pridie kalendas maias

ludi Florae (day 4)

65 A.D. -- death of Marcus Annaeus Lucanus ... a.k.a. Lucan (by one reckoning)

304 A.D. -- beginning of Diocletianic persecutions under Galerius

311 A.D. -- Edict of Toleration of Galerius

1936 -- death of A.E. Housman
From YLE:

Radiatio ultraviolacea periculosa
: Nuntii Latini

27.04.2007, klo 09.06

Societas oncologica et Institutum meteorologicum praemonent iam tempore vernali nimiam apricationem periculum cancri cutanei augere.

Cutis et oculi sunt protegenda, cum index radiationis ultraviolaceae (UVI), qui vim radiationis uno numero describit, tres superavit. Talis est radiatio in Finnia meridionali inde a mense Maio usque ad finem Augusti.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: De monumento Rubro Exercitui
usance @ Merriam-Webster

haplography @ Wordsmith

supplant @
For those of you wondering about the Ancient World on Television listings, most of my sources hadn't updated this weekend (this often happens toward the end of the month, especially when a month ends on a Monday) ... I hope to get them done sometime later today, deo volente.
Not at Youtube this time, but a nice little video tour via WCBS of the Metropolitan's new Greek and Roman Galleries ... looks like a 'must see' ...

Query: during the show there's a statue of a young boy making a sort of 'cornuto'/gang gesture (for want of a better term); is someone familiar with this statue (I've never seen it before) who can enlighten what this boy is supposed to have been doing?
It's been a somewhat slow week, newswise, so let's see what's happening around the Classical blogosphere:

N.S. Gill starts us off with a series of Punic posts on the foundation of Carthage ... Punic War POWs ... the Third Punic War ... Second Punic War ... First Punic War ...

Academic Presentations on the Roman Empire had a guest post by Moya Mason on Roman Slavery ...

Over at Campus Mawrtius, Dennis was pondering the title of his OCT Aeschylus text ... Eric was pondering the sublime in a couple of Horace's Odes ... and vengeance in Odes 1.2 ...

Michael Gilleland is looking at a possible fragment of Heraclitus ...

Irene Hahn had a couple of posts on the Dream of Scipio here ... and here ...

Tony Keen marked International Pixel-Stained Technopeasants day by posting a lengthy article on Classics in modern pop culture (mostly Star Trek) ...

Dorothy King has some photos of real archaeologists in Athens ... she also has a photo and some French coverage of that colossal foot found in France ... there are also a couple of photos of that Bulgarian chariot find ...

Wm Annis comments on the recent problems at Perseus (and some implications therefrom) ...

Mary Beard comments on the use of Powerpoint by assorted Classics types (including herself) ...

... folks might also be interested in Peter Stothard's column mentioning how some of his posts ranked compared to Mary Beard's ... Mary Beard's thing on Beckham's tattoos, incidentally, were mentioned (positively) in the Chicago Tribune ...

Roger Pearse is spearheading an online collaborative translation of Eusebius' Chronicle ...

Nikolaos posted a handy list of Greek texts available on the web ...

In other roundups, we have Phil's weekly Patristics Roundup

On the web, there have been numerous announcements for Propylaeum DOK, which appears to be some sort of online index but for the life of me I can't get the darned thing to work ...

Peter Jones has posted a pile of his Ancient and Modern columns (including a review of 300) ...

There's also a Wikipedia in Ancient Greek project ...

Robert Maier has put up a Glossarium Culinarium Latinum ...

The Spring 2007 issue of the CSA Newsletter is now available online ...

... and just in case you missed it, the In Our Time episode on Greek and Latin Love poetry is still available for downloading ...

Other than that, the first issue of volume 10 of our Explorator newsletter is up at Yahoo ... the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings will follow in an hour or so ...
An abstract from the Journal of Infectious Diseases (hat tip to David Beard):

BACKGROUND: Until now, in the absence of direct microbiological evidence, the cause of the Plague of Athens has remained a matter of debate among scientists who have relied exclusively on Thucydides' narrations to introduce several possible diagnoses. A mass burial pit, unearthed in the Kerameikos ancient cemetery of Athens and dated back to the time of the plague outbreak (around 430 BC), has provided the required skeletal material for the investigation of ancient microbial DNA. OBJECTIVE: To determine the probable cause of the Plague of Athens. METHOD: Dental pulp was our material of choice, since it has been proved to be an ideal DNA source of ancient septicemic microorganisms through its good vascularization, durability and natural sterility. RESULTS: Six DNA amplifications targeted at genomic parts of the agents of plague (Yersinia pestis), typhus (Rickettsia prowazekii), anthrax (Bacillus anthracis), tuberculosis (Mycobacterium tuberculosis), cowpox (cowpox virus) and cat-scratch disease (Bartonella henselae) failed to yield any product in 'suicide' reactions of DNA samples isolated from three ancient teeth. On the seventh such attempt, DNA sequences of Salmonella enterica serovar Typhi were identified providing clear evidence for the presence of that microorganism in the dental pulp of teeth recovered from the Kerameikos mass grave. CONCLUSION: The results of this study clearly implicate typhoid fever as a probable cause of the Plague of Athens.

... interesting bit of synchronicity as today's issue of Explorator marks the beginning of 'volume 10' (i.e. our eleventh year) and it was this find in the Kerameikos with started the whole Explorator thing off ...
From Fortean Times 204 (December 2005):

"So many of our data are upon a godness that so much resembles idiocy that to attribute intelligence to it may even be blasphemous" - Fort, Books, p601.

Romanian religious rigmaroles [FT200:4-5] are timeless. No surprise in a land where the word for `God' is `Dumnezeu' (almost 'Dumb Zeus'), and from where (the Romans called Dracula's homeland Dacia) comes this text (Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum 3.7756) in the kind of Latin punished by John Cleese in The Life of Brian: "We saw the spirit of an eagle descend upon three snakes. One big viper entangled the eagle. We who saw this freed the eagle from danger."

'Googling' discloses umpteen crucifixion sites, some alleging it still continues in Romania, plus 4,700 on self-impalement. Describing the public auto-crucifixions of Silesian cobbler Paul Diebel, Fort (p1023) reported: "In Munich recently he remained nailed to a cross several hours, smoking cigarettes and joking with his audience."

Thanks to the New Testament and Hollywood, we associate crucifixion with pagan Rome (cf. Michael Hengel's Crucifixion, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1977). Constantine, the first Christian emperor, did indeed abolish it. He also extended the range of capital crimes and their punishments (all documented in the Codex Theodosianus), e.g. the burning of heretics and death by pouring molten lead down the victim's throat - plus ça change...

Fort (p992) provides a delicious gloss on exorcism: "A woman who, sometime before, had been accused of witchcraft, practiced various incantations to exorcise the witch, or the evil spirit, or whatever. She died suddenly... the coroner decided not to hold an inquest."

Both pagans and Christians practised exorcism. The emperor Marcus Aurelius (Meditations, bkl ch6) thanks a teacher for steering him away from it. His contemporary, the Syrian-born satirist Lucian (Lover of Lies, chl6), lambasts a fellow-countryman, for making pots of money out of it - one of his Byzantine commentators wrongly takes this as an attack on Christ. Jewish exorçists are attested both by their national historian Josephus (Jewish Antiquities, bk8 chs46-9) and the Christian polemicist Irenaeus (Against the Heresies, bk2 ch32 para4).

"Exorcism was to Christians a deliberate and official activity, not a private trade pursued for profit" (AD Nock, Conversion: the Old & the New in Religion from Alexander the Great to Augustine of Hippo, Oxford Univ. Press, 1933, p104). Tertullian (Apology, ch23 para4) claimed any Christian could do it. The first mention of professionals occurs in a letter (Eusebius, Church History, bk6 ch43 parall, gives the text) of Cornelius, Bishop of Rome (d. 253). Theophylus's (To Autolycus, ch2 para8 - second century) "Up to the present day, the possessed are sometimes exorcised" looks like an attempt to play it down.

The Roman Catholic Church formally banned the practice in 1972. Unfortunately, this did not prevent that cinematic abomination The Exorcist. Linda Blair? Better to exorcise Tony...

"We wonder how far our neo-mediaevalism is going to take us. Perhaps [..] only mediaevalism will be the limit." - Fort, p656.

Barry Baldwin
(reprinted with permission of the Author; blame any typically graphic transcription errors on dm)
The incipit of a piece from Muslim Weekly:

The astrolabe is a very ancient astronomical computer for solving problems relating to time and the position of the Sun and stars in the sky. Several types of astrolabes have been made. By far the most popular type is the planispheric astrolabe, on which the celestial sphere is projected onto the plane of the equator.

A typical old astrolabe was made of brass and was about 6 inches (15 cm) in diameter, although much larger and smaller ones were made.

Astrolabes are used to show how the sky looks at a specific place at a given time. This is done by drawing the sky on the face of the astrolabe and marking it so positions in the sky are easy to find.

To use an astrolabe, you adjust the moveable components to a specific date and time. Once set, the entire sky, both visible and invisible, is represented on the face of the instrument. This allows a great many astronomical problems to be solved in a very visual way. Typical uses of the astrolabe include finding the time during the day or night, finding the time of a celestial event such as sunrise or sunset and as a handy reference of celestial positions. Astrolabes were also one of the basic astronomy education tools in the late Middle Ages. Old instruments were also used for astrological purposes.

The typical astrolabe was not a navigational instrument although an instrument called the mariner’s astrolabe was widely used. The mariner’s astrolabe is simply a ring marked in degrees for measuring celestial altitudes. The history of the astrolabe begins more than two thousand years ago.

The principles of the astrolabe projection were known before 150 BC, and true astrolabes were made before AD 400.

The astrolabe was highly developed in the Islamic world by 800 and was introduced to Europe from Islamic Spain (Andalusia) in the early 12th century. It was the most popular astronomical instrument until about 1650, when it was replaced by more specialized and accurate instruments. Astrolabes are still appreciated for their unique capabilites and their value for astronomy education.

Origins of Astrolabe Theory

The origins of the astrolabe were in classical Greece. Apollonius (ca. 225 BC), the great codifier of conic sections, probably studied the astrolabe projection. The most influential individual on the theory of the astrolabe projection was Hipparchus who was born in Nicaea in Asia Minor (now Iznik in Turkey) about 180 BC but studied and worked on the island of Rhodes.

Hipparchus, who also discovered the precession of the equinoxes and was influential in the development of trigonometry, redefined and formalized the projection as a method for solving complex astronomical problems without spherical trigonometry and probably proved its main characteristics.

Hipparchus did not invent the astrolabe but he did refine the projection theory.

The earliest evidence of use of the stereographic projection in a machine is in the writing of the Roman author and architect, Vitruvius (ca. 88 - ca. 26 BC), who in De architectura describes a clock (probably a clepsydra or water clock) made by Ctesibius in Alexandria. Apparently, Ctesibius’ clock had a rotating field of stars behind a wire frame indicating the hours of the day.

The wire framework (the spider) was possibly constructed using the stereographic projection with the eye point at the north celestial pole.

Similar constructions dated from the first to third century and have been found in Salzburg and northeastern France, so such mechanisms were apparently fairly widespread among Romans.

The first major writer on the projection was the famous Claudius Ptolemy (ca. AD 150) who wrote extensively on it in. his work known as the Planisphaerium.

There are tantalizing hints in Ptolemy’s writing that he may have had an instrument that could justifiably be called an astrolabe. Ptolemy also refined the fundamental geometry of the Earth-Sun system that is used to design astrolabes.

Early Astrolabes

No one knows exactly when the stereographic projection was actually turned into the instrument we know today as the astrolabe. Theon of Alexandria (ca. 390) wrote a treatise on the astrolabe that was the basis for much that was written on the subject in the Middle Ages. Synesius of Cyrene (378-430) apparently had an instrument constructed that was arguably a form of astrolabe.

This is plausible since Synesius was a student of Hypatia, Theon’s daughter. The earliest descriptions of actual instruments were written by John Philoponos of Alexandria (aka. Joannes Grammaticus) in the sixth century and a century later by Severus Sebokht, Bishop of Kenneserin, Syria, although it is likely that Sebokht’s work was derivative of Theon. It is certain that true astrolabes existed by the seventh century.

The Astrolabe in Islam

The earliest surviving Arabic astrolabe treatises are from the seventh and eighth centuries and are often translations of earlier Greek or Syriac texts. Eighth century literary references from Baghdad and Damascus indicate that by this time the use of the astrolabe was widespread throughout the Arab world. Land under Arab control stretched from North Africa and Spain to India, enabling a wide range of astronomical influences to be combined. The early ninth-century tables of al-Farghani list the radii of the circles on the plate of the astrolabe for each degree of latitude.

These simplified the process of astrolabe construction by removing the need for mathematical calculation of these values, indicating that astrolabes were being manufactured in substantial numbers since the effort involved in producing the tables would have been considerable. The earliest surviving Islamic astrolabes date from the ninth century, and these are of such quality and craftsmanship that they represent a continuing tradition rather than a new activity.

The astrolabe was inherently valuable in Islam because of its ability to determine the time of day and, therefore, prayer times and as an aid in finding the direction to Makkah.

By the eleventh and twelfth centuries there are many surviving texts and astrolabes, the instruments varying in style and artistry but retaining many fundamental similarities in functionality and design.

Persian astrolabes became quite complex, and some were genuine works of art.

There are a number of interesting stylistic differences between astrolabes from the eastern Islamic areas (the Mashriq), Northern Africa (the Maghrib) and Moorish Spain (Andalusia).

The astrolabe was also used in Muslim India in a simplified and less artistic form.

... the rest ...

Classical archaeologist Karl Petruso pens an item for the Star Telegram:

When we think of universities, we picture tree-lined campuses with stately buildings. But the campus is only one aspect of what a university is (not least in this age of distance education). Bricks and mortar give shape to a deeper identity -- that of a community of teachers and students with shared personal, professional and societal goals.

A large part of a university's identity is bound up with its desire to be open; indeed, schools constantly struggle to reconcile accessibility with security. How, and on what rationale, should any citizen be barred from the property, especially that of a public institution?

This question is particularly acute at some of the country's venerable urban universities. Consider, for example, the hard neighborhoods that border Columbia, Penn and the University of Chicago.

But we've also seen it become an issue in a more pastoral setting: Virginia Tech. It is idle to pretend that such a sprawling campus could be effectively fenced in.

But beyond the university as physical community is an even deeper identity: the university as idea.

The first European universities in the medieval period established a tradition of separation from what we in the ivory tower today label "the real world."

Quite apart from the close association of Christianity with higher education in the Middle Ages, there is some reason to regard the real world as the secular component of our geography. One still occasionally reads references to universities as "cathedrals of learning."

These tropes were on my mind one Monday evening as I thought about ancient Greek sanctuaries -- the subject of a classroom lecture I was preparing for the next day. Magnificent sanctuaries such as those at Athens, Olympia and Delphi provided Greek architects and sculptors with venues for their highest artistic achievements, all in service to the rituals of pagan religion.

I ended up pondering the more abstract ancient concept of sanctuary. The Greeks, as they say, had a word for it. By custom, anyone who sought the protection of a god by clinging to an altar was asylos, or inviolate. The word is related to the English term asylum.

During the Greco-Persian Wars of the early fifth century B.C.E., nothing was a clearer mark of Persian barbarity than their sacking of the temples and religious statuary on the Athenian Acropolis. After the Battle of Salamis in 480 B.C.E., the Athenians climbed the Acropolis and found at its altars the bodies of soldiers whom the Persians had slaughtered after successfully breaching the walls.

According to tradition, this horrific discovery stiffened the Greeks' resolve to turn back the enemy, which they did once and for all the following year. For some three decades, no reconstruction took place on the Acropolis, the result (according to two ancient authors) of a decision to leave the monuments in ruins forever as a monument to Persian impiety.

The ancient Greeks -- indeed, Europeans to this day -- have preserved a respect for the context of sanctuary, one that has, curiously enough, morphed into a secular context. In Europe, universities are regarded not merely as physical locations where ideas and free speech can flourish but as quasi-sacred institutions.

Again, Greece provides an instructive example.

The country was ruled by a fascist junta between 1967 and 1974. A leftist student demonstration against the government that arose in 1973 at the Polytechneion (the National Technical University) in Athens was brutally put down after three days, when army tanks rolled over the iron gates of the campus. In the chaos that ensued, a yet-uncertain number of students died.

The horror of the crackdown was not measured only in the loss of life and damage to buildings, though. The violation of the university resounded as a symbolic transgression, and it evoked outrage on the part of governments and people all over Europe. Invading universities is something that civilized people simply do not do.

In the United States the concept of sanctuary, which denies to government uninvited entry, has taken hold only in our religious institutions. Consider the congregations that have in recent years succored undocumented immigrants, mostly with impunity.

The concept has not manifested itself in the university, however. (Recall the fatal confrontation between Ohio National Guard troops and protesting students at Kent State after the Cambodian invasion in 1970).

The decades since the Vietnam War have seen a number of social transformations. The American university has evolved into an increasingly corporate entity. Legislators see the university as the factory whose mission is to manufacture a skilled work force, and many in the public regard higher education as primarily a meal ticket.

As the massacre at Virginia Tech has demonstrated all too starkly, it seems that for some -- credit card solicitors, cellphone plan providers and, occasionally, mass murderers -- the modern American university is nothing more than a ready and convenient collection of nameless faces.
Folks might be interested in this account of Tori Amos' latest/impending release:

American singer/songwriter Tori Amos is set to crash back onto the music scene with her ninth studio album - "American Doll Posse."

This time Amos has taken a unique approach to her music and has emerged with five alter ego's - all of whom contribute to the album with their own distinct voices.

The quintet creates a compelling portrait of the role women play in today's society, expressed on the album both musically and thematically. The five alter ego's are representations of Tori, incarnating a number of the heroines and goddesses of Greek mythology.

Tori Amos said, "Once music started to dictate to me what the women were going to be I had to go and do the internal work and build their psyches, so I went to the Greek Pantheon because I thought people were more familiar with it, and then started to develop their stories,"

Through her research, Amos looked back to a time when the idea of females in all their different facets, were considered divine. Buried deep in ancient Greek history - she discovered what would become the foundations for her new group of confidants.

Amos wanted to illustrate to other women that there are many unexplored aspects of the feminine personality.

"Women are relating to this project because all of us, we're complex creatures and I think we're being unfair when we say well we have to be a part of the intellectual set, or we're part of the rebel-rousing set, and then we paint ourselves into these corners instead of stepping out of one painting into another and thinking of ourselves as an exhibition not just a painting," said Amos.

The "girls" are currently rehearsing together for their world tour starting in Rome, Italy on May 28th. Let's hope "musical differences" don't force any splits.

"American Dolls Posse" is released on April 30 through Columbia records.
We've explored this practice of stepping the mast before, so here's another example -- from the Post and Courier:

At the River Styx, the ferryman waits at the gates of the underworld, making sure those who pass have silver coins to pay their toll to Hades' kingdom.

The Greek legend dates back to the days of Homer and Odysseus, but modern-day sailors know better than to mess with ancient maritime tradition or superstition.

Before the Spirit of South Carolina's crew erected a 97-foot-long main mast into the ship's 150-ton frame Wednesday, the daughter of the ship's director placed a silver coin under the mast to protect sailors for generations to come.

"It protects the ship," Brad Van Liew explained to his 5-year-old daughter, Tate. "It's like a blessing."

"Ohhhhh," she said and nodded.

Tate leaned over the ship's floor and placed the coin that dates back to 1879. As she recited an ode of protection, led by Captain Tony Arrow, she likely did not realize the significance of her role. But Van Liew, director of the S.C. Maritime Foundation, decided that because his two children had contributed significantly to the project by sharing their parents, they deserved the honor. Wyatt, 2, will place a South Carolina quarter under the foremast today, if all goes according to plan. [...]
Below is the finalised programme for 'Encyclopaedism before the Enlightenment' in June. Booking form and further details available at

We have a small number of bursaries available to cover attendance costs for postgraduate students. If you would like to be considered for one of these please contact Jason Koenig (jpk3 AT by 15 May (note slightly changed deadline). Postgraduate delegates are also reminded that financial assistance for attendance is available from the Wiedemann Fund:

Encylopaedism before the Enlightenment
School of Classics, University of St Andrews
13-15 June 2007

Wednesday 13 June

Encyclopaedic beginnings/encyclopaedic ideals

2-2.45: Christopher Smith (St Andrews)—Varro and Republican antiquarianism

2.45-3.30: Myrto Hatzimichali (Cambridge)—The origins of encyclopaedism in the Alexandrian

3.30-4: TEA

4-4.45: Paul Magdalino (St Andrews)—Byzantine Encyclopaedism of the Ninth and Tenth Centuries

4.45-5.30: Mary Beagon (Manchester)—A Herculean Task: "molem illam Historiae Naturalis"

5.30-6.15: Hugh Kennedy (St Andrews)—Early-Islamic encyclopaedism (title tbc)

Thursday 14 June

Organising principles and technologies:

9-9.45: András Németh (Central European University, Budapest)—Procopius and Theophylactus in
the Encyclopaedic Collections of the 10th Century Constantinople

9.45-10.30: Neil Rhodes (St Andrews)—Revisiting the Renaissance Computer

10.30-11: COFFEE

Organising principles and technologies after Aristotle:

11-11.45: Katerina Oikonomopoulou (Oxford)—Peripatetic encyclopaedism and Plutarch’s
collections of Quaestiones

11.45-12.30: Daniel Andersson (Warburg Institute)—The Organization of Knowledge in the Early
Modern Encyclopaedia: The Case of Aristotle

12.30-1.30: LUNCH

Questioning encyclopaedism

1.30-2.15: Daniel Harris-McCoy (University of Pennsylvania)—Artemidorus’ Oneirocritica as
Fragmentary Encyclopaedia

2.15-3: William West (Northwestern University)—Irony and Early Modern Encyclopaedic Writing

3-3.30: TEA

Function and audience

3.30-4.15: Teresa Morgan (Oxford)— Encyclopaedias of virtue? Collections of moral exempla in

4.15-5: Claudia Strobel (Oxford)—The lexica of the second century AD: The mystery of function
and readership

5-5.45: Erika Gielen (Leuven)— Byzantine encyclopaedism of the 14th century: Joseph

Friday 15 June

Practical knowledge and encyclopaedic form

9-9.45: Marco Formisano (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)—Late ancient culture: towards an
encyclopaedia of practical knowledge

9.45-10.30: Harriet Zurndorfer (Leiden)— The Passion to Collect, Select, Protect, and Expurgate:
Two Thousand Years of the Chinese Encyclopaedia

10.30-11: COFFEE

11-11.45: Claire Preston (Cambridge)—Dugdale's history of drainage and the dregs of England

11.45-12.30: Rebecca Flemming (Cambridge)—Celsus (title tbc)

12.30-1.30: LUNCH

Reception of Pliny

1.30-2.15: Paul Dover (Kennesaw State University)—'Reading Pliny’s Ape’ (the Polyhistor of
Solinus) in the Renaissance'

2.15-3: Ernesto Paparazzo (Istituto di Struttura della Materia del CNR)—Augustine as a reader of
the Naturalis Historia

3-3.30: TEA

3.30-4.15: Aude Doody (University College, Dublin)—Diderot's Pliny and the Politics of

4.15-5: Concluding discussion


We will be holding a "Reacting to the Past" workshop at the CHS in Washington, D.C. from June 27 to 30, 2007 for faculty who teach Classics courses and want to invigorate their courses with this new pedagogy. Conference participants will play "The Threshold of Democracy: Athens in 403 BCE" and "Beware the Ides of March: Rome in 44 BCE" and will learn how to teach these games to students at their home institutions.

"Reacting to the Past" is an innovative pedagogy developed at Barnard College by Professor of History Mark Carnes. The program won the prestigious Theodore Hesburgh Award in 1994 for creative pedagogy and more recently a grant from the Teagle Foundation, headed by Robert Connor. Reacting courses focus on pivotal moments in world history; students are assigned a "role" in a historical situation and "play" the "game" by making historically-grounded arguments from the point of view of their assigned characters. Reacting students improve their communication and public speaking skills, connect deeply with historical periods, and revolutionize the way they learn. Students who play Reacting games conduct research, write papers, deliver speeches, and argue for a cause alongside their classmates. Many students have commented that the history they learned through Reacting became their own history. The Reacting program currently offers about twenty modules of "games" designed to enable undergraduates to engage in new ways with historical texts and historical crises.

If you are interested in learning more about Reacting or in teaching a Reacting to the Past course, please apply for this upcoming Reacting conference. The two Reacting games we will be playing – "The Threshold of Democracy" and "Beware the Ides of March" – should be of particular interest to classicists. Instructors have integrated the first game, authored by Mark Carnes and Josiah Ober, into classical culture courses and have also modified it for upper-division courses. The second game, authored by Keith Dix and Carl Anderson, is in development and is making its debut at this workshop.

We have spaces for 30 participants who need housing in the D.C. area and perhaps for more who can find their own housing.

Contact Kenny Morrell at the Center for Hellenic Studies, 3100 Whitehaven Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008. Telephone: (901) 843-3821; Email: kmorrell AT

For more information on Reacting to the Past, visit: .

This week's claims about the ancient world, spurious and otherwise, in search of a source for confirmation:

From the News and Observer:

The word is derived from Maia, a Grecian goddess of fertility. Her voice was the soft song of nightingales, a lullaby of spring awakening. In the ancient Roman world this goddess was known as Diana, a queen dwelling in the woodlands, personification of beauty and passion. The moon was deemed her royal chariot.

Never heard of a Maia-Diana equation before ... Next, from the Philly Inquirer:

The Roman historian Tacitus once observed: "In valor there is hope."

From the Tuscaloosa News:

It may interest some to note the phrase “To call a spade a spade," goes all the way back to ancient Greece, although its exact origin is unknown. Plutarch used it in writing about Macedonians, dramatist Menander penned, “I call a fig a fig, a spade a spade," and it’s also been attributed to playwright Aristophanes in 423 B.C.

UPDATE: Amyntoros of confirms this one:

The Plutarch reference about calling a spade a spade is from the Moralia - number 15 of the Sayings of Kings and Commanders attributed to Philip of Macedon. (178.B)

"When the men associated with Lasthenes, the Olynthian, complained with indignation because some of Philip’s associates called them traitors, he said that the Macedonians are by nature a rough and rustic people who call a spade a spade."

The Loeb edition (Plutarch’s Moralia, Volume III) also has a footnote (c) referring to the phrase: “A reference to a line from an unknown comic poet quoted by Lucian, Iupiter Tragoedus, 32. Cf. also Lucian, Historia quomodo consribenda sit, 41, and Kock, Com. Attl Frag. iii.p. 451, Adespota no. 227.”

From the Hexham Courant:

The Romans invented the first proper herb gardens and when they left Britain,

From Mother Earth News:

In his Natural History, Pliny the Elder advised placing a drop of bat blood under a woman’s pillow as an aphrodisiac.

Last but not least is something from the Sunday Mail which isn't a spurious claim but which a Classicist would read differently than say, a non-classicist (or at least I did):

Because of its red colour the ancient Greeks associated Mars with Ares, their god of war.
From BMCR:

Response to BMCR 2007.04.21

Thomas Benatouil, Faire usage: la pratique du stoicisme. Histoire des doctrines de l'antiquite classique 35.

Roger Beck, A Brief History of Ancient Astrology. Brief Histories of the Ancient World.

L. Gagliardi, Mobilita e integrazione delle persone nei centri cittadini romani -- Aspetti giuridici -- I -- La classificazione degli incolae.

Victoria Rimell, Ovid's Lovers: Desire, Difference, and the Poetic Imagination.

Wow ... I miss a day and, of course, there's a flood of news, most notably about the current attack on Classics in the UK ... here's a sort of roundup of what's been going on:

First, Dunstan Lowe kindly sent in a link to some discussion of the issue in Parliament; while the whole discussion is too lenghty to reproduce here, I will quote the statement of Mr. Michael Fallon, who seems to sum up the issues nicely:

I am grateful to have this opportunity to raise the proposal to discontinue the subject of ancient history at AS and A-level. This extraordinary proposal has been sprung upon us by the Oxford and Cambridge exam board, OCR, which is the major provider of syllabuses and examinations in the classical subjects. According to its proposal, ancient history is to be scrapped as a separate subject and bits of it will simply be spatchcocked into a quite different syllabus—the syllabus for classical civilisation. That raises serious questions about the role of an exam board and the way in which exam boards are supervised by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority.

There are a number of extraordinary features to do with this proposal. The first is that no warning was given. There appears to have been almost no prior consultation with the ancient historian community, and it is not at all clear how OCR came to take the decision to proceed with this proposal. Secondly, since the proposal has been produced it has been almost universally condemned—by the Council of University Classical Departments, the Joint Association of Classical Teachers, more than 2,000 individual petitioners to the Downing street website and in an early-day motion tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Mrs. Miller) and supported by other Members. It is especially noteworthy that this proposal has been opposed by the universities. We would expect that the universities had been properly consulted. A-levels prepare students for university entry, and the design and approval of a syllabus requires the involvement of the universities.

The third curious feature of the proposal—beyond the facts that there has not been proper consultation and that it has been almost universally condemned—is that no satisfactory explanation has been put forward in support of it. Certainly, the explanation cannot be the numbers involved. More people are studying ancient history than are studying classical Greek. Much more significantly, the number studying ancient history is going up—from 378 in 2001 to 701 in 2005. Even more significant than that increase is the fact that most of it has been within the state sector. The number studying ancient history in the independent schools has remained pretty constant, but there has been a dramatic increase in the number taking up ancient history at sixth-form colleges and colleges of further education. At Queen Mary’s college in Basingstoke, for example—my hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke cannot be with us tonight—more than 130 students are studying ancient history at AS-level. Indeed, ancient history there is now more popular than modern history. Its head of history says:

“There is a huge demand to study this kind of history. For many students outside the private sector, this is the first chance to pursue their enthusiasm since year 4 or 5.”

So it cannot be a question of numbers.

Nor can it be a question of finance. Of course, it is true that it is more expensive to set a syllabus and mark
25 Apr 2007 : Column 1005
an exam for a minority subject than for the more popular ones, but OCR—the exam board in question—made a profit last year of more than £2 million, so it is not a financial issue. The only excuse offered in support of this terrible proposal is that, as part of a general refreshment of its classical course, ancient history might somehow more conveniently be covered within the classical civilisation A-level syllabus.

That extraordinary proposition is worth examining in a little more detail. The classical civilisation course will now comprise some 10 units, but there will be no period papers among them. There will be no study of 5th-century Athens and nothing on republican Rome. With the exception of one unit—on Roman Britain—there will be no political history at all. Instead, history is to be treated merely as the context for literary study, or—even worse—simply tacked on to some of the other units. In the damning words of the proposed syllabus:

“This unit is also concerned with history.”

One does not have to be my hon. Friend the Member for Henley (Mr. Johnson) to understand that literature cannot explain events. “The Aeneid” cannot explain the age of Augustus. We do not teach English history just through Milton or Shakespeare—of course we do not. Indeed, to treat ancient history in this way contravenes the subject criteria laid down for ancient history by the QCA. It requires, as a minimum, knowledge and understanding of the following: relations between Greek and non-Greek civilisations, Athenian democracy and society, the politics of Periclean Athens, the Peloponnesian war and its causes, the politics of republican Rome, the age of Augustus, the Julio-Claudian emperors, and political developments in the Roman empire. Those are the existing requirements, which this proposal contravenes.

The QCA set out those requirements because the study of ancient history is properly the study of primary sources. It is the attempt to construct a narrative of the past through the study of events and individuals, and to help answer the questions that still resonate today. Why did Athens invent democracy? Why was Caesar assassinated? How did Rome come to run the known world? How did Christianity survive the Roman empire? How did 700 years of Roman empire shape our modern Europe?

If this proposal is confirmed, the study of almost 1,000 years of history, from the time of the earliest Greeks to the last of the Romans, will be almost extinguished in our schools and then, of course, in our universities. That is an extraordinary discrimination. Because so few—fewer than 5 per cent.—of our state schools are able to offer the classical language, there are only two options for study of the ancient world available in the state sector in the colleges of further education and the sixth-form colleges. They are classical civilisation and ancient history. At a stroke, half of those options would be removed and that choice lost.

The proposal raises serious issues about the accountability of the exam boards, especially as OCR is the monopoly provider of the main classical subjects. It was the Minister’s predecessor, answering my earlier debate on the withdrawal of the other exam board, the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance, from classics who said:

“Of course, if the AQA had been the only body offering classical subjects, the QCA would have acted to ensure that they continued to be available, as it would with other minority subjects.”—[ Official Report, 12 July 2004; Vol. 423, c. 1234.]

Well, we are now in that position. OCR is the only provider of ancient history, so I hope that the Minister will be able to reassure me that the QCA will intervene to block this proposal, if it is confirmed. I hope that he will be able to ensure that the QCA fulfils its obligation to minority subjects.

I ask the Minister to assist specifically on two points. First, will he write to the QCA to draw its attention to this debate and remind it of its responsibility to protect minority subjects that have a sole exam board provider? Secondly, will he facilitate a meeting between the QCA and those hon. Members who wish to see this proposal resisted?

This issue matters because ancient history is our past. The birth of democracy, the transition of Rome from a single city to the biggest empire the world has ever known and the rise of Christianity within that empire are critical events in shaping our European heritage and our British civilisation. How can we understand them properly if we cut ourselves off from our past? Nobody put that thought better than the Roman politician Cicero. For the benefit of others, I shall translate:

“To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child. For what is the worth of human life, unless it is woven into the life of our ancestors by the records of history?”

If the board proceeds with this deeply flawed and philistine proposal, and if the QCA fails to intervene, not only will Cicero be proved right, but future generations of students will be denied the chance even to know who he was.

More follows, of course (of interest especially are the number of MPs who appear to have enjoyed '300' (I didn't ...)). We now turn to some interesting items which were posted by Thomas Harrison to the Classicists list ... first of all, an excerpt from Private Eye Magazine:

The exam board OCR claims to have “consulted widely among examiners, teachers, professional associations, universities and those delivering the existing specifications” before announcing that it was scrapping the ancient history A-Level.

So who did it ask? Well, not the Association for Latin Teaching, the British Academy or the Classical Association for a start. Nor did it consult the Friends of Classics, the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies or the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, and even the Council of University Classics Departments was excluded from this supposedly wide consultation. Professors say they were invited to give their views on the future of Classics at A-level some time ago, but the question of actually abandoning the ancient history course was not mooted at the time.

In fact the Joint Association of Classical Teachers’ ancient history committee – the people who designed the course specifications for the exam – only found out about the decision a few days before it was made public.

The OCR promised the Eye a list of people it had consulted, but none has materialized.

Private Eye No 1183, 27 April – 10 May 2007

Next, TH also posted a press release from the National Co-Ordinating Committee for Classics:

April 26 2007


Education minister Jim Knight warns QCA

Oxford and Cambridge Examination Board remains silent

The Joint Association of Classical Teachers (JACT), which is leading the attack on the decision by the Oxford and Cambridge Examination Board (OCR) to scrap the only A level in Ancient History, is considering legal action if the decision is upheld.

After a meeting with OCR Tom Harrison, Professor of Ancient History at Liverpool and chairman of JACT’s Ancient History Committee, said ‘OCR claims that you can do Ancient History via its new Classical Civilisation syllabus. But that syllabus meets virtually none of the criteria for the subject. We are therefore in discussion with lawyers and would intend, very reluctantly, to take action if these miserable proposals are not abandoned.’

He added: ‘After our meeting with OCR, we fear any changes may simply be cosmetic.’

During an adjournment debate about the scrapping of Ancient History brought by former education minister Michael Fallon MP (Sevenoaks), [Wednesday], education minister Jim Knight warned the government’s Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, which has the final say over all syllabuses, to look ‘very carefully’ at what OCR was proposing. He went on:

‘I am … encouraged to hear … that OCR is seriously considering whether it would be appropriate to reinstate ancient history as a title. I would call on OCR and the QCA to make sure that the views of the hon. Gentleman and his colleagues are recognised in their ongoing discussions to resolve the issue.’

Dr Peter Jones, Spokesman for the National Co-ordinating Committee for Classics, said:

‘If only OCR would tell us clearly why they have made the decision, it would make it all so much easier. It would be a disgrace were it financial, since OCR made £2 million last year on top of reserves of £6.8 million. One theory has it that it they could not fit Ancient History into their new syllabus framework, so simply scrapped it! But which is more important – a framework or the intensive study of the past?’

He went on: ‘If the Board had consulted properly instead of acting so secretively, none of this need have happened. It really does look as if they have no real interest in fulfilling any of the QCA’s criteria for Ancient History and simply want to get rid of it by hook or by crook. We too shall be looking “very carefully” at OCR’s and QCA’s decisions’.

‘This week it has emerged that OCR has also scrapped the last exam in Anglo-Saxon history. There is a nasty pattern here to OCR’s decisions in relation to the study of our past that has laid the foundations for what we are today.’

Finally, a couple of pieces from the Times Education Supplement (which I can't seem to find online):

Classic move

A campaign to save ancient history A-level continued this week as Michael Fallon, Conservative MP and chairman of the all-party par­liamentary classics group, pressed the Government.

Mr Fallon led an adjournment debate on the OCR exam board’s proposal to subsume ancient histo­ry within classical civilisation, as revealed in The TES last month: The Joint Association of Classical Teachers is considering legal action should the Qualifications and Cur­riculum Authority ratify the move.

Easy A-levels store trouble for future

By Warwick Mansell

Teachers are accusing an exam board of dumbing down England’s only remaining Latin and classical Greek A-levels after it revealed that the amount of literature students will have to study is to be cut by a quarter.

From next year, candidates will also no longer have to write an essay for their AS course, and for A2, it is questionable whether an essay will be required. Currently students have to write an essay for both.

The Joint Association of Classical Teachers warned that the changes stand to leave thousands of pupils ill-prepared for university study, where essay writing is the norm and the reading load is heavy.

The association’s comments came after the OCR board published draft specifications for the new exams on its website. The number of lines of original verse or prose on which students have to answer exam questions has been cut from 550 to 400 for AS, and from 660 to 500 for A2. Association members said this would mean students could memorise a translation of the shorter passages and regurgitate it in the exam hall. They branded the OCR’s move as puzzling, given that the new A-levels have been billed as more stretching and as putting more emphasis on essay writing.

Clare Eltis, a teacher at The Lady Eleanor Hollies school in Hampton, south-west London, said: "I worry for future students that this A-level will not be a proper preparation for university. There they might be expected to read seven books of Virgil and 18 of Homer, and all they will have read is a few hundred lines. The gap between A-level and degree study will be huge."

The association was also unhappy that, under the new specifications, schools and students would no longer have a choice of which authors to study. From 2008, they will have to read a set prose author and one for verse at both AS and A2.

OCR became the only board to offer Latin and ancient Greek A-level last year after the AQA board stopped offering the subjects. An OCR spokesman said that the draft specifications were not yet final, they could be changed following consultation. Some 58 A-levels are being amended.

From the BBC:

Pope Benedict's plans to revive the Latin Mass, which includes prayers for the conversion of Jews, is causing concern among Catholic and Jewish groups about relations between their faiths.

Religious commentators predict that Pope Benedict will issue authorisation for wider use of the Mass - known as the Tridentine Mass - soon.

The Mass was celebrated for hundreds of years before being replaced by a liturgy celebrated in local languages, as part of reforms instigated after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

The old wording has none of the Vatican Council thinking that reversed long-standing anti-Jewish views in the Church. Vatican II brought about a revolution in Catholic thinking, highlighting the ancient Jewish roots of Christianity and affirming God's love for the Jews.

Concern is now focused on traditional mass's Good Friday liturgy which contains a prayer "For the conversion of the Jews". The prayer reads:

"Let us pray also for the Jews, that the Lord our God may take the veil from their hearts and that they also may acknowledge our Lord Jesus Christ."

It refers to their "blindness" and prays for them to be "delivered from their darkness."

Pope's personal call

John L Allen, a commentator for the influential US-based weekly magazine The National Catholic Reporter says this is the Pope's "personal call". He has promised to reach out to Christians separated from Rome.

"His basic motive is pastoral. He is a classic doctrinal conservative and he feels there are people out there who are attached to this mass and there is nothing wrong with it, so why not let them have it."

The Vatican has said that the Pope wants to heal a rift with ultra-traditionalists who rebelled against Second Vatican Council changes towards an understanding of non-Christian religions.

Their leader, Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, now dead, was excommunicated by the late Pope John Paul II and he and his followers broke away from Rome during the 1970s.

The followers of Archbishop Lefebvre - known as the Society of St Pius X - are said to have been seeking reconciliation with the new pope. The group claims to have roughly one million adherents worldwide.

'Little uptake'

Many religious experts acknowledge that in real terms, the revival of the Mass may not be widespread.

"We're more than 40 years away from the Vatican Council and frankly most priests today don't know how to do it," says Mr Allen. "Of course they can learn but they are stretched and won't see it as a priority. I don't really believe there is that much demand for it.

"Those Catholics who are already interested in the Latin Mass can usually find somewhere where it is celebrated."

But for some Catholic and Jewish groups this is not the point and they have approached the Vatican about their concerns.

Rabbi David Rosen president of IJCIC, the International Jewish Committee that represents World Jewry in its relations with other world religions, says: "Any liturgy that presents Jews as being doomed in their faith doesn't present a very healthy attitude towards Judaism and the Jewish people."

"Relations have undergone a profound transformation [since Vatican II]. I don't think there is any danger of backsliding in terms of the Church indulging in anti-Semitism or anything like that," he told the BBC News website from Jerusalem.

But he says the move comes within the context of "a certain revival of what might be called conservative theology within the Church."

"Conservative theology itself is not necessarily bad for relations with the Jewish people and even if Catholics believe their path is the absolute truth, that shouldn't contradict the ability to respect the integrity of others' identity and choice," he says.

'Disturbing trend'

Christian groups argue that the issue has become all the more sensitive because the move comes against a backdrop of a perceived drift in Church policy.

I remember the Latin Mass as a child, and very beautiful it was too - but I hadn't a clue [about] the importance of what was being said
Teresa Adams
BBC News website reader, Kenilworth, UK

"This is only part of what some of us see as a fairly disturbing trend within the Church," Professor John T Pawlikowski, president of the International Council of Christians and Jews told the BBC News Website. "It has been elevated to a higher level than it might otherwise have been."

He cited recent sermons by the main Vatican preacher, Father Raniero Cantalamessa, which revived old charges about Jewish blame for the death of Christ without provoking a reaction from Benedict or his aides.

"And, certainly in America, you have certain voices in the Catholic Church, calling for the conversion of Jews on television," said Mr Pawlikowski, professor of Social Ethics at the Catholic Theological Union in Illinois.

There is also concern that in America bishops are cutting back on personnel who are involved in Catholic and Jewish dialogue.

Professor Pawlikowski questions why the Pope needs to issue further authorisation for the Mass, given that there are priests who already have permission to celebrate it.

'God-centred worship'

"It's almost like some people in the Vatican want to give it greater validation - almost encourage it," he says.

Traditionalists not aligned to the Lefebvre movement have welcomed the proposed moves.


Mary Fryd scripsit:

Your article gives the impression that the old rite latin mass contains prayers for the conversion of the Jews. This is simply untrue – as a perusal of the “Ordo Missae” would quickly prove. The Good Friday liturgy is an altogether different matter and is not a Mass at all. Good Friday is the one day in the year when no Mass is celebrated in Catholic churches. I am therefore at a complete loss to understand the objections of the Council of Christians and Jews to the old Latin Mass.

From the Independent:

It is the closest point on the Italian peninsula to Albania and, until efforts by the coastguard some years ago, was the destination of choice for Albanians fleeing poverty for the glamour and prosperity of their wealthy neighbour. But suddenly, the little town of Castro in the province of Lecce has something much more exciting to shout about.

Archaeologists at the University of Lecce have discovered that the modern town, with its 15th-century walls, sits on the ruins of the port that was the first landfall in Italy made by the semi-mythical wanderer of the ancient world, Aeneas. According to Virgil's epic, he fled Troy as the Greeks destroyed it and made his laborious way westwards finally to found a "new Troy", the imperial city of Rome.

In the third book of the Aeneid, according to John Dryden's 17th-century translation, the poet describes the hero's discovery of Italy thus:

"... And now the rising morn with rosy light

Adorns the skies, and puts the stars to flight;

When we from far, like bluish mists, descry

The hills, and then the plains, of Italy ...

The gentle gales their flagging force renew,

And now the happy harbour is in view.

Minerva's temple then salutes our sight,

Plac'd, as a landmark, on the mountain's height ..."

Minerva's temple is the key: the head of the Archaeology Department at Lecce University has found clinching evidence of the existence of a temple of Minerva, exactly where the poet describes it. "There is no doubt," Professor Francesco d'Andria said. "We have found fragments of a female divinity, and many iron weapons given to the goddess as offerings. In this temple a warrior goddess was worshipped. Minerva was worshipped."

Aeneas was first described as coming to Italy by the poet Stesichorus, writing around 600 BC. But it is the Roman poet Virgil, who died at sea in 19 BC aged 51 before he could complete his masterpiece, who defined him and his voyage for posterity. In the Aeneid, Virgil provided the rapidly rising Roman state with its own national epic in a deliberate effort to out-Homer Homer and the Greek culture of which his poems were a foundation.

Like the Illiad and the Odyssey, the background of the Aeneid is Troy and the 10-year war that culminated in its destruction. Like Odysseus, the poem's hero, Aeneas, the product of a fling between a noble of Troy and the goddess Aphrodite, wanders at length across the oceans with his devoted followers, seeking with increasing desperation the new Troy the gods have promised him. Is it Thrace? Might it be the island of Delos, home to the oracle of Apollo? Clearly not: in both cases the auguries are bad. For a long time he cherishes the idea that Crete is the place. But when he arrives there a pestilence is raging:

"Rising vapours choke the wholesome air

And blasts of noisome winds corrupt the year

The trees devouring caterpillars burn ...

My men, some fall and some in fevers fry."

So it's back on the boat, and the wanderings resume, to what is now Butrint, in the far south of Albania, then across to Castrum Minervae. But, even though they feel they are getting warm now - "Then, 'Italy!' the cheerful crew rebound" - Castrum is not the alotted place either: the apparently benign presence of "four white steeds that cropp'd the flowery field" sends Aeneas' highly superstitious father, Anchises, into a panic: "War, war is threatened from this foreign ground ..." And they are off again.

Following directly now in the wake of Homer's Odysseus, the fleet follows the coastline of southern Italy round to Sicily, risking the twin terrors of Scylla and Charybdis - a sea monster and a whirlpool - that mark the approach to the present-day Sicilian city of Messina. More bad luck with the auguries and it's across the Mediterranean to Carthage, on the coast of present-day Tunisia, for the most hectic and perilous stopover.

When Virgil was writing the Aeneid, the most fearful conflict in Rome's history was only a century past: the Punic wars, which lasted 120 years. The Carthaginian commander Hannibal, from his stronghold in Apulia, not far from Castrum Minervae, came closer than anyone - until the arrival of the barbarians centuries later - to destroying Rome.

The war ended, of course, in a Roman triumph, with the legions levelling Carthage. But despite that emphatic victory, more recent events reminded Rome that, for all the city state's martial prowess, Africa presented a menace to which it was vulnerable: "The beds i' the east are soft," as Shakespeare put it. Cleopatra, who died only 11 years before Virgil, was the lover first of Julius Caesar then, more famously, of Mark Antony. Her downfall and suicide marked the end of Hellenistic domination and the decisive rise of Rome.

So Aeneas's dalliance with Dido, Queen of Carthage, represents the critical moment in the epic, as the hero first commits himself to the passionate queen then, sternly reminded by the gods of his duty, sneaks away with his fleet, hoping to escape before she can find out. In this he fails - she watches them set off, then:

"mounts the fun'ral pile with furious haste;

Unsheathes the sword the Trojan left behind ...

and struck; deep entered in her side the piercing steel."

The discovery of Minerva's Temple, which has prompted Castro's mayor to suggest changing its name to Castrum Minervae, is a striking reminder of the story of Aeneas with its intertwining of Greek myth and historical fact, proto-nationalistic triumphalism and vivid poetry.
Somewhat vague item from UKTV:

A series of ancient paintings have been uncovered beneath the streets of London.

The Roman artworks were found underneath an Italian restaurant in Lime Street, in the City of London.

Painted 1,900 years ago, the paintings depict goldfinch and lavish bunches of grapes, magazine London Archaeologist reports.

Experts believe that they were painted for a wealthy Roman's home, as the area around Lime Street used to the most prestigious address in Roman London.

Archaeologists are hailing the find as one of the most significant of recent decades and hope that the whole set of paintings, damaged in a building fire, can be reconstructed.

... if I find more info, I'll post it ...
An update (of sorts) from the Baylor Lariat:

Even though the scientific community gave him credit for the discovery, Dr. Giorgio Filippi, curator of the epigraphic collection of the Vatican Museums, is quick to point out that he's not the first to find the tomb believed to contain the remains of St. Paul.

Filippi gave his presentation, "Through the Grating: Lights and Shadows on St. Paul's Tomb in Rome," on Thursday in the Barfield Drawing Room of the Bill Daniel Student Center.

"I rediscovered the tomb," Filippi said. "Everyone since the time of Constantine knew the tomb was there exactly where I found it."

Thursday's lecture marked the first time Filippi presented his findings in English and outside of Europe. It also was the only presentation Filippi will give about St. Paul's tomb during his time in the United States.

Antonios Augoustakis, assistant classics professor, said Filippi came to Baylor because of his connection with the classics department's Baylor in Italy program, which Augoustakis coordinates every July.

After receiving his doctorate in epigraphic studies from the University of Bologna in 1987, Filippi began his career as a curator at the Vatican Museum in 1993. He began looking through the museum's collection of Greek and Latin inscriptions and published a catalog in 1998 of all 2,000 of the inscriptions.

Between 1998 and 2000, Filippi and his team made five different excavation points inside St. Paul's Outside the Walls, Rome's second largest basilica.

"The Church of St. Paul is still used as a church, not as a ground for excavation, so they let us make a special search for the tomb," Filippi said.

The intensive search for St. Paul's tomb officially began in 2002 under the Papal altar, or main altar, of the church.

Filippi, who served as director of excavations at the basilica, wrapped up the search in December 2006, and the announcement of his findings sparked international interest.

"The discovery is important for religious uses so that we can see and touch the sarcophagus," Filippi said. "No one could answer exactly where it was or what it was shaped like, but now we can."

Filippi said he "doesn't know if the bones are actually in there," but stressed it's more about what the sarcophagus represents, not necessarily what it contains.

"People ask me, 'Are you curious?'" Filippi said. "But I don't But Filippi said he didn't have need to see inside the sarcophagus.

"The aim was not scientific research, but research for making the pilgrims more sure of the existence of the tomb of St. Paul, and making the tomb available for veneration," he said.

Dr. Alden Smith, classics professor and interim department chairman, has known Filippi since 1994 when they met at the Vatican Museum.

Smith said he visits Filippi every summer with the Baylor in Italy program.

"He introduces our students to epigraphy and takes us through the epigraphic wing of the museum, which is not always open," Smith said. "We are very grateful to him."

Filippi said he had never been outside of Europe before coming to Baylor.

"I had only seen America from television, but when I got here, I could confirm that my positive idea of America coincides with reality," Filippi said. "I feel very honored to come to this university and share here."
A piece which seems to be missing something in translation ... from Javna:

Tessellation of Roman bricks, Roman jewelry and one, previously robbed grave with mortal remains of a Gepid tribe member were found these days during excavations for the construction of a sports hall in Vinkovci. Gepids are a West Germanic tribe which inhabited eastern Slavonia in the period between Roman rule and arrival of the Slavs.

According to archeologist of the Vinkovci City Museum, Anita Rapan Papesa, the tessellation of Roman bricks is most likely a part of a road which, as it is presumed, led to the nearby administration building of the former Vinkovci PIK, at the spot where, in the time of Roman Cibala, a granary and a temple were present.

When excavations were conducted in the 70`s for the construction of PIK building, 16 Gepid graves were found, which the grave revealed at the sports hall construction site of Josip Kozarac and Ivan Goran Kovacic primary schools probably belongs to, stated Anita Rapan Papesa, adding that a fibula was found in the excavations, a Roman ornamental clip.

-The retrieved fibula belongs to the type that was made in Roman Siscia, today`s Sisak- she explained, pointing out that this is also the first fibula finding of such a type in Vinkovic in the area where a significant settlement Colonia Aurelia Cibalae was situated during the Roman Empire, where two Roman emperors were born, co-emperors Valentinian (321-375) and Valens (328-378).

Rapan Papesa expects to find more Roman culture remains at this location.
From the Oxford Mail:

A new centre for Classical and Byzantine studies is opening at Oxford University thanks to a donation from a Greek family.

The Stelios Ioannou School for Research in Classical and Byzantine Studies is the first purpose-built centre for Classical and Byzantine research.

It comes after a major donation, of more than £1m from the Greek Cypriot Ioannou family, in honour of the late Cypriot businessman and philanthropist Stelios Ioannou.

Lord Patten, the university's chancellor, said: "Thanks to the exceptional generosity and vision of the Ioannou family, Oxford is in good shape to build on past success."

The building in St Giles, which took two-and-a-half years to build, will also be used for outreach work. The new centre will house four research centres - including the Beazley Archive, one of the worlds largest collections of images in classical arts containing 250,000 photographs and 50,000 gem collections. Students and academics will also have access to the world's largest collection of paper impressions of Greek inscriptions.
Well this week I broke down and bought a decent MP3 player (a Sansa e260) in the hopes of making better use of the many podcasts out there that I'm missing. I'm hoping to have a regular 'Podcast Picks' feature (or something like that), once I figure out the efficient way to get stuff on and off the thing. Till then, though, and semi-coincidentally, folks might want to check out the In Our Time episode on Greek and Roman Love Poetry which just hit the ewaves ... should be available for a week or so ...
A useful post from the Romarch list, reproduced with kind permission of the author (Martin Conde):

UPDATE - Rome - "Symbols of Roman Power Discovered" Prof.ssa C.

Dear members,

With the publication of Prof.ssa Clementina Panella's of discovery of the Standards & Scepters of Emperor Maxentius [on the N.E slope of the Palatine Hill in June 2007] in ARCHEOLOGY MAGAZINE, May / June 2007, the article mentions that the artifacts have been restored by Prof.ssa Esmeralda Senatore [of the `Istituto Centrale del Restauro' in Rome].


New information relating to the restoration work by Prof.ssa Senatore can be found online:

1). Marco Merola, ARCHEOLOGIA: IN MOSTRA A ROMA UN RITROVAMENTO ECCEZIONALE. Armi, scettri, stendardi nel tesoro di Massenzio - Prima della decisiva battaglia contro Costantino, l'imperatore nascose sul Palatino i suoi ornamenti da parata perché non finissero in mano al nemico. Ora sono
stati riportati alla luce (31/1/2007).

2). Goffredo Silvestri, ARCHEOLOGIA - I segni del commando. A Roma, alle pendici del Palatino, trovati i "segni del potere" dell'imperatore Massenzio, ora in mostra al museo nazionale romano di Palazzo Massimo (28/02/2007).

3). I "Signa Imperii", [in] news.icr la newsletter dell'Istituto Centrale per il Restauro Numero 14 - gennaio 2007.

4). Signa Imperii – Le insegne del potere. Il contesto. L'intervento conservativo. Le tecniche. Il restauro. L'Intervento conservativo è stato eseguito dalla restauratrice dell'ICR, Esmeralda Senatore.

Thank you
Martin G Conde

For more information on the Excavations by Prof. Panella on the N.E slope of the Palatine Hill (2002-2007), see:

Some catching up to do with BMCR:

Marco Fucecchi, Una guerra in Colchide. Valerio Flacco, Argonautiche 6,1-426.

Stanley Lombardo (trans.), Virgil. The Essential Aeneid.

Alessandro Fusi, M. Valerii Martialis epigrammaton liber tertius. Introduzione, edizione critica, traduzione e commento. Spudasmata 108.

Francesca Delneri, I culti misterici stranieri nei frammenti della comedia attica antica.

P.J. Heslin, The Transvestite Achilles. Gender and Genre in Statius' Achilleid.

Karla F.L. Pollmann, Statius, Thebaid 12: Introduction, Text, and Commentary. Studien zur Geschichte und Kultur des Altertums. Neue Folge. 1. Reihe, Band 25.

R. Jung, XRONOLOGIA COMPARATA. Vergleichende Chronologie von Sudgriechenland und Suditalien von ca. 1700/1600 bis 1000 v.u.Z.

Hasan Dedeoglu, The Lydians and Sardis.

L. Prauscello, Singing Alexandria. Music Between Practice and Textual Transmission.

Mogens Herman Hansen, The Shotgun Method: The Demography of the Ancient Greek City-State Culture.

Mogens Herman Hansen, Studies in the Population of Aigina, Athens and Eretria. Historisk-filosofiske Meddelelser 94.

Nicoletta Francesca Berrino, Mulier potens: realta femminili nel mondo antico. Historie: Collana di Studi e monumenti per le scienze dell'antichita 4.
Lecturer in Latin Literature and Roman History
School of arts
Roehampton University
... have to drive various people to various places at various times ...
ante diem vi kalendas maias

ca. 89 A.D. -- martyrdom of Cletus

121 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Marcus Aurelius
facetious @ Wordsmith

accismus @ Worthless Word for the Day
From YLE:

ALF Romam convenit
: Nuntii Latini

19.04.2007, klo 17.09

Academia Latinitati Fovendae (ALF) in urbe Roma hodie (20.4.) sessionem annuam agit.

Theodoricus Sacré acroasim habet "De Maphaei Barberini sive Urbani VIII P.M. carminibus iuvenilibus".

Nicolaus Sallmann loquitur de proximo Academiae conventu, quo annus bis millesimus post pugnam Teutoburgiensem celebrabitur.

Praeterea habentur suffragia, quibus moderatores Academiae in proximum triennium eliguntur.

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

[what an unfortunate abbreviation]
From the BBC:

Experts are "lost for words" to have found that a medieval prayer book has yielded yet another key ancient text buried within its parchment.

Works by mathematician Archimedes and the politician Hyperides had already been found buried within the book, known as the Archimedes Palimpsest.

But now advanced imaging technology has revealed a third text - a commentary on the philosopher Aristotle.

Project director William Noel called it a "sensational find".

The prayer book was written in the 13th Century by a scribe called John Myronas.

But instead of using fresh parchment for his work, he employed pages from five existing books.

Dr Noel, curator of manuscripts at the US-based Walters Art Museum and a co-author of a forthcoming book on the Archimedes Palimpsest, said: "It's a rather brutal process, but it means you can reuse parchment if you are short of it.

"You take books off shelves, you scrub off the text, you cut them up and you make a new book."

In 1906 it came to light that one of the books recycled to form the medieval manuscript contained a unique work by Archimedes.

And in 2002, modern imaging technology not only provided a clearer view of this famous mathematician's words, but it also revealed another text - the only known manuscript of Hyperides, an Athenian politician from the 4th Century BC.

"At this point you start thinking striking one palimpsest is gold, and striking two is utterly astonishing. But then something even more extraordinary happened," Dr Noel told the BBC News website.

One of the recycled books was proving extremely difficult to read, explained Roger Easton, a professor of imaging science at Rochester Institute of Technology, US.

"We were using a technique called multispectral imaging," he said.

This digital imaging technique uses photographs taken at different wavelengths to enhance particular characteristics of the imaged area.

Subtle adjustments of this method, explained Professor Easton, suddenly enabled these hidden words to be revealed.

"Even though I couldn't read Ancient Greek, just the fact that I could see the words gave me shivers," he said.

Foundations of logic

An international team of experts began to scrutinize the ancient words, explained Reviel Netz, professor of ancient science at Stanford University, US and another co-author of the palimpsest book.

A series of clues, such as spotting a key name in the margin, led the team to its conclusion.

"The philosophical passage in the Archimedes Palimpsest is now definitely identified as a relatively early commentary to Aristotle's Categories," said Professor Netz.

He said that Aristotle's Categories had served as the foundation for the study of logic throughout western history.

Further study has revealed the most likely author of this unique commentary is Alexander of Aphrodisias, Professor Robert Sharples from the University College London told BBC News.

If this is the case, he said, "it gives us part of a commentary previously supposed lost by the most important of those ancient commentators on Aristotle".

A provisional translation of the commentary is currently being undertaken.

It reveals a debate on some aspects of Aristotle's theory of classification, such as: if the term "footed" is used for animals, can it be used to classify anything else, such as a bed?

The passage reads:

For as "foot" is ambiguous when applied to an animal and to a bed, so are "with feet" and "without feet". So by "in species" here [Aristotle] is saying "in formula".

For if it ever happens that the same name indicates the differentiae of genera that are different and not subordinate one to the other, they are at any rate not the same in formula.

Dr Noel said: "There is no more important philosopher in the world than Aristotle. To have early views in the 2nd and 3rd Century AD of Aristotle's Categories is just fantastic."

"We have one book that contains three texts from the ancient world that are absolutely central to our understanding of mathematics, politics and now philosophy," he said.

"I am at a loss for words at what this book has turned out to be. To make these discoveries in the 21st Century is frankly nutty - it is just so exciting."
From Huntington News:

The establishment of a $100,000 endowment fund which will ensure the continuation of the Latin Awards by Marshall University was announced last week by Ed Maier, President of the Maier Foundation, Inc., which has sponsored the awards since 1979.

The announcement came at the annual awards ceremony that took place on the Huntington campus. During the ceremony outstanding high school students and Marshall students in both Latin and writing competitions are recognized.

The endowment will fund the Maier Latin Cup Awards and the Maier Sight Translation Awards, both for high school students, and the Maier Latin Scholarship, which is given to a Marshall Latin major.

“I was delighted to learn of the Maier Foundation’s generous support for classical studies at Marshall, which grows out of the Maier family’s longstanding interest in promoting the study of the humanities in West Virginia,” Dr. John Young, associate professor of English at Marshall, said. “Such support is especially important in our contemporary climate, as the humanities teach, above all, how to communicate across and through differences of culture, place and history.”

The Maier Latin awards were established by Ed Maier’s father, William J. Maier, Jr., to repay in some way the special attention his high school Latin teacher at Huntington High School showed him. A high school graduate at the age of 16, the elder Maier received an award then given by West Virginia University which named him the top Latin student in the State. The elder Maier credited the extra devotion to Latin and Latin students by his teacher as having helped him secure a scholarship to Harvard College.

During his academic career, William Maier, Jr. garnered top honors and graduated second in his class at Harvard. He later received a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship and while teaching economics at Harvard earned a law degree from that institution. Maier became a successful businessman and a noted philanthropist, establishing the Sarah and Pauline Maier Scholarship Foundation, named in honor of his mother and his wife, which has given millions of dollars to educational institutions, community, cultural and civic projects, and other worthy causes.

“What is particularly pleasing is that the foundation supports the work of high school students. These students work very hard, as do their teachers, and it is very nice to see their efforts rewarded,” said Dr. Caroline Perkins, chair of MU’s Department of Classics. “The annual gifts from the foundation are unique in the country,” she said. “Now that these annual gifts have become an endowed gift, I and members of the Department of Classics feel that the recognition will identify the achievement of West Virginia students even more. We owe great thanks to Ed Maier and the Maier Foundation. By honoring his father, a thing that the Romans would understand very well, he honors students in our state.” The William J. Maier Writing Awards were established in 1973 by William J. Maier, Jr. in honor of his father. These awards, for excellence in writing, are presented annually to students enrolled in English classes at Marshall University. Ranging from $100 to $500, the awards recognize and reward good and distinctive writing. In addition, the Department of Classics at Marshall sponsors the Maier Latin Scholarship which is underwritten by the Maier Foundation. This $2,000 scholarship is intended to support the work of a student presently pursuing a Latin major at Marshall and who is enrolled in advanced Latin classes. Ed Maier personally presents the Latin and writing awards each spring.

... there follows a list of recipients of the award ...
From the Daily Princetonian comes this interesting item (administrators take note!):

Three years ago, Dean of the College Nancy Malkiel pioneered the Major Choices initiative, designed to raise underclassmen's awareness of smaller departments.

Nonetheless, this week hundreds of sophomores chose to major in economics, politics, history and the Wilson School –– the four largest departments on campus.

Since the 2004-05 academic year, Major Choices has ensured that "curriculum development funds have been and will be targeted to the support of initiatives in smaller departments to devise new courses or renovate existing courses to appeal more effectively to beginning students," Malkiel wrote in an email.

Though she credits Major Choices for aiding in the growth of some smaller departments, departments are more skeptical of the initiative, questioning whether the initiative is responsible for the slight increases in some departments.

Major Choices, Malkiel said, is not designed "to discourage students who are passionately interested in departments like History or Politics or Economics from pursuing studies in those fields."

But the slight increase in enrollment in some smaller departments over the last two years has been accompanied by a slight decrease for certain larger ones.

Malkiel emphasized the role of the Major Choices initiative in the rise of student concentrators in some small departments, citing "significant changes" in enrollment in the classics, art and archaeology, French and Italian, and psychology departments, among others.

The classics department, for example, traditionally had 12 to 15 seniors each year, chair Dennis Feeney said. But classics saw "a big jump" to 28 seniors in the Class of 2007, the first class to choose majors after the launch of Major Choices.

Though there are about 20 classics majors in the Class of 2008 — and about 20 are anticipated for the Class of 2009 — the department is still notably larger than it has been in recent years.

Malkiel hailed the French and Italian department as a success, as enrollment has increased by more than 30 percent since the start of the initiative.

Though he confirmed a surge in enrollment numbers in recent years, French and Italian Departmental Representative Volker Schroder said in an email that "these numbers fluctuate quite a bit from year to year." He added that the department predicts a decrease in enrollment for the Class of 2009.

"It's hard to tell to what extent any changes can be directly ascribed to the Major Choices initiative," he added.

Art and archaeology professor Anne McCauley said in an email that there is not enough data to know whether the initiative "has radically changed the number of majors" in her department because of "a random variation [in the number of majors] from year to year."

Despite a "significant jump" from 23 majors in the Class of 2006 to 34 in the Class of 2007, McCauley said, the number seems to have dropped back to previous years' levels for the Classes of 2008 and 2009.

"I suspect that most majors are still recruited through classes, so good teaching is the ultimate recruitment vehicle for majors," McCauley added.

In certain academic departments, such as the German department, "the numbers are simply too small to draw any general inferences about the effectiveness of the [Major Choices] initiative," German Departmental Representative Arnd Wedemeyer said in an email.

In the three years since the implementation of the Majors Choices initiative, larger departments have also seen shifts in the number of students signing in. The history department, for example, has seen a "slight decline" for the last two years, Departmental Representative Paul Miles said in an email.

"However," he added, "I would not describe the decline as significant," citing the small deviation of enrollment over the last five years, as well as that the department projects an increase for the Class of 2009.

Likewise, the politics department saw a 10 percent decrease last year, Director of Undergraduate Studies Alan Patten said. But the department projects a significant increase for the coming year.

The Major Choices initiative was designed to allow students to choose a major "based on their intellectual passions, not because they think they have to pick a certain department," Malkiel said. "We have 34 wonderful departments, and we want students to concentrate in all 34 of them, not mainly in four or five."

Despite Malkiel's vision, students may still inevitably be driven by a combination of passion and practicality.

"I worked in a law firm over the summer and realized that I really liked the law and decided to do politics," Patrick Gallagher '09 said, adding that though he seriously considered the religion department, "politics [has] more application for law school."

Though the results have been mixed so far, the Major Choices initiative will continue at least for the time being.

"We're going to keep at it ... knowing that as our efforts continue, more and more students will internalize the message that they should study what they love — and, by following their intellectual passions, choose to concentrate in larger numbers in the smaller departments," Malkiel said.
From the BBC:

The children are writing postcards about their favourite things - holidays, sport, food.

But however many times they jot down "wish you were here", their intended recipients never will be.

They have been dead for about 2,000 years.

It sounds macabre, but a primary school in Hackney, east London, is actually trying to keep something alive.

Latin, the ancient language which has long been in decline in state schools, is being taught in the area for the first time that anyone can remember.

The postcards are written as if they are for children living in ancient Rome.

Class organiser Lorna Robinson has even devised special words - such as "pedifolle" for football and "campus lusorius" for playground - for nine and 10-year-olds at Benthal Primary School to use.


The aim is to introduce the ethnically mixed pupils, who speak up to 30 different languages at home, to Latin, which underpins much English vocabulary.

Lorna, who started the classes last September, said: "We want to see if the Latin improves their literacy results. It's a very specific aim.

"We also want to promote interest and opportunities to learn Latin in state schools.

"It will help the children think about language and how it is constructed at an early age. They all ask questions and are making good progress.

"Often, because they are so young, they are able to remember more words than I can."

The children have taken part in activities as modern as bingo and making up road signs.

Judging by the rapid raising of hands every time Lorna asks a question, they enjoy the lessons.

Johanna, nine, said: "I think it's really interesting. We've done a lot of fun stuff and it helps me with some words when we're doing literacy.

"My mum is Brazilian and the Latin helps me with my Portuguese."

Humayra, 10, added: "I find it fun and it's different from anything else I've done. I can speak Bengali but it's not very similar to Latin, so it's hard to learn.

"I think Latin helps me most with writing in literacy lessons."

Lorna, who has a PhD from Oxford University, in which she compared the works of Roman poet Ovid with the Latin American magical realist movement, has made it her mission to promote the classics in state schools.

Lifestyle change

Last year she left a teaching job at Wellington College, a public school in Berkshire which charges fees of up to £24,000 a year.

The change of scene is striking.

Lorna, who is being funded by Cambridge University, said: "Some of the children have a lot of behaviour problems. It's challenging but interesting as well.

"Overall, the children here are really engaged and work very hard.

"Sometimes people have a defeatist attitude to schools in inner-city areas and they criticise new initiatives, but this has been eye-opening.

"It's been working well but it's not sustainable unless the government steps in and expands the plans."

'Work it out'

Lorna added: "I've tried to make the Latin lessons very activity-based.

"It's sort of like being a detective. We start off using words on cards and get them to work out the links with English words.

"Then we do things like play bingo to teach them numbers. Recently we taught the kids imperatives in Latin by designing road signs.

"One of the good things about Latin not being a spoken language is it's more theoretical, meaning kids can look at words and work out what they mean."

The pupils have recently taken part in a drama workshop in Latin, in which former Royal Shakespeare Company actors re-enacted historical stories and myths.

Five primary schools in Hackney will be offering Latin from September, while Lorna is already teaching in Kilburn, in north-west London.

Boris Johnson, the shadow higher education minister who has presented television programmes on the ancient world, is an enthusiastic supporter of the project.

'New and interesting'

Performances in English tests over the next few years will show whether the project is having a concrete effect, but Benthal's young head teacher Tim Hunter-Whitehouse is already full of praise for the effect Latin has had.

He said: "It's given the children something new and interesting. It gives them a historical basis of language.

"It could be seen as a slightly dead subject but it has many uses, especially using terms in subjects like maths and science.

"It's a taster for the children. The curriculum is busy but you have got to be as creative as you can and create as broad a range of experiences as possible."

Dr Robinson is also editing a Latin and Greek magazine called Iris, which is being distributed free to state schools by Cambridge University.

Latin certainly needs a boost. GCSE entries fell from 16,000 in 1988 to 9,900 in 2004.

Asked whether any of Benthal Primary School's pupils will one day follow her and study classics at university, Lorna replied: "That's not the aim of the course. But it would be nice."

This summer, though, could present her sternest challenge.

Lorna has agreed to go to the US to teach Latin in five schools in the Bronx, one of the toughest areas of New York.

She said: "I'm very excited about it but also apprehensive. I've never been to America before, so I'm walking into the unknown. But I suppose it's not the first time."
From di-ve (I have not changed the typos):

Five divers pleaded guilty to charges of stealing ancient objects from the sea.

The court heard how artefacts tracing back to 600BC were retrieved from a WWI ship wrecked off St.Thomas Bay.

Almost 500 artefacts belonging to Roman times worth around Lm70,000 were stolen from the hull of the French vessel Le Polynesianne, popularly known as the Little Titanic. The obejcts included ancient pottery and anchors of Roman vessels.

The police investigations, led by Inspector Michael Mallia, led to the arrest of five persons and the seizure of the objects found in their residence.

Handing down the judgment, Magistrate Saviour Demicoli took in consideration the fact that all the men cooperated with the police and were all given a suspended sentence.

Somewhere in the deep bowels of my brain I recall a ship sinking with a number of important archaeological artifacts ... I wonder if this is it ...
ante diem vii kalendas maias

Robigalia -- an ancient agricultural festival designed to appease the numen Robigo/Robigus who caused mildew

404 B.C. -- Athens surrenders to Sparta, bringing the Peloponnesian War to an end (by one reckoning)

68 A.D. -- martyrdom of Mark the Evangelist

1940 -- death of Wilhelm Dorpfeld (excavator of Tiryns)
perfunctory @ Merriam-Webster

anemious @ Wordsmith (way cool word)

assentation@ Worthless Word for the Day

prepotency @
From YLE:

Natura insularum Galápagos in periculo
: Nuntii Latini

19.04.2007, klo 17.11

Insulae Galápagos sive Testudineae, in Oceano Pacifico positae, ad Aequatoriam pertinent, a cuius ora circiter mille chiliometra in occidentem versus distant.

Nomen acceperunt a galápago, quo verbo Hispanico testudo maritima significatur. Rafael Correa, praesidens Aequatoriae, nuper monuit naturam harum insularum esse in periculo.

Numerus incolarum est in his insulis circiter duodeviginti milium, praeterea singulis annis complura millena hospitum eo veniunt atque multa hominum milia ibi etiam illegaliter versantur.

Cum natura tantam hominum multitudinem sine damno sustinere non possit, magistratus Aequatoriani iam deliberant, quo modo aditus in insulas circumscribatur.

Periculum insulis Testudineis, quarum oecosystema est singulare, etiam genera animalium peregrina eo admissa atque piscatio squalorum illegalis faciunt.

Illae insulae velut laboratorium quoddam theoriae evolutionis habentur, quibus Charles Darwin, cum eo venisset, motus est, ut suam de evolutione rationem conciperet.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
DB sent this one in (thanks!):

Latin Day
From Science Daily:

There is a common perception that life in the once-thriving Roman city of Pompeii is well-known from the wealth of artefacts that have been uncovered since its accidental discovery in 1748, but this is far from the case, according to findings of University of Leicester archaeologist Dr Penelope M Allison.

Until recently archaeologists working on Pompeian artefacts have tended to concentrate on examples of art, some of it erotic, from the town that was suddenly destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in August 79 AD. But Dr Allison's recently published book, The Insula of the Menander in Pompeii vol 3: the finds, a contextual study, has changed this emphasis.

"I am looking at pots and pans and how houses actually functioned," she said. "I am interested in revealing the utilitarian side of life rather than its glamorous side; in slaves and servants and how they lived side by side with their masters. We always assume that servants were kept out of sight, but this is a 19th century view.

"If we look at the distribution of domestic material in Pompeii houses, such as the cupboards where pots and pans were kept, we find they were in the main front hall, the atrium where visitors would be received. The same is true of the main household water supply. Slaves would be coming to get these things all the time and would be far from invisible."

Dr Allison has been working on Pompeii for over 20 years. Her previous study was to look at 30 houses in the light of the everyday objects that had been largely ignored in favour of more exotic finds. She became fascinated by what the actual objects might have been used for and who might have used them.

"Today we have hundreds of very specific gadgets," she said, "but in a non-gadget world you have a number of things used for a variety of purposes, such as pots that might have been wine dippers and spindle whorls that were used as furniture ornamentation.

"Also, we assume we know about doctors in the Roman world. We believe that whenever we find medical instruments they belonged to doctors. But I think that a lot more high-level first aid went on within households. We have found surgical instruments in domestic contexts and I think someone in the house was responsible for sewing up injured people. Nowadays we have a much more specialised approach to looking after the human body."

Dr Allison also speculates on the amount of cooking that went on in the huge kitchens in affluent Roman households. "I found little braziers and flat vessels that were burned underneath that might have been used round the house, more like our barbecues, indicating that food was heated up in front of diners. Maybe Roman cooking smells did not offend these diners."

She has found no sets of tableware in Pompeian houses such as are found in Roman burial sites. Formal dining could have been very rare, she surmises, with people perhaps eating 'on the wing', much as busy families do today.

The implications of her research and recent book stretch beyond Pompeii itself, to how other Roman sites can be interpreted. Because of the suddenness of its destruction, Pompeii offers a context for the artefacts that are found, in a way that virtually no other site can do.

She has been looking at objects found in the same room and speculating on what that suggests in terms of usage of such objects. "For instance, why were this plate and these lamps found together? Were they indicative of some kind of offering? What were the lamps for? What was the situation that brought them together, and how would you have lit this space?" she asks.

Other finds that have puzzled her are the large quantities of heavy stone weights and scales in houses. "Today everything has its weight written on it when we buy it," she explains, "but in the Roman world everything would have to be weighted coming in and out of the houses.

"Also, where there are a number of looms found in one house, does this imply commercial activity? Not necessarily. We need to think more carefully about the relationship between commercial wool shops and the houses. Did women buy wool from shops and weave for their own household, selling off the surplus? We don't know, this is not something archaeologists have looked at. Was weaving done by both men and women? We would assume men were involved in any commercial environment, but this is just our conception.

"We are taking Roman domestic life into a more intellectual realm," Dr Allison said, adding a caution. "Domestic life in the past was not necessarily the same as it is nowadays."



Under the auspices of the Bristol Institute of Greece, Rome and the
Classical Tradition, Blackwell Publishing is sponsoring a
prestigious series of annual lectures which will subsequently be
published in book form.

We are honoured to have Ian Morris, Stanford University, to deliver the
first set of lectures for 2007:

Monday 30 April
'Did the Athenian Empire Change Greek History?'
*followed by wine reception

Thursday 3rd May
'Cleopatra's Nose and the Athenian Empire'

Tuesday 8th May
'Why did the Athenian Empire Fail?

Thursday 10th May
'How much did the Athenian Empire Matter?'
*followed by wine reception

All lectures start at 5.15 pm, in Lecture Theatre 2, Department of Classics
and Ancient History, 11 Woodland Road, University of Bristol
(entrance at rear of 21 Woodland Road)

All are welcome at what promises to be a stimulating and convivial
occasion. The Institute and Blackwell hope that many colleagues will be
able to join us for the event.

**Please inform Sam.Barlow AT of your intent to attend**


ante diem viii kalendas maias

Vinalia (day 2?)

1184 B.C. -- "conquest and destruction of Troy" (according to one reckoning)

339 B.C. -- Timoleon defeats the Carthaginians at the Crimesus (according to one reckoning)

27 B.C. -- the future emperor Tiberius dons his toga virilis

From YLE:

Cheetah LXXV annorum
: Nuntii Latini

19.04.2007, klo 17.10

Cheetah simia, quae in compluribus pelliculis cinematographicis una cum Tarzan agebat, septuaginta quinque annos complevit.

Oriunda est ex Liberia, unde anno millesimo nongentesimo tricesimo secundo in USA portata est.

Proximos sedecim annos cum curatore suo in Palm Spring Californiae vixit. Notissimus actor in pelliculis Tarzan fuit Johnny Weissmuller, qui iam ante triginta tres annos diem obiit supremum.

Cheetah autem adhuc optime valet et in genere suo vetustissima in mundo simia habetur.

In libertate simiae raro quadraginta annos superant sed in hortis zoologicis aetatem sexaginta annorum saepe adipiscunt

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
mythomania @ Merriam-Webster

caesious @ Wordsmith

circumspect @
Pascale Fleury, Lectures de Fronton: Un rheteur latin a l'epoque de la Seconde Sophistique.

Carolyn Dewald, John Marincola, The Cambridge Companion to Herodotus.

A.P. David, The Dance of the Muses: Choral Theory and Ancient Greek Poetics.

Kasia Szpakowska (ed.), Through A Glass Darkly: Magic, Dreams and Prophesy in Ancient Egypt.

Danielle A. Parks, The Roman Coinage of Cyprus.

Irene Bald Romano, Classical Sculpture: Catalogue of the Cypriot, Greek, and Roman Stone Sculpture in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Susan Walker, Sally-Ann Ashton, Cleopatra. Ancients in Action.

Warren S. Smith (ed.), Satiric Advice on Women and Marriage: from Plautus to Chaucer.

Giuseppe Lentini, Il 'padre di Telemaco': Odisseo tra Iliade e Odissea. Biblioteca di 'Materiali e discussioni per l'analisi dei testi classici', 18.

Giuseppina Magnaldi, Parola d'autore, parola di copista. Usi correttivi ed esercizi di scuola nei codici di Cic. Phil. 1.1 -13.10. MinimaPhilologica: Collana di edizioni critiche e commenti diretta da Lucio Bertelli e Gian Franco Gianotti, Serie Latina 2.

Stefano Amendola, Donne e Preghiera: Le preghiere dei personaggi femminili nelle tragedie superstiti di Eschilo. Supplementi di Lexis, XXXVIII.

From RBL:

Marvin A. Sweeney, review of Steven Katz, ed., The Cambridge History of Judaism: The Late Roman-Rabbinic Period

Morten Horning Jensen, Herod Antipas in Galilee: The Literary and Archaeological Sources on the Reign of Herod Antipas and Its Socio-economic Impact on Galilee

From the New Statesman:

Peter Parsons, City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish: Greek lives in Roman Egypt
From the People's Daily comes this very interesting item:

An Italian court on Monday ordered the government to return an ancient statue of Venus to Libya, local media reported.

Rejecting a plea from the Italia Nostra conservation group, the Lazio regional court said international accords "obliged" Italy to return the Greek statue, found by an Italian expedition in 1913 at the ancient city Cyrene.

A lawyer acting for the Libyan government, Edmondo Zappacosta, hailed the ruling.

"This is a granite-like sentence, with solid arguments," he said. "On the basis of historical and juridical considerations, it was virtually a foregone conclusion that the Italia Nostra appeal would be rejected."

Italia Nostra said it would appeal the verdict to the Council of State, Italy's top administrative tribunal.

The legal battle over the statue has been running for more than four years, the reports said.

Italian former premier Silvio Berlusconi in October 2002 pledged a swift return of the statue in talks with Libyan leader Muammar Ghadafi.

He said the armless, headless statue -- a Roman copy of a Hellenistic original in the style of famous Greek sculptor Praxiteles -- would return within a matter of weeks.

But Italia Nostra started its fight to keep the statue in Italy, appealing against an August 2002 decree that turned it into state, rather than public, property - in view of the scheduled restitution.

... can't recall reading about this in the news before ...

A Conference at the University of Manchester
Council Chambers, Manchester, 21-22 June, 2007.

Details, including booking form, are available on the conference website:

Conference Programme:

Thursday 21st June

0900-1000: Registration and Coffee; Welcome and Introduction

1000-1045: Peter Liddel (Manchester): ' Metabole Politeion as Universal
1045-1130: Allegra De Laurentiis (Stony Brook, New York): ' Universal
Historiography and World History according to G. W. F. Hegel'

1130-1200: Coffee

1200-1245: Errietta Bissa (UCL): ' Diodorus' Good Statesman and State Revenue'
1245-1330: Brian Sheridan (NUI Maynooth): ' Polybius, Diodorus and the first
Universal History'

1330-1430: Lunch

1430-1515: Marta García Morcillo (Dresden): ' Rome, Italy and the World:
Universal Projections and History in Strabo' s Geography'
1515-1600: Johannes Engels (Cologne): ' Strabo of Amasia and his importance in
the development of ancient Greek universal historiography'

1600-1630 : Tea

1630-1715: Liv Yarrow (Brooklyn, CUNY): ' Contextualizing the Genre:
Universality in Roman Republican Iconography and Rhetoric'

1800: Drinks
1915: Dinner at a local restaurant

Friday 22nd June

1000-1045: Jackie Elliott (Colorado): ' Ennius as Universal Historian: the case
of the Annales'
1045-1130: Clemence Schultze (Durham), ' Universal and Particular in Velleius

1130-12.00: Coffee

1200-1245: Marco Di Branco (Milan): ' Universal Historiography in the classical
Arabic Tradition'
1245-1330: Peter Van Nuffelen (Exeter): ' Historiographical tradition as
universal history in Late Antiquity'

1330-1430: Lunch

1430-1530: Tim Cornell (Manchester): 'Universal History and the History of Rome'

1530-1600: Tea

1600-1645: Andy Fear (Manchester): ' The Book of Daniel'
1645-1730: Closing remarks and discussion

1800: Drinks
1915: Dinner at a local restaurant
BES spring meeting
Edinburgh May 5th 2007

The deadline for registration for the British Epigraphy Society Spring
Meeting, to be hosted at the University of Edinburgh on May 5, 2007 has
now passed. If you wish to take part but have not registered, please
contact Ulrike Roth via e-mail at by the end of this week.
For a full programme, including information on the public lecture
preceding the meeting on May 4 by Prof. Paco Beltran from Zaragoza, see:
ante diem ix kalendas maias

Vinalia (urbana) -- the wine which was 'bottled' in the previous autumn was opened and tasted for the first time, after a libation to Jupiter

248 A.D. -- third day of celebration of Rome's 1000th anniversary
fulcrum @ Merriam-Webster

abstemious @ Wordsmith

gregarious @
From YLE:

Memoria Michaelis Agricolae
: Nuntii Latini

13.04.2007, klo 10.50

Die nono huius mensis (9.4.) in Finnia memoria episcopi Michaelis Agricolae, reformatoris ecclesiae Finniae et fundatoris linguae nostrae litterariae, variis sollemnitatibus recolebatur.

Eo enim ipso die quadringenti quinquaginta anni a morte eius lapsi erant.

Dies festus inauguratus est in Ecclesia cathedrali Aboensi, ubi officium divinum oecumenicum celebrabatur archiepiscopo Jukka Paarma praedicante.

Etiam ministerium aerarii publici ad honorem Agricolae habendum suum contulit, cum nummum argenteum in publico proposuit, cuius una pars imagine Agricolae, altera autem figura calami scriptorii ornata est.

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

The Telegraph interviews Robert Harris about assorted things of interest:

You can rely on a wife to be either distracted or unimpressed at the defining moment in life, especially if she is cooking dinner for six. Gill Hornby was harassed in the kitchen when the phone rang for her husband, Robert Harris.

"Some foreigner just called for you," she said. Harris, whose agent had prepared him for the news that another of his bestselling novels was heading for the big screen, told her in his mild way that it might have been the film-maker, Roman Polanski.

"Oh, I thought it was someone from a call centre," she replied.

That was the second week of January. Two frantic months later, and after several lunch-laden meetings with Polanski, Harris had delivered the screenplay for Pompeii, based on his novel about the cataclysmic 72 hours of the eruption of Vesuvius in AD79. Shooting in Spain will begin in August - there are already 25 people working on it full-time - and the Italian rights have just been sold for $15 million (£7.9 million). It will be the most expensive film ever made in Europe.

"Polanski moved with astonishing speed," says Harris, who did the same, putting aside the contemporary political novel he is writing to take what he calls "a masterclass" in how to do a screenplay.

"There's nothing better than working with someone who's very clever. It's like having an extra charge to your brain."

It's the perfect partnership, not just Polanski and Pompeii - a natural techno-thriller absolutely tailor-made for his dark, voyeuristic skills and love of the grotesque - but Polanski and Harris, both men who thrive on the imperatives of a cracking story.

"That business of: What will he do next? What happens next? That's everything for me," says Harris, who simply can't wait to be on set, watching a fleet of triremes being ordered into the Bay of Naples under a rain of pumice as the volcano explodes in a fury of special effects and boiling waves of red-hot vapour scorch the terrified populace.

Pompeii was the book that enabled Harris, who seems incapable of writing anything but intelligent bestsellers, to break with journalism, though old habits die hard.

"I'm a journalist at heart and I believe in deadlines. Adrenaline kicks in and you are better than if you amble on. If deadlines were good enough for Dickens, they're good enough for me."

His fictional reworkings of history have sold 10 million copies in 34 languages. Fatherland, set in Berlin and based on the premise that Hitler won the war, changed his life and is still the biggest seller, but Pompeii is close behind, and no doubt the movie will put it ahead.

He picked up the idea from a Daily Telegraph news report that cast new light on the last hours of Pompeii.

"Like most people, I had thought the eruption was a big bang, but there were several days of warning: the water became poisoned, wells dried up, there were tremors. In the first 12 hours, the town just filled up with stones. All the people who died in Pompeii were found at roof level and they had been hit by a searing hot cloud that came down off the mountain when they thought the worst was over."

To Harris, history is a powerful, living thing. The past is always ambushing him with its uncanny precepts for the way we live now. That's why he was such a feared and revered political columnist: he took the wise, long view that politicians themselves prefer to ignore and there was a ring of even-handed truth about his observations that they found disconcerting.

When he went to Pompeii to test his hunch about a novel, it was a late summer afternoon and the crowds were diminishing. As he walked along the disinterred cobbled streets in the heat and "smelt water drying on stone" - who else would smell water drying on stone? - he knew he was experiencing exactly the same sensations a man would have had 2,000 years ago. Seeing the majestic aqueduct at Cumae, he almost wept.

Soon he became "an aqueduct bore and a hydraulic cement bore" as he mastered the technology of the Roman water supply system - the better to understand the problems of his central character, Attilius. You can well imagine Russell Crowe or Bob Hoskins in the role of the blunt water engineer whose discoveries and heroism are at the heart of the catastrophe.

Harris's father was a printer from Nottinghamshire, a self-taught artisan, and Harris has great respect for people with practical skills.

"They are the ones whose voices are lost to history. All we hear about are the politicians, the artists, the soldiers... but the engineers, the practical people, they really changed the world."

Harris has just turned 50, a tall man with an easy, thoughtful manner and no delusions of celebrity. His children tell him with fearsome logic that he cannot be middle-aged because he won't live to be 100. His epiphany about novel-writing came one wet Monday in October when writing Pompeii was like breaking rocks, yet he knew he'd far rather be grappling with the Roman water supply system or vulcanology than writing a 1,000-word newspaper column.

"There is nothing like the ecstasy of relief when a book is finished," he says. "I go slightly mad; buy things. I tell Gill I'm going out to buy a book and I come back with a car." (He likes them low, fast and expensive.)

They and their four children live in a tall red-brick Gothic vicarage in Berkshire known as "the house that Hitler built" because it was bought with the proceeds from Fatherland. It looks like a mini-St Pancras without the architectural icing and Harris resembles the solid Victorian entrepreneur who might have commissioned it. The lawns slope peacefully down to the Kennet and Avon canal, where men are cleaning their barges in the spring sunshine.

He thinks he is fortunate, and he is, but it is the good fortune of the self-made, self-motivated man who is very good at what he does. Being wealthy doesn't appear to have made him complacent.

"Nothing ever satisfies you. I have never written anything I think is perfect. To be a writer is a testament to optimism. You constantly hope the next one will be better."

As a novelist, he is completely his own man.

"All my life I have loathed selling my time. I am happy to work hard but I hate that feeling of clocking in and clocking out. I would go so far as to say my whole life has been a flight from that. My father had to do it and he hated it. I wasn't going to do the same."

Physically, he has been around while the children were growing up, but admits: "So much of your life takes place in your head. Often you are present but you are not really there."

Now the script for Pompeii the movie is written, Harris is eager to return to The Ghost, a contemporary novel that is expected to draw sensationally on his inside knowledge of politics. One of his great friends is Peter Mandelson and he had privileged access to Tony Blair on the 1997 election campaign trail. The "ghost" of the title is the professional ghostwriter of a prime minister coming to the end of his time in power, and though it isn't about Blair, Harris does not deny that there are parallels.

At one time he seemed a Blair enthusiast, calling him the most gifted communicator he had come across. Ten years on, is he disillusioned by Labour?

"I was never massively illusioned to start with - much to their irritation. I never wrote that Tony Blair was a genius and a wonderful thing. The only senior politician I can claim to have known really well is Peter Mandelson and the way he was treated by his friends [he was twice forced to resign] did disillusion me."

"I thought they were a pretty ruthless and unpleasant bunch. Blair has not made a bad fist out of a lot of aspects of being prime minister, except in foreign policy - but that is so colossal it blots out everything else. It's like saying Neville Chamberlain was a good prime minister - which he was - but what does it count against Munich?

"Iraq hangs over him and the wrong turning the world has taken, thanks to him and Bush, is something that will haunt the world for years to come. Still, it does seem bizarre that they should be getting rid of him and putting a less popular person in his place."

Harris is as much a loss to political reporting as he thinks Mandelson is to politics.

"How on earth could we pursue a war with Iran?" he asks.

"We haven't got the ships and we haven't got the planes. Our men in southern Iraq are incredibly vulnerable, that's the great untold story. They could be cut off by the Iranians in about 36 hours and their only hope would be the Americans. There is a great deal of posturing."

The cash for honours debacle hardly bothers him because he seems to believe in a quantum theory of humanity.

"At any moment there are a given per cent of idiots and criminals - and it will never alter. I bet the proportions never shift. I really don't believe in the perfectibility of man."

If there is real disillusion, it's with his old trade. Where, he asks, was the anger when a recent report revealed that three-quarters of a million Iraqis may have died as a result of the war? Where was the publicity?

"This is more people than were killed by Saddam Hussein. At a time when you need more information, you get less."

He finds publishing equally disappointing, with ghosted celebrity memoirs clogging up the bestseller lists and books being spun from a drawerful of ideas after an author is dead. Even fiction is ghosted.

"I could name you three bestselling novelists who have ghosts. One claims to have first made the acquaintance of 'his' book on receiving it. Yet publishers look at you with astonishment if you suggest it is morally dubious."

Harris is reluctant to talk about a book in progress - he is a superstitious man - except to say that The Ghost provides a welcome holiday from ancient Rome. (His last book, Imperium, about the orator Cicero, is intended as the first part of a trilogy.)

"There is a certain satisfaction in writing about characters who don't lie down when they eat and wear togas and have complicated names. It is quite nice to get back to contemporary times."

You seldom meet a man as happy as he is about his craft. The movie industry is fun, economical, fast. But novels are the thing.

"You are director, screenwriter, actors, make-up, the whole bang shoot. There is literally nothing else I would sooner do."
From the Herald:

Unlike the lesson in life taught by Tom Sawyer, these students from Newton High School were getting a lesson in Sussex County history as they slapped white paint on the house on the corner.

On Sunday, 19 students, most of them from the Honors Latin Club, spent the day in Walpack Center scraping off old paint and priming the Robbins Family home as part of their community service project.

Looking much as it did when the hamlet was settled in the early 1800s and definitely with no changes since the federal government took ownership in the 1960s, the area is a good place to learn about early settlers, said Mary A. Christman, Latin teacher and a member of the Walpack Center Historical Society.

Spencer Scholz, president of the club which accepts only those who make the honor roll, said he didn't know the history of how the area came under government ownership.

The area now known as the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area was originally destined to become part of what was known as the Tock Island Dam Project. The government bought up much of the area, but public opposition to the project caused the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to back off.

Instead, the land was deeded over to the Department of the Interior, which created the national park, and keeps the Delaware River the longest undammed river in the eastern U.S.

Except for a schoolhouse and fire station, all the buildings in the hamlet are government owned. The historical society has use of three buildings, including the one which the students were painting.

All this is old hat to Christman, who grew up in the Walpack Center area. "I used to come over here early in the morning, before I went to work, and do some work," she said of the Robbins house, which is destined to become a storehouse for the society.

After a morning of scraping, then a picnic lunch, the students went back to work with paintbrushes in hand, joined by bus driver Pat Clark, although she admitted the scrapping was harder than she thought. "But I had to join the kids, too," she said.

Other than the Latin club, teacher Jack Choma, an adviser to Interact, a community service club at the school, and some members of that club were involved in the project.

Amy Lupfer, 17, and a member of both groups, led the chorus of good-natured complaints, even as they enthusiastically used up the paint. "There's bugs up here," she said from the top of a ladder once. Most of the time, she concerned herself with staying atop the ladder. "Don't let go!" she often chided the student below who was "holding" the ladder.

While it may seem strange to take four years of Latin, Scholz said he believes it will help him in his chosen field, chemistry, since many other languages are based on Latin. "We even translated something into English, using Latin," he said. It wasn't until after the translation was completed that the students were told the original was in Romanian.

Christman said she uses the Latin course to also give students a solid grounding in culture. By studying the ancient Romans and Greeks, it gives modern students an insight into the wide variety of cultures today.

The Latin courses are popular, she said, filling up six sessions a day. In fact, the annual Roman Banquet, held last Friday, has had to set up a separate room for entertainment.

"We had over 300 attend and turned people away. Even the principal couldn't get into the banquet," she said.

This item popped into my mailbox this a.m.:

We are pleased to announce the establishment of a new
venue for the dissemination of classical scholarship,
The Pinax: A Journal of Classical Studies. The
journal is published online twice yearly and consists
of scholarship, reviews and opinion — all written by
undergraduates. The goal of The Pinax is to prepare
rising scholars for their professional experiences
both by affording them a means for the presentation
and criticism of their work and by allowing them to
educate one another about the academic environment
which they must navigate once their school days are
over. Please visit the site,, to
see how you or your students may participate.
Wow ... I think I finally got a handle on efficiently handling this avalanche of information that I get every week ... here's this week's collation of news from the Classical blogosphere and environs:

N.S. Gill starts us off (as often) with a profile of Hannibal (although the image is three-quarters view ... sorry, couldn't resist 8^)) ... Flower Names ... Roman Meals ...

Adrian Murdoch notes Albert Uderzo's upcoming 80th birthday ... comments on a monumental foot find ...

At Campus Mawrtius, Dennis comments on Housman's Humanity ...

Glaukopis suggests brushing up on Shakespeare ...

Michael Gilleland was commenting on some gastrointestinal stuff ... an Impious Lumberjack ... Solitude ...

Tony Keen is working on the iconography of Mercury ...

Peter Stothard comments on Beckham's tattoos ...

Down the hall, Mary Beard was commenting semi-similiter ...

Dorothy King has some more Afghan items ... in the wake of the 'repatriation' of Martin Robertson's stuff, she shows off her own collection ...

Irene Hahn comments on early relations between Cicero and Pompey ... the gens Caecilia and Metellus Pius ...

Gordon Lyn Watley tells us about the phi recension of the Sibylline Oracles ...

James Tabor comments on the 'backtracking' of scholars in regards to the Jesus Tomb thing ...

April DeConick provides an annotated bibliography for the Gospel of Judas ...

Other Roundups: Phil's Patristics Roundup ... Laura Gibbs' roundup of her educational materials ...

Folks might be interested in reading Victor Davis Hanson on the Imus thing (and Nemesis) ...

Archaeology Magazine has a nice online abstract from the current issue on the discovery of Maxentius' regalia (which doesn't mention Maxentius) ...

Volume 3 of Dictynna is up (abstracts available; not sure about the articles themselves) ...

Hesperia 76.1 is online (abstracts for all) ...

Can't remember if we've mentioned the American Journal of Archaeology 111.2 being available online ...

Catching up with Father Foster (via Father Coulter's site), the Latin Lover was talking about Rhea Silvia ... last week, it was one of Pius VI's encyclicals ...

Catching up with the Sparta magazine website, there is an article on the Myceneans ...

Rome/U.S. comparisons this week are at OpEd News (on Valerie Plame Wilson) ...

Headline of the week: Mess follows cleanup of Zeus

At the Aoidoi site, there's a new collection of 'cranky' poetry, mostly from the Delectus Indelectatus ...

Oliver Hoover's Seleukids site has relocated to
In other news, Barry Baldwin's Classical Corner features should resume next week (my big pile of Fortean Times finally arrived in the mail) ...

Folks might find the collection of texts at the Archimedes Project useful (hat tip to Stephen Carlson)...

Similiter, folks looking for an affordable Greek Dictionary can download an early version of Liddell and Scott from the Internet Classics Archive (hat tip to Mark Goodacre)

Outside of that, the last issue of volume nine of our Explorator newsletter is up ... the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings will be up later today ...
If anyone can tell me why Firefox's 'live bookmark' doesn't seem to be picking up rogueclassicism any more, can they please drop me a line?
I think a while ago I promised/threatened to have a regular feature on passing claims being made about the ancient world, with the hopes that someone (possibly me ... at least I'll remember them this way) might want to confirm or refute the claim (maybe I just dreamed I did it) ... in any event, here's this week's collection:

From the Herald Dispatch:

The ancient Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder once wrote: Home is where the heart is.

From the Charlotte Observer:

Ancient Romans used honey as money to pay taxes.

From the Wildcat:

The ancient Romans dyed their hair with bird droppings.
From Redlands Daily Facts:

Women's voices have not survived from the past as well as we might like, and this is more true in ancient history than in modern. In worlds where most of the writing was done by and for men, the few literate women whose writings were did not always survive. But there are a few wonderful exceptions, and one of these is Miss Praxilla of Sicyon, who flourished some time around 450 B.C.

She was an accomplished poet who wrote hymns to the Greek gods, wedding choruses and possibly some drinking songs. But, while sadly only fragments of her work survive, there is at least one sweet poem which comes down to us intact.

It is worth quoting and reflecting on for a brief moment. The poem is entitled "Adonis in the Underworld," and I quote from Sherod Santos' delightful book, "Greek Lyric Poetry" published by Norton Press, which is certainly worth the price of its purchase. Praxilla places her words in the mouth of a god confined to Hades and they are deceptive in their simplicity.

Of all the pleasures in the upper world

what I miss most is sunlight

after that the stars, a full moon

summer's late season harvest of fruits

cucumber, apple, pomegranate, pear.

Adonis was the name given by the Greeks to a number of fertility gods who died and rose in Middle Eastern salvation cults. In one Greek version of the myth, Adonis was a beautiful youth born from a questionable union with a foreigner, and whose beauty attracted the affection of Aphrodite, the goddess of sexual love. To keep her hands on the beautiful lad, she shut him in a chest and entrusted him to Persephone, the unfortunate goddess married to Hades, lord of the dead. But forlorn Persephone also fell in love with beautiful Adonis and refused to let him go back to the goddess of love and the light of the upper world. When the case was submitted to Zeus, the king of the gods, he ruled that the young hunk had to spend four months with Persephone, four with Aphrodite and four with the goddess of his choosing. Adonis chose Aphrodite, giving him eight months of life, but he was still consigned to four months among the dead, and so Praxilla gives us his words there.

Annual festivals, which involved sacrifices attended by large numbers of weeping women, commemorated in historical times, ritually mourned the annual departure of the gorgeous young lover to the dead. Adonis was associated not only with sexuality but with fertility in general, and his cult was well known not only to Praxilla, but also to most of the people in antiquity.

Although Praxilla appears to have been well thought of in antiquity, it was a criticism of her that caused her poem to survive. The second century A.D. Roman writer Zenobius mocked her work as he quoted it and referred to a proverb which referred to something completely preposterous as "sillier than Praxilla's Adonis." How could anything as important as a dying and rising god have anything to do with matters as mundane as cucumbers and pears and sunshine?

But clever Zenobius misses some very important points. First in Greek, the work "cucumber" is "sikyos" and is probably a pun on the home of Praxilla, the city of Sicyon. Perhaps the god misses Praxilla, or at least her home? The pomegranate is the food of the dead, whose blood-red seed had in an earlier myth condemned Persephone herself to her dismal home when she ate its forbidden seed. Perhaps the condemned god misses the actual pomegranates of the living as opposed to the fare of the dead? Some modern feminist scholars have suggested that the cucumber may itself be a fertility symbol, suggesting that the young god misses the living affection of people on earth as opposed to the cold hands of the dead. Such arguments, while colorful, elude another more basic point to the poem.

Praxilla's view of Adonis focuses not on the sufferings of the ladies on earth who will miss his attentions, but on his own sufferings as he is imprisoned. As anyone who has been locked up could tell us, the loss of sun, stars, fresh air and fresh foods would be a loss to the imprisoned young god. Her words bring a break with the religious tradition of the dying god, and consider him an incarcerated man who pines for the skies, fresh food and daily experiences of the free.

For Praxilla's Adonis, salvation lies in the mundane, the ordinary and the simple rather than the loud ritualistic cults which filled his earthly temples. Perhaps Praxilla has a lesson for us 24 centuries after her death. If we pause to take pleasure in our daily possession of fresh air, the beauty of nature, the stars and sun and the taste of good food when we are hungry, we should learn to be content with what we have rather than pining for things more costly and elaborate. Even the immortal gods, she suggests, would like to be as fortunate as we.

Not much out there on Praxilla ...
Sent in by RSB (thanks!) ... from an oped piece by David Brooks the New York Times (no longer available free):

It’s important knowledge, but it’s had the effect of reducing the scope of the human self. “Man is the measure of all things,” the Greek philosopher Protagoras declared millenniums ago. But in the realm of the new science, the individual is like a cork bobbing on the currents of giant forces: evolution, brain chemistry, stress and upbringing. Human consciousness is merely an epiphenomena of the deep and controlling mental processes that lie within.
Just in case you're not aware:

Site Notice On April 3, 2007, Perseus hardware was compromised. In order to protect our data and comply with university policy, a number of servers were removed from the network, making Tufts-hosted Perseus sites inoperable. Repairs are in progress to methodically restore services while improving their overall security. We apologize for the inconvenience.

... a quick check this a.m. suggests it is working quite swimmingly now ...
At the APA site ...
From the CBC:

Greek officials welcomed the return of six ancient ceramic artifacts Wednesday, after the son of an eminent British scholar returned the ceremonial pottery miniatures to Athens.

Stephen Robertson, the son of professor Martin Robertson, gave the black-glazed ceramic works — believed to date from fifth century B.C. — to Greek officials in a formal ceremony on Wednesday.

Greek Culture Minister George Voulgarakis likened the return of the six pieces, along with other recently repatriated artifacts, as "links in the same chain" that he hopes will eventually lead to the complete restoration of the statuary surrounding the Acropolis.

The government has been aggressively pursuing looted Greek artifacts held in prominent museum and gallery collections worldwide. In the past few years, officials have also ramped up their campaign calling for the return of the famed Parthanon Marbles, which Britain's Lord Elgin removed from the Acropolis and brought to the United Kingdom in the early 19th century.

Pottery pieces passed down

The pieces returned on Wednesday had been held by Martin Robertson, a British expert on Greek art and antiquities who authored several texts on the subject and had worked for the British Museum and the Universities of London and Oxford.

Robertson had received the pieces from U.S. archaeologist Lucy Talcott, one of the officials on hand during an American team's excavations of the ancient Agora neighbourhood in Athens during the 1930s and 1940s. Talcott had purchased the items from an antiques store during her time in Greece.

Following Martin Robertson's death in late 2004, his son discovered his will stipulated the professor's wish to return the six small artifacts to "his beloved Greece," Stephen Robertson said on Wednesday.

Alexandros Mantis, the curator of the Acropolis site, accepted the pieces from Robertson with thanks and noted that their return marked the eighth major repatriation in the past year of Greek artifacts removed from the Acropolis.

The pottery pieces will be added to the display at the city's Ancient Agora Museum.


I first heard that this was going to be happening from Dorothy King among the comments to her coverage of the possibility of an Elgin/Parthenon Marbles loan ....
From the BBC:

Two ancient Roman pottery urns discovered in Cornwall are being handed to the county's Royal Museum.

The urns, containing a woman's remains, were found by Cornwall County Council's archaeologists at Tregony, during development there.

Before being handed over to the museum in Truro the urns were preserved at the Salisbury Museum's Conservation Centre.

Sara Chambers from the museum said the find, thought to date from the 2nd Century AD, was "hugely significant".

"Although Roman period cremations are fairly commonplace in southern England, the find is highly unusual in Cornwall where burials dating to this period are rare and cremations are almost unknown," said the council's senior archaeologist Andy Jones.

Cremated bone

The vessels were found buried on the edge of a rectangular enclosure at the edge of the site of the Roseland Parc Retirement Village, overlooking the River Fal.

The owners of the land had commissioned an archaeological assessment and excavation before construction started there in 2005.

The larger vessel contained the cremated remains of an elderly woman.

The other, a small handled jug made from clays from the Lizard, contained a small amount of cremated bone.
From the Turkish Daily News:

The Turkish Ministry of Culture initiated a new project aiming to restore a historical "Roman Bath" in Ankara. The excavation, which will be carried out within the framework of a five-year project, started last week.

Under the guidance of Hikmet Denizli, Director of the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations, several archeologists, chemists, and geology and geophysics engineers from Ankara University will participate in the excavations. The Museum of Anatolian Civilizations will be in charge of the restoration activities and examination of unearthed pieces in laboratories, as well.

During the excavations, the bath and the street with Roman columns will be connected to each other and the shops located on the street will be unearthed. A lighting system will be installed at the historical site, and new paths will be opened for visitors, as well. The Roman Bath will also be covered with a large tent in order to protect the site from rain and snow.

Roman Bath:

The Roman bath in Ankara was constructed on the orders of Emperor Caracalla between the years A.D. 212-217. Spreading over nearly 65,000 square meters, The Roman bath consists of a thousand architectural works, cemetery steles, inscriptions, tablets, water pipes and sarcophaguses.
From the BBC comes this:

The legend of Atlantis, the country that disappeared under the sea, may be more than just a myth. Research on the Greek island of Crete suggests Europe's earliest civilisation was destroyed by a giant tsunami.

Until about 3,500 years ago, a spectacular ancient civilisation was flourishing in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The ancient Minoans were building palaces, paved streets and sewers, while most Europeans were still living in primitive huts.

But around 1500BC the people who spawned the myths of the Minotaur and the Labyrinth abruptly disappeared. Now the mystery of their cataclysmic end may finally have been solved.

A group of scientists have uncovered new evidence that the island of Crete was hit by a massive tsunami at the same time that Minoan culture disappeared.

"The geo-archaeological deposits contain a number of distinct tsunami signatures," says Dutch-born geologist Professor Hendrik Bruins of the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

"Minoan building material, pottery and cups along with food residue such as isolated animal bones were mixed up with rounded beach pebbles and sea shells and microscopic marine fauna.

"The latter can only have been scooped up from the sea-bed by one mechanism - a powerful tsunami, dumping all these materials together in a destructive swoop," says Professor Bruins.

The deposits are up to seven metres above sea level, well above the normal reach of storm waves.

"An event of ferocious force hit the coast of Crete and this wasn't just a Mediterranean storm," says Professor Bruins.

Big wave

The Minoans were sailors and traders. Most of their towns were along the coast, making them especially vulnerable to the effects of a tsunami.

One of their largest settlements was at Palaikastro on the eastern edge of the island, one of the sites where Canadian archaeologist Sandy MacGillivray has been excavating for 25 years.

Here, he has found other tell-tale signs such as buildings where the walls facing the sea are missing but side walls which could have survived a giant wave are left intact.

"All of a sudden a lot of the deposits began making sense to us," says MacGillivary.

"Even though the town of Palaikastro is a port it stretched hundreds of metres into the hinterland and is, in places, at least 15 metres above sea level. This was a big wave."

But if this evidence is so clear why has it not been discovered before now?

Tsunami expert Costas Synolakis, from the University of Southern California, says that the study of ancient tsunamis is in its infancy and people have not, until now, really known what to look for.

Many scientists are still of the view that these waves only blasted material away and did not leave much behind in the way of deposits.

But observation of the Asian tsunami of 2004 changed all that.

"If you remember the video footage," says Costas, "some of it showed tonnes of debris being carried along by the wave and much of it was deposited inland."

Volcanic eruption

Costas Synolakis has come to the conclusion that the wave would have been as powerful as the one that devastated the coastlines of Thailand and Sri Lanka on Boxing day 2004 leading to the loss of over 250,000 lives.

After decades studying the Minoans, MacGillivray is struck by the scale of the destruction.

"The Minoans are so confident in their navy that they're living in unprotected cities all along the coastline. Now, you go to Bande Aceh [in Indonesia] and you find that the mortality rate is 80%. If we're looking at a similar mortality rate, that's the end of the Minoans."

But what caused the tsunami? The scientists have obtained radiocarbon dates for the deposits that show the tsunami could have hit the coast at exactly the same time as an eruption of the Santorini volcano, 70 km north of Crete, in the middle of the second millennium BC.

Recent scientific work has established that the Santorini eruption was up to 10 times more powerful than the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. It caused massive climatic disruption and the blast was heard over 3000 miles away.

Costas Synolakis thinks that the collapse of Santorini's giant volcanic cone into the sea during the eruption was the mechanism that generated a wave large enough to destroy the Minoan coastal towns.

It is not clear if the tsunami could have reached inland to the Minoan capital at Knossos, but the fallout from the volcano would have carried other consequences - massive ash falls and crop failure. With their ports, trading fleet and navy destroyed, the Minoans would never have fully recovered.

The myth of Atlantis, the city state that was lost beneath the sea, was first mentioned by Plato over 2000 years ago.

It has had a hold on the popular imagination for centuries.

Perhaps we now have an explanation of its origin - a folk memory of a real ancient civilisation swallowed by the sea.

The original article includes a video clip recreation of the tsunami (which I can't seem to connect to this a.m.)...
From Kathimerini:

Laborers working to extend the harbor on the island of Naxos are dumping truckloads of building material in front of an archaeological site even though a court has ordered local authorities to suspend the work, campaigners claimed yesterday.

A group of 33 concerned residents lodged an appeal in February with the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court, asking for the construction work taking place in front of the Temple of Apollo to be stopped because of fears it is damaging the site.

The court asked that the construction be suspended until it reaches a verdict, but the campaigners said that work is still going on. Naxos Mayor Nikolaos Marakis told Kathimerini that the construction materials are being used to build a ramp and not to extend the harbor, so the court’s decision is not being breached.
From Novinite:

A completely intact Thracian chariot was unearthed by the Bulgarian archaeologist Vesselin Ignatov on Friday, Darik News reported.

The chariot was found near a burial barrow close to the central Bulgarian town of Nova Zagora. Ignatov and his team have already dated the finding to 2 century BC. The chariot has two wheels with its roof made of heavy bronze in the form of eagle heads and a folding iron chair, where the driver sat. The chariot was aimed to be pulled by three horses.

The uniqueness of the finding is that it is completely intact, with all its parts on place except the wooden ones, and now we can calculate its precise size and how exactly it was placed in the tomb, Ignatov said. He believes a second chariot will be found as the excavations continue.

Luckily this time the archaeologists reached the incredible finding before the treasure hunters, because they usually look only for gold and coins and destroy all other valuable objects.

Another Thracian chariot was found near the Sadievo village and another one was found near Korten, so now that there is a third one the regional historical museum in Nova Zagora town plans to open a museum of the Thracian chariots.
From the Plain Dealer:

Italian authorities presented evidence for the first time Friday to officials from the Cleveland Museum of Art about antiquities that Italy wants returned because it believes they were looted.

"The tone of the meeting was very cordial, and we were treated most hospitably," Timothy Rub, the museum's director, said by cell phone from Rome. He said both sides had agreed not to discuss details publicly.

Maurizio Fiorilli, the government lawyer representing Italy in the meeting, could not be reached by phone.

Italian authorities have said that evidence from a raid on a warehouse in Switzerland in 1995 exposed links between tomb robbers and art dealers who later sold the looted works to American museums.

Using evidence from the raid, Italy has pressed claims against museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston.

In January, Fiorilli said the country would consider long-term art loans in exchange for restitution of looted antiquities. He declined to say how many objects Italy is seeking from the Cleveland museum. Rub said Friday he couldn't give specifics.

Rub said the museum will study its records and prepare a response. He said both sides want "a speedy and equitable resolution."

UPDATE: Suzan Mazur pens a piece for Scoop which provides much more detail about the items being claimed:

Topping the list is the fabulous ex-Hunt collection Medea calyx krater, 400 bc, first identified on these pages as looted Italian art [see.. Scoop: Cleveland's Got Prized South Italian Medea Vase & Scoop: Italy Will Contest Medea Vase At Cleveland Museum] – the vase former Boston Museum of Fine Arts curator Cornelius Vermeule told me he’d “kill for” around the time of the 1990 Hunt-Sotheby’s auction. [see… Scoop: Sotheby's Pre-Auction Euphronios Transcript]

Also on the list and previously cited here is the bronze statue of Apollo Sauroktonos (Lizard Slayer) attributed to Praxiteles and sold to Cleveland by Phoenix Ancient Art’s Aboutaam brothers.

Other highly important pieces are a black-figure oil flask from Campania, 330-300 bc, originally listed in Bob Hecht’s trial documents as one of the 94 pieces he trafficked, and a Campanian red-figure oil flask, 350-320 bc, donated by ex-Hecht Atlantis Antiquities financier Jonathan Rosen.

And there’s the 6th century bc silver Etruscan bracelet, a gift from “trafficante” Edoardo Almagia to Cleveland Museum in honor of Arielle P. Kozloff, the museum's former curator of Greek and Roman art, who left her post a few years ago to work for New York dealer Ed Merrin. [see… Scoop: Merrin Gallery In Italy's Antiquities Dragnet?] Kozloff is now an "independent scholar".

Photos of some of the pieces accompany SM's article ... Interesting to see a number of the 'usual suspects' named ...
Off to a bit of a late start this a.m. ... here's the reviews from BMCR:

Angiola Maria Volpi, Sources et influences classiques dans la poesie de Dryden.

Stelios Ramfos, Fate and Ambiguity in Oedipus the King. Translated by Norman Russell.

M. Jehne, R. Pfeilschifter, Herrschaft ohne Integration? Rom und Italien in republikanischer Zeit. Studien zur Alten Geschichte 4.

Response to BMCR 2006.10.16: Gavrilov et al. on Corpus Inscriptionum Regni Bosporani: Album Imaginum.

E. Lelli, Callimaco. Giambi XIV-XVII.

William W. Fortenbaugh, Aristotle's Practical Side. On his Psychology, Ethics, Politics and Rhetoric.

Werner Krenkel, Naturalia non turpia. Sex and Gender in Ancient Greece and Rome. Schriften zur antiken Kultur- und Sexualwissenschaft.
Herausgegeben von Wolfgang Bernard und Christiane Reitz. Spudasmata, 113.

Pascal Darcque, L'habitat mycenien. Formes et fonctions de l'espace baeti en Grece continentale a la fin du IIe millenaire avant J.-C. BEFAR, 319.

Paolo Cipolla, Studi sul Teatro Greco. 40. Supplementi di Lexis, XL.

James Evans, J. Lennart Berggren, Geminos's Introduction to the Phenomena. A Translation and Study of a Hellenistic Survey of Astronomy.

Andreas Hagmaier, M. A. Muret, Iulius Caesar, M. Virdung, Brutus: Zwei Neulateinische Tragoedien, Text, Uebersetzung und Interpretation.

Tanja Itgenshorst, Tota illa pompa. Der Triumph in der roemischen Republik. Hypomnemata 161.

From Scholia:

Harold Tarrant and Dirk Baltzly, Reading Plato in Antiquity
ante diem xii kalendas maias

ca 117 -- martyrdom of Servilian and Sulpicius
finial @ Wordsmith

impugn @
From YLE:

Natura insularum Galápagos in periculo
: Nuntii Latini

19.04.2007, klo 17.11

Insulae Galápagos sive Testudineae, in Oceano Pacifico positae, ad Aequatoriam pertinent, a cuius ora circiter mille chiliometra in occidentem versus distant.

Nomen acceperunt a galápago, quo verbo Hispanico testudo maritima significatur. Rafael Correa, praesidens Aequatoriae, nuper monuit naturam harum insularum esse in periculo.

Numerus incolarum est in his insulis circiter duodeviginti milium, praeterea singulis annis complura millena hospitum eo veniunt atque multa hominum milia ibi etiam illegaliter versantur.

Cum natura tantam hominum multitudinem sine damno sustinere non possit, magistratus Aequatoriani iam deliberant, quo modo aditus in insulas circumscribatur.

Periculum insulis Testudineis, quarum oecosystema est singulare, etiam genera animalium peregrina eo admissa atque piscatio squalorum illegalis faciunt.

Illae insulae velut laboratorium quoddam theoriae evolutionis habentur, quibus Charles Darwin, cum eo venisset, motus est, ut suam de evolutione rationem conciperet.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: De Russorum tumultibus
From UPI:

Rome has always had a lot to offer art lovers but will soon have a showcase setting of several museums to rival the Louvre in France.

A major piece of the puzzle includes having the Museum of Roman History move into a municipal building at the edge of the Circus Maximus, the ANSA news agency reported Thursday. There also will be a multimedia museum of ancient Rome and a new Museum of the Imperial Forums, while the Capitoline Museums has been refurbished.

"It will be a new Louvre," Rome Mayor Walter Veltroni said in announcing the plans.

The Louvre covers about 70,000 square yards. The cluster of Rome museums, which will be called The Great Capitol, will total more than 60,000 square yards.

Among the artifacts on display will be the Forma Urbis Severiana, a marble plan of the city sculpted under Emperor Septimius Severus (146-211 A.D.) and never-seen treasures from storehouses, such as the ancient jewels of the Crepereia Trifena collection, tomb adornments and ivory dolls. There also will be artifacts found in recent digs in the forums, including a set of pillars in human form, called caryatids, from the Forum of Augustus.
From IHT:

"Watch your step," goes a joke by archaeologists in Macedonia, "or you might crack an ancient pot."

It could happen: Tiny Macedonia — which is slightly larger than Belgium but with a population of 2 million — has some 6,000 registered archaeological sites.

Experts warn that since the country gained independence from Yugoslavia 16 years ago, its ancient heritage has become increasingly vulnerable to looters who use sophisticated navigation and excavating equipment, leaving few sites unpillaged.

There is little to stop them.

"This is nothing but an open invitation for illegal diggers to come here looking for buried treasure," said 72-year-old Taip Tahiri, a retired teacher from the village of Dedeli, near Lake Dojran, about 180 kilometers (112 miles) south of the capital Skopje. His family home stands next to a rich Iron Age site with 98 excavated tombs.

"This site has been explored a lot ... but groups of illegal diggers are still active in the area. Many of them made a fortune selling famous Macedonian bronzes to Greeks and other foreign buyers."

Irena Kolistrkoska, head of Macedonia's archaeologists' association, warned each year that scores of local and foreign diggers uncover priceless remnants from the Iron Age, as well as Greek, Thracian, Roman and Byzantine artifacts.

"There are two main reasons Macedonia is failing to seriously protect its cultural treasure: A lack of a strategy at a national level and the absence of credible experts in the field," Kolistrkoska said.

Pasko Kuzman, director of the National Directorate for Protection of the Cultural Heritage, said Iron Age archaeological sites in southeastern Macedonia have been extensively looted.

Police, he said, are already overstretched fighting organized crime, adding that fees offered by corrupt art collectors only encourage illegal excavations.

Macedonia, a landlocked nation in southeastern Europe, has a rich and storied past.

The country is part of the broader Macedonia region that includes parts of Greece and Bulgaria that became a major power in the ancient world under Phillip II of Macedon, and his son Alexander the Great. Alexander was one of the most successful military commanders in history, who built a vast empire that stretched to India before his death in 323 B.C.

Modern Macedonia's claim to the region's ancient heritage has infuriated neighbor Greece, which refuses to recognize the former Yugoslav republic by its official name, and is still seeking arbitration of the dispute at the United Nations.

Macedonia's south, on major east-west trading routes, was successively dominated by different civilizations — ancient Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman.

"Macedonian bronze is trendy. It is world-famous because of the style and it can fetch very high prices on the black market," Kolistrkoska said.

"Even the smallest piece can be sold for €1,000 (US$1,350)."

East of Dedeli lies Isar-Marvinci, where villagers are usually on hand to guide visitors up to a hillside to hunt for ancient fragments.

"You can easily find Roman coins or ceramics. Just look a little carefully. Every stone here is thousands of years old," said a villager, who refused to give his name or even his initials, fearing reprisals from other guides.

Fifteen other local men have been arrested for illegal excavation and trading in artifacts.

"As locals, we can find artifacts easily. But the state is not paying for them. We are jobless and foreigners are often around with money," the man said.

Kuzman said that during excavations at Isar-Marvinci between 1995 and 2003, an estimated 2,500 artifacts were stolen.

"No one knows how many important national treasures have been smuggled out of the country, but it's clear the police don't yet have the means to stop it," he said.

While illegal digs are impossible to stop, Kuzman takes a long-term view and argues much of Macedonia's looted treasure can still eventually be tracked down abroad and returned.

"Every inch of this soil is so rich that many discoveries are still awaiting us," he said. "One of my dreams ... is to bring back to Macedonia a bronze bowl with a beautiful relief, which was recently traced to New York."
An excerpt from Wanted in Rome:

"This time it’s for real,” began a report in daily newspaper Leggo on 6 March. Except, once again, it wasn’t quite. Since December 2006 Rome’s media has been running premature reports heralding the opening of the first building sites for Rome’s new metro C line – a high-tech, world-class system that should eventually connect Grottarossa in the northern suburbs to Pantano in the south-eastern suburbs, as well as providing much-needed coverage through the “hole” in the city centre that is bypassed almost entirely by the existing metro A and B lines.
But at the beginning of April, Roma Metropolitane (the city-owned company in charge of the expansion and modernisation of the capital’s metro system) finally confirmed the opening of the first building site at Piazza Roberto Malatesta, with two more set to open by the end of the month. All three are on the seven-kilometre stretch between S. Giovanni and Alessandrino in eastern Rome, which forms the initial stage of the line’s construction and will link eight new stations to the current S. Giovanni metro A stop. Even though work is finally underway, it will be at least eight years before Rome residents see metro C completed.
The S. Giovanni-Alessandrino stretch (roughly between Via Casilina and Via Prenestina to service the new residential and office developments around Centocelle) is due to open to the public in February-March 2011. In October 2006, Rome’s mayor Walter Veltroni announced that the opening of the Alessandrino-Pantano stretch (coasting Via Casilina and taking in the university area of Tor Vergata, the suburb of Tor Bella Monaca and beyond), which was due in autumn 2013, would be brought forward to spring 2011 as well, with work set to begin in January 2008. The Venezia-S. Giovanni and Clodio/Mazzini-Venezia stretches, which run through the historic centre of Rome, are set to open in autumn 2013 and summer 2015 respectively. Then in March this year the city council announced an extension to the north: from Clodio/Mazzini in Prati – the originally planned terminus of metro C – to Grottarossa on Via Flaminia, also due to open in 2015.
It is an ambitious timetable. In a city standing on a huge underground museum, complications and delays are inevitable, particularly along the Clodio/Mazzini-S. Giovanni stretch. In 2006, some 26 archaeological sites popped up over the city as teams from Rome’s Soprintendenza Archeologica, headed by superintendent Angelo Bottini, tested the ground for important ancient structures.
Although the tunnels for metro C will be built around 30 m below street level – and way below the strata carrying evidence of human habitation – the problems arise in building escalators, lifts and stairs to enter and exit the stations and ventilation vents from the tunnels. These will need to be carved through layers of history. Bottini’s teams will have to sift through a total of 60,000 cubic metres of soil before engineers can move in. A further 500,000 cubic metres will have to be checked during the construction phase. The finds the teams make have one of three fates depending on their importance: they are removed, destroyed or preserved in place. But every find slows the process and major discoveries will mean engineers will have to reroute exits and stations, dodging the ancient relics.
The city’s existing metro B line (built in 1955) and A line (inaugurated in 1980) both took around 15-20 years to build, partly due to ancient remains blocking the way. The metro A stop in Piazza della Repubblica was especially complicated, as workers hit parts of the huge third-century AD Baths of Diocletian complex and had to rethink the station around them.
“It’s like a slalom course,” Bottini was quoted as saying in the Wall Street Journal in January, describing the planning of the C line.
But the great irony of blasting holes through the centre for a new metro is the opportunity to dig in areas that would otherwise be off limits. In January this year, Fedora Filippi, the archaeologist in charge of the metro C site at the church of S. Andrea della Valle in Rome’s historic centre, hit a wall four metres below street level. Four metres deep, the wall was made from a cement of travertine marble and mortar and was clearly a relic of imperial Rome. The find was situated in the heart of the city’s ancient Campus Martius, between the Baths of Agrippa to the east and the Stadium of Domitian to the west.
From descriptions of the area by first-century BC Latin and Greek writers including Ovid and Strabo, Filippi knew that the wall could well be part of the foundations of the Stagnum of Agrippa, an enormous artificial pool in the gardens of the Baths of Agrippa complex built around 25 BC. A general who was also appointed aedile of Rome (responsible for the maintenance of public buildings) in the reign of the emperor Augustus, Agrippa also built an early rectangular version of the Pantheon around the same time.
The stagnum is perhaps most famous for appearing in a story about a dinner cruise from the life of the emperor Nero (37-68 AD) in the Annals of Tacitus, writing at the start of the second century AD. Nero and his guests were towed on a raft on the stagnum, which had been filled with “birds and beasts procured from remote countries and sea monsters from the ocean” and was bordered by brothels of noblewomen on one bank and naked gesturing prostitutes on the other.
But rather than continue their investigations into whether the wall discovered really is part of the stagnum, or whether it perhaps forms the foundations of a temple built later over the same site, Filippi and her team had to cover up their discovery and move on to other excavations. The riddle of the stagnum must temporarily be put aside until the rest of the work is done.
Among other discoveries made so far during the excavations, teams digging at Porta Asinaria, Via Amba Aradam, Viale Ipponio and Via Sannio in November 2006 discovered that the Aurelian Walls, built by the emperor Aurelius in 271 AD to defend the city from barbarian invasions, were twice as high as had been previously thought – around 20 m, rather than the 7-10 m that can be seen today.
Other treasures almost certainly still lie in wait since at some sites archaeologists have yet to hit the Roman strata of soil. At Piazza Venezia the team had only arrived at the late mediaeval stratum by mid April and had already discovered the remains of a 15th-century glass factory significant enough to require a change of plans: the Piazza Venezia station will likely be shifted from the centre of the square to another location – possibly to the entrance of Via dei Fori Imperiali.
“The station at Piazza Venezia must be built,” Bottini told daily newspaper La Repubblica following the find. “But we need to work out where the clash between the metro line and antiquity will cause the least damage.”
The first tunnel boring machines, or talpe (moles), are due to start work on the S. Giovanni-Alessandrino stretch of metro C in March 2008. Perhaps it is only when they are steadily forging galleries many metres below our feet that it will be safe to say the new line is really under way.
From IHT:

Police in Athens confiscated more than 800 ancient coins and arrested a shop owner and a jeweler suspected of selling them to tourists, officials said Monday.

Police said officers found eight copper coins set into pendants and bracelets for sale in a jewelry store in the Plaka tourist area on Friday.

A second raid on the home and workshop of a goldsmith who allegedly supplied the store uncovered another 852 ancient coins — including 54 made of gold and 152 of silver — and two ancient bronze rings, police said.

Officers also found more than 1,800 copies of ancient coins in the goldsmith's possession.

Under Greek law, all antiquities discovered in the country are state property.
8.00 p.m. |HINT| The Trial of Jesus
Shockingly little is known, historically, about the trial and
execution of Jesus. What actions resulted in his death? Who was
responsible for his trial and sentencing? How did his ministry pass
down through the ages? Why do most biblical scholars insist that the
gospel account can't be true? Through literary detective work,
historical art imagery, and commentary from respected biblical
scholars, we bring First-Century Judea to life--a land of messianic
messengers in a time of revolution.

9.00 p.m. |HINT| Relics of The Passion
Relics of the Passion of Christ are sacred objects supposedly
scattered around the globe. Are they what the faithful believe them
to be? We do the detective work to track down where these relics
originated and where they can be found today, explain their meaning,
and often question their authenticity. The Passion of Jesus Christ
encompasses the violent end of a martyr, an unsolved forensic puzzle,
and the start of a worldwide religious movement. In this hour, we use
the Passion as a focus to begin tracking the most important relics of
the Christian faith, including: the True Cross; the Crown of Thorns;
the Holy Nails of the Cross; the Titulus, a small sign stating
Christ's name and crime atop the Cross; the Spear of Destiny; a
mysterious burial cloth called the Sudarium; an image of Jesus that
appears on the Veil of Veronica; and the Holy Grail.

HINT = History International
sorry folks ... we had an allergy attack last night ...
ante diem xiv kalendas maias

ludi Cereri continue (day 7)

359 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Gratian
deus ex machina @ Merriam-Webster

chaplet @ Wordsmith

bedaub @ (!)
From YLE:

Rixa Argentinae et Uruguaiae
: Nuntii Latini

13.04.2007, klo 10.48

Inter Argentinam et Uruguaiam discordia vehementissima orta est de fabrica cellulosae, quam Uruguaiani in ripa fluminis fines utriusque populi discernentis aedificaturi sunt.

Hoc opus iam societati Finnicae, cui nomen Metsä-Botnia, perficiendum traditum est.

Argentini autem incepto Uruguaianorum tanto ardore adversantur, ut querimoniam eius rei ad tribunal internationale Hagense detulerint.

Quae quamvis ita essent, partes litigantes tamen consenserunt, ut mense Aprili exeunte Matritum ad controversiam componendam convenirent.

Disceptator contentionis erit ipse Iohannes Carolus, rex Hispaniae.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Excerpt from the Daily Mail (photos there as well):

The second tattoo across his arm is a quote by the Roman Emperor Tiberius and also used by Caligula.

It reads: "Lets them hate (me) as long as they fear (me)."

It is written in English though Beckham originally wanted it written in Latin.

The reason he was advised not to do it in Latin is because the middle word would have been 'dum', which he is understood to have been adamant he did not want on his arm for fear of cruel jibes about his own intellect. The new tattoo's detail is difficult to make out, since it is merged with tattoos which were already there.

The end result is a rather unpretty mess.

Already on the arm are the words 'Perfectio In Spiritu' which means 'spiritual perfection', and the roman numerals VII - which relates to Beckham's No7 shirt.

Beckham's left arm carries wife Victoria's name in Hindi plus the words Ut Amem et Foveam (So that I love and cherish). On his back he has a huge angel in the shapoe of a cross and his three sons' names Romeo, Brooklyn and Cruz.

From the Turkish Daily News:

Near Bergama, the ancient thermal spa Allianoi, which was in danger of being submerged and lost forever to the waters of Yortanl? Dam, the construction of which has been completed, will still be a touristic spot after being flooded by the dam's waters because of a State Water Affairs (DSI.) conservation project.

The project, ratified by the I.zmir Committee for the Conservation of Cultural and Natural Heritage, awaits for final approval from the Culture and Tourism Ministry's Scientific Committee. The ancient spa will be covered by a one-meter wall to keep the movable historic ruins and findings above the alluvium soil after the spa was submerged by the Yortanl? Dam and these pieces will be displayed in a museum that will be built close to the dam.

Ayhan Saryldz of the DSI. said the ancient spa will continue to be viewable for tourists thanks to underwater cameras that will be attached to different spa sections and underwater archaeologists will continue to excavate the area.

Noting that they developed the best possible plan in order to save Allianoi and that there was no other alternative available, he said the project will be in line with the Culture and Tourism Ministry's Scientific Committee's decision.

Meanwhile, Allianoi excavation head Ahmet Yaras, opposed the DSI.'s project. Yaras, said the project would not save the ancient city, which would be at last submerged in the waters of Yortanl Dam, adding, "The DSI. offered a project which anticipates a one-meter wall around the ancient city. However, it will not prevent the ancient city from being flooded by the dam's waters. According to them, the solution is to cover the face of historic ruins. Their goal never changed. However, it is not a solution to permit submerging the ancient city under water; it is a deception. Unfortunately, they have mislead politicians and the public by claiming that they would save the ancient city. Their project doesn't intend to protect the ancient city."

Project is misleading:

He also said they would take the issue to the European Court of Human Rights if the project were ratified by the Culture and Tourism Ministry.

Historically, Allianoi is well known as the land of the god of health Asklepios. The ancient city was established during the Hellenistic Age and reached its peak during the reign of Roman emperor Hadrian. It was considered as one of the most important health centers for nearly 15 centuries, starting from the sixth century B.C. through to the 11th century. Allianoi was famed for its thermal spring center and was known as the most important healing complexes during Hadrian's rule (117-138). Over the last five years, excavations revealed two impressive gates, marble stone-paved streets, shops, houses adorned with mosaics, large town squares, public fountains and rest areas to be used after having a bath. Surprisingly, the latest findings, such as mosaics, marble stones and some wood pieces designed for houses, were the most preserved pieces ever seen on an archaeological site because they had been covered with alluvium soil.

The ancient city is in danger of being submerged and lost forever to the waters of Yortanl Dam, the construction of which started in 1994. The excavations, kicked off in 1998, have only uncovered the 20 percent of the ancient city.
From the BBC:

The remains of a teenage Roman girl who was buried in the City of London more than 1,500 years ago have been laid to rest in her original grave.

The girl's skeleton was discovered in 1995 when the Swiss Re building, better known as the gherkin, was being built.

For the next 12 years the body was housed at the Museum of London, after its discovery during an excavation.

A service was held for the girl at St Botolphs Church after which her remains were reburied near to the gherkin.

The girl was believed to be aged between 13 and 17. She was buried in keeping with the Roman traditions between 350 and 400 AD.

Taryn Nixon, Managing Director of the Museum of London Archaeology Service, described the reburial as a "humane gesture".

"While we will probably never know precisely who this young Roman Londoner was, it is an elegant and fitting reminder of the City's rich layers of history, for Londoners of today and tomorrow," she said.
From Kathimerini:

Preliminary work on the metro is slowly bringing to light the story of Thessaloniki. The first architectural remains and portable finds discovered in the city’s historic center are just a sample of what the metro tunneling machine will turn up once it starts digging deeper.

Though the exploratory digs at 350 points along the 9.6-kilometer metro line that were begun last August have so far uncovered only a handful of portable finds, a museum has already been found to house them. It is the Alkazar (formerly Hamza Bey mosque). Refurbishment is under way, which will allow the monument to receive visitors by the end of the year, Culture Ministry General Secretary Christos Zahopoulos announced on Thursday, presenting the finds.

Part of the eastern cemetery of Thessaloniki with 35 graves was one of the expected finds. It was discovered by archeologists from the 16th Ephorate of Classical Antiquities in the Sintrivaniou district.

Of various types, set in close rows, the graves date from the Early Hellenistic to the Late Roman period (third century BC to third century AD). Eleven of them contained grave goods, including coins, figurines, bone clasps, clay and glass vases, gold and bronze jewelry, and a funerary stele bearing the name of the occupant, Epitherses Filonos Methemnaios.

Interment was the most common form of burial, noted ephorate chief Lilian Aheilara. The body was usually supine. Four burial sites showed signs of incineration.

In contrast, the Roman-era architectural remnants discovered at points along the projected metro line were a complete surprise.

Preliminary excavations unearthed various items including potsherds, plinths, slate paving, plaster, bones and stones at 42 other sites.

At Dimokratias Square, Venizelou and Aghias Sofias metro station sites, the 9th Ephorate of Byzantine Antiquities unearthed parts of walls, pipes and floors. One outstanding find was a headless marble figurine discovered in front of Aghios Athanasios.

The Attiko Metro construction company has already altered its plans in response to the successive finds, managing director Giorgos Yiannis announced. The tunnels will now go down to a depth of 31 meters, instead of 7-9 meters as stipulated in the original plan.

... a photo of one of the finds accompanies the original article.
Rhétorique et religion dans l’Antiquité

Cahiers des études anciennes

Volume 44 (2007)

La direction des Cahiers des études anciennes, une revue publiée sous les auspices de la Société des études anciennes du Québec et du Département d’études anciennes de l’Université d’Ottawa, prépare un numéro consacré au thème «Rhétorique et religion dans l’Antiquité» qui paraîtra au printemps 2008 (volume 44 2007).

De la période archaïque à l’Antiquité tardive, aborder le thème de la rhétorique et de la religion dans l’Antiquité, c’est reconnaître le lien qui existe, aux yeux des Anciens, entre la parole et le divin. Selon Hésiode, la parole des rois, celle qui administre la justice, est un don des Muses (Théogonie 80-94). Pour Gorgias, celui que Philostrate considérait comme le père de la sophistique, le discours est capable d’accomplir les actes les plus divins, à la manière d’une incantation magique (Éloge d’Hélène, 8-11. Les Chrétiens, de Saint Jean et son fameux prologue : «Au commencement était le Verbe et le Verbe était Dieu», jusqu’à Eusèbe de Césarée, en passant par Clément d’Alexandrie et Origène, ont fait correspondre le Logos stoïcien au Fils de Dieu.

Étudier le thème de la rhétorique et de la religion dans l’Antiquité, c’est aussi s’intéresser à la récupération de la rhétorique «païenne» par les Pères de l’Église. Au deuxième siècle, Justin, Tatien, Théophile, Athénagore, Aristide et Tertullien, les apologistes de la foi chrétienne face aux attaques des élites cultivées de l’Empire, n’utilisent-ils pas, bien que maladroitement, les ressources de la rhétorique pour se porter à la défense de la Vérité ? Au quatrième siècle, les lettrés chrétiens, c’est-à-dire, par exemple, les Cappadociens, Jean Chrysostome, Augustin, dans leurs traités théologiques comme dans leurs sermons, n’ont-ils pas mis au service de la religion chrétienne leur incontestable compétence d’orateur ?

Considérer le thème de la rhétorique et de la religion dans l’Antiquité, c’est finalement, en adoptant le sens plus général du mot rhétorique, analyser les différentes formes et les différentes figures de langage qu’emploie le discours sacré. Les Évangiles et les épîtres de Paul, par exemple, peuvent ainsi faire l’objet d’une analyse rhétorique qui cherchera à comprendre les procédés langagiers mis en œuvre pour atteindre une forme de persuasion.

Veuillez adresser toute proposition d’article avant le 15 novembre 2007, à : Dominique Côté, Université d’Ottawa, Département d’études anciennes et de sciences des religions, 70, Avenue Laurier Est, Ottawa ON K1N 6N5. Courriel : dcot2 AT

N. B. : English contributions are welcome.
Canadian Institute in Greece

Call for Papers

The Canadian Institute in Greece (formerly the Canadian Academic Institute in Athens) will be holding its fourth biennial student conference on October 12 and 13, 2007 at the University of Calgary.

Papers, of about 20 minutes in length, should discuss topics relating to Greece from the Bronze Age to the end of the Byzantine world. Graduate students and senior undergraduates are encouraged to submit abstracts of 150 words no later than June 30, 2007.

A private donation to the conference will allow the UofC’s Department of Greek and Roman Studies to provide a partial subsidy of travel expenses.

Abstracts and any questions should be sent to Dr John Humphrey at: humphrey AT


L’Institut canadien en Grèce

Appel à communications

L’Institut canadien en Grèce (anciennement L'Institut canadien académique à Athènes) tiendra la quatrième conférence biennale d’étudiants les 12 et 13 octobre 2007 à l’Université de Calgary.

Les étudiants des 2e et 3e cycles et les étudiants avancés de 1e cycle sont encouragés à proposer des communications de 20 minutes. Les communications devraient traiter de sujets concernant l’histoire, l’archéologie, et la culture de la Grèce entre l’Âge du bronze et la fin de l’ère byzantine. Les résumés électroniques de 150 mots doivent être soumis avant le 30 juin 2007.

Grâce à un don privé, le département de Greek and Roman Studies pourra rembourser une partie des dépenses de voyage.

Prière d’adresser les propositions et questions au professeur John Humphrey au mail suivant:

humphrey AT

'The world in one city'


From 27 to 30 March 2008, the University of Liverpool is hosting the
Classical Association annual conference. 2008 is also the year that
Liverpool is European Capital of Culture, making the city an exciting
destination for visitors, old and new. Around 2 million people from around
the globe are expected to join the year-long celebrations, enjoying world-
class festivals of music, dance, theatre, and art alongside the city’s long-
standing attractions: the UNESCO world-heritage waterfront, the Tate and
Williamson galleries of contemporary and pre-Raphaelite art, and the
excellent National Museums Liverpool.

In keeping with one of the themes of Liverpool 2008, The World in One City,
the conference will bring together scholars from diverse countries and
traditions to share their research on an international stage and bring a
classical component to the cultural proceedings. With panellists from
Europe, North America, the Middle East and Australasia already confirmed
through our earlier call for panels, we would like now to invite proposals
for individual papers to complete the conference programme. We are
particularly looking to fill spaces on a panel dedicated to Greek and Roman
sport, but otherwise are happy to receive proposals relating to any aspect
of the Classical World. Papers should be 20 minutes long.

Please send your title and 200-word abstract by e-mail to Dr Fiona Hobden
(CAprog AT by 31st July 2007.

28 - 29 June 2007
Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Conference
Graduate School of Humanities, Cardiff University


Professor Mary Beard (Cambridge University) Named Keynote Speaker for Cardiff University Postgraduate Conference.

A general call for registration has also been announced. Attendance at the conference is free to all doctoral students, plus dinner on the first evening, overnight accommodation and lunch are also provided.

"Reading" is intended to be interpreted in a wide sense, to include the reading of, for example images, buildings, inscriptions, theatre, music or dance performances and other creative productions, as well as books and manuscripts. Proposals for panels and papers are invited from PhD students across the UK and abroad. The deadline for proposals has been extended to Friday 4 May 2007.

To convene a panel or submit a paper, please send a 300-word abstract of the paper’s contribution to the conference theme (with the panel title in the subject line) to Papers should be 20 minutes maximum and proposals should include contact details and a brief biographical note.

To attend as a delegate or to submit an abstract, please email Readingconference AT For further details please see

Reading: Images, Texts, Artefacts is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and Cardiff University.
ante diem xv kalendas maias

ludi Cereri (day 6)

69 A.D. -- suicide of the emperor wannabe Otho (this might have happened on April 16)
rutilant @ Merriam-Webster

efficacious @
From YLE:

Piscatus in Unione Europaea
: Nuntii Latini

13.04.2007, klo 10.48

Commissio Unionis Europaeae de multis vitiis monuit, quibus administratio rei piscatoriae in finibus Unionis laboraretur.

Inspectores eiusdem ordinis, quippe qui maxime de copia gadorum et thynnorum in aquis Unionis valde deminuenda solliciti sint, civitates socias hortantur, ut artius quam ante cooperentur et piscatoribus legum violatoribus graviores poenas imponant.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Hmm ... yesterday we made a suggestion about the Elgin/Parthenon marbles in light of the (apparently) recent trend of museums to deny loans based on whether an artifact was 'fragile' or not ... then today we read in a Bloomberg OpEd piece (I've underlined a most tantalizing quote):

Is there the merest hint of movement in the world's most intractable restitution drama? That is, the issue of the Elgin -- or, if you prefer, Parthenon -- Marbles, which has flared up at intervals since Lord Elgin removed them from the Acropolis at Athens in the 19th century.

Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, appeared to open the door to compromise in an interview with Bloomberg News, but only by a fraction of an inch. In principle, would he and the trustees consider a request from Athens to borrow the marbles?

``There is no reason why any object in the BM -- if it is fit to travel -- shouldn't spend three months, six months somewhere else,'' he said. ``So, in principle, absolutely yes. The difficulty at the moment which would stand in the way of that is that the Greek government has formally, and recently, refused to acknowledge that the trustees are the owners of the objects. Therefore, in law the trustees could not possibly lend them.''

In addition, he said, ``the Greek government has never asked for a loan of the material from the British Museum. The issue has always been about the permanent removal of all the Parthenon material in the BM collection to Athens.''

Might that be the basis for some sort of compromise? Ownership, of course, is at the heart of the dispute. That question was raised as long ago as 1816, when Elgin sold the sculptures to the British government. His right of possession depends on interpretation of a letter of permission from an official of the Ottoman Empire, then ruling Greece.

Original Documents

The original document and the Ottoman regime both disappeared many years ago, and possession counts for a lot in law.

According to a legal opinion quoted by the historian William St. Clair in his book, ``Lord Elgin and the Marbles'' (1998), Elgin's actions were ``probably technically legal at the time,'' though threats and bribery may have played a part. Any attempt by the Greek government ``to try to recover the marbles in an international court would probably fail.''

It would be politically impossible for any Greek government to give way on this point because the marbles have become a symbol of Hellenic national identity. Professor Anthony Snodgrass, chair of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles, said: ``This offer is a theoretical one in every sense. Mr. MacGregor knows that no Greek government could ever make a formal concession that the BM has legal ownership.''


On the other hand, the British Museum understandably fears that if it gave way in this case, it, and other major museums, would receive an avalanche of demands from around the world for the return of items acquired by fair, and less than fair, means in the colonial era.

So, stalemate? Maybe not. There was considerable speculation about a possible loan to coincide with the Athens Olympics in 2004. That came to nothing, partly because of the postponement of the opening of the new Acropolis Museum, which is now years behind schedule after a log-jam of legal disputes about home demolitions, completion of archaeological digs and cost over-runs.

That gleaming institution is set for completion this summer and inauguration in the autumn. Meanwhile, the British Museum is becoming more and more enthusiastic about temporary exhibitions. A blockbuster, the Terracotta Army, opens in September. Brand new, much larger exhibition galleries are scheduled for 2012.

Spectacular Show

There is scope for a spectacular and -- from the scholarly point of view -- exciting exhibition about the Parthenon sculptures. It is often assumed that all of them are in London. Actually, Elgin only extracted about half from the temple.

Most or the rest are still in Athens, with a couple of panels in the Louvre and fragments scattered all over the place. In some cases, fragments of the same figure are on opposite side of Europe. The celebrated frieze is split in two.

If you could put it all back together, you'd have the blockbuster to end all blockbusters. Setting the question of ownership aside, that's a prospect to entice any museum director.

Perhaps we should admit that the dispute about ownership is unresolvable. In the diplomatic world, the only way forward in such difficult cases is to find a formula that each side can accept. Is there one here? ``The very most that might be negotiable,'' Snodgrass said, ``would be an agreement by the Greek government that the marbles were legally acquired from Lord Elgin by Parliament, for the Museum.''

Is that enough? The reward for an agreement -- especially for the art-loving public of the world -- would be enormous.
From the National:

THIS topic may seem eccentric to some readers while others may cogitate that the scribe is constructing an elephant out of a trivial matter.
However, for experts in classical languages and people keen in doing things meticulously, this may not be so.
Curious people who have scrutinised the logo of the people’s party led by Enga governor Peter Ipatas will understand what I am hinting at.
The motto of the party is written in four different languages.
The English version of the people’s party motto reads: “In the name of God and people”.
Similar messages are found in Tok Pisin and Motu.
Why did the party leadership thought it necessary to include an inscription in Latin, the classical language of literature?
Many Christian schools and church organisations do have Latin inscriptions to express their values and beliefs.
Perhaps the People’s Party want to appear more prestigious as Latin was the language of prestige and of historical significance.
There was a time when Latin was the official communicative medium, both spoken and written, in the Roman empire.
After the disintegration of the powerful empire by the successive barbaric invasions from the north, Latin survived as the only official language of Christianity.
The vulgate – the Latin version of the Bible translated by Jerome – helped the survival of Latin up until the reformation in the 16th century, and in the Roman Catholic liturgies up until 1965.
Although Latin is no longer a spoken or communicative language, some people have formed clubs in Italy and gather to speak Latin with each
other to keep it from dwindling as a spoken language.
Today, Latin is only confined to literature, except for some legal, medical and theological phrases.
The inscription found on the logo of People’s Party reads something like “In nomine Deus et Demos” which is a mix of two classical languages – Latin and Greek.
The word “demos” is not Latin but Greek which means “people”.
Greek was another classical language of literature belonging to the Indo-Europeans language group and has its own phonetical transcription (alphabet system).
Latin has a different word for people.
Second, the construction of the Latin syntax (grammar) is misleading.
To correctly rephrase what the party wants to say – “In the name of God and of the People” – the correct phrase would be “In nomine Dei et populi”.
“Dei” in Latin means “of the God” and “populi” means “of the people”.
“In nomine Deus” is grammatically incorrect in Latin. In English, it would translate to “In the name the God”.
In some foreign languages, few prepositions such as the dative and possessive forms do not have words of their own. To substitute for that, the noun ending change.
For instance, the word “Deus” in Latin would have endings such as “Deo” (dative), “Dei” (possessive) “Deum” (accusative), etc.
If Peter Ipatas has the courtesy to knock on the doors of any old European priests, the party would become a laughing stock.
These old priests did their theological studies in the Latin language.
There is also an institution in Eastern Highlands dedicated to studying native language, Summer Institute of Linguistics.
I believe in that institution, there will be people there to help because some would be well-versed in the koine Greek, the Greek of the New Testament.
The people there may also be knowledgeable in the vulgate Latin.
The fact that the People’s Party felt it unnecessary to seek expert advice perhaps reflects its arrogance.
If the party does not consult in small things, will it consult others on major policy issues?
The other factor is the PNG mentality of mekim nating (slipshod).
The sloppy behaviour is common and can be found in political, economic and administrative governance of the country.
There will be people in the world wanting to see if the logo of People’s Party is raised to the heights.
What will the international community say about the grammar blunder of the Latin found on the logo?
My little contribution to the People’s Party is to advise them to rewrite the motto correctly in Latin by changing “In nominee Deus et Demos” to “In nominee Dei et populi”.

hmmmmmmmmm ...
6.00 p.m. |HINT| Hidden Cities of the Etruscans
A look at the fascinating people who ruled Italy centuries before
the Romans. Explores the contradictions in the character of the
Etruscans, who embraced both art and slavery, technology and

7.00 p.m. |HINT| Alesia
In the late summer of 52 BC, Julius Caesar, Rome's most brilliant
general was pitted against the great Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix.
Fifty thousand Roman soldiers came face-to-face against a quarter of
a million Gallic warriors. For the first time, at a small hilltop
called Alesia in what is now central France, all Caesars's enemies
were gathered in one place. And Caesar won. Yet for 2,000 years
there's been only one explanation for his victory--his own. Does
evidence from the battlefield correspond with this account? The
battle that day shaped the map of modern Europe. How did Caesar do
it? Recent archaeological discoveries, systematic analysis of Roman
warfare, and extraordinary photographic evidence reveal the secrets
of Caesar's success.

HINT = History International
ante diem xvi kalendas maias

ludi Cereri (day 5)

43 B.C. -- Octavian (the future emperor Augustus) is hailed as Imperator for the first time

69 A.D. -- suicide of the emperor wannabe Otho (this might have occured on April 17)

304 A.D. -- martyrs of Saragossa

1928 -- death of Jane Ellen Harrison (Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion among others)
vilify @ Merriam-Webster

albedo @ Wordsmith

luniversary @ Worthless Word for the Day

cavort @
From YLE:

De navibus antiquis Illyricis
: Nuntii Latini

13.04.2007, klo 10.47

Duae naves Illyricae, quas ante plus duo milia annorum constructas esse creditur, nuper in Hutovo blato, reservato in Herzegovina meridiana sito, repertae sunt.

Profestrix Snjezana Vasilj ex universitate Seraiensi (Sarajevo), quae cum sodalibus suis naves invenerat, dixit reliquias ligneas in regione palustri aqua octo fere metra alta submersas iacuisse.

Naves, quas Illyricas esse coniecit, sive mercatorias sive piraticas fuisse putat.

Jokke Hasa
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris:De Russorum tumultibus
This one has been rumoured for ages ... from the Hollywood Reporter:

Screenwriting hero Lawrence Kasdan has been tapped to pen "Clash of the Titans" for Warner Bros. Pictures. Basil Iwanyk is producing via Thunder Road.

A remake of the 1981 cult classic, the story revolves around Zeus' son, Perseus, and his journey to save Princess Andromeda during which he must complete various tasks set out by Zeus, including capturing Pegasus and slaying Medusa. The original marked the final film on which Ray Harryhausen did special effects.

Travis Beacham ("Killing on Carnival Row") wrote a draft.

Lynn Harris is overseeing for the studio.

For Kasdan, "Titans" is his first fantasy-style project since the early 1980s, when he wrote the screenplays for "Return of the Jedi," "The Empire Strikes Back" and "Raiders of the Lost Ark." He has since tended to write, as well as direct and produce, more earthbound fare such as "Mumford" and "Grand Canyon." He next exec produces the upcoming "In the Land of Women," written and directed by son Jon Kasdan, which bows Friday.
Pollution and Propriety:
A two-day conference at the British School at Rome.
Thursday 21 and Friday 22 June 2007.
Keynote speaker: Professor Dame Mary Douglas

Conference Statement

This interdisciplinary conference will examine the significance of pollution and cleanliness in the art, literature, philosophy, and material culture of the city of Rome from antiquity through to the twentieth century. Dirt, disease and pollution and the ways they are represented and policed have long been recognised by historians and anthropologists to occupy a central position in the formulation of cultural identity, and Rome holds a special status in the West as a city intimately associated with issues of purity, decay, ruin and renewal. In recent years, scholarship in a variety of disciplines has begun to scrutinise the less palatable features of the archaeology, history and society of Rome. This research has drawn attention to the city’s distinctive historical interest in the recognition, isolation and treatment of pollution, and the ways in which politicians, architects, writers and artists have exploited this as a vehicle for devising visions of purity and propriety.

As a departure point, then, the organisers propose the theme of ‘Pollution and Propriety’ and the discourses by which these two antagonistic concepts are related. How has pollution in Rome been defined, and by what means is it controlled? How does Rome’s own social and cultural history affect the way states of dirt and cleanliness are formulated? Does purity always accompany political, physical or social change? Does Rome’s reputation as a ‘city of ruins’ determine how it is represented? What makes images of decay in Rome so picturesque? It is hoped that this conference will bring together scholars from a range of disciplines who are interested in dirt, disease and hygiene in Rome in order to examine the historical continuity of these themes and to explore their development and transformation alongside major chapters in the city’s history, such as early Roman urban development, the Roman Empire, early Christianity, decline and fall, the medieval city, the Renaissance, the Unification of Italy, and the advent of Fascism. In addition, papers will explore a wide range of social, political and cultural themes, such as: death and burial; the management and representation of disease and the history of medicine, sexuality and virginity, prostitution, sewers and waste disposal; urban segregation; religions, purity and absolution; public and private morality; bodies and cleansing; decay, decline and fall; ruins and renovation; concepts of pollution.

It is hoped that this conference will be of interest to scholars working in archaeology, cultural history, literature, art history, and the history of medicine. The conference will aim to develop themes in the history of the city of Rome, as well as providing a context for examining general issues of pollution and purity. Papers will be original and not previously published or delivered at a major conference.

Organisers: Dr Mark Bradley (Classics, Nottingham)
Prof Richard Wrigley (Art History, Nottingham)

Further details, and registration:

Email: pollution.conference AT


Thursday 21 June

PANEL 1: Concepts of Pollution in Ancient Rome

This panel will explore the various manifestations of pollution and purity in the early stages of Roman society. Fantham’s paper will discuss the formulation of pollution and purification in one area of Roman religious ritual and the way this filtered across into the community’s secular life. Barton will approach this question from the quite different angle of Roman psychology and emotion, and will examine literary contexts in which the Romans imagined themselves from the point of view of their enemies as polluters and defilers. This panel will critically assess the terms in which pollution and propriety can be formulated and described, and will set out some initial parameters for understanding and approaching these concepts during the conference.

Elaine Fantham (Classics, Princeton): Passive and active pollution in Roman pagan tradition

Carlin Barton (History, Massachusetts): Compassion and Purity: an Antithetical Pair?

Respondent: Val Curtis (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine)

PANEL 2: Pollution and Propriety in Ancient Urban Development

This panel will examine the ways in which notions of pollution and purity helped give the ancient city physical shape, by exploring the establishment and negotiation of boundaries at critical stages in Roman historical development. Davies’ paper will discuss urban planning during the Republic when the city was expanding faster than at any other period. This paper will consider Roman attitudes to death and burial, and how these attitudes dictated the relationship between ‘inside’ and ‘outside’, between clean and unclean, as well as how Republican politicians directed their professional careers to establishing and reinforcing urban sanitation and cleanliness. Bodel will examine aspects of Roman identity and propriety at the urban peripheries, and how suburban space lent itself to the performance of activities that might be considered inappropriate in the urban centre. Bodel will discuss the development of this difficult relationship between urbs and suburbium from the early principate to the sixth century. Thus this panel will address the full chronological span of ancient Roman urban development and discuss the significance of pollution and propriety in defining the physical shape of the city.

Penelope Davies (Art History, Austin): Pollution, propriety and urbanism in Republican Rome
John Bodel (Classics, Brown): Pollution at the Periphery: Living with the Dead in the Roman Suburbs
Respondent: Mark Bradley (Classics, Nottingham)

PANEL 3. Purity and Symbolism in Ancient Roman Waste Disposal

The third panel will be concerned with the representation of waste disposal in ancient Rome, and will explore how the very process of urban cleansing could be incorporated into the city’s religious and symbolic system. It will do this by examining two of the most characteristic of Roman institutions – the sewer and the public latrine. Hopkins’ paper examines the ambivalent representation of the Cloaca Maxima – a magnificent miracle of engineering for purging the city and a receptacle and focal point for the city’s dirt and impurity. Jansen discusses the function of gods in the wall-paintings of public latrines from Pompeii and Rome. Both papers draw attention to the distinctive symbolic and intellectual currency attached to the process of waste disposal in ancient Rome.

John Hopkins (Art History, Austin): Marking Pollution: Material Evidence for Roman Conceptions of the Cloaca Maxima
Gemma Jansen (Archaeology, Maastricht): Divine help on a Roman toilet
Respondent: Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow (Classical Studies, Brandeis)

PANEL 4: Scapegoats and Heresy from Pagan Ritual to Early Christendom

The final panel of the day will explore historical continuity (and discontinuity) in pagan and early Christian scapegoating and ritual cleansing by looking first at a familiar case-study from the city’s pagan past and then at pontifical documents in seventh and eighth-century Rome. Schultz will revisit a classic problem of Roman religious ritual – the live interment of transgressive Vestal virgins – and consider the traditions of this practise alongside other expiatory rituals in Roman religion that involved expulsion and elimination. Cubitt will examine the expulsion of heretics from Rome in the seventh and eighth centuries and will consider the representation of such acts of cleansing in the Liber pontificalis and other conciliar documents, as well as how this was played out in contemporary visual culture. Above all, this panel will discuss similarities and differences in religious formulations of pollution and purification from antiquity to early Christianity.

Celia Schultz (Classics, Yale): The Proper Disposal of a Polluting Presence
Katy Cubitt (Centre for Medieval Studies, York): The jet-black spiderwebs of heresy: pollution and the language of heresy in seventh- and eighth-century Rome

Friday 22 June

PANEL 5: Treatments of Plague.

This panel will discuss responses to and representations of plague in the city, both in antiquity and in early modern Rome. Arnott will examine the so-called ‘Antonine Plague’ in mid second-century Rome, and assess the difficulties posed by ancient evidence in determining the nature and character of the outbreak – in effect, how ancient approaches to disease and its ramifications differ from modern evaluations. Gentilcore will discuss the Roman plague of 1656 and the attitude adopted by the authorities in treating the outbreak. This panel will consider whether the outbreak of disease, and its effects and treatment, were discussed and evaluated within the city in comparable ways at different stages in Rome’s history.

Robert Arnott (Centre for the History of Medicine, Birmingham): The Antonine Plague: fact and fiction
David Gentilcore (History, Leicester): Negotiating medical remedies in time of plague: Rome, 1656
Respondent: François Quiviger (Warburg Institute, SAS)

PANEL 6: Pollution, the Body, and the Church

This panel will examine the role of pollution in the critical discourse of the Roman Church in the medieval and early modern periods. It will focus on the polluted body: first, the sexualised bodies of tenth-century priests; second, the notion of the diseased body of the Church as it was applied to the city of Rome. Leyser will discuss sexual scandal in the Roman Church in the tenth century, a period that would later earn the city the pejorative tag of ‘pornocracy’. Assonitis will consider the treatises and sermons of Fra Girolamo Savonarola in which Rome is presented as a diseased graveyard for pagan morals and behaviour. This panel will consider a theme that has been integral to the city’s religious and moral identity at various stages in Rome’s history.

Conrad Leyser (History, Manchester): ‘Pornocracy’ and Professionalization: The Roman Church in the Tenth Century
Alessio Assonitis (The Medici Archive Project, Florence): The Miasma of Rome: Fra Girolamo Savonarola on the City of Popes and the Urbs Antiqua

PANEL 7: Sanitation and Renovation from Early Modern Rome to Roma capitale

The panel will examine various efforts in the history of Rome from the early modern period to the late nineteenth century to fix the Rome’s prevailing reputation as a city of dirt, disease and corruption. Stow will discuss the marginalisation of Rome’s ghettoized Jews in the late sixteenth century and the means by which this section of the Roman community dealt with poor urban sanitation. Rinne will survey papal efforts in this same period to improve urban sanitation by renovating the city’s water supply and infrastructure and thereby symbolically cleansing both the city and the Church of vice and corruption. Sansa will explore the social impact of legislation to improve cleanliness and sanitation. Syrjämaa will explore the tensions generated by differing approaches to Rome’s identity, both those formulated by outsiders and those proposed by the internal authorities, once Rome had become the nation’s capital in the late nineteenth century. This panel will highlight the continuing significance attributed to programmes of cleansing and purification in Rome’s modern history and discuss the relationship of these programmes to the city’s long-standing associations with dirt and pollution.

Part 1:

Kenneth Stow (Jewish History, Haifa): Was the Ghetto Cleaner?
Katherine Rinne (Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, Virginia): Cleansing Counter Reformation Rome
Respondent: Pamela O. Long (Independent Scholar, Washington, D.C.)

Part 2:

Renato Sansa (Università G. D’Annunzio Chieti Pescara): Playing Dirty: the social impact of legislation on dirt and cleanliness in 18th-century Rome
Taina Syrjämaa (School of History, University of Turku, Finland): The clash of picturesque dirtiness and modern cleanliness in late nineteenth-century Rome
Respondent: Richard Wrigley (Art History, Nottingham)

PANEL 8: Immorality and Deviancy

The panel considers two cases where Rome was associated with physical and sexual immorality: first, by Victorian commentators in mid nineteenth-century England; second, by the legal and political discourses of 1920s Rome. Janes will discuss the city’s representation as a site of physical and moral danger by religious figures of Victorian England for whom Rome had become an evocative lesson about the dangers of decay and corruption. Secondly, Salvante will explore a case study within Rome itself, concerning the regulation of `deviant’ juvenile sexuality – specifically, male prostitution – and its identification with the city’s physical and moral margins. This final panel, therefore, will consider pollution discourses within the city’s more recent history and their role in formulating and shaping Rome’s urban identity.

Dominic Janes (History of Art, Birkbeck): `I hope the ladies present will forgive me’: Victorian clergy and the erotics of Christian antiquities in Rome

Martina Salvante (European University Institute, Fiesole): Delinquency and pederasty: ‘deviant’ youngsters in Rome’s working class suburbs in the late 1920s

Plenary Lecture: Mary Douglas.

From the Globe and Mail:

The Zealots, who according to many histories made up the community who succumbed to the Roman siege of Masada, were a revolutionary Jewish sect that advocated a theocracy. Noted for their fierce opposition to Roman rule, the Zealots were hostile even to Jews who sought reconciliation with pagan and polytheistic Rome.

Extremists among the group practised terrorism and assassination to defend their beliefs, and became known as Sicarii, or "dagger men."

Lurking in public places, they waited to assault people, whether Romans or Jews, they viewed as friendly to Rome.

In AD 6, when the Romans ordered a census of Galilee, the Zealots rallied the residents to non-compliance on the grounds that to co-operate would be to acknowledge the right of pagans to rule their nation.

The incident became the impetus for an insurrectionist movement that at first involved only scattered acts of revolt, but ultimately expanded and took a military form, finally instigating the First Jewish Revolt.

The heroism and sacrifice of the Jews at Masada is emphasized in standard Israeli texts on the subject, but some believe the story has been sanitized for popular consumption.

In his book The Masada Myth, Israeli sociologist Nachman Ben-Yehuda writes that it was the Sicarii who were cornered on the Masada.

"The Sicarii were disliked and were driven out of Jerusalem not by Romans but by other Jews a long time before, . . ." he wrote.

"Thus the group on top of Masada was a group of assassins, not Zealots. During their stay on Masada, the Sicarii raided nearby (Jewish) villages, killed the inhabitants and took their food. . . ."
7.00 p.m. |HINT| Siege of Masada
Masada is an extraordinary place and an epic story. A seemingly
impregnable mountain fortress built by King Herod, it rises from the
Judean desert of Israel close by the Dead Sea. It's said that there,
2,000 years ago, a band of Jewish freedom fighters defied the might
of the Roman legions for three years. How did they hold out against
such odds? How did the Romans conduct a siege in such a hostile
environment? The Romans eventually battered their way into the
fortress. But in a famous act of defiance, all the Jews chose death
over slavery. Overnight 960 men, women, and children committed
suicide rather than submit to their Roman conquerors. Or did they?
Today, using the latest scientific tools and re-examining
archaeological evidence, experts are piecing together a new story of
the Masada siege, one that threatens to overturn a legend.

8.00 p.m. |HISTC| The Byzantines
Brilliance and brutality. Intellect and intrigue. Christianity and
carnage. As much of the world descended into the Dark Ages after the
fall of Rome, one civilization shone brilliantly: the Byzantine
Empire. With ruthless might and supreme ingenuity, the Byzantines
ruled over vast swaths of Europe and Asia for more than a thousand
years. A bridge to antiquity, it was Byzantium that preserved the
classical learning and science that would one day give rise to the

HINT - History International

HISTC - History Television (Canada)
A busy week for the rogueclassicist, with plenty of email woes to make things more difficult ... still, the ClassiCarnies held up their end of the blogosphere:

N.S. Gill starts us off with a feature on Mark Antony's wives ... Nero ... the founding of Carthage ...

Adrian Murdoch finds is looking at Cyril and Julian ... an item on the modern Teutoburg Forest ... a roundup of Roman India stuff ...

... we'll also give AM a tip of the pileus for pointing us to some ClassCon at Overheard in the Office ...

Alun Salt has some advice on how to start a Classics weblog ...

Troels Myrup has a feature on a sarcophagus for a dog ...

Angelo Mercado returns to tell us of Philo the epic poet ...

Dorothy King has some glass from Afghanistan ... there's more Bactrian Gold ... a very interesting possibility of a Roman triumphal arch on/near Temple Mount ... an item on the restoation of the Temple of Portunus (a.k.a. Fortuna Virilis) ... and a roundup of Roman India stuff ...

Ed Flinn's coins ...

Michael Gilleland had a timely post on the word nappy ... Under the Greenwood Tree ... Seneca Comicus (not the Apocolocyntosis) ...

At Current Epigraphy, we learn of matters epigraphical in the latest Arctos ... and ArchBulg ...

Mark Goodacre ponders whether Perseus' technical difficulties might be a (short term) good thing ...

From the Imperial Rome list comes an interesting website/search page (I'm not sure what the official title of it is) for searching for English words which are derived from Greek and/or Latin ...

New list: Greek Geeks (for learners of ancient Greek) ...

At the Stoa is announced the first issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly ...

Eurylochus got a look at some of the 'prizes' of the war ...

Nikolaos has a post on Hellenic Cleansing Rituals ... there's also a post on Iphigenia ...

Other Carnivals and Roundups:

Phil's Patristics roundup ...

Laura Gibbs' roundup of Latin educational stuff ...

Other than that, issue 9.51 of our Explorator newsletter is up ... hopefully we'll have to to get out Ancient World on Television listings out as well ...
From the Northern Echo:

TV archaeologists Time Team have unlocked a 2,000-year secret and proved that there was more to one of the region's Roman forts than historians believed.

A three-day dig on farmland at Binchester, near Bishop Auckland, County Durham, showed that there was an earlier, larger garrison on the site.

A few inches below the surface, inside one of four newly-discovered burial chambers, the Channel 4 programme makers uncovered a crumbling skull and two intact bowls. If they can prove the graves were military mausolea, they can claim the first garrison find in modern times.

More importantly for Binchester, they could stimulate new interest in the fort, which has always been overshadowed by its neighbours on the Roman Wall.

Durham County archaeologist David Mason would only say yesterday that he was exploring ways of enhancing Binchester. And landowners the Church Commissioners were interested enough to visit the dig as it ended yesterday afternoon.

Presenter Tony Robinson said the whole crew had been excited by what they had found.

He said: "This is going to be one of the great Time Teams. There is a great tale to tell.

"There is a lot of interest in Binchester. It is one of the most iconic Roman site in Britain yet it only gets 4,000 visitors a year.

"If this gets more people to come here, it will be brilliant.

"We have always known where the Roman fort was, but what no one realised until we came here three days ago was that there was an earlier fort, which was much bigger.

"It makes a lot of sense. When the Romans first came they would have needed far more soldiers to suppress the Geordies.

"When they had the area under control, they would have needed less people."

The Binchester site dates back to AD 75 when it was built to guard the point where the River Wear was crossed by Dere Street, the main Roman Road from York to the Roman Wall. It was abandoned in AD 410.

It boasts the best-preserved example of a military bath house in Britain and is open to the public from May 1 to the end of September.

The Time Team programme will be shown early next year.
From Variety:

Roman Polanski's "Pompeii" is percolating.

Italy's RAI Cinema has acquired all Italian rights to the historical tentpole set against the backdrop of the Mt. Vesuvius eruption, and Spain's spanking-new Ciudad de la Luz studios has been inked as the Roman-era thriller's main production hub.

Following a fierce bidding war with Medusa, RAI plunked down a handsome sum -- said to be in the $10-15 million range -- for "Pompeii," which has a projected $130 million budget.

Deal was inked by RAI Cinema topper Giancarlo Leone with Polanski and producer Robert Benmussa's RP Prods., which is producing along with Alain Sarde.

Summit Entertainment has also recently come on board to handle worldwide sales, excluding one or two European territories, besides Italy.

Pathe Distribution is in negotiations to take French rights.

Meanwhile, Polanski, Benmussa, and line producer Daniel Champagnon have inked with Ciudad de la Luz to base the production in the Valencian facility. This will allow them to tap into sweet new local 12%-18% tax rebates capped at €5.4 million ($7.2 million).

Valencia's Sorolla Films will possibly enter as a co-producer, channelling the regional rebates into the film. Polanski and Benmussa have also recently approached a raft of Spanish producers and TV channels to co-produce "Pompeii," one of the costliest European film projects ever. They aim to raise $13 million for Spanish rights.

Pic has a projected August start with plans for a five-month shoot.

Polanski, Benmussa and Sarde in March dispatched set designer Allan Starski to scout the real Pompeii archeological site in Italy and view Roman artifacts in the nearby Naples Archeological Museum. Starski and his assistants on their visit drew sketches and measured columns and mosaics.

But while Italy's Campania region film commission is proposing incentives to lure the "Pompeii" production to lens on site, 90% of the shoot is expected to be done on Spanish soundstages, backlots and locations.
From the UConn Advance:

To draw parallels between Virgil’s Aeneid and the video game Halo might seem at first blush like heresy, but Roger Travis does it all the time.

He even brings a Microsoft Xbox to class to illustrate his points.

Virgil’s epic poem from 19 BC chronicling the fall of Troy and adventures of its hero Aeneas, as he makes his way toward a new beginning in Italy, has been studied and recited for millennia, but Travis, an associate professor of modern and classical languages, may well be the first scholar to use video games to help bring the tale to life for students.

“My students like hearing that there’s some sort of redeeming social value to video games,” he says. “I try to show that the games do have artistic merit, and share traditions that date back to the ancient storytellers.”

Travis ties video games and the classics together in two ways.

One is to use the games to look at the Aeneid from an unconventional perspective.

The other is to compare the oral improvisatory nature of Homeric epics with the way video games engage players.

The Iliad and the Odyssey are Homeric epics that predate the Aeneid – a written work – by centuries.

They began as oral works, performed before large groups by bards who often improvised as they went along, perhaps to cater to a particular audience.

Travis suggests that the bards’ audiences were interactive with epic poems in much the same way that today’s video gamer interacts with a software-generated adventure tale.

“Like today’s gamers, the bards’ audiences didn’t know what was going to happen next, so they were immersed in the story and were interactive with it in a very real way,” Travis says.

“The popular notion that video games are unique in their interactivity overlooks a tradition well over 2,000 years old.”

Travis transports students back to ancient times and describes how a bard unfolded a story like the Odyssey before a live audience.

Students who view Virgil or Homer through Travis’s prism of adventure video games are apt never again to see the games or the classic poems in quite the same way.

In his classroom, the games are not lighthearted diversions, but useful devices for removing some of the fog from ancient texts.

Travis finds many analogies between a game like Halo and the Aeneid. Halo’s hero is the Master Chief, a semi-robotic super-marine who battles religious fanatic aliens called the Covenant in an outer space ring-world called Halo.

At stake is nothing less than human-kind’s existence, and the galaxy itself.

Aeneas, the Trojan hero of the Aeneid, travels through its 12 books, battling adversaries and enduring all manner of treachery at the hands of both gods and men, before arriving in Italy and paving the way for his ancestor, Romulus, to found Rome many generations later.

“Both Halo and the Aeneid tell a story about a more-than-human hero defeating enemies who would be too much for ordinary people like us – enemies who nevertheless bear an important resemblance to the ones we and the Romans face in our respective presents,” Travis says.
Roger Travis
Roger Travis, an associate professor of modern and classical languages, uses video games in his classes on classical literature.
Photo by Jordan Bender

The audiences of both Halo and the Aeneid are predisposed to identify with the strong martial heroes, as they roll over all who would impede their effort to make the world safe for civilization, he adds.

The similarities extend well beyond the story line, into the method of telling the story, he adds.

Both tales toss their readers – or players – into the middle of the story and demand a certain interaction from them.

For the ancient bard, the interactive aspect comes from the audience being immersed in the tale and anticipating what will happen next.

For the gamer, the interactivity includes not just joystick manipulation; the player can also elect to slip into the role of any of several characters or to play one section of the game versus another.

Travis, who says he is “just old enough” to have caught the video game bug, first heard about Halo2 in a National Public Radio story in 2004.

Intrigued by the game’s premise, he invested in it, and an Xbox.

Since he knew that many of his students played video games, he realized Halo could be a useful teaching tool and spark discussion.

In a paper on the subject, Travis argues that video games “bring back to life an essential part of the sort of storytelling to be found in the epic tradition of the Homeric bards.”

He says it’s wrong to dismiss video games as “a culturally worthless pursuit,” but agrees that they are certainly fair game for criticism.

“Through critique we may help them tell better stories, and tell stories better,” he says.

Of the frequent criticism that video games are too violent, he says the same could be argued of the Iliad and the Odyssey.

He notes that Henry Jenkins, an MIT professor, has debunked eight of the most persistent “myths” about the evils of video games.

Jenkins’s conclusions are available on the website.

Travis may have elevated video games to a classroom tool, but as a parent, he knows they can also have a negative influence on players.

“No one could deny that video games are easier to get sucked into, and easier to lose much more time to, than ancient epic. Time spent video gaming is, in the realest possible sense, time lost to Homer and baseball.”

He also notes a peril the audiences of 2,500 years ago didn’t have to contend with: a visiting bard might only appear once in a great while to tell his story, but the Master Chief is always there, ready for another mission.
From the Sunday Express:

THEY came, they saw, they conquered. Or in this case, destroyed.

Diggers at an archaeological site took just minutes to do what the ancient Britons failed to manage.

A Roman fort had withstood the ravages of time and tribesmen until heavy-handed experts mistakenly decided to uncover its secrets with a mechanical excavator.

Hundreds of the buried artifacts at Caister, near Yarmouth, were ruined after the Norfolk Arch­aeology Unit commissioned a dig be­fore permission to build houses on the site was granted.

The site is close to the place where Boudicca, the legendary queen of the Iceni tribe, led an uprising against the occupiers.

The excavation area was covered by a layer of asphalt and beneath that lay undisturbed Roman deposits that would have allowed experts to build a picture of life during the Roman occupation.

David Gurney, principal archaeologist at Norfolk Museums and Archaeology Service, was horrified when he arrived to inspect the dig and found a 50ft by 3ft trench scooped out by a digger instead of being excavated by hand.

He said: “This was the first chance to dig a trench across the defences at Caister fort since the Sixties. We lost the opportunity to go through the different layers and recover objects that would have helped us review the dating of the fort defences.

“There’s a lot of archeological work taking place all the time so there’s bound to be the odd lapse. It’s very unfortunate that it took place on such an im­portant site.

Never have been able to fathom the mindset that puts powershovels on archaeological sites ...

A while back we suggested some potential implications of Greece's refusal to lend certain items to the Louvre's Praxiteles exhibition on the basis that they were 'too fragile' ... here's another example of the trend from Bloomberg:

Queen Nefertiti's bust, a symbol of female power and beauty that has survived more than three millennia, is too fragile to leave Berlin for a trip to Egypt, German Culture Minister Bernd Neumann said.

Neumann rejected a campaign by a Hamburg-based lobby group demanding the loan of Nefertiti to Egypt. CulturCooperation e.V., partly funded by the European Union, says Egypt has been requesting the return of the regal bust for more than 90 years, most recently just for temporary exhibition.

``Experts are of the view that there are serious conservation and restoration concerns that argue against any long-distance transportation of Nefertiti,'' Neumann said in a statement today. He added that in general, such cultural exchanges are welcome.

The painted limestone bust dates from the 14th century B.C. and is 50 centimeters tall. It is housed in Berlin's Altes Museum on Museum Island and is considered one of the German capital's most important ancient treasures. It was unearthed by a German archaeologist in 1912 and formed part of a gift of 5,000 objects made to Berlin museums by the philanthropist James Simon in 1920.

``We haven't officially requested the return,'' said Mahmoud Gaafar, a spokesman for the Egyptian Embassy in Berlin. ``Obviously that is not to deny the fact that she is Egyptian.''


Lena Blosat, a spokeswoman for CulturCooperation, said the group is of the opinion that Egyptian requests for a loan of the bust are justified. No one disputes Berlin's legal right to ownership of the treasure, she said.

CulturCooperation, a non-profit organization founded in 1986, supports contemporary art projects and campaigns for a fairer cultural exchange between European nations and countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America whose treasures were plundered by colonial powers. The group has funding from the European Commission, the executive arm of the EU.

The campaign Web site includes a debating forum and invites visitors to vote on whether Nefertiti should be allowed to travel, should return to Egypt permanently, or should remain in Berlin. The campaign will also include an event in Berlin's regional parliament, supported by the Green Party, on May 22, Blosat said.

Now before we buy into Mr. Gaafar's claims, we should remind folks that the bust was on the list of things Egypt was demanding back a couple of years ago ... I guess it depends on your definition of "officially requested". Outside of that, I think we can end the Elgin/Parthenon Marbles dispute right now -- if they have been damaged by the damp London climate, they're clearly too fragile to be moved. End of discussion.
As folks might be aware, I regularly come across claims about the ancient world made in the popular press which seem to have somewhat shaky foundations. This week (amidst assorted email woes) I decided I might as well post these 'all together' on Sundays as a sort of feature of their own. So this week, I'm wondering about:

From SitNews (inter alia):

Interestingly, lore has it that a naked woman onboard would calm the seas. That's why many vessels have a bare breasted figurehead of a woman on the bow. Superstition amongst sailors said that the figurehead should have eyes to find a way through the seas when lost, while her bare breast would shame a stormy sea into calm. Pliny, the ancient Roman scientist and historian, first recorded this belief over 2000 years ago.

Anyone have a source for Pliny saying this? Next, we have an item from the Anniston Star:

Alexander the Great dreamed of a waterway connecting the Black Sea and the North Sea. There is a ditch in the Alps that reminds us of his dream.

There was a strange press release too ... but it doesn't want to come up now.
From the Guardian:

People living near a pagan statue that draws thousands of tourists every year to Northern Ireland's lakelands are threatening a campaign of civil disobedience amid concerns it could be moved to Belfast.

The Janus, which has stood in the Caldragh graveyard on Boa Island in Co Fermanagh since it was put up by the Celts more than 2,000 years ago, inspired the Nobel prize-winning poet Seamus Heaney to write the poem, 'January God'. Locals hold the 2ft tall figure, depicting a man on one side and a female on the other, in awe.

But now rumours are circling that the statue may be moved to the Ulster Museum for its own protection. Opponents say it would be like moving Stonehenge to London.

Gerry Carrigan has lived a mile and a half from the Janus site for more than 60 years. 'I will cling on to it myself if I come across anyone trying to uproot it,' he said. 'The Janus has been here for more than 2,000 years. This place is its home, not some museum in Belfast.'

Looking around last week at his fellow protesters gathered inside the graveyard where the statue stands, Carrigan added: 'These people and more like them are prepared to do the same. We will physically stand in the way of anyone trying to take the Janus away.'

But there is concern among some archaeologists that the elements have badly eroded the statue. A spokesman for the National Museums Northern Ireland refused to state if they wanted it moved to Belfast. 'The Ulster Museum is committed to preserving objects of historical importance,' the spokesman said. 'The museum's position on any valuable public asset which is of value to our heritage is that this would be best preserved in a protected, sheltered and conditioned environment. In the case of any scheduled monument on private property, such a decision is down to the landowner and the Department of the Environment.'

Jim Cunningham, a local historian, tour guide and headmaster of nearby St Davog's Primary School in Beleek, said there was an alternative way of protecting the Janus. 'If this statue was situated five miles away across the border in the Irish Republic, there would be no question of moving it,' he said. 'In Tara the famous High Cross was not moved out of the centre of Kells but rather placed in protective glass. This was what happened to statues in Clonmacnoise too. They were moved into protective casing just 20 yards from their original location.

'In the summer, whenever I take tourists around Fermanagh one of the main things they ask to see is the Janus figure. It is a world-famous attraction. Look at any book on Celtic civilisation anywhere on the planet and you will find a picture of the Janus in its pages.'

A mile and a half from the graveyard in Kells, a popular tourist attraction for fishing, local bed and breakfast owners said that moving the statue would damage tourism. A local filmmaker and B&B owner, Alwyn James, said there were concerns that the authorities were planning to uproot the Janus and replace it with a plastic replica. 'It would be an insult if the statue was replaced by a Celtic version of a plastic gnome,' he said.

Historians believe that Boa Island was a place of pagan worship, and that is why the Janus figure was placed there originally.

There is, however, a debate over whether a Christian building was constructed on the site in the post-pagan world. There are Christian graves dating back to the 13th century at the spot, but no evidence of any Christian church.
Stars and Stylus:

Astronomy and Literature in the Graeco-Roman World

Friday, 11th May 2007
10.30 – 11.30:    Registration in the Department of Classics

                             (1st Floor, Parkinson Building, University of Leeds)

11.30 onwards:   Papers in Seminar Rooms 3 and 4 of the Leeds Humanities Research Institute (LHRI)

(29-31 Clarendon Place)       

11.30 – 12.15:    Andrew Gregory (UCL)

                             Plato and the Stars (TBC)

12.15 – 13.00:    Robert Hannah (Otago)

                             Between Science and Literature: Star Calendars in the Greek and Roman Worlds

13.00 – 14.00:    Lunch

(Room 119, Department of Classics, 1st Floor Parkinson Building)

14.00 – 14.45:    Matthew Robinson (UCL)

                             Eratosthenes’ Catasterismoi and Roman Poetry

14.45 – 15.30:    Josèphe-Henriette Abry (Lyons)

                             Manilius and Aratus: Two Stoic Poets on Stars

15.30 – 16.00:    Coffee (in LHRI)

16.00 – 16.45:    Matthew Dickie (St Andrews)

                             The Preface to Iulius Firmicus Maternus’ Mathesis

16.45 – 17.30:    Emma Gee (Sydney)

Astronomy and Ideology in Two Renaissance Latin Didactic Poets

The close of the papers will be followed by drinks in the Department of Classics (Room 119), followed by dinner at a local restaurant at c. 7.30 p.m. Everyone is warmly invited to dinner with the speakers.

Major email sorting crisis this week (too many Outlook filters mess up after a while) ... here's quite a bit of catching up:

From Scholia:

L. Graverini, W. Keulen, and A Barchiesi, Il Romanzo Antico: Forme, testi, problemi

From BMCR:

Dorothee Elm von der Osten, Joerg Ruepke, Katharina Waldner, Texte als Medium und Reflexion von Religion im roemischen Reich. Potsdamer altertumswissenschaftliche Beitraege 14.

William Hutton, Describing Greece. Landscape and Literature in the Periegesis of Pausanias. Greek Culture in the Roman World.

Claude Calame, Pratiques poetiques de la memoire. Representations de l'espace-temps en Grece ancienne.

Donald G. Kyle, Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World.

Josef Wiesehoefer (ed.), Theodor Mommsen: Gelehrter, Politiker und Literat, unter Mitarbeit von Henning Boerm.

J. Angelo Corlett, Interpreting Plato's Dialogues.

A. Bonadeo, Mito e natura allo specchio: L'eco nel pensiero greco e latino.

Robert A. Kaster, Emotion, Restraint,and Community in Ancient Rome.

Fred S. Kleiner, A History of Roman Art.

Matthias Baltes, EPINOHMATA. Kleine Schriften zur antiken Philosophie und homerischen Dichtung, herausgeben von Marie-Luise Lakmann. Beitraege zur Altertumskunde, 221.

Addendum to BMCR 2007.03.36: Jacobs on J. C. Yardley (trans.), Livy: Hannibal's war (books 21-30)

Cedric Brelaz, La securite publique en Asie Mineure sous le Principat (Ier-IIIeme s. ap. J.-C.).

Phillip Harding, Didymos: On Demosthenes. Clarendon Ancient History Series.

Francesco Paolo Rizzo, Sicilia cristiana. Dal I al V secolo (Volume II). Supplementi a Kokalos, XVII.

Stephen Harrison, Michael Paschalis, Stavros Frangoulidis, Metaphor and the Ancient Novel. Ancient Narrative Supplementum 4.

Rainer Knab, Platons Siebter Brief. Einleitung, Text, Uebersetzung, Kommentar. Spudasmata, Band 110.

Woldemar Goerler, Kleine Schriften zur hellenistisch-roemischen Philosophie. Edited by Christoph Catrein. Philosophia Antiqua, XCV.

Alessandro Perutelli, Ulisse nella cultura romana.

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

John Boardman, The History of Greek Vases. Potters, Painters and Pictures.

Marina Rubinich, Ceramica e coroplastica dalla Magna Grecia nella Collezione de Brandis. Cataloghi e Monografie Archeologiche dei Civici Musei di Udine, 8.

James A. Arieti, Roger M. Barrus, Plato, Gorgias.

J. H. Blok, A. P. M. H. Lardinois, Solon of Athens: New Historical and Philological Approaches.

idus apriles

ludi Cereri (day 2)-- games in honour of the grain goddes Ceres, instituted by/before 202 B.C.

rites in honour of Jupiter Victor and Jupiter Liber

150 A.D. -- martyrdom of Carpus and companions at Pergamon

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Maximus and companions at Silistria

1748 -- death of Christopher Pitt (translator of Virgil)

[apologies for no update yesterday ... slept in]
turdiform @ Wordsmith
From YLE:

Rixa Argentinae et Uruguaiae
: Nuntii Latini

13.04.2007, klo 10.48

Inter Argentinam et Uruguaiam discordia vehementissima orta est de fabrica cellulosae, quam Uruguaiani in ripa fluminis fines utriusque populi discernentis aedificaturi sunt.

Hoc opus iam societati Finnicae, cui nomen Metsä-Botnia, perficiendum traditum est.

Argentini autem incepto Uruguaianorum tanto ardore adversantur, ut querimoniam eius rei ad tribunal internationale Hagense detulerint.

Quae quamvis ita essent, partes litigantes tamen consenserunt, ut mense Aprili exeunte Matritum ad controversiam componendam convenirent.

Disceptator contentionis erit ipse Iohannes Carolus, rex Hispaniae.

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

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have found a camp thought to have been built to accommodate Roman construction workers who constructed the Antonine Wall.

It was discovered in a dig following the demolition of the former OKI factory at Tollpark, near Castlecary, North Lanarkshire.

Ross White of CFA Archaeology said the rectangular camp's outline was first identified in cropmarks on aerial photographs taken in the late 1940s, before the development of the area.

The camp was situated about 400 metres south of the Antonine Wall and midway between the Roman forts at Westerwood and Castlecary.

Mr White's report on the find, published in the Scottish Archaeological News yesterday, reveals two possible entrances and the likelihood of a fortifying rampart.

"The camp is typically Roman and is assumed to be associated with the construction of the Antonine Wall," he said.

"Depending on the precise date at which it was built, it may have been used by Roman scouting parties looking for the best place to build the wall itself and monitoring the locals.

"It would then have been used to accommodate those building the wall."

Construction of the Antonine Wall began in 142, during the reign of Antoninus Pius. It stretches 37 miles from Old Kilpatrick in West Dunbartonshire on the Firth of Clyde to Bo'ness, Falkirk, on the Firth of Forth. The wall was intended to replace the superior Hadrian's Wall, 100 miles south.
From Life Style Extra:

A 2000 year old lead ingot mined by the Romans shortly after they conquered Britain is expected to fetch up to £12,000 when it goes under the hammer this month.

The 154lb ingot, known as a 'pig', was mined by Romans in North Yorkshire, and would have been due to be made into piping of waterproof lining for roofs. Silver could also be extracted from it.

The Romans, who ran well organised mining operations in Britain and also produced silver and gold after invading the country in AD43.

Dating from AD81, the 11 stone pig bears a raised inscription on the top reading 'Imperatore Caesare Domitiano Augusto Consule Septimum’ - a reference to the Emperor Domitians seventh consulate.

Measuring 58.5cm by 10.5cm by 13.5cm, it has the word 'Brig' on the side - showing it came from the territory of the British Brigantes tribe, who had fallen under Roman rule.

The pig was discovered accidentally in 1731 in peat on Hawshaw Moor, which was famous in antiquity for its lead mines. A second, similar ingot was also found.

The first recorded document about the pig dates from 1768 and states it was the property of Sir Thomas Ingilby, if Ripley Castle, North Yorkshire.

The Ripley Castle guidebook records that the pig was kept on a radiator shelf.

It is expected to fetch between £8,000 and £10,000 when it goes to auction at the Bonhams auction of Antiquities and Tribal Art on April 26.

A Bonhams spokesman said: "The lead `pig’ or ingot is a massively tangible remnant of the occupation of these islands and its exploitation by the Romans."

From the 24 Hour Museum:

Archaeologists unearthing parts of an underground Roman aqueduct in Lincoln have found the first evidence that it was actually used, contrary to previous thinking.

The aqueduct, near Lincoln’s Nettleham Road, has been known about for centuries, and archaeological investigations of it were carried out in the 1950s and 70s, with no firm evidence for their ever carrying water being found. However, with the recent start of a housing development on the site, the time came for sections of the piping to be removed and studied thoroughly.

Excavations also revealed that a road thought to have been a Roman construction is in fact post-medieval.

Simon Johnson, principal archaeologist at Pre-Construct Archaeology, who carried out the work, explained that visible calcium deposits suggest the pipes did carry water.

“There’s been persistent questions over whether the aqueduct ever functioned,” he said. “We’ve got at least one section where there is furring around the full circumference, suggesting it was used. Who knows for how long? You’re looking at decades to produce that sort of deposit, I should think.”

The aqueduct – an ingenious piece of Roman engineering – is thought to have taken water from a spring known as Roaring Meg, about one kilometre north of the site. There are several theories about the pipes: they might have been up to ten miles long, and possibly fed public baths, or a header tank for further distribution.

The Roman plumbing system is constructed from a series of terracotta pipes surrounded with ‘Roman concrete’, a lime mortar mixed with brick dust and chips (opus sigininum). The sealed construction meant that theoretically, water could be pressurised and transported uphill.

“Lincoln’s Roman aqueduct is one of the most famous in Britain,” said Michael Jones, the city archaeologist for Lincoln, “but also the most problematic, since we are still trying to understand how and from where water was brought uphill to the Roman city.”

“Any new evidence such as this is a bonus, and will not only allow more people to enjoy its fascination but also specialist engineers to test its strength under pressure.”

The sections of aqueduct within the site are well preserved due to their strong construction, apart from some damage by tree root growth and in places where service trenches have been dug. A section of the aqueduct will now be offered to Lincoln museum The Collection for public display, and site developers David Wilson Homes (who also funded the archaeological work) are donating another piece to a local school.

It is hoped that one part of the aqueduct will be subject to further analysis to determine whether it would have been able to support a pressurised flow of water. The limescale deposits could also be analysed, though whether this will yield clues as to how long the aqueduct was used is not certain.

The excavation also threw up a surprise about the road on top of the Roman water system. It was accepted that the road was a Roman creation (simply due to its proximity to the aqueduct) but these are usually well constructed, with cambers and ditches. The one on the site turned out not to be like this, and featured noticeable wheel ruts. In addition, investigations found artefacts such as glazed pottery fragments that date the road to much later, with lots of 17th-19th century debris including horseshoes, a buckle and lead shot adding weight to the theory.

“The excavations have shown clearly that the wide road surface that sealed the aqueduct is relatively recent and might date to the time when the city was growing again in the 18th century,” said Michael. “For example, do the ruts indicate very heavy loads, perhaps stone being brought from nearby quarries?”

One further discovery made during the work, prior to 43 homes being built on the site, has been that the individual pipes of the aqueduct were joined by terracotta collars – similar to modern drains.

“What we were assuming was that the pipes slotted together, with male and female ends, but actually they were male fitted with collars – a bit like modern pipes,” said Simon. “It was an unusual thing, bizarre really!”
Interesting item from the Queen's Gazette:

"I am Greek" (EIMAI ELLHNAS), said Dr. Gaetano Cipolla, professor of Italian at St. John's University in Queens. A new perspective on the Greeks overseas and their relationship with Sicily was the theme of this unique lecture. The event was sponsored by the Solon Society at St. Paul's Greek Orthodox church, 110 Cathedral Ave., Hempstead.

"There is no one like Dr. Cipolla," said Andreas George, writer and Master of Ceremonies. "I heard him speak at the Pan Macedonian House a year ago to a packed audience. He is one of the leading authorities in the world on Sicily. His book, Sicilian Studies of the Sicilian Ethos, contains chapters on the Greek, Jewish and Arabic presence and their influences on Sicilians."

"Sixteen different foreign invasions of Sicily took place," said Dr. Cipolla. "The invaders were attracted by the fertility and beauty of the landscape. I do not view the Greeks as invaders. There is no separation between Sicily and Greece. Sicily was Greece. The Greek heritage is seen everywhere. Greece changed the landscape of Sicily forever.

"Sailors talked about a lush island that sparked Greek imagination," he explained. "The Greeks considered the island a promised land. Once they established themselves as Sicilians, they outdid their brothers in the grandeur of their achievements, Naxos was the first settlement, founded by the Chalcidians of Euboea in 735 B.C. Other cities followed: Siracusa by Corinth in 734 B.C.; Catania in 727; Messina in 689 B.C.; Gela in 688 B.C.; Agrigento in 580 B.C. and other settlements. All the primary cities were founded on the coast. The Greek cities eventually succeeded in Hellenizing the island completely, establishing a flourishing civilization in their cities."

Dr. Cipolla firmly asserted, "As the Greeks put their mark on the island, Sicily, as it was to do with almost every domination, conditioned and shaped that culture in its own image. The Greeks of the Diaspora, Siculi and Sicans came to be known as Siceliots, using a Greek suffix 'otu' still in use in Sicilian meaning 'belonging to'. The Greeks had no future in their homeland that was bursting with a population explosion and little space The colonization was more than immigration.

"The Greeks were not invaders who came and conquered," he affirmed. 'They came in search of land to cultivate in 'the island of the sun' as Homer called it. They came to stay beginning as Greek Sicilians, then Siciliotes and finally as Sicilians. They spoke Greek up to the 11th century. Syracuse became the dominant world power of that time after the defeat of the Athenian navy during the Peloponnesian War. The conquest of Sicily by Rome marked the end of the most glorious period in Sicilian history. The glory Sicily had under the Greeks 2,000 years ago was the highpoint of their history." I thought I was listening to a lecture on "The Greeks of the Diaspora" given by the Greek Education Ministry.

"Currently, America is mesmerized by the movie, '300', based on Leonidas and the 300 Spartans at Thermopylae", Dr. Cipolla said. "Spartan soldiers came to Sicily as part of an expeditionary force. Their shield had the Greek letter 'Lambda' that stood for Lacedemoni, their ancient name. The l (l) resembles a human leg. After the Spartans settled, the shield decoration was changed to three legs, so they would be recognized as belonging to Sicily, known to the Greeks as Trinacria (three cornered island), The three running legs with the image of Demeter, Mother Earth Goddess, in the center is now on the Sicilian regional flag." Who would think the ancient Spartans influenced life in Sicily?

The St. John's University professor remarked that the great minds of antiquity were born and lived on Sicilian soil. They included: Archimedes; Gorgia of Lentini, a founder of Greek philosophical thought; Empedocles, father of philosophy; Epicharmus, father of comedy; Charondas, a Catania lawgiver; Sesicorus of Himera, a poet, and others. "It was not a one-way street," he asserted. "Many Sicilians returned to Greece to visit the oracles, participate in the Olympic games, to teach and to learn. Sicily was Greece on a grander scale. Sicily received the language, culture and institutions of the Greeks and later contributed to the mother country and the world. Sicily and Southern Italy became known as 'Magna Graecia' and deserves some of the credit.

"Goethe said 'Sicily is the key to understanding not only Italy, but Greece,'" he contends. "The European intellectuals came to Sicily to discover Greece. One cannot think of Greece without Magna Graecia. It is like returning home. Come and visit us."

That is how I felt when I went on an Arba Sicula tour with Dr. Cipolla. The Solon Society's outstanding lecture presented a down to earth, humble intellectual who showed us the truth of Sicily: a place to rediscover our Greek roots. The official Web site is For more information on the Solon Society, e-mail dsmiros AT
The Atlantic reproduces a piece from 2001 by Robert Kaplan on Tunisia ... inter alia:

"People say our success is because of this policy or that policy, or because we have been fortunate to have good leaders," Romdhani says. "Though that is all true, there must be something deeper going on." The explanation for Tunisia's success begins with the fact that modern Tunisia corresponds roughly to the borders of ancient Carthage and of the Roman province that replaced it in 146 B.C., after a third and final war between the two powers. "Africa," originally a Roman term, meant Tunisia long before it meant anything else. Archaeologists have uncovered 200 Roman cities in the fertile farmlands of northern Tunisia, where the vast majority of the population lives. North Africa was the granary of the Roman Empire and produced more olive oil than Italy. The Romans built thousands of miles of roads there, and also bridges, dams, aqueducts, and irrigation systems; one aqueduct alone, still partially visible near the town of Zaghouan, carried 8.5 million gallons of water daily to Carthage, fifty-five miles to the north. Fifteen percent of Rome's senators came from Tunisia. Not only the Romans but also the fifth-century Vandals and every conqueror since, including the French in the nineteenth century, made the fertile north of Tunisia their base in North Africa.
ante diem iii idus apriles

421 B.C. -- Peace of Nikias brings the first phase of the Peloponnesian war (a.k.a. the Archidamian War) to an end (by one reckoning)

52 B.C. -- trial of Milo -- with Cicero on his side -- for the murder of Clodius (by one reckoning)

92 A.D. -- martyrdom of Antipas

145 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Septimius Severus
vomitorium @ Wordsmith (yay!)

grandiloquism @ Worthless Word for the Day
From YLE:

Primatus velocitatis ferriviariae
: Nuntii Latini

05.04.2007, klo 17.11

Tramen Francogallicum celeritatem ferriviariam omnium temporum maximam consecutum est.

Velocitas enim eius experimento prope Lutetiam Parisiorum hac septimana facto ad quingena septuagena quina chiliometra horalia crevit. Constabat vehiculum ex tribus curribus, qui rotis praegrandibus praediti erant, et propellebatur duabus machinis vectoriis summae efficacitatis.

Reijo Pitkäranta
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Today we have a brief item on the excavations at Olympia:

Greek Archaeology: Site of the Ancient Olympics

... it seems to be one of a many parter; I can't seem to find any subsequent parts
The beginning of an item from the food section of the Washington Times:

By now, the first and maybe even the second flush of the new year dieting excitement has worn off. Yet the dreaded swimsuit season approaches.
Never fear. We can take our inspiration from the ancient Greeks, who saw the body as a temple and treated it with respect. Yet they also treated food with respect.
In ancient Greek times, citizens started the day at the gym. It was more than just a place to work out. It was the social center of ancient cities, the place to meet friends, court allies and plan the night's festivities. A good body was a must in ancient Greece and Rome. For proof, just take a look at those gorgeous ancient statues.
Philosophers such as Socrates, Aristotle and Plato taught that it was essential to take care of the body by eating right and getting exercise to show self-control and discipline. If you're like millions of Americans, you're thinking about shedding a few pounds in time for bikini season.
Here are 10 quotes from the ancient Greeks and Romans and the modern-day lessons they teach. Who knows? Maybe 2,500-year-old advice still has the power to inspire the best bods on the beach.
Some men live to eat and drink, I eat and drink to live.
-- Socrates, Greek philosopher, fourth century B.C.

Modern lesson: Be sure to try a new interest or two. Eating shouldn't be your only hobby.
Appetite is the best seasoning.
-- Socrates

Modern lesson: Get in touch with the healthy feeling of being a little hungry. Don't snack on junk food at the very first pang of hunger. Wait for a meal, and you'll enjoy healthy foods a lot more.
We should look first for someone to eat and drink with before looking for something to eat and drink. Dining alone is leading the life of a lion or wolf.
-- Epicurus, Greek philosopher, third century B.C.

Modern lesson: Don't eat alone, standing in front of the fridge or over the sink. Try to have at least one meal a day with someone else; you'll probably eat less and enjoy the meal more.
It is impossible to live pleasurably without living wisely, well and justly, and impossible to live wisely, well and justly without living pleasurably.
-- Epicurus

Modern lesson: Enjoy yourself. Enjoy your food. Sounds like the opposite of diet advice, but guilty eating isn't pleasurable or satisfying, and so you end up depressed and eating more.
A crust eaten in peace is better than a feast in anxiety.
-- Aesop, about 550 B.C.

Modern Lesson: Don't eat when you're stressed out. Sip some tea, take a walk, talk to a pal. Stuffing your face to cure a bad mood will only pack on the pounds and give you indigestion, too.
Nothing can nourish the human body unless it participates in some sweetness.
-- Aristotle, 384-322 B.C.

Modern lesson: Don't deprive yourself. A once-in-a-while treat is fine.
The way to keep healthy is to know one's own constitution, to understand what is good for it and what is bad and to exercise moderation regarding all one's physical needs.
-- Marcus Cicero, Roman statesman, first century B.C.

Modern lesson: Don't overdo. Don't overeat, but also don't overexercise. Setting unrealistic exercise goals invites failure and maybe even injury.
Live each day as though your last.
-- Marcus Aurelius, emperor of Rome, first century

Modern lesson: Treat yourself elegantly. Set a nice spread when you sit down to eat: good plates, a pretty napkin, maybe even a candle.
There are two liquids especially agreeable to the human body, wine inside and oil outside.
-- Pliny the Elder, historian, first century

Modern lesson: Drink a glass of red wine with dinner. The ancient Greeks believed that wine was essential for proper digestion and many French and modern health writers agree. The ancients called a meal without wine "a dog's dinner."
To be happy takes a complete lifetime. One swallow does not make summer. . . .
-- Aristotle

Modern lesson: One bad day doesn't mean anything. Everyone slips off the diet wagon once in a while. Don't beat yourself up for a binge blast. Keep your eye on the larger picture: healthful eating and healthy lifestyle.


Alexandra Pierce asks:

Is that really where "one swallow does not make a summer" comes from??  Seems very funny, in the context of talking about food!!


I was somewhat confused by this one as well; the author (intentionally?) seems to think the swallow here is the kind that happens in your throat, as opposed to the bird. Or do they? The attribution to Aristotle (which is common) is somewhat troubling too ... see this item in the Hindu, e.g. (which may or may not have the authorship right either).
From Science Daily:

Parts of amphoras believed to be 2,200 years old uncovered in a Bosnia-Herzegovina swamp are suspected to have carried wine, experts said Monday.

Snjezana Vasilj, head of a Bosnian team of archaeologists, said a preliminary analysis showed amphoras, found at what are believed remains of the first-ever discovered Illyrian ships, were used for transporting wine, the Bosnian news agency FENA reported.

Late in March, Vasilj and her team found what they believed were the Illyrian ships in the Desilo location, more than 20 feet under the water level of the Hutovo Blato swamp, near Capljina in southern Bosnia.

The Illyrian ships are believed to have sailed from the Adriatic Sea up the Neretva River carrying merchandise to the inland Balkans.

The Illyrian ships, suspected dating back to the 2nd century B.C., are known to historians only through Greek and Roman legends as their physical existence had never been established, Vasilj said.

Illyrians are considered as the earliest inhabitants of what is today Bosnia-Herzegovina, long before the Roman Empire took control of the Balkans.
Check out the entry at boingboing on creating a cover for a student edition of the Iliad ....
From the Canadian Classical Bulletin:

A friendly reminder to those wishing to attend this year’s CAC conference in St. John’s.


Registrations are still being accepted for this year’s CAC conference in St. John’s.  Please note that a surcharge of $20 should be included with any new registrations. 

Also, please be sure to book your room at the Fairmont St. John’s as the promotional discount will expire April 19th. 


Information regarding the conference can be found at:
Richard Rawles writes:

Dear David Meadows,
In fact UK nationals *can* still sign the petition at <> as well as inspecting the list of other signatories. Perhaps you could correct this? It would be a shame if people who would have wanted to sign didn't...

... apologies for any confusion; if you are a UK National and haven't signed yet -- to use one of my father's phrases, "Don't wait for spring, do it now!"

ante diem iv idus apriles

ludi Megalesia (day 7) -- the Cybelefest continues

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Pompeius and Terence at Carthage

401 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Theodosius II
From YLE:

Missale vetus in Finnia repertum
: Nuntii Latini

05.04.2007, klo 17.11

Valle Gratiae, in oppido Finniae, missale mediaevale tantae raritatis inventum est, ut in libris nostris omnium vetustissimis numeretur.

Verisimile est hoc opus, quod in tutela officii parochialis reconditum erat, saeculo tertio decimo exeunte aut in Anglia aut in Francogallia compositum esse.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Congressus a Georgio Bush ob Iraquiam vituperatur
titivate @ Wordsmith

rivulet @
Another slow day, so here's another three parter from the Ancient Warriors series:

Ancient Warriors: Legions of Rome I
Ancient Warriors: Legions of Rome II
Ancient Warriors: Legions of Rome III

As promised, here's this week's gleanings from the Classical blogosphere:

A great many blogs (and mailing lists) have links to an e-petition to the PM of the UK in regards to plans to scrap Ancient History O-Levels ... if you haven't signed it and want to, it's too late (it was limited to citizens of the UK, obviously) but you can peruse the list of signatories ...

N.S. Gill had an item on the charge against Socrates ... coincidentally, there was a discussion on the Classics list about whether Socrates did actually ingest hemlock and inter alia, this very interesting paper (online) was mentioned: Enid Bloch, "Hemlock Poisoning and the Death of Socrates: Did Plato Tell the Truth?"

... elsewhere, N.S. was posting about Imperial Women, Tiberius ... she also had a nice gallery of maps of the Roman Empire ...

Alun had a useful list of the Greek months in various city-states ....

At Campus Mawrtius, Eric posted about Aurea Mediocritas while Dennis had an item of translation theory and practice ...

Glaukopis went to see 300 ...

Ed Flinn continued to post his coin collection ...

Michael Gilleland had another eclectic selection of posts ... Herodotus on Pacification ... Liddell and Scott ... Erysichthon in Ovid ... and in Callimachus ... and the must-read Rectal Music ...

Peter Stothard had an item on the Penguin Aesop ...

Mary Beard went to the Louvre's Praxiteles exhibition ...

William Annis posted on Athenaeus' account of Callipygian Aphrodite ...

Irene Hahn had a nice post on Catullus ... Corona Graminea ... on whether Marius (junior) murdered Cato ...

Adrian Murdoch returned from fishing to post about the Breviarium of Festus and Bohn's Ammianus Marcellinus ....

At Hypotyposeis, Andrew Criddle posted a Christian inscription from Dura Europus ...

Other roundups:

Phil S. has his weekly Patristics roundup ...

Laura Gibbs' roundup of useful Latin teaching materials ...

New blogs:

Gavin Kelly's Ausonius (hat tip to Adrian Murdoch)
A lengthy piece in the Persian Journal casts (well known) doubts on Herodotus' trustworthiness and goes further to deny that Thermopylae (and Salamis too) ever happened. Inter alia:

According to Herodotus, hundreds of Persian ships were sunk at Salamis. Where are the remains of these shipwrecks? Of course, not all shipwrecks are always salvaged, either because the exact site is indeterminate, or because a single ship is being sought. The location that is given by Herodotus is a relatively precise location, and is not in a desolate or extremely deep part of an ocean. It is close to land, and not too deep. So what has been found at the site? Not much. Apart from an occasional shipwreck or two from the ancient world, the vast graveyard of triremes one expects to find there is notably absent, even with today's complex ship salvage technologies.

How about Thermopylae? What has been recovered there? Apart from some Persian arrowheads, not much else. Again, considering the very specific site of battle and mountainous terrain that allows for only a small strip of flat land, the search area is relatively small. Furthermore, it is unlikely that it would conceal the following from the prying eyes of modern archaeologists:

"It was while they were at this station that a herald reached them from Xerxes, whom he had sent after making the following dispositions with respect to the bodies of those who fell at Thermopylae. Of the twenty thousand who had been slain on the Persian side, he left one thousand upon the field while he buried the rest in trenches; and these he carefully filled up with earth, and hid with foliage, that the sailors might not see any signs of them." Herodotus, The Histories, Book VIII.

Twenty thousand Persians died at Thermopylae, of which nineteen thousand were buried in mass graves at that very site by Xerxes, according to Herodotus. There are supposedly mass graves of 19,000 dead warriors there, somewhere in that narrow mountain pass. Archaeologists have been able to find a few arrowheads from that incident, but the colossal cemetery has somehow managed to elude discovery.

The conspicuous absence of hundreds of sunk Persian ships and the mass graves of 19,000 dead Persian warriors sheds serious doubt not just on the details of Herodotus' story, but upon its entire foundation.

... you can read the whole thing here.


Tim writes:

My daughter and I watched '300' and loved it, fully aware that it was based largely upon a graphic novel.  But I read that piece in the Persian Journal and can't help wondering if the writer was just that little bit biased.  It's also a bit rich seeing as countries in that part of the world have a tendency to historical revisionism themselves.  Neither does he know much about maritime archaeology as his commentary reveals as, considering how many ships plied the waters of the Med for the past several thousand years, the remains of such are pretty few and far between because survival of such remains are dependant upon so many factors, so I'm not in the least bit suprised at the dearth of Persian shipwrecks. 

I just remembered this link this week as well: The Persian War Shipwreck Survey homepage ... needs some updating, but still applicable.
Interesting item from the (Calcutta) Telegraph:

It's a typical modern Indian village, desperately seeking to be a small town. It’s greatest obstacle: lack of connectivity and resources.

Yet some 2,000 years ago, Ter connected India with Rome and was among the most thriving city states in the region.

The 20-km drive from district headquarters Osmanabad to this Maharashtra village is bumpy and slow. But the scale of construction surrounding it offers a contrast. Modern structures are replacing old mud huts everywhere.

It reflects in many ways Ter’s desperate attempt to cut its ties with its past.

The rush towards modernity, though, comes at the cost of a rich history in this cluster of low, rounded hills — a surprise in the otherwise flat land.

Beneath these white mounds, whose fine alluvium is so popular with local brick kiln owners, lies an ancient walled city dating to the first century AD when it emerged as a bustling trade centre under the Satvahana dynasty.

Mohan Tulzapurkar, owner of Terna brick kiln on the village’s outskirts, looks on nonchalantly as his trucks bring in soil dug up illegally from the ancient mounds.

“They (archaeologists) have been digging up this place for the last 100 years. Why haven’t they been able to take what they have to and leave? Who wants to live in the past? People here want jobs, prosperity,” Tulzapurkar says.

Osmanabad MLA Padamsinh Bajirao Patil of the Nationalist Congress Party can’t decide whose side he is on.

Married to party chief Sharad Pawar’s sister-in-law and belonging to an old local aristocratic family, Patil wields clout in Ter and also over the state government’s archaeological department.

“I am confused. There was a time I worked for conservation of Ter. But the excavation has been slow, as usual, and has taken place only in spurts because of budget constraints,” he says.

“Often, people have not been happy to let go of their fields and homes for excavation, especially since the compensation has been low. Everything is not in my hands.”

Experts say that a decade-long excavation across a 4-5 km area after relocating the village is the only way Ter’s ancient splendour can be unearthed.

“Local people now want a market complex and the panchayat has identified a site, which is yet to be excavated. I have requested them to think of an alternative site. But if they insist, how long can I hold them back? After all, the development of this area is also my job,” says Patil, mouthing an old argument.

Almost every household in this village of 20,000 people scattered over the mounds has found a relic or two in its backyard some time or the other.

But for most of them, the fine white earth matters more than what lies beneath. Farmers cart off the white alluvium to enrich their sugarcane fields, erasing some of history’s footprints every day.

“Yes, we find some broken statues and terracotta utensils here. But where is the time to think about protecting the past when there are no securities in the present and guarantees about the future?” asks Yunus Bashir, a farmer.

The state government has announced a Rs 12-crore grant for its art and archaeology department for the restoration of some 13 crucial archaeological sites across Maharashtra, but department director Ramakrishna Hegde feels it is too little too late.

“Every day, priceless artefacts revealing the deep connection between Ter and Rome are being destroyed. Many mounds in and around Ter are awaiting excavation. Take a stroll though the village and you will stumble on historical treasures. It’s an irreversible loss.”

Ter’s — or Tagara’s, as it was then known — link with ancient Rome and Greece ran through Nalasopara, now the second-last stop on Mumbai’s western commuter line and then a port that linked India with the Mediterranean.

“In the early centuries of the Christian era, there was an enormous expansion of inland trade networks in the Indian subcontinent, coupled with increased maritime activity between the west coast and the Red Sea ports of the Roman Empire. This led to the rise of urban centres at vantage points along the trade routes, among which Ter was one,” says Veerbhadra Rao, director of ASI’s Aurangabad circle.

Tagara is Maharashtra’s oldest city, referred to as an important trading town by the second-century AD Greek geographer and astronomer, Ptolemy. It finds mention in the Periplus of the Erythraean Sea — a first-century AD account of contemporary trade and navigation — as one of the two famous trading centres on the Indian west coast, the other being Pratishthana, modern Paithan in Aurangabad district.

Traders from the Mediterranean collected merchandise from here and took them to Barygaza (Bharauch in Gujarat) for shipment. The historical accounts mention how fine linen, all kinds of muslins and other merchandise were carried by wagons to the ports from Ter, also connected by trade routes with northern India during Asoka’s era (third century BC).

“Today, in the absence of political will, Ter’s legacy is being ripped apart. A storehouse of artefacts from the second century BC to the 15th-16th centuries AD, it’s an archaeologist’s dream turning into his worst nightmare,” complains A. Jamkhedkar, former director of the state archaeological department.

The first excavation of Ter had begun in 1901 under the Raj. The remains of a stupa, a Roman-style temple and a wooden rampart that has a clear Roman influence have been the major finds so far.

“There were at least seven more excavations, the last one under my supervision in the 1990s, when we found a ceremonial tank bearing marks of Roman influence,” says Jamkhedkar.

The cultural give and take between Ter and Rome is clear from the 23,852 artefacts that line the shelves of a dusty local museum run by the state archaeological department that traces its contents to the jazzy residence of local trader Revan Siddhappa.

The museum is named after his late grandfather, Ramlingappa Lamture, a grocer who had a passion for the region’s history and tried to collect and preserve artefacts dug up by village children every now and then from their playgrounds.

“It was with Lamture’s assistance that the archaeological department was able to set up the museum. He not only donated his entire collection but also convinced his fellow villagers to give up priceless ancient coins and artefacts,” Jamkhedkar says.

His grandson is not as generous and refuses to part with a unique antique that may prove Ter exported handicraft to the ancient Italian city of Pompeii. It’s an ivory comb handle, an 8-cm sculpted figurine of a maiden similar to ivory carvings found in the ruins of Pompeii.

Siddhappa, 45, has a curious demand.

“They had promised my family that the Ter museum would have a grand inauguration by a VIP. Then some archaeological bigwig came and cut the ribbon. I want the Prime Minister or the President to inaugurate the museum. Till they do that, I will not surrender this piece. I will keep it safe in my custody.”

Meanwhile, other unaccounted treasures will be turning to dust every day.

... what I find very interesting is that Ter is nowhere near the coast
... due to assorted Easter-related activities, I won't be able to get an update in today ... I'll get the ClassiCarnival up tomorrow a.m.. -- Happy Easter everyone! Christos anesti!
There is absolutely nothing worth posting in my inbox this a.m., and nothing on TV tonight, so let's have some more lengthy videos today ... here's a three parter on the Spartans from the Ancient Warrior series (much about Thermopylae):

Ancient Warriors - The Spartans I
Ancient Warriors - The Spartans II
Ancient Warriors - The Spartans III


Peter Barker writes:

A fellow UNISA student drew my attention to the You Tube clips on the battle of Thermopylae. It is pretty good. I graduated MA last year. My dissertation was largely on the logistics the Persian invasion of 480BC, so I have a close interest in what other people say about it. There is no way that the Persian army (which contained far more subject people than Persians) could have been 100 x the Spartan 300 = 300 000. The army and navy together could possibly have reached that number. The minimum food requirement for those days was about 1.36 kg of grain and 2 litres of water per day. That is, over 400 tons of grain and the contents of a municipal swimming pool of water! The programme rightly discounts Herodotus’ reported number of troops but still, in my view, exaggerated. Generally the clips are a pretty fair account of a story told from the Greek point of view. It is strange that Xerxes kept secretaries near him all the time but perhaps naturally, no Persian record of their failure exists.
From Turkish Daily News comes this (of sorts) update:

Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Güler delivered good news about the Ancient City of Allianoi, which is expected to be flooded by the Yortanl Dam. "Keep the faith! We will not give up. Considering our cultural treasures, historical legacy and the advantages of the dam, all together, we will find a reasonable solution," said Minister Guler.

"The farmers in the area are expecting water. On the other hand, there is a piece of art. We will find a reasonable solution considering both interests. The Izmir Committee for the Conservation of Cultural and Natural Heritage decided to prevent the operation of the dam until the end of the project on the ancient site. We are waiting for the final decision and are going to act accordingly," said Minister Guler, during a meeting organized by the I.zmir Branch of Independent Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (MuSI.AD) at the Balçova Thermal Facilities last weekend.

"There is also a conservation project being conducted by the State Water Affairs (DSI.). The Izmir Committee for the Conservation of Cultural and Natural Heritage ratified the project and asked for the opinion of the Turkish Scientific Committee, which is comprised of experts and academics in the area of archeology. This scientific committee will gather within the next few days to make a decision. Yet, keep the faith! Instead of ruining our cultural heritage and historical treasures, we will find a solution bearing in mind both concerns," he said.


Historically, Allianoi is well known as the land of the god of health Asklepios. The ancient city was established during the Hellenistic Age and reached its peak during the reign of Roman emperor Hadrian. It was considered as one of the most important health centers for nearly 15 centuries, starting from the sixth century B.C. through to the 11th century.

Allianoi was famed for its thermal spring center and was known as the most important healing complexes during Hadrian's rule (117-138). Over the last five years, excavations revealed two impressive gates, marble stone-paved streets, shops, houses adorned with mosaics, large town squares, public fountains and rest areas after having a bath. Surprisingly, the latest findings, such as mosaics, marble stones and some wood pieces designed for houses, were the most protected ever seen on an archaeological site because they had been covered with alluvium soil. The ancient city would have been flooded by Yortanl" Dam's water last November, but a court ruling stopped DSI. from flooding the ancient city.
From Bryn Mawr Now:

Each year, the C. Denismore Curtis Lecture is presented by a speaker chosen by the graduate students of the Department of Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology. This year, the students have extended the honor to University of Cincinnati archaeologist Barbara Burrell, who will provide an historical perspective on Herod the Great, a biblical figure long reviled in the West. She will deliver the lecture, titled "Conquering Nature: Herod the Great's Caesarea," on Friday, April 13, at 5 p.m., in Carpenter B21. The lecture is free and open to the public; those who wish to meet Burrell are invited to tea in the Quita Woodward Room at 4 p.m.
festival logo

Herod the Great is familiar in the Christian tradition as the ruler who ordered the execution of all young male children in the town of Bethlehem shortly after the birth of Jesus, so as to avert the loss of his throne to a newborn "King of the Jews." This biblical reputation, says Burrell, has often obscured the historical significance of Herod's reign as "one of the last of the Hellenistic monarchs." As a client-king under the Roman Empire, Herod lived at a fascinating set of historical intersections. He presided over a grandly ambitious building program, funding the construction of not only palaces but entire cities. The ruins of Herod's creations are now being excavated.

Burrell is the field director of excavations at Caesarea Maritima, a seaport that Herod built on a Greco-Roman model to honor his patron, Caesar Augustus. Caesarea's builders created an elaborate water and sewer system for the city, and its port was vastly improved by ingenious engineers.

Trained at New York University and at Harvard, Burrell has dug at sites across the Mediterranean, including Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey, before embarking on the Caesarea site. Her specialties include Roman provincial coins, Greek epigraphy of Asia Minor, and Hellenistic and Roman imperial art, architecture and history. She has taught seminars in numismatics, gender and archaeological theory, the emperor Hadrian, the crisis of the third century C.E., and the archaeology of Israel. In 2002, she was appointed the first senior fellow of the Australian Centre for Ancient Numismatic Research, at Macquarie University in Sydney. Her major work on cities that built temples to the imperial cult, Neokoroi: Greek Cities and Roman Emperors, appeared in 2004, and an article on the significance of the aedicular facade throughout the Roman world has just been published in the American Journal of Archaeology.
The Cultural Value of Oral History

University of Glasgow, 24-26 July 2007

Call for Papers

This event is intended to establish a cross-disciplinary forum in which to assess the evidential significance of orality and oral history. The aim is to encourage academic excellence and an exchange of knowledge between experienced academics, postgraduates and professionals in the field.

The two-day conference will include scholarly presentations organized into themed sessions. Thursday 26 July will offer didactic workshops by experienced oral history practitioners, which are designed to be of interest to delegates at all stages of their careers. We welcome proposals from all disciplines and subject areas. Topics addressed might include the following:

• How does the theory and practice of oral history relate to orality, aurality and oral cultures?
• How does the practice of oral history interact with cultural taboos?
• Is there a case for logocentrism?
• What is the future of oral history in the digital world?
• How has orality and aurality shaped past and present societies?
• History – Herstory: Does oral history redress the gender balance?
• Giving voice to the voiceless – is oral history the key to marginalized sectors of society?
• What are the cultural and evidential values of the oral record?
• How do we deal with 'silences' in oral history?
• Is oral history 'politically correct'? What is its role within the educational agenda?
• How are individual and collective memories configured?

Papers should be 20 minutes in length and may include audio and visual elements within this timescale. Proposals from postgraduates are particularly welcomed. Throughout the two days there will be the opportunity for poster presentations. Exhibition presentations are also welcome from professional practitioners of oral history and archival projects.

The conference organizers, with permission, intend to pod cast contributions and there is opportunity for postgraduates who attend the conference to contribute to 'Orality and Literacy', Issue 10 of the award-winning postgraduate journal, eSharp, forthcoming in November 2007.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words should be sent by email as MS Word or PDF attachment with a brief biography to the conference organizers at the email address below. Poster and exhibition proposals, and any requests for further information, should be sent to the same address:

(Email)   oralhistory AT

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 4 May 2007. Speakers will be notified of whether their papers have been accepted by 18 May 2007.

7.00 p.m. |DCIVC| The Real Family of Jesus: Part 1

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

8.00 p.m. |NG| Jesus: The Man
Who was Jesus and how did a boy from rural Galilee grow up to become
one of the world's greatest spiritual leaders? Did he grow up in a
traditional Jewish family? Did he have brothers and sisters? How did
he dress? There are few details about his youth inthe Bible. But
newly discovered archeological evidence will shed light on both the
social influences that shaped Jesus' young life, and his encounter
with John the Baptist, the man many scholars believe was the mentor
of Jesus.

8.00 p.m. |DCIVC| The Real Family of Jesus: Part 2

10.00 p.m. |NG| The Real Mary Magdalene
Who was Mary? Was she a saint or sinner? For fifteen hundred years
Christians regarded the woman who had been so close to Jesus as a
reformed prostitute. Now, evidence suggests that this may have been
part of a devious smear campaign by the early churchto remove women
from the clergy. Join NGC as we examine ancient text, explores long-
lost customs and cuts through centuries of political spin to reveal
the real Mary Magdalene.

DCIVC= Discovery Civilization
HISTU = History Channel (US)
NG = National Geographic
nonas apriles

ludi Megalesia in honour of Cybele (day 2)

rites in honour of Fortuna Publica

347 B.C. -- death of Plato (by one reckoning)
ex parte @ Merriam-Webster

ostiary @ Wordsmith

retection @

deign @
Here's a four-parter from the Discovery Channel on the Macedonian Army:

Ancient Warriors: The Macedonians Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
From YLE:

Anniversarium UE quinquagesimum
: Nuntii Latini

30.03.2007, klo 15.21

Moderatores Europaei septimana vergente (24-25.3.) Berolinum convenerunt, ut diem anniversarium quinquagesimum tractatus Romani celebrarent.

Ille tractatus, quo Communitas Oeconomica Europaea (EEC) in urbe Roma condita est, fundamentum hodiernae Unionis Europaeae habetur.

Praesentibus moderatoribus declaratio de rebus gestis, statu propositisque Unionis Berolini divulgata est.

Ex illa declaratione Unio id agit, ut ante annum bis millesimum nonum, quo proxima comitia parlamentaria Europaea fient, structuram suam renovet.

De lege autem fundamentali aut de amplificatione Unionis, de quibus nationes sodales dissentiunt, in declaratione Berolinensi nulla fit mentio.

Summus Pontifex Benedictus XVI Unionem Europaeam duris verbis vituperavit, quod in declaratione Berolinensi, ad anniversarium Unionis quinquagesimum divulgata, nulla de Deo Christianorum mentio facta esset.

Europam apostasiae noxiam de vera fide defecisse, cum et Dei et radicium suarum Christianarum oblivisceretur.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Looks like it's going to be getting more press coverage ... from the NY Times:

A mountain village in Umbria is caught up in a tug of war with the Metropolitan Museum of Art over the 2,600-year-old Etruscan chariot that is a highlight of the museum’s new Greek and Roman galleries.

A local farmer stumbled upon the bronze chariot, considered one of the finest pieces of Etruscan art in the world, in 1902 as he was clearing land. By the next year it was in the possession of the Met. But the residents of Monteleone, population 680, say the chariot was illegally sold and should never have left the country.

“I’m very sorry for the Met because they’ve done a great job in making the most of the chariot,” said Mayor Nando Durastanti, who saw the chariot, which has been out of sight for years while being restored, this month during a private tour of the new Met galleries, which are to open April 20. “It’s clear they care a lot about it, but it’s ours. It’s part of our identity.”

Emboldened by Italy’s successful campaign to reclaim illegally excavated antiquities from several American museums, including the Met, Mr. Durastanti began his effort three years ago by retaining the services of Tito Mazzetta, a lawyer in Atlanta whose family had emigrated from this village and who agreed to take the case pro bono.

Now Monteleone has a new ally: Mayor Glen D. Gilmore of Hamilton Township, N.J. Mr. Gilmore stopped here this month on a five-day tour of Umbria, the ancestral home of some of his 90,000 constituents. Though he had never heard about the chariot, it did not take long for the villagers to sway him to their cause. Schoolchildren applauded, he said, when he told them he would try to have the chariot returned.

Mr. Gilmore wrote to Philippe de Montebello, the director of the Met, reproaching the museum for dismissing the village’s claim as futile in an exchange of letters with Mr. Mazzetta. He also asked New Jersey’s two United States senators for support.

“It seems only fair that the Met acknowledges that the piece rightfully belongs to Italy and was taken out improperly,” Mr. Gilmore said in a telephone interview, adding that it was “important to fight for the underdog.”

The two-wheeled chariot was one of several objects found in an Etruscan tomb in early 1902, when it was unearthed by the farmer, Isidoro Vannozzi. According to his son Giuseppe — whose account is included in a book about the chariot by Don Angelo Corona, Monteleone’s parish priest and unofficial historian — the chariot was immediately sold as scrap metal for 950 lire, which the family used to buy roof tiles.

The artifact then migrated to Rome, where it was reportedly hidden in the back room of a pharmacy. It then ended up in Paris. According to Mario La Ferla, a journalist who has written a book about the chariot, it was stored in the basement of Crédit Lyonnais there until the financier J. P. Morgan bought it and had it sent to New York.

An article in The New York Times in February 1904 raised questions about the chariot’s “surreptitious exportation to the United States,” citing a heated debate in the Italian Parliament over the sale of the chariot, whose “loss to Italian archeology was incalculable.”

Though last year the Met relinquished 21 objects claimed by Italy, all had been cited as evidence in a court case involving looted antiquities currently under way in Rome. The chariot was “purchased in good faith,” said Harold Holzer, a spokesman for the Met, and has been “lovingly preserved, widely published and seen by millions of visitors from around the world.”

Mr. Holzer noted that the chariot’s recent restoration was done by an international team of experts that included a specialist from Rome.

Mr. Mazzetta argues that according to Italian law at the time the chariot was dug up, it was the property of the state, and that this combined with the piece’s historical importance should outweigh any statute of limitations. In letters to the Met, he cited the example of the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University in Atlanta, which returned a mummy of Ramses I to Egypt in 2004. The mummy had been exported to North America in 1864 and bought by the museum in 1999.

“That was the ethical and honorable thing to do,” said Mr. Mazzetta, who added that he planned to ask a federal court to carve out an exception to existing precedent on statutes of limitations for personal property, which vary by state but are around 30 years. A favorable ruling could potentially open the door to thousands of claims, he said.

“When lawyers challenged the slavery laws or fought for equal rights for women, people thought they were out of their minds,” he said. “Laws should be changed. The crimes of the past should not be condoned.”

But Mr. Mazzetta is making his case without the backing of the Italian government. Because the events in question took place so long ago, “the preconditions that have guided other negotiations don’t exist in this case,” said Maurizio Fiorilli, a state lawyer who heads the Ministry of Culture commission that has been negotiating with American museums and collectors for the restitution of antiquities. Mr. Fiorilli noted that the case predated a 1909 law on Italy’s cultural heritage and the 1970 United Nations convention on cultural property that addresses looting.

“This case actually jeopardizes other negotiations,” Mr. Fiorilli said, because if every municipality brought a similar claim, it would make it more difficult to resolve cases with a clearer legal grounding.

For now Monteleone is making do with a replica of the chariot, made in the 1980s and exhibited in a dim vaulted hall of a former Franciscan monastery.

Mayor Durastanti, who said he had the support of 48 townships in Umbria, said he would be satisfied if the Met lent its chariot, or other works of equal value, to the village. “We’re open to any sort of dialogue,” he said, “but we have to sit around a table and find a solution that satisfies everyone.”

He said that the village would not take no for an answer. “They’ll get tired of hearing from us,” he said of the Met. “We’re mountain people. We don’t give up.”
From IHT:

Archaeologists on a Greek island have discovered a large Roman-era tomb containing gold jewelry, pottery and bronze offerings, officials said Wednesday.

The building, near the village of Fiscardo on Kefalonia, contained five burials including a large vaulted grave and a stone coffin, a Culture Ministry announcement said.

The complex, measuring 8 by 6 meters (26 by 20 feet), had been missed by grave-robbers, the announcement said.

Archaeologists found gold earrings and rings, gold leaves that may have been attached to ceremonial clothing, as well as glass and clay pots, bronze artifacts decorated with masks, a bronze lock and copper coins.

The vaulted grave, a house-shaped structure, had a small stone door that still works perfectly — turning on stone pivots.

On a nearby plot, archaeologists also located traces of what may have been a small theater with four rows of stone seats, the ministry said.

Previous excavations in the area have uncovered remains of houses, a baths complex and a cemetery, all dating to Roman times — between 146 B.C. and 330 A.D.
Check this out:

... this "Roman style" column is in an early Third Century Chinese tomb currently being excavated ...
From the New York Sun:

New York University's Institute for the Study of the Ancient World has named a classics professor and former Graduate School dean at Columbia University, Roger Bagnall, as its first director.

In July, he will take the helm of this new, interdisciplinary advanced study center, located in a seven-floor townhouse at 15 East 84th St., a half-block stroll from the Metropolitan Museum. The institute is funded by a $200 million gift from the Leon Levy Foundation. Asked what his reaction was when offered the post, he said, "I thought, ‘This is going to be fun.'" Imagine a professor who studies cuneiform seated alongside an archaeologist of Afghanistan, or a Greek literary researcher talking with a scholar of South Asia. Mr. Bagnall said there is nothing in antiquity —from Portugal to China that is not potentially within the center's purview. "It's ambitious," he said.

A professor of Hebrew and Judaic Studies at NYU, Daniel Fleming, who led the search committee, said Mr. Bagnall, as an eminent scholar with proven leadership ability, was ideally suited to run the institute. "We knew he was already used to reaching across disciplines," he said.

Mr. Bagnall is a papyrologist who has researched the social, administrative, economic, religious, and demographic history of Roman Egypt. Hehas studied papyri produced under Ptolemaic and Roman rule, and even specimens from after the Arab conquest of the region.

Mr. Bagnall currently holds a joint appointment in both the classics and history departments at Columbia. At the Union Theological Seminary, he taught a seminar on "The Social Context of Egyptian Christianity."

Mr. Bagnall said in modern universities, scholarly disciplines are essentially organized around languages. Many scholars with overlapping interests therefore do not end up talking to each other and that can obscure continuities and relationships, he said. The institute, he said, would bring that conversation "under one roof."

The institute will range over the Mediterranean (both European and African sides) and Middle East (covering early Judaism and Christianity), as well as ancient Iran, China, and early India. It will go up to pre-Medieval times, including the beginning of Islam and Byzantine Civilization.

For a scholar of Greek, Persia can be considered the fringe or periphery. Mr. Bagnall said a goal at the institute is to "make nowhere the fringe."

Mr. Fleming said the more the search committee began to talk with Mr. Bagnall about the project, the more they realized he understood what such an institute would really need to succeed. Rather than asking scholars to work jointly on predetermined themes, Mr. Bagnall sees research collaboration as bubbling up from below: invite the right people and let the scholars discover for themselves the connections that excite them.

Trained at Yale and the University of Toronto, Mr. Bagnall directs Columbia's archaeological project at Amheida, in the Dakhla Oasis of Egypt, a site which looks late Roman but dates back much further. He said excavations are a form of learning different from classroom instruction. He said he wants to bring to the institute the same ethos — where 10 or 12 scholars converse and eat meals together. A goal, he said, would be attracting faculty who are not only good at what they do but are deeply curious about what other people do.

The institute was envisioned to draw on the resources of the whole city. In fact, it resembles NYU's Institute of Fine Arts six blocks south in that it will have a doctoral program, but it differs in not being a graduate department of a single discipline. The Institute is likewise similar to the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton in the large role envisaged for visiting scholars, but unlike the IAS, this new institute will have graduate students. The Institute will admit students for the fall of 2009. It will have about 10 to 12 permanent faculty.

One interdisciplinary area of inquiry that Mr. Fleming is researching is collective governance in the Near East and traits it may share with the beginnings of Greek democracy. Mr. Bagnall is interested in the Silk Road, running from Turkey to China, going back to Roman times.

Mr. Bagnall also hopes to make the institute a preeminent center for digital resources about antiquity.

The Department of Classics at the University of Reading is pleased to announce the following events for the period from April to September 2007:


'Classics Hell: Re-Presenting Antiquity in Mass Cultural Media'
Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Friday, 27 April 2007
A conference sponsored by the University of Reading and the Classical Reception Studies Network.

'Violent Commensality: Animal Sacrifice and its Discourses in the Ancient World'
Friday, 11 May 2007

'Greece, Rome, and Colonial India'
Friday, 29 June 2007
This conference, which is to be held at SOAS (London), is sponsored by the University of Reading, Royal Holloway, SOAS, the British Academy, and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies.

'Why Athens? Reappraising Tragic Politics'
Monday & Tuesday, 10 and 11 September 2007 This conference is sponsored by the University of Reading and the British Academy.

'Graeco-Aegyptica/Aegypto-Graeca. Interactions between Greece and Egypt 700 BCE - 300 CE'
Monday-Wednesday, 17-19 September 2007


Wednesday, 9 May, 4 p.m., HUMSS 301
'Locus datus: Latin inscriptions and the Roman state'
Gregory Rowe, University of Victoria

Thursday, 17 May, 4 p.m., HUMSS 301
'How the Ethiopian Changed His Skin'
Daniel L. Selden, University of California, Santa Cruz

Wednesday, 23 May, 4 p.m., HUMSS 301
'Alciphron's Attic Idylls: reading pastoral in the Second Sophistic'
Owen Hodkinson, University of Oxford

Wednesday, 13 June, 4 p.m., HUMSS 301
'Delayed punishment and ancestral characteristics: Croesus (and others?) in Herodotus'
Neil Sewell-Rutter, University of Reading

For further information, please contact Phiroze Vasunia at p.vasunia AT, or write to the organizers at:

Department of Classics
The University of Reading
Reading RG6 6AA

8.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Finding Atlantis

8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Something About Mary Magdalene

DCIVC = Discovery Civilizations (Canada)
HISTU = History Channel (US)
dna ... description not available
pridie nonas apriles

357 B.C. -- Aristotle observes the transit of the moon past Mars (source?)

ludi Megalesia (day 1 ... associated with the next item, obviously)

204 B.C. -- the image and cult of the Mater Magna (a.k.a. Cybele) is brought to Rome during the conflict with Hannibal on the advice of the Sybilline books

37 A.D. -- the ashes of Tiberius are placed in the Mausoleum of Augustus

186 (or 188) A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Septimius Bassianus (later known as M. Aurelius Antoninus Caesar; better known as Caracalla)
Today we bring you the trailer for a movie which some students made (in Latin!) for the State Foreign Language Festival ... some dialog in the trailer is in Latin:

ingenuous @ Merriam-Webster (not specifically stated, but surely it comes from Latin)

tenet @
From YLE:

Dies Annuntiationis
: Nuntii Latini

30.03.2007, klo 15.20

Natalis Unionis Europaeae incidit in diem Annuntiationis Beatae Virginis Mariae, qui in ecclesia Christiana novem mensibus ante Nativitatem Domini celebratur.

Annuntiationis dies inde nomen habet, quod euangelista Lucas narrat Angelum Gabrielem ad Mariam advenisse et dictis verbis "Ave, gratia plena" annuntiasse illam filium Iesum parituram esse.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Turns out what I was looking for yesterday wasn't a video, but a sound file ... check out this song based on Pliny's description of the eruption of Vesuvius (the band's eponym's father is a Classicist, but RB says this is the first Classical thing scion has done) ... it has a folksy sound to it.
From Today's Zaman:

The sad love story of Hero and Leander is an oral tradition that stretches back millennia. According to mythology, Hero, a virgin priestess of Aphrodite in Sestos at the edge of the Hellespont (Dardanelles) was seen by Leander of Abydos during a festival, and the two fell in love.

Although love was forbidden for Hero, the two met each other every evening.

Leander would swim across the Hellespont to be with her and Hero would light a lamp every night at the top of her tower to guide his way. They would remain together until the break of dawn. This routine lasted through the summer. Towards the end of the season, the waves became bigger and stronger. Though fearful that her beloved might be hurt, Hero did not want to stop seeing Leander. Then on one stormy night, as Leader swam across the strait fighting against the strong waves, the breeze blew out the light in Hero’s hand. Leander lost his way, and was drowned. Hero threw herself from the tower in grief and died as well.

When friends received news of their death, they honored the two lovers at a funeral ceremony. They buried Hero and Leander next to each other and dropped flower petals in the strait.

Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Science-literature Faculty Archaeology Department Professor Nurettin Aslan said, “Hero and Leander inspired the feat commemorated in the poem ‘The Bride of Abydos’ by Lord Byron.”

The mythological story of Hero and Leander is played out by foreign tourists each year. In 2005, 10 amateur swimmers from England re-created the love story of Hero and Leander by swimming across the Dardanelles to Nagara Point.

With Good Friday coming up, it seems there's a flood of 'Biblical items' ... this one from the Sun Star:

IN THE intriguing sleuthing of the mystery shrouding the role of Mary Magdalene in the life of Jesus Christ, there are contrasting voluminous written versions about her.

Controversy abounds Mary Magdalene, who, more often than not, is ill-defined as the "companion" of Jesus Christ and portrayed as one of the demimonde of her time. The fictional account of Magdalene as the wife of Jesus in monstrous bestseller of Dan Brown, The Da Vinci Code, created a furor among the Christians and many deemed the novel as sacrilegious.

Preceding Brown's opus was the controversial novel of Nikos Kazantsakis: The Last Temptation of Christ. It was made into a movie in 1988 by recently Oscar-awarded director Martin Scorsese, but was totally banned, condemned and vilified in most Christian countries. Though a fiction, it was a smashing bestseller and dazzled millions of readers. It was a shocking fascination in depicting the very intimate relationship between Mary Magdalene and Jesus Christ.

If we have to take into account the Gnostic Gospel of Philip, which is not included in the traditional Holy Bible, including the Jerusalem Bible, the romantic link between the Son of God and Mary Magdalene had been inspired by said gospel that depicted the relationship, thus, we have this observation: "But Christ loved her more than all the disciples and
used to kiss her often on the mouth. The rest of the disciples were offended by it and expressed disapproval. They said to him, 'Why do you love her more than all of us?' The Saviour answered and said to them, "Why do I not love you as I love her?" ("The Templar Revelation" by Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, p. 65, Simon & Schuster, 1998)

With the discovery in 1945 of fifty-two papyrus texts hidden in an earthen jar in the vast Egyptian desert, now known as the Dag Hammadi, and the earlier Dead See Scrolls seem to heighten the controversy surrounding the participation of Mary Magdalene among the members of the orthodox community, outside of the Gnostic circles.

The Gospel of Philip narrated the bitter rivalry between the male disciples and Mary Magdalene. Among those who was most vocal against her was Peter described by Levi as hot-tempered. The latter told Peter that if "the Savior made her worthy, who are you, indeed, to reject her? Surely the Lord knew her very well. That is why he loved her more than us." The antagonism between Peter and Mary Magdalene extended as to the role of women in the church that the "bishop is to be father figure of the congregation" and "no woman shall be allowed to become a priest". This merely follows the orthodox pattern that God is described in exclusively masculine patterns. ("The Gnostic Gospels" by Elaine Pagels, Phoenix, 1979)

On matters relative as to the issue of the first person to whom Jesus Christ appeared after his resurrection, it was contended by the German scholar Hans von Campenhausen that it was Peter, hence, the rightful leader of the Church. Another tradition maintained that James, not Peter nor Mary Magdalene was the "first witness of the resurrection". The Gospels of Mark and John on the basis of the New Testament point out that it was Mary Magdalene who was the first person to witness the rising of the Lord Jesus Christ to Heaven. On Matthew's account, Jesus Christ announced to the eleven disciples as "official witnesses" and later on to complete the original twelve disciples, they invited Matthias who was given qualification and recognition. The foregoing accounts contradicted what has been written in the Gospel of Mary. There was no doubt that when the Lord Jesus was crucified, his disciples were disheartened and "terrified" after the crucifixion. Again Peter was having his tantrums when informed that Jesus Christ talked privately with the woman from Magdala. Despite his rage, Mary Magdalene told him: "My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Saviour?"

The unusual role of Mary Magdalene in the life of Jesus Christ and in the company of the twelve disciples shall continue to generate controversy as to her actual relationship with the Son of God. Who knows that more of the "secret" accounts about Jesus Christ's life shall be unearthed in the near future and some gray areas in the different gospels may yet be ascertained and reconciled with other controversial accounts? Perhaps, one of the most sensible issues would refer to the elimination of the other Gospels from the Old and New Testament, such as those of Thomas, Philip, Mary, and others?

Why so riotous a debate as to ascertain the personality of Mary Magdalene when during the time of Christ many scribes were men and they maybe thought that a woman didn't belong to their kind as humans? Just maybe. But there is one and only truth: A mother will always be a woman. And to pose a question that all humans sprang from Mary Magdalene is like dousing gas to the fire already blazing so many faiths. What happened to Eve, by the way?
From the Examiner:

» Fourth century A.D.: Franciscan archaeologists believe a simple one-room courtyard house on the north shore of the Sea of Galilee belonged to the Apostle Simon Peter and his wife. In successive layers above the first-century house, they found a fourth-century house church, and an octagonal fifth century church. Spanish pilgrim the Lady Egeria reported visiting it sometime between 381 and 384.

» 1962: An inscription on a building stone found at the Caesarea Maritima seaport stated Pilate “dedicated a Tiberium, a public structure built in honor of the Roman emperor Tiberius.”

» 1968: The skeleton of a crucified man was found in a burial cave at Giv’at ha-Mivtar, northeast of Jerusalem. Most of the thousands of Jews the Romans crucified were discarded in a dump for scavengers to eat in violation of burial law.

» 1980s: The “Jesus Boat” — ruins of a boat similar to one likely used by the fishermen Peter and Andrew, who later became disciples of Jesus — was discovered near the shore of the Sea of Galilee in the mid-1980s.

» 1990: Joseph Caiaphas’ ossuary was found. The stone container held the bones of the high priest Caiaphas, who presided over Jesus’ sanhedrin trial.

... this might be a sidebar for the next item?
Since I'm in a DNAish mood this a.m. (see next item), it seems worth while mentioning this one from the Examiner:

Conclusions based on DNA testing underpin an explosive book claiming to identify the mortal remains of Jesus of Nazareth.

Simcha Jacobovici, director, producer and writer of the documentary “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” obtained bone and tissue samples from ossuaries held by the Israeli Antiquities Authority bearing the names Jesus and Mary. The bone boxes were pulled from a family tomb cut into bedrock in Talpiot, Jerusalem. The odds those names and others associated with the Jesus story would turn up in one tomb are 600 to 1, according to the book.

Carney Matheson, a scientist at the Paleo-DNA Laboratory at Lakehead University in Ontario, analyzed the remains for mitochondrial DNA. According to Jacobovici’s book “The Jesus Family Tomb,” Matheson determined the individuals in the Jesus and Mary ossuaries were not related maternally.

“If you’re not blood relatives and you’re in a family tomb, you’re most likely married,” Jacobovici told The Examiner. “I think it’s very compelling.” Not so fast, other experts said.
Mitochondrial DNA is handed down exclusively from the mother, according to Terry Melton, president and lab director of Mitotyping Technologies in State College, Pa., which contracts with the Baltimore City Public Defender and the Smithsonian Institution. The remains from the tomb could be related by blood through the father’s lineage, she said — cousins, aunts or uncles, grandparents or even father and daughter.

“Two people who are different [DNA] type could have any relationship other than maternal,” said Melton, who added that mitochondria DNA can exclude relationships, not prove them, and “can never be a unique identifier.”

Leaving aside the results, Melton said, it’s almost impossible to accept Matheson’s findings because of inadequate samples.

“To get adequate results, you have to prove by doing a sufficient number of tests,” Melton said.

Jacobovici did not have that luxury. Grabbing samples from an antiquities warehouse after the archaeologist left the room, his book describes bone fragments “no wider than the crowns of human teeth.”

To do one test adequately, Melton said, you would need a half-gram of bone tissue. To be sure of those results, you would have to repeat the testing, not to mention submit your findings to scientific peer review before announcing them to the world.

“It’s frustrating, because people who really do true, accurate DNA research and historical investigation are doing things at such a high standard in order to be published,” she said. “This is publishing by press release.”

... wow, Jacobovici grabbed his samples "after the archaeologist left the room" ... again I can't help but wonder how this guy gets permission to visit sites ...
This seems to bring a number of recent news items together ... from the IHT:

Geneticists have added an edge to a 2,500-year-old debate over the origin of the Etruscans, a people whose brilliant and mysterious civilization dominated northwestern Italy for centuries until the rise of the Roman republic in 510 B.C. Several new findings support a view held by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus - but unpopular among archaeologists - that the Etruscans originally migrated to Italy from the Near East.

Though Roman historians played down their debt to the Etruscans, Etruscan culture permeated Roman art, architecture and religion. The Etruscans were master metallurgists and skillful seafarers who for a time dominated much of the Mediterranean. They enjoyed unusually free social relations, much remarked on by ancient historians of other cultures.

Etruscan culture was very advanced and very different from other Italian cultures of the time. But most archaeologists have seen a thorough continuity between a local Italian culture known as the Villanovan that emerged around 900 B.C. and the Etruscan culture, which began in 800 B.C.

"The overwhelming proportion of archaeologists would regard the evidence for eastern origins of the Etruscans as negligible," said Anthony Tuck, an archaeologist at the University of Massachusetts.

Even so, a nagging question has remained. Could the Etruscans have arrived from somewhere else in the Mediterranean world?

One hint of such an origin is that the Etruscan language, which survives in thousands of inscriptions, appears not to be Indo-European, the language family that started to sweep across Europe sometime after 8,500 years ago, developing into Latin, English and many other tongues. Another hint is the occurrence of inscriptions in a language apparently related to Etruscan on Lemnos, a Greek island. But whether Lemnian is the parent language of Etruscan, or the other way around, is not yet clear, said Rex Wallace, an expert on Etruscan linguistics at the University of Massachusetts.

An even more specific link to the Near East is a short statement by Herodotus that the Etruscans emigrated from Lydia, a region on the eastern coast of ancient Turkey. After an 18-year famine in Lydia, Herodotus reports, the king dispatched half the population to look for a better life elsewhere. Under the leadership of his son Tyrrhenus, the emigrating Lydians built ships, loaded all the stores they needed, and sailed from Smyrna (now the Turkish port of Izmir) until reaching Umbria in Italy.

Despite the specificity of Herodotus's account, archaeologists have long been skeptical of it. There are also fanciful elements in Herodotus's story, like the Lydians' being the inventors of games like dice because they needed distractions to take their minds off the famine. And Lydian, unlike Etruscan, is definitely an Indo-European language. Other ancient historians entered the debate. Thucydides favored a Near Eastern provenance, but Dionysius of Halicarnassus declared the Etruscans native to Italy.

What has brought Italian geneticists into the discussion are new abilities to sequence DNA and trace people's origins. In 2004, a team led by Guido Barbujani at the University of Ferrara extracted mitochondrial DNA from 30 individuals buried in Etruscan sites throughout Italy.

But this study quickly came under attack. Working with ancient DNA is extremely difficult, because most bones from archaeological sites have been carelessly handled. Extensive contamination with modern human DNA can swamp the signal of what little ancient DNA may still survive. Hans-Jurgen Bandelt, a geneticist at the University of Hamburg, wrote that the DNA recovered from the Etruscan bones showed clear signs of such problems.

But a new set of genetic studies being reported seems likely to lend greater credence to Herodotus's long-disputed account. New and independent sources of genetic data suggest that Etruscan culture was imported to Italy from somewhere in the Near East.

One study is based on the mitochondrial DNA of residents of Murlo, a small former Etruscan town whose population may not have changed all that much since Etruscan times.

When placed on a chart of mitochondrial lineages from Europe and the Near East, the people of Murlo map closest to Palestinians and Syrians, a team led by Torroni and Alessandro Achilli reports in the April issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics.

In Tuscany as a whole, the Torroni team found 11 minor mitochondrial DNA lineages that occur nowhere else in Europe and are shared only with Near Eastern people.

Another source of genetic data on Etruscan origins has been developed by Marco Pellecchia and Paolo Ajmone-Marsan at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Piacenza. Tuscany has four ancient breeds of cattle. Analyzing the mitochondrial DNA of these and seven other breeds of Italian cattle, Ajmone-Marsan found that the Tuscan breeds genetically resembled cattle of the Near East. The other Italian breeds were linked northern Europe.
Various versions of this kicking around ... from the Washington Times:

An ancient Etruscan city, where iron was produced thousands of years ago, has been restored and is open to visitors on the Italian coast.

Populonia produced iron from mines on the island of Elba and visitors to the $4 million restoration can see how it was done, ANSA, the Italian news agency, reported.

"Iron was produced on an industrial scale here," local expert Massimo Zucconi told ANSA.

The site includes a huge necropolis containing the remains of Etruscan nobles. The Etruscans lived between what is now Rome and Florence between the eighth century B.C. until they were absorbed by the Romans 600 years later.

The site is dedicated to the late Florentine archaeologist Riccardo Francovich, who worked to make Italy's ancient sites accessible to the public.

"Franco was an archaeologist but he refused to believe that archaeology should be shut up in a museum somewhere," Zucconi told ANSA.


21st Pacific Rim Roman Literature Seminar, 25th-28th June 2007
Australian National University, Canberra

'Epic and Anti-Epic'

Papers of approximately thirty minutes are invited on the above theme for
the 21st Pacific Rim Seminar. As in the past, potential participants should
feel free to treat the theme with a reasonable liberty of interpretation.

Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words to the convenor, Dr. Claire
Jamset, at the address by Monday 30th April.

A link with more details regarding registration, etc. is available at Or
direct any enquiries to claire.jamset AT
The Department of Classics of Rutgers University-New Brunswick is seeking to fill a continuing position (tenure-track or tenured) starting in the 2008-2009 academic year for a committed teacher and outstanding scholar with a specialty in archaic, classical or Hellenistic Greek poetry. Rank is open.   
This is an updated version of the ad printed in the November 2006 issue of APA/AIA Positions for Classicists and Archaeologists, and posted that same month on the WCC list serve. Please note the position is now definite, and now broadened to open rank (including tenured professor), with an extension of the application date, and a change in the start date to September 2008. Candidates who have already applied for the position as originally advertised do not need to send another dossier, but they should let the Department know of their continuing interest and may add supplementary materials.   
Please send cover letter, CV, writing sample, and three letters of recommendation c/o Professor T. Corey Brennan, Department of Classics, Ruth Adams Building 005, 131 George Street, Rutgers University, New Brunswick NJ 08901 (email = tcbr AT Review of applications will begin 15 May 2007 and will continue until the position is filled. Rutgers University is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer.

8.30 p.m. |HINT| Who Invented the Alphabet?
Everyone assumes the Greeks invented the alphabet, but what are its
real origins? Archaeological finds tell us that it originated in
Egypt where Hebrew slaves began the process of turning hieroglyphics
into a series of symbols which convey sounds that can be used to form
words. From desert caves to urban graffiti, we trace the origins and
evolution of simple shapes that democratized communication as it
spread through the ancient world.

HINT = History International
MA sent along a link to this one ... kind of scary results-wise:

You’re St. Melito of Sardis!

You have a great love of history and liturgy. You’re attached to the traditions of the ancients, yet you recognize that the old world — great as it was — is passing away. You are loyal to the customs of your family, though you do not hesitate to call family members to account for their sins.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

... scary because I had never heard of St. Melito of Sardis (whose feast day is April 1!)
ante diem iv nonas apriles

13 A.D. -- Augustus writes his will

33 A.D. -- one of the calculated dates for the crucifixion of Jesus

68 A.D. -- Galba rails against Nero and declares himself vir militaris (source?)

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Irene, Agape, and Chionia
clepsydra @ Wordsmith

trucidation @ Worthless Word for the Day

errant @
From BMCR:

Hinard on Harvey on Francois Hinard and Yasmina Benferhat, Ciceron. Discours (Tome 1.2): Pour Sextus Roscius.

L. Graverini, W. Keulen, and A Barchiesi, Il Romanzo Antico: Forme, testi, problemi.
From YLE:

Papa linguam Latinam commendat
: Nuntii Latini

30.03.2007, klo 15.19

Mense Februario (22.2.) Pontifex Romanus exhortationem post-synodalem nomine "Sacramentum Caritatis" dedit, in qua linguam Latinam sacerdotibus commendat: In conventibus internationalibus, qui hodie frequentiores habeantur, unitatem et universalitatem ecclesiae clarius exprimi, si liturgia Latine celebretur, exceptis scilicet lectionibus, homilia precibusque fidelium.

Preces autem notissimae Latine recitentur et cantus Gregoriani cantentur.

Sacerdotes futuros Papa hortatur, ut ad missam Latine celebrandam, ad textus Latinos usurpandos, ad cantus Gregorianos cantandos se praeparent; fideles posse doceri, ut preces communiores Latine recitent et partes liturgiae more Gregoriano cantent.

Tuomo Pekkanen
Nuntii Latini, Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE)
(used with permission)
Short student-made video:

Latin Derivatives
Someone last week sent me a video at you tube ... their son in a 'classical' band; I seem to have deleted/misfiled it ... please resend
From the IHT:

Egyptian archaeologists on Monday presented white stones of pumice that they believe a tsunami in ancient times carried 850 kilometers (530 miles) across the Mediterranean to north Sinai.

The pumice was discharged by a volcanic eruption in the ancient Greek island of Santorini in the 17th century B.C. Traces of this solidified lava foam that floats have been found in Crete and southwestern Turkey, but Egypt's archaeologists believe it also reached this site in the Sinai desert, about 7 kilometers (4 miles) south of the coast.

The Santorini explosion was devastating. It sunk most of the island and killed over 35,000 people of a thriving Minoan community.

The head of Egypt's Supreme Council of Antiquities, Zahi Hawass, hailed the discovery as opening a "new field" of study in Egyptology.

"Geologists will help us study how ... natural disasters, such as the Santorini tsunami, affected the Pharaonic period."

A volcanologist at Greece's Institute of Geology and Mineral Exploration, Georges Vougioukalakis, is skeptical that the pumice could have traveled so far. But "thin strata of ash" — carried by the wind from Santorini — have already been found in the Nile Delta, he told The Associated Press.

"The tsunami could have carried pumice a bit higher than the coastal area. But it would have been carried there by currents," Vougiokalakis said in Athens.

Some believe that Santorini could even be the elusive Atlantis, the mythical land described by Plato that disappeared without a trace.

But the myth of Atlantis was not on the mind of the archeologists when they excavated this desert site northeast of Qantara, a town on the Suez Canal about 150 kilometers (93 miles) northeast of Cairo.

They were searching for Pharaonic forts that played a major role in protecting ancient Egypt's gateway to the Nile Delta from foreign invasion.

They were gratified when, earlier this month, they uncovered the remains of an 18th dynasty fort, which featured four rectangular towers built of mud bricks.

"The pieces of lava stone were a surprise, but they were only part of the story," said team leader Mohamed Abdel Maqsud.

For the archaeologists, more significant was the discovery of a fortress from where the ancient Egyptians expelled the Hyksos enemy during the New Kingdom, a Pharaonic empire that lasted from about 1500 B.C. to about 1000 B.C.

The easternmost forts were so important that they were depicted in the reliefs on the walls of Karnak Temple in the ancient capital of Thebes — the present day city of Luxor, 500 kilometers (300 miles) south of Cairo. The 18th Dynasty was the first dynasty of the New Kingdom and its 12th ruler was the boy Pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Hawass did not elaborate on the geological tests that linked the Sinai pumice to Santorini, but said he was convinced that more such lava would be found.

"This is only the beginning," he said.

Vougioukalakis, who has extensively studied Santorini's eruption, said that if the pumice did come from there, it would be first evidence the tsunami had carried the lava so far.

... I wonder where they got that casualty count for Santorini; I was under the impression that there was time to escape ....

An international Conference to be held at the Department of Greek and Latin, University College London, 5th-6th July 2007

Speakers: Tina Chronopoulos, Martin Dinter, John Eidinow, Denis Feeney,
Bernard Frischer, Russell Goulbourne, Emily Gowers, Barbara Graziosi, Stephen
Harrison, Luke Houghton, Jennifer Ingleheart, Roland Mayer, Victoria Moul,
Ruurd Nauta, Marden Nichols, Niall Rudd, Alessandro Schiesaro, Jane Stevenson,
John Talbot, Penelope Wilson.

Sessions will be chaired by Rhiannon Ash, Chris Carey, Armand D'Angour, Anna Holland, Anne Rogerson, Maria Wyke, and others.

Full programme details and booking information for this event are now available online at

The Department of Greek and Latin acknowledges the generous support of the British Academy in funding "Perceptions of Horace". A number of bursaries will be available to assist postgraduate students to attend the conference.

For all enquiries please contact Luke Houghton (l.houghton AT at the Department of Greek and Latin.

8.00 p.m. |HISTU| Ancient Discoveries : Machines III

8.00 p.m. |DCIVC| True Gladiator

8.00 p.m. |HINT| Jerusalem
In this history of the storied Holy City and the dominant building
at the Temple, which once contained the Ark of the Covenant, we visit
the sacred city where Jesus spent his last days on earth, and the
mysterious temple under which so many secrets may be buried. Viewers
will feel as if they walk in Christ's footsteps in this documentary
featuring new location footage, stylish period reconstructions,
groundbreaking 3D graphics and animation sequences, and
interpretation and analysis by the world's leading authorities,
including explorer and archaeologist Richard Andrews, Dr. David
Jacobson from the Palestine Exploration Fund, and Professor Martin
Goodman from the Center for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

HISTU = History Channel (US)
DCIVC = Discovery Civilizations (Canada)
HINT = History International
ante diem iii nonas apriles

1640 -- death of the Polish Jesuit/Latin poet Matthias Casimir Sarbiewski
rebarbative @ Merriam Webster (!)

catchpole @ Wordsmith (!)

sanable @ Worthless Word for the Day

arriviste @
From YLE:

Zonae climaticae mutantur
: Nuntii Latini

30.03.2007, klo 15.16

Investigatores Americani praedicunt magnas in zonis climaticis mutationes hoc saeculo futuras esse.

Illas mutationes, praecipue ad zonas calidam et temperatam spectantes, floram et faunam illarum zonarum afficere.

Maxime periclitari animalia zonae calidae, quia in illa regione temperaturae minime varient neque animalia accomodatae sint ad variationes.

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

For more news in Latin, here's the latest headline from Ephemeris: Irania irata: protestatio in britannorum nuntios
From the Daily Press (and I note a past denizen of the Classics list is behind this one!):

Rachel Fenske squinted at the smudged, dime-sized coin in her fingers. Tarnish the color of old leather blurred the raised letters and figures.

[Undaunted, the Kecoughtan High School 10th] grader rubbed the coin and again looked closely at it.

"At the bottom, it looks like R, T, S and either an O or a P," she reported.

"The background shows one wing or two wings on a horse. On the front it has an emperor, but I couldn't tell you which one. And it's green. There's more writing on it, but that's kind of smashed."

Fenske was one of 14 students in Lisa Auanger's Latin II class deciphering inscriptions on Roman coins.

Each student in class received one of the small bronze coins, which were donated by coin dealers through a nonprofit, nationwide program called Ancient Coins of Education.

The ancient pocket change, which dates from about 300 to 400 A.D, offers students a chance to practice not only language and detective skills, but also to study history, mythology, economics and civics.

They must prepare a Power Point presentation of their findings, adding technology skills to the lesson mix.

About 68 percent of Virginia's public school districts offer Latin classes to high school students.

All four of Hampton's high schools have classes in the language, which Auanger said is far from dead.

The class provides a strong foundation for college-level humanities classes, ranging from philosophy to classic literature to law and sciences, she said.

The multifaceted nature of Auanger's Latin II class is one reason 10th-grader John Blackwood enrolled.

"I don't think they're doing stuff with coins in Spanish or French," Blackwood said. "We do other things. It's more than just language. That adds to the fun factor."

"Latin isn't just Virgil anymore," Auanger added.

Hampton students have connected with other high school students learning the language through activities organized by area chapters of the Junior Classical League, a nonprofit extracurricular organization dedicated to studying Latin and classical subjects.

They also participated in Hampton Roads Latin Day.

Auanger said students enroll in Latin for a variety of reasons, but improving vocabulary skills is one of the top draws.

That's the reason 16-year-old Siedah Holmes decided to enroll.

She said she now can figure out English word definitions and origins based on her Latin lessons.

Fenske offered another reason for taking the course: medicine.

"I wanted to know what doctors were putting in medicine bottles," she explained.

Neither Fenske nor Holmes had expected to use toothbrushes or microscopes in a language class.

Students cleaned the Roman coins with old toothbrushes and used microscopes to study mint marks and other details.

Holmes said students also spent time on the Internet, looking up empires and campaigns.

"We did a lot of research," she said.

While some of the coin inscriptions were rubbed almost bare, Blackwood said his looked fairly crisp.

"This coin is in better condition than most pennies I see," he said, holding the bronze coin to the light.

Holmes said being able to read an inscription did not mean deciphering it was easy.

"A lot is in Roman numbers, and they were different back then," she said, holding her coin against a poster filled with coins. "It's a challenge."

So was identifying the ruler on her coin. During the centuries in which the coins were minted, the empire was in a state of flux, with a constantly changing cast of rulers and military leaders, each of whom had coins minted in his image.

Auanger said the coin detective work helps sharpen other skills students will need for college and work.

"They have to think about things they don't know and not jump to conclusions," she said, watching Holmes try to match her coin to the examples on the poster.

"It's got to be one of them," Holmes said.
One of the more detailed news reports we've seen on this subject ... from ZeeNews:

What began as exploratory studies in Kerala, has thrown up enough artefacts and structures of two millennia old Indo-Roman trade era to delight archaeologists, who are looking for the lost port of Muziris.

Archaeological teams in Pattanam village, near the port city of Kochi have been working on a site, which has yielded pottery, amphora, beads and other artefacts that are reminiscent of the ancient Romans.

"The initial studies carried out in this region have amply indicated that there was a Roman presence. The Roman ceramics, pottery and coins found here indicates deeper Roman ties and therefore, based on the artefacts abounding this area, we presented a proposal to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) which got approved," said the Director of the Kerala Council for Historical Research, P J Cherian,

Cherian has been heading a study that has been a parallel exercise to the excavation and conservation being carried out under his guidance.

"The most exciting thing we have excavated today is a human remains. In our climatic conditions and soil acidity, it is hard to expect these kinds of remains to stay intact. So, now we will send these identified human remains to the laboratory for further analysis," added Cherian.

Historians believe the lost port of Muziris was key to trade between India and the Roman Empire. For many years, people have been in search of the almost mythical port, known as Vanchi to the locals.

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

Speculations and guesses for the location of Muziris had initially hinted on the mouth of the State's Periyar River, at a place called Kodungallor - but now evidence suggests a smaller town nearby, Pattanam, is the real location.

Many pieces of amphora were found, at the now excavated site, which is a Mediterranean pottery.

The ancient town was an exchange point according to scriptures. The Romans brought in gold and took back the region's aromatic spices, including 'black gold'- pepper.

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

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

While archaeologists and scholars celebrate, the owners of the piece of land are worried about their rights to the place.

"A few archaeologists came to us and asked permission to carry out excavations on our land. They said that they wanted to do some research on the place. They began digging deep and found artefacts and now that it is an archaeological site, we wonder what will happen to our land," said Valsala Kumari, who hoped to get back her land.

With the site now being marked as an Archaeological treasure, Kumari and her family say, they never knew the place would throw up so much of the unknown.
Junior Teaching Fellowships in Classical Art and Archaeology (Three Posts) Faculty Of Classics, In Association With Brasenose, St John's And
Worcester Colleges
University of Oxford
Apologies for the abnormal hiatus for the past few days, folks ... real life intruded to an extraordinary degree and I just couldn't keep off (yes, even the rogueclassicist nods) ... in any event, here's what the ClassiCarnies have been up to (and a pile of news items follow):

N.S. Gill tells us about some top Legendary Greek Mothers ... the Formation of the Delian League ... Praxiteles ... ten Greek Philosophers ...

Phil S. has a Patristics roundup ...

Gabriel Bodard reviews the new CIL website ...

Glaukopis comments on the series end of Rome ...

Stephen Carlson had an interesting item from Clement of Alexandria about Buddha ...

Peter Stothard was citing Classical comet precedents ...

Mary Beard hosts the History Carnival ... she'll be hanging out at the Getty Research Institute for the next while, it seems ...

Dorothy King has an item on a Phocaean recreation effort ... More Bactrian Gold stuff (and ivories too) ... some links about Marius ...

Irene Hahn had some info on the younger Drusus ...

JM had some interesting facts about slavery in ancient Rome ... and while I don't understand cricket at all, folks might be interested in his Roman First XI ...

Laura Gibbs' educational roundups continue ...

Michael Gilleland has an item from Ambrose Bierce's DD on Zeus ... idem Myrmidon ...

Ed Flinn continues to post his interesting coin collection ...

Troy is done, it seems ...

If you're trying to keep up with the Jesus Tomb thing, Mark Goodacre remains the blogger to be watching ... Steve Caruso's new Aramaic Blog also has some interesting items under the Jesus Son of Joseph rubric ...

Greg Schwender has posted the TOC for issue 159 of ZPE (in press) ...

Over at Archaeogate, there's an interesting article in Italian: L'incesto dinastico tolemaico e i matrimoni endogamici nell'Egitto greco-romano: alcuni aspetti* - di Marco Rolandi

That'll have to do for today ... I have other stuff to catch up with now (all my online Latin students!) ... as usual, the latest Explorator has been posted ... the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings should follow later tonight.
Nice profile in Stuff:

For the past 20 years, former Aucklander Richard Thomas has been a professor of Greek and Latin at Harvard University in Massachusetts. He has written learned articles on Callimachus, Menander, Theocritus, Homer, Ovid, Horace, Propertius and Catullus. He is regarded as one of the world's leading authorities on the works of Publius Vergilius Maro (70-19BC), the Roman poet commonly known as Virgil.

Since the mid-1960s, Thomas has also been a devoted fan of Bob Dylan. In recent years he has presented lectures and seminars on His Bobness as well as dissertations on Virgil's Georgics, Eclogues and Aeneid. He is confident that Dylan's songs will survive their historical moment and continue to interest future generations. A classic in the making, you might say.

"Staff at Harvard are asked to give freshman seminars that can be outside the standard curriculum," Thomas explains. "It was largely in a spirit of fun that I first decided to do Dylan. But increasingly I've come to see that his songs are a legitimate field of study. They contain a kind of poetry that doesn't die because human nature doesn't change."

What exactly do the professor and his students talk about in the Dylan seminars?

"The approach is roughly chronological. We look at the way Dylan's career has developed since the early 1960s, his creation of various personae and his involvement in such genres as folk, protest and rock. We look at his appearances on film, too."

The 2003 movie Masked and Anonymous, which Dylan not only starred in, but co-wrote with director Larry Charles, was generally panned by reviewers. Todd McCarthy referred to it in Variety as "a mess", "a botch" and a clueless "three-ring circus". Roger Ebert described it in the Chicago Sun-Times as "a vanity production beyond all reason" with "the enormous cast wandering bewildered through shapeless scenes".

Thomas thinks they got it wrong. "Masked and Anonymous is a brilliant film - essential viewing for anyone interested in Dylan. I get my freshman students to watch it."

He thinks the allegations that Dylan "plagiarised" parts of his 2001 album Love and Theft from Junichi Saga's book Confessions of a Yakuza are fundamentally wrong-headed too.

"Dylan has always been an artist willing to adapt material from other sources, beginning with Woody Guthrie and other folk singers and bluesmen in his earliest songs. Often he acknowledges the debt, as he does with Hitchcock's Psycho in the 1964 song `Motorpsycho Nightmare' and Henry King western The Gunfighter, starring Gregory Peck, in `Brownsville Girl' from 1986."

Virgil was similarly willing to adapt earlier material, Thomas points out. The Aeneid draws extensively on Homer's account of the Trojan War in The Iliad. Virgil was also considerably indebted to other Greek writers of antiquity, such as Sophocles and Callimachus.

No writing comes out of a void. Authors have always influenced one another. Happily for Thomas, there is even a moment in a Dylan song -the 12-bar blues "Lonesome Day Blues" from Love and Theft - when the old growler starts quoting The Aeneid: "I am goin' to teach peace to the conquered. I'm gonna tame the proud."

Is Dylan a reader of Virgil then? Quite possibly. Thomas believes that Dylan's recent output shows an increasing awareness of classical literature.

"He was in Rome at the time of the September 2001 terrorist attacks. He's certainly aware of the parallels between Rome as an imperial power and modern America."

In 2005, Thomas gave a lecture called The Streets of Rome: The Classical Dylan at a conference on "Dylan's performance artistry" at the Universite de Caen in France. He repeated it at Auckland University this month. It is also one of the chapters in a forthcoming compendium of Dylan scholarship that Thomas has co-edited with Catharine Mason, associate professor of English at Caen.

While he enjoys making connections between Dylan and the classical world, Thomas is not about to get too carried away and begin translating "Like a Rolling Stone" into Latin. He has a sense of humour - and a sense of perspective. He's well aware, for example, that "Lonesome Day Blues" derives more from Georgia bluesman Blind Willie McTell (1901-59) than it does from Virgil.

Born in London in 1950, Thomas moved to New Zealand with his family as a small boy. He first showed a flair for Greek and Latin as a pupil at King's College, Auckland, in the mid-1960s. It was there that he began listening to Dylan too.

"Dylan's nine years older than I am. Although I'd love to claim that I was one of the people who snapped up his first album when it came out in 1962, in fact it wasn't until two or three years later that I became a fan. I wasn't all that single-minded about it. I listened to all the other music of the 60s too. I liked Neil Young. I went to the Rolling Stones concert at Western Springs."

In the late 1960s, Thomas studied law at Auckland University as well as Greek and Latin, but his love of classical literature gradually predominated. After completing his MA at Auckland in 1974, he embarked on a doctorate at the University of Michigan. He has lived and worked in the US ever since, but family ties have brought him back to Auckland at least once or twice a decade.

His admiration for Dylan has been one of the other constants in his life.

"What fascinates me about him is how he continues to change and develop. Sure, there are peaks and troughs in his career, but nobody else in pop or rock can match the quality of his output over such a long period. And he's still performing with remarkable frequency and intensity. It's possible to catch him in concert quite often. I saw him twice last year.

"No two shows are the same. Unlike most musicians of his age, he keeps experimenting, giving fresh interpretations to songs he has been performing for decades. Because his material is seldom all that specific in its temporal and geographical references, it travels and ages well. He still does `Masters of War' fairly frequently in concert, although it was written in 1962. It works as well in the era of Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates as it did in the time of Robert McNamara."

Thomas is not the only prominent academic who is mad on Dylan. Long-time devotee Christopher Ricks, professor of poetry at Oxford University, celebrated his 70th birthday in 2003 by publishing a 500-page tome called Dylan's Visions of Sin. Recent volume Do You Mr Jones?: Bob Dylan with the Poets and Professors (Pimlico, $35), is edited by Neil Corcoran, head of the School of English at the University of St Andrew's, with contributions from Aidan Day (professor of British literature and culture at the University of Aarhus, Denmark), Daniel Karlin (professor of English at University College London), and Sean Wilentz (director of the programme in American Studies at Princeton University).

What does Dylan himself make of all this scholarly attention? His own university career was very brief. He dropped out of the University of Minnesota after his first year, during which time he attended very few lectures and mainly hung out in Minneapolis folk clubs. After being presented with an honorary degree from Princeton in 1970, he wrote a cheekily satirical song about the experience, "Day of the Locust". Indeed, his general attitude to academia has always been scathing.

"His office has been very helpful in providing background information for my seminar course," says Thomas, "but there was no response when I invited him to attend one of the classes - and I didn't expect any."

With a wry smile, Thomas then quotes some lines from the song "Nettie Moore" on Dylan's latest album Modern Times: "Well, the world of research has gone berserk / Too much paperwork."
From the Scotsman comes news of a renewed (!?) effort on the part of Greece to pressure the British Museum to return the Elgin/Parthenon Marbles ... the rhetoric is starting to heat up as well:

THE British Museum's case for keeping the Elgin Marbles has "evaporated" after other major museums agreed to return ancient artefacts to Greece, the country's prime minister said yesterday.

Costas Karamanlis was speaking at a ceremony in Athens' National Archaeological Museum, where two ancient treasures that had been returned by the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles - a 4th century BC gold wreath and a 6th century BC marble statue of a young woman's torso - were put on display.

"It is our urgent priority to reclaim every ancient artefact that was illegally exported to museums and collectors abroad," Mr Karamanlis said.

He said the wreath's return had helped "evaporate the feeble arguments put forward for the non-return" of the Elgin, or Parthenon, Marbles.

"There is universal demand for returning the Parthenon Marbles which is steadily gaining ground," he said.

The sculptures were removed from the Parthenon and other monuments on the Acropolis 200 years ago by Lord Elgin, Britain's ambassador to the Ottoman Empire which then ruled Greece.

Lord Elgin acquired his collection between 1801 and 1810. The marbles were bought by the British Museum in 1816 and have been a major attraction there ever since. Athens has long sought their return.

Greece is building a new museum, due to be completed later this year, to house artefacts from the Acropolis, and space has been reserved to showcase the Elgin Marbles. Bernard Tschumi, a United States-based architect, designed the 215,000sq ft glass-and-concrete building at the foot of the Acropolis.

Mr Karamanlis said the completion of the new Acropolis Museum, and the return by Sweden and Germany last year of two fragments from the ancient monument, fuelled the argument for the Elgin Marbles' return.

Giorgos Voulgarakis, Greece's culture minister, told state television: "The new Acropolis Museum will be the most modern in the world - in the world!

"After the museum is inaugurated, part of the display where the marbles would be will be left empty with a sign explaining the reason. I wouldn't like to be in the [shoes] of the British Museum."

The pieces put on display yesterday were the last of four antiquities successfully reclaimed by Greece from the Getty Museum, and follows a visit to Athens last month by Michael Brand, the Getty's director.

In December last year Getty, which was embroiled in an international scandal involving their former antiquities curator Marion True, agreed to return the two objects that Greece has long said were the result of illegal excavation and smuggling.

The Getty, one of the world's richest institutions, approved the return of all four items, saying they were, indeed, illegally obtained and then purchased by True, who now faces criminal charges in Italy and Greece. She has denied the charges against her.

A 2,400-year-old, black limestone stele - a grave marker - and a marble votive relief dating from about 490 BC were returned in August as the first instalment of the deal.

The Greek authorities say the golden wreath was illegally excavated in the northern province of Macedonia. Designed as a burial gift, it was probably made shortly after the death of the Macedonian warrior-king Alexander the Great.

"The time when foreign museums and collectors could buy whatever they like in a grey [suspect] market has ended and will never return. There is now a more responsible prevailing attitude against looting national heritage," Mr Voulgarakis said.

"It's not our intention to empty the displays of the world's museums and claim everything Greek. What we want back is everything that was illegally exported."
From IOL:

Greek police seized a haul of ancient coins, tools and other objects and arrested four men accused of trafficking in antiquities, police in the northern port of Salonika said on Tuesday.

The four men, aged 45 to 57, were arrested in the town of Elassona on Monday after attempting to sell five silver coins from the Hellenistic era to an undercover police officer for €2 500 (about R24 000) apiece.

A fifth man is sought in connection with the case, the local police chief told a news conference.

Police found 45 ancient objects at the suspects' homes, including a stone millstone and axe, clay vessels and iron tools and nail remains.

The authorities suspect that the items were looted from ancient tombs in Thessaly, an antiquity-rich area in central Greece that has been inhabited since Prehistoric times.
A couple of reports came across my screen during my hiatus, and they're somewhat disturbing (and neither bears an April 1 date)... first, from the Times, we get news that there won't be A-levels in Ancient History:

The teaching of Ancient History in schools is to become, well, ancient history. The only examination board offering an A level in the subject is to drop it in favour of a new Classical Civilisation qualification.

Boris Johnson, the Tory higher education spokesman and president of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers (JACT), criticised the OCR exam board for its “demented” decision to replace “a tough, rewarding, crunchy” subject with a softer option. “You can’t just subsume the study of Ancient History into the study of Classical Civilisation. You might as well say that you can learn English history through the study of English language and literature. If we lose Ancient History A level, we lose yet another battle in the general dumbing-down of Britain,” he said.

David Tristram, head of The Kingswood School in Corby, Northamptonshire and chair of the JACT council, described the move as “disgraceful”.

“Cicero once said that not to know what took place before you were born is to remain forever a child. The cradle of democracy was Greece, and Western civilisation developed out of the Roman and Greek civilisations — their study is crucial to our own culture and civilisation,” he said.

Graham Able, head of Dulwich College, said that the move reinforced his own decision to opt out of the entire A-level system in favour of the new PreU examination. “Ancient History is a bona fide academic subject in its own right whereas Classical Civilisation tends to be a watered-down version with less historical rigour.”

The Ancient History syllabus covers 21 different aspects and eras of ancient Greek and Roman history, such as the conflict of Greece and Persia in 499BC to 479BC and the reign of Nero. Under the Classical Civilisation A level, history will be dealt with in units, such as “Romano-British society and history as depicted in the literary and archaeological record”.

The move by the OCR exam board follows a revival of interest in ancient history, the result of movie blockbusters such as 300,about the battle of Thermo-pylae , as well as books and TV programmes including the BBC’s Rome.Peter Jones, of the National Coordinating Committee for Classics, said that it made no sense to axe the subject when numbers studying it at AS and A2 level since 2000 had risen by 300 per cent.

Tony Little, Head Master of Eton College, cautioned against a more general trend to “whittle away” valuable periods from the study of history in secondary school: “The notion that history has to be mid-20th century and exclusively focused on the Nazis seems to undervalue history as a subject.”

An OCR spokesman denied watering down the subject. “Similar content to that in Ancient History is covered. In addition, there is a new ethos, which requires candidates to study sources in their historical and cultural context,” he said. New specifications for Classics are published as part of broader changes to A levels, designed to make them more testing for the brightest teenagers from next year.

Hot on the heels of that came a piece in the Telegraph making extraordinary claims about teaching Greek and Latin:

Lessons in Latin and Ancient Greek have been deemed detrimental to the learning of foreign languages in schools.

A secret document sent to Government officials by the Dearing Languages Review, an influential inquiry into language teaching, reveals that Latin and Greek were excluded from the list of languages that schools will be encouraged to study because they are "dead languages" that contribute nothing to "intercultural understanding".

The document adds that "important as they can be, their inclusion on the same footing as modern languages could actually undermine our attempts to build up national capacity in languages".

The revelation that Latin and Greek were intentionally excluded by the review comes only days after news that the Ancient History A-level is to be scrapped by the OCR exam board. The review was ordered by the Government last year in response to a steep decline in the number of pupils studying languages for GCSE.

Boris Johnson, the shadow higher education minister, described the assertion that Latin and Greek could undermine attempts to build up languages as the "most stupid thing I have ever heard".

"I can pick up a newspaper in Spain, Portugal, Italy, France, Greece, Brazil and the whole of Latin America and understand the news, basically because I studied Latin," he said.

... looks like there's a campaign afoot ...


Gene O'Grady notes:

Small point perhaps, but the rather extraordinary claim that Latin and Greek add nothing to intercultural understanding runs clearly contrary to my experiences in California where I observed that Hispanic and Filipino Catholics embraced the Latin (as opposed to Tridentine) Mass as a statement of cultural independence, and certainly my ability to share it with them added at least a little on a couple of memorable occasions to “intercultural understanding.”
From RBL:

James Crossley, Why Christianity Happened: A Sociohistorical Account of Christian Origins (26-50 CE), Review of Biblical Literature

From the Guardian:

Peter Parsons, The City of the Sharp-nosed Fish: Greek Lives in Roman Egypt

From the Washington Post:

Peter Green, The Hellenistic Age: A Short History
Unclassical Traditions: Alternatives to the Classical Past in Late Antiquity

A two-day conference to be held at the Faculty of Classics, University of
Cambridge - 16th-17th April, 2007

Please find below the schedule and prospectus for the 'Unclassical
Traditions' conference. If you would like to register, please email
Richard Flower (raf33 AT by Friday 6th April. The conference fee
is £20, which includes lunches and refreshments on both days. There will
also be a four-course conference dinner on the Monday night at a cost of
£25 per head (wine included).

Monday 16th April

9:30 a.m. Registration

9:40 a.m. Michael Williams, University of Cambridge
Introduction: (Im)possible Pasts

Neil McLynn, University of Oxford
The Manna from Uncle: Basil's Subversion of the Classical

11:00 a.m. Tea

11:20 a.m. Mark Humphries, National University of Ireland, Maynooth
Gog, Magog and the Goths

Peter Heather, University of Oxford
Cassiodorus, Jordanes and the Formation of a Grand Gothic

12:40 p.m. Lunch

2:00 p.m. Hallie Meredith, University of Oxford
Words and Visions: Appending Histories to Late-Antique Art

Janet Huskinson, Open University
Commemorating Difference: Self-Representation on Third-
and Fourth-Century Roman Sarcophagi

3:20 p.m. Tea

3:40 p.m. Richard Flower, University of Cambridge
The Emperor's New Past: Christian Invectives against
Constantius II

Bella Sandwell, University of Bristol
John Chrysostom on Christian Identity: Rethinking Social
Identity in the Fourth Century

5:15 p.m. Derek Krueger, University of North Carolina, Greensboro
The Liturgical Creation of a Christian Past: Identity and
Community in Anaphoral Prayers

7:00 p.m. Conference Dinner at Clare College

Tuesday 17th April

9:40 a.m. Gavin Kelly, University of Edinburgh
The Roman World of Festus' Breviarium

Phil Booth, University of Cambridge
Competing Epistemologies in Sophronius Sophista's Miracles
of Cyrus and John

11:00 a.m. Tea

11:20 a.m. Simon Corcoran, University College, London
New Codes for Old: Alaric and Justinian revisit Theodosius

Richard Miles, University of Cambridge
Forgetting the Past: The Latin Poets of Vandal Carthage

12:40 p.m. Lunch

2:00 p.m. Claudia Rapp, University of California, Los Angeles
The Literature of Early Monasticism: Purpose and Genre
between Tradition and Innovation

Gillian Clark, University of Bristol
Demonic Traditions: Augustine on the Roman Past

3:20p.m. Conclusions and Closing Words

Registration and all papers will be held in Room 1.04.
Lunches and refreshments will be served in Room G.21.


The persistence of the classical tradition in the later Roman empire
remains a topic of controversy. In recent decades, the period has come to
be seen not as one of decline and fall but of transformation, in which the
educated elite of the empire considered themselves to inhabit a
recognisably classical landscape in which they could employ their cultural
capital in a range of new contexts. However, this model is not without its
critics, and some scholars have preferred to emphasise the destruction of
the classical legacy, and with it 'the end of civilisation'.

The purpose of this conference is not to argue for the pre-eminence of
either model, nor to replace them with another monolithic explanation of
the period. The range of experiences and responses across the broad
expanse of the Roman empire instead enables us to recognise the enormous
variety of late-antique responses to the classical past. This topic was
itself subject to contemporary debate: alongside those who wished to
defend and preserve the dominance of classical culture were others who
sought to provide the world of late antiquity with alternative traditions.

This conference will therefore concentrate on the revival and the
invention of these unclassical traditions in all areas of late-antique
culture. Topics for discussion will include: the use of the biblical past
in Christian writing and controversy; alternatives to the Roman legal
tradition; departures from the classical models of social organisation and
interaction, as expressed through cultural commentary and through changes
in the management of public space; the negotiation of cultural norms
between representatives of the Roman empire and its neighbours; and the
construction of non-classical identities for particular social, cultural
and ethnic groupings throughout the Roman world. It is hoped that through
the recognition of these dissonant voices a broader and richer image will
emerge, providing a sense of the abundant possibilities available for the
negotiation and definition of a late-antique cultural identity.
"Being Peloponnesian" Int'l Conference

The University of Nottingham's newly founded Centre for Spartan and
Peloponnesian Studies

is organising an international conference entitled "Being
Peloponnesian: Cohesion and Diversity through Time," from March 31 to
April 1.

The conference will examine the developments of Prehistoric,
Classical, Roman, Byzantine and modern times that promoted or
obstructed the cultural and economic integration of the Peloponnese
along with its inhabitants' sense of a shared identity. Through papers
focused on all or most of the region, the conference will explore the
way in which a sense of the Peloponnese developed, was transmitted,
and fluctuated through time.
Seen on the Latinteach list:

There will be a Latin position opening up at my high
school in Chicago for the 2008-2009 school year. This
is only just on the horizon but my administration is
indeed looking that far ahead.

Lane Tech. College Prep. High School is a large, 4000+
student, selective (students must take and pass an
entrance exam) school on the northwest side of
Chicago. The school has a VERY diverse, urban student
population. The faculty are a very lively, very
professional bunch (especially in the Foreign Language
Dept.). I, and some of my colleagues, like to think
that Lane Tech has the potential to be a sort of MIT
of high schools: excellent technical classes yet
liberal arts offerings as well.

The administration is VERY, VERY, VERY supportive of
teachers as individuals and the Latin program as a
whole. Although the administration were the ones who
wanted Latin back, I feel I've already built a
decently strong and loyal following among students,
parents, and fellow teachers.

We use 'ecce Romani' and, even by the time you get
there, the program will still be evolving (e.g. the
2008-2009 school year will be the first year in which
we offer Latin III). So you will most definitely have
a hand in developing the Latin program.

For the 2008-2009 school year the Latin position would
only be part-time. The administration, however, is
very flexible and you could (1) work only part-time,
teaching only two or three classes (like I am this
year); (2) be certified in Latin and another language
for a full-time position; (3) be certified in Latin
and another, non-language, subject for a full-time

The only "catch" to working in CPS (Chicago Public
Schools) is that you now have to live within the
borders of the city proper in order to be employed.

Until the position is officially opened and the school
is officially hiring, I will be more than happy to
field any inquiries (jwchochola AT