... my browsers aren't working properly??? ... i think i've fixed it ..
ante diem iii kalendas martias

Equirria -- the first of two days of horse racing (the second was on March 14) dedicated to Mars; the reasons are obscure, but probably have something to do with preparing horses for the upcoming campaigning season

[n.b. due to the leap year thing, I messed up yesterday's ... I think I've got it right now]
fallible @ Dictionary.com

verbificent @ Worthless Word for the Day
The registration deadline for the one-day conference entitled, "Discourses
of War in the Roman World from Caesar to Heraclius", to be held Saturday,
March 8th, at the University of Warwick, has been extended to this FRIDAY,

Although warfare in ancient Rome has long been a topic of interest, the
role of culture in the changing practices of war has not. The aim of this
conference is to consider some of the issues raised by Ted Lendon’s
Soldiers and Ghosts (2005), and in particular his discussion of the
relationship between the discourses of war and reality in the Roman world,
with special emphasis on the period from Caesar to Heraclius. The list of
speakers, with the titles of their papers, follows:

Ted Lendon (University of Virginia) - ‘What Roman Soldiers Thought About
Each Other: Patterns of Solidarity in Roman Military Inscriptions’
Harry Sidebottom (Oxford University) – ‘Battle in the Greek Novels: the
Ideological uses of fighting in popular fiction, or John Buchan meets
Hugh Elton (University of Trent, Canada) - ‘How to Write History’ (with
apologies to Lucian and Lendon
Boris Rankov (Royal Holloway, London) – ‘Milites, masks and mock-battles’
Simon James (University of Leicester) - ‘On Soldiering and War: the
verbal, the visual and the material in soldierly discourses’
Michael Whitby (University of Warwick) – tbc
Doug Lee (University of Nottingham) – ‘Heroic emulation and warfare in late
James Howard-Johnston (Oxford University) – ‘The Last Great War of
Antiquity: Contemporary Narratives’
Adrian Goldsworthy

All enquiries should be directed to Conor Whately
(c.c.whately AT warwick.ac.uk). More information can be found at the
website: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/arts/hrc/confs/dow/
ante diem iv kalendas martias

116 A.D. -- supplicatio pro salute Traiani (day 2)

1874 -- birth of F.M. Cornford (author of Before and After Socrates, among several other works)
temerarious @ Dictionary.com

divest @ Merriam-Webster
ante diem v kalendas martias

50 A.D. -- The emperor Claudius adopts the future emperor Nero

116 A.D.-- supplicatio pro salute Traiani (day 1)

138 A.D. -- The emperor Hadrian adopts the future emperor Antoninus Pius
aplomb @ Dictionary.com

Pandora's Box @ Wordsmith

Benefic @ Merriam-Webster
From Gulf News:

Sharjah Port authorities have confiscated antiques worth $6 million that were smuggled into the country, a senior official said.

“The Dh22m shipment was coming from Turkey and was expected to be received by Sharjah-based antique dealers who planned to transport it to Switzerland,” said Dr Sabbah Jasem, Head of Sharjah Archaeology Museum.

Port officials confiscated more than 23 items dating back to the Roman Helenistic period, and immediately notified the Sharjah Directorate of Antiquities, which verified the authenticity of the antiques.

“Sharjah strictly adheres to the international law of antiquities, and the smuggling of antiques through illegal ways,” said Jasem.

A photo of one of the pieces accompanies the article ... this seems to be a rather more major bust than the article suggests ...
The American Numismatic Society seeks to appoint a Librarian with
effective date as soon as possible. The American Numismatic Society
maintains a museum and research institution dedicated to numismatics
of all periods and countries. For more information visit

The ANS Library is the leading numismatic library in North America and
one of the strongest in the world. The Librarian's position is
endowed. It serves the Society's curatorial staff, the annual Eric P.
Newman Summer Seminar in numismatics, scholars, and collectors with
collections of books, articles, catalogues, and primary documents
covering the full range of subjects relevant to the history of the
world's currencies and medallic art. The Librarian's duties include
the continued development of this distinctive collection and a range
of services to users. The Librarian will lead the move of the
collections to new quarters in the summer of 2008 and the migration of
its collection and catalog to conform to modern standards. The
Librarian reports to the Executive Director.

The Society seeks candidates with training in academic disciplines
relevant to its missions, a knowledge of languages important for the
library, an ability to work collegially with the ANS curatorial staff
and librarians in the metropolitan region concerned with cognate
subjects, and a commitment to a high level of customized service to
the library's users. A degree in library and/or information science is

Salary and benefits
A competitive salary will be based on the successful candidate's
qualifications and experience. The Society's benefits include an
initial 22-days-vacation package, 10 holidays, TIAA-CREF retirement
plan, and a full health insurance package. Applications will be
accepted until the position is filled. The Search Committee will
begin reviewing applications on April 1, 2008. Applications consisting
of a cover letter, resume, and the names of three references should be
sent to position AT numismatics.org or

The Chairman of the Search Committee
The American Numismatic Society
96 Fulton Street
New York NY 10038

Employment at the American Numismatic Society is dependent on a
successful background check.

The American Numismatic Society is an equal-opportunity,
affirmative-action employer.
ante diem bis vi kalendas martias

Happy Bissextile y'all!
emulate @ Merriam-Webster
From Marsala.it:

Una necropoli risalente, con ogni probabilità, al quinto secolo dopo Cristo è stata rinvenuta a Pantelleria, in località Scauri, vicino al club della vela. Si tratta di una trentina di tombe scavate nella roccia con i morti sepolti per inumazione. Vicino alla necropoli ci so no i resti di un luogo di culto. “Il tempio – dice l’archeologo Leonardo Abelli – è di culto cristiano e lo dimostra la fonte battesimale che abbiamo rinvenuto”. Ieri sono state scoperchiate le prime quattro tombe, in una di esse c’erano due scheletri, probabilmente moglie e marito che hanno voluto essere sepolti nello stesso loculo. Gli archeologi stanno attentamente cercando oggetti che potrebbero datare con maggiore precisione la necropoli. Tra il materiale che copriva gli scheletri sono stati trovati pezzi di mosaici di probabile età imperiale che dovevano rivestire i pavimenti delle vicine ville. Più avanti nella stessa zona è da quattro anni che si scava sotto la direzione dei lavori della dottoressa Rossella Giglio, responsabile del settore culturale della Soprintendenza di Trapani. Il villaggio, in località Sideri, era stato scoperto nel 1997 dall’archeologo Leonardo Abelli durante i saggi per la compilazione della mappa archeologica di Pantelleria. Oltre a numerose abitazioni e cisterne ci sono i magazzini e soprattutto il forno dove veniva fabbricata la ceramica conosciuta come “Pantelleria Ware”. Venivano fabbricate pentole, tegami, teglie, ciotole e coperchi con uno speciale materiale caratterizzato dalla presenza di inclusi di feldspato sodico, lava, ossidiana e rari grani di egirina. Nel porto di Scauri è stata ritrovata una nave che era affondata a causa di un incendio, carica di questo pentolame fabbricato a Pantelleria ed esportato oltre che Nord-Africa anche in Spagna e Francia. Del recupero se ne sta occupando la Soprintendenza del mare di retta dal professor Sebastiano Tusa. In tutta questa zona, oltre ai lavori di scavo si stanno eseguendo con fondi provenienti dai PIT isole minori i lavori per la fruizione dell’intero sito con passeggiate anche panoramiche attraverso i luoghi archeologici e le vasche termali.

I've always wondered whether the folks banished (earlier than this necropolis' date) to Pantelleria were entombed there or whether their remains were allowed to be taken back to Rome.
9.00 p.m. |HISTC|ROME | Pharsalus
Marooned in the Adriatic Sea, Vorenus and Pullo look to survive. In Greece, Pompey decides to attack Caesar’s depleted forces, whose lack of options turns into their greatest strength. The result finds Pompey seeking reinforcements. In Rome, Octavia is enlisted by Atia to ask another favor of Servilia.

HISTC = History Television (Canada)
Cleaning out the mailbox:

The winter, 2008 issue of the Center for the Study of Architecture is online ... (definitely worth reading is HE's article on the Electronic Monograph) ...

New online book:

George Grote, A History of Greece, From the Earliest Period to the Close of the Generation Contemporary with Alexander the Great (seems to be pieced together from various editions)

Lorna Robinson (of Iris Magazine fame, among other things) has a new Latin initiative for adults ...

Other than that, I hope people are taking advantage of my Google reader sharing over in the sidebar there, in addition to notices about Explorator, AWOTV, and the Latin Lover, it's a handy way to keep up with the Classical blogosphere (apparently in the past couple of weeks, I've already shared 235 items with y'all). If you'd like to subscribe to the feed of my shared items, it's also available (apparently) ...
From BMCR:

Luc Brisson, Jean-Francois Pradeau, Les Lois de Platon.

Barry B. Powell, Homer. Blackwell Introductions to the Classical World. Second edition.

Miriam Leonard, Athens in Paris: Ancient Greece and the Political in Post-War French Thought. Classical Presences series, edited by Lorna Hardwick & James I. Porter.

Gideon Nisbet, Ancient Greece in Film and Popular Culture.

Fitzpatrick on Edmunds on Fitzpatrick on Lowell Edmunds, Oedipus.

Nikolaos Katsikoudis, Dodone. Oi Timetikoi Andriantes. (Dodona: The Honorary Statues).

From the Guardian:

Helen Dunmore, Counting the Stars

From the Telegraph:

Joyce Tyldesley, Cleopatra: Last Queen of Egypt

From Mercator:

Philip Matyzsak, Ancient Rome on Five Denarii a Day

An article on beans from WRAL suggests inter alia:

When the ancient Romans shipped an obelisk across the Mediterranean from Egypt, they packed it in lentils.

The lentil story is also in Wikipedia and elsewhere on the net, and is said to have come from the elder Pliny. However, unless it isn't in the section on obelisks, I can't seem to find it ...


Sean Manning scripsit:

You wondered about the source for an anecdote about Caligula shipping an obelisk to Rome packed in beans. It happens that I know the source for this one, since I was just reading about Caligula's obelisk freighter in studying for a test on Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World. Lionel Casson mentions it in "Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World" (1995 edition) pp. 188-189. He cites Pliny, NH 16.201 "nave, quae ex Aegypto Gai principis iussu obeliscum in Vaticano statutum" etc. Casson translates the lentils as "ballast" not "packing" and estimates a load around 1300 tons burden. Apparently the ship sat in Rome afterwards until Claudius filled it full of concrete and sank it for a breakwater. I can't find it online, but it looks like Wikipedia etc. are right for once.

Dr Max Nelson scripsit:

Pliny (16.76.201) says that the obelisk erected by Caligula in the Vatican Circus was brought from Egypt by ship with 120 modii of lentils pro saburra ("as ballast" and thus not as packing material). The lentils are absent from Pliny's other mention of the obelisk (36.15.74).

Nigel Holmes scripsit:

PLIN. nat. 16, 201 CXX modium lentis pro saburra ei fuere.
From Mathaba News Agency:

A piece of antiquity stolen from the archaeological sites in Shahat was retrieved after it was sought out, and its whereabouts was located with the follow up effort of Seif Al Islam Qadhafi, Chairman of the Qadhafi Foundation of Charitable Associations.

The antiquity treasure was handed over to the Libya reprsentative in UNESCO in Paris yesterday.

It was stolen from antiquities storage house in Shahat, in Gabal Al Akhdar region in eastern Libya in 1999. The piece namely a Roman marble board with an engravement of the Greek deity Hurmuz reigning four horses.

The was located after it was stolen during an auction of artifacts held recently in Athens Hall in Paris.

The director of the Board of Antiquities told that Seif Al Islam had stressed, at a meeting with an elite of world archaeologists of those specializing in Shahat archeology, the need for them to cooperate with the competent Libyan bodies to retrieve stolen antiquities in line with the UN conventions on the protection of cultural properties, and in line with the Leader's urging of international organizations particularly the UNESCO Organization to protect such properties and seek to retrieve what had been stolen.

The director of the Board of Antiquities said the piece was found in Shahat during excavating work in 1973 and disappeared in 1999.

Search led to the piece being in the possession of Athens Hall Auction House owned by an American with branches in London and New York.

It was disclosed that the piece was acquired by the Hall in June from a antiquities trader in Zurich, Switzerland.

The Qadhafi Foundation made the necessary arrangements following ascertaining of the identity of the piece to be returned to Libya vis avis UNESCO.

The retrieval ceremony was attended by a representative from Europe Department at the Foreign Liaison Bureau, representatives of World Heritage Center and the director of UNESCO and the President of the Libyan French Friendship Society, archaeologist Andre Laronde.
From ABC:

Cambridge University has debated the contentious issue of returning the Parthenon Sculptures, otherwise known as the Elgin Marbles, to Greece.

The statues were removed in the early 1800s by Britain's ambassador to Athens, Lord Elgin.

Until now, Britain has declined to return the relics, despite public opinion supporting the move.

Chairing the debate at Cambridge was the president of the International Association for the Reunification of the Parthenon Sculptures, David Hill.

He says the Association won the debate 114 to 46.

"Which was a really delightful result, but not altogether that surprising because despite the conservative nature of the university," he said.

"That sort of outcome's pretty consistent with all of the evidence of public opinion in Britain about the return of the Parthenon Sculptures."

The British Museum says keeping the marbles in the UK has afforded them significant protection over the years, but Mr Hill rejects that claim.

"It's an offensive argument that the British Museum have pushed - that Elgin saved the marbles," he said.

"It's utter nonsense. Elgin only took half the collection; the other half remained on the Parthenon. Particularly, the famous west frieze of the Parthenon.

"And if you now compare the condition of the west frieze, which remained in Athens, with the British Museum's collection that they got from Elgin, the material in Greece is in better condition."

'Colonial booty'

Mr Hill says the issue of repatriating the marbles affects relations between the UK and Greece.

"The Greeks are very fractious people," he said.

"[But] they all agree on this; that the marbles should go back. But at the same time, they have a traditional friendship with Britain and they don't want to prejudice that friendship."

He says Australia can understand how the Greeks feel.

"It's interesting that the level of awareness about the Parthenon Sculptures is probably higher in Australia than any other country in the world except Britain and Greece," he said.

"The British keeping hold of their colonial booty really offends the Australian sense of fairness."

Mr Hill says Australia has led the way in campaigning for the return of national artefacts. He says he thinks the British Museum will only return the marbles when the British Government tells the Museum to send them back.

"Something similar has happened involving Australia," he said.

"Eight years ago, [former Australian prime minister] John Howard and [former British prime minister] Tony Blair issued a statement about the desirability of the British Museum's returning sacred Aboriginal human remains.

"Now the British Museum was totally opposed to that, but because of the public commitment of the British Government, after several years of bureaucratic process, in 2006 the British Museum returned the first of the human remains to Tasmania."

The BBC has a good slide show of the west frieze before and after cleaning, but just as it is less-than-genuous to claim that the BM is making a big deal about Elgin 'saving' the marbles (I haven't heard that argument in years), it's also less than genuous to suggest that the west frieze is in better condition than the marbles in the BM ... straw men only impress the groundlings ...
From Kathimerini:

The old Acropolis Museum, located next to the Parthenon, may be converted into a snack bar, Culture Ministry officials heard yesterday.

Government officials and Culture Ministry representatives discussed the possibility of the renovated museum staging a photographic exhibition, outlining the history of the Acropolis, as well as a cafe of some sort. The idea of an exhibition was embraced by everyone. But reservations were expressed over the possibility of a snack bar due to fears that chairs and tables would be scattered around under the Parthenon. According to the ministry’s museums department, the old museum should only serve water and soft drinks.

Artifacts are still kept at the museum but are gradually being transferred to the New Acropolis Museum at the foot of the Acropolis hill on Dionysiou Areopagitou Street.

The new museum, designed by Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi, is due to open in September, Culture Minister Michalis Liapis revealed yesterday during a visit to the ultramodern structure.

“In one month from now, we are to finish moving all the exhibits from the old museum,” Liapis said, remarking that the painstaking process of packaging and transporting precious artifacts was well under way. If all goes as scheduled, the museum will be inaugurated by September, the minister added, describing the completion of the museum as “a national challenge.”

The new museum – whose top-floor gallery is reserved for the Parthenon Marbles (currently in the British Museum) – “will be a strong argument against those who oppose the return of the Marbles,” Liapis said.
Intensive Beginning Latin in Summer School You’ve wanted to do this for a long time! Read the great works of Latin literature in the original. Vergil, Cicero, Caesar, Ovid. . . It’s not easy, but it’s intensely rewarding, and you’ll have enthusiastic professors, dedicated classmates, and free tutoring to help. Most important, you’ll be doing something for yourself,and you’ll acquire a possession that will last a lifetime. Carpe Diem! These classes are equivalent to LATN 1001 and 1002 and will prepare you in just 6 weeks for 3rd-semester Latin (LATN 2001) in the fall. LATN 2050 - Call #52-587 (Prof. Fields) Class meets daily from 12:45-3:30 pm in 228 Park Hall June 16 - July 7 l Exam: July 8 LATN 2060 - Call #52-590 (Prof. Corrigan) Class meets daily from 12:45-3:30 pm in 228 Park Hall July 9-29 l Exam: July 30 Note: These courses are in OASIS under INSERVICE COURSES. You must register for both sections to be enrolled. For more information, contact:Richard LaFleur · rlafleur AT uga.edu · TEL 706-542-9263
Refashioning the Classics: modern fabrications of the ancient world
A conference presented by the Classical Studies Program of Monash University, in partnership with the Monash Centre for Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies and the Australasian Classical Studies Reception Network
Monash University, Melbourne, Caulfield Campus
September 20th-21st 2008

Keynote Speaker, Professor Simon Goldhill (University of Cambridge)

The Conference
This international, multidisciplinary conference will explore the modern representation and reception of the Classical world in contemporary culture and scholarship.

Call for papers
Abstracts are invited for papers exploring the interrelationship between Ancient Greece and Rome and modern culture. Proposed panel topics currently include:

Monsters, ancient and modern
Re-thinking the logos: theory, philosophy and the Classics
Classical scholarship acting up: reception, performance, and ‘other’ ways of reading
Rewriting the Classics: the ancient world in contemporary fiction
Classical cultural cringe: Australasian encounters with the Classics
Six more interesting things to do with Greek tragedy

The convenors welcome suggestions for other panels.

Submission of Abstracts

Abstracts of up to one page in length are now invited for submission.

Please follow these guidelines below for details of how to submit your abstract:

The abstract should be in the following format:

1. saved as an A4 sized file (not letter size);
2. margins of 1” (2.54 cm) all round;
3. title of paper centred top 14 pt font;
4. followed on alternate lines by: your name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address (valid for a further year); all centred, 12 pt font;
5. body of text in a minimum 12 pt font; fully justified;
6. contributors should include a short biographical note, of not exceeding 5 lines in length.

Please send your abstract to:

jane.griffiths AT arts.monash.edu.au

The deadline for submission of abstracts is Monday April 14th.

Contributors will be advised of the outcome of their submission by early May.


Selected conference proceedings will be published. Details are to follow.

Conference convenors:

Dr Jane Montgomery Griffiths, Monash University

Paul Monaghan, University of Melbourne

All enquiries to:

jane.griffiths AT arts.monash.edu.au
The Classics Department of UMass Boston invites you to attend the third annual Conventiculum Bostoniense, an oral Latin immersion program with some unique features:

1. Participants learn Second Language Acquisition Theory from a professor actually in the field of language learning research, from whom they get not one or another favored method, but an overview of the most important new approaches. In sessions specifically set aside for this purpose, the participants themselves will practice modeling these approaches by applying them to Latin instruction, and oral Latin.

2. The CB will have a series of sessions each day designed just for newcomers to spoken Latin, but those newcomers will have the additional (and considerable) benefit of being able to interact at other times of the day and in various settings with more experienced speakers of Latin.

3. Participants in the CB can received full graduate academic credit from UMass Boston for one of two graduate level courses.

4. The participants will be guided throughout the seminar by faculty well-versed in oral Latin, whose spoken Latin conforms with classical usage.
See below for program details and contact information.

The Classics Department of UMass Boston offers:
Conventiculum Bostoniense, Latin by the Sea
(held on the campus of UMass Dartmouth)
August 2 – August 10, 2008

Vocamus vos, o magistri, ut linguam Latinam nobiscum in ora maritima colatis

The Conventiculum Bostoniense is a full-immersion residential experience, specifically designed for teachers in schools and universities, who want to gain some ability to communicate ex-tempore in correct Latin on a wide range of subjects. Participants will enhance and develop their own abilities to express themselves in Latin, both in speaking and writing, and at the same time will explore various ways to employ active Latin in the classroom to enhance the learning experience of their students. After the first evening’s arrival and orientation session, participants will speak Latin exclusively with one another and the faculty for seven days. Two different graduate level courses are offered during the Conventiculum, one for first time attendees and one for returning participants as described below. Days are filled with instructional activities, including sessions focused on oral expression or prose composition, opportunities for social interaction (particularly at meals and!
in the
dormitories), and local excursions to the beach, nearby museums in New Bedford and a local brewery or winery.


Jacqueline Carlon, Assistant Professor, Classics, UMass Boston
Corinne Etienne, Assistant Professor, Applied Linguistics, UMass Boston
Emily McDermott, Professor, Classics, UMass Boston
Milena Minkova, Associate Professor, Classics, University of Kentucky
Terence Tunberg, Professor, Classics, University of Kentucky


Latin 570 – Active Learning Methodologies for Teachers of Latin
Designed as the first-year experience at the Conventiculum Bostoniense, this course introduces teachers of Latin to theories of second language acquisition and engages them intensively in speaking and writing Latin. All participants should be able to read Latin and should feel reasonably secure in their knowledge of basic morphology and syntax; however, previous experience in speaking Latin is not necessary. With the exception of nine hours of instruction in second language acquisition theory, students will communicate exclusively in Latin among themselves and with the instructors. The course requirements include: preparation of certain course materials in advance of the Conventiculum; full participation in all instructional activities; strict adherence to the requirement to speak only in Latin; the submission of a portfolio, consisting of article and textbook assessments, a journal and all written work from the composition portion of the course; and the completion and prese!
of a final paper at a full-day follow-up session approximately eight weeks after the summer instructional sessions conclude.

Latin 575 – Living Text: Sallust’s Bellum Catilinae
Designed for repeat attendees of the Conventiculum Bostoniense or other spoken Latin programs, this course engages the participants in intensive study of Sallust’s Bellum Catilinae, incorporating both traditional pedagogical approaches (grammar/translation method, study of relevant scholarship) and active learning methodologies (especially those that build competence in oral and written production of Latin, such as oral paraphrase, contextual discussion, Socratic questioning, written response and rephrasing). For a significant portion of class time, students work in small groups to compose and perform a play whose content accurately reflects the style, themes, and literary, historical, and cultural contexts of the text studied in the course. Each student also completes an individual final paper, due six weeks after the last course session. Students communicate among themselves and with the instructors exclusively in Latin. Prerequisites: Latin 570 or permission of the instru!

Audit Option
This option is designed for school teachers over the age of 60 or college faculty who would like to attend the Conventiculum but who do not need graduate credit for their participation. Auditors will be expected to participate fully in all activities for either Latin 570 or 575 (depending upon their experience with spoken Latin) and to adhere strictly to the requirement to speak only Latin. This option is also available to repeat attendees who have already taken both Latin 570 and 575.

The Conventiculum will be held in the facilities of UMass Dartmouth, which is located in North Dartmouth, near the south coast of Massachusetts. Sessions will meet at the conference center on campus, and students will be housed in apartments adjacent to the center. Housing for the Conventiculum consists of 2 or 4 bedroom apartments, each with its own full kitchen and common living area; all bedrooms are single occupancy with double beds and shared bathrooms (2 per apartment). Kitchens are not equipped.

Program Fee
The fee for participants for credit is $1500 and includes the cost of three graduate credits, classroom materials, transportation and admission to all activities included in the Conventiculum, housing, and some meals. The fee does not cover the cost of books or transportation to and from the Conventiculum. The fee for participants accepted as auditors is $800 and includes transportation and admission to all activities included in the Conventiculum, housing, and some meals. The fee does not cover the cost of books or transportation to and from the Conventiculum.

For further details and application please contact:

Jacqueline Carlon, Assistant Professor
Classics Department, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA 02125-3393
Telephone: 617-287-6121; Email: Jacqueline.Carlon AT umb.edu
ante diem viii kalendas martias

Parentalia probably comes to and end with the festival of Caristia, which was a sort of 'kiss and make up' festival. The idea was that people had made peace with their dead, so now it was right to bring to an end any quarrels they were having with living members of their family. There was usually a big family reunion type banquet and worship was given to the Lares.

4 A.D. -- death of hoped-for-successor-to-Augustus Gaius Caesar (either February 21 or 22) in Limyra

c. 1st century A.D. -- martyrdom of Aristion, place disputed

1756 -- birth of Gilbert Wakefield (Classicist)
dissolute @ Dictionary.com

meracious @ Worthless Word for the Day
From the Daily Free Press:

Boston University students breathed new life into ancient Greek and Roman academic oratory competitions -- renewing traditions of the ancient past.

Nearly 30 students and faculty members met to participate in the fourth annual Agon, an ancient Greek and Latin declamation contest sponsored by the Undergraduate Classics Association in the College of Arts and Sciences last night.

"People are always saying Greek and Latin are dead languages, but this is a way to revive it," UCA Treasurer Caitlin Cox, a CAS sophomore, said. "It's 2008, and we're doing something that was done 2,000, 3,000 years ago. That's pretty amazing."

Agon annually provides a social aspect to the study of Greek and Latin literature and promotes a casual environment for students and professors to discuss all things ancient, Cox said.

Eight students and one professor took the stage, reciting passages from famous intellectuals -- from Virgil to Sappho -- competing for Barnes & Noble gift cards worth up to $20 and homemade Greek laurel wreaths.

"When you get a chance to do something like this, you just have to get up there and do it," said CAS senior Dygo Tosa, who has attended and performed at the Agon every Spring since its 2004 premiere.

Agon, the brainchild of a former classics student, hosts ambitious students and professors every year, CAS classical studies professor Stephen Scully said. Performances range from the dramatic to the emphatic, drawing laughs and words of admiration from the attentive audience.

"The creme de la creme," classical studies professor Stephen Esposito said. "It's really a fun event where the students and professors can get together and celebrate the languages that we love."

While the judges deliberated the outcome of the contest, UCA President Peter George, a CAS senior, kicked off a brief an open-mike session, treating the audience to a modern Greek song.

"I'm very impressed that the students are doing this," classical studies professor Mark Alonge said. "The effort and the initiative that the students have taken to get classics outside of the classroom is great."

"One of the great things about coming to BU is how enthusiastic the students are," Alonge continued. "It's not just a class; it's a community."

Toward the end of the evening, classical studies visiting professor Frank Nisetich did a reading from Tacitus, to resounding applause. Nisetich translated the piece himself and recited the passages entirely from memory.

While UCA is a little-known organization outside of the classics department, many students said they would be interested in joining after attending the contest and seeing the spirit of the ancients alive and well.

"Any and all participation is great," Cox said.
ante diem ix kalendas martias

Parentalia possibly comes to an end with the festival of Feralia, during which sheep were sacrificed to the dead; the additional rites mentioned by Ovid (Fasti 2.565 ff) apparently in connection with the Feralia probably have nothing to do specifically with the festival.

4 A.D. -- death of hoped-for-successor-to-Augustus Gaius Caesar (either February 21 or 22) in Limyra
relegate @ Dictionary.com

ereption @ Worthless Word for the Day
Brief item from the New York Times:

More than six months after the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles agreed to hand over 40 artifacts to Italy, the criminal trial of its former curator of antiquities lumbers on in Rome. A prosecution witness painstakingly presented the court with photographs and documents on Wednesday in an effort to establish that more than a dozen looted artifacts had made their way into the Getty’s collection. Marion True, the former Getty curator, is charged with conspiring to acquire illicitly excavated antiquities for the museum. Several of the pieces discussed on Wednesday by the prosecution witness, Daniela Rizzo, are now on view at the presidential palace in Rome as part of an exhibition of objects recovered from American museums in the last two years. Ms. Rizzo repeatedly projected an image of an artifact onto a screen next to a photograph of the same piece in a dirt-encrusted, unrestored state. For most of the pieces, she said, acquisition documents provided by the Getty did not cite the object’s provenance. “If it came from an authorized dig, it would say so and give a date,” she said. “The fact that it doesn’t makes you think, doesn’t it?” Ms. True and the American dealer Robert Hecht, who is on trial with her on similar charges, have both proclaimed their innocence. The next trial hearing is scheduled for mid-March.
From the University of St. Thomas:

Dr. Ann Steiner, Shirley Watkins Steinman Professor of Classics and provost and dean of the faculty at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., will give a free lecture, "How to Read a Vase," at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in Room 126 (auditorium) of the John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts at the University of St. Thomas.

Steiner suggests that in addition to aesthetic principles such as balance, symmetry and repetition, Athenian vases also can be "read" as texts. They communicate through a visual code that conveys comparisons, point of view and narrative, resulting in messages that range from news to parody.

Steiner, an internationally known scholar who has been on the Franklin & Marshall faculty since 1981, has bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in archaeology from Bryn Mawr College in suburban Philadelphia. She was a research scholar at the American School of Classical Studies Excavations at ancient Corinth from 1985 to 1988, and served as the archivist for the University of Sydney and Athens Archaeological Society excavations at Torone in the Chalcidice in 1976, 1978 and 1980. She directs research at the Mugello Valley archaeological project excavations at Poggio Colla in Tuscany. Franklin & Marshall is a sponsor of the archaeological field school at Poggio Colla.

Steiner is the author of Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: Joslyn Art Museum (1986), Joslyn Art Museum: Ancient Greek Pottery (1985) and articles in leading journals including Hesperia and the Journal of Roman Archaeology. Her most-recent book, Reading Greek Vases, was published last year by Cambridge University Press and is considered a groundbreaking study on text and repetition in Greek vases. The award-winning scholar is a member of the Archaeological Institute of America, the Classical Association of the Atlantic States and the Managing Committee of the American School of Classical Studies.

This presentation is the third in the "Looking @ Greek Vases" lecture series sponsored by St. Thomas' Graduate Program in Art History and the University of Minnesota Classical and Near Eastern Studies Department.

During her visit to the Twin Cities Steiner will give a second lecture, "Texts in Context: Athenian Vases in Symposium," at 4:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 29, in Room 155, Nicholson Hall, at the University of Minnesota.
Interesting item from UF:

The University of Florida has awarded the nation’s first doctor of philosophy degree in classical studies pursued online. David McClister of Tampa successfully defended his dissertation on Feb. 11 and is set to graduate during UF’s next commencement ceremony in May.

The classical studies distance learning graduate program was established at the University of Florida in 2001 to address the needs of Latin teachers nationwide. It is the only program of its kind in the nation and is the only online doctor of philosophy offered at the university. The College of Pharmacy has awarded 1,245 doctor of pharmacy degrees online since 1994, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the College of Public Health and Health Professions have awarded 1,164 doctor of audiology degrees online since 1998.

McClister enrolled in the program in 2003. As a father of four children and a full-time professor of biblical studies at Florida College, McClister said the program allowed him to pursue the highest degree attainable in his field without putting his life on hold.

“I was already in a tenure-track position at Florida College and knew that progress toward a doctoral degree would be an important part of my tenure application,” McClister said. “However, taking a leave of absence for a couple of years and moving away was simply not going to be feasible either for the department or for my family. I needed an arrangement where I could work toward an advanced degree and at the same time continue teaching and not disrupt our family life too much.”

For his doctoral research, McClister studied the Greek works of Jewish historian Josephus, who wrote during Rome’s first century.

“David has produced an excellent and truly original dissertation exploring primarily how and why Josephus constructs Jewish identity, and also the way this construction of ethnicity interacts with other dominant Mediterranean cultures such as the Greeks and the Romans,” said associate professor of classics Konstantinos Kapparis, who served as McClister’s faculty adviser. “I was impressed by the high standard of his work.”

McClister plans to continue teaching at Florida College and hopes to publish his dissertation, as well as future research. He has a bachelor’s degree in classical civilization and a master’s degree in biblical studies from Loyola University, Chicago.

For more information on the program, visit http://www.classics.ufl.edu/distance/intro.html.
From the Canadian Press:

A long-delayed new museum in Athens where Greece hopes to reunite its ancient Acropolis masterpieces with Britain's Elgin Marbles will open in September, officials said Wednesday.

Culture Minister Michalis Liapis said finishing the glass and concrete building was a "national challenge" and would boost Greece's campaign to wrest the 5th century B.C. sculptures from the British Museum.

"We will inaugurate the new museum in September," he said. "This modern, functional and safe museum will be a strong argument against those who oppose the Marbles' return."

The Elgin Marbles - or Parthenon Sculptures - were removed from the Parthenon temple by Scottish diplomat Lord Elgin in the 19th century, when Greece was still an unwilling part of the Ottoman empire. The museum in London has repeatedly rejected Greek calls for their return.

Liapis said a delicate operation to transfer hundreds of priceless statues and thousands of smaller pieces from the old museum on top of the Acropolis hill to the new building would be finished by the end of March.

The $190-million museum was initially scheduled for completion in 2004 but was delayed by legal wrangling and archeological discoveries on the central Athens plot at the foot of the Acropolis.

Museum director Dimitris Pantermalis said the focal point of the exhibition, sculptures from the Parthenon that escaped removal to Britain and other European countries, would soon be placed in its final position in a glass hall at the top of the building.

"In a few weeks we will complete the trial installation of copies. which will help us resolve all issues regarding the display, and will then replace them with the originals," he said.

The Parthenon was built between 447-432 BC in honour of Athena, ancient Athens' patron goddess, and was decorated with hundreds of sculpted figures of gods and participants in a religious procession. About half of the surviving works are now in London.

Designed by U.S.-based architect Bernard Tschumi in collaboration with Greece's Michalis Photiadis, the new Acropolis museum will contain more than 4,000 works, 10 times the number on display in the old museum.
From the Falcon:

The annual C. May Marston lecture was given by Owen Ewald, assistant professor of classics, in Demaray Hall on the evening of Feb. 14. The lecture, entitled, "What Are You Laughing At? Humor in the Ancient World," drew a crowd of almost 100 students, faculty and community members.

The C. May Marston lecture is given every year by the faculty member who holds the position of C. May Marston Professor of Classics, said Susan Gallagher, Center for Scholarship and Faculty Development director and professor of English, who spoke briefly at the event.

Ewald has given this lecture for the past three years. His predecessors are Drs. Christine Roseman, Winifred Weter and C. May Marston, Gallagher said.

This is the 10th C. May Marston lecture that Gallagher has attended. The Marston lecture is an event where the whole SPU community is invited to celebrate scholarship, she said.

With a number of published scholarly essays and a heavy teaching schedule, Ewald, who is fluent in both Latin and Greek and speaks five additional languages, is an excellent example of both a teacher and a scholar, Gallagher said.

Gallagher was pleased with the topic of "Humor in the Ancient World."

"I thought it was a wonderfully intriguing topic that would appeal to students and also draw on a lot of classic literature," Gallagher said.

"It showed Dr. Ewald's strength as a teacher-scholar," she said.

His lecture covered, as Ewald put it, "material that is still funny, and material that takes a footnote to understand."

Comedy can be traced as far back as the epic poet Homer in 800 B.C., Ewald said. In Homer's "The Odyssey," the heroic Odysseus tells the one-eyed Cyclops Polyphemus that his name is "Nobody." When the hero drives an iron pole through the monster's eye, Polyphemus can only call out in vain, "Friends, Nobody is killing me now!"

A parody from 400 B.C. describes an epic battle between frogs and mice, mocking the meticulous way that Homer describes how and in what area of the body each person was killed. The narrative also shares Homer's compulsion to name every minor character to enter the story and keeps his affinity toward continually signifying death with the ominous phrase, "death veiled his eyes."

Ewald addressed the popular comedian Aristophanes, whom he compared with TV's Jon Stewart and "The Daily Show."

Aristophanes devised a satire of the jury system of Athens where two dogs fight over a piece of cheese, Ewald said. The case was overseen by a canine jury and judge, he said. "Animals doing human things is always funny," Ewald said.

Aristophanes also parodied new Greek scientific advances, as well as the teachings of his contemporary philosopher Socrates, who was eventually put to death, Ewald said.

Comedy was of interest to the philosopher Aristotle, who believed it could be studied empirically, with a more scientific and fact-based approach, Ewald said.

History's first comedy book was "Philogelos," or "Laughter Lover," thought to have been written in 350 A.D., Ewald said. Most of these jokes revolved around the comedic exploits of an idiotic "egghead" character, he said.

Early Christian monks had their own brand of humor, which can be seen in the 700 A.D. "Ioca Monachorum," Ewald said. These jokes were meant to provoke smiles, as opposed to outright laughter, which the monks considered unholy, he said.

Ewald's lecture also covered puns in the New Testament, such as in Matthew 16:18, where Jesus says, "And I tell you that you are Peter (petros), and on this rock (petra) I will build my church." Puns like these were usually more significant than humorous, Ewald said.

"I thought there was a great student turnout. People laughed at Dr. Ewald's jokes," Gallagher said.

"The Marston lecture represents a different way to learn on campus and represents one of the great traditions of learning," Gallagher said.

Junior Skylar Gingrich attended the Marston lecture with other students in Ewald's Elementary Classical Greek I class.

"We think he's a marvelous teacher so we were very excited to come," she said.

"It's very enjoyable to be in a class environment or in a seminar like this," Gingrich said.

"I really liked the biblical references," she said. Learning Greek will allow her to read the New Testament in its original form, so that nothing will be lost in translation, Gingrich said. She will also be better able to understand biblical humor, Gingrich said.

"I'm sure people will find something there that grabs them, something that appeals," Ewald said.

"This is something that gives people a taste without obligating them to a whole discipline," Ewald said.

The lecture was videotaped and is currently available on iTunes University.

Well ... I know what podcast I'll be listening to on our class ski trip tomorrow ... I can't seem to give the link this a.m., but if you go to iTunes, click on iTunesU, then Seattle Pacific University, then the Marston lectures button, then the video tab. Not sure if clicking this will get you most of the way through that ...
Folks wanting a bit more (but not too much more) detail about that Druid burial we mentioned a few days ago should check out this Spiegel article ...
From the Chronicle ... with an interesting bypass name along the way:

AN AMATEUR archaeologist from Sandbach is on a mission to plot the course of a historic Roman road thorough the town.

Alex York, 73, of Middlewich Road, is tracking a previously undiscovered road from Elm Tree Farm at Abbey Fields, through Roman Way. He has been given permission to continue his dig on land next to the Wheelock Bypass.

He said: “Tracking this road has been a real joy, albeit a lot of hard work. It is believed to have run from Middlewich through Elworth en route to Alsager and Chesterton near Stoke.

“Roman roads come in all shapes and sizes or at least their remains do. Digging has also given me a greater understanding of more recent local history.

“When I was digging on Elm Tree Farm I discovered that it has a very rich history of its own. Farmer Peter Richardson’s family have been there for over 180 years, that’s six generations.

“I am very grateful to Peter, his family and everyone at Elworth Cricket Club who have been very helpful and encouraging.

“I have been given permission to continue tracking the road on David and Robert Holdcroft’s land next to the Wheelock Bypass. The Holdcroft brothers rent the land from Peter Foden so it will be very interesting to dig on land which has such an importance part in the town’s history.”

Alex is keen to share his knowledge and experiences with local people and is giving a talk on his work to Sandbach Rotary Club at the Chimney House Hotel in Congleton Road on Sunday.

He said: “There are hundreds of years of history right under our feet. I would be delighted to talk to local groups or even schools about my work.

“It is a great shame that young people are not encouraged to take a more active interest in local history.”

Valerius Flaccus' Argonautica: Work in Progress

A workshop to be held on Monday 19th May 2008 in the School of Classics, St

Organised by Dr Emma Buckley

A booking form is available at

9.20-9.30 Emma Buckley Welcoming Remarks
9.30 Martin Dinter Epic from Epigram: The Poetics of VF's Arg.
10.30 Coffee break
11.00 Gesine Manuwald Prophecies and non-prophecies in VF's Arg.
12.00 Emma Buckley Digressions and the Ekphrastic in VF's Arg.
1.00 Lunch
2.30 Helen Lovatt Argonautic imagery in Statius' Thebaid
3.30 Bob Cowan Genre and theodicy in Valerius and Silius
4.30 Coffee break
5.00 Andrew Zissos Valerian departures: contemporary reception of
the Flavian Argonautica

Those interested in attending should contact Dr Emma Buckley
(eb221 AT st-andrews.ac.uk) or Mrs Margaret Goudie (classcon AT st-andrews.ac.uk) for
further information on travel and accommodation. There will be a conference fee
of £10 for non-speaking attendees.

Graduate students working on Flavian epic are especially welcome; bursaries for
attendance at such events are available from the Thomas Wiedemann Fund:
http://www.thomaswiedemann.org.uk and the Classical Association:

ante diem x kalendas martias

Parentalia (Day 8) -- the festival for honouring/appeasing the dead continues

116 A.D. -- Trajan is given the title "Parthicus" by the senate for his victories against the Parthians
factitious @ Dictionary.com

dapatical @ Worthless Word for the Day

contumely @ Merriam-Webster
... of sorts. From news.bg:

Some archaeologists say that Bulgaria may be called Rome of the Balkans, The Standart shares.

Serdica - an ancient names of Sofia, was a military, economic and culture centre in the Roman Empire.

And while local culture tourism is redirected to Perperikon and other spots dispersed all over this country, a mystic town slumbers beneath Sofia downtown, told from Standart.

The excavations under the medieval St. Sofia church started in the 1940s.

There is a huge Roman necropolis under the church with dozens of tombs stretching under the building of the National Assembly.

Archaeologists and historians reckon the remnants from Roman times and the later cultural strata are unique and can be found nowhere else in the world.

There appears the problem. Round 10 million EUR are needed to take at the surface all the Roman rests.

‘The Heart of the City' project which aims to exhibit Serdica costs 7 million EUR.

The other 3 million EUR will be necessary for researches, conservation and adaptation of the unique amphitheatre, discovered 2 years ago.

The Standart reveals that last week the amphitheatre that was named ‘Sofia Coliseum'.

The walls of the ancient Roman city encircle the region between Alabin Str., Hristo Botev Blv and Iskar Str.
From ANSA:

A fresco pinched from a Roman villa near Pompeii over 30 years ago has been recovered by police in a major operation into stolen artwork and artefacts, it was revealed on Tuesday. Experts believe the fresco was completed during the 1st century AD and probably came from the villa of Poppaea Sabina, Emperor Nero's second wife. The fresco was tracked down during a lengthy Italian-led international investigation, which has resulted in trafficking and fraud charges against 31 people in Italy, France and Switzerland. Operation Ulysses has uncovered a haul of more than a thousand archaeological finds and a series of outstanding Impressionist forgeries.

The probe was opened three years ago after Italian officers started looking into a series of illegal excavations in different parts of Lazio, Sardinia and Tuscany, in an area once home to the Etruscans. The trail initially led investigators to Milan and then eventually abroad, first to Switzerland and later onto Paris. The fresco was finally tracked down to an elegant house in the French capital.

Police say the artwork was snatched in the 1970s from a villa that stood in the Ancient Roman coastal resort of Oplontis, close to Pompeii. Oplontis, which is near the modern-day town of Torre Annunziata, was one of the settlements worst hit by the AD 79 eruption of Mt Vesuvius.

The fresco was originally a wall decoration and shows a landscape with temples, gardens, fountains, a Greek assembly place and a walled residence. Of the thousand-plus antiquities recovered, police say around 400 are worth several thousand euros each. Among the haul are 87 ancient masterpieces from Greece, Tuscany and southern Italy, including a brightly coloured mosaic of a young freedman. Investigators say the trade in stolen antiquities reaped traffickers at least three million euros in profits over the years. They also discovered several outstanding Impressionist forgeries in a Milanese house, used as collateral for hefty bank loans. The 22 fakes included a Monet and a Degas.

A selection of forged paintings from great 20th-century Italian artists, such as Giorgio De Chirico, Mario Schifano and Lucio Fontana, were also used to raise credit, police said. Operation Ulysses is the latest in a series of successful investigations over recent years, part of Italy's efforts to crack down on antiquities trafficking. As well as reclaiming several major hauls, Italy has signed landmark deals with foreign museums and galleries including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Princeton University and the Boston Museum of Fine Art to return allegedly plundered art.

In the first case of its kind, Rome is also trying former Getty curator Marion True and an American antiquities dealer, Robert Hecht, for knowingly acquiring smuggled artefacts.
ante diem xi kalendas martias

Parentalia (Day 7) -- the period for honouring the dead continues

198 A.D. -- death of emperor wannabe Clodius Albinus

1806 -- death of Elizabeth Carter (Classicist who translated Epictetus)
abominate @ Dictionary.com

procellous @ Worthless Word for the Day
Some lost-in-translation news from news.bg:

Association ‘Preserve the Bulgarian' starts action for the realizing of ‘Sevtopolis' project.

At first the organizators will collect subscription list throughout the whole country, the projects author and major architect Jeko Tilev announced.

Sevtopolis or the City of Tracian King Sevt III is capital of the Odyisian state in the end of IV - beginning of III century before Christ.

It was found and observed in 1948 - 1954 by the construction works of Koprinka dam like and afterwards, however, submerged in the lake waters.

This is the first and best preserved Thracian city in Bulgaria, located 7 km western from the Thracian capital of Bulgaria - Kazanlak and 2 kilometers from the ‘Goliyama Kosmatka' tomb, where the biggest Thracian treasures were found.

The reconstruction of the ancient city, located on the lake bottom was hindered to the moment by undecided judicial matters.

Few foreign companies have already shown interest towards subsidizing the initiative.

According to architect Jeko Tilev the financing of the project won't injure the state subsidizing of other archaeological objects, due to the fact it would depend mainly on public- private partnership and support by EU funds.

The reconstruction of Sevtopolis won't use state budget recourses.

There won't be any ecological harm over the local fauna. It is previewed the reservoir to be drawn out during the city walls' reconstruction but this won't be dangerous for the local environment.

The projects author pointed out the social - economical and scientific significance which the Sevtopolis reconstruction will have. It will attract many tourists and will develop the infrastructure in the region.

The project has the support of many world organizations from Netherlands, USA, Canada, Spain and also lots of state institutions, though haven't still received official answer.
From Science Daily:

New discoveries unearthed at an ancient frontier wall in Iran provide compelling evidence that the Persians matched the Romans for military might and engineering prowess.

The 'Great Wall of Gorgan'in north-eastern Iran, a barrier of awesome scale and sophistication, including over 30 military forts, an aqueduct, and water channels along its route, is being explored by an international team of archaeologists from Iran and the Universities of Edinburgh and Durham. This vast Wall-also known as the 'Red Snake'-is more than 1000 years older than the Great Wall of China, and longer than Hadrian's Wall and the Antonine Wall put together.

Until recently, nobody knew who had built the Wall. Theories ranged from Alexander the Great, in the 4th century BC, to the Persian king Khusrau I in the 6th century AD. Most scholars favoured a 2nd or 1st century BC construction. Scientific dating has now shown that the Wall was built in the 5th, or possibly, 6th century AD, by the Sasanian Persians. This Persian dynasty has created one of the most powerful empires in the ancient world, centred on Iran, and stretching from modern Iraq to southern Russia, Central Asia and Pakistan.

Modern survey techniques and satellite images have revealed that the forts were densely occupied with military style barrack blocks. Numerous finds discovered during the latest excavations indicate that the frontier bustled with life. Researchers estimate that some 30,000 soldiers could have been stationed at this Wall alone. It is thought that the 'Red Snake'was a defence system against the White Huns, who lived in Central Asia.

Eberhard Sauer, of the University of Edinburgh's School of History, Classics and Archaeology, said: “Our project challenges the traditional Euro-centric world view. At the time, when the Western Roman Empire was collapsing and even the Eastern Roman Empire was under great external pressure, the Sasanian Persian Empire mustered the manpower to build and garrison a monument of greater scale than anything comparable in the west. The Persians seem to match, or more than match, their late Roman rivals in army strength, organisational skills, engineering and water management.”

The research is published in the new edition of Current World Archaeology and the periodical Iran, Journal of the British Institute of Persian Studies 45.
The Department of Ancient History and Classics invites applications for two 9-month limited term positions at the rank of Lecturer or Assistant Professor, depending on qualifications and teaching experience, to begin August 1, 2008. All appointments are subject to final budgetary approval.

One limited term instructor will teach two two-term courses: Introduction to Classical Literature and an advanced course (3000-level) on Classical Literature (determined in consultation with the department), and a one-term advanced Latin course (Special Topic in Latin). The second instructor will teach three two-term courses: Introductory Latin, Intermediate Latin, and Introductory Greek.

Candidates should have completed, or be very close to completing, a PhD and be able to demonstrate a strong commitment to excellence in both teaching and research.

Applications (in either printed or electronic version) should include a curriculum vitae, three letters of recommendation (which may be sent separately), and documentation of teaching effectiveness. Candidates should specify which position(s) they are applying for.

Send applications to: Prof. Hugh Elton, c/o Search Committee, Department of Ancient History and Classics, Champlain College, Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada K9J 7B8. E-mail: ahc@trentu.ca; FAX (705) 748-1131.

Applications must be received by 4:00 p.m. EST on Monday, 3 March, 2008.

Trent University is an employment equity employer and especially invites applications from women, Aboriginal persons, visible minorities and persons with disabilities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority.

We are happy to inform you that the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History of Ghent University is seeking a full-time lecturer or senior lecturer in Ancient History. The official announcement and all necessary details may be found at the University website:


The salary will be in the range of 41,886 to 81.775,26 euro, depending on rank and previous experience.

The language of instruction in Ghent is Dutch. Note, however, that if the selected candidate is not Dutch-speaking he/she will be given time to learn the language.

Applications must be sent in duplicate by registered mail to the rector of Ghent University, Rectorate Building, Sint-Pietersnieuwstraat 25, 9000 Ghent, using the specific application forms for Autonomous Academic Staff ('ZAP'), including the necessary attestations of competence (copies of degrees), the 29th of February, 2008 at the latest.

The application forms for Autonomous Academic Staff (ZAP) can be downloaded from the internet: http://www.ugent.be/nl/voorzieningen/personeelszaken/aanwerving/medewerkers/formulieren/zap
Please note that the deadline for submissions is ***Feb. 29th.**********************
... at the APA site ...
It's been a busy long weekend (it's the inaugural "Family Day" up here in Ontario ... just a coincidence that the date coincides with Presidents Day in the U.S. ... sure, coincidence? or manifest destiny plot?) and I didn't get to clear out my mailbox yesterday, so here goes:

I keep meaning to mention the Schola Latin site at Ning.com ... I'll probably get an rss feed for it when I get a chance ...

Speaking of rss feeds, I hope folks are making good use of my 'shared feed' of Classics blogs over there in the sidebar (ClassiCarnival); I update it a couple of times a day and it should be a good way to keep on top of Classics-related posts from the blogosphere ... I'm also putting the updates to Explorator and AWOTV in there ...

Mata Kimasatayo keeps finding the Classical stuff at Harper's ... Holderlin on Pindar's Nomos ... Pindar's Nomos ... Challenging Torture ... Catullus -- Pining for Lesbia ... Hegel on Athena's Owl ...

Some additions to your online book library:

Lempriere's Classical Dictionary (the 1801 version)
Ammianus Marcellinus (1894)
MEFRA (1881-1970)

It is with great regret that I also note that the AJA has gone to a payfer model for its journal articles ... folks might recall that the fact that it made this material available was one of the contributing factors to my judging the AJA organization superior to the APA, but that's no longer the case. I'm still trying to figure out the logic of the Journal's editor's claim that

By widening our electronic presence, we hope to expand our readership ...

Once again, we see scholarly journals being limited to those who have access to an academic library and/or who can afford to pay the exhorbitant download fees (if they exist ... in the AJA case, it would appear that your only option is to subscribe to the journal to get access; even if all you want to do is read the obit by Eugene Borza). I wonder when journals are going to recognize that media in general is moving away from the payfer model (see, e.g., most recently the New York Times). I wonder when scholars are going to make the connection between their work and the recently-concluded Hollywood writer's strike and refuse to publish in journals that continue to make money off their articles via the internet (and, of course, the scholars aren't getting any money from such things). Or better yet, I wonder when the internet will be allowed to live up to its long-claimed promise of being an agent of democratization of information ... so far, it has skipped the democracy part and gone straight to tyranny.

Okay ... enough with the rant ... there's also a new version of Kalos (a Classical Greek Dictionary) available ... which reminds me that Akropolis World News is also back up; I need to figure out how to get the page in rss form ...
From BMCR:

Albert Rijksbaron, The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek: An Introduction.

Jean Alaux, Origine et horizon tragiques. Coll. "Intempestives".

Jose Carlos Fernandez Corte, Juan Antonio Gonzalez Iglesias, Catulo. Poesias. Edicion bilinguee.

Pavel Gregoric, Aristotle on the Common Sense.

Johannes Fried, "Donation of Constantine" and "Constitutum Constantini".

Christy Constantakopoulou, The Dance of the Islands: Insularity, Networks, the Athenian Empire, and the Aegean World.

Simon Swain (ed.), Seeing the Face, Seeing the Soul. Polemon's Physiognomy from Classical Antiquity to Medieval Islam.

John R. Clarke, Roman Life: 100 B.C. to A.D. 200.

Robert J. Penella, Man and the Word. The Orations of Himerius.

David E. Wilhite, Tertullian the African: An Anthropological Reading of Tertullian's Context and Identities. Millennium Studies 14.

Ian Worthington (ed.), A Companion to Greek Rhetoric.

Liz James, Art and Text in Byzantine Culture.

D. Brendan Nagle, Stanley M. Burstein, Readings in Greek History: Sources and Interpretations.

Barbara Graziosi, Emily Greenwood, Homer in the Twentieth Century. Between World Literature and the Western Canon.

From the Times of London

Helen Dunmore, Counting the Stars (Catullan-inspired fiction)

From the California Literary Review

Judith Harris, Pompeii Awakened

From the New York Times

Harry Mount, Carpe Diem

From Scholia

Art L. Spisak, Martial: A Social Guide

Carol G. Thomas, Alexander the Great in his World.
From ANSA:

E' iniziata in Libia l'esplorazione di due porti romani finora sconosciuti, nascosti tra le dune costiere delle spiagge della Cirenaica ad Est di Bengasi.

Le ricerche sono condotte dalla missione archeologica diretta da Sebastiano Tusa e realizzata dalla soprintendenza del Mare della Regione Siciliana in collaborazione con l'università Suor Orsola Benincasa di Napoli e l'Ias di Palermo, con l'accordo con il Department of Antiquities of Libya, si "Il lavoro svolto è stato mirato - afferma una nota - anche alla raccolta di dati utili alla realizzazione di un progetto finalizzato alla conoscenza e valorizzazione dei luoghi identificati in chiave culturale e turistica in pieno accordo con le autorità libiche".

Sul primo porto, nei pressi del villaggio agricolo di Hamama si è particolarmente accentrata l'attenzione degli studiosi italiani date le consistenti tracce di strutture in pietra emergenti tra la sabbia sia sulla costa che in mare. E' probabile che si tratti di uno degli antichi porti utilizzati dalla non lontana Cirene per i suoi contatti mediterranei e, soprattutto, con Roma ai tempi dell'impero. Il sito potrebbe essere identificato con Phykous, menzionato da Strabone proprio nella zona.
A claim from several articles (e.g.) about a major find in India runs thusly:

"It's a huge city that existed about 2,500 years ago. The city had four gateways and could have housed up to 25,000 people. Even classical Athens had only 10,000 people," another archaeologist, RK Mohanty, was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

I'm not sure where this "10,000" people claim comes from. Just from memory, the figure I remember from various claims is that Athens+Attica was roughly 250,000 to 300,000; male citizens were roughly ten percent of that. Even estimating conservatively, I think that puts a lot more than 10,000 in the city, no?
A nice AP photo from USA Today (I can't resist posting this one):

From the Berkshire Eagle:

Jamie Keller started teaching Latin at Lenox Memorial High School 20 years ago. It was a very part-time job: one class, eight students. She has since built the program to 60 students, with a biennial trip to Rome and visits from Italian student groups on alternate years.

She has made Latin into something of a Lenox institution, in the words of one student, by "bringing a dead language to life and making it fun."

The Lenox story may be unusual, but educators say Latin is making a modest comeback nationally. The Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) seems to be one of the reasons.

According to the National Committee for Latin and Greek, students of Latin outperform students of all other languages on the verbal section of the SAT, and they say it is because 65 percent of all English words come from the Latin, as do 90 percent of the words of two syllables or more.

Latin survives in affluent public and private schools, and Caroline Caswell, Latin education teacher at Boston University's School of Education, says the SAT factor may be the cause. But, as a former teacher at Boston Latin Academy, Caswell says she thinks Latin is reappearing even in some
inner city districts.

In a recent New York Times Op-Ed essay, Harry Mount, author of "Carpe Diem: Put a Little Latin in Your Life," pointed to the National Latin Exam numbers as evidence of a comeback. In the 1977, 6,000 students took the exam, and in 2005, that number was 134,873.

"Know Latin and you discern the Roman layer that lies beneath the skin of the Western world," says Mount, pointing to one reason Latin educators say knowledge of it benefits an educated person.

President Thomas Jefferson, he said, studied Latin and Greek at age 9, and when he opened the University of Virginia, he employed classically trained professors. Mount says that of the 40 presidents since Jefferson, 31 have studied Latin, many at high levels. Latin education proponent Web sites include W. E. B. Dubois as one of the famous people who studied and taught Latin.

Several area high schools, besides Lenox, continue to offer Latin, at least at the basic level, and some to the Advanced Placement level. Among them are Pittsfield, Taconic, Wahconah, Monument Mountain and Mount Greylock, as well as the private Miss Hall's and the Berkshire School.

At Berkshire Country Day School, Eugenie Fawcett, who has taught Latin of 36 years, says her students begin "a gentle study of Latin" in the sixth grade, an age that she says is developmentally appropriate for the study of grammar.

Keller's own foray into the classics had nothing to do with the SAT or an unquenchable desire to know our cultural heritage, but by now, she is deeply rooted.

In addition to Latin, she has studied Greek to the point of the Ph.D. dissertation, and speaks Italian as well. Two of her dearest pleasures are reading Latin and Greek. All of this amuses her.

"I actually hated school," she said, "and I had a French tutor. If you had told me that not only would I be a high school teacher, but a language teacher, I would have said, `you are crazy!'"

But Keller, raised in Ocea-nside, Long Island, went off to college nonetheless, "because that's what we all did," with a plan to study political science.

"It was 1970, and the war was going on, and everybody was a poli-sci major." It was one of those good accidents that refocused her attention at Washin-ton University, when she enrolled in a course called Greek Govern-ments, what turned out to be a very difficult junior level Greek history course.

"There were more books on the reading list than I had read in my whole life."

The elderly professor stood in one place, hands behind his back, and spoke nonstop for 1 1/2 hours, two times per week, she remembers. "I was fascinated."

She earned a C or even a D, her lowest grade ever. "But I stuck with it because I liked it."

Her second exposure to the classical world was through the charismatic Kevin Herbert, around whom a circle of students gathered at the end of every class.

It was her roommate who recommended she major in classics, saying "it was all I ever talked about."

"So, I went to Dr. Herbert after the class, and stood behind the circle, and he spotted me, and asked what I wanted. I said, 'I want to major in classics. ' He stopped what he was doing and said, 'Give me your hand. '"

They walked to his office where they made her plan.

"It felt like he was parting the Red Sea," she said of Herbert, who is now in his 80s and still teaching.

A semester in Athens intensified her interest in Greek and the ancient world. "It was heaven, archeology classes on the Acropolis." That semester also planted the seed of her belief in international exchange.

Finally, senior year, she began to study Latin, and got a fellowship to attend graduate school at the State University of New York, Albany.

After SUNY, she worked a few jobs, including one at U. S. Congressman Silvio O. Conte's Washington office, but she missed the classics. Eventually she found a job teaching ad-vanced placement Latin at the National Cathedral School in Washington.

When she and her new husband decided to move to the Berkshires, where he grew up and her parents and sister now live, she went to work at Berkshire School. When she had her son — now in college — she took the part-time job in Lenox. Her first eight students all wanted to continue the second year, and a program was born.

Now, the advanced class, all seniors, numbers seven, of the 60 total in the school. Six girls and one boy, they know each other well, and they say this, their smallest class, is something they look forward to each day.

Keller used to ask students why they were taking Latin, and invariably they would state one of two reasons: Their mothers made them, or they wanted to score well on the SATs.

"Nobody said it was a desire to know the ancient world, so I stopped asking."

In 1970's England, Latin suffered the same fate as in the U.S., declining to a degree that alarmed many educators. That's when a group created the textbook that Keller now uses, the "Cambridge Latin Course." She says they wrote a textbook to include vivid stories and methods to keep students' interest.

"You can't do any better for high interest than 79 AD in Pompeii," she says.

Keller's students read poetry by Ovid and Catallus, as well as those stories in their text that they compare to soap operas, with characters — including a dog, a familiar pet in Pompeii — who lived just at the time that the eruption of Vesuvius destroyed that city in 79 A.D..

Keller's students eventually get to visit the house of their main character, since the Cambridge Latin writers used people who actually lived in Pompeii. The stories are historical fiction, but the people were real. Under the layers of lava, campaign slogans can still be seen on the walls. An election had taken place shortly before the destruction.

In Lenox, there are a few extra good reasons to study this so-called dead language, including that trip to Italy. Keller started bringing groups to Rome, Pompeii and home stays in Umbria in 1993, and sees benefits for each student who goes. The students become more confident, she says, and they see and hear other world perspectives.

When they visit Rome and Pompeii, because of their textbooks and language study, they feel they know some of the characters, and as one student said of Rome, "we go around reading the words on the buildings."

Keller's enthusiasm translates into other field trips, such as the recent one to New York to see "The Fantasticks," a Broadway musical based the myth of Pyramis and Thisbe, as recorded by the poet Ovid.

She explains to students that Ovid's writing was probably also Shakespeare's inspiration for Romeo and Juliet, "which of course, becomes 'West Side Story.' "

Her students do not know if they will continue to study Latin in college. It all depends on where they go, they said, or as Keller knows, it may depend on the professors they meet.
The Eighth Biennial
"* Shifting Cultural Frontiers in Late Antiquity* "
Indiana University

Bloomington, Indiana
April 2-5, 2009

The Society for Late Antiquity announces that the Eighth Biennial Conference
on Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity will be held at Indiana University
and will explore the theme "Shifting Cultural Frontiers in Late Antiquity"
[ca. 200 - 700 AD]. The confirmed plenary speakers will be Professors Jas
Elsner (Corpus Christi, Oxford) and Seth Schwartz (Jewish Theological

Beneath the familiar political and religious narrative of late antiquity
lies a cultural history both more complicated and more fascinating. Late
antiquity was a time of intense cultural negotiation in which new religious
communities and new populations sifted through existing modes of cultural
expression, adopting many elements for themselves and turning others aside.
This conference seeks to understand how cultural transformation occurred
amidst the political and religious disruption that can seem characteristic
of late antiquity. To this end, we seek contributions that explore three
distinct areas of late antique cultural history: 1) the interaction of
"high" and "low" culture, 2) the impact of changing and collapsing political
centers on their peripheries, and 3) the emergence of hybrid literary,
artistic, and religious modes of expression. Possible contributions to
these areas may highlight the permeable division between elite and
vernacular culture, the ease with which cultural memes were transmitted
across geographic and linguistic boundaries, the adaptability of established
cultures to new political and social realities, and the degree to which
newcomers were integrated into existing cultural communities.

As in the past, the conference will provide an interdisciplinary forum for
ancient historians, philologists, Orientalists, art historians,
archeologists, and specialists in the early Christian, Jewish, and Muslim
worlds to discuss a wide range of European, Middle-Eastern, and African
evidence for cultural transformation in late antiquity. Proposals should be
clearly related to the conference theme. They should state both the problem
being discussed and the nature of the new insights or conclusions that will
be presented.

Abstracts of not more than 500 words for 20-minute presentations may be
submitted via e-mail to Prof. Edward Watts,
shifting.frontiers.8 AT gmail.com (Department
of History, Indiana University, Ballantine Hall, Rm. 828, 1020 East Kirkwood
Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405-7103, USA). The deadline for submission of
abstracts is October 15, 2008. The submission of an abstract carries with
it a commitment to attend the conference should the abstract be accepted.
9.00 p.m. |HISTC| ROME | Egeria
Mark Antony is running Rome while Caesar pursues Pompey in the East, but when news comes that the tide has turned and that Pompey now pursues Caesar, Antony must decide whether to remain loyal to his old commander or turn against him as Atia and Pompey wish. Pullo takes Octavian to a brothel; Atia attempts to mend fences with Servilia; and Vorenus and Niobe rediscover their intimacy, albeit briefly.

10.00 p.m. |HINT|The True Story of Hannibal
One of history's greatest military leaders, at age nine Hannibal accompanied his father Hamilcar Barca on the Carthaginian expedition to conquer Spain. Before embarking, the boy vowed eternal hatred for Rome, his people's bitter rival. Twenty years later, in 218 BC, he left New Carthage (now Cartagena, Spain) to wage war on "The Eternal City" with an army of about 40,000, including cavalry and elephants. After crossing the Pyrénées and Rhône River, he traversed the Alps while beset by snowstorms, landslides, and hostile mountain tribes. This 2-hour special brings to life the story of the Carthaginian general who struck fear in all Roman hearts and wreaked havoc with his masterful military tactics, bringing the mighty Roman Republic to the brink of ruin. Archaeologists, historians, and military experts guide us through ancient Carthage and give insight into his military strategy up to defeat at Zama in 203 BC.

HISTC = History Television (Canada)
HINT = History International
... proving the illicit antiquities trade is part and parcel with other crimes ... from Kathimerini:

An attempt by a 29-year-old man to smuggle a hit of heroin to his jailed girlfriend in Edessa, northern Greece, led to the arrest of a suspected drug dealer whose home was found to be full of ancient artifacts, police said.

After prison authorities caught the 29-year-old trying to pass a small quantity of heroin to his girlfriend – inside a crepe – he was questioned and subsequently led officers to a 42-year-old believed to be the supplier of the narcotics.

A search of the latter’s home revealed only a small quantity of heroin but a huge stash of artifacts.

The artifacts, believed to have been illegally obtained, include hundreds of bronze coins dating to the ancient Greek and Roman eras, a clay statuette of the goddess Aphrodite dating to the Hellenistic era, a bronze pipe and various broaches dating to the Iron Age.
School of Classics, University of St Andrews
10 May 2008

Keynote speaker: Ralph Rosen, Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the School of
Classics, University of St Andrews.


Morning session: Imperial Platonism and the Sciences

9:30 – 10:30 Ralph Rosen (UPenn): ‘Socratism in Galen’s Psychological Works’

10:30 – 11:30 Caroline Petit (Manchester): ‘Plato as a Linguistic Authority in
Galen’s Time.’

11:30-12:00 Coffee

12:00 – 13:00 Eleni Kechagia (Oxford): ‘Platonists and Natural Science: the
Example of Plutarch.’

13:00 – 14:30 Lunch

Afternoon session: Scientific Traditions and Empire

14:30 – 15:30 Serafina Cuomo (Birkbeck): ‘Vitruvius’ Book 10 and the Formation
of a Tradition in Catapult Treatises.’

15:30 – 16:30 Liba Taub (Cambridge): ‘Eratosthenes’ letter to King Ptolemy.’

16:30-17:00 Tea

17:00- 18:00 Roundtable discussion.

The event is part of the activities of the Leverhulme ‘Science and Empire in the
Roman World’ project (http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/classics/science-and-empire/).
7.00 p.m. |HISTC| ROME | the Ram Has Touched the Wall
Caesar weighs Pompey’s counteroffer against Antony’s recommendation to chase down Pompey’s vulnerable army. Vorenus is forced to reconsider his career choices after a series of business setbacks leave him with little income to support his family. A jealous Atia concocts a clever scheme to separate Caesar from Servilia. Pullo is recruited to tutor Octavian in the art of soldiering, but ends up learning a lesson or two from the boy.

HISTC = History Television (Canada)
ante diem xv kalendas martias

Parentalia (Day 3) -- the festival for appeasing the dead continues


44 B.C. -- Julius Caesar is offered -- and declines -- the title of rex and the diadem to go with it

1515 -- death of Aldus Manutius
ennui @ Dictionary.com (really?)

delphically @ Worthless Word for the Day

nosocomial @ Wordsmith
Scant Classcon in this piece from Reuters:

Lovers can officially ignore Valentine's Day in Bulgaria because the day is given over to the celebration of wine and St. Trifon The Pruner.

Honoring the patron saint of vine growers is the right way to mark February 14, many in the Balkan country say, although Valentine's Day popularity is quickly growing among the young.

The wine rituals have their roots in the devotion to the ancient Greek god of Dionysus and the Thracians who once inhabited the territory of modern Bulgaria and were known for their winemaking skills.

Wine makers across Bulgaria salute St. Trifon with the annual trimming of the grape vines, which symbolizes the end of winter. The tradition requires women to bake bread and roast hens in preparation for a post-pruning feast.

In every town, the man deemed to have grown the most grapes that year is crowned King, put on a horse-cart, driven from house to house and ordered to get drunk with his friends in order to ensure a plentiful harvest in the coming year.

St. Trifon lived in the third century AD and is believed to have had the divine power to heal any sickness. He was tortured to death and beheaded for his Christian faith.

The Orthodox Church in largely Christian Bulgaria celebrates St. Trifon on February 1 according to the new religious calendar but most people prefer to do it on February 14 according to the old calendar, not least as an alternative to Valentine's Day.

"Valentine's Day is nonsense. We had never heard about it until some 15 years ago. I'll stick with St. Trifon," said Sofia resident Georgi Blagoev, 34.

Internet blogs and forums are full of heated debates about which holiday Bulgarians should celebrate but there are plenty who say they would celebrate both.

"Why not celebrate the day of love with a glass of wine. We will get drunk anyway," quipped 24-year-old Mira Nikolova.

A excerpt from piece from the Sophia Echo adds some details:

Just for the record, St. Trifon lived in the third century and was believed to have had the divine power to cure any sickness. He was tortured to death and decapitated for his Christian faith.
In Bulgaria St. Trifon’s day is marked in the beginning of spring when farmers start trimming the vines. In the Bulgarian folk tradition the saint is worshipped as the guardian of vineyards.
Early in the morning the mistress of the house kneads some bread and cooks a barnyard hen. The loaf of bread, the hen and a wooden vessel (buklitza) full of wine are put in a new woollen bag.
With such bags over their shoulders the men go to the vineyards. They make the sign of the cross; take the pruning-knives and start pruning three sticks from three main stems. Afterwards they make the sign of the cross again and pour the wine they have brought over the vines. This ritual is called “trimming”.
Following this ceremony, they single out “the king of vineyards”. The king is crowned with a wreath of vine sticks and decorated by another garland – across his shoulders. He is seated on a cart. The vine-growers draw the cart and, accompanied by the sounds of bagpipes and a drum, they make their way to the village or town. They stop at each house and the hostess brings out wine in a white caldron, offers it first to the king and then to the people of his suite.
The wine left in the caldron is thrown over the king, pronouncing at the same time a blessing: “May we have a good harvest! May it overflow thresholds!” The king answers to this blessing with: “Amen”. When arriving at his own house, the king changes his clothes and, still wearing the wreaths on his head and over his shoulders, sits at a long table to meet people from the whole village. That is why, as a rule, a well-to-do man is chosen to be the king of this festival.
Rituals like these are just proof of how important wine-making has been in these lands since times already forgotten. Wine production is also one of the important sectors of Bulgaria’s economy.
Wine-making has been a traditional Bulgarian strength, with large quantities exported in the communist period to the Soviet Union and, eventually, to west European markets, where a “cheap and cheerful” niche was found in the 1980s.
From the BBC:

A strong earthquake has struck southern Greece, shaking buildings over an area from the southern Peloponnese region to the capital, Athens.

The earthquake struck at about noon (1000 GMT) and geologists said its magnitude was between 6.5 and 6.7.

Seismologists said the epicentre was beneath the seabed off Kalamata, about 230km (140 miles) south of the capital.

Witnesses in Athens said it lasted at least 15 seconds, and there were no reports of casualties or damage.

"We were shaken for quite a long time, swaying back and forth," Tanya Spiropoulou from the northern Athens suburb of Marousis told Reuters news agency.

A farmer in Kalamata told the agency that the quake "was not as strong as other times, but we felt it".

Seismologists said aftershocks were possible, and Greek television stations warned people in areas near the epicentre, to stay away from buildings.

The tremor was felt as far away as Cairo, in Egypt.

Earthquakes are common in Greece, and the last serious earthquake there killed more than 100 people in September 1999.
8.00 p.m. |HINT| Ancient Monster Hunters
One-breasted female warriors; the one-eyed, man-eating Cyclops; the ferocious griffin, part bird, part lion. Were these creatures, celebrated by the ancient Greeks and immortalized by Homer, something more than myth? Join the hunt with some of today's leading paleontologists as we explore newly-translated evidence and examine remains that may link the Greek classical age with Earth's prehistoric past. New data suggests that the ancients searched for, excavated, measured, and displayed massive fossils.

HINT = History International
ante diem xvi kalendas martias

Parentalia (day 2) -- the period for appeasing the dead continued.

270 A.D. -- traditional date for the beheading of Saint Valentine
amative @ Dictionary.com

cingulomania @ Worthless Word for the Day

sternutation @ Wordsmith
Check out the excerpts at NPR ...
From a Cambridge press release:

A study of a Roman sculptural cult that emerged during the 2nd century AD by Cambridge lecturer Dr Caroline Vout has won a new award for books on art history.

The book, ‘Antinous: the Face of the Antique', written by Dr Vout, who is a University lecturer in Classics, and edited and published by the Henry Moore Institute, has been named the first recipient of the Art Book Award. The book examines the sculptural tradition that sprang up following the death of Antinous, a lover of the Emperor Hadrian.

Antinous, who was noted for his beauty, drowned mysteriously in the Nile before his 20th birthday, around AD 130. In his grief, and before his own death eight years later, the Emperor Hadrian initiated a cult of Antinous by commissioning busts and statues of his beloved.

Far from stopping with Hadrian, however, the movement spread throughout the Roman Empire. Eventually, Antinous became one of the most popular subjects of Roman sculpture, second only to emperors like Augustus and Hadrian himself.

Dr Vout's book was written to accompany the exhibition of the same name which she curated at the Henry Moore Institute in 2006. This was the Institute's first ancient show and the first exhibition in Britain dedicated to Antinous. It uses the collection of sculptures to examine some of the thorniest issues art historians face when dealing with work of this period, such as how to recognise the individuals portrayed, and how to restore damaged sculptures.

The Art Book Award is made by the editors of The Art Book (a quarterly journal of Art History) and the Associate of Art Historians. The judges praised the winning book for the balance it struck between quality of research, readability, production and design.
Images of Women and Reconstruction of Gender in Classical, Premodern and
Early Modern Literary and Historical Imagination. Session
Language and the Scientific Imagination

July 28 - August 8, 2008
University of Helsinki, Finland
Abstract deadline: 15.2.2008
E-mail: Liisa.Savunen AT Helsinki.fi Katariina.Mustakallio AT uta.fi

The relationship between sexes is experienced in different ways in
different cultures. It is, however, obvious that people re-create
their self-images and identities according to their gender. This
session aims at bringing together scholars to discuss the continuities
and changes in experiencing and
constructing gender relationships in literary and historical
imagination. We warmly welcomeparticipants (20 minutes) with a
comparative and/or interdisciplinary perspective.
We invite submissions on the following topics:
-Images of women from classical to early modern imagination
-Gender and gender order in historical literature
-Being an Ideal man/woman in literature
-Transgender ideals in classical/medieval/early modern literature
Please submit your proposal (max. 200 words) as an email attachment
with your name,
academic affiliation, mailing and email address to
Liisa.Savunen AT Helsinki.fi or Katariina.Mustakallio AT uta.fi
The deadline for abstracts is 15.2.2008.
idus februariae

Parentalia (day 1) -- a festival for honouring/appeasing the dead began on this day with a number of signs: temples were closed, altars did not have fires burn on them, people were forbidden to get married, and magistrates set down the trappings of their office.

Fornacalia (day 1) -- this was actually a "feriae conceptivae", which means that it probably wasn't always held on the same day. Originally, it was a feast of the curiae (an early division of the Roman people) which also seems to have involved a sort of banquet for the gods, although scholars are unsure which gods were specifically honoured. Then again, Ovid claims that rural folk would pray to a divinity called Fornax.

196 B.C. -- dedication of a Temple of Faunus on the Tiber island

194 A.D. -- Septimius Severus recognized as Emperor in Egypt

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Polyeuctus of Melitene
perdurable @ Dictionary.com

presagition @ Worthless Word for the Day

idiopathy @ Wordsmith
From the Journal:

PLANS to build a visitor centre for one of South Tyneside’s major attractions have been shelved.

After listening to local residents and community groups, South Tyneside councillors have decided not to go ahead with a proposal to develop the centre for Arbeia Roman fort on the Lawe Top at South Shields.

The fort is rated as one of the main cultural assets in South Tyneside.

It is part of Hadrian’s Wall world heritage site and has provided many significant archaeological finds.

Over the last 20 years a series of reconstructions have taken place, including one of the gatehouses, the fort commander’s quarters and barracks.

The existing museum on the site is very limited and any development on the existing site would conflict with its status as a scheduled ancient monument and archaeological remains within the site.

The council’s cabinet was told that it was clear that the further development of Arbeia as a visitor attraction is being held back by the existing facilities and its ability to contribute to the broader tourism offer in South Tyneside.

In recognition of the need to improve the facilities at Arbeia, consultants Pan Leisure were appointed to undertake feasibility work and consultation on the concept of a new visitor and exhibition centre outside the fort on the Lawe Top.

Now the cabinet has asked for more public consultation and has instructed Pan Leisure, to consider alternative schemes for an improved visitor facility for the fort. But John Wood, lead member for resources and a local ward councillor, said that this would not be on the Lawe Top.

The cabinet was told that following several public meetings, residents and local ward councillors made it clear that they had concerns that the centre, which would have featured a viewing tower, would restrict views out to sea and cause parking problems.

Coun Wood said the proposed scheme was “totally unacceptable to local people”.

He said: “From the very outset I said this was an ill-conceived idea and an absolute no-go, especially the high tower. Residents are not opposed to expanding visitor attractions at the fort, or to attracting better tourist facilities to the area, but they want to see a development which complements the historical and natural beauty of the Lawe Top and does not cause parking chaos.”

Tony Duggan the council’s head of cultural services, said: “The development of the visitor centre is a medium to long term project and no funding is currently allocated for it. On the basis of the consultation the council has taken residents’ views into consideration and will not proceed with the current options but will work with local residents to look at other site options.”
From AP (via Yahoo):

White and purple flowers run riot among toppled temples at the site where the ancient Olympic Games were born 2,800 years ago.

But in the fire-blackened hills and river banks just beyond, a desperate race is on to replant large swathes of forest wiped out by massive summer wildfires that killed 66 people and ravaged southern Greece.

At stake is the image that will be broadcast worldwide during the March 24 flame-lighting ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Greek officials say the vast effort will pay off, and some 30,000 young plants will be in place for the elaborate ceremony, held in Ancient Olympia since the 1936 Berlin Games.

"We are working seven days a week, late into the evening," project supervisor George Lyrintzis said. "We have completed 75 per cent of the work at an intensive pace, and the planting will be finished by the end of this month."

The ancient Games were held at Olympia for more than 1,000 years in honor of Zeus, chief of the ancient gods. Forests around the site were devoured in August by Greece's worst wildfires on record. Firefighters stopped the flames just short of the ancient ruins and Olympia's rich archaeological museum at this World Heritage site.

"A large section of the Olympic landscape was lost," archaeologist Olympia Vikatou said.

Over the past three weeks, Lyrintzis' team has planted some 22,000 tree saplings and bushes - aiming to recreate the scenery ancient travelers described more than 1,800 years ago.

These will include oaks - sacred to Zeus - cypresses, olive trees, poplars and Judas trees up to 2.5 metres tall, as well as laurel and oleander bushes.

"Most of the plants we are using are local species with the exception of 3,000 cypresses imported from Italy, as these have a higher resistance to disease," said Lyrintzis, a senior official at the state National Agriculture Research Foundation.

The 50 hectares being replanted include surrounding hills and river banks, as well as the Coubertin Grove, where the heart of Baron Pierre de Coubertin, founder of the modern Olympics, is buried.

Landscapers had to compensate for two months lost to bureaucratic delays, which prompted Greece's Olympic Committee last month to urge speedy action if the country was to avoid "international disrepute."

A committee official on Monday said it was monitoring the works, but declined to comment on progress.

Vikatou, a senior archaeologist responsible for the Olympia area, said the schedule was tight but expressed optimism replanting would be finished by the beginning of March.

The work will cost some US$3.9 million, to be covered by a donation from the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, which is providing an additional $1.9 million for replanting around ancient Olympia by 2010.

In the March 24 ceremony, an actress in the white gown and sandals of an ancient priestess will offer a ritual prayer to Apollo, ancient god of light and music, in front of the ruined temple of Hera. The Beijing flame will be lit using a concave mirror to focus the sun's rays on a silver torch. If the day is overcast, a backup flame will be used from a trial lighting.

A relay of runners will then carry the flame for 137,000 kilometres over 130 days - the torch's longest journey in Olympic history.

Olympia was first inhabited in prehistoric times, during the third millennium B.C.

The Games started in 776 B.C. and were the most important sporting festival in ancient Greece, held every four years and lasting up to five days.

After Christianity was established, Roman emperor Theodosius abolished the festival in A.D. 394, deeming it pagan. The site again hosted an Olympic event during the Athens 2004 Games, when the shot-put was held in the ancient stadium.
10.00 p.m. |HINT|Lost Worlds: Athens-Ancient Supercity
In the 5th century BC, one man leads his city to greatness and paves the way for western civilization. The city is Athens and Pericles is not a king or prince, but an elected man. He will mastermind the most costly and ambitious construction campaign undertaken in the western world--creating a model city of temples, houses, market places, civic buildings, and a highly innovative sanitation system. But Pericles' decision to raid the Greek treasury and take the money set aside to defend all the city states will lead to the downfall of Athens and Pericles himself. It took 30 years to build, but it was brought down in one generation by war and disease. Now, 2,500 years later we restore Athens to its former glory--the first senate house, the terrifying power of the Greek navy, and one of the world's most advanced water systems. We also reveal the magnificence of the Parthenon--a building often hailed as the most perfect building ever completed.

HINT = History International
From ANSA:

An astonishing collection of ancient Greek art is to go on show in the northern city of Mantua next month. The exhibition will bring together 130 precious artefacts exploring the Italian peninsula's long fascination with Greek art, starting some 2,700 years ago, when the southern part of Italy was colonized by Greek settlers. ''This exhibit is so important because it will collect in a single place works of art that are usually stored far from each other,'' said the show's curator, Salvatore Settis, at a presentation in Milan. ''This will give visitors the chance for an in-depth exploration of a style of art that forms the foundation of our own civilization''. The show is attracting particular attention as it will feature a number of works that are rarely, if ever, moved from their permanent homes. The Louvre in Paris has agreed to loan out a bronze sculpture of Apollo for the first time, while an athlete's head held in Fort Worth, Texas, is making its first trip back to Europe since being acquired by the Kimbell Museum.

The exhibit, which opens in Palazzo Te at the end of March, will be divided into three sections.

The first part covers the 7th to the 2nd centuries BC. It features pieces produced in the southern Italian and Sicilian colonies, as well as items imported to the area from Greece and other parts of the Italian peninsula. It includes several items described as masterpieces by art historians.

The Charioteer of Motya, on loan from the island of Mozia off the western coast of Sicily, is a stunning statue of a Greek youth. The marble figure, whose muscled build is clearly visible through the folds of his garment, is larger than life at 1.81 metres tall and is thought to date back to the 5th century BC.

Another crowd-puller from this era will be the Dancing Satyr of Mazara del Vallo, probably created in the 3rd century BC.

Fishermen discovered the bronze statue off the southwest coast of Sicily ten years ago, raising it from its resting place 500 metres below the sea's surface after it got entangled in their net. Although missing its arms and one leg, the movement and wild energy of the figure, depicted mid-leap, have fascinated visitors every time it has gone on show. The second part of the exhibition spans the period between the 2nd century BC and the 4th century AD, as the Roman Empire rose and fell.

Greek art held a particular allure for the upstart Romans, who aspired to the elegance and tradition represented by the ancient culture. The poet Horace once famously summed up this fascination of his fellow Romans, writing: ''Greece, once conquered, in turn conquered its uncivilized conqueror, and brought its arts to the peasants of Lazio''. The Romans were devoted collectors of such pieces, looting items during invasions of Greece and its colonies, as well as bringing well-regarded Greek artists to work in the heart of the empire. The pieces on show here include a marble statue of the tragic mythological figure of Niobe, whose children were killed by Greek divinities, and the Apollo of Piombino. The latter is a famous bronze statuette discovered in the harbour of the Tuscan port Piombino in 1832 and purchased by the Louvre two years later. The third part of the show looks at the centuries following the fall of Rome, with a particular emphasis on the Medieval and Renaissance period, when classical Greek art enjoyed a massive revival. However, the exhibition also features a small ''bonus'' section at the end, showcasing three masterpieces that US museums have recently returned to Italy after lengthy negotiations. These include a marble ceremonial basin decorated with Nereids and a striking painted marble sculpture of griffons attacking a doe, both returned from the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The third piece - returned from New York's Metropolitan Museum this January after decades of discussions - is a terracotta drinking cup painted by the 5th-century BC Greek master Euphronios. The red and black Euphronios krater (a chalice used to mix wine with water) was acquired by the Met for $1 million in 1972 and is considered one of the finest Greek artefacts in existence.

The exhibition, entitled La Forza del Bello (The Strength of Beauty) runs in Palazzo Te from March 29 until July 6.
From ANSA:

The head of the ancient king who commissioned one of Rome's most famous statues has gone on show for the first time in Italy.

Many people believe the Dying Gaul in Rome's Capitoline Museums celebrates a Roman conquest, but it was actually commissioned by Attalus I (269-197 BC), first king of Pergamon in modern-day Turkey.

The statue commemorates Attalus's triumphant victory over a Gallic tribe known as the Galatians in 238 BC.

The head of Attalus I and that of the last king of Pergamon, Attalus III (170-133 BC), have been loaned by state museums in Berlin and are on display in Rome's Palazzo Massimo alle Terme.

Both heads were dug up by German archaeologists during excavations at Pergamon in the second half of the 19th century and are thought once to have belonged to larger-than-life statues of the rulers.

Dated to the third century BC, the head of Attalus I is topped by a mass of short wavy curls, but according to Perugia University archaeologist Filippo Coarelli the hair is not the king's own. In the ancient equivalent of a PR job, a wig' of curls was added to the statue at a later date to make the ruler look more like Greek golden boy Alexander the Great.

Initially the governor of Pergamon, Attalus I set the Attalid dynasty rolling when he crowned himself king of the city following his victory over the Galatians.

The king was worshipped as a hero after his death, and experts believe his marble head was given the new hair-do at the beginning of the second century.

''It's one of the most extraordinary and skilful pieces from the little-known period that marked the beginning of the Hellenistic age,'' said Coarelli, explaining that there is a lack of historical documentation for the time. ''Many of the works from this period are difficult to date - but not so for this head, which is a chronological cornerstone,'' he added.

Carved between 138 and 133 BC, the head of Attalus III is more classically styled and has a brooding look. It was found in a small Greek temple on a podium at the foot of the Theatre of Pergamon. A staunch supporter of the Roman Empire, Attalus III had no heirs and bequeathed the city of Pergamon to Rome on his death in 133 BC, ending the Attalid dynasty.

The heads are on loan as part of an agreement between Italy and Germany that will also see the two countries cooperating in research, restoration and the preservation of archaeological sites. In return, Italy has lent Berlin the famous bronze Boxer, a statue dating back to the first century BC that was found on the Quirinale hill in the 19th century, where it may once have decorated the Baths of Constantine. The Boxer usually forms part of the permanent collection at Palazzo Massimo, where the Attalid heads will be on show until 16 March.
... for the late update; we had a virus incident (someone was breaking the cardinal rule of attachments from strangers!) on one of our computers and I went into 'lock down' mode until I was sure I had cleaned it up.
ante diem iii idus februarias

41 A.D. -- birth of Britannicus, son of the Emperor Claudius and Messalina

50 - 55 A.D.(?) -- birth of Domitia Longina (wife of the emperor Domitian)
sequela @ Wordsmith

philippic @ Merriam-Webster
From the Times of Malta:

Studies at Limestone Heritage, the museum/park which traces the use of stone in Malta, have confirmed that a bell-shaped cistern in the Siggiewi quarry where the museum is located, is an ancient tomb of Punic or Roman origin.

The studies were conducted by Dr Nicholas Vella, Senior Lecturer in Archaeology at the Department of Classics and Archaeology of the University of Malta.

Entrance into the tomb is now through one of its two burial chambers but in antiquity the tomb was reached from the fields above, down a deep shaft. In later years, the shaft was refashioned into a bell-shaped cistern to collect rainwater.

The tomb was cut into the soft limestone that outcrops in this area. The 2.30 metre-deep shaft would probably have been rectangular with footholds dug on the side to allow the funeral undertaker to descend to its bottom.

Two burial chambers, one opposite the other, are found at the bottom of the shaft. They are small rooms, roughly rectangular in shape, entered through low arched doorways.

Dr Vella explained in a report that inside, to the left of each entrance, is a mortuary bed cut into the rock. The corpse would have been laid to rest on the bed with its head lying on a rock-cut pillow at the deep end of the chamber. Pottery vessels, often including plates, jugs and storage jars (amphorae), would have been placed in the chamber to accompany the corpse. The chamber would have been sealed with a stone slab blocking the doorway.

Each mortuary bed is about 1.80 metres long and about half a metre wide, indicating that only one adult would have been placed on the bed. In one corner of each burial chamber is a pilaster cut into the rock. This is the only decorative feature visible inside the chambers. Original cut marks are visible on the ceiling of burial chamber 2. These are different from those produced by a modern pickaxe on the ceiling of burial chamber 1.

Dr Vella said it was difficult for archaeologists to date the tomb because none of its contents had been preserved. The pottery containers and other objects may have been discovered when the tomb was refashioned into a water cistern, he said. Moreover, any inscriptions or decorations on the walls of the burial chambers werevno longer visible because the entire surface was covered in a waterproofing mortar made from a mixture of lime and clay.

“In the absence of such material the tomb has to be dated according to its shape and its layout. Tombs like this one, with chambers on either side of a deep shaft are common in Malta after the 3rd century BC. This would correspond to a time when the Maltese Islands were under Carthaginian domination. However, this type of tomb was common also in later Roman times up until the 2nd century AD.”

At some point in time, probably in the nineteenth century, the tomb was refashioned into a cistern to collect rainwater. Indeed, elsewhere at Limestone Heritage another example of such a cistern survives in the quarry face.

The shaft of the tomb was widened, especially at the bottom, and the rock cut in the shape of a massive bell. Part of the cistern shaft was built from stone blocks kept together with plaster. At the bottom of the shaft is a sump to collect sediment. Rainwater would have gathered here and inside the tomb chambers too. To make the surface of the rock waterproof, the builders of the cistern applied a cement-based mortar on the rock surface except on the roofs of the chambers. On the surface of the field above the cistern is a typical limestone cistern-head (ħerża). Water would have been drawn from here probably to water the crops in the field, Dr Vella said.

The tomb has been opened to visitors.

... not sure if the small photo accompanying the article is of this particular tomb ...
8.00 p.m. |HINT| History's Mysteries: The True Story of Gladiators.
They began as slaves, prisoners of war, the damned of ancient Roman society. Yet a few would become wealthy and famous--the sports stars of their day, main attractions in spectacular entertainment meant to satiate the bloodlust of the Roman mob. Their ranks included women, senators, and even an emperor who took the bloody sport to new depths of depravity. Join us as we examine the sometimes glorious and always gruesome history of gladiators.

9.00 p.m. |HINT|History's Mysteries: Roman Roads: Paths to Empire.
Built on the backs of conquered countries, the Romans engineered a stone-paved highway system encompassing 50,000 miles and sprawling across three continents. Ironically, their breathtaking feat may have paved the road to their ruin as ancient and newly sprung enemies marched straight to the heart of the empire.

9.00 p.m. |HISTC| ROME | the Ram Has Touched the Wall
Caesar weighs Pompey’s counteroffer against Antony’s recommendation to chase down Pompey’s vulnerable army. Vorenus is forced to reconsider his career choices after a series of business setbacks leave him with little income to support his family. A jealous Atia concocts a clever scheme to separate Caesar from Servilia. Pullo is recruited to tutor Octavian in the art of soldiering, but ends up learning a lesson or two from the boy.

10.00 p.m. |HINT|Roman Vice
The flowering of the Roman Empire saw incomparable power and civilization - and at the same time corruption, cruelty and depravity on an unparalleled scale. Emperors from Augustus to Tiberius and Nero built the biggest empire the world had ever seen, while presiding over a way of life riddled with violence, deviancy and excess. This special visits the archaeological sites of ancient Rome, talks to leading historians world-wide and uses stylish reconstructions to describe and explain how good and evil went side by side.

HINT = History International
HISTC = History Television (Canada)
... while I've got a minute
From the Echo:

Remains of a Roman settlement have been found on the proposed site of a new cemetery.

The findings were unearthed during a recent archaeological dig at the so-called Baker's field site near Long Leys Road in Lincoln.

Fragments of pottery, gullies for farming and animal bones were discovered during the survey, suggesting that the site was once a Roman-era farm.

Local opponents of the cemetery plan had hoped that the discovery might derail it but this now seems unlikely to happen.

Lincoln City Council's archaeologist Dr Mick Jones said that, although the find was interesting, nothing outstanding had been unearthed.

"What we have found is not of sufficient importance to stop the development going ahead," he said.

The farm, which dates back to between the 2nd and 4th centuries AD, is likely to have belonged to a retired Roman army veteran, and possibly even a senior local Roman.

The settlement is also close to foundations of a Roman stone building found in the mid 1980s.

Before the city council cemetery development reaches the building stage, more extensive digs will now have to take place to make doubly sure that nothing significant is buried there.

Tony Wilson, whose home on Vigo Close borders Baker's field, said his own digs had also unearthed Roman pottery.

"I just wonder whether there might be more to that site than we know," he said.

The council is being forced to find a new cemetery because the city will run out of places to bury the dead within five years.

But there have been criticisms that the Long Leys Road scheme will force out a riding school based there.
From the BBC:

Think of the Roman legacy to Britain and many things spring to mind - straight roads, under-floor heating, aqueducts and public baths.

But they were also pioneers in the health arena - particularly in the area of eye care, with remedies for various eye conditions such as short-sightedness and conjunctivitis.

Perhaps most surprisingly of all is that the Romans - and others from ancient times, including the Chinese, Indians and Greeks - were also able also to carry out cataract operations.

The Romans were almost certainly the first to do this in Britain.

Surgical skills

Nowadays the procedure can be carried out with the help of ultrasound, but in Roman times technology was rather more basic - needles were inserted into the eye.

The sharp end of the needle was used for surgery and the blunt end heated to cauterise the wound.

Blows to the head were sometimes used to try and dislodge the cataract.

Dr Nick Summerton, GP and advisor to the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has written a book "Medicine and Health in Roman Britain".

In it, he details how various medical instruments found in Britain indicate that the Romans carried out other advanced procedures, such as head surgery and induced abortions.

"Archaeological finds of eye medicine stamps, representations of eyes together with a sickness report from the Roman fort at Vindolanda suggest that eye diseases were a particular concern within Roman Britain," said Dr Summerton.

"Interestingly the Roman author Celsus described cataract extraction surgery using a specially pointed needle - and possible cataract needles (specilla) have been found in Britain as well as elsewhere in the Roman Empire."

Detailing the procedure Celsus said: "A needle is to be taken, pointed enough to penetrate, yet not too fine, and this is to be inserted straight through the two outer tunics.

"When the (correct) spot is reached, the needle is to be sloped.........and should gently rotate there and little by little."

Dr Summerton explained how eye doctors (oculists) manufactured ointment sticks (collyria) stamped with the ingredients and the name of the eye specialist.

These were used to treat a range of eye problems such as conjunctivitis and other inflammatory or infectious eye condition in addition to short-sightedness.

A large number of the eye remedies contained antiseptics in one form or another.

"The vinegar lotion of Gaius Valerius Amandus (from a stamp found at Biggleswade) or the copper oxide of Aurelius Polychronius (from a stamp found at Kenchester) would have been very effective antiseptics either in treating conjunctivitis or in preventing any scar on the eye becoming infected while it healed."

Excavations provide clues

Dr Summerton has also discovered that religion played an important role in eye care.

"It may be somewhat artificial to seek to rigidly separate out the spiritual from the physical aspects of Romano-British health care," he said.

"At Wroxeter in Shropshire there may have been a particular focus on eye care with the discovery of two collyrium stamps in the names of Tiberius Claudius and Lucillianus together with a case of probable surgical instruments including an eye needle for cataract extraction.

"However, this evidence of 'physical medicine' is complemented by the presence of eye votives (offerings to the Gods).

"In 1967 a piece of sheet-gold in the shape of a pair of eyes was found at the north-west corner of the Baths-Basilica.

"In the same area bronze eyes have been unearthed in addition to numerous eyes carved from wall plaster.

"Wroxeter has also yielded an altar to Apollo who was considered to have a particular association with eyes."

Dr Alex Ionides, eye surgeon at Moorfield eye hospital said an ancient method for treating cataracts was referred to as "couching".

"A cataract is a clouding of the lens, which loses its transparency and becomes misty and foggy and white," he said.

"The lens is held in place within the eye by multiple radial 'strings' called zonules. These become weaker with age and with cataract formation.

"'Couching' breaks these weakened strings so that the lens is no longer suspended in the correct position and falls away from the pupil, dropping into the back of the eye, allowing light into the eye once more.

"There are different ways of performing couching, one is with a blunt stick to 'knock' the eye hard from the outside, thus dislodging the lens from the zonules by shear blunt force.

"Another form of 'couching' was with a sharp metal probe that would be inserted, without anaesthetic through the edge of the iris, into the eye, and wiggled around to dislodge the cataract from the pupil.

"It wasn't until the 18th century that Daviel in France suggested opening up the eye and removing the cataract.

"This technique met with various success and blinded many people including Handel, who as a result of his cataract surgery, was blind for the last few years of his London life."

Cataract surgery is now the commonest operation performed on the NHS with vastly superior techniques and generally excellent visual outcomes - although no surgery is without some risk.

From Earthtimes:

Czech independent senator Martin Mejstrik turned the protracted Czech presidential election Friday into a momentary Latin lesson when he peppered his speech with classical quotes. In all, the 45-year-old former student leader of the 1989 Velvet Revolution threw in Latin phrases nine times, including quotes by such classics as Roman poet Ovid, philosopher Seneca the younger and emperor Tiberius.

"Iniuriam ipse facias, ubi non vindices" or "when you do not punish injustice you make yourself guilty", he cited a maxim by Latin writer Publilius Syrus as he lambasted one of the candidates, incumbent Vaclav Klaus.

Klaus, who is known for flashing his intellectual abilities, was not enjoying Mejstrik's penchant for Latin in person as he left the hall during the previous speech by another political opponent.

A rare self-described "Latin enthusiast" among Czech politicians, Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, was not able to appreciate the shower of Latin phrases either. "It is praiseworthy but I was sitting behind him and could not hear him well," he said.
1200 BC – War, Climate Change, and Cultural Catastrophe
A conference organised by the Schools of Arcaheology and Classics at University College Dublin 7th-9th March 2008

1200 BC stands as one of those symbolic dates in human civilisation. Its significance lies in its association with a period of momentous change, a period of catastrophic destruction and uncertainty for the people of the time. From the Atlantic coast of North-west Europe to the shores of the South-east Mediterranean, from Ireland and Scandinavia to Egypt and the Levant, archaeologists increasingly recognise that the period around 1200 BC is one of dramatic cultural disruption giving way to profound cultural transformation.
Archaeologists specializing in the Mediterranean are searching for the key to understanding changes like the collapse of Mycenaean civilization and the migrations of the Sea Peoples, while their colleagues working on Northern European, and especially Irish archaeology are stuggling with another iconic event on the edge of history and legend, the Coming of the Celts, also attributed to this period. Even though there are regional differences in relation to the archaeological manifestations of disruption and transformation, it is important for us to establish and explore the commonalities as well as the differences. We need to ask questions about the scale of these events. Are they linked? Are we witnessing a cascade of migrations of people throughout Europe? Is violence and warfare a common factor in these events? Does the multiple evidence for environmental factors point to global climate change? Are violence and migration the only solutions we witness to the crises?
Gathering together and offering our individual views on the phenomena of this period, we can collectively develop a global perspective. In 1200 BC we have an opportunity to examine the causes, pressures, and consequences of what seems to be one of the most disrupted and violent periods in the history of human civilisation. It is a truism that we live in a modern world that commentators increasingly characterise as driven by global cultural disruption, violence, and migration, all exacerbated by the crisis of climate change. It would be absurd to suggest that we as archaeologists can provide solutions for the world’s contemporary problems. But as we bear witness to the events of 1200 BC, when the comfortable Bronze Age world was transformed by similar crises of war, climate change, and cultural catastrophe, there are some obvious lessons and warnings to be heeded.

The conference will be held in Lecture theatre R of the Newman (Arts) Building on the Belfield Campus at University College Dublin.
Conference fee 40Euros (students 10Euros)

Further details are available from Dr Philip de Souza, School of Classics, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland. E- mail: philip.desouza AT ucd.ie

Final programme and registration information will be posted on the following website

Friday 7 March
4.00-4.15 Philip de Souza (UCD)
4.15-4.45 Alan Peatfield (UCD)
1200 BC: A period of momentous change
4.45-5.15 Coffee/tea
5.15-5.45 Mike Baillie (QUB)
Can the severe environmental downturn in the mid 12th century BC be implicated in the cause of the Greek Dark Age?
5.45-6.15 John O’Neill (UCD)
Connectivity, climate and chronology: Ireland in 1200 BC
6.15-6.45 DISCUSSION

Saturday 8 March
9.45-10.15 Muiris Ó Súilleabháin (UCD)
A long sleep atTara?
10.15-10.45 Barry Molloy (UCD)
Developments in later Bronze Age battle panoplies of the British Isles from a combat archaeology perspective
10.45-11.15 DISCUSSION

15. -11.45 Coffee/tea

11.45-12.15 Gareth Roberts (Greyfriars, Oxford)
Influence, Destruction Patterns, and the Final Years of Ramessid Egypt
12.15-12.45 Shelley Wachsmann (Texas A & M)
On Helladic Galleys and Sea Peoples
12.45-1.15 DISCUSSION

30. Lunch

2.30-3.00 Ilan Sharon (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)
(title to be confirmed)
3.00-3.30 Sharon Zuckerman (Hebrew University, Jerusalem)
Trouble from within: the fall of LB Canaanite kingdoms as a social process
3.30-4.00 DISCUSSION

30. Coffee/tea

4.30-5.00 Ian Shaw (Liverpool)
Contextualizing Egyptian military technology in 1200 BC
5.00-5.30 Krzysztof Nowicki (Warsaw)
1200 BC collapse: Crete & other South Aegean Islands and the case of the Sea Peoples in the Eastern Mediterranean
5.30-6.00 DISCUSSION

Sunday 9 March
11.15-11.45 Coffee/tea
11.45-12.15 Erik Hallager (Aarhus)
(title to be confirmed)
12.15-12.45 Kristian Kristiansen (Göteborg)
Transformation, migration and demographic expansion: 13th - 12th century reverberations in Northern Europe and beyond.
12.45-1.15 DISCUSSION

30. Lunch

2.30-3.00 Brian Ferguson (Rutgers)
1200 BC: The anthropology & archaeology of war
3.00-4.00 DISCUSSION

30. Coffee/tea

Dr Philip de Souza FRHistS

One of the most exciting developments in recent classics research has been in the field of ancient emotions. We are planning a colloquium co-hosted by UCL and the Institute of Classical Studies which aims to contribute to this area, on the topic of "Erôs in ancient Greece". Chronologically this will cover the Archaic period through the Second Sophistic, including reception. Papers might consider such topics as: the psychological and/or physiological experience of erôs and related passions (e.g. jealousy, fear for a loved one); representations of those under the influence of erotic passions; actions performed by them; iconography associated with erotic passions; and philosophical approaches. Papers might range widely across a variety of topics, or be more narrowly focused on a genre or even a particular text.

The colloquium will be held on Sat 28 - Tues 31 March 2009, and will include papers by both academics and postgraduate students. It is anticipated that proceedings will be published. Confirmed speakers include: David Konstan (keynote speaker), Elizabeth Belfiore, Douglas Cairns, James Davidson, Nick Fisher, Christopher Gill, Glenn Most, Ralph Rosen.
Anyone interested in giving a paper at this colloquium should send a title and brief summary of content (no more than 50 words) to Ed Sanders at edsanders AT gmail.com by 1 March 2008.
From BMCR:

Jean-Christophe Couvenhes, Bernard Legras, Transferts culturels et politique dans le monde hellenistique. Actes de la table ronde sur les identites collectives (Sorbonne, 7 fevrier 2004). Historie ancienne et medievale - 86.

Mancuso on Summa on Cipolla, Studi sul teatro greco.

Bella Vivante, Daughters of Gaia. Women in the Ancient Mediterranean World.

Maurizio Buora (ed.), Le Regioni di Aquileia e Spalato in Epoca Romana. Convegno Castello di Udine 4 aprile 2006.

Pierre Sineux, Amphiaraos. Guerrier, devin et guerisseur.

Edmunds on Fitzpatrick on Edmunds, Oedipus.

Marc-Antoine Gavray, Simplicius, lecteur du Sophiste.

Carol Poster, Linda C. Mitchell, Letter-Writing Manuals and Instruction from Antiquity to the Present. Historical and Bibliographic Studies.

From Scholia:

Kurt A. Rauflaub (ed.), War and Peace in the Ancient World. The Ancient World: Comparative Histories.

From CJ Online:

Richard Ashdowne and James Morwood, Writing Latin: An Introduction to Writing in the Language of Cicero and Caesar.
ante diem vi idus februarias

293 B.C. -- dedication of a Temple of Quirinus by Papirius Cursor (the temple having been vowed/begun by his similarly-named dictator father) which had a sundial associated with it somehow

291 B.C. -- possible date for the arrival of the cult of Aesculapius at Rome

1827 -- Death of William Mitford (History of Greece ... perhaps on February 10)

1909 -- birth of David Daube
aberrant @ Dictionary.com

lychnobite @ Wordsmith
From the Amherst Bulletin:

Latin has the reputation of being edifying and educational - but fun?

Latin teacher Sean Smith's students say he makes it fun. That's just one of the good things people have to say about the longtime Amherst Regional High School teacher, himself a 1978 school graduate.

Smith's scholarship (he co-authored a book on the Roman poet Catullus) and his service (he's taught everyone from middle school to college graduate students) are well regarded enough that the American Philological Association has given him its 2007 award for Excellence in Teaching at the Precollegiate Level.

The group supports the study of ancient Greek and Roman languages, literatures and civilizations, according to its Web site. It has given the national award for a precollegiate teacher since 1999.

Smith is the second of the recipients since then to have graduated from the masters of arts Latin teaching program at the University of Massachusetts.

"He's like an all-pro utility infielder, he can do anything," said Kenneth Kitchell, a UMass professor of Latin, with whom Smith co-authored the book, "Catullus: A Legamus Transitional Reader."

"He teaches middle school students and teaches them very well. He single-handedly gets them to take Latin over and over again," Kitchell said. "By the same token, he also teaches high school AP courses, and when I had an operation a while back, I asked Sean to come in for me and teach at the graduate level in college."

Smith has directed the production of audiotapes to go with one of the major Latin textbook series, lectures to teachers in training and mentors student teachers. His students routinely win commendations for their essays.

The seventh of eight children of Francis Smith, the first dean of Humanities and Arts at Hampshire College. and Margaret Smith, who founded the first Montessori School in Amherst, Smith says he always knew he wanted to teach. After he took Latin with the late Betty Jane Donley, he knew he wanted to teach it. Donley had taught for so long in the Amherst schools she called generations of students by their parents' names, Smith said.

"I like teaching language because it is so central," Smith said. "I think it's sort of the defining thing for humans. That, and the opposable thumb, but I can't talk about the opposable thumb much."

It's the Latin

Smith is possibly the last person who would tout his own accomplishments. His students love Latin, and he doesn't think it's because of him, he said. "I think it's because of Latin."

"He's self-effacing, if you want. He doesn't brag," Kitchell said.

But it's not hard to get Smith started on fascinating characters of ancient literature.

"A lot of students get interested in the mythology. They like the stories and then they find out how fascinating the language is and it gives them insight into their own language and that's always exciting to see when they get turned on to the language," Smith said.

There's Aeneas, the protagonist of the poet Virgil's "The Aeneid."

"A question for Aeneas is what is more important," Smith said, "his public responsibilities or his private commitments?" The answer disappoints some modern readers, since Aeneas is an epic hero focused on the public.

But in writing the great Roman epic, Virgil posed questions that Americans ask themselves today, Smith said, namely, "What is our place in the world as the most powerful nation?"

The Roman poet Catullus, on the other hand, "doesn't want to talk about that," Smith said. "Catullus is the anti-epic writer. He doesn't want to write of great mythological achievements and public sphere. It's about you and me and us. Kids love Catullus."

Caters to all

ARHS senior Thomas Benfey, who wrote a letter to the American Philological Association praising Smith, agreed. "Catullus is sort of like an angry teenage poet," Benfey said.

"What I really like about Mr. Smith," Benfey added, "is that he finds a way to cater to everyone in the class. He's also a really fun guy in general and a warm person."

Patti Appelbaum, whose daughter Margaret Holladay studied Latin with Smith at the middle school, said, "He manages this brilliant balance of fun and high standards. Who would think Latin would be fun?"

The plays his students put on every year for elementary students are "hilarious," Appelbaum said. "He really brings out the best in them."

Smith, who is married to Marilyn Smith, a Russian scholar, and has three grown children, has taught at the middle and high schools since 1984. He graduated from the University of Pennsylvania and has a master's degree from UMass. The Regional School Committee recognized him for his achievement at its meeting Tuesday.
From AFP:

Greece returned to Albania on Thursday two headless marble statues stolen from the museum of Butrint in 1991 and located by police near Athens six years later, the Greek culture ministry said.

The four-foot (1.2 metre) statues of a young male and a woman believed to be the ancient Greek hunt goddess Artemis had since been kept at the Museum of Piraeus.

Their origin was confirmed in 2003 by Albanian archaeologists.

The statues were found in Koropi, a rural area a few kilometres (miles) south of Athens in the possession of two Greeks who were jailed in 2004.

The presumed Artemis statue, which dates from the second century BCE, shows the goddess in mid-stride and probably carried an arrow quiver on its back, the ministry said in a statement. The male statue dates from the second century AD.

Both are missing their heads and arms, and carry listing numbers from the museum of Butrint.

Inhabited since prehistoric times, Butrint was a Greek colony, a Roman city and a Byzantine bishopric, and was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1992.
... of a Roman date widget I found at Latinteach ... not sure if I like it ...
ante diem vii idus februarias

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Adaucus in Phrygia

1845 -- the small glass 'amphora' known as the Portland Vase, while on loan to the British Museum, was smashed by a guy on a drinking binge (it was subsequently restored) [photo]
extempore @ Dictionary.com (yes, as one word)

symphoric @ Worthless Word for the Day

hypnopompic @ Wordsmith

nebula @ Merriam-Webster
Dorothy King passed this one along (thanks!) ... from the Daily Mail (adapted from Paul Johnson's Heroes):

Britain's history is rich in fiery queens, and the first such heroine, tall with red hair down to her waist, commanding and brave, was Boadicea, warrior leader of the ancient Britons.

She lived at the same time as the emperors Claudius and Nero, and led a surprisingly successful British revolt against Roman rule in AD60-61 (which, for reference, was when St Paul was writing epistles and St Mark composing his Gospel).

She was a notable orator. Her enemies, the Romans, said her voice was strident, but, as Margaret Thatcher found, any woman seeking to establish authority over an assembly of men is open to this accusation.

The history we have of her from such a distant epoch is part fact, part fiction, and not much is really known with certainty about her. But her name lives on and her tragedy rings a kind of muffled bell in all of us.

The Roman historian Tacitus - who wrote within living memory of the rebellion and was therefore nearest to the action in literary terms - records that she was the wife of Prasutagus, king of the Iceni, a tribe in what we now call East Anglia.

He had made a deal with the Roman conquerors that when he died his co-heirs would be his own two daughters and the Emperor Nero. That way he hoped to preserve his kingdom and his family fortune.

But, on his death, the Romans ignored the will, flogged Boadicea, raped her daughters and seized all her husband's property and estates. As a result, says Tacitus, the Iceni rose in revolt, backed by the Trinobantes, a tribe from what is now Essex.

This army of Britons destroyed the Roman colony at Colchester, annihilated the ninth Roman legion, which came to relieve the town, and forced the Roman Governor of Britain, Paulinus, to evacuate London, which was also destroyed. Seventy thousand Romans were killed.

The rampaging Britons targeted places where "loot was richest and protection weakest," wrote Tacitus. "They could not wait to cut throats, hang, burn and crucify, as though avenging, in advance, the retribution that was on its way."

It duly arrived. Paulinus collected 10,000 troops and lured the Britons into a pitched battle on grounds of his choosing, at a place Tacitus does not identify but seems to have been somewhere in the Midlands.

The Britons congregated in huge numbers, on foot and horseback, and "their confidence was so great that they brought their wives with them to see the victory, installing them in carts stationed at the edges of the battlefield."

Boadicea (or Boudica as she is more often called these days) is said to have driven round all the tribes in a chariot with her daughters in front of her, and addressed them in a fighting speech with marked feminist over-tones.

She showed them her bruised body and outraged daughters, and ended with the rallying cry: "Win this battle or perish. That is what I, a woman, plan to do. Let the men live in slavery if they will."

Tacitus says that more than half the British army were women, and the outcome was an easy Roman victory. Eighty thousand Britons fell at a cost of 400 Roman dead and a slightly larger number of wounded.

The queen, he adds, poisoned herself, and the rebellion ended not only in defeat but terrible famine among the surviving Britons.

But that may not be the whole story. A century and a half after Tacitus, a Roman senator named Cassius Dio wrote a history of Rome in 80 volumes, with a more detailed version of the conquest of Britain and Boadicea's uprising.

He put the number of Romans slain at 80,000 and said the whole island was lost for a while in this "terrible disaster". What added to Rome's shame, he wrote, was that "all this ruin was brought about by a woman".

His explanation for the uprising was economic mismanagement on the part of the Roman masters. They had unreasonably called in large loans of money made years earlier to prominent British chiefs.

This rings true. The Roman occupation of Britain was marked by brutal financial exploitation of the ruling elites and oppression of the natives of all degrees.

Dio says that Buduica (or Budhika), as he calls her, was chosen leader by the tribes and "directed the conduct of the entire war". He says she had "greater intelligence than is generally found in women," was "very tall, in appearance most terrifying, in the glance of her eye most fierce, and her voice was harsh.

"A great mass of the tawniest hair fell to her hips. Around her neck was a large golden necklace. She wore a tunic of many colours over which a thick mantle was fastened by a brooch. She grasped a spear to help her terrify all who saw her."

She practised magic and divination, and concealed a hare in her garments, which she would let escape to see how it would run so as to make her prophesies.

Her followers are portrayed as savages, and Dio describes obscene cruelties inflicted by them on Roman women, for example, cutting off their breasts and sewing them onto their mouths.

The speech he ascribes to her spurring on her followers was along the same lines as Tacitus's: freedom or death - better to perish in battle than live under Roman rule as slaves.

But it contains an added note, with great historical resonance. The queen stressed that the Britons were a special people, separated from the rest of mankind by a sea, and enjoying, until the Romans came, a liberty unknown elsewhere.

According to Dio, her army totalled 230,000 and the final battle, far from being a rout, was very close. Many Britons escaped and were preparing further resistance but the queen fell sick and died.

The Britons "mourned her deeply and gave her a costly burial. But feeling that now at last they were really defeated, they scattered to their homes".

The archaeological evidence to support all this is both firm and disappointing. Firm because a black and red layer of ash discovered in the earth confirms that Colchester and London were burned down in about AD60. But disappointing because of the warrior queen herself and her army no physical evidence has yet been found.

A large area surrounded by deep ditches at Thetford in Norfolk has been called "the palace of Boudica", but similar sites exist elsewhere and their purpose is debatable.

Yet she is an immensely striking and even attractive figure - and national concept - and, in the absence of real evidence, imaginations have worked hard.

In the early 16th century, a history of Britain presented her as "Voadicia", a Northumbrian lady and had her burning down Doncaster. A chronicle of Scotland made her a Scottish heroine from Falkirk.

Then, around 1614, the playwright John Fletcher wrote a play called Bonduca, which cunningly surrounded her with druids, King Caractacus and other bits of ancient British furniture - though to please his own king, James I, Fletcher made her a witch and a horrible woman.

Rallying the troops: Boadicea inspired Britons to fight for their freedom

Fifteen years later, a historian named Edmund Bolton produced the theory that Stonehenge, whose purpose and date had baffled antiquarians, was in fact Boadicea's tomb.

Over the centuries, other sites for her burial place were canvassed - such as Parliament Hill Fields in London and Gop Hill in Flintshire, where locals said they had seen her ghost driving a chariot.

There is another theory, held by people who congregate for the summer solstice at Glastonbury, that she is buried deep below Platform 8 at King's Cross Station.

Interest in her increased in the late 19th century alongside the belief that Britain's unwritten constitution was of immemorial antiquity and that she had played some part in its foundation.

Gladstone encouraged the sculptor Thomas Thornycroft in the massive presentation of the queen in her chariot, with her two daughters, that stands at the northern end of Westminster Bridge, opposite Big Ben.

Queen Victoria, who thought her predecessor's treatment by the Romans "outrageous" (she too had been widowed early and had many daughters) was particularly keen that Boadicea should be given a fine memorial.

It is certainly a splendid piece of work. Children love it, and so do feminists. It inspired the suffragettes in their campaign for votes for women, and it crowns Queen Boadicea as a heroine for ever.

Though not entirely undisputed. A British author named Gildas, writing in the sixth century, was part of a British ruling class who benefited from the Roman occupation, and he had a different take on the warrior queen.

To him, far from being a hero, Boadicea was "a treacherous lioness" who butchered the governors the Romans left to rule the country.

We should not be surprised by this portrayal of her as a "baddie". Throughout history, one person's hero has been another's villain. That is particularly so with modern heroes.

In America, men like the outstanding steelmaker Andrew Carnegie and the oilman John D. Rockefeller became heroes of the cult of the entrepreneur. But to others they were "robber barons" or, in the words of President Theodore Roosevelt, "malefactors of great wealth".

People must agree to differ about heroes. I admire Chile and its people greatly, but I was concerned when my friend Salvador Allende became its president and opened the country to hordes of armed radicals from all over the world. The result was the world's highest inflation, universal violence and the threat of civil war.

So I applauded the takeover by General Pinochet and still more his success in making the economy the soundest in Latin America. But by preventing the transformation of Chile into a communist satellite, the general earned the furious hatred of the Soviet Union, whose propaganda machine successfully demonised him among the chattering classes all over the world.

It was the last triumph of the KGB before it vanished into history's dustbin. But Pinochet remains a hero to me.

My other heroes tend to be people who successfully accomplish things I would not dare even to contemplate. I could not possibly sail single-handedly round the world, even if I had the skill, like a pretty and fragile woman of my acquaintance, Clare Francis.

The man who runs a fruit stall near my house has swum the English Channel several times for charity. He is a hero for me. I admire heroines of the Far Eastern slums like Mother Teresa, who was a realist as well as an idealist (as are most true saints). The vicious attacks sometimes launched on her fill me with horrified fury.

I always have a soft spot for those who speak out against the conventional wisdom and who are not afraid to speak the truth even if it puts them in a minority of one. And in this case there is some common feeling, for during most of my life I have been outspoken and have suffered accordingly.

I think we appreciate heroism most if we have a tiny spark of it ourselves, which might be fanned into a flame if the wind of opportunity arose.

So how do we recognise the heroes and heroines of today? First, by absolute independence of mind, which springs from the ability to think everything through for yourself, and to treat whatever is the current consensus on any issue with scepticism.

Second, having made up your mind independently, to act - resolutely and consistently. Third, to ignore or reject everything the media throw at you, provided you remain convinced you are doing right. Finally, to act with personal courage at all times, regardless of the consequences to yourself.

All history teaches, and certainly all my personal experience confirms, that there is no substitute for courage. It is the noblest and best of all qualities, and the ne indispensable element in heroism in all its different manifestations.
From USA Today:

The discovery of an ancient Roman cave has unearthed a debate about its historical purpose and delved into a deeper question for scholars: Can archaeology prove mythology?

The cave was found when a camera was lowered through a hole in Rome's Palatine Hill during restorations of the palace of the Emperor Augustus, who ruled from the late first century B.C. until his death in A.D. 14. The Palatine Hill was a seat of power in ancient Rome; today it is home to the fragile remains of palaces and temples.

The discovery of the vaulted cavern, more than 50 feet underground and covered in mosaics, was announced in November. Some believe it is a shrine of the Lupercale, the sacred cave where Romulus and Remus, the legendary founders of Rome, are said to have been suckled by a wolf —lupa in Latin.

According to Roman mythology, the twin sons of a priestess and Mars, the god of war, were set adrift in the Tiber River. Instead of drowning, the infants washed ashore.

Francesco Rutelli, Italy's Minister of Culture, says the cave is the Lupercale celebrated in Augustus' time, as evidenced by references in 2,000-year-old texts.

Archaeologist Andrea Carandini of Rome's La Sapienza University calls the finding "one of the greatest discoveries ever made" and says the chances are "minimal" that the cave is not the site revered by the Romans as the Lupercale.

Carandini and others point to discoveries such as the cave and earlier findings of ancient structures as evidence that myths about the city's founding reflect history, and say that the founder of Rome may actually have been named Romulus.

Subject to interpretation

But linking artifacts to legends is risky business, say historians and other archaeologists.

"Everyone always wants to think that archaeology has proved the Bible is true, or that there really was a Trojan War, or that King Arthur was a real character," says historian T.P. Wiseman of England's University of Exeter. "Archaeology by its nature can't provide such evidence."

He says that when archaeologists interpret an artifact, their expert perspective is essentially a best guess, because there's no means of confirmation.

Historian Christopher Smith of Scotland's University of St. Andrews notes that even if artifacts clearly reference the Romulus and Remus story, all they will show is that the cavern is a place where first-century Romans celebrated the legend — not that the story is real.

"It is tempting to argue that the finds support historical events," Smith says, "when in fact they merely support ancient beliefs about events."

Wiseman says everything we believe we know about the ancient world must be treated as a hypothesis, one that may be disproved by future finds. The only concrete relationship between an artifact and a myth is "what people create with their own will to believe."

Earlier discoveries linked to Romulus and Remus, who supposedly founded Rome in 753 B.C., have divided experts.

In 1988, Carandini discovered a section of wall in Rome dating from the eighth century B.C., which he linked to a boundary found in the legend: Romulus killed Remus when he mocked such a wall. Other archaeologists and historians have recognized the validity of Carandini's find as an archaeological discovery but don't see it giving credence to mythology.

The Capitoline Wolf, a bronze statue of a wolf suckling a pair of infant boys, has come under fire. Long believed to be a fifth-century B.C. Etruscan statue, it may be much younger than that. Last year, Anna Maria Carruba, who was involved in its restoration, published a book claiming the process showed that the wolf was made outside Italy during the medieval period.

If so, Wiseman says, the statue is no longer proof that fifth-century B.C. inhabitants knew the story of Romulus and Remus, which had added weight to the argument that the legend might have historical roots.

Archaeologist Adriano La Regina, also of La Sapienza, who was in charge of the city's archaeological excavations from 1976 to 2005, is among those who argue that the newly discovered cave is not the Lupercale. Ancient sources, from the writings of Dionysius to Cicero, indicate otherwise, he says.

Historian Mario Torelli of Italy's University of Perugia suggests the chamber is only a grotto of the Palatine palace, included in the historical record since the 16th century.

More to discover

Augustus saw himself as a new founder — Romulus and Remus combined, according to Stanford University scholar Adrienne Mayor. And with written references to an actual Lupercale site during Augustus' time, Mayor believes it's fair game for scholars to try to find it.

Mayor says more study has to be done before drawing conclusions about the underground chamber. Experts have been investigating the cave with endoscopes and laser scanners, fearful that the grotto — already partially caved in — would not survive an archaeological dig.

Still, Mayor is impressed that the ancient story of the nurturing wolf has survived at least 2,000 years and has meaning for people today. Trying to connect with the past, "humans return again and again to archaeology to confirm the reality of myth," she says. "It's a timeless impulse."
Hopefully we'll hear more about this one ... from the New Anatolian:

Turkish archaeologists unearthed a 2000-year-old lighthouse at the ancient Roman port of Patara, near southern town of Kas, Antalya, discovering probably the oldest such structure that managed to remain intact.

The 12-meter-high lighthouse was built under the reign of Emperor Nero who ruled from 54 to 68, Professor Havva Iskan Isik, head of the excavation team reported.

"The oldest known lighthouse is the one in Alexandria but there is nothing left of it. So, the lighthouse at the Patara port is the oldest one that has remained intact," she said.

Isik said there might be a second lighthouse at the other edge of the port under a huge debris of soil, which she said was to be excavated at a later time.

We first heard about this lighthouse a couple of years ago, I think; I never did find any mention of it in an ancient source.
ante diem viii idus februarias

46 B.C. -- victory of Julius Caesar over pro-Pompey forces at Thapsus

300 A.D. -- martyrdom of Theophilus Scholasticus 'The Lawyer'

1811 -- birth of H.G. Liddell (co-author of the massive Greek Lexicon which is still standard and father of Alice in Wonderland)

2001 -- death of Emily Vermeule (author of Greece in the Bronze Age, among several other works)
lubricious @ Dictionary.com

soporose @ Wordsmith
... and this one includes the recovery of a piece of the Forma Urbis ... from Il Messaggero:

Un frammento settecentesco della "Forma Urbis" di Settimio Severo, grande pianta di Roma antica, incisa su lastre di marmo, è stato recuperato dai carabinieri del comando Tutela patrimonio ambientale al termine di un'operazione che porta il nome proprio del prezioso ritrovamento archeologico. La riproduzione è stata sequestrata insieme con altri reperti di vario genere (in tutto 618) che i militari hanno trovato a conclusione dell'indagine partita nel novembre scorso. Un'attività investigativa che ha portato alla denuncia di sei persone per ricettazione e commercio illegale di materiale archeologico.

Un "bottino" da un milione di euro. Anfore, un cippo funerario di epoca imperiale, una lastra di marmo, un blocco di travertino di epoca tardo repubblicana, sono tra gli oggetti recuperati, oltre al frammento settecentesco che, secondo quanto ricostruito, è risultato mancante ad un controllo inventariale fatto nel 1998, al momento del trasferimento da Palazzo Braschi al magazzino dell'Antiquarium comunale. Si ipotizza che la porzione sia stata sottratta nel periodo che va tra il 1929-30 e questa data. Un valore complessivo che, per gli investigatori, da una prima stima, si aggira intorno al milione di euro.

La Forma Urbis. Un ritrovamento che ha suscitato grande interesse e soddisfazione da parte degli esperti del settore, come il sovrintendente dei Beni culturali del Comune di Roma, Eugenio La Rocca, e il sovrintendente per i Beni archeologici per il Lazio, Marina Sapelli Ragni. «La pianta della citta antica - ha detto La Rocca - è un elemento essenziale per la conoscenza di Roma antica. Il frammento della Forma Urbis è un nuovo tassello che ci permette di ricostruire la storia di Roma». Secondo Sapelli Ragni questi reperti testimoniano «ancora una volta la ricchezza archeologica del Lazio» e si augura che «per la destinazione finale cercheremo di portarli nei musei civici locali, per il loro arricchimento».
Il fenomeno dei cosiddetti «tombaroli», però, secondo il tenente colonnello Mancino «è in calo rispetto al passato. E' un fenomeno in diminuzione grazie alla costante attività di controllo, ma anche perché c'è una minore richiesta sul mercato».
I think we mentioned the beginning of this one a while ago -- it's only tangential to our purview, but I've always been interested in Pico -- from ANSA:

Experts have taken a major step towards solving a 500-year-old murder mystery, confirming that two renowned literary figures from the 15th century were poisoned. After months studying the exhumed bodies of the two men, who died within a few months of each other in 1494, the committee overseeing the tests has confirmed the pair were probably killed by arsenic. High concentrations of the toxin was discovered in the bones of both the humanist philosopher Pico della Mirandola and the scholar and poet Angelo Ambrosini, better known as Poliziano.

The remains of the men, who were possibly lovers, were exhumed from their shared grave in a cloister of St Mark's Basilica in Florence last July.

Ever since his untimely death at the age of 31, there has been speculation that Pico was poisoned.

At the time it was rumoured that Poliziano, 40, was also poisoned although later scholars pointed to syphilis, of which there was a Europe-wide outbreak at the time. Both men were members of the powerful Florentine court of Lorenzo de' Medici.

After Lorenzo's death in 1492, Pico was increasingly drawn to the teachings of the book-burning Dominican friar, Girolamo Savonarola, and destroyed many copies of his own writing.

One popular theory was that Pico's own secretary poisoned him, angered at his friendship with the monk.

Silvano Vinceti, head of the national cultural committee that oversaw the exhumation, says there are a number of possibilities.

One theory is that the philosopher Marsilio Ficino, a close friend of both Pico and Poliziano, had a hand in their deaths.

Another option was the head of the inquisition at the time, a Spanish cardinal called Remolines, was responsible.

Vinceti gives credence to the involvement of Pico's secretary up to a point but believes the real culprit was someone else entirely: Lorenzo's son, Piero de' Medici.

''Combining the results of our analyses with historical documents that have only recently come to light it seems that Piero de Medici is the person most likely to have ordered the assassination,'' he explained. ''However, the person who actually carried out Pico's murder was probably Cristoforo da Calamaggiore, his secretary. In fact, he actually admitted to having poisoned him 'because he was sick'''.

Since their exhumation in July, the remains have been subjected to a battery of tests, using modern biomolecular technology, scanning equipment and DNA analyses. In addition to identifying the cause of death, the studies have also helped experts make conjectures about the men while they were alive. Pico's skeleton, for examples, suggests he was a robust man well over six feet tall - nothing like his portraits, which depict him as fairly slender. The studies have also shown that he suffered from a hammer toe and inflamed joints, which probably caused him stiffness. Another interesting discovery is that Pico, who was renowned for his prodigious memory, had an extremely large head. The tests suggest his cranial capacity was 1,768 cubic centimetres, compared to an average capacity of just 1,450 cubic centimetres. Poliziano was tiny in comparison to Pico - just five foot tall - and had a pronounced nose and problems with his neck. The studies also revealed that the men enjoyed a diet that was rich in protein but low in fish and carbohydrates. The remains of Poliziano, Pico, as well as the latter's friend, Girolamo Benivieni, who was buried with them later, were restored to their resting place in the cloister on Tuesday.

However, police DNA testing is continuing on bone samples, which may uncover further secrets about the men's life and death. A camera crew has closely followed the work of archaeologists and police involved in the project, and a documentary on the exhumation and investigation will be screened on Italian TV later this year.
From ANA:

Archaeological excavations on Failaka Island, located 20 km off the coast of Kuwait City in the extreme western end of the Persian Gulf, have brought to light a series of significant Hellenistic period findings, beginning roughly during the period immediately following the death of Alexander the Great.

Remains of a fort, temple, shrine, and ancient Greek inscriptions have been unearthed, with the discoveries presented during a press conference at the culture ministry in Athens on Tuesday by Greek archaeologists working at the site in cooperation with the Kuwaiti government.

The head of the six-week-old mission, Angeliki Kottaridis, said Greek colonists in the region arrived with Alexander the Great, with their presence on the isle evident for at least two centuries. According to ancient sources, Alexander the Great himself had named the island Icarus, while his Seleucid successors continued to consider the island a strategic asset due to its position at the mouth of today's Shatt al-Arab, formed by the confluence of the Euphates adn Tigis Rivers in southern Mesopotamia.

The island was later named Failaka after the fort built on the island, with one possibility being that it was derived from the Greek word "filakio" for outpost.

The temple and the entire eastern section of the Hellenistic fort were discovered following earlier excavations by Danish, American and French archaeologists. The Greek mission proceeded with the systematic excavation of the western section of the complex, discovering a part of the western wall, a workshop processing stone offerings and a chamber that was part of a Hellenistic era building.

Greek archaeologists also helped in the preservation work done on the noted stele of Icarus ,bearing a large Greek inscription, on display at the Museum of Kuwait, which itself suffered serious damage during the Iraqi invasion.

The archaeological mission was the result of an agreement signed last summer between the Greek culture ministry and the responsible Kuwaiti agency. Interest to renew the bilateral cooperation agreement has been positively met by the Greek ministry.
From the Guardian:

Back in 1965, Oxford and Cambridge decreed that applicants no longer required O-level Latin to gain admission to their hallowed halls and cloisters. The following year saw the founding of the Cambridge School Classics Project (CSCP) with the aim of keeping alive not only the flickering flame of classical culture, but also a language that even some academics regarded as past its sell-by date and the preserve of a snobbish elite.

More than four decades on, something strange is happening. The demand for Latin teachers in schools is going up, while the supply is going down. "Universities aren't producing enough, so we're all scrabbling around for the same people," says Andrew Hutchinson, headteacher at Parkside Community College in Cambridge - a comprehensive serving the centre of the city. "Quite a lot of academics live around here, which means the parent body can be quite demanding." Unusually for a state school, both he and his deputy are classicists.

Hutchinson has an MA in the subject from King's College, London, one of just two universities that are still training classics teachers. The other is Cambridge. Every year, its faculty of education gives PGCEs to 15 graduates qualified to teach classics, including Latin. King's College trains another 12. A total of 27, then. Meanwhile, around 72 Latin teachers are retiring or leaving annually, according to the CSCP.

The CSCP also estimates that there has been a three-fold rise over the past seven years in Latin classes of one form or another. The subject is now taught in 1,042 schools, including 453 independents and 118 grammars. But the biggest increase has come in state comprehensives, with a total of 471. Before addressing how this has come about, perhaps King's should be asked why it is training only a dozen classics teachers annually.

"Good question," says Aisha Khan, subject director for PGCEs in Latin and classical civilisation. "Our head of department recently made a bid to increase the numbers to 16, but that was turned down. We've been told by the Training and Development Agency that the figure will stay at 12 until at least 2011."

Khan's counterpart at Cambridge, Bob Lister, points out that 20 years ago there were 15 higher education providers of classics teachers. "But then 20 years ago," he goes on, "universities were happy to have PGCE courses with four or five students. Financially, that won't work now."

Times change. The number of higher civil servants with Oxbridge classics degrees is in decline just as the number of employers demanding graduates with more practical skills is increasing. What can a profound knowledge of classical civilisations offer in this brave new world? "The same benefits as any humanities degree - the ability to develop and sustain argument with reference to evidence," Lister says. "What's more, a knowledge of classical heritage is invaluable to anyone trying to understand culture in the 21st century."

Roots of English

Or the new millennium, to put it another way. Millennium is a good Roman word, and one of many that lie at the roots of English and other European languages. Ironically, the revival of an ancient language in schools has come about through modern technology. DVDs and computer terminals bring the subject to life in a way that would seem unimaginable to older generations who were forced to conjugate verbs by rote. "In 2000, the government put out a tender for software to support the teaching of Latin," says Will Griffiths, director of the Cambridge project, based on the second floor of the university's faculty of music. "One aim was to improve standards in schools where the subject was being taught by trained teachers. The other was to allow the majority of schools to be able to offer the subject through English or modern language teachers."

For the most part, the subject is taught on an extra-curricular basis to children who tend to be academically bright. "You find them in state schools all over the country," Griffiths enthuses. "I remember a girl in Dagenham who did GCSE by following our distance-learning course. The girl was highly sought after by top clubs in the field of women's football, but she turned them down to concentrate on her studies and came out with an AS in Latin by video link."

In one of its offices, the CSCP harbours a bank of screens from which one teacher, Verity Walden, holds what might be termed a video conference in Latin with some 260 schools around the country. Meanwhile, the demand grows for specialist Latin teachers on site. "They're becoming like gold dust. I sometimes receive two inquiries a day from heads looking to hire one," says Griffiths, 37, a former classics teacher at a comprehensive. "The issue for higher education is how it can support this surge in interest from schools. The government will always prioritise subjects like English and maths, but there's no reason why it shouldn't support more training for teachers in classics."

And the children who are creating the demand for those teachers - how do they see a knowledge of Latin and classical civilisation helping in their future degree and career choices?

"I think there's still an idea that a knowledge of Latin is helpful for medicine and law," says Griffiths. "That may be a misconception. But there's little doubt that Latin helps with an understanding of the make-up of English and other modern European languages. As teachers it's our job to enthuse and make that understanding a lively process."

Not an easy option

On the other side of the River Cam, dusk is drawing in and children are streaming away from Parkside Community College as Latin teacher Nicky Parr is going to work. From key stage 3 onwards, between 25 and 40 pupils in each year group stay behind after normal classes, and the numbers taking the subject at GCSE level are approaching double figures. "It's not an easy option," says Parr, "Latin is marked particularly rigorously and children have to put in long hours. It demands commitment as well as academic ability."

At least one of her pupils, Molly Makinson, 13, is also studying ancient Greek. ("My grandad used to teach it," she says.) Another, David Mestel, 15, acquired an A* GCSE in Latin in year 9. Along with Luke Freeman-Mills, currently studying A-level Latin at sixth-form college, he's producing a booklet containing translations of Virgil, Horace, Ovid and others. So does he fancy studying the subject as part of a classics degree?

"No," he says. "I will probably do something scientific." For young Mestel, it would seem, translating Latin poetry is simply a bit of fun.

nonae februariae

218 B.C. -- dedication of Temple of Concord by L. Manlius who had vowed the temple after defeating a mutiny of some of his troops in Cisalpine Gaul in 218 B.C.

46 B.C. -- Marcus Porcius Cato Uticensis commits suicide in the wake of defeat at Thapsus

2 B.C. -- Augustus is hailed as pater patriae
ineffectual @ Dictionary.com

crapulosity @ Worthless Word for the Day

diurnation@ Wordsmith

scission @ Merriam-Webster
From ANSA:

Due antiche e integre anfore in terracotta di notevoli dimensioni sono state recuperate dalla GdF a bordo di un peschereccio sospetto. Una e' di epoca ellenistica, l'altra e' databile intorno al I sec. a.C., di origine romana. Il Nucleo di polizia tributaria ha individuato un peschereccio sospettato di trasportare beni archeologici recuperati in mare e l'ha atteso in porto per ispezionarlo. Il proprietario e' stato denunciato
From ANA:

Two individuals, a man and a woman aged 56 and 52, were arrested on Monday on charges of illicit trade in antiquities after their car was stopped on the Trikala-Ioannina motorway by police acting on a tip-off. A search revealed two ancient Greek bronze cup bearers, five bankbooks, bank cheques, gold pound coins, and a precision scale.

A number of ancient objects were also confiscated following a police search in two houses used by the detainees in the wider Trikala region.
6.00 p.m. |HISTU|Lost Worlds :The Pagans.
Description not provided ...

HISTU = History Channel (US)
pridie nonas februarias

211 -- death of Septimius Severus at York; his son Caracalla assumed the title of pontifex maximus at this time
magniloquent @ Dictionary.com

somniloquy @ Wordsmith

luminary @ Merriam-Webster
From the Ottawa Citizen:

Yann Martel, the Booker Prize-winning author of Life of Pi, is sending a book and letter every two weeks to Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Below is Martel's 20th letter, as posted on his website, whatisstephenharperreading.ca. The Citizen will publish his letters every second Monday. Book 20 is Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.

Dear Mr. Harper,

Like you, Marcus Aurelius was a head of government. In AD 161, he became Roman Emperor, the last of the "five good emperors" -- Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius -- who ruled over 84 years of peace and prosperity that lasted from A.D. 96 to 180, the Roman Empire's golden apogee.

The case of Rome is worth studying. How a small town on a river became the centre of one of the mightiest empires the world has known, eventually dominating thousands of other small towns

on rivers, is a source of many lessons. That Rome was mighty is not to be doubted. The sheer size the empire achieved is breathtaking: from the Firth of Forth to the Euphrates, from the Tagus to the Rhine, spilling over into Northern Africa, for a time the Romans ruled over most of the world known to them. What they didn't rule over wasn't worth having, they felt: they left what was beyond their frontiers to "barbarians."

Another measure of their greatness can be found in the Roman influences that continue to be felt to this day. Rome's local lingo, Latin, became the mother language of most of Europe, and Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese are still spoken all over the world. (The Germanic hordes beyond the Rhine, meanwhile, have managed to sponsor only one international language, albeit a successful one, English.)

We also owe the Romans our calendar, with its 12-months-and-365 1/4-day years; three days in our week hark back to Roman days -- Moonday, Saturnday and Sunday; and though we now use the Roman number system (i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi ...) only occasionally, we use their 26-letter alphabet constantly.

Despite their power and might, another lesson about the Roman Empire forces itself upon us: how it's all gone. The Romans reigned far and wide for centuries but their empire has vanished entirely. A Roman today is simply someone who lives in Rome, a city that is beautiful because of its clutter of ruins.

Such has been the fate of all empires: the Roman, the Ottoman, the British, the Soviet, to name only a few European empires. Which will be the next empire to fall, the next to rise?

The interest in reading Marcus Aurelius's Meditations lies as much in their content as in the knowledge of who wrote them. European history has got us used to seeing one monarch after another reach the throne for no reason other than direct filial relation, with talent and ability playing no role. Thus the unending line of mediocre personalities -- to put it charitably -- who came to rule and mismanage so many European nations. This was not Marcus Aurelius's route to power. Emperor Antoninus Pius was not his biological father from whom he inherited the throne.

Nor was Marcus Aurelius elected. He was rather selected. Roman emperors did pass on their emperorship to their sons, but this linkage was rarely directly biological. They instead designated their successors by a system that was authoritarian yet flexible: adoption. Marcus Aurelius became emperor as a result of being adopted by the reigning emperor. Each emperor chose whom he wanted as his successor from among the many capable and competing members of Rome's diverse elite class. Members of that class were often related, but they still had to prove themselves if they wanted to move up in the world.

In that, Roman society was much like the modern democracies of today, with their educated, principled elites that seek to perpetuate the system and, with it, themselves. The Rome of then, in some ways, doesn't seem so different from the Ottawa, Washington or London of today. After the alien abyss, frankly, that is much European history, with the Europeans thinking and behaving in ways that we can hardly understand by contemporary standards, it is a surprise to see, nearly 2,000 years ago, a people who thought and fought and squabbled and had principles which they squandered, and so on -- why, a people seemingly just like us. Hence the endless interest of Roman history.

So Marcus Aurelius was a man of great ability selected to be Roman emperor. In other words, he was a politician, and, like you, a busy one; he spent much of his time battling barbarian hordes on the frontiers of the empire. But at the same time, he was a thinking man -- with a penchant for philosophy -- who put his thoughts down on the page. He was a writer.

Emperor Marcus Aurelius was a Stoic and some of his pronouncements are on the gloomy side: "Soon you will have forgotten the world, and soon the world will have forgotten you," is a fairly typical pronouncement of his. There is much made in these meditations on the ephemerality of the body, of fame, of empires, of pretty well everything. Over and over, Marcus Aurelius exhorts himself to higher standards of thinking and behaving. It's bracing, salutary stuff. In many ways, it's the perfect book for you, Mr. Harper. A practical book on thinking, being and acting by a philosopher-king.

It's also not the sort of book one reads right through from page 1 to page 163. It has no continuous narrative or developing argument. The Meditations are rather self-contained musings divided into 12 books, each book divided into numbered points that range in length from a single sentence to a few paragraphs. The book lends itself to being dipped into at random. My suggestion is that each time you open and read it, you put a dot next to the meditations you read. That way, over time, you will read all of them.
Interesting item from Il Messaggero gives an idea of the scope of one (major) player in the illicit antiquities trade:

Per quasi sei mesi, nel massimo riserbo, alcuni archeologi del ministero dei Beni culturali e carabinieri del Comando per la Tutela del patrimonio culturale hanno “lavorato” in alcuni dei 39 depositi dove Robin Symes, per almeno 30 anni uno tra i massimi mercanti internazionali dell’archeologia scavata di frodo, conservava i suoi 17 mila reperti, che la giustizia inglese ha valutato 125 milioni di sterline (165 di euro: 330 miliardi di vecchie lire), e che, almeno per i sei decimi, provenivano dal sottosuolo del nostro Paese. I depositi (ne aveva a Londra, Ginevra, New York) sono quelli inglesi; la collaborazione tra i due Paesi è il frutto d’un accordo segreto, stipulato a luglio 2007 dal vicepremier e ministro dei Beni culturali Francesco Rutelli, con l’allora suo omologo britannico; l’accesso ai dati e agli oggetti di Symes, sotto il vincolo della riservatezza, è stato diretto dall’Avvocato dello Stato Maurizio Fiorilli. E’ evidente quanto sia importante il lavoro di “spoglio” dei materiali: per stabilirne la provenienza, ed eventualmente iniziare le procedure per una loro rivendicazione da parte italiana.

Dopo i “sancta sanctorum” di Giacomo Medici al Porto Franco di Ginevra (oltre tremila reperti e più di mille foto; lui è stato condannato in primo grado a 10 anni di carcere e 10 milioni di euro come provvisionale allo Stato, per i danni inferti al patrimonio culturale) e di Gianfranco Becchina a Basilea (settemila oggetti, che la Svizzera non ha finora trasmesso, e migliaia di documenti: lui non è ancora stato processato), quello di Symes è il terzo importante deposito dei “predatori dell’arte perduta” che gli inquirenti del nostro Paese riescono a conoscere, e a perlustrare. Symes è stato uno dei tre maggiori “rifornitori” del Getty Museum, che, ad esempio, acquista da lui la Venere di Morgantina, nel 1988 per 18 milioni di dollari (tornerà in Italia nel 2010), e lo stupendo kantharos a figure rosse di 2.500 anni fa, forse eseguito da Eufronio come vasaio e decorato dal Pittore della Fonderia con due maschere di Dioniso e di un satiro, ormai tornato, ed attualmente esposto al Quirinale. Ma è anche colui che ha dovuto consegnare ai carabinieri la Maschera d’avorio, il più grande oggetto crisoelefantino (oro e appunto avorio) al mondo, «commissione certamente di un imperatore romano» spiega il professor Antonio Giuliano, che gli era costata 10 milioni di dollari e avrebbe potuto vendere - così dicono le stime - a cinque volte tanto.

Gli esperti italiani hanno dunque potuto studiare una parte dei “pezzi” che Symes aveva già acquistato, ma non ancora venduto ai maggiori musei del mondo e ai più disinvolti tra i collezionisti privati sulle due sponde dell’Atlantico; ma non, purtroppo, il suo archivio. Nel 1999, muore il socio e da 30 anni compagno di Symes, Christo Michaelides. Se ne va all’ospedale di Orvieto, per una caduta dalle scale in una villa di Terni, affittata da Leon Levy e Shelby White: una coppia tra le più ricche degli Usa, collezionisti di grande fama (lui non c’è più, lei ha recentemente acconsentito a restituire dieci importantissimi vasi al nostro Paese, e ha finanziato la nuova ala greco-romana del Metropolitan). E poco dopo, nell’isola di Schinoussa nelle Cicladi, dove Symes e Christo possedevano una villa, il mercante inglese passa «tre giorni e tre notti a bruciare documenti», come certificano alcuni testimoni. A Schinoussa, però, vengono ritrovati 995 reperti archeologici (610 greco-romani) e, in 17 album, 2.191 fotografie di autentici capolavori, per qualcuno «la crème de la crème», tutti venduti da loro: anche la famosa Artemide marciante, ormai recuperata dai carabinieri; un marmo di Zeus in trono ripescato in mare e acquistato dal Getty; una scultura di un giovane ritrovata poi al Museo di Cleveland; la Kore arcaica restituita nel 2007 dal Getty alla Grecia, e anch’essa ora al Quirinale; e così via. Del resto, in una delle sue tante mostre, a New York nel 2000, Symes aveva esposto 152 oggetti, valutati, nel loro insieme, ben 42 milioni di dollari.

Il mercante, che è sui settant’anni e ha due figli, ormai non commercia più. E’ anche finito in carcere; la giustizia inglese ha attribuito la metà dei suoi beni agli eredi di Christo, in particolare la sorella Despina della importante famiglia greca degli armatori Papadimitriou. Ha dichiarato bancarotta. La legge inglese impedisce ai curatori di un fallimento di vendere oggetti di dubbia provenienza: anche da qui la “consulenza” italiana, che è logicamente foriera di ulteriori sviluppi nelle indagini in corso a Roma, sotto la direzione del sostituto procuratore Paolo Giorgio Ferri. Dettagli divertenti: una delle società di Symes si chiamava Nonna Investments, e aveva un fido in banca di 17 milioni di dollari; lui, in due anni, cede, ad esempio, 19 reperti archeologici, tutti senza provenienza, al “re del rame”, il boliviano George Ortiz che da sempre vive in Svizzera.
From the Times:

We are so used to the white purity of ancient marble sculptures that we imagine the Greeks and Romans felt the same: certainly the artists and patrons of the Renaissance and later centuries believed that white was right. New research using strong raking light sources and beams of ultraviolet light has shown, however, that many Classical statues were gaudily painted in a plethora of colours.

“The ideal of unpainted sculpture took shape in Renaissance Rome, inspired by finds and early collections of Classical marble statues such as the Laocoön, discovered in 1506, said Dr Susanne Ebbinghaus of Harvard University, organiser of a recent conference on Gods in Colour. These were denuded of their painted surfaces by prolonged exposure to the elements, burial and often, most likely, a good scrub upon recovery.”

Michelangelo famously rated sculpture much higher than painting, and Vasari ignored polychrome decoration except on wood carvings, and the impact of statues such as Michelangelo’s David established white marble sculpture as the noblest of the arts, something that continued from the Renaissance into the neoClassical period of the 18th and 19th centuries and the establishment of an art-historical canon by Johann Joachim Winckelmann.

The idea of plain white marble seems to be earlier, however, if the figures of the Virtues and Vices in Giotto’s Scrovegni Chapel in Padua are anything to go by: the Renaissance ideal existed, at least in painted portrayals of sculptures, from around 1300 in Assisi. Colour was indicated by texture in marble carvings, the smoothness of flesh allowing the inner tone of the stone to show through, while various roughenings suggested fabric and leather.

When ancient sculptures began to be unearthed early in the 19th century, such as those from the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina, excavated in 1811, significant traces of paint were visible. Reconstructions on paper of presumed original colour schemes engendered debate as to whether white marble was still desirable, and by midcentury John Gibson had created the Tinted Venus in emulation of Praxiteles.

However, “we have still not come to terms with the painted marble sculpture of Ancient Greece and Rome,” Dr Ebbinghaus said. A campaign of research led by Dr Vinzenz Brinkmann, of the Liebighaus museum in Frankfurt, has now tried to tackle the problem.

One of his main tools has been the use of strong raking light, which can show finely drawn incised sketches to guide the painter: a lion’s head on the shoulder guard of the famous Stele of Aristion in Athens is one example, and several Cycladic figurines from the Bronze Age have similar sketches two millennia earlier. The use of ultraviolet light can show up the “ghosts” of former painted areas.

Brinkmann and his wife, Ulrike Koch-Brinkmann, have produced copies of a number of Classical sculptures where such evidence is apparent, using natural mineral and plant pigments available to the ancient artists and identified by X-ray fluorescence, infra-red spectroscopy and other high-tech methods. The Aegina pediment sculptures used copper-based pigments such as azurite, Egyptian blue and malachite for blues and greens, cinnabar and ochre for reds, and also the plant extract madder.

A figure such as the Trojan Archer on the pediment explodes into a riot of colour, including polychrome trousers where the design stretches with the movement of the limbs and a bright yellow jerkin and cap. The Aristion stele uses cinnabar, madder, malachite, ochre and Egyptian blue, and the famous “Alexander Sarcophagus” in the Archaeological Museum, Istanbul, all of these, together with minium (red lead) and sienna.

The Renaissance idealisation of monochrome sculpture would have startled the Ancients, Ebbinghaus said. “Just as the colour reconstructions of ancient statues startle us today. It is difficult to imagine a fully coloured sculpture, complete with additions in other materials such as metal, or eyes inlaid with glass.”

Folks should take Mary Beard's comments to heart on this one ... I've been thinking that there might also be a difference between sculpture designed to be outdoors (which would be exposed to the sun and be in need of some protection perhaps; over time the colours would be muted) and indoors (which might not have been painted).
7.00 p.m. |HINT| Battlefield Detectives: Alesia
In the late summer of 52 BC, Julius Caesar, Rome's most brilliant general was pitted against the great Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix. Fifty thousand Roman soldiers came face-to-face against a quarter of a million Gallic warriors. For the first time, at a small hilltop called Alesia in what is now central France, all Caesars's enemies were gathered in one place. And Caesar won. Yet for 2,000 years there's been only one explanation for his victory--his own. Does evidence from the battlefield correspond with this account? The battle that day shaped the map of modern Europe. How did Caesar do it? Recent archaeological discoveries, systematic analysis of Roman warfare, and extraordinary photographic evidence reveal the secrets of Caesar's success.

9.00 p.m. |HISTC| ROME | Stealing From Saturn
As Pompey “maneuvers” outside the city, Caesar seeks to consolidate his hold on Rome. Atia throws a party to welcome Caesar home, while Vorenus throws one of his own to usher in his new life as a citizen businessman. Pullo’s run of luck continues when he delivers Quintus Pompey to Caesar, who in turn returns Quintus to his father’s camp - with an offer of truce he knows Pompey will never accept.

HINT = History International
HISTC = History Television (Canada)
Our usual Sunday cleaning out of the mailbox and the like ...

Before we get to that though, I want to draw folks' attention to the 'Around the Classical Blogosphere' thing over in the right sidebar which is basically items I am 'sharing' from my Google Reader account (hat tip to Mark Goodacre who has had this sort of thing serving as his blogroll for a while). I'm including it because I find I haven't really been giving just attention to the other blogs in the Classical Blogosphere (and beyond), even though I'm monitoring them -- the 'ClassiCarnival' format I previously used was often stale and this way I can update rather easily as I read posts of interest. I'm also hoping that increased attention of this sort my revivify the Classical Blogosphere which seems to have been slowly fading away since last summer. Indeed, despite my promotional efforts on the Classics list every Sunday, my readership seems to be down at least 25% from six or seven months ago -- perhaps more folks are accessing rc via rss readers, but at this point it seems (to me) to be a somewhat disturbing trend. In any event, the sidebar things will all be getting adjusted over the next few weeks (I can't figure out what's wrong with the Ephemeris feed!), so please take a look every now and then. And so, on with the show ...

I haven't had a chance to see it yet, but my Grade Seven students assure me that "Meet the Spartans" is the funniest movie they've ever seen in their entire lives (of course, they're only twelve years old) ... reviews in the press have been mostly negative: Express-News (negative), Entertainment Weekly (C+), Arizona Republic/Newsday (negative), Boston Globe (negative) ... nevertheless, it's raking in the cash ...

As long as we're talking movies, Asterix at the Olympics has also received a review of sorts in Variety ... we should also mention this interview with Dolph Lundgren about Final Inquiry, which is apparently set in ancient Rome ...

Smithsonian Magazine has a lengthy article about the Parthenon and various restoration efforts ...

Folks following the Allianoi saga might be interested in this 'Loyalty Journey' ...

Desicritics has a lengthy article on Augustus which folks should be aware of (it looks plagiarizable) ...

Usually this time of year brings a spate of articles about Roman Numerals ... all I came across, though, was this one, suggesting folks don't know them very well (actually, last night as we were watching Superbowl previews we noticed several folks wearing the official souvenir jersey with a big number 42 on the front and the Roman numerals on the shoulder I wondered aloud whether anyone made the connection ...)

The latest Biblical Studies Carnival is up at Biblicalia, which includes a good roundup of Talpiot Tomb stuff ...

The weekly version of our Ancient World on Television listings have been posted as has issue 10.41 of our Explorator newsletter ...

Penultimately, but not leastily, a piece in the Times led me to Art Garfunkel's list of every book he's ever read since 1968; here are his 'Classical' selections (in order, more or less):

Dec 1971 Mary Renault The Charioteer
Jun 1977 Bulfinch Mythology
1977 9?) Plato The Last Days of Socrates, Euthyphro, The Apology, Crito, Phaedo
Jun 1978 Homer The Iliad The Symposium
Jun 1978 Plato The Symposium
Jun 1977 Bulfinch Mythology
Jan 1981 W.X.C. Guthrie Socrates
Oct 1981 Saint Augustine Confessions
Oct 1981 Aristotle On Poetry and Style
Dec 1982 Robin Lane Fox The Search for Alexander
Aug 1983 Plutarch Makers of Rome (from Lives)
Sep 1983 Aeschylus The Oresteian Trilogy
Oct 1983 Sophocles 'Electra' (a play)
Oct 1983 Cicero Selected Works
Nov 1983 Sappho, Pindar, Solon, and 23 others Greek Lyrics (translated by Richard Lattimore)
Jun 1984 Plato The Republic
Oct 1985 Herodotus The Histories
Dec 1985 Julius Caesar The Conquest of Gaul
Jan 1986 Virgil The Aeneid
Oct 1986 Homer The Odyssey
Nov 1987 Jean Racine Andromache
Aug 1988 Seneca Epistulae Morales vol. 1
Nov 1988 Ovid Metamorphoses
Jan 1989 P.P. Xahane Ancient and Classical Art
Sep 1989 edited by W.H. Auden The Portable Greek Reader
Jul 1990 Edith Hamilton Mythology
Aug 1990 J.F. Stone The Trial of Socrates
Sep 1990 Tacitus The Histories
Sep 1922 Livy Rome and the Mediterranean
Apr 1993 K.J. Dover Green Homosexuality [sic ... the Times article comments on this one]
Nov 1993 Plato Early Socratic Dialogues
Nov 1995 Martin Heidegger Early Greek Thinking
Dec 1995 Betty Radice Who's Who in the Ancient World
Apr 1996 Robert Graves I, Claudius
May 1998 Plato Phaedrus
Jan 1998 Horace Satires and Epistles
Dec 1999 Sophocles "Antigone"
Feb 2000 Euripides "Andromache"
Aug 2002 Plutarch Fall of the Roman Republic
May 2003 John Lowden Early Christian & Byzantine Art
Feb 2004 Aristophanes "The Acharnians", "The Clouds", "Lysistrata"
Jun 2004 Juvenal The Satires

... sort of a standard 'undergrad' reading list ...

Ultimately we come to something from eClassics' Video page ... Antigone in a style reminiscent of Terry Gilliam (sort of):

[tip o' the pileus to Dexter Hoyos and Diana Wright for some of the above]
From BMCR:

Heinz Heinen (ed.), Handwoerterbuch der antiken Sklaverei (HAS). CD-ROM Lieferung 1. Forschungen zur antiken Sklaverei, 5.

Andrew Dalby, Rediscovering Homer: Inside the Origins of the Epic.

John J. Cleary, Gary M. Gurtler S.J., Proceedings of the Boston Area Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy, vol. xxii, 2006.

S. Douglas Olson (ed.), Broken Laughter: Select Fragments of Greek Comedy.

Niall McKeown, The Invention of Ancient Slavery?

T. Bekker-Nielsen (ed.), Rome and the Black Sea Region: Domination, Romanisation, Resistance. Black Sea Studies, 5.

Kurt A. Raaflaub (ed.), War and Peace in the Ancient World.

Gerald P. Schaus, Stephen R. Wenn, Onward to the Olympics: Historical Perspectives on the Olympic Games.

Juliette de La Geniere, Kastraki. Un sanctuaire en Laconie, Ecole franc,aise d'Athenes. Etudes peloponnesiennes 12.

Isabelle Torrance, Aeschylus: Seven Against Thebes

Enrico Medda, "Sed nullus editorum vidit". La filologia di Gottfried Hermann e l'Agamennone di Eschilo. Amsterdam: Supplementi di Lexis XXXI.

Nicola Hoemke, Manuel Baumbach, Fremde Wirklichkeiten: Literarische Phantastik und antike Literatur. Kalliope. Studien zur griechischen und lateinischen Poesie, 6.

P.J. Rhodes, The Greek City States: A Source Book. Second edition.

Oliver Dickinson, The Aegean from Bronze Age to Iron Age

From Scholia:

Polly Low, Interstate Relations in Classical Greece: Morality and Power.

From CJ-Online:

Bruce Louden, The Iliad: Structure, Myth, and Meaning.

From RBL:

Anthony Grafton and Megan Williams, Christianity and the Transformation of the Book: Origen, Eusebius, and the Library of Caesarea

Pieter W. van der Horst, Jews and Christians in Their Graeco-Roman Context: Selected Essays on Early Judaism, Samaritanism, Hellenism, and Christianity

From In the News:

Martin Goodman, Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations
... stuff ... didn't like it ... maybe now
... in fourteen seconds:

kalendae februariae

Rites in honour of Juno Sospita: Juno Sospita was originally worshipped in Lanuvium, where she seems to have had started out as a fertility goddess of some sort and evolved into a warrior protectrix of the city. When Lanuvium was granted Roman citizenship in 338 B.C., the cult was also given special status and place under the control of the pontifices, who would annually perform a sacrifice to her. There also seems to have been a ritual whereby blindfolded girls would enter her grove to feed barley cakes to the sacred snakes therein. If the cakes were accepted, the girls were proven to be virgins and the fertility for the upcoming year was guaranteed. Which of these rituals -- or perhaps both -- took place on this day isn't clear in my sources.

Rites in honour of Elernus: Elernus (or Helernus, or maybe Avernus) is another one of those very ancient Roman deities about which we know little, as can be seen by the variations in name. He appears to have been some type of underworld divinity (perhaps being honoured with the sacrifice of a black ox by the pontifices).

1793 - death of John Lempriere (Classical Dictionary)
pro tanto @ Worthless Word for the Day

sappurate @ Wordsmith

assuage @ Merriam-Webster
From the Concordia Journal:

The roots of contemporary culture will never be taken for granted as long as Classical Thought at Concordia has a say. The CT@C, as its members call it for short, is a consortium of scholars with research interests in classical literature, philosophy, late antiquity and the classical tradition.

Concordia is particularly well placed to serve as the centre for teaching and researching the classical tradition. A cluster of recent hires in classics, philosophy, political science, English and Italian are studying the role played by the ancient world in forming modern cultures.

They cover a broad historical range and cross many disciplines, including classical antiquity (Sean Gurd), ancient philosophy and the history of science (Andrea Falcon), political science (Marlene Sokolon), early Christianity and Judaism (Lorenzo DiTommaso), the early modern period (Italian scholar Dario Brancato) and the late 18th and early 19th century (English literary scholar Jonathan Sachs).

Gurd, an assistant professor of ancient Greek studies in the Department of Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics, explained, “our mission is to further teaching and scholarship on the heritage of the ancient world in all its major instantiations — literature, religion, political thought, philosophy and art — and at all times and places.”

Classics is not only interdisciplinary, it’s intercultural. “Each of the major monotheisms — Judaism, Christianity and Islam — has benefited from creative dialogues with Greek philosophy and literature. Indeed, the Islamic tradition played a crucial role in the survival of many aspects of ancient science and philosophy.”

Gurd says there’s a strong resurgence of interest in the subject. “In the last 10 years, the study of the classical tradition has become a major new area of research across the humanities, drawing contributions from art history, language and literature departments, philosophy, and classical studies.

“The transmission and reception of classical thought is now seen as a major means of self-definition for the modern West. The history of scholarship, education, and artistic influence have become exciting new avenues for the exploration of the conflicts and negotiations that defined the modern world.”

Vehicles like the International Journal of the Classical Tradition have sprung up to document this research, and existing journals are making space in their pages for studies of the classical tradition. Several presses have established series dedicated to the field.

“Our hope is to be able to build connections between scholars at Concordia and in the broader academic community in Montreal who are engaged in one of the many aspects of this important and growing subject,” Gurd said.

The group is holding a lunchtime lecture series and expects to welcome a major international scholar to give a lecture next year.

“We have also proposed a minor in the study of the classical tradition, which will give students an opportunity to study the heritage of ancient Greece and Rome.

“The program will provide a synoptic view of how the classical tradition has influenced multiple disciplines and forms of thought from antiquity through the present day. This program will, with any luck, be open to students in the fall of 2008. A major program along similar lines is in the planning stages.”

To follow the development of the group, visit their webpage, classicalthought.concordia.googlepages.com.
8.00 p.m. |HISTC| CITIES OF THE UNDERWORLD | Naples - Beneath Vesuvius
Naples, Italy narrowly escaped meeting the same fate as its neighboring city, Pompeii in 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius wiped out everything around it. The wind saved Naples that day, but life in the shadow of this massive volcano is unlike any other - and so is its underground. For centuries, Neapolitans have carved out their underground, creating a parallel world where their secrets are safe. Entire neighborhoods line the underworld, time capsules of ancient life - with banks, bakeries and homes preserved below. From repelling into an ancient Greek cavern to uncovering Nero's famous stage underneath a modern apartment, Don Wildman steps back almost 2000 years to discover the world hidden beneath this volcano. We're peeling back the layers of time on Cities of the Underworld: Beneath Vesuvius.

HISTC = History Television (Canada)