A boarding school has appointed a girl as head pupil for the first time in its near 500 year history.
Freya Findlay, 17, says she feels honoured to have been selected as head of Sedbergh School in Cumbria.
The role gives her traditional, yet rarely used, privileges including being allowed to grow a beard, keep a goat on the grounds and marry.
The £21,000-a-year school, near Kendal, was founded in 1525 and only began admitting girls six years ago.
Miss Findlay said: "They always pick the best person for the job and it just happens that in the other years it has been a guy.
"I think I was chosen because I am trustworthy and I try to get stuck in with everything I do.
"I feel very privileged and excited to have been selected."
The teenager, who is studying A-Level Maths, English Literature, Latin and Ancient Greek, hopes to study Classics at Cambridge University next year.
NANTWICH'S historic credentials have received a boost following important archaeological finds along Welsh Row.
Archaeologists said the town can lay claim to being one of a handful of major Roman settlements in Cheshire.
The current work by National Grid engineers to relay gas pipes had initially unearthed a medieval track way running adjacent to Welsh Row.
But further down in the black organic goo' archaeologists have now discovered a Roman road running across Welsh Row and down to a river crossing.
The work by the engineers is being scrutinised by Earthworks Archaeology, which has been working with the county council's archaeological manager Mark Leah.
He said: "There is what I call a black organic goo' that underlies this part of the town, made up of a thousand years of household debris and ash from the salt mining industry.
"This can be as much as three to three and a half metres deep and fortunately has helped to preserve some of the remains.
"The work on the East side around Swinemarket revealed scraps of leather, wood and animal bone.
"But on the West bank of Welsh Row at the junction with St Anne's Lane, a wooden track way was found about a metre down.
"This seems to be a forerunner of Welsh Row and fits in with what we know as wooden gutters were used to channel rainwater.
"Tree ring dating of a piece of the track by Earthworks has found that it dates back to medieval times."
But since then a deeper excavation at the junction of Welsh Row and Wych House Bank has revealed another road running crossways to Welsh Row.
Mr Leah said: "This was nearly three metres deep and involved wooden logs or planks laid upon gravel.
"It appears to be a Roman road running down to a river crossing and is likely to link up with the Roman road discovered at Kingsley Fields.
"This confirms that there was quite a large Roman settlement or small town in Nantwich and it was probably salt making that drew them to the place.
"There is no doubt that Nantwich has an important Roman history and was one of the five or six major Roman settlements in Cheshire."
HUMAN remains dating back to the Roman era have been discovered during excavation work in Huntingdon.
A skeleton was discovered earlier this month in the car park of Pathfinder House on St Mary's Street - the home of Huntingdonshire District Council.
Archaeologists believe the remains date back to the second or third century and have also discovered several near-complete pots.
Other discoveries at the site give further evidence to Roman occupation, including evidence of agriculture and small-scale industry, such as gravel quarrying.
As well as the Samian pots, which date from 155-200AD, the base of a large storage jar has been found, still in its original position in the ground.
The most recent dated Roman find so far is a coin from the reign of the Emperor Probus, who ruled from 276-281AD.
Pathfinder House was built in the 1970s. The site is being redeveloped in a multi-million pound scheme to provide HDC with a new home.
Dr Steve Malone, of Archaeological Project Services, said: "It is not entirely unusual to find skeleton remains during a dig but it is certainly not an everyday occurrence.
"We are able to ascertain that the skeleton was that of a man, aged 45-60 years and approximately 5ft 6in in height - within the normal range for Roman males. The individual was probably quite stocky and muscular.
"It seems the skeleton is an isolated burial and not part of a cemetery so we are not expecting to find any more remains - unless the northern part of the site springs a surprise."
Archaeological work will continue until mid-October.
Among the paperclips in the bottom drawer of a desk in Bulgaria's National History Museum is a small cardboard box packed with 5,000-year-old gold rings.
"We found 25,000 of them when we went into a grocery shop a couple of months ago," said Svetla Tsaneva-Dimitrova, the head of the museum's restoration team.
"A farmer's wife was wearing them as a necklace. Her husband had just dug them up in a field nearby. As you can imagine, we were stunned."
Each tiny gold ring is 23-carat gold, but nobody knows how they were crafted.
"Modern jewellers cannot make these things without a magnifying glass," said Miss Tsaneva-Dimitrova, adding that similar rings were discovered at Troy.
Found at the same time was a small 20-carat gold dagger from 3,000BC that is "still so sharp you can shave with it."
Priceless antiques are strewn all over the chaotic laboratory, as restorers are hard at work on a pair of bronze greaves, or leg armour, engraved with the image of Athena, the Greek goddess of wisdom.
Bulgaria, which was once part of Ancient Thrace, ranks behind only Italy and Greece in Europe in terms of the numbers of antiquities lying in its soil.
The Thracians, who included Spartacus and Orpheus, had a highly advanced civilisation and fought with Alexander the Great on his expedition to Asia. Later, the country was ruled by the Romans, Persians, Byzantines and Turks, all of whom left a rich array of treasure behind.
However, since the collapse of the Soviet empire, little attention has been paid to Bulgaria's cultural heritage.
Although the law states that all archaeological finds belong to the state, much is being smuggled abroad.
Tens of thousands of tomb raiders are systematically stripping Bulgaria. In some parts of the country, whole villages have taken up tomb-raiding and many of the digs are organised by the local mafia.
Volodia Velkov, the head of the police unit that combats organised crime, said tomb-raiding was now generating about £4 billion a year for the crime syndicates.
Mr Velkov and a team of 30 officers are trying to track looted antiquities and stop them leaving the country.
"Since last October, when we started the new department, we have seized 16,000 artefacts," he said.
"More than 30,000 people are involved in tomb-raiding. The business is very well-organized and the expeditions are financed by rich Bulgarians living in the US, Britain and Germany."
Last Friday, a 43-year-old man was caught trying to smuggle more than 100 items into Germany in special compartments within the floor of a lorry. Police found antiquities dating back to 300BC, worth £345,000.
"The main route is through Germany, where there are huge warehouses full of our antiquities," said Mr Velkov.
Miss Tsaneva-Dimitrova said her country was losing the battle: "Some of my former colleagues are now working for treasure hunters.
"They have better equipment than us. Recently we found traces at a site of a military digging machine, of which there are only two in the country," she said.
The treasures can easily be found in the hands of foreign antiques dealers and on the internet. Yesterday, several Thracian items were available on eBay, the internet auction site.
Last November, Christie's in London was forced to withdraw a Byzantine plate after a complaint from the Bulgarian government. It was claimed that the silver plate, had been found in 1903, but it was actually dug up in 1999, according to Naiden Blagnev, a treasure hunter.
Some commentators believe the only way to stop the looting is for the Bulgarian government to licence private collectors.
One advocate of this is Nikolai Ovcharov, a leading archaeologist who recently discovered the ancient altar of Dionysus at Perperikon, where Alexander the Great consulted the oracle before his expedition to Asia.
"The government cannot afford to excavate all the sites itself," he said. "So they should give out concessions and carry out rigorous checks on what is found. The longer it takes to pass a new law, the more treasure we will lose."
Renowned archaeologist Dennis Price, who shot to fame last year with his amazing discovery of Stonehenge's lost altar stone by a roadside in Berwick St James, has now claimed to have found the famed 'Lost City of Apollo' around the Neolithic structure.
Price, an expert on the history of Stonehenge, believes the 'Lost City of Apollo' is located at King's Barrow Ridge, overlooking Stonehenge.
Many experts believe the Lost City to be a myth but, but Price is convinced that the city exists and that it is situated right on the outskirts of Salisbury. Together with language experts at Exeter University, Price painstakingly deciphered the works of an ancient Greek mariner named Pytheas of Massilia. Price said Pytheas was known to have visited Britain in around 325 BC and in his chronicles he wrote of the Lost City of Apollo and a site similar to Stonehenge.
"There is a passage that apparently refers to Stonehenge which has long fascinated people, but there is also a repeated reference made to a city sacred to Apollo which has gone completely unremarked upon," said Price.
Just a mile or so to the east of Stonehenge is a gigantic prehistoric earthwork called Vespasian's Camp, named in later years by William Camden, after the same Vespasian who subjugated the south west of England during the Roman invasion of Britain in 43AD.
"It is invariably described as an Iron Age hill fort, yet excavations there have shown the existence of far earlier Neolithic pits, while there still exist the remains of early Bronze Age funeral barrows, showing the site was in use while nearby Stonehenge was being constructed," he said.
Price said Vespasian's Camp laid at the bottom of a slope occupied further up by what is now known as the King’s Barrow Ridge, overlooking Stonehenge, further divided into the New King Barrow and Old King Barrow.
"Vespasian's Camp cannot be seen from Stonehenge, but it lies to the east of the ruins, in the direction of the rising Sun. As Apollo had largely become thought of as a Sun god by the time Pytheas was writing, it is an obvious connection," Price said.
Wall mosaics belonging to the Roman era have been discovered during excavations in Batman’s ancient city of Hasankeyf.
Hasankeyf excavation team leader Professor Abdulselam Uluçam yesterday reported that the colorful wall mosaics, which have been discovered following excavations beginning in 2005, were of crucial importance to the history of the city.
“At the end of our work, we discovered a composition made from colorful mosaics that was in line with the building’s historical structure. This is the first time we discovered wall mosaics in Hasankeyf. It has been revealed that the walls of this monumental structure, belonging to the Roman era, were covered with mosaics starting one-and-a-half meters from the ground. This is an important part of Hasankeyf’s culture because we were able to understand the existence of the Roman period here and its art work through the previously discovered floor mosaics. Now these wall mosaics have proven that Hasankeyf was not only used as a military base during Roman times; these mosaics show that artworks had also been created at the time,” Uluçam noted.
A variation of Dion and the short form of Dionysios. In Greek mythology, the name of the god of wine. Dennis is a form of the name. First charted in 1961. Football player Deion Sanders uses a form of the name. Preferred by African American families.
A special fund was also set up so individuals could make donations. Anyone wanting to donate money can so by visiting the branch of any commercial bank and making a deposit in Account No 2341103053 of the Bank of Greece.
A site on the Malabar Coast that may have been home to the ancient city of Muziris and that continues to throw up artefacts dating back to the 1st century BC is now in danger of being damaged as archaeologists have not been able to acquire the land.
It is now believed that the small town of Pattanam in Kerala's Ernakulam district was Muziris, which served as a major trading port between the 1st century BC and the 5th century AD.
Excavations there - the last of which were carried out in February this year - have produced evidence of the area's strong trade ties with ancient Rome, Yemen, West Asia and even the Nabatian civilisation of the Arabian Peninsula.
But the historical treasures there are now in danger of being destroyed.
'People are digging the land for constructing houses, building roads and digging wells there,' P.J. Cherian, director of the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR), told IANS here.
KCHR along with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) have been conducting this ambitious research as part of the Muziris Heritage Project.
'We need this land - at least five acres of the 45 hectares - to be acquired by the state government - not by force, but by taking the locals into confidence and paying them a reasonable price.'
Archaeologists K.P. Shajan and V. Selvakumar along with Cherian have been involved in the excavations at Pattanam, where evidence of human habitation dating back to the Iron Age has been found.
However, the state government has not able to acquire the land.
Cherian said he and the archaeologists were very 'clear' - they do not want to antagonise the local people who had been offering whole-hearted support for the excavations.
'But we have not yet got the land as even protected area. The ASI also should act immediately. The location is already disturbed and damaged,' said Cherian, who was here to attend a seminar organised by the Indian Navy on the subject.
Indian Navy's southern command is supporting the team for their underwater excavations.
Until recently, it was believed that Muziris was located on the mouth of the Periyar river at a place called Kodungallor. But now evidence suggests that Pattanam is the real location.
According to Cherian, the Pattanam Excavations 2007 have revealed several significant facts about 'the first habitation site of the Iron Age' on the Malabar coast.
Pattanam is the first site on the Malabar coast to yield a variety of the archaeological evidence on Indian Ocean trade, especially West Asian and Indo-Roman.
'The significance of the site is that - until its discovery, the classical literary sources, travel accounts and legends remained the only sources to validate the pivotal role of the Malabar coast in Indo-Roman trade.
'But the evidences from Pattanam - the potteries, ceramics, canoes, constructions, coins - also indicate that the region had good trade ties with West Asia and eastern parts of present India,' Cherian said.
He said some of the pottery discovered also indicated contacts with the Nabatian civilisation of the Arabian Peninsula.
The excavations have produced fragments of imported Roman amphora, mainly used for transporting wine and olive oil, Yemenese and West Asian pottery, besides Indian rouletted ware that was common in the east coast of India and in Egypt.
Bricks, tiles, pottery shards, beads and other artefacts found at Pattanam are very similar to those found at Arikamedu - an ancient Roman trade centre - in Pudussery and other historic sites in India.
Things that have fermented make some of the most appetising flavours on the modern table. Wine, beer, vinegar, bread, cheese, sauerkraut, achar, dahi, dosas and idlis all come from fermentation. Nice things (mostly) go into these foods. Would you, however, be quite as interested in garum, a fish sauce that the ancient Romans adored, and which was made of fermented fish entrails?
Perhaps not. But similar fish sauces are still around, especially in Southeast Asian cuisines. Vietnam’s ubiquitous nuoc mam is made much like garum was, and then diluted or flavoured with a variety of ingredients to go with many dishes.
The India-inspired English Worcestershire sauce is another. Worcestershire was invented quite by mistake in the 1830s, after a barrelful of an attempted anchovy sauce turned out too pungent and was left in a basement and forgotten. When it was finally opened years later, the liquid was discovered to be quite tasty, and Messrs Lea & Perrins (whose basement it was) marketed it very successfully.
This is how garum was made: fresh fish parts, the blood and innards of mackerel, say, were layered alternately in large containers with generous amounts of salt. Over about a month of standing in the sun, the enzymes within the fish broke them down into a thin liquid — the garum — and a paste that settled at the bottom known as allec. (Pliny the Elder writes that allec heals burns; it was also eaten as a savoury spread.) The process was so unbearably smelly that laws forbade Romans to make garum at home; thus one of Rome’s few suburban factory industries came into being.
The sauce itself was not strong-smelling, and seems to have been used very widely as a condiment, in place of salt. In fact, the Romans took it from the Greeks, whose garos was designed to avoid wasting all the assorted little fish at the bottom of the net which couldn’t be eaten as separate dishes.
As imperials, the Romans added snob value to the food, by discriminating between garums made from different raw ingredients, such as single species of fish, more blood, or more intestines (which added to the pungency). Garum is thus one of the earliest manufactured, processed foods with a global market. Ancient ketchup, in other words.
Fermented fish, anyone. Or garum, as the Romans liked to call it.
Here's an excerpt from a piece at Canada.com which just popped into my mailbox:
Thick black smoke billowed over the well-preserved ruins of Olympia, on the Peloponnese. The blaze crept up a hillside, engulfing surrounding pine and cypress woods.
"With self-sacrifice, firefighters fought 'trench battles' to rescue these sensitive and important sites," Public Order Minister Byron Polydoras told reporters.
Fire scorched the yard of the museum at Olympia, housing famous classical sculptures such as Praxiteles' Hermes, but planes, helicopters and scores of firefighters beat it back.
Some 60 firefighters and six trucks remained at the site to battle any flare-up, the fire brigade said.
Ancient Olympia, which hosted the Olympics for centuries from 776 BC, holds an Olympic flame ceremony every two years and is among the most popular tourist sites in the country.
"Here it is, the contrast: ancient Greece gave the world civilization and modern Greece gives it destruction," a resident of ancient Olympia told Alter TV station.
Towering walls of flame have cut a swathe of destruction through the southern Peloponnese and the island of Evia near the capital and swept across other regions, prompting Greece to declare a nationwide state of emergency on Saturday.
"The destruction is of biblical proportions," Nicholas Orphanos, a volunteer firefighter in the Peloponnese, told reporters. "There are villages we want to go to and we cannot because the roads are blocked. In 30 years, I have never seen such destruction."
The fires have covered Athens in thick white ash that swirled round the temples on the Acropolis, and the smell of smoke permeated the city.
On Hockey Night In Israel, Sherry Bassin walks out the back of the Canada Centre, turns left, turns right and then points up the hill past the barb-wired fence.
"See that," he says with emotion, his eyes searching up the hill. "That's Lebanon. That's the Hezbollah flag. That's how close we are.
"One year ago, on the 12th of July, the mayor here got a call. He was asked, 'Can you put up 600 soldiers in your homes?' Now think about it? Here is a town of 1,000 people. And you know what they did? They put most of them up right here in the arena.
"They sent the children and elderly to Tel Aviv (more than two hours away) with rockets flying over the city. That was just a year ago. And tonight, in the same place where these soldiers lived, we're going to have a hockey tournament."
Bassin is an oxymoron if ever there was one -- a Jewish Canadian hockey man from Saskatchewan, had never been to Israel before and kissed the ground when he arrived.
"I can't believe I waited all these years before coming. I can't believe how foolish I was. I can't believe what I'm feeling now."
The first World Jewish Ice Hockey Tournament began on a Tuesday afternoon in July in this tiny town in northern Israel, so picturesque it looks like the south of France, with Bassin's voice cracking, and emotion almost everywhere.
This isn't what Israel looks like on the nightly news, even a flick shot away from Lebanon. This isn't what hockey looks like on the nightly news, either, especially on the opening night of the world tournament featuring teams from Canada, Israel, France and the United States.
Don Cherry may not like this but Israel, coached by Stanley Cup winner, Jean Perron, defeated Team Canada 2-1, coached by Bassin, the well-known junior hockey executive, on a night of wet ice, wet air and wet eyes in Metulla.
Unlike Bassin, Jean Perron is not Jewish, but like Bassin, he is wonderfully passionate and expressive.
Four years ago, a Montreal businessman named Alan Maislin asked him if he would like to donate one day of his life for Israeli hockey.
"'Israel hockey,' I said," Perron said. "Is there hockey in Israel?"
One day turned into four years and who knows how many more.
"As someone who grew up learning classical studies in Quebec, the Holy Land for me was a dream."
The dream culminated with Perron being named national team coach (after Ted Nolan turned down the job) and taking an Israeli team of unknowns to the gold medal in the 'C' version of the world hockey championships.
Dr. Martha Beck, associate professor of philosophy at Lyon College, will give a talk titled “The Rise and Fall of Athenian Democracy.” The talk is set for 4 p.m. Thursday in the Mabee Simpson Library.
Beck dresses up like Plato and talks about “her” life experiences growing up in Athens. Audience members will have to ask questions and she will try to answer them as Plato would have.
She will talk about Athens during the Golden Age when it prided itself on being the city that encouraged people to think for themselves, to study the natural world, to become educated about public policy, and to cultivate the good life for themselves and their fellow citizens.
Those who called themselves “liberals” or “progressives” gave in to self-indulgence and moral decline, she said. They interpreted democratic freedom to mean the license to live in any way they chose, without concern for the well-being of others. Those who called themselves “conservatives” manipulated the less educated by appealing to blind patriotism and blind faith. In the name of “the will of the gods,” “democracy-building” and “self-defense,” Athens engaged in aggressive attacks on other Greek city-states.
Eventually the self-indulgence, greed, and pride of the Athenians led them to lose their many wars. In every sector of society: military, political, economic, and educational, those with authority were using it to manipulate their fellow citizens so they could gain personal wealth, status, or power. The Athenians went from one extreme to the opposite: from too little self-control, the abuse of freedom, to too much government control, forcing citizens to fight in unnecessary wars that promoted the greed and power-lust of the privileged few.
Plato started a school, the Academy, so he could teach young people about what happened in Athens, how the Athenians lost political and intellectual freedom. He tried to educate young people to want to develop professional expertise and to use the authority they would have as adults to promote the common good.
Beck said she teaches Plato because she thinks “he has a message we all should listen to.” She does not claim to be able to apply the lessons of history accurately, but prefers to engage in dialogues with people who are also trying to apply Plato’s lessons to their own lives and societies.
This summer she went to Greece for the fourth time and again was inspired to think and write about Plato, Aristotle and Greek tragedy.
She submitted two papers for two conferences in Olympia, Greece this summer. They were well-received by Greek scholars in various academic disciplines. One of the papers summarizes a three-part series of books on Plato she published last fall. She plans to return to Greece each summer to learn from native Greek scholars. She also hopes to bring a group of adults on a two-week trip next summer.
Archaeologists searching the mountains of northern Albania for traces of Ottoman-era fugitives were surprised to find something much older: the ruins of a Bronze Age fortress, dating from around 800 BC. The walls were made of boulders assembled without cement, using the "Cyclopean" technique found in the ancient Greek kingdom of Mycenae.
According to Michael Galaty, the US researcher who led the expedition, the discovery shows that the area, one of the most remote in Europe, has been in use for thousands of years. At the time the fortress was built, Illyrian kingdoms were active along the Adriatic Coast, while Greece was emerging from the ancient Dark Ages. Galaty's team says it is not yet clear who may have lived there.
Writing at peshkupauje, Krasta suggests there is much more to be discovered. "Very interesting indeed!" he writes. "When they dig in the north mountainous part of Albania they are going to find real treasures. At least at the end they showed that we had a civilisation as old as the one at Mycenae."
"I think that many theories that seem like jokes until now about the ancient origin of Albania will start to show up seriously!" Krasta adds.
Berti comments: "This discovery is not strange at all. It is rare only in Albanian lands, but Illyrian cities of this style from this period of time exist in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The first Illyrian cities built in this style found in Croatia date from the 12th century BC. "
"On Albanian territory the oldest ruins discovered date from the 6th century BC," he adds.
Pjer believes that ancient Illyria "progressed in the same way with the countries around it, not to say that they had a higher level".
"After all, the Romans where the ones that were taking their sons to study in Illyria (Durres/Durrah). This was the testimony that the Roman writers from that period of time gave us -- 2,000 years ago."
Archaeologists excavating a sprawling prehistoric fortress in southern Greece have discovered a secret underground passage thought to have supplied the site with water in times of danger.
Dating to the mid-13th century B.C., the stone passage passed under the massive walls of the Mycenaean citadel of Midea and probably led to a nearby water source, authorities said Friday.
The passage would allow the people of Midea, about 93 miles south of Athens, safe access to drinkable water even in times of enemy attack.
``It is a very important discovery, which gave us great joy,'' excavation director Katie Demakopoulou said.
Only three such networks - major engineering feats requiring intensive labor - from Mycenaean times have been found so far.
Excavations in late June and July at Midea revealed cut rock steps leading to the triangular passage, whose entrance was covered with a large stone lintel. At the entrance to the 5-foot-high passage, archaeologists found quantities of broken clay water jars and cups.
The 6-acre site was girdled with a wall of huge stone blocks, built around 1250 B.C. Excavations have also uncovered several buildings - some decorated with painted plaster walls - pottery, a clay figure of a goddess, seal-stones and an amethyst vase shaped like a triton shell.
Controlling a strategic road in the northeastern Peloponnese, Midea was first occupied in the later Neolithic period, in the 5th millennium B.C. It flourished during Mycenaean times and was destroyed by earthquake and fire at the end of the 13th century B.C. - after which the site diminished in size and significance. Traces of habitation have also been located from the Archaic (7th and 6th centuries B.C.), Roman and Byzantine periods.
Greek state archaeologists and archaeologists from the Swedish Institute at Athens, a private foundation financed by the Swedish government, have systematically excavated Midea since 1983.
Romanian archeologists have found the Capitol of Sarmizegetusa, a temple in the ancient Roman province of Dacia, Rompres news agency reported Thursday.
"We were glad to confirm the suppositions we have been nourishing for 25 years, about the place where the Capitol lies, one of the most important temples of Roman Dacia," said Ioan Piso, an official of Transylvania National History Museum in central Romania.
"This is the temple of Jupiter and the Triad Capitoline, made of Jupiter, Junona and Minerva," Rompres quoted Piso as saying.
Such temples used to be erected in every Roman city, after the model of Rome, Piso said, noting the significance of the latest discovery to the history of Romania.
The Capitol of Sarmizegetusa is unique, because the dedication of the edifice meant that the cult of Jupiter had been officially brought to the Roman province of Dacia, Piso said.
"This happened around 150 AD and the temple's dedication day, May 23 by the Julian calendar, became one of the biggest feasts in Dacia," Piso added.
Archeologists have only revealed one single section of the Capitol, but the rest of the structure is expected to be exposed in coming years, Rompres said.
Sarmizegetusa was the most important Dacian military, religious and political center. The Dacian capital reached its acme under Decebalus, the Dacian king defeated by the Roman Empire after two wars (101-102 and 105-106), led by Emperor Trajan, culminating in the Battle of Sarmizegetusa
After the defeat of the Dacians, the conquerors established a military garrison there. Later, the capital of Roman Dacia was named after the Dacian capital -- Sarmizegetusa, established 40 km from the ruined Dacian capital.
ROMAN remains have been found at a golf club in west Wiltshire.
Shards of pottery and roof tiles were found at Cumberwell Park Golf Club near Bradford on Avon during work to build three new holes on the course.
A man out walking his dog found the objects after workmen had stripped the top soil away.
Susan Farr, at Wiltshire County Council's archaeology service, said: "We haven't confirmed the nature of the discovery yet, but it is likely it came from a Romano British dwelling.
"We are planning to go back in a week or two with the Wiltshire Field Group, who are a group of volunteers based at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes.
"The find suggests there is something there, but it is not unusual to find these kinds of things in fields in the UK."
She said the group would probably carry out some keyhole excavations and then fill them in so the find could be preserved in situ'.
"Our museums are chocka and we are really pushed for space so we would probably leave it in the ground for future generations," she said.
Work on the new golf holes has not been affected by the discovery.
CLASSIC scholar Andrew Wells is “V” pleased with his five A-levels - including a DIY one in Greek.
The subject was not on the curriculum at Gresham's School in Holt. But that did not stop the 18-year-old, who set about learning it himself.
“It was just a case of reading things,” he said modestly as he collected his handful of top successes.
He did some Greek at GCSE level at Loughborough Grammar School, before the family moved to Wells.
But he needed an A-level at B grade or above to reach his goal of going to Downing College in Cambridge to study for a classics degree - in the hope of teaching the subject one day.
And at school he got some practice - by being his own teacher, with some overseeing guidance from classics tutor Gareth Burrell, whose Greek was limited to GCSE level, having only taken the exam recently himself.
Andrew used study time at school and home to delve into the A level world of classical Greek - including tackling the philosophy of Plato and the work of the first ever historian Herodotus. The three exams involved Greek translation, analysis of language and a philosophical essay - and he passed with flying colours, along with Latin, history, English and physics.
Andrew's dad Chris said: “We think it's fantastic, but he takes it all in his stride. We are also pleased that Gresham's gave him the freedom to do it.”
Head Antony Clark also praised Andrew, and pointed out that, ironically, Gresham's had earlier made its reputation for being a public school which shied away from the traditional classics under its modernising head George Howson, who steered it towards maths and science and away from Latin and Greek.
Italy has been at the forefront in securing the return of looted antiquities from major museums in Boston, Los Angeles and New York.
But the government's decision not to seek a 2,600-year-old Etruscan chariot, one of the star attractions of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, has angered the people of a small mountain town in Umbria where it was discovered more than a century ago.
The two-wheeled chariot is considered one of the great masterpieces of antiquity. Its three panels show scenes from the life of the Greek hero, Achilles.
In 1902, a shepherd in Monteleone di Spoleto dug it up by chance and sold it for scrap metal so that he could buy tiles for his roof. The chariot was then taken to Rome, allegedly hidden in a pharmacy before being sent to Paris.
U.S. financier J.P. Morgan then bought and shipped it to New York, according to Titta Mazzetta, an Italian-American lawyer whose family originates from the town where the Etruscan Chariot was found.
In February 1904, The New York Times reported on what it called the chariot's "surreptitious exportation to the United States."
"We had proof that it had been exported illegally because in 1904 a senator, Bernabei, he made a parliamentary inquiry regarding the illegal exportation of the chariot to the United States," Mazzetta says.
But Italian Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli says that the Etruscan chariot is not on the government's most-wanted list because at the time it was discovered, there was a legal vacuum regarding antiquity sales.
"The position of the Italian government is that that object, very important, was legally purchased at the beginning of the 20th century. At that time, a legal-binding framework about works of art sales did not exist, so it will remain in New York," Rutelli explains.
Mazzetta, however, argues that the statute of limitations and international treaties are not applicable to the chariot because of its uniqueness.
"It is connected to the history and culture of this territory, so we want to carve an exception to the law," he says.
Monteleone is a quiet medieval village in central Italy surrounded by the gentle, green slopes of the Nerina valley.
Despite its beauty, the town is completely off the tourist track, and poverty has forced most of its residents to emigrate, its population dwindling to 600.
One elderly resident, Nino Carboniti, says everyone here grew up hearing wonderful tales about the chariot.
"During the winters when it was very cold, we would sit practically inside the big fireplace, and my grandmother would tell us about the golden chariot that had been stolen from us. It was all about our identity," Carboniti remembers.
He says that for the people of Monteleone di Spoleto, the magnificent golden chariot is a symbol of respect and glory snatched away.
But it nevertheless remains a constant presence — on postcards, posters and even a poor replica in the local tourist office.
Monteleone's Mayor Nando Durastanti says they will never give up the battle to get the original back. He says that it's their duty as the heirs and successors of the Etruscan people who lived here thousands of years ago.
"The chariot is in the DNA of the people of Monteleone," Durastanti says. "It's not abstract. It was produced by people from here. It is connected to the men and women who lived here in the past and who live here today."
A dusty crate of broken bits of pottery discovered at a stately home in Dorset has given a fresh insight into the life of the ancient Egyptians - and it turns out that concerns over mortgages, taxes and simply making ends meet were as important then as they are now.
More than 200 "ostraka" - potsherds inscribed with notes - were found in the cellar of the National Trust property Kingston Lacy, near Wimborne Minster.
Revealing the find yesterday, experts said some of the ostraka featured lists of temple priests who "stood before the god", but most were concerned with the minutiae of everyday life.
Among the messages translated are receipts for a poll tax bill paid by a farmer, tax paid on handicrafts, income tax from a crop of dates and tax for the maintenance of public utilities.
At least 16 of the tax receipts were issued to the same taxpayer, Patsibtis, son of Petorzmethis. He is also a taxpayer on more than 20 ostraka in the British Museum and other collections.
Brian Muhs, who oversaw the translations, said: "Because there are a lot of ostraka, and many relate to the same people, we are able to build up a picture of what life was like. It is possible to build up a picture of income, jobs, family makeup.
"Some show that the lives of farmers were very hard and they ended each year in debt and had to sell their harvest of dates to pay their taxes," added Mr Muhs. "It was a perpetual cycle of hardship."
Receipts and notes were written on broken pottery because they were less expensive than papyrus or parchment.Originally they were used as voting ballots to exile unpopular members of a community - thus "ostracised".
The Kingston Lacy ostraka were collected in the early 19th century by the Egyptologist William John Bankes, who stored them at his Dorset mansion.
Since the National Trust acquired the estate in 1982 it has been cataloguing the artefacts. Its researchers found the 212 ostraka, 175 of them with identifiable text in three languages. The oldest dates from around 1,200BC but the majority are in Greek and date from the Roman occupation of Egypt around AD200.
Resolution Asset Management's multi-manager joint venture will launch in October under the title Maia Capital, named after the Roman goddess of Spring and new beginnings. [...]
James Clauss does not have any expectations that he can improve the skills of the Washington basketball players, but does hope that he’ll enrich their lives well beyond the basketball court.
Clauss, the University of Washington’s incoming director of the Honors Program, will accompany the Huskies on a 10-day basketball tour of Greece beginning Aug. 27. He will be part of a unique educational opportunity in which the players can pick up five credits tossing around Socratic quips as well as jump shots.
“We’re trying to dispel the notion it (Greek philosophy) does not have value,” Clauss said. “I can’t promise their jump shots will get better. It’s never made mine better. I’m hoping they’re going to come back here really changed and open to their intellectual side.”
The NCAA allows college teams to take part in an international tour every four years. This is the first time that coach Lorenzo Romar, entering his sixth season at UW, has taken a Husky team abroad. Since the institution is in the business of education, it was decided that the trip also should hold educational value. Kim Durand, associate athletic director for student development, worked with Romar and Clauss to develop a learning component to their travels.
“The idea was to get something out of the experience, academically and culturally,” Romar said. “As opposed to just a basketball experience.”
Friday, Clauss brought the players together for the first of 10 classes before the team departs. His first task was to show the players the 1989 movie “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure.” It’s about two underachieving high school students that go back in time. They meet and bring back to their classroom historical figures such as Joan of Arc and Napoleon in what turns out to be tangible learning experiences.
“It’s all about the pursuit of knowledge,” he said.
During the trip, Clauss will conduct one-hour daily classes to underscore Greek history, philosophy and architecture. He also will supplement his insights during their city tours.
“I hope during the 10 days we are there they can explore and really take in the sights. I think it will be beneficial to the guys,” said assistant coach Paul Fortier, who played 16 years in Europe, including Greece. “That’s one of the things that brought it out for me. I had a history class and read and saw pictures in a book then I was there and saw those things in real life, it’s better that way.”
Senior guard Ryan Appleby said he went to Austria during high school to play in a tournament and really didn’t learn much.
“This will be a lot more interesting for the guys,” he said. “You can go to a country and a tour guy will tell you about this guy or this place. If you have no background on what he’s talking about you’re probably going to lose interest. With some background, we’ll be able to go, ’Oh yeah, I know about this.”’
The learning won’t end with ancient sites and carved statues. Clauss’ class will put an emphasis on the philosophies of Socrates and Plato. When the team returns, he’s going to have the players take on an issue and write it in a Socratic style. They will debate the issue by instant message on computers, save the message text then hand it in to Clauss.
“They’ll have to really focus on keeping the ideas flowing,” Clauss added. “It’s an experiment. I know they know instant messaging better than I do.”
Whether as a result of barbaric invasion, or famine, during this period (1200-800BC), the citadels of the Mycenaeans were destroyed, people lived in fewer and smaller settlements, trade ceased, writing was abandoned, the great craftsmen vanished. Dark Age pottery was marked by simple geometric designs rather than the figurative decoration of the Mycenaeans.
But how dark were the Dark Ages? And how sudden was the renaissance that followed and paved the way for the golden age of classical Greece?
The Greek renaissance is taken to begin around 800BC. This is the age of Homer, who began Western literature in the Iliad with a word variously translated as rage, or wrath, or anger: "Anger - sing Goddess, the anger of Achilles, son of Peleus, that accursed anger, which brought the Greeks endless sufferings and sent the mighty souls of many warriors to Hades, leaving their bodies as carrion for the dogs and a feast for the birds ..."
From the Mycenaean and earlier Minoan periods, we have the Linear A and Linear B tablets, lists and inventories which the British scholar, Michael Ventris, deciphered between 1951 and 1953 and proved was an early form of Greek. But between the Mycenaeans and Homer, a cultural darkness.
A few weeks ago, however, German archeologists digging in a sanctuary at Kalapodi (ancient Phokis) under the direction of Wolf-Dietrich Niemeier unearthed a small temple from the 8th century BC. The temple, in what is believed to have been the oracle sanctuary of Apollon of Abai, had been destroyed by an earthquake, its mud bricks sealing its contents for the next 2800 years. The find was archeological dynamite.
What was revealed, says Niemeier, who is in Australia on a lecture tour, was a complete sequence of ritual activity stretching back through the Dark Ages, a period of Greek history once deemed unworthy of archeological interest, to at least the Mycenaean period (1600-1200BC).
His voice ripples with excitement. "When we removed those mud bricks, we didn't believe our eyes," he says.
On a burned black clay floor, they found hundreds of votives, just as they had been placed and just as they have been found in other Mycenaean sanctuaries: jewellery, amulets, bronzes, pins, fibulas, personal ornaments, figurines of animals and birds and a big iron sword. It suggested continuous use from at least the 14th century BC.
To Niemeier, it was further evidence that the Mycenaean age did not end completely and abruptly, but continued for another 150 years in diminished form, and that the Greek renaissance was not a sudden cultural shift, but emerged gradually from the Dark Ages.
"I am convinced now, also from the evidence of my excavations, that it is not such a sudden development but it stands at the end of a development which starts in the so-called Dark Age, which gets lighter and lighter,"
he says. "This was a period of crisis, of course, after the destruction of the Mycenaean palaces, but also a period of renewal and
many foundations for the later developments I am convinced were laid in the Dark Ages."
Niemeier is lecturing in Australia at the invitation of the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens.
He has always been a "lucky excavator", he says. Never more so than five years ago when his team unearthed the incomplete, but beautiful Kouros of the Sacred Gate at Kerameikos, the cemetery and famed potters' quarter of ancient Athens, which the German Archaeological Institute at Athens has been excavating since 1913, with the exception of the world wars.
The discovery of the marble kouros (an idealised Greek youth), was "a complete surprise", Niemeier says. The German team had been dating channels carrying water from the Eridanos River beneath the Sacred Way (Iera Odos) when a Greek worker, Tassos Boudroukas, felt the left shoulder of a marble kouros lying face down. It dated from about 600BC and was lying under a road surface built during the construction of a city wall by Themistocles between the autumn of 479BC and the spring of 478BC after Athens was retaken from the Persians.
The discovery of this "masterpiece of early Greek sculpture", emerging in rubble and roadfill from the time of lyric poet Sappho and philosopher Thales, was greeted with "incredible emotion", Niemeier says. It stood at the beginning of Attic marble sculpture, which culminated, 150 years later, in the Parthenon sculptures. "In the canal, we saw his hair from the back and his shoulders," Niemeier recalls. "I had been already in a team when another kouros had been found, about 20 years earlier, in '82, on the island of Samos in the sanctuary of Hera ... and I never believed that I would have the same experience once more in my life.
"Of course, it was a great feeling. We realised immediately, because we could see the hairstyle and also the style of the carving of the sculpture, that it was one of the earliest marble sculptures of Athens, around 600BC. We were overwhelmed. Such a find hadn't been (made) in Athens for 100 years."
Niemeier felt immediately the Kouros of the Sacred Gate was the work of the unknown Dipylon sculptor, who created the so-called Dipylon Head, found nearby in 1916, which is in the National Archaeological Museum in Greece. He noted the similarities in the shape and dimensions of the face, the same expression and almond-shaped eyes. The German team also quickly realised "he was not alone down there".
Lying in a row with the kouros was a sphinx dating from 560BC, two marble lions, and fragments of two marble pillars, one with a Doric capital and one with an Ionic capital, all retaining traces of the wheeled traffic that had once run over them.
The head of the kouros was lying next to the head of the sphinx. "They gave the impression of being an ancient pair," Niemeier says. "It was hard for us to separate them after such a long time, being the one next to the other."
Niemeier believes the Kouros of the Sacred Gate, originally a grave sculpture for an Athenian aristocrat and representing youth in perpetuity, is more dynamic and energetic than a related kouros at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. It also suffered from none of the doubts attached to a kouros purchased from a "private Swiss collection" by the J. Paul Getty Museum in California in 1983 for between $9 million and $12 million which was widely denounced as a fraud by art historians and archeologists and which was forced to carry the inscription: "Greek, 530BC or modern forgery."
Explaining the significance of the Kouros of the Sacred Gate, which has become a jewel in the Museum of the Kerameikos in Athens, Niemeier says: "We have now a masterpiece of one of the first great Athenian sculptors, who we call the Dipylon master. We have really the beginning of Athenian, or Attic, marble sculpture, which 150 years later had its apogee with the Parthenon sculptures. This is the very beginning. They give us a picture."
Comparing the discovery with one of the most exciting moments of Greek archeology - in 1886 when Panagiotis Kavvadias and Georg Kawerau discovered 14 archaic koroi buried in the Persian debris of the Acropolis - Niemeier says he could never have imagined being involved in a similarly spectacular find 116 years later.
"My collaborators and I will never forget the exciting events during the spring of 2002," he says. The days, he says, were filled with the sound of workmen shouting "allo marmaro edo (here is more marble)" and the nights were filled with wine and Greek dancing.
A specialist in the Aegean Bronze Age, Niemeier has excavated extensively in Crete, as well as on the Greek mainland, in southern Italy, Israel and Turkey. He is director of the German Archaeological Institute excavations at Miletus (Turkey), the Athenian Kerameikos (Greece), Kalapodi (Greece) and the Samos Heraion (Greece).
As the 2007 AAIA visiting professor, he is lecturing in Sydney, Armidale, Newcastle, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne and Hobart until September 12.
We should not allow to be treated as aborigines. This claimed the archaeologist prof. Nicolay Ovcharov in relation to the film about the Thracians that Discovery Channel is shooting.
According to Mr. Ovcharov the film has nothing to do with the initial idea of the British team – a complete presentation of the Thracian culture.
After the team was changes with an American one, it became clear that the film will focus only on the Thracian gold, prof. Ovcharov is worried.
It is as if the Thracians were only born to create golden jewels and to die, claimed Ovcharov and added that the rights of many Bulgarian archaeologists had been violated since their discoveries were presented as somebody else's.
Personally he was offended by the shooting of the Thracian golden mines in the village of Stremtzi – which he has the permission to explore.
They didn't ask me at all and they didn't inform me they would shoot. It is strange why they didn't want to shoot in Perperikon since these mines had been functioning to feed exactly the cult complex, asks prof. Ovcharov.
Prof. Ovcharov does not intend to sue the Discovery Channel team but will send a report to the Archaeological institute.
Nicolay Ovcharov informed that a team of the German ZDF TV had made a film about Tatul and Perperikon, which will be emitted in the prime time by the ARD channel.
Students of fashion designing had a feel of being on the job on Saturday when top models sashayed down the ramp in their collections here.
Carol Gracias, Lakshmi Rana, Anupama Verma, and Amanpreet Wahi were among the models those who walked the ramp.
Organised by International Institute of Fashion Design (IIFD), the dazzling fashion show was part of the passing out event for its graduates.
While metallic and earth tones ruled one collection, geometric patterns and layers added glamour to another.
Blends of western and ethnic wear, with varied themes were put up by the future style gurus.
The show commenced with a sari collection, inspired by mythological Greek beauty Helen of Troy. Saris in chiffon and georgette were embellished with sequins and semi-precious stones.
"We designed garments which match her (Helen of Troy) beauty and essence. We found saris in the modern world matching her (splendor). That is why we took Helen of Troy as theme inspiration for the show," said Nainoor Singh Bedi, designer of the 'Helen of Troy' collection. [...]
Prof. Elizabeth Simpson from Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has combined the woodworks found in the tomb of the renowned Phrygian King Midas like a "puzzle" and after a careful study of 27 years, she brought to light 3 sacred tables belonging to the king.
Simpson, who first found out that the drawings about the artifacts found in the tomb were incorrect, discovered afterwards that the two wooden pieces which were thought to be "thrones" were actually a "sacred ceremony table" and a "portable sanctuary".
Carrying out her studies at the Anatolian Civilizations Museum of capital Ankara currently, Simpson told A.A that she also discovered an "inlaid table" by matching thousands of wooden pieces with each other.
Simpson indicated that the figures on the table were unique, both in terms of Phrygian and world art.
FOOT FIGURE DISCOVERED IN SAGALASSOS
Moreover, a foot figure was discovered during the excavations carried out in Sagalassos ancient city located near Aglasun town of southwestern city of Burdur.
Head of the excavations Prof. Jeroen Poblome stressed that the figure most probably belonged to the statue of a woman, dating back to late Roman period.
An ancient Phoenician colony on the western coast of Sardinia may soon yield some of its long-buried secrets during new excavations.
Othoca, founded by the Phoenicians some 2,600 years ago, partly evolved into the modern-day town of Santa Giusta but most remnants of the original settlement lie buried under a thick layer of mud at the bottom of a large lake.
Experts believe the lake, separated from the sea by a narrow bridge of land, was once the port of Othoca, used by the Phoenicians as a staging post on their maritime voyages.
Discussing the planned excavations, Santa Giusta Mayor Atonello Figus and an archaeologist from Cagliari University, Carlo Del Vais, said they would focus on a small section of the lake, just a few dozen square metres.
This area is believed to contain around a hundred amphorae, resting on top of a large quantity of processed wood.
The wood is remarkably well preserved thanks to the mineral content of the mud, which has slowed the normal deterioration process caused by oxygen.
Del Vais is hopeful that the wood is sufficiently well preserved to allow radiocarbon dating to be carried out at a lab in the United States.
Although plans for the excavations are in an advanced stage, much still depends on funding. The Culture Ministry is shortly expected to make the final decision on financing and the town is meanwhile trying to raise cash among private entities.
If approved, this would be the second major set of digs in the lake and the third in the area of Santa Giusta as a whole.
PREVIOUS DIGS UNCOVERED 50 AMPHORAE.
Earlier works uncovered 50 amphorae from the underwater mud, containing remnants of food and provisions.
In the 1980s, the remains of the Phoenician necropolis of Santa Severa in the town centre were unearthed. The excavation was considered a major breakthrough, as it revealed the only known example in Italy of a Phoenician underground chamber tomb, constructed with large slabs of sandstone.
Another tomb of the same type was identified a few dozen metres away. However, the excavation was called to a halt before reaching the site, as there were insufficient funds to ensure the preservation of any decorations and contents if unearthed.
The Phoenicians were a maritime trading people of the first millennium BC, who formed a massive commercial empire across the Mediterranean from their bases along the coast of modern-day Lebanon, Syria and Israel.
They founded a series of colonies as staging posts for their lengthy voyages, where they could stop to replenish provisions, shelter from storms and repair any damage to ships.
The most important Phoenician colony in the Western Mediterranean was at Carthage, in modern Tunisia, but they also established points along the Spanish coast and on the island of Sicily.
They started settling parts of Sardinia in the 8th century BC. Although initially staging posts, these soon developed into trade centres among the local peoples.
The native Sardinians were a peaceful farming people who quickly became friendly with the Phoenicians, as they lived inland, meaning there was no conflict over coastal land.
Looking to get it away from it all? Consider Albania. An archaeology team reports that the mountains of northern Albania, perhaps the most remote place left in Europe, have been a hide-out for a surprisingly long time.
A leader of the expedition, archaeologist Michael Galaty of Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., reports on this summer's expedition now that he's back from to the Shala Valley in northern Northern Albania's mountains, the tail end of the Alps.
"Some five hundred years ago, people came here fleeing the Ottoman empire. We expected to find what they left behind," Galaty says. Perched on a promontory near the village of Grunas (Groo-NAS) are the remains of walls, which the team initially assumed were from a hideout left over from the 1500's, a time when exiles repopulated the region, on the lam from the new empire.
However, a little digging on a 2006 expedition revealed something wrong with the walls. They were too old and some were made of "cyclopean" stone, boulders roughly fitted together without any mortar, a style associated with the Bronze-Age Greek Kingdom of Mycenae. Instead of a medieval hidey-hole, the team had unearthed the remains of a fortress from the Bronze Age, some time around 800 B.C., as indicated by a radiocarbon date and the pottery and stone tools left behind there.
"For whatever reason, it turns out people have been fleeing to this valley for about 3,000 years," Galaty says. The find is particularly interesting for a few reasons, he adds. Around 800 B.C., the shift from Bronze Age to Iron Age had started in the region of Europe north of Greece. The ancient Greeks were emerging from a long Dark Age that had lasted for several centuries and were tangling with Illyrian kingdoms on the Adriatic coast, just downhill from mountainous northern Albania.
The Illyrians were one of the classic pains-in-the-necks of in the classical world. Their pirates were denounced by the Romans, who routed them on the way to conquering the Mediterranean around, in a long-running fight that concluded around 160 B.C. Was the fortress of Grunas some sort of redoubt against these ruffians of the high seas in the ancient world, or part of their kingdom, Galaty and his colleagues wondered.
This summer, with help from the National Science Foundation and others, Galaty's team went back to uncover the story of who owned the fortress of Grunas. To their surprise, they uncovered at least five buildings (two of them stone), mud-plastered houses for a more than a dozen people, the foundations of a pair of look-out towers, a gate and huge terraces. Galaty believes a few hundred people likely lived in the fortress, whose age was confirmed by chemical analysis of the pottery shards found in the foundations. "Somebody put in a lot of time and effort to build walls up there," he says, noting the terrace walls were several feet thick and reached more than 15 feet high in places.
Drilling about 2,000 auger holes in the terraces atop the hilltop, the team determined that people have been leaving behind waste at the site since at least about 1,000 BC. And they found the terraces were carefully engineered in place, a common practice in the classic Greek world, but unknown in northern Albanian sites.
Although the team members, who included Ols Lafe of the Albanian Institute of Archaeology and Zamir Tafilica of Albania's Shkodër Historical Museum, are still deciphening who lived in Grunas, much of the pottery they have uncovered appears to originate from farther further south of Albania in the early Iron Age, towards the Illyrian coast. The Shala Valley may have held folks trading with the Illyrians, if not hiding from them, Galaty suggests. "History repeats itself, after all."
The next invasion might not be pirates or empire-builders, he adds, but skiers, attracted by snows that regularly leave people snowed in during the height of winter and a slowing of hostilities in Kosovo. "If they put in a paved road to the valley, it will be all over," says Galaty. "It's just too beautiful a place to be hidden forever."
EIGHT-YEAR-OLD Sophia Izzo was facing her nemesis with a determination fierce beyond her years. The tiny blonde girl was eyeballing a man old enough to be her grandfather and relishing the moment.
"Are you ready, Sophia? You want to kill me?" he growled.
Sophia was about to try her hand at combat, making her debut as a Roman gladiator in a dusty pit just down the road from the Appian Way. It was a long way from her home town of Erie in Pennsylvania.
Sophia is one of 9000 tourists each year who spend an afternoon in a tunic attacking each other with an assortment of weapons at the Gladiator School of Rome.
"At first I didn't want to do this," Sophia said, "but it was fun."
No one knows whether the success of the movie Gladiator is responsible, but the Italians call it a boom. "It is the only one of its kind in the world," says Sergio Iacomoni, the school's director.
"There are others but not with such sophisticated research." Founded in 2000, the school caters for tourists and school groups and Mr Iacomoni says numbers are increasing each year. "If an organisation is serious and conducts itself well, it is easy to grow."
For a couple of hours, combatants dress in heavy metal replicas of helmets and tunics, get a quick snapshot of Roman history and do some basic training in sword-fighting techniques - using padded replicas. Sophia and her 13-year-old sister, Mia, are among 22 Americans who have paid up to €20 ($34) each for the hands-on experience.
After a morning at the Colosseum it seems an appropriate way for the tourists to end their week-long assault on the country's most famous historical sites.
Diane Waterman, from Los Angeles, said her three teenagers studied ancient history at school but this was a totally different experience for them.
"It's the hands-on they enjoy," she said. "They can only absorb so much from the museums - one starts to look like the next."
The school is run by the Gruppo Storico di Roma (Rome Historical Group), an association of 160 enthusiasts who meet twice a week to practise their physical skills, improve their combat techniques and celebrate their city's history.
An annual membership for an experience that combines theatre and sport costs €50. Members undergo rigorous training and have to satisfy different grades of skill, each identified with a Latin name.
By day, 32-year-old Ludwig Delvise is a bursar for a city hotel. At night he slips into a tunic and sandals to face off against his opponents.
"I am fascinated by the history of Rome," he said.
"They conquered the whole world. For me it is a great passion to learn about Roman society."
Officially recognised by the Italian Government for its cultural contribution, the Gruppo Storico has 21 gladiators and an assortment of soldiers, senators, dancers and even vestal virgins.
Enthusiasts are aged from the very young to 70, and participate in parades and ceremonies such as the annual celebration of the birth of Rome that takes place in the city's historical centre in April.
They have also collaborated with TV networks on historical documentaries.
Giulia Mazzoli is a freelance artist by day. The sturdy 33-year-old has been learning the art of the combat for four years and recently recruited her slightly-built boyfriend, Massimo Di Re, to the school.
They enthusiastically enter the dusty backyard amphitheatre to fight each other with swords and shields in a carefully choreographed sequence that sees her victorious.
"We beat each other," she says with a smile, "but it's not just about fighting. It's a great way to let off steam without couples' counselling."
By contrast, tourists at the Colosseum pay €5 for a photo with costumed centurions who have no formal training or legal permit to work there.
The Etruscan tomb was hidden in such a remote corner of Tuscany that Andrea Marcocci, the archeology student who had identified it about a decade ago, was not very worried that anyone else would stumble upon it.
Then, earlier this year, woodsmen began to clear brush in the area, and Marcocci - who had felt the tomb had been safe as long as it was hidden in a forest - realized he had to act.
"I became worried that what's supposed to be the patrimony of mankind would become the patrimony of an individual," he said.
Armed with a permit from archeological authorities - in Italy anything found underground belongs to the state - he and a handful of volunteers began to dig.
What they found last week was a complete surprise: a more than 2000-year-old tomb with a cache of almost perfectly preserved ceramic and bronze funerary objects, including cremation urns for more than two dozen people.
"It was an incredible moment," said Giacomo Ghini, an archeology student who first spied the tops of the urns buried in dirt in the burial chamber. "We weren't sure there would be anything there."
The find, experts say, is not particularly exceptional in terms of the rarity of the unearthed objects. The burial chamber, a little less than two meters, or six feet, long and about 1.8 meters wide, is not painted, and the objects inside - probably Hellenistic and dating to between the first and the third centuries B.C. - are quite modest in make. They are now in safe-keeping at a nearby city hall but will be turned over to state archeologists to be cleaned, restored and studied.
But as far as this local group of archeologists is concerned, finding the tomb was like stumbling on King Tutankhamen's gold.
"It really brought locals together; it made them proud to live here," said Carla Bonsanti, Marcocci's wife and a member of Odysseus, the amateur archeological association that carried out the dig in this far-flung part of the Tuscan Maremma, once a remote and wild region known for its horse-riding cattle breeders.
If it weren't for amateur groups like Odysseus, archeology experts agree, much of Italy's ancient heritage would be even more at risk than it already is to random plundering by unscrupulous tomb robbers.
Gabriella Barbieri, the state official in charge of protecting the area's archeological heritage, who granted permission for the excavation, said local volunteer groups were very important when it came to safeguarding the territory from tomb robbers and vandalism.
"The more citizens are concerned, the more they can help us," she said. "The state can't be everywhere at once."
Inadequate protection of Italy's archeologically rich soil is one reason why many plundered antiquities have ended up in private collections and public museums around the world.
But in recent years Italy has increased security of its archeological sites and created a special police force to protect the country's heritage.
Italy has also tried to nip the illegal antiquities market in the bud through an aggressive and very public shame campaign to reclaim some of the ill-gotten artifacts. After successfully lobbying for the return of works from the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, last month Italy also concluded a deal with the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles for the return of 40 pieces.
Despite recent successes, however, vigilance must continue to remain high because what has come out of the ground is only a fraction of what is still underneath.
Between 2001 and 2006 Italy's carabinieri art theft squad recovered 345,320 purloined archeological artifacts, including individual fragments. Because of their very nature, "it's impossible to estimate how much has been actually excavated," said a spokesman for the art squad.
"As long as there are Etruscan tombs to be found there's going to be the risk of tombaroli," or ravagers of archaeological sites, said Maria Grazia Celuzza, the director of the archeological museum in Grosseto, about 20 kilometers, or 12 miles, south of here.
More than the monetary value of the objects themselves, scholars argue that every violated tomb is an unimaginable loss to furthering the study of ancient civilizations.
There is much still to be learned about the Etruscans, for instance, an ancient population with a distinct language and traditions that dominated what is now central Italy for about a millennia, until they were conquered by the Romans.
Groups like Odysseus, as well as university archeology programs, also provide crucial manual labor to the state's cultural heritage authorities, which simply cannot afford to fund hundreds of archeological excavations each year.
Because the tomb at Casenovole is not a major site, it is likely that only local, amateur archeologists like Marcocci and Ghini would have ever expressed the desire to excavate it. (Both, however, are about to graduate with degrees in archeology. The Italian state does not give permits to dig to people without experience or training, and all aspects of the dig are supervised, said Barbieri, the state official.)
"There are always archeological emergencies in Italy, and this system helps the state keep up," said Marcocci, who funded most of the dig along with the other volunteers. Fortunately, "there are a lot of passionate people."
Famously, it seems (readers have warned me of this), the second half of Book Two is nothing but a really long list of who’s fighting on each side. The main interest here is in how many great warriors are the sons of gods who just couldn’t resist bedding a human woman.
Look, The Iliad was meant to be recited (possibly after dinner), and any long-form entertainment needs some built-in breaks. So I guess this is the part where you would go to the bathroom or refill your olive bowl or whatever.
Da un ritrovamento fortunoso all'inizio del 2007 alla ricostruzione di un importante monumento del I secolo a.C.. Lucus Feroniae, antico luogo di culto e bosco sacro dedicato a una dea italica nel territorio tra i comuni di Capena e Fiano Romano, riavrà il suo mausoleo, che sarà ricostruito alla luce delle ricerche condotte in questi mesi dalla Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici del Lazio.
SCOPERTA FORTUNOSA - Sono dodici i blocchi di marmo che compongono il mausoleo, decorati da monumentali bassorilievi che rappresentano sanguinose lotte di gladiatori. Erano stati ritrovati dal nucleo per la difesa dei beni culturali dei carabinieri già dissotterrati dai tombaroli e pronti per essere immessi sul mercato illecito delle opere d'arte.
ARCHEOLOGI AL LAVORO - Gli archeologi della soprintendenza sono riusciti a identificare l'area dello scavo clandestino e quindi il luogo esatto su cui sorgeva l'antico monumento funerario, un sepolcro a torre costruito intorno al 30 a.C.. Ritrovato, inoltre, in loco il basamento della struttura, eretto sul ciglio di una strada, come consuetudine presso i romani. Le ricerche effettuate, i rilievi e gli elementi architettonici messi in luce renderanno possibile la ricostruzione del manufatto, ritrovamento tra i più importanti di un'area residenziale romana del I secolo a.C..
For A Supposedly Dead Language, Latin Continues To Attract Students
If you saw 1,600 teenagers gathered for a week in the summer on a college campus, you might expect that they were participating in a camp or touring the college. But celebrating a dead language? That probably wouldn't be your first guess. Sure enough, middle and high schoolers from 31 states spent a week in July at the 54th annual National Junior Classical League (NJCL) convention, proving that Latin is still very much alive.
The NJCL, founded in 1936 as the youth division of the American Classical League, boasts over 50,000 members across the U.S., Canada and Australia. Many of these young classical scholars participate in the NJCL's main event, its national convention each summer. This year's convention took place at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
Pennsylvania's delegation consisted of 10 students, all from Upper Dublin High School. Rachel Applebaum, a graduate of Upper Dublin, attended as a member of the Senior Classical League, the college affiliate of JCL. Mary Jane Koons, the Upper Dublin Latin teacher, chaperoned the students.
Participants at the convention competed in arts, sports, academics, and a classical game show known as Certamen (Latin for "contest"). But although the delegates willingly, even enthusiastically, took challenging tests each day during the summer, the convention was not filled with nerds or centered on competition. Dances, bowling, karaoke, swimming and other social activities each night allowed JCLers to make friends from all 31 states that sent delegates.
"Thousands of people from across the country unite because they love Latin and they're enthusiastic about it," attendee Amy Gallop explained. "There are so many different kinds of people, and they're all so nice and so happy to be there. It's really refreshing to see that in high school students."
Uproarious daily spirit competitions featured themes such as "JCeLvis: The Eighth King of Rome" and "It's a Hard Knoxville Life." Each state delegation wore thematic costumes and screamed cheers until they lost their voices, hoping to win silly spirit prizes such as Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans and Transformers masks.
When they were not competing, cheering or socializing, JCLers could attend a multitude of colloquia, lectures on topics varying from ancient Roman families to college admissions to web design, taught by distinguished teachers and professors, as well as high-school-age members of the NJCL board. Delegates also brought non-perishable food to donate to a food bank in Knoxville.
John Weiss described the convention as "an opportunity to socialize, an opportunity to learn, an opportunity to experience, an opportunity to grow."
Koons has been teaching for 28 years, 22 of them in Upper Dublin. When she arrived in 1984, she reinstated the district's Latin program, but the class was offered only in the high school, although other languages began in middle school. Naturally, students who had begun study of a language already did not want to start over when they reached high school, and few students signed up to take Latin. After several years, the district threatened to cut the program. Koons and her devoted students attended a school board meeting dressed in togas and persuaded the school board not only to keep the Latin program but to start teaching Latin in eighth grade with the other languages. In 1993, Koons brought her first group of students to the PAJCL state convention, and in 1998, she began chaperoning Pennsylvania delegations to the national convention.
"I've always found it amazing that there are 1,500 students and everyone feels like part of it," she commented. "No one is sitting in the dorms. They're competitive yet social and so enthusiastic and spirited. There's a nice camaraderie."
Some state delegations consisted of more than 200 students (Texas always sends a huge contingent), but despite their small numbers, Pennsylvania's 10 delegates came home with many awards: first place state digital scrapbook (created by PAJCL '06-'07 historian Joanna Linzer of the Ellis School), first place skit (performed by Rachel Kachnycz and Chauncey Smith), second place state newsletter (edited by Kristin Gottron of North Hills Senior High School) and third place in spirit. Upper Dublin's scrapbook, created by Victoria Miller and Grace Stockbauer, won fourth place, and UDHS was also awarded 12th place in the national publicity contest, thanks to Weinstein's work compiling the entry.
The NJCL, NSCL, National Latin Honor Society, and the National Latin Exam all award scholarships to high-achieving participants, especially those planning to take Latin or Greek in college and those planning to become teachers of classics, a position with many openings nowadays.
Latin is, indeed, on the rise again. Though enrollment may never reach the levels that existed back in 1900, when over 50 percent of all American public high school students took Latin, the ancient language is experiencing a revival. In the anti-elitist educational climate of the 1970s, enrollment fell to just 150,000. But by 2000, it rebounded to over 177,000 students. In 2006, 8,177 students took an advanced placement Latin exam, nearly doubling the 4,142 who had taken it in 1995.
"Harry Potter" and "Green Eggs and Ham" have been translated into Latin. Movies and TV specials set in ancient Rome are increasingly popular, and the Finnish national radio station even broadcasts in a weekly news report in Latin. The Latin version of Wikipedia contains over 14,000 articles written entirely in this so-called dead language.
Students cite enhanced English vocabulary and grammar skills, fascination with Roman history and mythology and higher SAT scores as reasons for choosing Latin. A 1997 report by the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages found that Latin students' average verbal SAT score was 647, far higher than the national average of 505. And with approximately 65 percent of English words coming from Latin roots, students' vocabularies are certainly increased by a knowledge of Latin.
"I find myself reading a book and being confused about a word, and then I'll look closer and realize that I know it because of Latin. ... It's the best feeling ever," said Gallop.
"It's an excellent background for any person," said Koons. "You see how languages work. It involves a discipline you don't get in many subjects. You learn to pay attention to detail because you have to get every noun and verb ending correct."
Koons claims that she finds a multitude of ways to show her students that Latin is relevant in the modern world. "I try to show them whenever I come across anything related to Latin in science, literature, or history. No matter where I go or what I read, I'm always on the lookout for things that relate to the classics."
Weiss added: "I'd recommend Latin to anyone with an interest in history, an interest in culture, an interest in government, an interest in architecture, an interest in literature, an interest in languages dead or alive - French, English, Spanish, Portuguese - everything comes from Latin."
Ancient depot and water depository were revealed by archaeologists in the ancient Thracian city of Perperikon (Rhodopes).
This was reported by the chief of the expedition professor Nikolai Ovcharov. The water depository is situated on the very same top of Perperikon.
The reservoir is 12 m long, per 6 m wide and deep; it used to gather round 270 c m water.
Professor Ovcharov and his colleagues found also 4 completely preserved jars with 160-200 l capacity. Probably the jars had been used for preserving of wine, believes the archaeologist.
Bulgarian archaeologists announced they have discovered the biggest ancient tank for storing water on the Balkans, etched into the rock sanctuary of Perperikon, near Kardzhali in southern Bulgaria.
Top archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov, who unearthed the water tank to add it to the long list of exciting finds from the rock sanctuary, says the discovery proves that there were times when Perperikon was densely populated and with huge water supplies.
The tank, measuring twelve-meter-long, six-meter-wide and six-meter-deep, has a capacity of 432 000 litres.
It was just last month that Ovcharov showed the press two unique ceramic figurines of a cobra, dragon heads and a throne with an upright phallus that were discovered at the rock sanctuary of Perperikon.
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.
Thirty-five years after the famed Riace bronzes emerged from the sea, a probe into a third ancient statue thought to have gone missing at the time is gathering pace.
Prosecutors, investigating the claims of local art sleuth Giuseppe Bragho', say there is growing evidence that a third work of art was smuggled from the scene during the discovery.
Bragho', an expert on his local Calabria region where the sensational bronzes appeared in 1972, says he has "tracked down and photographed a series of documents that indicate an alarming scenario".
He says a third statue - "completely different from the other two" - as well as two shields and a lance, were seen lying on the seabed by the finder, scuba diver Stefano Mariottini.
Bragho' points to a statement made by Mariottini the day after he discovered the statues on 16 August 1972.
In the statement, he refers to "a group of statues".
He also says the "two protruding statues [...] were free of any clear incrustations".
Yet Bragho' has found a previously unpublished photograph of the statues apparently showing one of the figures entirely covered in incrustations, its features indistinguishable.
Bragho' also highlights another section of Mariottini's statement in which he reportedly said he saw "three statues, probably made of bronze...one of them lying on its side with a shield on its left arm".
In addition, the expert has provided prosecutors with the name of a man who allegedly helped smuggle a shield and lance away from the scene of the discovery.
As further evidence of his theory, Bragho' has produced a series of recordings of a male voice, who claims he acted as a mediator for representatives of the John Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
Bragho' believes that the alleged weapons and possible third bronze ended up in the museum's collection.
However, the institute has vigorously denied the claims, categorically stating: "the spear, shields and helmet purportedly found with the bronzes have never been part of our collection.
"This information is wrong and must be corrected," the museum said.
ONE OF ITALY'S MOST IMPORTANT FINDS OF THE LAST 100 YEARS.
The bronzes were discovered by Mariottini, an amateur scuba diver from Rome, during a holiday on the Calabrian coast.
They turned out to be one of Italy's most important archaeological finds of the last 100 years.
The statues are of two virile men, presumably warriors or gods, who possibly held lances and shields at one time. At around two metres, they are larger than life.
The 'older' man, known as Riace B, wears a helmet, while the 'younger' Riace A has nothing covering his rippling hair.
Both are naked.
Although the statues are cast in bronze, they feature silver lashes and teeth, copper red lips and nipples, and eyes made of ivory, limestone and a glass and amber paste.
Italy is renowned for its archaeological treasures but the Riace bronzes have attracted particular attention.
This is partly because of their exceptionally realistic rendering and partly owing to the rarity of ancient bronze statues, which tended to be melted down and the metal reused.
Mariottini, who spotted the statues 300 metres off the coast and eight metres underwater, said the bronze was so realistic he initially thought he'd found the remains of a corpse.
When they first went on display in 1981, a million people came to see them and the pair were even featured on a commemorative postage stamp.
Today the statues pull some 130,000 visitors each year to the Reggio Calabria museum housing them.
How or when the statues sank to their watery resting place also remains a mystery, as divers uncovered no wreckage in the vicinity.
While remains could have drifted to the seabed some distance away it is more probable that the statues were tossed overboard, either to lighten the ship's load in a storm or to prevent them falling into the hands of pirates.
Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli recently greenlighted a fresh scientific mission to the area, after a US ship reported detecting traces of underwater metal near the spot the statues were discovered.
5) Latin King
For Elvis fans with doctorates in classical studies (all four of them), the music event of the summer has arrived. Finnish literature professor Jukka Ammondt is now touring with a line-up of Presley's greatest hits -- all sung in perfectly conjugated Latin! From "Nunc hic aut numquam" ("It's Now or Never"), "Nunc Distrahor" ("All Shook Up"), and "Ne Saevias" ("Don't Be Cruel"), Ammondt is raising the dead language to whole new level of cool. If you don't believe me, check out the cover of his album, Rocking In Latin.
In yet another testament to the irrepressible influence of "The King," fans can croon along to the broody "Nunc hic aut numquam" ("It's Now or Never"), shake hips to the slightly scary sounding title "Nunc Distrahor" ("All Shook Up"), or just have fun with "Ne Saevias" ("Don't Be Cruel").
"Latin is an eternal language and therefore I believe it is important to document Elvis' songs also in this eternal language," said Jukka Ammondt, known by his stage name Doctor Ammondt.
The late Pope John Paul II was one of his fans, as is former US president Bill Clinton, according to this professor at the University of Jyvaeskylae who released his first Elvis album in 1995 under the title, "The Legend Lives Forever in Latin."
But why the language of Caesar?
"In my high school years in the early 1960s I had my own band and I sang Elvis in English," said Ammondt.
"Later, as a university professor in the 1990s, I realised that it was my calling to sing Elvis in Latin."
He now tours every summer during university break, playing across Europe or the United States where he has performed in Memphis, home to Elvis' Graceland mansion, New York and San Francisco.
Ammondt, whose lyrics are translated by a fellow professor, is passionate about all things Latin -- he often listens to the Finnish public radio's news broadcasts in Latin, the only one of its kind outside the Vatican.
His musical "calling" started in the early 1990s when he recorded an album of Finnish tango songs in Latin, "Tango Triste Finnicum," before moving on to Elvis. In 2001, he recorded an album in Sumerian, a now-defunct language of ancient Mesopotamia, today part of Iraq.
Ammondt, who has a gift for languages and a sense of humour, insists that Finns have an easier time pronouncing Latin than English.
But it's not everyone who can get their tongue around Elvis' 1956 hit "Tedere me ama" ("Love Me Tender"): "I tenere me, suaviter/Ama intime/Me beasti dulciter/Et nunc amo te/Tenere me adama/Vero somnio/Amo te, o lux mea: Fiat unio."
Even with the twangy electric guitars and heavy horns, the Latin lyrics are jarring and some might say Ammondt is not a born crooner. His renditions have been compared more to karaoke singing than to Tennessee recording studio material.
That doesn't matter for Ammondt, who may be described as eccentric. An expert on Bertolt Brecht, romanticism and melancholy in literature, he doesn't mind jeers or criticism.
He says Elvis' songs have given him the "courage to be myself and to think as an individual and to pay attention to my own feelings."
In his early 60s with long grey hair and round spectacles, the thin, divorced father of three posed almost-nude for his 1997 "Rocking in Latin" album cover.
Ten years younger than his idol, Ammondt, who has his own website, www.drammondt.com, never had the chance to play for Elvis before the rock 'n' roll legend died of a heart attack on August 16, 1977 at age 42.
But he met Carl Perkins, who wrote the music and lyrics to "Blue Suede Shoes" and first recorded the song before Elvis turned it into a smash hit -- and which Ammondt has transformed into "Glaudi Calcei."
Perkins, who died in 1998, was "interested" by his endeavours, Ammondt said modestly.
He said Pope John Paul II, who received some of Ammondt's recordings from the Finnish embassy to the Vatican, was "positive about the idea of promoting the Latin language in this way."
And former US president Bill Clinton, who plays the saxophone in his spare time, sent Ammondt his regards after listening to his music.
Everyone needs a friend who is larger than life; the strong, silent type who is a good listener. And if she happens to be much older and has a sketchy past, so much the better. In Malibu, Calif., I found just such a friend who is always there for me, at least for the moment.
My friend Aphrodite arrived in California in the late '80s to make her home at the Getty Museum. I first encountered her ringed by admirers who gazed at the strong lines of her 7-1/2-foot frame. She stood on her pedestal, proud and sure of herself, holding court. Being in the limelight was easy for her since she had spent a number of years underground.
The 2,400-year-old Aphrodite was brought to the Getty to be the centerpiece of its antiquities collection. The museum paid $18 million for her. And to think, she has a chipped nose and is bald – although she probably originally had hair and a veil.
Over the past two decades, I have visited her more than a dozen times, awed every time by her immense size. Her voluptuousness is stunning and quite reassuring. It's nice to know that plus-size women were valued at some point in history, and, in her case, she was known as the most beautiful goddess – goddess of love and queen of the heavens.
In fact, the information placard says her size is what makes her a goddess. If big equals good, does that make me and my fellow size-14 women goddesses, too? I would like to think so.
What I like best is that she looks strong. Being that powerful, I imagine she didn't have to put up with too many antics from her husbands and lovers.
Being married to that ugly Hephaestus, the god of fire, must have been difficult for someone so lovely, but she never complained. If I could get her to talk, I'd offer her a shoulder to cry on – although she might crush me in the process.
The placard placed near her base says that the wind-blown garments clinging to her body are characteristic of Aphrodite, goddess of love.
But I know the truth: The real reason she's dressed in a loose toga is to downplay those thunderous thighs. The woman is smart – she knows she wouldn't look good in a miniskirt.
She's a hardheaded woman. Marble, to be precise. Her head looks a little small for her limestone body. Some have speculated her current head might not be her head at all. She could be a composite of two ancient artworks.
Whatever the case, having a head that is, well, completely different from your body is tough. Talk about feeling disconnected.
And as if this head thing weren't enough, her origins are in question. She could be from north Africa or Sicily. Sicily is more likely, since the limestone she's made of is of the Sicilian type, according to the geologists at the University of Palermo in Italy. Experts at the Getty also believe that the limestone is closest to the Sicilian variety.
I don't know why anyone had to consult the scientists to figure out she is Sicilian. All they had to do was ask me.
After 25 years around a Sicilian mother-in-law, I can assure you Aphrodite is a Sicilian girl. She's larger than life and exudes power from every square inch of her body and face. One look at those serious eyes, and you know not to mess with her.
Need more proof that she's Sicilian? Take a look at her outstretched arm and open hand. It's obvious the woman is begging for a snack. It could have been a golden apple or a pomegranate that she wanted, but I'm sure it was a large slice of pizza.
For the moment, she seems comfortable at the Getty Villa in Malibu. But she will soon be moving home because Italy wants her back.
Italy, Malibu, either will work as long as the big girl stays near the sea. After all, she was born of the sea and had many temples built by the sea, so she probably feels most at home by the coast, surrounded by admirers.
I have to admit I'm a little envious of my friend Aphrodite. To be mostly bald, plus size, oh-so-old, and to have so many folks fighting over you – now that's heaven.
We've added new features to the AIA site, including Coins and Archaeology, which looks at the value of ancient coins when they are recovered part of a scientific excavation and the gains to be made when numismatists and archaeologists work hand in hand, facilitating discoveries and interpretations that neither discipline could produce in isolation.
Shipwrecks have been in the news recently, and, in the Fig and The Spade, Jerome Lynn Hall takes exposes the deceptions treasure hunters use in presenting their deeds to the public. Hall, now at the University of San Diego Anthropology Program, is a past president of the Institute for Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M University.
You'll find major important additions to our Education pages, where we are posting lesson plans. Have a look at our series of Simulated Dig lessons: Layer Cake Archaeology, Transparent Shoebox Dig, Shoebox Dig, and Schoolyard Dig.
We've also revised and reloaded the Greek Vase Painting Project lesson plan and republished online Cargoes from Three Continents: Ancient Mediterranean Trade in Modern Archaeology--click here for those lesson plans.
Be certain to visit our new Gladiator page with an exclusive photo gallery of the Fiano Romano reliefs featured on our cover, more about the ongoing investigation of how the reliefs were looted, an overview of the gladiatorial games by AIA Vice President Shelby Brown, and more.
Using a novel underwater robot, University of Delaware marine scientists will help reveal the mysteries of the Black Sea's geology and maritime history, including ages-old shipwrecks, during an international expedition that is now underway.
The Institute for Exploration and the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island's Graduate School of Oceanography are leading the mission, which will conduct geological and archaeological research in the Aegean and Black Seas--waterways that have served as major trade routes for centuries.
Robert Ballard, professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, and president of the Institute for Exploration, is the principal investigator on the research cruise, which will include a multidisciplinary team of scientists from several nations.
“This is a truly exciting expedition that will shed light on important geological features in the Mediterranean while also uncovering vital information about ancient trade routes and the maritime history of the Black Sea,” Ballard said.
Perhaps best known for locating the sunken ocean liner Titanic in 1985, Ballard has received numerous honors for scientific research and public education. He was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree by UD in 2001.
Last year, in partnership with the Department of Underwater Heritage in Ukraine, Ballard's research team located numerous shipwrecks in the Black Sea, including a vessel from the Byzantine period that will be revisited and explored during this expedition.
The research vessel NRV Alliance will serve as the scientists' home, lab and the platform from which remotely operated vehicles with high-definition cameras will be deployed to provide high-resolution images of the deep.
From the Ukrainian research vessel Flamingo, Art Trembanis, UD assistant professor of marine and Earth studies, and graduate students Adam Skarke and Stephanie Nebel, together with colleagues from the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping at the University of New Hampshire and Ballard's own team, will operate the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) DOERRI (pronounced “Dory”), which stands for “Delaware Oceanographic and Environmental Research Remote Instrument.”
“My students and I are tremendously honored to be participating in this unprecedented project,” Trembanis said. “We are working with a real pioneer in the field of ocean exploration--a hero and mentor to an entire generation of marine scientists, myself included,” he noted.
The 83-inch-long, 240-pound DOERRI, which Trembanis designed, will map the seafloor of the Black Sea off Sevastopol, Ukraine, on missions up to 14 hours long and to depths of approximately 200 meters (656 feet).
“As a child, I remember waking up early on Saturday mornings not to watch cartoons, but to catch the latest National Geographic Explorer episode that Dr. Ballard might be hosting, and now I find myself fulfilling a childhood dream to work alongside Dr. Ballard and his expert team of researchers. It is truly exciting,” Trembanis said.
The DOERRI carries a sophisticated sensor system including devices to measure salinity, temperature and oxygen levels and two types of advanced sonar systems for mapping the seafloor. Multiple computers and safety features work in tandem to keep the systems operating, and to safely return the vehicle back to the ship at the end of each day.
In many ways, DOERRI may serve as the scientists' “agent into the unknown” much like the AUV's namesake, the cartoon fish “Dory,” did in the Disney film Finding Nemo.
“Just like her eponymous namesake, we hope that DOERRI will be a finder of lost things,” Trembanis said. “We hope DOERRI will provide unrivaled data that will allow us to discover very ancient shipwrecks, previously unknown, on the Black Sea floor,” he noted. “Along the way, DOERRI will also give us new insights into the dynamics of dissolved oxygen and internal waves that help to shape and mold the seafloor.”
Shipwrecks in the Black Sea often are remarkably well-preserved due to the waterway's chemistry. Nearly 90 percent of the Black Sea is a no-oxygen “dead zone,” where only a few bacteria live.
“At depths beyond 150 meters, the Black Sea is not unlike a giant natural bell jar from which life-supporting oxygen has been entirely removed,” Trembanis said.
A major advantage of AUVs like DOERRI, Trembanis said, is that they allow researchers to literally become more immersed in the marine environment.
“By severing the cord to the surface, we become more a part of the environment we are studying because we can approach things just as a curious fish might do,” Trembanis said. “In real terms, the AUV provides capabilities to get below the influence of surface conditions and get closer to the features on the seafloor we wish to study without actually touching or disturbing anything around us. Furthermore, we can ask the robot to do critical but perhaps monotonous tasks over and over again--tasks that give us great scientific data, but tasks that would seem boring to human operators.”
Locally, DOERRI has been used in a variety of research in Delaware's coastal waters, including nearshore areas of Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean and in Delaware's Inland Bays.
While this will be the DOERRI's farthest trip from home so far, it likely will not be its last. Trembanis said the leading-edge robot already is scheduled for another international mission, to explore the coral reefs off Bonaire, early next year.
The expedition is supported by NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration, the Office of Naval Research and the Richard Lounsbery Foundation. Participating institutions include the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea, University of Texas, Institute for Classical Archaeology, Naval Meteorological and Oceanography Command, University of Delaware, University of Massachusetts at Boston, University of New Hampshire and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
In thanksgiving for Our Holy Father's recent Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, The Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius (societycantius.org) are pleased to have the opportunity to train priests to celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite according to the 1962 Missale Romanum. In developing resources to train priests, we have developed a new website entitled SanctaMissa.org.
In addition to providing an online multimedia tutorial, sanctamissa.org provides the rubrics of the 1962 Missale Romanum in English, as translated by Rev. Dennis M. Duvelius, the text of Fortescue‘s Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, a ceremonial for altar servers, artilces on the spirituality of the Tridentine Latin Mass, a large resource of liturigical articles, and a ceremonial for liturgical music of the liturgical books of 1962. Please check SanctaMissa.org regularly for new updates, as the documents we have prepared are put online.
Rev. C. Frank Phillips, C.R., the Founder and Superior of the The Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius (Chicago), hopes that sanctamissa.org will assist priests in praying the Mass of the Ages with deeper reverence and love, so that the faithful attracted to this venerable rite might more profoundly enter into the Eucharistic Sacrifice.
To further assist priests in the celebration of the ancient Roman Rite, the webstore of The Canons Regular of Saint John Cantius (cantius.org/webstore or 1-800-345-6665) will be adding new liturgical items (Liber Usualis, Missale Romanum, Rituale Romanum, altar cards, etc.) to its catalogue in the coming week.
As we begin our 10th year of service in the Archdiocese of Chicago dedicated to the Restoration of the Sacred, we will continually be working to enhance and expand SanctaMissa.org. At present the website is only available in English. We are now gathering resources for the traditional Latin Mass now in Chinese, Lithuanian, Spanish and Polish. Those persons who might be able to assist us in gathering resources in these and other languages are invited to contact the Rev. Scott A. Haynes (email AT sanctamissa.org).
At present SanctaMissa.org provides a multimedia presentation of Low Mass for Trinity Sunday. We would like to produce other multimedia presentations of a Requiem Mass, a Missa Cantata, a Missa Solemnis and a Missa Pontificalis, but in order to do this contributions are necessary. Only with by the generosity of the Catholic faithful are we able to continue forming, training and educating priests to celebrate the Traditional Mass according to the 1962 Missal. But exceeding in importance this monetary support is the support of prayer and sacrifice. Tax-deductible donations [Law 501(c)(3)] may be sent to:
Rev. C. Frank Phillips, C.R.
The Canons Regular of St. John Cantius
825 N. Carpenter Street, Chicago, Illinois 60622 USA
A team of Bulgarian archaeologists unearthed Tuesday an ancient stone tomb, dated back to the 4th century BC, Darik News reported.
The team, lead by Krastina Panayotova, stumbled upon the tomb during the annual archaeological excavations on the Harmani beach of the Black Sea town of Sozopol.
A man, probably an athlete, had been buried in the tomb because the team found an object used by athletes in antiquity.
Just a day earlier the archaeologists came upon the grave of another man, probably a gambler. The grave was full of dice, backgammon pieces and coins.
Last week the same team unearthed a tomb of a citizen, who lived in the ancient city of Apollonia, which is today's Sozopol.
The team of Krastina Panayotova is working on the Harmani beach of Sozopol, a site which archaeologist have been exploring for many years now.
Sozopol is one of the oldest towns on Bulgarian Thrace's Black Sea coast. The first settlement on the site dates back to the Bronze Age. Undersea explorations in the region of the port reveal relics of dwellings, ceramic pottery, stone and bone tools from that era. Many anchors from the second and first millennium BC have been discovered in the town's bay, a proof of active shipping since ancient times.
The town, at first called Antheia, was colonized by Anaximander. The name was soon changed to Apollonia, on account of a temple dedicated to Apollo in the town, containing a famous colossal statue of the god by Calamis, 30 cubits high, transported later to Rome by Lucullus and placed in the Capitol. At various times, Apollonia was known as Apollonia Pontica (that is, Apollonia on the Black Sea, the ancient Pontus Euxinus) and Apollonia Magna.
Mankind throughout its history has been drawn to treasure like moths to a flame. For the incredibly small chance of success, treasure seekers have been willing to risk everything, including their lives. Even with all of the modern technology available today, the world is a big place that is loaded with lost treasures. The truth is that very few of them will ever be found, but this does not keep us from looking and dreaming.
One of the most sought after treasures is the coffin of Attila the Hun. Just to provide the proper context, he was one of the most feared barbarians in history and was called the “scourge of God” by the Romans. During his reign, the Huns controlled a vast territory and it is even rumored that they lived, ate, and slept on horseback. While some stories may vary, it is an undeniable fact that Attila left an immortal footprint on history.
So what happened to this great warrior? Attila, ironically, did not die in battle as many of his followers did. He passed away on his wedding night to his latest wife, the beautiful Ildiko, in the year 453 AD. His body was found drenched in blood and there was no evidence of any wound inflicted. It is said that he suffered from a massive nosebleed and drowned in his own blood. The dead body was soon transported to somewhere in the great grass covered plain, and put on display in a silk tent. Written accounts describe how warriors entered the tent, ripped the hair from their heads and mutilated their faces. The reason for these acts was to ensure that Attila was mourned by the blood of warriors and not the tears of women.
While the exact cause of his death may never be known, there is considerable agreement that he was placed in a triple coffin made of gold, surrounded by silver, and then finally by iron. The gold and silver are said to symbolize his status as a mighty king, while the iron designates his strength and power over all nations. Armaments from defeated enemies, along with precious stones and ornaments, were also added to Attila’s elaborate coffins.
This fabulous treasure, however, had to be hidden from those seeking its riches. One story says that a group of men were sent to bury the body at night and then all of them were slaughtered. Another tale tells how the body was buried in the steppe and then thousands of horses trampled down the ground around it to conceal its whereabouts. An even more unbelievable story suggests that the Tisza River was redirected over his resting place. While stories about Attila’s burial site are numerous, there is a consensus that it does exist and currently represents one of the world’s most significant lost treasures.
The town of Tápiószentmárton, located southeast of Budapest, has built a replica of Attila’s palace based on the text of Priscus Rhetor, a Roman envoy to the Huns during Attila’s last days. Many believe the Attila’s lost treasure is located somewhere near this town, yet nothing has been found. If you are feeling lucky and believe Priscus, then quit your job, grab a shovel, and seek your fortune. As for me, I will just settle for the new Indiana Jones movie due out next year. Happy hunting!
I due famosi Bronzi di Riace erano forse tre. E' questa l'ipotesi che si fa strada a 35 anni dal ritrovamento dei due guerrieri greci, avvenuto il 16 agosto 1972 nel mare di Riace, a un centinaio di chilometri da Reggio Calabria. L'ipotesi di una terza statua è legata alle scoperte di un ricercatore di Vibo, Giuseppe Braghò, secondo il quale mancano vari reperti che erano con i bronzi. Ma soprattutto una foto inedita mostrerebbe la presenza di una statua diversa da quelle che conosciamo. Sulla vicenda indaga la magistratura e Braghò ha indicato ai carabinieri il nome di una persona che all'epoca casualmente avrebbe assistito alla trafugazione di uno scudo e una lancia e che è pronta a testimoniare. Ma non è tutto, perché Braghò é venuto in possesso anche delle bobine registrate con la voce di un uomo che nel 1981 sosteneva di essere stato il mediatore tra emissari del Getty Museum americano, interessati a reperti archeologici venuti in possesso di alcuni pescatori.
Il fatto, se fosse vero, sosterrebbe la tesi, peraltro sempre rigettata dal Getty Museum, che alcuni reperti archeologici legati ai Bronzi di Riace abbiano preso la via dell'America. Ogni cosa andrà dimostrata, naturalmente. Ma della storia dei Bronzi di Riace molte domande sono ancora senza risposta. Ad esempio, non è chiaro da dove provenissero. Forse un porto greco, ma quale? E dove erano diretti? A Roma? E quando sono finiti in fondo al mare? Perfino il ritrovamento delle due statue, il 16 agosto '72, da parte del turista romano Stefano Mariottini, sub dilettante che trascorreva le vacanze a Riace, fu messo in discussione da quattro ragazzi del posto che dicevano di averle avvistate per primi. La storia fini' in tribunale e vinse Mariottini. Erano statue di straordinaria bellezza, forse del V secolo a.C. Alte 2 metri e 1,98 , raffigurano due guerrieri nudi. Uno barbuto, atletico, di colore nero. Il secondo più robusto, con il corpo verdastro e più lucido, privo di un occhio. Le statue trasmettono una sensazione di potenza e armonia. Con scarsa fantasia, per distinguerle vennero denominate statua A e statua B. Da allora questi sono i loro nomi. Restaurate prima a Reggio e poi a Firenze, nel 1980 il Presidente Pertini le volle al Quirinale, dove accorsero migliaia di visitatori. Un milione di persone le videro a Reggio fra il 1981 e il 1982. Uno dei bronzi raffigura Tideo, eroe dell'Etolia, figlio di Ares. L'altro sarebbe Anfiarao, guerriero che profetizzò la propria morte a Tebe.
Secondo gli esperti, le due statue forse facevano parte di un gruppo di bronzi collocato nella piazza principale di Argo, un monumento agli eroi che fallirono nella conquista di Tebe, e ai loro figli che riuscirono poi nell'impresa. Il gruppo di Argo comprendeva dunque i bronzi di Riace e altre statue, una quindicina in tutto. Ma che ci facevano i Bronzi nel mare di Calabria ? E' probabile che le due statue fossero in viaggio verso Roma, ma un naufragio ha rovinato tutto. E le altre 13 statue erano tutte insieme ai Bronzi? Ed erano altrettanto belle? Qualche dubbio potrebbe toglierlo un'indagine approfondita sulla presenza di materiali metallici rilevata nel 2004 da una nave americana nella zona del ritrovamento. Il ministro dei Beni culturali Francesco Rutelli ha appena dato il via libera a una spedizione scientifica per verificare che cosa c'é sotto i fondali di Riace. Torniamo al terzo bronzo. Secondo la ricostruzione di Braghò, Mariottini, in una relazione del 17 agosto 1972, parlava di "un gruppo di statue" e affermava che "le due emergenti rappresentano due figure maschili nude... sono di colore bruno scuro (...) e si conservano perfettamente, il modellato è privo di incrostazioni evidenti".
"A parte lo scudo che non c'é più - sottolinea Braghò - c'é una foto inedita che mostra un bronzo totalmente irriconoscibile per le incrostazioni, mentre le due statue sono definite dallo stesso Mariottini senza incrostazioni, anzi con modellato pulito. La foto mostra come il bronzo A non fosse affatto riconoscibile nei tratti. Allora qual è la seconda statua pulita cui fa riferimento Mariottini? Del resto, dell'esistenza del terzo bronzo si è sempre parlato senza però poterne dimostrare l'esistenza".
Archeologists have discovered a footprint made by the sandal of a Roman soldier - one of the few such finds in the world - in a wall surrounding the Hellenistic-Roman city of Sussita, east of Lake Kinneret.
The discovery of the print made by a hobnailed sandal, the kind used by the Roman legions during the time when Rome ruled the region, led to the presumption that legionnaires or former legionnaires participated in the construction of walls such as the one in which the footprint was found.
"We know that urban construction projects in Israel were run by the cities themselves, and the Roman imperial system wasn't involved," said Professor Arthur Segal of Haifa University, who is heading the excavation.
Last year, the archeologists found an inscription written by two Sussita residents when they finished their Roman military service, leading to the theory that the sandal print may also have been left by someone who was no longer serving in the Roman army.
"It may be that the sandal owner whose markings we found was also not a soldier in active service, but a soldier who was released and still held onto his military equipment," said Segal.
Prior to this finding, the sandal prints of Roman legionnaires had been discovered only in Hadrian's Wall in Britain.
Sussita, which has existed for about 1,000 years, was apparently founded during the days of the Seleucid king Antiochus Epiphanes, known in Jewish history for his decrees against the Jews.
The Greek name of the city was Hippos, which means horse, and the name Sussita is the Aramaic version of the same name. The meaning also holds in modern Hebrew, in which sus means "horse."
Sources from the Roman period show that there was hostility between the largely Christian city of Sussita and the mostly Jewish city of Tiberias, on the other side of the Kinneret, said Segal.
Most of the construction in Sussita took place during the Roman period, when Beit She'an, Caesarea and other ancient cities also flourished. Sussita continued to flourish into the Byzantine period, during which most of the city residents became Christians. As of the end of the fifth century, there were eight churches in the city, which remained in existence even after the Arab conquest in the seventh century.
But an earthquake hit the region in 749, during the Umayyad dynasty, causing the destruction of Sussita, which lies on the Syrian-African rift.
"The earthquake was a dramatic event described in many sources," said Segal. "Unlike other cities, Sussita was destroyed and its residents never returned."
Yet it is precisely because of the earthquake that the remnants of the city have been preserved particularly well. Since there was no subsequent settlement of Sussita, there was no one to use the stones of the Roman-era city for rebuilding.
The dig is being run by the Zinman Institute of Archaeology at Haifa University, in conjunction with researchers from the Polish Academy of Sciences and Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Archaeologists have discovered a more than 2,000-year-old Etruscan tomb perfectly preserved in the hills of Tuscany with a treasure trove of artifacts inside, including urns that hold the remains of about 30 people.
The tomb, in the Tuscan town of Civitella Paganico, probably dates from between the 1st and 3rd centuries B.C., when Etruscan power was in decline, Andrea Marcocci, who led digging at the site, told Reuters.
“It’s quite rare to find a tomb intact like this,” said Marcocci, who had suspected one might exist in the area after work on a nearby road scattered pieces of artifacts. “When we found fragments outside, we thought we would find that the tomb had been violated. But the main burial room was completely intact.”
Inside the tomb, a narrow corridor led to a small burial chamber, about 6.5 feet (2 meters) long and 6 feet (1.79 meters) wide, he said. It housed about 80 objects, including vases and mirrors in bronze and ceramic. Urns holding human remains were also found.
“It’s quite exceptional to find so many objects in a tomb so small,” Marcocci said. “Some of the vases (urns) were fairly small, so we think they were probably for children.”
One of Italy’s first and most mysterious civilizations, the Etruscans lived north of Rome in present day regions of Tuscany and Umbria. Their civilization lasted for about 1,000 years, reaching its height roughly from the 7th to the 6th century B.C., before its cities were replaced by Roman settlements.
Much of what is known about the Etruscans derives from other lavish burial sites, decorated with paintings and filled with vases and other objects.
Roman Polanski's next movie is set 2,000 years ago, but it will still have plenty to say about the modern world, the French-Polish director is promising.
The Oscar winner is currently working on the screenplay for the film adaptation of Pompeii, British writer Robert Harris' novel about the ancient Roman city buried by the 79 AD Mount Vesuvius eruption.
He says that what drew him to the project are the analogies he saw between the ancient and modern worlds.
"Every time I reflect on how advanced the Romans were, both scientifically and culturally, and on how they would never have thought of the 15 centuries of darkness that would follow them, I think of us a little," he said recently at an Italian film festival for children.
"The energy of that age is comparable with that of today - then it was powered by slavery, today we use oil. "After that the world lived in darkness for so long and this makes me think that a similarly terrible period will follow us. "Just like then, there is so much barbarism today, I'm thinking of the fanaticism and terrorism we see".
Polanski plans to shoot parts of the movie, which has a reported budget of $150 million and is expected to come out next year, in Campania, the southern Italian region that is home to Pompeii.
But he has stressed that he will not use the Pompeii archaeological site or Mount Vesuvius, two of Italy's top tourist attractions, during filming: "I'm not interested in the ruins or in Vesuvius because they were different from how we see them now. "Pompeii will be recreated on a set and there will be lots of special effects".
He said the film will be a "thriller with a love story in the background".
The focus of the story is Marcus Attilius, a fictional engineer in charge of Pompeii's Aqua Augusta aqueduct who realizes before anyone else that the volcano is about to blow.
Polanski,74, said he will devote less space than Harris did to the character of Pliny the Elder, the Roman commander and natural philosopher who died trying to evacuate people from the eruption.
Polanski was born in France in 1933 but grew up in Poland.
The director's films include Rosemary's Baby, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Chinatown, Tess, Frantic, Bitter Moon and The Pianist, for which he won an Academy Award in 2002 along with its star, Adrien Brody.
Polanski escaped from Poland during the Second World War but his parents were sent to a Nazi concentration camp and his mother died in the gas chambers.
The director's experiences were evoked in The Pianist, which recounts the true story of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish virtuoso pianist who miraculously survived the Warsaw Ghetto and the Holocaust but was the only member of his family to escape deportation.
The film also won the coveted Palme d'Or at Cannes, Britian's BAFTA award and the Donatello David for best foreign film, Italy's equivalent of an Oscar.
Aldor Balazs writes: "I am currently writing an article for the local museum about a coin of roman moneyer Publius Crepusius, and I was surprised to see that it is very difficult to find any information about him or his family, Gens Crepusia. If anybody has some old articles, or could point me to the right direction where to search for any kind of information about him or his family, I would appreciate any help."
A GANG of teenage robbers targeted the wrong Fringe performer when they stole from a broadsword-wielding Greek warrior.
The mythical hero Odysseus - also known as student Tom Clews - chased them down, brandishing his solid-steel sword and in full costume.
The 20-year-old managed to hold three of them for the police and get his money back, despite being hit on the head with a bottle.
Police said the gang was wanted in connection with other robberies from Fringe performers in the city centre and praised the student for his actions.
The drama unfolded when members of the Live Wire Theatre group were walking through the Grassmarket on their way back to their hostel in the early hours of Thursday.
As they approached the hostel, one of the cast handed Tom £20 to buy some food. The youths barged into them, snatched the money and ran off.
Tom, who practises the martial art Tai Kwando and is a skilled swordsman, shrugged off his heroics.
He said: "I didn't really think, it was just a surge of adrenaline and fear and I just took off after them.
"Something hit me on the head and it smashed like a bottle, but I don't have any cuts or anything, which is quite lucky.
"I don't really know what I was doing but I had the sword, which is really heavy, and so I tried to trip them up with it and managed to take the legs away from a few of them.
"It's hard to describe what it was like but I certainly didn't feel heroic. It would sound good to say I was in character as Odysseus and that's why I chased them, but I think I was just angry that they'd taken the money. I did think I would get in trouble with the police for having the sword but they said these guys were wanted for other robberies and thanked me."
A spokeswoman for Live Wire Theatre said she was stunned anyone had tried to rob the actor from Oxford while he was in full costume and carrying a sword.
"He doesn't exactly look like the sort of person you would rob anyway, let alone when he's in character, and these young guys really did pick on the wrong man," she said.
"As a company we have been noted for our sword fighting, and we use real, heavy steel swords on stage, so it is very physical.
"Because of the amount of practice he has done, Tom is very used to taking knocks, so he claims he hardly even felt the bottle, just heard the glass smashing, and carried on chasing the guys down.
"He has been to the Fringe with us before, last year when he played Hector in the Iliad, so he's used to playing heroes, but now he can say he really is one."
The story is in marked contrast to a promotional stunt by the theatre company last year that landed it on the wrong side of the law.
The group was cautioned by officers a day after a widespread terror alert after they were spotted wielding a crossbow outside the Palace of Holyrood House while the Queen was staying there.
People in different countries have their own way of alleviating the ennui and fatigue caused by heat. Ancient Romans reportedly ate snow cones and Emperor Elagabalus, known for his decadence, even had a mountain of snow erected in his garden to keep himself cool.
The Greeks called it ``hubris'' and it was a crime in Athens. Aristotle defined hubris as any behavior meant ``to cause shame to the victim, not in order that anything may happen to you, nor because anything has happened to you, but merely for your own gratification. Hubris is not the requital of past injuries; this is revenge. As for the pleasure in hubris, its cause is this: Men think that by ill-treating others they make their own superiority the greater.''
As an adult I stood in the shade of large Neem trees alongside the Indus River near Sukkur and the water was warm, brown and turbid. Boats were pulled up along the bank to the south side of the Ayub Railway Bridge. I was informed that these belonged to the Mohana boat people, who one man said were probably descendants of soldiers who had accompanied Alexander the Great. (You know, grey eyes, fair skin.)
There is an air of melancholy surrounding the Euphronios Krater, an imposing ceramic vessel made in Greece in the sixth century B.C. that has long been one of the Metropolitan Museum's prized possessions. Once used for the mixing of water and wine at symposia, it sits somewhat anonymously in a side room, peering like a forgotten child onto the new Classical Galleries down the hall. The krater's sense of exclusion is justified: It was caught up in the same kind of cultural property dispute with the Italian government that led the J. Paul Getty Museum last week to agree to return 40 of its antiquities. As a result, the krater will leave New York for good this January. So as the Met experiences its own Classical revival, the magnificent krater is saying goodbye (albeit quietly) to the city it has called home for the past 35 years.
The krater is named for its painter, Euphronios, an Athenian artist who worked at a time of great change. Scholars refer to Euphronios and his collaborators as "the Pioneers," a group of potters and painters regarded as among the first self-styled artistic schools in Western history. Working in the new red-figure technique -- which enabled them to depict the body in red hues, as opposed to the black paint that predominated early on -- they displayed a new sensitivity to human anatomy and a keen interest in creating a sense of depth in their paintings.
The krater was probably produced in 515 B.C., seven years before the establishment of democracy in the city of Athens. On one side of the vase, Euphronios depicted the death of the mythic hero Sarpedon, a scene plucked from Homer's "Iliad." On the opposite side, he captured an image of Athenian youths arming for battle. The two sides were undoubtedly planned as a couplet, and at a time when the common men of Athens were beginning to feel their democratic oats, Euphronios saw a parallel between the everyday heroism of his compatriots and that of Sarpedon generations before.
To contemporary eyes, Euphronios's comparison seems tragically flawed on one obvious count: If the men of Athens are modern-day Sarpedons, then aren't they rushing off to the same sad fate that befell their forebear? Our confusion is well-placed, but Euphronios thought differently.
There is a famous passage in Homer's "Iliad" that describes a hero's death, a passage that probably ran through Euphronios's head as he painted the krater: "Everything that befalls a young man killed in battle becomes his glory/Though dead he may be, he is beautiful, no matter what happens." Like most Greeks of his day, Euphronios interpreted the poetry of Homer much in the same way that Western cultures today read the Bible: as a moral vision and ethical compass. Homer's description of the felled warrior was a basic ideal in Greek culture -- every soldier aspired to that death.
Thus, to wish Sarpedon's fate on a warrior was no condemnation, but a commendation of the highest order.
There is a certain ambiguity in Homer's description of the fallen soldier. The word he used to describe the youth, "kala," denotes both physical beauty and moral virtue, as if to suggest that a soldier's sheer bravery -- though perhaps inadequate to save his life in battle -- endows him with unparalleled beauty in the throes of death. The basic message of Euphronios's krater thus becomes "Fight hard to earn a glorious death."
Euphronios cleverly conveys this lesson by contrasting the figures on either side of the krater. On the one hand, Sarpedon is painted in remarkable detail, his musculature vividly articulated through delicate brush strokes and a rudimentary sense of foreshortening. The scene is also imbued with a palpable sense of melancholy; among the side's touching details, the figure of Death -- the winged god on the right -- gently cups Sarpedon's head as it inclines sorrowfully toward the ground.
The Athenian youths, on the other hand, show none of this realism or emotion. They are depicted in unfeeling profile poses reminiscent of rigid Egyptian statues. They also lack Sarpedon's anatomical detail, and what little musculature they boast is outlined in faint, almost invisible lines. Altogether they look rather cartoonish, their smiles vacant and their bodies undeveloped.
Euphronios wasn't lazy when he painted the Athenian youths. The fact that they appear "embryonic" next to Sarpedon was Euphronios's way of visualizing what Homer meant when he said that "everything that befalls a young man killed in battle becomes his glory." Sarpedon is beautiful not because Euphronios spent more time on his portrait than others, but because he died a hero's death. The youths are not beautiful precisely because they have yet to fall gloriously in the battle that awaits them.
As a result, there is an undeniable sense of sadness when one looks at the young soldiers. It's difficult to look beyond the basic fact that their lives are soon to end. For most of us, at least, looking at the krater with 21st-century eyes, the laurels of a soldier's death do not trump the promise of a long life yet to be lived.
Sometime after Euphronios finished his work, the vase was shipped to Italy, where it was sealed inside an Etruscan tomb. Although the krater certainly won't be sealed up again when it goes back to Italy, come January it will be gone from America. Gone, but not forgotten by those lucky enough to have seen it at the Met.
The role is consciously or unconsciously modelled on Marlon Brando, who made his name with southern roughnecks but also played upper-class southerners like the air force pilot in Sayonara and the repressed homosexual army officer in Reflections in a Golden Eye. There are also apparently a couple of real-life people Schrader had in mind while conceiving this character. While Carter is waiting in a car for one of his middle-class ladies, he reads Robert Graves's Penguin edition of Suetonius's The Twelve Caesars, one of Gore Vidal's favourite books and the subject of a major essay (the first he wrote) on power and corruption. Later, while Carter is packing his books to leave Washington, the camera alights on Party of the Century, Deborah Davis's account of that ultimate 'walker' in smart social circles, Truman Capote, and his fall from grace.
THE last dedicated A-levels in Latin and Greek are to be scrapped from next year, sparking opposition from the country’s leading classicists.
As thousands of A-level candidates wait to get their results this week, it has emerged that the OCR exam board is planning to combine the two subjects along with ancient history and classical civilisation into a single classics A-level, to be taught from 2008. Other boards that set A-levels in England have already combined the subjects or stopped offering them.
Although the classics A-level would still allow pupils to specialise in Greek, Latin or the other two subjects, opponents believe the proposed syllabus waters down the knowledge required.
“We do not think it provides adequate training for university classics,” said Christopher Pelling, regius professor of Greek at Oxford University. “The demands of a first-year university course would demand a vast leap from what students will learn at A-level.”
But Greg Watson, chief executive of OCR, defended the new qualification, saying it could revive classics. Last year just 183 candidates sat Greek A-level and 927 took Latin.
“There is a real eagerness to get classics moving again. Most of the classicists we’ve talked to say this seems to be the right way to go,” said Watson. “Maybe the reason people aren’t doing classics is because it seems a bit intimidating or a bit fusty and giving them the opportunity to combine Latin, for example with a couple of units of history and culture, could bring the subject to life.”
The clash over classics comes in advance of A-level results to be released this Thursday that are set to revive the row over whether standards are going up or down.
Officials expect a quarter of students will gain A grades, up from 24.1% last year, and that overall results will improve for the 25th successive year. So many are now gaining As that reforms are to be introduced from next year to help universities distinguish the best.
“Some of the most selective universities have been saying with some justification that A-levels have not been stretching enough at the top end,” said Watson The changes include a new grade of A*, likely to require a mark of 90%. The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority estimates that 5-6% of papers will win A*s, creating an elite from whom leading universities are likely to choose successful applicants.
Early Doors doesn't know whether Wayne Rooney is a fan of Greek mythology, but his latest metatarsal-related lay-off should give him a chance to get his chops around Homer's Iliad (Put your 'D'Oh!' jokes away).
Said poem focuses on the Wrath of Achilles during the Trojan War. Achilles was a notorious hard case, and when in battle experienced "consuming rage".
Homer adds: "His anger is at some times wavering, at other times absolute." Remind you of anyone?
Achilles was also known as the most handsome of all the Trojan warriors. The Rooney parallels go on...
Achilles went on the rampage against the Greeks, killing Hector (the Kaka of his day) before being struck down - spookily enough - by a blow to the Achilles.
The warrior had been made all but immortal when his mother dipped him in the river Styx as a baby but, as she was holding his heel, that part of his body remained vulnerable to injury.
All of which circuitous back story brings us to Rooney, whose three foot breaks in three years leads Early Doors to wonder whether he was being held by the metatarsals when dipped into a vat of magical chip fat when he was a tot.
And seeing as nobody likes the word 'metatarsal' anyway, Early Doors hearby commences its campaign to have it renamed 'Rooney's Bone'.
TO visit Rome's premier training school for gladiators – the Gruppo Storico Romano, or Roman Historical Group – it helps to have had a stiff drink first: just finding the place is an obscure test of nerve. Or so it seems one moonless night when a taxi driver drops me on an empty stretch of the Via Appia Antica, the ancient Appian Way, points grimly down a muddy side alley and speeds off into the fog. Groping my way through the nebulous darkness, I am quickly surrounded by a pack of barking dogs that eagerly follow my every step.
After stumbling into several abandoned yards, I spot a dimly lit paddock full of promising-looking debris, including a full-sized catapult and sinister items such as tridents, nets and helmets. As the door to a corrugated shed creaks open, I am relieved to see six students in tunics, ready for blood.
"Salve," roars the teacher, Carmelo Canzaro, a burly figure with a close-shaven head. (The Latin greeting is still commonly used by Italians.) By day, Canzaro runs a clothing store, he explains, but by night his name is changed to Spiculus and he teaches the cut and thrust of the arena.
The Gruppo Storico is one of a dozen amateur groups in Rome catering to history-loving Italians who want to learn the arts of the gladiator. The students are everyday Roman citizens such as bank clerks and truck drivers. Aiming at authenticity, they want nothing to do with the cheesy Roman legionnaires who hang around the Colosseum, bumming tips from tourists in exchange for photo ops. This is a serious business.
"There's nothing in ancient texts that describes gladiators' training techniques, so we have to improvise, using later information," Spiculus admits as he presents me with my wooden training sword. The school offers occasional theory lessons on hand-to-hand combat, but I have arrived for the more practical training, so I dash into a back room to change into my tunic (a fetching little number in rough white cotton). As I begin to go through the combat routine – we move through a dance-like set of movements, chanting – Spiculus adds ominously: "You have to pay attention. One lapse and you can be caught off balance."
He is sitting the evening out, since he's recovering from a broken ankle. (The injury occurred while battling with an iron sword, Spiculus tells us; even so, I hope my fellow students won't become overly enthusiastic with their wooden versions.)
During the rest period, a wiry young computer programmer, Massimo Carnevali, whose gladiatorial name is Kyros, explains the school's appeal.
"It combines history with physical exercise," he enthuses. "I love the discipline." An American Latin student living in Rome agrees: "I loved this stuff before, but to have the opportunity to come here and chop at people with swords is a dream come true."
I spend a good 1½ hours swinging away with my toy weapon and feel as if I am getting the hang of it, although my co-ordination leaves something to be desired. "None of us is Russell Crowe," one of my sparring partners admits, as we down weapons. As the group disbands, I slip out into the darkness and pass Spiculus constructing a large wooden box. "The difficulty with modern students is to convey the mentality of the gladiator, the idea of fighting to the death," he says. "Many students start off with a casual attitude, but they soon learn what it was like to be in the arena."
I ask Spiculus what he's building: a gruesome battle device from antiquity? He shakes his head. "No, this is where we're putting the Nativity scene."
THE enthusiasm of the bank-clerk gladiators may be a little extreme, but it is hardly rare in Rome these days. Indeed, Romans are basking in a new golden age of interest in the classical past, which was kick-started by the city's year 2000 Grand Jubilee. This energetic new spirit, and influx of hard euro currency, can still be felt at all Rome's classical sites, once notorious for their apathetic staff, erratic schedules and eerie absence of display labels.
Arguably, Roman museums are now among the most elegantly designed, and its archeological sites the most user-friendly in the world.
"Compared to Rome in the mid-1980s, the improvement is incredible," Nicola Laneri, a Roman archeologist, tells me over pizza in the shadow of the Colosseum. "And there is another big change: it's not just foreign tourists who are taking advantage of the cultural improvements. A huge number of Italians are now visiting them."
The popular enthusiasm is such that Rome's archeology department cannot keep up with demand. A roster of fringe attractions is open one day a month for Italian language-only tours, on a calendar that is erratic enough to discourage all but the most persistent. I stumbled on the schedule by accident years ago when I picked up a nondescript carnet di viaggio at a museum store and noticed the page titled Archaeologia Nascota (Hidden Archaeology) whose prime objective is to reveal otherwise off-limits tombs, temples and sanctuaries for Roman aficionados.
So, on a sunny Saturday morning, I found myself the only foreigner in a crowd of 50 Italians standing outside one of Rome's most intriguing landmarks: the pyramid of Gaius Cestius, an Egyptian-style tomb built by a Roman nobleman in the Augustan age. It was a genially chaotic affair; only 30 people in the crowd had reservations and, after much heated discussion, the lucky ones were allowed through an iron gate, down steps to a lush green grove, crowned with poplar trees and prowled by a dozen cats. Then we filed into the pyramid, hunching through the entrance like grave robbers. ("Last one in close the door!" the guide yelled out. "If those cats get in, we'll never get them out!")
There was a heady sense of privilege inside the humid inner chamber as we gazed at frescos of four winged figures on the ceiling and one enigmatic piece of graffito from the 1600s: Antonio.
Meanwhile, all across Rome, urban planners have been trying creative new ways to blend ancient and modern. The Markets of Trajan, created in the 2nd century AD as a multistorey shopping mall, now double as a gallery space for contemporary art. In the maze of vaulted arcades, where vendors once hawked Arabian spices and Red Sea pearls, and where fish were kept fresh in salt water pumped 16km from the coast, the ancient shops arefilled with metal sculptures, videoinstallations and mannequins flaunting Dolce & Gabbana suits as minimalist harmonies twang through the corridors.
Equally effective is the Montemartini Museum, which was opened as a temporary exhibit in 1997 and became so popular with Romans that it has been made permanent: sensuous marble sculptures stand among the soaring metal turbines of an abandoned 19th-century electrical plant.
Meanwhile, the dark corridors inside the Colosseum have been turned into an exhibition space using the latest modern audiovisual techniques, projecting films on to scrims, while the nearby Crypta Balbi Museum uses sleek chrome and glass passageways to allow visitors into the bowels of a building that has been occupied almost continuously for 2000 years, tracing Rome's layered history back to 100BC on this one spot. There are even vaguely sci-fi plans for transparent walkways to link the various forums in the city's heart.
Other adventures into the ancient-meets-modern design world have been more contentious. In April, Italian officials unveiled a new museum pavilion designed by US architect Richard Meier to house the magnificent 9m-high Ara Pacis, or altar of peace, a sacrificial altar dedicated by the emperor Augustus in 9BC to celebrate the advent of Pax Romana.
The first new edifice in Rome's historic centre since the days of Mussolini, it has been criticised for its starkly angular travertine and glass design, which many Romans feel violates the traditional ambience of the old city. In one notorious attack, the vocal undersecretary to the Ministry of Culture, Vittorio Sgarbi, compared its boxlike form with a petrol station in Dallas and burned the building in effigy at a demonstration; others have mourned the Los Angelisation of Rome. But such attacks are rare: most of the experiments have been warmly embraced by Romans and have quickly become part of the city's fabric.
ON my last night in Rome, still nursing bruises from my session at the gladiator school, I decide to visit the most successful of Rome's recent renovations, the Campidoglio, or Capitoline Hill. The site is thick with symbolism: throughout antiquity, this was the most sacred of the city's seven hills, crowned by the golden-roofed Temple of Jupiter. Inside, an immense statue of the god presided over magnificent artworks from across the Roman world. Today, the site is occupied by the newly buffed Capitoline museums, twin renaissance palaces whose gleaming hallways are lined with ancient masterpieces. But the most beloved corner of the museum – a modern sacred site for Italians – is the new outdoor cafe. It is located on the precise spot where ancient travellers once came to gaze out on Rome, the eighth wonder of the ancient world, whose marble buildings, gushed Greek orator Aelius Aristides, covered the horizon "like snow".
That ancient euphoria is not hard to recapture. Emerging on to the expansive cafe terrace at dusk, cradling a glass of prosecco, I gaze across Rome's terracotta roofs turning pink in the sunset and silently congratulate myself on being in the most beautiful city on Earth, just as I might have done 2000 years ago. And nobody is chopping at me with a wooden sword.
At first sight, it looked like a recreation of the legendary burning of the city of Rome under the reign of the Emperor Nero in 64AD.
Flames suddenly leapt 30 and 40 metres high into the hot and humid summer-night air from a storage facility at Cinecitta (Film City).
These are the studios on the southern outskirts of the Italian capital where many epic films about ancient Rome have been shot.
Quo Vadis (1949) was made here, as was Ben Hur (1958), directed by William Wyler.
Police said the store where the fire started contained large quantities of highly inflammable synthetic materials.
The fire broke out on the set of Rome, a completed joint HBO and BBC mini-series on the ancient empire.
The main set, which also includes a mock Roman forum, was not destroyed, but some other parts were heavily damaged, HBO spokeswoman Mara Mikialian said.
She added that shooting of the second series of Rome had been already completed.
Rome's fire chief feared the flames would spread to the densely-populated neighbourhood next to the spacious studio compound.
It took three hours to bring the blaze under control.
But according to the head of the studios, Francesco Carducci Artenisio, only a small section of the Cinecitta complex was affected by the fire and future productions will not be compromised.
The cause of the fire is believed to have been an electrical short circuit, although investigators have not yet entirely ruled out the possibility of arson.
Cinecitta was the brainchild of Italy's Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. It was to be the biggest film studio complex in Europe.
He personally opened the studios - built in what was then open countryside, nine kilometres from the city centre - in April 1937.
The original complex contained 73 buildings and 16 sound stages set amid acres of gardens.
Mussolini also set up his propaganda documentary and news film unit here.
Today it contains one of the most valuable film archives of the events of the 1920s and 1930s.
In Cinecitta's first six years of existence, more than 300 full-length feature films were produced, under the direction of such famous film-makers as Roberto Rosellini, Vittorio de Sica and Luchino Visconti.
Pier Paolo Pasolini and Federico Fellini also worked at Cinecitta.
In the 1950s Cinecitta was dubbed "Hollywood on the Tiber".
Dame Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were among the Hollywood stars who liked to film in Rome.
But by the 1990s cheaper locations in more exotic countries attracted Hollywood film-makers more, and Cinecitta fell on hard times.
More recently the studios had an expensive makeover to enable them to offer facilities for smaller-budget TV productions.
But big-budget films do continue to be produced in Rome - American director Martin Scorsese came to Cinecitta to shoot Gangs of New York, starring Daniel Day-Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio.
E' senza dubbio uno dei ritrovamenti archeologici piu' importanti che sono stati effettuati negli ultimi anni, non solo nel comune di Civitella Paganico, in provincia di Grosseto. Si tratta di una tomba risalente al periodo etrusco-romano, stando almeno alle prime informazioni raccolte, tra le piu' grandi ritrovate sul territorio. Le operazioni di scavo, iniziate proprio una settimana fa, stanno portando alla luce 13 sepolture, delle quali 3 urne cinerarie e 10 ossari con coperchio a ciotola.
Oltre alle sepolture sono stati finora recuperati 4 bronzi, tra i quali e' stato identificato un "kyathos". Comunque il condizionale e' d'obbligo perche' la camera funeraria e' appena stata raggiunta e le operazioni di recupero sono appena iniziate. La tomba si compone di un "dromos" il corridoio di accesso lungo circa tre metri e la camera funeraria vera e propria, posta a circa due metri sotto il livello della strada.
Gli scavi sono condotti dall'Associazione archeologica "Odysseus", della quale fa parte un gruppo di archeologi, architetti, studenti e specializzandi, in collaborazione con la Soprintendenza ai Beni Archeologici che ha dato il via alle operazioni di sgombero dei reperti. In giornata saranno trasferiti per essere studiati ed eventualmente restaurati, in attesa di una collocazione definitiva. L'area di scavo si trova a Casenovole, nel terreno della societa' "L'Elefante", proprietaria del Castello di Casenovole.
The world's oldest known ancient thermal city is scheduled to be flooded on August 15. Located in the very center of the lake, the city will be submerged under water. Yet fighting against the odds, volunteers and archeologists are trying to save the city or at least unearth it before all artifacts are lost under the soil and water.
The struggle between the sacrifice of a 2,000-year-old city for a 50 to 60-year-old water project seems to be tipping in favor of the latter. State Water Affairs (DSİ) second zone Director Ayhan Sarıyıldız says that the decision in the following days will probably go in favor of Yortanlı dam.
Volunteers trying to save the city, worked under the leadership of Scientific Excavation Committee president from Trakya University's Faculty of Science and Letters Archaeology Department Professor Ahmet Yaraş.
"Even if it is to be flooded on August 15, we want the permission to dig the area up to the last minute," said Yaraş. "We do not know what we are losing. International institutions want answers but the authorities gain time. They did not give us the excavation permission this year. They are trying to prevent a scientific research," Yaraş told the Turkish Daily News.
Locals also support the Yortanlı dam project. Villagers in the area, many of whom earn their living from agriculture, have mixed feelings as the dam will provide water needed for irrigation. The Bergama Chamber of Agriculture backs the Yortanlı Dam farmer's committee. The Chairman of the farmer's committee Bedri Çakmaklıoğulları stated that they did not oppose the ancient city. He underlined that the dam was of vital importance for the 60,000 locals. The farmers claim that the dam will contribute a lot to the district's economy with an annual net income increase of YTL 22 billion.
Yaraş believes that political leaders in the area promised excavations in order to secure votes before the elections, and are now turning a blind eye to the archaeological research. "The parties used the issue to collect votes before the elections. Yet, they should not ignore that trials are still ongoing. They have to wait for the excavations," said Yaraş. "They have to get permission for the scientific studies." Yaraş said a European Union delegation contributed 3 million euros for the preservation of the archaeological site. The European Parliament also contacted the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs in order to save the ancient city. "Yet this year they did not give permission to excavate. The ministry of culture is responsible for this. How ironic! They ruin the thing they are bound to protect," said Yaraş.
The local people complain about unemployment and say farming is how they make a living. Allianoi Initiative Members claim that the temporary local economic concerns will cost, in the end, an arm and a leg. On the other hand, excavation committee members hope that the government will not let Allianoi be destroyed.
Article number 63 of the Culture and Natural Heritage Conservation Law requires that the ancient city is not flooded, according to Allianoi Initiative Group Spokesman Arif Ali Cangı. "You cannot ruin a historical protected area. Someone is trying to make politics over the waterless farmers," he said. In 2005 the opening ceremony of the dam was on Prime Minister Erdoğan's agenda, but after the public outcry, it was brought to a halt, explained Cangı. "According to a decision taken on Nov. 13, 2005 by the Protection Committee, finding a solution to protect the ancient city was of priority. What changed now? Nothing!" exclaimed Cangı. "Letting the city be submerged is a totally illegal action. The project should have been modified at least not to harm Allianoi."
The floodwaters have not arrived yet but the decision is expected to be in favor of the dam. A team of diggers is waiting at the excavation site as the excavation clearance has not been given.
Home of Asklepion
Allianoi is located to the northeast of Bergama (ancient Pergamon) in İzmir. It is right in the middle of the Yortanlı dam reservoir area, where the Paşa Ilıcası (Pasha's Baths) is located. Throughout history, the city was known as the "native land of the god of health Asklepion". Established in the Hellenistic age, for over 15 centuries, it enjoyed the reputation of being an excellent healing center, with spring waters in the therapeutic 45 to 55 centigrade range. Up until the 11th century, it was regarded as one of the world's most important health centers. The complex has been adjudged a Class A archaeological site.
Many specialists, like archaeologists, art historians, architects, anthropologists, photographers and students of archaeology, art history, restoration and architecture departments of different universities are taking part in the Allıanoı excavations. The Pan-European Federation for Heritage " a non-profit umbrella group " joined the European Council and UNESCO and wrote a letter to Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül to save Allianoi. Since 1994, numerous sculptures, ceramic pieces, metallic findings and glass artifacts have been recovered, spanning from the Roman to Byzantine periods.
A large fire broke out late on Thursday at the legendary Cinecitta film studios in Rome, with firefighters scrambling to prevent the flames spreading to the nearby historic centre of the city.
The fire started around 10:00pm (local time) and destroyed a 2,000 square-metre hangar where sets for films were stored, before spreading to several other buildings.
"There are flames up to 30 to 40 metres high, because it is wood and synthetic materials that are burning," Guido Parisi, the commander of the Rome region firefighters, was quoted as saying by the ANSA news agency.
"We're going to use aircraft because the flames must be fought from all sides in order to prevent them from spreading further," he said, adding he feared his firefighters would need all night to bring the fire under control.
He says there have been no injuries from the flames or smoke.
Eleven fire engines had been dispatched to the film studios.
No flames or smoke were visible from the studio's entrance, according to an AFP photographer.
The operational centre for the Rome fire service could not provide any details about the scale of the fire when contacted by AFP.
The studios, situated in a vast complex a few kilometres from the historic centre of Rome, celebrated their 70th anniversary last April.
Several Italian media outlets reported the fire started where the Anglo-American television production Rome - about the birth of the Roman empire - had been filmed and had destroyed its sets.
Sherry Fox writes to inform us that Danielle Parks, well known for her studies on Cyprus, died 31 July, of leukemia.
She was in my American School summer session in 1990 and I remember her constant excitement -- and her many questions!
Below is a summary of what Sherry Fox has written:
Danielle received her undergraduate degree from Brown University and her doctorate from the University of Missouri. Kathleen Slane was her advisor. The majority of her research was undertaken on Roman Cyprus. She ran her own excavation at the Amathus Gate cemetery of ancient Kourion in the Limassol District of Cyprus. She also participated in a number of excavations in Cyprus and was additionally involved in a survey project at Dreamer's Bay near Kourion. I know that she worked in Rome as well.
Danielle was a tenured professor at Brock University in St. Catherine's, Ontario. Her book, The Roman Coinage of Cyprus was published (Nicosia: The Cyprus Numismatic Society) in 2004. I know that she is survived by her husband, Bill Meredith. I worked first with Danielle in 1989 at the Late Roman site of Kalavasos-Kopetra led by Murray McClellan and Marcus Rautman. Danielle loved Cyprus and was a trustee of the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI). I know that she will be missed by many!
Dr. Sherry C. Fox, Director
From her husband, Bill Meredith
, we hear of a Memorial Service and opportunities to contribute in her memory:
A memorial service for Danielle will be held at Knox Presbyterian Church, in Oakville, Ontario, at 2 p.m. Monday, August 20. The church is location at 89 Dunn Street on the southeast corner of Dunn and Lakeshore Blvd. in the centre of downtown Oakville. A reception will follow in the Whiskey Lounge at O'Finn's Irish Temper, which is a short walk from the church. If you are able to attend, please drop me an e-mail so I can provide estimated numbers for O'Finn's.
Travel: Oakville is located just west of Toronto and is easily reached from Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), If you need hotel accommodation, please try the Monte Carlo Inn - Oakville Suites, 374 South Service Rd. E, Oakville, Ontario, L6J 2X6, CANADA Tel: (905) 849-9500, Fax: (905) 849-6405 Reservation inquiries: oakville AT montecarloinns.com For reservations call toll-free from North America 1-877-849-9500.
Leukemia Research | Dr. Danielle Parks Memorial Fund
Danielle's passing reminds us that there is much we don't know and can't cure, and we would like to invite you to contribute to the same Leukemia research at McMaster University that Danielle and I have supported over the last couple of years. The easy way to make a donation is on-line at: https://awc.mcmaster.ca/awc/MakeAGift.aspx
In the drop down for "Designation for this Gift", please select "Dr. Danielle Parks Memorial Fund" under the Faculty of Health Sciences section. Please also indicate that the gift is in memory of Danielle, by completing the "In Memory Of" box. Canadian tax receipts will be issued. Your donations help move forward the science of curing this terrible cancer.
To receive an US tax receipt, please donate to Friends of McMaster Inc, which is a US 501 (c)(3) organization. Cheques should be payable to:
Friends of McMaster Inc. - McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, DTC 414 Hamilton, ON L8S 4L8, Canada.
Donors should attach a note saying that the gift is for the Dr. Danielle Parks Memorial Fund (PLS3159A)
Archaeology of Cyprus | The Parks Prize
Danielle loved Cyprus and had wonderful memories from when she was living at Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI) as a student working on digs and then as a scholar engaged in research. Danielle wanted us to establish a prize that would give other students the same opportunities to travel to Cyprus that she had. Accordingly, Danielle's father Michael and I are establishing an endowed prize in her name that will be given out annually by CAARI. Donations can be made by cheque to: CAARI, 656 Beacon Street, Boston MA 02215, and designated in Memory of Danielle Parks. US tax receipts will be issued. Your donation will help fund travel and living expenses for future archaeologists working in Cyprus.
Blood and Bone Marrow Donations
Starting on the day Danielle was diagnosed, and carrying on throughout her treatment, Danielle was transfused with life-sustaining blood products. During the course of her treatments and travels, she received blood in Cyprus, the UK, and Canada. Please consider donating blood regularly if you are able to.
Further, one of the key treatment options in the battle against leukemia is the bone marrow transplant, which requires bone marrow from a matched donor. Fewer than 30% of bone marrow candidates are able to find a family member who is good match. While in this regard, Danielle was fortunate, many are unable to have the transplant because they are unable to locate a matching donor. Please check with your local blood agency what is required of a bone marrow donor. (In Canada, you need only complete a simple blood test when you sign-up.)
In Canada, please see http://www.bloodservices.ca/ for more information on both donation options. In the U.S., please see www.givelife.org for blood donations, and www.marrow.org for information about becoming a bone marrow donor.
If you have any questions about attending the memorial or making donations, please do not hesitate to call or e-mail me. I hope to see you at the Memorial.
To the many friends and colleagues of Danielle Parks,
I am saddened to tell you that Danielle passed away early the morning of July 31. As with most things, she did it her way, waiting patiently beyond doctors' expectations for her brother to arrive from South Africa before dying comfortably at home, in her own bed, surrounded by her loved ones. Danielle was 41 years old.
During her 2-year battle with leukemia, I heard from her friends, her students, and her colleagues at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario, and the larger archaeological community time and again about how she was loved and respected, and how her leadership, courage, bravery, industriousness, and indomitable spirit served as examples for many.
The care Danielle received for her cancer was world-class - the latest treatment approaches, delivered by a compassionate team of first-rate doctors, nurses, and other health professionals at McMaster University Medical Center in Hamilton, Ontario. Nevertheless, the treatment of leukemia is a terrible process, and Danielle underwent numerous rounds of toxic chemotherapy, radiation treatment, a bone marrow transplant, a gall bladder removal, acute pancreatitis, and all manner of poking and prodding by doctors with sharp needles. Often, the treatments caused pain, nausea, and other ill effects - but Danielle's chief objection was that they interfered with her work. During this time, she conducted classes and participated in job interviews from her hospital bed, helped to launch Brock's new MA in Classics Programme as its first graduate director, continued her research and writing activities - seeing her book on the coins of Roman Cyprus published and writing or coauthoring seven papers and publications. In her personal life, she made sure to travel and see friends when able, including a memorable trip through New England and, most recently, an emotional and heart-warming return to Cyprus. When Danielle was home, she had a steady stream of visitors, phone calls, and, of course, email. (Her hospital chart even noted that her laptop was an important part of her efforts to remain in touch with the outside world - and, indeed, it usually was next to her on the bed.)
Danielle and I married in October 2006 in Ancaster, Ontario - after a 20-plus year friendship that started in high school.
A memorial will be held on the 20th of August, in Oakville, Ontario. Danielle held several organizations close to her heart, and we are arranging for donations to be accepted in her name. Further details about both will be forthcoming.
Survivors include her parents Michael and Linda and her brothers Christopher and Matthew.
Danielle and I have received a tremendous amount of love and support - Danielle's friends, students, and colleagues wrote, visited, and called; Susanne, John and the rest of my colleagues at Healthtech gave me the time I needed to support Danielle, and covered for me as needed without complaint; and my parents Jean and Roger took Danielle to clinic once or twice a week, every week for the last two and half years, and provided support in countless other ways. A heartfelt thanks to all of you.
bmeredith AT healthtech.on.ca
** Please feel free to forward this note to others who may be interested **
Suspicions that many of the hundreds of fires sweeping Italy this summer were started by organised crime were heightened when a firefighting helicopter was reportedly shot at and saboteurs attacked a communications beacon used by firefighters near Naples.
The helicopter was hovering over the Volturno river in the Campania region on Monday when the large canister suspended below it for scooping up water was hit by 18 bullets, according to operators. On the same day the wiring at a radio beacon in nearby Irpinia used for firefighter communications was ripped out.
"There is a clearly an offensive under way, presumably organised by the powerful Casalesi Camorra clan," a regional government official, Corrado Gabriele, told Il Giornale. "Behind these simple fires hides a business worth millions, with the Camorra aiming to create new zones for building," he added.
In excavations carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority in Tiberias impressive and unique finds were uncovered that shed light on the history of the ancient city.
The excavations were conducted over the course of the last three months at the request of Mekorot, as part of a project that involves the installation of a sewage pipeline and the transfer of the waste water treatment facility from Tiberias to the southern part of the Sea of Galilee.
The finds that were exposed date from the founding of Tiberias in the first century CE until the eleventh century, when the city was abandoned due to an earthquake, wars and dire economic and security conditions. In the lower part of the city, a Byzantine church (from the fourth-fifth centuries CE) was exposed that is paved with magnificent polychrome mosaics decorated with geometric patterns and crosses.
Three dedicatory inscriptions written in ancient Greek are incorporated in the mosaics. In one of the inscriptions, which were deciphered by Dr. Leah Di Signi of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, is the line: "Our Lord, protect the soul of your servant..." [Our Lord=Jesus]
One of the mosaics is adorned with a medallion in which there is a large cross flanked by the letters alpha and omega, which are one of the monograms for Jesus (alpha to omega meaning from A to Z in Greek).
The church's remains were discovered adjacent to ancient public buildings among them a basilica, bathhouse, streets and shops that were exposed at the site in the past. Dr. Moshe Hartal and Edna Amos, the directors of the excavation on behalf of the Antiquities Authority, stated that this is the most ancient church to be uncovered in Tiberias and the only one that has been found in the center of the city.
According to Dr. Hartal, from the year 427 CE the Church issued a decree prohibiting the placement of crosses in mosaic floors in order to prevent them from being stepped on. "The presence of so many crosses in the floors of the church that was exposed here thus confirms the church dates to the period prior to the ban," he said.
In addition, the remains of a Jewish neighborhood that dates to the tenth-eleventh centuries were discovered in the excavations. These remains extend up to the foot of the cliff in the high part of the city, in an area that was probably residential in nature.
"The discovery of the remains of the church in the middle of the ancient city, like that of the Jewish neighborhood and the magnificent city that existed in Tiberias more than one thousand years ago, greatly contributes to our understanding of the town planning, its scope and it structures," archaeologists on behalf of the Antiquities Authority said.
The discovery of the church in the heart of the Jewish quarter disproves the theory that the Jews prevented the Christians from establishing prayer halls in the middle of the city," they added.
In the Holiday Inn hotel's parking lot, in the southern part of the excavation, buildings were uncovered that were replete with a wealth of impressive ceramic vessels that date to the Early Islamic period (8th-11th centuries CE) and installations for the manufacture of glass and pottery vessels.
These finds show that in this period the settlement of Hammat was included within the domain of the city of Tiberias, which had grown and expanded beyond the Byzantine city walls that had previously separated it from Hammat.
In addition a settlement was discovered that dates to the Early Bronze Age (from 5,000 years ago) thereby attesting to the fact that the region of Tiberias was inhabited in periods earlier than those mentioned in the historical sources.
What started as a way of passing time on the free bus to campus has led to international recognition for Dr Colin Anderson, who was named runner-up in the John Dryden translation competition for his work on Odes by Horace.
Dr Anderson, a senior lecturer at the School of Language Studies in Palmerston North, teaches French and Spanish. His decision to translate the Odes from Latin to English is part of his ongoing fascination with “how language works”.
“I did it for amusement really and as a challenge to see if I could render the poetry into a modern English form. The approach I took though was distinctive, to maintain the meters from the original poems.”
Dr Anderson, who says he has been learning Latin from age 13, not only aimed to echo the meters but to maintain the number of syllables in each line.
“The idea was that if you could achieve the same or similar you would give an idea of the original musicality of the poem. The original would have been written to be recited or declaimed aloud.”
This led to almost a year of journeys creating the translation of some 26 odes.
“I would write the words down then play around with them and then even read them aloud to try and find the rhythms … Because I did the translation on the bus I thought we might call it Horace On–the–bus rather than A Horace Omnibus.”
Dr Anderson says The Odes, written between 33 and 25 BC, were in part adaptations of earlier Greek works.
“The original poems were, at least on the surface, quite light and about everyday things, love and drinking, and that kind of thing. Horace was not an epic poet writing about mythology or graphic battles.”
As well as taking a prize of £200, presented at the British Comparative Literature Association conference in London, Dr Anderson was invited as a guest to the Horatian Society dinner. Enthusiasts for attempting translations of Horace’s poetry have included poets Milton and Dryden, doctors, lawyers, classics professors and even former British Prime Minister William Gladstone.
Translation of the classics is particularly important because, despite continued interest in classical studies, most students no longer had Latin language skills. Dr Anderson aims to publish his translated Odes as a resource for students.
“The standard way is to use the translation on the facing page to the Latin but I don’t think that’s accessible to the vast majority who don’t have the Latin anyway,” he says. “My aim was that the poems would stand alone except for a few notes explaining some of the more obscure references I allowed myself the liberty of changing.”
* Horace’s best-known work is probably Ode I-XI, which contains the phrase “carpe diem”, now popularly translated as “seize the day”, but more correctly translated as harvesting or gathering the day in the manner of gathering crops or fruit. Quintus Horatius Flaccus, known in English as Horace, was the son of a former slave. As a young man he studied philosophy in Athens, and later enlisted in the army of Brutus, fighting at Philippi. His first book was published in 35BC. Horace died in 8BC, having become famous after being commissioned by the Emperor Augustus to write his fourth volume of Odes.
The ancient writers - the ones who majored in mythology, dabbled in tragedy, wore tunics and tried to steer clear of hemlock - would have loved Barry Bonds.
Larger than life, with an ego to match. Incredibly gifted. Incredibly vain. Capable of greatness. Cursed by his own ambition.
And, like all the best protagonists, presented with the kind of choice that sits at the heart of age-old drama - settle for being human, or look for a shortcut to play with the gods?
With the Greeks, it was always about making a choice.
It was that way with Bonds, too.
Think Icarus, flying too close to the sun on his wings of wax.
Think Bonds at his apex today, nowhere to go but crashing back to earth.
Bonds added another chapter to his drama Tuesday night when he sent his 756th career home run into the record books. For the first time since April 8, 1974, there's a name other than Henry Aaron atop the all-time home run list.
A new dig at an ancient archaeological site has found Roman artefacts and musket balls fired during the English Civil War.
Archaeologists began work excavating the site at Bury Mount in Towcester on July 17 and an initial metal scan of one part of the area has already uncovered a number of Roman pieces, including an unusual carved disc believed to have been used in a board game similar to draughts.
Jim Brown, project officer for Northamptonshire Archaeology, said: "We haven't even started excavating the front section yet but we have carried out a metal scan and
retrieved a number of Roman artefacts including some lead cloth seals, a fourth century Roman coin and a small gaming piece.
"The gaming piece is like a draught piece, and it is quite unusual, whereas you can expect to find musket balls all over the place.
"We are going to get an expert to examine it and give us an idea of what period it is from."
During a previous dig in October 2006, archaeologists found that there was more to the Mount than they had previously thought when they located a ditch, thought to be a moat, around the castle motte.
The second phase of the dig is to find out more about how the area was used, before work to regenerate the site begins.
Mr Brown said: "Ideally, we would really like to find remnants of any structure that was on top of the motte, get a good secure date on the ditch and work out what was going on in the civil war, but it is still early days."
A National History Museum (NHM) archaeological expedition has discovered a tomb near the Bulgarian coastal town of Sozopol, NHM said on August 7, according to Bulgarian news agency BTA.
A bowl with a Greek inscription was discovered by the team, which is headed by Krustina Panayotova of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (BAS).
It is assumed that this object, along with others, was buried along with the deceased.
The finds have been taken by NHM Director Bozhidar Dimitrov to the NHM laboratory for conservation and restoration. The inscription, once deciphered, is expected to lend new insight into the Ancient Greek city-state of Apollonia Pontica, on the current site of Sozopol.
Archaeologists from the Bulgaria's National History Museum have unearthed a tomb of a citizen, who lived in the ancient city of Apollonia, which is today's Black Sea town of Sozopol.
The team of Krastina Panayotova is working on the Harmani beach of Sozopol, a site which archaeologist have been exploring for many years now. During regular excavations Panayotova's team stumbled upon the tomb.
When the scientist opened it they found many pottery, the skeleton of a man, who lived some 2,500 years ago and a huge ceramic bowl with an inscription in ancient Greek.
The bowl has been already taken for a thorough expertise and a team of linguists was called to decipher the inscription. When this is done, the Head of the Museum Bozhidar Dimitrov hopes the scientists will get a further understanding of Apollonia Pontica - the first democratic state in the lands of today's Bulgaria.
The interesting thing for this artefact is that it was unearthed in the family part of the necropolis, where Histiyani, the tyrant of Milet, was buried.
The remains are said to be of a salt fish factory dating from the fourth century BC
La Verdad newspaper reports this morning on the remains of a Roman salt fish factory uncovered on a building site in La Azohía, near the marina. The discovery was made some months ago, in survey work taking place as part of requirements for granting a building licence.
Archaeologists say the find could date from the fourth century. The site has been fenced off and any building halted while the archaeological excavations take place.
Galleries, negropols, passageways and granaries, dating back to Roman and Byzantine periods, were unearthed during the excavations carried out in Han Underground City of central Anatolian city of Eskisehir," said Ahmet Oguz Alp from Anadolu University's Department of Art History.
"Although it is not clear yet, we think that the city might have been used as a military base in the past. People might have used the city as a place of shelter or to wage attacks in order to protect themselves from Arab and Turkish incursions as well," Alp affirmed.
Alp also noted that the city had a great importance, as it was used as a military route before the Ottoman Empire and a route for pilgrimage afterwards.
The excavation work at the historical site will end on August 22nd.
Near the mausoleum under the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels lie the remains of St. Vibiana, an obscure, millenniums-old Italian girl who came to Los Angeles and became a star. Fortunately, her provenance is old and well-established, or the Italian government might be trying to steal her too.
Italy has prevailed in its long struggle with the J. Paul Getty Museum, finalizing a deal last week that will send 40 antiquities, including some of the finest pieces in the Getty collection, back to the land of Titian and tiramisu, where they will doubtless occupy a spare corner of some museum already packed like a Costco warehouse with treasures from the ancient world. Legally, the return of the artworks is the right thing to do, as this page has already pointed out: International treaties left Getty executives with little choice. Whether it's fair is another matter.
Italy is in a huff because these pieces of its "cultural patrimony" were looted -- dug up, sold to middlemen and then sold to the Getty without permission. Seldom mentioned is that most of the objects had themselves been looted centuries earlier by the ancient Romans, who stole them from the even more ancient Greeks. Treaties only cover objects taken from their countries of origin after 1939, so the Greeks are out of luck.
The loss will take some of the shine off the Getty, and the local art scene. Older cities like New York have museums crammed to the rafters with Old World masterpieces because they acquired the bulk of their collections long before the art world started worrying about things like cultural patrimony. Now it has become so difficult or expensive to acquire masterworks that young cities like L.A. have little chance of ever catching up.
Maybe that's as it should be, though. L.A. has always been more about the new than the old. Even our patron saint is an immigrant who has been reinvented from scratch (just like many Angelenos). Vibiana was found 150 years ago in ancient catacombs near the Appian Way. Marking her 3rd century tomb was a marble tablet inscribed "to the soul of the innocent and pure Vibiana," above a laurel wreath, a symbol of martyrdom among ancient Christians. Yet beyond the fact that she was a virgin and a martyr, her life is a blank screen, allowing the faithful to invent any story line they like. I see a righteous Scarlett Johansson in a toga refusing to accede to the twisted Bacchanalian whims of a doddering Emperor Septimius Severus, as played by Christopher Walken. But your casting and script may differ.
Like a spoiled kid, Italy wants all the old marbles for itself. It can have them. We're better at making new ones anyway.
This Titan's Clash is closer to Zach Snyder's 300 than to The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad. It's written with a solid R rating in mind with nudity, sex and lots of gore-rific ugly deaths by really bad ass ugly monsters. It should rock your baklava, if you know what I mean and I think you do.
The characters include a number of familiar names from Greek mythology, and a few that have popped in from other mythological Monster Manuals. The main humans are our hero PERSEUS- son of Big Greek God Daddy ZEUS and quickly forgotten human QUEEN DANAE, and ANDROMEDA, slutty principessa of the kingdom of Joppa, daughter of wise KING KEPHUS and foolishly vain QUEEN CASSIOPEIA. Other deities are TIAMAT-power hungry Sumerian mythology Goddess of the Oceanic and Cosmic depths and her Darth Maul, from Egyptian Mythology: SET THE VOID.
Evil Inhuman characters include not-going-to-win-a-beauty-pageant-anytime-soon MEDUSA, with her hair of snakes and gaze of death and the Bible based LEVIATHAN (no, not the 1989 Peter Weller "Alien Underwater" movie)-the Kraken- the biggest, baddest beastie of the ocean.
Also, PESHET, Andromeda's sfinx [sic] (half human/ half cat) handmaiden and VIDALIA, an earth goddess who assists PERSEUS are two wonderful new characters to this telling of the story and are going to be the subject of urgently written fan-fic for years to come.
CREATURE SPOILERS BEGIN
Clash of the Titans the Remake is grown up, sexy and violent, filled with political intrigue from the tops of Mount Olympus to the Throne Room of Joppa. The quest PERSEUS undergoes is populated with all manners of creatures like Sylphs, Lotophagi, Strix, Minotaurs, Centaurs, Nephilim, Giant Scorpions, Anubite Jackals, Hyena Men, and Pegassi, and never feels like sloppy seconds from a dusty textbook. I'm so pleased to report the well written script sent me scuttling to the dictionary several times with vocabulary-above-a-ninth grade-level, like scutes, limn and (I love saying this word) feculence.
PEOPLE have believed in the link between handwriting and personality throughout time, beginning with ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle.
The ancient Greeks thought truffles were made when lightning hit damp soil.
The ancient Romans drew on hot springs for bathing and heating their homes.
Ancient Greeks believed that lettuce induced sleep, so they served it at the end of the meal. The Romans continued the custom, but Emperor Domitian (A.D. 81-96) served it at the beginning of his feasts, so he could torture his guests by forcing them to stay awake in his presence.
The ancient Romans also adhered to this idea, believing that people who experienced the episodes regularly were contagious -- forcing many with the condition to live solitary existences.
In his dialogue “Republic,” Greek philosopher Plato wrote, “Necessity is the mother of invention.”
Plutarch, who was born within a century of Caesar's death, recorded of the Roman that: "He said he had no fear of those fat and long-haired fellows, but rather of those pale thin ones."
From the days of the first Olympics in ancient Rome, wrestling has been a sport dominated by superior athletic and mental ability.
Love, in all its splendor and mess, found a fit expression on Rome's oldest bridge last year. Inspired by a best-selling book, then the movie version, young couples wrote their names on a padlock. They chained it around a lamppost on Ponte Milvio. Then they symbolically cut off escape by tossing the key into the wine-dark Tiber below.
But reality quickly set in, as it often does after passion. Thousands of locks and chains piled up. The lamps atop two lightposts crumbled under the weight. Neighbors complained of vandalism. Politicians who tried to solve the problem were accused - and this is bad in Italy - of being anti-love.
Late last month, a solution was finally put into place. City officials created official spots for the locks - six sets of steel posts with chains on the bridge - so now lovers can declare themselves without damage to the infrastructure. And so this city of monuments has just created another one, if at a cost: Tossing a key off Ponte Milvio, some Italians complain, may soon be as touristy and routine as flipping a coin into the Trevi Fountain.
"It's less romantic," said Costantino Boccuni, a 28-year-old soldier who had just affixed a lock to one of the new city-approved spots to declare his love for his wife of six years, Daniela, 26. "It was more beautiful before. It was more original.
"Now it's more like a fashion," he said.
But still, as Rome's distinctly lovely light faded into evening, they did it. And in the few days since the new posts and chains went up, dozens of new love locks have been sealed shut on Ponte Milvio, in a perfect world, forever (though in practice, the city will periodically prune the locks just as they sweep the coins from the Trevi Fountain).
The story of how Ponte Milvio, at the north of Rome's center, became the city's symbol of love follows a particularly Italian script, a perfectly balanced mix of history, myth, truly ludicrous political posturing and the unexpected.
First built in 206 B.C., the bridge attracted lovers long ago: Tacitus, the first century Roman historian and statesman, reported that even in his time it was "famous for its nocturnal attractions." The Emperor Nero, Tacitus said, visited there "for his debaucheries." (It is also the place where in 312, Constantine defeated his rival Maxentius. He became the first emperor to convert to Christianity, which to many Italians still stands against the sort of love often found on Ponte Milvio.)
Last year, a novelist and screen writer, Federico Moccia, wrote the second installment of a story of young Romans called, in English, "I Want You." Like many affairs, his hero's starts with a lie: He convinces a potential girlfriend of an invented legend, in which lovers wrap a chain around the third lamppost on the bridge's northern side, lock it and throw the key into the Tiber.
"And then?" the girl asks.
"We'll never leave each other," he says, with no shame.
Moccia, 44, says he just dreamed up the ritual. "I liked the idea of tying locks to love because it is more solid, tangible," he said. The book sold 1.1 million copies, the movie version came out - and soon life began imitating art.
Moccia said he was stunned when locks and chains appeared on the bridge, though he tied the craze to a lingering malaise in Italy, which is growing old, producing fewer babies, suffering from an economy that often keeps young people unemployed and at home with their parents into their 30s.
"It is a precise sign of our times - there is a lack of dreaming in Italy," he said. "We only hear bad news. There is no longer the smile of who we see from afar or near the dream. And that gesture of the lock on the bridge, of the feeling of the iron closing, it's a promise. It's beautiful."
Soon beauty turned to menace. Lovers came from all over Italy, joined by some tourists. The ancient bridge, which also attracts not only lovers but drinkers and no small number of pot smokers, began to be covered in lovers' graffiti, along with the overwhelming number of chains.
This spring, the city cracked down.
Inevitably, politics intruded: In this nation's long battle between left and right, right-wing parties accused the leftist mayor, Walter Veltroni, who may some day become prime minister, with a crime far worse than corruption.
"The left is against lovers," one rightist city official, Marco Clarke, charged in February.
Fighting words: An artful compromise clearly needed finding. Thus the posts and chains.
Lovers can affix their locks directly to them (which seemed to be the case in two recent, very pleasant evenings on the bridge). Or if they insist on chaining them to the lampposts, the locks will periodically be transferred down to the posts and chains.
"We have used good sense, meaning we realize that it is about a primary and innocent feeling," said Silvio Di Francia, a city official responsible for solving the problem. "However if all the historic bridges had locks we would have a problem with the maintenance."
So the tradition continues, if with some reservations about compromising on love. And some young Roman said that even before the new official posts, the tradition had lost its edge.
They complain that it has become just another tourist attraction, complete with two vendors selling locks on the spot for €5, or $6.90, €3 or €1 for the smallest. Families pose for cell-phone photos there.
"I would be embarrassed," said Michael P., a 22-year-old photographer's assistant who would not give his last name because he was smoking marijuana. "It's a question of dignity. If I want to express love, I will express it in my way."
But Gianluca and Federica recently marked their love with a lock, as did Ricky and Francy, Piti and Piti, several Mirkoses with suspiciously similar handwriting. Anna and Philip Colletti, from Montreal, marked their 25th anniversary with a lock. Their children told them about it.
"Twenty-five years of marriage - it might freak out these young couples," Colletti said.
Greeks profess to be bored by their history, resolutely uninterested in the steady flow of foreign historians, classicists and writers who come to pore over the sliver of greatness that was the fifth century BC, the time of Pericles and Sophocles, Herodotus and Socrates, Protagoras, Athenian democracy. A natural port of call for these studiously unmodern types is the splendid British School at Athens, a bastion of squeaking floorboards, academic rigour, Spartan rooms and afternoon tea. Greeks have had nationalist governments banging the “glory that was Greece” into them at school for so long most of them couldn’t give a hoot. They have moved on but many visitors to Athens – perhaps most, myself included – haven’t. After a few days idling in the super-swish comfort of the King George with its ravishing Parthenon views, I check into the British School quicker than you can say Themistocles.
Visitors are rushing to the Zeus cave at the entrance of Dilek peninsula National Park. Located in Aydin's Güzelçamlı district, the cave is visited by hundreds of people every day.
Many local and international tourists wait with excitement to be able to swim in the cool waters of the cave. The lake inside the cave tastes of carbonated mineral water due to the drinkable spring water coming from the mountains and the salty seawater. Cool during the summer and hot in the winter, the cave attracts the attention of both local teenagers and tourists.
Indicating that the cave was the last stop for jeep safari tours organized around the national park, the mayor of Güzelçamlı explained the story of Zeus cave,"According to legend, when Zeus provoked and annoyed his brother Poseidon, he used to hide in this cave to rest. While Poseidon, Greek god of the sea, made the seas rise, Zeus hid from his bad temper and wrath in the calm waters of this cave. Today, when the sea is not very convenient to swim in due to the waves, the people come here to swim and recall the legend."
REALY STUNNING,VERY HUGE AND LONG ANCIENT LATE ROMAN SENATORS VOTING STICK.DEPICTING A BIRD.FOUND IN EASTERN EUROPE,MACEDONIA.USED BY THE PROVINTIAL SENATORS OF THE VAST,HUGE EMPIRE TO VOTE ON IMPORTANT LOCAL MATTERS,SUCH AS COLLECTING TAXES,MINTING PROVINTIAL COINS,PAYING FOR LOCAL LEGIONS AND FORTS AND RAISING FUNDS FOR LOCAL ENTERTAINMENT SUCH AS GLADIATOR GAMES AND THEATERS.
Efforts to tackle art trafficking "make looting more attractive" as a tighter black market has raised the value of the booty, Italy's culture minister said Thursday, a day after reaching a historic agreement with the J. Paul Getty Museum to recover some lost treasures.
Deals like the one announced with the Getty to return 40 artifacts to Italy by the end of the year make it "impossible for serious institutions to purchase illegally," Francesco Rutelli said, but it also has the unintended consequence of raising the value of contraband art as it becomes more precious.
"Such a decisive fight against art trafficking makes looting more attractive, in the sense that (the items) have a higher value because there are fewer," Rutelli told a news conference. "An object that a few years ago could be bought for $400,000, today is worth $4 million."
Italian authorities have launched a worldwide campaign to recover looted treasures and had been at odds with the Getty over dozens of antiquities they say were illegally dug up and smuggled out of the country despite laws that make all antiquities found in Italy state property.
Following more than a year of often-stalled negotiations, Italy and the Getty - which has denied knowingly buying illegally obtained objects - also agreed on widespread cultural cooperation, which will include loans of other treasures to the Los Angeles museum.
"The agreement is part of a strategy that we follow with great determination because we want the universal cultural heritage to be protected and we also want to eliminate the water where traffickers swim and sail," Rutelli said.
Former Getty curator Marion True and art dealer Robert Hecht are on trial in Rome with the charge of knowingly receiving dozens of archaeological treasures that had been stolen from private collections or dug up illicitly. Both deny wrongdoing.
Ministry officials said the agreement with the museum would only affect a civil lawsuit seeking damages which was attached to the criminal proceedings at the start of the trial - but that the trial itself would continue.
Italian authorities have signed separate deals in the past with New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts for the return of a total of 34 artifacts - including Hellenistic silverware, Etruscan vases and Roman statues - in exchange for loans of other treasures.
Go to Rome and find your inner warrior. The Rome Cavalieri Hilton is offering a historically correct gladiator training course (a tough workout, courtesy of Gruppo Storico Romano, a society dedicated to re-creating those days) in the hotel's private park.
For two hours, a participant wears a tunic, sandals, protective gloves and prepares to do battle by learning sword combat and ancient techniques. Graduates get a medal and a title (tiro, for beginners); advanced students wear protective armor. Cost: $500 for a group of eight. Battle fatigue? Spring for a four-handed gladiator massage at the hotel afterward.
It was designed by a friend of Pablo Picasso, adorned with mosaics depicting Oedipus and the Sphinx, and described as Art Deco at its Athenian best. But a row about the building that guidebooks describe as a 'must-see' on the boulevard linking the Greek capital's great classical sites is now threatening to eclipse the opening of Europe's most ambitious museum. All because the 1930s building blocks the view from a restaurant.
Culture Ministry officials say the four-storey architectural gem designed by Vassilis Kouremenos commits the cardinal sin of blocking a visitor's view of the Parthenon from the vantage point of the New Acropolis Museum's dining terrace. Unrivalled vistas have been the biggest selling point of the stunning museum built at the foot of the Periclean masterpiece to promote its golden age wonders - including one day, Greeks hope, the Elgin Marbles, currently housed in the British Museum.
Since construction began on the controversial £94m behemoth, a dozen edifices have been expropriated and demolished to make way for the museum. But the pink-marbled Art Deco building which blocks those all-important views, and an early neo-classical townhouse owned by the Oscar-winning composer Vangelis Papathanasiou (who is believed to have acquired the edifice with earnings from his soundtrack to Chariots of Fire), escaped because they were listed by the government as historic monuments in their own right.
'Tearing them down will not only destroy two unique architectural works but the urban Athenian façade of one of Europe's finest pedestrian streets,' Nikos Rousseas, an architect who is leading the campaign, told The Observer. 'It will go against what the state itself has decreed: that the Art Deco building, in particular, is a work of art that has to be protected.'
Last week, however, the government had a change of heart after Greece's powerful Archaeological Council, backed by the Organisation for the Construction of the New Acropolis Museum, voted that both be torn down in the interest of 'dialogue with the Parthenon'.
'The New Acropolis Museum is the only museum designed for interaction,' its Swiss-American architect, Bernard Tschumi, said in comments interpreted to support the demolition plans. 'The Acropolis and the Parthenon are visible in an unexpected way. The museum is there to show what is both within and outside it.'
Last week a cement-mixer churned in the sweltering heat as labourers laid the marble staircase to the museum's entrance. After 30 years of preparation, procrastination and acrimonious debate, the building that once seemed like a dream, a last resort of the romantically inclined, is finally nearing completion. In September a number of antiquities housed in the current museum on the Acropolis will be craned into the new building. It will open next year.
The Culture Minister, Georgios Voulgarakis, had hoped to sign a demolition order for the Art Deco building this month, but the public outcry stopped him. Increasingly the debate has turned into a full-blooded row as it winds its way through the internet, aided by outraged tourists who visit the scene.
'We have supporters, literally, from all over the world who have learnt about this through our blog,' said Rousseas. 'The great irony is that it should be a view from a restaurant that should spark all this. The Art Deco building was designed with tiny balconies that could not be used [for dining] because its architect believed it would be a sin to chew in front of a monument as sacred as the Acropolis.'
IFPI announced in a press release that the Italian anti-piracy police has cracked an illicit distribution network operating in Catania, Sicily in raids that uncovered a significant seizure of arms and bombs.
Officers from the First GdF Operational Unit of Catania were involved in a series of seizures this week. During the search of one home the police discovered eight guns, five rifles, ammunition for rifles and machine guns, two kilograms of TNT and bomb making equipment.
More than 2,000 CDs and DVDs were seized during the raids as well as several stolen archaeological treasures, such as ancient Roman and Greek pottery.
Police arrested two men and are now investigating the connection between them and members of criminal organizations closely linked to notorious mafia families.
IFPI represents the recording industry worldwide with some 1400 members in 75 countries and affiliated industry associations in 49 countries.
On 9th July this year archaeological excavations were implemented in San Fulgencio on the early Iberian settlement of ‘La Escuera’ located close to camino del Convenio on urbanisation La Marina.
The archaeological works are being carried out by archaeology students from the University of Alicante, under the direction of D. Lorenzo Abad Casal and D. Jesus Moratalla Jávega professors of archaeology, and teacher Dña. Feliciana Sala Sellés.
The objective of the current work is to clean and then graphically record the archaeological remains of the Iberian temple sanctuary dating back to the third century BC that are visible thanks to the original work carried out by Swedish archaeologist Solveig Nordström from June to November in 1960. Solveig Nordström, currently residing in Benidorm, was invited to see the work currently being performed by the team from Alicante University and he spent a full day with them on Thursday 26th July.
Now 84 years-old she was overjoyed to see her work, carried out 47 years earlier, being brought up to date and catalogued.
In the third century BC the ‘La Escuera’ settlement covered an area of three square kilometres, only a very small section of this early Iberian City site has been revealed to modern day man. The goal of the archaeologists who have worked on this site is to preserve it for future generations. They would dearly love to be able to spend time unearthing more of the ancient city but funding for this is a major obstacle. It takes many months, sometimes years, of delicate and vigilant work to ensure that anything of importance is not missed or damaged during a dig. They will return in July next year to continue the excavations of this important site.
Solveig Nordström is a hero to modern day archaeologists. In 1955 she prevented the destruction of the archaeological remains of an ancient Roman City located in Alicante by lying on the ground in front of the bulldozer that had been brought in to level the ground to make way for a new hotel complex. Her bravery was reported worldwide and this site is now confirmed to be the ancient Roman city of ‘Lucentum.’ Her endeavour culminated in the Lucentum site being designated in 1961 as an ‘Artistic and Historic Monument’ which then afforded it some legal protection. For more information on Lucentum visit this web site: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucentum After Solveig Nordström’s excavation of the La Escuera site in 1960 she wrote a book detailing her work. This book is remarkable as even by today’s standards it is a very precise record of the archaeological remains.
The new San Fulgencio councillor for culture and the local environment, Mick Blake, stated, “This administration is committed to a new era of communication of information. We want to ensure that everyone in this area knows of local historical treasures. Those who wish to become involved in the protection and conservation of the local environment will be invited to do so. Most of the finds from this site and from the ‘El Oral’ excavations (in the quarry) are on exhibition in the Alicante MARQ museum. We are looking into the possibility of displaying the finds locally and to arranging excursions to the Alicante MARQ museum to view the exhibits there.”
For more information visit the MARQ museum site: http://www.marqalicante.com/web_e/e_marq.htm
New data on the history of the ancient kingdom of Paphos are forthcoming as a result of the archaeological field project conducted by the Archaeological Research Unit of the University of Cyprus at Kouklia-Palaepaphos since last year.
According to the Department of Antiquities of the Ministry of Communications and Works, the project’s main target is to reconstruct the urban topography of Palaepaphos through the identification of the ancient settlement’s main components.
In the Late Bronze Age, ancient Paphos was the administrative and economic centre responsible for the construction of the megalithic sanctuary of the Cypriote Aphrodite at the end of the 13th century BC. In the Iron Age, the kings of Paphos retained responsibility for the upkeep and function of the sanctuary, and thus had the unusual privilege of being the goddess’s priests, until the very end of the 4th century BC when the institution of Cypriot kingship was finally abolished by Ptolemy I.
The University of Cyprus team has been working on the northern side of the Palaepaphos-Marchello plateau since last year. The 2007 excavation team exposed 40 metres of the stone foundation of a monumental Iron Age defensive system, 3.5 m in thickness. They have also uncovered a gate, so far one side of it only, impressively constructed of finely dressed ashlar blocks, which is protected by a bastion.
A general survey of the plateau as well as various construction details, the position of casemates on the inner side of the wall and that of buttresses on the external facade, suggest that the defence scheme was designed to follow and strengthen the natural contours of the hilltop in the manner of a citadel wall.
Analysis of the ceramic material recovered during the 2006 and 2007 seasons indicates that the site was originally used for the construction of Late Bronze Age chamber tombs. Sometime in the 11th century, when burial sites throughout Cyprus begin to be strictly separated from habitation sites, Marchello ceased to be a burial ground and it was gradually incorporated into the Iron Age urban fabric of Palaepaphos. On the evidence of pottery, this new cultural horizon lasted from the Geometric to the end of the Classical period.
By virtue of the fact that it commands the highest elevation in the landscape of Palaepaphos, it is more than likely that the hill of Marchello was chosen to fulfill a special function. This hypothesis is supported by the fact that, back in the 1950s, a large deposit of Greek syllabic inscriptions, some of them bearing the names of Paphian kings, and statues, some of them undoubtedly of royal individuals, were found buried on the north side of a monumental and well preserved stretch of wall with a gate, which were then excavated in the 1960s. The recently exposed stretch of wall with a gate has now been shown to be part of the same system of defence.
A geophysical survey and another excavation season in May 2008 are expected to provide definitive evidence in favour, or against, the identification of Marchello as a walled royal citadel of the Archaic and Classical kingdom of Paphos.
The excavations were designed and directed by Maria Iacovou, Associate Professor of Archaeology in the University of Cyprus. The 2007 excavation team comprised fifteen Cypriot graduate and undergraduate students of archaeology, a student from the Erasmus exchange programme, plus two British volunteers.
Marion True's trial may soon be over, I was told yesterday by Maurizio Fiorilli, one of two state prosecutors leading the case, who is also the man negotiating bilateral accords on restitution with American museums. The two issues are linked. He said he is close to an agreement with the Getty over the 52 items Italy has demanded be returned. (I note that the LA Times has a similar story today.) And he said that once that is accomplished, the trial against Marion True can be expected to come to a quiet close, perhaps as soon as the next two months. He said he would withdraw the civil prosecution, and the criminal prosecutor would be expected to negotiate a jail sentence of two to three years.
Imagine Chuck Norris and Mike Tyson in the ring. Who would win?
You can find out -- at least to some extent -- if you are inside Grays Armory in downtown Cleveland on Saturday evening. There will be no mercy that night as SM Fights, a new Mixed Martial Arts promotions company, will hold its debut event entitled "Without Mercy." First bell is at 7 p.m.
No, Norris, the former Karate world champion, nor Tyson, the infamous ex-world heavyweight boxing titlist, will be on hand in Cleveland, but some 30 amateur martial artists, boxers and wrestlers -- most of them from Ohio -- will be. Mixed Martial Arts primarily combines five disciplines into one sport. Two are Martial Arts like Karate and Tae Kwon Do, and boxing, disciplines done while standing upright. The other three are wrestling and Martial Arts Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai, disciplines done while on the ground.
Local entrepreneur Brian Singleton is the one behind SM Fights. "SM" stands for Sine Missione, a Latin term derived from the legendary ancient Roman duels between professional fighters called gladiators in which the combatants would fight each other, and sometimes even wild animals -- occasionally to the death -- for the pure entertainment of spectators. Translated literally, "SM" has two meanings -- "Without mercy" and "To the death."
"Two people would walk in, and one person would walk out," said Singleton, a 1994 Crestwood High School graduate. "Now I don't want my fighters fighting to the death, but I thought that (the name) worked well for the first event, captured the soul of it because it's the guys that are in the cage ... these guys are warriors."
Cage? Did he say cage?
Whereas the Roman combats were staged in such outdoor venues as the Roman Colosseum, Mixed Martial Arts fights are held in cages. No, wild animals will not be part of the picture but, still, there is no escape.
"Most of the fighters have one discipline that they practiced their whole life," explained Singleton, who returned to Northeast Ohio earlier this year to pursue his longtime passion after three years as an estate and financial planner in Scottsdale, Arizona, after graduating from the University of Akron School of Law in 2004. "You might have a guy who wrestled since he was little, he wrestled in high school and maybe in college. But when he decides he wants to get into Mixed Martial Arts, he begins cross-training in the other disciplines so they can be best prepared when they enter into the cage."
Bouts last three rounds of three minutes each. There are 10 weight classes, ranging from Straw weight (up to 115 pounds) to Super Heavyweight (over 265 pounds).
A two-time state wrestling champion in high school and a three-time national qualifier at Kent State University, from where graduated in 2000, Singleton has done his share of hard training and sweating. But that doesn't hold a candle to what the Mixed Martial Artists endure.
"The amount of training these guys do just blows my mind," he said. "These guys are in such good shape. And to be able to have the tenacity and the will to step into a cage that you can't get out of, and knowing there's no stopping and fight until somebody gives up, I wanted to try to capture that."
Singleton said ticket sales have been brisk and that he has had an overwhelming response, most notably from Northeastern Ohio business owners and their willingness to become sponsors and from the fighters themselves. Most important, perhaps, is the positive response received from the Ohio Athletic Commission, which has become the official sanctioning body for Mixed Martial Arts in the state of Ohio.
Many observers believe Mixed Martial Arts, which began gaining popularity competition-wise in the early 1990s, is too brutal of a sport, thus controversy looms over it at times. That's a fallacy, according to Singleton.
"The rules keep it from being brutal," he said, noting that fighters wear six-ounce gloves with open palms that enable them to partake in the grappling aspect of the sport. "It's not 'no holds barred.' It's not 'no rules.' We have judges there, we have a physician there. It's actually less brutal than boxing. You could even say it's less brutal than the wrestling I did for so many years. When somebody gets to the point where they're going to be injured, the fight gets stopped immediately. The referees keep an eagle eye. It's not like in boxing where boxers take beatings for 10, 12 rounds.
"These fighters and the people involved in this sport are also some of the most disciplined, well spoken and just all-around really good people that I've met or that you could ask for. They're really good for the sport. They're good people."
SM Fights' second event will be a professional card likely in the fall and possibly somewhere in Akron, where Singleton resides.
And what about the bigger picture?
"My ultimate vision is to grow this into a large organization like the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), the largest promotions company for the sport there is and what has made this sport really grow."
Centurions of the Ninth Legion spotted three Brigantes stealing lead from a roof in Eboracum, but the thieves escaped before the might of the Roman army could catch them and throw them to the lions.
An entire legion pursued the Brigantes, who are nowadays known as Yorkshiremen, through the streets of the city now called York, but failed to catch them.
North Yorkshire Police yesterday confessed they had made no arrests, but then Imperial Rome always did have a low opinion of the native British.
Three centurions and an army of re-enactors, all dressed in the uniform once feared from Hadrian’s Wall to Judea, were relaxing during a break in a display to celebrate York’s Roman Festival at the weekend.
Centurion Maximus Gluteus, who is known to his family and friends as Keith Mulhearn, was discussing the implications of antisocial behaviour with two fellow officers when they noticed activity on the roof of a nearby library.
“I just looked up and said: ‘I don’t believe this; there are guys on the roof,’” Mr Mulhearn said. “One was on the apex and he was tugging something. We realised there is lead all the way up there, and I shouted to one of the lads to phone the police.”
Summoning his legion with its armoury of weapons, including swords and bayonets, Centurion Mulhearn and his platoon surrounded the library before joining police in a search for the thieves. But they had made a quick getaway.
Rome thought it had subdued the Brigantes when it moved the Ninth Legion from Lincoln, its northernmost garrison in Britannia Inferior, into the wild territory beyond the Humber in AD71. Nearly a century later it was sent further north to disperse other barbarian hordes and disappeared completely at the hands of what would today be called Northumbrians, Scots, or other untamed persons unknown. It became known as the Lost Legion.
A spokesman for the present-day city council said: “We are extremely grateful to those who helped prevent the theft of items from City of York council property.”
The price of plumbum, meanwhile, is on the up, and is quoted at around 60 denarii per libra on the internal metal exchange. To a modern Yorkshireman, that’s about 63 pence per pound.
Archaeologists have found a valuable ancient gold necklace being worn by a cashier in a Bulgarian grocery after it was dug up by her husband.
Boris Todorov, 43, from Karlovo in Bulgaria dug up hundreds of fine gold rings from a field on his farm and put them together to make a gift for his wife.
But it was spotted by a group of archaeologists from the Bulgarian National Museum of History who were passing through - and went into her shop to buy provisions.
They immediately identified the necklace as extremely valuable and now say it dates back to 3,000 years BC.
Prof Bozhidar Dimitrov, Director of the Bulgarian National Museum of History, said: "They almost passed out when they saw what the woman was wearing. It is a stunning discovery."
Experts believe a local civilisation buried jewels in fields as part of an elaborate prayer ritual.
Archaeologists excavating an ancient tannery believed to be the largest ever found in Rome said Tuesday they might need to move the entire work site, which is being threatened by railroad construction. The 1,255-square-yard complex includes a tannery dating to the second or third century, as well as burial sites and part of a Roman road.
At least 97 tubs, some measuring more than three feet in diameter, have been dug up so far in the tannery, archaeologists said.
The complex, located in the Casal Bertone area in the outskirts of Rome, lies between two tunnels of a high-speed railway being built to link Rome and Naples, said Stefano Musco, the director of the archaeological excavations.
"(Even though) there are only 109 yards of railway left to build, the archaeological complex has no chance of surviving," Musco told reporters during a tour of the dig. "Either it stays the way it is and the works are stopped or, if the railway must be built, these remains will have to be cut out and rebuilt entirely."
He said they might be moved to a nearby park.
If the complex is moved, experts would scan the area with a 3-D laser to help archaeologists replace the items in their exact positions, Musco said. The archaeologist, who declined to say how much the project would cost, said technical problems might arise from the fragmentation of the structures and the vastness of the site.
"This is an ancient industrial area — not a craftsman's workshop, but a big complex where several people used to work," he said.
Musco said the project will have to be approved by the Italian Culture Ministry. Officials at the ministry said the project would have to be discussed by a panel of experts.
"I would obviously prefer not to touch anything," Musco said. "It will be quite frustrating to see this thing being taken away."
The system of roads that spread from the capital across the ancient empire is considered one of ancient Rome's greatest engineering feats, and today's transport networks in Italy often closely follow the routes chosen by builders two millennia ago.
Perry County's Venus de Milo lives between two gas pumps and has had her armless, near-naked body draped in everything from a colorful boa to a maternity outfit.
Unlike the original Venus, which is on display at the Louvre in Paris and attracts thousands of tourists each year, the one here is outside a convenience store where folks drop by to get some hoop cheese, saltines and RC colas.
Regular customers noticed in recent weeks that Venus was pregnant. It wasn't long before they could see an "heir" in a baby carrier around her neck.
So far, Venus hasn't been dressed in blue jeans to illustrate Johnny Tillotson's popular song of 40 years ago.
The $800 statue was bought in May and positioned between the pumps outside Jim's Little Store about 70 miles west of Montgomery.
Not long after Venus arrived, somebody began dressing her late at night, drawing customers to the store and into conversations with manager Jim Blanchette, who insists it's not a publicity stunt.
"People who stop here for gas can't understand what's been happening to her," Blanchette said on Tuesday morning. "But I must say she's gotten a lot of attention."
To make sure Venus isn't toppled by vandals, Blanchette and store owner Mike Bortnick placed her on a heavy concrete base, adding to her 1,000-pound weight.
The mystery clothier began adding some color to the gray statute about two weeks after her arrival, initially draping a pink-and-yellow boa around her neck.
After that, Venus wound up in a one-piece orange bathing suit. A few weeks later, she was decked out in a maternity outfit, complete with pillow. Soon, a larger pillow was added, apparently by someone who wanted to show her "progress."
Then, the "blessed event" arrived -- a "baby" with bright yellow hair, chubby cheeks and a green dress. She was carefully placed in a metal carrier and draped around Venus' neck.
While Venus may not be a shining example of haute couture, she has had a lot of people talking around this little county of late.
The big question, of course, is who's doing the dressing. Blanchette, who has a security camera focused on the gas pumps where Venus is viewable, said "one day I'm going to put some film in that thing."
Solonia Bell, who lives behind the store, believes she may have seen Venus' fashion designer at work.
"I was coming home late one night and saw this woman in long blonde hair getting out of a pickup truck," said Bell. "Then she started dressing Venus. I didn't get close enough to identify her, though."
The original Venus, originally known as the Aphrodite of Milos, is one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. It is supposed to depict Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty.
The statue, which dates to 90 B.C., vanished for centuries before being discovered by a peasant in 1820 in the ancient city ruins of Milos on the Aegean island of the same name.
It was found in two big pieces -- the upper torso and the lower draped legs. After its discovery, no effort was made to restore Venus' arms -- thus enhancing the mystery surrounding it and its fate.
There is no mystery about the origin of Perry County's Venus. She was bought at Don Coley's Rose Lane Antiques and Gardens in Marion.
It took two men to deliver the heavy statue to the store, and Coley was happy to see her go. He wasn't keeping her at arm's length, but she had been hanging around his business for the past three years.
Coley said he believes that the person dressing Venus "is just doing it for a lark."
"There have been lots of rumors about who's responsible," said Coley, who added he's out of heavy statues, but does have one of David.
Coley indicated he'll let David go for $125.
Greek archaeologists plan to excavate an ancient colony founded by Alexander the Great in the Gulf of Kuwait in the fourth century BC, officials said Wednesday.
"The site on Failaka Island is of particular importance to [Greece] as it was founded by Macedonians and other Greeks on Alexander the Great's expeditionary force," said culture ministry general secretary Christos Zahopoulos.
The agreement between Greece and Kuwait signed in July will enable the Greek team to excavate the ancient town of Icarus on the island, organize the site, and restore its finds, the ministry said in a statement.
The Greek mission's departure date was not announced.
Prior excavation on Failaka Island by French archaeologists has partially unearthed the Greek outpost, believed to have been created by forces under the command of Alexander's admiral Nearchus in the fourth century BC.
A temple to Artemis, the ancient Greek goddess of hunting, has been found on the site along with Greek coins, idols, vessels, and an inscription bearing 43 verses in Greek, Zahopoulos said.
The inscription sustained damage in the Iraqi invasion of 1991, which also forced the evacuation of Failaka's inhabitants.
Archaeologists from Denmark, the US, Italy, and Slovakia have also worked on the now-deserted island, whose name is believed to be descended from 'fylakio,' the Greek word for outpost.
The ruler of the ancient kingdom of Macedon, based in modern-day northern Greece, Alexander the Great created through conquest an empire stretching into modern-day India and Egypt.
The Italian government last night claimed partial victory in its campaign to get the return of art works it says were stolen and smuggled out of the country on behalf of America's richest art institution.
The culture ministry said that after "long and complex negotiation", a deal had been reached with the Getty museum in Los Angeles to restore 40 objects - 12 fewer than first demanded.
However, there was no agreement on what is regarded as the most important work, a third century BC Greek bronze attributed to Lysippos, sculptor to Alexander the Great. Another valued item, a fifth century BC statue of Aphrodite, believed to be from the ancient city of Morgantina on Sicily, is to remain in the US for a further three years before returning.
The deal is Italy's third such: the Metropolitan Museum in New York and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts have already agreed to return jewels of their collections in exchange for the loans of works of equivalent value.
Last month, Francesco Rutelli, the culture minister and a deputy prime minister in the centre-left government, threatened to sever all links with the Getty if an accord were not reached by August. At that stage, Getty executives were insisting they would only return 26 objects, and exclude the Morgantina Aphrodite.
Marion True, a former curator at the Getty, and Robert Hecht, an American dealer, are on trial in Rome, charged with trafficking in illegally excavated objects. Hearings are due to resume in September.
Yesterday's agreement said the two sides had agreed to put off a decision on the statue attributed to Lysippos, known in the US as the Getty bronze, until a court in the eastern coastal city of Pesaro rules on its ownership.
The sculpture, of an Olympic athlete, was found in the Adriatic when fishermen snagged it in their net in 1964; the Getty acquired it in 1977. It says the find was in international waters, and therefore not on Italian soil. Rome does not contest the point, but says the bronze was brought ashore and then exported illegally.