Sorry folks ... this weekend has been extremely hectic and I'm pretty much done for the night. Son number two was in a soccer tournament (played three games this weekend; two ties and a loss), son number one was in his football final game (and won), and in between time I was running back and forth between various Home Depot and Home-Depot-Like stores getting stuff for my brother-in-law who is putting in a patio for us. All this has added up to a very sunburned rogueclassicist whose RSI/Tennis elbow is throbbing like a vein in Zeus' caerulean brow (because I missed my acupuncture last week).

This next week is our final week of school and it's going to be really hectic as well ... more soccer tomorrow, followed by our grade eight grad (for which I have to put a video together and dj the dance) on Tuesday on top of the usual stress of keeping my Grade Sevens sufficiently distracted that they don't destroy my classroom. As such, this next week will be somewhat irregular in terms of updates, but I'll do what I can when I can ... things should resume to normalcy by the weekend. Come back to visit when you can!
From Fortean Times 154 (Januar 2002):

Fort tantalisingly remarks (Books, p653), "There are data of strange suicides that I shall pass over."

Many writers, from Aristophanes (Frogs, vvll8-35) on, restricted self-immolation to hanging, hemlock, jumping, and knives. In their decalogue, David Wallechinsky/Irving & Amy Wallace, The Book of Lists (Bantam, NY, 1978), pp461-2, put poison first, hanging second, jumping seventh, knives nowhere. Happily for this column, ancient suiciders were more inventive.

Sappho leapt from the Leucadian Cliff through unrequited passion for a ferryman. Why should antiquity's most famous lesbian kill herself for a man.' Would Jeanette Winterson plummet from the Millennium Dome for a bus-driver.'

Lots of lovelorn men and women chose this popular plunge. A failure stands out. Nireus jumped, fell into a fisherman's net, was pulled out with a casket of gold, for which he promptly litigated against his rescuer (Photius, Library, ch190 para153h).

The Athenian Themistocles drank bull's blood, thus exciting the admiration of his royal Persian host (Plutarch, Life of Themistocles, ch31 panû).

Zeno the Stoic held his breath (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Philosophers, bk7 ch28). &, did Licinius Macer while On trial for extortion (Valerius Maximus, Memorable Deeds & Sayings, bk9 ch 12 pare î ). The unphilosophic courtesan Lais swallowed an olive-pit (Photius, ch190, paral46b).

At Sestos, through love of his girl owner, an eagle cremated itself on her pyre (Pliny, Natural History, bk10 ch6 paral8). Romans fall monotonously on their swords in Shakespeare. Not that easy: Caw had to complete the job by manually digging out his own entrails (Plutarch, Life of Cato, ch 10 para6).

The popular bleeding yourself to death in your bath was parodied by comic novelist Petronius who over dinner repeatedly had his wrists cut and bandaged whilst hearing the day's gossip (Tacitus, Annals, bkl6 ch19 para2).

Porcia and Servilia ingested live coals (Plutarch, Life of Brutus, ch53 pare5; Velleius Paterculus, History, bkl ch88), a method revived in Stephen Fry's The Tennis Star's Balls.

Herennius Siculus banged his head on a wall until dead, Caldus Caelius smashed his in with a chain (Velleius, bk2 chs7&120).

Seneca (Letters, no70 para20) reports a gladiator choking himself on the latrinal sponge-on-a-stick, thus anticipating the Japanese woman who swallowed toiletpaper - National Post (Toronto), 12 Mar 1999.

Suicide was sometimes a morbid fad. Ptolemy banned philosopher Hegesias's lectures advocating it, fearing population decline (Cicero, Tusculan Disputations, bk 1 ch83); Roman jurist Ulpian (Digest, bk28 chi sect6 para7) deprecated the "self-glamorising suicides of certain philosophers"; the Lanuvium burial-club voted (AD 136) to deny funerals to suiciding members (Corpus of Latin Inscriptions, vll4 no2l 12).

Yet straightforward words for the deed were rare in Greek (modern has 'autoktonia'), non-existent in Latin - `suicidium' is 18th-century, in classical Latin it would mean killing a pig. "Suicide" entered English in 1643 via Sir Thomas Browne's Religio Medici, bkl ch44, though statistics were not kept till the mid- 19th century; cf. Olive Anderson, Suicide in Victorian and Edwardian England, Clarendon, Oxford, 1982).

Barry Baldwin
(reprinted with permission of the Author; blame any typically graphic transcription errors on dm, who this week had to contend with an OCR program which insisted on rendering "Pliny" as "Puny")
Numerous versions of this one kicking around ... this one's from the Miami Herald:

An Israeli anthropologist is using modern forensics and an obscure biblical passage to challenge accepted wisdom about mysterious human remains found at Masada, the desert fortress famous as the scene of a mass suicide nearly 2,000 years ago.

A new research paper published Friday takes another look at the remains of three people found at the site and given a state burial by Israel as Jewish heroes. The remains, the study says, could actually be those of the Jews' Roman enemies.

The remains of two male skeletons and a full head of woman's hair, including two braids, were found in a bathhouse by archaeologists in the 1960s. They were long thought to belong to a family of Zealots, the fanatic Jewish rebels said to have killed themselves rather than fall into Roman slavery in A.D. 73, a story that plays an important role in Israel's national mythology.

The bathhouse remains became a key part of the site's story. Yigael Yadin, the renowned Israeli archaeologist in charge of the first dig, thought they illustrated the historical account of Zealot men killing their wives and children and then themselves before Roman legionnaires breached Masada's defenses.

Upon finding the remains, the crew "relived the final and most tragic moments of the drama at Masada," Yadin wrote in his book documenting the dig, mentioning that the woman's "dark hair, beautifully plaited, looked as if it had just been freshly coiffeured."

"There could be no doubt that what our eyes beheld were the remains of some of the defenders of Masada," he wrote.

Along with other bodies found at Masada, the remains were recognized as those of Jewish heroes by Israel's government in 1969 and given a state burial, complete with Israeli soldiers carrying flag-draped coffins.

But anthropologist Joe Zias and forensics expert Azriel Gorski write in a paper in the June issue of the journal Near Eastern Archaeology that the remains buried with honors may not have been those of Jews at all, but of Romans.

The paper focuses on the hair, noting the odd absence of a skeleton to go with it. The researchers' new forensic analysis showed an even stranger fact - the hair had been cut off the woman's head with a sharp instrument while she was still alive.

Zias' attempt to explain the discrepancy led him to the Old Testament's Book of Deuteronomy, where a passage says that foreign women captured in battle by Jews must have all their hair cut off, apparently an attempt to make them less attractive to their captors.

Zias concluded the hair belonged not to a Jewish woman but to a foreign woman who fell captive in the hands of Jewish fighters.

In his scenario, the woman was attached to the Roman garrison at Masada in A.D. 66 when the Zealots seized the fortress and killed the soldiers. Jewish fighters threw two Roman bodies into the bathhouse, which they then used as a garbage dump, judging by other debris found inside. The Zealots treated the woman captive according to Jewish law, cutting off her hair, which they threw in with the bodies.

Ehud Netzer, a veteran Hebrew University archaeologist who participated in the 1960s dig and later oversaw restoration work there, questioned the new findings.

Zias is "building a story on assumptions built on assumptions," he said.

"I think that with the existing information, you can't make such theories, and I think that those people should be allowed to rest in peace," Netzer said.

The new paper is only the latest in a series of attacks on the original Masada dig, which some scholars now think was colored less by scientific rigor than by a desire to enshrine the desert fortress in a national mythology of heroism and sacrifice.

Once a pillar of Israeli identity - army units used to be sworn in on the mountaintop, shouting the sentence "Masada will not fall again!" - the Masada story fell out of favor as Israelis became less comfortable with glorifying mass suicide and identifying with religious fanatics.

The very story of the suicide, as recounted in dramatic detail by the 1st century Jewish-Roman historian Josephus Flavius, also has come increasingly into doubt. Many scholars now believe it was either greatly exaggerated or never happened at all.

The original archaeologists at the site, Zias said, "had the story and went around trying to find the proof." No concrete evidence for the Zealot suicide has been found, he said.

But others have pointed out that many details of Josephus' story are matched precisely by archaeological evidence, and charged that for archaeologists today debunking the Masada myth has become as popular as creating it was 40 years ago.

... a quick review in WSJ of Woody Allen's recent collection of short stories contains this tantalizing one (or two) liner:

Mr. Allen's loopy non sequiturs and highbrow allusions are here, too. "Bidnick gorges himself on Viagra, but the dosage makes him hallucinate and imagine he is Pliny the Elder."

... and from Marc Haefele's Citywatch column:

I knew that at one point or another, the name of Paris Hilton would have to darken my column. So full of years am I that when I first heard those two words, I immediately recalled that ugly new hotel in the City of Light where, 40 years ago, you could reputedly get the best cheeseburger in Europe. But this turns out instead to be a child of the family who built that hotel. And not, as one might surmise, a male child--the name being that of a famous man in the Iliad, you recall the story, the one who ran off with Helen of Troy -- but of a female. I have no idea why. If the Hilton parents wanted a Homeric girl’s name, there is always Helen. Or Clytemnestra. If they wanted a boy’s name, they could have picked something less ambivalent--like Agamemnon.

[was PH named for the Trojan or the city?]
From Focus:

A tender has been announced to find a Greek implementer for the road Kardzhali-Komotini project, Nikos Zambounidis, district governor of Evros Prefecture, told Bulgarian journalists, who take part in the 15th Panhellenic Journalistic Congress on the Greek island of Samothrace, the special correspondents of Focus News Agency Evelina Tosheva and Denka Katsarska report.
EUR 120 million have been allotted for the project. The road between Ivaylovgrad and Kyprinos is to be ready by the summer of 2008, added the district governor.
The two roads will boost business and tourism in the region, and the relations between the two peoples, he noted.
As a tourist attraction, Greece is to implement a project on carrying tourists by Roman chariots when Ivaylovgrad-Kyprinos road is ready, Nikos Zambounidis said.
I appear to have fallen behind a bit ...

From BMCR:

Larry W. Hurtado, The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins.

Barry B. Powell, The War at Troy: a True History.

Mikeal C. Parsons, Body and Character in Luke and Acts: The Subversion of Physiognomy in Early Christianity.

Elizabeth Blyth, Karnak. Evolution of a Temple.

Christina Riggs, The Beautiful Burial in Roman Egypt: Art, Identity, and Funerary Religion.

Hans Beck, Karriere und Hierarchie: die roemische Aristokratie und die Anfange des cursus honorum in der mittleren Republik.

Response to BMCR 2007.05.08: Curnow on Jirsa on Trevor Curnow, Ancient Philosophy and Everyday Life.

Peter Green, The Hellenistic Age. A Short History.

Response to BMCR 2007.06.07: Rudd on Oliensis on Rudd on Stephen Harrison, The Cambridge Companion to Horace.

Johannes Roldanus, The Church in the Age of Constantine: The Theological Challenges.

M. Perkams, R.M. Piccione (edd.), Proklos: Methode, Seelenlehre, Metaphysik. Philosophia Antiqua, Vol. 98.

Adam H. Becker, Fear of God and the Beginning of Wisdom. The School of Nisibis and the Development of Scholastic Culture in Late Antique Mesopotamia.

Antony Kamm (ed.), Julius Caesar. A Life.

Salza Prina Ricotti (ed.), Eugenia, Meals and Recipes from Ancient Greece. Translated by Ruth Anne Lotero.

L. Richardson, Jr., Propertius. Elegies I-IV.

John F. Drinkwater, The Alamanni and Rome 213-496. Caracalla to Clovis.

From Scholia:

David S. Potter, A Companion to the Roman Empire. Blackwell Companions to the Ancient World

From the Telegraph:

Ryszard Kapuscinski, Travels with Herodotus
Lecturer in Latin
Department of Classics and Ancient History
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry
The University of Sydney

Reference No. 106455

The Faculty of Arts and School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry
are seeking to appoint a suitably qualified person to a Lectureship in

The Department of Classics and Ancient History is located in the
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry, one of three schools
within the Faculty of Arts. The Department is currently enjoying an
exciting period of renewal and fresh initiatives, which include the
setting up of a specialist Classics Centre, and this post offers the
opportunity to be part of these developments. It has a distinguished
reputation in Ancient World Studies internationally, and its main
research strengths include Greek and Roman poetry; Classical and
Hellenistic Greek history and culture; Roman Republican and early
Imperial history; the Greek and Roman theatre and Classical Mythology.
A full list of the Department's current academic staff can be found at:

A doctoral qualification, teaching experience, the ability to teach
Latin at all levels, expertise in Roman literature and culture and a
publication record relevant to the position are essential. The
successful candidate will be expected to conduct teaching and research
in the field of Latin literature/Roman culture. Candidates should
ideally also have a good level of competence in Greek.

This position is a full-time continuing, subject to the completion of
a satisfactory probation period for new appointees. Membership of a
University approved superannuation scheme is a condition of employment
for new appointees.

Remuneration package: $83,363 - $98,993 p.a. (which includes a base
salary Lecturer Level B $70,443 - $83,651 p.a., leave loading and up
to 17% employer's contribution to superannuation).

All applications must be completed online, please visit and search by reference number 106455. A
copy of the selection criteria can be viewed by clicking PD preview.
Additional information is available from the Chair of Department, Dr.
Lindsay Watson on (02) 9351 2555 or via email:
lindsay.watson AT

Closing: 10th August 2007

To respond to the selection criteria, please complete your response in
the boxes below each selection criteria. If your responses exceed the
3000 character limit, you can continue your responses in a word
document and attach them to your application with your resume by
clicking attach files (next to resume in step 2).

The University is a non-smoking workplace and is committed to the
policies and principles of equal employment opportunity and cultural
diversity. The University reserves the right not to proceed with any
appointment for financial or other reasons.
St John's College, University of Durham, 6th and 7th July 2007
In association with the Institute of Advanced Study and the Durham Centre for Roman Cultural Studies
This conference will explore different aspects of the impact of religious traditions on the physical and social organization of the city between the Roman period and Late Antiquity. Geographically, the focus will be on Rome and the western and eastern provinces, in order to identify both common trends and differences in direction. The aim of such an approach is to identify the interaction between local and colonial religious practices. Our further aim is to discuss how citizens responded to the introduction or imposition of new religious forms.

Each session will include 4 to 6 papers delivered in English, French, or Italian. The whole project is intended to establish a strong basis for further interdisciplinary collaboration and to find new directions to develop the analysis and understanding of urban trajectories in a wider geographical and historical context. The discussion of conclusions in the final round-table session will therefore be led by scholars from non-classical disciplines.

Thursday 5th July
Participants arrive
19.00 Informal meeting at St Johns for those participants who have already arrived in Durham. Going on to local pub and dinner in Durham.

Friday 6th July
9.30 Registration
9.45 Welcome to Durham
9.50 Introduction

10.00-13.00 Session 1: Religious architecture in urban contexts
This session aims to assess the influence of religious traditions on architectural design, construction, and decoration and on its transformation. This will help to discuss and compare the permanence or transformation of local tradition in different parts of the Roman world and to analyse ritual spaces in relation to their urban environment.

10.00 John Stamper (University of Notre Dame, Indiana)
“Temples of Jupiter and the shaping of urban space: Rome, Cosa and Pompeii”
10.30 Pier Luigi Tucci (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa)
“Living under the same sky, sharing the same land: gods and citizens in Rome's cityscape”
11.00 Discussion: religious architecture in Rome and Italy (chaired by Nicholas Purcell, St. John’s College, Oxford)
11.20 Coffee
11.45 Louise Revell (University of Southampton)
“Defining urban space? Temples and towns in Roman Britain”
12.15 Rubina Raja (University of Hamburg)
“Changing spaces and shifting attitudes: the sanctuary of Zeus in Gerasa”
12.45 Discussion: religious architecture in the Roman empire - east and west (chaired by Nicholas Purcell, St. John’s College, Oxford)
13.00-14.30 Lunch

14.30-17.40 Session 2: Ritual and perception of sacred urban space
In order to broaden the perspective of the conference, this session is intended to consider how specific rites or liturgical acts structured urban space and vice versa. With regard to provincial areas in particular, it is also hoped to raise the questions of whether and how colonial powers acted to control existing religious practice and authority.

14.30 Michael Sommer (University of Liverpool)
“Creating civic space through religious innovation? The case of the post-Seleucid Beka‘a valley”
15.00 Clifford Ando (University of Chicago)
“Diana on the Aventine”
15.30 Discussion: Sacred space and religious change (chaired by Michael Crosbie, editor Faith and Form)
15.50 Tea
16.20 Martin Bommas (University of Birmingham)
“Temples for Egyptian Gods within Urban Landscape: The Roman Iseum Campense and the Red Hall of Pergamon as case studies”
16.50 Penny Goodman (University of Leeds)
“Temple architecture and the urban-rural divide in Britain and Gaul: two worlds or one?”
17.20 Discussion ritual space in the urban landscape (chaired by Michael Crosbie, editor Faith and Form)

19.00 Conference reception, St John's College
19.30 Conference dinner, St John's College (for conference speakers and chairs)

Saturday 7th July
9.30-15.00 Session 3: The impact of new religious traditions on civic space
The third and final session will discuss the impact made on urban areas by the introduction of new cults or by the conversion from one religion to another, whether on the part of individuals or communities, and whether voluntarily or forcibly. In particular, the session aims to discuss whether spaces were reconfigured to accommodate or annihilate religious experience and the ways in which sacred space worked to elicit religious understanding and belief.

9.30 Claire Sotinel (François-Rabelais University Tours)
“Over the walls of Aquileia: religious perception of the city in periods of crisis”
10.00 Isabella Baldini Lippolis (University of Bologna)
“Strutture e paesaggio urbano nell’età della cristianizzazione: il caso di Gortina”
10.30 Coffee
10.50 Wendy Pullan (University of Cambridge)
“Jerusalem and the reorientation of urban order in late antiquity”
11.20 Lucrezia Spera (University of Rome Tor Vergata)
“Caratteri della cristianizzazione degli spazi urbani nella Roma tardoantica: nuove riflessioni a trenta anni dalla Roma Christiana di Charles Pietri”
11.50 Discussion: Rome, Jerusalem, Gortyn, Aquileia - religious transformations of late antique cities (chaired by Neil Christie, University of Leicester)

12.15-13.45 Lunch

13.45 Ann Marie Yasin (University of Southern California)
“The new euergetism: churches as commemorative landscapes”
14.15 Allan Doig (University of Oxford)
“Christian Ceremonial and the Earthly City”
14.45 Discussion: Religious space and architecture in late antiquity (chaired by Neil Christie, University of Leicester)
15.00 Tea

15.30-16.30 Round table discussion
This final session will operate from an interdisciplinary and cross-cultural perspective to draw together conclusions from the three sessions.

The conference is generously supported by the British Academy, the Rosemary Cramp Fund, the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and the Institute of Advanced Study of the University of Durham
Conference fee:
Places are limited. Please register by 25th June.

£20 waged, £10 unwaged or student. This includes conference documentation and drinks reception (Friday evening). Lunches are available (£7 per lunch); these should be booked in advance. Alternatively, there is a wide range of places to eat within a few minutes' walk of the conference venue.

Cheques should be made payable to 'Durham University' and marked 'Cities and Gods' on the back.
Please send to:
Ted Kaizer / Edmund Thomas
Department of Classics & Ancient History
University of Durham
38 North Bailey
Durham DH1 3EU
United Kingdom

A limited number of rooms are available at St. John’s College at £27 per night. Please apply as soon as possible by contacting one of the conference organisers below.

Further bed-and-breakfast accommodation may be available through the University. To book, or for more information, please telephone 0800 289970 (from within the UK) or email Alternatively, local bed-and-breakfast accommodation may be booked through Durham Tourist Office or by telephone 0044 (0)191 3843720 or fax 0044 (0)191 386 3015

For further information, please contact one of the conference organizers:
Ted Kaizer (ted.kaizer AT
Anna Leone (anna.leone AT
Edmund Thomas (e.v.thomas AT
Rob Witcher (r.e.witcher AT
Sixth E. Togo Salmon Conference in Roman Studies

"Roman Slavery & Roman Material Culture"

September 28-29, 2007, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

Although there is a substantial body of scholarship on many conventional sources for Roman slavery, the role of the material culture of ancient Rome – its art, artifacts, and physical remains – has yet to be addressed coherently and methodically. Recent scholarship in Roman history and culture has set a new course in slavery studies that demonstrates how material culture can elucidate Roman attitudes toward the institution of slavery and towards slaves themselves in ways that significantly augment the textual accounts.

/*Keynote Speakers: */

Keith Bradley, University of Notre Dame; Natalie Kampen, Barnard College; Christian Laes, University of Antwerp

Speakers include: Christer Bruun, University of Toronto; Philip de Souza, University College Dublin; Peter Keegan, Macquarie University; Sandra Joshel, University of Washington; Noel Lenski, University of Colorado; Henrik Mouritsen, King's College, London

Conference website:

27-31 January 2008


In January 2008 the Classics Department of the University of Canterbury, Christchurch is hosting the 29th Conference of the Australasian Society for Classical Studies.

Christchurch is the largest city in New Zealand's South Island and is located on the broad sweep of Pegasus Bay, where the Canterbury plains meet the sea. Celebrated as the Garden City, Christchurch has a moderate climate with many sunshine hours, especially in the summer. Some eighty kilometers to the West are the Southern Alps and their spectacular scenery. The city itself is well supplied with numerous high quality cafés and restaurants, and is home of one of the most important public art collections in New Zealand.

In keeping with the tradition of the Society, the conference will bring together scholars and students from diverse countries and backgrounds to share their research and exchange ideas in a friendly and intellectually vibrant environment. We would like now to invite proposals for papers on all aspects of the Ancient world and the Classical tradition. Especially welcome are proposals submitted by students working towards their MA or PhD.

Abstracts of 100 words should be sent as a Word attachment to Dr. Enrica Sciarrino (enrica.sciarrino, including 'ASCS 29' in the subject line. The final date for the electronic submission of abstracts is Wednesday 31 October 2007.

For registration forms and information relating to the conference venue, accommodation and the like, please visit the conference website at
ante diem x kalendas quinctilis

217 B.C. -- Ptolemy IV defeats Antiochus III at the battle of Raphia (by one reckoning)

168 B.C. -- Lucius Aemilius Paulus defeats Perseus at the Battle of Pydna, bringing the Third Macedonian War to an end

109 A.D. -- the Baths of Trajan open
countervail @
From Spero:

Massive column drums and blocks are still conspicuous in the walls of the late antique fortress that guarded the Isthmus, and early travellers imagined that the temple and its precinct lay inside the walls. In the 1930s, the British archaeologist RJH Jenkins and his young architect, H. Megaw, set out to test the prevailing theory. Since they found only Roman remains beneath the fortress, they looked for the temple elsewhere in the vicinity but did not locate it.

The present excavations have their origins in discussions that took place during the Second World War at the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton. It was home to a group of scholars exiled from their work in Greece. They included the Swedish-born, American archaeologist Oscar Broneer and Paul Clement. The exiles entertained themselves by discussing what archaeological tasks particularly needed to be performed in Greece after the war was over. There was agreement that the one major Panhellenic site that still needed exploration was the Sanctuary of Poseidon on the Corinthian Isthmus, the site of the Isthmian Games.

In 1946, Oscar Broneer returned to Greece to be acting director of the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, a post he held until he was appointed to a professorship of Classics at the University of Chicago in 1948. It was at the urging of the University of Chicago that he organised excavations on the Isthmus.

Swedish-born, American archaeologist Oscar Broneer conducted excavations on the site from 1954 to 1967

The project began in April of 1952. A survey of the topography led Broneer to conclude that the only possible site in which a large temple could have stood was a plateau at the foot of a small ridge, known locally as the Rachi (ÑÜ÷ç). It was there that he laid out a long and narrow trench to reveal whatever lay concealed beneath the surface. On the first day, the characteristic ground plan of a Doric temple emerged.

Broneer, however, did not, as he had expected, encounter the blocks of the foundations but simply the empty trenches where they had once lain. The temple had been almost completely destroyed, its blocks moved in late antiquity to construct the massive fortress, always visible, that was meant to guard against invasions from the north. Broneer was accompanied in that first season by a young Greek archaeologist, Chrysoula Kardara, who was later to become a professor at the University of Athens.

Early finds

Undeterred by the destruction of the temple, Broneer conducted excavations from 1954 to 1967. He systematically laid bare the central area of the sanctuary surrounding the temple, the stadium that lay adjacent to it and the theatre. He explored the later stadium of Hellenistic and Roman times, the Roman Bath, fortress and a small Hellenistic settlement located on the Rachi ridge above the sanctuary areas.

One significant discovery was the early Archaic temple lying beneath the Doric building of Classical times. A catastrophic fire reduced the building and its contents to a mass of smouldering ruins amongst which Broneer recovered a host of small dedications brought by pilgrims to Poseidon's shrine.

The remains of larger pieces, including bronze statues, were melted down and recast. The objects that remained, some of them small and exquisite, include a carnelian seal stone carved with the image of a young man, a tiny gold bull complete in every detail (although less than one centimetre long), a gold pin head showing a jeweller's skill, carnelian beads from a necklace, and carved bone pieces from a board game.

Small and finely decorated oil vessels (aryballoi) were favoured dedications. A man who had been victorious in the pentathlon gave a jumping weight suitably inscribed. Its early letter-forms provide the first evidence for the pentathlon as an event in the games. A wheel from a chariot was dedicated, presumably in gratitude for a victory won at the Isthmian Games. Then there were arms and armour, dedications made by those who had been victorious in war. Humbler forms of dedication were the small terracotta figurines of horses and riders and of bulls, the animal sacred to Poseidon. As god of the sea, he also received small replicas of ships for a safe voyage.

Small and finely decorated oil vessels (aryballoi) were favoured dedications.

The excavations revealed not only structures from Archaic and Classical Greece, but produced vivid evidence of the sanctuary's continued life into the Roman period. From Imperial times, there is the shrine to the hero and god, Melikertes-Palaimon. He was the object of a mystery cult.

Evidence of this is to be seen in the many oil lamps found in his precinct next to the temenos of Poseidon. They would have belonged to the initiates who took part in rites enacted in the darkness of night that included the sacrifice of a bull burned in a pit.

Later work

Broneer was joined in 1967 by his friend from his Princeton days, Paul Clement, now a professor at UCLA. The first excavation season consisted of a joint campaign in which Broneer finished his work in the sanctuary and Clement began clearing portions of the Late Roman fortifications that he called the Hexamilion.

From the roadway of the Northeast Gate came two marble stelae that had been used as paving stones. They had originally been erected in honour of victors in the Isthmian games of Roman times. One of them, preserved in its entirety, carries the portrait of Cornelius of Corinth, who had won first prize as a flute-player in games throughout the Roman Empire.

Clement then continued to conduct excavations that centred on the Roman Bath and structures in a field east of the main sanctuary. There emerged in the course of excavations in the bath a very large and complete black-and-white mosaic floor showing a Triton carrying a Nereid on his back with sea creatures swimming beside him.

Passing the torch

On Broneer's retirement in 1976, Elizabeth Gebhard followed him as director of the University of Chicago Excavations at Isthmia, and in 1987 Timothy Gregory took over Clement's work for the Ohio State University. The two projects continue; they concentrate on research, conservation and publications.

A major excavation took place in 1989 under the direction of Frederick Hemans and myself. Evidence was uncovered that revealed a much earlier beginning for Poseidon's cult in the Early Iron Age than had been previously imagined. Further exploration of the Archaic Temple revealed important information about its plan and date, while tests throughout the sanctuary produced vital information for securing the chronology of the site.

To explore the surrounding territory, Gregory and Daniel Pullen (of Florida State University) some years later conducted a systematic survey designed to place the Isthmian Sanctuary in its broader context. The survey has recovered details of life in the eastern Corinthia from the Neolithic period until today, and it has provided new information about activity on this "crossroads of Greece", including many new sites, several of which are now under intensive investigation.

The Isthmia Museum, which contains exhibits relating to the sanctuary and the nearby port of Kenchreai, opened in 1978. Now, 30 years later, renovations are underway under the aegis of the Greek Archaeological Service and the 37th Ephoreia of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities. The site and museum will soon be opened again to the public.

From the IHT:

One group of sun-worshippers stood out from the bikini-clad crowd on this popular Athens beach.

A small band of pagan revivalists dressed in white chose the 2,500-year-old temple of Apollo in Vouliagmeni, a coastal resort some 25 kilometers south of Athens, to celebrate the summer solstice in antique style Thursday.

High priestess Doreta Peppa burned incense and poured libations of wine to Apollo, ancient god of the sun and music, as beachgoers a few yards away sheltered under umbrellas from temperatures of up to 39 Celsius (102 Fahrenheit).

"We thank you, O Sun ... your light will once again illuminate this world, renewing the seasons," she intoned, holding a bunch of bay leaves — sacred to the ancient god.

Other worshippers read hymns to Apollo, his sister Artemis — goddess of nature and hunting — their mother Leto and other ancient deities, standing inside the foundations of the limestone temple, built around 500 B.C.

The 15-minute ceremony was organized by Ellinais, an Athens-based group that is campaigning to revive religious practices from the era when the 12 gods of Mt. Olympus and dozens of lesser deities were worshipped in Greece.

"These ceremonies are intended to waken humankind to what they are doing to themselves and to nature," Peppa said.

The group counts about 100 members, while at least another four such organizations exist in the country.

In January, Ellinais used the 2nd century A.D. temple of Zeus in Athens to stage the first known ceremony of the kind since the ancient Greek religion was outlawed by the Roman empire in the late 4th century.

Another three ceremonies have been held since at other ancient sites, Peppa said, one of which was stopped by state archaeologists who refuse permits for such activities. But Thursday's, marking the longest day in the year, was uninterrupted — perhaps because access to the unfenced temple within the closed-off paying beach is free.

"At last, we managed to conduct a ceremony in peace," Peppa said. "I felt great, because when there is no pressure the result is always better."

Fearful of official intervention, most participants eschewed the flowing robes of antiquity for plain white clothes.

"If we had known, we would have come in full dress," a worshipper said.

In antiquity, the solstice was marked in splendor at major sites such as Delos — birthplace of Apollo — and Delphi, where priests sacrificed animals to the gods in daylong festivals.

"We have decided not to include that part in our ceremonies," Peppa said. "We focus on the spiritual aspect."

Ellinais has won a court battle for state recognition of the ancient Greek religion and is demanding the government register its offices as a place of worship, a move that could allow the group to perform weddings and other rites.

Christianity rose to prominence in Greece in the 4th century A.D. after Roman Emperor Constantine's conversion. Emperor Theodosius wiped out the last vestige of the Olympian gods when he abolished the Olympic Games in A.D. 394. Several isolated pockets of pagan worship lingered as late as the 9th century.

Most Greeks are baptized Orthodox Christians, and the church rejects ancient religious practices as pagan.

"Many people are afraid to turn up if there are TV cameras at a ceremony, because they can get into trouble with church authorities or even their employers," Peppa said.
... though not from the Parthenon. Here's the story from ANA:

A fragment of an ancient Greek marble relief was returned to Greece on Thursday by a Danish family that had owned it for over a century.

Carsten Dahl had contacted the Greek Ambassador in Denmark last April on his own initiative, informing him of the fragment's existence, because he believed that "antiquities should return to their country of origin."

The fragment was from a 4th century B.C. Attica carved relief shaped like a small temple that portrayed the goddess Athena. It had been given to the Dahl family in 1897 by a Danish writer and war correspondent working in Greece at the time.

It was officially received on Thursday by Culture Minister George Voulgarakis in a special ceremony at the culture ministry, though Carsten Dahl was unable to attend due to ill health and was represented by his nephew.

Voulgarakis thanked and publicly congratulated Mr. Dahl, stressing the "huge symbolic importance" of his decision to transfer ownership of the fragment to the Greek culture ministry.

"It vindicates our efforts and points to similar actions and initiatives," the minister said, repeating that the antiquities taken out of Greece were "lost pieces of our history".

"The culture ministry of Greece will serve in every possible way the building of the policy that will result in the reunification of the Parthenon Marbles," he added.

... is it my imagination, or does every article quoting Voulgarakis end -- Cato-like -- with that statement about the Marbles?
Dang ... every year I forget that I want to do this ... from the Southeast Missourian:

Science teachers in a summer physics class at Southeast Missouri State University relied on shadows Thursday to calculate the Earth's circumference during the summer solstice, the longest day of the year.

The low-tech calculations were pioneered more than 2,000 years ago by Greek mathematician Eratosthenes.

Three high school and junior high teachers participated in the project Thursday, and another three teachers were scheduled to perform the same task today.

The teachers in the class measured shadows cast by two metal poles placed on a sidewalk outside the university's Magill Hall around 1 p.m.

Because of daylight-saving time, 1 p.m. is actually noon, when the sun is directly overhead, said Dr. Peggy Hill, associate professor of physics at Southeast and instructor of the class.

The classroom teachers joined a network of about 60 groups around the world that calculated the Earth's size based on the ancient Greek mathematician's method.

"Science is more about trying to understand how we know rather than what we know," Hill said. "Any time we can do something hands-on, it helps us understand how we arrived at an answer."

Hill said the project makes sense in her physics class.

"Physics is a mathematical science and is based on experiment," she said. "Finding the size of the Earth involves measurement and the application of mathematics as a tool to aid our understanding."

Secondly, she said, the project forces students to look more closely and critically at the world and to question things they have taken for granted.

"It is amazing to think of how ancient people were able to measure the size of the Earth with only sticks, the length of their stride and a knowledge of basic geometry," Hill said. "Hopefully, this is a project the teachers can take back to their classroom to perform at a later date."

Eratosthenes is credited with calculating the Earth's circumference in about 240 B.C., using his knowledge of the angle of elevation of the sun at noon in two Egyptian cities, Alexandria and Syene, now Aswan.

According to his calculations, the Earth's circumference was 46,620 kilometers. That's actually about 16 percent too large. The polar circumference, the distance around the Earth through the poles, is 40,008 kilometers, or nearly 25,000 miles.

Hill's students came up with two totals: 38,800 kilometers and 39,900 kilometers.

Initially, the teachers had some errors in their calculations. But with the aid of calculators and the Internet, they corrected their equations and came up with totals close to the correct distance.

Amy Kimbrell, a teacher at Crystal City, Mo., High School, said the experiment showed just how hard it was to come up with an accurate number. "There are a lot of places where you can make a mistake," she said.

Christina Brands, a teacher at North Pemiscot Junior High School in the Bootheel, observed that the biggest challenge may have been finding a level spot on the hilly campus from which to measure the shadows and calculate the angle of the sun.

Brands said she had a new appreciation of Eratosthenes' calculations, which were made without computers or calculators. "It amazes me," she said.
Why Athens? Reappraising Tragic Politics
University of Reading 10-11 September 2007

The deadline for registration for this conference is 1st July. Bookings
received after this date will be accepted with a £10 late booking fee.

The keynote speakers will be Peter Wilson (Sydney) and Mark Griffith
(Berkeley). 18 other papers (in a series of coordinated panels) will be
presented by speakers from around the world. Further information on the
conference, including a booking form, a full programme and abstracts of
papers, can be found at

This conference is supported by the British Academy, the Classical
Association and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies.
ante diem xi kalendas quinctilias

546 B.C. -- death of Thales of Miletus (source?)

217 B.C. -- Hannibal deals the Romans a major defeat at Lake Trasimene
estival @ Merriam-Webster

manticratic @ Worthless Word for the Day

languid @
From the Iowa City Press-Citizen (inter alia):

UI grad student wins $8,000

A University of Iowa graduate student won $8,000 on Tuesday's episode of "Who Wants To Be a Millionaire."

Kecia Lynn decided to walk away with $8,000 rather than answer the $16,000 question: "The Homeric Question" is a centuries-old debate among scholars over the authorship and origins of what two works? If Lynn had guessed incorrectly she would have fallen back to $1,000. The correct answer was Electra and Medea.

Lynn, who is working on her MFA in creative writing, said she would buy an investing how-to book and take a year off to write if she won big on the show.

Whiskey tango foxtrot?
Here's some don't-eat-that-elmer material from the Telegraph:

An archaeologist has sparked a Da Vinci Code-style hunt for the Holy Grail after claiming ancient records show it is buried under a 6th century church in Rome.

The cup - said to have been used by Christ at the Last Supper - is the focus of countless legends and has been sought for centuries.

Alfredo Barbagallo, an Italian archaeologist, claims that it is buried in a chapel-like room underneath the Basilica of San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura, one of the seven churches which Christian pilgrims used to visit when they came to Rome.

Mr Barbagallo based his claim on two years spent studying mediaeval iconography inside the basilica and a description of a particular chamber, in a guide to the catacombs written in 1938 by a Capuchin friar named Giuseppe Da Bra.

The friar describes a room of about 20 square metres with a vaulted roof ceiling. "In the corner of a wall-seat there can be seen a terracotta funnel whose lower part opens out over the face of a skeleton," he wrote.

Da Bra then explains that giving liquid refreshment (refrigerium) to the dead was part of ancient funeral rites.

According to Mr Barbagallo, who heads an association called Arte e Mistero [Art and Mystery], this funnel is the Grail.

He also points out to several beautiful mosaics and frescos in the basilica which feature images of the sacred cup.

Mr Barbagallo added that its presence in the church fits the sketchy accounts of its early guardians.

In 258 AD, during a phase of Christian persecution, Pope Sixtus V reportedly entrusted the treasures of the early Church to a deacon called Lawrence, Lorenzo in Italian. This deacon was martyred four days later and since then no one has ever seen the Grail.

Various legends have it that the cup, given the name Holy Grail in the Middle Ages, was taken to different countries - including Britain.

Dan Brown’s work of fiction, The Da Vinci Code, said the cup had been buried at Rossyln Chapel in Scotland, and sparked off a stampede to the isolated location as thousands flocked to see it for themselves.

Mr Barbagallo said he believed it never went anywhere, and stayed with St Lawrence in his tomb.

Emperor Constantine built a shrine on the site of Lawrence’s martyrdom in the 4th Century and the main part of the Basilica of San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura was built in AD580 on the same spot.

The catacombs where Mr Barbagallo believes the cup to buried come under the authority of the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for Sacred Archaeology.

A spokesman said: "We are aware of the reports and a few weeks ago made an initial investigation of the area with the possibility of opening the catacombs up but as yet no decision has been made."

... I don't think that's what 'refrigerium' was (I thought it was just an annual commemoration-of-the-dead meal ... a carryover from pre-Christian funeral rites), but I'll happily be corrected on that score.
From the Independent:

John Prescott, the man who deserves some sort of award as Labour's best supporting actor for these past 13 years, bowed out yesterday in characteristic style. He bashed the Tories, he bashed the press, he said how proud he was to have served in this Labour government, and he invented an ancient Greek named Dame Osthenes.

The leading man, Tony Blair, still has one more appearance to make on the Commons stage, at next week's Prime Minister's Questions. John Prescott, 69, in his first public outing after recovering from pneumonia, has now taken questions from MPs for the last time as Deputy Prime Minister. His 13 years as Labour's deputy leader are up on Sunday, and he will resign from the Government at the same time as the Prime Minister, three days later. He will resign as MP at the next general election.

Six candidates are competing for his job, but their performances made such a poor impression on the Conservative leader, David Cameron, that a few days ago he suggested they made Mr Prescott look like "a cross between Ernie Bevin and Demosthenes".

Yesterday the shadow Foreign Secretary, William Hague, suggested Mr Prescott's true role was as a "marriage guidance counsellor", a back-handed tribute to the many times the Deputy Prime Minister has resealed the relationship between Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. Mr Prescott cheerfully replied: "My experience is there has always been good agreement between my two colleagues and I'm sure that will continue. It seems that while I was away, the Leader of the Opposition had something to say about me too. He described me as a cross between Ernie Bevin and Dame Osthenes."

He added: "When I read classics and Greek mythology at the Ellesmere Port Secondary Modern School, we learnt about Narcissus. He died because he could only love his own image. He was all image and no substance." Mr Hague replied: "I'm sure 'Dame Osthenes' will be very flattered that you have singled her out for praise today. It only goes to show that for all the harsh words we have exchanged over the years, politics without him is going to be dramatically less entertaining.

"Not only do we not know how the Labour Party are going to manage without him we don't know how the Conservative Party is going to manage without him. May we wish him a thumping good retirement and in many years of good humour and good health."

Mr Prescott also directed good-humoured insults at journalists in the gallery, delighting Labour MPs.

The orator Demosthenes

Demosthenes was a great orator of ancient Greece, who overcame a speech impediment by practising with a mouthful of pebbles. His 'phillipics' warned Athenians against the rise of Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great. Defeated, he poisoned himself.
From the Washington Post:

The J. Paul Getty Museum, under fire by countries that contend some of its priceless ancient art collection was stolen, on Wednesday announced the appointment of a new curator of antiquities.

Karol Wight, an expert in ancient Roman glass, will be in charge of a staff of eight and about 2,500 sculptures, pottery, jewelry and other ancient artworks.

Most of the artwork is housed at the Getty Villa at Malibu.

Wight's appointment fills the last of several key vacancies in the museum. Earlier this year, former Art Institute of Chicago president James N. Wood took over as chief of the J. Paul Getty Trust, which operates the museum.

"Her passion for the job and long experience in the field of antiquities, combined with a deep understanding of the Getty's collection, make her the ideal choice for this important position," museum director Michael Brand said in a statement.

Wight becomes curator next month. She has been acting curator since Marion True retired from the post in October 2005. She began her career at the Getty in 1985 as a graduate intern in the Department of Antiquities.

True and art dealer Robert Hecht have been placed on trial in Rome, charged with knowingly receiving dozens of archaeological treasures stolen from private collections or dug up illicitly. They deny any wrongdoing.

Last December, the museum settled a decade-old dispute with Greece, agreeing to hand over an ancient gold wreath and marble bust that Athens claims were illegally spirited out of the country. It earlier returned two sculptures.

The museum also agreed last year to return 26 antiquities to Italy, but that country is demanding the return of many more and negotiations have stalled.

Registration is now open for the following conference:

Ruins and Reconstructions: Pompeii in the Popular Imagination

July 17-19 2007, Clifton Hill House, University of Bristol

This conference will explore popular representations and receptions of
Pompeii since the 18th century, and aims to provide a stimulating
environment in which academics studying the city and its reception can be
brought together with practitioners who have tried to bring the city to
life in a range of media. Panel topics include: Documenting the Ruins;
Domestic Interiors and Architecture; Sex and Erotica; 19th Century
Painting; Necromancy and Spiritualism; Pompeii in the USA: Pompeii's
Reception in Italy; 20th Century Arts; Aesthetics and Morality; Receptions
of Gradiva; and Romantic Travellers.

Keynote speakers: Mary Beard, Victor Burgin, Stefano de Caro, Lindsey
Davis, Stephen Harrison and Andrew Wallace-Hadrill.

Full details, including registration form, accommodation information, and
provisional programme can be found online at

For further information, please contact the conference organisers, Dr
Shelley Hales (Shelley.Hales AT or Dr Joanna Paul
(Joanna.Paul AT

Supported by:
The Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts (BIRTHA); The
Marks Foundation; The British Academy; The Institute of Greece, Rome and
the Classical Tradition; School of Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology,
The University of Liverpool
ante diem xii kalendas quinctilias

278 B.C. (?) -- dedication of the Temple of Jupiter Summanus (and associated rites thereafter)
purview @ Merriam-Webster (sort of)

agon @
A touristy thing from Today's Zaman:

Until 2005 most people viewed Gaziantep as a mere transit point en route to supposedly more interesting places in Southeastern Turkey -- such as the colossal statues atop Mt. Nemrut or Urfa’s pools of Abraham.

All that changed with the completion and opening in June of that year of the massive new wing of the city’s archaeological museum. Built to house the magnificent finds from the nearby Hellenistic/ Roman city of Zeugma, Gaziantep and its museum now boast one of the premier collections of Roman mosaics anywhere in the world.

Not only is the quality of workmanship of the mosaics superb, so is the way in which they are exhibited. Central to the museum is a partial recreation, using original materials, of a room from a Roman villa at Zeugma. The intricate mosaic floor is surrounded by its original colonnade, and sections of amazingly well-preserved fresco complete the scene. In total there are over 800 square meters of mosaic on display at the museum, all imaginatively lit and well explained with information boards in Turkish and English.

What makes the museum even more remarkable is the fact that everything you see could so easily have been lost forever. In 1995 two French archaeologists had been given a six-week permit to dig the site of Zeugma, some 20 kilometers east of Gaziantep, on the west bank of the mighty Euphrates. With only five days remaining and little to show for their efforts, they uncovered a mosaic floor. Permission was granted to extend the excavations, and a race against the clock began to salvage as much of possible of what was clearly a major archaeological site before it was submerged under the waters of the Birecik dam. A frenzied effort by a massive international team in 2000 ensured that many of the mosaics were, indeed, rescued.

Zeugma (“bridge” or “link” in Greek) was founded in 300 B.C. by a successor of Alexander the Great, Seleucus Nicator. A principle crossing point of the Euphrates, it lay on a major trade route between India and the Mediterranean. In the Roman era it became a frontier town -- both a barrier and a conduit between the Roman Empire and Parthian Persia. Zeugma was, naturally enough given its frontline position; a garrison town. However it also developed as a major trading center, bringing it immense wealth.

For the prosperous merchants of the first and second century A.D. in Zeugma, what better way to spend their money than on their homes? Just like their counterparts today, Zeugma’s rich showed off their wealth by having big, showy houses built in the best parts of town (in Zeugma the most expensive plots were those closest to the river on its west bank). These wealthy patrons got together with their architect to come up with a design to their taste -- and when it came to the interior an integral part of most rooms was a mosaic floor.

It is these mosaic floor panels that you can see exhibited so wonderfully in the museum today. Choosing a mosaic floor was a little like choosing a carpet today -- you made your decision based on style and price. Master craftsmen, complete with their pattern books, were attracted from Antioch (modern Antakya) which had a famous mosaic “school.” Once patron, architect and mosaic master had agreed on the design, the craftsmen could get to work.

The first stage was to lay the floor. This comprised of four layers -- large crushed boulders at the base, then a bed of finer boulders topped with a layer of cement. Next came a lime mortar screed, which could be kept damp and “workable” for four days. The top and final layer was made up, of course, of the tiny pieces of stone known as tessarae, which formed the mosaic itself. Fourteen different types of local stone were used in the mosaics at Zeugma, supplemented by terracotta fired at varying temperatures to give different tones. Different colored glass tessarae were occasionally employed for different effects.

When you look at some of the scenes depicted in the mosaics at the museum, it is hard to believe that they are made up of tiny stone tablets, so fine is the workmanship. Many different craftsmen worked on the large mosaic floors at Zeugma. The least skilled and inexperienced were given the job of doing the plain borders and geometric work. Better craftsmen worked on plant and animal scenes. Next up the skill ladder were architectural scenes. Human figures were the preserve of the most skilled and experienced, but even here the work was ranked by degree of difficulty. The less talented worked on hands and arms, leaving the master craftsmen to do the faces. Just take a look at the fragment of mosaic which has rapidly become the symbol, not only of the museum, but of Gaziantep itself -- the so-called “gypsy girl.” Her eyes are expressiveness incarnate and appear to follow you as you walk across the room in front of her.

Most of the mosaics feature beautifully wrought scenes from Greek mythology and legend. Ariadne (the beautiful daughter of King Minos of Crete, treacherously dumped on the island of Naxos by the arrogant Theseus, whom she had helped kill the man-eating Minotaur) is depicted at her wedding with her savior -- Dionysus, god of wine. Achilles, dressed as a woman by his protective mother, Thetis, to prevent him being sent to fight at Troy, is found out when he can’t resist reaching out for weapons proffered to him by the wily Odysseus. Given Zeugma’s riverside location, its wealthy inhabitants were particularly fond of scenes depicting water deities. Most impressive of these is a panel showing Poseidon, second only to Zeus in the Greek pantheon of gods, emerging from the water above Oceanus and Tethys, who were believed to have had 3,000 daughters and 3,000 sons.

There is a wealth of other interesting exhibits in the museum. Perhaps the most spectacular is the large and incredibly well-preserved bronze statue of the Roman god of war, Mars -- also from Zeugma. The audio-visual display, which gives an entertaining 15-minute account of the history, rediscovery and rescue excavations at Zeugma, makes an ideal way to start your tour of this wonderful museum.

It is possible to visit the site of Zeugma (or at least the upper part, as the rest is underwater) but there is little of interest unless you are an expert. This may well change, as excavations continue and there are even plans to turn the site into an archaeological park. In the meantime, however, it’s a pleasant spot -- with the waters of the dam lapping at your feet and birds singing in the olive trees. With the memories of the wonderful collection of mosaics from Zeugma you have just seen in Gaziantep archaeological museum, it’s easy enough to conjure up the ghosts of this once rich and powerful city on the Euphrates frontier.
From ANSA:

Tourists can once again admire the beauty of 10 ancient Roman houses at Pompeii which have been specially reopened to the public for the summer after restoration work.

The houses are usually off-limits to visitors or, in a few cases, can only be seen by booking in advance.

But they will be open to everyone until the end of October at no extra cost to the price of a ticket to the Roman city, destroyed by the 79 AD eruption of Mt Vesuvius.

Among the most interesting sites is the House of Menander.

It is one of Pompeii's most elegant houses, containing a rich selection of wall paintings, including one of the Greek playwright (342-291 BC) who gives the dwelling its name.

This house is also famous for the stunning 108-piece silverware set found in a wooden box there in 1930.

Another big attraction is the Villa of Diomedes, considered a masterpiece of Roman architecture with its terrace overlooking the Gulf of Naples and its enormous garden, surrounded by a long colonnade. The House of the Surgeon is one of the city's oldest buildings - the materials and the style used suggest it was constructed in the third century BC. It takes its name from the surgical instruments found in the house - now stored at the Naples archaeological museum - presumably belonging to the owner.

Visitors can also take a look around the Roman city's suburban baths to see erotic wall paintings dating back to the age of the Emperor Augustus (63 BC-14 AD).

Decorations depicting scenes from The Iliad are on display at the House of the Lararium of Achilles.

A beautiful fresco of Apollo and Marsyas can be seen at the House of Apollo. The reopening of the 10 sites is not the only big attraction Pompeii has in store this summer.

The 2007 Classico Pompeiano (Pompeiian Classic) festival of shows and concerts at the archaeological site's Teatro Grande (Big Theatre) runs June 26-July 27.

Stars of the third edition of the festival include Oscar-winning Italian director and comedian Roberto Benigni, who presents his show revolving around the works of Dante - Tutto Dante - on June 29.

From News Daily:

Pope Benedict XVI has signed papers that would give Catholic churches the option of using the traditional Latin Mass, a newspaper reported Monday.

The upcoming "motu proprio" from the pope provides his personal opinion and isn't imbued with papal infallibility, the Times of London reported.

"We are awaiting publication with some anxiety," a senior Vatican official told the Times. "Everything hinges on the exact wording, and on the letter, which will be released along with the motu proprioto, explaining the technicalities of its application by local bishops. The validity of the old Latin Rite has never been repealed, so now we have to see in what circumstances and to what extent the bishops should authorize its use."

The church replaced the old Latin Mass, which dates back to the Middle Ages, with local language masses in the 1960s. The old mass was never banned, but could only be used on special occasions with the permission from a local bishop.

The motu proprio, which expressed views consistent with the pope's when he was Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was expected to be published in the next few weeks, the Times reported.
From the Ottawa Citizen:

The University of Ottawa has scrapped the use of the ancient Latin language on its diplomas due to declining student interest and technical difficulties translating 21st-century words like "software" and "genomics."

University registrar Francois Chapleau said of the roughly 6,700 students the institution expects to graduate this year, only about five per cent requested their documents be written in Latin.

As a result, the school senate voted unanimously to scrap the language of the Romans in favour of the other two existing options, French and English. The decision takes effect immediately, though requests that have already been submitted will be honoured.

"If there's a major issue with this, we will see (if there are alternatives), but at this point, we haven't heard of any major issue," he said.

While traditionalists may scoff at the linguistic update, Mr. Chapleau argued many logistical problems have surfaced over the years.

"First, there was little request for Latin diplomas," he said. "We had a few complaints (from) students indicating that they ordered their diplomas in Latin and when they applied for a job, the employer actually asked for a translation of the diploma."

Also, because the language hasn't been widely spoken in hundreds of years, he suggested, there are no standard Latin words for newer terms such as biopharmaceutical or ophthalmic.

"The fact that we have all kinds of new diplomas that might require the creation of new terms in Latin that were not created originally -- in many ways, the verification of the quality of the Latin is always an issue," he said. "There are terms that are very recent, in terms of anything like software and stuff like that."

While the university has adapted by asking its in-house ancient studies experts to "Latinize" the terms, Mr. Chapleau said the lack of demand led many to question the usefulness of the practice.

Those factors indicate a change in times and support for the decision to drop the language, he argued.

Mr. Chapleau did admit some academic purists would likely be disappointed.

"To any action, there's a reaction, but we'll see how big the reaction is," he said. "We have students on the senate and nobody said anything in particular about that issue, so I assume everything went well. This motion has been floating around the university for a while."

The university's senate is comprised of about 75 individuals, including students, professors and administrators.

Ontario's institutions of higher learning vary in the language options they offer graduates.

Queen's University in Kingston, for example, prints all its degrees in Latin except for the Bachelor of Arts and BA (Honours) programs. However, that appears to be somewhat of an exception.

The University of Toronto prints all its diplomas in English, with only honorary degree parchments appearing in Latin. The University of Western Ontario in London follows the same standard.

Carleton University did not return a request for comment.

... actually, I'm somewhat surprised Latin diplomas have lingered this long ...
From the BBC:

Archaeologists who set out to put up a safety fence at Rochester's medieval castle have unexpectedly uncovered a Roman city wall.

The team had "barely taken the turf off when they unearthed a solid mass of stone masonry", Medway Council said.

Castle archaeologist Graham Keevill called it "a very important discovery".

He said: "We don't have many Roman city walls surviving in England. To get an unexpected one like this is fantastic. It is also a perfect example."

'Good masonry'

He said the wall had "high-quality" facing stones on each side, and its rubble core, made up of stone, flint, sand, and gravel, would have been poured in "to set hard almost like concrete, to bind the whole wall together".

Builders who came later in the 12th Century "knew good masonry when they saw it" and used the 6ft-wide (1.8m) Roman wall for the foundations of their medieval castle keep, Mr Keevill said.

The pits will be re-covered to preserve the find, and the safety fence will be realigned.

It is the second time Mr Keevill has unexpectedly discovered Roman remains.

At the Tower of London, he was part of the team that found a city wall of Roman Londinium, that had been re-used in the foundations of a medieval tower.

"It's an amazing coincidence," he said.

The work under way at Rochester Castle is part of a conservation project by Medway Council and English Heritage to repair the ramparts and some stonework, fit new balustrades, and put up a new safety fence.

According to the council, the Romans built their fort next to the River Medway to guard the bridge carrying their legions from Dover to London.

The BBC is to be commended for not using the word "stumbled" in this piece, I think ...
Not strictly within our purview, but interesting ... this version is from the Guardian:

US soldiers and airmen fighting in Iraq are to receive a new weapon in their arsenal: a pack of playing cards to help them identify ancient ruins before creating new ones.

The Pentagon's move, echoing its post-invasion production of a deck of cards depicting "Iraq's most wanted", is part of a belated Pentagon scheme to prevent further war damage to the country's 11,000 archaeological sites.

More than four years after priceless antiquities housed in Iraq's National Museum were looted and much of the country's ancient heritage was despoiled, 40,000 packs of the playing cards will be dealt out to American troops - roughly one deck for every four soldiers.

The cards are illustrated with pictures of rare artefacts or sites of special interest, in the hope that soldiers will avoid turning them into battlefields.

Each suit has a theme: diamonds for artefacts, spades for digs, hearts for "winning hearts and minds", and clubs for heritage preservation.

The cards also carry handy slogans. The five of clubs says: "Drive around, not over archaeological sites". Another asks: "This site has survived 17 centuries. Will it and others survive you?"

In what may be seen as an optimistic initiative, troops are asked to consider taking up alternative firing positions if historical treasures are at risk. Likewise, air force pilots are urged to bomb sensitively.

In one infamous incident in 2003, a site at Nebuchadnezzar's ancient city of Babylon was used as a helicopter landing pad and a camp for 2,000 troops.

Last year Donny George, Iraq's most prominent archaeologist, fled the country saying growing insecurity was making preservation work impossible.

I wonder if these will be showing up at eBay or other sources (a la the 'Iraq's Most Wanted' deck)
Ancient myth has always provided fertile ground for Western artists and
theorists of the visual. Yet art historians tend to associate classical
mythology with historical styles and only rarely with the art of the present.
Indeed, current writing on contemporary art is, with few exceptions,
curiously devoid of mythological content, despite demonstrable interest in
myth on the part of several contemporary artists, ranging from earlier
figures such as Louise Bourgeois and Cy Twombly to more recent arrivals such
as Gregory Crewdson, Fred Wilson, Bill Viola, Ann Hamilton, and John Currin.
While some artists' work invokes the power of classical mythology explicitly,
as in an expressly narcissistic video by Patty Chang (Fountain, 1999) or an
Orpheus-inspired installation by Felix Gonzales-Torres (Untitled (Orpheus,
Twice), 1991), others gesture toward myth in more subtle ways, as do, for
example, Gerhard Richter's mirrored installations and paintings. Also of
note is the preoccupation with myth on the part of several twentieth-century
theorists and philosophers, all of whom have made a significant mark on the
discipline of art history: Theodore Adorno, Maurice Blanchot, Hélène Cixous,
Sigmund Freud, Herbert Marcuse, Jacques Lacan, Paul de Man, Louis Marin,
Gayatri Spivak, et al.

In light of these and other connections, this anthology aims to explore (and
to some extent establish) the multifaceted intersection of contemporary art
and classical myth. Essays addressing this topic may concentrate on a single
work or series as it relates to a specific myth or on a single artist whose
work seems driven by an overarching agenda, for which a certain myth makes a
particularly apt metaphor. Essays that employ myth for the purpose of
grappling with dominant trends in contemporary art are also welcome, as are
mythologically inflected meditations on the concept of the visual art object
as theorized, deployed, and constructed within contemporary art and culture.
Essays may focus on traditional as well as new media, and contributions may
adopt strategies not limited to the approaches outlined above.

Interested parties should send a 500-word abstract together with a curriculum
vitae and brief bio to Isabelle Wallace and/or Jennie Hirsh by September 30,
2007. Completed essays of 5,000 words will be due September 30, 2008.
Initial inquiries are welcome.

Isabelle Loring Wallace
Assistant Professor, Contemporary Art and Theory
Department of Art History
Lamar Dodd School of Art
University of Georgia, Athens
Email: iwallace AT

Jennie Hirsh
Assistant Professor, Modern and Contemporary Art and Architecture
Department of Art History
Maryland Institute College of Art
Email: jhirsh AT
Call for Papers—Penn-Leiden Colloquium V: VALUING OTHERS

The "Penn-Leiden Colloquia on Ancient Values" was established as a
biennial venue for investigating the diverse aspects of Greek and
Roman values. Each colloquium focuses on a single theme, which
participants explore from a diversity of perspectives and
disciplines. So far, three volumes have appeared, exploring a
personal value, a community value, and the spatial mapping of values
respectively: Andreia. Studies in Manliness and Courage in Classical
Antiquity, Leiden 2003, Free Speech in Classical, Leiden 2004, City,
Countryside, and the Spatial Organization of Value in Classical
Antiquity, Leiden 2006. A fourth volume, on “badness and anti-values”
is in preparation.

The topic of the fifth colloquium, to be held at the University of
Leiden, the Netherlands, June 6-8, 2008, will be:


In classical antiquity, a variety of value terms articulate the idea
that people ‘belong together’ or ‘relate to each other’ as a family,
a group, a polis, a community, parts of the cosmos, or just as
individual fellow human beings. Which values were thought relevant in
this connection? How do these different conceptualizations function?
What contexts do they belong in, what contexts do they create? And
what effects do they generate, i.e. how do ideas about what we might
call ‘fellow-feeling’, ‘empathy’, ‘humanity’, ‘unity’ and
‘citizenship’ work in Antiquity to make a group a group or to make
people ‘do the right thing by each other’?

In this colloquium, our point of departure will not be any one
specific value, designated by just one Greek or Roman term. Rather,
we will explore the different values, with their different
perspectives, that ancient society found useful in thinking about
belonging together, social cohesion and unity. Ancient terms that
come to mind are, e.g., philanthrôpia, compounds with homo-, such as
homoiotropos, homonoia, homophuloi (and other kinship terms);
oikeiosis, philia, sungeneia, koinon, koinonia, sumpatheia,
communitas, and humanitas or – from the negative side -- the (anti-)-
values that produce stasis.

The question of ‘valuing others’, ‘belonging together’, ‘social
cohesion’ is a highly relevant one in our contemporary society, in
which the ‘integration’, ‘adaptation’, ‘assimilation’ and
‘participation’ of minority groups is a contested issue. What values
are used to articulate what binds together our multicultural society?
Or is that notion defunct?

For this fifth colloquium, therefore, we invite abstracts for papers
(30 minutes) on all aspects of our proposed topic.

Selected papers will be considered for publication by Brill
Publishers. Those interested in presenting a paper are requested to
submit a 1-page abstract, by email (preferable) or regular mail,
before October 1st, 2007.

Contact (please copy both with email correspondence):

Professor Ineke Sluiter
Classics Department
University of Leiden
Doelensteeg 16, Johan Huizinga-building
POB 9515
2300 RA Leiden
The Netherlands
Email: i.sluiter AT
Phone: +31 (71) 527 3311

Professor Ralph M. Rosen
Department of Classical Studies
University of Pennsylvania
202 Logan Hall
Philadelphia PA 19104-6304
Email: rrosen AT
Phone: +1 (215) 898 7425

Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient Literature
Saturday 10th - Sunday 11th November 2007
University of Nottingham

The Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient Literature is a conference
where graduate students present their research to other postgraduates. It
offers an opportunity to take part in discussion, exchange ideas and meet
other postgraduates in a friendly and supportive environment. It is an
ideal forum for students to present their first conference paper.

This year the theme for the conference is "HEROES".

The conference will be held over two days at the University of Nottingham.

Call for Papers

We are now accepting abstracts on any aspect of the theme of heroes.

Some suggestions are given below but we welcome other interpretations of
the theme:

* concept(s) of heroism
* heroic legacies
* heroic metamorphoses and genres
* heroes in comparative perspective
* heroes, heroism and their reception
* anti-heroes / heroic failures
* gendered representations of heroism
* leadership and rule
* social, cultural and political functions of heroism
* the language of heroes/heroism
* deconstructed and reconstructed heroes
* hero-worship: the cult of celebrity?
* suicide and resistance

The deadline for submission of abstracts is 31st July 2007. Please send
abstracts (maximum 250 words) to ampal07 AT with Abstracts as the
email title by this date and include your name, University, and title of


Convenors: Edith Hall (Royal Holloway) and Phiroze Vasunia (Reading)

Friday, 29 June 2007

Location: Room G60, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG. For directions, click here.


10 a.m.
Edith Hall and Phiroze Vasunia

10.15 a.m. to 11.30 a.m.
Session I
Chair, Phiroze Vasunia, University of Reading

“The British Chartists, the Ancient Empires, and the Indian Mutiny”
Edith Hall, Royal Holloway, University of London

“The ‘Indian Mutiny’ and the ‘Gallic Revolt’ ”
James Thorne, University of Manchester

11.30 a.m. to 11.45 a.m.

11.45 to 1 p.m.
Session II
Chair, Subir Sinha, SOAS, University of London

“Water-Jug and Plover's Feather: Kipling's India in Rosemary Sutcliff's Roman Britain”
Deborah Roberts, Haverford College

“Alexander Sikandar”
Phiroze Vasunia, University of Reading:

1 p.m. to 2.30 p.m.

2.30 p.m. to 3.45 p.m.
Session III
Chair, Edith Hall, Royal Holloway, University of London

“The Valmiki of Europe: Homer through Bengali eyes”
Alex Riddiford, University of Oxford

“The Ramayana Odyssey: eastern and western classics in (post)colonial drama”
Jatinder Verma, Artistic Director of Tara Arts theatre company
and Associate Professor, Department of Drama, Royal Holloway, University of London

3.45 p.m. to 4 p.m.

4 p.m. to 4.40 p.m.
Session IV
Chair, Rashmi Varma, University of Warwick

“Radical Uses of Antigone in Manipur”
Erin Mee, Swarthmore College

4.40 p.m.
“Round-Table Discussion”
Moderators, Edith Hall and Phiroze Vasunia

There is no registration fee, but please contact Phiroze Vasunia at if you plan to attend.

Details are on the website at

This conference is sponsored by the University of Reading, Royal Holloway, SOAS, the British Academy, and the Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies.

... looks like I won't be able to get an update in today ... the internet is crawling (possibly/probably numerous programs automatically updating in the background) and I'm also getting quite a few 'worm attacks' being blocked by Norton ... I'll put some content up this evening ...
ante diem xiv kalendas quinctilias

64 A.D. -- Great Fire at Rome, which was later blamed on Christians (but wasn't it in July?)

c. 135 A.D. -- martyrdom of Hypatius
resplendent @ Merriam-Webster

disquisition @
There's an article with that title in the current (July/August) Foreign Policy, but it's a payfer thing ... the preview I received in the mail suggests it might be of interest to Classicists, as does the web preview ...
From the BBC:

A Roman road has been found by workers building a controversial £840m natural gas pipeline across Wales.

The historic roadway was discovered in the Brecon Beacons, on the path of the 190-mile (320km) National Grid pipe from Milford Haven to Gloucestershire.

Neil Fairburn, archaeology project manager for National Grid, said the road was found as digging began, but the pipe would still have to cross it.

A local community councillor said he hoped the find would be looked after.

Mr Fairburn said the road, which he estimated as dating from the 1st Century AD, was in "a better condition than we would normally find a Roman road", but a 3m section of it would be lost.

"It was in an area where we thought there might be a Roman road, it's in close proximity to the Roman fort," he said.

"It is typical of Roman roads, it's one of those that link mid Wales, between the forts of Carmarthen and Llandeilo, through Brecon.

"It gives us the opportunity to look at the construction process in the Roman period.

"In places, you can see where the carts have pressed down on the stone."


Mr Fairburn said his team of around 20 archaeologists in the area were recording it.

He added that the pipeline would cut through part of the road but there were "significant parts we can preserve in situ".

"There won't be any significant damage. The county archaeologist has been out, he has looked at it, he's entirely happy with what's going to happen."

Community councillor Richard Field, from Cradoc, near Brecon, said the discovery, which is inside the Brecon Beacons National Park, had surprised local people.

"It's incredible. It's only about 18ins below the surface," he said.

"This road runs alongside the camp and must link up from a road coming from the camp. It doesn't point directly at the camp.

"We used to play the village cricket match on this field. We'd sit on a slightly raised area to get a better view and didn't realise we were sitting on the causeway of a Roman road.

"I hope they take some care to look after this find and it's not obliterated but made available to subsequent generations."

The £840m scheme pipeline is part of a project that will see liquefied natural gas (LNG) shipped to Milford from the Far East and converted to natural gas at two terminals at the port before being piped to join the National Grid's main network.

When complete, the pipeline will run from Milford Haven to Gloucestershire and eventually supply up to 20% of the UK's gas needs.

A spokeswoman for National Grid said the company took its commitment to archaeology very seriously and had undertaken extensive surveys during the pipeline's planning process.
Not sure if there's anything we haven't seen before in this piece making the rounds of the science-press-release sites ... here's the version from Science Daily:

The long-running controversy about the origins of the Etruscan people appears to be very close to being settled once and for all, a geneticist will tell the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics today. Professor Alberto Piazza, from the University of Turin, Italy, will say that there is overwhelming evidence that the Etruscans, whose brilliant civilization flourished 3000 years ago in what is now Tuscany, were settlers from old Anatolia (now in southern Turkey).

Etruscan culture was very advanced and quite different from other known Italian cultures that flourished at the same time, and highly influential in the development of Roman civilization. Its origins have been debated by archaeologists, historians and linguists since time immemorial. Three main theories have emerged: that the Etruscans came from Anatolia, Southern Turkey, as propounded by the Greek historian Herotodus; that they were indigenous to the region and developed from the Iron Age Villanovan society, as suggested by another Greek historian, Dionysius of Halicarnassus; or that they originated from Northern Europe.

Now modern genetic techniques have given scientists the tools to answer this puzzle. Professor Piazza and his colleagues set out to study genetic samples from three present-day Italian populations living in Murlo, Volterra, and Casentino in Tuscany, central Italy. "We already knew that people living in this area were genetically different from those in the surrounding regions", he says. "Murlo and Volterra are among the most archaeologically important Etruscan sites in a region of Tuscany also known for having Etruscan-derived place names and local dialects. The Casentino valley sample was taken from an area bordering the area where Etruscan influence has been preserved."

The scientists compared DNA samples taken from healthy males living in Tuscany, Northern Italy, the Southern Balkans, the island of Lemnos in Greece, and the Italian islands of Sicily and Sardinia. The Tuscan samples were taken from individuals who had lived in the area for at least three generations, and were selected on the basis of their surnames, which were required to have a geographical distribution not extending beyond the linguistic area of sampling. The samples were compared with data from modern Turkish, South Italian, European and Middle-Eastern populations.

"We found that the DNA samples from individuals from Murlo and Volterra were more closely related those from near Eastern people than those of the other Italian samples", says Professor Piazza. "In Murlo particularly, one genetic variant is shared only by people from Turkey, and, of the samples we obtained, the Tuscan ones also show the closest affinity with those from Lemnos."

Scientists had previously shown this same relationship for mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) in order to analyse female lineages. And in a further study, analysis of mtDNA of ancient breeds of cattle still living in the former Etruria found that they too were related to breeds currently living in the near East.

The history of the Etruscans extends before the Iron Age to the end of the Roman Republic or from c. 1200 BC to c. 100BC Many archaeological sites of the major Etruscan cities were continuously occupied since the Iron Age, and the people who lived in the Etruria region did not appear suddenly, nor did they suddenly start to speak Etruscan. Rather they learned to write from their Greek neighbours and thus revealed their language. Archaeologists and linguists are in agreement that the Etruscans had been developing their culture and language in situ before the first historical record of their existence.

"But the question that remained to be answered was -- how long was this process between pre-history and history"" says Professor Piazza. In 1885 a stele carrying an inscription in a pre-Greek language was found on the island of Lemnos, and dated to about the 6th century BC. Philologists agree that this has many similarities with the Etruscan language both in its form and structure and its vocabulary. But genetic links between the two regions have been difficult to find until now.

Herodotus' theory, much criticised by subsequent historians, states that the Etruscans emigrated from the ancient region of Lydia, on what is now the southern coast of Turkey, because of a long-running famine. Half the population was sent by the king to look for a better life elsewhere, says his account, and sailed from Smyrna (now Izmir) until they reached Umbria in Italy.

"We think that our research provides convincing proof that Herodotus was right", says Professor Piazza, "and that the Etruscans did indeed arrive from ancient Lydia. However, to be 100% certain we intend to sample other villages in Tuscany, and also to test whether there is a genetic continuity between the ancient Etruscans and modern-day Tuscans. This will have to be done by extracting DNA from fossils; this has been tried before but the technique for doing so has proved to be very difficult."

"Interestingly, this study of historical origins will give us some pointers for carrying out case-control studies of disease today," says Professor Piazza. "In order to obtain a reliable result, we had to select the control population much more carefully that would normally be done, and we believe that this kind of careful selection would also help in studies of complex genetic diseases."
From the Hindustan Times:

A 2,500-year-old stone coffin with well-preserved colour illustrations from Homer's epics has been discovered in western Cyprus, archaeologists said.
"It is a very important find," Pavlos Flourentzos, director of the island's antiquities department said yesterday. "The style of the decoration is unique, not so much from an artistic point of view, but for the subject and the colours used."

Only two other similar sarcophagi have ever been discovered in Cyprus before. One is housed in New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and the other in the British Museum in London, but their colour decoration is more faded, Flourentzos said.

The limestone sarcophagus was accidentally found by construction workers last week in a tomb near the village of Kouklia, in the coastal Paphos area. The tomb, which probably belonged to an ancient warrior, had been looted during antiquity.

Flourentzos said the coffin - painted in red, black and blue on a white background - dated to 500 BC, when Greek cultural influence was gaining a firm hold on the eastern Mediterranean island. Pottery discovered in the tomb is expected to provide a precise date.

"The style is very simple, it has little to do with later Classical prototypes and rules," Flourentzos said.

Experts believe the ornate decoration features the hero Ulysses in scenes from Homer's Iliad and Odyssey - both hugely popular throughout the Greek world.
June listings are up at the APA site ...
... for the lack of any update yesterday; too many interruptions at the rogueclassicist's household. We'll be in catchup mode for a couple of days ...

ante diem xvii kalendas quinctilias

Quinquatrus minusculae (day 3 of a five-day festival honouring the birthday (maybe) of Minerva )

Quando stercus delatus fas ("When the 'trash' is taken out") and the Temple of Vesta is closed to the public

302 A.D. -- martyrdom of Hesychius

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Vitus (and companions)
anabasis @ Merriam-Webster
Pluto takes another shot ... from ZeeNews:

Poor Pluto has been demoted again.

Calculations published on Thursday show the distant world that astronomers no longer deem a planet is not even the largest of our solar system`s so-called dwarf planets -- it is smaller than recently discovered dwarf planet Eris.

Michael Brown and Emily Schaller of the California Institute of Technology used data collected from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Keck Observatory in Hawaii to determine for the first time that Eris had a greater mass than Pluto.

Eris, discovered in 2005 and named for an ancient Greek goddess of strife and discord, is 27 percent more massive than Pluto, they found. Eris is about half the size of Earth`s moon, Brown said.

Pluto, named for the ancient Greek god of the underworld, was discovered in 1930.

It was considered our solar system`s ninth planet until August 2006, when the International Astronomical Union declared it a dwarf planet, a term referring to lesser, round solar system bodies orbiting the sun, mostly in an outer region called the Kuiper belt.

"I don`t think we`re picking on Pluto," Brown, a professor of planetary astronomy who helped provoke the demotion of Pluto, said in a telephone interview.

"It`s just the truth. It (Eris) just is more massive than Pluto. It`s just the way it is," Brown said.

The findings were published in the journal Science.

Scientists previously had figured that Eris`s diameter was bigger than Pluto`s but did not know about mass.

... of course, only bad things can happen when Eris can comment on the 'inadequacy' of Pluto ...
Here's another drink to add to your Classical mixology repertoire ... an excerpt from the London Free Press:

For example, he says fans of the traditional Bloody Mary or Caesar can bypass the usual tomato or clamato juice and use mango juice instead. Add that to some basil-infused vodka or spicy Inferno Pepper vodka, and you've got a new variation on an old standby. (O'Neil calls the resulting drink an Octavian, because Octavian was the adopted son of Julius Caesar.)


Ron Janoff scripsit:

Octavian? the mix of flavors sounds a lot more like Antonius than Octavian.... I'm sure the Divine Augustus would have stuck with a white wine spritzer at best....and the inevitable twist of lemon


I always figured Octavian to be a bit of a teetotaler ...
From METimes:

Greece Thursday presented a Hellenistic-era torso of the ancient Greek god Apollo discovered in Switzerland more than 15 years after it was stolen from an excavation site on Crete.

The headless torso was in the possession of art dealer David Cahn in Basel, and the Greek authorities intervened just before it was delivered to a private buyer, culture minister George Voulgarakis told a news conference.

"This is the first result of cooperation between our two countries on cultural heritage protection," the minister said. "You will see more [examples] in the coming period."

Greece and Switzerland last month agreed to cooperate on combating the illegal traffic of antiquities and other cultural items.

"This deal was a particularly success, as Switzerland is a country of trade and transit of cultural goods," Voulgarakis said.

The 1st-century BCE statue of Apollo, the ancient Greek god of light and music, was stolen from the archaeological site of Gortyn in 1991 along with nine Roman-era items including vessel fragments and coins.

In March, it was sold by a British art dealer to a German collector and imported into Switzerland for delivery by Cahn, who agreed to unconditionally hand it over to Greece, the ministry said.

The statue had been discovered in the late 19th century by Italian archaeologist Federico Halberr outside the temple of Apollo at Gortyn, which was the regional capital of Crete and Cyrenaica in Roman times.

It is believed to be a copy of the Lycian Apollo, a 4th century BCE statue that stood at the Lyceum of Athens.

A country of rich archaeological tradition targeted by relic hunters for centuries, Greece has spent years trying to reclaim ancient artifacts illegally removed from its borders.

After decades of fruitless effort, the Greek authorities have recently scored some successes, reclaiming four ancient masterpieces from the Los Angeles-based J. Paul Getty Museum and two marble decorative fragments from the Athens Acropolis.
Here's a detail about St. John Lateran I never knew ... from ADN:

Five hundred years after they were first painted, several frescoes adorning the walls of a chapel in Rome said to house the "Holy Stairs" climbed by Jesus when he was brought before Pointius Pilate have appeared in their original colours. The 13-month long restoration of the Chapel of St. Sylvester in Rome's Basilica of St. John Lateran was unveiled Tuesday at a ceremony presided by the director of the Vatican Museums, Francesco Buranelli.

"The hardest work was to recover the 'biacca' used to revive the colours of paintings covered in soot from candlesmoke," explained Francesco China of the Studio 3 workshop that carried out the restoration.

Work on the Chapel of St. Sylvester represents the second phase of a restoration programme for the whole of the Sancta Sanctorum that houses the Scala Sancta (Holy Stairs).

The wooden steps that encase white marble steps, are, according to Roman Catholic tradition, the staircase once leading to Pilate's headquarters in Jerusalem where the Roman governor famously "washed his hands" from Jesus' case.

As the story goes, the steps were brought to Rome from Jerusalem by Saint Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine I, the first Christian emperor. In 1589, Pope Sixtus V relocated the steps to the Sancta Sanctorum purposely built by the architect Domenico Fontana.

The Los Angeles-based Getty Foundation, Rome's provincial authorities and the Selex Communications company are jointly co-ordinating the project and at Tuesday's ceremony the three partners were represented by Getty's director, Deborah Marrow, Rome provincial president Enrico Gasbarra, and Selex's CEO, Maurizio Tucci.

Anyone know whether these stairs have been dated/tested?
From the Sofia Echo ... I'm sure there will be big followups to this one in a few months:

Professor Georgi Kitov and a team of archaeologists will start exploring 12 Thracian mounds located close to the Bulgarian town of Sliven.

Excavation works will cost nearly 200 000 leva, Bulgarian news agency BTA reported.

Director of Sliven’s museum Georgi Kuypchoukov said that the municipality will provide 90 000 leva from its budget for the work of the archaeologists.

Thrace Foundation will also provide funding.

More funding will come from private sponsors.

The aim of Kitov’s expedition is to find out whether the region where Thracian tombs were previously found expands further to the east.
From the Sofia Echo:

The archaeological expedition Strandzha discovered a labyrinth, similar to the famous labyrinth on the island of Crete.

The discovery was made near the village of Golyam Derven, close to the Bulgarian-Turkish border.

Archaeologists also found a skeleton of a ruler in the labyrinth, BGNES news agency reported.

Among the finds in the labyrinth were abundantly ornamented ceramics artifacts with unknown so far elements and bird figures.

This is the second unique discovery that the archaeologists made within a week. A few days ago, they found stone ornament, resembling double axe at the entrance of a tomb.

The ornament changed historians' ideas on the establishment of Thracian state in the region.

Novinite adds (sort of) some details:


The team of Professor Daniela Agre, who are doing excavation works in the area, stumbled upon the unique artefact while researching a an ancient Thracian tomb's entrance stone.

The labyrinth image, which is carved on the slate, is perfectly preserved.

The legendary labyrinth was considered a just a myth from the Greek mythology until the exclusive finding. According to the legends, King Minos ordered the construction of the labyrinth to keep inside the monstrous Minotaur.

The Greek mythology tells about a dispute over the sovereignty of Crete that led Minos to ask Poseidon for help. He asked the god to send an offering as a sign of his true kingship. The god of the sea sent a gleaming pure white bull, which emerged miraculously from the waves. This confirmed that Minos was a true king. However, as soon as King Minos saw the beast he refused to sacrifice it to Poseidon, and replaced it with another. Poseidon in retaliation sent Pasiphae into uncontrollable lust for this huge beast. So much so that she had the urge to mate with this huge animal. The result was the beast Minotaur.

King Minos ordered Daedalus to construct a palace to hide the Minotaur, and Daedalus built Labyrinth.
Sub-Faculty of Ancient History

E-Science, Imaging Technology and Ancient Documents

Applications are invited for two posts for which funding has been
secured through the AHRC-EPSRC-JISC Arts and Humanities E-Science
initiative to support research on the application of Information
Technology to ancient documents. Both posts are attached to a project
which will develop a networked software system that can support the
imaging, documentation, and interpretation of damaged texts from the
ancient world, principally Greek and Latin papyri, inscriptions and
writing tablets. The work will be conducted under the supervision of
Professors Alan Bowman FBA, Sir Michael Brady FRS FREng (University
of Oxford) and and Dr. Melissa Terras (University College London).

1. A Doctoral Studentship for a period of 4 years from 1 October,
2007. The studentship will be held in the Faculty of Classics
(Sub-Faculty of Ancient History) and supported at the Centre for the
Study of Ancient Documents and the Oxford E-Research Centre. The
Studentship award covers both the cost of tuition fees at Home/EU
rates and a maintenance grant. To be eligible for a full award, the
student must have been ordinarily resident in the UK for a period of
3 years before the start of the award.

2. A postdoctoral Research Assistantship for a period of 3 years from
1 October, 2007. The post will be held in the Faculty of Classics
(Sub-Faculty of Ancient History) and supported at the Centre for the
Study of Ancient Documents and the Oxford E-Research Centre. The
salary will be in the range of GBP 26,666 - GBP 31,840 p.a.
Applicants must have expertise in programming and Informatics and an
interest in the application of imaging technology and
signal-processing to manuscripts and documents.

The deadline for receipt of applications is 4 July 2007. Further
details about both posts, the project, the qualifications required
and the method of application are available from Ms Ghislaine Rowe,
Graduate Studies Administrator, Ioannou Centre for Classical and
Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles' , Oxford OX1 3LU (01865 288397,

It is hoped that interviews will be held and the appointments made in
the first half of July.
ante diem xviii kalendas quinctilias

Quinquatrus minusculae (day 2) -- a five-day festival honouring the birthday (maybe) of Minerva

510 B.C. -- establishment of the Roman Republic (source?)

287 -- martyrdom of Rufinus
roister @ Merriam-Webster (never knew that one!)

dehort @ Wordsmith

proselytize @ Worthless Word for the Day
From Bloomberg:

Michael Brand, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, has a problem that won't go away: a dispute with the Italian government over ancient artworks in the museum's collection. Once-promising negotiations have completely broken down.

In the 18 months that Brand has led the museum, he's strengthened its acquisition policy, hired several key staff members and helped organize new shows. He also helped repair the museum's reputation and that of the parent Getty Trust, the world's richest art institution with a $5.6 billion endowment.

The trust last year settled an investigation by the California attorney general into the Getty's governance. Brand struck an agreement with the Greek government over disputed antiquities, returning four objects this year, and was making progress in talks with Italy's Ministry of Culture over 52 disputed works.

``Everything was going along fine -- which isn't to say it was easy, but we knew what we agreed on and what we had yet to reach agreement on,'' Brand recalled in an interview. ``And then last November they placed a new condition on the table, that without the Getty Bronze there would be no agreement at all.''

The Getty Bronze, or ``Statue of a Victorious Youth,'' is a life-size Greek sculpture of a muscular nude athlete made between 300 B.C. and 100 B.C. that the museum acquired in 1977 for $3.95 million. It's a highlight of the collection, displayed in a special room of its own at the Getty Villa in Malibu.

International Waters

The museum's position is that the statue was made in Greece, looted by the Romans about 2,000 years ago and lost at sea. It was then discovered in 1964, in international waters of the Aegean Sea, by Italian fishermen who brought it ashore and quickly sold the heavily encrusted work to a local art dealer. After it was sold a second time the next year, the sculpture was shipped out of the country and eventually ended up with a Munich art dealer who sold the piece to the Getty.

In 1965, Italian authorities charged the first dealer and three others with theft and illegal sale of state property, claiming the work was part of Italy's cultural heritage. A court in Perugia ruled the next year that the prosecution didn't prove its case, especially that the statue was found in Italian waters and thus was state property. The decision was upheld on appeal.

``We acquired the object after those two cases,'' Brand said. ``At the time, the Italian Ministry of Culture made no claim on the object and made no claim on it after we acquired it.'' More investigations by the Italians in the 1970s and '80s failed to come up with clear proof that the statue was state property.

`Domestic Politics'

Yet the controversy wouldn't die. In 1995, Italian authorities approached Marion True, then the Getty's curator of antiquities, seeking the return of the ``Victorious Youth.'' The museum maintained its position that Italy had no valid claim. Still, Italian newspapers continued to report on the case.

``It's fair to say that the status of that object has entered the realm of domestic politics, for whatever reasons,'' Brand said. ``Which, of course, makes it harder for us, because that's nothing we can deal with.''

The Italian position is that the Getty has completely missed the point: Museums shouldn't buy and display smuggled art. The bronze should be considered illicitly trafficked because none of the people who bought and sold it ever declared the statue's export from Italy, as required by law, Minister of Culture Francesco Rutelli said.

``We're not talking about legal issues; we're talking about moral issues,'' Rutelli said at a Nov. 23 news conference in Rome, where he outlined the government's decision to hold out for the bronze. ``Can a great international museum exhibit to the public objects that are undoubtedly trafficked?''

Narrow Issue

He said the Getty should know better than to base its claim on court cases that addressed only the narrow issue of whether the statue had been found in Italian waters -- and not other potential crimes, such as illegal export. While the rulings said there wasn't enough proof to show the bronze was discovered in Italian waters, that's a far cry from saying it was certainly found in international waters, Rutelli said.

``The athlete was found by fishermen off the coast of Italy, and then taken to Italy, then hidden in Italy and then trafficked from Italy,'' Rutelli said.

``There are two possibilities, that it was sold legally or not,'' he said. ``It was clandestinely exported from this country.''

After the U.S. and Italy signed a cultural treaty in 2001 that required the U.S. to return artifacts illegally exported after that year, the Italian government targeted antiquities in several U.S. collections, including the Getty, New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts.

Curator on Trial

Italy also charged two art dealers and former curator True with buying looted artifacts. One dealer has been convicted and the other remains on trial in Rome with True, who denies the charges. True resigned her position at the museum in 2005 after an unrelated ethics scandal related to a personal loan. The Getty continues to pay her legal bills for the Rome trial.

When the Australian-born, Harvard-educated Brand arrived at the Getty in late 2005, after serving as director of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, he quickly sought to resolve the disputes with both the Greek and Italian governments. Among the 52 objects sought by Italy was another of the museum's most important works, a marble and limestone sculpture of a goddess in flowing robes popularly known as the Aphrodite, which the Getty bought in 1988 from a London dealer for $18 million.

Partial Deal

By last October, before talks broke down, the Getty had agreed in principle to return 26 objects and Italy had agreed to drop its claim to six others. Ownership of the remaining artworks, including the Aphrodite, was still to be resolved.

Since then the Getty has dropped its resistance to returning the Aphrodite, and last month it conducted a scholarly workshop on the origins of the sculpture. While the study yielded no definitive answers, it reinforced the museum's view that the statue came from southern Italy or Sicily.

``We acknowledge that the Italian claim is a serious claim,'' Brand said in an interview after the workshop. ``We have doubts about what we've been told about the provenance.''

Brand repeated an earlier offer to transfer title to the Aphrodite immediately and physically return the object to Italy within a year, after completing study of it. Yet Italy's Ministry of Culture declined to participate in the workshop and hasn't responded to Brand's offer to transfer title. (The Sicilian Ministry of Culture sent a representative to the workshop.)

``We've seen some reports that imply that this is a delaying tactic,'' Brand said. ``This is absolutely not a delaying tactic. The object could already have a label saying `Property of the republic of Italy, on loan to the Getty.'''


At this point, the dispute all comes back to the Getty Bronze, an issue that Brand says is beyond his control.

``This is really something, in the end, that the Italian side has to resolve, because I can't recommend to our board of trustees to return that object because we don't believe there is any reason to do so. We have presented that information to the Italians. It is up to them to find some way through that impasse.''

Italy still insists that any agreement include the Getty Bronze, said Maurizio Fiorilli, a government lawyer who represents the Ministry of Culture in negotiations with museums.

``No matter what location it was fished from, it was a work that entered Italy and should have been declared to customs. This piece should be confiscated,'' Fiorilli said last month. ``The Getty knows this very well.''

Possible Boycott

Brand says an agreement with the minister of culture is still possible, and so far the disagreement hasn't broadened into an outright cultural boycott.

``The good news is that we've had confirmation from Minister Rutelli's office that, for the moment, it should be business as usual,'' Brand said. ``They ask for loans from us, we ask for loans from them. It remains to be seen whether the loans actually take place. We are hoping they will; we've been told they will go ahead. Our foundation is still working on projects in Italy. The Getty Conservation Institute is still planning projects with Italian colleagues.''

Yet he's concerned that business as usual ``might not last forever. I'm just hoping that reason will prevail. I just hope that, in this day and age, the talk of cultural embargoes really hasn't any place. What would a boycott mean? That Italians aren't able to access Getty databases? That Getty books can't be sold in Italy? It harms exhibitions. There must be better ways of dealing with this,'' he said, shaking his head.

``We remain absolutely ready to talk anytime if there's something constructive to talk about. There are other objects that we haven't reached agreement on yet, and we're perfectly happy to talk about them.''
A while back, the Greek government tried to prevent an auction of assorted antiques once owned by George I (the Greek one) ... at the time, I was struck by the lack of any antiquities among the antiques. Perhaps this is why ... from SAWF:

More than 200 ancient items and 300 paintings were found inside sealed containers in a royal stable and in the basement of the main residence at Tatoi, some 25 kilometres (15 miles) northwest of the Greek capital, culture ministry officials said during a media tour of the site on Tuesday.

"It's a real treasure hunt, we are in the process of removing these marvellous items from boxes stacked in disorderly heaps," restoration supervisor Nikos Minos told AFP.

A team of 21 archaeologists and restorers started work at the crumbling, 19th-century estate three months ago as part of a bid to catalogue its contents before restoration work starts to find a new role for the site.

The collection includes the bronze helmet of an ancient Greek soldier, ancient glasswork including a perfume vial from Roman times, idols and clay vessels -- among them a 2,700-year-old painted jug bearing the form of a horseman, found intact to the amazement of archaeologists.

"It is a collection of great value, and happily in good condition despite the storage conditions," said archaeologist Dimitris Kaziannis.

The paintings are mainly 19th-century Greek masters but a number belong to the 18th-century French and Venetian schools.

The search also yielded over 100 religious icons and vessels, most of them not known to be in the royal collection catalogued by the late Queen Frederika, mother of Constantine and Sofia, the present-day queen of Spain.

Kaziannis said archaeologists found "a lot more" than was listed in either the inventory compiled on Frederika's orders, a later catalogue drawn up in 1973, or a final tally drawn up in 1991 when the former royal family was permitted to remove a number of items inside 10 containers.

"We are continuing our search, there are surely more items to discover," said Kaziannis.

Home to the Greek royal family for decades, Tatoi in its heyday welcomed the cream of European royalty, from Kaiser William II of Germany and Tsar Nicholas II of Russia to King Edward VII of England and Empress Elisabeth (Sissy) of Austria-Hungary.

Originally purchased in 1872 by King George I of Greece, a scion of Denmark's ruling house of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Gluecksburg, Tatoi fell onto hard times when its last owners abandoned it in 1967 shortly after a group of army putschists took control of government.

The estate was seized by the junta in 1973 along with other properties, sparking a legal grudge that was only resolved in 2002 when the European Court of Human Rights ordered the Greek state to pay 13.2 million euros (17.6 million dollars) to the former royal family.

Today, the rustic 4,700-hectare (11,610-acre) estate lies largely abandoned, its 37 romantic-style buildings in various degrees of disrepair and some barely standing.

Greek Culture Minister George Voulgarakis on Tuesday said the Greek state intends to turn Tatoi into a park and establish a museum on the site, but the restoration effort will require at least another five years.

"Whether we like it or not, these items and buildings are part of our history and they should be exhibited," he told reporters.

The Greeks voted to abolish the monarchy in 1974, in a referendum held shortly after the army junta collapsed and democracy was restored in the country.

In January, Greece unsuccessfully tried to halt the auction at Christie's of 850 objects belonging to George I -- many of them silverware and works by jeweller Peter Carl Faberge.
Didn't know this detail (inter alia) about the Trevi Fountain ... from the BBC:

A builder's mistake has cut off the water supply to one of Rome's most famous fountains - the Trevi.

Water company Acea said the wall of an ancient Roman aqueduct which supplies the fountain was damaged by builders constructing an underground garage.

Water from a second aqueduct has been redirected to the Trevi to avoid the spectacle of it running dry.

The Trevi, a baroque landmark dating from the 18th Century, was popularised by films such as La Dolce Vita.

"The problem is that they damaged the aqueduct. It's more than 2,000 years old and has archaeological value as well," Acea's Giorgio Signore told the BBC News website.

The builder of a new car park in northern Rome partially walled up the Aqua Virgo conduit after damaging its structure, plugging the flow of the water.

"The Aqua Virgo aqueduct was one of two Roman water channels built underground. It was one of the few to escape being destroyed by the barbarians and to survive intact," Mr Signore said.

"Unfortunately, it has been destroyed by their descendants," he added.

The Aqua Virgo conduit was originally constructed by Marcus Agrippa during the reign of the Emperor Augustus.

Both surviving Roman aqueducts supply non-potable water that flows through many of the fountains which grace the city's squares, as well as watering its public parks and gardens.

Ancient Romans built a series of aqueducts and conduits to supply the city with water, some of which were subsequently restored by various popes during the Middle Ages.

During the Aqua Virgo's latest repair works, estimated to take at least two months, water will be redirected from the other surviving underground aqueduct into the Trevi Fountain.

But in the short term, the water currently gushing through the fountain will have to be recycled to avoid turning it off.

"We can repair it but we can't really reconstruct it the way it was built," Mr Signore said.

From BMCR:

M.J. Clarke, B.G.F. Currie, R.O.A.M. Lyne (edd.), Epic Interactions: Perspectives on Homer, Virgil, and the Epic Tradition presented to Jasper Griffin by former pupils.

Shaher M. Rababeh, How Petra was Built. An analysis of the construction techniques of the Nabataean freestanding buildings and rock-cut monuments in Petra, Jordan. BAR International Series 1460.

Bruce Gibson, Statius. Silvae 5. Edited with Introduction, Translation and Commentary. Oxford Classical Monographs.

Ilaria Ramelli, Il basileus come nomos empsychos tra diritto naturale e diritto divino. Spunti platonici del concetto e sviluppi di eta imperiale e tardo-antica.

R. D. Dawe, Sophocles. Oedipus Rex. Revised edition.

Jan Bouzek, Lidia Domaradzka, The Culture of Thracians and their Neighbours, Proceedings of the International Symposium in Memory of Prof. Mieczyslaw Domaradzki, with a Round Table "Archaeological Map of Bulgaria". BAR International Series 1350.

From Scholia:

John M. Wilkins and Shaun Hill, Food in the Ancient World. Ancient Cultures Series.

From the Times:

Christopher Tadgell, Antiquity: Origins, Classicism and the New Rome

From Newsday:

Rick Riordan, The Titan's Curse (semi-historical fiction for children)

idus junias

Quinquatrus minusculae (day 1)

? -- dedication of a Temple of Jupiter Invictus (and associated rites thereafter)

323 B.C.-- death of Alexander the Great after a brief illness (according to one reckoning)

40 A.D. -- birth of Gnaeus Julius Agricola

313 A.D. -- Edict of Toleration of Licinius
peradventure @ Merriam-Webster

contravene @
From Wanted In Rome:

In February a new book, a fine slim volume, stirred up a wasps’ nest of controversy. It is boldly called “The capitoline she-wolf. A mediaeval bronze.” The meaning of the very emblem of Rome, the she-wolf sculpture in the Capitoline Museums, sign of antique might and power of the city, is being challenged. What is at stake is a loaded symbol cherished through the ages.
A dutiful scholar and restorer, Anna Maria Carruba, who has cleaned, reconstructed and studied it, argues in this book that the famous sculpture is not Etruscan but was cast in the Middle Ages. The Lupa is not from about 700 BC, but from 700 AD. She does not come from the rolling hills of Etruscan pre-Roman Latium by the Tiber, but from the dark forests of Carolingian Germany.
This is how we see the unforgettable Lupa: there she stands firmly poised on all fours, taut, her head twisted to the left. Her ears are stiff in sharp alert, her eyebrows triangular over fierce eyes. Her nose is shiny, polished, wet.
Her maw is half open about to slaver, about to growl to defend her brood in neat aggression. Her symmetrical lines of udders hang full of milk. The mane around her muzzle and the crest of curls on her back are in tight plaited rows. The pelt over her bones is carefully modelled. All is a cunning repeat of pattern honed down to a streamlining flow, an almost oriental stylisation. It cradles an extraordinary intensity of expression, the pride of might and plenitude.
The babies, Romulus and Remus, reaching up to drink, made by the Renaissance sculptor Antonio Pollaiuolo (1432-1498), are mild and cuddly, no match for the focused severity of the mother arched above them.
The main body of Carruba’s work rests on a technical cavil. She asserts that the bronze in the Capitoline Museums, always believed to have been Etruscan, could not be so because it was made in one single cast. The Etruscans, the Greeks and the Romans made sculpture in hot metal mixtures most often in the so-called “Lost wax” or “Cire perdue” process. This means the sculptor makes the basic sculpture roughly in plaster. Then he coats it with wax. After this he covers the core with clay and lets it set. Then through vents, molten metal is poured between these layers. In the end the wax is lost and instead the cooled metal remains as the true final shape.
Carruba explains that the ancients made all their bronze sculptures in this way, casting them in separate pieces then soldering these together, leaving hardly discernible seams.
In the Middle Ages the demand for pure sound in church bells required unsoldered, seamless work. The first people to cast sculpture in one piece were probably the Carolingians. She asserts that the Lupa was made in one single throw. She says that in Etruscan times creation of a single-piece cast was impossible.
Was it? Through charted and uncharted history insoluble wonders of the human mind have been found. How could the Stonehenge people, how could the Egyptians have known how to build according to precise stellar calculations? How could the tiny mechanism as small as a shoebox, found in an ancient shipwreck near the Antikythera island in the Aegean, have been so ineffably modern? It is an analog computer made in circa 150 BC. Do we go back or do we go forward? High periods of development are always followed by fallow ones. No reasonable logic favours these sports, but how poor have we become to trust in the choking finding of tangible facts alone?
After writing with sober and clear assurance about the lost wax process and one-piece casting, Carruba backs up her astounding assertion with tidy photographs detailing mediaeval sculpture corresponding to her idea of the she-wolf as a symbol of papal power and justice under Charlemagne. She hardly refers to Etruscan sculpture and its splendid terracottas.
Not once does she mention how the she-wolf, with her so very visible teats, is the very emblem of rich sheltering motherhood. Dr Larissa Bonfante, the editor of Etruscan News who teaches at New York University, said that only technicians and the former head of the Sovrintendenza Archeologica, Adriano La Regina, believe in the mediaeval wolf. However, sculptor and scholar Peter Rockwell, who also supports Carruba’s theory, told me: “Restorers are more trustworthy on technique than art historians. In Roman times, statues believed to have been made in 200 BC were actually made centuries later.”
In a stormy marathon meeting on 28 February convened by Gilda Bartoloni, professor of Etruscan studies at Rome’s La Sapienza University, a host of active archaeologists, art historians and restorers were assembled. La Regina was backing Carruba’s new theory. But many scholars, armed with their own photographs, attacked the theory for its insensitivity to style and iconography, the vision of the sculptor disregarded.
The argument of Eugenio La Rocca, sovrintendente of the Capitoline Museums and the very keeper of the Lupa, ran somewhat like this: “Our period exalts the objectivity of technology, forgetting that it is for man to question and interpret it…”
The Etruscans were traders and seafarers. They were interested in hoarding riches, not in conquering. They were merchants, not warriors. We owe the survival of the major part of Greek vases, that marvellous example of the best of the human spirit, to the Etruscans’ fervid collecting. Their Roman sons, more rough, were ashamed of them because of their sophisticated, laid-back lifestyle and their belief in the equality of women. But they inherited their grand gift for building: aqueducts, the major and minor highways, the arches and basilicas, were totally Etruscan.
Perhaps the Etruscans came from the east. Their art in paint, terracotta and bronze was of taut line inhabited by elegant stylisation, a fine restraint laced with enigmatic lyricism.
By contrast, after the bounty of Greek and Roman classicism had sunk into the Middle Ages, a sturdier and rougher attack set in. For all its expressive drive, Middle Ages art has little fluidity, nor does it wish to. It projects a fervent and pungent new power; it has nothing to do with the pagan: it is Christian art.
We look at the Lupa, a lure from dark times and mystical forces from a pagan river valley, the pure wild female. She stands over us, a sign of the will of life and its plenitude. Long live La Lupa etrusca!
From Novinite:

Archaeologists have discovered Tuesday a Mycenaean bronze sword cap in an ancient Thracian sanctuary in Bulgaria.

The artifact was unearthed in the sanctuary, which is situated in between ten rock tombs in Arda River valley near the village of Dolno Cherkovishte.

The marble cap has once been put at a bronze sword haft and was among the gifts, presented by the Thracians at the sanctuary more than 1,300 years ago.

"The find dates from 15th century BC and it is typical for the Mycenaean armament," the archaeologist Georgi Nihrizov explained.

That is the second marble cap, discovered by his group. The first one was found few years ago near the town of Krumovgrad.

"We have also discovered several religious fireplaces and different kind of gifts in the sanctuary," d-r Nihrizov added.

The rock, where the sanctuary is situated has the form of a lying lion. It is surrounded by tombs, fortresses and an ancient hamlet, which will be objects of further excavation works.
Various versions of this AP via Yahoo story kicking around this a.m.:

Italian police have recovered an ancient Greek temple dug up in southern Italy by a construction crew who had dumped or looted the prized artifacts and begun to pour cement over the ruins, authorities said Tuesday.

After receiving information about the discovery during construction work on a tourist resort on the coast of southern Calabria, police used helicopters to locate the site near the town of Crotone, said art squad officials from the Carabinieri paramilitary police.

More than 50 artifacts, including columns and mosaics, had been excavated from the site and used to decorate another hotel complex nearby, while other pieces had been placed in a dump to be reused as construction material.

When police located the site last week, workers were preparing to lay the foundations of the resort hotel on the remaining ruins, said Gen. Giovanni Nistri, the head of the art squad.

"It would have been the final tombstone for this temple," Nistri told a news conference in Rome.

Police identified two suspects for possible prosecution for failing to alert authorities about the find, damaging the site and for illegal possession of archaeological artifacts, Nistri said. The two were not arrested.

Italy is full of archaeological treasures — many undiscovered — and developers are required to report any finds. Countless public and private works have been scrapped or delayed over the years as state archaeologists descended on building sites, and it is not uncommon for developers to fail to report a discovery and plow through ancient treasures.

In Rome, plans to build a third subway line have been delayed for decades, and in 1999, the construction of a parking garage caused outrage after workers sliced through a Roman villa during hurried preparations for the Holy Year celebrations and mosaics and ceramics from the ruins turned up in a garbage dump on Rome's outskirts.

The discovery of the Greek temple is of "extraordinary historic and artistic value" and experts believe it may be part of a larger ancient settlement, the Carabinieri said in a statement.

The ruins are "one big puzzle" for scholars, as the area was previously thought to be devoid of such important public buildings, said archaeological superintendent Giovanni Guzzo.

The temple mixes two styles of Greek architecture, combining the austere Doric with the more graceful decorations of Ionic. It was probably built between the fourth and third centuries B.C. by the Bruzii, an Italic population that lived under Hellenistic influence, which at the time extended across southern Italy, Guzzo said.

He said that over the next months archaeologists will work to enlarge the 165-by-65-foot dig. They will also try to reconstruct how the original temple must have looked by piecing together the remains scattered and damaged by the developers.

... this is a prime example, by the way, of an attitude which is the direct result of Italian policies toward antiquities. Anything found becomes the property of the state -- and any compensation for same is non-existent.
According to Movieweb, the second season of HBO's Rome will be on DVD and in the stores on August 14 ...


Nick Fletcher glosses:

Actually, the release date got pushed up a week to August 7th. Check out
From the Flint Journal comes a few more details of the project:

The newest thing on the World Wide Web soon will be a 1,000-year-old manuscript, thanks in part to a Powers Catholic High School graduate who is now an assistant professor of classics at Holy Cross College here.

Mary Ebbott, from Powers' class of 1988, helped prepare all 327 pages of a 10th-century copy of Homer's "Iliad" for Internet viewing.

"It's in the raw format. It still needs to be processed," said Ebbott, 37, part of a team of scholars with Harvard University's Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. "When it's done, we want other scholars to study the manuscript."

The "Iliad," is an 8th-century-B.C. epic poem dealing with the siege of Troy. Ebbott said it and Homer's "Odyssey" were sung for centuries before ever being written down.

"Even after they were written down, the oral tradition continued along with a now textual tradition," she said.

Ebbott said she became interested in the "Iliad" while working on her doctorate at Harvard.

Digital photographers with the team spent about three weeks in Venice, Italy - at the Marciana Library, where the manuscript is preserved - shooting each of the goatskin pages of the Greek manuscript, beginning the process of opening the poem up for close scrutiny.

Ebbott worked as an editor. She returned from Italy late last month.

She said the Homer Multitext project will preserve and, in fact, even show more than the naked eye now can see of the ancient pages.

There was a trade-off, however.

"We were told the manuscript aged 10 years just from the few weeks that it was being photographed," she said.
We've had a report from this site before ... from Novinite:

The antique archaeology findings, that were unearthed in the temple of the Phrygian Goddess Cybele in Bulgaria, will be exhibited in the seaside town of Balchik.

Scientists will soon develop a project for adapting the unique archaeology monument of antique art to the surrounding buildings.

In the last couple of days the archaeologists working on the object found a third marble statue of the goddess - a deification of the Earth Mother. One of the most precious findings in the temple of Cybele is a 50-centimeter-high Doric column with a well-preserved inscription addressed to the Roman emperor Valerius Licinianus Licinius.

The archaeologists believe this is the biggest temple of Cybele in Bulgaria. The walls were at least 2.5 meters high, and the base of the building is huge, compared to other important buildings of the same age.

A huge fire or a disastrous earthquake destroyed the temple, the archaeologists believe.

The first finding in the temple was discovered at the end of April, when archaeologists found a 30-centimeter-long marble statue of Cybele in Balchik. The rare find was unearthed during excavation works for 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.

Originally a Phrygian goddess, Cybele was a deification of the Earth Mother who was worshiped in Anatolia from Neolithic times. Like Gaia (the "Earth") or her Minoan equivalent Rhea, Cybele embodies the fertile earth, a goddess of caverns and mountains, walls and fortresses, nature, wild animals. Her title "potnia theron", which is also associated with the Minoan Great Mother, alludes to her ancient Neolithic roots as "Mistress of the Animals". She becomes a life-death-rebirth deity in connection with her consort, her son Attis.
From Kathimerini:

How do this country’s Balkan neighbors interpret ancient Greek drama? Lovers of theater will get a taste of interpretations of eight ancient Greek plays in seven languages during the first Theater Festival of Southeastern Europe, scheduled to open its doors in Thessaloniki this Thursday.

Eight theater companies stemming from Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Albania, Turkey, Greece and Cyprus are taking part in this first theater gathering, in a bridge of communication set up by the State Theater of Northern Greece.

“We are not going to see traditional ancient drama productions. It looks like our neighbors see ancient drama from a completely different perspective from what we’re used to. In Southeastern Europe, in countries that have recently experienced turbulence, timeless ancient Greek works become a basis for research on current issues, whether political, social or existential,” said the director of the State Theater of Northern Greece, Nikitas Tsakiroglou.

Euripides’ “Medea” is one of the festival’s favorite subject matters, as it will be staged by four different companies: the Turkish State Theater of Ankara, the National Theater of Craiova (Romania), Atelier 31 (in tandem with Albania’s State Theater) and Hungary’s Katona Jozsef Theater.

“Medea” is also the inspiration behind Gungor Dilmen’s “Kurba” (The Sacrifice) – a masterpiece of contemporary Turkish theater. In a number of Turkish provinces, even though the law prohibits men to marry more than one woman, religious tradition allows men to marry up to three. Ayse Emel Mesci’s direction is a sensitive take on the drama of an Anatolian woman who challenges her fate.

“The main question raised by the play is not the relationship between a man and a woman, but Medea’s revenge due to the insult she has been subjected to,” said Hungarian director Gabor Zsambeki of a production that he has been working on for the last 10 years.

Love is the issue that young Greek director Yiannis Paraskevopoulos is putting forward in a production of “Medea” by the National Theater of Craiova. “It wasn’t easy for the Romanian troupe to approach the Euripidean tragedy,” said Paraskevopoulos, adding, however, that they did feel the urge to comprehend the ancient tragedy’s messages.

Albanian director Mikel Kalemi’s “Medea” is “a victim driven to violence.” “She was betrayed, scorned and abandoned – and she got mad. Her revenge was so huge that the Earth mourned,” he noted. The Slovenian National Theater is staging Slovenian author Ivo Svetina’s poetic drama “Oedipus in Corinth.” The work describes Oedipus’ childhood in Corinth, with an emphasis on his existential questions, while director Ivica Buljan has focused his take on the causes behind contemporary society’s depression.

Inspired by the Theban Cycle, “My Homeland – Seven Dreams” will be staged by Serbia’s BITEF festival, directed by Nikita Milivojevic. According to the director, the play comprises seven stories (or seven dreams) which result in an image of absolute paranoia, where the only certainty is that when it comes to power, fratricide rules throughout time.

The Cyprus Theater Organization is staging Euripides’ “Iphigenia in Tauris,” in a production directed by Yiannis Margaritis, while the State Theater of Northern Greece is taking part with Aristophanes’ “Lysistrata” directed by Yiannis Iordanidis.

In Thessaloniki, the festival’s performances will take place at the Vassiliko Theater, the Dassos Theater and the Theater of the Society of Macedonian Studies.
Please inform any interested and qualified candidates about the posting
below. The closing date for applications is July 31st 2007. Further
details and application instructions are available here:

Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History (A395-07O)
The Department of Classics and Ancient History seeks to appoint a
Lecturer with special expertise in the field of Ancient History, with
effect from February 2008.

The successful candidate will teach at all levels in the Department and
contribute to developing and strengthening the Department's curriculum.
Applicants should preferably have a PhD or equivalent in Roman or Greek
History. Furthermore, applicants should have a record of successful
teaching experience, and be engaged in ongoing research of excellent
quality by international standards. Applicants should outline briefly
what they can teach other than Roman and Greek History, and at what
levels. An ability to teach Latin or Greek is essential.

The Department teaches four subjects in the BA degree (Ancient History,
Classical Studies, Greek, Latin), and three in the BA (Hons.) and MA
(Ancient History, Greek, Latin). In Ancient History, courses on ancient
Rome, Greece and Egypt are offered, in a pattern which makes it
necessary to study at least two ancient cultures in order to get a BA
major and (with one ancient language) a BA (Hons.) or MA in Ancient
History. The PhD degree is offered in Ancient History, Greek and Latin.

The Department is focusing on increasing its research profile and its
graduate research enrolments.

Enquiries of an academic nature should be addressed to Dr. Marcus
Wilson, Head of the Department of Classics and Ancient History, 64-9-373
7599, Ext. 87622, email: mj.wilson AT
Digital Classicist/Institute of Classical Studies Work in Progress
Seminar, Summer 2007

Friday 15th June at 16:30, in room NG16, Senate House, Malet Street, London

Boris Rankov (Royal Holloway)
'3D-Simulation of Ancient Naval Warfare'


A presentation of a grant proposal to the AHRC for a multi-disciplinary
project on ancient naval warfare, using a computerised ship-manoeuvring
programme and 3-D simulation. The project involves the Classics
department at Royal Holloway, the War Studies department at King's
College London, the Naval Architecture department at University College,
London, and a commercial marine-research company, HR Wallingford.

The seminar will be followed by wine and refreshments.

For more information please contact Gabriel.Bodard AT or
Simon.Mahony AT, or see the seminar website at
pridie idus junias

456 B.C. -- Herodotus recites his Histories at Athens (according to one reckoning; supposedly on the 12th of Hekatombaion)

17 B.C. -- venatio, ludi circenses, lusus Troiae (the latter was a sort of precision equestrian drill put on by the sons of the rich and famous, probably a lot like the RCMP's Musical Ride)

86 A.D. -- ludi Capitolini (day 7)
succor @ Merriam-Webster

fulminate @
John Noble Wilford writes in the New York Times:

The story of Romulus and Remus is almost as old as Rome. The orphan twins were suckled by a she-wolf in a cave on the banks of the Tiber. Romulus grew up to found Rome in 753 B. C.

Historians have long since dismissed the story as a charming legend. The 19th-century historian Theodor Mommsen said: “The founding of the city in the strict sense, such as the legend assumes, is of course to be reckoned out of the question: Rome was not built in a day.”

Yet the legend is as imperishable as Mommsen’s skeptical verdict, and it has been invigorated by recent archaeological finds.

This year, Italian archaeologists reported discovering the long-lost cave under the Palatine Hill that ancient Romans held sacred as the place where the twins were nursed. The grown brothers fought over leadership of the new city, the story goes, and Romulus killed Remus and became the first king.

The cave was no surprise to Andrea Carandini, a historian and an archaeologist at the University of Rome, who has said, “The tale of the birth of Rome is part myth and part historical truth.” He had already found remains of an ancient wall and ditch and also ruins of a palace that he said was built in the eighth century B.C.

“When I excavated the Romulean-age wall on the Palatine, I realized that I was looking at the very origins of Rome as a city-state,” Dr. Carandini said in a long interview in the July-August issue of the magazine Archaeology.

Dr. Carandini said the wall, built on the slopes occupied by huts of the pre-Roman settlement, was dated through a number of foundation deposits to about 775-750 B.C. He said that the wall was possibly the sacred boundary in Rome’s foundation legend and concluded that it was “archaeological evidence of the existence of Romulus and Remus.”

Based on these and other findings, Dr. Carandini said of Rome’s founding, “everything was born” after 750 B.C. “There was no gradual expansion of an old core, but the sudden evolution of a city that was great and remains great.”

The magazine noted that Dr. Carandini’s support of the legend “has earned him the admiration of the Roman public but the disapproval of many of his colleagues.”

A lecture that Dr. Carandini gave last fall in Rome attracted 5,000 people, an Italian newspaper reported. But other archaeologists, while praising his excavations, were skeptical of his interpretations.

Albert Ammerman, an archaeologist at Colgate University who has excavated Roman ruins, said in the magazine that the presence of certain physical remains did not necessarily validate the literary tradition of Rome’s founding and the existence of someone known as Romulus.
Author Caroline Lawrence dropped me a line which might be of interest to the wider rc community:

You might be interested to know that the Roman Mysteries TV series is due to
'reboot' in the UK, on BBC1 on Tuesdays at 4.30pm from 19 June, starting
from the first episode, The Secrets of Vesuvius, and running for nine more
half-hour episodes, ten in all.

(You may or may not know it was suspended for a few weeks due to sensitivity
about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.)

Some interesting facts about the series:

- cost £1 million per episode
- the most expensive British children's TV series to date
- was filmed on location in Tunisia and Malta
- stars Simon Callow, Nicholas Farrell and Liz May Brice, to name a few
- has stunning sets, costumes and soundtrack
- is linked to a great BBC website with clips and interactive games based on
the series

You can read a review from the Sydney Morning Herald here:

(reprinted with permission)

Hopefully we'll get to see this series on this side of the pond; haven't even seen any torrents for this one ...
From Novinite:

Archaeologists have discovered the most ancient ruler's symbol on Bulgarian territory, what was once the kingdom of the Thracian tribes.

The Bulgarian archaeologists Daniela Agre and Deyan Dichev, who are leading the Strandzha expedition, made the announcement for the exceptional finding on the Bulgarian National Radio on Monday.

The artifact was unearthed near the village of Golyam Dervent. Dichev and Agre were researching a dolmen (dolmens were the first Thracian tombs) when they noticed a frieze of intertwined zoomorphic and geometrical elements carved on the entrance of the tomb. The most interesting part of the discovery is the double-axe (labris) - a symbol of power in the Thracian society - placed inside a circle. The labris has lots of additional ornamentation on it, Dichev said. The frieze includes the images of snakes, which were the symbol of the king in the Thracian religious beliefs.

This is the first time when such an artifact is found on the territory, where Thracian tribes have lived in the 9-8 BC.

The ladris had later become the symbol of the king dynasty of the of the Odris tribes, which is the most powerful state organization in the second half of the firs millennium before Christ.
The appearance of this symbol three centuries earlier shows that organizing a state has started on this territory first.

Two years ago archaeologists found similar symbol of royalty on the entrance of a neighboring dolmen. There is no doubt that these two dolmens were the tombs of a mighty clan of rulers and priests, who lived around the end of the 9th to the end of 8th century BC.

At one point in the past, a certain archaeologist was claiming Minoan connections based on these double axes ...
From ME Times comes:

Greek archaeologists have uncovered four intact tombs some 30 centuries old and Roman baths from a later period in the southwest of the country, the local media reported Monday.

The four tombs date from the Mycenaean period (1450 BC to 1050 BC) and are reported to contain many objects such as toys, ceramics, and figurines.

The find was made near Olympia in the Peloponnese region in an area that had been excavated in the 1960s and the end of the 1990s.

One of the tombs found by a team headed by archaeologist Olympia Bikatou was apparently that of a child and held toys, images of protecting deities, and an effigy of the mother, a woman clasping a child.

Bikatou told a seminar at Olympia that her team had found ceramics in the form of boxes, alabaster pots, and amphorae, some of which had four handles, "which give a complete picture of a Mycenaean ceramics workshop."

One of the objects was a flask showing Cypriot influence, suggesting that there were links with the island.

One piece of an amphora has a design showing a body displayed on a stretcher carried by four men, which according to Bikatou, "is the only scene of this type in Mycenaean iconography."

The tombs also held intaglio work in the form of engraved stones and seals in steatite and jewelry such as necklaces and pearls.

Giorgia Hatzi, head of the regional archaeological department, said that Roman baths covering an area of 1,000 square meters (3,300 square feet) had been found in the region.

They operated from the first to the fourth century AD and consisted of 16 rooms around a central marble-clad colonnade. The cloisters were covered with mosaics.
My mailbox is rapidly filling with versions of this one ... here's the one from the Seattle Times:

Computer experts today unveiled a digital reproduction of ancient Rome as it appeared at the peak of its power in A.D. 320 — what they called the largest and most complete simulation of a historic city ever created.

Visitors to virtual Rome — will be able to do even more than ancient Romans did. They can go through the bowels of the Coliseum and fly up for a detailed look at bas-reliefs and inscriptions atop triumphal arches. "This is the first step in the creation of a virtual time machine, which our children and grandchildren will use to study the history of Rome and many other great cities around the world," said Bernard Frischer of the University of Virginia, who led the project.

The $2 million simulation will be used by scientists to run experiments — such as determining the crowd capacity of ancient buildings — and as a scholarly journal that will be updated at each new discovery of one of Rome's marvels.

Frischer also said students and tourists can also use the program to learn about ancient Rome. To get a taste, go to and click on "gallery" for video and still clips.

The simulation reconstructs some 7,000 buildings at the time of emperor Constantine, when Rome was a vibrant and cosmopolitan city of about 1 million people, said Bernard Frischer of the University of Virginia, who led the project.

Guided by laser scans of modern-day Rome and advice from archaeologists, experts have rebuilt almost the entire city within its original 13-mile-long wall using the same computer programs architects use to plan new constructions, he said.

It even includes the interiors of about 30 buildings — among them the Senate, the Coliseum and the basilica built by Emperor Maxentius — complete with frescoes and decorations.

The simulation shows statues and monuments, such as the Coliseum, as they would have originally appeared. The computer experts also were able to accurately recreate buildings that are now almost in ruins, such as the temple dedicated to the goddesses Venus and Roma and the Meta Sudans, a fountain that stood near the Coliseum, Frischer said.

The program was created over 10 years by an international team of archaeologists, architects and computer specialists from the University of Virginia and UCLA, as well research institutes in Italy, Germany and Britain, he said.

My 'cousin' sent me a link to the actual site (thanks Terry!):


Brennus Legranus scripsit:

I am truly astounded by the virtual tour of Rome, which I hope will be available in its entirety.

There is one little problem I have with it. It is far too clean. The B.B.C. Rome series is doing its bit to throw a bit of authentic mud and filth around. Perhaps in version mark II they will dirty it up a bit. Otherwise there is just a fear that students would come away with an excessively idealized image.
6.00 p.m. |HINT| The Odyssey of Troy
What is it about the legendary city that more than 3,000 years after
its fall, we still try to unravel Troy's mysteries? Scholars attempt
to answer the question by researching the Greek poet Homer, possibly
one of the greatest poets in Western Europe's history, and his epic
tale of love and war, and comparing his text to archaeological sites.

9.00 p.m. |DCIVC|True Gladiator
The remains of the largest gladiator graveyard ever discovered have
been excavated outside the city walls of Ephesus, offering new
insight into the Roman Empire's bloody sport; find out how gladiators
lived, trained, fought and died.

HINT = History International

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

[apologies for the lack of an update yesterday ... an early morning allergy attack combined with internet problems to prevent me getting a connection until just before I had to head out the door]
Quiet around the Classical Blogosphere this week:

N.S. Gill was writing about the Death of Alexander the Great ... Mt Aetna ... a review of Rex Wallace's tome on inscriptions at Pompeii and Herculaneum ...

Michael Gilleland has his usual eclectic collection ... In the Twinkling of an Eye ... Blaming it on the Dog ... Did Christ Ever Laugh? ... Dr. Death ...

Nicholas is talking about Claudius Aelianus ...

Peter Stothard is talking about matters like Hung like a Horse (content warning! ... there was a followup) ...

Irene Hahn has a post about Julian ...

Phil has his weekly Patristics roundup ...

A nice website brought to my attention by Intute this week: Columbia University's site on the Parthenon ...

Father Foster's latest have been put up at Father Coulter's site ... one on working on translating papal missives to various heads of state and another about assorted fires ...

If you haven't visited the eClassics site yet, get your feet wet by spending some time with their videos ...

Martin Conde has put up a nice set of aerial photos of Ostia at flickr ...

Tiberius Claudius Lupus has put up some nice photos of Roman Days 7 ...

Other than that, Explorator 10.7 has been posted as has the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings ...
From Fortean Times 162 (September 2002):

Some amiable addenda to FT159:45; I was tempted to assume the name of 20th-century American classicist Preserved Smith.

Plato (Phaedo, para80c) was most impressed by the longevity of Egyptian mummies - had he actually seen one? A fragment of Sophocles' lost play Phineus is less reverent: "He looks as dead as an Egyptian mummy."

Embalming inspired the Egyptian cardiological notion that human hearts grow and shrink in identical annual proportions, reaching a quarter-ounce apogee at 50, thus people cannot live beyond 100 (Pliny, Natural History, bkl l ch70 para184).

Apart from sundry native texts (e.g. Demotic Papyrus no10077, '70 BC), the standard accounts are Herodotus (Histories, bk2 chs85-7) and Diodorus Siculus (Universal History, bkl ch9l). Herodotus lists three methods, the two basic ones being encapsulated in the FT piece. According to his editor WG Waddell (1939), the second one would not actually work. When I quoted them in lectures, fainting students were not uncommon at the bit about hooking out the brain through the nostrils.

One morbid Herodotean detail: beautiful women's cadavers were except a while before handing them over to the embalmers, lest the latter have necrophile sex with them - Esprit de Corpse?

"Alexander the Great's body was preserved in honey" (FT). Not n the major sources. Quintus Curtius (History of Alexander, bk10 ch10 paras 9-13) says he was embalmed with perfumes "in traditional Egyptian manner;" cf. the anonymous Alexander Romance, bk2 ch34. Curtius, also Plutarch (Alexander, ch77 para5) and such writers as Aelian (Historical Miscellany, bkl2 ch64) and Lucian (Dialogues of the Dead, no3 para 392), stress that his body lay a long time in damp surroundings without losing its freshness and colour.

Augustus saw the body in Alexandria (Suetonius, Augustus, ch18 paral). When and whence it vanished is a mystery, one acknowledged by Shakespeare, Hamlet, Acts scl vv224-5: "Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander till he find it stopping a bunghole?"

Honey was used. In his Life of Agesilaus (ch8 para7), Nepos says that the Spartan king in its absence was waxed. Pliny (bk7 chi para35 ) states the honey-preserved corpse of a hippocentaur was sent to Rome in Claudius' time (AD41-54). Phlegon (Wonders, ch63) assures sceptics a century later that it was still in the royal storerooms. He also claims there was the preserved body of a baby to which a male homosexual had given birth in Egypt.

Having kicked his pregnant wife Poppaea to death, Nero had her body "not cremated Roman-fashion but stuffed with spices and embalmed like a foreign potentate" (Tacitus, Annals, bk16 ch6).

Egyptian mummification continued to the Arab Conquest, albeit expense and changing religious attitudes had caused a decline, signified in a poem (Supplementum Epigraphicum Graecum, vol8 no621) from Hermopolis ridiculing the practice.

`Mummy' entered English in the 17th century, from Arabic Mumiya' = 'Bitumen', ironically since this was not regularly used. John Evelyn's Diary (7 Aug 1645) reports he was given "an hand and foote of rare mummy, the whole body in perfect condition when brought out of Egypt." Samuel Johnson attests to the 18th century mania for mummy bits as medical remedies (and inevitable lively trade in fakes) with his page-long entry for the word, using Hill's Materia Medica.

D Walleschinsky/A Wallace/I Wallace, Book of Lists I (Bantam, 1977, pp448-53) itemise 21 famous mummies from Tut to Mao, mentioning that after the first failure Lenin was re-embalmed in 1926 "using new fluid based on that of the ancient Egyptians."

Stalin provides a fortean touch. While being readied for mummification, a cinder was found in his lung ("Data of falls of cinders have been especially damned" - Fort, Books, p73); when removed from the mausoleum in 1961, "he looked as if he was alive" (E Radzinsky, Stalin, Anchor Books, NY, 1997, pp578-81).

Peter Green (Classical Bearings, Thames & Hudson, London, 1989, p_32n_3) remarks à propos parallels between ancient and modem embalming: "Fortunately, the Egyptian habit of pickling the viscera of the deceased in four canopic jars does not seem to have caught on with American morticians."

Barry Baldwin
(reprinted with permission of the Author; blame any typically graphic transcription errors on dm)
This week's claims about the ancient world culled from the 'popular' press:

I hae me doots in great measure in this quote from Jennifer Egan in the SP Times:

"I always keep in mind the advice of Herodotus, who wrote, 'No man should speak for any longer than he is able to make love.' So thank you very much."

From the Vail Daily:

Ancient Romans used false flies to coax fish from flowing water since at least the second century, so fathers everywhere have the opportunity to join an age-old tradition with modern techniques.

From the Barrie Examiner:

Greek mythology tells of the winged horse, Pegasus, that helped the hero Bellerophen, and carried the lightning bolts for Zeus.

A talking horse named Xanthos was said to have foretold the fate of his master, Achilles, and his famously vulnerable heel.

I think we've had this one from New Kerala before:

A thought for the day: "The only certainty is that nothing is certain." Pliny the Elder said that.

One I've often wondered about myself, but am less-than-trustworthy about claims in the News:

Romaine or Cos (lactuca sativa longifolia) is about 10 inches tall with a tight head and tapering bright green leaves. The firm center rib is white and crunchy. It has been cultivated for more than 2,500 years and is named for the early Romans who made great use of it.

The Star on the name of a race horse:

Leonnatus Anteas is named for one of Alexander The Great's bodyguards – or at least that's what the People magazine of its day identified as his job description. There are suggestions he was more than a very good friend of Ol' Alex, who was one of Stavro's personal heroes. (It's Alex on his horse, or at least a statue of them, that rears above Steve's grave in Mount Pleasant.)

Turkish Daily News brings us our latest beauty secret from Cleopatra:

Getting its name from the famous Egyptian queen, Cleopatra, Sedir Island lies in the Gulf of Gökova and boasts legendary golden sands and an enchanting beach. The sand covering the island's beaches is said to have been brought by sea from Egypt to the island by the Roman general Mark Antony for his lover Cleopatra. According to the legend, Cleopatra owed her beauty to the island's sand.

And from the hey-we-didn't-know-he-spoke-Latin department and/or the Sacramento Bee:

Many of the problems with medicine today, in fact many of the problems with society, could be avoided if we listened to Socrates' words: Primum non tacere -- first, do not be silent.
Seen on the Classics list:

Just a reminder that quick-paced summer group for the review of Greek
morphology is about to begin on the GreekStudy list. The textbook
will be Hillard and Botting's Elementary Greek Exercises. It is a
Greek composition book which covers most or all of first-year Greek
morphology (while keeping vocabulary and sentence structure quite
simple). For more information, see:

The start date is June 18, but the first week or so worth of exercises
are quite easy, and those high school teachers still grading finals,
etc. can simply join in when they're ready (there is a set of
recapitulatory exercises that are scheduled for June 29).

Please let me know if there are any questions whatsoever.

Berel Beyer
Interesting item from the Daily Record:

William Harrell, principal in the personal injury law firm Harrell & Harrell, recently received the “Spartans at Thermopylae” award from the Florida Justice Association (FJA) where he served on the board for five years.

In three of the past five years, Harrell has been a member of the FJA executive committee, the highest decision making body of the association. Harrell is retiring from the FJA board and the association wanted to give him its prestigious award to recognize his contributions.

“The award was given to him for his leadership committing to justice and his stalwart service to the association,” said Lori Poole, communications coordinator for FJA. “We wanted to honor him because no matter what the issue, Bill has always been there.”

Harrell was presented with the award from trial lawyer Howard Coker in late May on behalf of the FJA.

“Bill has been at the forefront of every battle with a sword in hand ready to fight for justice,” said Coker.

It was only fitting that Coker presented Harrell with the award because the “Spartans at Thermopylae” award has only been given to two people. First, Coker in 2003 at the end of his presidency of FJA and now Harrell.

“The idea of the award and those who receive it are always standing to fight against great odds,” said Poole.

Poole explained the story behind the “Spartans at Thermopylae” award. She said the award stems from the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C., when an alliance of Greek cities fought the Persian Empire in Thermopylae. The Greeks were outnumbered, but they were able to hold off the Persians for three days. The Greeks were led by King Leonidas of Sparta. This part of the battle has become a symbol of courage against tremendous odds.

Poole said this award is not given out every year.

“We only bring it out to honor extraordinary individuals,” she said. “He has been with us for five years and in that period of time he has won awards for his service and fundraising achievements.

“We wanted to honor him and thank him for all that he has done.”

While Harrell was a member of the FJA board, he also served as a trustee of the FJA political action committee, F.L.A.G., since 2004. He has received four Golden Eagle Awards for his fundraising, which includes the association’s “Tiger in the Bush” award for his political and fundraising contributions to the FJA’s 2004 amendment campaign.

Harrell could not be reached for comment.
From BMCR:

Tobias Gregory, From Many Gods to One. Divine Action in Renaissance Epic.

Luc Brisson, Jean-Francois Pradeau, Platon. Les Lois. Vol. 1: Livres I a VI. Vol. 2: Livres VII a XII. Traduction, introduction et notes.

Mark Humphries, Early Christianity.

Stanley Lombardo, Homer. Iliad. Audiobook. 12 CDs. 15 hours.
Stanley Lombardo, The Essential Iliad. Abridged. 5 CDs.
Stanley Lombardo, The Essential Homer. Substantial and Complete Passages from Iliad and Odyssey. Abridged. 14 CDs. (all three via that link)

Stephen Mitchell, A History of the Later Roman Empire AD 284-641: The Transformation of the Ancient World. Blackwell History of the Ancient World.

Eleanor Dickey, Ancient Greek Scholarship: A Guide to Finding, Reading, and Understanding Scholia, Commentaries, Lexica and Grammatical Treatises, from their Beginnings to the Byzantine Period.

Catherine Johns, Horses: History, Myth, Art.

D. Evely (ed.), Lefkandi IV: The Bronze Age. The Late Helladic IIIC Settlement at Xeropolis. BSA Suppl. 39.

Nancy Thomson de Grummond, Etruscan Myth, Sacred History, and Legend.

From the Guardian:

Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Titan's Curse

From Slate (hat tip to Andrew Szegedy-Maszak ... nice graphic of togate Bush and Cheney):

Cullen Murphy, Are We Rome?

Molly Sullivan also noted that Murphy was on the Colbert Report t'other day ... online at Comedy Central
We had a trial balloon on this sort of thing a few months ago ... looks like they're running with it. From USA Today:

For centuries, often millennia, Europe's monuments have withstood earthquakes, fire and plundering. Now cultural treasures ranging from the Colosseum to Westminster Abbey could face new threats from climate change, a new study says.

Increased rains in northern Europe could wash away layer after layer of ancient stone, while rising heat in southern and central Europe could lead age-old monuments to crack and disintegrate, says the EU-funded study by research institutes in seven European countries.

Experts have long warned that a rise in sea levels attributed to global warming threatens low-lying areas, including treasures like Venice or sites located in flood-prone regions.

But the three-year study didn't look only at the catastrophic impact of sudden storm surges, landslides and floods. It also took into account the slow erosion that Europe's cultural heritage could suffer at the hands of climate change, said Cristina Sabbioni, the study's coordinator.

"We needed to put this problem on the table, because so far it has been politically ignored," said Sabbioni, who is a physicist with Italy's National Research Council.

Climatologists, aided by chemists, geologists and biologists used projected climate data to predict up to 2099 how marble, limestone, wood and other materials commonly used in ancient buildings would fare in future weather patterns, Sabbioni said, speaking last week on the sidelines of the study's presentation in Rome.

Researchers produced a "Vulnerability Atlas" of Europe, with maps that indicate which areas will suffer an increase or decrease in various risk factors, from damage caused by salt crystals to corrosion of Medieval stained-glass windows.

According to the study, lower humidity during the summer in Britain, France, northern Spain and central Europe will increase the amount of salt deposited on fragile monuments.

This is especially dangerous for the region's Gothic cathedrals, whose elaborate carvings are made in soft porous stone which absorbs sea salt present in liquid form in the air's moisture. Once the water evaporates, the salt crystallizes and puts pressure on the surrounding stone, Sabbioni said.

"If the salt is deposited on the surface the damage is aesthetic, and this is a dramatic problem for frescoes," she said. "But if it is absorbed we have internal breakup of the material."

Less rain in southern Europe will force authorities to spend more money to clean monuments blackened by pollution, while an expected rise of precipitation in northern Europe could wash away an increasing amount of ancient stone each year.

Monuments built in marble and limestone, such as the Colosseum in Rome and the Parthenon in Athens, will also suffer due to increased temperature fluctuations which cause such materials to dangerously expand and contract, causing fractures and breakage. Central Europe, southern Spain and Greece will be the areas most affected due to the drier climate and rising temperatures, the study says.

Even more recent monuments like the iron-built Eiffel Tower, completed in 1889, could face trouble as the study predicts warm weather and pollution will increase corrosion of metals in northern Europe.

Researchers said that problems caused by rain, salt crystallization and thermal stress are already known to conservation experts. For example, the baroque facades and statues of the southern Italian town of Lecce, carved in soft stone, have long been eroded and damaged by rain, pollution and salt.

But the study indicates these threats will move to areas where they were previously unheard of, said Joseph King, an official with the International Center for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property, a U.N.-backed intergovernmental organization based in Rome.

"Climate change touches a lot of things, and cultural heritage is among them," said King, a conservation expert who did not take part in the EU study. "The problems we are going to have are the same ones we have now; the difference is in the intensity and where they are going to occur."

Not all the study's predictions are negative. Glass corrosion is expected to decrease across Europe and reduced moisture will help bricks in historical buildings stay dry.

Sabbioni warned that the effects of climate change could be ultimately worse, as the climate model used for the study was a "moderately optimistic" one chosen among those used by the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC issued a spate of reports this year, drawing on the studies of some 2,500 scientists, which predict grim consequences of global warming if swift action is not taken.

Although no specific research was done on single monuments, the maps produced by the $1.6 million "Noah's Ark" study on climate change and cultural heritage can help policymakers plan conservation efforts based on which risk factors threaten their area, Sabbioni said.

The study offers guidelines to help limit the effect of climate change on monuments, from increasing the frequency of repairs to installing barriers on buildings to reduce salt deposits.

Researchers didn't produce an estimate of the cost of climate change on cultural conservation, but the study says that, ultimately, Europe may have to accept some losses to its heritage.

"Priorities will have to be established," Sabbioni said. "We cannot hope that everything will last forever."
With all my attention on Christie's, I totally missed the coverage of the auction of all that Allbright-Knox stuff at Sotheby's ... from the Buffalo News:

The Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s sale of the prized bronze statue “Artemis and the Stag” earned $25.5 million Thursday at Sotheby’s auction house in New York City, setting records as the most expensive sculpture and antiquity sold through auctions.

Final sales from Thursday’s auction of 25 antiquities from the gallery’s permanent collection totaled $35.8 million, bringing profits from the gallery’s recent series of auctions to more than $64 million, not including Sotheby’s commission.

The auction was the penultimate in a series of six in which the gallery is selling more than 200 objects from its collection to fund the purchase of modern and contemporary art.

After more than 10 minutes of bidding on Sotheby’s floor, London-based dealer Giuseppe Eskenazi placed the winning bid on the Artemis statue for an anonymous European client, said Lauren Gioia, Sotheby’s vice president.

Eskenazi, whose well-connected family has purchased several of the Albright-Knox objects, had expressed interest in the Artemis, praising the statue for its rarity and execution.

“The Roman bronze is absolutely exceptional, absolutely exceptional,” Eskenazi said. “You walk into the Louvre or the Met or the British Museum, and you would expect to see a bronze of this quality.”

Asked to speculate on who would buy such a statue, Eskenazi said: “Someone like the Getty [in Los Angeles] or a museum that hasn’t got something quite of that quality. I think they’ll go flat-out to acquire something like this.”

Exactly which museum or collector went flat-out to acquire the statue is being kept under wraps for the time being. The Cleveland Museum of Art announced its purchase of a granite statue of the Hindu god Shiva from the Albright- Knox collection in April, about two weeks after it was sold at Sotheby’s.

The Artemis statue, an approximately 2,000-year-old bronze from the late Hellenistic or Early Roman period, served for months as the focal point of controversy about the gallery’s decision to sell more than 200 works of art from its permanent collection.

The statue had been unearthed from an excavation site in Rome and languished for decades in the possession of an Italian art dealer before being discovered, cleaned and quickly snatched up in 1953 by Edgar Schenck, the Albright- Knox director at the time.

In a statement issued after the sale, Louis Grachos, the current director, expressed his usual optimistic outlook for the gallery’s modern and contemporary art collection.

“Today’s auction is absolutely wonderful news for everyone who wants the Albright-Knox Art Gallery to remain first rate,” the statement said. “Every penny of this extraordinary sale will be invested in the future growth of our collection, guaranteeing that the Albright-Knox will stay at the forefront of modern and contemporary art museums for generations to come.”

Grachos, who attended the sales along with other gallery administrators, has attributed the success of the auctions to a booming art market that consistently has shattered the estimates placed on the gallery’s objects since the first auction in March.

Other pieces that significantly beat their estimates Thursday were a Roman marble statue of a poet ($2 million), a Sumerian alabaster figure of a worshipper ($1.7 million) and a copper figure of a horned hero ($3.2 million). These figures include Sotheby’s commission or “buyer’s premium,” which amounts to 20 percent of the first $500,000 and 12 percent thereafter.

The final auction of Albright-Knox works will take place today, when the Albright-Knox will put 14 objects on the block.

Profits from today’s auction are expected to be less than $2 million.

Sotheby's has a really annoying registration thing to look at items, but if you want to go through it, the online auction catalog with results is still available (that link might actually work as is) ...
From the New York Times:

It was a “sophisticated method of laundering,” a prosecution witness testified on Friday in a trial courtroom here. Private collectors would acquire looted artifacts and eventually donate them to museums, she said.

The witness, Daniela Rizzo, an Italian archaeologist, specifically cited the owners of four American antiquities collections.

None are on trial here. None have been legally charged with any wrongdoing. Nor do Italian prosecutors contend that the collectors had evidence that certain objects had been looted. Yet the prosecutors have clearly adopted a strategy of calling attention to collectors, especially well-heeled Americans, with the implicit message that every player in the global antiquities trade is within their sights.

The actual trial defendants are Marion True, a former antiquities curator at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and Robert Hecht, an American dealer in classical artifacts. Both are charged with trafficking in objects that were illicitly excavated from Italian soil.

Dozens of witnesses have filed through the courtroom since the trial opened in November 2005, but only this month did prosecutors fully turn their sights on American antiquities collectors in court testimony. The tactic has infuriated defense lawyers, whose objections became so heated on Friday that Judge Gustavo Barbalinardo decided to suspend the proceedings until tempers cooled.

In her testimony Ms. Rizzo said that the “very rich” private collectors built collections that “included objects that were undoubtedly looted from Italy.”

She cited the Texas oilmen Nelson Bunker Hunt and William Herbert Hunt (who sold their artifacts at auction in 1990 after their fortunes collapsed); the New York diamond merchant Maurice Tempelsman; the art philanthropist Lawrence Fleischman and his wife, Barbara; and the financier Leon Levy and his wife, Shelby White.

Objects from their collections went on display in major exhibitions, “becoming known to the public and the scientific world, after which they ended up in museums,” Ms. Rizzo said. “It was a different, more sophisticated method of laundering artifacts.”

Defense lawyers for Ms. True and Mr. Hecht repeatedly interrupted Ms. Rizzo’s testimony; Francesco Isolabella, a lawyer for Ms. True, objected that it was beyond Ms. Rizzo’s mandate to “come up with inductive or deductive theories.” Mr. Isolabella said that the archaeologist was making “evaluations that only a prosecutor can make.”

“She should stick to identifying Etruscan vases,” Mr. Isolabella said.

Because they are not on trial, none of the collectors are represented in the courtroom. Contacted through their offices, Nelson Bunker Hunt and Mr. Tempelsman declined to comment on the trial or to be interviewed. Through a spokesman, Ms. White declined to comment on the trial. (Her husband died in 2003.) In a telephone interview from New York, Ms. Fleischman said: “It seems like anyone can accuse anyone of anything without any proof. We collected for the pure joy of the object.” She declined to comment further on the trial. But she said that she and her husband, who died in 1997, never suspected that they might be buying anything less than legitimate.

Ms. Fleishman, a former Getty trustee, and her husband donated or sold more than 300 antiquities to the Getty. Italy’s Culture Ministry is demanding that the museum return a dozen of the Fleischman objects.

It seems inevitable that as prosecutors began investigating the passage of objects from looted tombs in the Italian countryside to American institutions, they would become interested in private donors, long the lifeblood of the world’s museums.

A report this year by the Association of Art Museum Directors, which represents nearly 200 museums in the United States, Canada and Mexico, notes that “more than 90 percent of the art collections held in public trust by American’s art museums were donated by private individuals.”

Beyond altruism, the economic benefit for collectors in the United States is a tax deduction equal to the current market value of the object. This deduction can save the donor 25 to 50 percent of the object’s value, depending on what method is used. In return, museums short of funds can aspire to top-rate works of art.

“There’s every reason to think that a museum would bring an item it can’t afford to the attention of a collector, hoping for a donation,” said Patty Gerstenblith, a law professor at DePaul University and president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation.

At the same time, she said, “it helps to distance the museum from a questionable piece.” There is less risk of public disapproval should a museum be forced to return a piece that arrived as a donation, she said.

For at least the past decade, though, Peter C. Marzio, director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and a past president of the Association of Art Museum Directors, said, both collectors and museums have been conducting “diligent provenance inquiries” on artifacts that change hands.

He cited an auction on Thursday at Sotheby’s in New York where a 2,000-year-old bronze statue of Artemis sold for $28.6 million, a world record for sculpture and for an antiquity.

“Provenance is what is driving prices up,” Mr. Marzio said. “Provenance is having enormous value.” The Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo acquired the Artemis from a Manhattan dealer in 1953, well before the adoption of a 1970 Unesco convention governing traffic in cultural property.

During a courtroom break, Mr. Hecht, the dealer on trial here, scoffed at the notion of a collector like Ms. White having an economic incentive for donating to a museum. “The last thing Shelby Levy White needs is a tax deduction,” Mr. Hecht said. She “really liked and learned about every piece she bought.”

Running parallel to the trial is the Italian Culture Ministry’s dogged effort to lay claim to what it contends are looted objects in American museums. Last year it negotiated the return of 21 antiquities from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and 13 from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Talks with the Getty have faltered. Italy is seeking the return of 52 objects over all from that museum, among them a dozen donated by Ms. Fleischman. So far the Getty has agreed to return 26 artifacts to Italy, including 5 acquired from the Fleischmans and three pieces purchased from Mr. Tempelsman.

In an interview Paolo Ferri, the trial prosecutor, asserted that American collectors might one day find themselves at the defense table.

Once a verdict is delivered in the trial of Ms. True and Mr. Hecht, he said, “I’ll draw my conclusions.”
Acta Classica

Acta Classica is the journal of the Classical Association of South Africa, which is celebrating its golden jubilee in 2007.

Acta Classica is published annually and accepts articles on any aspect of Classical Studies, especially where they relate to Africa, but also considers submissions on Patristic and Byzantine themes.


The Managing Editor
Professor Louise Cilliers
Department of English and Classical Languages
University of the Free State
P.O. Box 339
Bloemfontein 9300
Republic of South Africa
E-mail: louise.cilliers AT
Fax: (+27) 051-444-5803


The Treasurer, Acta Classica
Department of Classics
University of South Africa
P.O. Box 392
Pretoria 0001
Republic of South Africa

Subscription Rates (Per Annual Volume)

South Africa: Institutions R100.00; Individuals R50 .00
Other Countries: US$45.00; Individuals US$25.00

Epigraphy and the Historical Sciences: an overview of the state of scholarship in Greek and Latin epigraphy at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

2-7 September 2007 University of Oxford

Sponsored by The British Academy, The Classics Faculty of the University of Oxford, The British Epigraphy Society, Oxford University Press, the Association internationale d'épigraphie grecque et latine, The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies, The Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, The Cultural Attaché of the Polish Ambassador to the Court of St. James (London), The Onassis Foundation, Mrs Matrona & Mr Nicholas Egon, The British Institute at Ankara, The Council for British Research in the Levant, the Italian Cultural Institute in London, The Hellenic Foundation.

The thirteenth quinquennial congress of Greek and Latin epigraphy, to be held in Oxford from 2-7 September 2007. The title of the congress "Epigraphy and the Historical Sciences" reflects the fact that the focus of the programme is more than simply narrowly epigraphic. This congress series has not visited these shores since it has held in Cambridge in 1967, so this is an event not to be missed by all serious students of classical literature and ancient history.

We are delighted with the full programme (for details of which visit: ). This comprises three main elements:

Plenary lectures: There will be 14 plenary lectures by leading scholars concerned with major historical themes in Greek and Latin epigraphy: ancient government, religion, population and demography, language, and economics. Lectures on the roles of information technology, paedagogy and the presentation of epigraphic texts in museum collections. Plenary sessions will report the progress of the major international epigraphy projects. Plenary meeting of the International Epigraphy Association (AIEGL) concerning elections and future organisation

Panel sessions: There will be 42 thematic panels containing over 160 presentations. Five panels are devoted to the epigraphy of Attica, and two each to the epigraphy of the Black Sea region, Rome's north-western provinces, Roman military epigraphy, Greek Christian epigraphy, and instrumentum domesticum. Other panels cover the Latin inscriptions from the Balkans, Ephesus, Greek cult, ancient accounting, customs and tolls, the Roman administration of Asia, new inscriptions from Greece, memory and identity, and many other topics.

Posters: More than 50 posters have been accepted to date.

Supporting programme and benefits include: a reception, a concert and an exhibition, access to the Bodleian and Sackler Classical libraries, congress bag and publishers' displays with sales and discounts on classical books.

The Congress registration fee is £100.

A discounted rate of registration is available to members of the British Epigraphy Society (there is even a slight saving to be made by joining the society simply for the purpose of obtaining this discount). Please contact the Secretary of BES, Dr Peter Haarer directly to obtain this rate (peter.haarer AT

‘Lies and Metafiction in Ancient Narrative’

Organised by KYKNOS, the Swansea, Lampeter and Exeter Centre for Research on Ancient Narrative Literature
14th to 16th July 2007
Gregynog Hall, near Newtown, mid-Wales

The conference programme can be found below, or at

If you have any questions, please contact Meriel Jones at: meriel.jones AT

The cost is £75.50, which includes 2 nights’ accommodation at Gregynog Hall, plus all meals. For more information on Gregynog Hall, visit


If you wish to attend, please advise Meriel Jones by email, and forward your cheque, made payable to ‘University of Wales Lampeter’ (together with your name, contact details, and any special dietary requirements) to:

Meriel Jones , Department of Classics, University of Wales Lampeter, Lampeter, Ceredigion, SA48 7ED

Student bursaries are also available – e-mail for details.

Deadline for booking and payment: 15 June

The conference receives support from the Classical Association, Swansea University, and the University of Wales Lampeter.

Provisional Programme

Saturday 14 July

3.00 – 4.00 Introduction: John Morgan (Swansea) and Christopher Gill (Exeter)

4.00 – 4.30 Tea

4.30 – 5.30 Peter Wiseman (Exeter): Myth, history, and fiction: the return of Romulus

5.30 – 6.30 Ewen Bowie (Corpus Christi College, Oxford): Theocritus I: a hard road to fiction?


Sunday 15 July

9.00 – 10.00 Karen Ní Mheallaigh (Swansea): False things like true: Homer on fiction

10.00 – 11.00 Fritz-Gregor Herrmann (Swansea): Some truths about the 'noble lie' in Plato’s Republic

11.00 – 11.30 Coffee

11.30 – 12.30 Mirjam Plantinga (Lampeter): Truth and deception in Apollonius Rhodius’ Argonautica

12.30 – 2.00 Lunch

2.00 – 3.00 Costas Panayotakis (Glasgow): Deceiving the audience in Roman comedy

3.00 – 4.00 Ken Dowden (Birmingham): History, myth, and the bogus: 100BC – AD100

4.00 – 4.30 Tea

4.30 – 5.00 Owen Hodkinson (Corpus Christi College, Oxford): Les lettres dangeureuses: lying letters and epistolary narrative as metafiction

5.00 – 5.30 Stefan Tilg (Corpus Christi College, Oxford): Chariton’s Fama

5.30 – 6.30 Andrew Laird (Warwick): Fiction, philosophy, and logical closure


Monday 16 July

9.00 – 9.30 Hannah Mossman (Exeter): Tales and sails: sea travel and fiction in Lucian

9.30 – 10.00 Daniel King (Exeter): Odysseus, suffering, and the body in Aristeides' Hieroi logoi

10.00 – 11.00 Ian Repath (Lampeter): Myth, fiction, and narrative in Achilles Tatius

11.00 – 11.30 Coffee

11.30 – 12.30 Daniel Ogden (Exeter): Lucian’s Hyperborean mage

12.30 – 2.00 Lunch

2.00 – 3.00 Tim Whitmarsh (Exeter): Belief in fiction: religious and narrative conviction in the Greek novel

From the Courant:

What do a dancer's plié and the exploits of Jack Sparrow have in common? (And why am I suddenly picturing a pirate in a tutu?)

The words "plié" and "exploits" are both ultimately derived from the Latin root "plicare," meaning "to fold."

The French ballet word "plié," meaning a bending or folding of the knees outward, derives directly from "plicare." "Exploits" derives from "explicatum," meaning "unfolding"; hence, an exploit is something that unfolds - a deed, act or feat.

English has folded this Latin root "plicare" into many crépe suzettes: "accomplice" (someone folded together with another in mischief); "complicate" (to fold together, mix up); "duplicate" (to double fold, hence copy); "replicate" (to fold again, repeat itself); "pliant" (bendable, foldable); "multiplication" (folding or increasing something many times; think of a sheet of paper folded into 16 squares).

Can you determine the concept behind each quartet of English words derived from the same Latin root?

1. dolce, dulcet, dulcimer, dulcify

2. subsequent, persecute, suit, sect

3. ludicrous, elude, interlude, illusion

4. fracture, fragile, frail, suffrage


1. The Latin root "dulcis" (sweet), which some believe is derived from the Greek "glykus," gave us "dolce" (a musical direction meaning "play sweetly"); "dulcet" (sweet to the ear or taste); "dulcimer" (a stringed instrument that makes sweet sounds); and "dulcify" (to make sweet, to mollify).

2. The Latin root "sequi" (to follow) gave us "subsequent" (following in time, order or place); "persecute" (to follow or harass in a manner designed to injure, grieve or afflict); "suit" (something that follows someone with the law, as in "a lawsuit," or follows a color, style or design, as in "a suit of clothes," or follows a certain pattern as in a suit in playing cards); "sect" (a group that follows a course of action or belief or way of life).

3. The Latin root "ludere" (to play) gave us "ludicrous" (amusing or laughable, as in play or sport); "elude" (to play away, that is, to evade or escape); "interlude" (in drama, music and other presentations, a brief period of playing between longer works); "illusion" (an act of playing with reality that deceives or misleads).

4. The Latin root "frangere," "fractus" (to break) gave us "fracture" (a break); "fragile" (breakable); "infringe" (to break laws or rights); "suffrage" (right to vote).

No one, by the way, is sure how the concept of breaking became associated with voting, though some suggest early Romans cast their votes using broken pieces of pottery. And even today, some of our political candidates are crackpots.

ante diem vi idus junias

215 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Mens (and associated rites thereafter)

17 B.C.. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 4)

65 A.D./C.E. -- Jewish rebels capture the Antonia in Jerusalem (not sure about this one)

68 A.D. -- recognition of Galba as emperor in Rome (?)

86 A.D. -- ludi Capitolini (day 3)

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 5) [I need more info on this one]

218 A.D. -- the Legio III Gallica, who had declared their loyalty for Bassianus (the future emperor Elagabalus) defeats the emperor Macrinus near Antioch; Macrinus fled

1768 -- death of Johann Winckelmann

Well today's the day for the auction, so we'll likely be closing this feature with this nice little mid-6th century Attic black figure cup. The official description tells us that the winged creature on the side is a Siren (which it is, of course)

educe @ Wordsmith

palliate @
From AP via Yahoo:

U.S.-based telecoms giant Verizon Communications Inc. has agreed to withdraw an ad campaign in the U.S. edition of the Financial Times that featured an unlicensed photo of the ancient Parthenon in Athens, Greek authorities said Thursday.

The company apologized for using a picture of the 2,500-year-old temple in a newspaper advertising campaign, a culture ministry statement said. Verizon said it was not aware it had broken Greek law and intended no disrespect to the monument, according to the statement.

Culture Minister George Voulgarakis said the advert "was an insult to a monument that belongs not only to Greek but to global culture."

"We are satisfied with the American company's apology," he said.

Verizon doesn't have a consumer business in Greece, but its Verizon Business unit provides telecommunications services to large corporations.

Under Greek law all commercial use of still and video images depicting ancient monuments requires a substantial fee and must be approved by senior culture ministry officials.

Only once has the ministry granted permission for the use of the Parthenon in a corporate advertisement -- as part of a 2005 deal with the Greek branch of Dutch multinational Royal Philips Electronics NV. The company, which helped light up the temple for the 2004 Athens Olympics, reportedly paid more than 7,000 euros ($9,429) and agreed to light another ancient monument.

So it's part of "global culture" but Verizon can't use the image? We won't mention the irony in calling an ad an insult while permitting other ads on the basis of inflicting unnatural lighting on other monuments ...
From Typically Spanish:

Experts from the Junta de Andalucía say the archaeological find unearthed in Torrenueva on Tuesday is Roman and not Phoenician, as was first put forward as a possibility.

Technicians from the regional government’s cultural department were at the site on Wednesday, after the Mayor of Torrenueva, Manuel Carrascosa, ordered an immediate halt to the building work which was taking place there. The Junta has now ordered the building company to excavate the entire site before proceeding with any construction, for which a team of archaeologists will be called in.

Ideal newspaper reports an expert as saying that the find dates from the first and second centuries BC, and is mainly amphorae – the two-handled storage vessels used during Roman times. It’s believed they were produced in the area for supply to the Roman fish-salting factories in what is now Almunecar.
A Conference on ‘Herodotus and Myth’

September 24-25, 2007

Christ Church, Oxford

The light cast by recent theoretical work invites a renewed vigour in addressing the old and vexed problem of Herodotus’ dual paternity as both ‘Father of Lies’ and ‘Father of History’. How are we to reconcile Herodotus the purveyor of fictional tales and employer of ‘mythic’ paradigms, with the historian of the Persian Wars? Contributors to this conference will follow the leads of recent work that seeks to re-evaluate the literary elements of the first Greek historian that are usually regarded as belonging to the realm of fiction.

Papers will address the broad concept of 'myth' in Herodotus in its two main, and partially overlapping, senses. First, 'myth' as denoting the Greek legendary heritage, cast in patterns that were familiar to Herodotus' audience from other genres such as the Homeric epics. This encompasses his use both of broad (even unconscious) mythic paradigms and of allusions to particular myths or stagings of myth (in tragedy, poetry, and so forth). Secondly, 'myth' as denoting the fabulous or fictional, in the sense in which Herodotus himself uses the term muthos. This might invite consideration of the sorts of truth such muthoi may provide, and other ways in which they may legitimately serve the historian's needs. The aim of the conference is to illuminate further the interaction of 'historical' and 'mythical' material and narrative modes in the Histories, and other related issues, and also to address more broadly the use of fiction in history writing.

Generously sponsored by:

The Christopher Tower Fund
The British Academy
The John Fell OUP Fund
Christ Church
Craven Committee, University of Oxford
Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies

Registration and Meals

Numbers strictly limited (to a maximum of 50 participants, including speakers); registration on a first-come, first-served basis by emailing emily.baragwanath AT by July 15 (noting which meals you wish to sign up for). There is no registration fee, thanks to our generous sponsors; but if you register and subsequently find you cannot attend, please advise us directly in order that someone else may take your place.

You may register either for individual meals, or (at a discounted price) for all:
Monday lunch: £12
Tuesday lunch: £15
Conference dinner (3 courses plus wine): £23
All Meals: £45

Christ Church can offer bed & breakfast accommodation for those who require it on the Monday night at a cost of £63.45.

Please send a cheque payable to ‘Christ Church’, together with a note indicating which meals you wish to attend and any dietary requirements, by July 15, to Emily Baragwanath, Christ Church, Oxford OX1 1DP, United Kingdom.

Graduate Bursaries

Thanks to the Hellenic Society we can offer 8 bursaries of £50 each for graduate students towards the cost of attending the conference. Please write an email in application to Mathieu de Bakker (, and ask your supervisor to email a reference in support. Bursaries will be awarded on the basis of need.

Programme Details

Monday 24th September (Lecture Room 2, Tom Quad, Staircase 8)

10:15-10:45 Coffee (Outside Lecture Room 2)

10:45-11:00 Dr. Emily Baragwanath and Dr. Mathieu de Bakker (opening)

First Group Presiding: Prof. Richard Buxton

11:00-11:30 Prof. Suzanne Saïd ‘Herodotus and the Trojan war’

11:30-12:00 Prof. Irene de Jong ‘Herodotus’ story of the Trojan war: from myth to history and back again’

12:00-12:30 Discussion

12:30-13:30 Cold Buffet Lunch (Bayne and Dodgson Rooms, Tom Quad)

13:30-14:00 Prof. Vivienne Gray ‘Herodotus on Melampus’

14:00-14:30 Dr. Mathieu de Bakker ‘Herodotus and Proteus’

14:30-15:00 Discussion

Second Group Presiding: Prof. Robert Fowler

15:00-15:30 Prof. Charles Chiasson ‘Truth, Falsehood, and Fiction in Herodotus’ Cyrus Logos’

15:30-16:00 Prof. Carolyn Dewald ‘Mythic Patterns in Herodotus’ First Book’

16:00-16:30 Discussion

16:30-17:00 Tea (Outside Lecture Room 2)

17:00-17:30 Mr. Alan Griffiths ‘Baubo at Boubastis and Other Stories’

17:30-18:00 Dr. Emily Baragwanath ‘Fiction and Futures Past: mythic allusion in Herodotus’

18:00-18:30 Discussion

18:30-19:30 Drinks in the Senior Common Room Garden

19:30 Conference Dinner in the Freind Room

Tuesday 25th September (Lecture Room 2, Tom Quad, Staircase 8)

8:15-8:45 Breakfast in Hall for those in Christ Church accommodation

Third Group Presiding: Dr. Roger Brock

9:00-9:30 Prof. Rosaria Munson ‘Herodotus and the Heroic Age’

9:30-10:00 Prof. Christopher Pelling ‘Autochthony in Herodotus (and Thucydides)’

10:00-10:30 Discussion

10:30-11:00 Coffee (Bayne Room, Tom Quad)

11:00-11:30 Prof. Rosalind Thomas ‘Herodotus and Persian Myth’

11:30-12:00 Dr. Angus Bowie ‘Myth in the Later Books’

12:00-12:30 Discussion

12:30-14:00 Formal Buffet Lunch (Hall)

14:00-15:00 Plenary Discussion and Closure

For further information please contact the conveners: Emily Baragwanath emily.baragwanath AT, Mathieu de Bakker m.p.debakker AT

6.00 p.m. |HISTU|Cities Of The Underworld :06 - Rome's Hidden Empire

HISTU - History Channel (US) ... dna = "description not available"
ante diem vii idus junias

the 'inner sanctum' of the Temple of Vesta was opened to the (female) public

ludi piscatorii (?) -- a private festival celebrated by fishermen

17 B.C.. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 3)

20 A.D. -- Nero Julius Caesar, son of the emperor-in-waiting Germanicus, dons his toga virilis; a congiarium is given to the people as well

86 A.D. -- ludi Capitolini -- a festival involving poetic contests, inaugurated by Domitian based on something done by Nero (day 2)

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 4)

There always seems to be one of these at every major auction -- a sixth century 'Illyrian' helmet. The official description ...

strident @ Wordsmith

epicene @
... yesterday we had Aristotle dispensing investment advice; today it's Publilius Syrus on business etiquette ... someone has to put together an infomercial ...
From the Telegraph:

AN ANCIENT training manual for Roman athletes — carved in marble almost 2000 years ago — prescribes far worse punishments than a sending off or a week's docked pay if they performed badly in the Colosseum.

The manual recommends a flogging to get them to perform better. And the same went if they drank too much mead or behaved disgracefully with the local maidens.

The marble tablet was found in 2003 in the town of Alexandria Troas in Turkey, and deciphered only recently by academics at the University of Muenster in Germany. Applied to professional football players today, the whip would undoubtedly replace the half-time talk as the favoured discipline of choice.

The 1.8-metre-high, 90-centimetre-wide tablet was inscribed with the name of Hadrian, the emperor who built a wall in northern England. He sought to get the best out of his athletes.

The tablet, according to research leader Professor Elmar Schwertheim, also listed entry fees to games such as discus and javelin throwing.

"This find is a sensation," Professor Schwertheim said. "The Roman athletes were the best in the world and this gives an idea of how they came to be the best. It was intended for Olympic games of antiquity."

The experts, who deciphered the 1800-year-old marble plate with the rules set out by Hadrian, said athletes caught living the high life by "drinking too much or womanising" instead of practising were whipped for being "undisciplined".

The plate also revealed sanctions for any cities that embezzled prizemoney.

The professor is leading a team back to the site this year to search for new treasures.
Very nice article on gladiators (which incorporates information from recent archaeological finds) in Cosmos magazine ...
From BMCR:

Montana on Slater on Guido Bastianini, Michael Haslam, Herwig Maehler, Franco Montanari, Cornelia E. Roemer, Commentaria et Lexica Graeca in Papyris reperta (CLGP) Pars I: Commentaria et Lexica in auctores; vol. 1, fasc.4: Aristophanes-Bacchylides.

Marianne Heidenreich, Christian Gottlob Heyne und die alte Geschichte.

Hubert Cancik, Helmuth Schneider (edd.), Brill's New Pauly. Encyclopaedia of the Ancient World - Antiquity, Vol. 9 (Mini-Obe).

Peter Sarris, Economy and Society in the Age of Justinian.
Jens-Uwe Krause, Christian Witschel, Die Stadt in der Spaetantike -- Niedergang oder Wandel? Akten des internationalen Kolloquiums in Mu+nchen am 30. und 31. Mai 2003. Historia Einzelschriften Bd. 190.

Annette Harder, Martijn Cuypers, Beginning from Apollo. Studies in Apollonius Rhodius and the Argonautic Tradition.

Oliensis on Rudd on Stephen Harrison, The Cambridge Companion to Horace.

From Scholia:

Amanda Kolson Hurley, Catullus. Ancients in Action
11.00 p.m. |HINT|Tales Of The Living Dead: Roman Babies
In 1988 a team was excavating the site of the Roman settlement on
the outskirts of modern day Leiden in Holland when they come across
the graves of 90 infants. Archaeologist Liesbeth Smits initially
considers infanticide, but they had been buried with care, making
this theory unlikely. X-rays reveal that they did not undergo any
physical trauma. Then, using radio-isotoping, lead is found in the
babies' bones. Smits inspects the artifacts found on the excavation
site and stumbles across a lead eating pot. If they had eaten from
pots like these the dangerous metal would have passed into their

HINT = History International
ante diem viii idus junias

356 B.C. -- birth of Alexander the Great (according to one reckoning)

17 B.C.. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 1)

86 A.D. ludi Capitolini (day 1)

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 3)
previse @ Wordsmith

This has to be my favourite piece from the upcoming auction at Christie's. It's a 1st/2nd century bronze finial in the shape of a Roman magistrate with a horse's head. According to the all-too-brief official description,

This intriguing bronze offers several possible interpretations. It may illustrate a folk-tale, a scene from the theater or literature. It may also represent Incitatus, the favorite horse of Caligula.
I wonder if anyone has connected it to the famous Alexamenos graffito (I know ... donkeys and horses, but you never know ...)

From DePauw University:

"We've begun to develop tools in order to leverage the usability and functionality of Google Earth to our advantage," says Pedar W. Foss, associate professor of classical studies at DePauw, of the University's Mediterranean Archaeology Geographic Information System (MAGIS) project. MAGIS is a digital repository of data about archaeological surveys carried out in and around the Mediterranean region (including Europe, North Africa and Middle East). Dr. Foss discussed the project in an interview with Andrea Vianello from Intute at Oxford University.

MAGIS, created and funded through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is co-directed by Foss (seen above) and Rebecca K. Schindler (pictured at right), associate professor of classical studies at DePauw. M. Beth Wilkerson, director of the GIS Center at DePauw, programmed the Web site. Rebecca Schindler 2007.jpgIts "simple interface allows the visualisation of surveyed regions (the precision of the surveyed area varies depending on the available information) through maps," notes Intute. "It is possible to access some basic data about the surveys, including contact details, publications and Web sites if available."

Foss says,"[MAGIS'] purpose is to try and keep track of what regional survey work has been done in the Mediterranean area since surveying began 30-40 years ago." The professor notes that one of the problems he and his colleagues deal with is, "We don't have a handle, as a discipline, on how much work has been done, where it's been done, what periods have been investigated, who the investigators were, where they've published their results." As a result, he says, "If anybody wants to go and take data from different projects and start to compare them in a meaningful way to try to determine, longer-term or broader scale, questions about the past, it's very difficult to collect the information you need to do your analysis."

MAGIS provides a way for researchers to check what work has been done in the past, "and to give them pointers to that work," Dr. Foss asserts.

In the lengthy interview, the DePauw professor discusses the benefits of online tools such as Google Earth and NASA World Wind. "In the first stages, as it is with any geographic presentation resource, it's a matter of allowing us as researchers, with an informed eye, to see better what's going on." Geographic information systems (GIS) are "tremendous tools" that allow Foss and his colleagues "to really see our research areas as a whole from a perspective that we hadn't been able to see before. By compiling all of that satellite imagery, we were able to visualize those landscapes and overlap on those landscapes information that we've been collecting," Foss says. Understanding Place Foss Schindler.jpg

GIS sites, the professor adds, "may not be at the point where they are answering questions that we may have. I think what they might be doing is allowing us to ask better questions; to help us to think of things that we hadn't thought of before and explore them."

He adds, "A lot of scholars in many fields -- not just archaeology -- are trying to find ways to use the spatial imagery that's present in Google Earth to help inform people about trends and patterns."

Hear a podcast of the complete interview by clicking here and visit MAGIS' site here.
From the London Free Press:

The task, as Neil Tenney explains to his students, is straightforward. Match the English expression in the left-hand column to the Latin phrase on the right.

Let's take No. 3, for instance.

"Are you dissing me?"

After scanning the list of phrases, one student volunteers an answer.

"Insultasne tu mihi?"


Tenney moves on to No. 4.

"I'm going to hurl."

After a few murmurs of delight from the Grade 12 students, somebody offers the Latin translation.

"Vomiturus sum."


It's just another Tuesday morning class of Latin studies at London's South secondary school.

If you think the content is unusual (vomiturus?), you'd be wrong: Like most teachers, Tenney tries to make the topic fun and interesting to a generation weaned on video games, i-Pods and a galaxy of other entertainment options.

But if you think the class itself is unusual -- well, you'd be right.

Because Tenney is the last remaining Latin teacher in London's secondary system -- including both the Thames Valley District school board and the London District Catholic school board.

(According to spokesperson John Boles, the Catholic board last offered Latin courses in 1998.)

With Tenney retiring at the end of June after 30 years of teaching, does that mean Latin is on its London deathbed?

Well, not quite. Tenney will be replaced by another teacher at South when the school year begins anew in September.

But there's no doubt the study of Latin is slowly going the way of the dodo. And by that I mean extinct. (Which is derived from the Latin exstinguo, exstingui, exstinctum, meaning to extinguish or put out.)

There was a time, of course, when almost any student worth their academic salt could give you the meaning of "carpe diem" without the benefit of the 1989 film The Dead Poet's Society.

There was a time when many students might've told you the entire quotation is from Horace and reads like this: "Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero." ("Seize the day, trust as little as possible in tomorrow.")

When it comes to pinpointing the cause of the decline in Latin studies, some historians cite Ontario's Hall-Dennis Report which, when it was released in 1968, recommended most secondary school courses -- including Latin -- be removed from the compulsory list.

Add to that a high school stint shortened from five years to four years, a dwindling list of optional opportunities and the declining popularity of liberal arts courses (and an accompanying emphasis on courses connected directly to finding a job) and you've got a recipe for decline (which is from the Latin, "detrecto").

But today, about 55 South students are the only local high schoolers still plugging away at declensions, conjugations and Virgil.

"It's really a constant, ongoing battle," says Tenney. "And I would just hate to see it go by the wayside."

It's not just Tenney's necktie (it depicts Rome's venerable Coliseum) that betrays his passion for a language spoken by Romans from about 1000 BC to 500 AD.

On the door of his classroom hangs a sign that states: "Lingua Latina Vivat." ("May the Latin Language Live," or more simply, "Long Live Latin.")

If prodded, Tenney will explain that between 60 and 70 per cent of all English words come from Latin and 80 per cent of words in the so-called Romance languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Romanian and Portuguese) are derived from Latin and that its study has been linked to greater post-secondary academic success.

But according to Tenney, one of the main reasons to study Latin is to improve one's communication skills -- something Tenney says "many people don't seem to have anymore."

"I think basic language skills are life skills," he says. "The way you speak, the way you write, even the way you think . . . makes an impression on people. And Latin plays a huge role in that."

But it's more than just language. During this 80-minute class, Tenney and his students repeatedly refer to the poetry of Horace.

Those references highlight some of the poet's philosophical views, including his belief that material possessions "cannot calm the soul." Instead, Horace wrote that we should pursue the simple pleasures.

That doesn't sound like a dead language to me. That sounds more like, "Ad vitam paramus." ("We are preparing for life.")
I'd normally put this in the Carnival, but I'm not sure how long it will last ... the Motley Fool has an item on 'What Aristotle Would Buy' if he were investing in the stock market ...
Last week we had a piece on Priceton's salutatorian ... here's how it turned out (excerpt):

Salutatorian Maya Maskarinec, a classics major, delivered the salutatory address, which at Princeton is traditionally given in Latin and is the University's oldest student honor. The tradition dates back to an era when the entire Commencement ceremony was conducted in Latin. The Latin salutatory began as a serious, formal address, but today it often includes humorous tributes and recollections, as well as a farewell to Princeton campus life.

Because few students today know Latin, the new graduates follow along using printed copies of the remarks. These include footnotes telling the graduates when to clap (plaudite), laugh (ridete) and shout (conclamate). Guests and other audience members do not have the annotated copies, a practice dictated by tradition because the salute is directed to the members of the class.

To feed her interest in Latin, Maskarinec, who is from Honolulu, began pursuing studies in classic languages with a tutor while in high school. Her school didn't offer Latin or Greek. After arriving at Princeton, Maskarinec studied at the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome during a semester abroad, and she will study at the University of Vienna next year as a recipient of a Fulbright grant. She plans eventually to become a graduate student in the field of late antiquity.

At the commencement, Robert Fagles was also honoured with an honourary degree:

Robert Fagles is Princeton's Arthur Marks '19 Professor of Comparative Literature Emeritus. His teaching and research specialties are the classical tradition in English and European literature; the theory and practice of translation; interrelationships between the arts; and forms of poetry: lyric, tragedy and epic. One of the world's most celebrated literary translators, he has created English renditions of several important monuments of classical Greek and Roman literature, including plays by Aeschylus and Sophocles; Homer's epics, "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey," both of which became best-sellers; and Virgil's "The Aeneid," published in 2007.

Fagles joined the Princeton faculty in the Department of English in 1960. Starting in 1966, he was director of the Program in Comparative Literature, which attained department status in 1975. He served as founding chair of the department from 1975 to 1994 and retired from the faculty in 2002. He has received numerous awards, including the National Humanities Medal, the PEN/Ralph Manheim Medal for Translation, the Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Harold Morton Landon Translation Award of the Academy of American Poets and Princeton's Behrman Award for Distinguished Achievement in the Humanities. Fagles was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

In a language the ancient poets could not know, he sings of wars and a man, of a man of twists and turns, and of the rage of Achilles, with such perfect pitch that he must have held the Muse enthralled. We tell here of his four decades of feats on behalf of Princeton, as the founding father of comparative literature, as a gracious and wise colleague and as an inspiring mentor and teacher. His translations bring to life not just the words but the unquenchable spirit of the ancient masterpieces, as through his verses he takes us once more to the windy plain of Troy, across the wine-dark sea and to the high walls of Rome. Through these inadequate words we salute him, his work and his own unquenchable spirit.
... of many of the Classical archaeology type lists is this missive from Lucia Nixon:

1. Archaeology for Amateurs: The Mysteries of Crete
This website <> offers an introduction
for students and others to the methods and approaches of archaeology.
The introduction focuses on the island of Crete - in particular, a
region of Crete called Sphakia - and it discusses excavation, field
survey and art history. The course covers three main epochs:
Prehistoric, Graeco-Roman and Medieval-Modern, ranging in date from ca.
3000 BC to AD 1900.

The site, which is freely available to all, could be used in any courses
in Archaeology, Classics, and History which require an introduction to
archaeological methods, or which make use of case studies on the
relationship between Archaeology and History.

2. The Sphakia Survey: DVD
The Sphakia Survey film, shot in Crete, depicts an archaeological
field survey. The first half (25 minutes) shows the methods of field
surveys, the second half (also 25 minutes) illustrates the sort of
results that can be obtained by field surveys. Each half can be shown
in a class, and can be followed by discussion of the issues raised.
Colleagues who have used it in history or archaeology classes have told
us how helpful it is.
The film, originally issued only on video, is now available also on
DVD, at minimal cost (£5 including postage and packing). For more
details of the film and how to order copies of the DVD or video see:

5.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Unsolved History: Roman Colosseum
Completed in 80 A.D., the Colosseum was inaugurated with 100 days of
games showcasing gladiatorial contests, wild beast hunts, public
executions and variety shows.

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)
nonas junias

470/469 B.C. -- birth of Socrates (according to one estimate)

466 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Dius Fidius ... a.k.a. Semo Sancus (and associated rites thereafter)

17 B.C. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 1)

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 2)

Another one from Christie's upcoming antiquities auction ... a nice 1st century B.C./A.D. statuette of Isis/Fortuna bearing a South Arabian inscription which, according to the official description, dates from the 3rd century.

louche @ Merriam-Webster

testate @ Wordsmith

syllogomania @ Worthless Word for the Day

incipient @
From Wired:

After a thousand years stuck on a dusty library shelf, the oldest copy of Homer's Iliad is about to go into digital circulation.

A team of scholars traveled to a medieval library in Venice to create an ultra-precise 3-D copy of the ancient manuscript -- complete with every wrinkle, rip and imperfection -- using a laser scanner mounted on a robot arm.

A high-resolution, 3-D copy of the entire 645-page parchment book, plus a searchable transcription, will be made available online under a Creative Commons license.

The Venetus A is the oldest existing copy of Homer's Iliad and the primary source for all modern editions of the poem. It lives in Venice at the ancient Public Library of St. Mark. It is easily damaged. Few people have seen it. The last photographic copy was made in 1901.

I was lucky enough to see the manuscript when I went to Venice with my husband, Christopher Blackwell, who is part of a team organized by the Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies to photograph and digitize the ancient book.

The idea is "to use our 3-D data to create a 'virtual book' showing the Venetus in its natural form, in a way that few scholars would ever be able to access," says Matt Field, a University of Kentucky researcher who scanned the pages. "It's not often that you see this kind of collaboration between the humanities and the technical fields."

Venice is not the most convenient work site. All the gear had to come by boat and be carried or dragged up the stairs of the library. Built in the 1500s, the library has been renovated periodically, but its builders never envisioned a need for big lights, a motorized cradle, 17 computers or wireless internet.

The group set up shop in an upstairs room, using their own electrical cables and adapters to harness the library's modest power resources. They covered the window overlooking the Piazzetta San Marco with a black sheet to keep out sunlight that could damage the manuscript. They placed the book, the size and weight of a giant dictionary, on a custom cradle that holds it steady, and turned the lights down low.

No more than four people were allowed in the room at one time, to keep down heat and humidity. The conservator turned each page with his hands and set it against a plastic bar, where light air suction held it in place. The barn doors covering the lights were flung open for the time it took the photographer to snap a shot with a 39-megapixel digital camera, a Hasselblad H1 medium-format camera with a Phase One P45 digital back. As each page was photographed, the classics scholar on duty in the hallway outside the workroom would examine its image to make sure all the text was legible.

Then Field scanned each page to create a 3-D image. Using an ordinary flatbed scanner was out of the question -- it would flatten the delicate parchments. So Brent Seales, a computer scientist from the University of Kentucky's Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments, decided to use a laser scanner on a robot arm to make a 3-D scan of the pages.

Passing about an inch from the surface, the laser rapidly scanned back and forth, painting the page with laser light. The robot arm knows precisely where in space its "hand" is, creating a precise map of each page as it scans. The data is fed into a CAD program that renders an image of the manuscript page with all its crinkles and undulations.

"The resolution yields millions of 3-D points per page," Seales says.

To store the data, the team used a 1-terabyte redundant-disk storage system on a high-speed network. The classicists on duty backed up the data every evening on two 750-GB drives and on digital tape. Blackwell carried the hard drives home with him every night, rather than leave the data in the library.

The next step is making the images readable. The Venetus A is handwritten and contains ligatures and abbreviations that boggle most text-recognition software. So, this summer a group of graduate and undergraduate students of Greek will gather at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C., to produce XML transcriptions of the text. Eventually, their work will be posted online for anyone to search, as part of the Homer Multitext Project.
From NDTV:

Archaeologists in Kerala have discovered a 2000-year-old port settlement probably dating back to the first BC to third AD, in Pattanam about 50 km from the modern day port city of Kochi.

The Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR) in its findings suggests that this could be the lost town of Muzires mentioned in early Roman manuscripts when ancient Rome had trade links with South India.

''Periplus mentions that the Roman ship came only up to the coast and they could not directly come up to Muzires. Then smaller boats brought goods from the ships to the site,'' said K Selvakumar, archaeologist.

''This is a Roman amphora piece, the bottom bit amphora was the jar that was meant for transporting wine, olive oil, fish sauce etc. We have found 160 pieces of amphora here,'' said P J Cherian, Director, KCHR.

Research on the site spreading across nearly 24 hectares has just begun and it might take another 10-15 years for the full extent of the settlement to be revealed. But there's evidence that the port settlement was highly developed.

''At the higher level, you find a township, a kind of urban culture evolving brick structures and a pottery that is not local,'' Cherian added.

A two thousand year old sea port, its culture and its people all shrouded in a mystery waiting to be unveiled by the slow and painstaking efforts of the archaeologists.
The Mercury reprises an article from 1972 which should be of interest:

Life was always hard for the lead miners who toiled on the uplands of Mendip, but probably never more so than when the Romans were their masters. We do not know the system by which the Romans worked the chief mining area at Charterhouse, but we can be certain that there were no union agreements on pay and hours of work!

In the Roman invasion of AD 32 the advance across the Western counties was made by the Second Augustan Legion under the command of that brilliant, ruthless leader Vespasian, who himself later became Emperor. He is said to have fought 30 battles in the campaign and captured 20 native fortresses, including the mighty one at Maiden Castle near Dorchester. It is also thought that the Second Augustan Legion were the conquerors of Worlebury. If so, the savagery of the Roman soldier lies imprinted on the skulls found in pits in the camp.

The Romans were here for what they could get. The fact that within six years of their invasion they were exporting lead from the Mendip mines suggests that they lost no time in putting prisoners of war and general slave labour to work on extracting Mendip's mineral wealth.

J W Gough, in his 'The Mines of Mendip' comments that, according to Pliny, Britain became the chief source of lead in the Roman Empire, and that it was found so abundantly near the surface of the ground that a law was passed to limit production.

Mendip was an important centre of production. "Most probably the Romans set the native population to work in the mines," says Gough, "or used the labour of slaves and prisoners-of-war, or condemned prisoners. The mines were well known to be the destiny of enemies captured in war...."

In his book, Roman Britain, I A Richmond observes that one of the Roman pigs of lead found at Charterhouse was countermarked by the Second Legion, suggesting that there were soldiers in charge of convict labour. Relegation to the mines was a form of penal servitude. There is no firm evidence of this for the working of the Mendip mines.

Sir Richard Hoare and the Rev John Skinner, made important finds linked to the Roman occupation of Charterhouse. In later excavations Skinner made finds that suggested a quite considerable Roman settlement in then Town Field area.

Skinner was most perfunctory in his work on the site, kept no detailed records of the area excavated, or a full list of the finds made.

Mrs F A Neale graphically comments on this site in her interesting contribution to 'Man and the Mendips', that fascinating volume produced by the Mendip Society in connection with last year's Mendip 72 Exhibition at Wells.

Mrs Neale observes: "Not until the advent of air photography was it possible to visualise the real impact of Roman Charterhouse on the landscape of this valley."

Richmond said: "This suggests a traffic of consignments across the Channel and along the main arterial route to southern Gaul or Italy."

The theory has Mrs Neale's support. In her article she comments: "The road from Charterhouse to the English Channel, and ultimately as far as France and Italy, can still be seen running south-east from Priddy Circles to become the present B3135 near Green Ore.

"Its westward extension past the farms of Winscombe and Banwell towards the Severn can be seen near Tynings Farm, but becomes more irregular, and probably older tracks as it scrambles up through Holloway Rocks, and is covered by medieval and modern lanes most of the way to Winthill, in Banwell."

It was a friend of Hoare's, another Wiltshire antiquarian, Thomas Leman, who gave Uphill's harbourage the name 'and Axium'. Many people believed this name was actually applied by the Romans. It was never pretended to be so. The name was merely used by Leman and Hoare for convenience.

In the Victoria County History of Somerset the antiquarian Haverfield expressed doubt about the existence of a Roman road leading over Mendip to Uphill and about Uphill's importance as a port in Roman times.

Another archaeologist, Oppenheim, commented that is was unlikely the Romans would have exported lead by the long, circuitous voyage from Uphill, involving the difficult navigation of the Bristol Channel, with its dangerous shoals and violent tides, and the risk of shipwreck off Land's End.

Gough, however, is not so easily persuaded. "As regards the dangers of the Bristol Channel," he states, "they were not necessarily any worse for the Romans than for the sailors of the Middle Ages and even later times, until the invention of modern appliances for navigation: yet the Danes found their way up the Channel to raid the coasts on more than one occasion, and even in the Middle Ages there is evidence that ships came up the Axe, very likely for lead, not indeed to berth at Uphill itself, but at the port of Rackley, some miles higher up."

Since scepticism was expressed about Uphill's importance in Roman times, there has been the discovery of the Romano-British temple on Brean Down. In addition to the long-known Roman villa sites at Winthill and Star, there have been the discoveries of other villa sites at Locking RAF Station and near the Brewer's Arms, Banwell, which support the theories of there being a Roman trackway in the locality.

In a report presented by Professor Tratman to the Bristol Spelaeological Society in 1961 he stated that the discovery of the Roman building at Locking, the temple at Brean Down, and two probable sites in Weston add to many of the previously known list of Roman sites served by the road that clearly it must have existed.

On his study of the route he referred to a flat-bottomed hollow commencing just north of Tynings Farm and continuing westward. This line of the old road became lost in Rowberrow Forest, but was picked up on the other side and continued along part of Shipham Lane. At one point it was only 500 yards from the Roman villa site at Star. Almost completely invisible on the ground, from the air the shadow layout of a complete small township on the Town Field's Batch slope can, in certain lights, be seen with startling clarity; its main street, the houses aligned on either side, the alleys and back lanes, the amphitheatre dropping into is rightful position just outside the town limits.

"These shadows are in fact the traces left by only the lowest vestiges of walls, ditches and foundation trenches. Virtually all the physical remains of the settlement have been eroded, mined, and ploughed away. In its day, however the Charterhouse valley must have had the appearance of an almost industrial settlement, the like of which has never been seen on Mendip before."

Archaeologists are divided as to whether the small amphitheatre-like dip in the ground high up in Town Field, reached from the lane leading to today's police radio station, ever was an amphitheatre. It certainly has the appearance of a small arena where the Roman soldiers might have relieved the tedium of their garrison work in this bleak Mendip area by holding sports.

The site was excavated in 1909 under the direction of the noted archaeologist, the late H St George Gray. Results were disappointing, little being found except flint implements, and pieces of Samian and Romano-British pottery. It was established, however, that the amphitheatre was of Roman period origin.

The discoveries made by Sir Richard Hoare and the Rev John Skinner at Charterhouse stemmed from the fact the Hoare had been tracing the routes of ancient roads. One of these, starting from Old Sarum in Wiltshire, led him into Somerset and along the top of the Mendips to Charterhouse and then on across the hills to the mouth of the Axe at Uphill. In his book on Roman Britain, Richmond has no comment on the theory that lead mined at Charterhouse was taken along the Roman road for shipment at the port of Uphill. On the contrary, he takes the view that the Romans achieved their exporting by the shortest route.

Apparently they were rather careless with their pigs of Mendip lead. One countermarked by the Second Legion was found at Stockbridge in Hampshire, two more in the Solent, and another at St Valery at the mouth of the River Somme on the French coast.

From Shipham Lane there was then a gap in the route, which may be assumed to have turned westward, which would take it near the Roman villa site at Winthill on the southern slopes of Banwell hill.

Professor Tratman refers to an old lane west and south-west of Christon Plantation, and says that if the line of part of it is extended west it would run along the crest of part of Bleadon Hill and Oldmixon "where there is for about 500 yards a very low flat-topped mound about 12 feet wide and flanked on either side by faintly marked ditches".

He suggests that the line along the top of the hill is much more likely to be the Roman road than the present road noted as such on the Ordnance Survey maps. The line of the road would presumably continue to Uphill and be closely associated with known settlement areas especially near Uphill Grange where Roman pottery including Samian ware have been found.

The evidence, I think, is clear that the Romans used the route over the Mendips to take lead for shipment from probably both Rackley on the Axe near Compton Bishop, and at Uphill.

Lead would undoubtedly have been loaded at Uphill for shipment across the Bristol Channel and to other destinations.
From Javno:

Another 100 amphoras, dating from the 1st century BC, were found at an archaeological site today of a luxury Roman patrician villa and the first city spa, situated in the centre of Pula, in Kandlerova Street, head of the excavational works, archaeologist Alka Starac.

The archaeological site is at a housing-business object and an underground garage construction site, which will be built by Zagreb-based PZ ulaganja company in the centre of Pula.

-After we determined a month ago that 1,040 amphoras were found at the site, we did not expect to find more amphoras with further excavation, therefore this finding today surprised us- said archaeologist Starac.

A total of 2,040 amphoras were found at this archaeological site, which undoubtedly confirmed that this is the world`s largest systematically explored amphora site, which were use for special purposes, as a construction element of the Roman Pola colony, pointed out archaeologist Alka Starac.

She announced the continuation of excavations at this valuable archaeological site.
First Call for Papers

The Reception of Ancient Greek and Roman Drama

Institute of Classical Studies June 12-13 2008

The Institute of Classical studies is organising a conference on The Reception of Greek and Roman Drama to take place on 12-13 June 2008. The aim of the conference is to examine different aspects of the Reception of Ancient Greek and Roman Drama in a variety of different media: theatre, literature, art, music film and popular culture. Different methodological and theoretical approaches are welcome. Papers may cover any aspect of reception from antiquity up to the present.

If you are interested in giving a paper or organising a panel please send an abstract of up to 500 words to the conference organiser Dr. Anastasia Bakogianni: Anastasia.Bakogianni AT
archaeology, reception and digital reconstruction

Christ Church, Oxford (September 22-23, 2007)


Mario Capasso (Università degli Studi di Lecce)
Antonio De Simone (Università Suor Orsola Benincasa Napoli)
Carol Mattusch (George Mason University)
Eric Moormann (Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen)
David Sider (NYU)

Dana Arnold (University of Southampton)
Kenneth Lapatin (The J. Paul Getty Museum)

Diane Favro (UCLA)
Reinhard Förtsch (Universität zu Köln)
Richard Janko (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
Dirk Obbink (University of Oxford)
Mantha Zarmakoupi (University of Oxford)

The Villa of the Papyri is a unique archaeological site and, although still largely underground, has been very influential in the field of classical studies and the modern imagination owing to its discovery and underground exploration in the 18th century. The papyri (the only intact library to survive from Greco-Roman antiquity) and bronze sculptures found in the villa have contributed to our knowledge and understanding of the ancient world and the architecture of the villa has inspired today’s architects and tycoons. This villa has become for us the “ideal model” of Roman luxury villa culture. It is also an object of much international attention in debates about excavation, restoration, and management of archaeological sites. The purpose of this conference is to address the cultural significance of this ancient site in its contemporary Roman context as well as its cultural reception since its discovery in the late 18th century, and address the ways in which digital archaeology may assist our efforts to understand and investigate such sites. Papers from leading experts will address the importance of the Villa’s architecture and findings, especially papyri (David Sider) sculptures (Carol Mattusch) and wall paintings (Eric Moormann), discuss their implication on the ownership of the villa (Mario Capasso), tackle their reception since the Villa’s discovery in the late 18th century (Dana Arnold, Kenneth Lapatin), and present the current state of the excavations in the Villa (Antonio De Simone) as well as new work on the papyri from the Villa (Richard Janko). Furthermore, a digital model of the Villa that incorporates the data from the new excavations will be presented (Mantha Zarmakoupi) and this virtual and real re-piecing of the villa’s fragments will be compared to the fragmented understanding of Pliny’s villas (Reinhard Förtsch). Finally, the conference will conclude with discussions on the role of digital reconstruction in the study of and research on the archaeology of the villa (Diane Favro) and in the work on the library and bookrolls (Dirk Obbink).

Sponsored by The ‘Friends of Herculaneum’ Society
Registration: Krystyna Cech,
Further information: Mantha Zarmakoupi, mantha.zarmakoupi AT; Krystyna Cech, herculaneum AT

Registration fee (till 31.07.2007): £30, £15 students
Registration fee (after 31.07.2007): £45, £25 students (full registration fee)
£25, £15 students (September 22 delegate)
£25, £15 students (September 23 delegate)
10.00 p.m. |DCIVC|Unsolved History: Roman Colosseum
Completed in 80 A.D., the Colosseum was inaugurated with 100 days of
games showcasing gladiatorial contests, wild beast hunts, public
executions and variety shows.

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)
pridie nonas junias

468 B.C. -- birth of Socrates (by one reckoning)

218 B.C. (?) -- dedication of the Temple of the Great Custodian Hercules (and associated rites thereafter)

105 A.D. -- The emperor Trajan departs on his second campaign against the Dacians

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 1)
multifarious @ Merriam-Webster

premorse @ Wordsmith

perfunctory @

Today we bring you this 5th Century B.C. Bronze of a sitting youth. The official description suggests parallels with the Cleveland Museum of Art's Standing Athlete (this one?) and goes on to further suggest the possibility this might depict one of the Dioskouroi

3.00 p.m. |DCIVC|Ancient Evidence: Peter: Jesus' Fisherman
Follow the story of Peter and his rise from the humblest of
beginnings to his standing as one of the most influential members of
Jesus' military; forensic scientists hope to examine Peter's remains.

DCIVC - Discovery Civilization (Canada)
This week's scan of the Classical blogosphere:

N.S. Gill tells us what we need to know about Vesuvius ... Hygiene in Ancient Rome ... Roman Burial Practices ... Roman Military Diet ...

Debra Hamel offers up an essay called Cannibals and Brain Stew (which dovetails nicely with Barry Baldwin's piece today as well ... see below) ...

Again, it seems to be best to just link to Current Epigraphy's main page to get all the epigraphical goodness ...

In the same category is the much-neglected (by me) What's New in Papyrology blog ...

Michael Gilleland has a post on the Worship of Disgraceful Noises ... an old saying revolving around tongues and wolves ... the Fox and the Grapes ...

Irene Hahn (who I forgot to mention last week) has been her usual busy self, reviewing a book about Augustus ... historical figures in the Dream of Scipio ... something on Lemuria ... a review of Roman Woodworking ... Obelisks ...

Peter Stothard remembers Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood and here ...

Nikolaos tells of the Hellenic Spring celebrations at the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion ...

Eurylochus is sailing with Odysseus ...

Folks might be interested in Will Anderson's comments on the sale of Moshe Dayan's antiquities collection:

Mainstream has the latest US-as-Rome comparison ...

Some interesting websites brought to my attention by the folks at Intute ... Trismegistos (nice portal for Egypt's 'late' period) ... Garret Fagan's Ancient Baths Resource Site ... Arachne (great photo resources; German ... might require a password) ... Charlotte Roueche's second electronic edition of Aphrodisias in Late Antiquity ...

Torrey Seland has some good advice for those of you struggling to get Greek fonts to work in Word ...

April DeConick previews her forthcoming book on the Gospel of Judas ...

Laura Gibbs' roundup of educational stuff ...

A pile of Latin language podcasts are available at Latinum ...

Phil has his weekly Patristics roundup (see also this one) ...

Latest Biblical Studies carnival is up at Deinde ...

Outside of that, issue 10.6 of our Explorator newsletter is up as is the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television thing ...
From Fortean Times 155 (February, 2002):

Some ancient meat to enrich the Romano-British cannibalism in FT 150:7.

"In some of the more cannibalistic regions [of China], sales of women and children were common. It is almost impossible for anybody to devour his own child. Parents exchanged children." Fort (Books, p757 - unindexed)

The Delphic Oracle prophesied the impious Phigalians would eat their own children -- Pausanias, Description of Greece, bk8 ch42 para6. During a Vandal siege in Roman Spain, "a woman ate all her four children, in each case pleading the survival of the remaining ones. When she hod eaten them all, the people stoned her to death." - Olympiodorus, History, fr29.

In Homer's Odyssey (bk9 vv2S7-98; hk10 vrl 14-6), sailors are consumed both by the Cyclops and the Laestrygonians, poeticisms reflecting audience appetites and folk-memories of cannihalism; cf. E. Vermeule, Aspects of Death in Early Greek Art and Poem (Univ. California, Berkeley LA, 1979).

Euripides dwells comically on the subject in his Cyclops play (vv383479). Subsequent fun with cannibalism was had by (e.g.) Petronius, Rabelais, Montaigne, Swift, Gillray, Byron, Max Beerhohm, Evelyn Waugh, and Tennessee Williams. "In the days of cannibalism a man arose who was no fool, the first to sacrifice and roast an animal. Since the meat was nicer than human flesh, men no longer chewed each other, but sheep" - a cook in Athenaeus, Learned Men at Dinner, bk 14 para660.

Herodotus (Histories, bk4 ch 106) dubs the Androphagi "the savagest (if men, the only people in this region [Scythia] to cat human flesh;" cf. Shakespeare's Anthropophagi (Othello 1.3.14}-5).

Craving a midnight snack, King Candaules of Lydia ate his own wife (Athenaus, hk 10 para415).

An old joke defines one-legged cannibals as victims of their own gluttony; for cases of mythical and real-life autophagy, see my column in FT 133:23.

Myth and reality dovetail. Atreus served up his brother Thyestes' children at a banquet; their grandfather Pelops had done the same. Similarly with Proche and Tereus (Ovid, Metamorphoses, hk6 vv424.674). In Herodotus (Bkl chsl17-9), King Astyages did it to his shepherd Harpagus. Shakespeare revived this gruesome motif in Titus Andronicus. Early Christians were accused of indulging in such 'Thyestean feasts' (Octavius, Minucius Felix, ch8 para3-ch9 para6; ch30 para2-ch31 para2).

Juvenal's 15th Satire describes an Egyptian village brawl (AD 127) that culminated in cannibalism. Flinders Petrie, Naqada & Ballas (London, 1895, pp30-3) found evidence of prehistoric cannibalism there. The Pharoahonic `Cannibal Hymn (Pyramid Texts, chs393-404) speaks for itself. Suetonius (Life of Nero, ch1 para2) mentions an Egyptian gourmand that "crunched raw flesh." The Jewish-Egyptian Philo (The Contemplative Life, ch5) confirms it for Juvenal's era, as do that land's cannibalistic peasant revolutionaries of AD 172-3 (Cassius Dio, Roman History, bk7l ch4 para1).

Juvenal contrasts his atrocity with cannibalism enforced by dire hunger in military sieges. Ancient writers record many such: Petronius, Satyricon, ch141 (Numantia, Petelia, Saguntum); Josephus, Jewish War, hk5 ch19 para449 (Jerusalem); Plutarch, Life of Lucullus, chll paral (Mithridates' army); Dio, bk68 ch32 paral (Cyrene); Olympiodorus, frl l (Rome, AD 410).

Tacitus (Agricola, ch28) records the "great and memorable crime" of some naval mutineers "so hungry that they ate each other." The London Observer (22 July 1984) exhumed several 19th-century cases, a common Victorian practice, the "conflict between the grim reality of life at sea anc parlour Victorian morality" (Brian Simpson, Cannibalism & The Lain, Univ. Chicago, 1984). Piers Paul Reed's The Survivors documents the case of 1960s Andes air-crash passengers; Canada had a cognate episode with stranded bush-pilot Martin Hartwell.

Barry Baldwin
(reprinted with permission of the Author; blame any typically graphic transcription errors on dm)
This week's claims about the ancient world in the popular press:

First we have a review in the Jerusalem Post of a book by Martin Goodman which suggests:

The Judean King Agrippa I averted a dangerous succession crisis in Rome by ensuring the selection of Claudius as emperor.

JH Sibal respondit:

Yes, I saw this too since Herod's Tomb has most probably been found. And I wondered about it.

Josephus does and does not say that Agrippa (Herod the Great) had a role in the Jan 41AD elevation of the king. He says in Ant. Iud. XIX. he was directing or advising the actions of Claudius and in Bellum Iudiacum II, 204–233 he says he wasn't. (Check Greek word, I don't have a text).

This was probably self-aggrandizement to show that a client king, and one from the backwater mess of Judah in particular, had this power. Josephus knew both Rome and Alexandria quite well and his ethnic group occupied a mixed status, to say the least, in the minds of the great world at this time.

And its probably self-aggrandizement for the Jerusalem Post to quote Jewish Antiquities and not, the Jewish Wars. The Jerusalem Post in general and its journalists in particular are very keen to show the power and importance of Israel in the world and what better source than the elevation of a Roman emperor in a country that uses shekels and ancient topographical terms?

Another one (from the Free Lance Star) about Cleopatra's purported bathing habits, and more:

Ancient Egyptian seductress Cleopatra was rumored to bathe in crushed strawberries and milk.

Cleo also features in a piece from the Star Tribune on honey (as do other ancients):

Cleopatra used to bathe in a mixture of honey and milk to keep her skin feeling soft and looking young. Roman emperor Nero's wife, Poppea, was also a devotee of honey and milk, although she preferred to mix the ingredients together into a paste for a facial mask. Renowned Greek physician Hippocrates used honey to cure skin infections, infected wounds and ulcers on the lips, while Queen Anne of England would blend honey and oil together to form a hair serum that helped keep her locks thick, shiny and lustrous.

Another one citing Hippocrates, from Brandweek:

These sites, sprinkled around the U.S., have such promising names as the Total Health Institute (Wheaton, Ill.), the Optimum Health Institute (San Diego, Calif.) or the Hippocrates Institute (West Palm Beach, Fla.), named for the ancient Greek physician who allegedly said "Let food be our medicine."

The strawberry was the symbol of Venus, the ancient Roman goddess of love. And according to legend, the fruit is such a powerful aphrodisiac that two people who share a single strawberry were thought to fall in love.

An item from the Age cites Horace and sounds familiar, but I can't locate it:

Roman poet Horace wrote of "garlic, more harmful than hemlock", that could drive one's lover to refuse a kiss and retreat to the far side of the bed.

John McMahon rescripsit:

It's Epode 3,

l. 3:

cicutis alium nocentius

ll. 21-22:

manum puella savio opponat tuo,
extrema et in sponda cubet

I've published some work that touches on garlic and this poem, and you can
get some general idea of that from these web pages:


From which:

"In literature, too, such popular concepts can be found. For example,
Horace, the famous Roman poet of the First Century BC, wrote a poem devoted
entirely to the effects of garlic on his innards. In his Epode 3, a
half-serious denunciation of both the plant and the wealthy patron who
served it to him, the poet at one point complains about the burning
sensations caused by the garlic in his salad, referring to its popular
association with serpents (ll. 5-7):

'What poison is this that rages in my insides?
Did viper's blood mixed with these greens trick me?'

Here garlic is actually called a poison and is identified with serpents
themselves; its juice is the equivalent of their blood. This literary
representation, then, stands as good evidence for underlying folk traditions
about the belief in garlic's power to act against serpents. Oh, and just in
case you were wondering, after numerous laments about the virulence of
garlic's internal effects on him, the poet seeks revenge on his prankster
patron (ll. 20-22):

'I hope your girlfriend there puts her hand up to your puckered lips,
And lies far away - over on the other side of the couch.'"


From which:

"Finally, Latin Literature also affords a particularly striking example of
how the imagery of garlic was artistically combined with other cultural
elements to function thematically in a literary text. Horace's third Epode
is a half-serious denunciation of the agonizing results of eating garlic
(cf. E. Gowers, The Loaded Table, Oxford: 1993, 280-310). In it the
interplay of magic and sexuality functions as a humorous subtext and draws
upon popular associations of garlic with venomous feminine enchantment and
rampant male sexuality."


From the Gazette comes one which I know is in Ovid (Metamorphoses 10.728 ff):

The ancient Greeks and Romans used mint for medicinal purposes, and even had their own mythology around it, involving a nymph named Minthe who was the lover of Hades. When his wife, Persephone, found out, she transformed Minthe into a plant. But when that plant was stepped on, it released a lovely scent.

From an obituary in the JHU Gazette:

Whether consciously or not, he followed the dictum of Marcus Aurelius: 'Whoever does not know the world, will never be able to find himself in it. Whoever does not know why he was made, will never know either himself or the world.'

The Times sports a collection of quotations about heroes, of which two leap off the screen:

-- Thucydides "A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself."


-- Saint Augustine "Heroism is latent in every human soul -- however humble or unknown, they (the veterans) have renounced what are accounted pleasures and cheerfully undertaken all the self-denials -- privations, toils, dangers, sufferings, sicknesses, mutilations, life-long hurts and losses, death itself -- for some great good, dimly seen but dearly held."

... and semirelated to our pursuits is an AP piece on presidential report cards noting, inter alia:

John Kennedy scored a 55 in eighth-grade Latin.

... probably said something like Civis Romanioris sum ...

I've also been wondering about one from the Turkish Press which we mentioned (in full) a while ago:

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.

... Pausanias puts Narcissus' pool in the territory of the Thespians; where does the Mordogan claim come from?
LiveScience via msnbc:

Residents of Pompeii ate their meals on the run, just like many Americans do today, according to a new archaeological study of how households functioned in the ancient Roman city buried by volcanic ash.

Completely destroyed by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D., Pompeii is one of the most famous archaeological sites in the world. Besides its risqué statues and frisky frescoes, however, few of its artifacts have been studied in depth.

Excavating a neighborhood block that includes one of Pompeii's grandest mansions, scientists have recently shed a lot more light on the day-to-day tasks undertaken by its citizens.

"I am looking at pots and pans and how houses actually functioned," said archaeologist Penelope Allison of the University of Leicester, in the United Kingdom. "I am interested in revealing the utilitarian side of life rather than its glamorous side, in slaves and servants and how they lived side by side with their masters."

Allison's complete findings are published in a new book, "The Insula of the Menander at Pompeii Volume III" (Oxford University Press, 2007).

Pompeii was destroyed quickly and thus preserved like a time capsule, so the Allison's findings may also carry over to other Roman towns from the same period, she said.

A non-gadget world
The ins and outs of domestic life — ranging from where food was cooked to who patched up cuts and scrapes — was the main focus of Allison's research. Though ancient Rome was an advanced society, it can't be assumed household units worked the same way they do today, she said.

Even simple tools that were found, such cooking vessels, could be interpreted in a number of different ways.

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

People also filled a number of different roles when necessary, the findings suggest.

When a child cut their knee, it didn't mean a trip to the local medical clinic, necessarily; Pompeii may have been a town full of "Dr. Moms."

"We believe that whenever we find medical instruments, they belonged to doctors. But I think that a lot more high-level first aid went on within households," Allison said. "We have found surgical instruments in domestic contexts, and I think someone in the house was responsible for sewing up injured people."

Weaving looms found in the homes also imply that women — or perhaps even men — did much of the sewing for their own families rather than purchasing clothes ready-made, she said.

Ancient fast food?
With all the sewing — of wounds and clothes — among other daily chores, busy residents of Pompeii probably had little time left for long, relaxing meals at the dinner table.

There was an absence of formal dishware sets but an abundance of small grilling vessels (like barbecues) found in the residences studied, indicating that people were eating-and-running on the go, Allison said.

Some things don't change.
This is possibly a quellen-piece, but I'm not sure ... from one of those Q&A things in the Contra Costa Times:

Dear Joan:

Notice the crescent windows on outhouse doors. Do they have any relation or common history with the crescent on some Muslim country flags and the Red Crescent (counterpart to the Red Cross)?

Glenn H., Pleasanton

Dear Glenn:

The crescent moon symbol on the privy door is completely unrelated to the crescent moon we see on flags of other nations and organizations, which use the crescent as a symbol of unity.

The main reason anything was carved into the outhouse door was to provide ventilation and to permit light to enter while maintaining a certain level of privacy.

But it wasn't just a moon. Early outhouse makers also cut suns into the doors. And here's the surprise: The moons and suns were early versions of stick men and women designating men's and women's bathrooms.

The crescent, an ancient symbol for the Roman moon goddess Luna, was for the ladies. Sol, the Roman sun god, was for the gents. Over time, the men weren't so great at maintaining their potties, but the women took better care of their facilities. While the men's outhouses fell by the wayside, the women's became the standard and the moon became the universal -- and unisex -- symbol.
From the NYT comes a brief item:

Testifying in the trial of an American dealer and a former J. Paul Getty Museum curator in Rome, an Italian archaeologist, Daniela Rizzo, said that she had traced dozens of artifacts in top-rate collections — including those of the Getty and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York — to Giacomo Medici, an Italian convicted in 2004 of dealing in illicitly excavated antiquities. (He is appealing his conviction.) “I have no doubt whatsoever that these objects come from clandestine digs,” Ms. Rizzo told the court. Defense lawyers countered that Ms. Rizzo’s claims were hypothetical. The American antiquities dealer Robert Hecht and Marion True, the former Getty curator, are charged with conspiring to acquire archaeological treasures looted from Italy. Ms. Rizzo said that other American collectors to whom Mr. Medici sold looted artifacts included Shelby White, a Met trustee; the diamond magnate Maurice Tempelsman; and Barbara Fleischman, a former Getty trustee. Italy has not charged any of them with wrongdoing, but it is negotiating with Ms. White for the return of some pieces.
From BMCR:

Mark Edwards, Culture and Philosophy in the Age of Plotinus. Classical Literature and Society Series.

A. A. Long, From Epicurus to Epictetus: Studies in Hellenistic and Roman Philosophy.

Maurizio Buora, Luca Villa, Goti nell'arco alpino orientale. Archeologia di Frontiera 5.

From RBL:

Margaret Y. Macdonald And Carolyn Osiek And Janet H. Tulloch, A Woman's Place: House Churches in Earliest Christianity, Review of Biblical Literature (another review of same) (and another)
I suspect this will be of interest to many readers of rogueclassicism

Ancient Narrative Supplementum 9
Greek Identity and the Athenian Past in Chariton: The Romance of Empire
Steven D. Smith

Ancient Narrative Supplementum 8
The Greek and the Roman Novel: Parallel Readings
Michael Paschalis, Stavros Frangoulidis, Stephen Harrison, Maaike Zimmerman (eds.)

Ancient Narrative Supplementum 7
Seeing Tongues, Hearing Scripts. Orality and Representation in the Ancient Novel
Victoria Rimell (ed.)

Private persons will receive a 20 percent discount until 30 June 2007 (private persons with a standing order will automatically receive this same discount). You may order them through the AN website at
Lies and Metafiction in Ancient Narrative’

Organised by KYKNOS, the Swansea, Lampeter and Exeter Centre for Research on Ancient Narrative Literature (see ).

14th to 16th July 2007

Gregynog Hall, near Newtown, mid-Wales

The conference programme can be found below, or at

If you have any questions, please contact Meriel Jones at: meriel.jones AT

The cost is £75.50, which includes 2 nights’ accommodation at Gregynog Hall, plus all meals. For more information about Gregynog Hall, visit


If you wish to attend, please advise Meriel Jones by email, and forward your cheque, made payable to ‘University of Wales Lampeter’ (together with your name, contact details, and any special dietary requirements) to:

Meriel Jones , Department of Classics, University of Wales Lampeter, Lampeter, Ceredigion, SA48 7ED
Student bursaries are also available – e-mail meriel.jones AT for details.

Deadline for booking and payment: 8 June

The conference receives support from the Classical Association, Swansea University, and the University of Wales Lampeter.

Provisional Programme

Saturday 14 July

3.00 – 4.00 Introduction: John Morgan (Swansea) and Christopher Gill (Exeter)

4.00 – 4.30 Tea

4.30 – 5.30 Peter Wiseman (Exeter): Myth, history, and fiction: the return of Romulus

5.30 – 6.30 Ewen Bowie (Corpus Christi College, Oxford): Theocritus I: a hard road to fiction?


Sunday 15 July

9.00 – 10.00 Karen Ní Mheallaigh (Swansea): False things like true: Homer on fiction

10.00 – 11.00 Fritz-Gregor Herrmann (Swansea): Some truths about the 'noble lie' in Plato’s Republic

11.00 – 11.30 Coffee

11.30 – 12.30 Mirjam Plantinga (Lampeter): Truth and deception in Apollonius Rhodius’ Argonautica

12.30 – 2.00 Lunch

2.00 – 3.00 Costas Panayotakis (Glasgow): Deceiving the audience in Roman comedy

3.00 – 4.00 Ken Dowden (Birmingham): History, myth, and the bogus: 100BC – AD100

4.00 – 4.30 Tea

4.30 – 5.00 Owen Hodkinson (Corpus Christi College, Oxford): Les lettres dangeureuses: lying letters and epistolary narrative as metafiction

5.00 – 5.30 Stefan Tilg (Corpus Christi College, Oxford): Chariton’s Fama

5.30 – 6.30 Andrew Laird (Warwick): Fiction, philosophy, and logical closure


Monday 16 July

9.00 – 9.30 Hannah Mossman (Exeter): Tales and sails: sea travel and fiction in Lucian

9.30 – 10.00 Daniel King (Exeter): Odysseus, suffering, and the body in Aristeides' Hieroi logoi

10.00 – 11.00 Ian Repath (Lampeter): Myth, fiction, and narrative in Achilles Tatius

11.00 – 11.30 Coffee

11.30 – 12.30 Daniel Ogden (Exeter): Lucian’s Hyperborean mage

12.30 – 2.00 Lunch

2.00 – 3.00 Tim Whitmarsh (Exeter): Belief in fiction: religious and narrative conviction in the Greek novel

KYKNOS Research Centre Website:

From UC Berkeley:

William Kendrick Pritchett, Emeritus Professor of Greek in the University of California, Berkeley, died quietly in his Berkeley home after a fall on May 29, 2007. He was 98 and one of the oldest living retired members of the faculty. During his tenure as Professor of Greek in the Department of Classics and continuing well on into his retirement, Pritchett built an impressive international reputation as one of the most prolific and innovative scholars in his field. He was the author of more than thirty books and over one hundred articles on a wide range of topics including ancient Greek grammar and syntax, literature and historiography, topography and the arts of war, religion and political institutions, chronography and the study of inscriptions carved on marble. He was also a revered teacher at all levels of instruction. Remarkably, in view of his senior status, he insisted on continuing to teach Elementary Greek to beginning students as often as he could. In recognition of his devotion to teaching at this level, the Department of Classics established the Pritchett Prize in Greek, awarded annually to the most promising student completing Elementary Greek.

Pritchett was born in Atlanta, Georgia on April 14, 1909 and retained his Southern manners and accent for the rest of his life. He attended a public high school in Atlanta—“four years of Latin and three of Greek”—where his closest friend was Dean Rusk, who was later to become Secretary of State. He graduated with the A.B. from Davidson College in 1926 and an A.M. from Duke University in 1930 before moving on to The Johns Hopkins University where he was awarded the Ph.D. in 1942. His Ph.D. thesis, The Five Attic Tribes after Kleisthenes was published in Baltimore in 1943. From 1936 to 1942 he held a research post in the School of Historical Studies of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton as assistant to the distinguished Greek epigraphist Benjamin D. Meritt, with whom he collaborated in publishing his first book, The Chronology of Hellenistic Athens (Cambridge, MA 1940). It was at this time also that Pritchett published several recently discovered Greek inscriptions from the excavations of the American School of Classical Studies in the Athenian Agora and began to make his mark as a first-rate epigraphist.

Soon after Pearl Harbor, after being rejected by the Marines because he was too small, Pritchett enlisted in the Army Air Force, where he served with distinction from 1942 to 1945, rising from private to the rank of Captain. He was stationed first in the South Pacific and later in Germany, where he participated in the collection and presentation of evidence for the Nuremberg Trials of the Nazi war-criminals. As a future expert on ancient Greek warfare, Pritchett often echoed Edward Gibbon’s wry observation that his service as “ the Captain of the Hampshire Grenediers…has not been useless to the historian of the Roman empire.”

He passed up a promising career in the military to return, after the Second World War, to the Institute in Princeton for one more year, 1947, before taking up a teaching post at Muhlenberg College. In 1948 Pritchett accepted an appointment as Associate Professor of Greek in the Berkeley Classics Department, where he remained for the rest of his career, holding the rank of Full Professor from 1954 until his retirement in 1976. He was twice Annual Professor at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and served on its Managing Committee 1960-1976. Pritchett held a Fulbright Research Fellowship to Greece in 1951/2 and was awarded two Guggenheim Fellowships in 1951 and 1955. Upon his retirement he received The Berkeley Citation, the highest award the campus grants to one of its own members. He was an Honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Corresponding Fellow of both the German Archaeological Institute and the British Academy.

Pritchett served as Chairman of the Classics Department in the formative years 1966 to 1970, when he was instrumental in Berkeley’s rise to national prominence as a teaching and research center in the field of ancient studies. He set high personal standards for the combination of teaching and research, while fostering a spirit of collegiality and building a team of devoted younger scholars, rather than attempting to bring in academic “stars” from outside. Among his lasting contributions at this time were the foundation of the Graduate Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology in 1968, which has won international recognition as the premier interdisciplinary program of graduate study in the field, while still maintaining rigorous requirements in at least two ancient languages. With his friend, August Frugé, Director of the University of California Press, he was the moving force in establishing the periodical California Studies in Classical Antiquity, which has now grown into the semiannual journal Classical Antiquity. It was also under Pritchett’s chairmanship that the officials of the Main Library on the Berkeley campus recognized the eminence of the Classics Department by expanding and upgrading its facilities into a world-class research and teaching unit within the Library.

Through his numerous publications and innovative approaches, Pritchett became one of the most highly regarded authorities in the fields of Greek topography, military science and practice, and the intricacies of the Athenian calendar and time-reckoning. His Studies in Ancient Greek Topography in eight parts (1965-1992), the fruit of numerous trips to Greece and intense field-work, set new standards for thoroughness and accuracy, leading often to the confirmation of the veracity of historians like Herodotus, Thucydides, Xenophon, and Polybios, in the face of attacks on their reliability from armchair pundits. Many of these excursions in Greece were in the company of Eugene Vanderpool and, later, John Camp, current Director of the Agora Excavations. To visit an ancient battlefield or site with Pritchett was like being accompanied by a library, for he had mastered in advance the texts of all the ancient authors, the accounts of the travelers of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, and all contemporary scholarship. The emphasis fell on making new discoveries.

Pritchett’s magisterial The Greek State at War, 5 volumes (Berkeley 1971-1991) explores all aspects of military engagement including battle strategy and tactics, provisioning, soldiers’ pay, pre- and post-battle religious observances, the distribution of booty and a host of other topics. In addition to becoming the classic work of reference in its field, this book, in the words, of Moses Finley, then Professor of Ancient History at Cambridge, “amounts to a reexamination of the Greek city-state of the fourth century B.C. with a shattering critique of several received views.” In 1976 the second volume of this great work received the Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit of the American Philological Association.

Pritchett was a combative scholar who flourished in the rough and tumble of scholarly debate. While still at Princeton, before he was forty, he published Calendars of Athens (Cambridge, MA 1947) with Otto Neugebauer, a leading historian of ancient science at Brown University. Renouncing published views he earlier shared with his mentor and collaborator, B. D. Meritt, Pritchett mounted a spirited defence of a lunar-observed calendar in ancient Athens and the organization of the year of the Council of Five Hundred as described by Aristotle in his Constitution of the Athenians. Meritt adopted a more flexible constitutional system and relied more heavily on the evidence for the calendar in Athenian inscriptions. Hence was born a long and often bitter controversy between the two leading scholars in America on Attic time-reckoning and inscriptions. It was to continue until Meritt’s death in 1989. Discussion of the details of the Athenian calendar became in their hands so abstruse that for decades few other scholars would venture into the jungle. This episode in the study of ancient Athens awaits its impartial historian.

Among his many contributions to the field of Greek inscriptions, in which he broke new ground by involving geologists and pioneering novel methods, is his meticulous investigation and publication of a series of at least ten marble slabs carrying the record of a public auction of the confiscated properties of Alcibiades and his associates, convicted of treason in Athens in 414 B.C. Preserved are minute details about their slaves, land, furniture, even their pottery, all listed separately with the sales tax added: The Attic Stelai in Hesperia (1953-1961).

To celebrate his 90th birthday the Classics Department and the Ancient History Group sponsored a symposium “Genethlia,” on May 1, 1999 in Berkeley attended by many of Pritchett’s former students and friends. His contributions to the Group are also memorialized by an annual Pritchett Lecture at Berkeley and by the Pritchett graduate fellowship.

As a connoisseur of fine wines, Pritchett amassed an impressive cellar in his Berkeley home and was often called in for special tasting by wine-merchants in Berkeley and San Francisco.

Pritchett was married on December 7, 1942, to Elizabeth Dow, who predeceased him. She was the sister of the distinguished Harvard historian and epigraphist, Sterling Dow. They had one daughter, Katherine, who died at a tragically early age. Pritchett is survived by his two grandchildren, Elizabeth Seavey Grabeja and Timothy Seavey.
There are still a few places left on the International Summer School organised by the Institute of Classical Studies on 18-22 June. If you are interested please contact Dr Anastasia Bakogianni Anastasia.Bakogianni AT

Reception Studies Summer School

Institute of Classical Studies

18–22 June 2007

The reception of antiquity is a flourishing area of research in the field of Classics. This Summer School — the first of its kind — will explore the reception of the Classics in a variety of genres: reception theory, reception in antiquity, the reception of the Classics in later literature, in theatre, art, opera, and popular culture. The course is designed to give participants an overview of some of the many paths in which reception can take them and to supply them with the research tools they will need to conduct their own research. We will discuss methodological approaches, theory and its application in the field. We also welcome students who are more advanced in their research, but who would like to learn more about methodology, reception theory and to sample some different areas of interest within the wide field of reception.

Research questions to be addressed include:

* choosing an area of interest in the field and how to go about researching it
* how to apply reception theory to your material.

Teaching will be in the form of workshops and participants will be able to work with examples in a variety of media. This will allow them to consider different methodological approaches to the material and to discuss how to use it in their own work. Participants are welcome to bring up concerns / problems they have encountered in their own work so far. The Summer School will include a gallery visit and there will also be an opportunity to attend a performance of an opera with a Classical theme.


Dr Anastasia Bakogianni

Research fellow at the Institute of Classical Studies, specialising in the reception of Electra in theatre, opera, art, poetry and film.

Dr Antony Makrinos

Post-doctoral fellow at University College London, specialising in the reception of Homer.

Dr James Moore

Lecturer based at the Institute of Historical Research, specialising in the history of the eighteenth century.

There will also be a special lecture by one of the leading scholars in the field, Professor Lorna Hardwick (Open University), whose publications include the seminal work on Reception theory and practice: Reception Studies in Greece and Rome. New Surveys in the Classics 33 (Oxford University Press: Oxford 2003)

The course fee of £80 will include all materials, but excludes the optional visit to the opera. For further details and application forms, please contact:

Dr Anastasia Bakogianni

Institute of Classical Studies

Senate House

Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Anastasia.Bakogianni AT
kalendas junias

rites in honour of Carna, a nymph who was somehow associated with the health of bodily organs

Saecular Games (day 1) -- celebrating Rome's thousand-year anniversary

388 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Mars (and associated rites thereafter)

344 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Juno Moneta (and associated rites thereafter)

259 B.C. -- dedication of a Temple of the Tempests near the porta Capena (and associated rites thereafter?)

37 A.D. -- the emperor Gaius (Caligula) gives the people a congiarium

67 A.D. -- the future emperor Vespasian captures Jotapata

165 A.D. -- death of Justin Martyr

193 A.D. -- emperor-for-a-little-while Didius Julianus is deposed; Septimius Severus is recognized as emperor at Rome

1927 -- death of J.B. Bury (History or the Later Roman Empire, among others)

Turns out there are more pots at Christie's than I realized (I must have skipped a page or two). This one is a very nice Apulian Red Figure kantharos which sports a woman being approached by Nike. The official description says the other side has a nude reclining Eros

demulcent @ Merriam-Webster

scrutator @ Wordsmith

omnipresent @
From YLE (alas):

Nuntii Latini ferias agunt
: Nuntii Latini

25.05.2007, klo 12.56

Nuntii Latini ob ferias aestivas ad tres menses intermittuntur, quam ob rem proxima emissio non ante quam pridie Kalendas Septembres (31.8.) fiet.

Restat, ut auscultatoribus nostris gratias quam maximas agamus et aestatem optimam exoptemus.

For more news in Latin: Ephemeris...

From UPI:

An Italian archaeologist says he believes that the presidential palace in Rome is sitting on top of a temple to the Roman god Quirinus.

Andrea Carandini, a professor at Rome University, used radar scans to look for structures in the grounds of the Palazzo del Quirinale, the Italian news agency Ansa reported. The palace is on the Quirinal Hill, named after Quirinus.

Carandini said his scans show what may be porticos built during a renovation of the temple by Julius Caesar and his nephew, the Emperor Augustus. The porticos are under the palazzo's English Garden.

Quirinus was a god of the Sabine people and became conflated with the deified Romulus, one of the brothers said to have founded Rome. The temple is said to have been built originally in the fourth century B.C.

Carandini said the temple can only be positively identified by excavation. His scans have shown signs of other ancient buildings under the palace.
From the Guardian:

He is the moustached crusader bravely defending the customs of ancient Gaul from stereotyped foreigners - from Brits who drink hot water with a dash of milk to the militaristic Germans and the short Portuguese. He has ribbed the Corsicans for being work-shy, violent and producing explosively smelly cheese, and Normandy villagers for lathering their food with cream. But now it seems that Asterix the Gaul is just too much of a "Gaul" for modern, multicultural France.

Article continues
The belligerent hero is in a scrape over a new project illustrating the text of the UN charter for children's rights. When the illustrator, Albert Uderzo, celebrated his 80th birthday by offering Asterix's services to promote children's rights, France's children's ombudsman was delighted. The adventures of the magic potion-fuelled patriot have been read by three-quarters of French people.

The UN charter was duly illustrated with Asterix and his sidekick, Obelix, informing the children of Gaul of their rights in cartoons, including a bunch of children with black eyes patiently listening while they are told not to fight each other like barbarians.

But Jean-Pierre Rozenczveig, of Defence for Children International, complained that Asterix and his "Gaulish vision" were not representative of a modern, multicultural society. He said the hero "resisting the invaders" was a bad choice to defend a France "aspiring to a happy and peaceful coexistence of all its diverse groups".

The Gauls show no sign of surrender. The ombudsman, Dominique Versini, dismissed the row as a "storm in a tea-cup".
A report on the demise (save for one) of Canadians at the Scripps Spelling thing notes:

And Anqi Dong, 12, from Saskatoon, missed on bouleuterion, an ancient Greek council chamber.
From the Daily Emerald:

An architect, a historian, a physicist, a classicist and an astronomer dig a hole in the middle of campus - what comes next?

Construction of a temporary obelisk, designed to replicate a Roman solarium constructed by Augustus Caesar in 10 B.C., is underway on the Memorial Quad Lawn north of the Knight Library. Passersby might have noticed the large hole.

Facilities Services will bolt a steel upright beam to the foundation for structural support Friday and, after city inspections, a plywood skin will finish the pillar.

The 33-foot temporary version is intended to raise awareness about the project to build a permanent obelisk and provide proof-of-concept, John Nicols, a professor of history and classics, said.

The project still needs to privately raise funds for the construction of the permanent obelisk and the wooden version will only last until December. That challenge is somewhat mitigated by the interdisciplinary support the project has garnered. Nicols said the project would not have been possible without physics professors Gregory Bothun and Robert Zimmerman, and architecture professor Stephen Duff.

To stand with Nicols at the obelisk's foundation for just 20 minutes in mid-afternoon is to realize the massive scope of unseen community involvement. Nichols is easily able to pull a number of involved professors and community members out from the passing crowds, seemingly at random, who are participating.

Associate Professor of Architecture Ginger Cartwright said the biggest hurdle has been to gain momentum and "capture the imagination of key people."

"We've been doing it as an act of love," she said. "There's lots of art (on campus), but there isn't something that combines scholarly interest with art."

Science Librarian Dean Walton read about the project in the fall and curated a display for the library to help raise awareness.

"It's very neat that we can create a clock that can tell time, but tell you the day of the month and the month of the year," Walton said.

Even erecting the temporary obelisk required a lot of resources, Cartwright said. The structure required the cooperation of many individuals in a variety of departments and approval from the Campus Planning Committee and the city government.

"It's not something where you can just dig a hole," she said.

After nearly three years of work, Nicols is quick to point out this is still an early step: The final location of the obelisk isn't set, nor is the exact cost or even the material.

Nicols said President Dave Frohnmayer had made it clear the obelisk must have a smooth surface to thwart climbers and be able to withstand any prankish painting. One possibility is granite, but one inch thick cast bronze seems more likely.

Another bone of contention between factions on campus is the location. The obelisk will require a series of specific markings on the ground to tell time and that worries some people about the lawn location.

"It's a bit more controversial because of its sacred character," Nicols said.

Another option would be to level out a section of University Avenue between the Collier House and the EMU, but for right now the Memorial Lawn has the flat open space necessary.

What's the history?
Julius Caesar implemented a new calendar, based on a 365.25 day solar year, in 45 B.C. The innovation of a pure solar calendar kept months in line with seasonal changes.

In 10 B.C., Augustus Caesar, Julius' successor, sponsored the construction of the obelisk solarium capable of telling time. When the Roman Empire fell, the obelisk did as well and the ground markings were lost.

The 90-foot Augustan obelisk was rediscovered in the early Renaissance and erected again in Rome.

Twenty years ago, German archaeologist Edmund Boucher found fragments of the original solarium plan under apartment buildings off the Via del Corso in Rome.

The project has an official website at It includes a live webcast ...
From the Guardian:

Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood, who died suddenly of an undiagnosed cancer aged 62, was an innovative and influential writer about ancient Greek culture. Her training was as a classical archaeologist and her special interest was in Greek religion, but she stepped deftly over disciplinary boundaries and made incisive contributions in many areas.

She was equally at home with, say, Minoan iconography, the origins of tragedy, the ethnic identity of the ancient Macedonians, and the pre-puberty rituals for young girls conducted in the sanctuary of Artemis at Brauron. Much influenced by structuralism, she insisted, long before it was fashionable to do so, that cultural products - texts, images, myths, rituals - do not bear their meaning on their face but need to be decoded: the title of a collection of her essays Reading Greek Culture (1991) summed up her approach.

With this methodological sophistication she combined powerful scholarly skills and scrupulous respect for evidence. Even scholars who found her methodological rigour unappealing often had to yield to the sheer force of her conclusions, and conference papers that she delivered in her early twenties are still remembered by those who heard them.

Her parents were both from Corfu, where she spent her early years, though she was actually born in Volos, on the east coast of mainland Greece. Her father was an officer in the Greek army, her mother a teacher of economics and eventually a headteacher; remembering her mother, she was always annoyed by classicists who generalised on the basis of anthropological studies of village life about the backward and cloistered life of women in "modern Greece". The family moved to Athens and she became a star pupil in the University of Athens of the famous excavator of Santorini, Spyridon Marinatos.

She graduated in 1966 as the top student of her year in the philosophical (ie classical) school, and was soon producing published work. After a period in Rome working on the early form of Greek known as Linear B, she came to Britain in 1969 and after a brief spell in Birmingham wrote a DPhil in Oxford (where she lived for the rest of her life) on Minoan and Mycenaean afterlife beliefs.

From 1976 to 1978 she was a lecturer in classical archaeology in Liverpool, from 1990 to 1995 a senior research fellow of University College, Oxford, and then, till 1998, reader in classics at Reading. It was a grief to her and a matter of incomprehension to her many admirers that she never secured a tenured university position at Oxford. But her international standing was recognised when she was invited in 1994 to give the prestigious Carl Newell Jackson lectures in Harvard, from which emerged her book Tragedy and Athenian Religion (2003).

She wrote six books in all and many articles. Most had a relevance as demonstrations of method far beyond the particular subject under discussion. A 1978 article on the cult of Persephone and Aphrodite at Locri showed how a myth familiar throughout Greece could assume a remarkable new significance in a local context: at Locri, Persephone ceased to be the victim of rape, and became instead a model for brides. Archaeologists used to seek earnestly on the ground for traces of the gods who inhabited the Delphic oracle before Apollo: Sourvinou-Inwood argued compellingly (1987) that the myths telling of these previous inhabitants were just that, myths. A study (1983) of a supposedly historical incident of the 7th century BC told by Herodotus exposed it as a fanciful explanation for a ritual.

Reading Greek Death (1995) is a book of almost 500 pages arguing that existing interpretations of a two-line funerary epigram assumed an attitude to death impossible in archaic Greece. Her essay What Is Polis Religion? (1990) is unquestionably the most influential article on Greek religion of the last 25 years; it showed how religious life was controlled by the polis, ie the city, and so established a new framework for the understanding of the subject.

In later years she alternated academic work with writing detective novels about ancient Greece. Three have appeared in Greek, and one is about to appear in English (Murder Most Classical, under her pen name of Christiana Elfwood). She was a warm-hearted, affectionate, impulsive and vulnerable person. For many people both in Britain and in Greece, young scholars in particular, she was a rock of devoted friendship and counsel over many years. Her marriage to the philosopher Michael Inwood was a very close and happy one. Like many a heroine in the Greek tragedies that she so loved, she combined a passionate loyalty to her friends with strong resentment of what she felt as hostility or slights. She once asked a condescending male in an Oxford common room: "Are you patronising me because I'm a woman or because I'm foreign?"

But nobody was less conceited, and friends often had to restore her flagging morale by reminding her of the international esteem in which her work was held. As a teacher she was inspirational, but it was above all her friendliness and care for them that caused many students to repay her with lifelong devotion.

Her husband survives her; a first marriage ended in divorce.

· Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood, Hellenist, born February 26 1945; died May 19 2007
See the conference website for more information ...