Naves Americanae in Sinu Persico
: Nuntii Latini
25.05.2007, klo 13.00
Novem naves longae Americanae in Sinum Persicum transierunt, ut exercitium militare prope aquas nationales Iraniae participarent.
Quo usu belli populis circumiacentibus demonstrari videtur Americanos quoquo modo paratos esse ad securitatem illius regionis praestandam.
I managed to find a few more pots at Christie's upcoming auction (although there still aren't as many as we usually see). This one is a late sixth-century Athenian black figure Neck Amphora with a chariot scene on one side and a Dionysiac scene on the other. The official description is more extensive.
Twenty-five years after he began his research and teaching career at U of T, Brad Inwood has been named a University Professor, the highest honour the university bestows on its faculty for their scholarship.
Inwood started at U of T in July 1982 and today the professor of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy teaches in both the classics and the philosophy departments. He is a Canada Research Chair in ancient philosophy.
“When people comment that I’m a professor in the research stream, I point out to them that my job description has an equal balance between teaching and research. Teaching is as important to me as my research,” Inwood said. “A researcher must be able to appreciate and critically assess the quality of evidence relevant to the field. These qualities and skills are in turn brought into the classroom.
“Those are things that are the nuts and bolts of my research and they’re the principal goals of my teaching,” Inwood said. “Ideally students learn to think critically, they learn to distinguish evidence from inference and they learn the importance of historical details.”
Prominent among Inwood’s scholarly and research activities has been his work on Stoicism in the Hellenistic period and his study of Empedocles, a Greek pre-Socratic scholar. His most recent book, published in 2005, is
entitled Reading Seneca: Stoic Philosophy at Rome.
They're surprisingly heavy.
John F. Hall, left, a professor of Roman history and ancient languages, explains to Randy Olsen, BYU library director, the text engraved on two bronze plates displayed at the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU. (Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News)
Jason Olson, Deseret Morning News
John F. Hall, left, a professor of Roman history and ancient languages, explains to Randy Olsen, BYU library director, the text engraved on two bronze plates displayed at the Harold B. Lee Library at BYU.
The replicas of two 2nd-century, Roman, bronze metal plates that date back to A.D. 109 on display in the Harold B. Lee Library on the BYU campus are thin, so one would think they're fragile and lightweight.
But pick one up, and it's hard not to drop it.
And even though the original plates weighed only 2.5 ounces each, holding just the two of them makes it difficult to imagine how heavy the set of 4th-century, golden plates — like those LDS Prophet Joseph Smith is believed to have unearthed from the Hill Cumorah — would have been.
And according to the literature supplied by BYU professor of law/Editor-in-Chief of BYU Studies John W. Welch, which accompanies the campus display, the two sets of plates would have been very similar in construction and physical appearance.
The comparable size and thickness, the use of alloyed metal and binding rings, the fact that one part is open and another sealed, the fact that the plates bear the names of witnesses, the combination of all of these factors in a pattern, make the Roman plates relevant to the Book of Mormon plates.
"We are extremely fortunate to have this exhibit at BYU," Welch said. "This may be the best example of ancient writing on metal plates anywhere in the world."
The 2,000-year-old plates behind the glass case at BYU were issued by imperial decree to a retiring Roman soldier — Marcus Herennius Polymita — on Oct. 14, A.D. 109 during the rule of Emperor Trajan in Rome. Similar plates were posted on a temple wall in Rome to announce his honorable discharge as well as his right to move freely about the Roman empire wearing the toga of a Roman citizen. His family was listed, providing valuable genealogical information.
The plates have a natural place in the Lee library because they are a historical record of ancient writing and record keeping, said Shaun McMurdie, chair of exhibition services and exhibit art director.
The imperial artifacts illuminate important and ancient documentation practice, said Welch.
The ingeniously designed plates feature an open presentation of the text and a sealed interior portion, a double copy that protects the document from those who might tamper with the contents.
"We refer to such records as doubled, sealed, witnessed documents," Welch said.
The plates, discovered near Dacia or modern-day Romania in 1986, have undergone extensive testing by BYU professor of geology Mike Dorais and found to contain the metals known to be available (and used in Trajan coins) in the region at the time, and their construction matches the technology of the period.
Included with the exhibit is an informational video that helps immerse visitors into the culture and story behind the plates.
Fuga apium universa in America
: Nuntii Latini
25.05.2007, klo 12.59
Ingentia examina apium in Civitatibus Americae Unitis et Oriente extremo mirandum in modum ex alveariis suis avolaverunt et verisimiliter perierunt.
Quae insecta enim cellas suas gregatim deseruerunt regina et ovis in nidis relictis, ex quo secutum est, ut favi fingi et mellificium effici desinerentur cum magno apiculturae detrimento.
Quae sit causa illius fugae universae, nemo pro certo scire videtur.
Not sure if it means anything, but there's a definite dearth of pots at Christie's upcoming auction. This is the only one, I think ... a 7th century B.C. Etruscan amphora. According to the official description, those wavy things are 'felines'.
Three hundred marble sculptures that have survived on the Acropolis in Athens through 2,500 years of war, weather and looting, will soon be moved to a new museum, Greek officials said Tuesday.
The sculptures, weighing up to 2.5 tons each, were carved in the 6th and 5th centuries B.C. to decorate the Parthenon and other temples. Most are currently exhibited in a small museum on the Acropolis.
A new glass and concrete museum, purpose-built to house all the Acropolis finds at the foot of the hill, will open in early 2008, Culture Minister George Voulgarakis said.
A huge operation will start in September to move the marble works to the new museum, which is scheduled to open next year, the officials said.
"It will be a very difficult undertaking," said Voulgarakis. "This has never been done before. (But) I think everything will go well."
Three cranes, standing up to 50 meters (165 feet) tall, will relay the sculptures from the old museum on the Acropolis to the new, €129 million (US$174 million) building — a distance of some 400 meters (yards).
The operation will cost €2.5 million (US$3.4 million) and is scheduled to be finished by the end of this year, Voulgarakis said.
"It will depend on the weather too," he said. "Our main concern was to ensure the works' safe transportation and that minimal damage is caused to the monuments. The cost is not a concern."
Among the works to be moved will be four Caryatids from the Erechtheion temple — decorative statues that held up a small porch — and sections of the Parthenon pediment and 162-meter (530-feet) frieze.
The sculptures will be stored in foam-packed metal boxes, while the cranes are designed to absorb shocks that could damage the precious works.
The move will be insured — although that could be complicated.
"These works are beyond price," Voulgarakis said. "Nobody can set a precise value to one of the Caryatids."
Initially scheduled for completion before the 2004 Athens Olympics, construction of the new, 20,000-sq. meter (215,000-sq. foot) museum was delayed by long-running legal fights and new archaeological discoveries at the site.
The two-story building will be capped by a glass hall containing the Parthenon sculptures. The glass walls will allow visitors a direct view of the ancient temple.
Blank spaces will be left for sculptures removed from the Parthenon two centuries ago by British diplomat Lord Elgin, which are now in the British Museum in London. Greece has campaigned long and unsuccessfully for their return.
The 14,000-sq. meter (150,000-sq. foot) new exhibition area will contain more than 4,000 works — 10 times the amount currently on display in the old museum. Most have never been exhibited before.
"Many more of the Parthenon's sculptures will be on view in the new display, including many that are now in storage, or fragments that have been reassembled in the 1980s and 1990s," said archaeologist Alexandros Mantis.
The new museum was designed by U.S.-based architect Bernard Tschumi in collaboration with Greece's Michael Photiades. It will incorporate, under a glass cover, building remains from a 3rd-7th century Athenian neighborhood discovered in the 1990s during preliminary work on the site.
The old Acropolis museum will close to visitors in July to facilitate the move, Voulgarakis said.
Dr. John McMahon, associate professor of classics, department of foreign languages and literatures, was the invited keynote speaker for the 18th annual Latinalia festival held at Syracuse University on May 14.
Sponsored by the Association of Teachers of Latin Around Syracuse (ATLAS), the Latinalia hosts Latin students from regional secondary schools to celebrate the Latin language and ancient Roman history and culture.
In keeping with this year's theme, Ad astra per aspera ("To the stars through difficulties"), Dr. McMahon's illustrated lecture, "Ancient Skies for Modern Eyes," featured an overview of Greek and Roman astronomy and of the constellations and their mythology. McMahon also offered the students simple instructions for recognizing from their own backyards several prominent star patterns now visible in the night sky that were also well known to the ancients.
De thermis antiquis Ancyranis
: Nuntii Latini
25.05.2007, klo 12.59
Ministerium Turciae culturale consilium cepit, ut thermae Romanae Ancyrae sitae restituerentur.
Quae thermae iussu Caracallae, imperatoris Romani, saeculo p.Chr.n. tertio constructae complura opera archaeologica magni momenti continent.
Multi investigatores universitatis Ancyranae participes erunt huius conatus, qui quinque annis perfectum iri aestimatur.
I love the pose/movement of this 1st-2nd century Venus and the official description of her left arm as being "akimbo".
Senior Maya Maskarinec majored in classics, but her Princeton education would have been incomplete without Math 214: "Numbers, Equations and Proofs," German 306: "Topics in German Intellectual History" and Art 435: "The Arts of Pilgrimage in the Middle Ages."
"Taking those courses was more than just expanding my knowledge of different fields," Maskarinec said. "They forced me to think in different ways. They broadened my perspective."
That perspective -- and her passion for the ancient world -- led her to write a thesis that brought together architecture, literature and religion in a highly original way. Maskarinec has been selected as the class of 2007's salutatorian and will continue the Princeton tradition of delivering a speech in Latin at Commencement June 5.
"Maya is exceptional because she works in an interdisciplinary way putting things together," said Harriet Flower, her thesis adviser. "She came up with something very sophisticated for her thesis, and designed the topic herself from scratch."
Maskarinec's thesis examined how Romans in the late fourth century -- when Rome was fading from power -- regarded their city's past glory. The topic grew from a semester in Rome during her junior year, when she studied at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies and spent hours walking the streets and exploring the ancient ruins.
"I was captivated by the layers of Rome," she said. "The ruins are there, layered within the modern city. I became interested in the way people don't just keep the past, but invent ways to preserve it."
Exploring the streets of Rome, Maskarinec stumbled on her thesis topic: the Temple of Saturn, built in the late fourth century using marble and other materials that were probably stolen from other buildings. She compared it with a text, Macrobius' "Saturnalia," composed entirely of quotations and paraphrases, to discuss how Romans reused their past.
Writing the thesis was a revelation for Maskarinec. "I wouldn't have thought Roman decay would be fascinating to me," she said. "But professors in the classics department were willing to show me where I could go with my ideas and to spend time engaging with my ideas."
Maskarinec grew up in Honolulu, where her German mother spoke to the young girl in her native tongue, giving Maskarinec an early start on learning languages. Reading Homer in high school spurred an interest in Greek.
"It was so beautiful in English," Maskarinec said, "that I wanted to read it in Greek."
She studied Latin and Greek on her own with a tutor, since they weren't offered at her school, and then took a class in Greek at a local university, where her professor encouraged her to apply to Princeton. The University's academic reputation and generous financial aid package drew her to matriculate. During her Princeton career she was awarded the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence in 2005 as well as the 2005-06 Charles Steele Prize in the classics department.
Next year Maskarinec will be studying the culture of late antiquity and the early Middle Ages at the University of Vienna on a Fulbright grant. Eventually she plans to pursue graduate studies in the field of late antiquity.
And someday soon, she would like to spend more time in Rome, wandering the streets and exploring more of the city's history and architecture.
"People say that a math problem or a literature class makes you think," she said. "I think walking in a complex city -- especially Rome -- makes you think."
Unus, duo, tres, quattuor …
The bell rings at 9 a.m. in David “Doc” Larrick’s Room 124 - the same Albemarle High room he has inhabited for 25 years - and he counts out loud in Latin along with his students to see if he has a full class.
When he leaves the room for a few minutes, his Latin I students gush with admiration for a teacher with a Ph.D. in humanities who will retire from the school division in June.
“Someone told me before I decided to take this class that if you haven’t had Doc, you haven’t had the true Albemarle experience,” junior Jason Truwit said.
Unlike many public schools throughout the country, learning Greek and Latin - languages some call “dead” - is part of the AHS experience, and Larrick is the “numerus unus” reason why they are alive and thriving.
All six Latin courses being offered in the fall are full.
“There is no such thing as a dead language in Doc Larrick’s class,” said Spanish teacher Denise Collado, who will take over for Larrick as the head of the world languages department at AHS.
Collado said that as Latin and Greek have become de-emphasized nationwide, Spanish has become the more important and marketable language for students.
“Our society today is very utilitarian,” she said.
How does Larrick keep the classics chic? He engages his students and makes sure they understand how relevant learning the classics can be, Collado said.
“I definitely learned a lot more English grammar here than I have in my three years of English,” said junior Tom Breeden.
The only things dead to Larrick are the rumors that Greek and Latin are becoming extinct.
“I like to dispel the notion that Latin and Greek are ‘dead,’” he said. “Are monuments dead? Is a painting dead? I emphasize that the classical languages we are about to learn are ‘frozen’ in time, like a monument or painting, and are nevertheless as eloquent and expressive as anything that can ever be spoken orally. On the first day of Latin, students leave the room knowing hundreds of words in Latin, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Italian, all based on English words they already know.”
This may explain why his Latin I class was full of freshmen looking to fulfill their language requirement and juniors looking to lift their SAT verbal scores.
Knowing the classics bolsters vocabulary and literacy, said Larrick, who earned a B.A. in Greek and an M.A. in English literature from the University of Virginia.
“There are all sorts of linguistic keys I share with students to open up a vast knowledge of words,” he said.
In fact, college graduates taking the GRE between 1996 and 1999 who majored in classical languages or classics scored the highest on the verbal section out of the more than 270 majors who were cited.
Larrick’s grandmother exposed him to Greek and Latin early on, and his sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Eavis, ignited his interest in medieval manuscripts and languages.
“I always wanted to be a teacher,” Larrick said. “No other occupation ever occurred to me because I had so many likable, inspiring and challenging teachers throughout my education.”
In his retirement, Larrick plans to work with his partners at DynamicLiteracy.com, a company that produces vocabulary expansion products.
Let me first begin by saying "Thank you" to Doc David Larrick! My
rising junior had the wonderful opportunity to have and experience
Doc Larrick for two years at AHS. What Doc provided my child may be
more than he has ever done or provided any other student in his many
years of teaching. You see, my child has a learning disability that
impacts language and vocabulary and has caused a significant struggle
with reading comprehension since elementary school. My child has not
been able to comprehend above a 5th grade reading level since the
start of middle school. Not true anymore! In my child's two years
with Doc for Latin I and Latin II my child is now able to read and
comprehend on a high school level! Kudos Doc! In addition, my child
has also closed all gaps in both receptive and expressive
language. What this "very alive" language and the help and guidance
of Doc Larrick provided my child is beyond priceless! Most
importantly Doc never believed that my child did not belong or
couldn't succeed. He provided multiple opportunities for mastery
learning when failure wasn't an option, but mostly he gave my child
the gift of language and lifelong learning. Everyone should have a
teacher that does that! We were fortunate enough to get Doc!
Thank you Doc for what you have done and how you have impacted my
child and the lives and futures of all those you have touched over
your many years of teaching. We wish you the best and will miss you
for Honors Latin III next year!
Our sincere appreciation,
AHS parent and a student that will miss you
Italian archaeologists found ancient bowling hall during excavation work in a residential area since the Ptolemaic dynasty era 80 km away from Egypt's capital city of Cairo.
The spacious room's floor is covered with limestone tiles. The scientists' attention was attracted by a 20-centimeter-high path and the near placed two stone balls.
The unique facility is situated in a house. Papyruses, clay utensils and copper objects were also found on the spot.
After the finds' inventory they will be deposited for safe-keeping to Egypt's Culture Ministry.
The Italian mission operating at Kom Mady area, Fayoum governorate discovered the first hall for practicing "Bowling" game in the world. The discovery was an open building dates back to Ptolemy era which ground was covered with huge blocks of limestone and have a course with depth of 10 centimeters and with elevation of 20 centimeters.
The course has in the middle a square shaped hole with dimensions of 12 centimeters that is opened to a big pottery fixed under the hole.
An archeological source at the Italian mission stated that the mission found "two balls" of polished limestone one of them the same diameter of the course while the other in the size of the square hole.
The study of the unique engineering construction it was proved that no similar building is found in the ancient world, and it is expected that it was the first attempt for practicing a game similar to the "Bowling".
The source added that the mission found this discovery during works of excavations in one of the buildings inside the ancient residential city at Kom Mady area that dates back to the Ptolemy era. The city comprises houses composed of two rooms and big hall.
Inside the hall the mission found papyri rolls, pottery pieces, glass containers and some copper tools and Al-/fiancé pieces that date back to the Ptolemy era.
The monumental area of Kom Mady is considered one of the key sites remaining in good shape, which antiquities date back to the 12th Pharaonic Dynasty. It is a temple dedicated for the worship of Goddess Isis and God Sobek.
A detailed report on the discovery was prepared for presentation to the Minister of Culture Farouq Hosny for allocating the necessary financial sums for completion of digging and restoration of the discovered pieces in preparation for placing the area on the tourist map
It's been centuries since archaeologists excavated Rome's central Piazza Venezia, but just a few hundred yards from the Roman Forum, skeletons of the city's past are surfacing.
In a hole 18 feet below the piazza, construction workers and archaeologists digging Rome's new subway line are carefully uncovering Rome's layered history.
Closest to the surface are building remnants from renaissance Rome that were torn down in the late 19th century. The next layer exposes the remains of Via Flamina, a medieval road that once cut through the city. Below that, herringbone pavement from around A.D. 700 peeks through.
Unlike Paris or New York, whose intricate subway lines connect, Rome has historic subterreanean layers that have prevented its subway system from uniting. Giovanni Simonacci, the technical director of the new subway line, says that in Rome, archaeological remnants can be found up to 30 feet below the surface. At 90 feet down, the subway's tunnels won't displace antique artifacts, but the upper stations and air vents will.
Archaeologists decide whether artifacts are historically important enough to be maintained, or whether they can be destroyed. They deemed a Roman tavern from the Middle Ages acceptable for destruction, but they scrapped an entire subway stop near the Pantheon after workers found the base of an imperial Roman public building. Tourists will walk an extra 200 yards from Piazza Venezia to reach the relocated stop.
Elsewhere at the excavation, workers have found what archaeologists call a "looter's hole." During the Middle Ages, builders tied to a rope would drop down the well-like shaft and roam the lower layers in search of bricks, blocks of rock or slabs of marble from earlier centuries to be used for new construction.
Simonacci says the Piazza Venezia dig shows just a fragment of the rich Roman heritage below ground.
"There isn't an inch of Rome that doesn't have some artifacts below the street," he says. "In 300 A.D., Rome already had one-and-a-half million inhabitants. If we were to bring to light everything they and subsequent generations built, we would have to eliminate all of the streets of Rome."
Sometime in the 1800s, Elihu Burritt coined a motto for the city.
The phrase, "Industria implet alveare et mele fruitur," is on city business cards, the city website and on banners along city streets. It boasts that "Industry fills the hive and enjoys the honey."
Whether Burritt was distracted at the time or just a bad speller of Latin will never be known, but one of the words in the motto, "mele," doesn't exist. The correct word is "melle."
Former Mayor William McNamara first noticed it about 25 years ago. But in a town where Spanish and Polish sometimes eclipse English, McNamara stands alone in his concern about the rightful place of an extra "l."
"Bill's a very intelligent guy, but he's got too much time on his hands," said Mayor Timothy Stewart.
McNamara, who once issued an unheeded mayoral edict to fix the motto, has asked Stewart to take up the cause.
"Would you humor this old pedant, and in the future, should the city order any merchandise with the city's motto, specify that it be printed, engraved, or whatever, correctly," he asked in a letter to Stewart. "It should be ...melle as Maecenas, and his friends Livy, Cicero, and Vergil would have spoken and written it, during the time of Augustus." Another possible spelling is "mel," but McNamara and scholars agree that "melle" is the better choice.
The motto will only be changed, Stewart said, if necessary.
"We'll do it in due time," he said, chuckling. "I have to go to a Latin teacher and figure it out."
Yelena Baraz, an assistant professor of classics at Trinity College, and Roger Travis, an associate professor of classics at the University of Connecticut, agree that the correct form of the word is "melle."
Lou Salvio, a common council member and retired teacher, borrowed from his specialty in entomology to try to figure out where the motto went wrong.
"A honey bee is an insect, and the Latin name for the honey bee is Apis mellifera," Salvio said.
Seeking further clarity, Salvio consulted his old yearbook, which has a picture of a beehive, but found no words around it. He inspected the city seal on a lapel pin, but couldn't read the Lilliputian writing. He pledged to try to read the motto on the city flag.
Still, academic pursuits have their limits.
"I would say that the controversy over the spelling of honey or honey bee is probably more of a scholar's controversy than it refers to the city of New Britain," Salvio said. "As far as I'm concerned, it's not worth making all those drastic changes."
Over at the Texas Lunch diner, Peter Oshana, a former common council member, drew a blank when asked about the city's motto. Oshana, who studied Latin in school and used to attend a Catholic Mass in Latin, doesn't remember the language anymore.
But he did remember one thing: his Latin teacher.
"Mr. Gurski - he'd throw an eraser at you when you fell asleep," said Oshana, who has since overcome his somnolent days.
"And he was loud."
The city, he said, should translate the Latin phrase into English.
"We don't sit around reading Latin," he said.
The valley of Bulgaria's Thracian kings may be larger than believed and its extent may touch even the town of Sliven's borders, the famous Bulgarian archaeologist Professor Georgi Kitov said Monday.
Professor Kitov's team of scientists and archaeologists will start excavations of 15 Thracian tumuli in mid July as according to their preliminary research they contain many unique artefacts.
"All of the tumuli have been already pillaged by treasures hunters, but I really hope they did not know what to look for," Professor Kitov said.
It is expected that the excavations continue three months and they will cost around BGN 200 000.
At the end of June a team of the Discovery Channel will come to Bulgaria to make a documentary for the excavations.
Linnaeus abhinc 300 annos natus
: Nuntii Latini
25.05.2007, klo 12.58
Die Mercurii sive die vicesimo tertio huius mensis (23.5.) trecenti anni acti erant, cum Carolus Linnaeus, investigator naturae celeberrimus, in Suetia natus est.
Constat ei laudi dandum esse, quod omnes in orbe plantae et animalia binis nominibus Latinis nuncupantur.
Quam rationem nomenclaturae scientificam Linnaeus iis operibus proposuit, quae ?Systema naturae? et ?Species plantarum? inscribuntur.
From Christie's upcoming auction comes this mid-2nd century Roman funerary urn. According to the official description, the inscription reads: "For the underworld divinities: For Gaius Munatius Dionysius. Eutychas and Lysimachus, Freedmen, [erected this] for a very deserving Patron". Not sure why, but I don't think I've ever seen a Roman funerary urn before.
Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles Parliamentary Motion Hailed
“The motion passed last Thursday by members of New Zealand’s Parliament, which urges the British Government to return the Parthenon (Elgin) Marbles back to Greece, joins the growing number of countries and international organisations also calling for their return” said Bruce Blades, Chairman of the New Zealand Parthenon Marbles Committee.
“The Marble sculptures were sawn off and stripped from the Parthenon building on the Acropolis in Athens by the then British Ambassador Lord Elgin 200 years ago, at the time when Greece was under Turkish rule. This action has been a matter of deep controversy ever since. Lord Elgin sold the Marbles to the British Government which holds them in the British Museum. Half are in Athens and half are in London. Countries throughout the world are joining the call for the Marbles to be reunited so that the magnificence of these sculptures can be truly appreciated in the place of their origin.”
The text of the motion put forward reads:-
"That this House joins its voice to that of other countries throughout the world and urges the British Government to support the return of the Parthenon (Elgin) marbles to Greece, stressing the need for the collections of marbles in different locations to be reunited so the world can see them in their original context in relation to the Temple of Parthenon as an act of respect to one of the most significant monuments of western heritage."
The motion was agreed to.
“As long as the Marbles remain in the British Museum, our New Zealand Committee will continue to inform the public of the plunder carried out by Lord Elgin when he desecrated the classical Parthenon building” said Mr Blades.
Latin isn't dead.
It's spoken daily in Deb Stakenas' classroom at East Kentwood High by students who aspire to be doctors or veterinarians or linguists.
On Tuesday, those same students will perform -- in Latin -- two comedies written about 2,200 years ago by Plautus, a Roman pioneer of musical theater.
Amid columns of cardboard, plastic armor and togas made from bed sheets, 20 students in Stakenas' advanced Latin class rehearsed their lines, sang a few notes and did their best to immerse themselves in the culture of the ancient Romans.
"Why did they have such complicated clothing," wondered junior Alexandria Mitchell as she draped a white sheet across her shoulder.
The juniors and seniors in "Amphitryon" and "Pseudolus" are likely the only ones in the country performing musical comedies in Latin, said Stakenas, who is chair of the Michigan Junior Classical League and in charge of the 140-student Latin program in Kentwood, the largest one around.
For the non-Latin crowd, the performers say most of the lines in both Latin and English.
Junior Nate Johnson, who plays the wealthy and powerful Ballio, is finishing his third year of Latin. "It's started to grow on me now that I've been taking it for a while," he said.
He continues because Latin class provides "a sense of community" and because the language will provide a boost to his transcripts.
College admissions officers like to see Latin on a transcript because it indicates the student is a high achiever and perhaps a bit of a risk-taker, Stakenas said.
But not too risky. Her students get defensive regarding rumors of Latin's demise.
Most public high schools no longer teach Latin, although many private and parochial schools do. Among the public districts that teach it are Kentwood, East Grand Rapids, Holland, Zeeland and Spring Lake.
"It's fun," junior Liz Creager said of the Latin performances. "You get to learn all these phrases. But I'm a nerd and I love this stuff." She's fond of asking her friends, "Quid tu ergo insane?" Translation: Are you insane?
In addition to providing a glimpse into the culture of the ancient Romans, the plays -- to be performed 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Freshman Campus cafeteria -- give the students a break from conjugating verbs and translating phrases, said Stakenas, who has been teaching Latin at East Kentwood for seven years.
"It's hard," Lisa Wilmore, also a junior, said of learning Latin. But she wants to be a veterinarian and the language gives her a head start on the terminology.
It is believed that the spring where handsome Narcissus turned into a flower according to the Greek mythology, took place in Mordogan village in Karaburun town of the Aegean city of Izmir.
In an interview with the A.A, journalist-writer Neset Oztekin claimed that he found the spring.
"I have searched the region for 50 years in the light of information I received from museums in Britain. I found the spring in Baspinar region which is known for its daffodil flowers. I have kept this secret to myself for the last two years. Now, I turned to 75 and I do not want it to be lost with me," he said.
Meanwhile, Ahmet Cakir, mayor of Mordogan, said that they aimed at making the region a famous tourist attraction.
"We expect financial support from the Izmir Metropolitan Municipality and the Ministry of Culture & Tourism," he added.
In Greek mythology, Narcissus is a hero renowned for his beauty. He falls in love with his own reflection on water of a spring and dies of love at the spring. Then, his body turns into a flower named after him.
This amiably supplements Steve Moore's Baetylmania piece in FT153:50.
Did Fort himself know this story? The only English translation of Photius's Bibliotheca in his day (JH Freese, London, 1920) was incomplete and stopped well before the operative ch242, also omitted from the recent selection (Duckworth, London, 1994) by Nigel Wilson - R Henry (Budé, Paris, 1959-77) provides a complete French one.
Fort could obviously have read George Moore's 1903 'Baetylia' article mentioned by Steve Moore - any Moore for any Moore? As evidenced by his Index, he consulted many such journals. Falling stones were one of his preoccupations (Books, pp145-60, 959-69), concluding: "It would be much of coincidence, if, at a time of religious excitement, [..] lightning should make its only known, or reported, pictures, on hailstones, and make those pictures religious emblems. But that the religious excitement did have much to do with the religious pictures on hailstones, is thinkable by me."
As Steve Moore shows, there was plenty of religious excitement between pagans and Christians in Damascius's time. He is also right to be cautious about the reasons for Damascius's telling and Photius's retelling the Baetyl tale. Maybe, from their opposite standpoints, both men had the same supernatural agenda.
Damascius is tricky to weigh up intellectually. Surviving works include a philosophically serious treatise On Principles and Commentaries on three Platonic dialogues. Apart from the Life of Isidore (ed. C Zintzen, Olms, Hildesheim, 1967), he compiled this tetralogy: 352 Astounding Tales; 52 Anecdotes Of the Gods; 63 Ghost Stories; 105 forteana. Photius's ridicule (ch130) implies Damascius was credulous, not critical; elsewhere (ch166) he snidely suggests that one Damascian source was the sci-fi novel Wonders Beyond Thule by Antonius Diogenes (second century AD?), known to us only from Photius's précis.
Outside Damascius's story, 'Baitulos' occurs Greekly only in the lexicographer Hesychius, who says the original one was given by Rhea to Kronos to eat at the moment of Zeus's birth, thus providing a mythological springboard for later marvels. This link is manifest in a third-century AD inscription from Palmyra (Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, 1934, volume 117, no341). According to A Lods, Israel Des, Origines Au Milieu Du Mlle Siècle (A Michel, Paris, 1949, p302), the Greek name comes from Hebrew `Bet'el' (House of The Lord). The second-century historian Philo of Byblus (fr2 paral9) dubbed them "animated stones". Damascius himself (Photius, ch242 para94) remarked on the multitude of Baetyls and Baetylia (a diminutive so rare that some Greek lexica miss it) around Heliopolis. There's no sign of either form in JT Pring's Oxford Dictionary Of Modern Greek (1986). Steve Moore says it "became commonplace" in the 20th century to apply 'Baetyl' to any old sacred stone - the Oxford English Dictionary actually gives but seven entries, 1854-1941, all in academic texts.
Photius distinguishes the many "weird tales" of these Baetyli from the present one. He also quotes (ch242 para233) the pagan Severus's reminiscences of seeing with Isidore at Alexandria several kinds of stones that reproduced all lunar and solar colours and movements.
It's also notable that Eusebius in Damascius's anecdote should be from Emesa - that Syrian town's prize exhibit was a huge black conical stone worshipped locally as having "fallen from heaven" and containing a recognisable diagram of the Sun: Herodian, History, bk3 ch4 para5.
Plenty of magical stones also in book 37 of Pliny's Natural History, containing (ch51 para135) the only Latin occurrence of `Baetulus'. Pliny is generally scornful of supernatural lapidary claims, mostly denouncing the Magi - more Eastern connections - as perpetrators of such rubbish. For the 'Baetulus', though, he is fascinatingly and exasperatingly different, quoting the (to us) unknown gemmologist Sotacus to the effect that Baetuli are common, black, round, and so supernaturally powerful that "thanks to them cities and fleets are attacked and overcome" - now, what do we make of that?
"Phony Baetylmania has bitten the dust" - The Clash (almost)
Hippocrates recommended a blend of pigeon droppings, cumin, horseradish and beet-root, and the Ancient Egyptian remedy included toes of a dog and hoof of an ass.
# Ancient Egyptians reportedly rubbed their shiny pates with a mixture of lion, hippopotamus, crocodile, cat, snake, and ibex fat. One of Cleopatra's cures - a paste of ground horses' teeth and deer marrow - was tried on Julius Caesar.
# Hippocrates wisely observed that castrated eunuchs resist hair loss but few men were lining up. Instead, he recommended a mixture of cumin, pigeon droppings, horseradish and beetroot to restore mangy manes.
Strawberries have been valued as a healthy food since as long ago as 200BC, when the Romans cultivated them for their medicinal qualities. They believed the strawberry could bring relief from depression, infections and fevers, as well as problems with kidneys, liver and blood.
The ancient Egyptians had developed ovens, of sorts, for processing these bakery products, but it was really the ancient Greeks who are given most credit for making what we think of today as cakes. For the most part, though, these "cakes" were more often served either as snacks between meals or as a part of the meal, rather than in the traditional way we think of consuming cakes today.
The word "cake" in the English language probably is of Old Norse derivation. The ancient Greeks called their cake plakous, meaning "flat." The Romans were probably the first to regularly use cheese on their cakes, sweetening them with honey, as well, and offering them in small servings as a gift to their gods. The Romans took the art of baking these products to a new level, as they incorporated yeast to leaven their products.
As Suetonius sagely observed, every emperor's reign eventually passes.
Predicting one’s future through drink residue is actually a very old tradition, and one that is still popular in Turkey. The ancient Romans told fortunes by reading the lees left over in wine glasses, while the Chinese still use tea leaves.
In ancient Greek religion, Aphrodite was known as the queen bee and her priestesses, worker bees.
Julius Caesar used solar distillation to produce drinking water for his soldiers in Egypt 2000 years ago.
The ancient Greeks gave a pinch of salt to guests (only in their right hands, though) as a symbol of welcome.
The prized plant became such a key pillar of the Cyrenean economy that its likeness was stamped upon many of the city's gold and silver coins. The images often depicted a regal-looking woman sitting in a chair, with one hand touching the herb and her other hand pointing at her genitals. The plant was known as silphium or laserwort, and its heart-shaped fruit brought the ancient world a highly sought-after freedom: the opportunity to enjoy sex with very little risk of pregnancy.
As word of the birth-control wonder-herb spread through ancient Europe, Africa, and Asia, a market for the versatile fennel developed rapidly. The seeds became widely used among the world's wealthier nations, including the citizens of ancient Greece, Rome, Egypt, and India. By some accounts the silphium seed was also a potent aphrodisiac, a property which considerably compounded its perceived value. The Roman bard Catullus famously alluded to its sexual properties in one of his love poems, where he declared that he and his lover would share as many kisses as there were grains of sand on Cyrene's silphium shores. More plainly, "We can make love so long as we have silphium."
For centuries the north African city thrived on its laserwort bounty. The seeds of the fickle fennel came into such high demand that they were eventually worth their weight in silver. The Roman government went so far as to store a cache of the herb in the official treasury. Most of the primitive silver and gold coins from Cyrene were stamped with images of the silphium, some depicting just a single heart-shaped seed. It is thought by many historians that this ancient icon of unfettered lovemaking is the origin of today's ubiquitous "I love you" heart symbol.
Unlike many other medicines of its time, silphium was not thought of as a mere folk remedy; Scholars and doctors of the day openly praised the plant's effectiveness as a contraceptive. Ancient Rome's foremost gynecologist--a physician named Soranus--wrote that women should drink the silphium juice with water once a month since "it not only prevents conception but also destroys anything existing." Alternatively, a tuft of wool could be soaked in the juice and inserted into the vagina as a pessary. The herb's effectiveness and widespread use is evidenced by the observation that Rome's birth rate decreased during laserwort's heyday, despite increasing life expectancy, plentiful food, and relatively few wars or epidemics.
Unfortunately, modern science will probably never determine whether the fennel's extract was an effective form of parenthood prevention, nor will it measure laserwort's merit as a medicine. By the end of the first century AD, following a fifty year decline in silphium numbers, the Roman historian Pliny the Elder recorded the plant's lamentable extinction. The last remaining stalk of the laserwort was snipped and sent to Emperor Nero as a "curiosity," and thus ended six hundred years of reliable birth control.
The first Seven Wonders of the World date back to the period 305-240BC when historian Herodotus and scholar Callimachus of Cyrene drew up a list.
An elderly traveller who finds airports “a bit gloomy” hired a private cab to transport her to the spot where Alexander the Great studied under Aristotle – for an afternoon.
Kathleen Searles, 89, indulged her lifelong dream to visit Aristotle’s School, near the modern Greek city of Naousa, by using a minibus service from her home in Sudbury, near Colchester.
After travelling thousands of miles overland, Mrs Searles spent four hours touring the ancient landmark before turning around and heading home again, all for the fare of £2,000.
The distance covered, including some diversions on the way back, was 6,000km (3,700 miles).
The retired laboatory assistant told The Times last night that she did not object to flying but took her astonishing journey because she found airports “a bit gloomy”.
“I’m not all that enamoured with airports these days as I don’t like being taken around in a wheelchair,” she said.
“This way was extremely easy and it was door to door.”
Mrs Searles and her 73-year-old friend Wendy Turner, who lives in a nearby village, travelled to Calais by ferry, journeyed through much of Western Europe and sped through the Balkans before arriving three days later at their famous destination.
“Travelling by road was a good idea as I am rather elderly so I didn’t want to go for too long,” Mrs Searles said.
“I’ve always been extremely interested in Alexander the Great and I’ve been to Greece before but never to Aristotle’s School,” she said. “I just thought, well, if I was going to do it, I’d better get on with it.
“One could have spent a lot longer there but I think I did very well. I’ve read a lot about it so it was really just checking things out. The whole journey was most delightful.”
Mrs Searles said that she had been “distinctly struck” by the comfort of driver Julian Delefortrie’s nine-seater minibus on a recent trip to the Globe Theatre in London and had the idea of travelling in it to Europe.
Mr Delefortrie usually takes passengers to the airport or within England.
“She asked me to go to Europe and I love driving so I said I’d do it,” he said. “She didn’t want the hassle of going to the airport and she wanted to see a number of different countries, which we did.
“It was very beautiful, especially through Austria, and the motorway system in Europe is absolutely brilliant.”
He estimated that with food, accommodation and his fare of about £2,000, the cost of the trip probably reached £5,000.
The trio arrived back in Sudbury two nights ago – 11 days after they first embarked on their unique trip.
In a lightning European tour, they stopped just twice – in Munich and Belgrade.
The trip home was substantially more relaxed because it took six days. On a whim, Mrs Searles decided she was keen to tour Budapest so the tour was diverted through Eastern Europe, before also stopping in Belgrade, Austria and Germany on the journey home.
Mrs Turner described her friend, who sat in the back seat of the minibus – “like the Queen of Sheba” – as independent-minded. “It was a whirlwind trip but it was absolutely fantastic. I’d love to do it again.”
Mrs Searles has not decided on her next trip but said she would travel to Europe by road again.
The teachings of Aristotle are believed to have heavily influenced Alexander, who resolved to spread ancient Greek culture in the vast empire he subsequently carved out in modern-day Turkey, Egypt, Iran and India.
A TWO THOUSAND year-old jigsaw puzzle has intrigued and delighted archaeologists at Tynedale’s most prolific Roman site.
One of the most treasured discoveries at the Vindolanda site near Bardon Mill is a rare fragment of painted glass, depicting gladiators in action.
The beautiful drinking vessel was unearthed in 1991 during the excavation of a ditch.
The highly decorated shard has intrigued and fascinated thousands of visitors to Vindolanda ever since, and more than one person has wondered what happened to the rest of the cup.
Now, against all odds, another substantial fragment of the same cup has just been unearthed.
Remarkably, it was found some 45 metres away from where the first piece was found.
The two pieces are an exact match and fit together with seamless perfection. The original gladiators are now happily joined by coloured figures depicting comrades, sponsors of the games and a possible referee.
Director of excavations Andrew Birley said: “ This is an astounding set of circumstances and my first thoughts were that we now had pieces of two of these rare glass bowls.
“The recent piece comes from a firmly stratified and datable level of c. 230-250 AD in what appears at the moment to be the home of a wealthy person.
“Part of the broken vessel must have been cleared out and dumped into the fort ditch with other rubbish while our most recent piece remained inside the building.
“The perfect fit of the two pieces, thought to have been manufactured and decorated at Cologne in the lower Rhineland, is beyond question and we now have the most comprehensive example of this type of decorated glass to be found from Roman Britain.”
The 2007 Vindolanda excavations continue until early September.
Visitors can watch archaeologists and volunteers from the UK and beyond uncover more of this fascinating Roman site and enjoy the extensive visitor facilities.
When they weren't busy founding modern civilization, the ancient Greeks and Romans spent their free time much like we do — shoe shopping, rocking out at concerts and gossiping at parties.
Behind the scenes were workers and slaves whose jobs prove remarkably similar to many modern-day occupations, according to Vicki Leon, author of "Working IX to V: Orgy Planners, Funeral Clowns and Other Prized Professions of the Ancient World." Among them was the sandaligerula, who made sure her mistress was wearing the proper shoes at all times, not unlike the personal stylists of today.
A locarius was the ancient equivalent of the ticket scalper, buying up tokens to theater and athletic performances to hawk at a profit.
"While all the gladiators were making a killing inside the arena, the scalpers were making a killing outside the arena," Leon said.
Similar to Miranda Priestly's assistant in "The Devil Wears Prada," a nomenclature stood behind her boss at parties and whispered guests' names as they approached.
Then there are those orgy planners — no doubt a popular topic of conversation around the aqueduct.
Planeta terrae similis inventa
: Nuntii Latini
18.05.2007, klo 14.13
Astronomi Europaei nuntiaverunt se in constellatione Libra stellam errantem animadvertisse, quae Telluri nostrae similior esse videretur quam ulla alia planeta adhuc cognita.
Quod corpus caeleste, cuius massa quinque partibus maior quam terra nostra esse videtur, a nobis spatium viginti fere annorum luce mensorum abest et sidus pusillum circumfertur.
Rerum periti censent nihil impedire, quominus ibidem aqua occurrat, quia temperatura in superficie planetae inter zerum et quadraginta gradus Celsianos variet.
I hadn't planned on starting the auction posts until Sunday, but since there is nothing else today, we'll introduce Christie's upcoming auction of antiquities with this 1st-2nd century A.D. bare-navelled (!) Roman Diana. A bit more info at the official page ...
Societas pedifollica Vaticana
: Nuntii Latini
18.05.2007, klo 14.12
In civitate Vaticana societas pedifollica condita est, quae nonnisi ex sacerdotibus catholicis et studentibus theologiae constat.
Clericus Cup - ut nuncupatur ? cum ad vulgus delectandum spectat tum id agere conatur, ut ecclesia catholica propius populo admoveatur.
Ludi, qui diebus Dominicis agi non sinuntur, etiam eo peculiares sunt, quod arbitri Latine iudicant et lusoribus verba impudentia inter se clamitare non licet.
Christie's International said it will sell as much as 74 million pounds ($146 million) of contemporary art in Europe's biggest-ever auction, as sellers flock to London.
Warhol's ``Vesuvius,'' a 1985 image of the volcano, will be offered with a top estimate of 1.5 million pounds by Esposito, who lives in Naples near Mount Vesuvius and was the last person to be painted by the pop artist, Christie's said.
A sarcophagus containing the headless skeleton of an ancient Roman will go on display for the first time Thursday during an exhibition about a "hidden" period in London's history, curators said..
The exhibition at the Museum of London also features a Roman tile kiln and Saxon grave goods, as well as pottery from the site where the Roman man's remains were found.
The limestone sarcophagus containing the remains of a man who died in his 30s or 40s around AD 410 was found under Trafalgar Square last year during a building project at St. Martin-in-the-Fields church.
Curators said the find was "hugely significant" as his death dates from the time when Roman Londinium collapsed and the Romans abandoned Britain.
They said a clay pot dating from around AD 500 found at the site suggests that the Saxon settlement of Lundenvic, where Covent Garden is now located, was established at least 100 years earlier than was previously believed.
Other objects on display include jewelry, glass, and metal vessels, found in graves of people buried on the site after AD 600 who may have been Christians.
Francis Grew, senior curator at the Museum of London, said the man in the sarcophagus would have been wealthy and might even have been a "commuter" into Londinium.
"The man in the coffin may well have been living in a substantial Roman villa estate somewhere around Trafalgar Square - a big country house maybe with a little village, even, associated with it," he said.
The Reverend Nicholas Holtam, vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, said the discovery of the skeleton was an eye-opener.
"When we discovered this find, it was extraordinarily moving, raising the possibility that St. Martin-in-the-Fields has been a sacred site for much longer than we previously thought," he said
Two separate operations carried out in historic sections of İstanbul on Wednesday turned up 366 illegally held coins and artifacts from the Roman and Byzantine eras.
The four people in possession of the ancient coins, which reportedly have a market value of around YTL 500,000, were arrested. One of the items confiscated during the sweep was reportedly an “Aphrodite beauty mirror.”
The İstanbul Anti-Fiscal Crimes teams this week raided an antique shop run by Huseyin C., unearthing two coins dating from the Byzantine Empire era of Justinius I and Adrianus. In addition the teams also found one Aphrodite beauty mirror as well as 160 coins from the latter days of the Byzantine Empire as well as from the Roman Empire. The teams were working in conjunction with a project to prevent historical items from being sold or transported outside of Turkey.
In a statement to police, Huseyin C. said he had bought the coins from a Bulgarian woman, claiming he had been planning on turning them over to a museum in a few days. The antiques dealer was brought in for further questioning but was released on his own recognizance. A second operation on the same day by Istanbul police teams concluded in the arrest of three people in the historic section of Beyazit. The group reportedly had on their persons 200 old coins and one piece of obsidian as well as various examples of ancient jewelry and stones. In statements to the police, the three men claimed they had bought the items from sellers in the area. All of the artifacts and coins discovered by the police in the two raids are scheduled to be turned over to Istanbul museums in the coming days.
Yusuf Halacoglu, president of the Turkish Historical Society (TTK), has announced that a graveyard in Mardin’s Nusaybin district that had been claimed by the Armenians in fact dates to the Roman period.
During a press conference Halaçoğlu said they had appealed to foreign scientists to come and assist with the opening of the graveyard. David Gaunt, a scientist from Switzerland, was the only one to express interest.
Gaunt accepted the offer on condition that the research be conducted without intervention from the Turkish administration. Gaunt began studies with the TTK president and delegation on April 24. However Gaunt soon realized that the photographs of the graveyard he had seen were different from the graveyard in Nusaybin and thus decided to return home without taking any soil or bone samples from the grave.
Reading the results of the soil and bone samples tested at Ankara University’s engineering department, Halacoglu said Turkish scientists had determined that the bones to belong to the Roman period.
Greek archaeologists have discovered a complex of ancient farm-houses and large wine-presses on the northern Aegean island of Thassos dating from before the Roman period until late Byzantine times, the culture ministry said on Wednesday.
Built with walls of stone over a metre high and lined with plaster, the wine-presses were found clustered on a mountain near the coastal village of Limenaria, at an altitude of 500 metres.
The remains of enclosures suggest the presence of large estates which shared the use of the wine-presses, the ministry said.
Though apparently inhabited mainly during the grape harvest, the site was in use from the Hellenistic period that followed the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BC onwards.
The local archaeological department has been researching the Thassos site for the past two years.
Also on Wednesday, the ministry said another archaeological team found the remains of a rural shrine to presumed fertility deities near the town of Orchomenos in central Greece.
The shrine had sustained damage in the construction of an irrigation canal in the 1950s, but the archaeologists found thousands of votive offerings, including miniature vessels, animal idols, scarabs and lamps.
They also found rare clay replicas of flowers entwined with ears of corn, representing gifts left by faithful visiting the shrine.
In ancient times, citizens of Orchomenos are known to have worshipped the Three Graces, daughters of Zeus said to represent beauty, charm and joy but also associated with bloom.
British officials have returned a 1,900-year-old Roman ring to Turkey after determining it was probably illegally exported.
Revenue and Customs agents seized the ring while it was being valued at a museum in Derby, the BBC reported. Officials from the Turkish Embassy received the ring at East Midlands Airport.
The ring, made of iron and silver, has a gemstone that bears a portrait of the Emperor Lucius Verus, who was briefly co-emperor with Marcus Aurelius. The ring was made between 161 and 169 A.D. and is believed to have been removed from an archaeological site in Ephesus.
Sermin Ozduran, a Turkish diplomat who received the ring, called it an important piece of his country's history. The ring eventually is expected to be on display in a museum there.
Roman Polanski's $135 million "Pompeii" has two new producing partners, Germany's Constantin Film and Spain's Ensueno.
In two of the biggest deals at Cannes this year, the two companies have inked with France's R.P. Prods. to co-finance and co-produce the pic.
The Entertainment Group is very close to licensing the U.K.; South Korea has gone to the Mars Entertainment; Pathe Distribution has taken France and RAI has Italy.
R.P. is the Paris-based production banner of Polanski and Robert Benmussa who are producing "Pompeii" with Alain Sarde.
Ensueno is the production unit of Spanish broadcaster Antena 3 TV.
Summit is handling international on the romantic thriller. Set in 79 A.D., it follows a Roman aqueduct engineer to Pompeii. He becomes embroiled in a water corruption scandal, plus one of the most celebrated natural disasters in history.
Pic has been sold in all the world's key territories except the U.S. and Japan, Benmussa said. "Pompeii" has been sold to much of the world without key cast or a fully finished screenplay.
And the prices paid will be hefty: The asking price for Spain was reportedly $13 million. "Pompeii" was being sold to the Mideast for a mid six-figure sum, as part of a five-film package.
"Pompeii" is based on the best-selling novel by Robert Harris, who is also penning the screenplay with Polanski.
"The screenplay's pretty finished: it's good enough for production," Benmussa said. "We are casting now. We need a final screenplay draft first.
"Making such a film everybody knows we need a star. But it's not been part of the deal. There are moreover at least three important male parts: the engineer, the girl's father and the admiral."
The producers will construct the city of Pompeii at Spain's new Ciudad de la Luz studios in Alicante.
More than the absence of a star, it has been the large task of building Pompeii on the Ciudad's backlot that has caused the shoot to be put back at the Ciudad from the last week of August to the first quarter of 2008.
"Construction is too big. We need a least four months of constructions," Benmussa said.
The entry of Sorolla Films as a Valencian co-producer will allow "Pompeii" to draw down up to $7 million in a Valencia government rebate, based on local spend.
GREEK Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis today asked Australia to pressure Britain to hand over the Elgin Marbles after Canberra successfully lobbied for the return from London of ancient aboriginal remains.
The Elgin Marbles, known in Greece as the Parthenon Marbles, are a series of friezes and sculptures removed from the Acropolis above Athens by British diplomat Lord Elgin some 200 years ago and are now housed in the British Museum.
Britain has refused to return the marbles, claiming they are best preserved in London where they are a major attraction.
"It's a matter of reunification of a very important monument of global dimension," Mr Karamanlis told reporters after talks in Canberra with Prime Minister John Howard during an official five-day visit.
"We will not spare any effort to communicate with all our friends in government, but also all the people, to join the voices which will lead to a solution satisfactory to the cultural heritage of the Parthenon."
Mr Howard said the marbles, which Greece says Britain has a moral obligation to return, were a matter for the two countries to resolve. But he signalled he supported their return.
"I have on a number of occasions raised the issue in the discussions I have had with the British prime minister, stretching back for some years," Mr Howard said.
Australia this month secured the return of Aboriginal remains which had been held in a British museum for more than 100 years.
Una natio de praedotores - that's "One Raider Nation" in Latin.
Fresh out of a school year modeled by that phrase, Habersham Central High School Raiders will get their first taste of the Latin language for the 2007-2008 school year.
Ken Basinger, who most recently taught Latin, Spanish and other subjects for 14 years at Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville, will begin teaching Latin 1 and 2 classes at HCHS.
"I have a lot of friends in the area and I heard a lot of good things about the school system," Basinger said recently of how he ended up applying for a teaching job at HCHS through teachgeorgia.org.
He said he's always trying to stay aware of schools that are building or already have Latin programs.
"Latin never died, it just changed," said Basinger of the misconception that the language is a dead one.
That's one of the first and most important lessons Basinger says he plans to teach his students.
But the end result Basinger will work toward with his students is literacy of Latin texts, including prose by Julius Caesar and Virgil, as well as Cicero's poetry. Those texts are third-level texts, Basinger said, noting that Latin 3 couldn't be taught until the 2008-2009 school year and also depends on the reception of HCHS students to the program.
He also plans to help prepare his students for the National Latin Exam.
"It's a pretty well recognized competition that students can put on [college] application," Basinger said.
Another aspect Basinger's classes will focus on is vocabulary, as 60 percent of English words are derived from the Latin language.
"A benefit of Latin is it is the basis of the romance languages [such as Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian and Catalan]," said Basinger. "It's going to make it easier if a student wanted to go on and learn one of them later."
The importance of learning Latin, he says, is that it's across the curriculum - in math, history, science and other studies.
"It also helps with your native language and makes you more conscious of how your own language works," Basinger said.
He'll officially begin his first day of work as a new teacher at HCHS on Wednesday, Aug. 1, in preparation for his first day of teaching on Friday, Aug. 10.
In the meantime, Basinger says he'll be finding out what textbooks he will use for his classes and begin preparing for the ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Language) classes he also is scheduled to teach.
Basinger hails originally from Lima, Ohio, where he became fond of the Latin language thanks to his high school Latin teacher.
Basinger received his bachelor's degree from Ohio State and his master's degree from the University of Georgia.
So, ancient history has a future after all. Little more than a month after the exam board OCR appeared to have killed off the subject by announcing plans to drop its A-level papers in ancient history from September 2008, it has had a change of heart. After a high-profile campaign by classicists, supported by education minister Lord Adonis and his Tory counterpart, Boris Johnson, the exam board announced at the end of last week that there was, after all, a place for the study of ancient Greece and Rome.
"OCR and JACT [the Joint Association of Classical Teachers] are very pleased to announce that they will now be working jointly to add ancient history to OCR's suite of Classics A-levels, alongside classical civilisation, Latin and classical Greek. Both parties are resolved that the process should lead to a qualification that will be highly valued by students, their teachers and universities, and we are both committed to restoring a constructive relationship for regular discussion on all classical qualifications," said the statement.
But the row has shown up the problems and prejudices surrounding the subject. If OCR had, in fact, always intended to ensure the continuation of ancient history, it would surely never have dismissed it publicly as "elitist", nor tried to subsume it into the more culturally based classical civilisation syllabus.
Written in stone
Officially, of course, there has been no loss of face. OCR insists that its plans were never written in stone and that they were only ever "out for consultation". But that's not the way it seemed to historians. There had been no consultation before the news of the subject's demise was broken at Easter; indeed, OCR's intentions seemed to come out of nowhere. The chief examiner in ancient history was informed by OCR only three days before the news was made public, and the first heads of department in schools got to hear of it was on the lunchtime news bulletins on the Saturday before Easter.
Although there have been plenty of protests in the ensuing weeks, there's been precious little of what anyone would label consultation. But now the classicists have got their way, and the consultation period is over before it even started. So what changed?
The easy answer is that it was a victory for the establishment. While it was hard to disagree with the complaints - O tempora! O mores! - that the exam board's decision was symptomatic of a general decline in academic standards, and that the country would be intellectually and culturally poorer as a result, it was equally true that those complaining the loudest appeared to confirm OCR's claims that ancient history was an elitist subject.
Leading the ranks of the aggrieved were the Tory MP Michael Fallon (Epsom College, St Andrews and chair of the all-party parliamentary classics group) and a toga-clad Boris Johnson (Eton, Oxford, Have I Got News for You), loyally supported by legions of Oxbridge academics and independent school teachers and students.
Class warfare only confuses the story, however. The public schools may turn out the greatest number of ancient historians, but it is a state sixth-form college in Basingstoke that is the country's leading bastion of Greek and Roman history - with well over 200 pupils, out of a national total of about 1,500, studying the subject at AS and A2.
"Queen Mary's College is about as unelitist as you can get," laughs Tom Pearson, QMC's head of history and politics. "We're not the top-ranked college in the LEA [Hampshire comprehensives only go through to GCSE-level] and we turn no one away."
And that goes for the history department as well. Just as the Athenians would have wanted, ancient history at QMC is a cradle of democracy. "With students of modern history, you can normally predict fairly accurately what other subjects - English, economics, etc - they will be taking," says Pearson. "But ancient history attracts all sorts - scientists, engineers, humanities students. We even have some sports and PE students for whom this is their only essay-based subject.
"What's more, we also attract people of all abilities - we've got the high-fliers who will go on to Oxbridge and those who might only expect a D or an E at A-level and have chosen it just because they are interested."
Just what is ancient history's appeal, then? First is the fact that the subject is on offer at all. "Most historians aren't very confident about teaching Greek and Roman history," Pearson says, "as they haven't studied it themselves. It feels much safer to stick to modern history because it's what they know." Pearson has some sympathy with this; even though he had studied ancient history and Latin at university, he felt he was taking a bit of a gamble when he started the course at QMC four years ago.
"I wasn't certain how it would turn out," he admits. "I knew I was making huge demands on our teaching staff, as most of them had to mug up from scratch, as well as creating all their resources themselves. And I wasn't at all sure how many students would choose it as an option. Optimistically, I thought we might get one full class." Instead he got three.
It helped that movies like Gladiator and Troy had been big successes, but ancient history's main appeal to many students was simply that it wasn't modern history; most had already studied the first world war, Nazism and the cold war at GCSE. What's more, it seemed to offer a nice mix of visceral excitement - hand-to-hand, pitched battles and unreliable sources - and cerebral realpolitik.
"The fighting is personal." "Greek democracy teaches you a lot about the US model." "You get to know the personalities of the sources and can have a laugh with them." "The gaps in knowledge allow you to make your own interpretations." "It's great to have a subject that feels special to you."
These are just some of the comments from QMC's students about ancient history's appeal. Listening to them - and seeing Leonidas's cry at the Battle of Thermopylae, "Come and get them", tattooed in Greek on one bloke's arm - makes you realise their passion really is more than skin deep.
Tapping into this enthusiasm is hardly rocket science, so why did OCR want to kill it off? The official line - that the subject is elitist - cuts no ice with Rosie Lewis, an A-level student at QMC. "They argue that squeezing some of the ancient history syllabus into classical civilisation will create a more accessible course," she says. "It might dumb it down and make it easier for some, but I suspect it will actually have the reverse effect of making it harder for state-school students to excel.
"Unlike many of the independent school students, none of us have studied Latin," she points out. "For ancient history, this isn't a problem, as we study sources in translation. But classical civilisation demands that you study the literature directly and here it clearly helps if you can read the original Latin."
This might be a conspiracy theory too far, but it is at least food for thought. And now that OCR has decided to retain the qualification, it could do worse than find time to talk to the staff and students at QMC. Instead of moaning about ancient history being an elitist cash-drain, OCR might just find it is sitting on an untapped gold mine for the state sector.
The examination board OCR did not publicly dismiss A-level ancient history as "elitist" as we claimed in the article below. That remark was made by another educationalist and we apologise for the confusion.
Albania has asked Greece for a quick return of two archaeological relics which had been stolen from Albania and housed in Greece, local media reported on Monday.
The Apollon statue of the second century A.D. was stolen from Butrint, a UNESCO site in the southern part of Albania, and the Artemis statue of the third century B.C. from Finiq.
Both objects were stolen and smuggled into Greece when Albania was caught in turmoil after the infamous pyramid scheme collapsed, it was reported.
Albanian Culture Minister Ylli Pango and his Greek counterpart George Vulgaraqis held talks over the issue of their restitution on May 19 in Greece.
"Vulgaraqis promised a quick return of the two relics which are now housed in the Piraeus Museum," Albanian ministry of culture said in a statement.
Professor Horace Caesar Roger Vella was born in 1952. He received his education at the Sliema government primary school, St Alphonsus School in Sliema, the Seminary in Floriana, Thornleigh Salesian College in Bolton, England, Beckford Salesian College in Thewkesbury, also in England and at the Universities of Malta and Thessaloniki.
His interests are varied and he has published papers about genealogy, epigraphy and his particular area of expertise – enjambment in Valerius Flaccus’ Argonautica. He is also heavily involved in pastoral work is his home town of Kirkop and is responsible for the group Emmaus which is the most frequented group made solely of men in Malta.
At the moment, together with Prof. Stanley Fiorini and Dr Joseph Busuttil he is in the process of publishing a work about a poem written in Gozo, in the 12th century, in Greek.
His first wife was Mary Rose née Farrugia from Kirkop who sadly passed away. He is now married to Vivienne née Caruana from Zejtun. They have one son, Jerome.
Professor Vella, when did you start studying the Classics?
I started studying the Classics, Latin and Ancient Greek when I was eleven years old and I started attending the Seminary in Floriana. I remember the first time I fetched my books from the school, my mother had gone to run an errand so I had to wait for her outside the front door of what is now the Curia. I was so enthusiastic that I took out my Greek grammar book and learnt the Greek alphabet.
What were the reasons?
The study of the Classics was compulsory at the Seminary, however it was true love which made me devote my life to the pursuit of Classics. I have a rather mathematical frame of mind and this seems to run in the family as most of my cousins studied scientific subjects. Latin and Greek are languages based on logic, structures and exactitudes. My character matches this subject perfectly. I have never looked back.
Did someone in particular inspire you to study the Classics?
No, it was pure coincidence that drove me to the Classics. When I entered the Seminary I did not even know that Latin and Greek were compulsory subjects. In addition, I am the first person in my family to have attended University. Like Cicero, I am a novus homo.
How did you spend your early years?
After I finished my O. levels, I went to Bolton, England where I studied for my A. levels in Latin and Ancient Greek. The school had 650 students however I was the only one who chose to study Ancient Greek. This did not deter the school administration from providing me with a teacher. The situation was similar with Latin – it was just one other student and I who followed the course. Returning to Malta, I entered University. I also studied at the University of Thessaloniki, Greece. Before I graduated PhD I was already a full time lecturer at the University of Rhodesia, which eventually became known as the University of Zimbabwe, Rhodesia and finally as the University of Zimbabwe. I taught there for 10 and a half years, from April 1979 to September 1989. For one term I also taught at the University of Malawi, for which I also served as an external examiner.
I have many memories of my time in Zimbabwe. For example, my aeroplane had to land in Salisbury, now Harare, and unfortunately rockets were being fired at the aeroplane by terrorists. Therefore the pilot had to switch off the engines and lights and perform a spiral descent. A month later my residence was shaken because of the firing of rockets aimed at the residence of the Greek Orthodox Bishop who was mistaken for the Bishop, then Prime Minister Musurewa.
The study of the Classics at the University of Zimbabwe was by far greater than Malta. We used to teach four subjects – Latin, Ancient Greek, Classical Culture and Africa in Antiquity; therefore the workload was much heavier.
Statistics show that the Study of Latin, Ancient Greek and Classical Culture & Civilisation is decreasing. Why do you think there are so few candidates? (See table below)
The reasons for this are varied. Primarily, the study of Latin or Ancient Greek is not encouraged. When a student is interested in studying at least Latin, she or he faces huge hurdles. Schools often insist on a minimum intake of twelve students, which makes it impossible to learn Latin in most schools. I know of students who had opted to study Latin but they were not allowed to follow their dream. Another reason why students do not opt to study Latin is that here there are few jobs. This situation could be restored if would-be lawyers, as an example, are asked to get an O. level in Latin before they can study Law at University. This would provide jobs for people studying Classics. In addition, the government does not encourage jobs for educationists. Furthermore, people working in the media, who present programmes about Classical Civilisation, are generally not Classicists. What’s more, the Systems of Knowledge course, which used to have a heavy Classical Civilisation component often used to have these sections taught by teachers who were not qualified in Classics, but rather in History. Today this classical component has sadly dwindled to nothing. Students coming to University have hardly any knowledge of the Classical world, except the little they learned during their primary school years.
How can this situation be reversed?
Classics at school should be taught by first offering two years of Classical Culture and Civilisation. In From 3, when the students choose what subjects they wish to study at O. level, the idea of studying Latin and Ancient Greek is not totally alien to them as they have already been motivated after hearing all about Classical Antiquity. This project is based on a 2+3 year programme. The first two years are devoted to the study of Classical Culture and Civilisation, while the second three years to the study of the language and literature per se. It is important, that in the first two years some very basic elements of Latin and Ancient Greek have already been presented to the students, such as the Greek alphabet and Latin maxims. Obviously, the teachers of these subjects need to be qualified in Classics, and not in History. It would be interesting if this Classical Culture and Civilisation component also included exposure to Arabic culture. In the same way bread and water are necessary for our daily life so is culture. It’s unfortunate that all aspects of education are becoming geared towards getting a job rather than towards knowledge for knowledge’s sake. Sadly, the Department of Education has never consulted me about anything that has to do with the study of the Classics in schools.
What do you think about the teaching of Latin and possibly Ancient Greek at a primary level?
It should be noted that most of our friends in the European Union teach Latin from a primary level. It must be emphasised that whether one teaches Latin or Ancient Greek, the methodology must be friendly and adapted to the students’ age. These subjects cannot be taught in the 1960s fashion. The languages have to be taught in a way that not only explains the structures but also the way the mind of the Greeks and Romans worked. In this way, the learning process is based on comprehension rather than on parrot-like repetition. Particularly at a primary level, teaching cannot be exam-orientated but rather the promotion of love for a subject.
Lately some books have been translated into Latin and Ancient Greek. For example there now is Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis, its Ancient Greek equivalent and Alicia in Terra Mirabili; while the website Nuntii Latini presents current news in Latin. Do you think these publications help garner more publicity and interest?
In particular for younger students, these books are very inviting and encourage children to study Latin further. I would also like to see more books in school libraries that deal with mythology and Classical History, in Maltese or in English. These books can be about daily life in Roman times or the eruption of the Vesuvius. Anybody who teaches Classics in Maltese is a pioneer. Personally I have translated into Maltese and I am working on a list of proper names from the Classical World and their equivalent in Maltese.
Is there any figure from the Classical World who really inspires you?
Virgil and not much less Homer. In a recent published paper of mine, Europe’s Pax Romana – a tribute to Virgil and Augustus I write how I feel that Virgil is the great European writer who can serve as a unifying factor. All countries can be inspired and motivated by Virgil. Virgil and Homer both wrote for eternity and not for a specific purpose or period of time. Their writings are spiritual books for all time, the literary equivalents of the Mona Lisa. Society would suffer if they were not part of our lives.
My last point is that sadly Malta is considered a very poor nation culture wise. We are buried in history and culture yet many Maltese do not know about their heritage. Tourism is one of Malta’s biggest income generators, so if the people are educated more about their heritage they can interact better with the tourists offering information about sites rather than only offering quizzical looks.
Soaring 47 feet above UNC Asheville's Highsmith University Union Café is a stunning recreation of Raphael's masterpiece painting "School of Athens." The large mural, considered to be one of the biggest recreations in the world, was unveiled in February.
"It is truly difficult to understand and appreciate the grandness of this work of art without seeing it in person," said S. Tucker Cooke, lead artist on the project and retired UNC Asheville art professor. "Most art lovers have seen photos of 'School of Athens' in books, but those images are so small - barely bigger than a postage stamp.
“Seeing this painting depicted in consistent scale with the original is very special - and you don't have to travel to Rome to experience it."
Cooke conceived of the project more than two years ago when the university asked him to create artwork for the vast wall space in the Highsmith University Union Café. Cooke, a talented painter, chose to reproduce Raphael's 1510 fresco for its "beauty, depth and content," he said. "It is a celebration of learning and the liberal arts."
He didn't work alone. For more than 18 months, some 50 students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members worked together for over 15,000 hours on the project. The mural is made up of 4-foot-square panels, each painted by different artists. The completed mural is 40-by-37 feet, composed of 60 separate canvases. It is 10 feet above the floor of the café and reaches to the skylights.
"This is something I have always dreamed of doing," said Asheville artist Gloria Gaffney. "When I heard that Tucker had gotten started, I wanted to join in. It was like working in a Renaissance atelier."
In the center of the "School of Athens" stand Plato and Aristotle who exemplify the liberal arts tradition. Surrounding Plato and Aristotle are some of the greatest philosophers, scientists and mathematicians of the classical world. Though scholars disagree on the identity of some of the figures, others are recognizable, including Epicurus, Pythagoras, Heraclitus and Ptolemy.
While tradition reigned, the painters did make one addition to the original. Two English bulldogs were added to the lower left-hand corner of the mural in tribute to Rocky, UNC Asheville's mascot.
The Highsmith University Union is open 7:30 a.m.-midnight weekdays and 9 a.m.-midnight weekends when classes are session. Visitors who wish to view "School of Athens" may park in the 15-minute visitor parking spaces in front of the building. Those who wish to stay longer are invited to obtain a parking pass from the Campus Police Office.
The Division of Student Life at St. Olaf has named Professor of Classics Anne Groton as the recipient of this year's Gertrude Hilleboe Award for Faculty Involvement in Student Life. Groton's nomination cites the many students who have been and continue to be inspired by her teaching. "She is a marvel to behold in the classroom, at the same time both rigorous and humorous," it reads. Groton joined the St. Olaf faculty in 1981.
Groton will be presented with an individual plaque and her name will be added to a plaque in the Dean of Students Office that contains the names of faculty recipients of the annual award, which honors longtime faculty member Gertrude Hilleboe's commitment to students during her more than 40 years as a faculty member and Dean of Women. Hilleboe was well known for her individual interest in every student with whom she came in contact and her dedication to the St. Olaf community.
For 1,500 years, this skeleton of a wealthy Roman man was buried beneath Trafalgar Square.
Now its discovery is forcing archaeologists to rewrite the history of London.
Until the bones were found, along with jewels and other valuables, it was thought that the Romans had abandoned Londinium around AD400 and the city was virtually desolate until the Saxons arrived in the seventh century.
But the Roman skeleton has been dated to AD410 and it was found surrounded by the graves of rich Saxons.
The finds - made during the £36 million redevelopment of St Martin-in-the-Fields church -prove the Romans remained in the city longer than previously thought and the Saxons arrived sooner.
Francis Grew, senior curator at the Museum of London, said: "For the first time we have the beginnings of a link between the Roman city and the Saxon London of the 600s.
"Before, we always believed London collapsed into ruins quite quickly after AD400.
"What I find really quite moving is this Roman symbolises the end of the ancient world and was around just about long enough to see the beginnings of what would become modern London.
"It would have been quite frightening for him because he would have grown up in a world where the Emperor's face was on every coin and Roman officials and soldiers walked the streets.
"By the time he died the first Saxons would have probably started arriving from northern Germany, after centuries of no immigration.
"Coins would have been replaced by barter. He would have felt quite isolated and disconnected."
Other graves found on the site date from AD600 and appear to be Christian, raising the possibility that St Martin-in-the-Fields was a sacred site for longer than had been thought.
The skeleton, pot and treasures will be on display at the museum from Thursday until 8 August.
A burial ground found under the A2 in Kent has marked the area as one of the most important sites of Roman Britain.
Archaeologists say the burial site, near Gravesend, ranks with those found at the most important Roman cities such as Colchester and St Albans.
Three graves were found during a routine dig before work started on a £122m road widening scheme.
Archaeologist Tim Allen said one of the bodies, which had been cremated, was clearly of a "very important person".
There was known to be a enclosure on the site, near the Roman town of Springhead, but it was believed to be a rural farmstead.
"At the bottom of the pit, we came across the metal handles of a wooden board, and later a set of 23 glass counters and two bone dice, suggesting that we had found a gaming board," said Mr Allen.
"These finds are rare, and mostly occur in graves, so we carefully took down the other half of the pit, and sure enough, it was full of grave offerings."
The remains included half a pig, which would have been food for the afterlife, and a large safety pin brooch.
The second burial site contained 15 pots, a bronze jug and another cremated body with a brooch.
In the third was a wooden box with a polished bronze mirror and several copper rings.
Enough of the skull survived for archaeologists to be confident the body was that of a woman.
The relics are on display at Shorne Wood Country Park visitor centre, Gravesend, on Friday and Saturday.
Praesidens Estoniae in Aedes Albas invitatus
: Nuntii Latini
10.05.2007, klo 17.24
Toomas Hendrik Ilves, praesidens Estoniae, a praesidente Americanorum in Aedes Albas ad diem vicesimum quintum mensis Iunii invitatus est.
Ex Aedibus Albis nuntiatum est Estoniae praesidentem cum praesidente George W. Bush de rebus tam regionalibus quam internationalibus colloquia habiturum esse.
Porro Estoniam esse optimum exemplum, quod ostenderet, quo modo libertas civitates Europae Orientalis et Mediae mutavisset illisque stabilitatem et opulentiam attulisset.
Magni ponderis esse etiam partem, quam Estonia, ut membrum NATOnis, in condicionibus Afganistaniae et Iraquiae firmandis et pacandis ageret.
A-level ancient history appears to have been saved after a storm of protest from classics fans and scholars and a blunt message from ministers that the subject should not disappear.
The OCR board, the last to offer an examination, had been considering withdrawing it as an individual subject from next year but said it was now in talks with the government's exam watchdog over continuing it.
Campaigns against the death of the A-level course had seen Boris Johnson, Conservative education spokesman and president of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers, wearing a toga to receive a petition against the move outside the House of Commons on Monday.
Andrew Adonis, the schools minister, speaking in the Lords yesterday, said: "All periods of history, from the ancient to the modern, can inspire our young people to study the subject, opening them up to skills that are essential in today's world as well as a vital understanding of our past. The government is not content to see the end of ancient history as a single A-level and has invited the exam boards to come forward with proposals for it to continue."
Jennifer Gibbon, head of classics at Godolphin and Latymer School, London, who organised Monday's demonstration, said: "The syllabus is an inspirational route to the ancient world for those who might or might not choose to do Latin or Greek and gives students the opportunity to explore fascinating and highly relevant issues - ideas of citizenship, political spin, the development of democracy - through evaluating original source material."
Tom Harrison, professor of ancient history at Liverpool University and chairman of the JACT, said support for the campaign "has taken our breath away" and he looked forward to working with OCR "to develop new specifications and to rebuild the cooperative relationship we enjoyed in the past." Robert Parker, professor of ancient history at Oxford University, said it was "a triumph for democracy" that future generations of sixth-formers would have an opportunity to study the subject.
The OCR said it was pleased the government was taking such a close interest. It was already in discussions with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, teachers and others about ensuring the continuation of ancient history "which was always our intention". A spokesperson added: "There remain technical challenges in incorporating all the content in the new A-level structures but we remain optimistic."
Home comforts which made Roman centurions the envy of the squaddies they commanded have been revealed at a fort on Tyneside.
A reconstruction of a centurion's living quarters has been completed at Arbeia fort in South Shields.
Eight years ago a project began to recreate parts of the fort commander's opulent house at Arbeia - and in contrast, a barrack block housing the troops.
The reconstructions were carried out but lack of funding meant that the centurion's quarters at the end of the barracks could not be finished.
Now volunteers from Procter and Gamble, the Inland Revenue and trainees at the fort have weighed in to complete the task.
The centurion would usually have been in charge of 80 men and his living space reflects that status.
"In the barrack eight soldiers had to fit into two rooms but the centurion had the luxury of five rooms," said Alex Croom, keeper of archaeology at the fort.
"The centurion is the middle link between the spacious living conditions of the commanding officer and the soldiers in the barracks."
While the commander's house had fine wall paintings and the squaddies had plain walls, the centurion's home has red lower walls and a whitewashed upper half.
"My favourite room in the centurion's quarters is the kitchen with a toilet in one corner. Having a toilet in the kitchen was common in the Roman world, as it meant they could use waste water from cooking and washing to flush the loo," Alex said.
The layout of the centurion's home includes:
* A bedroom with child's bed based on an example found at Herculaneum, and a mattress on the floor for a slave.
* Kitchen with pottery charcoal brazier for cooking.
* Alcove used for display of armour.
* Living room with furniture copied from Roman sculpture, including a small dining table with folding legs.
* Main bedroom with bedhead decorated with a dolphin, and a shrine in the wall.
The barrack block is the only reconstruction in the country to have been built using traditional Roman methods.
Tumultus post electionem orti
: Nuntii Latini
10.05.2007, klo 17.25
Cum Sarkozy, candidatus partium dextrarum, victoriam in comitiis praesidentialibus reportavisset, in quibusdam regionibus protestationes violentae contra eum ortae sunt.
Parisiis turba quingentorum fere adulescentium, quae fenestras tabernarum frangebat et vehiculis damna afferebat, a vigilibus disiecta est.
Tumultus fuerunt etiam in urbibus Lyon, Lille, Nantes.
Mosaics from the fabled Gardens of Lucullus, one of the pioneering influences on gardening, have been brought to light after 2,000 years by archaeologists in Rome.
The vast terraced gardens, or Horti, covered what is now the built-up area above the Spanish Steps. The first known attempt in the West to “tame nature” through landscaping, the gardens were laid out around a patrician villa in the middle of the 1st century BC by Lucius Licinius Lucullus, one of Ancient Rome’s most celebrated generals, after he retired in disillusion from war and politics.
They became a benchmark for all Roman pleasure gardens, and were taken over and developed by Roman emperors. The 1st-century mosaics decorated the nymphaeum, an artificial grotto with water features. One depicts a corpulent cupid riding a dolphin and another a wolf’s head in green and gold.
They were found nine metres (30ft) below street level during renovation work on the Hertzian Library (Biblioteca Hertziana), the German art history institute near the Spanish Steps run by the Max Planck Society.
Excavations below the library have also brought to light a marble head of Venus, perhaps a relic of the statues that once adorned the nymphaeum. Maria Antonietta Tomei, of the Rome Superintendency for Archaeology, said when workers began demolishing the interior of the building to modernise it “the architecture of the Ancient Roman garden appeared before our eyes. It seems like a dream.”
Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, director of the British School at Rome and a leading classical scholar, said Lucullus had invented the concept of the pleasure garden when he quit public life in disgust after his rival Pompey “robbed him of the credit for Rome’s conquests in the East”.
The historian Plutarch observed that Lucullus “abandoned public affairs either because he saw that they were out of control and diseased or, some say, because he had had his fill of glory and felt entitled to fall back on a life of ease and luxury”. Ironically, Pompey was himself outmanoeuvred by Julius Caesar in the struggle for power that marked the end of the Roman Republic.
Lucullus is said to have been inspired by Persian and Mesopotamian gardens that he saw during his military campaigns in Asia Minor.
Plutarch recorded that Lucullus “was the first Roman to lead an an army over the Tigris, taking and burning the royal palaces of Asia in the sight of their kings”, and that he funded his gardens – and his famous library and art collection – from “the spoils of the barbarians”.
Lucullus also built luxury villas and gardens with pavilions, belvederes and baths at Tusculum, in the Alban Hills near modern Frascati, and above the Bay of Naples, where he had channels cut to let seawater circulate in his fishpond. He is said to have introduced cherries and apricots to the West.
Stefania Trevisan, who is leading the dig, said that excavations were continuing in the hope of finding more remains. After Lucullus’s death the gardens were bought and embellished by the wealthy consul Valerius Asiaticus. The gardens were appropriated later by Messalina, the promiscuous wife of the Emperor Claudius, who forced Valerius Asiaticus to commit suicide. She in turn was executed in the gardens after plotting against her husband. When Claudius was informed while he was dining that Messalina was dead, he was said to have “asked for another glass of wine”.
Pam Brown is the kind of teacher all parents want their children to have.
Strict but fair, challenging yet supportive, compassionate toward her students and passionate about her subject, Brown has earned generations of admirers in her 38 years at Grant High School.
She's also the main reason that Grant, along with only two other public schools in the state, still offers Latin.
In the 1970s, as area schools dropped Latin from their schedules, Brown built a reputation and developed a following, ensuring the survival of the program. She also recruited students through her course on Greco-Roman civilization.
"I used that class as a platform to promote Latin. It was a political tool," says the 61-year-old Brown, who won a Portland Schools Foundation Excellence in Education award in 2004.
Former student Elise Schumock, who graduated in 1996, recalls, "My sister, who is two grades above me, said that Mrs. Brown was someone not to be missed."
Brown so inspired Schumock that she went on to study classics at Whitman College and now teaches Latin and Greek at a private school in California.
Current sophomore Annie Kersting is equally enthusiastic.
"Mrs. Brown is great because she is so polite and respectful. She puts a lot of trust in her students. She has these standards, and everyone lives up to them."
Brown officially retired in 1999 but has taught half time since. Last winter, when she said she would step down at the end of the year, it looked like the death of Latin at Grant.
Kersting, other students and their parents, pleaded with principal Toni Hunter to continue the program. In the end they won.
"I love Latin," says Hunter. "It's nice to have as an elective, but I don't want people to think that because I didn't cut it this year it will survive forever."
Why study Latin, anyway?
Schumock says it's more about methodology than content. "It's deeply analytical, memorizing exactly what the structures are and breaking the language down into its components. It strengthens these different physical structures in the brain."
Brown says students sign up for Latin to boost their SAT scores or because they aren't sure which "living" language to study or because they're interested in professions such as law or medicine that use Latin phrases.
While the principal interviews candidates for a half-time Latin teaching position, Brown is making plans to travel, study Spanish and spend time with other retired Grant colleagues.
But clearly, she will be missed.
"She taught us," Schumock says, "how to be human beings in the world."
The government wants exam boards to ensure that ancient history continues as an A-level subject.
The last board offering it, OCR, is proposing to stop doing so.
During a Lords debate, Schools Minister Lord Adonis said the government was "not content", and was inviting the boards to produce fresh proposals.
OCR's move has brought an outcry from classicists, including shadow education minister Boris Johnson, who wore a toga to a protest meeting this week.
An "e-petition" on the Downing Street website has attracted several thousand signatures.
During an earlier Commons debate, School Standards Minister Jim Knight said he was certain OCR and the qualifications regulator, the QCA, would resolve the issue "in a way that meets the needs of future students by ensuring that the qualifications offered cover a comprehensive and rigorous curriculum".
The government's stance appears to have hardened since then.
In the latest Lords debate, Lord Adonis said: "All periods of history, from the ancient to the modern, can inspire our young people to study the subject, opening them up to skills that are essential in today's world as well a vital understanding of our past.
"The government is not content to see the end of ancient history as a single A-level and has invited the exam boards to come forward with proposals for it to continue."
Professor Tom Harrison from the Joint Association of Classical Teachers said: "The response, not only from universities and schools but also from the general public, has taken our breath away in terms both of scale and conviction.
"Now we look forward to working with OCR to develop new specifications, and to rebuild the co-operative relationship we enjoyed in the past."
A 'dead' language brought classrooms to life at an Oxford school.
Younger pupils at Cheney School, which already offers Latin and Ancient Greek among its language courses, were introduced to Latin as part of the Iris project, a classics project which aims to make the subject more appealing to state school pupils.
The Living Classics workshops are taking place across the country and are run by Oxford University graduate Dr Lorna Robinson.
The workshops see two Royal Shakespeare Company actors - Richard Darbourne and Paul O'Mahony - engage children in a wide variety of activities from re-enacting ancient battle scenes to learning Greek words. Dr Robinson, who last year left her teaching job at a public school in Berkshire and made it her mission to promote the classics in state schools through the Iris project, said the Cheney pupils loved the workshops.
She said: "The children really enjoyed themselves and had a lot of fun. It definitely got them thinking about a lot of things and they learned about the history behind words which they hadn't necessarily realised stemmed from Greek or Latin.
"The children certainly had lots of questions to ask afterwards.
She added: "The workshops are very active. Children are often sat behind desks in lessons and do not get involved, whereas this is not the case with the workshops."
Dr Robinson said the actors' energetic performances had captured the children's imagination, saying: "The actors are very lively and energetic and use a mixture of Latin, modern storytelling, drama and Classical myth.
"The feedback on their performances has been phenomenal. Their vivid, interactive and bizarre approach to introducing Latin has been a wonderful success in schools at all levels."
The actors ran a series of five one-hour interactive workshops for all Year Seven pupils at Cheney School. Among the activities was role-playing in a battle scene between the Greeks and Persians, in which they learnt the history of the marathon.
For information about Iris, see www.irismagazine.org To arrange a workshop at a school, email Dr Robinson on lornarobinson AT irismagazine.org
Maybe it's that no one in my extended family works for Chrysler. Or that until Monday's announcement that it had purchased a controlling stake in the automaker, I'd never even heard of Cerberus Capital Management.
But my first reaction -- before I stopped to consider the impact on Michigan's economy or the U.S. auto industry or Chrysler workers -- was to wonder why a company with $60 billion would name itself after a three-headed monster.
"It is rather an odd choice," Derek Collins, an associate professor of Greek and Latin, agreed when I reached him Tuesday at the University of Michigan's classical studies department.
"A lot of investment groups name themselves after Greek mythological heroes -- Perseus Capital comes to mind -- and with a hero, you at least have some idea what effect they're trying to achieve," Collins observed. "But a three-headed dog who guards the gates of hell? Does that mean that they're guarding your investment ferociously? Or that once you've given them your money, you can never get it out?"
Why not the best?
And even if the company's founders had their hearts set on a monster, why not an A-list monster such as Godzilla or Mothra? Were the rights to those domain names prohibitive? Or was there something especially apt about the relatively obscure Cerberus?
Arthur Verhoogt, an associate professor of papyrology at U-M, describes Cerberus as "sort of a reverse watchdog" who, instead of keeping people out, was intent on keeping the dead souls of Hades in. Think of a mutant Manfred the Mighty Wonder Dog on steroids.
"The main thing is that he was very scary," said Verhoogt, who speculated that scary is precisely the image Cerberus was hoping to project. "Like, 'We've taken over a lot of stuff, so don't even think of taking us on.' "
Did they mean Care-Bear Capital?
But that is not what the company's principals had in mind at all, insisted Peter Duda, a spokesman for New York-based Cerberus.
"As I understand it, he actually was a friendly figure," Duda said, emphasizing the watchdog motif. "He protected people, didn't he?"
I tried this kinder, gentler Cerberus on for size, recalling that Orpheus had once lulled the hound of Hades to sleep by singing to it. (Perhaps this was what UAW President Ron Gettlefinger had in mind when he crooned that the Cerberus buyout would be in the best interests of Chrysler workers.)
But wasn't it also part of the Cerberus myth that poisonous herbs sprouted wherever the monster drooled? How friendly was that?
"I'll have to get back to you," Duda said.
Two hours later, Duda was back with a winning spin. "Cerberus the monster prevented people from entering the underworld," Duda said. "Our firm was founded to keep companies that are in pretty bad shape from entering the underworld."
See? This three-headed, venom-drooling monster is your friend!
And wouldn't "Hellhound" be a great name for a really fast two-seater?
You used to be able to tell what sort of school someone went to merely by they way they reacted to that scene in Monty Python's Life of Brian in which a Jew is caught by a centurion writing subversive graffiti.
The centurion - played by John Cleese - does something worse than throwing him to the lions: he sets about correcting his Latin, in the manner of a sadistic schoolmaster.
Those in the audience who fall about laughing - because they remember qui vir odiosus (1) Latin lessons could be - are the ones who went to private schools. The kids from the state schools do not get really get the joke.
But that is beginning to a change. A study by the Cambridge Classic Project has discovered that there are now 459 state secondary schools teaching Latin. That is not very many, out of a total of 4,000, but in 2003 when Latin was available in only 200 state schools.
It is a rare bit of good news for those who worry about the chronic decline of classical education. There was a protest yesterday outside the House of Commons by sixth-form girls from Godolphin and Latymer school, in Hammersmith. Dressed in ancient costumes, they were complaining about the abolition of the last remaining ancient history A-level. A petition posted on the Downing Street website has attracted more than 4,000 signatures to the cause.
But those who hold that Latin is condicio sine qua non (2) of a rounded education can take heart that it is now being taught in racially mixed inner city comprehensives in places such as Tower Hamlets and Kilburn.
Another sign that Latin is not quite dead is the extraordinary success of a book by the former Daily Telegraph journalist, Harry Mount, called Amo, Amas, Amat and all that - How to Become a Latin Lover which sold 70,000 copies in the UK. Mr Mount has now been paid a £125,000 advance for a new edition being produced, mutatis mutandis (3), for the US market.
Objectors might say ars long - vita brevis (4), and that children in inner city comprehensives have more important things to do than pore ad nauseam (5) over their Latin vocabularies, struggling to decline nouns and conjugate verbs.
But Lorna Richardson, who runs the Iris Project, which campaigns for the study of classics in state schools, sees it as a valuable tool for improving literacy. "It really does make a difference - the children themselves say that," she claimed. "There are about 30 languages spoken in that one school. Many of the children have English only as a second language. They all say Latin helps with their languages, it helps with their English."
As part of a pilot project, the Iris Project added Latin to the curriculum in one Hackney school. This will be expanded in September to cover 12 schools. The course is funded by Cambridge University and other benefactors. They also produce a magazine aimed at making the classics fun, which is free for state schools and paid for by sales to private schools.
Boris Johnson, the Tory spokesman on higher education, said: "Latin is wonderful, and beautiful. Kids want something that is intellectually stimulating. It's the root of all romance languages. It's a fabulous mental discipline, yet it's unavailable for all but a tiny minority, and that's socially unjust."
Mr Mount is also adamant that learning to write in Latin is not simply ars gratia artis (6). He says there is a real quid pro quo (7) in having a Latin qualification on your curriculum vitae (8), because after all that time spent learning to distinguish a nominative from a genitive, "you'll never get an apostrophe in the wrong place again".
He added: "If children learn ethnic studies, in ten years they will earn absolutely nothing from it. The ones who learn Latin will be the ones who will be able to go on to jobs in the City, or as lawyers, or journalists.
"I think it's deeply patronising for people to suggest that pupils in ethnically mixed state schools should not learn the subject that is going to get them into the best paid jobs."
And that headline? It translates as: "What goes around comes around."
1 What a bore 2 Necessary condition 3 With the necessary changes 4 The work is hard and life is short 5 To the point of nausea 6 Art for art's sake 7 Something in return 8 The course of life
A Latin glossary
Annus horribilis: "Horrible year". The Queen's description of 1992, when the marriages of her sons Charles and Andrew broke down, and Windsor Castle caught fire.
Bona fide: "In good faith". To check if someone is bona fide is to see whether they can be trusted.
Carpe diem: "Seize the day". Enjoy the opportunity while it is there, as you may not get another.
Cogito ergo sum: "I think, therefore I am". The French philosopher René Descartes spent a long time trying to work out how he knew he existed. This was his answer.
Et tu, Brute: "And you, Brutus". Supposedly the last, reproachful words spoken by Julius Caesar as he was stabbed to death by his supposed ally. Say it to someone you thought was a friend who has ganged up against you.
Et cetera: "And the rest". Written as etc. Usually pronounced with a soft "c", though some say it should be said like "et caterer".
Ex officio: "From the office". Applied to committee members in place because of a position they hold. Tony Blair and John Prescott are ex-officio members of Labour's National Executive - but not for much longer.
Exempli gratia: Usually written as eg, meaning "for example"
Hocus pocus: A corruption of hoc est pocus ("this is the cup" ) used in the Catholic Mass, which now signifies bewildering nonsense.
In flagrante delicto: "While the crime is blazing". Caught in the act.
In vino veritas: "In wine - the truth". Drink much alcohol and you may blurt out that which you should have kept to yourself.
Ipsos custodes: Short for quis custodiet ipsos custodes ("who will guard those who guard?"), one of democracy's oldest conundrums.
Non compos mentis: "Not in control of the mind". A legal term meaning insane, and not criminally responsible. Also used to describe someone with a hangover.
Nota bene: "Note well". Usually seen as n.b.
Quod erat demonstrandum: "That which was to be demonstrated" . Mathematicians write Q.E.D. at the bottom of a completed proof.
Post mortem: "After death". A pathologist's examination of a corpse, an expression also used colloquially to describe any investigation held after the event.
Status quo: "The state in which". Long before it referred to a rock band, the term was an abbreviation of status quo ante bellum (" the state of things before the war"), a basis for negotiating a truce and troop withdrawal.
Sub judice: "Under a judge". Once someone has been charged with an offence, ie. their case is officially under consideration, there are strict limits to what may be said about the case.
Sub poena: "Under penalty". If a court has ordered you to appear to give evidence, and is going to punish you if you refuse, you have been "subpoenaed".
Vice versa: "With position turned". Implying that a sentence would still be true if the subject and object were interchanged.
Deborah Hickey's 11th-grade students at Notre Dame High School have spent the past year reading just one book.
But it's not just any book. Hickey's students have been working their way through "The Aeneid," Virgil's classical epic about the founding of Rome. And they have been doing so in the original Latin.
The book forms the spine of the students' Advanced Placement course, which is dedicated entirely to Virgil, and is being offered at Notre Dame in East Stroudsburg this year for the first time.
Written in the first century before the common era, "The Aeneid" follows Aeneas as he and his fellow Trojans escape from Troy after the Greeks lay siege to it.
A storm scuttles their boats and they land on the island of Carthage, where he meets and falls in love with Princess Dido.
"It's a love story," one of Hickey's students explained.
And one that ends badly. After Aeneas leaves the island on his quest to found a new nation, Dido climbs atop a pyre of his possessions and stabs herself with his sword.
Aeneas eventually conquers Italy and establishes the beginnings of the Roman republic. "It's about destiny and fate," another of Hickey's students said.
Hickey's students have been studying Latin with her since eighth grade, gradually building their skills until they were ready to take on the subject in an AP course.
The school had long been considering trying out the AP Virgil class. When Hickey brought up the idea to her students last year, they jumped at the chance. It is a special group, she explained, one that is unusually motivated and close.
"Everyone wants to be the best they can," said junior Carolina Dudzinski, 17, of East Stroudsburg. "They try to get into the most rigorous curriculum possible."
First, Hickey had her students try to translate 200 lines while they were still sophomores. "That kind of grabbed our attention," remembered junior Kelly O'Donnell, 17, of Stroudsburg.
Once they were juniors, they labored their way through much more of the text. On Monday, they were dissecting the text's dactylic hexameter, in which each line ends in a long syllable, followed by two short ones. Working mostly in small groups, they have translated 1,856 lines.
The AP course, which is designed to mirror college-level rigor, had introduced the already self-motivated students to a whole new world of expectation. "It's more gruelling," O'Donnell said.
"It was a lot harder than I thought," said Michael Primiano, 17, of Stroudsburg.
But the subject itself is also noteworthy — even in a private Catholic school like Notre Dame, where teaching Latin is common.
Latin once thrived as a staple of the curriculum, until it began to die out in the 1960s through the early 1990s when it came to be seen as fusty and dull, the dead language of a dead civilization.
In public schools, the language fell by the wayside. Notre Dame is the only high school in Monroe County to offer classes in the subject.
A sign in the back of Hickey's classroom gives voice to the subject's endurance. "Latin didn't fall with Rome," it reads.
Within the past decade, Latin has seen a resurgence, bolstered by evidence suggesting that studying the language can lead to higher achievement, especially in English. Elementary schools in such cities as Philadelphia; Washington, D.C.; New York and Los Angeles have experimented with teaching about 20 minutes of Latin each day to their fourth- through sixth-grade students. The results, researchers found, led to gains in vocabulary, comprehension and reading skills.
Boosters of classical education also point to SAT results that show students who study Latin score higher on the verbal portion than those who learn other foreign languages.
"If you know Latin and Greek, your English is almost always beautiful," said Adam Blistein, director of the American Philological Association, a membership group of Classics scholars, housed in the University of Pennsylvania.
"It's a challenging discipline, if done right," he said. "It expands the mind."
But this growth in demand, following the previous decades' waning interest, has led to a gap in supply. "There's a real shortage of high school Latin teachers," Blistein said. Groups have sponsored annual recruitment drives in an effort to build the corps of Latin teachers.
Demographics are part of the problem. The teachers with expertise, many of them baby boomers, are some of the only ones who went to school when the language was still taught widely. "Teachers are afraid to retire and see their program die," Blistein said.
Hickey, who has been teaching Latin as well as American and British literature at Notre Dame for 23 years, has tried to keep her students engaged by connecting the language to its wider context. "It's taught as a whole culture, mythology and history," she said.
Hickey's approach and her enthusiasm for the subject have rubbed off on the students, according to Jeffrey Lyons, Notre Dame High School's principal.
If the subject is a luxury in today's age of standardized testing, Lyons thinks it should not be.
"It's the core of some of those tests," he said.
There's a shortage of swords in Sparta. Greek merchants from Athens to Thermopylae are also concerned about a scarcity of spears as they prepare for summer visitors obsessed with the hit film "300," the gory story of the 480 B.C. clash between King Leonidas of Sparta and his archenemy, King Xerxes of Persia.
"My Spartan sword maker died a few weeks before the movie opened," laments Theodoros Tzamalas, whose shop, Greek Souvenirs, has been the main retail outlet for Spartan battle gear in Athens since 1940.
"Until '300' there was no rush for Spartan swords," Tzamalas says from behind a counter cluttered with strap-on sandals and miniature-soap Parthenons. "Our Leonidas sword was lightweight steel, cost €15 and was archaeologically correct," he adds. "Now hundreds of people are specifically asking for them and I don't have any."
The Greek deputy finance minister, Petros Doukas, the highest-ranking Spartan in the government of Prime Minister Costas Caramanlis, says he's aware of the "300" weaponry crisis and its cascade effect on Greece's economy.
"The movie's lesson is: Fight for your country, even if it's a losing battle, and have enough swords and hotel rooms on hand for tourists," says Doukas, squeezing lemon on a clearly un-Spartan lunch of broccoli spears in his office.
Diplomacy dictates that Doukas remain a noncombatant in the war of words between "300" fans - who so far have spent more than $435 million on tickets - and Iranian hard-liners who argue that the film is part of a wider Western agitprop campaign that smears their country's Persian heritage.
The Iranian poet Bahram Bahrami, who translated Samuel Beckett's play "Happy Days" into Farsi, has called the film an exercise in "blood libel." The British historian Tom Holland, whose book "Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West" recounts the events that led to Thermopylae, described the battle as "the model of a martyrdom for liberty."
"The Greek government takes no position and offers no official criticisms of the film," Doukas says, picking up a photo of his father, a World War II fighter pilot in North Africa.
"It's not like the old days," he recalls.
"Until the late 1950s, Spartans acted exactly like the ancients: laconic, aristocratic, with a class structure that didn't care about money. Pedigree was everything."
As was widespread public support for sword ownership.
"That's now gone, too," frets the historian Despoina Stratigis, owner of Synergies, a Sparta-based cultural tour company. "Last season, I put visitors in touch with Spartan cheese makers," she says between slicing wild asparagus in her home and fielding calls from U.S. and European families seeking to retrace Leonidas's march from Sparta to Thermopylae.
"Now everyone wants a sword maker. We don't even have an original sword in our museum, and there's only one sword maker left in Sparta."
That would be Costas Menegakis, a 42-year-old Greek-Canadian blacksmith who specializes in horseshoes and hasn't made a sword since 2005.
"It was a Viking sword," Menegakis says, sitting atop an anvil alongside his charcoal-fired forge and brandishing a homemade French rapier.
"I'm ready to make Spartan swords, €80," he adds. "I pound swords and spear tips from steel, but if someone wants an original poured in bronze, I can do that."
No matter the model, Menegakis guarantees that his hilts are the real deal. "Many were made from goat horns," he says. "We have lots of goats in Sparta. The hills are filled with them."
Global interest in Spartan swords has also caught the eye of a local police inspector, Panayiotis Skaras. He has spent the past eight months trying to discover who hacked off the 11-kilogram, or 25-pound, sword measuring 1.5 meters, or 5 feet, from Sparta's towering bronze 20th-century statue of King Leonidas.
There are no leads, though Menegakis says he suspects a "band of Gypsies." Café gumshoes suggest that the robber was an Athenian envious of Sparta going to Hollywood or Persian pranksters out for revenge.
Whoever the culprit was, Sparta's deputy mayor, Metaxia Papapostolou, recently had a replacement sword fitted in Leonidas's hand - before the onslaught of tourist buses reaches the southern Greek city. She says the perpetrator won't be shoved into a pit, unlike in the movie.
"Sparta doesn't plan on launching any invasions over this," Papapostolou promises. Instead, the city is investing €8 million, or $10.9 million, to refurbish the crumbled tourist sites.
"Our big attractions are the Sanctuary of Artemis Orthia and the olive-oil museum," Papapostolou says. "We're staging ancient Greek plays in the ruins of the outdoor theater.
"Trouble is, Spartans weren't theatergoers; the Athenians went to plays," she bemoans. "We Spartans did things for real, and many other Greek cities are jealous about what the movie's popularity has brought us."
Back on the warpath between Sparta and Thermopylae, Shelagh Meade, an 84-year-old British archaeologist, says the 162-kilometer, or 101-mile, walk she recently completed with a few dozen other Sparta buffs along Route Leonidas obliged reflection upon her decades of studying the region.
"I didn't particularly like the Spartans," Meade says. "I'm afraid the movie will make young people more violent. Of course, I didn't like 'The Charge of the Light Brigade,' either."
The Star Wars films, especially the original trilogy, clearly reflect many of the deathless themes of ancient Greek and Roman mythology," says Carl Rubino, a Hamilton College classics professor. May 25 marks the 30th anniversary of the release of Star Wars.
Rubino explains, "Heroes with doubtful parentage and no place to settle down, tutors with mysterious powers, immense journeys that represent whole lifetimes, the endless struggle against disorder and violence -- all these are familiar to readers of the Iliad, Odyssey, and Aeneid."
The concept of destiny also plays a key role in the films, according to Rubino. "At the climactic moment of Return of the Jedi, the emperor utters some telling words to Luke Skywalker. 'It is your destiny,' he says, by which he means that the young man is fated to serve the Empire. Others in the film - - Darth Vader, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and his tutor Yoda -- also speak of Luke's destiny, in various and sometimes opposing ways. Luke Skywalker, like the Roman hero Aeneas, is clearly someone who is haunted by destiny. But unlike Aeneas, Luke, who remains an American hero, seems to have the power to chose his destiny," Rubino says.
"'It is your destiny.' Young men and boys of the Roman ruling class heard much the same words from their fathers, grandfathers, teachers, and, perhaps especially, from their mothers. The notion of destiny played an essential role in their lives and the lives of their families. Their destiny, like that of their ancestors before them, was to serve and advance the fortunes of Rome," according to Rubino.
Carl Rubino is Edward North Professor of Classics at Hamilton College. Rubino was interviewed for a Lucas film documentary, Star Wars: Legacy, which will premiere on the History Channel in 2007. He will discuss Star Wars' roots in mythology. He has published and lectured extensively on ancient Greek and Roman literature, comparative literature, philosophy, and literary theory. A long-time collaborator of the late physicist Ilya Prigogine, he has also written on the links between science and the humanities, where his work has focused on complexity theory, the problem of time, and the impact of the theory of evolution upon ethics.
The world's oldest wooden anchor was discovered during excavations in the Turkish port city of Urla, the ancient site of Liman Tepe / the Greek 1st Millennium BCE colony of Klazomenai, by researchers from the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies of the University of Haifa. The anchor, from the end of the 7th century BC, was found near a submerged construction, imbedded approximately.1.5 meters underground.
The cooperative project between the University of Haifa and Ankara University sparked local interest, not only in marine archaeology, but also in the team of Israeli archaeologists. Israeli-Turkish relations have had their ups and downs over the past few years, but the cooperation between the Institute for Marine Studies at the University of Haifa and Ankara University has continually strengthened. In 2000, Prof. Hayat Erkanal of Ankara University invited Prof. Michal Artzy and scholars from the University of Haifa to join them in archaeological excavations in the port of Urla, a port city located near Izmir, with more than 5,000 years of maritime history. Remnants of an ancient port were uncovered during the excavations.
The finds revealed that the port, which served the ancient Greek settlement of Klazomenai, sunk following a natural disaster, probably an earthquake, in the 6th century BC. As there is no record of any such event occurring during this period, the actual cause of port's destruction remains a mystery.
During the recent excavation season, it became clear that a wooden log that was found wedged into the ground at the bottom of the ancient harbor in 2003 is actually a wooden anchor with a metal-covered crown. The anchor was found wedged into the ground one and a half meters below the surface and was dated from the end of the 7th century BC, which makes it the oldest wooden anchor found to date.
"In addition to the damage it caused to the port, the natural disaster that hit the area also destroyed the area of the city that was built along the coast. As soon as we finish uncovering the finds of the harbor we will know more about this period and perhaps we will know what actually caused the disaster," said Prof. Michal Artzy, who leads the University of Haifa team of researchers.
The excavations not only revealed interesting archaeological finds. For six years, while excavating the site, the researchers from the University of Haifa trained teams of divers and marine archaeologists from Ankara University, which is now opening a new institute for marine studies. During the years of excavations, the local community welcomed the Israelis with warm hospitality. Fascinated with their guests, the community began to research its own Jewish roots, and two forgotten Jewish cemeteries were recently discovered in the city.
The team from Haifa will return for a seventh season of cooperative excavations this summer. The "Haifa House", which was built to house the Israeli staff, with the help of the City of Urla and the Turkish Minister of Culture, is awaiting their arrival.
Many people may think Latin is a dead language, but some young people in Galesburg would reply to that comment with, "Acta non verba."
Action, not words.
About a dozen home-schooled students have been meeting weekly in Galesburg since last fall to study the language of popes. Called Latinitas Oremus, which means "Good Latin, Let Us Pray," the class of children ages 6 to 12 put their lessons on display Monday at the Heartland Health Care Center, singing songs and prayers in Latin and even performing a Latin version of The Three Little Pigs.
"They love it," Mike Acerra, who leads the weekly meetings, said of the children and their Latin. "They get very competitive."
The children learn the Ecclesial Latin, which is used by the Roman Catholic Church and sung by choirs of many faiths, he said. In fact, the great composers wrote their music for the Latin language and some of the children demonstrated their musical skills by playing classical music on the piano, flute and cello.
Several children, too, recited poems and sang songs in English, for about 30 residents of the nursing home.
Acerra said the language is a valuable tool and has been used through the centuries by people other than popes. America's founding fathers, he said, knew Latin and ancient Greek.
"All the greatest thoughts have been uttered in Latin and Greek," he said.
Acerra's group has a Christian slant to it, he admitted, but the group consists of Baptists, Catholics, Presbyterians and other denominations. The students read from a Latin Bible, pray in Latin and sing Gregorian chants from the 11th and 12th centuries.
The students learn about early Christian martyrs, he said.
"It's hard," said Matt Brucker, 8, when asked about learning Latin.
He said the students have 25 Latin lessons in the curriculum and learn one each week. Despite the difficulty, there is a benefit.
"It's just cool to learn another language," he said.
His mother, Amy Brucker, joked that teaching her children a dead language is preferable because no one can complain about the pronunciation.
"We chose it because it was doable for our family," she said. "As it turns out, the whole family is learning."
Her children, she said, will some day go on to college and perhaps choose to learn another language. The Latin foundation will be a benefit for many that they could learn.
Acerra said, too, the Latin lessons will be beneficial as the children continue their education.
"It's a bedrock foundation for any of the Romance languages," he said.
And, of course, there's another, less practical reason for learning Latin. It was expressed by Jaycee Karns, 6.
When asked how she liked learning Latin, she gave a thumbs-up and said, "It's awesome."
Conservative MP Boris Johnson donned a toga and joined students outside the House of Commons in protest at plans to scrap the last ancient history A-level.
Girls from Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith, west London, handed the shadow education minister a petition signed by 4,000 people.
He is backing calls to halt plans by the OCR exam board to end the subject.
Urging the government to step in Mr Johnson said the course was of huge importance to Britain and its culture.
Speaking outside parliament on Monday the Henley-on-Thames MP said it was important not to lose a subject which could provide a route to university for many people.
"I think you're getting rid of another potential route. Why not leave things as they are? It's a wonderful subject, it's well taught, let's encourage more people to do it," he said.
Natasha Hausdorff, 17, one of the sixth-form students leading the campaign, said she was fighting to preserve a subject she loved and which could teach youngsters about democracy, religious confrontations and east-west relations.
In March OCR said it planned to scrap ancient history saying revised A-level courses would offer students a better range of qualifications.
Elements of the old ancient history exam would be taken into a new classical civilisation A-level which will be taught from September 2008.
But some critics argued the new course would not examine ancient history properly.
F. Carter Philips, Ph.D., Professor of Classics, Emeritus
F. Carter Philips graduated from Vanderbilt in 1965. He returned to the university in 1969 as a specialist in Greek literature and papyrology, the study of ancient documents preserved on papyrus. He has taught Greek language, literature and civilization to students at all levels. He has served as department chair for 10 years and as associate dean for academic programs for four years. He served several years on the Lionel Pearson Fellowship Committee and more than seven years on similar committees of the Classical Association of the Midwest and South. Philips served terms as both vice president and president of Phi Beta Kappa, the Alpha Chapter of Tennessee. Nearly a generation of Vanderbilt alumni remember Philips as the University Marshal, leading the procession to the graduation ceremonies. He approved every aspect of the event, from the arrangement of the chairs to the sound of the musicians who accompanied the procession.
Susan Ford Wiltshire, Ph.D., Professor of Classics, Emerita
Susan Ford Wiltshire has been an active member of the Vanderbilt University Department of Classical Studies since 1971 as an expert in Roman poetry. Wiltshire served in the Department of Classical Studies as chair for nine years and was also chair of the Faculty Council of the College of Arts and Science. She was instrumental in starting the Vanderbilt Women’s Studies Program and taught its first course in the 1970s. She helped start WEAV (Women in Education At Vanderbilt), the first advocacy group for female faculty at Vanderbilt. Wiltshire received the Madison Sarratt Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the Thomas Jefferson Award, the Alumni Education Award, The Chancellor’s Cup and the Mary Jane Werthan Award. She has been the president of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, and in 1997, President Clinton appointed Wiltshire to a six-year term on the National Council on the Humanities.
For a few months in history, world domination depended on a bridge built upon sand. To conquer the almost impenetrable island of Tyre in 332 B.C.E., Alexander the Great had his engineers construct a land bridge across a kilometer of open water. Given that his army had only basic tools and was under constant attack, the feat seems almost miraculous. But was it? After analyzing the past 10,000 years of coastal sediment deposits, a team of researchers concludes that Mother Nature--not the renowned Greek military commander--was the primary bridge builder.
Alexander was the first commander to attempt to conquer the known world, and his army had just captured the Phoenician cities of Byblos and Sidon. In nearby Tyre, he saw a strategic outpost that would give him a supply and reinforcement port to control the Eastern Mediterranean. But Tyre proved a tough nut to crack. Besides being protected by 50-meter-high walls, the ancient city occupied an island a kilometer off the coast of present-day Lebanon, surrounded by seas as deep as 10 meters. History records that, after seven months of battle, Alexander's army breached the island's defenses by constructing a bridge of timber, stone, and rubble and then used battering rams to puncture an entryway into the cities' walls--a feat that effectively led to the end of the Phoenician Empire.
But just how impressive was this achievement? Geoscientist Nick Marriner and colleagues at the European Center for Research and Teaching on the Geosciences of the Environment (CEREGE) in Aix-en-Provence, France, studied sediment records off the coast of Lebanon and microfossil evidence from core sites on the Tyrian peninsula. The team concludes that at no point did Alexander's engineers contend with anything close to 10 meters of water. Instead, an outpouring of sediment over 5500 years from the nearby Litani delta formed an underwater platform between the mainland and Tyre. As the rise in sea level slowed and agriculture developed, sedimentation rates increased. In addition, Tyre acted as an immense shield to quash waves, allowing material to accumulate on its Lebanon-facing side. By 332 B.C.E., the bridge was within one to two meters of mean sea level, the team reports online this week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Jean-Daniel Stanley, geoarchaeologist at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., says the formation of the natural underwater bridge isn't surprising, given what is known about sediment flow. But that's not to dismiss Alexander's accomplishment, which set the stage for his continued conquests before his death at age 32. Considered by some historians as his greatest military achievement, the story of Tyre--and the legend of Alexander the Great--might have read quite differently without an assist from Mother Nature.
Papoulias presented Fischer with three works by Thucydides "so that he may remember his ancient Greek", given that the Austrian president graduated from a classical high school and was taught ancient Greek.
The earliest known dental prosthesis from ancient Rome may not have been very functional, but it gave its wealthy wearer a million dollar smile.
The gleaming grin resulted from multi-karat gold wire, which was used to string together "artificial teeth," according to the team of Italian researchers who analyzed the ancient bridgework.
They found the object, which dates from the 1st to the 2nd century A.D., in the mouth of an unidentified woman who was buried in an elaborate mausoleum within a Roman necropolis.
"At the moment, this dental prosthesis is the only archaeological remain that corresponds to the literary descriptions (concerning dentistry) of the Roman Age," lead scientist Simona Minozzi told Discovery News.
Minozzi, an anthropologist at the University of Pisa, and her team quoted from the writings of 1st century Roman satirist Martial.
Martial wrote, "Lucania has white teeth, Thais brown. How comes it? One has false teeth, one her own. And you, Galla, lay aside your teeth at night just as you do your silken dress."
Minozzi believes the unidentified Roman's bridgework was made from the woman's own teeth that probably fell out due to periodontal disease. Gold wire bound the teeth together, with some teeth possessing drill holes to strengthen the wire bond. More gold wire secured the replaced tooth to side teeth that remained in her jaw.
The discovery is outlined in the current issue of The American Journal of Medicine.
"I think that the dentists used gold because it is a metal that is compatible with biological tissue and it is simple to work with," Minozzi said, adding that gold is still used in dentistry today.
All of the woman's teeth showed signs of rubbing, suggesting she had used an abrasive dental powder.
Writings from the ancient Greeks refer to dental concoctions made out of sea salt, ground oyster shells and other gritty materials that were flavored with refreshing herbs and oils, not unlike some modern toothpastes.
Minozzi asked her own dentist about the rub marks, and he said these are even common today, when people brush their teeth "too intensely."
Scott Swank, curator of the Dr. Samuel D. Harris National Museum of Dentistry, which is associated with the Smithsonian, told Discovery News that the museum's collection houses a detailed model of similar bridgework from Egypt. It dates to 2,500 B.C.
"It too consists of teeth that are held together with gold wires," Swank explained, but said it's possible the ancient Egyptians only wore such devices after death. Their spiritual beliefs held that the "body must be whole for the afterlife," teeth and all.
Swank also mentioned an early Etruscan piece of bridgework, dating to 1,000 B.C. It is similar to the Egyptian and Roman finds, except with thicker gold banding.
"The gold bands would have been very noticeable to onlookers," he said. "Royalty, rulers and other important people with access to a lot of cash probably would have worn these."
Shannon O'Dell, curator of the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry at the University of Michigan, echoed that belief.
"All of these devices were more for looks than anything else," she told Discovery News. "You could not have bit down on any kind of hard food with them."
O'Dell added, "High-status individuals likely wore them for ceremonies to keep up appearances."
The shadow higher education minister, Boris Johnson, will be invited to change his suit for a toga this evening as part of the campaign to save ancient history A-level.
The request will be made in Latin by sixth formers from the Godolphin and Latymer School in Hammersmith, who will be wearing togas as they present him at the House of Commons with a 4,000-signature petition opposing plans to scrap the course.
The meeting with Mr Johnson, who is also president of the joint association of classical teachers, will be conducted entirely in Latin.
The teenagers will urge Mr Johnson to do all he can to halt the recommendation from the examination board OCR to abolish the qualification as part of its plans to reorganise four classics A-levels.
A spokeswoman from the 700-pupil independent girls' school said this morning: "We have a very strong classics department here including an ancient Greek breakfast club every week. The girls feel it would be a shame if the ancient history A-level were to go as it gives them a good background in all sorts of things such as language and the history of Europe and civilization."
Ahead of the meeting this evening Mr Johnson told EducationGuardian.co.uk: "I have already met with OCR and they are going to see if they can come up with a solution, some sort of deal, but I'm not that confident.
"I think they think that ancient history isn't a moneyspinner for them."
Mr Johnson said he was concerned that if ancient history was abolished as an A-level the classics would increasingly disappear from the state sector and only be available in a few select independent schools.
He said: "At a time when Latin is becoming increasingly popular in state schools I thought that this was the start of a bandwagon beginning to roll again for the classics and is another reason why it's important that ancient history remains.
"It makes no sense to kick away yet another ladder of opportunity up to university and to reduce the options of pupils who want to study this wonderful subject."
The examination board OCR announced in March that it wanted to replace its four existing classics subjects - ancient history, classical civilisation, Greek and Latin - with new models.
Under its proposals, ancient history would disappear as a subject in its own right. Instead, students would choose from four new A-levels: in Latin, classical Greek, classical civilisation and a new subject title, classics.
The OCR said that it was committed to offering classics at A-level but wanted to design qualifications that would "flourish" over the next decade.
The new qualifications would offer students more flexibility to specialise in the areas of classics that interest them, it said.
For the first time, students studying Latin or Greek, for example, would be able to combine units of languages with units of literature in translation and historical units.
Similar content to the present ancient history qualification would appear in the classical civilisation units.
According to the OCR's latest figures, ancient history A-level was taken by 530 students in 2006, while 2,350 sat classical civilisation. Some 183 sat classical Greek while 927 students took Latin.
The recommendations, which followed public consultation, are now with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority which needs to approve them before they are be introduced.
If approval is given later this year students could start to study for the new exams in 2008.
A spokesperson for the QCA said: "At the moment we're still in discussions with OCR. No decision has been made, and there's no set timetable."
The Emperor Augustus said he found Rome a city of brick - and he left it a city of marble.
But 2,000 years on, the cracks in his legacy are beginning to show.
The Forum, the Colosseum and the palaces of the Palatine Hill still stand as proud testament to the Roman builders' genius. Yet today they are betrayed by monumental neglect.
The problem of course is money.
It costs millions to protect the treasures of Ancient Rome.
Not to mention the funds needed to safeguard the newly discovered ruins, which in Rome they find practically every week. The budget from the Italian Culture Ministry doesn't even begin to cover it.
Honeycomb of cavities
One of the latest closures came in November 2005, when a 16th-Century wall collapsed without warning in a well-visited area, near the Emperor Tiberius' palace.
The collapse prompted officials to investigate the stability of the hill and its monuments.
The Palatine is honeycombed with cavities - the result of centuries of tunnelling and digging.
Instead of demolishing homes and palaces the Romans built on top of them.
So while the structures may look solid from above, below they rest on shaky foundations.
So dangerous have some of the structures become that now less than half of the Palatine Hill is open to the public.
"It is a gigantic challenge to look after Roman monuments," says the British archaeologist Andrew Wallace-Hadrill.
"The Palatine Hill was completely reshaped in antiquity. Part of the hill was cut away and these enormous concrete structures built in its place.
"The great news is that the Romans built far more solidly than we do today - can we think of a modern structure that would survive 2,000 years of abandonment and neglect - but if you allow the land to slide under its feet, it will crack and eventually fall down."
Ravages of weather
One of the big problems is global warming. The climate is changing.
From time to time, the city is deluged with water from freak rainstorms.
Water that seeps into the caverns further erodes the foundations of the hill. Experts say they were considering restoring the ancient Roman sewers to help drain away that rainwater.
The architect in charge of the Colosseum, Piero Meogrossi, tells me he has the technology to study the foundations of the hill and relatively cheap ways of repairing the cracks above.
But he, like everyone else, has limited funding. In fact, Mr Meogrossi tells me he gets just 500,000 euros (£340,000; $646,000) to protect the Colosseum. It is barely enough to pay the running repairs.
This budget is spread thinner as archaeologists continue to dig up more treasure.
Mr Wallace-Hadrill takes me to one of the latest excavations, inside the Roman Forum, led by the Italian archaeologist Andrea Carandini.
"The more you dig, the more problems you create," he says. "But if you want tourists to keep coming, you have to offer them some novelty.
"The fact that Andrea is excavating here is great news. He is digging up the houses of the first kings of Rome. It's fascinating stuff.
"But it's incredibly complicated - and sometimes the only way to protect what you have discovered is to back-fill - to fill it back up with earth again."
There are some things though you just cannot back-fill.
These include the Domus Aurea - Nero's Golden Palace, part of which has recently been restored and reopened to the public.
The ceilings were once covered with gold, ivory and pearls. Its frescoed halls and winding passageways, mostly underground, were preserved thanks to the Emperor Trajan, who buried Nero's megalomania under the foundations of his own sprawling bath complex.
But since the Domus Aurea was opened to the elements, it has become so unstable that only a small section is safe to view.
We are taken behind the public barriers to areas where groundwater is seeping through the huge vaulted ceilings.
Areas have been closed because the engineers cannot guarantee the structure is stable. So fragile is the structure that many of the rooms are now cocooned in scaffolding.
With money the archaeologists could waterproof from above, but most of the budget they are given is spent trying to protect the mosaic and the frescoes inside.
There are hi-tech probes to measure humidity and the direction of the wind.
But while the experts try to control the moisture inside, the workmen are employed in a constant battle to remove the moss and algae growing over what is left of the gold-covered ceilings.
"In my view," says Mr Wallace-Hadrill, "the government has to find a better way of investing the profits they get from tourism.
"It is a major industry here in Italy, which ripples throughout the economy. They have to find a way of ploughing back the taxes and the profits to preserve this culture.
"It's very difficult for a modern government to convince itself that culture matters. But you don't have to think about it very long to see that it does. It's tourism, stupid. It's the economy!"
In fact tourism accounts for 10% of the national GDP - but with proper investment, say economists, it could be double that.
More than two million people every year tour the Forum and Palatine Hill free of charge. If they paid only a euro each, it would raise crucial extra funds.
In short, Italy faces that classic national dilemma; how to deal today with the heritage of yesterday - in the interests of tomorrow.
Tumultus post electionem orti
: Nuntii Latini
10.05.2007, klo 17.25
Cum Sarkozy, candidatus partium dextrarum, victoriam in comitiis praesidentialibus reportavisset, in quibusdam regionibus protestationes violentae contra eum ortae sunt.
Parisiis turba quingentorum fere adulescentium, quae fenestras tabernarum frangebat et vehiculis damna afferebat, a vigilibus disiecta est.
Tumultus fuerunt etiam in urbibus Lyon, Lille, Nantes.
The northern staircase of Apadana Palace in Persepolis , depicted by designs of gift givers has been hidden under lichens during 2500 years old. In an attempt to rescue this world heritage site, Iran with support of UNESCO has announced an international call for cooperating in cleaning up the lichens with help of domestic and foreign restoration experts.
Announcing this news, Mohammad Hassan Talebian, head of Parse Pasargadae Research Center, told CHN: “Northern staircase of Apadana Palace is one of the most important sections of Persepoise World Heritage sites. Since it was situated unprotected in free space for over 2500 years and endured harsh weather and rain and taking into account that it was out of direct sunlight, it flecked with lichens over time. Cleaning up lichens would be a time-taking job and we have started the project with the assistance of Iranian and foreign experts.”
Pointing that lichen is a real threat to a large number of stone historical sites in the world and have posed serious harms to some of them, Talebian added: “Some approaches have been undertaken to fight this blight, although they were not always useful. This time we are hoping to be able to treat these apparently incurable lichens from Persepolis body.”
According to Hassan Rahsaz, stone restoration expert in Persepolis, fortunately there is no worry about the other parts of Persepolis from this regard. He further said that Iranians have also a long experience in cleaning up lichens and this time is a hope to overcome this problem completely through international cooperation.
Founded by Darius I in 518 BC, Persepolis was the capital of the Achaemenid Empire (550-330 BC) which is situated in Iranian Fars province. It was built on an immense half-artificial, half-natural terrace, where the king of kings created an impressive palace complex inspired by Mesopotamian models. Persepolis was devastated in 330 during the attack of Alexander the Great to Persia who set fire to the capital of Achaemenid Empire and leveled this huge monument to the ground. The importance and quality of the monumental ruins made it a unique archeological site. UNESCO declared Persepolis complex a World Heritage Site in 1979. Persepolis is also one of the 80 treasures featured on Around the World in 80 Treasures presented by Dan Cruickshank.
A planned hi-tech driverless underground railway line set to bring desperately needed transport links to the historic heart of Rome has run into a minefield of Roman remains.
Planners aim to send the new C line under the city centre at a depth of 30 metres, well beneath the archaeological treasures that litter Rome. Stations will also be built deep underground, but even the simple task of digging entrances and exits is proving a headache and could mean the scrapping of the Largo Torre Argentina stop, which serves crowded tourist sights such as the Pantheon.
"This is unfortunate but acceptable," builder Federico Bortoli told Corriere della Sera, after workers ran into the corner of an imperial Roman public building.
The C line's builders have offered archaeologists a rare glimpse at Rome's imperial past and are obliged by law to slalom around valuable finds.
Rome's two existing tube lines neatly skirt the heart of Rome which sits in a loop in the Tiber between the Capitoline Hill and the Vatican. The gap should be filled by the 15-mile C line, which will link the Colosseum to St Peter's before reaching into the suburbs. But the second stop at risk on the crucial, one-mile city centre stretch of the line could be Chiesa Nuova, further down Corso Vittorio Emanuele and handy for Piazza Navona, the popular gathering spot built on the site of a former Roman circus.
Digging proceeds, but the mood on site has changed since archaeologists found a line of amphorae which may have been used to hold plants in the garden of a villa of a well-to-do Roman. Further excavations will determine the final decision on whether the stops can be built.
"Eels are mysterious beings. It may be that what are called their `breeding habits' are teleportations... appearances of eels anywhere cannot be attributed to transportations of spawn... The New York Times, Nov. 30,1930... tells of mysterious appearances of eels in old moats and mountain tarns... Eels can travel over land, but just how they rate as mountain climbers, I don't know." -Fort, Books, p595.
Apropos the Victorian eel-zeal (FT194:51), Juvenal's 1878 editor J Mayor claims "Highlanders loathe them" because of their snake-like look, while his classical contemporary C Badham (Prose Halieutics, or Ancient and Modern Fish-Tattle, Parker, London, 1854, p401) bangs on about "the fabulous properties" of this "passionate and ill-conducted fish".
The main sources are Pliny's Natural History (esp. bk9), Athenaeus's Learned Men at Dinner (esp. bks6-7), and Aelian's History of Animals (passim). They often repeat the same information, and often confound the various varieties, albeit Aelian (bk5 ch48) speaks of civil war between congers and morays.
The basic Latin term is anguilla, producing French anguille - "Before skinning it, stun the eel by banging its head hard against a stone" (Larousse Gastronomique). Roman ones were equally proverbi-eel, our `slippery customer' simile being as old as Plautus, Pseudolus, v747.
Eels were famously eaters and eaten. In Homer (Iliad, bk 2l v203), they devour the kidneys and fat of a dead Trojan. Athenaeus tells of them attacking fishermen's boats, also allying themselves on dry land with vipers against humans. Perhaps this is why eel catchers and pedlars were enviably exempt from taxation, also why Boeotians sacrificed giant specimens to the gods. Every writer rhapsodises over their gastronomic appeal, one calling them "the Helen of all feasts," another poetically exclaiming: "Fear death, for when you're a maggot's meal/You cannot then enjoy an eel."
They also offered medical miracles. Poisoned with snake eggs by his wife, an acolyte of Serapis was advised by his god to let a moray bite him, thereby pulling out the infection (Aelian, bk11 ch34).
Size did matter. Reports range from one big enough to fill a cart up to Pliny's (bk9 ch2 para4) 300-footers in the Ganges. Quantity, too; Pliny (bk9 ch39 para76) speaks of "eels massed into shoals, 1,000 in each" in Lake Garda.
Pliny and co. further credit eels with various unique properties, e.g. birth by spontaneous generation in mud, lack of sexual characteristics, and not floating when dead.
A special whip made of eel-skin was used to flog freeborn Roman boys (Pliny, bk9 ch39 para78). "Up betimes, and with my salt eel went down into the parlour and there did beat my boy till I was fain to take breath" - Pepys's Diary, 24 April 1663.One such for use on errant Seychelles wives occurs in Ian Fleming's The Hildebrand Rarity (1960)-"Bond rarely killed fish, except to eat, but there were exceptions - the sting ray."
Another Flemingesque character was Vedius Pollio, punished by Augustus for feeding slaves to his pet lampreys. Cicero frequently (e.g. Letters to Atticus, bkl nos. 19 & 20) ridicules the mania for these. The besotted Licinius assumed the name Murena or Mr Lamprey (Columella, On Agriculture, !! bk8 chl6 para5). A bevy of anecdotes about (e.g.) Crassus, Hortensius, and Antonia have them weeping over the deaths of eels, which in life they had adorned with earrings and necklaces, named, and trained to come when called - fishing for compliments?
"A shower, at Coalburg, Alabama, of an enormous number of eels that were unknown in Alabama... Piles of them in the streets - people alarmed - farmers coming with carts and taking them away for fertilizing material." - Fort, p546
We are pleased to announce the publication of JRA Supplement 63,
entitled Articulating local cultures: power and identity under the
expanding Roman Republic, edited by Peter van Dommelen and Nic
Cloth-bound, it contains 9 chapters, all in English, mostly on the
coastal regions and islands of the Western Mediterranean. It took its
origins from the Roman Archaeology Conference. The list price is
$59.50 (libraries and institutions), but the price to individual
subscribers is $49.75 or £25 (plus postage of about $11 / £5.50 to
most foreign countries or about $4 to US destinations).
The table of contents of supplement 63 is available at:
IT IS a timeless tale that has been cherished by generations of spellbound schoolchildren: a mighty force of Roman troops disappears without trace after marching into Scotland to subdue rebellious Celtic tribes.
As a Glasgow schoolboy, Kevin Macdonald was among those who fell in love with The Eagle Of The Ninth. Years later, as the director of Oscar-winning movie The Last King Of Scotland, he is on the verge of realising his ambition of transferring the story to the big screen.
After several false starts by other directors, Macdonald believes he will be the first to make a feature film of Rosemary Sutcliff's celebrated historical yarn. He wants to create a swords-and-sandals "western", filmed on location in Scotland, in which the Romans speak with American accents.
Sutcliff's 1954 novel is set in Scotland after the building of Hadrian's Wall and recounts the story of a young Roman's search to discover the truth behind the disappearance of his father, who was a member of the Ninth Legion.
The 4,000 elite Roman troops marched into Scotland in a bid to subdue the pugnacious indigenous Celtic tribes but, according to legend, they vanished without trace and were never seen again.
Sutcliff's book sold more than a million copies and was made into an acclaimed BBC television serial, shot in Aberdeenshire in 1977, and a Radio 4 drama.
Macdonald, who directed Touching the Void, which told the story of a disastrous expedition to scale a treacherous Andean peak, feels the time is right for the work to be recreated for a new generation. He told Scotland on Sunday: "I am definitely going to return to Scotland to direct a film version of The Eagle Of The Ninth. It is a book that I absolutely loved as a child.
"We are beginning to think about the cast and the idea is to use American actors for the Romans and to use Scots and other Celts for the Pictish people.
"It is a part of history that has never been seen on the big screen before and that is why it is so exciting."
The two-time BAFTA-winning director said he wanted the end result to be a mixture of epic costume drama and the classic John Ford cowboy film The Searchers from 1956. "The idea is to create a Scottish Western," he said.
Macdonald, who hopes to start work on the project next year, will be working with Duncan Kenworthy, the London-based producer of Four Weddings And A Funeral and Love Actually.
The script is currently being written by Jeremy Brock, who co-wrote The Last King Of Scotland, the Victorian epic Mrs Brown starring Billy Connolly and Dame Judi Dench, and the Second World War drama Charlotte Gray which featured Cate Blanchett.
The budget for the film is expected to be around the same as, if not more than, the relatively modest £3m which was spent on Macdonald's take on Idi Amin's descent into bloody tyranny and madness as president of Uganda.
The origins of the real Ninth Legion are uncertain, though it distinguished itself in Spain around 24BC and became known as the Legio IX Hispana. It also served in Germany, Hungary and Africa, before probably joining the 40,000-strong army assembled to invade Britain in 43AD.
There is evidence to suggest the Ninth was stationed at Eboracum (York) from 71AD. But the Romans never subdued the northern Celtic tribes - variously referred to as Brigantes, Caledonians and Picts - who repeatedly launched raids into the mighty Roman Empire. The Romans began construction of Hadrian's Wall around 120AD, in an attempt to keep the hordes at bay. It is much the same time the Ninth Legion disappears off the page of history, with many concluding they must have been sent to Scotland and were slaughtered by the ferocious paint-anointed mountain warriors.
Macdonald's immediate project is a lavish Hollywood adaptation of the BBC political thriller State Of Play. "Brad Pitt is taking the role played by John Simm from Life On Mars and the setting has been moved from London to Washington," he said.
"The big challenge for me is that the original version was so good. To create something that won't be compared unfavourably to the BBC production is a considerable task."
British scriptwriter Paul Abbot, who was behind the hit Channel 4 show Shameless, will be executive producer of the American production.
Macdonald revealed he is an admirer of Shameless, which chronicles the misadventures of the work-shy Gallacher family in Manchester.
"I am a big fan of Shameless and James McAvoy's performance in the early episodes was one of the main reasons why I cast him in the Last King Of Scotland," he said.
In 2003, two other filmmakers announced they planned to use the Ninth Legion as the basis for films.
Neil Marshall, who wrote and directed the Scottish-based horror hit Dog Soldiers, wanted to create a historical action thriller with the Picts slaughtering the Italian invaders.
Ros Borland and Catherine Aitken, the producers of the BBC TV show Afterlife, unveiled plans for a gory epic titled Legion. So far neither film has made it to the big screen.
Also troubling Greeks is the question over what the departure of Tony Blair would mean for the long-running battle to reclaim the Elgin - oops, Parthenon - marbles from the British Museum.
In the corridors of the Greek Culture Ministry, officials are whispering that a new broom in Downing Street may help their cause. The British PM's departure comes only months away from the opening of the long-awaited and, may I add, resplendent, New Acropolis Museum at the foot of the holy hill. The £93m, three-storey behemoth will put 'irresistible' pressure on Gordon Brown to give back the marbles, campaigners say. 'I am sure that the construction of the museum will provide a new, very powerful argument,' said the Greek Prime Minister, Kostas Karamanlis.
- Latin, the ancient Roman language that's long been dissed as dead, comes alive in Paula Mathias' eyes.
Virgil. Ovid. Cicero. The names make Mathias smile so wide she almost laughs at the joy they bring her.
"I get really excited talking about it," she said.
On Saturday, the 50-year-old former nurse became the first graduate to earn a degree in Latin from Virginia Wesleyan College. About 280 students received degrees in the ceremony.
Virginia has long had a strong reputation for its high school and university Latin programs, said Lynn Sawlivich, an assistant professor of classics at Virginia Wesleyan. But until recently, no college in Hampton Roads offered it as a degree, he said.
That changed when Sawlivich started Virginia Wesleyan's program four years ago - about the same time one of his future students was planning a career change.
Mathias had worked for years as a nurse and stayed home to raise her son, Lee. After a divorce she decided to enroll in the classical studies program at Virginia Wesleyan. She planned to use the degree to join the priesthood in the Episcopalian Church.
A basic language course in Latin quickly changed her mind.
"When I opened a Latin book, it was like - ahh - I knew this is what I wanted to do," she said, smiling again.
Mathias earned her degree after three years as a full-time student.
The schoolwork was challenging, but nothing like the day she drove her son to Richmond to deploy with the National Guard.
Lee Mathias served a year in Iraq driving a gun truck for convoy security. He returned in December 2005.
"That was the hardest - much harder than studying," Paula Mathias said.
Now, with her son back home and her degree in hand, Mathias hopes to spread her passion as a high school teacher.
She shouldn't have trouble finding a job in the current market, said Kathleen Earles, a Latin teacher at Princess Anne High School in Virginia Beach.
"A lot of the Latin teachers are older people who have kept going because we don't want the programs to end," said Earles, who is retiring after teaching the language for 35 years. "Latin teachers are a hot commodity."
Sawlivich and Earles praise Latin as a tool to improve one's grasp of the English language and boost SAT scores. About 90 percent of English words larger than two syllables have Latin roots, Earles said. Much of the language used in law and medicine come from Latin, too.
Mathias has always loved classical literature but always had to read the English translations. Now she's getting all the meaning and description that only Latin can capture.
"It just brings it alive," she said.
'Res ipsa loquitur,' (the thing speaks for itself) said MP and columnist Boris Johnson when asked to describe his love for Latin. Steeped in classics, he thinks it 'tragic' that the subject has been 'ghettoised in independent schools' for decades. So Johnson will be the first to welcome today's news that Britain's state schools are experiencing an astonishing renaissance in Latin.
The number of state secondary schools offering Latin has soared from 200 three years ago to 459, new research will reveal today. From after-school clubs for gifted pupils to pan-European contests and on-line courses, Latin is in vogue.
Some say the revival is being driven by popular culture. Television, films, radio and books are filled with stories based in a bygone age, according to Peter Jones, of the National Co-ordinating Committee for Classics. 'One thinks of Boris Johnson's book on the Roman empire or a film such as Gladiator that raises issues of conflict and a sense of value.
'A great spin-off from that is a greater interest in the ancient world,' he added. 'Latin is no longer perceived as an elite subject simply studied by pupils at Eton.' He and other classicists fiercely dispute the argument that Latin is not a relevant subject in the 21st century. They point out that concepts of freedom, democracy and citizenship, embedded in modern politics, were first developed by the Greeks and Romans.
Moreover, learning Latin can help pupils with modern languages. 'I have been trying to learn Czech,' said Anne Dicks, head of classics at Malvern St James, an independent girls' school. 'Although the vocabulary is different, the structure is the same as Latin.'
Last week pupils from across Europe turned up in Paris, Berlin and Malvern, Worcestershire, to battle it out in a European Latin competition that Dicks helped organise. On the Saturday of a bank holiday weekend they turned up to tackle a tough translation.
Will Griffiths, the director of Cambridge School Classics Project (CSCP), who carried out today's research, said many people wrongly assume that Latin is only taught well in the independent sector. His study highlighted schools such as George Green secondary, a comprehensive in Tower Hamlets, east London, where pupils stay after school to learn the language. Other schools were using a new online course from CSCP which allows pupils to learn Latin without a specialist teacher.
At another school in Kilburn, northwest London, where 87 per cent of students are from ethnic minorities, Latin is also booming. 'It is wonderful that so many schools are bringing it back,' said Johnson who recently visited the school. 'It is because people are looking for something that is intellectually stimulating, rewarding and delivers lasting value. If you are able to compose sentences in Latin you will never write a dud sentence in English.'
Johnson, who was yesterday crowned president of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers, called on the government to change the rules so Latin could be taken instead of a modern foreign language when children turn 11.
It is not just secondary schools. Latin is being used as a tool to teach younger children basic English grammar. Barbara Bell, a classics teacher at Clifton High School in Bristol came up with Minimus, a series of Latin books for children that is now being used in 2,500 primary schools. Children learn about Flavius and Lepidina, a couple from AD100, through comic strips.
Bob Lister, a lecturer in education at the University of Cambridge will argue in a forthcoming book that Latin is being used by teachers to stretch the brightest pupils. 'I think there has been a sea change in the attitude towards the gifted child,' he said.
But his book, Changing Classics in Schools, will also highlight a crisis in the subject due to a lack of teachers. 'There is a very serious problem with recruiting,' said Lister. Within recent weeks he has heard of two comprehensives that received no applications at all when they advertised for classics teachers. Figures suggest that there are four or five jobs for each trainee - a shortage that could provide an obstacle to Latin's comeback.
But, as an active volcano (last eruption: 1891), Pantelleria also has rich soil and is lush with cultivated greenery. In fact, scholars peg it as Ogygia, the mythical island of plenty where Odysseus dallied for seven years with the nymph Calypso.
The most prestigious of the three grapes is the noble nebbiolo, which produces two of Italy's greatest wines, Barolo and Barbaresco, the most distinguished wines in the Piemonte region and arguably in the whole of Italy. This grape, which is native to the region, is thought to have been there in Roman times, and there are those who claim it was mentioned by Pliny the elder, a Roman scholar, in his 37- volume Natural History, volume 18 of which deals with agriculture.
Unfortunately Socotra does not export any of its incense or other products now. Yet a time ago it used to be famous for all that and used to be called the “Incense and Fragrance Land”. In those days incense was widely used in many ceremonies and was a vital material for every family either for religious purposes or just cultural. Herodotus in his notes had mentioned that: “Arabia is the only place where chewing-gum, cinnamon, myrrh and ladnim (which is a material of beautiful fragrance). They suffer so as to produce all types except for myrrh. They need to burn certain glue under gum trees in order to produce the chewing gum, this glue that is brought from Phoenicia where it is used to get rid of hampering birds to their crops.”
"What is food to one man may be fierce poison to others" said the Roman poet Lucretius, and this year FAAN is focusing on how food to one child may be fierce poison to another child.
They say Cleopatra maintained her youth by wearing a face mask of pure gold to bed. Now in luxury-obsessed Japan, you too can gild your features and feel like a modern-day queen.
Even as early as the first century Plutarch said "Children ought to be led to honourable practices by means of encouragement and reasoning, and most certainly not by blows and ill treatment."
According to Islamic documents, prior to construction of Gour city, the area where the Gour is located was flooded by order of Alexander the Great during his conquest to Iran and turned into a wetland. Later during Sassanid era, by order of Ardeshir I, the wetland was drained and in addition to agricultural lands, an appropriate place was created for establishing the city.
The idea that some kind of fair, general, universal use can be made of public lands is a myth, one identified at least as far back as about 400 B.C., by the Greek historian Thucydides. As he observed, when people own things in common, "each fancies that no harm will come to his neglect, that it is the business of somebody else to look after this or that for him; and so, by the same notion being entertained by all separately, the common cause imperceptibly decays."
Another man tried to plead guilty in his case Thursday, but Putman asked that the man undergo a mental evaluation first.
Mark W. Gensler, 49, of Yellville said he would represent himself and told the judge he wanted to plead guilty in the residential burglary case.
Gensler was arrested in April after police allegedly found him destroying a vacation home in Henderson.
Prosecution informed the judge that Gensler allegedly told police his name was Marcus Aurelius, a Roman emperor, and that he was from Jupiter.
Putman asked that Gensler be mentally evaluated before the court would accept a plea and continued the case to a later date.
The J. Paul Getty Museum inched a step closer to relinquishing ownership of one of its most prized artifacts, a 2,400-year-old statue of a goddess claimed by Italy, at a conference of international experts to discuss the artifact this week, its director said.
The Getty has not reached a formal conclusion based on the conference, which was convened at the museum on Wednesday and was closed to the public. But museum officials and some of the experts who attended said their discussions buttressed what the museum says are its own suspicions that the statue, acquired by the Getty in 1988, might have been illegally excavated in southern Italy.
“There was no dramatic single conclusion, no eureka moment, but it is certainly helping us narrow down the focus,” Michael Brand, the museum’s director, said in an interview. “It would be fair to say that most of the discussion focused on Sicily.”
The statue’s precise provenance, like that of many antiquities, is unknown. But the Italian government asserts that it was looted in recent decades, and Mr. Brand said the Getty’s own investigation into its acquisition had revealed “problems.”
The museum offered to relinquish title to the statue in November, when negotiations with Italy over the statue and 51 other artifacts broke down. It said it would study the disputed object for a year before making a final decision. At the time, the museum also unilaterally decided to return 26 of the objects.
If the Getty turned up persuasive evidence that the statue came from a different archaeological source country, like Libya, or that it had been found and removed from Italy before 1939, when a ban was imposed on such exports, that could furnish a justification for keeping it. But so far no such clear evidence has emerged, Mr. Brand said.
He said: “We intend to resolve this whole matter within the next six months, and we will. At some point our board of trustees has to agree to take it out of the public trust and possibly give it to someone else. We should do that very carefully.”
The dispute has been part of a painful process of self-examination at an institution rocked by other scandals and disputes in the last decade. The Getty’s former antiquities curator, Marion True, remains on trial in Italy on charges of conspiring to acquire looted objects for the museum. An investigator testified at the trial last year that the goddess had been exported after an illegal excavation in Morgantina in central Sicily, at one time a richly developed part of the Greek empire.
Malcolm Bell III, an archaeologist at the University of Virginia who attended Wednesday’s conference, said that there was so far no conclusive evidence that the statue came from Morgantina, where he conducts research, but added, “I think there’s a very strong probability that it came from Sicily.”
“Until we know the find spot, we can’t say with certainty,” he said.
A spokeswoman for the Italian Culture Ministry in Rome declined to comment on the meeting. The Getty said that Italy had not responded to two invitations to take part.
The statue, a rare example of a cult figure considered the embodiment of a deity and used in Greek temple rituals, is viewed as the most historically significant artifact that Italy is demanding that the Getty return. The museum bought the piece for $18 million, a record for an ancient artifact at the time of its purchase.
Italy, Greece and many archaeologists argue that museums like the Getty motivate looters to ransack ancient sites and middlemen to trade in illicit antiquities because of their willingness to pay huge prices to build their collections.
Experts in art conservation and in soil, pollen and stone analysis convened at the recently refurbished Getty antiquities museum, a Greek-inspired villa in nearby Pacific Palisades. They spent about an hour at the villa inspecting the statue, a seven-and-a-half-foot standing figure with windswept robes carved in limestone, a placid expression on her smooth marble face.
Rosario Alaimo, a professor of geochemistry at the University of Palermo, presented research suggesting that the limestone appeared to have been quarried in eastern Sicily, the Getty said. The museum said that John Twilley, a New York conservator and soil expert, presented a chemical analysis of the dirt removed from holes in the statue at the time of its acquisition, while stating that further study would be required before conclusions could be drawn.
A new study of pollen remains by Pamela I. Chester, an archaeological palynologist from New Zealand, said the dirt seemed to come from an open landscape that had been extensively cultivated, rather than from virgin forest.
Although the Getty has said that there is no evidence for the Italians’ claim that the statue was dug up at Morgantina, it bought the piece without clearly establishing its background. Ms. True, the former curator, purchased the statue through Robin Symes, a London-based art dealer who told the museum that it came from the collection of a Swiss supermarket magnate.
“Without any doubt, that was invented by the dealer,” Mr. Bell said. “It was a much more dubious context. A person convicted by the Italians, Canavesi, seems clearly to have had it.” Renzo Canavesi, owner of a tobacco shop in Switzerland, had initially claimed that his family owned the statue from 1939 until 1986, when he said he sold it to Mr. Symes.
In a 1997 museum catalog the statue was described as “the most important discovery of a Greek statue in the past decade” and “the only complete example of the most important type of sculpted figure to survive from antiquity.”
The fate of 21 other objects remains unresolved. For the moment there are no negotiations with the Italian government, Mr. Brand said. He also said the museum had no intention of returning a prized bronze sculpture taken from the sea in international waters to which he said Italy had no legal claim.
“From our point of view, there’s nothing more we can do about the bronze,” he said.
Under a brain-numbing sun, the mountain gradually gave up its secrets to the archaeologists' trowels. A flight of stairs - part of the route of the elaborate funeral procession planned by the tyrannical ruler - leads to the very place where the notorious king of Judea was buried.
Yesterday, on the powdery grey flank of an artificial mountain overlooking the Arab villages and Jewish settlements scattered across the Judean Wilderness, Israeli scholars presented their answer to one of the great mysteries of biblical archaeology: the tomb of Herod the Great, a Roman client king who ruled the Jews with the ruthless paranoia of a Stalin or Saddam Hussein from 37BC until his death in 4BC.
For Ehud Netzer, professor of archaeology at the Hebrew University, the find was the culmination of a 30-year search. Herod was known to have been buried at Herodium, the towering desert fortress he built for that purpose a day's march south of Jerusalem.
The Roman historian Josephus Flavius described the lavish funeral procession in his book The Jewish Wars, the unchallenged source book of the Second Temple era. He told how the body was attended by members of the family richly dressed in silks and jewels, how soldiers from across the ancient world paraded in their armour, as for war, accompanied by hundreds of attendants carrying spices such as frankincense. He said the king's body was covered in a purple shroud and carried on a bier.
"The bier," wrote Josephus, "was of solid gold, studded with precious stones, and had a covering of purple, embroidered with various colours. On this lay the body enveloped in purple robe, a diadem encircling the head and surmounted by a crown of gold, the sceptre beside his right hand."
The sarcophagus, with its triangular cover decorated on all sides, was indeed a unique specimen, Professor Netzer said. Its remains were still clearly identifiable although it had been smashed into pieces, probably, he said, by Jewish rebels fighting between the years 66 to 72AD, decades after the king's death.
Jews who had rebelled against Roman rule in 66AD and took refuge at Herodium were the most likely suspects. "The rebels," explained Professor Netzer, "were known for their hatred of Herod and all that he stood for as a puppet ruler of the Romans."
Herodium was one of Herod's many architectural masterpieces in the Holy Land, and according to some, his finest work. A man of great ego and architectural vision, this was the place he had chosen to be not only his burial place but also his memorial.
Herod was also responsible for the rebuilding and expansion of the Second Temple in Jerusalem, and the desert fortress of Masada, as well as building up the port city of Caesarea and other major projects.
Herod's tomb is no 21st-century Tutankhamen treasury. There are no bones, let alone a mummified body. What Professor Netzer unearthed on the West Bank three weeks ago were dozens of fragments of finely dressed pale-pink limestone, elegantly carved with rosettes, decorated stone urns and the remains of a stone podium 10 metres square on which the mausoleum is believed to have stood.
All that is left of Herod is his notoriety - which in the view of many people, was well-earned. To Christians, he was the king who ordered the massacre of the innocents, described in St Matthew's Gospel (though in no other source). St Matthew tells how, soon after the birth of Jesus, three wise men from the east came to Herod and asked where they could find "the one having been born the king of the Jews". Herod, who feared the rise of a a rival for his kingdom, ordered the slaughter of all boys up to the age of two in Bethlehem.
Joseph, who had been warned in a dream that Herod intended to kill Jesus, fled with his family to Egypt, where they stayed until after Herod's death.
To his Jewish subjects Herod was at once a benefactor and a scourge. Kenneth Spiro, a modern American rabbi, defined him as "a madman who murdered his own family and a great many rabbis", but acknowledged that he was "also the greatest builder in Jewish history".
Jona Lendering, a Dutch historian of the Holy Land, summed him up thus: "With building projects, the expansion of his territories, the establishment of a sound bureaucracy, and the development of economic resources, he did much for his country. However, many of his projects won him the bitter hatred of the orthodox Jews, who disliked Herod's Greek tastes - tastes he showed not only in his building projects, but also in several transgressions of the Mosaic Law."
Not the least of these was the erection of a golden eagle, the symbol of the Roman Empire, at the gate of the Jerusalem Temple, which was torn down by Jewish students just before his death.
Herod, the son of an Idumean father and Arab mother, encouraged the Jews to practise their faith, however. He married Mariamne, a princess of the deposed Hasmonean royal family, to buttress his legitimacy (having put aside his first wife, Doris, in order to do so). Above all, he rebuilt and greatly expanded the Temple. It is said to have taken 10,000 men 10 years to build the retaining wall of the massive man-made platform on which Al Aqsa mosque now stands. One face is the Western Wall, the holiest of Jewish sites.
"The sanctuary," Josephus wrote, "had everything that could amaze either mind or eye. Overlaid all round with stout plates of gold, in the first rays of the sun it reflected so fierce a blaze of fire that those who endeavoured to look at it were forced to turn away as if they had looked straight at the sun."
Herod brought prosperity and a measure of stability to the land. He skilfully played off the rivals among his Roman masters. He commanded his troops to victory over local foes. But, like tyrants throughout history, he feared plotters, real or imagined, and liquidated anyone he thought might challenge his supremacy. These included two high priests - one his father-in-law Hyrcanus, the other his brother-in-law Aristobulus - who were drowned in a bathing pool, as well as 46 judges of the Sanhedrin, the rabbinical court.
Not even those who Herod supposedly loved passionately were spared the paranoid monarch's wrath. Convinced by his sister Salome that his beloved Mariamne was being unfaithful, he planned to have her murdered. According to Josephus, once Mariamne found out about the plot to have her killed she stopped sleeping with her husband but this simply convinced Herod that he was right to suspect his favourite wife in the first place and he swiftly had her put on trial for adultery. "As soon as his passion [anger] was over," Josephus wrote, "he repented of what he had done and his affections were kindled again." But it was too late. Mariamne had been executed.
Mariamne's mother, Alexandra, who had colluded in her trial, was also executed after she accused Herod of being unfit to rule in a bid to seize power.
Nor did he spare his sons. "It is better to be Herod's dog than one of his children," the Roman emperor Augustus is said to have drily remarked. (Augustus should know; he gave permission for their executions.)
Herod's two sons by Mariamne, Alexandros and Aristobulus, were strangled on their father's orders after being found guilty of high treason. (Herod's heir, Herod Antipas, the king who ordered the beheading of John the Baptist, is alleged to have incited his father's anger against his half-brothers.)
Antipater, his son by his discarded first wife, was also executed, accused of involvement in the insurrection that led to the smashing of the golden eagle.
Of Herod's monuments, many can still be seen: the Temple platform and the Citadel near Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem; Herodium, the only one to carry his name, and its sister fortress Masada, overlooking the Dead Sea; the massive structure erected over the traditional burial place of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in Hebron; the ruined Mediterranean port city of Caesarea; and a winter palace complex excavated by Professor Netzer near Jericho in the 1970s.
The professor still has to prove to some scholars that he has indeed found Herod's tomb. An official of the Palestinian antiquities authority, visiting the site yesterday, noted that the Israelis had found no inscription. Stephen Pfann, a Christian textual scholar at the University of the Holy Land, hailed the find as "a major discovery by all means," but cautioned that more research was needed."We're moving in the right direction," he said. "It will be clinched once we have an inscription that bears his name."
Professor Netzer, who learned his trade under the celebrated Yigael Yadin at Masada, is confident of his attribution, however. "The location and the unique nature of the findings, as well as the historical record, leave no doubt that this was Herod's burial site," he insisted.
The stones bore all the marks of majesty, he said, and the sarcophagus was similar to those found at the Tomb of the Kings in Salah ed-Din Street in East Jerusalem. "It's not every rich Jew or citizen of this time that could afford this royal sarcophagus," he argued. "This podium, this base, is a well-executed monument. The stone work is very different from any we know elsewhere in Herodium." The location was right, he added. Pottery and coins found on the site showed that so was the date.
But the work is not over. Excavation began as recently as August 2006. Professor Netzer will keep on looking for the clincher.
Sepulcrum Herodis Magni inventum
: Nuntii Latini
10.05.2007, klo 17.23
Archaeologi sepulcrum regis Herodis Magni in colle invenerunt, qui in ripa occidentali Iordanis fluminis duodecim chiliometra ad meridiem urbis Ierusalem situs est.
In eodem colle olim domum regiam Herodis fuisse constat. Excavationes archaeologicae ibi iam ante aliquot decennia incohatae erant.
Sarcophagus autem regis, in multas particulas fractus, non ante quam medio mense Aprili in lucem venit.
Herodes Magnus fuit rex Iudaeorum ab anno tricesimo septimo usque ad annum quartum ante temporis rationem Christianam.
Ehud Netzer, professor Universitatis Hebraicae, pro certo affirmavit sepulcrum ab archaeologis apertum Herodis esse.
ComingSoon.net has learned that Oscar winner Roman Polanski (The Pianist) is in talks with Orlando Bloom ("Pirates of the Caribbean" and "The Lord of the Rings" trilogies) and Scarlett Johansson (The Prestige) to star in his historical tentpole Pompeii.
Based on the New York Times best-selling novel by Robert Harris (author of "Archangel" and "Fatherland"), Pompeii tells the story of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in A.D. 79 through the eyes of a young engineer, Marcus Attilius Primus, who is sent to repair the greatest aqueduct in the Roman Empire, which brings water to 250,000 people on the Bay of Naples. Attilius not only has to fight the corrupt forces that control the town of Pompeii, but ultimately the overwhelming power of nature itself.
The film has a projected August start with plans for a five month shoot. Polanski co-wrote the script with Harris.
Where was the capital of Tartessos, the legendary pre-Roman civilization which once existed on the Iberian Peninsula?
The culture which flourished from around 800 to 500 BC is believed to have been located mainly around the present-day cities of Cadiz, Seville and Huelva in southern Spain, but no traces of a major urban settlement have been found.
Now, however, scientists have discovered surprising clues to where a major Tartessian city may have been, the daily El Pais reported.
Its ruins could lie in the subsoil of a marsh area known as the Marisma de Hinojos in the Donana National Park near Seville, according to the daily.
Chief researcher Sebastian Celestino declined to comment on the report. His team will give details once the investigation is finished, a representative of the Superior Council of Scientific Investigations (CSIC) told the Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.
For years, satellite and aerial images of the Marisma de Hinojos have revealed strange circular structures of different sizes - up to 200 metres in diameter - and rectangular forms.
The area is under water in wintertime, and until now, scientists had thought it had always been inundated.
That had made most of them skeptical of the possibility that the forms visible from the air could be remains of a human settlement buried in the subsoil.
Yet new evidence has now emerged, with electro-magnetic tests indicating that the area may have experienced long dry periods, according to El Pais.
In the bottom of the marsh, there are layers that appear to contain concentrated sand, the daily quoted researcher Antonio Rodriguez as saying.
If the area had always been submerged, the subsoil would only contain mud instead of sand.
Scientists think they stand a fair chance of finding archaeological remains in the marsh, though the link with Tartessos remains a mere hypothesis for the time being.
Knowledge about Tartessos had so far been based mainly on Greek and Latin literary sources, which described it as a civilization on the edge of the known world.
Often identified with Tarshish mentioned in the Bible, the kingdom traded profitably with the Phoenicians and Carthaginians, and may even have discovered a route to Britain.
Some researchers equate Tartessos with Atlantis, the utopia described by the Greek philosopher Plato, which is said to have sunk into the sea.
Tartessos disappeared mysteriously around 500 BC. Some believe it was destroyed by the Carthaginians, but the new geological evidence from the Marisma de Hinojos makes it look possible that two tsunamis wiped out the settlement located there, according to El Pais.
Some remains identified with Tartessos have been found, including a palace-sanctuary near Badajoz and a necropolis in Huelva, but no major urban settlement.
As the next step, scientists intend to make a hole 7 metres deep into the marshland to see what - if anything - lies underneath.
If the remains of a Tartessian city were found, that might bring invaluable information to historians divided over whether Tartessos had an identity of its own, or whether it was just an extension of the Phoenician civilization.
The ongoing contribution of Emeritus Professor Bob Milns, AM, to the study of Ancient History and Classics will be recognised this week with an endowment fund established in his name.
Proposed by the Friends of Antiquity – a sub group of the UQ Alumni Association – and supported by the University of Queensland Senate and the Faculty of Arts, the fund will promote teaching and learning in the disciplines Professor Milns led for 34 years.
Chair of the fund committee and former UQ academic Dr Dorothy Watts said the initiative was a fitting honour for Professor Milns.
“His influence in the teaching of Ancient History throughout Queensland has been immense - I think I could say that virtually every trained teacher of Ancient History in this state has been taught by him,” she said.
Dr Watts said donations from graduates and members of the community would be used to support a number of school projects.
“The first aim is, at least once every two years, to use the interest to bring an eminent scholar in Classics or Ancient History to give lectures, seminars or workshops to stimulate discussion and research.
“The second is to give financial assistance to the R D Milns Antiquities Museum for the purchase of artefacts, or for such projects as completion of the museum catalogue, and the production of CD-ROMs covering the collection.
“The long term aim is to fund an academic position in Classics and Ancient History.”
Classics and Ancient History have been taught for almost 100 years at UQ, and are disciplines within one of the schools of the Faculty of Arts.
“It is not hard to justify the study of these disciplines on the basis of attractive courses - myths and legends, wars and empires, larger-than-life characters dominating the stage, exotic religions, inspiring art and architecture,” Dr Watts said.
“The legacy of the ancient world continues to be evident in so much of the modern world, and is not something confined to museums or dusty library shelves.”
UQ Chancellor Sir Llew Edwards, AC, will launch the fund on Friday, May 11 at the UQ Centre, with Professor Milns presenting a special lecture entitled “Alexander the Great and the Heroic Ideal”.
A SECOND Roman fort has been found in Monmouth, in what the town’s archaeological society describes as one of the most thrilling Roman discoveries in South-East Wales for many years.
Archaeologists have long known of the existence of a large, “vexillation” fort in the town centre, dating from about AD50, but excavations over the past 25 years have hinted at a smaller, later, second fort. Now its existence has been confirmed thanks to earthworks for a building on land owned by the chairman of Monmouth Archaeological Society, Steve Clarke.
The “auxiliary” fort may have housed up to 500 soldiers. It was built about AD100, after the Romans had suffered heavy casualties in a 30-year war against Welsh guerrillas. It may still have been occupied alongside the industrial town of Blestium (Roman Monmouth) in the 3rd century.
Scientists examining documents dating back 3,500 years say they have found proof that the origins of modern medicine lie in ancient Egypt and not with Hippocrates and the Greeks.
The research team from the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at The University of Manchester discovered the evidence in medical papyri written in 1,500BC – 1,000 years before Hippocrates was born.
"Classical scholars have always considered the ancient Greeks, particularly Hippocrates, as being the fathers of medicine but our findings suggest that the ancient Egyptians were practising a credible form of pharmacy and medicine much earlier," said Dr Jackie Campbell.
"When we compared the ancient remedies against modern pharmaceutical protocols and standards, we found the prescriptions in the ancient documents not only compared with pharmaceutical preparations of today but that many of the remedies had therapeutic merit."
The medical documents, which were first discovered in the mid-19th century, showed that ancient Egyptian physicians treated wounds with honey, resins and metals known to be antimicrobial.
The team also discovered prescriptions for laxatives of castor oil and colocynth and bulk laxatives of figs and bran. Other references show that colic was treated with hyoscyamus, which is still used today, and that cumin and coriander were used as intestinal carminatives.
Further evidence showed that musculo-skeletal disorders were treated with rubefacients to stimulate blood flow and poultices to warm and soothe. They used celery and saffron for rheumatism, which are currently topics of pharmaceutical research, and pomegranate was used to eradicate tapeworms, a remedy that remained in clinical use until 50 years ago.
"Many of the ancient remedies we discovered survived into the 20th century and, indeed, some remain in use today, albeit that the active component is now produced synthetically," said Dr Campbell.
"Other ingredients endure and acacia is still used in cough remedies while aloes forms a basis to soothe and heal skin conditions."
Fellow researcher Dr Ryan Metcalfe is now developing genetic techniques to investigate the medicinal plants of ancient Egypt. He has designed his research to determine which modern species the ancient botanical samples are most related to.
"This may allow us to determine a likely point of origin for the plant while providing additional evidence for the trade routes, purposeful cultivation, trade centres or places of treatment," said Dr Metcalfe.
"The work is inextricably linked to state-of-the-art chemical analyses used by my colleague Judith Seath, who specialises in the essential oils and resins used by the ancient Egyptians."
Professor Rosalie David, Director of the KNH Centre, said: "These results are very significant and show that the ancient Egyptians were practising a credible form of pharmacy long before the Greeks.
"Our research is continuing on a genetic, chemical and comparative basis to compare the medicinal plants of ancient Egypt with modern species and to investigate similarities between the traditional remedies of North Africa with the remedies used by their ancestors of 1,500 BC."
Greek archaeologists have made a rare discovery of textile remains from over 2,600 years ago in a bronze funeral urn unearthed in the Peloponnese region, the culture ministry said Wednesday.
Also containing pomegranate fruits, ash and a few bones, the urn was found in a lot under construction in the city of Argos, 145 kilometers (90 miles) west of Athens.
"Preserved organic matter from ancient times is exceptionally rare," the ministry said in a statement, adding that the "extremely important" find is among the earliest ever found in the antiquities-rich area.
The urn has been preliminarily dated to between the Late Geometric and the Early Archaic era in the early 7th century BC.
Its fragile contents are being kept in the local museum.
Argos was a regional power in the age of ancient Greek city-states, and was a traditional rival of neighboring Sparta.
The J. William Fulbright Scholarship Board recently named Christina Kauffman, a Latin teacher at Stone Bridge High School, Seneca Ridge Middle School and River Bend Middle School, as a scholarship winner for its Classics Summer Seminar in Italy.
The award provides tuition and airfare expenses for an eight-week investigation into the life and literature of the ancient world. Kauffman will spend six weeks at the American Academy in Rome studying ancient city planning, architecture and various forms of art. After Rome, she will travel with other Fulbright winners to Cumae, where she will spend an additional two weeks at the Villa Vergiliana. Kauffman will visit and interpret archaeological sites that played a crucial role in Greek and Roman life and will walk where ancient authors imagined Odysseus and Aeneas to have wandered.
Supermodel Rachel Hunter will grace the Zalemark booth with her presence to promote the Demeter jewelry line, designed by Award-winning jewelry designer Steven Zale at the JCK show in Las Vegas on June 3, 2007 from 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Unique designs dripping with brilliant jewels from the Demeter collection will be showcased at this exciting show. This amazing collection is named for the ancient Greek goddess of the harvest.
The wondrous, saturated jewels come from a special “harvest” and are carefully polished to be set in eye-catching original settings of contrasting metals which accentuate the timeless beauty of the stones.
Zalemark Inc is a Sherman Oaks-based manufacturer of fine jewelry. Steven Zale is the award-winning jewelry designer of the company. Zalemark is a proud supporter of the children of Operation Smile who change lives, one smile at a time.
Archaeological excavations will start on July 15th in the ancient city of Zeugma. Associate Prof. Kutalmis Gorkay of the Ankara University Department of Archaeology, who leads the excavations in the ancient city, said on Thursday that a 60-member team including 4 foreigners would participate in this year's excavations between July 15 and October 20.
During this year's excavations, Danae and Dionysos temples will be renovated, along with excavations in the Agora, he said, with findings to be displayed in the Gaziantep Archaeology Museum. "So far, we could unearth only 10 percent of the artifacts. The remaining 90 percent has still been under earth," he said in an interview with the Anatolia news agency. Gorkay said they aimed at making the ancient site an "archaeo-park."
Zeugma, an ancient city of Commagene, was unearthed in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep. The ancient city was originally founded as a Greek settlement by Seleucus I Nicator, one of the generals of Alexander the Great, in 300 B.C. King Seleucus almost certainly named the city Seleucia after himself. The population in the city was approximately 80,000.
In 64 B.C., Zeugma was conquered and ruled by the Roman Empire. With this shift, the name of the city was changed into Zeugma, meaning "bridge-passage" or "bridge of boats." During the Roman rule, the city became a regional attraction thanks to its commercial potential originating from a geo-strategic location: the city was on the Silk Road connecting Antakya to China with a quay or pontoon bridge across the Firat River (Euphrates.) The ancient city was first discovered during archaeological excavations in 1987. Unique mosaics have been unearthed in the city so far.
Russia rebus Estoniae intervenit
: Nuntii Latini
04.05.2007, klo 10.45
Russi Estoniensibus de statua notam diplomaticam dederunt et delegatos Dumae sive parlamenti Tallinnam miserunt.
Illi delegati, ubi primum pervenerunt, nomine Dumae eodem die bis flagitaverunt, ut regimen Estoniae discederet.
Kristina Ojuland, vicepraeses parlamenti Estonici, mirabatur, quaenam futurae essent proximae nationes sodales NATOnis et Unionis Europaeae, a quibus idem flagitaretur.
Urmas Paet, minister a rebus exteris Estoniae, recusavit, quominus delegatos Russos reciperet.
Censebat nullam causam esse talem delegationem convenire, cuius membra rebus Estoniae interioribus intervenire temptavissent.
Estones quidem cum Russis colloquia sincera habere voluisse, sed proposita delegationis prorsus alia fuisse.
Estonia Russiam accusat
: Nuntii Latini
04.05.2007, klo 10.44
His diebus contra paginas interretiarias regiminis Estoniae facti sunt ictus, quibus fit, ut accessus in eas sit difficilis.
Rein Lang, minister iustitiae Estoniae, rettulit investigationes interretiarii protocolli (IP) ostendisse illos ictus ex institutis statalibus Moscuensibus venisse.
"Ex his patet," ait Lang, "esse Moscuae potestates politicas, quae omnem rationem amiserint."
The Israel Museum unveiled a unique 2,200-year-old stele (inscribed stone block) on May 3 that provides new insight into the dramatic story of Heliodorus and the Temple in Jerusalem, as related in the Second Book of Maccabees.
"The Heliodorus stele is one of the most important and revealing Hellenistic inscriptions from Israel," said James S. Snyder, Anne and Jerome Fisher Director of the Israel Museum.
"It contextualizes the Second Book of Maccabees and provides an independent and authentic source for an important episode in the history leading up to the Maccabean Revolt, whose victorious conclusion is celebrated each year during the Jewish festival of Hanukkah."
Heliodorus Stele Suggests New Perspectives on Israeli History
The newly deciphered stele presents new information about Heliodorus, who, according to the Second Book of Maccabees, received orders to seize the treasure in the Temple in Jerusalem, but was driven from the sanctuary by the miraculous appearance of a fearsome horseman accompanied by two mighty youths.
This presentation marks the first public display of the Heliodorus stele, which is on extended loan to the Museum from Michael and Judy Steinhardt of New York. The stele documents a correspondence in ancient Greek between Heliodorus and King Seleucus IV, ruler of the Seleucid Empire from 187 to 175 BCE, who was succeeded by Antiochus IV Epiphanes (best known from the story of Hanukkah). In his letter, King Seleucus announces the appointment of an administrator to oversee the sanctuaries within the province that included the Land of Israel.
The appointment of an overseer of the sanctuaries - including the Temple in Jerusalem—was intended to bring the province into line with the rest of the Seleucid Empire. This position included authority over the sanctuaries' revenues and, above all, taxes due to the king. It is likely, however, that the Jews regarded this appointment as an infringement of Jewish religious autonomy.
This episode may have foreshadowed events yet to come. Less than ten years later (169/8 BCE), a new Seleucid king, Antiochus IV Epiphanes, and his armies would enter Jerusalem, massacre its inhabitants, rob the Temple treasury, and desecrate the Holy of Holies. Thus the new appointment, recorded on the stele, appears to mark the beginning of Greek/Seleucid interference in Jewish religious affairs, which eventually led to the outbreak of the Maccabean revolt in 167 BCE.
Israel Museum Opens Historical Stele Display
The Heliodorus stele is part of a special display, curated by David Mevorah, Curator of Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine Archaeology, entitled "Royal Correspondence on Stone—The Overseer of the Sanctuaries." On view through June 2007, this presentation also includes another Hellenistic stele from the royal administration of the Seleucid Empire—the Hefzibah stele—part of the Museum's permanent archaeological holdings.
The writings on the Heliodorus stele have been deciphered and interpreted by Professor Hannah Cotton-Paltiel of The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Professor Michael Woerrle of the Commission for Ancient History and Epigraphy at the German Archaeological Institute in Munich. Analysis of the stone's patina by Professor Yuvel Goren of Tel Aviv University suggests that the stele most likely came from the lowlands between the Judaean hills and the Mediterranean coast.
New Research on Historical Significance of the Heliodorus Stele
The Heliodorus stele preserves three missives from the royal administration of King Seleucus IV (187-175 BCE). The earliest and most significant of the three letters is from King Seleucus IV to Heliodorus, of which only the preamble remains.
In it, the King announces the appointment of an administrator to oversee the sanctuaries within the Seleucid province of Koile-Syria and Phoinike, including the Land of Israel. The other two, dating from the late summer 178 BCE, are shorter notes transmitting the directives of the King from Heliodorus to his subordinates.
By this appointment, the King intended to bring the province of Koile-Syria and Phoinike into line with the other regions in the empire. The appointment of a new overseer would help ensure royal control over the sanctuaries and their revenues. The opportunity for this new appointment was necessitated by the death or dismissal of a former governor, who had also served as chief priest in the province and presumably controlled the revenues of its sanctuaries.
Correspondence between the previous governor and Antiochus III, the father of King Seleucus IV, is preserved on the Hefzibah stele, also included in the current installation, which went on display in the Israel Museum following its discovery in northern Israel in the 1960s.
The complete findings of Cotton-Paltiel, Woerrle, and Goren have recently been published in Zeitschrift für Papyrologie und Epigraphik, the leading international journal for the publication of documents from classical antiquity.
"I can understand the murderous work of imaginative criminals because I was an imaginative criminal myself" - Fort, Books, p895.
Ancient Hellenes had no word for `terrorist' -modern Greek offers 'Tromokrates' ('Lord of Fright'). Doesn't mean they had none - no word for `orgasm', either...
Latin provides `terror'; Romans used this noun by metonymy to denote its perpetrators. It entered English via the London Times (27 May 1795) and Edmund Burke on the French Revolution, a propos Jacobin excesses.
The Almighty claims priority, slaughtering (Exodus 13.29) the innocent first-born of Egypt - Osama bin God. Cuneiform tablets establish Hittites as the first bio-terrorists, herding infected animals and women into enemy territories to contaminate them - proto-anthrax letters.
Long before Munich, the Spartans (420 BC: Thucydides, History, bk5 chs49-50) broke the Olympic truce, an unprecedented breach of religious law, attacking the host Eleans. Panic gripped the Games. No bloodbath, though - this was psychological terrorism.
Bulgarians play a lurid role in fact (Georgi Markov and the 1978 poisoned brolly) and fiction (bumbling hit-men in Fleming's Casino Royale). Their Thracian forebears wrought the Peloponnesian War's worst atrocity (Thucydides, bk7 ch29), massacring the entire population of Mykalessos, most horribly "breaking into a school where the children had just assembled and killing every one."
Seneca (On Anger, bk2 ch9 para3) coined the expression 'pestilentia manu facta' - "man-made plague". Woman-made, too, in Livy's (History, bk8 ch18) account of a coven of Roman feminists who indiscriminately murdered leading men of state with a home-brewed poison that produced plague-like symptoms.
Fort's mysterious hatpin jabbers (pps884-91; cf. my `Some Old Pricks,' FT129:51) had their counterparts in AD 91 and 192 (Dio Cassius, Roman History, bk67 ch11 para6, & bk73 chl4 para4), randomly poisoning people, "not only in Rome but virtually over all the world".
Michael Frayn (At Bay in Gear Street, Fontana, London, 1967, p62) comically "opposed air-crashes regardless of race or colour". Ancient terrorism transcended nationality and religion. Marauding monks - the Christian Al-Qa'eda - wantonly destroyed pagan holy places, notably (AD 391) the great Serapeum at Alexandria. Their foulest deed was the lynching (AD 415, Alexandria) of Hypatia, the prominent Neo-Platonist, mathematician, wit, and inventor of tampons: "Torn from her chariot, in the holy season of Lent, stripped naked, dragged to the church, inhumanly butchered by Peter the Reader and a troop of savage and merciless fanatics, her flesh scraped from her bones with sharp oyster-shells, her quivering limbs delivered to the flames" (Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, ch47 - his blame of Bishop Cyril as a 'mad-Mullah' type for orchestrating this crime may or may not be justified).
"The Japanese back in 1890 were coolies. Then they showed such talents for slaughter that now they are respected everywhere" - Fort, p889.
What makes a good citizen?" Gordon Brown was not the first to anguish over this question. Back in 15th-century Italy, the attempt to answer it effectively established education as a force for change in the west. Yet, as the very word "renaissance" suggests, the project to explore and define what civic identity might be drew its truest inspiration from the distant past. "As to rebellion in particular against monarchy," grumbled Thomas Hobbes, in the wake of Charles I's execution, "one of the most frequent causes of it is the reading of the books of policy, and histories, of the ancient Greeks, and Romans."
That the old reactionary was not exaggerating would be demonstrated by both the American and French revolutions, and by the rise, in more recent times, of mass democracy, all of them initially inspired by classical models of citizenship. Indeed, it is no exaggeration to say that the study of ancient history has served, over the centuries, as the midwife of almost everything that makes the west politically distinctive today.
In modern schools, of course, history tends to mean Hitler. A simple lesson is served up to students on a plate: fascism is bad. The political and moral ambiguities of classical history, which inspired Machiavelli and Shakespeare, Jefferson and Marx, barely intrude upon the classroom. Students who wish to study Greece and Rome - no less the bedrocks of our own civilisation now than in previous centuries - already find it difficult enough. Next year, however, they will find it impossible. OCR, the single examination board in the country to set an A-level in ancient history, has decided to abolish it. Any student inspired by seeing 300 in the cinema, or watching Gladiator on DVD, or playing Rome: Total War on a PC, will soon have nowhere to go.
At a time when the profile of classical history has never been higher in the mainstream media, and when the uptake of the AS-level alone has tripled since 2000, it seems an act of near lunatic irresponsibility to prevent students from studying a discipline that actually enthuses them. Well might there have been howls of anguish from teachers, a debate in parliament, and even a Downing Street e-petition.
Admittedly, when one lists all the problems faced by the world, the fact that for the first time since the Renaissance British schools will no longer be teaching ancient history might not seem to rank very high. Nevertheless, with its peculiar blend of penny-pinching, philistinism and misplaced utilitarianism, OCR is taking a terrible wrong turn - and an unfortunately timed one too.
As the chancellor is certainly not alone in reminding us, issues of citizenship have recently become one of the hottest of political hot potatoes. Hence all the muddied debate about "British values", and the government's determination - once we have decided what these values might be - to incorporate the study of them into the national curriculum. And yet, as Baljeet Ghale, the president of the NUT, recently pointed out, there is no definition that could possibly satisfy the entire spectrum of current national opinion. As a result, any curriculum which includes them is bound to be grotesquely politicised.
We are not the first society, however, to have been faced with this problem. The reason why, in the past, ancient history was studied with such urgency and passion was precisely because it was recognised by so many educationists as providing the perfect solution. Most of the civic values that Alan Johnson has said he wants to see promoted in schools - from free speech to respect for the rule of law - derive ultimately from Greece and Rome; but the classical world is nevertheless sufficiently remote from us to be politically neutral.
Students who study it will rarely find themselves being given easy answers. Yes, Athenian democracy was a glorious and heroic achievement; but was it dependent for its vibrancy upon overseas adventures and exploitation of the disenfranchised? And yes, Roman citizenship was a stirring ideal; but did the liberties of the republic end up inevitably breeding autocracy? To ponder these questions is to find a whole line of political inquiry opening up before you - a line that leads directly to the present day.
Far from abolishing the ancient history A-level, then, OCR should be promoting it as hard as possible. As it is, they are squandering a golden opportunity. O tempora, O mores, as Cicero would doubtless have exclaimed.
The story about Diogenes of Sinope and Alexander the Great comes from
somewhere in Diogenes Laertius, book 6, although I think one of the
Alexander historians may mention it.
It certainly seems like a good place to start the confirmation process of what the ancient Greek writer Metrodorus, 2,400 years ago, declared: "To assume that the Earth is the only inhabited world in infinite space is as absurd as to assert that on a vast plain only one stalk of grain will grow."
Finally, keep in mind that "We dig our graves with our teeth," Fitzgerald says, quoting the Roman poet, Lucretius.
There is certainly an Arabic proverb I’m aware of that runs, “He who eats when he is full digs his own grave with his teeth.”
The ancient Romans had a tradition, according to C. Michael Armstrong, former chief executive of AT&T: Whenever one of their engineers constructed an arch, as the capstone was hoisted into place, the engineer assumed accountability for his work in the most profound way possible - he stood under the arch.
Ancient Romans used radishes for their medicinal value, believing they could stimulate the appetite, aid indigestion and treat melancholy.
It is believed that the Roman Emperor Tiberius Ceasar, who ruled between 14 and 37 AD, was advised by his doctors to eat one cucumber everyday. Subsequently, arrangements were made to produce cucumbers round the year. Movable beds were placed out side one favorable sunny day and beds were moved inside during inclement weather conditions the movable beds were covered by frames glazed with transparent stone such as alabaster, mica, talc on winter days well manured soil in these beds was suggested, possibly, because of its heat producing quality.
Many people in Rome believed that if you do not make a statue or portrait of a person, when they die, they will come back to haunt you.
Spellings added that teachers have been teaching to tests since the days of Greek philosopher Socrates.
Vending machines have been used to sell merchandise since the days of the ancient Greeks, when holy water was dispensed for a coin.
The source for this is Hero, Pneum. 21.
The game now referred to as hopscotch is believed to have originated in the ancient Roman Empire, where armies used 30-metre-long courses to improve the agility and conditioning of their armour-clad soldiers.
Pliny, the famous philosopher and physician of the fifteenth century, notes in his book that 'the reason why Rome has been able to develop into a powerful state is that the Romans regularly take sun-baths on their terraces.'
The ancient Greeks too had imagined some of their mythic deities as having wings such as Athena (goddess of victory), Eros (the romancing assistant to Aphrodite - equivalent to Venus' Cupid of the Romans), and the wing-footed Hermes as also a messenger (aka Mercury).
A SILVER Roman ring found in a field in Cottered may indicate that a treasure hoard could be buried on the edge of Buntingford.
The Roman 'Empire ring', right, dating from the 1st-3rd centuries and made of solid silver, was discovered by a metal detector in the same field and on the same day as a 3,500-year-old Bronze Age penannular ring.
It is believed more ancient artefacts were found during the same hunt, on August 6, 2006.
Coroner Edward Thomas declared the find to be treasure.
He said that a report from Dr Ralph Jackson, curator of Romano-British collections at the British Museum, revealed that it was only the fourth ring of its kind found in Britain, two of which are on display in the museum.
Mr Thomas said that the Cottered ring was likely to be displayed at a museum in Herts.
"The ring has an unusual palm motif on it, which was a symbol of victory believed to offer protection from malign forces.
"It also symbolised eternal life and, if worn in death, it helped warriors to reach the afterlife," said Mr Thomas.
The finder, Paul Banks, of Dunstable, Beds, a member of Three Counties Metal Detecting Club, said it was his fourth inquest in 14 years of metal detecting.
Club organiser Mark Coles said: "As well as the rings, a few Roman coins were found.
"We chose the field because it's close to the A10, which is an original Roman road.
"It was a ploughed field and I know there was an ancient moat nearby, showing that people were living there."
A bronze horse, possibly the work of the Parthenon sculptor, went on display Friday at a Rome museum after a decades-long restoration.
The horse was returned to the Capitoline Museums following a $680,000 restoration that began in the late 1970s, museum director Anna Mura Sommella said.
Leaning on its hind legs with its head held back, as if preparing to break into a wild dash, the horse is one of the few surviving bronze equestrian statues from Greek times _ and could be the most ancient, Mura Sommella said.
The dating of the horse has been controversial since its discovery in 1849 in an alley of Rome's Trastevere neighborhood, she said.
Some experts date it to the fifth century B.C. and attribute it to Phidias, who carved the frieze and the statue of the goddess Athena on the Parthenon in Athens, or to his teacher Hegias. Others believe the horse was made by the fourth century B.C. artist Lysippos and might have once carried a statue of Alexander the Great.
"The older dating is the one most credited by eminent researchers," Mura Sommella said. "In any case, the quality is undoubtedly extraordinary."
The life-size bronze did carry a figure on its back, but only a foot of the ancient rider has been found, she said.
During the restoration, experts reattached a piece of the horse's tail and substituted large parts of the legs, which were damaged beyond repair. They also conducted tests on the statue that could help date it with more certainty and conduct further studies.
Mura Sommella said that among the puzzles still facing archaeologists is when and how the horse reached ancient Rome.
: Nuntii Latini
04.05.2007, klo 10.43
Politici et acta diurna Russiae statuam illam aeneam usque "militis liberatoris" appellant et deportationem eius pro sympathia erga nazistas habent.
At anno millesimo nongentesimo quadragesimo quarto (1944) Unio Sovietica Estoniam non liberavit sed terram, cui independentiam iam ante impetum Hitlerianum violenter eripuerat, denuo expugnavit.
Acta Helsinkiensia (Helsingin Sanomat) monent Russis sine ullo dubio ius esse victoriam de Germania nazistica reportatam celebrare sed de liberatione terrarum Balticarum et totius Europae orientalis loqui nullum illis ius esse, quia nulla liberatio facta sit: unam dictaturam tantummodo in alteram esse mutatam.
Tim Winters has a passion for the classics, and it's that passion that has kept him in the classroom for the last 20 years.
His love for teaching Greek and Latin at Austin Peay State University received a $500 boost when Winters was tapped for the Award for Excellence in College Teaching for 2007 by the Classical Association of the Middle West and South.
CAMWS is a not-for-profit organization made up of about 1,600 secondary school instructors and college professors teaching Latin and Greek in 34 states across the nation and Canada.
As a college student Winters thought he might pursue music, then photography and later English.
But after evaluating his favorite writers, he noticed a common theme — a passion for the classics.
Winters remembers his first day in Greek class as a college student: "It was like falling in love."
He enrolled in Greek and Latin classes simultaneously, and he's never regretted that career direction.
"It's like having your foot in a stream or a seat at the table.
"You have the ability to reach across centuries and miles and touch the minds of human history and share that with other people," Winters said.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts with honors at the University of Arizona, and completed his master's and doctorate work at Ohio State University.
He spent two years at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, Greece, where he studied archeology.
Winters said he will use the CAMWS monetary award "to develop a study abroad program to Italy for students seeking certification in Latin."
"There is a desperate need for people trained and certified in Latin to teach in the classroom," Winters said. "Currently, there are about 156 Latin teaching positions open across the country."
HELEN Madden runs the Stork Hotel, a cozy pub in Elizabeth Street. She also has a classics degree, so a staged reading of Homer's Iliad was an obvious way to attract new clientele.
Public recitations of The Iliad are rare, though an open-air performance is being discussed in Rome.
"Pubs are ideal places to encourage discussions about ideas," Madden says. "They are the ultimate democratic institution, where anyone can feel confident and at home. Homer is my first love," she says.
The acclaimed actor, Helen Morse, is part of the presentation and says The Iliad could not be more relevant now. "Globally, we are in the middle of a contemporary Iliad," she says, referring to the terrorist threat.
Homer's poetic account of the siege of Troy from the eighth century BC is the first record of war's tragic emotions. The French philosopher, Simone Weil, wrote that the poem's real subject was force and how it swept away any attempt of human control. "The forces involved in wars turn human beings into objects," Morse says.
She is only one of a star-studded cast that includes Melbourne Theatre Company regular Richard Piper and long-time Stingers star Kate Kendall, who will give six readings of extracts from The Iliad from tonight. The performances have become an annual event at the Stork, alternating with excerpts from The Odyssey since 2001.
"I want to give people the chance to experience some of the great works of literature close up," Madden says.
Little is known of Homer, or even if he existed at all. But the two works credited to him are part of the bedrock of Western culture. It is thought they were recited from memory.
The hotel, opposite Queen Victoria Market in Elizabeth Street, first opened in 1855 and is named after the good-luck symbol in European folklore.
When Madden and her partner, Paul Madden, took over in 1996, it was a faded early opener that had an almost all-male clientele. They painted it orange and blue, and transformed the rear bistro into a cafe by discarding the carpet for floorboards and installing French windows.
Earlier this year, Madden presented an extended season of Marcel & Albertine: Proust on Love, an adaptation from Proust's Remembrance of Things Past. She has staged plays based on works by Virginia Woolf, Albert Camus and Iris Murdoch, and introduced a series of monthly dinners to consider various philosophic topics.
She has a classics honours degree from Monash University and has taught Latin at Brighton Grammar and Whitefriars College. Monash's Professor Jane Griffiths is providing a transliteration of two lines from The Iliad, so that people will hear how the original sounds. The selection of excerpts was made by classicist Dennis Prior using the Penguin translation by Robert Fagles.
Morse says there are few outlets to perform epic poetry. "It's extraordinary stuff, in both form and content. The horror and violence are so graphic."
The actors will take turns to read the lines of Homer, irrespective of gender, although Piper will play Achilles and Morse will be Helen of Troy.
In 1988 Marion True, at that time the J. Paul Getty Museum’s antiquities director, paid a record $18 million for a 5th century BC Greek statue that she said would become “the single greatest piece of classical art in our collection.” It is still one of its most prized artifacts. Almost 20 years later, True is on trial in Rome for trafficking in looted art, and her conviction or release may hinge on an analysis of the pollen found in the folds of the excavated statue’s robes. If the pollen is of Sicilian origin, it may have been looted from a site there after Italy’s 1939 prohibition on exporting antiquities without a permit. But if it is of North African origin, where similar statues have been found, there is no problem.
Sarkozy et Royal in altera suffragia
: Nuntii Latini
27.04.2007, klo 09.08
Nicolas Sarkozy conservativus et Ségolène Royal socialista pro opinione in altera suffragia Francorum evaserunt, cum haec viginti sex, ille unam et triginta votorum centesimas obtinuisset.
Francois Bayrou factionis centralis accepit undeviginti, Jean-Marie le Pen, moderator extremae dextrae, decem centesimas. Altera suffragia fient pridie Nonas Maias.
One of the world's oldest libraries, at the Vatican, is to close for three years for rebuilding, in an unexpected blow to scholars around the world.
The decision to shut the library was made without warning.
After the library closes for its summer break in mid-July, it will not reopen until September 2010, the Vatican says.
The reason is that some buildings constructed only a quarter of a century ago are now considered unsuitable for the safe storage of ancient books.
Air conditioning and dust protection will be installed and fire exits will be improved.
During the closure, scholars will still be able to obtain digital copies of ancient manuscripts in the Vatican library that they can study at home.
But the reading room, which is used by about 100 scholars a day, will be occupied during rebuilding by the Vatican's book restorers, who have to look after more than one million printed volumes and 75,000 priceless manuscripts.
Many of the books are stored in underground bunkers.
The Vatican library was founded by Pope Nicholas V nearly 600 years ago and has been open to scholars ever since.
There is another archive kept in the Vatican called the secret archive, which is not normally available to scholars.
This contains among other historic documents the love letters of England's King Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn, stolen by a Vatican spy to provide evidence for the pope when the king unsuccessfully sought an annulment of his marriage in Rome.
Some bits of news - and a request for action.
1) Petition now at 3279 (the sixth largest education petition) and includes notables such as Tom Stoppard and much of the House of Lords.
2) A meeting will be held (at some point) between the Minister, Jim Knight, Michael Fallon and other MPs and QCA; no date as yet.
3) (As I heard through the Sunday Express) there is likely to be a demonstration outside parliament on this issue, perhaps followed by meeting inside. I gather a likely date might be 5-7pm on 14th May, but this is not yet fixed, so do not turn up without further warning.
4) Conflicting rumours emerge from inside QCA (some suggesting that OCR can do what they want; others that there is serious displeasure...); meanwhile, there is likely to be further media coverage, most immediately in Telegraph, and TES this Friday.
Now for the request. This would be a good moment for schools, departments or individuals to express their concerns/outrage to QCA. (Remember that they are the people who we want to come in to reverse teh decision, so we need to tease them into the right-minded position, not attack *them*.) Things to stress are:
1) the complete lack of consultation on the most crucial aspect of the specifications (the discontinuation of a long-established A level) - if this is consultation, offered when it is all but too late to reverse the decision, that is worthless.
2) the lack of any rationale for the decision. The loss of AH is no necessary consequence of OCR's 'integrated suite of A levels'. They have denied that it is financially motivated, and there are plenty of A levels with far fewer entrants. So why AH?!
3) OCR's misrepresentation of their specifications as integrating AH within CC when in fact in terms both of content and skills they do not begin to satisfy QCA's subject criteria
4) QCA's statutory duty to protect minority subjects. You might like to remind them of the statement of the then minister for schools Stephen Twigg at the time of AQA's withdrawal of Greek and Latin, that QCA *would have intervened* had AQA been the only board offering the subjects.
5) that not only will thousands of pupils be deprived of the opportunity to study Athenian democracy, Augustus etc., but that this will disproportionately affect the FE sector from which half of the A level's entrants come, and all the growth
6) that in other areas also, their cutting of language requirement, their removal of essay components in Latin and Greek, their proposals give grave grounds for concern, not only for the future of classics in schools but also for OCR's competence in general.
In summary, if they do not intervene in this case, when will they ever? what are they for?
A letter would need to arrive before c. 15th May at the latest (decision due by 18th). Where to send it to? Either to their Customer relations email (info AT qca.org.uk) or preferably in paper to either Ken Boston (chief executive) or Chris Maynard (Classics person) at: QCA, 83 Piccadilly, London W1J 8QA. You could copy it to OCR as well but I am not sure that their online consultation is a serious process.
Shelby White, wearing a pale green suit and a slightly tense smile, welcomed a reporter to the Park Avenue offices of the Leon Levy Foundation for an interview about the antiquities collection that has made her famous. Choice pieces are now on view, amid 7,500 other works from institutional and private lenders and the museum's own collection, in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's new Greek and Roman Galleries. The central atrium of the galleries, which opened this month, is named for Ms. White and her late husband, Leon Levy, in recognition of a $20 million gift they made to the museum.
Ms. White has rarely granted interviews about her collection. In November, Italy asked Ms. White to return more than 20 objects that it claims were looted from Italian soil, according to the New York Times. Two objects from the Levy-White collection that the Italians have sought in the past — a Euphronios krater depicting Hercules slaying Cycnos and a krater attributed to the Eucharides Painter, which depicts Zeus and his cupbearer Ganymede — are currently on view at the Met.
The Met has not been the only recipient of the couple's philanthropy: Through the years, they sponsored excavations in Ashkelon, Israel, established a fund at Harvard to support archaeological publications, and donated $200 million to start an ancient studies institute at New York University, which recently named its first director. In the interview with The New York Sun — granted on the condition that her quotes had to be approved afterward by her and her spokesman, Fraser Seitel — Ms. White shared her thoughts about the Met opening and questioned the arguments of the archaeologists who have criticized her.
Asked when she became aware that standards of due diligence in the antiquities world were changing, Ms. White responded that it was hard to say. "In the '90s, there was talk about provenance, but that meant different things" to different people, she said. "Even today, what is considered an acceptable provenance is unclear and changing."
In a study published in 2000 in the American Journal of Archaeology, the journal of the Archaeological Institute of America, the British archaeologists David Gill and Christopher Chippindale found that of the works displayed at the Met in the 1990 exhibition "Glories of the Past: Ancient Art From the Shelby White and Leon Levy Collection," 84% first surfaced after 1973. That was the year that the AIA adopted the 1970 Unesco convention on preventing illicit trade in cultural property, and, at that point, Mr. Gill said in an e-mail, museums and collectors were on notice about the problem of looting in source countries.
Ms. White questioned the basis for using the Unesco convention as a benchmark of legality. Asked what date she would suggest as a cut-off for collectors or museums, she said she didn't really have an opinion. "You could choose a date today, but would that be appropriate in 30 years? I don't know, I'm not a legal scholar."
The director of the Met, Philippe de Montebello, last year made a deal with Italy to return several disputed objects, including the Met's own Euphronios krater, in exchange for long-term loans of similar objects. But he seems to have done so reluctantly, and in his public comments, he has vigorously defended the right of museums to continue collecting antiquities. He emphasizes that museums make their collections available to many more people than governments do and that art is best seen as it is at the Met, in the context of many cultures. "We are a world museum with an international audience," he said last week, standing in the Leon Levy and Shelby White Court. "This is the patrimony of all of our visitors."
Some collectors and museum officials argue that if uncertain provenance had in recent decades kept them from purchasing works that were offered to them these objects would simply have been snatched up by other collectors, who had fewer moral qualms, and perhaps less interest in sharing their collections with the public.
The Princeton philosopher and author of "Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers," Kwame Anthony Appiah, said this is a valid concern as, he said, is the argument of archaeologists that buying unprovenanced objects encourages further looting. "These are both genuine considerations: disincentivizing further looting and protecting objects that have already been looted," he said. "It's hard to do both; it's a complicated trade-off."
Now that the market for looted or unprovenanced cultural property in America has largely disappeared, Mr. Appiah said, "we have to accept that a lot of this stuff — say, in Iraq — is just going to go into Middle Eastern collections, or Japanese collections, or collections in other places where they don't have these scruples."
Scientists believe they have for the first time identified an ancient graveyard for gladiators.
Analysis of their bones and injuries has given new insight into how they lived, fought and died.
The remains were found at Ephesus in Turkey, a major city of the Roman world, BBC Timewatch reports.
Gladiators were the sporting heroes of the ancient world. Archaeological records show them celebrated in everything from mosaics to graffiti.
Motifs of gladiators are found on nearly a third of all oil lamps from Roman archaeological digs throughout the Empire.
But how much did they risk every time they stepped into the arena? Did they have much chance of getting out alive?
The discovery of what is claimed to be the first scientifically authenticated gladiator graveyard has given researchers the opportunity to find out.
The Ephesus graves containing thousands of bones were found along with three gravestones, clearly depicting gladiators.
Two pathologists at the Medical University of Vienna - Professor Karl Grossschmidt and Professor Fabian Kanz - have spent much of the past five years painstakingly cataloguing and forensically analysing every single bone for age, injury and cause of death.
They found at least 67 individuals, nearly all aged 20 to 30. One striking bit of evidence is that many have healed wounds.
To Kanz and Grossschmidt, this suggests they were prized individuals getting good and expensive medical treatment. One body even shows signs of a surgical amputation.
And the lack of multiple wounds found on the bones, according to the pathologists, suggests that they had not been involved in chaotic mass brawls. Instead, it points to organised duels under strict rules of combat, probably with referees monitoring the bouts.
But there was also evidence of mortal wounds. Written records tell us that if the defeated gladiator had not shown enough skill or even cowardice, the cry of "iugula" (lance him through) would be heard throughout the arena, demanding he be killed.
The condemned gladiator would be expected to die "like a man" remaining motionless to receive the mortal blow.
The pathologists discovered various unhealed wounds on bones that showed how these executions could have taken place. And these are consistent with depictions on reliefs from the time showing a kneeling man having a sword rammed through down his throat into the heart. A very quick way to die.
Tell-tale nicks in the vertebrae or other bones suggest at least some of the bodies suffered this fate.
A number of skulls were also found to have sets of up to three holes at odd intervals, consistent with a blow from a three-pronged weapon such as a trident.
"The bone injuries - those on the skulls for example - are not everyday ones, they are very, very unusual, and particularly the injuries inflicted by a trident, are a particular indication that a typical gladiator's weapon was used," says pathologist Professor Karl Grossschmidt.
But not all head injuries found were trident wounds. A number of the skulls showed rectangular holes that could not have been made by any of the known gladiator weapons. Instead, they suggest the use of a heavy hammer.
"One possible explanation, which is supported by a number of archaeologists, is that there must have been an assistant in the arena who basically gave the gladiator the coup de grace," says Professor Kanz.
"I assume that they must have been very severely injured gladiators, ones who had fought outstandingly and so had not been condemned to death by the public or by the organiser of the match, but who had no chance of surviving because of their injuries. It was basically the final blow, in order to release them."
The work of the Viennese pathologists has been independently reviewed for the BBC's Timewatch programme by Dr Charlotte Roberts of Durham University, a leading physical anthropologist.
"I've looked at quite a few hundred Roman skeletons. I've seen examples of head injuries, healed and unhealed. I've seen evidence of decapitations," she says.
"But this (new find) is extremely significant; there's nothing been found in the world at all like it. They've really dispelled quite a lot of myths about gladiators and how they fought."
If a gladiator survived three years of fighting in the arena, he would win his freedom. Those who did often became teachers in the gladiator school; and one of the skeletons found at Ephesus appears to be that of a retired fighter.
He was of mature age and the scientists were able to reconstruct nearly his entire body. His head showed apparent signs of healed wounds from previous fights but, clearly, none of them would have proved fatal.
"He lived quite a normal Roman lifespan," says Professor Kanz. "And I think, most probably, he died of natural causes."
Historical records suggest a gladiator's chance of survival was slim, with some estimates as low as a one in three chance of dying each time he fought. But it appears one of the Ephesus gladiators at least survived the odds and had a chance to enjoy his retirement from the arena.
Finni inter felicissimos numerandi
: Nuntii Latini
27.04.2007, klo 09.07
Investigatio in Universitate Britanniae Cantabrigensi facta Finnos inter populos in Unione Europaea felicissimos numerat.
In comparatione quindecim terrarum Finni post Danos secundo loco positi sunt. Ultimi erant Itali, Portugalli, Graeci. Ex illa investigatione apparuit feminas in universum aestimanti viris feliciores esse.
``When I started out, I was sorry I'd missed vaudeville,'' Poston told New York magazine. ``I was sorry I'd missed silent movies. At the time, it didn't occur to me that I was participating in the beginnings of television. TV was a weird option because of the advertising. When it first started, I said, `I don't want to have anything to do with promoting beer and cigarettes and cars. I don't want to peddle snake oil.' I had studied to be a classicist.''
Bulgarian archaeologists have unearthed the remains of an early Roman town near the village of Gorsko Ablanovo, 30 kilometers south of Russe, Bulgaria's national television reported on Tuesday.
Initial artefact finds include a bronze duck figurine of a previously unfamiliar design and a silver fibula, only the fifth documented find of its kind in Bulgaria.
The stone foundations of the houses have been preserved well despite intensive agricultural activity.
"The town was founded no later than the first half of the 2nd century AD, and has been damaged already in the second half of the same century, because we found coins dating to the reign of emperor Marcus Aurelius that have been badly burnt," archaeologist Sergei Torbatov with the Bulgarian national archaeology institute said.
Evidence supports the theory that the unfortified town was inhabited mostly by wealthy people and Roman army veterans, a claim supported by the large number of silver and bronze coins found, most of them dating to the Severs imperial dynasty in the 3rd century AD.
But the most intriguing find is the bronze duck, which was used as an outdoors decoration.
"We have never found this kind of figurines in Bulgaria. The next step is check whether similar finds have been reported elsewhere, or whether we have a unique item on our hands," Torbatov said.
The town apparently sprawled on 50 hectares and will take years to study.
: Nuntii Latini
27.04.2007, klo 09.08
Regimen Finniae nuper designatum ex viginti ministris constat, ex quibus feminae sunt duodecim, viri octo. Numquam antea feminae maiorem ministrorum partem apud Finnos habuerunt.
Cum praeterea etiam praesidens rei publicae Finniae sit femina, nullius in mundo nationis regimen tam gynaecocraticum videtur esse quam Finnorum. Ministeria quidem, quae viri in regimine tenent, sunt maioris ponderis et auctoritatis, e.g. defensionis, aerarii publici, rerum exterarum, commercii exteri, rerum culturalium, atque munus primi ministri habere pergit Matti Vanhanen. Nihilo minus magnus feminarum numerus opinioni, quam peregrini de Finnis et politica eorum habent, sine dubio usui est.
Latin is called a "dead language" because no one speaks it as a native tongue anymore. The language of ancient Rome still is taught in Maine classrooms, however, and teachers and students say Latin lives on because it remains so relevant in the 21st century.
"It's a zombie language. It's kind of undead," explained Paul Bayley, 16, a Scarborough High School junior who eagerly joined his classmates last week in translating and discussing a battle scene passage from the "Aeneid" by Virgil in a Latin class. "It's awesome. You learn so much."
Teachers and students say studying Latin today helps with everything from figuring out the meaning of the spells in Harry Potter books to laying a foundation for acquiring other languages. They also believe that Latin helps boost SAT scores, because learning Latin involves logic and reasoning and provides a better understanding of English vocabulary and grammar.
Such benefits have led to a "mini-resurgence" in Latin in Maine schools since the 1990s, according to Benjamin Johnson, president-elect of the Maine Classical Association, a professional organization for educators.
Latin programs eliminated in the 1970s and 1980s have been revived, and a steady stream of students continues to sign up for courses today, said Johnson, one of two Latin teachers at Hampden Academy, a high school in Hampden that serves School Administrative District 22.
One concern, however, is that Maine may not have enough new Latin teachers to replace current ones nearing retirement. The state lists 60 Latin teachers in Maine, but Johnson said few college students today major in classics, and those tend to remain in academia rather than teach at the high school level.
Maine's Latin teachers are encouraging their students to consider a career teaching the language, Johnson said. How best to do that will be among topics discussed at the Maine Classical Association's annual spring conference, scheduled for Saturday at Thornton Academy in Saco.
The difficulty of finding a new Latin teacher is one reason York High School will drop its Latin program after the current teacher retires at the end of this school year, according to Maryann Minard, curriculum director for the York schools.
Minard, who studied Latin herself as a student, said the school district believes Latin has educational value. However, other factors, including limited financial resources and few students taking Latin in a school of more than 660 students, prompted the decision to cut the program, she said.
Johnson said many of the state's 50 other Latin programs at public and private high schools are thriving or holding their own, however. For example, he said, nearly a quarter of the 750 students at Hampden Academy take Latin.
At Scarborough High School, which has about 1,000 students, first-year Latin was so popular that the school had a waiting list last school year, said Shane Davis, the school's Latin teacher. This year 50 students are taking beginning Latin, he said, and almost as many are taking higher-level courses.
Davis and other Latin teachers stress the language's relevance to modern languages and life.
For instance, a poster in his classroom notes that because Latin is a basis for such languages as Spanish, French and English, all contain strikingly similar words. Examples include "infans," in Latin, "infante" in Spanish, "enfant" in French and "infant" in English.
Another poster notes many Latin phrases that English speakers use every day, such as "alibi," which means "presence elsewhere"; and "alter ego," meaning "another self."
As Davis worked with Bayley and other students studying the "Aeneid" in his advanced placement Latin class, he repeatedly drew their attention to English words with Latin roots. For example, when the word "nodus," meaning "knot," appeared in the text, Davis asked the class, "Anybody ever hear of (lymph) nodes?"
Marita O'Neill, an English teacher at Scarborough High School, said Latin helps students with English vocabulary. "The students who take Latin are always saying, 'Oh, I know that word,'" O'Neill said.
Some Maine private schools begin teaching Latin in middle school. They include St. Patrick in Portland, a school run by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland for students in kindergarten through grade eight; and North Yarmouth Academy in Yarmouth, which teaches Latin both in its middle and high schools.
Meghan Casey, who teaches Latin in grades five through eight at St. Patrick, said middle school is a good time to learn Latin because it provides a grammar and vocabulary foundation that helps students not only in English but also in acquiring other languages.
She ties Latin to modern life in her classes. Students decipher the Latin spells in Harry Potter and research the crests of high schools or colleges they might be interested in attending, translating the Latin into English.
"It's not your parents' Latin class anymore," Casey said.
At North Yarmouth Academy, where Latin teacher Marissa Markonish believes Latin has been taught since the private school's founding in 1814, all seventh- and eighth-grade students used to be required to take Latin. However, since 2003 students have had the option of taking French or Spanish instead, said Markonish, a Latin teacher and head of the school's foreign-language department.
But she said that sixth-graders take a "phenomenon of language" course that is Latin-based, and many students still study Latin all through middle school and high school.
Markonish said students who enjoy logic and mathematics often are attracted to Latin, because figuring out its grammar and translating it is like solving a puzzle. "It develops critical thinking skills that are different from what you get studying a modern language," she said.
She said that instead of thinking of Latin as dead because it's seldom spoken anymore (although it remains the official language of Vatican City), educators should focus on all the different ways it affects life today.
"As long as we're studying it, it stays alive," Markonish said.
“Omnifarious” means “of all kinds or sorts” and describes the fondness for wordplay shared by all my family. Funny words, well-turned words, words of interesting origin, in fact omnifarious words, all are grist for our banter.
As a result, most rooms in our house have a resident dictionary, and we’re well-stocked with word-based games. This fascination is fed by my long-standing subscription to the Word.A.Day free online service (www.wordsmith.org), which provides daily fodder for dinner-table conversation.
Recent examples include “virga” (”rain or snow that evaporates before hitting the ground”), “titivate” (”to make smarter; to spruce up”), and “triskaidekaphobia” (”fear of the number thirteen”), but “vomitorium” is more our style.
It doesn’t mean what you think, although it is Latin. The Oxford English Dictionary says the ancient Romans had vomitoriums, but, contrary to a legend started by Aldous Huxley in 1923, these weren’t rooms for regurgitating while feasting in order to make room for more hummingbird tongues.
Coming from the root word, “vomere,” meaning “to discharge,” the vomitorium was actually “a passageway leading to the rows of seats in a theater.”
Rome’s Coliseum vomitoriums were so spacious and well-designed that 50,000 people could be seated or disgorged in 15 minutes.
As the retrieval of these nuggets of knowledge led to descriptions of sickbagging, the hobby of collecting airline air sickness bags (http://www.airsicknessbags.com/), and dictionaries of regurgitative euphemisms (http://www.realbeer.com/fun/burps/vomit_dictionary.php), I began wondering how many words there are in our sprawling, inclusive language.
Bulgarian archaeologists found Wednesday a 30-centimeter-long marble statue of the Phrygian goddess Cybele in the seaside town of Balchik.
The rare find was unearthed during excavation works, done because of the construction of a new private hotel.
"The statue has no head and part of the goddess' palm is also missing," the curator of the local museum Radostina Encheva said.
It emerged that a column with a Latin inscription and an architectural element with bulls' heads were discovered on the same spot on Monday.
The construction works have been left. The police will keep the site until a team of archaeologists makes excavations.
The city founded by Romulus in the 8th century BC is located on a permanently navigable river,the Tiber, not too far from the sea. The site where Rome is, is well supplied with springs and healthy because of the hills. Rome was surrounded not only by city walls but also by a pomerium, created when a furrow was solemnly ploughed round the site of a city.
Ancient Rome was divided in four regions within the Pomerium, Suburana, Esquilina, Collina and Palatina, the original basis of the four urban tribes. The power to command the roman state during the republican period was called in latin Imperium and the chief magistrates of the roman republic were the two consuls. The consuls were the eponymous magistrates at Rome, that is, the Roman year was named after the consuls holding office during that year. The literary tradition describes the establishment of the two consuls as one of the major acts in the immediate expulsion of the last kings. Consuls had the power to summon the roman people to assemblies, to preside over the elections and to convene the senate.
In the first two and half centuries of its existence, the roman republic conquered first latium, then all of Italy.
The romans annexed much foreign territory to their own state, but they also established a system of alliances with all other states.
The concept of the italian nation is a creation of the romans.
All of modern Italy is inhabited by people speaking various languages coming from the latin.
Roman society was clearly divided into social classes. At the top were aristocratic Romans, called patricians. They had many privileges and lived lives of luxury. They ran the government but they had many obligations too, like each day had to meet with their clients, people of lower status who depended on them for favors and who they could ask favors in return. Aristocrats could be required to serve in the military or in a governmental position at any moment. Roman rich men, to stay popular with the people had to spend a lot of money putting on festivals and games.
Most romans lived in tiny apartments in huge buildings called insulae ( islands ) that were three to six stories tall.
Insulae were not as confortable as apartments today. Some insulae were poorly made and threat of fire was constant. But many people were willing to pay the price just to be able to live in Rome.
Most of the work of running the roman empire fell to slaves: some wealthy romans would have hundreds, or even thousands of slaves, each to serve a certain specific purpose.
Romans could at times be kind to their slaves. many were affectionate with their slaves, and they often frred them. Freed slaves could become roman citizens. Still freed slaves owed their former masters loyalty and often became their ex masters clients.
During the imperial period the streets were crowded and noisy during the day and at night because to make life even more expensive, it was difficult to cook in the tiny apartments, so people often ate out at taverns.
Discovering the history of ancient Rome allows us to understand how we live today and why we have some institutions. To know more about the history of Rome visit http://www.gladiatour.com