i'm still contending with this ear infection ... i'll probably have bursts of activity throughout the day, but not just yet ...
... we'll be updating a bit later today ... contending with an ear infection right now ...
ante diem vi kalendas sextilias

ludi Victoriae Caesaris (day 8)

64 A.D. -- the Great Fire of Rome (day 10)

ca 250 A.D. -- martyrdom of the Seven Sleepers

ca 305 A.D. -- martyrdom of Panteleon
untenable @ Merriam-Webster

supramundane @ Wordsmith

coruscate @ Dictionary.com
From a press release:

KPI, a unit of Lightworks Producing Group (LPG), a multi-faceted television production company and part of vertically integrated Lightworks Enterprises, Inc., today announced that it has been granted exclusive television access to document the newly discovered sunken forts of Meols. The statement arrives on the heels of an article published recently in Wirral Archeology. World-renowned diver and deep sea explorer Jay Usher will spearhead the project. "The quest for the sunken Roman Forts of Meols, on the north Wirral Coast, is the type of underwater mystery we like unraveling," said Vinnie Kralyevich, EVP and Chief Creative Officer, Lightworks Producing Group and Founder of KPI." We have created underwater programming for years from the Pacific to the North Sea, with programs such as Deep Sea Detectives for The History Channel and Sea Battles, which is in production, for the Military Channel. This is the first time we've ever secured exclusive access to these underwater Roman ruins that, up until now, was covered by the ocean." Meols is considered one of the most significant ancient sites in Northwest England and contains compelling evidence of prehistoric Roman coastal settlement and trade in Britain. A catastrophic earthquake in 543 AD, along with three inundations, resulted in serious coastal changes and damages, sinking what was once the largest Roman settlement in Merseyside. Although a series of artifacts were discovered during the early 19th Century, no large- scale archaeological investigations have ever taken place -- until now. Lightworks' KPI unit, in conjunction with explorer Jay Usher, will work with American subsea specialists Deeptrek, whose team includes some of the world's finest archaeologists, researchers and artifact conservators. In addition to diving the ruins, KPI will utilize the technology of Side Scan Sonar, Cesium Mags, and Sub Bottom Profilers to completely map the ruins and give the public the first true vision of the Roman forts that have been hidden for more than 1,000 years. "It was presumed that all remains of Meols had been destroyed repeatedly by tidal action throughout the years," said Jay Usher. "We are now aware that this is not the case. Considering the extent of artifacts recovered on the shoreline throughout the years, surprisingly, there has been very little topographical, let alone archaeological, information about the site. We are excited to be the first to survey, record, and dive these ruins with hi- definition underwater cameras." "This is an exciting time for us," said Jeffrey C. Weber, President, and CEO, Lightworks Producing Group. "The Meols expedition is the first of many innovative productions that are underway with the KPI creative team since the recently announced acquisition." About Lightworks Producing Group Lightworks Producing Group (LPG) is a multi-faceted television production company with passion, expertise and a reputation for excellence. LPG produces a full range of non-fiction entertainment including the daily series "New Morning," airing weekdays on the Hallmark Channel, and the weekly series "Naomi's New Morning," hosted by Naomi Judd. Recently acquired KPI, now a unit of LPG, is a producer of non-fiction and fiction series and marquee specials for broadcasters such as A&E, the National Geographic Channel, the History Channel, the Smithsonian Channel, Court TV, the Discovery Channel, and Bravo, among others. In 2006, KPI received two Emmys for its special, "Rome: Engineering an Empire," which marked the first primetime Emmys ever awarded to the History Channel. The company has also been nominated for an Emmy in 2007 for Egypt: Engineering an Empire.

If you've never heard of Meols (like me), you might want to check out this article from the December 2001 issue of British Archaeology ...
From Reuters:

He dared to bare Aphrodite, becoming one of antiquity's most popular sculptors and influencing art through the centuries but precious little of Praxiteles' work has survived.

An Athens exhibition now offers a rare glimpse into the 4th century BC artist's work, gathering the few originals and scores of Roman copies from museums around Greece and the world, along with historical testaments of his time.

"He is the first to create Aphrodite completely naked," said Nikolaos Kaltsas, the curator of the exhibition at the Athens Archaeological Museum. "He was groundbreaking in many ways, in how he posed his subjects, the look on their faces."

The show's luminous marble sculptures of relaxed gods and goddesses are surrounded by walls inscribed with quotes from the historian Pausanias discussing Praxiteles's works.

The sculptor, believed to have lived between about 400 BC and 325 BC, is credited for adding nymphs and satyrs to the sculptural pantheon of Olympian gods favored at the time.

Although very productive, few of his works survive, and some marble fragments at the show bear the marks of the anger of early Christians, bent on destroying the symbols of pagan religions.

Coins minted by ancient Greek cities boast images of some of Praxiteles' most famous sculptures, such as Hermes and the infant Dionysos and the Knidian Aphrodite.

Tradition has it that in the 1st century BC, king Nicodemos offered to pay off the Knidians' huge city debt in exchange for this statue, showing the goddess of love disrobing before her bath, but the citizens refused.

Modeled after his supposed mistress, the courtesan Phryne who famously escaped a profanity conviction by baring her torso in court, the statue has been copied widely in antiquity and influenced artists as late as the Renaissance.

"The reach of his work is attested by the countless Hellenistic and Roman copies of his work, as well as his influence on Renaissance and modern times," Greek Culture Minister George Voulgarakis said while inaugurating the exhibition on Wednesday.

The show, which runs till October 31, is the Greek version of a similar exhibit hosted earlier this year at the Louvre and gathers works and copies from museums such as the British Museum in London and the Vatican.

But the Athens show also includes works by Praxiteles' father and two sons, believed to have been celebrated sculptors in their own right.

"We saw it as a family tradition spanning nearly a century and a half," Kaltsas said.
From ANSA (Hat tip to Sally Winchester):

The Jewish catacombs under Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini's Rome villa are being restored and readied for visitors. "It's going to take several months to prepare the site and make it safe," said the head of Italy's Jewish Cultural Heritage Foundation, Bruno Orvieto.

"We have to be very careful because there are delicate wall paintings down there that date back some 1,800 years," he stressed.

"We must also take care to respect Jewish rituals regarding all of the 1,500 tombs," Orvieto added.

However, a sneak preview of the 3rd and 4th century AD catacombs will be possible on September 2, when the European Day of Jewish Culture will be celebrated in 30 countries, including 55 sites around Italy.

The six-mile-long network of catacombs - in which Mussolini had a bomb shelter built during the Second World War - are a little-known feature of Rome.

However, some scholars believe they may actually predate the famous Christian catacombs that are dotted around the Eternal City.

Villa Torlonia, the grand neoclassical residence where Mussolini and his family lived between 1925 and 1943, was recently restored after decades of neglect.

There are plans to build a Shoah museum in the villa's famous landscaped park.

Video highlights from last summer's excavations:

Sqwee! My Italian spiders have finally kicked in ... from giornal.it:

Un acquedotto romano vicino ad un metanodotto moderno. Sulla via Fulvia, antica arteria "autostradale" romana che collegava Derthona (Tortona) con Hasta (Asti) e Augusta Taurinorum (Torino) del lato destro del Po, nell’antico insediamento di Forum Fulvii è stata fatta ultimamente una scoperta archeologica interessante: a Villa del Foro (Alessandria), un chilometro fuori dal paese in direzione Oviglio, è stata rinvenuto un breve tratto di canalizzazione per l’acqua risalente con molta probabilità all’epoca preromana.

La tubatura sotterranea che molto probabilmente portava acqua proprio al centro di Villa del Foro è emersa perché poco più in là sono in corso i lavori per la posa in opera del metanodotto che occupa un’area di circa 40 - 50 cm di profondità per 15 m di larghezza e interagisce anche con l’area vincolata dalla Soprintendenza per i beni archeologici.

Per questo, circa 300 – 400 m avanti agli scavi per il metanodotto, vengono costantemente svolti saggi nel terreno e vi è un’assistenza archeologica per garantire che nell’area strettamente interessata dai lavori non siano presenti reperti di interesse archeologico.

La Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici ha garantito che gli eventuali oggetti rinvenuti verranno prelevati e catalogati e quindi non c’è rischio di dispersione di materiale archeologico né tanto meno che i reperti vengano in nessun modo danneggiati dai lavori in corso.

Gli scavi per il metanodotto proseguiranno regolarmente.

“Confesso una forte emozione – ha dichiarato il vicesindaco e assessore alla Cultura, Paolo Bonadeo - : abbiamo una ulteriore, felice occasione per accrescere la nostra conoscenza dell’area archeologica.
Abbiamo un tesoro prezioso per la nostra città, dobbiamo organizzarne la fruizione sviluppando il museo e dedicandovi il lavoro dell’assessorato con la massima intensità”.
Brief item from CCTV:

At the heart of the ancient town of Nimes, in Southern France, routine building work has uncovered a unique and fascinating piece of ancient history. The find dates to the era when the town was a principal city of Roman Gaul. What the excavators discovered were two magnificent Roman mosaics.

The Roman mosaics date from the second century A.D. They were located by the National Institute of Preventive Archaeological Research, at a site where work was underway at an underground parking lot.

... but accompanied by a photo set and video report ...
From the Argyle Sweater a couple of days ago (thanks to K. Lake!):

The Argyle Sweater home page ...
From BIRN (hat tip to David Beard)

The decision of the UN heritage body UNESCO to add a Roman palace near Zajecar in eastern Serbia to its list of listed sites has boosted local pride - as well as hopes that Serbia will undertake a more responsible attitude to its cultural heritage.

At its annual meeting, held in early July in Wellington, New Zealand, UNESCO added the complex located 11km east of Zajecar to the world list of the protected sites under the name "Gamzigrad -Romuliana, Palace Of Galerius".

In a country still struggling to preserve its historical and cultural heritage, badly mauled by decades of mismanagement, the imperial palace now has a chance to outgrow its local significance and become a key site on the wider Serbian and Balkan tourist map.

The former residence of the Emperor Caius Valerius Galerius Maximianus, ruler from 297-311 and son-in-law of the Emperor Diocletian, takes its place in the region alongside Diocletian's better known former residence and resting place in Split, Croatia.

Galerius was born in the then Romanian province of Dacia Aureliana to a mother named Romula, after whom the palace was named.

The complex at Romuliana sprawls over six-and-a-half hectares, surrounded by a defensive system of 20 towers, within which lie the remains of vestibules, atriums, hot baths, multi-coloured floor mosaics, marble panels and objects and sculptures made of purple granite and green porphyry from the Peloponnese.

Most of the credit for the discovery of the true nature of the complex goes to Dragoslav Srejovic, the late archaeologist who from the 1970s spent two decades trying to convince the world that Romuliana was not a "castrum" or army encampment, as had been assumed, but an imperial palace.

The breakthrough came in 1984 when Srejovic discovered an inscription at the site bearing the palace's name, reading Felix Romuliana. In 1993, a carving of the emperor's head was also discovered, made from costly Egyptian purple porphyry.

Srejovic died a decade ago, leaving subsequent generations to continue his work. With UNESCO recognition, Serbia now has to apply new international rules for the protection, reconstruction and preservation of the palace.

Branislava Stojkovic Pavelka, head of conservation and reconstruction of Romuliana, at Serbia's Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments, says the most important thing is for the municipality of Zajecar to act on its plan, concerning management of the site.

Among other things, the plan includes buying up around 100 hectares around the site to form a "Zone of Protection" and shield the site from the attention of treasure hunters and diggers.

German experts from the Archaeological Institute in Frankfurt are the first foreign partners to have established significant cooperation with Serbian institutions on the protection and further examination of Romuliana.

UNESCO itself does not grant money to custodians of listed sites. But the fact that it has listed the palace will draw the attention of others who may invest money into its further examination and tourist development, Marco Omcikus, member of the UNESCO National Committee, said speaking from Belgrade.

The state and the local authorities will now also be obliged to undertake a greater level of care than before, he added. "Applying for certain donations can financially and logistically assist the state in protecting the object," he continued.

The registration of Serbia's first UNESCO archaeological site should hopefully encourage a more enlightened policy on the part of the authorities when it comes to the protection and development of similar cultural heritage sites in Serbia.

So far, Serbia has not had a good track record. Bora Dimitrijevic, director of the Zajecar museum, said the usual former practice was to treat "rocks sticking out of the ground as good construction material or as a source for illegal trade by unlicensed treasure hunters".

The Zajecar museum and city authorities have already campaigned for the better protection of Romuliana and have succeeded in seeing the installation of partial lighting, occasional police visits and night patrols. It is not enough, though it is more than most other sites in eastern Serbia have seen.

The Sarkamen site near Negotin, a residential complex from the same era as the Emperor Galerius, was another important archaeological discovery made by Dragoslav Srejovic. The examination began in 1994 and only two years later the world was astonished by the collection of gold imperial jewellery found at the spot.

But the complex, which sprawls over 25 hectares, is completely neglected today and enjoys no protection, enabling treasure hunters to resume work on it undisturbed. The evident lack of local interest means the state has taken no interest in it either.

In the vicinity of Knjazevac, several unprotected sites dating from the prehistoric period to the Byzantine Empire, have been looted. The Roman-Byzantine site of Ravna was routinely plundered by well-equipped treasure hunters once the experts working on the site had finished their working days.

Dusica Zivkovic, director of the County Museum in Knjazevac, emphasises that more systematic protection and care of the new UNESCO site is essential.

Raiders, she said, do not hesitate to exhibit their valuable findings at collectors' fairs "because they do not fear legal repercussions, which are mainly symbolical, anyway".

The fate of Lepenski Vir, another important site, located on the Danube at the Djerdap gorge, is far from encouraging.

This was yet another find of Srejovic's between 1965 and 1971. It was subsequently moved to a higher level after the Djerdap dam was built.

Today, the site has few visits from tourists, having in mind its significance. Instead of permanent care for its protection and presentation, the exhibits have been covered by a temporary roof for the last 30 years.

Hopefully, the authorities in eastern Serbia will not abandon Felix Romuliana to a similar fate, especially once the UNESCO over the gates of Romuliana proclaims the value that the world attaches to this historic find.
ANU College of Arts & Social Sciences
School of Social Sciences

Associate Lecturer or Lecturer - Roman History

Academic Level A or B

Salary Package: Academic Level A - $59,397 - $63,561 pa plus 17% super
or Academic Level B - $66,764 - $78,772 pa plus 17% super

Reference No.: FA4204

The School of Social Sciences is making a standard appointment at either
Lecturer level A or B in Roman History.

The successful applicant will be expected to develop and teach general
and specialist undergraduate courses in Roman History from c. 200 BCE to
c. 200 CE. You will be able to offer courses with a variety of
approaches and concerns including relevant offerings in political,
social and cultural history.

Candidates must have a PhD in Ancient History, be able to research in,
and read, ancient Latin and Greek sources and must have an ongoing
program of historical research in the area of specialisation. You will
be expected to demonstrate excellence in teaching, scholarly research,
publication and experience with graduate supervision, which is
appropriate to your qualifications and experience.

Further particulars, including selection criteria, are available from:
Donna Fruzynski, phone 02 6125 3013 , e-mail donna.fruzynski AT anu.edu.au
or http://info.anu.edu.au/hr/Jobs/Academic_Positions/_PDF/FA4204.pdf

If you wish to discuss the position after obtaining the selection
documentation, please contact:
Alastair Greig, phone 02 6125 4523 , e-mail alastair.greig AT anu.edu.au

Information for applicants

Job Application Cover sheet -

Closing Date: 24 August 2007
We can now debut our sidebar with feedsweeps of assorted blogs from the Classical blogosphere which are updated rather more frequently than I can give justice to in our weekly ClassiCarnival feature (and I confess to being not able to keep up with EVERYTHING myself; I just learned as I was doing this, e.g., that Hobbyblog has ceased publication (alas ... I just thought the feed had broken), but the material is still up). I've also put the Nuntii links up there on the right ... Enjoy!
ante diem vii kalendas sextilias

ludi Victoriae Caesaris (day 7)

64 A.D. -- the Great Fire of Rome continues (day 9)

110 A.D. -- martyrdom of Hyacinthus

1893 -- birth of E.R. Dodds (The Greeks and the Irrational)

... and since it seems to be a slow day, here's some fun from Petronius, Satyricon 53:

Et plane interpellavit saltationis libidinem actuarius, qui tanquam Vrbis acta recitavit: "VII kalendas Sextiles: in praedio Cumano, quod est Trimalchionis, nati sunt pueri XXX, puellae XL; sublata in horreum ex area tritici milia modium quingenta; boves domiti quingenti. Eodem die: Mithridates servus in crucem actus est, quia Gai nostri genio male dixerat. Eodem die: in arcam relatum est, quod collocari non potuit, sestertium centies. Eodem die: incendium factum est in hortis Pompeianis, ortum ex aedibus Nastae vilici.
hypnopompic @ Worthless Word for the Day
From Notes and Queries 189 and 191:

_"Elementa sex," &c._--Perhaps one of your readers, given to such trifles,
will hazard a guess at the solution, if not at the author, of the

"Elementa sex me proferent totam tibi;
Totam hanc, lucernis si tepent fungi, vides,
Accisa senibus suppetit saltantibus,
Levetur, armis adfremunt Horatii;
Facienda res est omnibus, si fit minor,
Es, quod relinquis deinde, si subtraxeris;
Si rite tandem quaeritas originem,
Ad sibilum, vix ad sonum, reverteris."


answered thusly:

_"Elementa sex," &c._ (Vol. vii., p. 572.).--The answer to the Latin riddle
propounded by your correspondent EFFIGY, seems to be the word _putres_;
divided into _utres_, _tres_, _res_, _es_, and the letter _s_.

The allusion in _putres_ is to Virgil, _Georgic_, i. 392.; and in _utres_
probably to _Georgic_, ii. 384.: the rest is patent enough.

I send this response to save others from the trouble of seeking an answer,
and being disappointed at their profitless labours. If I may venture a
guess at its author, I should be inclined to ascribe it to some idle
schoolboy, or perhaps schoolmaster, who deserved to be whipped for their

C. W. B.

The steady stream of news continues ... from the Sofia News Agency:

The archaeologist team of Bulgaria's Georgi Kitov has unearthed on Tuesday a Thracians king's sepulchre near the Kaloyanovo village, Darik News reported.

The archaeologists have found only the lower part the body of the buried person, the chest, the hands and the head were missing, which shows he had been a follower of Orpheus.

The scientists found another interesting artefact in the burial - a pottery vessel in the shape of a horse head, whose make is very precise. On the forehead of the horse there is a double-axe (labris) - a symbol of power in the Thracian society.

On Wednesday, another team of archaeologists announced they have stumbled upon an ancient Thracian sanctuary just above the Momchilova Fortress on the hills of Smolyan town.

"We suspected there is a sanctuary in the rocks above the fortress even before we started the excavations in the area," archaeologist Nikolay Boyadzhiev.

The team has also found lots of pottery around the sanctuary, all dated back to the 1st century BC.
From Randolph-Macon College:

he Agora, the civic center and heart of ancient Athens, Greece, contains some of the most important buildings and artifacts of any ancient site. The worlds’ first democratic government met in the Bouleuterion, or Senate House, in the Agora hundreds of years ago. And it was here where Socrates and Plato debated the foundations of modern philosophy.

Today, the Agora presents visitors with a very different landscape. Where marble columns once stood, only foundation walls remain. And across the street, about 20 feet below street level, an area of excavation rings each summer with the sound of many American diggers — a group composed of graduate students, undergraduates, and this season, Randolph-Macon College 2007 graduate Meg Shamburger of Richmond and R-MC senior Margaret Fisher of Raleigh – both who will be spending the next several weeks uncovering history.

The American School of Classical Studies has managed the Agora excavations since 1931. Almost every summer, several Randolph-Macon students participate in the digs. In return for room, board and the opportunity to touch history, the students work a full day digging and stripping away layers of successive time periods. Dr. John Camp, the director of the excavations and also a professor of Classics at Randolph-Macon College, has been a major part of this wonderful program for the last several years.

“It’s sort of like digging the Mall in Washington, D.C.,” Camp said. “The Agora is a large open space surrounded by all the buildings necessary to run the Athenian democracy. So far, the excavations have brought to light the senate building, the vice president’s office, the archives and the mint and law courts. The American society owes much to the influence of the ancient Greeks: architecture, painting, sculpture, theatre, philosophy and law.”

Several weeks into the dig, Shamburger and Fisher describe their experience as a fascinating opportunity to gain knowledge and appreciation of the beauty, culture and way of life throughout Greece.

“Greece is absolutely amazing,” said Fisher, who, along with Shamburger, is blogging on the R-MC Web site – www.rmc.edu/currentstudents/blogs -- throughout the trip. “Meg and I are so fortunate to have the opportunity to come and actually be able to dig up history in the Agora. We are both learning so much and meeting amazing people! It has been fun being on our own and having to learn everything about a foreign city. The first day we decided to wander the city without a map so we could just get our bearings straight and see what the city we are living in for the next seven weeks has to offer.”

The Agora Excavation in Athens is just one of the many unique study-travel opportunities open to all Randolph-Macon students. The college’s global reach provides students the opportunity to study abroad through its extensive international education program, which offers students the chance to spend a semester in dozens of countries including China, Costa Rica, England, France, Ghana, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Northern Ireland, South Africa and Spain. In addition, during R-MC’s unique January term, students can immerse themselves in one unique experience for four weeks – often by conducting research, participating in a full-time internship, or spending several weeks abroad.

Opportunities for R-MC students to study and work at the Agora excavations are supported by the Panathenaic Society, an organization based in Richmond, Virginia, dedicated to promoting the spread of knowledge about Greek democracy and culture through its affiliation with Randolph-Macon College. Anyone interested in helping to support this significant archeological project should call 804- 752-7218 for more information.

ante diem viii kalendas sextilias

Furrinalia -- a festival in honour of an obscure Roman deity named Furrina, who appears to have been assiociated with a grove and/or spring

ludi Victoriae Caesaris (day 6)

44 A.D. -- marytrdom of James the Greater

64 A.D. -- the Great Fire of Rome (day 8)

306 A.D. -- death of the emperor Constantius I; dies imperii of Constantine I

325 A.D. -- Council of Nicaea closes
caducity @ Merriam-Webster

dictatress @ Wordsmith

hypnogogic @ Worthless Word for the Day

riposte @ Dictionary.com
Susan Alcock and Robin Osborne, Classical Archaeology ... just announced by Blackwell
From the Sofia Echo:

Archaeologists found a Thracian vessel in the shape of a horse head in a funeral mound near the town of Sliven.

The workmanship was especially precise, Focus news agency reported.

The horse’s accoutrements and a labris (double axe) were represented on the vessel. Focus said that the labris was a symbol of royal power in Thrace.

Georgi Kitov, head of the archaeological expedition, said that the vessel was unique from a scientific point of view. The labris proved the vessel was owned by a Thracian king.

Only half a body was found in the tomb, showing that the deceased was a follower of Orpheus, Kitov said.

Amphoras, clay vessels of various sizes and bronze pitchers were also found in the two tombs under the hill.
Christopher Knight of the LA Times ponders Italy's ultimatum:

In March, Italian senator Paolo Amato joined placard-waving citizens furious over the removal of an iconic painting from Florence's famed Uffizi Gallery. While protesting the loan of Leonardo da Vinci's "Annunciation" to an exhibition in Japan, the senator took an unusual step: He wrapped himself in chains, looped them around a post outside the museum entrance and snapped the padlock shut.

The stunt was the dramatic, even operatic conclusion to a noisy conflict raging for weeks among politicians and the public. In contrast to the United States, cultural policy is a conspicuous feature of Italian life.

If you want to understand how conspicuous, try this: Imagine Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) chaining himself to the gates of New York's Metropolitan Museum to protest the loan of Emanuel Leutze's "Washington Crossing the Delaware" to a foreign museum.

Unimaginable? That's the point. The brawl over the Leonardo loan was overwrought, but in Italy it was politics as unusual.

I cite this recent cultural dust-up because it goes a long way toward explaining the otherwise bizarre behavior of Francesco Rutelli. He's the ambitious, telegenic former mayor of Rome who became head of the Italian Cultural Ministry last year.

Earlier this month, Rutelli issued an ultimatum to the Getty Trust. For years the Getty has been engaged in seesawing negotiations over disputed title to antiquities in its museum collection. Nine months ago, the Getty offered to return 26 works to Italy, citing clear evidence that the museum has no legal claim to keep them. Officials further pledged to continue fastidious examination of additional disputed works.

No deal, Rutelli said. And by the way, fork over the famous Getty Bronze by July 31 -- that's next week -- or Italy will suspend all cultural relations with the Los Angeles museum.

The threatened boycott is largely symbolic, since only modest interaction exists now. But it means no loans of art, new or old, from Italian public collections to any Getty exhibitions. It means no cooperation on research or conservation projects.

To avoid the snub, Rutelli wants 47 objects turned over immediately -- including the Classical Greek statue of a "Victorious Youth." The exquisite sculpture has been the Getty's crown jewel for 30 years.

Virtually no one expects the Getty Bronze to be handed over -- not next week, not ever. Why? Simple: Italy has no valid claim on it, legal or moral.

The legal case is virtually nonexistent. Fishermen found the barnacle-encrusted statue in international waters in 1964. End of story. Even Rutelli knows that. In a Jan. 17 Wall Street Journal opinion article, tightening the screws, the culture minister wrote, "This is not a legal question, but a question of ethics."

He didn't elaborate on the moral claim -- because, I suspect, nothing but raw emotionalism backs it up. The bronze is probably of 4th-2nd century BC origin. (Some say the sculptor Lysippos, favorite of Alexander the Great, created it, though the Getty doesn't maintain that.) Since America is as much a descendant of ideals forged in ancient Greece as modern Italy is, and since the Getty preserves, protects and displays the great sculpture in an exemplary manner, there isn't any ethical problem.

So what gives? Why is Rutelli saying, in effect, "My way or the highway"?

Look to recent Italian politics for the answer. Rome, even more than Washington, is a political swamp. (They've been at it longer.) There are more parties, factions and ad hoc coalitions than Starbucks has baristas. So bear with me for a moment as we untangle the knot.

In that same Journal article, Rutelli also wrote, "This is not a political battle with the Getty." He's right. Instead, it's a political battle raging inside Italy, for which roughing up the Getty is useful.

Rutelli, 53, is a deputy in the center-left government of Prime Minister Romano Prodi, a close political ally for two decades. Prodi's coalition government has been shaky since he narrowly defeated Silvio Berlusconi in May 2006; just nine months later, a full-scale crisis erupted. Prodi quit in February, quickly shored up a new coalition and regained office in March.

What was the crisis about? Italian foreign policy -- specifically, support for the United States.

The flash point was Prodi's advocacy for the controversial expansion of an American Army base in Vicenza. Thirty thousand peaceful protesters poured into the streets in December, followed by 80,000 in February. Then a motion in the Italian Senate to support the government's pro-U.S. foreign policy failed, much to Prodi's surprise. His precarious coalition government temporarily collapsed. It's still riven with fissures, and the left remains its most unruly faction.

Rutelli's escalating anti-Getty posturing is old-fashioned political demagoguery, pitched to voters back home. The ultimatum symbolically proclaims that powerful American interests cannot push Italy around, making the government look tough. The emptiness of Italy's legal and ethical claims for the Getty Bronze are beside the point.

Rutelli, who is married to the successful RAI television journalist Barbara Palombelli, is media-savvy. He's a former client of the American strategic polling whiz Stanley Greenberg, who also advised Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. He understands the emotional power of symbols.

So we shouldn't be surprised that the minister's final warning earlier this month was delivered during a visit to a newly restored church in the Adriatic coastal town of Fano. That's where the fishermen who stumbled on the submerged bronze sculpture in 1964 hailed from, ensuring zealous local applause for Rutelli's headline-making demand.

Prior to the razor-thin election of the Prodi government, the Getty had been making headway in its negotiations with Italy. Since then, as implementation of Italy's pro-U.S. foreign policy objectives has become more nettlesome, the government's demands on the Getty have hardened. It's no coincidence. Italy's government has something to gain and little to lose.

That includes Rutelli. His ultimatum won't stop art smuggling or end the looting of archeological treasures by nocturnal tomb raiders.

But if the deputy prime minister does want to go after his country's top job in the future -- something he tried to achieve in 2001 -- it won't hurt to have an established public profile as an outspoken champion of Italy's cultural patrimony, however bogus the details. For Rutelli, chaining himself to the Getty Bronze is a winning political stunt.

What can the Getty do about Italian politics? Not much. But given intractable circumstances, perhaps it's time for some back-channel intervention from the U.S. ambassador to Italy, Ronald P. Spogli. Conveniently, the ambassador hails from Los Angeles.

I'd buy into this view (and still might) if I had seen coverage of anything Gettyesque in the Italian newspapers or on RAI or something ...
Folks might be interested in a new superhero called Parthenon, who will, no doubt, be showing up at a grad party near you ... see the interview at Afterelton.com ...
From BMCR:

Y. Hamilakis, N. Momigliano, Archaeology and European Modernity: Producing and Consuming the 'Minoans.' Creta Antica (Rivista annuale di studi archeologici, storici ed epigrafici, Centro di Archaeologica Cretese, Universita di Catania), 7.

Gabriel Herman, Morality and Behaviour in Democratic Athens: A Social History.

Johann Joachim Winckelmann, History of the Art of Antiquity. Introduction by Alex Potts. Translation by Harry Francis Mallgrave.

Harriet I. Flower, The Art of Forgetting: Disgrace and Oblivion in Roman Political Culture.

Norbert Kunisch, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. Deutschland Band 81: Bochum, Kunstsammlungen der Ruhr-Universitaet, Band 2.
Norbert Kunisch, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum. Deutschland Band 82: Bochum, Kunstsammlungen der Ruhr-Universitaet, Band 3.

Robin Waterfield, Xenophon's Retreat: Greece, Persia and the End of the Golden Age.

Michael Bordt, Platons Theologie.

Sabrina Mutino, L'insediamento pre-romano di Barrata. Storia di un recupero nel territorio potentino. Collana di studi archeologici "Adrias", IX.

Rosario Moreno Soldevila (ed.), Martial, Book IV. A Commentary. Mnemosyne Supplement 278.

Marie-Henriette Quet (ed.), La "crise" de l'Empire romain de Marc Aurele a Constantin. Mutations, continuites, ruptures.

Erich S. Gruen (ed.), Cultural Borrowings and Ethnic Appropriations in Antiquity. Oriens et Occidens. Studien zu antiken Kulturkontakten und ihrem Nachleben 8.

Peter Brown (trans.), Terence: The Comedies. Translated with introduction and explanatory notes.

Joseph W. Shaw, Kommos: A Minoan Harbor Town and Greek Sanctuary in Southern Crete.

ante diem ix kalendas sextilias

ludi Victoriae Caesaris (day 5)

64 A.D. -- the Great Fire of Rome continues (day 7)

69 A.D. -- sacking of the Second Temple in Jerusalem (?)

133 A.D. -- the last holdout of the Bar Kochba Revolt -- Betar -- fell to the Romans (?)

1895 -- Birth of Robert Graves (author of I, Claudius, among others)

1978 -- death of Dame Kathleen Kenyon (excavatrix of Jericho)
monocracy @ Merriam-Webster

circumambulate @ Wordsmith

confabulation @ Dictionary.com
An abstract from GSA Today might be of interest:

Historic records refer to Rhakotis as a settlement on Egypt's Mediterranean coast before Alexander the Great founded the famous Mediterranean port city of Alexandria in B.C. 332. Little is known of Rhakotis, however, because the site has yet to be clearly identified beneath the modern city. This problem motivated a geoarchaeological investigation of sediment cores from Alexandria's East Harbor, from which radiocarbon-dated sections of pre-Alexander age (>2300 yr B.P.) have been obtained for study. These core sections comprise a number of critical components, five of which are emphasized here: ceramics, rock fragments derived from Middle and Upper Egypt, and sediment with markedly increased contents of lead, heavy minerals, and organic matter. A multidisciplinary approach, by which archaeological, stratigraphical, petrological, and geochemical methodologies are applied to study the five distinct core components, reaffirms that a sum can be greater than its parts. Together, the diverse markers in the dated core sections enable us to confirm human activity to at least seven centuries before B.C. 332 on the mainland coast, where Alexandria would later be established. Alexander's city, it now appears, rose from a pre-existing town whose inhabitants had long before recognized the favorable harbor potential of this Egyptian coastal sector. The discoveries, providing direct evidence of the settlement's early (to ca. B.C. 1000) existence, are intended to prompt new exploratory efforts on land and offshore to further delineate that center's actual position and history.

... a PDF of the whole article can be downloaded from the original abstract page.

Okay, I've read it in its entirety and it's not a bad article, although I do not know how they distinguish between 'cores related to settlement' and 'cores related to stuff that's washed down the river'. Whatever the case, though, I do have a major stylistic problem. Near the beginning the article says:

Historians generally agree that Rhakotis, or Râ-Kedet, was
a settlement established before the fourth century B.C. in the
area subsequently developed as Alexandria. Rhakotis has been
vaguely alluded to as a modest fishing village of little signifi-
cance, a more substantial walled center, or possibly a fortified
settlement (Fraser, 1972; Empereur, 1998; Baines, 2003; McK-
the markers in the dated core sections enable us to
enzie, 2003; Ashton, 2004).

The conclusion, however, suggests:

In summary, evidence from East Harbor cores shows that
Alexandria did not grow from a barren desert, but was built
atop an active town that had for centuries exploited the safe
harbor setting along this Egyptian coast.

Usually one sets up a straw man before knocking it down, but nowhere in the article is the suggestion made that Alexandria DID arise out of nothing. The only reason I bring this up is because this is an oft-mentioned "claim" supposedly ascribed to Classicists when 'discussing' things with Afrocentrists about the Library of Alexandria. As mentioned, that there was a settlement of some sort there prior to Alexander is acknowledged by Classicists and appears to be confirmed by the above study. What remains to be seen, however, is whether the study in GSA will lead to more studies which can give an idea as to the extent of the pre-Alexandrian settlement at Rhakotis (and indeed, the authors do hope that it does lead to further studies).
An OpEd piece from the LA Times:

The list of youthful indiscretions I planned to keep secret from my children stopped growing years ago, but with recent news reports about pilfered antiquities, big-name museums and possible prison terms, I realize there's a piece of my history I still need to deal with.

In the summer of 1973, I was an imprudent teenager (that's no secret) enduring a family holiday in the distant lands of ancient Who-Cares-Ville. One afternoon in Athens, during a forced tour of the Acropolis, I wandered off from the group. Tourists were allowed to walk around inside the Parthenon in those days, and after I had had my fill of rubble and panoramic photo ops, I kicked back for a moment's rest against one of the massive marble pillars.

I kicked back, heel first and much too casually, and an avalanche of marble shards crumbled down across my shoe. It was an accident, I swear -- and it probably scared me; I don't remember. What I do remember is placing a piece of one of the new-fallen rocks in my palm. Small as an olive, thin as a coin, older than Caesar it sparkled like a drachma-sized souvenir.

I stuffed it in my pocket. Kept it.

Kept it secret.

History, as it turns out, can be a serious pain in the baklava. The Greek and Italian governments are working to recoup all the pieces of their countries' history they can find -- friezes and statues and crowns and, I'm sure, little chunks in sticky-fingered tourists' bedroom drawers. (The Italians have given the J. Paul Getty Museum until the end of July to work out a deal to return more than 40 artifacts Italy considers looted items.) They're working the legal and diplomatic channels from London to Los Angeles and beyond -- not only to recover ill-gotten contraband but also to prosecute for their removal. And that's the problem.

I want to send my sliver back, but how in the name of Zeus can I? Visions of satellite trucks in my yard keep me up at night. I hear voices, echoes of TV anchors: "Local teacher revealed as a smuggler of antiquities! News at 11!"

I don't know any well-connected curators who could sneak this thing back in in a box of busts. What can I do? Yes, I could stick it in an envelope and mail it to Athens, but would you put your return address on such a mailing? I could try dropping it on the doorstep of the nearest Greek Embassy, along with a little anonymous note of explanation, but I get the feeling we're in an era in which dropping envelopes on embassy doorsteps and running away is frowned on. My friends have laughed at my worries. "It's a rock," they say. "Forget about it!"

Wish I could. It is just a rock, in many ways -- grayish, lumpy, like something that might get stuck in your sandal, or maybe it would if you could still walk freely around places like the Parthenon (but you can't because idiots like me spoiled it for everyone!).

When I first heard about the Greeks and Italians pursuing items in the Getty's collection, I went upstairs and fished this "souvenir" out of the little box I've kept it in for three decades -- from house to house, state to state, youth to midlife. I've got a 13-year-old of my own now -- the same age I was when I first visited Greece. I brought it downstairs and, after all these years, showed it to him. I told him when and where it came from. His reaction? "Geez, Dad," he said. "I can't believe you took that."

All those years of telling my children to "do the right thing," I realized, had sunk in. That's the good news.

"Are you like a criminal?" he asked. "What are you going to do with it?"

That was the bad news.

I told him the truth -- I didn't know. "But I'm going to do something."

And I am. After a great deal of deliberation, I've decided what that something is. In fact, I've just finished addressing the envelope, real name and address included -- to the Parthenon Lost & Found. This piece belongs in Greece, not in the sunny suburbs in a dresser drawer. Wish me luck. I'd much rather vacation in Athens than do time there.

From the Turkish Daily News:

The remains of an ancient city on the Black Sea coast will be unearthed for the first time next month. Archaeologists are beginning excavations and underwater dives with the aim of unveiling the architectural plan of Teion (or Tion), located in Zonguldak's Filyos district.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, archaeologist Sümer Atasoy said the excavation team conducted surface research last year but that the major digging will start in August with a 30-member excavation team.

He said they had outlined an aqueduct, a theater, defensive walls, a breakwater, a port and port walls by examining remains close to the surface. "The ancient city hosted many civilizations including Persians, Romans, Genoas and Ottomans. The work, which was carried out for the first time on the Black Sea coast, indicates that the ancient city was an important trade center in the region. Its inhabitants sold forest products and bonitos. We uncovered an ancient Roman theater with a 2,000-person capacity as well as marble and bronze statues."

He also said it was the first time that an ancient city on the Black Sea coast was excavated and its remains nearthed. An excavation team of archaeologists from both Turkey and Australia will conduct the excavations. "We will trace the signs of early settlements in the ancient city," Atasoy noted.

He spoke as well of an 18-meter long structure within the borders of the brick factory in the district. Dubbed the "underground city" among the local people, he said they estimated it to be a huge palace. "We will conduct excavations in this area and unearth the structure. We plan to open this structure to tourism after restoration."

The only preserved ancient city:

Atasoy said the Black Sea provinces of Kastamonu, Sinop, Samsun, Ordu and Trabzon had all hosted ancient civilizations but that their traces were lost. "The current settlement areas in these provinces have been built on ancient cities. It is only possible to uncover the traces of these ancient cities through excavations," he explained. "The ancient city in Filyos, on the other hand, is the only place that has been preserved in this regard, and surface studies give an idea about the site and region."

He also said the excavations aimed to fully unveil the ancient theater, as well as some other remains mentioned in a book by German and French travelers who visited the area between 1887 and 1930. "We will try to shed light on the history of the region and that period. Two underwater archaeologists will also join us in our work. I think an interesting ancient city will be unveiled. We plan to utilize the remnants for tourism."
So the New York Daily News has a tantalizing headline:

Greeks bear Paris grudge

... hmm, one thinks ... the Greeks are mad at the French? You don't suppose this has something to do with the Trojan War? You click through and ...

Greece's biggest shipping families have banded together to make sure their sons don't even think about marrying Paris Hilton. ...

... so they're scared that Paris will take away a Hellene?
From the Echo:

Archaeologists examining a Roman fortress near the Bulgarian town of Peshtera have found 14 gold coins dating back to the sixth century.

The coins were found at the bottom of a granary near a basilica, Focus news agency reported.

Local history museum director Dimitar Pavlov said that the coins might have been hidden when the Slavs attacked and captured the fortress.

The dig in Peshtera has so far uncovered numerous bronze and silver coins, silver pendants and various ceramic objects, Focus said.

The artifacts are to be kept either in the local museum or at the National Museum of History.
8.00 p.m. |HINT|Ancient Greece: Weapons of Mass Destruction
An examination of ancient Greek weapons of mass destruction. Host
Michael Guillen demonstrates the forerunner of the long-range
missile, a ballista--a catapult that could launch a 25 pound missile
over a quarter of a mile. Greeks also developed toxic weapons by
coating the tips of arrows with poisons ranging from jellyfish, to
human waste, to snake venom to poisonous plants. They refined the use
of fire as a weapon of terror. Michael introduces us to Professor
John Haldon who recreated the weapon known as Greek Fire. Developed
by Byzantine Greeks, it closely resembled napalm. The engineering
consulting firm Arup tests whether the story of Archimedes' "burning
mirror", which reflected sunlight off soldiers shields with deadly
effects, was fact or fiction. The episode ends by demonstrating how
the "arms race" started with the ancient Greeks, who developed ever
more potent weapons of mass destruction to overcome their enemy's

HINT = History International
ante diem x kalendas sextilias

Neptunalia -- an obscure festival (obscure in the sense that we really don't know what went on) in honour of Neptune

ludi Victoriae Caesaris (day 4)

64 A.D. -- the Great Fire of Rome (day 6)

79 A.D. -- martyrdom of Apollinaris

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Phocas the Gardener
extirpate @ Merriam-Webster

anecdotage @ Wordsmith

Interesting item from USA Today:

Unicorns, giants and fairies, the UFOs of antiquity, have yet to turn up in any archaeologist's overturned shovel. Aside from their frequent appearances on ancient frescoes, statuary and artwork, such fanciful creatures of mythology don't have a clear origin, although some have linked the mermaid to lonely sailors glimpsing dugongs (also known as sea cows) in the distance, and making a giant leap.

But a recent discovery in an Iranian salt mine, suggests one scholar, may shed light on the origins of a famous satyr of antiquity, one so well-known that it merited a visit from the emperor himself. The satyr was a goat-man in Greek legend who danced and frolicked, playing pipes and chasing nymphs all day, living in a woodsy version of the Playboy Mansion.

In June, a man's body, naturally mummified within an ancient salt mine, was found in the Chehr-?b?d salt mine outside the Iranian city of Zanj?n. Six such discoveries have been made since 1993, according to the Circle of Ancient Iranian Studies (CAIS) foundation based in London. Past salt man finds go back as far as 540 BC, around the time of the ancient Achaemenid dynasty. Archaeologists treasure natural mummy discoveries, such as "Otzi" the ice-entombed man preserved in an Alpine glacier and uncovered in 1991, because preservation of soft tissues, even beards in the case of the salt men, allows for investigation with DNA analysis and other tools of forensics

Stanford University's Adrienne Mayor, a folklorist, specializes in analyzing how fossil discoveries in prehistory may have led to legends such as the Titans of Greek mythology (botched reconstructions of mammoth bones) or mystic water serpents in Native American legends (fossilized fish-tailed crocodiles preserved in desert rock deposits.)

As far back as the era of the great Roman emperor Constantine, who reigned from the year 312 to 337, cities had their own special attractions, Mayor explains. The early Christian writer, St. Jerome (the patron saint of librarians in the Roman Catholic Church who died in the year 420) recounted that Constantine made a special trip from Constantinople (today Istanbul) to Antioch, once a great city of his empire, to view an exhibit of a "satyr" that had been extremely well preserved in salt.

In an earlier book, The First Fossil Hunters: Paleontology in Greek and Roman Times, Mayor suggested that the "satyr" was likely a faked patched-together body of a man and goat. But now she thinks the recently discovered salt man might provide another explanation. "Obviously, satyrs are mythic creatures," Mayor says. But the head of the man preserved in salt since about 540-300 BC, "bears a striking resemblance to ancient Greek and Roman depictions of satyrs," she says, which are depicted with similar hair and beard, a snub nose and protruding jaw.

"I think it's very likely that an ancient discovery of a similarly preserved "salt man" in northwestern Iran is the basis for St. Jerome's account of the 'satyr' preserved in salt and examined by the Emperor Constantine and numerous other curious visitors in Antioch," Mayor concludes.

Expert opinions are mixed. Roman historian Andrew Merrills of England's University of Leicester, says in an email, "Overall, it sounds like a great big 'maybe' to me. Interesting story, fabulous idea, but I wouldn't want to build too much of an argument on it." But Tufts University archaeologist Bruce Hitchner calls the idea credible.

The 540 B.C. salt man from Iran most resembles an elderly satyr figure commonly seen in Greek art, called Silenus, says Mayor. Silenus was usually depicted with long golden hair, a beard, a bulging forehead, snub nose and an open mouth. Mayor suspects the early images of satyrs may have sprung from such discoveries, transformed into art (with the addition of a goat's body) in the stories of the travelers and traders of the ancient world.

"When I saw the picture of the salt man, I was just struck by how much like a satyr he looks," Mayors says. "Satyr plays were very popular in antiquity, so everyone knew what satyrs looked like. There's no reason to think people back then wouldn't have made the same connection."

Jerome mentions this, by the way, in his Life of Paulus the Hermit (chap 8). This salt man (which isn't the one mentioned above), does remind one of a satyr ...
Not sure when this 'discovery' was made (but I think it's from 2005), but someone found a bunch of Cypriot antiquities (from various dates) were found in the 'loft' of someone's house in the UK:

... at the APA site, natch!
International Conference
Prague (Czech Republic), November 16-17th, 2007




Electronic corpora of ancient languages offer important information
about the culture and history of ancient civilizations, but at the same
time they constitute a valuable source of linguistic information. The
scholarly community is increasingly aware of the importance of
computer-aided analysis of these corpora, and of the rewards it can
bring. The construction of electronic corpora for ancient languages is a
complex task. Many more pieces of information have to be taken into
account than for living languages, e.g. the artefact bearing the text,
lacunae, level of restoration, etc. The electronic corpora can be
enriched with links to images, annotations, and other secondary sources.
The annotations should deal with matters such as textual damage,
possible variant readings, etc., as well as with many features specific
to ancient languages.

Recent years have witnessed a considerable increase in electronic corpus
construction for ancient languages, with the involvement of many
institutions across the world. The time is ripe to see whether the
experiences of scholars working on such projects can profitably be shared.


We invite submissions on all aspects of the construction of corpora of
ancient languages, as well as on their use for different purposes. We
especially welcome submissions on the linguistic use of these corpora,
and their linguistic annotation.


Authors are invited to submit original, unpublished work on the topic of
the conference. Submission of an abstract is required first, for the
review process. After presentation at the conference, the papers will be
published. They will be required in final form for publication in
January 2008.
Abstracts in PDF format should be sent to petr.zemanek AT ff.cuni.cz not
later than September 24th.


September 24th -- Submission deadline for abstracts
October 4th -- Notification of acceptance
November 16th-17th -- Conference held in Prague


Jost Gippert (Frankfurt)
Hans Ch. Luschuetzky (Vienna)
Petr Vavroušek (Prague)
Petr Zemánek (Prague)


Petr Zemánek (Prague)
Petr Vavroušek (Prague)

In the next week, I'm going to put some of the 'more frequent updaters' (e.g. Laura Gibbs, Ed Flinn, NS Gill, possibly others) in a sidebar Feedsweep thing in the hopes of giving their almost-daily updates a more timely presentation on rogueclassicism (while not slowing down the loading of rc)... till then, though, here's this week's jog around the Classical blogosphere:

N.S. Gill writes about Virgil and the Classical Tradition, Love Magic, Nero's Fire, Latin Marriage Vocabulary ...

Laura Gibbs' roundups ...

Numerous posts of interest at Campus Mawrtius (another Feedsweep candidate) ...

Justinian's Flea is the topic of reviewish posts from Adrian Murdoch and Irene Hahn ...

Otherwise, Adrian Murdoch has links to a post on Augustine on Civil Government, more Googlemapping of Hadrian's Wall, and one on editions of Julian's Letters ...

... and Irene has posts on Ravenna ... Leo and Attila ... Monasticism ...

Alun gives you the opportunity to go mano a mano with Socrates ... there's also a useful post on the Greeks doing (or not) the first experiment ...

... the Voltage Gate picks up on the Greek Science theme ...

Troels Myrup has a 'tour' of some Polish follies ...

Gidon Shaviv has put together a page bringing together Historical Podcasts, with much of ancient interest ...

A post (by whom?) at Thoughts on Antiquity on Jerome and Eusebius ...

Peter Heather offers some views on Why Did Rome Fall ...

J O'D mentioned this Prometheus comic strip/blog on the Classics list t'other day ... looks like it's worth monitoring ...

Martin Conde has some new photos up of recent finds in Rome and environs ...
This week's claims about the ancient world ...

From the Sacramento Bee:

People have believed in the link between handwriting and personality throughout time, beginning with ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle.

NPR adds as a footnote to a piece on the Michael Vick case:

The genesis of dogfighting as a sport can be traced to a clash of ancient civilizations. When the Romans invaded Britain in 43 A.D., both sides brought fighting dogs to the battlefield for the seven years of warfare that followed. The Romans may have won the war, but the British dazzled the victors with the ferocity of their dogs, which were far more battle-ready than their Roman counterparts.

Thus emerged a canine market of sorts. The Romans began to import British fighting dogs for use not only in times of war, but also for public amusement. In Rome's Colosseum, large audiences would gather to watch gladiator dogs pitted against other animals, such as wild elephants. The vicious dogs, thought to have been crossbred with the Romans' own fighting breed, were also exported to France, Spain and other parts of Europe, eventually finding their way back to Britain.

From a Q&A column in the Courier Press:

Chaucer, writing in the late 1300s, refers to treacle in "The Canterbury Tales" (maybe your daughter's next reading?). But treacle's story goes back much further. The name "treacle" comes out of the ancient Greek "theriaca antidotos," meaning "antidote for the bite of wild beasts."

According to British food historian C. Anne Wilson, ancient Romans mixed honey with spices and drugs to make what they touted as an antidote to all poisons. The name that lasted through the Middle Ages was "theriaca" or "triacle." Gradually, the honey was replaced by the cheap, thick, dark syrup left after refining sugar (which in its white, granulated form was a status symbol and considered healthy).

From Khaleej Times on the Pashtun tribesmen:

Outsiders have feared the fiercely independent people at least since one of them shot an arrow in the leg of Alexander the Great in the 4th century B.C. and nearly killed the conqueror.

[aren't the Pashtun among those who claim descent from Al's armies?]

The UB Post on Friday the 13th:

Actually the evil in the 13 may come from an ancient Roman belief that witches generally gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.

Last, and certainly not least, from the Scotsman on the benefits of snail slime:

While the modern-day potential of this substance was discovered by South American snail farmers who noticed that their hands were incredibly soft, it was the ancient Greeks who first tapped into its qualities. They treated everything from ulcers to whooping cough with the slime, and it became a staple component of a chemist's first aid kit.

From Fortean Times 157 (April, 2002):

"What manner of thing is your crocodile?" - Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra.

Fort (Books, p592) found three reports (1836, 1862,1866) of mysterious sightings, all at Over-Norton, Oxfordshire, with jests about "a translatory current especially selective of young crocodiles."

Herodotus (Histories, bk2 chs68-70 - the earliest Greek account) is suggestively short on tall stories (none either in Pliny, Natural History, bk8 ch37 paras 89-94), though his modern editor WG Waddell (1939) calls the given average of 25ft (7.6m) "exaggerated"; Phylarchus (History, fr26) has a 40-footer (12m), Aelian (History of Animals, bk17 ch6) a pair around 70ft (21m).

Nothing on longevity. In their first Book Of Lists (Bantam, New York, 1977, pp133-4), D Wallechinsky/A Wallace/I Wallace put a 56-year-old alligator (no crocs) at 10th place in a tally of long-lived creatures.

Ancient authors and non-Literary papyrus texts agree that some Egyptians worshipped crocodiles - feeding, housing, mummifying them. Visiting Roman bigwigs had the privilege of watching them cat. Plutarch (On Isis and Osiris, ch72 para380h) says two communities went to war over mutual killings of their sacred reptiles. Others loathed crocs, lured them to shore by the squeals of beaten pigs, and netted them.

Aelian has the host yarns. These "villainous and crafty beasts" cover themselves with driftwood and attack people fetching water from the Nile, also making paths slippery by flooding them and thus grabbing their prey. They lay as many eggs as days needed to hatch them, usually 60. Scorpions are spontaneously generated from dead ones; cf. similar beliefs about bees from deceased lions (OT, Judges, ch14 v8 - immortalised on Tate & Lyle's Golden Syrup tins) or cows (Virgil, Georgics, bk4 vv281-314). Predicting the time and height of Nile inundations, they remove their eggs to safety in advance.

One hyper-prophetic croc, knowing that King Ptolemy was about to die, declined to he fed by him. Another carried off the daughter of King Psammetichus; the second Book Of Lists (Bantam, New York, 1980, pp1089) records that on 19 February 1945 crocs killed and consumed 980 of 1,000 Japanese soldiers trapped in a Bay of Bengal swamp.

They were first exhibited at Rome by the aedile Scaurus in 58 BC - perhaps one impetus for the considerable crocodile lore in Cicero's On The Nature Of The Gods - and later under Augustus, Domitian, Pius, and Elagabalus.

Pliny (bk28 ch107 para10) recommends crocodile parts as aphrodisiacs, eye-salves, and make-up; Horace (Epodes, no12 v1 0 derides a cosmetically-challenged hag as "swamped in crocodile shit."

Plutarch (Sagacity of Animals, para975a) heard of an old dame at Antaeopolis who copulated with one - eat your heart out, Linda Kozlowski!
Crocodile tears enter English c. 1400 in The Voyage and Travails Of Sir John Mandeville, ch28 (with spelling "cockodrill" ; cf. Peggoty's "crorkindill" in David Copperfield, ch2); then Shakespeare, Othello, 4.1.255-7: "...0 devil, devil!/If that the earth could team with a woman's tears,/Each drop she falls would prove a crocodile." Francis Grose's Classical Dictionary Of The Vulgar Tongue (1785) defines them as "the tears of a hypocrite."

Aelian (bk10 ch21) is the first to mention lachrymosity: they cry when netted and flogged. The fourth-century theologian Asterius (Homilies, no14 - reproduced in Photius, Bibliotheca, ch217 para503a) avers "crocodiles mourn over the human heads they devour and weep, not from repentance hut because heads have no edible flesh." - so, ancient crocs were not hypocrites, just greedy.

"A thing called the crocodile rock" - Elton John

NB: This column complements the reptilian remarks in FT151:17. I don't have CA Guggisberg's Crocodiles: Their Natural History, Folklore, and Conservation (Stackpole Books, Harrisburg, 1972), mentioned on the internet Crocodile Biology Data Base. Various authors misled by the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary claim Shakespeare invented "alligator" (Romeo & Juliet, 51.43), but the word's history actually began in 1568.

Barry Baldwin
(reprinted with permission of the Author; blame any typically graphic transcription errors on dm)
From the Guardian:

In Delphi I met a man who looked troublingly like Zeus. I knew from the CV in my conference papers that he was, in fact, a lecturer in psychoanalysis from Canada. But Delphi is a romantic place. The most crabby of academics still sneak down to the Castalian spring to sup the sacred water (said to bring the muse), so at one point I catch myself pondering whether this was indeed a re-incarnation of the king of the gods (silver beard streaming, aquiline profile, fifth-century BC-perfect, an all-seeing air).

His Olympian face fascinated. After a couple of days gawping I noticed his equally striking wife staring at me, not a little sharply, and pulled myself together - remembering what Zeus's wife, Hera, did to those who showed any interest in her spouse.

That night, under the stars over the sanctuary, drama students were attempting Aeschylus's tragedy The Choephori with black tights and spasms. Silent, tear-jerking, breathtaking giggles swept along our row: a plague of bad manners. A grand old dame of the Athenian stage pulled her hair out in horror, literally (I've never seen anyone do this before).

She then staggered off in the dark and disappeared with a yelp down a slope. No one was laughing at the betighted ones. It was an oddly supportive hilarity: what curious things we humans end up doing. The spirit of comedy - a form, interestingly that emerges when the Greek world first experiments with democracy - is to guffaw at our flaws and our innate, wonderful daftness.

On Radio 4's Start The Week and I'm suddenly so nervous I can't feel my legs or the roof of my mouth. A friend calls to say it sounded fine, but a little clipped. Well, considering my body had apparently been drained of all fluid by an industrial-size Dyson I think clipped is pretty damn good. Akbar Ahmed, the renowned scholar on contemporary Islam, and I continue to rap after the show.

There is a terrible truth that 1,000 years are missing from our collective history. The 'Middle Ages/Dark Ages' were of course no such thing. Achievement in the Arabian crescent was sensational then. Europeans have conveniently wiped this from official chronicles: with the unexpected result that we've denied Muslims positive role-models - and left a gnawing victim-culture.

After Marr and co I walk through jolie laid London. I was born in London and the beauty of this place makes my heart ache. The Greeks developed the concept of kalokagathia - 'external beauty showing an inward nobility of spirit'. They thought that verve, intellectual capacity, originality, bravery became incarnate. That a hero was gorgeous on the outside because he was on the inside too. This is London: a 2,000-year-old physical repository of mankind's zest. Boris Johnson is right to call it the new Athens. But neither he - nor we - should forget the underbelly of both cities ... the shadow that throws into relief, and catalyses, greatness.

First stop the British Museum to discuss a new 3D web-based resource, and then on to a bucolic restaurant called Arcadia (where, I realise, I had a disastrous date when I was 18) to be interviewed. My interviewer seems charming and not a little sphinx-like. Taught by actor parents never to leave an awkward gap in the conversation I gabble out unsolicited responses to fill the voids. I remember why I never became a spy. Next, a research meeting with one of the smartest women alive, Professor Mary Beard. Convivially we end up in Steam, a bar behind Paddington Station downing bellinis and red-pepper margaritas.

Suitably steamed-up (uncharacteristic, I'm pretty much a Pollyanna), I drift to Oxford for the opening of Stella Vine's show at Modern Art. The competing merits of concept and process always interest. There are many good ideas in the world and a handful of successful executions.

The crowd buzz around with excited, brittle smiles. But these gauche canvases genuinely seem to move their audience. As Diana's lips bleed and Courtney pulls off her panties in the back of a cab and Nigella tempts the vicar they remind me of the world's first created woman - described by Hesiod as the kalon kakon. The beautiful-evil thing.

After the garish glory of Vine's paintings, squalling London looks very cold in the light of day. It's local election week in my constituency and as I struggle to finish off academic papers and honey biscuits for sports day the phone doesn't stop ringing, nor the door bell. 'Can I ask who you'll be voting for on Thursday?' Political engagement is a fantastic thing. The Athenian democrats had a word for those who chose a private over a publicly driven life: 'idiotes'.

Still, after the fifth call in as many minutes, I scream: 'Listen, I won't even bloody well go out and vote unless you leave me alone ...' Fortunately it's a resilient Cameroon I bark at. 'All right. Jolly good,' she agrees. Mine is the Ealing, Southall hotspot which explains the particular frenzy. I knew Tony Lit's dad and suddenly - at 40 - find it hard to vote for someone I remember as a teenager. Very ageist.

School's out so we plan a pan-generation expedition. Lunch in a groovy health-food haven in Westbourne Grove; pocket-money shopping at the Oxfam opposite (possibly the best charity shop in the world); plus holiday books at Daunt; finished off with a Maison Blanc wicked thing.

All goes smoothly until we discover Fresh & Wild has been sucked into the monster US food emporium Whole Foods in Knightsbridge a mile away.

Grandpa sits and listens to the cricket in the car while we search for alternative food. The battery dies. I rope in the Cypriot greengrocer round the corner (who'd just sold me a lovely watermelon) to jump-start. Nothing. 'Mechanic by name not nature,' he grins.

In Southeast Asian heat my mum starts to pale. Eventually a Galician AA man from Surbiton appears, waving - we talk politics and are back on the road.

Ravenous, the kids hurl themselves at nearby Thai noodles: and spend the night throwing up - in their beds.

Now I can cope with most things; blood, shit, death-threats, muggers, critics ... but not vomit. My husband is shaken awake to deal with the carnage. He does so by ... oh, I can't even bear to write it down.

Talking of cat food ... A stray kitten-cat moved in a couple of months ago. Pity drove us to buy Gourmet Gold and cushions plump with catnip. Naturally this is the manner to which our (now permanent) feline resident has become accustomed. I find myself on the verge of suggesting I can't do the BBC One O'Clock News to discuss Ofsted's estimation of history teaching because we've run out of Gourmet and antibiotics for the guinea pig but then realise that is hopeless, amateur, motherly behaviour with my priorities all wrong (or thinking about it, maybe all right).

The solution: pick up the cat food en route to the studios. No one seems to mind, although when I pop in to Lord's to watch my brother Simon Hughes not commentating on rained-off India/England test for Sky, the commentary box grandees wrinkle their noses.

Once upon a time the fairer sex would whip up a nice jam sponge to keep Jonners et al going through the rigours of Lancashire v Kent. Now they bring Go-Cat.

The Life Born London, 1968; brother is cricketer Simon Hughes. Scholarship to read Ancient and Modern History at Oxford University. Married with two daughters. Parents, Peter and Erica Hughes, both actors.

The Work Books: Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore. Currently writing book on the life of Socrates: The Hemlock Cup. Radio: Live from the Coliseum; There's Something about Eleanor; Amongst the Medici. TV: The Spartans, The Minoans, The Seven Ages of Britain, and on Channel 4 now, Athens: The Truth About Democracy.

The Hughes CV

The Life Born London, 1968; brother is cricketer Simon Hughes. Scholarship to read Ancient and Modern History at Oxford University. Married with two daughters. Parents, Peter and Erica Hughes, both actors.

The Work Books: Helen of Troy: Goddess, Princess, Whore. Currently writing book on the life of Socrates: The Hemlock Cup.

Radio: Live from the Coliseum; There's Something about Eleanor; Amongst the Medici.

TV: The Spartans, The Minoans, The Seven Ages of Britain, and on Channel 4 now, Athens: The Truth About Democracy
From a gang-review of many tomes in the Scotsman:

If the 20th century had superheroes, the fifth century BC had deities. In Marie Phillips' absolutely delightful novel, Gods Behaving Badly, the Olympians are still around, in much reduced circumstances, in a exceptionally grotty north London pile. Aphrodite now runs a phone sex line, Dionysus is a DJ, and Apollo is a TV psychic, except when he's turning young women into eucalyptus trees if they refuse to sleep with him. The engine that turns this into a novel rather than a clever conceit is a cleaner, Alice, and her sort of boyfriend Neil. In one of her typically petulant revenges, Aphrodite has made Apollo fall hopelessly in love with Alice, while binding him in an oath not to harm her.

Part of the charm is in the juxtapositions - the gods are arrogant yet naïve, foul-mouthed but innocent, powerful but pointless. They're particularly cross with Eros, who's joined the Christian Union and gets to throw exquisite tantrums where he wishes that the Virgin Mary was his mother. None of the Gods can understand Athena's management speak and Zeus, the king of the gods, is locked in the attic, going a little gaga and thinks Doctor Who is a relation. When it becomes necessary for them to create a hero, the hapless Neil is pressed into service, taken on a trip to the Underworld, and, for a while, the Scrabble-obsessed engineer with a Judge Dredd collection holds the fates of gods and mortals in his slightly sweaty hands. There's enough mordant tang to keep it from becoming just silly, and, at moments, a frisson of real horror (Apollo is bemused that rape is so unacceptable these days). This has all the classic - no pun intended - comedy reversals, and given the wealth of Greek mythology, I can easily imagine their ongoing exploits becoming a regular summer feature.
From the Scotsman comes another interesting Classical tie in to the latest bit of Pottermania:

JK ROWLING'S next major project is set to feature a charismatic hero who uses magic powers to overcome diabolical and grotesque adversaries.

Yet the next chapter of the author's literary career is expected to focus on Orpheus rather than Harry Potter.

Edinburgh-based publishing firm Canongate has offered Rowling the chance to retell the adventures of the legendary Greek hero, who is best known for attempting to rescue his wife Eurydice from the underworld.

Rowling has already expressed an interest in covering the classics after her studies in Greek and Roman mythology at Exeter University in the 1980s, and now Canongate has invited her to become its latest celebrity writer to contribute to its best-selling Myths series.

Early sales figures showed that Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, the seventh and final instalment of the series, flew off the shelves yesterday. WHSmith said that at one point it was selling 15 books every second - beating the 13-books-per-second record held by the previous Rowling volume, Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince.

Bookshops around the country opened their doors at midnight on Friday to Potter maniacs who had queued in their thousands.

Penning a book based on the classics might bring critical acclaim for Rowling, but the fee, which normally doesn't reach much higher than a five-figure sum for such works, would be a barely noticeable addition to her estimated £545m fortune.

A host of characters in the Harry Potter series - from Chiron the centaur to Fluffy the monstrous three-headed dog - were directly inspired by Rowling's love of ancient mythology.

A literary insider said: "She has expressed an interest in updating the story of Orpheus and Eurydice, but the whole thing is being kept under wraps so not to overshadow the launch of the final Harry Potter book."

It is understood that the invitation was made personally to Rowling by Canongate owner Jamie Byng. The publisher launched the acclaimed Myths series in 2005.

"From the outset, the idea was to approach top-class writers from all over the world and invite them to retell any myth in any way they chose," the insider said.

"In turn, their myths would be published all over the world. Already a wonderful array of writers have come on board, as have 24 superb international publishers."

There has been speculation that the end of the Potter series would allow Rowling to spend more time with husband Neil and her children, as well as dedicating more time to supporting her preferred charities: the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Scotland and Maggie's Cancer Care. But the chance to take on a literary classic could be too much for the author to resist.

Katherine Rushton, publishing reporter with literary journal The Bookseller, believes that Rowling will have another huge hit on her hands.

"People will go out and buy whatever JK chooses to write next, but updating Greek myths could be an inspired choice," she said.

"Mythology would provide that world of magic and fantasy that her readers have grown to love in the Harry Potter series.

"It would be fascinating to see how she interpreted classical myths and legends."

But Rushton believes the venture would not be without risks: "Whatever JK writes next, some people will be looking for an opportunity to criticise her and she will be put up for heavy scrutiny.

"She is going to have to make sure her next book is fantastic if she is going to retain her reputation. Harry Potter is a very hard act to follow."

Dr Jon Hesk, an expert in Greek literature at St Andrews University, feels Rowling is ideal to help bring the classics to the PlayStation generation.

"The magical element of classical mythology really seems to have made a big impression on JK Rowling, and Harry Potter is a hero in the Greek tradition," he said. "Because of her knowledge of classics, Rowling is ideally placed to re-examine the mythology of Orpheus.

"It would undoubtedly help introduce Greek mythology to a new, younger readership."

Hesk thinks Orpheus would be an ideal choice: "At the core of Orpheus is a tragic love story which is both classic and timeless. It is a lurid story with romance and horrible bloody death, and that is why it still fascinates people today.

"One of the reasons why JK Rowling might be interested in it is that there is a magical supernatural element as well.

"Orpheus was destined to face great challenges and mighty adversaries while developing his power, and that is something that chimes with the character of Harry Potter."

Authors who have had works published in the Myths series include Alexander McCall Smith, whose Dream Angus was based on Celtic legends, and Canadian Margaret Atwood, who told the story of Odysseus's wife, Penelope.
From the Times-Dispatch:

LOS ANGELES Michael Brand left behind the worries of how to raise money for museum exhibits and expansion when he left the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.

At the Getty Museum in Los Angeles, his worries are more about finding the best way to spend.

"I think this is pretty much of a dream job," he said when we caught up with him at his office overlooking the expansive Getty Center, a year and a half into his new position. "It's an extraordinary institution in a great city with two beautiful campuses. It's a well-resourced international organization with a terrific staff and a great collection. The potential to do creative things here is remarkable in many ways."

The modern Getty Center, which opened in 1997, overlooks Los Angeles in the suburb of Brentwood. The classical Getty Villa, which reopened in 2006, overlooks the ocean at Malibu. The two campuses are a little more than 10 miles apart.

Brand was executive director of the Virginia Museum for five years, presiding over the capital campaign that led to the current building project. He was recruited by the Getty in 2005 at a time when conflicts over lavish spending and Italian demands for the return of art made the job a hot potato. He was used to challenges of a different sort.

"During my five years [at the Virginia Museum]," he said in a voice that still hints of his original home in Australia, "we had 9/11; we had the sniper; we had the worst economic crisis since the Depression; we had four rounds of budget cuts; we had two hurricane direct hits; we had a drought. So there was no shortage of challenges."

Primarily, though, the challenge was to find resources - and to convince Richmonders that they really did have a significant institution.

"When you look at it, the collection is actually more cosmopolitan than our collection here. Ours is basically Western art, European, Greek, Roman, except when you get to photographs. That was one of my challenges at the VMFA, getting people to recognize that you are very international and cosmopolitan."

At the Getty, he said, "it's more of an intellectual challenge than fundraising. The big challenge is the antiquities situation."

That "situation" involves the collection of ancient Greek and Roman art amassed for the Getty Villa under former antiquities curator Marion True. She's now a defendant in Italian courts, charged with receiving stolen goods. Italy and Greece have asked for the return of objects. Italy recently threatened to halt all collaboration with the Getty on other projects if an agreement isn't reached by the end of the month.

"The most important thing, you have to acknowledge that some things in your collection might have to go," Brand said. "As more information comes out, you need to do what's honest and fair, and make an appropriate decision."

That has already happened with four works returned to Greece. Italy has claims on 52 objects, one of them an object already returned to Greece.

"Italy is a much more complicated situation," he said.

One of the biggest objects of contention is a larger-than-life statue of Aphrodite, which Italy contends was pirated from an archaeological site in Sicily. The statue is one of the museum's signature pieces.

"There are issues with the provenance," Brand said. "We don't entirely accept the Italian story, where it comes from a specific site in Sicily. . . . We can't see why they're so certain about it."

In May, a Getty scientific workshop on the statue analyzed limestone, pollen and dirt traces in the object to see if there were clues to its origin.

"We're looking for totally open, scientific ways to reach a solution," he said.

During his tenure at the Virginia Museum, a somewhat similar situation ended with the return of two paintings that were determined to have been stolen by the Nazis during World War II.

Brand has gotten good marks from Californians for his initial handling of the antiquities issue. Unlike the previous director, he flew to Italy to negotiate.

Once that issue is settled, Brand can more fully appreciate the dreamy parts of the job.

"I'm the first director to have both buildings open," he said. "I have this amazing opportunity and challenge to make the most of it, which is very interesting."

Admission to both museums and to special exhibitions is free, which means that blockbusters can take a different approach. Without the pressure to sell tickets to pay for them, topics can be more focused.

"We can do really interesting shows that people might not buy a ticket to see it, but once they're here and they see it, they enjoy it," he said.

"Our greatest challenge is to use that ability to do things differently, to be highly creative and do things no one else can do."
From the Banner-Herald:

The other day Claude Felton, Georgia's director of sports information, asked me who was the Bulldogs' oldest living athlete.

"Fred Birchmore," I quickly answered. "He's nearly 96, born Nov. 29, 1911 on Dougherty Street just a block from the First Methodist Church where he grew up and still directs the singing in his Sunday school group."


He named his bike "Bucephelus" for Alexander the Great's famous war horse. "Bucephelus," the bike, has long been in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. When I visited there in 1941, it was standing next to Lindbergh's "Spirit of St. Louis."

Here's a photo ...
From BMCR:

Compton on Lefkowitz on Todd Compton, Victim of the Muses: Poet as Scapegoat, Warrior and Hero in Greco-Roman And Indo-European Myth and

Rosario Moreno Soldevila, Juan Ferna/ndez Valverde, Enrique Montero Cartelle, Marco Valerio Marcial. Epigramas. Volumen II (Libros 8-14).

Roger B. Ulrich, Roman Woodworking.

Marcello Carastro, La cite des mages: Penser la magie en Grece ancienne.

Robert Parker, Polytheism and Society in Ancient Athens.

Daniel M. Hooley, Roman Satire.

From Scholia:

Jürgen Malitz, Nero. Blackwell Ancient Lives
... I've got some workfolk coming over this a.m. and will not be able to update r.c. until this afternoon, probably ... also, if I suddenly go silent in the next few weeks, it's likely due to a hard drive failure on this machine, which is on its last megs ...
The verdict is in ... from ANSA:

Much-maligned Roman emperor Nero has been cleared of a string of dark deeds including killing his wife and mother, ordering the death of his mentor Seneca, persecuting Christians and standing by as Rome burned.

In the mock open-air trial staged for fun at the famed Basilica of Maxentius, actors played an all-star historical cast as well as the lawyers who pleaded for and against the notorious emperor.

Then 12 people picked at random from the audience weighed up the evidence.

Apart from the family murders, the main indictment against Nero (37-68 AD) was that he caused the great fire that devastated the city in 64 AD.

But, citing historians, the defence managed to demonstrate that the popular image of him 'fiddling as Rome burned' was sheer bunk.

The jury also let Nero off for murdering his wife Octavia and mother Agrippina the Younger, concluding essentially that he had been driven mad by his brothel-hopping mistress Poppaea.

Among the actors who played the characters, Adriana Asti stood out as Agrippina, portraying a violent and domineering figure who was even more adept at court intrigue than Poppaea.

Nero had a bit more trouble escaping blame for the suicide of his mentor and advisor Seneca but the court opted for lenience after learning from historical sources that the famous Stoic philosopher had also been involved in plots to kill the emperor.

The emperor's case was boosted by evidence that he gave Rome 14 years of peace and prosperity and Hellenised the city by building an array of beautiful monuments and sponsoring the arts.

Nero was also portrayed as a victim of his sensuous nature and other character traits such as extreme indecisiveness.

The 12 spectators may also have been inclined to show indulgence because of Nero's sorry end, skewering himself on a slave's dagger as the Pretorian Guard closed in to kill him.

The jury is still out, however, on Nero's lurid life and historical legacy, because there'll be another three performances of the trial on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night. Then it'll be the turn of his immediate predecessor Tiberius (42 BC-37 AD), the adopted son of Augustus.

Tiberius's rap sheet says he undermined what was left of the Roman Constitution and later stomped off to seclusion on Capri leaving his lieutenant Sejanus to run wild back in Rome.

There is also the undeniable fact that Christ was crucified on his watch.

Tiberius's historical reputation will be weighed by similar juries on the nights of July 25 through 29.

The trials have been scripted by playwright Vladimir Polchi and popular writer and journalist Corrado Augias.

"We documented all the possible texts, classic and modern, from Tacitus and Plutarch to modern Russian novelist Mikhail Bulgakov, who wrote extensively about the early emperors," Augias said.

This summer is the second time Nero has been put on trial.

He was convicted more often than not during last year's Emperors In The Dock series, which proved highly popular with the summer crowds here.

Juries were more lenient with his illustrious co-defendant Julius Caesar, the war hero and dictator who detractors say dealt the death blow to the old Roman Republic.

... I note that they're still skipping Caligula and Claudius (as many folks wrote in to mention previously) ... probably has to do with there not being any Classicists involved, by the looks of things.
Hopefully we'll get more details than those that are in this IOL piece:

Four 1 800-year-old Roman graves have been uncovered during road works in the northern Greek city of Veroia, the Culture Ministry said Friday.

A statement said two gold earrings, a copper coin and ceramic pots were also found at the site, were municipal workers had been laying paving stones and upgrading the water supply network.

The graves are believed to be part of a Roman cemetery discovered in the 1960s outside the city's ancient walls.

Ancient artifacts are often discovered during public works in Greece, where many cities and towns date back to antiquity.

A massive horde of antiquities uncovered while building a new subway system in Athens, which opened in 2000, with extensions added before the 2004 Olympics. Some of the discoveries are on display at Athens stations.
As long as I'm in a pedantic mood (see below), I might as well grip about this excerpt from the Daily Citizen too:

According to most scholars, while Greek writers and philosophers did not believe that suicide would lead to a better existence, they did regard it as an appropriate response to certain situations.

For example, Jocasta’s suicide at the conclusion of the drama, Oedias did seem an appropriate response to a disastrous situation.

Through the voice of Socrates, Plato stated the classical attitude towards suicide in the Phaedo. Humans are in prison and in the body as a possession of the gods and cannot free themselves. Only God can free them.

The act of suicide is an act against the gods. Pythagoras, slightly earlier, had forbade suicide unless ordered by their commander God.

Come on ... the one tragedy from ancient times which everyone MUST know and you can't identify it? And Judaeo-christianizing the deities of assorted Greeks? Where's the editor of this newspaper?
From a piece on baseball home run heroes in the Washington Post:

Ruth, who had out-homered entire teams -- season after season. Ruth, the hard-knock kid from a Baltimore orphanage who had become a superstar known by his first name, often prefaced with "the." The Babe. He was the "patron saint of American possibility," in the phrase of one biographer. His last name became an adjective, Ruthian, deriving from Herculean, to denote an achievement worthy of the ancient Greeks.

... I don't think "deriving" is the right word; "modelled on" or "in imitation of" seem to be rather more accurate ... [my, I've woken up in a pedantic mood]
In addition to the Classical Dumbledore, the incipit of a piece in the Guardian suggests the new Harry Potter might be of interest to Classicists:

Everyone knows that the Harry Potter books have been getting darker. With an introductory epigraph from Aeschylus's The Libation Bearers ("Oh, the torment bred in the race/the grinding scream of death") there is no doubt that the seventh and last volume in the sequence will face us with darkness visible.

... are there more Classical quotes in the series?
Nice little overview from the Turkish Daily News:

Known for its historical riches, the city of Antandros was once a lively settlement that was founded in the sixth century B.C. and was inhabited until the late Roman period. Ege University (EÜ) Faculty of Science and Classical Literature Archaeology Department's Assistant Professor Gürcan Polat stated that a 35-member excavation team comprising archaeologists and archaeology students were carrying out excavation studies. The studies in the necropolis area revealed ruins of residential areas form the late Roman Period and tombs and pots. The second area revealed a special bath, stairs to a second story and an entrance door to the first story of a house in a Roman villa. Other studies unveiled the existence of a sacred area at the site.

On the other hand, the French experts started excavations in Xanthos, the capital city of the Lycian Federation and its greatest city for most of Lycian history. The city, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site, was a center of culture and commerce for the Lycians. The studies carried out, with a scientific team of some 20 French researchers directed by Bordeaux University Classical Archaeology Department Professor Jacques Des Courtlis, will continue until Aug. 3. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs is funding the project.

The excavations in Xanthos located in Kaş, Antalya, unveiled Byzantium mosaics. Courtlis told the Doğan news agency that Byzantian mosaics were being repaired and drilling work was continuing at the site. Xanthos city, mentioned in many historical events and wars, hosts many rock tombs and various works unique to Lycian culture as well as an early Lycian period acropolis. The ancient city also welcomes guests who wish to visit the theater and a church from the early period from Christianity.

The Ancient city of Hadrianoupolis, located in the Black Sea province of Karabük, welcomed an excavation team comprised of 50 members. The studies funded by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism Revolving Fund (DÖSİM) and carried out by Dokuz Eylül University's (DEÜ) Faculty of Science and Literature will last for two-and-a-half months.

The city possesses valuable historical assets including ancient columns, churches, cisterns, rock tombs and baths. Previous excavation works uncovered 13 main sections of a Roman period bath as well as unique mosaics featuring many animal figures, such as a horse, elephant, panther and deer. The team, consisting of 10 students and 40 workers directed by the DEU Archaeology Department Lecturer Assistant Professor Ergun Laflı, are going to dig in the ancient theater, Roman period memorial tomb and the late Roman period mosaics until the end of September. DÖSİM invested YTL 60,000 in the project.

Last week or so we mentioned a brewing kerfuffle over plans in Athens to tear down a couple of architecturally-significant 'modern' buildings so folks in the new Acropolis Museum's restaurant could have a clear view of the rock. Here's the latest from Kathimerini:

Protests by architects and citizens have intensified ahead of the planned demolition of two listed buildings blocking the view of the Parthenon from the new Acropolis Museum in central Athens.

The owners of the two buildings on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street – one a prime example of art deco architecture and the other an impressive neoclassical structure – have the backing of architects and representatives of cultural organizations who may seek legal action.

Protesters are outraged as, they say, authorities had promised to protect the two structures.

But the buildings have to be removed in order to provide the desired “optical connection” between the new Acropolis Museum and the Parthenon, Cultural Ministry sources have been quoted as saying.

The new museum, which is to open its doors to the public next year after long delays, currently has its view of the Parthenon obscured by the rear side of the two buildings, which are run down, unlike their impressive facades.

Protesters have proposed a series of alternatives to demolition, including renovation of the buildings or the planting of tall trees between the structures and the museum.

The museum’s designer, Swiss-French architect Bernard Tschumi, has not commented on the protests but suggested that the view between the museum and the Parthenon be uncluttered. “The new museum is about interrelation. It is there to show on the inside what also belongs to it on the outside,” he said last week in Athens.

The Hellenic Society for the Protection of Cultural Heritage last week threatened to appeal to the Council of State against the decision by the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) to bulldoze the structures.
ante diem xiii kalendas sextilias

ludi Victoriae Caesaris (day 1)

1262 B.C. -- based on the 'Canicular Cycle' (a.k.a. the Sothic cycle) of the Egyptians, this day is suggested for the foundation of the Pythian Games and the embarkation of Jason and the Argonauts (!)

356 B.C. -- birth of Alexander the Great (one suggested date)

64 A.D. -- the Great Fire of Rome (day 3)

1304 -- birth of Petrarch
resipiscent @ Wordsmith

nonage @ Dictionary.com
From the Sofia Echo:

Bulgarian archaeologists have added a throne with an upright phallus on it to their exciting collection of finds from the rock sanctuary of Perperikon, near Kardzhali in southern Bulgaria.

Top archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov, who unearthed the four-legged throne on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, explained that the phallus symbolizes the prelude to a holy marriage. The find is dated to the fourteenth century.

Perperikon, a trove of buried treasures, also yielded a golden coin, which is believed to have belonged to a Byzantine emperor. It has never been used and archaeologists say it has been stored in a basin.

It was just last week that Ovcharov showed the press two unique ceramic figurines of a cobra and dragon heads unearthed at the rock sanctuary of Perperikon, near Kardzhali in southern Bulgaria.

The city of Perperikon has been inhabited since around 5000 BC, while a nearby shrine dedicated to Orpheus, near the village of Tatul, dates back to 6000 BC and is older than the Pyramids of Giza.

Rossitza Ohridska-Olson sent in some photos (thanks):

phallus throne The Phallus Throne

Cult ObjectsAssorted 6000 B.C. cult objects.
From the Sofia Echo:

Police detained four men for illegal acquisition, possession of and trade in antiques.

Authorities from Varna, Yambol and Stara Zagora seized neatly 10 000 artefacts, including coins, ancient objects, friezes, vessels, ornaments, jewellery and other priceless objects.

On June 1 2007, police detained a group of eight and seized ceramic and other objects, Roman jewellery and more than 1000 coins, some of them extremely precious.

Police held four of the group in 72-hour detention.

Officers arrested one of the suspects on July 17 in Varna, while he was trying to sell a Byzantine ring, 35 antique coins, a bronze figurine and other valuables.

Police raided several apartments, two antique shops and a vehicle and found 228 Byzantine, Roman, and Bulgarian coins, as well as hunting rifle. During the raid one more person was taken into police custody.

The two suspects currently in detention own an antique shop in Varna.
Comic Book Resources' Comic Wire has an interview with Eric Shanower about his Age of Bronze comic series ...
The IHT seems to have the best coverage of this one:

Archaeologists said Thursday they have partially dug up a 2nd-century bath complex believed to be part of the vast, luxurious residence of a wealthy Roman.

The two-story complex, which extends for at least 5 acres (2 hectares), includes exceptionally well-preserved decorated hot rooms, vaults, changing rooms, marble latrines and an underground room where slaves lit the fire to warm the baths.

Statues and water cascades decorated the interiors, American archaeologist Darius A. Arya, the head of the excavation, said during a tour of the digs offered to The Associated Press on Thursday. Only pedestals and fragments have been recovered.

Arya spoke as students and experts were brushing off earth and dust from ancient marbles, mosaic floors and a rudimentary heating system, made of pipes that channeled hot air throughout the complex.

"The Romans had more leisure time than other people, and it's here in the baths that they typically spent their time," Arya said. "Because you could eat well, you could get a massage, you could have sex, you could gossip, you could play your games, you could talk about politics — you could spend the whole day here."

However, he added, "to have a bath complex of this size, this scale, it's very unusual."

The complex is believed to be part of a multiple-story villa that belonged to the Roman equivalent of a billionaire of today, a man called Quintus Servilius Pudens who was friends with Emperor Hadrian, Arya said. It is not clear if the baths were open to the public or reserved to distinguished guests of the owner.

"These people lived a magnificent existence and were able to provide entertainment," to others, said Arya, who is also a professor at the American Institute for Roman Culture.

Excavations at the Villa delle Vignacce park lasted a total of 10 weeks, and it is planned to continue, he said. Future decisions, including whether the site will be opened to the public, are still to be made.

Ancient Romans put a great deal of emphasis on bathing, turning the art of the soak into a ritual.

Meeting at communal bath houses, they would go through a series of rooms of alternating temperatures at a leisurely pace, dipping themselves in hot and cold baths. It was a social event, but also a way to purify their bodies of toxins and a form of relaxation.

Photos trickling in at Yahoo ...
From Kathimerini:

Greece intends to continue with its policy of publicizing the return of antiquities because it encourages people to give more artifacts back, Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis told Parliament yesterday.

PASOK MP Miltiades Papaioannou questioned the policy, claiming that Greece had always followed a low-key approach to the return of antiquities. “Until now, Greece had never been involved in the process of using evidence to get artifacts back,” said Voulgarakis. “The antiquities that were previously returned were donations.”

In the last year, Greece has put on display items returned by the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the University of Heidelberg in Germany, among others. “The publicity that has followed each return has helped a lot and there is a lot of information coming in to the ministry about [Greek] antiquities abroad,” said Voulgarakis.
Nice little video series in five parts (I admit I've only watched the first one); excavation of a Roman site prior to school constructions ... here's the first part:

Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
From ANSA comes the answer to the nagging question:

Italian Jewish leaders voiced satisfaction on Thursday after the Vatican Secretary of State said that a Catholic prayer for the conversion of Jews could be eliminated from the recently re-introduced Latin Mass.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, second only to the pope in the Vatican hierarchy, referred to recent polemics over the prayer on Wednesday, saying it could be removed and that this would "solve all the problems".

"The declarations made by Cardinal Bertone clear away the fears that we and others expressed in recent days," said Renzo Gattegna, head of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities.

"They are very clear words which confirm the Catholic Church's readiness to continue dialogue," he continued, noting that unless "equal dignity" was implicit dialogue between Jews and Catholics was impossible.

Jewish organisations around the world expressed deep concern earlier this month when Benedict XVI brought back the Latin Mass which was largely abandoned by the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.

They noted that the original Latin Mass contained a prayer referring to "perfidious" Jews and asking God to remove the "veil" from their hearts and to overcome the "blindness" of that people.

Benedict did not bring back this precise prayer but a later version introduced by Pope John XXIII in 1962. In this version the word 'perfidious' was removed but the text was still a prayer for the conversion of Jews and it still contained the words 'veil', 'blindness' and 'darkness' referring to Jews.

Cardinal Bertone said on Wednesday that "the problem can be studied and everyone can be told to use the formula of Paul VI".

This third version, introduced by Pope Paul VI in 1970, is completely different from the earlier two. It asks for prayers that Jews, as the chosen people, "may arrive at the fullness of redemption".

Benedict's move to allow freer use of the Latin mass was seen by many analysts as aimed at healing a rift that arose in the Catholic Church after the traditional mass was replaced by a version in local languages.

But Jewish groups were quick to spot the impact of the move for Catholic-Jewish relations. Rome's chief rabbi, Riccardo Di Segni, said on Thursday that Bertone's statement was an admission that a problem existed.

The cardinal's remarks confirm "the validity of our concerns about the possible return of a worrying prayer. I am happy that the cardinal has shown a willingness to face the problem," he said.
ante diem xiv kalendas sextilias


Lucaria (day 1) -- an obscure festival which seems to be associated with commemorating Rome's being saved from the Gauls (by hiding in groves?)

37 A.D. -- the emperor Gaius (Caligula) gives the people a congiarium

64 A.D. -- the Great Fire of Rome (day 2)
indomitable @ Merriam-Webster

recto @ Worthless Word for the Day

tortuous @ Dictionary.com
From the Art Newspaper:

The Italian conservation group Italia Nostra has appealed against the verdict of a court in Lazio, central Italy, which ruled in April that a second-century statue of Venus currently on display in the Palazzo Massimo museum in Rome should be returned to Libya.

The case will now go to the Council of State, Italy’s highest administrative tribunal; as we went to press, no date had been set for a hearing.

The headless marble sculpture, a Roman copy of a Greek original, was removed by Italian troops in 1912 from the ancient Greek settlement of Cyrene on the Libyan coast. Libya was an Italian colony from 1911 to 1942. Libya first asked for the statue’s return in 1989.

The court in Lazio reportedly ruled that the work could “in no way be catalogued as a discovery on Italian soil”.

We asked Italia Nostra if their opposition to restitution of the sculpture was hypocritical in the light of Italy’s campaign to obtain antiquities from museums in the US, most notably the Getty, Metropolitan, and Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. A spokeswoman for the conservation organisation said: “The statue of Venus was not stolen by the Italians but discovered by chance in Cyrene which was then under Italian rule...the works Italy wants returned from the Getty Museum were illegally excavated, exported in violation of the 1939 law [under a 1939 Italian law, all archaeological property excavated in Italy belongs to the Italian state] and acquired in an illegal way. The Venus is not comparable. It’s like asking for the restitution of works from the Louvre taken from Italy by Napoleon.”

In 2005, Italy returned to Ethiopia a second-century BC stelae which had been removed from a Christian cemetery at Axum by Mussolini’s troops in 1937. The Italian government had first agreed to return the obelisk in 1947.

If you're unfamiliar with the piece, the original article has a photo of the Venus ...
From Javno:

Greek guards have cancelled a strike that would have shut down the Athens Acropolis after the government promised to satisfy some of their demands, their union said on Wednesday.

The archaeological guards shut down the country's most visited monument on July 14-15 and had planned another strike on July 21-24, demanding better pay for night duty and for working six days a week.

"If the government does not keep its promises by the end of August we will strike again," said union member Yannis Dimakakos.

Last week's strike left many tourists disappointed. Thousands climb every week the steep marble steps of the Acropolis to visit the Parthenon and other Classical monuments on the hill.
... today's Straight Dope column ponders the veracity of the Trojan War ..
Looks like there'll be another cool poster for your classroom/bedroom/dorm/garage/wherever-your-significant-other-lets-you-put-it:

last legion poster

Hat tip to Cinematical, which has further details (and a larger version, which might have wallpaper potential) ...
From the Mail:

Sailors may have cruised the Med 14,000 years ago

ARCHAEOLOGISTS in Cyprus have discovered what they believe could be the oldest evidence yet that organised groups of ancient mariners were plying the east Mediterranean, possibly as far back as 14,000 years ago.

The find, archaeologists told Reuters yesterday, could also suggest Cyprus, tucked in the northeast corner of the Mediterranean and about 30 miles away from the closest land mass, may have been gradually populated about that time, and up to 2,000 years earlier than previously thought.

What is now believed to be Cyprus' first permanent human settlement is at Shillourokambos, in the island's south dating from the end of the ninth millennium BC.

"This is a major breakthrough in terms of the study of early Cyprus archaeology and the origins of seafaring in the Mediterranean," Pavlos Flourentzos, director of Cyprus' Department of Antiquities, told Reuters.

The discovery at a coastal site on the island's northwest has revealed chipped tools submerged in the sea and made with local stone which could be the earliest trace yet of human activity in Cyprus.

US and Cypriot archaeologists conducting the research have known since 2004 that Cyprus was used by small groups of voyagers on hunting expeditions for pygmy elephants.

But the newly discovered expanse of the Aspros dig in the Akamas peninsula, which stretches into the sea, suggests the site held larger numbers of people, possibly for months.

"It shows that activity is much more organised than some isolated visit," said Tom Davis, director of the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI) in Nicosia.

Flourentzos and Davis said the new find told archaeologists nomads knew the island well enough to find tool material, suggesting they were repeat visitors.

Flourentzos co-directed the research project with Albert J Ammerman, an archaeologist at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York

Ammerman had previously discovered fragments of tools on a cliff in another vicinity of the island where research will continue next year. He literally stumbled on the find while out with his children; the rocky outcrop is a bungee-jumping cliff overlooking one of Cyprus's most popular beaches.

"To the average tourist it might be a piece of rock," Davis said. Ammerman could not be reached for comment on yesterday.

Virtually nothing is known about Mediterranean mariners of the era. There is a widely held belief they never ventured into open seas because of limited navigational abilities.

Archaeologists say the first human settlements in Cyprus date from 10,000 BC and are located inland. Logically, the coastal settlements should be older, and in the Aspros dig’s case, where a good deal of it is now in the sea, possibly up to 2,000 years older.

"We are trying to verify through carbon dating on bones in the area that this find is more ancient, possibly another 2,000 years," said Flourentzos.

Virtually nothing is known about Mediterranean mariners of the era. There is a widely held belief they never ventured into open seas because of limited navigational abilities.

"We are looking at repeated activity here, it is more than a handful of people. For the first time in the east Mediterranean we are talking about serious sea-voyaging," said Davis.

"This was not a case of one guy, or a family blown off course. This is a number of persons coming to Cyprus, these were conscious, repeated visits," Davis said.
From IOL comes this strange story:

An image of the Roman god of love Cupid and his wife sparked an indecency row leading a Hong Kong media watchdog to ban a book using the painting on its front cover, before later backtracking.

The 1798 painting of Psyche Receiving The First Kiss Of Cupid by French artist Francois Gerard was used on a book to be sold at a Hong Kong book fair.

But a local publisher was forced to temporarily withdraw the sale of the publication on Wednesday because the Telecommunications and Entertainment Licensing Authority (Tela) considered its cover indecent.

"A few officers from Tela took a look at the book and then their boss asked me not to sell it because it is indecent as the Cupids were half naked and the illustrations inside also showed nude images of them," said Alexander Chan, the manager of the book publisher.

Chan said it was the third year the book, a Chinese translation of a Korean publication called "Greek and Roman Myths," had been sold at the fair but he has never come across any trouble before.

But the watchdog reviewed the cover again later on Wednesday and made a U-turn, allowing it to be sold at the fair.

"I was so shocked that this had happened. This painting has been around a long time and has been considered as art. But how (is it that) the officials were so shallow and can't tell the difference between indecency and art?" he said.

"How can they treat them as the same thing? This is a big problem," he told AFP.

Nudity is still equated with sex in Hong Kong, which is now in some ways more conservative than mainland China, which has already staged nude photographic exhibitions and also has many sex shops.

In 1995, the Hong Kong Obscene Articles Tribunal famously classified a newspaper picture of Michelangelo's statue of David as indecent. The ruling was overturned on appeal.

In May, a university journal was also branded indecent for running a survey which asked questions on bestiality and incest.

This is the image deemed indecent ... I guess that "Making Art Safe For Children" contest(s) at Worth1000 were serious! (click on the 'see related' pull down menu for more)
From ANSA:

Italy on Wednesday unveiled the Hercules of Veio, a celebrated masterpiece of Etruscan art, after a complicated four-year restoration.

The bigger-than-life polychrome terracotta statue, which dates from the end of the 6th century BC, was presented to the public at Rome's National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia.

"It's been tough work, but crowned by a huge success," said Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli.

"Rediscovering these colours, this delicacy is incredible," he said.

"It's a great day for art and culture".

The Hercules striding forward on the captured Sacred Hind was originally part of a temple group illustrating stories about the sun god.

It returned to the museum three years to the day after the most famous member of the group, Apollo himself, was welcomed back.

The biggest problem facing restorers were the thick deposits of dirt which had built up on Hercules' stomach, giving him an unseemly paunchy look.

The torso has now been scrubbed clean and the hero's powerful body is resplendent as he moves to defend the mythical deer.

Hercules, who is largely headless and also missing one arm, has been fitted with a new set of painted resin legs, replacing a stucco pair stuck on when he was first restored in the 1920s.

The golden-horned doe was in such poor condition that it had to be taken away and restored in a lab but the Hercules was kept in the museum so visitors could see the restoration for themselves - and virtually on the Internet.

Hercules' companion piece Apollo, which like its fellows once adorned the top of a temple to Minerva, is one of the most famous pieces of ancient art in the world.

The restored and smiling, braid-haired god was unveiled on July 18, 2004, spurring a fresh influx of visitors to the museum in northern Rome.

Apollo is dressed in a short-sleeved vest and a knee-length yellow-toned toga and appears to be walking towards Hercules.

Of the other figures in the group, all that remains is the head of Hermes, the messenger of the gods sent down to try to stop the mythical contest.

The sculptures are believed to be the work of Vulca, a famous sculptor from Veio just north of Rome, one of ancient Etruria's richest settlements.

Another giant statue, of Apollo's mother Leto holding Apollo as a child, was also recovered from the temple of Minerva and can be seen at Villa Giulia.

... a photo of the statuary accompanies the original article.
From ANSA:

Italy's talks with the John Paul Getty Museum in a long-running row about the return of antiquities are "coming down to the wire," Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli said Wednesday.

Last week Rutelli reiterated a threat to break off relations with the Californian institute unless all the disputed objects came home by the end of this month.

On Wednesday he said Italy had received "a detailed reply" which officials were now weighing.

"We're fighting and we're not going to give up. Perhaps we'll be able to give our citizens some goods news about the return of looted works in the next few weeks," the minister said.

"If we don't seal the deal by the end of July we'll cut off ties," he said again.

After Rutelli's most recent threat of an embargo, the Californian museum said Italy had more to lose from a break-down in relations because the Getty provides lavish funds for research in Italy and America.

Rutelli has insisted that the most disputed object, the 3rd century BC 'Getty Bronze', must be handed back along with the rest.

Last week in the northeastern Adriatic port of Fano, where the famous Greek statue of a victorious youth emerged from the sea in 1964, Rutelli reiterated that the Getty had "a moral obligation" to give it back.

If it failed to do so, he said, "a fully fledged conflict would be unleashed, a full-scale embargo" that would mean "an end to cultural and scientific collaboration between Italy and this museum".

While noting "signs of attention and willingness" in recent statements from the Getty, Rutelli stressed that "words count for nothing at this point and this game must end by the end of July".

In his most recent statement, Getty chief Michael Brand urged Rutelli to show "flexibility" so that the stalled talks on the restitution of dozens of objects could resume.

He reiterated that Italy could show no legal title to the bronze, which has been attributed to the famous Greek sculptor Lysippos.

But Brand indicated that the other major sticking point, a 5th century BC Greek statue of Aphrodite Italy says is from Sicily, might well be sent back once ongoing tests are completed.

Brand, 48, an Australian-born art scholar who took over at the Getty in 2005 after questions were asked about its past acquisitions policy, called the Aphrodite demand "a rather reasonable request" but reiterated the Getty's view that there was no legal case for returning the bronze.

"I have said this very clearly, I'd be really happy to pick up the talks. But their position, as we know, is 'no bronze no deal'," he told ANSA.


"In our view the ball is in their court," Brand said, confirming that he hadn't heard from Rutelli for months despite inviting him to a workshop on the Aphrodite that kicked off in May.

However, Sicily's regional government sent three representatives to the workshop, which is expected to come to its conclusions by the end of the year.

Brand has said the Los Angeles museum will return the Venus if the group of independent experts proves beyond doubt Italy's claim that it comes from the ancient Greek city of Morgantina in Sicily.

The Getty feels it is on firmer ground regarding the bronze, commentators say, because it cannot be linked to the allegedly questionable acquisitions policy of its former curator, Marion True, currently defending herself in Rome in the first-ever trial of an arts curator The deal with the Getty was to have been the third with major US institutions.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts have agreed to return key parts of their classical collections in return for loans of equivalent value.
It's National Archaeology Week in the UK and one BBC program's host (History Hunter) ventured into remains of a Roman sewer ... here's a precis:

In 1971, archaeologist Patrick Ottaway discovered Roman sewers beneath the cobbled streets of York. Dan meets up with Patrick for a journey back in time; going underground to take a closer look.

Crawling down narrow tunnels may not be comfortable for a strapping man like Dan, but this was the least of his worries - Dan was more concerned about what exactly he was crawling through.

"There was Roman poo here when this was originally found 35 years ago. But I think this is all gone now, more or less," Patrick tells a relieved Dan.

Only about 40 meters of the sewer has been excavated, but it's clear to Dan that they are an impressive feat of Roman engineering. At the time, the Romans made sure they took care of them - sending slaves down with shovels to clean them out. Now, after nearly two millennia, they are still in very good condition.

But what Roman buildings did this sewer serve? One possibility is just around the corner... Dan meets archaeologist Katherine Bearcock at the Roman Bath Pub who shows him the remains of the bath house that still exists in the pub cellars.

Every day, as the Romans bathed, they would go through about 70,000 gallons of water - all of which had to go somewhere.

There is evidence to suggest that the waste water did go into the sewer - items of Roman jewellery, including a pendant, have been found inside the sewer and Katherine thinks they may have been washed down after being lost in these baths. It's a good theory but so far, no one's been able to prove it.

Dan hopes this might change. Anthony Masinton, from York University, is using ground-breaking radar technology to see if he can establish a link between the baths and the sewer.

He is looking for secondary shafts, or offshoots, which link the sewers to the bath house. In order to find them they have to search the ground below a row of shops, which makes for a strange request of the local shopkeepers.

But alas, the radar can't see the missing Roman shaft through all the different layers of history. "There's a lot of stuff covering up the Roman layer. You've got the Anglo-Saxon layers, the Viking layers, the medieval layers and the Georgian and Victorian layers all on top of that, which masks something down at the bottom," Anthony explains to Dan.

Despite the disappointment at the radar's failure to detect any secondary tunnels, the sewer is still an incredible achievement. The Romans left Britain in 400AD and it was another 1,400 years before the British started building proper sewers themselves.

Watch the video ...
A Conference on "The Villa of the Papyri"

Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 September, 2007

Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies and Christ Church, 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 forus 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).


Saturday 22 September 2007 at the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies

12 noon–1:45 pm
Registration: Christ Church (delegates with accommodation)
Classics Centre (delegates without accommodation)

2:00 – 2:05 pm
Introduction by Mantha Zarmakoupi

Session 1: The Archaeology of the villa of the Papyri

2:05 – 2:45 pm
Antonio De Simone (Università Suor Orsola Benincasa Napoli)
Recent excavations at the Villa of the Papyri

2:55 – 3:35 pm
Carol Mattusch (George Mason Univ.)
Programming Sculpture? Collection and display in the Villa dei Papiri

3:45 – 4:00 pm

4:00 – 4:30 pm
Annual General Meeting of The Friends of Herculaneum Society

4:30 – 5:10 pm
David Sider (New York University)
The books of the Villa in Context

5:20 – 6:00 pm
Eric Moormann (Radboud Universiteit, Nijmegen)
Wall paintings in the Villa of the papyri, old and new finds

6:00 – 6:30 pm

6:30 – 7:30 pm
Drinks reception – for all

8:00 pm
Dinner (Christ Church – Lee Building) for those who have booked

Sunday 23 September 2007 at Christ Church (McKenna Room)

Session 1: (cont.) The Archaeology of the villa of the Papyri

9:45 – 10:25 am
Mario Capasso (Università degli Studi di Lecce)
Who lived in the Villa of the Papyri? An unsolved question

Session 2. The Reception of the Villa of the Papyri

10:35 – 10:40 am

10:40 – 11:20 am
Dana Arnold (University of Southampton)
Imag(in)ing the Villa Papyri. British and European architects' responses to the Villa of the

11:30 –11:50 am

11:50 am – 12:30pm
Kenneth Lapatin (The J. Paul Getty Museum)
The Getty Villa

12:30 – 1:00 pm

1:00 – 2:00 pm

Session 3. Digital Reconstruction

2:05 – 2:10 pm

2:10 – 2:50 pm
Diane Favro (UCLA)
From pleasure, to `guilty pleasure,' to simulation: rebirthing the Villa of the Papyri

3:00 – 3:40 pm
Dirk Obbink (University of Oxford)
Innovation and Impact in Digital Reconstruction of the Herculaneum Library

3:50 – 4:30 pm
Richard Janko (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)
The leaves of the Sibyl: rediscovering the lost originals of forty Herculaneum papyri

4:40 – 5:00 pm

5:00 – 5:40 pm
Mantha Zarmakoupi (University of Oxford)
The digital model of the Villa of the Papyri: issues of reconstruction

5:50 – 6:30 pm
Reinhard Förtsch (Universität zu Köln)
Fragmented understanding of Roman Villas. Some levels of perception in antiquity and 3 D

6:30 – 7:00 pm
Discussion and concluding remarks.

Generously sponsored by:

The Friends of Heculaneum Society

Supported by:

The British Academy

The Classics Faculty, University of Oxford


For abstracts and further information about registering, accommodation and a
booking form please go to www.herculaneum.ox.ac.uk
A while back we mentioned that a scholar had called into question the authenticity of the Monteleone Chariot (i.e the Etruscan one at the Met ... i.e. the one that is the subject of a simmering ownership dispute) ... now, courtesy of Archeogate, the Minerva article by Jerome Eisenberg in which he makes his arguments is online ... I'm going to be pondering this one for a while ...
ante diem xv kalendas sextilias


477 B.C. -- 300 members of the gens Fabia die in the battle of the Cremera

390 (or 387) B.C. -- Gauls defeat the Romans at Allia

64 A.D. -- the Great Fire of Rome begins

69 A.D. -- Vitellius is given the titles of Augustus and pontifex maximus

1374 -- death of Petrarch
pastische @ Wordsmith

trivium @ Worthless Word for the Day

bibelot @ Dictionary.com
From BMCR:

Rachel Hall Sternberg (ed.), Pity and Power in Ancient Athens.

E. Olshausen, H. Sonnabend (edd.), "Troianer sind wir gewesen" -- Migrationen in der antiken Welt. Stuttgarter Kolloquium zur Historischen Geographie des Altertums 8, 2002.

Ralph M. Rosen, Ineke Sluiter, City, Countryside, and the Spatial Organization of Value in Classical Antiquity. Mnemosyne Supplements 279.

L. Canfora, Julius Caesar: the People's Dictator.

Giovanni Colonna, Daniele F. Maras, Corpus Inscriptionum Etruscarum, Academiis Litterarum Borussica et Saxonica legatum, Carolus Pauli primum edidit.

J. G. F. Powell (ed.), M. Tulli Ciceronis De re publica, De legibus, Cato Maior De senectute, Laelius De amicitia.

Robert A. Kaster, Cicero: Speech on behalf of Publius Sestius.

Katja Mueller, Settlements of the Ptolemies. City Foundations and New Settlement in the Hellenistic World. Studia Hellenistica 43.

Trevor Curnow (ed.), The Philosophers of the Ancient World: An A-Z Guide.

Response to BMCR 2007.07.07: Heath on de Jonge on Andrew Laird, Oxford Readings in Ancient Literary Criticism.
From the New York Times:

In a move that some coin collectors fear could eventually make it difficult to pursue their passion, the United States government has imposed import restrictions on ancient coins from Cyprus. It is the first time the United States has limited trade in a broad category of coins as part of an effort to guard the cultural heritage of another country.

The new rules, which were adopted last week and went into effect on Monday, would essentially bar the importation of any ancient coin from Cyprus unless authorized by the Cypriot government. The limits are part of a broader agreement between the United States and the Republic of Cyprus to extend for five years existing restrictions on the import of pre-classical, classical and Byzantine art and artifacts from the island.

The new rule is only the latest development in a debate involving archaeologists, collectors and art dealers over how best to preserve antiquities and encourage appreciation of the past.

Cyprus has said the restrictions are necessary to combat the looting of cultural and archaeological sites, particularly in the northern part of the island, which has been divided from the south since Turkey invaded in 1974.

Archaeologists frequently use coins to help them date ancient sites; they say that treasure hunters using metal detectors to look for coins often wreck potentially important archaeological discoveries.

“We are very pleased coins have been added to this,” said Cyprus’s ambassador to Washington, Andreas Kakouris. “Coins constitute an inseparable part of our own cultural heritage, and the pillage they are subjected to is the same as other archaeological material.”

Numismatic associations had argued before a State Department advisory committee that import restrictions on ancient coins could not fairly be enforced. Coins minted in Cyprus were found throughout the ancient world, the collectors asserted. They said it would be impossible for customs officials to determine whether a coin came from Cyprus or elsewhere and whether it had been legitimately excavated.

Coins do not customarily carry the kinds of provenance documents that accompany other art and antiquities.

The collectors also expressed concern that the agreement would encourage other countries, including Italy, home to troves of Roman-era coins, to ask for similar restrictions. If such limits “were applied to Italy, for example, that could be quite devastating to numismatists, particularly ancient-coin collectors,” said Jay Beeton, a spokesman for the American Numismatic Association.

The Archaeological Institute of America, which wrote to the State Department in support of Cyprus’s request for new import restrictions, disputes that there was widespread dissemination in centuries past of Cypriot currency.

“Coins minted on Cyprus were very rarely taken from the island in antiquity,” the association’s president, C. Brian Rose, wrote in a February letter to the State Department’s Cultural Property Advisory Committee. “If one examines the discoveries at officially sanctioned excavations in the countries that surround Cyprus, such as Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and even Israel, one can see how infrequently Cypriot coins figure among the finds.”

But the coin collectors said they saw little reason for the State Department, which had exempted coins from previous import bans on antiquities, to suddenly reverse course.

“This decision shows that the Department of State is putting the narrow interests of the cultural bureaucracies of foreign states and the archaeological community over those of ordinary Americans who believe that collecting increases appreciation of the past and helps preserve artifacts,” said Peter K. Tompa, a lawyer who has represented numismatic groups before the Cultural Property Advisory Committee.

A State Department spokeswoman, who under the department’s rules could not be identified by name, defended the government’s decision to include coins, saying they were a key component of the “pre-classical and classical archaeological heritage of Cyprus that is subject to pillage from context and to illicit trafficking.”
Some publicity for the Eyewitness Book Series has an interesting little online game thing ... teachers might try to figure out a way to build a lesson around this ...
Haven't had a doorworthy comic in a while ... Keely Lake sent this one in (thanks!):

From Reuters:

London's building boom has given archaeologists an unexpected bonus -- the city's ancient past is being laid bare.

The latest piece of the historical jigsaw is most of the interior decor of a rich merchant's dining room dating back to 120 AD when the Roman Emperor Hadrian ruled an Empire stretching from northern England to northern Africa.

The decorated plaster was discovered under the floor of an Italian delicatessen on the edge of Leadenhall Market which in turn is next to the site of what was the city's Roman town hall.

One section of the green, blue and terracotta colored murals painted on plaster show a girl's head, a bunch of grapes and candelabra.

"This is an amazing discovery because it allows us to reconstruct the decoration within a Roman London room from the early second century," said Museum of London archaeologist Sophie Jackson.

"It is incredibly rare to have this much decorated plaster of such high artistic quality," she added at a press preview on Tuesday. "It must have been from the dining room of a very wealthy merchant or senior official living in the city centre."

The archaeologists, who were astounded not just by the quality but the sheer quantity of their discovery -- in all 45 crates full of Roman plaster have been removed from the site -- believe the house was destroyed by fire.

"There were scorch marks on some of the plaster, and we know that much of the city centre was destroyed by fire in 125 AD," Jackson told Reuters. "It is in such a good state of repair because the house was simply flattened and covered over."

Hadrian, better known for the remains of the wall he ordered to be built to keep the marauding Picts out of northern England, ruled the Roman Empire from 117 to 138 AD.

The Leadenhall discovery was seven meters down and covered by a protective layer of soil. Just next door, the Roman remains have gone, dug out centuries ago to make way for a medieval cellar.

But such is the boom in office building in the city that it is just one of about 50 sites being investigated at present.

Under planning rules, all building excavations must be preceded by an archaeological investigation to see what lies beneath.

The Romans occupied London from about 50 AD.

"The Romans were very good at erasing everything that went before them -- so there is very little pre-Roman to find in the city," said Jackson. "But from then on buildings were simply put on top of each other."

"London is essentially sitting on a 2,000-year-old rubbish dump, and there is so much left to find," she added. "We will have our work cut out over the next couple of years."

Some of this we've read before, but there's some that are new ... from Focus-Fen:

Archeological excavations and findings continue during the summer throughout the territory of the country. Information about a few findings surfaced over the last few days, as the news about them were reported by foreign media as well. However, in parallel with archeologists, treasure-hunters are also excavating and post one of the most serious and continuing problem for the protection of the heritage kept under the ground.

The solid gold ring engraved with a Greek inscription that was found during archeological excavations at an ancient Thracian tomb near the town of Sliven could have possibly belonged to the Thracian ruler Teres II, said the team of the expedition of professor Georgi Kitov. During the detailed survey of the jelled it turned out it had had the role of a seal, while the script should read mirrorlike. “Most probably the script stands for the two names of the Thracian King Teres II, son of King Seuthes from the first quarter of the 4th century BC”, Kitov said. The other script engraved on the ring reads: “The Savior of Asia”.
Team leader professor Georgi Kitov said that they also found a silver rhyton, silver and bronze vessels, pottery and funerary gifts, as well as two silver centaurs that were part of a horse decoration and the sword of the person that was buried in the tomb. Kitov’s team will continue the excavations in the region of Sliven throughout the summer.

A team of Discovery channel is making a film near the town of Kazanlak. A team of 20 people arrived in the town to make a film about the ancient town of Sevtopolis located under the waters of Koprinka Dam. Divers have already made different surveys related to Sevtopolis. They have also visited the Museum of History in Kazanlak where they found more information about the site, including photos and grap[hics of the town of the Thracian ruler Seuthes.

Days after prominent Bulgarian archaeologist Georgi Kitov found a gold royal mask and other precious artefacts, Polish archaeologist Andrzej Biernacki unearthed a unique Roman pool in the ancient Roman town of Novae, near Svishtov.
The pool has a gate, which had once been decorated with statues. Water poured through the gate on to the pool.
Previously, only one facility like this had been found, in Northern Africa.
The Roman mineral baths in Novae covered 7500 sq m and could turn out to be the biggest found in Bulgaria, Focus said.
Archaeologists suppose that the baths were built for the Roman legions that were based in Novae in the second century.

Archeologists have unearthed a 2,500-year-long water main in the region of the seaside town of Sozopol. The Director of the National Museum of History7 Bozhidar Dimitrov said that this season’s excavations in Sozopol are going on very well. The excavations at the necropolis found in Sozopol continue. The necropolis is about 5-6 km long, but it is very hard to probe the whole area since there are buildings built on it. The water main that was found is still very preserved and according to archeologists it could well be used nowadays as none of the joineries connecting the tubes was broken.

A treasure-nuter was held in the very moment when he was digging in the area of an archeological monument of culture – the so-called Dorticum, the police in Vidin informed. The 20-year old treasure-hunter was caught in a moment when he was doing illegal diggings by a tractor of thentype DT 75.
ante diem xvi kalendas sextilias


rites in honour of Victory on the Capitoline

?? B.C. -- dedication of a Temple to Honor and Virtue (and associated rites thereafter)

180 -- some sort of persecution under Saturninus (details?)
pleochroic @ Wordsmith

quadrivium @ Worthless Word for the Day
From Reuters (hattip to DW who sent in another version of this as well):

Roadworks in southern Greece have unearthed a rare Mycenaean grave thought to be well over 3,000 years old and containing important burial offerings including a gold chalice, the culture ministry said on Monday.

Archaeologists said it appeared to be the grave of a local military official and was the first time a single grave had been found with such a combination of objects -- including a bronze and gold sword, and a bronze spear point, knife and pot.

Pottery found in the grave dated it to around 1,200 BC.

"It included one dead body in a fetal position, whose bones had disintegrated," the ministry said in a statement. "But the burial offerings are in very good condition and especially important."

The Bronze Age grave, found near the town of Agrinio in the Peloponnese, measures 1.48 by 0.78 meters (yards) and is made with limestone slabs.

The Mycenaean civilization flourished from 1600 to 1100 BC, building great walled cities, such as Mycenae, across the Peloponnese. Homer's Iliad tells of the conquest of Troy by the Mycenaean kings.

"This is a very important discovery because it gives us clues as to the social and military dominance enjoyed by the people of this era," said archaeologist Maria Gatsi, in charge of excavations in the area.
Sounds like they're 'digging up a storm' in Bulgaria these days ... from news.bg:

Ancient Roman pool – nymphaeum found a Polish archaeologist in the antique Roman town of Nove, near Svishtov, announced BNR.

The antique facility has a portal, on which there once have been statues. The finding of dr. Andrjei Biernadski is the first of its kind in Bulgaria.

The only place in the world where archaeologists have excavated such a facility, is in Lambesi, North Africa.

Dr. Andrei Biernadski conducts his research in Nove since mid-June. The unique finding he has made several days ago.
From the Turkish Daily News:

A unique mosaic unearthed 18 years ago in the ancient city of Kelenderis, in Mersin's Aydıncık district, sheds light on the past of the area.

The mosaic is considered unique for the image it depicts.

The excavations, which kicked off in 1987, have so far revealed also the ruins of Acropolis, Agora and an ancient theater. But the most significant of all, archaeologist Levent Zoroğlu says, is the Kelenderis mosaic unearthed in 1989 in the area. The mosaic underwent a four-year maintenance. “Mosaic depicts the ancient city of Kelenderis. We assume its history dates back to 1,500 years ago. It remains unique of its kinds in world because it depicts something unusual image. We claim that the image portrays the ancient city of Kelenderis in Aydıncık.”

The 12-meter mosaic illustrates a city panorama of Kelenderis and a harbor in which two boats are located as well as a Roman bath, warehouses and some other structures. “Mosaic guides other further excavation works aiming at uncovering other archaeological treasures of the ancient city. Inspiring from the images depicted on mosaic, we found, for instance, a peninsula, ruins of harbor and an arched structure. We are trying to reveal other ruins in the ancient site by examining the mosaic,” he said.

Oldest harbor in Anatolia:

The ancient site has traces of settlement from the 5,000 year ago and the harbor on the mosaic portrays the oldest harbor in Anatolia, he says.

“The ancient city was the most harbor city of its time,” he said adding that the mosaic was on public display in Aydıncık Harbor. It was found in 1989 but is just available for public display as a result of a dispute with the owner of the territory where the mosaic was uncovered.

According to him the completion of excavations, which aimed to fully uncover the ancient city of Kelenderis, as well as landscape works will contribute to the tourism and economy of the Eastern Mediterranean. “We need sponsor for implementation of a more comprehensive work,” he added.

All the works are explored in a book as well as nearly 30 articles and conferences held both in Turkey and abroad. Excavations have jointly been conducted by Konya's Selçuk University and Culture and Tourism Ministry since 1987.


The ruins of Kelenderis were one of the best harbors of the southern Anatolia coastal areas in antiquity.

Kelenderis took part in the military actions arranged by Romans against the pirates, and enjoyed its second high period when the Romans achieved the security of the Mediterranean marine trade routes. During the Middle Ages, the city was dominated first by Byzantium and then the Seljuk and until the beginning of the 20th century it was an important port for marine transportation between Anatolia and Cyprus.

The number of remains reaching us from the Ancient Kelenderis is very few. City walls are from Middle Ages. The port bath was most probably built during 4th or 5th centuries. The theater apparently belongs to the Roman era. In the graveyards of the city, rock graves, vaulted graves and pyramid roofed monumental graves can be seen spanning a period from 6th millennium B.C up to the 4th century. The mosaic discovered in 1989 is an exceptional example in depicting the panorama of the city.

It's tough to find photos on the web of the mosaic ... this seems to be the largest (linked from a Turkish webpage):

kelenderis mosaic
The ClassCon at the end of this piece from ABC might be of interest to Classics departments trying to boost enrollments in upper level courses:

Magic continues to fascinate us, even in the midst of all our technology, as the incredible success of the Harry Potter books and movies demonstrates.

But magic has been part of human life since the darkest and most ancient times, according to archivist Gionni Di Gravio, who has unearthed a rare French manuscript about magic and talismans from the University of Newcastle's rare books collection.

Mr DiGravio says the book, dated 1704 from the reign of the Sun King Louis XIV, places the university in a privileged position. "It's about the making of celestial talismans, and such works are very scarce in this country. To have such a volume places us in the vanguard of the great European libraries."

Just what does this occult book contain? Spells, potions, black magic?

Mr DiGravio says it's a manual of practical magic, which instructs readers in the art of using talismans, believed to attract and magnify the powers of the planets and give the user power over angels.

It seems Newcastle university students are not immune to the power of magic. "There's been a huge number of enrolments in the university's Classics courses on Magic and Witchcraft in Antiquity. It's the most successful non first-year subject in the department's history, and that was the impetus for us to acquire this book," he said.

Note in passing to Mary Beard (who was playing with keywords the other day) ... the hot keywords right now are Harry Potter ... my post on on Wiseman as Dumbledore t'other day spawned a huge number of hits from places I've never heard of ...
In the wake of my posting video of the recent finds from Bulgaria, Rossitza Ohridska-Olson was kind enough to send in some photos:

Here's the recently-discovered mask in situ (credit: Professor Valeria Fol):

mask in situ

... and a ring which was also found (credit: Professor Valeria Fol):


Here's the story on the ring, from Novinite:

The excavations of Bulgaria's best-known archaeologist Georgi Kitov have yielded a second major find in as many days on Sunday.

After announcing the discovery of a golden mask and silver rhyton in a Thracian tomb on Saturday, Kitov is now making headlines after unearthing a massive gold ring, bearing the image of a bearded man.

Found in the same tomb, it also has an inscription, "Saviour of Asia" written in Greek, and is no less important a find than the gold mask, Kitov said.

The tomb appears to have belonged to a mighty Thracian chieftain, said Kitov, often dubbed the Bulgarian Indiana Jones.

Three years ago Kitov caused a furore after discovering one of the most sensational finds for Bulgaria's archaeologists ever - a 2,500-year-old unique gold mask, believed to depict the face of ancient Thracian king.

He is now excavating 14 tombs near the villages of Topolchane and Kaloyanovo in the Sliven region, southeastern Bulgaria.

The area is known as the "Thracian Kings Valley", which Kitov believes to be larger than it was initially thought.

The finds will be handed over to Sliven's history museum, while a Discovery Channel team is due to shoot a documentary of the three-month excavations.

Focus-Fen tells a bit more:

Sliven. A silver rhyton was found today during excavations of the TEMP expedition near the Bulgarian town of Sluven, the Mayor of the town Yordan Lechkov said in an interview for FOCUS Radio – Sliven.
Lechkov was introduced to the finding by the leader of the expedition Dr. Georgi Kitov.
On Friday two rings from Thracian ages and a vessel for washing feet were found at the same excavation site. At the moment the expedition continues excavations at the third and fourth of the marked hills.

More photos are accumulating at Yahoo ...
Claude Pavur writes to inform me that his RAM (Reading Acceleration Machine) freeware has been updated. Check it out and download it from here.
Seen on the Classics list:

Translators Needed for the final creation of Wikipedia of Ancient Greek

How you know, few months ago started the project of the Wikipedia in Ancient Greek. Now the project has passed the test stage, and in this moment we only have to translate the interface (or at least most of it) before Ouikipaideia is created. We need as many people as possible to log into Betawiki, become translators, translate interface messages and, most importantly of all, fix the mess that I have inevitably made of some of the translations.

Links of Interest

Test page of Wikipedia in Ancient Greek
Discussion page of translation the interface of Wikipedia in Ancient Greek
University of St Andrews

The School of Classics at the University of St Andrews will host a
conference from the 18th - 20th June 2008, which concerns the nature of the
principate during the early years of the first century.
There have been important developments in research on individual emperors
and the historiography of the first century offering different approaches to
examination of the individual principates. However, there have been
relatively few attempts to draw out the continuities and disjunctions
between different members of the imperial family, both in their political
practice and (more importantly for this project) their representation. There
have of course been studies of individuals over the past century - from
biographies containing intimate portraits to more wide-ranging political
examinations, and detailed literary studies. Nevertheless, there have been
few opportunities to debate the range of issues in a post-Augustan world.
This conference is an opportunity to explore the links between different
patterns of representation of the emperors in the sources across a wide
variety of different contexts - ranging from textual and visual images
sponsored by the emperors themselves through to the equally subjective
rendering left to us in literature. What is the relationship, if any,
between the distortions coming from opposite sides of an imperial portrait?
The conference is to allow key researchers in the field to promote new
approaches to the study of the Julio-Claudian emperors and to come together
to present papers on a range of issues around the representation or
self-representation of individual emperors from the accession of Tiberius to
the fall of Nero. While the conference is based around Julio-Claudian
representations in order to maintain focus, it is not committed to seeing
that category as a self-evident one. In fact the conference organisers
would welcome papers which explore and challenge the boundaries of
Julio-Claudian identity as a concept.
There are a number of themes that can be examined by historiographers, art
historians, archaeologists, prosopographers and numismatists. While these
are not necessarily all new questions, it is hoped that the speakers will
bring fresh ideas and new interpretations of the evidence. Scholars will
deliver papers which either take an overarching view of individual emperors
within the context of the Julio-Claudian imperial family or will focus on
particular elements of a specific principate using literary or material
evidence. Possible questions for discussion might include:

• How do ancient sources envisage, or characterise, the relation between
outwards representation and inner self-perception of a princeps?
• Are there traces of imperially-sponsored literary portraits of the princeps?
• How is myth exploited and represented by the four emperors and by those
who wrote about them?
• What differences do we see in the way the legions behaved toward different
emperors and in the way different emperors presented themselves in military
contexts? How is that reflected in imperial representation?
• Was the relationship of the emperor with the population of Rome a dynastic
or an individual affair?
• What, if anything, characterises the relationship between the princeps and
the east and how is this reported in the sources?

Please send a provisional title and a 300 word abstract in Word format to
Alisdair Gibson at aggg AT st-andrews.ac.uk by the 7th December 2007. Papers
will be 30 minutes in duration. Abstracts sent by mail to the postal address
below should arrive by the deadline.

Additional information and details about the conference will be posted on
the School website

Dr Alisdair Gibson
School of Classics
University St Andrews
St Andrews
KY16 9AL, Scotland

Email: aggg AT st-andrews.ac.uk
10th Annual University of South Carolina Comparative Literature Conference

Sponsored by the Departments of Languages, Literature, and Cultures, Philosophy, and Political Science

Plato and Platonisms: The Constitution of a Tradition
March 20-23, 2008
Directed by: Mark Beck, Jill Frank, Jeremiah Hackett, Paul Allen Miller,
Matthew Kenney and Heike Sefrin-Weis

Plato is in many ways a very contemporary author. The Platonic texts and the traditions they initiate remain at the center not only of analytic and continental philosophy, but are also founding moments in the history of political and literary theory, aesthetics, poetics, rhetoric, and law. In numerous dialogues, Plato revealed himself to be a literary craftsman of the highest caliber with a flair for dramatic presentation and psychologically refined portraiture. All of these factors combine to make Plato and Platonism endlessly rich resources calling for continuous exploration, interpretation, and a broad interdisciplinary perspective to do justice to the various texts and contexts in which Plato has had and continues to have a formative impact. In this spirit, the University of South Carolina announces an international and interdisciplinary conference on Plato and Platonisms from antiquity through the Middle Ages and Renaissance to the present.

Plenary Speakers: Luc Brisson, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
John Dillon, Trinity College Dublin
Mary Louise Gill, Brown University
Stephen Halliwell, University of Saint Andrews
Richard Kraut, Northwestern University
Steven Shankman, University of Oregon

In addition to these plenaries, there will be panels exploring the development of Platonic tradition(s), Plato and his predecessors, literary aspects of Platonic dialogues, the reception of Platonism, Aristotle and Plato, Middle Platonism, and Neoplatonism. To this end, we invite papers that explore particular Platonic dialogues, themes across dialogues, works of authors claiming or disavowing a debt to Plato, as well as studies on other topics that touch on any of the myriad manifestations of Plato’s influence. In particular, we desire papers that pinpoint a connection, anchor it explicitly in Plato and show us how a certain motif, idea, doctrine etc. is a 'Platonism', rooted in a tradition and founded on a dialogue with Plato. We also invite papers that problematize the very traditions in which we have been trained to read Plato. What are they? Where are they located? How are they constituted? To what extent do they dictate our response to Plato and to what extent do they provide the means to think differently?

250 word proposals for twenty-minute papers, or 750 word proposals for three paper panels, should be sent to pamiller AT sc.edu by September 1, 2007.

ante diem xvii kalendas sextilias

Mercatus -- as is often the case in the Roman calendar, a lengthy festival is followed by an opportunity to restock the cupboards (or cash in on the tourist traffic?)

217 B.C. -- birth of the philosopher Carneades (by one reckoning)
onomastics @ Merriam-Webster

aposematic @ Wordsmith

fructuous @ Dictionary.com
Here's a video report on Kitov's excavation of a gold mask in the tomb of a Thracian king last summer (i.e. this isn't the find reported the other day). I find more interesting, however, the obviously-Greek bronze head that is also excavated:

Here's a Bulgarian news report which apparently is about the newly-found mask:

... strikes me that Kitov has been taking lessons publicity-wise from Zahi Hawass ...
From Notes and Queries 188:

Anecdote of Dutens_ (Vol. vii., pp. 26. 390.).--

"Lord Lansdowne at breakfast mentioned of Dutens, who wrote _Memoires
d'un Voyageur qui se repose_, and was a great antiquarian, that, on his
describing once his good luck in having found (what he fancied to be) a
tooth of Scipio's in Italy, some one asked him what he had done with
it, upon which he answered briskly: 'What have I done with it? Le
voici,' pointing to his mouth; where he had made it supplemental to a
lost one of his own."--Moore's _Journal_, vol. iv. p. 271.

E. H. A.
From BMCR:

Cornelius P. Mayer (ed.), CAG 2: Corpus Augustinianum Gissense. Second edition. CD-ROM and bound user's manual in four languages.

Charles Martindale, Richard F. Thomas, Classics and the Uses of Reception.

L. Bravi, L'Epitome di Santa Croce dall'Anabasi di Arriano -- Un bifoglio greco del decimo secolo nell'Archivio Diocesano di Urbino.
A big of a grab bag this week as I'm changing my RSS reader from Google Reader to R|mail, which better suits my workflow; I'm sure I've missed some items (which I'll catch up with next time):

N.S. Gill tells us about Thomas Bullfinch ... ponders What Did Cleopatra Look Like? ... she has a nice Caesar Study Guide ... Some People in the Life of Cleopatra ... and a list of historical fiction based on Caesar and Cleopatra ...

Adrian Murdoch does some sightseeing with Google maps ... then shows us some more of Hadrian's Wall on Google Maps ...

David Derrick writes about Roman Law and Sharia Law ...

Irene Hahn tells us a bit about Claudian ...

At Campus Mawrtius, Eric writes about Symbolic Restitution ... has Aesop deconstructing himself (ouch) ... and more postmodern Aesopica ...Dennis tells us of a silly miniseries in development (did we mention this one?) ...

New Journals:

New Voices in Classical Reception Studies 2 (2007) (online)

Mnemosyne vol. 60 no. 2 (April 2007)

I'm still pondering this article on How Roman Farmers Left Their Mark on Nature ...
From Fortean Times 164 (November 2002):

"There is no desirability in going back to antiquity for data, because, unless phenomena be appearing now, they arc of only historical interest. At present, there is too much history." - Fort, Books, p965.

"The novel is a challenge to vulgarisation: write something that looks new to you: someone will point our that the thrice -accursed Greeks said it long ago" - Fort, p55.

"Ancient wisdom drips in a patter of slimy opinions" - Fort, p396.

On these reckonings, I must be Fort's worst nightmare. But with all respect to the master, he is inconsistent to the point of self-contradiction. The first sentence concludes a paragraph justifying his decision "to draw a Deadline, for data, at the year 1800." In practice, though, he frequently adduces material from the 17th, 18th, and early 19th centuries, in one case (p393) going back to 1597.

Fort's prose, by turn elliptical and lush, is a constant delight. The definition of ancient wisdom as a patter of slimy opinions is no more wounding than (very much exempli gratia) calling science "established preposterousness" (p17) or knowledge "ignorance surrounded by laughter" (p. 19). Nor would an ancient Hellene he much bothered by the epithet "thrice-accursed"; it was as standard in classical and patristic Greek abuse as it is in Fort.

The present point is, Fort does make a number of forays into classical antiquity. I think I have spotted them all: there are 1,062 pages of text, and doing this monthly column has alerted me to the deficiencies of Schlanger's index.

A late chapter in Lo! (p820) kicks off with a quotation from Aristotle as modified by Hegel: "Wherever there is a conflict of extremes, there is an outcome that is not absolute victory on either side, but is a compromise" - a dogma that dues not apply to modem politics or sport.

Plato is absent, along with all Roman writers - I fancy Fort would have been much taken by the likes of Lucretius. Some lack of interest may be implied by his oddly incomplete account (pp 670-I ) of a fraudulent-looking (I told the full story in FT 135:24) modern claim to have found the lost books of Livy.

He does, though, pay tribute to Hipparchus' star catalogue (p 351), and has a neutral reference to another Hellenistic astronomer, Aristarchus (p368). Mentions in the same paragraph (p 91) of Alexander and Julius Caesar, along with "the cyclones of Egypt, Greece, Assyria," albeit casual in themselves, form part of his argument for the Super-Sargasso Sea.

A lengthy (pp147-60) disquisition on Roman and other ancient coins and inscriptions allegedly found in America includes a sentence on "the rare mintage of Domitius Domitianus, Emperor in Egypt," planted by "some joker" in Illinois. All this is part of the "data of the more than thrice-accursed" (p151 - that word again!). Fort not only knew his numismatics, he could move at once to another good question: "Where did he get a rare coin, and why was it not missed from some collection?"

As befits one who liked to joke about history, Fort was not intimidated by big names: "History is a department of human delusion that interests us. We are able to give a little advancement to history. In the vitrified forts of Europe, we find data that the Homes and Gibbons have disregarded" (p172). The reasoning of prehistorian Sir John Evans over stone implements is (p106) branded as "lamentableness".

Fort's description - pp 777-9, a sustained piece of bravura prose - of the 1872 Vesuvius eruption is so similar in both general effect and particular terms to, Pliny's (Letters, bk6 nos 16 6c 20) that I wonder if he had read this Roman's autoptic account of the blow-up of AD 79' Not an accusation of plagiarism, rather a demonstration of the same narrative gifts and eye for the telling small things -e.g. Pliny mentions stranded sea life, Fort a fallen sparrow.

Pliny wrote these letters to his historian friend Tacitus. The latter (Annals, 6k14 ch32) memorably describes prodigies presaging Boudicca's capture of Roman Colchester in AD 60. Fort (pp439-41) has a splendid account of strange phenomena over that very city in 1884. As he maintains (p7), "Our whole existence is animation of the local by an ideal that is reliable only in the universal," an opinion that surely warrants a place for ancient history in the magazine that hears his name.

"The disputes over ancient Greece are no nearer solution now than they were several thousand years ago, all because there is nothing to prove or solve or settle" - Fort, p107.

Barry Baldwin
(reprinted with permission of the Author; blame any typically graphic transcription errors on dm)
Not too much this week:

From the New York Times:

Fly fishing boasts a colorful history, and an impressive literature that runs like a river from the Roman scribe Claudius Aelianus in the second century on through the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Norman Maclean in the 20th century.

From an editorial in the San Antonio Express-News:

The ancient Romans had a saying: Speak well of the dead, or not at all. Sometimes a eulogy — from the Greek word meaning praise — really isn't possible.

From the Times:

The route begins in Semur-en-Auxois, a small picturesque town situated in the Cote d’Or region of Burgundy. Built on pink granite and awash with cobbled streets and medieval architecture it remains an enduringly popular tourist destination. According to legend the mythical Greek hero Hercules built the town on his return from Spain.

From the Telegraph:

Box topiary has a long history. The Romans sculpted their hedges into interesting shapes and the name derives from the Latin topiarius - a creator of places.
Jane W. Crawford, Judith A. Hayes, A Cicero Workbook.

Christopher P. Jones (ed.), Philostratus. Apollonius of Tyana: Letters of Apollonius; Ancient Testimonia; Eusebius's Reply to Hierocles. Loeb Classical Library, 458.

Anna Arvanitake, Heroas kai Pole: To Paradeigma tou Herakle sten Archaike Eikonographia tes Korinthou.

J. C. Yardley (trans.), Livy: The Dawn of the Roman Empire (Books 31-40). With an introduction and notes by Waldemar Heckel.

Basil Dufallo, The Ghosts of the Past: Latin Literature, the Dead, and Rome's Transition to a Principate.

A. M. Snodgrass, Archaeology and the Emergence of Greece.

Ulrike Babusiaux, Id quod actum est.

Nina Johannsen, Dichter uber ihre Gedichte: Die Prosavorreden in den 'Epigrammaton libri' Martials und in den 'Silvae' des Statius. Hypomnemata, 166.

G.W. Bowersock, Mosaics as History: The Near East from Late Antiquity to Islam.

Darien Shanske, Thucydides and the Philosophical Origins of History.

Andrew Laird (ed.), Oxford Readings in Ancient Literary Criticism. Oxford Readings in Classical Studies.

Megan Hale Williams, The Monk and the Book: Jerome and the Making of Christian Scholarship.

A.M.C. Casiday, Tradition and Theology in St John Cassian. Oxford Early Christian Studies.

From Scholia:

Monica Silveira Cyrino, Big Screen Rome

Pantelis Michelakis, Euripides: Iphigenia at Aulis

From Aestimatio:

Roger Beck, A Brief History of Ancient Astrology

David Sider, The Fragments of Anaxagoras: Introduction, Text, and Commentary

From RBL:

Joseph Hellerman, Reconstructing Honor in Roman Philippi: Carmen Christi as Cursus Pudorum

John Sawyer, ed., The Blackwell Companion to the Bible and Culture

From news.bg:

Golden mask and silver rhyton for wine were found today by Bulgarian archaeologis led by prof. Georgi Kitov.

The findings are made at the Thracian mound close to the Sliven village of Topolchene, announced BNR. The findings are from a rich Thracian grave from IV century BC.

It is supposed that the golden mask is of a Thracian king. For 150 years of archaeology in Bulgaria, this is the second time such a mask to be found in the country, informed Mr. Kitov.

The mask is lighter and less carefully made that the one of Theres, found near Kazanluk. The archaeologists are yet to clear details about it.

The rhyton represents a head of an animal, probably deer, and is around 30 cm high. Silver rython, silver cup and bronze vessels have also been found.

The tomb is paneled with wood, there are remains of human skeleton, one bronze vessel and three preserved big earthen amphora. There is a stamp on their handle and after they are cleared it could be determined where they were made.

Here's a photo ... not sure how long it will last or if it is actually the object in question:

From the IHT comes some welcome, if somewhat late (for me) news:

Tourists can now buy tickets to the Colosseum on the Internet and avoid long queues at the ancient Roman arena recently named one of the new seven wonders of the world, officials said Friday.

The online booking system allows visitors to pick a spot on a guided tour in their preferred language, giving them access to the 1st century arena and its temporary exhibitions as well as the nearby Palatine Hill, where Rome's emperors lived in luxury.

The €12.50 (US$17) tickets must be collected at a Colosseum counter dedicated to Internet bookings, said Manuela Collelli of the Pierreci company, which operates the box office for the monument. In a few days, the Web site will let tourists print the tickets, allowing them to go straight to the entrance, she said.

Each year, 4 million peoplepay to visit the Colosseum and the Palatine and Rome authorities have said they forecast 5 million visitors in 2007.

The Colosseum was inaugurated in A.D.80 by the Emperor Titus in a ceremony of games lasting 100 days. In the 50,000-seat arena, which has influenced the design of modern sports stadiums, thousands of gladiators dueled to the death and, according to traditional accounts, Christians were fed to the lions.
From Kathimerini:

The Epigraphical Museum in Athens, the only one of its kind, has a rich collection of inscriptions ranging from the early historic to the Early Christian era: 13,510 inscriptions, most of them written in Greek.

They record resolutions, laws, letters, tax lists and financial accounts that indicate organization and planning, such as the account of expenses for the construction of the chryselephantine statue of Athena by Pheidias.

The museum at 1 Tositsa Street in downtown Athens is little known to the general public, but is highly valued by specialists and researchers, as well as schoolchildren and fans of deciphering. The Epigraphical Museum would like to attract more visitors. Maria Lagoyianni, the museum’s new director, believes it is time to be more outgoing.

The first effort is an exhibition being held in November at the Parliament, while some changes have already begun at the museum itself in the form of temporary exhibitions, “a good way of getting people to come.”

Three monuments and four tableaux in the main hall are part of an exhibition that will appeal to people in a hurry, as well as to regular visitors who know that every six months a new arrangement of inscriptions will be on display.

For people interested in law, or the machinations of politics, there’s plenty of interest here. And when you want a break, the museum has a cafe. Just as a democratic regime today publishes its laws in a government gazette, so in the past laws were recorded, mostly on papyrus or wood, before being filed away in the Metroon, a special building in the Agora.

Decisions were temporarily published on wooden panels covered in plaster, which were suspended for a certain period in a public place. Wooden stele set up in prominent places around the city were a more permanent solution.

The museum makes use of such information about the past and the present in a small permanent exhibition.

The most ancient resolution, concerning the landholders of Salamis (510 BC), a resolution by the Athenian polity in honor of Oiniades of Palaiskiathos and his services to the city (408-7 BC), and another concerning the fencing off of the sanctuaries of Kodros, Nileos and Vassilis and the leasing of their temples are the three principal exhibits.

Visitors learn where and how these details were recorded, but without being bombarded by detail. Each inscription is accompanied by a translation and some helpful comments.

The resolution concerning the landholders of Salamis is of great significance, as it is the “oldest political resolution by a democratic regime in the world,” as Lagoyianni explained while showing us around the museum.

The latest exhibition is about dividing in order to rule. The purpose, explained the director, is to highlight the types of political union of the four cities of Kea: Ioulis, Karthaia, Korissi and Poiiessa, in the 4th and 3rd centuries BC, and their efforts to bolster their presence and prevent or get free of the domination of the great powers of the time.

“The great power in that case was all-powerful Athens, the great ally and rival of Kea. It tried to impose its power, while the smaller city tried to retain its autonomy,” Lagoyianni noted.

Kea came under pressure due to its strategic position close to Athens, but also for economic reasons. Miltos, a naturally occurring red iron oxide which was used primarily to dye marble and waterproof ships was a prized source of mineral wealth, and Athens did everything it could to secure a monopoly.

The exhibition shows the tactics of Athens and the reactions of Kea. Shortly before the mid-4th century BC, the Athenians passed a resolution which forced the cities of Kea to rule separately so that Athens had more control over them. Surgical implements and planes that use ultrasound remove cement additions, a neutral soap on paper pulp cleans away encrustations, and a dentist’s drill performs wonders in the hands of the experts who revamp the inscriptions before they emerge from storage. All that goes on in the busy conservation workshop under the direction of museum sculptor Stergios Tzenekas.

The forthcoming Parliament exhibition, “Praise the Boule and the Deme: The Athenian Democracy Talks about its Inscriptions,” is being jointly organized by the Parliament and Athens University.

The theme is the birth of democracy and its resolutions (the time prior to Cleisthenes, his reforms and first decrees), the operation of democracy through resolutions (organization, responsibilities of the leaders of the Athenian state, publication of the resolutions, foreign policy, honors bestowed by the Athenian democracy on citizens and foreigners), and the adventure of the Athenian democracy.

Nineteen inscriptions from the museum will be moved to the Parliament’s exhibition space (1 Mitropoleos and Fillellinon streets), and the museum will put on a special program at Tositsa Street.

There’s no need to see all the museum at once, but don’t miss the ballot machine which was used for elections in ancient Athens. Other highlights include the financial accounts for the construction of the Parthenon, evidence of how Athens was supplied with water, Themistocles’ resolution to vacate Athens during the Persian invasion, and the vote of the deme of Axionos (now Glyfada) honoring two theatrical sponsors.

The museum runs tours for people with special needs and other groups.
From the Scotsman:

HE IS living quietly in retirement, fondly remembered for his charisma, wit and wisdom by generations of academics and students. But the chances are you have never heard of Professor Peter Wiseman.

Look a little more closely at the tall, white-bearded, 67-year-old Classics scholar and you get the first hints of a remarkable secret: Professor Wiseman was the inspiration for one of the most famous characters in modern children's literature.

Academics at Exeter University have revealed that one of their most famous graduates, JK Rowling, based her fictional creation Professor Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore on the real-life Professor Wiseman.

Dumbledore is venerated by millions of readers and film-goers around the world as the genial headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry who inspires Harry Potter to believe in himself and to confront evil.

Wiseman made a big impression on the young JK Rowling as her mentor during her time studying Greek and Roman mythology at Exeter between 1983 and 1986. In the past she has revealed she used her lecturers as the basis for characters in the Potter novels. Now, with the saga about to reach its dramatic climax, Wiseman's fellow academics have broken their silence over the provenance of one of the key characters in the series.

They point to crucial similarities between Dumbledore and Wiseman, including the fact they are both:

• Imposing, tall and thin figures with twinkling eyes and white whiskers;

• Academic leaders who are renowned for their serenity and gentle wisdom as well as their formidable intellects;

• Possessed of whimsical wit and paternal demeanour, commanding reverence and respect from generations of students;

• Have a sweet tooth and a predilection for enjoying confectionery between lectures.

Professor Tim Whitmarsh, of the department of classics and ancient history at Exeter University, said Rowling's years on campus were a topic of frequent discussion.

"During her time here, JK was certainly influenced by some pretty awesome and impressive professorial figures who were there at the time," he said. "There has been much speculation about which of these was the inspiration for Dumbledore and there is a general consensus that the evidence points in one direction.

"Professor Wiseman is a very wise, serene figure and is extremely Dumbledore-like," he said. "Because of this, people look up to him. Of all the staff in the department, he was closest to JK, and when the university awarded her an honorary degree in 2000, he was the one that presented it to her."

At the ceremony Wiseman paid tribute to his former student for encouraging children to rediscover the magic of reading and for firing their imaginations.

He praised the "old-fashioned goodness" of her character and declared: "In more than one way, what she writes makes the world a better place."

Wiseman, who is now largely retired and works as a visiting emeritus professor at Exeter, was flattered by claims that he inspired the character, but modestly refused to take any credit.

"It's true that I did teach her, but I'm sure JK Rowling's imaginative powers are quite capable of creating characters without basing them on the lecturers she listened to at university," he said.

Wiseman confirmed that Rowling took courses in Greek and Roman narrative and drama as well as mythology and historical thought.

"She certainly had plenty of opportunity to read the sources for Greek mythology. But I wouldn't want to claim any special influence," he said. "I'm an avid reader of the books, and I particularly look forward to reading the final volume, but I'm afraid I can't offer any privileged insights."

Wiseman himself is an acclaimed author whose tome The Myths Of Rome was nominated for the British Academy Book Prize 2005.

His entry in Who's Who reveals that he was born on February 3, 1940, and was educated at Manchester Grammar School and Balliol College, Oxford. He lectured at Leicester University between 1963 and 1976 before joining the University of Exeter as Professor of Classics in 1977.

Wiseman has penned a host of acclaimed academic books, including Julius Caesar: The Battle For Gaul, Roman Political Life, Remus: A Roman Myth and Flavius Josephus, Death Of An Emperor.

Rowling has based other characters on real-life academics. It was revealed that Professor Binns, who sends students to sleep with his excruciating, verbose lessons, was modelled on Exeter University history lecturer Hugh Stubbs.

When asked about the alleged similarity, Stubbs admitted he was in "no doubt" that he was the blueprint for Binns. Speaking in 2000, he said: "I admit I could be a bit dopey first thing in the morning and I probably did give some pretty boring lectures."

The rumour mill has gone into overdrive in the run-up to the worldwide release of the last Potter novel on July 21.

Rowling has remained enigmatic about the fate of her bespectacled hero, but there is growing speculation that he may perish.

The author admitted that she had "sobbed her heart out" after completing the final chapter of Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows.
It's all Greek to her: Rowling's mythological inspirations

A host of fabulous Greek and Roman-inspired mythological creatures have appeared in the Harry Potter adventures.

• Firenze, a learned centaur, taught divination at Hogwarts. The sage half-human, half-horse teacher bears a distinct resemblance to Chiron, a centaur who tutored many of the ancient Greek heroes in astronomy and medicine.

Firenze is Italian for Florence, the birthplace of Galileo, the first modern astronomer.

• Hedwig is Harry's faithful owl companion who was given to him by his mentor, Hagrid, in the first book of the series.

In the 1981 film, Clash of the Titans, which was based on Greek myths, Zeus himself presents the hero Perseus with an owl assistant named Bubo.

• Buckbeak, below, is a hippogriff - as found in Greek mythology, below left - with the wings, claws and head of a griffin and the body and hindquarters of a horse, which Harry befriends during Hagrid's Care of Magical Creatures class. Hagrid explains that hippogriffs are very calm, powerful giants, but demand respect.

• Cerberus, the monstrous three-headed dog, right, guarded the gates to Hades and was lulled to sleep by the music of Orpheus.

Harry performs a similar feat on Fluffy, an almost identical canine creature in The Philospher's Stone, far right.

The reference to Cerberus is reinforced when Hagrid informs Harry that he bought Fluffy from "a Greek chappie I met in the pub".

• Arachne, an arrogant girl, angered the goddess Athena and her punishment was being turned into a monstrous spider.

In the Chamber of Secrets, Harry is attacked by massive carnivorous female spiders.

• Snakes were used throughout Greek mythology as deadly guardians of the underworld. Orpheus's wife Eurydice died after stumbling into a nest of serpents. The sinister Gorgons, whose gaze could turn people to stone, were human-snake hybrids. Nagini, a sinister snake, is the pet of Harry's arch-enemy Lord Voldemort. The crest of Slytherin House, a deadly rival to Potter's Gryffindor, features a serpent.
Seen on Inscriptiones-l:

ROBERT (L.). Choix d’écrits.
Éd. D. Rousset, avec la collaboration de Ph. Gauthier et I. Savalli-Lestrade.
Présentation par Ph. Gauthier, indices par D. Rousset.
Paris, Les Belles Lettres, 2007. 800 p. dont 77 fig. ; index (Collection Histoire).
Just discovered they have an RSS feed ... some recent finds include four brooches:

Gilded Glass-centre disc brooch
Colchester one-piece brooch
Bridge Plate Brooch
Enamelled T-shape Brooch

[I remember a grade four spelling test where I was the only one who spelled brooch correctly]

The item which put me on to the RSS feed is actually at the 24-Hour Museum site ... it's an interesting little reminder of the Romano-British Slave trade ... oddly, I can't find it at the PAS site:

From NWI:

John Herald is learning a little bit of Latin and about ancient Rome in the fifth annual Crown Point Latin Summer offered at Crown Point High School.

The weeklong summer school program is designed for children who have completed fourth, fifth and sixth grade at elementary schools in Crown Point and the surrounding area. A master summer class is offered to students who previously have attended the beginning Latin summer program.

John, 10, who will be a fifth-grader at Solon Robinson Elementary School this fall, also is learning about classical mythology and Roman culture and history.

He is one of 38 students attending the summer school program.

The children also get an opportunity to participate in conversational Latin as well as artistic and group activities.

Latin teachers Jeremy Walker and Ryan Collier are leading the program.

Student teacher Kathryn Kukla, who will be a Crown Point High School senior this fall, dressed up as a gladiator, complete with gold sandals, to teach youngsters about the events during the age of the Roman Empire.

Kukla, along with several other high school students, are working with Latin teacher Jeremy Walker as instructors.

"I love Latin," Kukla said. "One reason is because we've got an awesome teacher. I've made many new friends since I've been in the Latin program. I intend to run for a national office when I attend the convention in a few weeks," she said.

Kukla also will be among several Crown Point High School Latin students who will represent Indiana July 24 to 29 in the National Latin Certamen Tournament during the National Junior Classical League Convention at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
From the New Anatolian:

This year's excavations in the ancient city of Zeugma will begin next week in which 25 experts will participate.

Kutalmis Gorkay, head of the excavation team said that they were planning to convert Zeugma into an "Archeo-park," a unique center that contributes to the Turkish tourism. "However, preserving Zeugma in the best way is always our priority," he noted.

Gorkay went on to say that two scientists from the Swiss Mavors Institute would attend the excavations, and 4 major scientific studies would be carried out at the site.

"Within the framework of these studies, we will cover the unearthed villas with tents, unearth several public buildings, carry out the restoration of various pieces and conduct geophysical studies at Zeugma," he said.

The ancient city of Commagene was unearthed in the southeastern Turkish city of Gaziantep. It was originally founded as a Greek settlement by Seleucus I Nicator, one of the generals of the Alexander the Great, in 300 B.C. The population in the city was approximately 80,000.

In 64 B.C., Zeugma was conquered and ruled by the Roman Empire and with this shift the name of the city was changed into Zeugma, meaning "bridge-passage" or "bridge of boats." During the Roman rule, the city became one of the attractions in the region, due to its commercial potential originating from its geo-strategical location because the city was on the Silk Road connecting Antakya to China with a quay or pontoon bridge across the Firat River (Euphrates).

The ancient city was first discovered during archaeological excavations in 1987. Unique mosaics have been unearthed in the city to date.
From ANSA:

The Hercules of Veio, a celebrated masterpiece of Etruscan art, has been restored to its many-coloured glory.

The bigger-than-life polychrome terracotta statue, which dates from the end of the 6th century BC, will be presented to the public next week at Rome's National Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia, fresh from a three-year restoration.

The Hercules clutching the Sacred Hind was originally part of a temple group illustrating stories about the sun god.

It will be unveiled next Wednesday - three years to the day after the most famous member of the group, Apollo himself, was welcomed back on view to enthusiastic acclaim.

The biggest problem facing restorers were the thick deposits of dirt which had built up on Hercules' stomach, giving him an unseemly paunchy look.

The torso has now been scrubbed clean and the muscular abdomen of the hero as he clenches to defend the mythical deer shines out anew.

Hercules has also been fitted with a new set of painted resin legs, replacing a stucco pair stuck on when he was first restored in the 1920s.

The golden-horned doe was in such poor condition that it had to be taken away and restored in a lab but the leaning, club-wielding Hercules was kept in the museum so visitors could see the restoration for themselves - and virtually on the Internet.

The Apollo, which like its fellows once adorned the top of a temple to Minerva, is one of the most famous pieces of ancient art in the world.

The restored and smiling, braid-haired god was unveiled on July 18, 2004, spurring a fresh influx of visitors to the museum in northern Rome.

Apollo is dressed in a short-sleeved vest and a knee-length yellow-toned toga and appears to be striding towards the viewer - as he once advanced to grab the doe from Hercules.

Of the other figures in the group, all that remains is the head of Hermes, the messenger of the gods sent down to try to stop the mythical contest.

The sculptures are believed to be the work of Vulca, a famous sculptor from Veio just north of Rome, one of ancient Etruria's richest settlements. Another giant statue, of Apollo's mother Leto holding Apollo as a child, was also recovered from the temple of Minerva and can be seen at Villa Giulia.

But of the three figures, the Apollo remains the most famous and has come to epitomise the highest expression of Etruscan art the world over.
From ANSA:

Rome is putting two Ancient Roman emperors on trial this summer for dark deeds including immorality, arson, persecuting Christians and killing Jesus Christ.

In the mock open-air trials at the famed Basilica of Maxentius, actors playing Nero and Tiberius will face historic charges that have brought them ill fame.

The main indictment against Rome's third emperor Nero (37-68 AD) is that he caused the great fire that devastated the city in 64 AD - and then blamed it on the Christians.

He'll also be asked to answer for the murders of his mother and wife and lax morality that started to eat away at the upstanding state.

His immediate predecessor Tiberius (42 BC-37 AD), the adopted son of Augustus, faces a rap sheet saying he undermined what was left of the Roman Constitution and later stomped off to seclusion on Capri leaving his lieutenant Sejanus to run wild back in Rome.

Then there was the undeniable fact that Christ was crucified on his watch.

Both emperors are expected to claim they were framed and slandered by biased historians.

Tiberius is also likely to plead a mitigating circumstance familiar to watchers of today's court TV - his actions and inactions were caused by an untreated depression, probably the result of childhood trauma inflicted by his charismatic stepfather and domineering mother Livia.

Each night from July 18 to 22, a 12-strong jury selected from among the audience at the Roman ruins will decide how Nero should be judged.

Tiberius's historical reputation will be weighed by similar juries on the nights of July 25 through 29.

The trials have been scripted by playwright Vladimir Polchi and popular writer and journalist Corrado Augias.

"We documented all the possible texts, classic and modern, from Tacitus and Plutarch to modern Russian novelist Mikhail Bulgakov, who wrote extensively about the early emperors," Augias said.

This summer will be the second time Nero has been put on trial.

He was convicted more often than not during last year's Emperors In The Dock series, which proved highly popular with the summer crowds here.

Juries were more lenient with his illustrious co-defendant Julius Caesar, the war hero and dictator who detractors say dealt the death blow to the old Roman Republic. photo: statue of Nero


A flurry of comments this a.m. ... N.S. Gill asks:

Why does the emperors on trial article say that Tiberius was Nero's immediate predecessor?

Similiter, Marcus Pailing:

I thought the piece on the Romans putting Tiberius and Nero on trial was interesting - although it is yet another example of journalists getting
their facts completely wrong.

Tiberius being Nero's "immediate predecessor"? I ask you!

... and fulfilling the Scholastic Rule of Three, John McMahon:

37-68? So what happened to Caligula? He wasn't bad enough? And Graves wrote "No Claudius"?

Hmmm ... and do I see a slight (modern) Christian bias here?

When I first read this piece myself, I thought the journalist had merely mistaken Tiberius (who we call Tiberius) with the Tiberius Claudius Nero (who we call Claudius). I suspect we're dealing with someone a bit more chronologically-challenged ...
siculiana Last year -- when y'all were presumably going through rogueclassicism withdrawal -- I was spending most of my time in a farmhouse outside of this paese of Siculiana. This will be the first in a series of posts on items which should be of interest (hopefully) to readers of rogueclassism. While there are scattered bits of info about Siculiana (mostly touristy in nature) abounding on the web, I have found the most useful reference on the history of the place to be Paolo Fiorentino, Siculiana Racconta, and some of what follows derives from his booklet.

Siculiana is about 13 km down the coast from Agrigento and currently has a population of about 5000. It's the paese where my wife and all her kin were born (she was actually born in one of the houses in the photo) and her uncle maintains a small farm outside the village. Among other things, the town boasts a nice baroque-style church (about which there will be more below and in a subsequent post) and a small castello (ditto).

There are a number of theories about whence derives the name "Siculiana". I'm sure most readers of this blog immediately thought that it derives from something like Siculi Janua ("Sicily's Doorway" ... as I did) and that indeed is one of the suggested etymologies. There is, however, another suggestion: the aforementioned castello was established in 1310 and built on the remains of an Arab fortress which had been known as Kalat Sugul and had been destroyed in 1087. From this, it is suggested that the name of the fortress took its name from Suq-al-Jani (i.e. Johnny's Market) or Suqu-'l-yuni or Suqu-'l-yunani (the Greek Market).

More interesting for our purposes is the claim that Siculiana is the site of the ancient town of Camico, the seat of King Kokalos whither Daedalus landed after his son went plop in the sea. Several towns in the area have been proposed as the site -- and indeed, there are scattered signs promoting the regions as the Kingdom of Kokalos (although it doesn't seem to be a 'major' promotion, despite legends that there is a 'treasure of Kokalos' somewhere in the area) -- but Siculiana does seem to have the best claim based on geography and scattered bits of later documentary evidence. The town has also been identified with Herbessos (which surrendered to Marcellus in 213 B.C.) and with what is listed as Cena on the Antonine Itinerary.

Despite this apparently ancient pedigree, however, there really isn't much 'ancient' to be found in the town, alas. Down the road, in Realmonte, there is an excavation of a Roman villa in progress but it is strikingly odd that there are no similar digs going on or structures already found in the environs of Siculiana. Fiorentino's aforementioned book has an undated, grainy photo of an "ancient" paved road going through some farmer's field, but it doesn't look Roman. There are tales of farmers and the like hitting what appear to be foundations while building their own buildings and/or farming, but they are quickly covered up out of fear of expropriation (cf., e.g, that news item a few weeks ago about a 'rescued' temple). Even so, various folks have found scattered items of interest (coins, etc.) which I'll hopefully be able to share with you in a subsequent post.

ante diem iii idus quinctilias

ludi Apollinares (day 8)-- games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo

431 B.C. (?) -- dedication of the Temple of Apollo outside the pomoerium (and associated rites thereafter)

100 B.C. (?) -- birth of G. Julius Caesar (another possible day)

ca. 251 A.D. -- martydom of Myrope
libertine @ Merriam-Webster

identic @ Wordsmith

sphallolalia @ Worthless Word for the Day (great word)

triskaidekaphobia @ Dictionary.com
... the Betty Page Cleopatra Action Figure ... and in case you were wondering about Cleo's suicide ...
From the Sydney Morning Herald:

The usually busy Athens Acropolis will stand idle this weekend after the union of guards called a 48-hour strike to demand better working conditions for personnel.

The Greek union of keepers of archaeological sites, which called the July 14-15 action, wants temporary personnel to be given permanent positions.

The group also wants more flexible hours for its members, who have public servant status.

The union also announced it would hold another, four-day work stoppage at the Acropolis from 21-24 July.

The actions will not affect operations at other ancient sites and museums around the country.

The Parthenon and other temples atop the famed Athenian rock normally attract thousands of visitors a day in the summer months.

... in other Acropolish News ... from the News-Leader:

Many of Greece's most valued ancient statues are wearing chains and padded vests, ready for an outing.

Culture Ministry officials demonstrated Thursday how more than 300 statues from the Acropolis are being packed for a move to a new museum being built at the bottom of the hill.

Statues from the Parthenon and other temples, up to 2,600 years old and weighing up to 2.5 tons, are being fitted with padded harnesses and will be lowered by chains and pulleys into styrofoam-filled boxes made of plywood and metal.

Once packed, they will be moved about 300 yards by crane from a museum on the Acropolis to the new glass-and-concrete museum designed by U.S.-based architect Bernard Tschumi.

"This is an operation which requires great care ... We will work long hours and through holidays," supervising engineer Costas Zambas said.

Among items requiring special attention during the transfer are four Caryatids — stone columns sculpted in the shape of women — as well as older limestone artifacts created before marble became popularly used.

Some 165-foot shock-absorbing cranes will be used for the transfer that is due to last about six weeks and will cost an estimated $3.5 million.

The new Acropolis museum is due to open in early 2008, and will include exhibition space for the Parthenon Marbles collection which Greece is demanding be returned from the British Museum in London.

Some photos of the moving activities are up at Yahoo, but you have to poke around a bit ... there's also some sort of brouhaha brewing over plans to demolish some buildings to give folks a better view of the Acropolis ...
From the BBC:

Ancient coins have been found on a beach in the Western Isles giving new clues to the far reaching influence of the Roman Empire.

Archaeologists believe the pieces of copper alloy date from the middle of the 4th Century.

They were found in a sand dune, but the location in the Uists has been kept secret to protect the site.

Archaeologists said it was a "lucky find" as the coins were at risk of vanishing in a high tide.

Just seven other Roman coins have previously been found on the isles.

A Roman brooch and pieces of pottery have also been uncovered in the past.

Kate Macdonald, an archaeologist who has lived on the isles for three-and-a-half years, said the new find was exciting.

She said: "It is very unusual to find two coins very close together on a stretch of beach on the Western Isles.

"A whole seven others have been found - six of those on North Uist - which indicates something quite special was happening at that time."

'Well preserved'

Ms Macdonald is studying a PhD at the University of Sheffield on the Iron Age, Scottish islands and brochs.

She said the coins dated from the Iron Age in Scottish terms, but in England would be considered to be from the late Roman period.

The isles were a "hub of development" throughout pre-history because travel was easier by sea than land at that time, said Ms Macdonald.

However, she said it was likely to always remain a mystery how the coins arrived on the islands.

They were either brought back by islanders from the mainland, or by Romans.

Ms Macdonald said: "In Scotland it has always been thought the Western Isles were beyond the reach of the Roman Empire."

She added: "The coins were very well preserved.

"You would expect salty water might have attacked them to some extent. They look almost as good as the day they were made."

The coins are being kept at a local museum, but will eventually be examined by experts in Edinburgh.

Ms Macdonald praised the members of public who found them for handing them over the museum.

Archaeologists are convinced that no other coins are on the beach after an extensive scan of the area using metal detectors.

Meanwhile, Fife charity Scottish Coastal Archaeology and the Problem of Erosion (Scape) is leading a community project at a site on North Uist.

Scape is investigating the suspected Iron Age round houses before they vanish in a powerful storm.

The University of St Andrews-based organisation is also carrying out work at another historic site in Brora.

Hmmmm ... a couple of photos accompany the original article and these coins do seem to be in preternaturally good condition. I fear someone may be yanking chains here ...


Adrian Murdoch comments on the finds as well ...
There will be a one-day workshop entitled 'Greek Drama and the Polis: new work in progress'
Thursday 13th September 2007
School of Classics,
University of St Andrews.

Provisional Programme
(Each paper will be followed by 30 mins discussion)

9.20-9.30 Jon Hesk Welcoming Remarks

9.30 Peter Wilson 'Theatre history in the late Classical
period: a forgotten document'

11.00 Coffee /Tea /Biscuits

11.30 David Rosenbloom ‘Transformations of comic and
forensic topoi in the Hecuba’

1.00 Lunch

2.30 Ian Ruffell "I am serious - and don't call me
Shirley": a Comic Take on Tragic Politics.

4.00 Coffee / Tea/ Biscuits

4.30 Jon Hesk ‘Other-oriented intellectual virtues in
Greek Tragedy and Democracy.’

6.00 Pub

6.45 Dinner at local restaurant

For all those interested in attending, further details of the workshop,
advice on how to get here and a registration booking form are available
from <http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/classics/conferences/index.shtml>
The registration fee of £10 includes the cost of coffee, tea and lunch.
Overnight accommodation at a charge of £40 per night can be requested on
the booking form. The closing date for registration is Monday 20th August
A Concise Guide to Teaching Latin Literature
Edited by Ronnie Ancona
Volume 32 in the Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture Series

From the Publisher's site:

Catullus, Horace, Ovid, Cicero, and Vergil are the official Advanced Placement Program Latin authors as well as standard reading for college and advanced secondary students of Latin. This book provides accessible information about recent scholarship on these authors to show how an awareness of current academic debates can enhance the teaching of their work.

This is the first book aimed specifically at keeping teachers up to date on recent developments in Latin scholarship. Edited by Ronnie Ancona, a classics scholar with expertise in pedagogy, it features contributions by established authorities on each of the five Latin authors. Each essay combines theoretical material with Latin passages so that instructors can see how practically to apply these methods to specific texts.

These contributions reveal many and varied ways to approach the reading and study of Latin texts while conveying the excitement of recent scholarship. A practical sourcebook for busy teachers who wish to keep abreast of current critical thought, A Concise Guide to Teaching Latin Literature contributes to the ongoing conversation between pedagogy and scholarship as it shows ways to broaden students’ appreciation of these timeless classics.
The Dalhousie University Department of Classics is very pleased to be hosting the annual meeting of the Atlantic Classical Association on October 26 and 27, 2007. Our keynote address this year will be delivered by Professor Sabine MacCormack of the University of Notre Dame.

We are accepting proposals for papers of 20 minutes in length on all areas of Classical Studies and the Classical Tradition, though papers on late antique topics and on the Classical Tradition in the Americas are particularly welcome. Participants both from within and from beyond the Atlantic provinces are invited to attend and/or present papers at the conference; graduate student presenters are most welcome.

Abstracts should be between 150 and 200 words in length, and can be sent via regular mail or email (in Word format); email submissions are preferred.

Email: claswww AT dal.ca

Department of Classics, Dalhousie University
Marion McCain Arts and Social Sciences Building
Room 1172
Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
B3H 4P9

All abstracts are due by Monday, September 10, 2007

For more information on registration, submission of abstracts, accommodations, our keynote speaker, Dalhousie University, and on Halifax in the autumn, please visit our conference website, linked at: http://classics.dal.ca/
ante diem iv idus quinctilias

ludi Apollinares (day 7) -- games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo

100 B.C. (?) -- birth of G. Julius Caesar

67 A.D. -- martyrdom of Paulinus of Antioch

1536 -- death of Erasmus

1922 -- birth of Michael Ventris, who would decipher Linear B
desideratum @ Dictionary.com
From Notes and Queries, Number 191, June 25, 1853


(Vol. vii., p. 423.)

Latin was likewise used for the language or song of birds:

"E cantino gli angelli
Ciascuno in suo _Latino_."
_Dante_, canzone i.

"This faire kinges doughter Canace,
That on hire finger bare the queinte ring,
Thurgh which she understood wel every thing
That any foule may in his _leden_ sain,
And coude answere him in his _leden_ again,
Hath understonden what this faucon seyd."
Chaucer, _The Squieres Tale_, 10746.

Chaucer, it will be observed, uses the Anglo-Saxon form of the word.
_Leden_ was employed by the Anglo-Saxons in the sense of language
generally, as well as to express the Latin tongue.

In the German version of Sir Tristram, Latin is also used for the song of
birds, and is so explained by Ziemann:

"_Latin_, Latein; fuer jede fremde eigenthuemliche Sprache, selbst fuer
den _Vogelgesang_. Tristan und Isolt, 17365."--Ziemann,
_Mittelhochdeutsches Woerterbuch_.

Spenser, who was a great imitator of Chaucer, probably derives the word
_leden_ or _ledden_ from him:

"Thereto he was expert in prophecies,
And could the _ledden_ of the gods unfold."
_The Faerie Queene_, book iv. ch. xi. st. 19.

"And those that do to Cynthia expound
The _ledden_ of straunge languages in charge."
_Colin Clout_, 744.

In the last passage, perhaps, _meaning, knowledge_, best expresses the
sense. _Ledden_ may have been one of the words which led Ben Jonson to
charge Spenser with "affecting the ancients." However, I find it employed
by one of his cotemporaries, Fairfax:

"With party-colour'd plumes and purple bill,
A wond'rous bird among the rest there flew,
That in plain speech sung love-lays loud and shrill,
Her _leden_ was like human language true."
Fairfax's _Tasso_, book xvi. st. 13.

The expression _lede, in lede_, which so often occurs in Sir Tristram, may
also have arisen from the Anglo-Saxon form of the word _Latin_. Sir W.
Scott, in his Glossary, explains it: "_Lede, in lede. In language_, an
expletive, synonymous to _I tell you_." The following are a few of the
passages in which it is found:

"Monestow neuer in _lede_
Nought lain."--Fytte i. st. 60.

"In _lede_ is nought to layn,
He set him by his side."--Fytte i. st. 65.

"Bothe busked that night,
To Beliagog in _lede_."--Fytte iii. st. 59.

It is not necessary to descant on thieves' Latin, dog-Latin, _Latin de
Cuisine_, &c.; but I should be glad to learn when dog-Latin first appeared
in our language.

E. M. B.

From the CBC:

The Greek government has announced new measures to combat the international trade in stolen and fake antiques.

Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis announced Monday his government will be introducing legislation to help police combat what he calls "one of the most lucrative criminal activities in the world."

Some of the measures include the creation of a special department within the ministry to be responsible for tracing stolen items and repatriating them, and allowing phone taps on suspects and prison terms for those who make fake antiquities.

The move comes after the Greek government secured the return of four ancient works from the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

One year ago, the L.A. museum agreed to return a fourth-century BC tombstone from near Thebes and a sixth-century BC votive relief from the island of Thassos. At the time, Voulgarakis declared: "This is just the beginning."

And this year, a marble figure of a young woman and a gold wreath dating from 4th century BC were returned.

Greece has been petitioning the British Museum in London for the past 20 years to return a collection of marble sculptures from the Parthenon — known as the Elgin Marbles — removed from the ancient temple under British ambassador Lord Elgin in the early 1800s.

Both Greece and Italy have begun demanding the return of objects believed to have been secreted out of their countries.

Marion True, the former curator of the Getty, is on trial in Rome over her role in acquiring some of the works claimed by Italy.

After the investigation that led to those charges, Greece launched its own investigation into the smuggling of antiquities, and Greek officials laid charges against her in December 2006. True has denied all wrongdoing and posted bail of $19,600 US in January.

True could get up to 10 years in prison on the Greek charges.
Back in December, we alerted y'all to the threat to the Classics Department at Lund University. Yesterday, Ivo Volt posted this to the Classics list:

Some of you may recall a thread about classical studies in Lund being
threatened. In January, Owen Cramer posted the (standard) response of Jan
Svensson, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Theology, to a protest
letter, in which the Dean wrote, among other things: "The Latin and Greek
professors will continue to be employed paid by resarch funding, not
undergraduate money. The professors will be available for the rest of the
university in case special courses are wanted /.../"

A colleague, Staffan Wahlgren, former professor at Lund, now writes that
the rectorate has forced him to resign his professorship at Lund

He also notes that the letter of Dean Svensson would seem to suggest that
the professors of classics in Lund would not be in danger of losing their
positions. However, Jan Svensson has now told them that this is not the
way his letter should be interpreted - it rather meant, he maintains, that
only some professors would retain their positions.

I quote the letter of Prof. Wahlgren:
"If anyone feels deceived by this and would care to write once more to
dean Svensson or, as a general protest against the decline of classics at
Lund, to rector magnificus, Göran Bexell, the support demonstrated by
this would be much appreciated."

Emails in protest may be sent to:

jan.svensson AT nordlund.lu.se
goran.bexell AT rektor.lu.se

Staffan Wahlgren can now be reached at staffan.wahlgren AT hf.ntnu.no




Please send abstracts of 500 words maximum for papers of 30 minutes length
by 2 November 2007 to:

Kyle Erickson: ke214 AT exeter.ac.uk // Cristian Emilian Ghita: ceg204 AT exeter.ac.uk

or contact: Dept. of Classics & Ancient History, University of Exeter,

Amory Building, Rennes Drive, Exeter, Devon, EX4 4RJ, UK

Conference Themes:


The notion of Seleukid dissolution has been understood either as a
prolonged decline lasting the entire dynasty or as the result of the
cataclysmic defeat at Magnesia.

Was the Seleukid demise triggered by a defeat – military or moral?

When does the personal ineptitude of the kings overcome bureaucratic


The “centre and periphery” debate when applied to the Seleukid empire
draws attention to the interchange of internal and external forces between
the regions and kingdoms making up and surrounding the empire.

What was the Seleukid centre? Or was there a Seleukid centre?

What did Seleukid control mean? How was it tempered by local sensitivities?


The history of the later Seleukid Empire is written through the interplay
between its constituent regions, former satrapies, allies, vassal states
and hostile neighbours.

What factors determine a given region as dependent upon Seleukid authority
or sensitised towards Seleukid politics?

Why choose submission to or rebellion from the Seleukid king?


From its cradle to its grave, the position of the Seleukid Empire put it
at odds with other states, from one end of the world to the other.

Were the Seleukid kings their own worst enemies?

How desirable was peace with the Seleukids and, if achieved, did it have a
lasting effect?


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

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

This information is also available at:
ante diem v idus iulias

ludi Apollinares (day 6) -- games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo

1896 -- death of Ernst Curtius (historian/archaeologist)

1941 -- death of Sir Arthur Evans (excavator of Knossos)
extraterritoriality @ Wordsmith

astucious @ Worthless Word for the Day
We've wondered about this very thing on the Classics list in the past, so from Notes and Queries, Number 191:

"_Quem Deus vult perdere._"--In Croker's _Johnson_, vol. v. p. 60., the
phrase, "Quem Deus vult perdere, prius dementat," is stated to be from a
Greek _iambic_ of Euripides:

"[Greek: Hon theos thelei apolesai prot' apophrenai]."

This statement is made first by Mr. John Pitts, late Rector of Great
Brickhill, Bucks[1], to Mr. Richard How of Aspley, Beds, and is taken for
granted successively by Boswell, Malone, and Croker. But no such Greek is,
in fact, to be found in Euripides; the words conveying a like sentiment

"[Greek: Hotan de Daimon andri porsunei kaka],
[Greek: Ton noun eblapse proton]."

The cause of this classical blunder of so many eminent annotators is, that
these words are not to be found in the usual college and school editions of
Euripides. The edition from which the above correct extract is made is in
ten volumes, published at Padua in 1743-53, with an Italian translation in
verse by P. Carmeli, and is to be found in vol. x. p. 268. as the 436-7th
verses of the _Tragedie incerte_, the meaning of which he thus gives in
prose "Quando vogliono gli Dei far perire alcuno, gli toglie la mente."



P.S.--In Croker's _Johnson_, vol. iv. p. 170., the phrase "_Omnia_ mea
mecum porto" is incorrectly quoted from _Val. Max._ vii. 2., instead of
"_Bona_ mea mecum porto."

[Footnote 1: This gentleman is wrong in saying _demento_ is of no
authority, as it is found in Lactantius. (See Facciolati.)

... I think this will get put in my Quellenforschung file later one ...
Interesting value judgement in this piece from Novinite:

Bulgarian archaeologists have found two unique ceramic figurines of a cobra and dragon heads as they continue excavation at the rock sanctuary of Perperikon, near Kardzhali in southern Bulgaria.

The two figurines were part of the ornaments of a clay altar dating roughly to the period between the 3rd and 1st centuries before Christ, said archaeologist Nikolai Ovcharov, who oversees the dig.

The finds are probably part of the Tsepina culture, named after one of the key Thracian fortresses in the Rodopi Mountains, which played an important strategic role well into the medieval era.

The two finds are more important than the Roman era finds because they offer much more insight into the distinctive traits of the local culture, Ovcharov said.

Snakes were considered guardians of the deeps and, as such, were closely associated to the cult of Dionysus, whose shrine the Bulgarian archaeologists are currently excavating.

The next stage of the dig, which is staffed by close to 150 people, is to examine the southern quarter of the city, where the archaeologists hope to remain the remains of a third palace, dating back to the Thracian era.

The city of Perperikon has been inhabited since around 5000 BC, while a nearby shrine dedicated to Orpheus, near the village of Tatul, dates back to 6000 BC and is older than the Pyramids of Giza.
From Kathimerini:

After the Acropolis missed out at the weekend on being named one of the new seven wonders of the world, Culture Minister Giorgos Voulgarakis hit out at the initiative yesterday by questioning the value of the ballot.

“Monuments do not have to parade on a podium like in a beauty contest,” said the minister.

The private initiative, voted on by 100 million people around the world by Internet or phone ahead of a huge ceremony on Saturday in Portugal, “has nothing to do with the true value of monuments,” Voulgarakis said.

The Great Wall of China, India’s Taj Mahal, the centuries-old ruins of Petra in Jordan and the Colosseum in Rome, were among those chosen by voters.

Meanwhile, Voulgarakis also announced yesterday fresh plans to combat the multimillion-dollar international trade in stolen and fake antiques. The government will introduce legislation later this month to ensure closer cooperation between archaeologists and the police to combat the illegal trade.

Not sure what to read into the 'vote' being apparently more important news than the antiquities trade ...
From the BBC:

Archaeologists excavating the site of a Roman villa say artefacts have been stolen and damage caused by thieves using metal detectors.

The team arrived at the site just north of Lincoln on Thursday morning to find 31 holes had been dug there overnight.

The four-week dig is a joint venture between Lindum Heritage and Bishop Grosseteste University College Lincoln.

Zoe Tomlinson, from Lindum Heritage, said the damage caused would have a lasting impact.

She said: "We're absolutely furious. Whatever they've taken is theft because any finds on the site belong to the landowner Owen Day Farms.

"They could have taken anything. The most likely things they've taken are rusty Roman nails which have no monetary value, but have archaeological value.

"They've destroyed part of the integrity of the site. It's immoral. It's criminal vandalism. What they've destroyed can never be replaced."

The archaeologists have now taken all the metal from the site.

Italy on Tuesday renewed its tough stance with the John Paul Getty Museum in a long-running row about the return of antiquities.

Foreign Minister Francesco Rutelli reiterated a threat to break off relations with the Californian institute unless all the disputed objects came home by the end of this month.

Rejecting recent overtures from the Getty suggesting that the most contentious item be excluded, Rutelli said the the 3rd century BC 'Getty Bronze' must be handed back along with the rest.

Speaking in the northeastern Adriatic port of Fano, where the famous Greek statue of a victorious youth emerged from the sea in 1964, Rutelli reiterated that the Getty had "a moral obligation" to give it back.

If it failed to do so, he said, "a fully fledged conflict would be unleashed, a full-scale embargo" that would mean "an end to cultural and scientific collaboration between Italy and this museum".

While noting "signs of attention and willingness" in recent statements from the Getty, Rutelli stressed that "words count for nothing at this point and this game must end by the end of July".

In his most recent statement, Getty chief Michael Brand urged Rutelli to show "flexibility" so that the stalled talks on the restitution of dozens of objects could resume.

He reiterated that Italy could show no legal title to the bronze, which has been attributed to the famous Greek sculptor Lysippos.

But Brand indicated that the other major sticking point, a 5th century BC Greek statue of Aphrodite Italy says is from Sicily, might well be sent back once ongoing tests are completed. Brand, 48, an Australian-born art scholar who took over at the Getty in 2005 after questions were asked about its past acquisitions policy, called the Aphrodite demand "a rather reasonable request" but reiterated the Getty's view that there was no legal case for returning the bronze.

"I have said this very clearly, I'd be really happy to pick up the talks. But their position, as we know, is 'no bronze no deal'," he told ANSA.


"I remain optimistic but I'd like to see a certain flexibility: it's in the interests of both sides to resume negotiations and collaboration.

"In our view the ball is in their court," Brand said, confirming that he hadn't heard from Rutelli for months despite inviting him to a workshop on the Aphrodite that kicked off in May.

However, Sicily's regional government sent three representatives to the workshop, which is expected to come to its conclusions by the end of the year.

Brand has said the Los Angeles museum will return the Venus if the group of independent experts proves beyond doubt Italy's claim that it comes from the ancient Greek city of Morgantina in Sicily.

Among the experts examining the provenance of the work are University of Virginia art historian and co-director of the US Morgantina dig, Malcolm Bell; New York University archaeology professor Clemente Marconi; and Palermo University geochemistry professor Rosario Alaimo.

Brand said they would examine pollen and earth taken from the statue when it was cleaned in 1988 in order to clear up the "complex and often contradictory" claims about its origin.

The first results of the new studies are expected shortly and will be posted on the Getty's website, Brand said.

"Our aim is to resolve the question in November or December," Brand said.

Brand recalled that, before talks broke down in December, the Getty proposed a joint investigation while keeping the statue in co-ownership - an offer Italy refused.

The Getty chief reiterated that the Getty has already offered to return 26 disputed artefacts.

He also argued that Italy had expected too much in demanding 52 articles - three of which the Getty returned - before the talks broke down.

The Getty claims the bronze athlete, which the Californian museum acquired in 1977, was found in international waters and so does not belong to Italy.

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

The Getty feels it is on firmer ground regarding the bronze, commentators say, because it cannot be linked to the allegedly questionable acquisitions policy of its former curator, Marion True, currently defending herself in Rome in the first-ever trial of an arts curator Brand said his arrival in Los Angeles in December 2005 signalled the beginning of "a new era".

"There is a real will on the part of the museum and the foundation to start a new policy".

The deal with the Getty was to have been the third with major US institutions.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts have agreed to return key parts of their classical collections in return for loans of equivalent value.

1.00 p.m. |DISCC| The Battle for Rome: Caesar
In winning the Battle of Alesia, the brilliant military tactician
and politician Gaius Julius Caesar subdued the last of Republic's
invaders; he took control of the government and spawned a civil war.

2.00 p.m. |DISCC| The Battle for Rome: Nero
The burning of Rome signaled the onset of Emperor Nero Claudius
Caesar's descent into madness; as plans to build a much grander
capital city threatened the Empire with bankruptcy, Nero resorted to
increasingly murderous ways to raise money.

3.00 p.m. |DISCC| The Battle for Rome: The Fall
Tired of wandering, homeless across the Empire, Aleric I wants more
than the city, he's after a province for his people; he's determined
to negotiate with Rome's emperor Honorius to get it.

DISCC = Discovery Channel (Canada)
ante diem vi idus quinctilias

ludi Apollinares (day 5)

70 A.D. -- burning of the Second Temple in Jerusalem

138 A.D. -- death of the emperor Hadrian; dies imperii of Antoninus Pius

ca 150 A.D. -- martyrdom of the Seven Holy Brothers (cf below ... something's not right)

ca 165 A.D. -- martyrdom of Philip

plenipotentiary @ Wordsmith

pecuniary @ Dictionary.com
From the Echo:

An archaeological expedition, led by prominent Bulgarian archaeologist Georgi Kitov, discovered various gold and silver artifacts in a Thracian funeral mound near the town of Sliven.

The expedition found several burial sites under the hill, dating back to the second and third century, Focus news agency reported.

Iordanka Radancheva, a member of the expedition, said that most of the bodies were unusually laid out, with the head pointing east, instead of west.

The archaeologists found five gold earrings, a silver ring, ceramic lamp and other pottery and two rings. One of the rings is encrusted with a semi precious stone with an engraved figure of an animal, probably a lion.

Each burial place had a coin, to enable the corpse to pay to enter the world of the dead.

... here's another version from Novinite:

The excavations expedition of Bulgaria's most famous archaeologist Georgi Kitov will be researching Thracian burials from the Roman era during this years' summer dig season, Darik News reported.

The burials that will be researched are all in the area of the town of Sliven. Thye had been done within short period of each other and were covered with a common mound.

The common thing in all the burials is that the bodies were all burned on a wooden grate, their heads oriented to the east and not to the west, as is the generally accepted ritual.

In seven of the burials the team of archaeologists has already unearthed a pair of earrings and another separate one, two rings, as one of them is decorated with a gemstone with the image of an animal, probably lion cut in it, a silver loop, pottery and a ceramic lamp.

In every grave there was a coin, with which the diseased person had to pay for the transition to the world of the dead.

The most interesting find was a crack under one of the stone pilings on the north of the valley, known as the Valley of Thracian Kings, where archaeologists stumbled upon a rich burial of three children and a dog. Along with the bones, the scientists found many funeral artefacts and a lachrymatory - a special bottle containing the tears of the mourners.

All these discoveries prove that even during the Roman era, the Thracians managed to keep their religious rituals and cultural identity, and the Thracian aristocracy had even kept its riches.
From a Press Release:

A piece of ancient Roman history in northern Italy can now be viewed within its architectural context, thanks to DuPont(TM) SentryGlas(R)(TM) Expressions(TM) decorative safety glass.

During recent restoration of the 18th century baroque church of St. Stephen in Vicenza, near Venice, Roman tombs and portions of Roman church walls were discovered under the church floor. Enabling the finds to be viewed in place posed considerable challenges to architects working on the church restoration. Their solution was to replace portions of the church's marble flooring with transparent DuPont safety glass which was color-matched to the church's pink Asiago marble and designed to look exactly like the church's flagstone flooring.

Visitors now can safely view the tombs while standing on the 27mm thick decorative laminated glass construction made of DuPont(TM) SentryGlas(R) Expressions(TM) from DuPont Building Innovations. SentryGlas(R) Expressions(TM) marries two core DuPont technologies -- laminated safety glass and inkjet printing -- to enable architects and designers to harness digital technologies in producing decorative glass designs that provide all the stiffness and strength of safety glass. It can be used in decorative flooring designs such as at St. Stephen's Church, as well as in walls and doors, stairways, windows or external building facades.

"Being so versatile and easy to implement, SentryGlas(R) Expressions(TM) has become a gateway to a new world of creative expression in decorative safety glass: a fast, efficient, and flexible world," said Patrick Cazuc, DuPont Glass Laminating Solutions' European director.

DuPont(TM) SentryGlas(R) Expressions(TM) is gaining increasing use for its ability to elevate design possibilities in applications including Milan, Italy's Children's Hospital and Sacramento, Calif.'s Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament's newly redesigned dome. SentryGlas(R) Plus has been chosen for many innovative and award-winning installations worldwide such as the ultra- clear viewing panels for the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at New York City's Rockefeller Center; wind- and bomb-resistant windows for the Miami, Fla., U.S. Federal Courthouse; glass staircase steps and balustrades in a number of Apple Stores worldwide, and; the uniquely designed Shanghai Oriental Arts Center in China.

DuPont Building Innovations is a strategic business unit of DuPont that manufactures and markets category-leading brands such as DuPont(TM) Tyvek(R) Weatherization Systems, DuPont(TM) SentryGlas(R) interlayers, and DuPont(TM) Corian(R) solid surfaces.

DuPont is a science-based products and services company. Founded in 1802, DuPont puts science to work by creating sustainable solutions essential to a better, safer, healthier life for people everywhere. Operating in more than 70 countries, DuPont offers a wide range of innovative products and services for markets including agriculture and food; building and construction; communications; and transportation.

The DuPont Oval Logo, DuPont(TM), The miracles of science(TM), SentryGlas(R)(TM) Expressions(TM), Tyvek(R) and Corian(R) are registered trademarks or trademarks of DuPont or its affiliates.

The original press release has a photo of the 'glass in action', but I can't get it to work either in Firefox or IE ... ymmv
8.00 p.m. |HINT|Ancient Rome: The Rise of Apartments
The state of the art in high-rise living, New York City's Time
Warner Center features all the amenities: a health club, restaurants,
dry cleaners, top notch security, and citywide views. But high-rise,
high-density living isn't new. Romans were living in high-rise
apartments 2,000 years ago. Host Michael Guillen travels to Rome and
its ancient seaport of Ostia where a number of them still exist. He
illustrates many similarities we share with the ancient Romans
including health clubs and dry cleaners. Food of all kinds was
available at restaurants called thermopelia. As for the apartment
complexes, some were as high as seven stories but building with un-
reinforced concrete limited their height. We travel to Bath, England
for an appreciation of the brilliantly designed Roman baths. Michael
shows how ancient dry cleaners, known as fullers, cleaned garments
with human waste. And the Los Angeles Fire Department helps
demonstrate the Roman fire pump.

HINT = History International
ante diem vii idus quinctilias

ludi Apollinares (day 4)

597 B.C. -- date for Thales' eclipse (or so it was thought in several 19th century (and earlier) sources

118 A.D. -- Hadrian finally arrives in Rome as emperor
tincture @ Merriam-Webster

detente @ Wordsmith (actually, the Classical part is in the commentary on diplo-)
I suspect this will have some interest ... from Notes and Queries Number 188, June 4, 1853:

Your correspondent BALLIOLENSIS, at p. 127. of the current volume of "N. &
Q.," gives several forms of inscriptions in books. The following may prove
interesting to him, if not to the generality of your readers.

A MS. preserved in the Bibliotheque Sainte Genevieve--it appears to have
been the cellarer's book of the ancient abbey of that name, and to have
been written about the beginning of the sixteenth century--bears on the
fly-sheet the name of "Mathieu Monton, religieux et celerier de l'eglise de
ceans," with the following verses:

"Qui ce livre cy emblera,
Propter suam maliciam
Au gibet pendu sera,
Repugnando superbiam
Au gibet sera sa maison,
Sive suis parentibus,
Car ce sera bien raison,
Exemplum datum omnibus."

An Ovid, printed in 1501, belonging to the Bibliotheque de Chinon, has the
following verses:

"Ce present livre est a Jehan Theblereau.

"Qui le trouvera sy lui rende:
Il lui poyra bien le vin
Le jour et feste Sainct Martin,
Et une mesenge a la Sainct Jean,
Sy la peut prendre.

"Tesmoin mon synet manuel, cy mis le x^e jour de avril mil v^c trente
et cyns, apres Pasque."

Here follows the paraphe.

School-boys in France write the following lines in their books after their
names, and generally accompany them with a drawing of a man hanging on a

"Aspice Pierrot pendu,
Quod librum n'a pas rendu;
Pierrot pendu non fuisset,
Si librum reddidisset."

English school-boys use these forms:

"Hic liber est meus
Testis est Deus.
Si quis furetur
A collo pendetur
Ad hunc modum."

This is always followed by a drawing of a gibbet.

"John Smith, his book.
God give him grace therein to look;
Not only look but understand,
For learning is better than house or land.
When house and land are gone and spent,
Then learning is most excellent."

"John Smith is my name,
England is my nation,
London is my dwelling-place,
And Christ is my salvation.
When I am dead and in my grave,
And all my bones are rotten,
When this you see, remember me,
When I am 'most forgotten."

"Steal not this book, my honest friend,
For fear the gallows should be your end,
And when you're dead the Lord should say,
Where is the book you stole away?"

"Steal not this book for fear of shame,
For under lies the owner's name:
The first is JOHN, in letters bright,
The second SMITH, to all men's sight;
And if you dare to steal this book,
The devil will take you with his hook."



I forward you the following inscription, which I met with in an old copy of
Caesar's _Commentaries_ (if I remember rightly) at Pontefract, Yorkshire:

"Si quis hunc librum rapiat scelestus
Atque scelestis manibus reservet
Ibit ad nigras Acherontis undas
Non rediturus."

F. F. G. (Oxford).
It's a very slow day, and so I can roll out the first (or maybe second) item (of many) that I've culled from old volumes of Notes and Queries that are available online at Project Gutenberg. This one's from Number 186, May 21, 1853:

_Crassus' Saying._--I find in the Diary of the poet Moore (in Lord John Russell's edition), vol. ii. p. 148., a conversation recorded with Dr.
Parr, in which the Doctor quotes "the witticism that made Crassus laugh (the only time in his life): 'Similes habent labra lactucas.'"

It appears (see the quotations in Facciolati) that this sage and laughter-moving remark of Crassus was made on seeing an ass eating a thistle; whereon he exclaimed, "Similes habent labra lactucas."

In Bailey's edition of Facciolati it is said, "Proverbium habet locum ubi similia similibus contingunt,... quo sensu Angli dicimus, 'Like lips like lettuce: like priest like people.'"

Out of this explanation it is difficult to elicit any sense, much less any "witticism."

I suggest that Crassus' saying meant, "His (the ass's) lips hold thistles and lettuces to be both alike;" wanting the discrimination to distinguish
between them. Or, if I may put it into a doggerel rhyme:

"About a donkeys taste why need we fret us?
To lips like his a thistle is a lettuce."


University Club.

Anyone know whether this noster Crassus (i.e. Dives)?
Resuming our regular look at the Classical blogosphere (in addition to out midweek sideshow) ... I'm going to concentrate on only the most recent items as much as possible:

N.S. Gill starts us off with her Cleopatra Study Guide ... Roman Games in July ...

Debra Hamel has been adding some interesting links worth checking out ...

Dennis and Eric have been posting up a storm at Campus Mawrtius ...

Troels Myrup has been doing some Google Earth/Maps sightseeing ...

Michael Gilleland continues his indefatigable efforts ...

Wow ... in between my 'falling behind', Dorothy King went on hiatus and returned ...

... and Ed Flinn's Hobbyblog has resumed ...

... and Laura Gibbs has moved her Bestiaria blog ...

Adrian Murdoch has been following the 'Shed of the Year' competition, which has an ancient twist to it ... Brennus Legranus sent me some links on this as well from shedworking, we heart sheds, and Shedblog ... (my wife would never go for this ...)

Plenty of items of interest at Current Epigraphy and at What's New in Papyrology

If you haven't checked out the eClassics social network yet, it's worth a look ...

Ditto from Irene Hahn ...

... and from the group at Tropaion ...

The following blogs appear to be on hiatus for the next while:

Mediterranean Archaeology
The Assemblage
Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

The latest online petition for y'all to sign is one to the Vatican, asking for Latin to be one of the interface languages ...

At one point last week I mention Bob Milns' Latin Lessons (with audio) and they do appear to be a series ... so here's the whole series in case you've missed it:

Latin Lesson 1 - Greetings
Latin Lesson - Greetings and Shopping
Latin Lesson 3 - Latin through the ages

New blog: BillblogX (scroll down for some Horace translations)

Other than that, issue 10.11 of our Explorator newsletter is up and the weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings will be posted later this evening (gotta get grandma on a plane!) ...
From Fortean Times 156 (March, 2002):

Some ancient equinities to complement the modern ones in FT149:16.

Fort - no hippophile, he - has only (Books, p89) a sceptical mention of the horse carried away Dorothy-style by a Wisconsin tornado on 23 May 1878. This actually happened to many animals here at Sylvan Lake, Alberta, in July 2000.

The FT piece calls rare the Russian equine cemetery at Tsarskoye Selo. Ancient steeds were routinely buried from the Bronze Age on. Of especial Russian relevance are the Scythian interments at royal funerals described by Herodotus (Histories, bk4 chs71-3) and Lucian (On Funerals, ch14), confirmed by modern archaeology, e.g. DC Kurz & J Boardman, Greek Burial Customs (Thames & Hudson, London, 1)71, p3 19). Herodotus also (bk6 ch101) mentions the burial at Athens opposite their driver Cleon of the mares that won him three Olympic chariot races. Pliny (Natural History, bk8 ch64 para 155) says "a great number of horses' graves at Agrigentum have pyramids over them," also that Augustus' grand mound for one inspired a poem by prince Germanicus. Various horse bones turned up at the second-century AD Roman cavalry tort at Newstead; cf. JK Anderson, Ancient Greek Horsemanship (Univ. California, BerkeleyLA, 1967, p25).

In Homer's Iliad (bk 19 vv403-23), Achilles' horse Xanthos suddenly prophesies his master's impending death. A suggestive poetic conceit: in Julius Obsequens' Book of Prodigies (culled from Livy), horses don't speak, cow/dogs/oxen being the loquacious ones; cf. Fort (pp862-70) for the chattering canine classes.

Herodotus (bk5 ch I ) without any details - confound him! - says the Paeonians and Perinthians settled their war with three simultaneous duels: man v. man, dug v. Jog, horse v. horse.

Less familiar than Alexander Bucephalus is Julius Caesar's horse, described by Suetonius (Life of JC, ch 61 ) as "remarkable, with almost human feet, its hooves cloven like rues." Caesar tame) and alone could ride this beast (soothsayers declared it presaged his future power), marking its demise with a temple.

In unlucky contrast, the horse of Seius became proverbial after its four successive owners all died violently - Aulus Gellius, Attic Nights, hk3 ch9. (Tiny (bk8 ch64 paras l54-66) and Aelian (On Animals, also Historical Miscellany) have repertories of horse stories. Both reproduce Aristotle's (History of Animals, ch545 pats 20) 75-year-old mare; the modern longevity record in 1) Walleschinsky/ A&I Irving, Book of Lists I (Bantam, NY, 1977, 11133) is 46. King Antiochus Soter (280-261 BC) was avenged by his horse which killed the Gaul who'd killed him. The Olympic mare Aura, having thrown her rider Phidolas at the start, carried on racing, came in first, realised she'd won, and pulled up, whereupon the judges awarded Phidolas the prize - has this ever happened at Aintree or Epsom? Rather differently Disneyesque was the horse so enamoured of its boy-owner
Socles that it nod to tape him, and when promptly sold, committed suicide by self-starvation.

Rome was horse-mad (Lucian, Nigrinus, chl9). Less so the Byzantines, who replaced the classical term `Hippos' by the modern 'Alogo' (Stupid Thing; the feminine form also means Ugly Woman), a semantic shift unlikely to engender good horse stories. Not so in the West, suitably-, since Graeco-Roman superstition credited West Winds with impregnating mares. Jacques de Vitry (d. 1240), Exempla, ch38, has one with an understanding of prayers and a moral sense. Papys (Diaries, I Sept 1668) was much impressed by a horse that could count money and which "did come to me, when she was bid to go to him of the company that most lov'd a pretty wench in a corner" - it got the famously randy Pepys bang to right! Had this equine any descent from Banks' bay, Morocco, whose similar tricks also included money-counting, advertised in Shakespeare's Love's Labours Lost (1.2.53-7); cf. Wallechinsky & Co., Lists 2 (Bantam, NY, 1980, p105) for other similarly smart steeds.

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")
A few more to add to our midweek update:

From the Baltimore Sun (the Odyssey ref is obvious, but I don't recall any in the Iliad):

Since Homer's time (and we don't mean Simpson), dogs have served, quietly and dependably, as literary kibble.

There were dogs (with fairly meaty roles) in both The Iliad and The Odyssey.

Vincent Rosivach glosses:

Iliad 1.4 et alibi: dogs tearing apart dead bodies left unburied.


Of course ... I totally forgot about the carrion-eating doggies ... (I think I need to reread the Iliad at some point this summer)

From the Sporting News:

While doping has been around since the Ancient Greeks started the original Olympics, it is not accepted.

From The Business:

AS SO often the case, it all started with the ancient Greeks. When Thales the Milesian, a philosopher and astronomer, foresaw a bumper olive crop, he put down deposits on all the oil presses available for hire. The harvest turned out to be as good as he forecast, allowing him to charge local olive farmers a fortune to sublet the presses; he proved that philosophers can indeed be kings.

It was 540 BC, if Aristotle’s account is to be believed, and Thales had signed the first derivatives contract (in fact, a call option on the use of oil presses).

From the Journal Star comes a regular claim:

However, historical accounts of famous people eating ice cream have been documented. Alexander the Great ate snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar, and Emperor Nero ate snow flavored with fruits and juices during the Roman Empire.

From NC Times:

But I remembered an ancient Greek saying, "Iron itself draws a man to it," and I know there's probably someone out there who might make me mad enough to use it in a weak moment.

From Village Soup:

Cave paintings in the Pyrenees from 15,000 BC depict therapeutic touch, and the first written record of massage was over 3000 years ago in China and India. Throughout the centuries that followed, physicians of the day regularly used massage, exercise, and bathing as means to a healthy life. Hippocrates, the father of medicine believed that all physicians should understand and be trained in massage. Homer spoke of its use, and Julius Caesar used daily massage for the relief of neuralgia and prevention of epileptic attacks. Sports massage for athletes began in the earliest Olympics. Massage has a solid history to be sure.
From Novinite:

The excavations of Bulgaria's best-known archaeologist Georgi Kitov near Sliven have yielded yet more artifacts, this time from the Roman era, state radio BNR reported on Saturday.

The latest finds include two pairs of gold earrings, five rings, a ritual coin and a semi-precious stone, all found in a tomb dating to the first century AD, at the earliest.

All the items were found in the second of the 14 tombs Kitov plans to excavate this summer near the villages of Topolchane and Kaloyanovo in the Sliven region, southeastern Bulgaria.

The finds will be handed over to Sliven's history museum.

The area is known as the "Thracian Kings Valley", which Kitov believes to be larger than it was initially thought.

Kitov, who is dubbed the "Bulgarian Indiana Jones", has also invited the Discovery Channel to shoot a documentary of the three-month excavations.

A KYKNOS conference at University College Cork, Ireland

Wednesday 29 August - Friday 31 August 2007

The reception of the texts of ancient Greece and Rome in later literature and culture has emerged as an area of intense scholarly interest in recent years. The ancient Greek and Roman novels, rich in intertextuality and allusion, provide ample scope for the study of the reception of earlier literature in the narrative of the Empire.

In this context, the Department of Classics at University College Cork will host a KYKNOS conference on 29-31 August 2007, with the aim of exploring the reception of earlier Greek and Roman literature in the ancient novels and the way in which reception shapes the novels' content, structure and style. It is envisaged that this will include the reception of a variety of genres, such as epic, historiography, philosophy, drama and oratory.

Speakers include John Morgan, Tim Whitmarsh, Michael Paschalis and Costas Panayotakis.

KYKNOS is the Swansea, Lampeter and Exeter Centre for Research in the Study of Ancient Narrative Literature.

This conference is funded by the UCC College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Science Conference Fund and the UCC Classics Department.


This conference will take place in the O'Rahilly Building, room 2.55

Wednesday, 29 August - afternoon session
(Chair: TBA)
3.00 - 4.00 Registration and tea
4.00 - 4.30 Introduction: conference organisers and KYKNOS director
4.30 - 5.30 Tim Whitmarsh (Exeter): 'Novelists Cite Novelists'
5.30 - 6.30 John Morgan (Swansea): 'Philetas and Longus'


Thursday, 30 August - morning session
(Chair: TBA)
9.00 - 10.00 Koen De Temmerman (Stanford): 'Where Philosophy and Rhetoric Meet: Character Typification in the Greek Novel'
10.00 - 11.00 Ian Repath (Lampeter): 'Platonic Love and Erotic Ignorance in Longus' Daphnis and Chloe'
11.00 - 11.30 Coffee
11.30 - 12.30 Konstantin Doulamis (UCC): 'Forensic Oratory and Rhetorical Theory in Chariton'
12.30 - 2.00 Lunch

Thursday, 30 August - afternoon session
(Chair: TBA)
2.00 - 3.00 Maria-Elpiniki Oikonomou (Swansea): 'Only Dreaming... Anthia's Dream in the Ephesiaka'
3.00 - 4.00 Elias Koulakiotis (Rethymnon): 'The Rhetoric of the Otherness: Geography, Historiography and Zoology in Alexander's Letter about India and the Alexander Romance'

Late afternoon free to explore Cork City.

Conference Dinner

Friday, 31 August - morning session
(Chair: TBA)
9.00 - 10.00 Costas Panayotakis (Glasgow): 'Petronius' Iambics on the Condemnation of Luxury (Sat. 55.5-6)'
10.00 - 11.00 Maeve O'Brien (NUI Maynooth): 'Writing the Pale Imitation: the Story of Meroe and Socrates in Apuleius' Metamorphoses 1. 1-19'
11.00 - 11.30 Coffee
11.30 - 12.30 Michael Paschalis (Rethymnon): 'Petronius and Virgil: Readings and Contexts'
12.30 - 1.00 Closing discussion
1.00 - 2.00 Lunch

Conference fee:
The conference fee is EUR 80 (EUR 40 for students), which includes tea, coffee, lunch on the Thursday and Friday, and dinner on the Wednesday, but excludes accommodation and the conference dinner on the Thursday (on which see below).

Conference dinner:
There will be a three-course conference dinner on Thursday, 30 August, at a cost of EUR 45 per person (excluding drinks).

We regret that the conference is unable to arrange accommodation in Cork, but the organisers would be more than happy to assist with advice on local B&Bs and University accommodation.

Those wishing to attend should contact Konstantin Doulamis (email: K.Doulamis At ucc.ie) by 11 August.

Quite frankly, this is just silly ... from the Telegraph:

The Pope was warned today that he faced creating disunity among Roman Catholics with plans to re-introduce Latin Mass and return to more traditionalist methods of worship.

A copy of the papal indult, which cuts down on the bureaucracy currently needed to celebrate the ancient Tridentine Mass, which is celebrated almost entirely in Latin, was leaked today (Fri) on the internet.

It has been out of use for almost half-a-century, after the Church decided at the Second Vatican Council to celebrate the mass in the vernacular.

Members of the Catholic Church in Britain, including Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor, had previously urged the Pope not to re-introduce the Mass, which is widely seen as a step backwards.

The Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, the Rt Rev Kieran Conry, said: "Any liberalisation of the use of the Tridentine Rite may prove seriously divisive. It might send out an unfortunate signal that Rome is no longer fully committed to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and it could encourage those who want to turn the clock back throughout the Church."

In an accompanying letter, the Pope takes care to emphasise that he does not want to create a split in the church between traditionalists and reformers. He said the loss of the Latin mass at Vatican II had pained him.

"I am speaking from experience, since I too lived through that period with all its hopes and confusion."

He added: "Moreover, unless bishops retain their powers to control the use of the Rite, it will lead to confusion in the parishes. Some traditionalist priests might want to use it almost exclusively, excluding those members of their congregation who want the New Mass. If we are not careful, it could all become a bit of a mess."

The new arrangements will allow for parishes to say Mass in Latin without intervention from their local bishop. The bishops, meanwhile, have a role in the cure of "bring watchful that is all is done in peace and serenity."

However, should any of them kick up a fuss and decide that the Tridentine Mass is too arcane, they can expected a visit from "the local Ordinary" to put them back into line.

Many senior prelates in Rome have also been worried about the move to popularise the Tridentine Mass.

Oh yes ... there will be mobs of people on every street corner demanding a Latin Mass, and there will be mobs on the other corner chanting Romani eunt domus ... There shall, in that time, be rumours of things going astray, erm, and there shall be a great confusion as to where things really are, and nobody will really know where lieth those little things wi-- with the sort of raffia work base that has an attachment. At this time, a friend shall lose his friend's hammer and the young shall not know where lieth the things possessed by their fathers that their fathers put there only just the night before, about eight o'clock. Yea, it is written in the book of Cyril that, in that time, shall the third one..


Amicus noster Terrence Lockyer (rightly) scripsit:

In your RC posting on the Tridentine Mass story you commit one very, VERY grave error: you misquote Monty Python. Brian actually writes "Romanes eunt domus" (translated by the great JC as "People called 'Romanes', they go, the 'ouse").

... and for those of us who need a refresher, here's the scene on Youtube

From Catholic.org:

Eight Christendom College students recently received honors in the National Greek and Latin exams.

Senior Kathleen Gilbert was one of only two students in the country to submit a perfect paper on the Homeric Greek exam. Junior Paul English received highest honors; Senior Emma Fritcher, high honors; and Seniors Elizabeth Black and Daniel Delaney received certificates of merit.

Freshman Sarah Fritcher received high honors on the Intermediate Attic Greek Exam, for which Christendom Classics Professor Fred Fraser helped students prepare.

“The faculty of the Classical and Early Christian Studies department take great satisfaction in seeing young scholars mature who are equipped to use intelligently the sacred and secular patrimony of our civilization memorialized in Latin and Greek,” Department Head Dr. Edward Strickland said. “As recently as last year, the Holy Father declared, ‘Quite rightly Our Predecessors have considered knowledge of Latin of great importance for those who deal with ecclesiastical and liberal studies to be able to make fully their own the tremendously rich teaching of these disciplines. Therefore, we urge those scholars zealously to endeavor that as many as possible have access to this treasure and obtain the excellent knowledge that it has to bestow.’”

At Christendom, in addition to Classical and Early Christian Studies (CECS), the Theology and Philosophy departments require their students to have adequate mastery of Latin or Greek. Students who study classical languages have been shown to consistently score highest on the GRE and find it to be especially useful for such professions as law, insurance, medicine, fictional or technical writing, library science, or management: careers that demand high literacy and/or a technical vocabulary.

The National Latin and Greek Exams are offered under the joint sponsorship of the American Classical League and the National Junior Classical League. More than 149,000 Latin students from all fifty states participated this year, as did students from thirteen foreign countries.
Interesting 'appeal' from the Guardian:

WANSTEAD was not built in a day and a community project is asking residents to help them uncover the area's Roman past.

The Wanstead Parklands Community Project (WPCP) is stepping up its efforts to find the location of the Roman Villa believed to be under part of the park, and they want local people to bring any Roman artefacts that might have turned up in their gardens or the surrounding areas to the Temple next weekend for identification.

The group are mounting a Roman weekend, when there will also be the chance to learn about the Roman history of the park and even test some of the food that the Romans used to eat. Children will also be able to make up their own mosaics to take home.

WPCP member Tricia Moxey said: "The items found in the past can be used to explain that the Roman building, now buried beneath the ground was large and of high status with under floor heating, mosaic floors and painted wall plaster. The pottery used indicates that the Roman occupiers traded with suppliers from many parts of England.

"We are hoping that people who live near the Park will come along to the Temple with any odd finds that have turned up in their gardens such as bits of broken pottery, roof tiles, painted plaster, or tesserae (the squares that make up the mosaic floors).

"If they have by some chance a Roman coin or a fragment of Roman glass that would be even better!"

Staff from the London archaeological archive and research centre (LAARC) and the Museum of London present to help identify artefacts found in local gardens.
pridie nonas julias

ludi Apollinares (day 1) -- games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo

late fifth century B.C.? -- in the wake of the aborted attack on Rome by Coriolanus, the senate dedicated a Temple of Fortuna Muliebris (and there were associated rites thereafter)
periscian @ Worthless Word for the Day
The incipit of a piece in the Boston Globe:

It's not quite the Midas touch propelling Venus Williams way beyond the bookmakers' expectations. After all, King Midas, the champion of ancient Phrygia, had trouble running in his solid gold sneakers.

But you could call it Venus's golden touch as she banged her way into familiar Wimbledon territory yesterday, the semifinals, with a gold-lined weapon. She doesn't suggest that her new wand has that much to do with her rediscovered success, but "it's fun, and for a good cause."
... there's actually ClassCon in this piece from CNN:

Brace yourselves, Harry Potter fans. No matter how desperate you are for Harry to live, some experts in classic literature and mythology say that finishing off the young wizard would make sense -- in a literary kind of way.

J.K. Rowling has never shied from darkness in her phenomenally successful series -- it started with the murder of Harry's parents, continued through his discovery that an evil wizard was trying to destroy him, and has included pain and torture and the deaths of major characters.

She's already promised two deaths in the seventh and final book, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," coming out July 21, and has refused to commit to Harry surviving. But she couldn't kill Harry off, could she? She wouldn't do that, would she?

"If you look at the tradition of the epic hero ... there is this sort of pattern that the hero delivers people to the promised land but does not see it himself," said Lana Whited, professor of English at Ferrum College in Ferrum, Virginia, pointing out examples from King Arthur to Moses to Frodo.

Greek mythology has plenty of examples, like Hercules, who was killed at the height of his strength, said Mary Lefkowitz, a retired classics professor who taught at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

"There's no long promise of happiness," she said. "You may have brief moments of glory and then the darkness comes."

And don't be fooled into thinking a happy ending is automatic just because the main characters are young, said Anne Collins Smith, assistant professor of philosophy and classical studies at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas.

"Just because it's children's literature doesn't mean it can't have very dark events in it," she said.

Others aren't convinced, saying that Rowling's story about Harry and his adventures is less influenced by classical mythology than it is by other storytelling traditions.

Philip Ray, an associate professor of English at Connecticut College, said Rowling was part of a tradition of British writers like Edith Nesbit, writing stories where children are the focus and have grand adventures.

Since Harry is about to finish his years at Hogwarts, Ray said, "I think it would be very unusual for a book like this to kill off the main character at a time when he's about to graduate from school."

The books are about Harry's development into a young man, Ray said.

"For Rowling to have put Harry Potter through all seven volumes just to kill him off, the point of all development would be wasted," Ray said. "Death strikes me as being the strangest ending of all."

And even though the series has a dark aspect to it, Rowling hasn't set it up in such a way that Harry paying the ultimate price would make sense, said Tim Morris, who teaches English at the University of Texas at Arlington.

"I don't get the sense that J.K. Rowling has set us up for that kind of sacrifice," he said. "The first six books haven't given a sense of that tragedy to me. It's generally hopeful."

Whited acknowledges that reader outrage would be high if Harry died, and that it might seem cruel to younger readers, who aren't familiar with classic literary story arcs.

"I'm sure J.K. Rowling would get some howlers if Harry Potter did not survive," she said.

But even if he lives, don't be surprised if it's a hard-fought victory, she said. Another aspect of the classic hero myth is that even if he wins, it's not without some loss.

"There are always sacrifices, compromises along the way," she said. "If Harry doesn't die, one of his friends will."
From ANSA:

Top Italian architect Paolo Portoghesi on Thursday became the latest cultural heavyweight to slam Rome's new home for the Roman Empire's most famous peace symbol, the Ara Pacis.

Portoghesi, whose credits include famed squares in Russia, France and Germany as well as two of Europe's biggest mosques, in Rome and Strasbourg, called the Ara Pacis museum, designed amid fierce polemics by US architect Richard Meier, "all wrong".

"It's wrong because it's four times the size of the previous building and it has no link to its surroundings," Portoghesi said during a lecture.

"It's incredible how Italy manages to get great architects like Meier to make terrible projects".

"Faced with the complexity of Rome and the Ara Pacis, Meier, whom I respect, ended up bewildered, stripped to his underwear," said the 75-year-old Portoghesi. Meier's large box-like home for the Roman monument has spurred recurrent criticism.

Two months ago US artist-filmmaker Julian Schnabel, in Rome for a show, called it "an air-conditioning unit".

Schnabel was flanked by a delighted Vittorio Sgarbi, the outspoken art critic, now Milan cultural chief, who once urged students to bomb the building and accused the American architect of "knowing Rome like I know Tibet".

Up to and even after its unveiling last year, Meier's minimalist but massive construction has been slated.

The criticism was so fierce that the famed 72-year-old architect was forced to change the project on several occasions - and even now Rome has opened bidding for ways to try to meld it into its surroundings.

As recently as last year, right-wing critics were insisting the Meier building should come down and be replaced by a simple showcase like the Fascist-era building Meier knocked down.

A year ago, then premier, now opposition leader Silvio Berlusconi rekindled the polemics by calling the museum "monstrous".


The sleek stone-and-glass complex - central Rome's first piece of modern architecture since Fascist days - was unveiled last year on Rome's legendary birth date of April 21 after a turbulent decade of polemics and alterations.

Mayor Walter Veltroni, an ex-Communist cinephile who has pledged to renew Rome's skyline, has championed Meier's modernist showcase since he was first elected six years ago.

But it met with fierce opposition from conservatives.

Sgarbi, Berlusconi's culture undersecretary from 2001 to 2003, burned a model of the building and punned that Meier was set on turning the Ara Pacis into a 'bara Pacis' (coffin of peace).

Italian 'name' architects cited the work as an example of alleged moves to 'Los Angelise' Rome.

Professional architecture critics have been split, with some hailing it as a welcome piece of understated modernism in a florid Baroque city, and others as wholly out of step with its surroundings.

Unbeknownst to many, Meier already had another Rome work under his belt - a 2003 church about six miles from the city centre which has met with acclaim from locals and critics.

A recipient of architecture's prime laurel, the Pritzker Prize, in 1985, Meier is perhaps best known for the Getty Center in Los Angeles.

His other credits include Barcelona's Museum of Contemporary Art and Frankfurt's Museum of the Arts.

From news.bg:

Unknown till now Thracians' palace was found by archaeologists in ‘Perperikon' complex (near the town of Kurdjali in the Rhodopes).

The expedition will continue for 3 months. 120 citizens of the near villages will participate in it. Specialists consider the find as the biggest one in 2007.

The palace is situated in the South foot of Perperikon, hidden in impenetrable forest. In the region were found relics of scores of buildings, stone corridors and water storehouses.

The palace, together with the two other already examined palaces, are probably part of one whole ensemble, untouched until now by archaeologists and treasure - hunters, said professor Nikolai Ovcharov.

100 stone sacrificial altars were also found. The new palace will be examined the expedition that works in Perperikon from 7 years already.

This is the biggest exploring expedition in Bulgaria with archaeologists from Sofia, Kurdjali and Veliko Turnovo.
The University of Guelph invites applications for a one-year contractually limited faculty appointment in the School of Languages and Literatures/Classics at the rank of Assistant Professor, effective July 1, 2007. Strong academic credentials and the ability to teach Latin and Greek courses are required.. The candidate must have a PhD in Classics, publications in the field of interest, a successful teaching record in Classics at University level. Three courses will be taught in the Fall semester, and three courses during the Winter semester. Teaching duties will include two Greek and/or Latin courses at the first- and second-year level, two history courses, and two art history courses. Other duties will include the coordination of a multi-sectioned language course and participation in committees. Preference will be given to candidates with a solid background in Classical Art History.

Applicants should send a letter of presentation, current curriculum vitae, email address, statement of research interests, statement of teaching interests, a portfolio of student evaluations, and should arrange to have three letters of reference sent by July 1st, 2007 to:

Dr. Daniel Chouinard
Director, School of Languages and Literatures
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1

The University of Guelph is committed to an employment equity program that includes special measures to achieve diversity among its faculty and staff. We therefore particularly encourage applications from qualified aboriginal Canadians, persons with disabilities, members of visible minorities and women.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.
27-31 January 2008

Keynote Speaker
Professor Andrew Stewart
(University of California at Berkeley)


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 AT canterbury.ac.nz), 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 http://www.clas.canterbury.ac.nz/ascs/ascs.shtml

Classical Association Annual Conference 2008 - University of Liverpool

***Deadline for abstracts: 31st July 2007***

Call for papers

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

In keeping with one of the themes of Liverpool 2008, The World in One City,
the conference will bring together scholars from diverse countries and
traditions to share their research on an international stage and bring a
classical component to the cultural proceedings. With panellists from
Europe, North America, the Middle East and Australasia already confirmed,
we would like now to invite proposals for individual papers to complete the
conference programme. We are particularly looking to fill spaces on panels
dedicated to 'Greek and Roman sport' and 'Living in the City', and on
a 'Classics in the Subject Centre panel on Teaching and Learning' (further
information about these sessions is available on the CA 2008 website:
www.liv.ac.uk/sace/events/confer/ca.htm). Otherwise we are happy to
receive proposals relating to any aspect of the Classical World. Papers
should be 20 minutes long.

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

Last bit of catching up ... all the links (except to blogs) which I've been meaning to pass on ... enjoy:

Mary Haarsch made a trip to the Met's new galleries and took some very nice photos ...

Folks might also want to check out the Julio-Claudian photos at Joe Geranio's flickrdom ...

Where the Buffalo Rome -- an online comic book (with rather unsophisticated humour) ... I think it might be missing some pages

Recent Issues of online journals:

Arethusa 40.2 (Spring 2007)
TAPA 137.1 (Spring 2007)
Classical Philology 102.1 (January 2007)

Amphora 6.1 is available

Melissa (a Latin language journal ... current issue has a piece on the Ara Pacis, but you have to poke around a bit to find it; hat tip to BL)


Rob Rice, "The Peregrinations of the Queen: Technology Transfer in the Hellenistic World" (1996 APA naval history session)

idem, "Rhodes Among the Giants: Macedon, Syria, and Rome" (chapter of the author's doctoral dissertation)


Capelli's Dizionario di Abbreviature (hat tip to MK)

Apollonius of Rhodes, Argonautica (Seaton translation)

Sebastian Heath and Billur Tekkök, Greek, Roman and Byzantine Pottery at Ilion (Troia): The Study Collection and Cataloged Pottery (prepublication)

Karl Marx's dissertation on Democritus etc. (in English)

Father Foster (via Fr. Coulter):

Pliny (the elder ... Vesuvius and all that)
Fisher and More (on a speech of Pius XI)
Credentials (on translating papal missives)
Fire (haven't listened to this one yet!)


Vermont Latin Day

300 Workout


Latin Lessons

Vox Romana (very eclectic)
From Today's Zaman:

A few weeks ago I was glancing into a glass case full of old coins in Gaziantep Museum when something unexpected caught my eye. Old coins aren’t really my thing, but a coin whose label read “Kingdom of Cappadocia”? Now that had to be worthy of further investigation. In the back of my mind a bell had started to ring, but it was only when I got home again and could consult my reference books that the details came spilling out. Sure enough, there had indeed been a period in time (from 332 to 17 B.C., to be precise) when Cappadocia had gloried in the title of “kingdom.” This followed hot on the heels of a less glorious period when this part of Central Anatolia had been a Persian satrapy, ruled by a governor who permitted the locals to keep their own language and religion provided they paid tribute to an overlord in what is now Iran. Even today visitors to the great ruins of Persepolis can pick out the exquisitely preserved carvings of the Cappadocians bringing their tax of horses (and woolen socks!) to the Persian king as far back in time as the fifth century B.C.

It was Alexander the Great who saw off the Persian satrapy as he carved out a new empire on his way east in 334 B.C. But, as film fans everywhere will remember, Alexander was not to make old bones, and on his death his sprawling empire quickly fell apart. It was at this time that the wily Cappadocians grabbed their chance and declared independence. Unfortunately geography was against them. To their west lay the expanding Roman Empire, to their north the equally ambitious Pontic Kingdom based around Amasya. Sandwiched between these two warring parties, the Cappadocian Kingdom had little hope of peace, although history records it as having had several very capable rulers -- most of them called Ariarathes or Ariobarzanes -- who were famous for switching political allegiance as the wind blew.

We are indebted to the Greek geographer Strabo (born in Amasya in c.64 B.C.) for much of what we know about this period of Cappadocian history. The picture he paints is rather bleak, although it may have been darkened by his own pro-Roman leanings. Certainly he suggests that, in its dying days, the kingdom was seriously strapped for cash. Eventually he reports that Archelaus, the last king of Cappadocia, was summoned to Rome and accused of plotting against the Emperor Tiberius. An old man, Archelaus was no match for the Romans, and in 17 B.C. his kingdom was absorbed into their empire where it became the sprawling province of Cappadocia, with its capital at Caesarea (modern-day Kayseri).

Nowadays Cappadocia is a marketing term that gives a quick touristic identity to an area that overlaps the provinces of Aksaray, Nevsehir, Nigde and Kayseri. But next time I go to take money out of the local ATM I’ll try to remember that it was once independent and important enough to boast its own mint and coins.
From the New York Times' Arts Briefly column:

The trial in Rome of Marion True, the former curator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the antiquities dealer Robert Hecht took an early summer recess, after yesterday’s hearing was canceled because of a lawyers’ strike. “When I told my client about the strike, he was very surprised,” said Alessandro Vannucci, Mr. Hecht’s lawyer. “I don’t think these things happen in the United States.” The lawyers are striking to protest the Italian government’s changes to the legal system, which they fear could compromise their independence. The trial of Ms. True and Mr. Hecht, who both deny charges that they handled looted antiquities, is to resume in September.
From the IHT:

It used to be so easy for the "tombaroli," Italy's tomb raiders.

Pietro Casasanta had no Indiana Jones-type escapes from angry natives or booby-trapped temples. He worked undisturbed in daylight with a bulldozer, posing as a construction worker to become one of Italy's most successful plunderers of archaeological treasures.

When he wasn't in prison, the convicted looter operated for decades in this countryside area outside Rome, benefiting from what he says was lax surveillance that allowed him to dig into ancient Roman villas and unearth statues, pottery and other artifacts which he then sold for millions of dollars on the illegal antiquities market.

"Nobody cared, and there was so much money going around," he recalled in an interview with The Associated Press. "I always worked during the day, with the same hours as construction crews, because at night it was easier to get noticed and to make mistakes."

Casasanta was the prince of the tombaroli, as the looters are known in Italy — and some of his finds are priceless.

But the tombaroli are dwindling.

Police and prosecutors believe they are beginning to see results in efforts to combat the traffic of stolen or illegally excavated antiquities which they say made their way to the world's top museums and collectors.

Gen. Giovanni Nistri, who heads the art squad with the Carabinieri, Italy's paramilitary police, said that in 2006 his unit discovered fewer than 40 illegal digs. In the late 1990s that figure could soar to more than 1,000 a year.

"Although there is certainly a number of illegal digs that don't come to light, this is a significant reduction," Nistri said in an interview.

In the last decade Italy has launched an all-out crackdown. Increased monitoring of archaeological sites has landed diggers like Casasanta in jail. International probes have led to the seizure of treasure-filled warehouses in Switzerland. And Italy has been pressuring some U.S. museums to return artifacts.

It has put the former curator of Los Angeles' J. Paul Getty Museum, Marion True, and art dealer Robert Hecht, on trial in Rome over allegations of knowingly receiving dozens of archaeological treasures that were smuggled out despite laws making all antiquities found in Italy state property. The two Americans deny wrongdoing.

New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts have agreed to return antiquities — including vases, statues and silver artifacts from Greek, Roman and Etruscan times — in exchange for long-term loans of other treasures. Negotiations between Italy and the Getty have so far failed to yield a deal.

Italy's efforts have scared museums and the international art market into following stricter guidelines for acquisitions and cutting ties with merchants suspected of buying from the tombaroli, Nistri said.

Over the last years the crackdown has been felt on the legal art market, with buyers concentrating more on objects coming from private collections or other legitimate sources, said Mieke Zilverberg, chairwoman of the International Association of Dealers of Ancient Art based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

"Prices will never go down now," she said. "It already was a quietly up-going market, and now with the hassle the Italians made everybody is focused on buying good things with a legitimate provenance, which means prices go up."

Zilverberg said dealers and museums are learning their lesson, but noted that the blame for the looting rests also with authorities who didn't monitor what was happening in their own archaeological backyards.

"For years they let it go and had no control over the illegal diggers, only now they are aware of what happened in the past and are getting it under control," she said in a telephone interview.

Casasanta agrees that his fellow tomb raiders have fallen on hard times.

"There are no more young recruits, it's become more difficult to dig and to sell, the whole network of merchants has disappeared," he said in the interview in his hometown of Anguillara Sabazia, north of Rome.

When Casasanta started out in the 1950s he would sell his finds at tiny stalls that openly dealt in antiquities on the streets of Rome. Too poor to get an education, he used part of his earnings to buy secondhand books about archaeology, fueling his growing passion.

The son of a mason, Casasanta first got interested in ancient relics at 14, as he accompanied a surveyor on outings in the countryside around Anguillara, an area rich in Etruscan and Roman remains. As he surveyed the fields, pieces of pottery and sculpture brought up by the plow caught his attention.

"This revealed to me that underneath there was another world," Casasanta said. "Archaeology is a sickness ... once you feel the beauty and fascination of an ancient marble you're hooked. It's like falling in love with a woman, it's hopeless."

He soon developed a keen eye for promising sites — sometimes using a friend's glider to spot them from above, but more often by paying attention to details on the ground.

"When I dig I often know beforehand what I will find, because I have learned to read the land," he said. "For example if you see brambles growing tall and yellowish you know the roots are leaning on buried walls."

Although the word "tombaroli" comes from "tomba," Italian for tomb, it is used to describe all antiquities looters. Casasanta's targets were usually Roman villas, on which he worked with a bulldozer and a couple of helpers. At such sites he uncovered statues of emperors and gods, as well as what he considers his greatest find — a 4th-century-B.C. ivory mask representing the Greek divinity Apollo.

He unearthed the statue in 1994 and sold it to a Germany-based dealer, although Casasanta maintains he was cheated and received less than a tenth of the $10 million agreed upon. In revenge, he reported the dealer to authorities and Italian police ultimately recovered the mask in London in 2003. It is now displayed in Rome's National Roman Museum.

The former raider said he has spent about nine years in jail and on probation, always returning easily to his old habits in years when Italian police faced huge challenges from organized crime and political terrorism and had fewer resources for the protection of cultural heritage.

In the highest-profile case, he was caught in 1992 when one of his workers turned him in following the stunning discovery of the Capitoline Triad, a statue depicting Jupiter, Juno and Minerva.

Casasanta made millions on the illegal market, although he won't say exactly how much, but lost most of his fortune to gambling and police seizures.

Facing large legal fees, Casasanta retired with his wife to a small house in Anguillara, which juts out into the waters of Lake Bracciano. Many townspeople address him admiringly as "professore" when they find him chain-smoking at a cafe table along the lake shore.

Now 69, ailing and leaning heavily on a cane, Casasanta insists he only dug up treasures in areas that were threatened by development projects that would have destroyed the ancient artifacts.

But Paolo Ferri, the prosecutor in the True case, said the tombaroli are a threat to Italy's cultural heritage not only because their finds disappear abroad, but also because their digging methods are often brutal and damaging.

"Casasanta feels like a hero, and it's true that he has made exceptional discoveries," he said. "But the tombaroli dig in search of a specific object, the most important one. They take that one and destroy the rest."

Italian police face new and old challenges. Thefts in churches, libraries and state archives have increased in recent years, and the Carabinieri are still seeking more than 2.5 million missing objects registered in the art squad's database, Nistri said.

Casasanta is convinced that the heyday of the tombaroli will return.

"The interest in archaeology never fades," he said. "We'll be back."
Better get caught up with this eclectic accumulation now that we're settling into our summer rhythms:

From the Daily Press comes a list of oft-quoted claims about vinegar (most of which are verifiable):

According to The Vinegar Institute, www.versatilevinegar.com, The Babylonians used vinegar as a preservative and a condiment as early as 5,000 B.C., and Roman legionnaires used it as an ingredient in a common beverage. It is also said that Cleopatra used vinegar to win a bet, after she dissolved precious pearls in vinegar and drank it - thus proving that she could consume a fortune in a single meal.
Both Hippocrates and the Bible extolled the healing properties of vinegar, and it was very likely used by many early civilizations as a medicine.
Even the great general Hannibal used vinegar in his invasion of the Greek city-states in 3,000 B.C. It is said that when he was crossing the Alps, large obstructive boulders were heated and drenched in vinegar, crumbling the boulders and clearing a path.

From the Hook:

The singing of mice is well-authenticated and sounds like the voice of a weak canary, their songs lasting up to ten minutes, says Juliet Clutton-Brock in A Natural History of Domesticated Mammals. Mus domesticus, the house mouse, has lived for thousands of years among people, said by the Roman Pliny to bring good luck if white but if a singer, to "interrupt the auspices."

From Engineering News comes a quote:

A youth was giving himself airs in the theatre and said: “I am wise, for I have talked with many wise men.” Epictetus, a Stoic philosopher, replied: “I too have conversed with many rich men, yet I am not rich.”

From All Things Pakistan:

It is said that discovery of rock salt in Khewra area dates back to as early as circa 326 BC. According to a legend, the army of Alexander the great was resting in Khewra area after a battle with Raja Porus. Some horses of Alexander’s army were then seen licking rock salt in the area. Somebody from Alexander’s army noted down the incident in his ledger or diary and hence we came to know that salt was discovered here circa 326 BC. History is however silent on which language this incident was recorded in (Greek?) or where is that diary now.

From the Statesman:

Me? I wonder how this foie gras thing got going. They say the Egyptians started it and the Romans jumped in later by feeding figs to the birds. In other words, the Romans, as usual, had been drinking.

From the Outdoors column in the Sun-Times:

E-mail: ''Fishing hooks were originally known as 'angles.' This term is certainly archaic today, just like me. Some historians refer to the term angling as originating due to the fact that when using a rod and line, an angle is formed by the two. I find that hook a bit hard to swallow, but it may have some historic validity. The Oscan language took the word 'ongul' from the Etruscan alphabet for both 'fishing hook' and 'bend.' Since I don't think the Etruscan alphabet created the word, we can thank the ancient Greeks for the term 'angling' from its 'ankos glen' or 'barbed hook.' The Old English derivative is 'anga hook' or 'angled hook' and also means 'using artful means to obtain an objective.'''

From KUTV comes the sugar cane claim:

Cultivation of sugar cane dates back some 12,000 years to New Guinea. By the time of the Greeks, it had spread to Europe.

"There's a description going back to Alexander the Great," Mintz said. "One of his generals writes about finding it in India. He talks about this reed which has this sweet juice in it."

From the Times of Malta:

Legend has it that the ancient Romans refreshed themselves with the bubbly water that springs out of an extinct volcano near Naples, a reference to which can be found even in philosopher Pliny the Elder's works.

A marketing dream perhaps, but not enough to stop the company that bottles that water, Ferrarelle, from sliding into losses a few years ago as competition heated up in Italy's bottled water market.

The Daily Bulletin repeats the claims about various baldness cures:

It is thought that Egyptian Queen Cleopatra used a mixture of horse teeth, bear grease, burned mice and deer marrow in an attempt to cure Julius Caesar's baldness. Since then, "cures" have ranged from cow manure concoctions to vacuum helmet contraptions.

The following is a timeline of hair loss therapies - the good, the bad and the ugly.

The oldest known written prescription for treating baldness, found in Egypt's Ebers Papyrus, calls for a mixture of iron oxide, red lead, onions, alabaster, honey and fat from animals including snakes, crocodiles, hippopotamuses and lions.

Hippocrates proposes several solutions to treat his own progressive hair loss, one of which includes a mixture of opium, horseradish, pigeon droppings, beetroot and various spices that were applied to the head.

None of the concoctions worked, and Hippocrates' baldness was so bad doctors still refer to extreme cases of hair loss as "Hippocratic baldness."

Yikes ... from a press release from a company obviously making flaxseed products:

ANCIENT ROME wasn’t built in a day but it was built on a diet of Flaxseed.

Flaxseed was once a staple food source for the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians – so much so that by the 8th century, the Roman emperor Charlemagne ruled that every citizen of the Roman Empire had to consume flaxseed daily to maintain health.

From the Ashland City Times:

“The philosopher Plato wrestled. Plato’s real name was Aristocles. We know him by his wrestling nickname that meant broad.

From the Record:

Quoting the Greek historian Thucydides, valedictorian Jessica Wilcox told classmates in a speech written before the flood, "Do not give the impression that you are bowed down underneath your present sufferings.

"To face calamity with a mind as unclouded as may be, and quickly to react against it — that, in a city and in an individual, is real strength."

From the University of Waterloo Imprint:

If you are uncircumcised, you could get your foreskin pierced. This type of piercing is said to be at least as ancient as the tradition of circumcision; it is thought to have been common among the Ancient Greeks.

From the New York Sun:

"Lotteries go back to Homeric Greece, where soldiers would draw tokens to determine who'd go on a dangerous mission," the founder and president of No Mas, Chris Isenberg, said. "It's sort of remarkable that the fate of these world class athletes, millions of fans, and millions of dollars could be determined by essentially the same mechanism, and by something as banal as a Ping-Pong ball."

From the Times of India:

Waffles are one of the oldest breakfast foods in the world. Legend has it that waffles originated with ancient Greeks making flat cakes between two metal plates.
From the New York Times:

The star attraction of the archaeological museum in this sleepy backwater in central Sicily actually isn’t here.

Instead, this ancient treasure, a giant statue from the fifth century B.C. usually identified as the goddess Aphrodite, holds court thousands of miles away, at the J. Paul Getty Museum’s antiquities villa in California.

In the Aidone Archaeological Museum, which houses artifacts from a nearby dig at an ancient Greek settlement called Morgantina, visitors settle for a large poster at the entrance depicting the statue and announcing a national campaign to bring it back.

“This is her rightful place,” said Nicola Leanza, the culture minister for Sicily, who, like many others, argues that the goddess was illegally excavated from Morgantina.

The Getty, which bought the statue in 1988 for $18 million, isn’t so sure.

For nearly two decades it fended off the Italian government’s sporadic claims to the sculpture. But as the demands grew more pressing, the Getty acknowledged that there might be “problems” attached to the acquisition. In November it announced that it would study the object and reach a decision on whether to hand it over within a year.

“We are on target to achieve that objective,” Ron Hartwig, a Getty spokesman, said in an e-mail message. (The museum has already offered to transfer title to the statue.)

Yet the people of Aidone are tired of waiting. For this town the statue has become a blazing symbol of Italy’s legal and moral battle against foreign museums and private collectors that bought archaeological artifacts with hazy backgrounds, plundering the nation of its heritage.

For decades the Sicilian countryside has been a prime target for tomb robbers and a network of compliant traders.

“Morgantina was sacked for too long,” said Giovanni Calafiore, president of the Aidone chapter of an amateur archaeology association, who organized a bring-back-the-Aphrodite protest march in December. “Now we’re fighting to get back what’s rightfully ours.”

Beatrice Basile, the art superintendent for the province of Enna, which includes Morgantina, said the campaign to win back the statue had had a profound psychological impact on the townspeople.

“It’s given an identity to the people in Aidone, who feel very strongly that this is a restitution that in some way would compensate for a collective loss to their society,” she said.

Even though the statue is still in the Getty Museum’s villa in Pacific Palisades, Calif., this newfound self-awareness has already had a practical effect. Sicilians here are now far more willing to patrol the countryside to crack down on clandestine digs and to help investigators in individual cases, Ms. Basile said.

“This is the miracle of the Aphrodite,” she added.

The statue, 7 ½ feet tall with a limestone torso and marble head and limbs, is also among the contested pieces cited in the case against Marion True, the Getty’s former curator of antiquities, who is being tried in Rome on charges of trafficking in looted art. She denies any wrongdoing.

The museum is also negotiating with Italian officials over 51 other artifacts in its collection.

The Getty bought the Aphrodite from a London dealer, Robin Symes. A handwritten bill of sale dated March 18, 1986, indicates that Mr. Symes bought a fifth-century B.C. “acrolith statue of a draped woman” from Renzo Canavesi, then a currency-exchange operator in Chiasso, Switzerland.

A postscript in the bill of sale said the statue had belonged to Mr. Canavesi’s family since 1939, the year that a law was passed in Italy making it illegal to export any archaeological artifact from the country without government permission.

In 2001 Mr. Canavesi was tried in Italy on charges of illegal trafficking involving the Aphrodite. But on appeal his conviction was thrown out because the statute of limitations had expired, according to Italian documents. In August 1987, before buying the artifact, the Getty contacted the Italian culture ministry through a lawyer seeking information on the authenticity and provenance of a statue of Aphrodite. The museum later said the ministry told the lawyer that Italy had no information about the statue.

In July 1988 Ms. True officially informed the culture ministry that the Getty board had approved the acquisition. She invited the Italians to contact the museum with “any information on the recent history of this object that you believe might be important to us.”

Italian investigators had already redoubled their efforts to track down the statue’s origins.

Fausto Guarnieri, chief investigator of the Italian special art-theft squad in the 1980s, said in an interview that in the fall of 1987 some disgruntled tomb robbers led him to a spot in Morgantina and told him that the statue’s marble head had been found there.

“At the time there was a rumor that the statue had been shipped to Nice with a cargo of cereal, and then smuggled into Switzerland,” Mr. Guarnieri recalled.

Rumors also flew that the statue had been offered to several Sicilian antiquities traders before it left Italy. A 1988 article in Connoisseur magazine identified Orazio Di Simone, a Sicilian antiquities dealer living in Switzerland, as the suspected smuggler.

Francesco Tagliaferri, a lawyer defending Mr. Di Simone in an unrelated looted-antiquities case that began in Rome in May, said his client denied involvement with the statue. “That’s a fairy tale, just rumors,” he said.

Around 1988, Mr. Guarnieri said, the Italian authorities questioned two Sicilian brothers, Mr. Di Simone and a Sicilian who was believed to traffic in looted art, accusing them of looting and exporting the statue. But the case never went to trial for lack of evidence.

Mr. Symes has never been charged in Italy for his role in the sale of the statue.

Aidone citizens hope scientific studies will help fill in the gaps that court evidence has not, and then convince the Getty that the artifact was looted in Sicily. A decade ago Rosario Alaimo, a geochemistry professor at the University of Palermo, was asked to compare samples of the limestone of the Getty statue with samples taken from a statue 200 years younger in the Aidone museum that had been excavated in Morgantina.

“We concluded that both statues were made of material that came from the same geological formation,” quarried in southeastern Sicily, near Ragusa, said Professor Alaimo, who presented his findings at a Getty workshop on the Aphrodite in May. Both statues are Sicilian, he said in a telephone interview. “That is the most probable hypothesis.”

Malcolm Bell III, a University of Virginia professor who directs excavations at Morgantina, said he neither embraced nor rejected the idea that the Aphrodite came from that site.

“I’ve talked to people who ought to know, and they’ve never said anything about finding the statue,” he said in an interview in Aidone. “What I can say is that it was made by an extremely talented sculptor, and if we knew where it had been found, we’d know a lot about the artistic expression of the fifth century B.C.”

In the meantime, archaeologists continue their painstaking dig at Morgantina, slowly bringing to light a Greek city that fell to the Romans in 211 B.C. This spring work progressed on a bath complex at the site from the third century B.C.

Sandra K. Lucore, who is overseeing the baths excavation, describes Morgantina as a snapshot of an experimental period in Sicilian history “when technology and ideas came together to spawn some very innovative solutions,” she said.

“You get the sense here that they were really thinking on their feet, using materials in a new way,” she said in an interview at the site. “The baths are an excellent example of this organic development.”

These days Morgantina is relatively well guarded. Custodians sleep there at night, and two years ago a new metal fence was built around the site’s perimeter.

In Aidone, meanwhile, the museum, which reopened in March after a three-year restoration, is a focus of civic pride. When a national news broadcast erroneously reported in April that the Aphrodite’s return was imminent, hundreds of residents marched boisterously to the museum’s doors.

“We really weren’t used to that,” Maria Locanda, a custodian there, said.

Local pride was also boosted by an accord brokered last year by the Italian government with the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Under the pact, the Met also transferred title to a set of 16 silver pieces from the third century B.C. that Italy said were illegally excavated from Morgantina.

The pieces will remain at the Met until January 2010, then travel to the Aidone museum. Dr. Basile said the silver would be exhibited in a showcase designed especially for it.

And there is more than enough room for the larger-than-life-size Aphrodite, she added hopefully.

Sicilian officials argue that a return of the Aphrodite could be a boon to the region’s economy. While the area’s culinary traditions, sandy shores and crystalline waters have long lured international tourists, they say, important cultural attractions also boost visitor numbers.

“Our model for growth is the management and development of our cultural past, and we’re focusing on Sicily as a whole,” Mr. Leanza, the Sicilian culture minister, said.

He cited the Roman villa of Casale in Piazza Armerina, about 10 miles from Aidone, which he said draws 700,000 people each year.

“The Aphrodite will bring wealth to the territory,” he said. “She is a source of well-being we have to exploit. This is our real wealth.”

“The idea is that the entire island is a museum,” he said. “Few museums in the world can match that potential.”
From a column in the Hub:

I'm eternally jealous of people who were forced to learn Latin in school (or, goodness help them, ancient Greek), because despite what was doubtless a childhood fraught with things they'll be explaining to $40/hour therapists for years, today they have Herculean powers of deduction in figuring out what a word they've never heard might mean ("Herculean" = "less chubby than Herc"). Plus, they are amazing spellers.
We'll do some catching up today ... first, from BMCR:

Andre Laks, Introduction a la "philosophie presocratique".

G.A.A. Kortekaas, Commentary on the Historia Apollonii Regis Tyri.

Brad Inwood, Reading Seneca: Stoic Philosophy at Rome.

P. J. Davis, Ovid & Augustus: A political reading of Ovid's erotic poems.

Anthony Grafton, Megan Williams, Christianity and the Transformation of the Book: Origen, Eusebius, and the Library of Caesarea.

Jens Daehner, Grenzen der Nacktheit. Studien zum nackten maennlichen Ko+rper in der griechischen Plastik des 5. und 4. Jahrhunderts v. Chr.
Dissertation Freie Universitaet Berlin April 2005, abgedruckt im Jahrbuch des Deutschen Archaeologischen Instituts 120.

Victoria C. Gardner Coates, Jon L. Seydl, Antiquity recovered. The Legacy of Pompeii and Herculaneum.

Alain Cadotte, La Romanisation des Dieux. L'interpretatio romana en Afrique du Nord sous le Haut-Empire. RGRW 158.

Loren J. Samons II (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Pericles.

Liv Mariah Yarrow, Historiography at the End of the Republic. Provincial Perspectives on Roman Rule.

Ramelli on van Nuffelen on Ilaria Ramelli, Il basileus come nomos empsychos tra diritto naturale e diritto divino.

Aaron P. Johnson, Ethnicity and Argumentation in Eusebius' Praeparatio evangelica. Oxford Early Christian Studies.

From Scholia

M. Zahariade, Scythia Minor: A History of a Later Roman Province (284-681). Pontic Provinces of the Later Roman Empire I, with contributions by V. Lungu and Z. Coracef

From RBL:

Simcha Jacobovici And Charles Pellegrino, The Jesus Family Tomb: The Discovery, the Investigation, and the Evidence That Could Change History

April D. Deconick, Recovering the Original Gospel of Thomas: A History of the Gospel and Its Growth

David Dungan, Constantine's Bible: Politics and the Making of the New Testament

David Dungan, Constantine's Bible: Politics and the Making of the New Testament (different)

James D. Tabor, The Jesus Dynasty: The Hidden History of Jesus, His Royal Family, and the Birth of Christianity

From Ha'aretz:

Aryeh Kasher, King Herod: A Persecuted Persecutor: A Case Study in Psychohistory and Psychobiography
From the Scotsman:

YOUNGSTERS from the Capital were today set to take part in a special Olympic Games-style contest in Sussex.

Pupils from the Edinburgh Rudolf Steiner School, in Merchiston, travelled more than 500 miles to compete in the event.

The Steiner Olympics brings together all 29 Steiner Schools in the UK and feature the original disciplines from the ancient Greek games.

The opening ceremony began with a torch-lit procession, performed by 300 pupils in traditional Greek Togas.

The aim of the Steiner Olympics is to teach the pupils about Greek sporting traditions which are believed to date from 776 BC.

Philip Shinton, a class teacher from the Edinburgh Rudolf Steiner School, said: "The school's version of the Greek Olympics offers the children the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of Greek history and mythology, and the historic event which continues to be a huge worldwide phenomenon today.

"Since the Olympics continue to be a very big part of modern day life, it is important that our pupils understand where it all began.

"At the Edinburgh Rudolf Steiner School and other Steiner Schools across the UK, we strive to engage and nourish each child's innate curiosity and love of learning."

The three day competition ends today.

... Greek togas, eh?
From Scripps News:

Like other months, July has witnessed mostly anonymous births, a few notorious ones and a handful of illustrious and even commendable personages. And of those of lasting eminence, one name stands out above the others -- so much so that July was named after him.

Gaius Julius Caesar, born of a patrician Roman family on July 12, 102 B.C., rose to a renown unexcelled by any other Roman leader. Indeed, Caesar's name was then adopted by 11 subsequent emperors of Rome in a vain attempt to emulate his glory. Long after the Roman Empire had been superseded by yet other realms, the very name still carried imperial authority and was adopted by the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire. The word, in early German, was translated as "kaiser" and in distant Russia, transformed into the word "tsar."

Caesar, who had decisively cast dice long before Las Vegas was invented, still invades the classrooms as children learn a "dead language" called Latin and discover from Caesar's own commentaries that all of Gaul, for unknown reasons, was divided in three parts; and further -- with an awesome economy of words -- that he came, he saw and, inevitably, he conquered.

Caesar's murder, in 44 B.C., advertised widely by Shakespeare, has made assassination almost fashionable. The bard said of mighty Caesar's death: "When beggars die there are no comets seen; the heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes."

Even Matthew commented on the ubiquity of the secular authority of those called Caesar when he quotes Jesus as saying "to render, therefore, unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."

So awesome has been the influence of great Caesar that even a banal date in March, the ides, has now assumed great symbolic meaning.

Many a human, with visions of greatness, has named himself Caesar; from Cesare Borgia to the great chef Caesar Cardini, who, in a burst of culinary genius, devised a special salad in 1924 that now bears the name. Pliny the Elder, the ancient Roman author and archivist, repeated the tale that Caesar was not born like mortals but was extracted from his mother's womb through a surgical incision on his mother's abdomen -- thus a Caesarean section.

The author is a dean emeritus of medicine, so I think it's fair to link to our previous post(s) on the subject casting doubt on the use of the term prior to the sixteenth century ...
From decanter.com:

Roman ruins found in southern France have been declared remnants of the country's earliest known winery.

The large site, built around 10AD, is still surrounded by vines today on the outskirts of Clermont l'Herault, in the heart of Languedoc wine country.

'It's really exceptional, and very elaborate,' Stephane Mauné, head of the site and archaeologist with France's CNRS research institute, told decanter.com.

Mini craters that once formed the bases of huge pottery wine vessels sit in neat rows where the old winery building stood. Each one held up to 1,800l, while irrigation channels show how winemakers used water to maintain a constant temperature.

A villa, complete with 200m² swimming pool, was attached to the building.

Mauné said inscriptions named the founder as Quintus Iulius Primus, who probably came from southern Italy to invest in the region's burgeoning wine industry.

Romans arrived in Languedoc Roussillon via Narbonne around 118BC. Historians know that after subduing local tribes the Romans cultivated vines to send wine back to Italy.

'There was lots of economic development in this area. You have good access into ancient Gaul and there were ports close by,' Mauné said.

But, in a story reminiscent of France's wine market problems today, it is thought greater competition eventually sent the winery near Clermont l'Herault out of business.

Local winemakers now hope to profit from the tourism and prestige the ancient site could bring. A tourism centre is set to be built, and a special public viewing will take place on 11 July.
From Novinite comes this somewhat vague item:

A team of archaeologist of Bulgaria's National Historical Museum unearthed Monday a 5000-years-old golden architectural ornamentation near the village of Dabene.

While carrying out excavations of small prehistoric moulds, archaeologist Martin Hristov also discovered well-preserved wall ornamentation details in the form of spirals, which are made of tubules of pure gold. Those spirals are unique artifacts compared to all prehistoric ones found in Bulgaria until now.

In the middle of the mound Hristov unearthed eight different pottery objects, hidden in a hole and covered with stones.

The excavations continue and the archaeologists strongly believe they will find many other interesting objects that will provide them with information for the people who inhabited these lands in the ancient times.

The fresh findings show that the population of these lands was well ahead in the civilization process and used precise and sophisticated technologies in the production of objects, especially golden ones.

Meanwhile, the archaeologists have now solid ground on which to base their previous hypothesis that the mines and the production center of objects of gold and their art processing was situated on the territory of today's Bulgaria, just next to the Dabene village.

Hristov's team of archaeologists has unearthed more than 25 000 golden elements and objects during excavations in previous years at the same place, all of them dated back to the 3rd century BC.
From U-Entertainment comes some gossip:

Uh oh. Kevin Sorbo reports to New Orleans next month to begin filming a big-screen spoof of "The 300," this year's highly stylized hit rendering of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in which lots of men in togas fought to the death for glory. Among the legions of fans for the Gerard Butler picture is a sizeable gay audience.

"This is incredibly gay, this movie. It's a stretch for me," says Sorbo of the new comedy. There'll even be a guy-guy kiss involved. "The director said, 'Is this a dealbreaker?' I said, 'It could be. No tongue, or I'll kill the guy.' "

Referring to the takeoff, which is going under the title of "Hunting and Fishing," the one-time "Hercules" star adds, "It's by the guys who did the 'Scary Movies.' " That is, writer-director-producers Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, who've collaborated on the "Scary" pics with the Wayans brothers and others.

Kevin lets us know he plays the captain of the Spartan army in the new movie, which also stars Carmen Electra.

Asked if he's still in good enough shape for a part like that, Sorbo says, "I hope. I'm not a six pack. I'm more of a four pack these days. I don't lift heavy like I used to. I'm not benching 360 anymore."

Sorbo has his first Western coming to the small screen — Hallmark's July 7 "Avenging Angel." The actor, who plays a pastor-turned-bounty hunter, considers it "like 'Pale Rider' meets 'Death Wish.' It was a hoot working on it — a great cast, stunt guys, horse guys, and it was just fun. With my physicality, I'm kind of surprised I didn't get a Western before now," adds Kevin. There's a chance his The Preacher will be the central character in more films for Hallmark, and Sorbo is game.
From Today's Zaman:

Parchment paper, one of the first versions of modern paper, is now going to be produced again on a large scale to promote the tourism industry in Bergama.

Originally invented in this district of present-day İzmir 2,000 years ago, parchment paper made Bergama (then Pergamon) an "advanced civilization of the ancient world" and "the capital of art and thought." Now the Bergama Culture and Arts Foundation (BERKSAV) has taken on the task of giving new life to parchment.

The project to reproduce parchment paper, which began two years ago with the cooperation of the Municipality and District of Bergama, has at last been completed. BERKSAV opened a department within its building where parchment will be produced and related products will be sold. The inaugural ceremony of the department brought together Bergama District Governor Hüseyin Eren, Bergama Mayor Raşit Ürper, the chairman of BERKSAV and other notables.

Ürper and Eren both drew attention to the possible contribution of parchment to tourism activities in Bergama. During the opening speeches Eren emphasized his desire for everyone to support this project and Hüseyin Ürper noted that the word "parchment" itself comes from "Bergama" etymologically. "Thanks to parchment Bergama developed a huge library of 200,000 volumes and hosted the first scholars and thinkers of history as well as many of today's disciplines. We are now glad to tell 21st century people the significance of parchment paper and to represent parchment to the world," he added.

Origins of parchment paper

The biggest library of the ancient world was in Alexandria. However, declaring himself as the protector of art, Attalos, the king of Bergama, founded a library in Bergama. As a result of this "library war" the Egyptians banned the export of papyrus to Bergama. Upon this, the people of Bergama processed goat leather and produced a more durable, practical and advanced paper type than papyrus. They named the paper "parchment" after the city's name then, Pergamon.

Folks were writing on skins before, of course, but the Pergamenes appear to have perfected a rather more regular/large scale production ...
From the Post-Gazette:

Anybody with some old T-shirts or bumper stickers knows what "Carpe Diem" means. Those on conversational terms with the full saying -- "Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero" -- are harder to find.

"Seize the day, trusting as little as possible in tomorrow." With a team depleted of seniors, the Roman poet Horace's words captured the challenge facing North Allegheny's Junior Classical League team as it sought its 10th straight title at Penn State University May 25-27.

About 50 North Allegheny students in grades eight through 12 made the trip, said coach and Latin teacher Theresa Klein, but a scheduling conflict with the senior prom ate through the ranks of tourney veterans.

"Great students leave, and you think how can other kids step up to the plate?" Ms. Klein said. "The freshmen probably won it for us. They really stepped up.

"Without them, there wouldn't have been a victory. If there were going to be a year that we were going to lose," she said, "it would've been this year."

Norm Gottron, state and school president of the Junior Classical League, couldn't agree more. The 18-year-old senior from McCandless gave up his senior prom to preside over the weekend events. "It was an awesome feeling when they announced that we had won for our 10th year in a row," he said. "Students from all levels of Latin really came through for us."

Key freshmen were Andrew Adam, 15, of Marshall, and Sean Radermacher, 15, of McCandless. Ms. Klein said both earned multiple awards in academics and the arts.

Approximately 500 students from 13 schools competed in the three-day Junior Classical League championship, which involves more than a dozen events in three categories -- academic, artistic and athletic.

While being a Latin grammar whiz is useful, so is being an accomplished freestyle swimmer, orator, graphics artist or Harry Potter fan.

Even friends and family make the mistake of referring to the North Allegheny group as the Latin club, which suggests but a fraction of what the Junior Classical League is all about.

"No one understands the depth of the competition," Ms. Klein said. "Most people think that's all we do, academics, but it's not."

She referred instead to the competition's motto of "Mens Sana in Corpore Sano," or "A sound mind in a sound body" from the Roman poet, Juvenal. "It rewards the well-rounded student," she said.

The weekend includes a toga walk, during which the competitors stroll in togas from the dormitory down State College streets. There's also a Roman banquet featuring fruits and vegetables, bread and honey cakes, and plenty of figs, eggs and apples.

In gaining the most overall sweepstakes points, North Allegheny fared well in everything from the Olympika track meet to the costume show to the multimedia arts. It scored big with Emi Lou Vukson, 18, a senior from McCandless, who was the artistic co-champion.

Another big winner was the Latin II class team that won the quiz bowl, or Certamen. Ms. Klein said the win sealed the overall victory.

Andy Fishell, 16, a Franklin Park 10th-grader and team captain, called the Certamen surprisingly intense. "Rarely will you find people more excited about Roman gods, history, or even participles."

David Tobias, 16, a 10th-grader from McCandless, seized the day with the winning answer to "What book would the Romans have called 'Harrius Potter et Philosophi Lapis?' "

"The first team to buzz in missed it because they didn't listen to the entire question," he said. "Once I heard the whole title, I knew I had it": 'Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.' "

A thought that just occurred to me ... press coverage of all these JCL and ACL activities far exceeds the coverage of any of our 'grown up' conventions. Perhaps some of the 'big' groups (APA, CAMWS, CAC, etc.) should start thinking of ways they could coordinate their meetings with those of the 'up anc comers' ... I'm assuming there's already some outreach going on with the participants ...
No ... not on my "to do" list (perhaps my someday/maybe list (GTD joke)) ... Jan Freeman in the Boston Globe opines:

AFTER A TWO-YEAR holiday from complaints about the word decimate, I thought the debate might be over. At last, the defenders of the one true sense of decimate -- those who think the word should mean, as it did in ancient Rome, "to kill one in 10" -- had been routed, extirpated, quelled, vanquished, silenced.

But no -- they were only resting up for the next skirmish. The decimate dispute is back, most recently in the form of a take-no-prisoners declaration from reader Mort Brown of Holbrook: "To decimate means to reduce by 10 percent, as was done by the Roman legions."

So it does, when you're speaking of the Roman Army, or of others who copied their harsh punishment for mutinous legions. But as an English word, decimate has always had a wider scope. Since the mid-17th century, says the Oxford English Dictionary, the word has also been used to mean "destroy or remove a large proportion of."

Nobody objected, it seems, for more than two centuries; there was the military decimate and the loose, emphatic decimate, each in its proper place. But in 1870, according to Merriam-Webster's Concise Dictionary of English Usage, the popular American language commentator Richard Grant White declared war on the degraded decimate.

White inspired some followers, but the purists met resistance from the start. In an 1885 essay, writer Grant Allen rebuked the "superfine English" crowd, saying there was "surely nothing very wrong or out-of-the-way" in expanding the sense of decimate.

H.W. Fowler, that notable stickler, also condoned the nonclassical usage, writing in Modern English Usage (1926) that it was "natural" to use decimate loosely. Current dictionaries and usage guides agree; decimate no longer means "reduce by 10 percent" -- if it ever did -- except in historical references.

That doesn't mean anything goes, decimation-wise. Since the word implies partial destruction, most usage mavens don't like it as a synonym for "wipe out"; decimation is not devastation. Many, including Fowler, think it sounds odd when applied to single entities: A career or a car might be damaged, but not decimated. And using it with a percentage -- "They decimated 75 percent" -- is just weird.

If you pine for the classical decimate, though, you have a champion in language columnist William Safire. When he first addressed decimate, 25 years ago, he agreed with Fowler: "To limit the word's meaning to 'one-tenth' would be like limiting myriad to its literal '10,000.'" But a few years later, he quietly flip-flopped, warning readers that "unless purists persist, decimate will come to mean 'destroy a large part of.'" In 2004 he reaffirmed his faith: "Decimated means reduced by 10 percent."

But he was right the first time. If etymology governed usage, as he noted, we'd have to stop using myriad for "lots" -- and journal for anything not published daily, and honeymoon for wedding trips shorter than a month. That way lies lunacy.

Besides, we don't especially need a term that means "kill one in 10." As Barbara Wallraff notes in her book "Word Court," you're free to use decimate only in the narrow sense -- but "in that case, you won't be using the word very often."

... the piece goes on to discuss rather more salty subjects ...
From Kathimerini:

The Acropolis Museum next to the Parthenon will close today so that preparations can get under way for the transfer of some 300 ancient artifacts to the new museum that is being built just 400 meters away, the Culture Ministry said on Saturday.

Three giant lifting cranes will be used to help move 5th century BC antiquities from the Parthenon to the New Acropolis Museum at the foot of the hill.

It is expected that all the exhibits, including sections of the Parthenon frieze, will be transferred by the end of the year so the new museum can open to the public early next year.

The antiquities will be wrapped in protective packaging and put into crates. They are to be transferred in three stages. The cranes will be placed some 100 meters apart and the crates will be relayed between them.
From the University of Buffalo Reporter:

Syracuse. Utica. Carthage. Palmyra. Naples. Rome. A UB classicist pointed out last week that Western New Yorkers don't need to look much further than their own backyard to understand the enduring presence of the ancient on the modern world.

Yet the ancient world turns up in even more unexpected places than the names of local cities and towns, says Donald McGuire, adjunct associate professor of classics and director of student advisement and services in the College of Arts and Sciences, who presented "Trashy Tabloids and Vegas Casinos: The Ancient World in Modern Pop Culture" June 20 as part of the UBThisSummer lecture series.

"I want to talk to you about the past and how we use the past in the present," he told the audience. "We live in a modern world where the word 'classic' has taken on a new forms and connotations."

Perhaps most visible is the use of 'classic' to market consumer products—such as Coke Classic or 'classic' potato chips—as well as categorize other popular cultural phenomenon—such as classic cars or classic rock.

But beyond that, he pointed out, local supermarket shoppers who pick up the latest issue of the National Inquirer or Weekly World News frequently encounter absurd distortions of the 'classic' world in the form of headlines about ancient Egyptians who flew airplanes or ancient Greek statues that prove Elvis lived 2,000 years ago.

In fact, McGuire, who purchased supermarket tabloids for more than 18 months in order to investigate the prevalence of such stories, found that the ancient Mediterranean was featured in more than 60 individual articles. "The ancient Mediterranean enjoys a privileged position, even in the realm of broad or absurd cultural stereotype that the tabloids represent," he said, noting not one article about ancient China, Japan, India, Africa or Europe appeared during the same period of time.

"I think [tabloids] reflect a couple key facts about the place of the ancient world in the mind of modern America," he said. "Tabloids regularly imply that these cultures are on some level familiar and important...but are clearly taking advantage of the gap that exists between our perception of the past, our imagination of the past and the reality of the past."

The other modern incarnation of the ancient world under discussion last week was Caesars Palace, the infamous and opulent casino constructed by Las Vegas entrepreneur Jay Sarno in 1966.

"There is nowhere where the modern fascination with the ancient world is more palpable than in the desert sands of Nevada," said McGuire, noting that Caesars' "Circus Maximus Showroom," over-the-top statues of Roman emperors and extravagant executive suites featuring fiber-optic reproductions of the heavens on the night of Caesar's birth evoke ancient Roman decadence in order to encourage tourists to partake in extravagant consumption and consumerism.

The success of "sword and sandal" film spectaculars, which reached their peak in the 1950s and '60s, had no small part in the creation of the casino, he added. "But while 'Spartacus' and 'The Fall of the Roman Empire' present the corrupt and decadent underside of Roman history as ultimately destructive," he said, "Caesars Palace celebrates it [and] encourages visitors to emulate the supposed lifestyles of decadent Romans."

McGuire closed the presentation with a brief overview of cutting-edge technologies that are creating opportunities for classicists to present the public a more realistic view of the ancient world. These include computer software that takes people on virtual tours of the Roman Forum and the "Philodemus Project," in which scientists finally are slowly unrolling thousands of ancient scrolls preserved inside super-heated mud during the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

"Who know? Fifty years down the road we may get Ovid's 'Medea,'" he said. "We may get some of the things we know existed...Maybe not in my lifetime, but that's an exciting thing for the future."
Somewhat surprised no one picked this up at the Classics list ... this version from the BBC:

Prime Minister Gordon Brown resorted to his school's Latin motto when pledging commitment to his new job, but what's the significance of these ancient mission statements?

At the next election it is likely to be "usque conabor" against "floreat etona".

For the non-classicists that's "I will try my utmost", motto of Kirkcaldy High School, versus "may Eton flourish", rather unsurprisingly that of Conservative leader David Cameron's alma mater.

Lib Dem leader Sir Menzies Campbell isn't in the Latin club, having been schooled at Glasgow's Hillhead High School, with a French motto. "Nous maintiendrons" or "we will maintain" is fairly low-key.

Gordon Brown: Usque conabor
David Cameron: Floreat etona
Edward Heath: Floreat Domus Chathamensis
Margaret Thatcher: Veras hinc ducere voces

There are a select group of institutions - including schools and football clubs - where a Latin motto is almost a sine qua non. Go on the web and you can even find Latin consultants for businesses wanting a heavyweight motto.

The idea is simple, a bit of Latin spells a dose of gravitas, and a hefty slice of tradition and history.

Mottos for schools tend to be laden with concepts like effort, honesty, humility, teamwork - in short all the attributes the teachers wished the pupils really possessed. "Non sibi sed omnibus" or "not for oneself but for all" as well as "lumen accipe et imperti" or "take the light and pass it on" being just a couple of examples.

Rarely used but worth considering for schools struggling with discipline might be "vir sapit qui pauca loquitur" or "wise is the person who talks little" and "potius sero quam numquam" or "better late than never".

How dare Spurs

In football, the benchmarks are "nil satis nisi optimum" or "nothing but the best is enough" for Everton [last major trophy 1995] and Blackburn Rovers' "arte et labore" or "by skill and hard work" [usual modus operandi - 1-0 win featuring resolute defending at corners].

Tottenham Hotspur got an earful from Latin lovers at the beginning of 2006 when they announced a plan to drop the motto "audere est facere" or "to dare is to do" from the badge on their strips.

David Beckham is a Latinist, reportedly having "ut amem et foveam" or "so that I love and cherish" and "perfectio in spiritu" or "perfection in spirit" as tattoos.

But the best sporting slogan is that of football club Queen's Park with "ludere causa ludendi" or "to play for the sake of the game [recently promoted to Scotland's Division 2].

Oliver Taplin, a classics professor at Oxford University, says Latin mottos hark back to a time when Latin was Europe's lingua franca.

"It is interesting that school mottos are still mostly in Latin. They come from a tradition when if you were going to be a participant in European culture, you needed to know Latin. But I've also seen mottos in French and Greek.

"Latin is so associated with the history of education. Grammar schools were started so people could learn Latin grammar."

Mr Taplin says he has been called on to conjure up Latin mottos, including on one occasion an obscene one for a retiring air force officer.

But now ordinary voters will be thinking of what motto they would give the new prime minister.

Perhaps "mutandum est" or "it must be changed" for a seemingly reform-obsessed leader.

Critics might suggest "imperabo" - "I shall control".

... I'm not caffeinated enough to check the plural of motto ...
We're always hearing how 'this aqueduct built by the Romans is still in use', so it's kind of nice to hear something a bit different:

A COLLAPSED Roman sewer may have caused subsidence that has seen part of a city centre road cordoned off.

A engineer from Cheshire Highways noticed an area of Lower Bridge Street had sunk on Thursday last week, and barriers were put up to prevent traffic driving over it.

Excavation work showed part of the Roman sewer had collapsed, causing the ground movement.

Engineer Chris Garner said the sewer is still in use by businesses nearby.

He added: 'The Highways Department has no responsibility for drain and sewers, just the road surface.

'Initially we thought it was a private sewer which would mean the building owner would be responsible for work.

'But it now seems there are a number of businesses involved so Welsh Water might be responsible for it as an adopted drain.

'We are monitoring their discussions about this, we want the situation to be resolved efficiently and quickly.'

Mr Garner said the road will not have to close when work is carried out on the sewer.
I think we've heard this one before ... from News.bg:

The sensational discovery was made by an archaeological expedition which investigated the temple of the Thracians near the village of Tatul, informed BNT.

The scientists found 6000-year old buildings with preserved tools made of semi-precious stones, crockery, animal remains. According to the archaeologists now it can be claimed that this is the Tomb of Orpheus, which has been visited of thousands of pilgrims from around the antique world.

The sanctuary is one of the oldest in the world and can be compared only with cult complexes as Stonehеnge.

The Egyptian pyramids were built 4500 years ago. 1500 years earlier in the Rhodope mountains the Thracians construct their rock sanctuaries. This was proven by the archaeologists who for third successive year examine the Orpheus Tomb.

The life of Tatul has continued for 5 thousand years. The soldiers of Alexander the Great have built here magnificent antique temple of Orpheus. Four centuries later the Thracian Odrysian tribe, helped by the Roman legions, conquer and burn the sanctuary. The Romans restore it later.

Now a joint project of Bulgaria and Greece will allow for the temple to be restored and after several months it will be shown in its all its splendour.
... according to this piece from UPI:

An Italian researcher said the fabled island of Atlantis didn't sink but is sitting just off the coast of Sierra Leone in West Africa.

Marcello Cosci, former head of Siena University's archaeological photo-interpretation department told Italy's ANSA news agency he's been poring over satellite imagery for three years and said he's matched physical features written about Atlantis with the island of Sherbro.

Cosci released a book Wednesday in Italy detailing how descriptions of Atlantis, such as three ditches around a citadel and a canal match modern pictures of Sherbro.

While the existence of Atlantis has never been confirmed, it was first mentioned in the writings of the Greek philosopher Plato around 427-347 B.C. Plato said the island and its advanced civilization were destroyed by a natural disaster, now akin to a tsunami.

Nowadays, Sherbro's main industries are fishing and rice farming, the report said.
This is an expansion of something mentioned last month ... from Today's Zaman:

German archaeologists who have been excavating in the ancient city of Alexandria Troas, located close to Çanakkale's Ezine district, have decoded three letters including the first rules for the Olympic games. The excavations were carried out by Münster University in Germany and led by Archaeologist Professor Elmar Schwertheim.

The letters, written by roman Emperor Hadrian, list the rules for the Olympic games organized in various cities.

The strictest order of the emperor is that the budget of the games should not be used for other expenses. "If a city gets into trouble someday " although I took measures against it " let me know. The budget allocated for these games should not be used for any other purpose without my permission. Such an attempt is fraud," says the emperor. Some of the other rules for the games are as follows:

"The awards should be given immediately"

"The award for the games will be put in a money bag, sealed and left next to the victory wreath. The winner will receive his award in front of everyone right after the competition. Those who don't obey this order, will pay two-folds the actual award. Half of it will be given to the competitor and half to the city where the competition took place."

"If necessary, competitors should be whipped because the competitors must fear something. But they should be whipped on their legs and never be harmed."
From EDP 24:

It was an awesome David and Goliath battle waged two thousand years ago that shook the Roman Empire.

And now, the riddle of Queen Boudicca's victory over her mighty foe on East Anglian soil has taken a new tumble and twist that could rewrite the history books.

A study by a leading archaeologist has revealed that a previously unknown earthquake shook the southeast of England at the time the Iceni tribe led their rebellion - bringing a sign of divine approval for Boudicca and a bad omen for her opponents.

Up until now, a series of bizarre events that allegedly took place at the time have been played down as exaggeration and allegory rather than taken at face value.

But British classicist Raphael Isserlin has re-examined the ancient texts and concluded that they are not simply classical literary devices, but descriptions of a serious earthquake that hit the heart of the religious and political capital of Roman Britain - Colchester.

BBC History magazine, which has published Mr Isserlin's findings, explains that the texts recall how the “statue of the goddess Victory in Colchester partly rotated and toppled over, how strange sounds were heard and how the sea turned blood red”.

Along with Dr Roger Musson, the British Geological Survey's most senior seismologist, Mr Isserlin believes these three events are likely to occur during a strong earthquake.

“The noise, a deep, dull sound could conceivably have been described as a strange moan or prolonged groan - often accompanies earthquakes,” Dr Musson told BBC History.

“The seawater change could result from seismic waves causing cliff collapses or destabilising sloping mud deposits which can muddy the water and transform the colouring of the sea.

The re-interpretation is significant because the Colchester area saw one of the country's most serious seismic disasters of recent centuries - a 4.7 magnitude earthquake which hit the town and surrounding villages in 1884.

Around 1,200 buildings were damaged and the event caused huge amounts of noise.

“The realisation that the phenomena, referred to in the classical sources as encouraging the British rebels, almost certainly refer to a real earthquake, means the events played a very real role in helping to trigger the Boudiccan revolt,” added Mr Isserlin.
From the Times comes an update of sorts:

A single quest: To behold the golden chariot.

Descendants of Isidoro Vannozzi -- an Italian farmer who unearthed a treasure from before the time of Christ when he discovered an ancient chariot buried in a dusty tomb in the tiny village of Monteleone, Italy, in 1898 -- trekked to the Metropolitan Museum of Art yesterday to see their relative's find.

And meet some cousins they never knew they had.

"We're all relatives, one way or another. I know it's hard to believe," said Bill Giovannetti, the great-grandson of Isidoro and the man who put the Mercer County area family reunion together.

"I hope everybody's here," Giovannetti said (two weren't) as the extended clan climbed into a bus headed from Hamilton to the Met, where Isidoro's chariot -- which dates back 2,600 years to the time of the Etruscans, the first rulers of Rome -- is on display.

But these raiders of the lost chariot had more to contend with than a few missing limbs to their family tree.

"What's your name?" asked Barbara Vannozzi Hart, a great-great-granddaughter of chariot discoverer Isidoro as she passed out name tags to her newfound cousins.

"I'm not sure how we're related," admitted Anthony Vannozzi of Ewing as he greeted some new kin.

However the relations worked out, the link between them all was clear:

The chariot, which Isidoro found more than 100 years ago when he was digging a basement on his farm and instead uncovered an ancient tomb -- and the treasures, like the chariot, that were inside.

"There are so many links between my family and every one of you," Tom Vannozzi, a great-great-grandson of Isidoro who lives in Las Vegas, told his Mercer County relatives via cell phone speaker as they rode through the Lincoln Tunnel into New York. "This historic artifact links us all together."

And inside the Met, which had a special Monday showing for the family, many members glimpsed that link for the first time.

"This is it," Bill Giovannetti gushed as the clan walked the stairs to the Etruscan exhibit. "Finally the day has come."

"This is amazing," one woman said as she spotted the chariot, shining bronze with walnut, ivory, amber and iron.

"How did two people fit in there?" another asked.

"My father played on this," said Lou Giovannetti as he gazed for the first time at the chariot his father -- little Pietro Giovannetti -- used to climb onto as a boy in his grandfather's barn in Monteleone.

"It chills me up and down. Chills up and down my body," he said.

And everyone was amazed at just how good a 2,600-year-old piece of bronze and iron can look.

"That's a long, long time. Twenty-six hundred years. It doesn't look that old," Lou Giovannetti said. "When you think back all those years, it's phenomenal. It boggles my mind to think how old it is.

"Dad would be amazed. I'm sure he would. I don't think he realized that much about it when he was a young kid playing on it."

Neither, apparently, did Isidoro, who -- according to lore -- sold the chariot for two cows and 30 terra-cotta tiles before it was shipped off to America. Other accounts say Isidoro made a tidy profit on the sale.

"We keep talking about Isidoro -- he was a farmer; he gave the chariot away. But the money he got was a lot. He wasn't stupid," Bill Giovannetti said.

Some in the family had seen the chariot on display in a less elaborate showcase years ago at the Met.

"You could've knocked me over with a feather duster -- there it is," said Ronald Conti, who first saw the chariot 30 years ago.

"We've been waiting for this a long time," said Bernice Cottrell, who brought her two sisters -- one from Tennessee, the other from California.

"Overwhelming," summed up Lucille Hibbs, who came from Tennessee to see the chariot. "I can't imagine my ancestors found this in their backyard."

The chariot is an important find, curator Joan Mertens said, because so few have been unearthed in such good shape. And it truly was a status symbol, depicting scenes from the life of Achilles, the hero of the Trojan War.

"I call it a limousine," Mertens said. "You can think of it as a Rolls or a super-Cadillac of its time."

Yet it isn't without controversy.

The mayor of Monteleone called for the Met to return the chariot to his town earlier this year, and Hamilton Mayor Glen Gilmore got caught in the fray when he suggested the Met should do just that -- to the horror of the Mercer County Vannozzi descendants.

"If they want it back, where would it go?" Annette Conti Hogan asked. "It won't go to Monteleone. They won't be able to preserve it."

But for most of the descendants yesterday, the tug of war was easy to dismiss.

"We're really proud of this," cousin Evelyn Vannozzi said.

"It's like all the pieces of the puzzle came together," cousin Barbara Vannozzi Hart agreed.

And the reunion?

That was simple, cousin Jean Cullen summed up:

"There are a lot of Vannozzis here."

What seems to be new is that the group now has a website ... we should also note that an art dealer is rehashing some old arguments (mostly stylistic) to question the authenticity of the chariot ...

From Today's Zaman:

An ancient harbor city located in what is today the Yumurtalık district of the Mediterranean province of Adana will be restored and converted into an open-air museum, officials announced this week.

Adana Museum Director Kazım Tosun told the Anatolia news agency that the ancient city called Aigeai was believed to have been built by the successors of Macedonian King Alexander the Great who reigned from 336 B.C. to 323 B.C., during which time he conquered the Persian Empire, including Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, Gaza, Egypt, Bactria and Mesopotamia, extending the boundaries of his empire as far as the borders of the Punjab.

Tosun said the Yumurtalık district boasts a rich history. Various ancient relics unearthed in different parts of the region are now being collected in Atatürk Park, and an inventory of these relics will be drawn up after the process of compilation is complete. Work to convert the region into an open-air museum will then get under way, he said.

Yumurtalık is a district that was built upon the ruins of older civilizations that inhabited the Cilicia region. Macedonian commanders built the city in the final quarter of the fourth century B.C. after Alexander's army defeated the Persian army under the command of King Darius III at the Battle of Issus in 333 B.C.
From the Star Tribune:

Its homes were adorned with gorgeous mosaic-tile floors and frescoed walls, its gardens festooned with pools, fountains and canals fed by an elaborate hydraulic system. Its olive oil and a fermented fish sauce called garum were coveted exports throughout the vast Roman Empire. But rather than a bastion of haughty nobility, Pompeii was a primarily middle-class city on the day it disappeared under Vesuvius' inexorable fury.

"There were a few wealthy middle-class citizens, but not many aristocrats or nobles in Pompeii," said Connie Rodriguez, professor of classical studies from Loyola University in New Orleans. "Actually, the majority of Pompeii's population probably was slaves. Even the poorer households had slaves."

Founded as a fishing town by the Etruscans in the 10th century B.C., Pompeii by 79 A.D. was a prosperous Roman province filled with small family-run businesses. Its robust economy was built around pottery, agriculture, milling and its bustling port on the Sarno River, near what is now called the Bay of Naples.

The waters provided a plethora of food, including the mackerel and anchovies that went into the garum. Out of the unusually fertile soil -- enriched, unbeknownst to the farmers, by previous volcanoes -- sprang many of the products for which the region is renowned to this day: olives for oil, grapes for wine and all manner of fruits and vegetables (but not tomatoes, which arrived centuries later from the New World).

Obviously, the Pompeiians ate well, although their breakfasts and lunches were generally simple affairs involving bread (flat and very hard), cheese and perhaps leftovers. But even then on the Italian peninsula, dinner, called cena, was a multi-course affair: an egg or oyster appetizer, then meat or fish with veggies (washed down with wine that usually was cut with water) and dessert of dried fruit and honey or baked custard.

At home, and about

Thanks to the temperate Mediterranean climate, the evening meals often unfolded in gardens or courtyards, which were staples at most Pompeii homes. Inside, a typical house was sparsely furnished in order to show off the ubiquitous frescoes and tiled floors. Most abodes had rectangular floor plans, sans closets (clothes were stored in chests).

Virtually every home contained a lararium, a small shrine to the gods held in honor by that family and the spirits of dead ancestors. At the time of Pompeii's destruction, Christianity was bubbling up "out of the same wellspring as other mystery cults of the time, membership only, for gods such as Bacchus and Isis," said Rodriguez, who served as a consultant for the Science Museum exhibit.

Apollo and Venus were the city's patrons; also held in high favor, ironically, was Fortuna, the goddess of luck. There were rituals throughout the year for sundry gods, and the Forum had a temple for the Roman triumvirate of Jupiter, Juno and Minerva.

Along with other temples, the primary public buildings included a large amphitheater, thermal baths and gymnasiums. The latter included massage tables, a library and spaces for such activities as wrestling, discus-throwing, running and weightlifting. Unlike the Greeks who had been the progenitors of such Olympic sports, the Pompeiians, Rodriguez noted, "at least wore a loin cloth."
Not sure if this is going to be a regular feature at ABC (Australia) ... if so, it will get bumped to the ClassiCarnival. This is the work of Bob Miln and audio does accompany the original article:

For hundreds of years, Latin was the international language of science and medicine across Europe and medical textbooks were written in Latin and lectures in medical schools were given in Latin.

Some of this still survives today in abbreviations used on doctors’ prescriptions, for example t.d.s., which is for the Latin “ter die sumendum” – “to be taken three times a day”.

For today's Latin Lesson the morning program took a look at greetings at school; shopping for fruit and dining out at a restaurant.
DIALOGUE 1: Greeting

Bob: Salve, Rolande. Spero te bene te habere.
(Good day, Rolandus. I hope you are well.)

Roly: Salve, Roberte. Bene, gratias tibi ago. Et pater tuus et mater?
(Good day, Robertus. Fine, thank you. And your father and mother?)

Bob: Gratias tibi ago. Bene se habent. Quo is?
(Thank you, they are fine. Where are you going?)

Roly: Ad scholam eo. Magister sum et me discipuli expectant.
(I am going to school. I am a teacher, and my students are waiting.)

Bob: Tecum ambulabo. Cum Ricardo colloqui volo; is quoque magister in schola est.
(Ah. I will walk with you. I want to talk to Richard, who is also a teacher at the school.)

Roly: Bene, eamus.
(Fine. Let's go.)

Bob: Ecce! Pro taberna est Ricardi equus. Credo eum ibi adesse. Ibo ut eum reperire coner.
(Look! There is Richard's horse, in front of the shop. I think he must be there. I will go and see if I can find him.)

Roly: Bene. Hic paulisper manebo, sed breviter ire debeo.
(Right. I will wait here for 5 minutes, but then I have to go.)

Take note of the familiar words: equus - equine
discipulus (?)

case: vocative
genitive ...
DIALOGUE 2: School

Bob: Advenimus.
(We have arrived (ad+venimus ... veni, vidi, vidi ...))

Roly: Ecce! Ibi est magister. Video quoque Tiberium, Augusti filium. Eos salutabimus?
(Look, there is the teacher. And I see Tibrerius' son Augustus. Shall we say hullo to them?)

Bob: Tiberi, bene te habes? Scisne ubi sit magister?
(Tiberius! How are you? Do you know where the teacher is?)

Roly: Nos audire non potest. Clamant discipuli. Ire ad cellam meam debeo.
(He can't hear us. The students are shouting. I must go to my classroom.)

Roly: Salvete, discipuli.
(Good morning, students)

Bob: Salve, magister.
((now a student) good morning, teacher)

Roly: Quod imperavi legisti? Ubi sunt libri tui?
(Have you read the lesson? Where are your books?)

Bob: Domi sunt libri mei. Eos mecum ferre omisi. Ignosce, magister.
(My books are at home. I neglected to bring them. Sorry, teacher.)

Roly: Librum igitur alius discipuli inspice. Qua de re legisti?
(Well, look at the other student's book. What was the lesson about?)

Bob: De Scipione, Hannibale elephantisque. Elephanti in pugna maximo momento erant.
(It was about Caesar, Hannibal and the elephants. The elephants were very important in the battle.)

Roly: Bene! Nunc egrediemur et de tempestate colloquemur.
(Well done. We will now go outside and talk about the weather.)

DIALOGUE 3: Shopping

Bob: Rolande, fruges emere volo. Visne mecum in oppidum ire?
(Rolandus, I want to buy some fruit. Will you come with me to the town?)

Roly: Me delectat. Quid emere vis?
(With pleasure / willingly. What do you want to buy?)

Bob: Videbimus quid in mercatu sit. Si poma matura habent, et ea et pira et pruna emam.
(We will see what is in the market. If they have ripe applies, I will buy some, and some pears and plums.)

Roly: Anno praeterito, poma ab Italia borea emi. Optima erant. Marcus vero me certiorem fecit in borea Italia hoc anno non pluvisse. Fortasse fruges non erunt optima.
(Last year I bought some apples from the north of Italy. They were excellent. But Marcus told me that it has not rained in Northern Italy this year. Perhaps the fruit will not be very good.)

Bob: Si vera dicis, fruges carae erunt. Minus pretii offerre debebimus.
(If that is true, the fruit will be expensive. We will have to bargain.)

Roly: Ad mercatum advenimus. Miror, quid videbimus?
(We have arrived at the market. I wonder what we will see.)

Bob: Poma video. Rubra sunt et viridia. Decem emam.
(I see some apples. They are red and yellow. I will buy 10.)

Roly: Decem? Eruntne satis? Recordare, duas filias et tres filios habes. Multum edunt.
(Ten? Is that enough? Remember, you have 2 daughters and 3 sons and they eat a lot.)

Bob: Bene dicis. Quindecim igitur rubra et decem viridia poma emam. Et quinque pruna. Uxori meae, Victoriae, maxime placent pruna.
(All right. I will buy 15 red apples and 10 yellow ones. And 5 plums. My wife Victoria likes plums very much.)

Roly: Duos corbes quoque emere debebimus ut fruges portemus.
(We also need to buy two baskets to carry the fruit.)

Take note of the verb tenses and how they are expressed: present, past, future numbers.
"See How I Rip Myself!"


Details at the conference website ...
2 Lectureships

Department of Classics

University of Wales, Lampeter

Applications are invited for two Lectureships. Candidates will have obtained (or be about to obtain) a PhD and will be able to show evidence of high quality research. Applications from candidates with specialisms in any area of antiquity will be welcomed. The department has particular research strengths in ancient narrative literature and Roman history on which it is keen to build. An interest in ancient Greek history is also desirable.

It is anticipated that the Lectureships will be appointed to pay scale Lecturer A/B: £25,333 to £38,448 (pay award pending), depending on the experience of the successful applicant.

Applications from more experienced candidates are also welcome, and any appointment would be made at the appropriate level.

Both posts are available from the 1st of September 2007 and it is anticipated that the appointees will be able to take up the posts on that date or as soon as possible thereafter.

Closing date: Friday 13th of July

The interview process will take place over the 26th and 27th of July.

Informal enquiries regarding these posts may be addressed to Mirjam Plantinga, e-mail: m.plantinga AT amp.ac.uk

For information about the Department and its courses, see our website at: http://www.lamp.ac.uk/classics.

Classical Empires in Contemporary Culture
University College London

A conference sponsored by University College London and the Classical
Reception Studies Network

The nineteenth century was the century of empires, the twentieth saw
their demise. At the start of the twenty-first century, according to
Eric Hobsbawm in his most recent work Globalisation, Democracy and
Terrorism (2008), the old era of empires is beyond revival and there is
no prospect of a return to the imperial worlds of the past. Yet, in
popular political debate, the empires of the ancient world have a vital
place as parallels and warnings about contemporary political formations
– most notably the United States of America has widely been perceived
as a modern Roman empire. Classical empires also surface regularly in
media such as historical fiction, Hollywood cinema, or computer games.
Documentaries reconstructing these ancient worlds routinely appear on
European and American television networks.

This conference aims to explore the rich presence of the classical
empires in contemporary culture, across a broad range of media (such as
scholarship, education, fiction, art, theatre, film, television,
advertising and the internet) and for a wide variety of purposes
(education, entertainment, political argument, consumer pleasure).

The Classical Reception Studies Network, the main sponsor of the
conference, is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK).
A small amount of funding is available from the CRSN to provide
graduate students who wish to attend with bursaries to help cover
travel- and subsistence-related expenses.

The conference will be run according to a workshop format, with papers
limited to 20 minutes each to allow for ample discussion. Please send
abstracts of about 350 words to Maria Wyke at m.wyke AT ucl.ac.uk by 3rd
December 2007.

There is no registration fee, and the conference is open to all.
... that week took a lot more out of me than even I suspected it would; we now resume broadcasting in 'catchup' mode for the next day or so ... clearing out the inbox. We'll get our much-missed (I hope) regular features of Quellenforschung and the ClassiCarnival in tomorrow or Wednesday.