuine traditions, religion and ethos" of pre-Christians say there are at least 2,000 hard-core followers and, nationwide, more than 100,000 sympathisers. Nationalist extremists, attracted by the creed's emphasis on Hellenic glories, are helping to boost the revival.
"If you are brought up with Greek mythology, the idea you are the descendants of the ancient Greeks and imbued with the importance of ancient Greek culture, you have all the pre-requisites for such an inclination," says Nikos Dimou, the acclaimed author of a tongue-in-cheek bestseller, The Misfortune to be Greek.
Ninety-eight per cent of the population may officially be Orthodox Christian, but in many ways Greeks remain bonded to their pagan past. "OK, the ancients had hubris, but the concept of sin was totally unknown to them, as indeed it is in modern Greece," Dimou says. "Greeks today don't observe many of the 10 commandments. Their outlook on life and values are much nearer to pagan ideas than those of the austere Judaeo-Christian faith."
The exoticism of pagan rituals undoubtedly adds to the allure. Enter the Athens headquarters of YSEE, an umbrella organisation of pagans, and the first thing you encounter on feast days are white-clad believers offering libations before a life-size marble kouros symbolising eternal youth. Busts of Athena, Aphrodite, Hermes, Hera and Zeus cast their stony eyes on to an altar replete with burning incense, herbs and flowers. Housed in a decrepit apartment block, between a Kurdish-run cafe and a bathroom utilities store, YSEE has become a meeting point for pagans. Here believers, such as Vlassis Rassias, gather to discuss ancient Greek history and solace-giving gods.
Like pagans the world over, Rassias says he was drawn to polytheism by the religion's focus on humanity, ecology, cosmic connections and reverence for the past. But, like many in Greece, the 48-year-old banker adds that he was also attracted because of "the brainwashing" of the Orthodox church. "At school we were taught everything about the ancients except the way they worshipped. I found it very strange, and when I looked into it I began to see why," he says. "The Christians hated pagans so much that from the fourth century to the ninth century they destroyed their temples and libraries, killed their priests, closed their philosophical schools and, in one case, set up a death camp. It was genocide but priests don't want to talk about that today." Instead, he says, the Orthodox church insisted that Christianity had been spread, and accepted, peacefully.
Greece's pagans have found an unlikely champion in James O'Dell, a Croydon-born chartered surveyor who gave up his job to "serve the gods". Through the internet he has brought Apollo-loving pagans together in Britain - organising a ritual in Richmond Park in December - and disseminated information about the "plight" of pagans in Greece.
"I started a web page and was amazed at how many suddenly came out of the woodwork," says the 49-year-old, who lives between Athens and London and keeps an altar dedicated to Apollo in both homes. His own "awakening" began during a visit to ancient Delphi in 1990.
Greece's pagans will need every ally they can get in their battle with the immensely powerful Orthodox establishment. Church and state are still inextricably intertwined, and priests and parishes are financed from government coffers. "Greece is not like other modern European democracies - it is semi-theocratic," says Vassilis Tsantilas, 42, a computer scientist who experimented with Buddhism, Taoism and Islam before embracing paganism. "Constitutionally, there is no law that even allows for the recognition of other minority religions, which is why the Christians can go on persecuting us."
Last year, YSEE stepped up its campaign with a 14-page memorandum delivered to the Greek president. Among other things, it demanded that pagans not only be allowed to conduct baptisms, weddings, funerals and cremations but also be given a permanent place of worship within view of the Acropolis on the Hill of Nymphs.
"But our biggest demand is that our religion is accepted as a reality so that we can finally count just how many we are," Rassias says. "If the intolerance continues we'll go to the European court of human rights."
"I'd like to think that in 500 years things will be better," O'Dell says, with a smile. But Greece's pagans may not have to wait so long. Already they have come a long way from the days when exposure as a pagan could result in reprisals from business partners, family and friends. After the ceremony at the Sanctuary of Olympian Zeus, even the nation's media have stopped laughing at them.
A ROMAN coin buried in the depths of Malmesbury's Athelstan Museum has been unearthed.
Volunteers auditing the museum's collection discovered the small, corroded piece of metal last week.
Unsure of what it was, they sent it to Wiltshire County Council's conservation department, where it was identified as a Roman Denarius coin.
Friends of Athelstan Museum chairman Roger Griffin said it was further evidence of the Roman presence in the town.
"The coin was one that we found while doing an audit of the collection," he said.
"It had been taken in by the former curator, when the museum was run by North Wiltshire District Council, but nothing was done with it.
"It looked a rather unprepossessing piece of scrap metal.
"The person who turned it up came to me and asked what we should do with it.
"It was almost a case of throwing it away, it was that unpromising.
"But we sent it to the county council's conservation department and they worked on it and found it's a Roman Denarius.
"It's quite an uncommon one, because they were unable to say which particular emperor was on it.
"They have taken photos of it, which will be sent to the British Museum, to get it positively identified.
"It's quite small, not much bigger than a five pence piece.
"We are very excited about it, because it was another treasure sitting there that nobody appreciated."
Mr Griffin's group took over the museum from the district council, which still owns the collection, in April last year.
Over 7,000 visitors have passed through the museum's doors since then.
It is the second time in a matter of months that a coin discovered in the town has caused excitement.
In November, an eighth century Saxon sceatta was found during the excavation of a new cable trench in Abbey Row.
Archaeologist Steve George, who was keeping a watching brief on the work in the Gloucester Street and Abbey Row area, found the silver coin.
Remains of a building were unearthed during archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Efes (Ephesus) near Selcuk town of the western city of Izmir.
The building, located in the east of the ancient theatre, is believed to have been used by local governors as a residence palace.
In an interview with the A.A, Cengiz Icten, one of observers of the excavations, said, "we think that Roman Emperor Publius Aelius Traianus Hadrianus (January 24th, 76 - July 10th, 138 A.C.) stayed in the building during his visit to the city. Recent researches by Associate Prof. Dr. Hilke Thuur of Austria support our thesis."
Ephesus was one of the great cities of the Ionian Greeks in Asia Minor, located in Lydia where the Kucuk Menderes River (Cayster River) flows into the Aegean Sea.
The city was founded by colonists principally from Athens. The ruins of Ephesus are favourite domestic and international tourism attractions.
Ephesus hosts one of the seven churches of Asia, addressed in the Book of Revelation, Kazinform refers to Anadolu.
Pron = dih-WEE-tee-ai MAY-ai soont too dih-wee-tee-AH-room ehs.
My riches belong to me; you belong to your riches.
Comment: Seneca sounds a little moralistic here. I have control of my money, but your money has control of you.
But, after that, he raises interesting questions for our personal reflection. Leave the "you" out. Let us each consider the question for ourselves.
Do I own things, money, reputation, or do they own me? Do they and my attachment to them motivate me, or do I make free choices about them?
How free am I with regard to my things?
There's another old moralism that probably sheds some light here:
Use things; love people. Don't love things and use people.
What is it in us that moves us toward one path or another?
: Nuntii Latini
25.01.2007, klo 17.34
Die Lunae Finni mandatu Unionis Europaeae magno incepto internationali, cuius est in mutationem climatis inquirere, praesidere coeperunt.
De quanta re hic agatur, vel inde apparet, quod illi studio multa centena investigatorum tam ex Europa quam ex aliis orbis terrarum partibus intersunt.
Climatologi plurimum laboris ad corpuscula aeris minima perscrutanda collaturi sunt, cum adhuc non satis constet, quonam modo mutationes climatis illis particulis afficiantur.
Police said Wednesday they had broken up an international art trafficking ring, recovering hundreds of works dug up by tomb raiders in Sicily and sold in Europe and the United States.
Seventy-seven people were targeted in an operation spanning regions up and down Italy, police said. Of those, 27 people were detained and eight were placed under house arrest. They are accused of criminal association aimed at illegal digging, looting, counterfeiting, selling and receiving archaeological objects belonging to the state.
“We retrieved around 1,600 objects,” said Capt. Jonathan Pace, a chief officer with the financial police in the Sicilian town of Gela. They include a large vase dating from 450 B.C. worth $129,500 and found in Barcelona, a Roman bathtub worth more than $168,400, also found in Barcelona, and several coins valued at $64,700 each, Pace said.
The organization allegedly included tomb raiders who looted Sicily's archaeological sites in Gela, Agrigento, Vittoria, Morgantina, and Termini Imerese. The artifacts were sold mainly in Germany, Switzerland and Spain, as well as in the United States.
IV - Word of the day: A security official at Dolphin Stadium informed waiting media members that additional vomitoriums were open farther down the concourse. It's not as disgusting as it sounds - a vomitorium is an architectural feature, a passage situated below or behind a tier of seats in an amphitheater or an exit through which a crowd can "spew out" at the end of a show or a game.
V - More puke: For a game that uses Roman numerals, it's appropriate to note a popular misconception about the Romans is that they made use of a room called a vomitorium for the purpose of vomiting between meals to make room for more food. Historians say only a minority of the highest classes indulged in this practice.
Archaeologists in Szombathely, W Hungary excavated a number of graves from the late Roman era while exploring the ground where an extension to the local concert hall will be built, a spokesperson of the local Savaria Museum's archaeology team said on Wednesday.
A total of twenty graves, dating from the third century were found, along with the remains of a Roman sewage system, Peter Kiss said.
The bones in the graves were scattered about, suggesting raids by grave robbers in later ages, he added.
The area around the concert hall was known to contain ancient artefacts because there had been test digs in the 1960s when the music school was built, Kiss said.
Nero's Golden Palace will partly reopen to visitors Tuesday, offering rare insight into archaeologists' efforts to preserve the first-century imperial residence from decay and humidity.
The sumptuous residence rose over the ruins of a fire that destroyed much of Rome in A.D. 64 and was completed in A.D. 68, the year the unpopular Nero committed suicide amid a revolt.
After an 18-year restoration, the palace reopened in June 1999, but it has been closed since 2005, plagued by structural problems, including humidity. In the winter, humidity in the palace ranges from 82 percent to 98 percent. This high humidity causes the walls to break and creates crusting. Algae and fungus are also appearing on the frescoes.
The vaulted ceilings were once encrusted with pearls and covered with ivory - luxuries funded by taxes Nero levied on the population. Marble and precious materials were imported from Greece, Egypt and other parts of Asia, while inhabitants of the area were expropriated to build the 198-acre residence.
"We have to imagine this place as full of light, luxurious, with precious colorful materials and golden leaves," one archaeologist working on the site said.
I am looking for a partner in crime! We are expanding our Latin
program and we need a high school teacher. The following is the
advertisement that I will put up on ACL:
school: Windermere Preparatory School
contact: Sandra Enscoe
altcontact: Tina Mueller
mail-adr: 6189 Winter Garden-Vineland Road Windermere, FL 34786
telephone: (407) 905-7737
fax: (407) 905-7710
my-email: Sandra.Enscoe AT windermereprep.com
position: High School Latin
start-date: August 13, 2007
description: Seeking an enthusiastic teacher to expand a booming Latin
program at a prestigious prep school situated on a beautiful 48-acre
campus just outside of Orlando, FL. Using the Ecce Romani series, the
candidate would teach Latin IB – Latin IV. Eventually will teach AP
Latin: Vergil and AP Latin: Literature. This is a unique opportunity
to build a new high school program and work with an outstanding
faculty and enthusiastic students.