This just in ... from the Yorkshire Evening Post:

THE remains of a woman have been laid to rest in a hidden location in the Yorkshire Dales 1,900 years after she died.
She was returned – in ceremony – to the limestone cave where she was discovered by two divers more than a decade ago.

Phillip Murphy, an academic at Leeds University, and his friend Andrew Goddard found the woman's skull by chance during a diving mission at the cave in 1997.

Carbon dating tests confirmed that the remains dated back to Roman times, and further visits to the site unearthed the bones of medieval wild dogs and the first set of prehistoric cave footprints seen in Britain.

A forensic expert at Sheffield University, Dr Stephanie Davy-Jow has reconstructed the woman's face, see inset. Mr Murphy said: "We know that our Roman lady wasn't thrown down the cave shaft because there were no injuries on the skull. "The bones may have been placed there after her body had decomposed elsewhere."

The cave has been resealed, and its location kept secret.
ante diem iii kalendas maias

ludi Florales ... a.k.a. Floralia (day 3) -- a festival originally ordered in response to an interpretation of the Sybilline books in 238 B.C., it fell into desuetude only to be revived in 173 B.C.; it was a general festival of drinking and other merriment in honour of Flora, who presided over (of course) flowers and their blossoms

ca 65 A.D. -- martyrdom of Torpes of Pisa

259 A.D. -- martyrdom of Agapius at Citra (along with quite a few others)
argus @ Wordsmith

cognizable @ Merriam-Webster
Too long to reproduce here, but fibre2fashion has an okay overview of Roman clothing which teachers might find useful (there are a few typos ...) ...
From the Waverly Leader:

ANOTHER piece of history was on display when a 2000-year-old Roman coin was used for the toss before Clayton's centenary match against St Kilda City on Saturday.

The coin dates back to 27BC when Emperor Augustus, better known as Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, ruled the Roman Empire.

One side features the profile of Emperor Augustus's head and the letters 'SC', the Roman Senate's seal of approval, are inscribed on the other.

"The reason we're using it is because it's been donated by our major sponsor, Universal Coin Company," Clayton treasurer Neil Daly said.

"On the back of the coin it's got 'SC', which is the Roman Senate's mark, but our sponsor thought the S could stand for St Kilda City and the C for Clayton.

"We thought it would be a novel idea to celebrate the centenary rather than a standard coin, as it's never been done before."

... in case you were wondering, the coin was in a lucite sort of case (there's a tiny photo accompanying the original article).
ante diem iv kalendas maias

ludi Florales ... a.k.a. Floralia (day 2) -- a festival originally ordered in response to an interpretation of the Sybilline books in 238 B.C., it fell into desuetude only to be revived in 173 B.C.; it was a general festival of drinking and other merriment in honour of Flora, who presided over (of course) flowers and their blossoms

12 B.C. -- consecration of the signum et ara Vestae on the Palatine; it was a shrine built by Augustus as pontifex maximus to house the palladium (maybe) which Aeneas brought from Troy

32 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor-for-a-little-while Otho

1st century -- martyrdom of Aphrodisius and companions in what would become Languedoc

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Pollio in Pannonia
chimera @ Wordsmith

approbation @ Merriam-Webster
9.00 p.m. |HISTC| ROME II | Testudo Et Lepus
Her treachery exposed by Duro, Servilia finds herself in Atia’s villa at the mercy of Timon. Searching for Vorenus in the Mutina countryside, Pullo runs into Octavian, who has just won a bloody battle against Mark Antony. The new Caesar has decided to return to Rome with his army, and sends Marcus Agrippa to tell Octavia, and Cicero, the news. Meanwhile, encamped with a new army of mercenaries in Western Turkey, Brutus and Cassius have plans of their own. Vorenus and Pullo arrive at a slave camp in search of Vorenus’ children, and are shocked to discover their fates.

10.00 p.m. |HISTU| Ancient Discoveries: Siege of Troy

HISTC = History Television (Canada)
HISTU = History Channel (US)
I've never figured out how so much stuff quickly accumulates in my mailbox ... anyhoo, here's a pile of stuff needing to be mentioned:

In case you didn't know, Dorothy King is back blogging at PhDiva ...

The CAC has (finally) brought its website into this millennium ... I'm still trying to figure out what's happened to the Mouseion website, though ...

In case you haven't been following it, the conversation at eLatin eGreek eLearn about the cancellation of the AP Latin Literature exam has generated 39 pages (as of this second) of comments ... they've also generated a letter to the AP powers-that-are ... Andrew Reinhard joins the call (one which I made at the outset of this event) for the APA/ACL to possibly do something to replace it ...

The discussion/commentary on electronic monographs at the CSA Newsletter site has also continued to grow ...

Not sure why, but at PhysOrg there was a brief item on how the Romans handled integration ...

Similarly, the Cud was assessing Pericles as a statesman ... it does not seem to be connected to Boris Johnson's allusions to same in the London mayoralty race ...

I'm also not sure why the Birmingham Post was explaining Enoch Powell's 'rivers of blood' thing ... [UPDATE: Barry Baldwin writes in (thanks!) to remind me/us that it's the 40th anniversary of Powell's statement]

MINA had a good one-webpage overview of Alexander's life ...

Wired explains what we've learned from the Trojan War ...

I'd also like to toot my own horn a bit and point out that we started volume 11 of our Explorator newsletter with today's issue ... we're now in our 12th year of putting out the best freebie (I'm biased, of course) on the Internet ... there should be a link over in my blogroll on the side to today's issue and the latest Ancient World on Television listings (which have been around for even longer!) ...

By the way ... can anyone tell me what's up with Ephemeris? Their feed appears to have been hijacked or something ...
From BMCR:

Daniel Ogden, In Search of the Sorcerer's Apprentice: The Traditional Tales of Lucian's Lover of Lies.

Sandra Blakely, Myth, Ritual and Metallurgy in Ancient Greece and Recent Africa.

Mette Moltesen, Anne Marie Nielsen, Agrippina Minor. Life and Afterlife

Petra Schierl, Die Tragoedien des Pacuvius: ein Kommentar zu den Fragmenten mit Einleitung, Text und Uebersetzung.

G. Cruz Andreotti, P. Le Roux, P. Moret, La invencion de una geografia de la Peninsula Iberica I. La epoca republicana.
G. Cruz Andreotti, P. Le Roux, P. Moret, La invencion de una geografia de la Peninsula Iberica II. La epoca imperial.

J. H. Gaisser (ed.), Oxford Readings in Classical Studies: Catullus.

Sergio Daris, Dizionario dei nomi geografici e topografici dell' Egitto greco-romano. Supplemento 4 (2002-2005). Biblioteca degli "Studi di Egittologia e di Papirologia" - 5.

Filippo Canali De Rossi, Filius Publicus. Huios te^s Poleos e titoli affini in iscrizioni greche di eta\ imperiale. Studi sul vocabolario dell'evergesia 1.

S. J. Heyworth (ed., with P. G. Fowler, S. J. Harrison), Classical Constructions. Papers in Memory of Don Fowler, Classicist and Epicurean.

Harriet Crawford (ed.), Regime Change in the Ancient Near East and Egypt: From Sargon of Agade to Saddam Hussein.

Henrik Rydell Johnsen, Reading John Climacus. Rhetorical Argumentation, Literary Convention and the Tradition of Monastic Formation.

Vanda Zajko, Miriam Leonard, Laughing with Medusa: Classical Myth and Feminist Thought.

From RBL:

Valerie M. Warrior, Roman Religion

From CJ Online:

Ovid’s Lovers: Desire, Difference and the Poetic Imagination. By VICTORIA RIMELL.
I think that's the title (I think this is an episode of Battlefield Detectives) ... it's missing from the beginning:

parts 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 5
Martin Conde sends in some info on the project:

Dear Prof. Meadows,
The following is an e-mail reply below I sent to a student in University student in Rome, regarding brief questions pertaining to the historical planning of the Imperial Fora Project & the Metro C Project in Rome during the Fascist Period of the 1930s, etc, and the 1990s to present…!
Thank you
Martin G. Conde Washington DC, USA

Re: etc, "...FYI – The Overall design / planning Metro C project (station Piazza Venezia, etc) in Rome is not a new proposal of either administrations former Mayor of Rome Veltroni or that of Mayor then / now Italian Cultural Minister Rutelli, it is rather the completion of the Metro C Project first envisioned by Mussolini architect’s in the early 1930s, who designed the project but because of the later political events of in the 1930s & the Second World War, they could not have completed it…! This is based upon research I have done, which is even rather well documented (planning the Metro Line’s in Rome of the early 1930s) based upon news reports from the period in the NEW YORK TIMES / THE TIMES OF LONDON & Italian architectural period articles, etc. Thus the Via dell’ Impero / later Via dei Fori Imperiali [thats why the area of the Piazza Venezia was cleared in the late 1920s early 1930s and created as a large-square, it was to be then a Metro stop…] & other thoroughfares built in Rome in the 1930s was only the first stage Mussolini’s systemization of Rome, the Metro Line (four of them) was the later stage, but never completed…!"

Copy of my e-mail reply:
“…During his twenty-eight years as archeological superintendent, which ended in January 2005, La Regina was probably the most influential city planner in Rome, although his influence can be measured mainly in absences--buildings not built, roads removed, acreage excavated. When I visited him in his office, in the Roman Forum, the greatest excavation site in the world, he looked ready for his approaching retirement. He seemed worn out by long years of defending Vanishing Rome from the forces of modernity. Raising his glasses and peering closely at a map of the Roman Forum and the Imperial Forums from 1981, he pointed with pride to the parks in the Imperial Forums that he had turned into excavations and to another spot, just below the Capitoline Hill, where a modern road used to run.

"You know in the film 'Roman Holiday,' when Gregory Peck takes the road on his scooter?" he asked. "We removed it."
It was the only time during our interview that I saw him smile. When I asked whether he thought he had been too aggressive in protecting Rome's archeological past, citing the frequently heard complaint that Rome has become a museum of the once great city it was, La Regina disagreed.
"As proof, you only have to look at all the tourists who come to Rome to see that past," he said. The problem, he went on, is with politicians like Rutelli. Politicians need new roads and construction projects, because such projects employ potential voters and spread money around.
"It is our duty to say no, when there is a danger to archeological monuments, but it becomes very difficult when you deal with politicians. Because while tourists bring a lot of money to the city, they don't vote--so there will almost always be a conflict there."

~ Interview with Prof. Adriano La Regina, c.f. John Seabrook, ROMAN RENOVATION. THE NEW YORKER, May.2.2005.
''…[The Via dei Fori Imperiali] from a scenic highway through the ruins to a kind of balcony on the most extensive archeological area[s] in the world…''

~ Mayor Francesco Rutelli, New York Times (Apr.22.1999). Archive Online Edition.
“…It might be amiss to mention that the Via dell Impero [Via dei Fori Imperiali] has not been made for purely archaeological & aesthetic reasons, but also for practical one.” […] “The new street, therefore, is above all a street necessitated by the traffic requirement of the modern city.” […] “yet, to excavate that vast zone now occupied by the new street, to decide its plan on the basis of what might have been found there of archaeological interest, and to make the new street pass over the ruins like a suspension bridge, would have been exceedingly costly and difficult undertaking, and would have required in addition many years of work.”

~ Prof. Guido Calza, The Via Dell’ Impero & the Imperial Fora. JIRBA (March 1934, pg. 502-503).
Question 1 - Perhaps I didn't understand but you say fascist plans considered somehow a metro line (which now we call line C under via dei fori imperiali?

Reply: M.G.C. –

1.1). Rome. Construction of the Metro B Station (Piazza della Repubblica). Fonti /source: THE NEW YORK TIMES (23.01.1973, pg. 2). According to the article, during the construction of the station Pz. Della Repubblica, the site of the station had to shifts because of the discovery of a large residential building and a vast garden from the Imperial age (…). Citing the article: “Most of the tunnels of the projected Roman subway network – beyond Line A looms Line B and Line C, possibly to be built in the 1980s – will be dug deep 50 to 60 feet below street level. The intention is to avoid time-consuming encounters with archaeology that normally occur about 15 feet underground.”

1.2). The Fascist Planning of the “Rete Ferrovaria.” [Metro Subway Lines in Rome]. cf. Fondo Piacentini. Relazione - programma a S. E. il Capo del Governo sul progetto del Piano Regolatore di Roma, Roma 1930. (Con F. Boncompagni Ludovisi, presidente; C. Bazzani, A. Brasini, A. Calza Bini, E. Del Bufalo, G. Giovannoni, A. Muñoz, C. Palazzo, R. Paribeni, P. Salatino).

Fonti / source:

[Text] = Roma e Rete ferroviaria: “La nostra Commissione ha creduto indispensabile di affrontare quale problema pregiudiziale nei riguardi del Piano Regolatore la sistemazione della grande rete delle ferrovie, in relazione ai bisogni ognor crescenti del traffico viaggiatori e merci, e di depositi, comporta un notevole impegno di aree e impone convenienti coordinazioni della rete stradale e dello sviluppo edilizio, era indispensabile che tale studio precedesse lo studio stesso del Piano Regolatore, soprattutto per la parte relativa all'espansione dell'aggregato urbano nelle zone di ampliamento. (...)

Linea A. — Di più immediata attuazione, parte dalla Stazione di Ostia e per il Trastevere, Piazza Venezia, Via Nazionale, Termini raggiunge Porta Pia, biforcandosi quindi presso Piazza Verbano e la Salaria da un lato, e lungo la Nomentana fino a Santa Agnese, e il nuovo Quartiere di Pietralata.

Linea B. — Con direzione Nord-Sud, parte dal Piazzale Ostiense e, per Piazza Venezia e Piazza del Popolo, raggiunge la nuova Stazione Flaminia.

Linea C. — Con direzione Nord-Est, Sud-Ovest, collega il Quartiere Trionfale e San Pietro con il centro e la Stazione e questa con S. Giovanni. Essa avrà all'estremità settentrionale due branche per raggiungere il Foro Mussolini dell'O.N.B. e la Stazione Flaminia, e al Sud si spingerà fino alla Stazione Casilina e al nuovo Quartiere Prenestino.

Linea D. — Riunirà il quartiere Trionfale a Piazza del Popolo e di qui per Piazza di Spagna risalendo Via Boncompagni e Quintino Sella raggiungerà la Stazione di Termini nella sua nuova ubicazione, per spingersi quindi nelle importanti zone di ampliamento previste ad oriente della Città.”

1.3). [Rome]. City Plan For Rome Goes to Mussolini – Committee of Experts Submit 15 Year Program to Allow for New Growth (…) Construction of Four Subway Lines Planned. Fonti / source: THE NEW YORK TIMES (01.02.1931, pag. 56). The article cited the construction of four new subway lines in Rome, but did not mention the specific names of the Metro lines, or where they would be constructed.

1.4). “Rome. The first real step toward the modernization of, the construction of a subway system (…). In cutting the three underground lines, with a total length of 24 kilometers (nearly 15 miles) through the subsoil of the Eternal City (…). Particularly in that part of the city where modern traffic requires call for a central junction of the three subway lines between the Roman Forum and the Trajan Forum [possibly the Piazza Venezia?] not far from the Coliseum, the excavations are expected to reveal dozens of ancient artifacts.” Fonti / source: ROME SUBWAY TO BARE ANCEINT STRUCTURES. THE NEW YORK TIMES (12.06.1927, pag. 26).

So, if I am reading what I have cited correctly the City planners / architects during the Fascist era where first to plan the Metro Subway Project with a line a traversing beneath the Via dei Fori Imperiali (i.e.) the Metro C subway line beneath the Via dei Fori, unfortunately the history of the construction Metro Subway lines (Fascist Era early 1930s to the late 1970s) has not been a subject of important scholarly studies by non-Italian scholars. I still have to do more research.

For the contemporary planning of the Metro C Project – ‘Area Fori’ (2005 onwards), only a few journal articles have been published on the general planning. While the primary sources information I utilize is derived from the Italian Government, the Italian media and whatever I can find online:

1.5). METRO C: LA SITUAZIONE DEI CANTIERI ARCHEOLOGICI / Comune di Roma. Roma 27 ottobre 2006. [Time tables of archaeological surveys]=

Question 2 - You said La Regina was removed by Rutelli, perhaps because he was too conservative for the political deadlines. But some weeks ago La Regina’s wrote an article on "Repubblica" against sovrintendenza's report (in which was written Line C is going to destroy many of the archaeological remains, etc.,) opposing that it'd be possible to build station protecting or valorizing our archeological treasures. How do you interpret this thing?

Reply: M.G.C. – Prof. La Regina during his tenure as Rome’s Sopr.Archeo.Roma (1996-2005), beside the late Prof. Antonio Cederna has been one of the must out spoken critics of the politicians desire of modernizing Rome (i.e.) the over-commercialization of Rome Archaeological & Cultural Heritage: the construction of new parking area(s) & the keeping open of the Via dei Fori Imperiali, etc, in Rome for the now endless stream of tourist bus’s (operated by the Vatican, the City of Rome & the area Appia Antica) that now travel on the congested roadways from the Vatican – the Piazza Venezia – leading to either the National Museum of Rome or the Colosseum then on into the Via Appia. Not to mention the ugly advertising panels the cover the façade of numerous churches & obelisks in Rome (in which these panels are justified by the business that put up these panels saying the sponorizzione provides much needed funds to repair Rome archaeological / Cultural heritage), and the opening of the new ARA PACIS monument, etc.

2.1). The Via dei Fori Imperiali – Prof. La Regina and a number of scholars in the 1980s had hoped to close and eventually remove the Via dei Fori Imperiali, excavate the site and eventually re-integrate the Fori area with the adjacent central archaeological Park in Rome (Roman Forum, Colosseum valley & the Palatine Hill). Urban planners & architects in Rome cited that if the Via dei Fori is closed and removed without providing Rome alternative feasible plans for a new traffic infrastructure in Rome (more public transportation, etc) or to overcome the new traffic congestion, this idea of closing / removing the Via dei Fori would be impossible. A compromise was made, the Via dei Fori would remain, but it would be converted into a new type of elevated balcony over looking the recently excavated ruins of the Fori.

- Idea of a suspension bridge – Via dell Impero / Via dei Fori Imperiali see: “It might be amiss to mention that the Via dell Impero has not been made for purely archaeological & aesthetic reasons, but also for practical one.” […] “The new street, therefore, is above all a street necessitated by the traffic requirement of the modern city.” […] “yet, to excavate that vast zone now occupied by the new street, to decide its plan on the basis of what might have been found there of archaeological interest, and to make the new street pass over the ruins like a suspension bridge, would have been exceedingly costly and difficult undertaking, and would have required in addition many years of work.”

~c.f. Prof. Guido Calza, The Via Dell’ Impero & the Imperial Fora. JIRBA (March 1934, pg. 502-503).

- In Fall 2007, the Comune di Roma / the Italian Ministry of Culture proposed the final planning of completing the Central Archaeological Museum of Rome. But the proposal was not put in effect officially until after Mayor Veltroni resigned, see: Ministro Il On.le Francesco Rutelli e Il Vice Sindaco On.le Maria Pia GaravagliaCOMMISSIONE STATO-COMUNE PER LA SISTEMAZIONE DELL’AREA MONUMENTALE CENTRALE DI ROMA (Roma, 18.02.2008). =

- For the are of the Via dei Fori Imperiali / Fori Imperiali, one of the new proposals is the plan to remove the roadway Via Alessandrina between the Markets of Trajan & the recent excavations in the Forum of Augustus & the Forum of Trajan, see: "Via Alessandrina, iniziano gli scavi." (LA REPUBBLICA 23.10.2007, pg. 1). =


Thus if the City of Rome does eventually decide the remove the Via Alessandrina, what is surprising about this it will make the final completion urban planning phase of the Imperial Fora Progetto, and what is remarkable, with the removal of the Via Alessandrina is that the design concept is not based upon any recent planning initiatives of the City of Rome or the Italian Ministry of Culture, but like the Metro C progetto, this final layout of the Via dei Fori it is based upon the design concepts first conceived in the 1930s by the Fascist Architects, for an alternative design plan of the Via dell Impero, see:

Rome - “La Grande Roma,” Vincenzo Fasolo, "Studio per il tracciato di una nuova arteria tra via Cavour ed il Colosseo",[c. early 1930s] (Coll. F. Fasolo, in La Capitale a Roma, Città e arredo urbano, 1991, p.95). =

Actually, the final layout of the area of the Imperial Fora / Via dei Fori if the Via Alessandrina is removed will very closely resemble the later design plan of which was endorsed by Prof. Antonio M. Colini in 1981 [one of the archaeologist who excavated the area of the Imperial Fora (1928-1933), preceding the construction of the Via dell Impero, who also served later as the City of Rome’s Director of Museums, etc in the 1960s].

See: Prof. Antonio M. Colini, Cosi nacque Via dei Fori Imperiali (Cronaca di Roma), IL TEMPO ROMA (30-01-1981, pag. 4 = the illustration [idea of what the Via dei Fori would look like with the Via Alessandrina removed following the excavations] is from the work by: Romeo, Pierluigi. Riunificazione del centro di Roma antica / con disegni di P. Romeo. Roma : (Studia archaeologica ; 29.) L'Erma di Bretschneider, 1979.

2.2). La Regina & the Metro C Progetto: I read the article you mentioned by La Regina recently, A. La Regina, Come fare la Metro C e salvare l’ archeologia (04-03-2008, pg. 9). Several days later Prof. Angelo Bottini (Sopr.Archeo.Roma), held a conference which outlined the recent archaeological findings from the Metro C archaeological surveys.

See: C.A. Bucci, Metro C, catalogo dei tesori nascoti – Tanti reperti avvistati nel corso dei cantieri. Quasi tutto viene ricoperte (08.03.2008, pg. 9). Another article in the Repubblica that day was an article written and signed by several staff members of the (Sopr. Archeo.Roma) in reply to La Regina’s earlier article, see: “Nessun colpo di spugna, tuteliamo Roma” I funzioni archeologi della Soprintendenza riplicano all’ articolo di La Regina: “I nostri scavi alla luce del sole.” La Republica (08.03.2008, pg. 9).

Not sure how long this will be available:

part 2 ... 3 ... 4 ... 5 ... 6 ... 7 ... 8 ... 9 ... 10
Department of Classics at Emory University seeks to fill a one-year
position for a full-time visiting instructor of Classics beginning in
August 2008 through May 2009. The candidate should be qualified to
teach Latin, Greek, and Classical civilization at all levels and show
evidence of strong teaching ability. Ph.D. preferred. The teaching
load is five courses a year and will include Elementary Latin I and
II and a survey course on Greek literature and civilization. The
other two courses are likely to be a course onClassical Drama and a
small advanced seminar in an area of particular interest to the
applicant. Candidates should send a letter of interest, curriculum
vitae, and dossier including graduatetranscript, three letters of
recommendation and documentation of teaching ability to Louise Pratt,
Chair, Department of Classics, 221FCandler Library, 550 Asbury
Circle, Emory University, Atlanta GA 30322. Materials may also be
faxed (404) 727-0223 or e-mailed (lpratt AT Review of
applications will begin May 30, 2008 and will continue until the
position is filled. Candidates who will be attending the Feminism and
Classics conference and would like to talk to a departmental
representative should e-mail Louise Pratt (lpratt AT prior to
the conference to express interest and provide contact information.
Emory University is an EEO/AA employer.
ante diem vii kalendas maias

Robigalia -- an ancient agricultural festival designed to appease the numen Robigo/Robigus who caused mildew

404 B.C. -- Athens surrenders to Sparta, bringing the Peloponnesian War to an end (by one reckoning)

68 A.D. -- martyrdom of Mark the Evangelist

1940 -- death of Wilhelm Dorpfeld (excavator of Tiryns)
epigone @

From the Cyprus Mail:

THREE people were yesterday remanded in custody for six days, after they were arrested for illegal possession and trade of antiquities.

Two of the men, a 39-year-old from Larnaca and a 38-year-old from Paphos, were arrested in the Ypsonas area of Limassol on Wednesday afternoon after their car was stopped by the Drug Squad (YKAN).

Although no drugs were found in the car, no less than 22 ancient vases and a pair of ancient earrings were discovered in another car parked at a factory nearby.
YKAN had placed the boat-making factory under surveillance since they had reason to believe that drugs had been stored there.

An archaeologist who examined the artefacts dated them to around 700BC.
The third man, a 29-year-old from Limassol who was employed at the factory, was also arrested. Police believe he had met the other two earlier in conjunction with the antiquities theft.

The Paphos man, a theologian by trade, told police that the artefacts were given to him by the man from Larnaca.

However, the latter, who is an oil painter, and the man from Limassol have denied any involvement in the case.
From AdnKronos:

Archaeologists have revealed plans to uncover the 2000 year-old tomb of ancient Egypt's most famous lovers, Cleopatra and the Roman general Mark Antony later this year.

Zahi Hawass, prominent archaeologist and director of Egypt's superior council for antiquities announced a proposal to test the theory that the couple were buried together.

He discussed the project in Cairo at a media conference about the ancient pharaohs.

Hawass said that the remains of the legendary Egyptian queen and her Roman lover, Mark Antony, were inside a temple called Tabusiris Magna, 30 kilometres from the port city of Alexandria in northern Egypt.

Until recently access to the tomb has been hindered because it is under water, but archaeologists plan to drain the site so they can begin excavation in November.

Among the clues to suggest that the temple may contain Cleopatra's remains is the discovery of numerous coins with the face of the queen.

According to Hawas, Egyptologists have also uncovered a 120-metre-long underground tunnel with many rooms, some of which could contain more details about Cleopatra.

Born in Rome, Mark Antony was a military general and commander, as well as supporter of Julius Caesar. He was also Cleopatra's lover and bore him a son, called Caesarion.

After Julius Caesar's assassination in March 44 B.C., Antony formed a triumvirate with Octavian, also known as Augustus, and Marcus Lepidus.

Civil war ensued in Rome due to disagreements between Antony and Octavian, who was Julius Caesar's heir and who later became Rome's first emperor.

Antony was subsequently defeated by Octavian and he later committed suicide.

Cleopatra, who came to power at 18 years of age, was once the ruler of Egypt and considered the last of seven queens of the same name.

She was famous for her intelligence, her beauty and her political power.

Cleopatra who also bore Mark Antony twins, committed suicide after his death in August 30 B.C.

Hmmm ... sounds like we're beginning to get hype for a TV show; note that Hawass made a similar announcement a couple of years ago (can't find this one in my archives ... from the IOL of August 17, 2006):

In little over two months, famed Egyptologist Dr Zahi Hawass hopes to unearth the discovery of his lifetime: the tomb of one of history's greatest women, Cleopatra.

The celebrity archaeologist, who is on a whistle stop lecture tour of South Africa, said that "the discovery would even be bigger than that of King Tut".

Hawass told The Star on Wednesday that he suspects Cleopatra is buried with her Roman lover Mark Antony at a temple 30km from Alexandra called Tabusiris Magna.
This is Hawass's first visit to SA

"I believe it is a very sacred place and this is where they would have hidden Cleopatra and Marc Antony from Octavian," Hawass explained.

Access to the tomb, Hawass believes, is through a shaft. Previously he had descended 35m down the shaft but could get no further because of water.

"It has a high water table but I plan to go back in October," Hawass said.

Some of the clues that point to the tomb belonging to Cleopatra are a coin bearing her face and a statute. Cleopatra and Mark Antony committed suicide as the Roman leader Octavian hunted them in Egypt, in 30BC.

South Africans, particularly those with DSTV, would probably recognise Hawass as that Egyptologist who endlessly appears on documentaries wearing that Indiana Jones-styled hat.

But the Zahi Hawass who appeared in the Wits Great Hall cut a different figure... he was dressed in a charcoal suit.

This is Hawass's first visit to SA and he took the opportunity to introduce the audience to "adventure in archaeology", a slide show tour of some of his discoveries of Egypt.

"You know that 70 percent of Egypt's treasures still need to be uncovered," he said.

Some of these archaeological treasures, Hawass said, actually lie under the streets and houses of Cairo. His lecture also touched on how he organised a CT scan to be done of King Tutankhamun's mummy.

For years scientists have speculated whether the boy king was murdered. The project, which took place at the Valley of the Kings, had even Hawass wondering at one stage if the Curse of King Tut had returned. Unexplained power failures had workers fearing for their lives.

The results of the CT scan, believes Hawass, put to bed the theory that Tut was murdered by a blow to the head.

"What was originally thought of to be the hole in the back of his head that killed him, we found was part of the mummification process," Hawass explained.

While in SA, Hawass has also been in contact with several universities. "Perhaps we could collaborate in the future, talk about excavation techniques," he said.

When he gets back to Egypt, Hawass will have to start preparing for his next big operation - moving a 250 ton statute through the streets of Cairo.

... I'm still waiting to hear about Empereur and the tomb of Alexander ...
From the Turkish Daily News:

A museum established in the ancient city of Troy would draw more tourists to the area and further increase the tourism potential of Çanakkal province that lies at the narrow entrance of the Dardanelles, according to experts.

Troy, one of the nine sites in Turkey included on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) World Heritage List, has always attracted great attention and has been a significant cultural and tourism spot. Its multi-layered fabric still carries the vestiges of nine different civilizations that emerged one after the other. It was also the subject of the Illiad, one of two ancient Greek epic poems attributed to Homer.

Visited by about 500,000 Turkish and foreign tourists each year, the ancient city of Troy was accepted to UNESCO's World Heritage List 10 years ago, thanks to great efforts by Professor Manfred Osman Korfmann, who was the director of excavations at Troy and passed away a few years ago, as well as his colleague, Assistant Professor Rüstem Aslan and Culture and Tourism Ministry representatives.

Troy was included on UNESCO's World Heritage List for its contributions to world cultural history with its rich archaeological heritage and mythological past. UNESCO also added the following Turkish cultural heritage sites: Istanbul's historic sites; the Divriği Ulu Mosque and Hospital (Şihafane) in the Divriği complex; Göreme National Park and the Cappadocia rock cliffs; Hattuşa, capital of the Hittites; Mount Nemrut; Xhantos-Letoon; Hierapolis-Pamukkale and Safranbolu.

However, the steps being taken to open a museum in Troy were brought to a halt three years ago. Çanakkale Governor Orhan Kırlı said that the UNESCO World Heritage List was a crucial project prepared by universally acclaimed scientists and artists. Kırlı said that although the ancient city of Troy is included on such an important list, authorities in Turkey lagged behind in introducing it to the world.

‘Museum should be supported by world sponsors'

For Kırlı, Troy urgently needs a large museum. “Historic artifacts unveiled in Troy are being exhibited in various countries around the world. Therefore Troy, one of the historic sites included on UNESCO's World Heritage List, should have a museum up to world standards. In fact, steps have already been taken to do that. A museum can definitely be founded in this huge archaeological settlement with the support of world sponsors who have an interest in culture and history. This would absolutely be a contribution to world culture. This is a genuine mission,” said Kırlı. Whoever pioneers the museum to be founded in Troy, he or she would be undertaking a big task, an important duty, he added. “If the ancient city of Troy is a world asset that is included in world heritage list, then a world-standard museum complex should be established there with contributions from world sponsors.”

According to Kırlı, the museum, if founded, would also pave the way for the development of the economy of Çanakkale. “This is because the museum project would be one that would create a quarter of the whole economy of Çanakkale. There are many examples of that in the world.”

Kırlı said some tourists became disappointed when they visited Troy because of its current condition. But those who know its history are mostly overcome with admiration for the ancient city, he added.

“Works of art moved from the ancient city of Troy are exhibited in other places. In Troy, you have the chance to see, layer by layer, all the settlements that belonged to the erstwhile civilizations established there, but you cannot see any remnants of how people once used to live here," he said. "But if we could realize the museum project and prove that we have developed in the field of museums, then, one day, artifacts that belonged to Troy but currently abroad would be handed back to us without any hesitation.”

Troy, already an asset for Turkey

Assistant director of excavations in the ancient city of Troy, Assistant Professor Rüstem Aslan, said Troy was accepted to the UNESCO World Heritage List for the very marks it has left on both European and world history.

“With its glorious mythological past and rich archaeological heritage, Troy is a spot where the East merges, clashes and then reconciles with the West. No one can dare discuss or question the importance of Troy to these lands. And Troy's contributions in the fields of architecture, theater, art, and cinema continue.”

The biggest problem facing Troy today is that it lacks a museum, said Aslan. When a museum is opened, visits to Troy will gain momentum. Sightseeing tours that often take two-hours will lengthen to half a day. “When visitors come to see Troy, they will stay in Çanakkale, therefore tourism in the city will boom,” said Aslan. “In addition, once the museum is opened, we shall have the chance to present to the whole world the remnants of Troy that are still in Turkey.”

Aslan also said the museum should have a remarkable architectural style. “Tourists should come here to see the physical structure of the museum as well.” He also suggests that an international competition be held with the participation of prominent national and international architects with experience in museum work. “Many people in Europe are waiting for the concrete steps that should be taken to open a museum in Troy. If this project comes to life, it will also make contributions to Turkey's relations with the European Union (EU),” concluded Aslan.
ante diem viii kalendas maias

Vinalia (day 2?)

1184 B.C. -- "conquest and destruction of Troy" (according to one reckoning)

339 B.C. -- Timoleon defeats the Carthaginians at the Crimesus (according to one reckoning)

27 B.C. -- the future emperor Tiberius dons his toga virilis
extirpate @ Wordsmith

inanition@ Merriam-Webster
Way back when rogueclassicism was still young, we mentioned that Brian Johnson (of AC/DC fame) was working on a musical about Helen of Troy ... the Idolator gives us a bit of an update, inter alia:

Sadly, there's no word on the status of Helen Of Troy, a musical co-written by Johnson that's been in development for over five years. Originally the play was to feature Cranberry Dolores O'Riordan as Helen and Malcolm McDowell as Zeus in 2002. Then backers fell out and there hasn't been a word online about it since a 2005 reading with Bruce Vilanch. Brian starred in a TV documentary about the legendary battle, but sadly, this is all that's currently available from it.
This is very interesting ... from National Geographic:

An ancient Greek tomb thought to have held the body of Alexander the Great's father is actually that of Alexander's half brother, researchers say.

This may mean that some of the artifacts found in the tomb—including a helmet, shield, and silver "crown"—originally belonged to Alexander the Great himself. Alexander's half brother is thought to have claimed these royal trappings after Alexander's death.

The tomb was one of three royal Macedonian burials excavated in 1977 by archaeologists working in the northern Greek village of Vergina (see map of Greece).

Excavators at the time found richly appointed graves with artifacts including a unique silver headband, an iron helmet, and a ceremonial shield, along with a panoply of weapons and an object initially identified as a scepter.

"[Archaeologists] announced that the burial in the main chamber of the large rich [tomb] was that of Philip II, father of Alexander the Great, who was assassinated in 336 B.C," said Eugene N. Borza, professor emeritus of ancient history at Pennsylvania State University.

But recent analyses of the tombs and the paintings, pottery, and other artifacts found there, suggest that the burials are in fact one generation more recent than had previously been thought, Borza said.

"Regarding the paraphernalia we attribute to Alexander, no single item constitutes proof, but the quality of the argument increases with the quantity of information," he said.

"We believe that it is likely that this material was Alexander's. As for the dating of the tombs themselves, this is virtually certain."

Tomb Mystery

The original excavation at Vergina was led by Manolis Andronikos, an archaeologist at Greece's Aristotle University of Thessaloniki who died in 1992.

His team found the first tomb to be a simple stone box containing human remains identified as a mature male, a somewhat younger female, and a newborn.

Tomb II, a large vaulted tomb with two chambers, contained the remains of a young woman and a mature male.

Tomb III, with two vaulted chambers, was the resting place of a young teenager, most likely a male.

Both of the larger tombs contained gold, silver, and ivory ornaments, as well as ceramic and metal vessels.

"[Andronikos] presented his theories [that the tombs were those of Alexander's father and his family] with great skill, and the Greek nation responded with fervent enthusiasm," Borza said.

"Indeed I was one of those who, in two early articles in the late 1970s, accepted Andronikos' view that the remains were those of Philip II."

Borza started to doubt Andronikos' conclusions, however, as he studied the evidence.

He contacted Olga Palagia, an art historian at the University of Athens, to evaluate the tombs' construction, pottery, and paintings.

Soon the duo realized the significance of the fact that Tomb II and Tomb III were built using a curved ceilings called barrel vaults.

"The earliest securely dated barrel vault in Greece dates to the late 320s [B.C.], nearly a generation after the death of Philip II," Borza told National Geographic News.

Palagia also found that paintings on the exterior frieze of the tomb reflected themes that were likely from the age of Alexander the Great, rather than that of his father.

The paintings depict a ritual hunt scene with Asian themes, suggesting influences resulting from Alexander's extensive campaigns to the east.

(Read related story: "Alexander the Great Conquered City via Sunken Sandbar" [May 15, 2007].)


The six-foot (two-meter) scepter found at the burial site is another clue, Borza added.

"We have several surviving coins issued in his own lifetime showing Alexander holding what appears to be a scepter of about that height," he said.

Additionally, a number of silver vessels discovered in Tomb II and Tomb III are inscribed with their ancient weights, which use a measurement system introduced by Alexander the Great a generation after Philip II's death.

"Once we have determined on archaeological grounds that Tomb II is a generation later than Philip II's death, we can then ask, Whose tomb is it?" Borza said.

"We have a double royal burial from this era attested in the ancient literature. Thus the tomb is that of [Alexander's half brother] Philip III Arrhidaeus and his queen, Adea Eurydice."

Borza and Palagia discussed their new analysis at the meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in January. Their findings will be published in a forthcoming study from the German Archaeological Institute.

Most of the ancient artifacts found at Vergina are on display today at a museum at the site of the tombs.

Death of Alexander

Alexander died of disease in ancient Babylon, near modern-day Baghdad, Iraq, in 323 B.C.

His generals appointed Philip III to take his place, and the half brother claimed Alexander's royal objects as public symbols to solidify his power, historians suggest.

Alexander's son, Alexander IV, who was appointed joint king along with Philip III, was assassinated around 310 B.C. He is likely buried in Vergina's Tomb III, which contains the remains of a young teenager, Borza said.

Historically, the only known Macedonian royal teenage burial is that of Alexander IV, he explained.

Alexander's father, Phillip II, is buried in Tomb I, along with his wife and their infant, according to Borza.

"Tomb I is from the age of Philip II—unlike the big chamber tombs, which are later—and the human remains of the three burials accord well with the assassinations of these individuals."

Winthrop Lindsay Adams, a professor of history at the University of Utah who was not involved with the study, said Borza's work builds on what other specialists have thought about the various aspects of the Vergina tombs.

The work of Borza and his colleagues convincingly make the case that Tomb II is the final resting place of Alexander's half brother, Adams explained.

"Indeed for most scholars working in fourth-century Macedonia, the original attribution by Andronikos now seems doubtful," he said. "This case is convincing."

UPDATE: See David Gill's post on this subject ... some of the research involved is his
We've mentioned this Bulgarian Cybele site once or twice before ... from Novinite:

A total of four antique statues were unearthed in the temple of the Phrygian Goddess Cybele in Bulgaria's coastal town of Balchik on Wednesday.

The team of the archaeologists Igor Lazarenko, Elina Mircheva and Radostina Encheva discovered two Cybele's statues and two other, believed to be statues of Aphrodite and Dionysus.

During the excavation works, there have been found also two relieves and a limestone slab with a lion embossment.

The first finding in the temple, believed to be the biggest one in Bulgaria, was discovered at the end of April last year, when archaeologists found a 30-centimeter-long marble statue of Cybele.

"The statue has no head and part of the goddess' palm is also missing," the curator of the local museum Radostina Encheva said. It emerged that a column with a Latin inscription and an architectural element with bulls' heads were discovered on the same spot.

Among the other precious findings, discovered on the spot is a 50-centimeter-high Doric column with a well-preserved inscription addressed to the Roman emperor Valerius Licinianus Licinius.

The temple's walls were at least 2.5 meters high, and the base of the building is huge, compared to other important buildings of the same age.

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

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

Visitors are most welcome at all the events below. For enquiries and
further details: or

Wednesday 30 April, 4 pm, Carrington Building 201

Matthew Nicholls, Reading
Virtual Rome (on large screen).

Wednesday14 May, 4pm, Carrington Building 201

Virginia Lewis-Campbell, Reading
Stopping to Smell the Roses: Garden Tombs in Roman Italy.

Jo Brown, Reading
'No Harem Slave': the Construction of Athenian Women in Nineteenth
Century Social

Wednesday 28 May, 4 pm, Carrington Building 201

Ittai Gradel, Reading
Imperial Portraits.

Wednesday 11 June, 4pm, Palmer 103

Michele Lucchesi, Lincoln College, Oxford
Plutarch and the Enigma of Lysander.


Thursday 8 May-Sat 10 May

Aphrodite Revealed: A Goddess Discolosed

Friday July 4-Sunday July 6

Perceptions of Polis-Religion: Inside/Outside:
A Symposium in Memory of Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood

ante diem ix kalendas maias

Vinalia (urbana) -- the wine which was 'bottled' in the previous autumn was opened and tasted for the first time, after a libation to Jupiter

248 A.D. -- third day of celebration of Rome's 1000th anniversary
ubiquitous @

truculent @ Merriam Webster
From the Globe and Mail:

A University of Toronto mathematician is lending new support to the controversial claim that an ancient burial tomb near Jerusalem once held the bones of Jesus of Nazareth and his family.

In a peer-reviewed article published last month in the prestigious Annals of Applied Statistics, Andrey Feuerverger places the odds of the 2,000-year-old tomb not belonging to the Jesus family at 1 in 1,600.

This figure is even more bullish than the 1-in-600 figure that Dr. Feuerverger calculated a year ago, when interviewed for The Lost Tomb of Jesus, a $4-million documentary produced by James Cameron and directed by Toronto's Simcha Jacobovici.

The tomb, now sealed beneath a housing development in Talpiot, east of Jerusalem, was accidentally discovered in 1980. Its contents included 10 limestone ossuaries, six of which were inscribed with evocative names, including "Jesus, son of Joseph, Maria, Jose [perhaps a brother of Jesus], Mariamne, Matya and Judah, son of Jesus."

It was Judaic custom at the time to place a deceased's bones, a year after death, into bone boxes stored in family tombs. Archeologists stumbling across these crypts typically turned the remaining bone fragments over to Orthodox officials for reburial; inexplicably, there is no report of what happened to the bones found at this site.

The film, adducing DNA evidence that suggested Jesus and Mary Magdalene might have been married and had a son named Judah, triggered a tsunami of debate. Many orthodox Christians viewed its claims as challenging the very foundations of the faith, which maintains that Jesus never married, never fathered a child and, three days after he died, was resurrected physically and ascended to heaven.

In the past year, six books and three other documentary films have been released, all attempting to refute the thesis of The Lost Tomb of Jesus. Websites and bloggers, academic and lay, have led a vituperative chorus denouncing the film as sensationalism and its findings as shoddy science.

The filmmakers say orthodox Christianity has even flexed its power to suppress their message. There's no hard evidence of such tactics, but Britain's Channel 4, which paid £200,000 for British rights to the film, has yet to broadcast it. Discovery U.S., which aired the documentary a year ago to enormous ratings, has since declined to rebroadcast it.

For years, archeologists attempted to deflect speculation about the tomb, saying that the names inscribed on the Talpiot ossuaries were common to the period. But Dr. Feuerverger's analysis rejects that argument, noting that while the individual names might have been common, this specific cluster of names so resonant of the New Testament is not. Indeed, in January, at a symposium with about 50 academics in Jerusalem, no one made the case for commonality.

Instead, opponents have challenged Dr. Feuerverger's historical assumptions, notably that the unusual Greek name Mariamne found on one of the ossuaries is an appropriate designation for Mary Magdalene.

But even discounting the Mariamne assumptions, Dr. Feuerverger's 51-page paper says that the tomb has a 0.48 chance of belonging to Jesus. That means, says James Tabor, head of religious studies at the University of North Carolina, "that if we had two tombs to examine, one of them would be the Jesus tomb. With Feuerverger's paper in print, a more responsible discussion of the Talpiot tomb name frequencies and statistics can take place."

One surprise development at the Jerusalem conference was the appearance of Ruth Gat, widow of the Israeli archeologist who first excavated the Talpiot tomb. Presented with a lifetime achievement award on his behalf, Mrs. Gat told the assembled academics that her husband had died with the conviction that the tomb belonged to Jesus Christ and his family. A Holocaust survivor, Mr. Gat had confided his views to his wife. He never went public, she explained, because he feared doing so would produce a global backlash of anti-Semitism.

"The fact is," maintains Mr. Jacobovici, the filmmaker, "that the conference shifted the fulcrum of academic opinion from 'couldn't possibly be the Jesus tomb' to 'very well might be.' "

Although most scholars remain deeply skeptical - 15 of those at the Jerusalem parley signed an online manifesto rejecting the Jesus tomb arguments - cracks have formed in the academic front.

"I don't believe the idea can be simply dumped into the garbage heap of pseudo-science and history," says Israeli geologist Aryeh Shimron. "And no manifestos are going to change my mind that easily. It deserves further, very detailed scientific study."

University of Detroit professor Jane Schaberg, one of the world's ranking experts on Mary Magdalene, says it is "quite possible, even probable," that the inscription on that ossuary describes Magdalene and adds that the tomb "may very well belong to Jesus and his followers, as opposed to Jesus and his family. My gut tells me it's a movement site."

What are the implications for orthodox Christians? "It means they should start studying what was meant by resurrection in the first century," Dr. Schaberg says. "Resurrection is not a simple thing, where the body just stands up and walks out."

"We might be dealing with the most tangible evidence ever of the existence of Jesus and his family," adds University of Toronto social historian Claude Cohen-Matlofsky. Even the conference's lead organizer, Princeton University's James Charlesworth, a New Testament scholar, said afterward, "I have reservations, but I can't dismiss the possibility that this tomb was related to the Jesus clan."

Symposium delegates ultimately voted unanimously to reopen the investigation into the Talpiot tomb as well as a second still unexamined crypt only nine metres away. So far, no action has been taken.

... has anyone pointed out yet that all these calculations are based on a sample of names which (obviously?) cannot be proven as representative?
From SBC News:

A paper by Sweet Briar College student Emma Meador ’09 received top honors at the Seventh Annual Undergraduate Classics Conference held March 28-29 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

“Masks of Madness: Contextualizing Euripides’ ‘Bacchae,’ ” was one of 35 papers submitted to the conference. In addition to Sweet Briar, entries came from several Ohio universities, Ball State University, the College of William and Mary, Dartmouth College, Harvard University and the University of Virginia.

Meador, a classics major from Austin, Colo., researched and wrote the paper for Sweet Briar’s 2007 Honors Summer Research Program. She also presented her work at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of Undergraduate Scholarship (MARCUS) held last fall at Sweet Briar.

Emma Meador
Of the papers submitted, 30 were chosen to be presented at the conference. Students presented abridged versions of their papers and the complete works were judged by faculty members from the Miami University classics department.

When the judging was complete, Meador was declared the first-place winner, followed by students from Miami and Xavier University. As a prize, she was presented a copy of The Oxford Classical Dictionary.

Eric Casey, SBC associate professor of classics, was pleased with the judges’ decision. “She is the first student I have had here (or anywhere else I have taught) who not only wrote an abstract for a conference and got it accepted but even won a prize for the best paper at the conference. … It is really quite an honor,” he wrote in an e-mail.

On her Facebook profile, Meador lists “Euripides” among her favorite authors, along with “Ender’s Game” author Orson Scott Card and C.S. Lewis, who wrote the “Chronicles of Narnia” series. “He’s definitely my favorite now,” she said of the Greek playwright.

Although she studied classics in high school, Meador became interested in Euripides during her first year at Sweet Briar, when she wrote a paper about his tragedy “Alcestis” for one of her classes. Last summer, she chose “The Bacchae” as her topic for the Honors Summer Research Program.

The title characters in Euripides’ play were female followers of Bacchus, another name for the Greek god Dionysus. Although Dionysus appears on stage in Greek comedy, Meador explained, “The Bacchae” is the only known Greek tragedy to feature Dionysus as a character.

“ ‘The Bacchae’ is the latest surviving Greek tragedy, the last one that we have,” she said. “It’s the only one that puts the god Dionysus on the stage. All Athenian tragedy was performed in honor of Dionysius. I was just studying the effects of having him on stage.”

In the abstract for her paper, Meador writes, “The purpose of this paper is to explore the significance of the presence of Dionysus in Euripides’ ‘Bacchae’ by looking at the ‘Bacchae’ in the context of both its festival performance and its place within the history of tragedy.

“Dionysian themes run through much of tragedy, and the god would have been a highly visible presence during its performance. I argue that the late position of the ‘Bacchae’ in the history of tragedy allows it to reflect on the preceding body of work, and that the presence of Dionysus on the stage casts a new light on themes that had already been well established.”

To read Meador’s complete abstract and those of the other students who presented, visit the conference’s Web site.
From Hamilton College:

A group of 12 Classics students and faculty traveled to Saratoga Springs on Friday, April 17, for the third annual session of Parilia, an undergraduate research conference organized by faculty from Colgate, Hamilton, Skidmore and Union.

This year's session of the conference was held at Skidmore College, and three Hamilton seniors were among those who presented papers: Leah F. Delany, a classical languages major, spoke on "Blowin' in the Wind: Bob Dylan and Ancient Greek Lyric"; Maria-Christina Rubino, also a classical languages major, presented a paper titled "The Bar of Greatness: Athletes as Demigods and Superheroes in Pindar and Pausanias"; and Albert B. Trithart, a major in classical languages and world politics, spoke on "Fearmongering and Jingoism: The Rhetoric of Imperialism in Ancient Athens and the Contemporary United States."

Other students attending the conference were Larry Allen '09, Meghan Clark '11, Maggi Noonan '08, Casey Quinn '10, Sarah Reynolds '11, and Andrea Stokes '08. They were joined by Professors Barbara Gold, Carl Rubino and James Wells.

Hamilton was host to the conference last year, and next year it is scheduled to be held at Colgate.
From the Ledbury Reporter:

THE laying of new water mains in the Ashperton area has unearthed extensive evidence of Ancient Roman settlement.

The most significant finds were made last summer by a team of archaeologists called into investigate.

The Border Archaeology team from Leominster excavated the remains of at least 18 bodies in a field at Stretton Grandison.

At 7.30pm on Tuesday, April 29 a special public presentation in Ashperton Village Hall will discuss the finds and throw fresh light on the area's Roman and Dark Age past.

One oak coffin was one of the best examples ever found in Britain.

It contained a tall, middle-aged man with osteoarthritis.

A second less well-preserved coffin provided evidence of a bizarre Roman ritual known as feeding the dead"

Part of the lid had been cut away, exposing the head, and a channel had been cut into the grave.

Border Archaeology think that pipe from the surface to the mouth of the corpse would have carried food and drink during annual festivals of the dead.

The headless body of a teenager was also found.

This was a Dark Age burial, dating from 550 AD to 660 AD.

The Romans Legions are believed to have been pulled out of Britain in 410 AD.

... for more examples of the burial custom, see, e.g. the burials found in that Vatican car park construction a few years ago ...
Angelika Franz sent this one in (thanks!) ... from Der Spiegel:

Druids belong to the realm of myth -- archaeologists have never been able to prove their existence. But now researchers in England have uncovered the grave of a powerful, ancient healer. Was he a druid?

There's a joke among archaeologists: Two of their kind, in the future, find a present-day public toilet. "We've discovered a holy site!" cries one. "Look, it has two separate entrances," says the other. "This here," he says, pointing to the door with a pictogram of a woman, "was for priests. This is evident by the figure wearing a long garment."

The joke rests on a perennial sore point for archaeologists: There are things they simply can't prove. The list includes love, hate, fear, desire and, well, faith. Which hasn't stopped many reports from being written about who loved or hated whom in ancient cultures -- who was threatened by what, who tried to win something else.

Philip Crummy is an archaeologist who tries not to pass off ancient toilets for holy sites. But lately the director of the Colchester Archaeological Trust has been pulling a number of artifacts from the ground near the site of an ancient city, Camulodunum, that would tempt any archaeologist to speculate, at least a little. Crummy has stumbled upon a small cemetery about 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) southwest of present-day Colchester. The dead were all buried between the years 40 and 60 AD. For a cemetery that's a short lifespan; but in Britain it's an important period, because in the year 43 AD the island became a Roman colony.

The people buried in this graveyard clearly belonged to the elite of their day. They were laid to rest not in caskets, but in large burial chambers. On the east side of the chambers lay piles of shards -- remnants of pottery shattered on purpose at the site. The immediate impulse is to imagine a funeral feast where the bereaved shattered plates against a wall. "Careful," warns Crummy. "We can't know what happened there exactly."

This find is unusually rich. One dead body was interred with a ball of verdigris, either for medicinal or cosmetic purposes. A small Roman flagon of perfume from Augustan times was also in the chamber. But the funeral items weren't just for superficial things: Another grave had an inkpot. A literary man, we might think, but Crummy recommends caution again. In archaeology an inkpot is just an inkpot. After all nothing would prevent an illiterate from shoving Shakespeare's collected works up on his living-room shelf today.

Scalpels, Saws, Hooks, Needles, Tweezers

One of the graves is especially evocative. It probably belonged to a doctor. The interior resembles that of a soldier in a neighboring grave. At least in the eastern part where an eleven-piece dinner set lay, as well as a copper sieve, which had been used to pour out wormwood tea, and a bronze pan for warming up wine.

In the western half, archaeologists found a board game. The stones were once laid out along the broad sides of a board -- 13 white and 13 blue. The wooden board had rotted away long ago, but the stones had hardly moved over two thousand years. The ancient undertakers had meticulously piled the burned bones of the deceased on the board. There was also a set of surgical instruments, complete with scalpels, saws, hooks, needles and tweezers -- as well as divining rods made of iron and copper. "Doctor" is the term that Philip Crummy has prudently chosen for the dead person, but less cautious researchers would have chosen another word: "druid." That would have been a sensation.

Druids are problematic, because no one has proved their existence, at least not archaeologically, although they have been written about extensively, even by ancient writers. Today most people would think automatically of Miraculix, the druid in the proto-French village defended by Asterix (and other cartoon Gauls) who buck themselves up with magical drinks. The Asterix cartoonists, René Goscinny and Albert Uderzo, took descriptions by the Roman historian Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD) as a template. Pliny's writing describes the "druid" caste as white-robed, with golden sickles which they used to cut branches of mistletoe from oaks.

That all sounds very nice, and Pliny is even known to have travelled extensively in the colonized provinces. But he was a Roman, and scholars have always treated Roman descriptions of the world with caution.

What Exactly Was a Druid?

Archaeologists have never found a golden sickle and Caesar never mentioned the precious tool in his "Gallic Wars", the second major historical source of research on druids. In Book 6, Chapter 13 he describes the task of druids: They "are engaged in things sacred, conduct the public and the private sacrifices, and interpret all matters of religion. (…) they determine respecting almost all controversies, public and private." Not a word about white gowns, golden sickles, mistletoe or oak trees. But Caesar's account has to be taken with a note of caution -- he was, after all, a conqueror writing about the vanquished.

So what history tells us about the druids is barely usable. And the more recent extensive literature isn't much help either. Mike Pitts, an expert on druids and the author of an article on the Colchester site in British Archaeology magazine, told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the 19th and early 20th centuries saw the emergence of a notion of druidry that completely distorted the real picture. Stonehenge and Merlin have about as much to do with druids as the Asterix and Obelix comic books of Goscinny and Uderzo. "That's exactly the problem," says Pitts. "Despite the many fantasy stories, we don't even know what we're supposed to be looking for."

No Longer Celtic, Not Yet Roman

This is where the Colchester burial site comes in. The doctor of Camulodunum was evidently a rich and respected man. If one assumes that the surgical instruments and divining rods in his tomb weren't just for decorative purposes, healing and soothsaying must have been part of his job description. It's the closest anyone is likely to get to a druid in archaeological terms. Crummy is aware of this, of course. "We know nothing about the dead person. Anything is possible. We don't even know whether the bones belonged to a man or a woman."

For him other questions are far more exciting. "What we're seeing here are the tombs of an elite that ruled when the Romans came to Britain," says Crummy. The artifacts placed in the tombs reflect that the elite was in a cultural transition -- not entirely Celtic anymore, but not wholly Roman either. The set of surgical instruments is similar to other sets found along the Mediterranean. But the instruments have individual designs that are different from their Mediterranean versions. "What was the relationship between these people and the Roman occupiers?" asks Crummy.

"They witnessed with their own eyes how Emperor Claudius rode into Camulodunum at the head of his own army," speculates Mike Pitt. "And there's some probability that they knew Cunobelinus." He was king of the Britons before the Romans came, and he was the inspiration for a mythical figure. William Shakespeare turned him into Cymbeline, the main character of his eponymous tragicomedy.
Martin Conde sends us an important note:

Dear Prof. Meadows,

Thank you for posting, the recent news report “Roman Staircase found.” 18-04-2008. But, there seems to be conflicting information by way of the Italian media as to where the staircase was found. And when it was found? According to the Corriere della sera 15.04.2008, and other newspapers in Rome the Roman staircase was discovered in the small garden square in front of the Church of Madonna di Loreta (this is one of the small churches that are on left side of the Palazzo Valentini which faces the Column of Trajan).
See: map / photographs of the excavations site – Rome: Metro 'C' Subway - Archaeological Surveys [Part. II 01.2008 - 04.2008]. Station Piazza Venezia / saggi di scavo stazione Piazza Venezia / Piazza Madonna di Loreto, site # S14(B1). **Circled in blue**

The LEGGO newspaper in Rome (18.04.2008) provides more detail as to the actual description and chronology of the stairway: “…the date of the staircase is based upon the discovery of brick stamps dating from the 2nd Century A.D…that date from the time of Emperor Trajan or his successor Emperor Hadrian.” But, the photograph accompanying the Leggo article is I believe & based upon my collection of images from the Superintendency of Archaeology in Rome is of a staircase that was discovered in the southern-eastern sector of the Metro C archaeological surveys below the Piazza Venezia, which was unearthed more then a year ago.

FYI – The Overall design / planning Metro C project (station Piazza Venezia, etc) in Rome is not a new proposal of either administrations former Mayor of Rome Veltroni or that of Mayor then / now Italian Cultural Minister Rutelli, it is rather the completion of the Metro C Project first envisioned by Mussolini architect’s in the early 1930s, who designed the project but because of the later political events of in the 1930s & the Second World War, they could not have completed it…! This is based upon research I have done, which is even rather well documented (planning the Metro Line’s in Rome of the early 1930s) based upon news reports from the period in the NEW YORK TIMES / THE TIMES OF LONDON & Italian architectural period articles, etc. Thus the Via dell’ Impero / later Via dei Fori Imperiali [thats why the area of the Piazza Venezia was cleared in the late 1920s early 1930s and created as a large-square, it was to be then a Metro stop…] & other thoroughfares built in Rome in the 1930s was only the first stage Mussolini’s systemization of Rome, the Metro Line (four of them) was the later stage, but never completed…!

"...Le lucciole brilliano nuovemente tra le antiche rovine di Roma."

Martin G. Conde

Life is a (Greek) Tragedy II
Colloquium 9-10 February 2009
Finnish Institute at Athens
Zitrou 16

Call for papers

Greek tragedy is performed on stage today more frequently than ever since antiquity. Hence, over the past few decades, the attention of scholars has been drawn to the reception of ancient dramas. Reception studies offer a new and extremely interesting approach to ancient tragedy, and provide the means to consider it from a fresh perspective. The first part of this colloquium was held in Helsinki on 10 May 2007. It concentrated on the questions of textual analysis and translation of ancient drama, the requirements of dramaturgy in staging ancient drama, as well as on the need for collaboration between scholars and theatre professionals. This second colloquium, Life is a (Greek) Tragedy II, provides a venue for young scholars of ancient drama to discuss and receive feedback on their research. The aim of this colloquium is to examine different aspects of reception of ancient drama – in literature, on the stage from ancient times to the present, and in translations.
Papers (c. 20-30 min.) are invited on the following topics (these themes are directive, and the subjects of the papers may vary; all papers discussing ancient drama and/or its reception will be considered for presentation):
Reception in antiquity. How did the ancient audience receive the plays? Transition from Greek to Roman stage.
The use and ideological variation of ancient drama in general or in an individual play.
Translations: translation as a rewriting and recreation of an ancient play. The translator’s role as a receiver of the ancient text and creator of a rereading of the play.
Requirements of dramaturgy. What makes a good dramatization of an ancient drama for modern performance?
Ancient drama on stage: the original performance and modern adaptations. The claim of authenticity?
What makes a performance? The role of the text in a performance of an ancient play: is the text a minor factor in the process of creating a performance or a kind of performance itself? The creation of the space of performance: social, political, philosophical context.

The colloquium is organised by the Finnish Institute at Athens and the Centre of Excellence of the Academy of Finland Ancient Greek Written Sources. Anyone interested in participating and/or presenting a paper in the colloquium, please contact us for more information via e-mail by 2 June 2008.
With Best Wishes,
Martti Leiwo (martti.leiwo[at] Sanna-Ilaria Kittelä (sanna.kittela[at]
Director of the Finnish Institute at Athens Research Assistant
ante diem x kalendas maias

178 A.D. -- martyrdom of Epipodias at Lyons

202 A.D. -- martyrdom of Leonidas in Alexandria

248 A.D. -- second day of celebrations for Rome's 1000th anniversary

ca 250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Helimenas at Babylon
indurate @ Wordsmith

biodiversity @ Merriam-Webster
From Il Resto di Carlino:

Due comacchiesi, di 60 e 64 anni, sono stati denunciati dalla Guardia di finanza in quanto sorpresi a trasportare sull'auto reperti archeologici risalenti al III e IV secolo a.C. Le Fiamme gialle sospettavano da tempo che i due detenessero materiale di epoca etrusca, materiale frutto di scavi abusivi in corso nell'area archeologica di Spina. Nei giorni scorsi, i finanzieri che li stavano controllando, li hanno fermati e nel bagagliaio dell'auto hanno trovato 11 reperti di origine greca ed etrusca. Tra questi preziose ciotole, una oinochoe a becco tronco, un aryballos, un lekythos ariballica e tre piattelli su piedi.

Ma accanto alle ceramiche provenienti dalla necropoli di Spina, secondo una prima perizia realizzata dagli esperti del museo archeologico nazionale di Ferrara, ve ne erano altre di origine greca che molto probabilmente non provengono da scavi locali.
From MehrNews:

A team of archaeologists working at the ruins of a Sassanid city in southern Iran’s Fars Province has recently discovered an artifact bearing some traces of the Hellenistic artistic style.

The artifact bears images of two faces looking in the opposite direction engraved on a flat piece of ivory, the Persian service of CHN reported on Monday.

It is only the second time such an artifact has been found at an ancient site in Iran.

“The influence of Hellenistic art is clearly observed in the appearance of the eyes of the faces,” team director Alireza Jafari-Zand said.

The artifact is estimated to date back to a period between 200 BC and 200 CE when local states, which were concurrent with the Parthian Empire, appeared to rule the region after the Seleucids, he explained.

A similar artifact had been identified by a foreign archaeologist at an ancient site in the Izeh region of Khuzestan Province about 70 years ago.

According to Jafari-Zand, the foreign archaeologist never explained how he had acquired the artifact. However, he believes the local people had given it to him.

The Sassanid city, which was identified in May 2007, will be entirely submerged if the Fars Regional Water Company completes the process of filling the Salman-e Farsi Dam.

The 360-hectare city contains ruins of structures from the post-Achaemenid period and the Sassanid and early Islamic eras.

The company had begun filling the reservoir of the dam in mid-March 2007. However, the process was halted after the Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) lodged an official complaint.

Afterwards, the archaeological team was organized and dispatched to the region to conduct rescue excavations.

UPDATE: Sally Winchester sent in a link to the CAIS version of this story (thanks!), which includes a small photo:

While 'Hellenistic' might be the influence here, from the admittedly small photo, I seem to see more 'Egyptian' than 'Hellenistic' ...
From ANA:

Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Monday officially presented an ancient marble oil flask or lekythos dating from the 4th century B.C. that was returned to Greece from a private collection in Switzerland, at a press conference held at the National Archaeological Museum.

The procedure to repatriate the ancient artifact was completed last Thursday and in a few days it will be taken to the museum's conservation workshops, where it will remain for two months.

It is a funerary lekythos depicting a farewell banquet for the deceased, in a classic farewell scene. It was presented at an international antiquities dealers exhibition in 2007 in Maastricht, where it was put up for auction by a Swiss antiquities dealer.

After a series of negotiations, the Swiss dealer decided to hand over the lekythos to the Greek government in an out-of-court settlement, without reservations or conditions. It was delivered to a representative of the Greek embassy in Berne and then crated in the customs free zone in Basel before being transported to Greece.

In statements at the press conference, Liapis said that the ministry was considering an exhibition at the New Acropolis Museum in the autumn that would feature all the ancient artifacts repatriated to Italy, which would be completed with artifacts repatriated to Greece.

Liapis was then shown around the National Archaeological Museum's Egyptian collection, made up of some 1,200 sculptures, that will open officially on May 14.

Caption: Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Monday inspects a 4th-century B.C. marble funerary lekythos returned to Greece from the collection of a private antiquities dealer in Switzerland that he presented to the press at the National Archaeological Museum the same day.
ante diem xi kalendas maias

Parilia (a.k.a. Palilia) -- originally a festival in honour of Pales (who protected shepherds and their flock), it eventually evolved -- in the city of Rome, at least -- into a 'birthday of Rome' celebration

753 B.C. -- traditional date for the foundation of Rome

43 B.C. -- pro-Caesarian forces "under" Octavian defeat the forces of Marcus Antonius at Mutina

47 A.D. -- Claudius celebrates the ludi Saeculares (?)

148 A.D. -- Antoninus Pius celebrates the 900th anniversary of Rome

248 A.D. -- Philip Arabus celebrates the 1000th anniversary of Rome
chimera @

plagosity @ Worthless Word for the Day

suspire @ Wordsmith
Some gleanings from Bonham's upcoming antiquities auction which caught my eye (the Greek and Roman stuff begins at Lot 177 or so):

First we have a 4th century B.C. Apulian hydria depicting activities around a naiskos ... vague provenance (a private American collection; acquired ten years ago) ... what caught my eye was how horrible the composition of this one is; the scene seems more suited for a larger vessel, no? I've never seen this sort of 'bad artistry' before ... in any event, here's the official page ...

Here's a Roman bronze of a Lar ... official description: first century A.D. from a private Vienna collection, acquired in the "1960s-1970s" ... lares always remind me of cheerleaders for some reason ...

Final one for today is a first century marble relief of a merchant ship ... here's the 'big version' to show the detail:

Very nice depiction of the dual rudders ... The official description has it coming from an English private collection, acquired in 1979 ...
News coverage of assorted events is just beginning to trickle in, but a tip o' the pileus to Laura Flusche who has alerted us to a pile of fun photos at Eternally Cool ... there's a nice set of photos of gladiators and soldier types parading around the Colosseum ... and another nice set ... there's also a small set with commentary of some Vestal Virgins reenacting the Parilia (ahem ... remember to remove the wedding ring!) ...

UPDATE: Diana Wright sends in a link from the BBC (thanks!) with more photos (love number 7!)...
Maria Grazia Fileni (ed.), Euripide, Eraclidi. I canti. I canti del teatro greco 2.

Gary D. Farney, Ethnic Identity and Aristocratic Competition in Republican Rome.

Umberto Laffi, Colonie e municipi nello stato romano. Storia e Letteratura, Raccolta di Studi e Testi 239.

Larissa Bonfante, Judith Swaddling, Etruscan Myths.

John K. Papadopoulos, The Art of Antiquity: Piet de Jong and the Athenian Agora. Athens: The American School of Classical Studies at Athens, 2007.

Mario Telo', Eupolidis Demi. Testi con commento filologico, 14.

Bruno Gentili, Carmine Catenacci, Polinnia. Poesia greca arcaica. Terza edizione.

Sinclair Bell, Glenys Davies, Games and Festivals in Classical Antiquity. Proceedings of the Conference held in Edinburgh 10-12 July 2000. BAR International Series, 1220.

Anna J. Clark, Divine Qualities. Cult and Community in Republican Rome.

Richard A. Gregory, Roman Manchester. The University of Manchester's Excavations within the Vicus 2001-5.

Alessia Bonadeo, Elisa Romano, Dialogando con il passato: permanenze e innovazioni nella cultura latina di eta flavia. Le Monnier Universita Lingue e Letterature.

William B. Dinsmoor, William B. Dinsmoor, Jr., The Propylaia to the Athenian Akropolis II: The Classical Building. Edited by Anastasia Norre Dinsmoor.

Charles Martindale, Latin Poetry and the Judgment of Taste. An Essay in Aesthetics.

Ralph M. Rosen, Making Mockery. The Poetics of Ancient Satire. Classical Culture and Society.

Lucio Cristante (ed.), Il calamo della memoria. Riuso di testi e mestiere letterario nella tarda antichita\. Trieste, 27-28 Aprile 2006. Atti del II convegno. Incontri Triestini di Filologia Classica V 2005-2006.

Barbara Anceschi, Die Goetternamen in Platons Kratylos. Ein Vergleich mit dem Papyrus von Derveni. Studien zur klassischen Philologie, 158.

Jaakko Froesen, Tiina Purola, Erja Salmenkivi, Proceedings of the 24th International Congress of Papyrology Helsinki, 1-7 August, 2004. 2 vols. Commentationes Humanarum Litterarum, 122.

A couple reviews of Ursula Le Guin, Lavinia

The Oregonian

LA Times
From ANSA:

The marble bust of the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius from the II century, stolen in 1996 from the Museum of Skikda (500km east of Algiers) and returned by the United States to Algeria, was placed today in the Museum of Antiquity in Algiers. "After a long diplomatic and judicial battle, we recover today a piece of our heritage and of our history", Culture Minister Khalida Toumi said during the ceremony. The statue had been returned in January by the U.S. Department of the Interior Ministry (Homeland security) to the Algerian Embassy in Washington. "A further eight finds stolen together with the bust have not yet been recovered", Toumi added. "These are seven marble sculptures and one stone sculpture. In particular, they are heads of women, of one man, of a boy and a girl and of a clown", she specified. The Algerian authorities had reported the theft to Interpol in 1997. Seven years later, in 2004, the British company The Art Loss Registry, specialised in the research of stolen art works and antiquities, identified the found bust in a catalogue of valuable objects auctioned by Christiés at its gallery Rockefeller Plaza in New York, on behalf of art gallery 'Samarcanda, ancient art' in Paris.
From Egypt's SIS:

A team of archaeologists have unearthed a Greek temple in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria, showing that the Greeks worshipped Pharaonic deities more than 2,500 years ago.

An official of the expedition said that the temple was found during the renovation of an area of Alexandria with the relics of the temple unearthed evidence that Greeks were influenced by the ancient Egyptian civilization.

He added that the Greeks believed in the holy trinity of Isis, Osiris and the child Horus, developing these gods after Alexander the great conquered the city in 332 BC.
From the Canadian Press:

No, it does not symbolize the dreaded computer virus. Mounted outside the Basel Museum of Antiquities, the nine-metre-high wooden structure suggests what the mythical Trojan Horse may have looked like.

It draws attention to a unique show on Homer, the Greek poet whose monumental epics have had an impact on Western culture for more than 2,500 years.

The proverbial "horse" makes only a short episode in Homer's powerful narrative that has influenced art from Greek vases painted in 600 B.C. to American abstract expressionism. Literature, too, has been stimulated by Homer's works for more than two millennia.

Proof is provided by 230 exhibits on view at the show titled "Homer, the Myth of Troy in Poetry and Art." Lenders include more than 50 European and American museums. Its artistic director, professor Joachim Latacz, a leading international authority on ancient Greece, hopes that the show will reawaken general interest in the roots of Western civilization.

Latacz deplores what he calls the "growing estrangement" between antiquity and the general public in recent decades. He cites in the show's catalogue a poll in a German town in which 15 per cent of high school students, when asked what they know about Homer, identified him as the character in the popular TV series "The Simpsons."

On view are magnificent Greek and Roman amphorae and vases depicting dramatic scenes of Homer's two epics. In his "Iliad," containing some 16,000 verses, he describes a short phase of a 10-year Trojan war said to have ended with a Greek victory in the 13th century B.C.

In a 12,000-word sequel, the "Odyssey," Homer tells of a dangerous 10-year journey home of the Greek leader Odysseus to his Kingdom on the island of Ithaca, Odysseus is credited with having cunningly smuggled his soldiers inside the huge hollow wooden horse into the besieged citadel of Troy to destroy it.

Coins, statuettes, fragments of text excerpts on Egyptian papyrus and other artifacts on view also stress the dominant effect of Homer's epics on Western culture since antiquity.

The paintings on display make up only a small fraction of the vast imagery influenced by the ancient poetry. They range from copies of Roman frescoes to canvases by German pop artist Sigmar Polke and by Cy Twombly, a key figure in American abstract expressionism. The catalogue lists many others from Rembrandt to Picasso.

In a special room, visitors can see a 2006 video installation by American filmmaker Peter Rose, titled "Odysseus on Ithaca." The 2004 movie "Troy," starring Brad Pitt and Peter O'Toole, is loosely based on Homer's epics.

Writers in ancient Greece as well as Dante, Shakespeare and James Joyce are among countless authors who drew inspiration from the poetry, as did classical and modern composers. And even a 1954 American musical, "The Golden Apple," related to the "Iliad" and "Odyssey."

In a brief amusing passage, the catalogue portrays a fictitious American family to demonstrate Homer's influence on commerce in daily life. The father has problems with his computer because of a Trojan virus. The mother wonders whether she should buy Helen of Troy personal hygiene products at the super market. And the family looks ahead to the summer holiday in which they will use their Honda SUV named Odyssey.

A marble head of Homer, a Roman copy of the Greek original of around 460 B.C., makes the cover of the exhibition catalogue. It shows a bearded old man whose eyes are closed. There is a tradition that Homer was blind. In fact, little is known about the poet said to have lived in the eighth century B.C. Excavations going on since the 19th century have not definitely located ruins of the Trojan citadel, which according to Homer was destroyed by the victorious Greeks.

However, Latacz says scholars agree that Troy was situated on the southern entry of the Dardanelles in what is now Turkey. For Latacz, there is definite evidence that Homer was born in Smyrna, now the important Turkish port of Izmir, and worked on the Greek island of Chios, just off the western coast of Turkey.

Latacz joins other experts in flatly rejecting a thesis just established by an Austrian author, Raoul Schrott, in a book termed "sensational" on its cover. Schrott claims he has found proof that Troy was actually a fortress in the ancient kingdom of Assyria, now in Turkish Anatolia. For Schrott, Homer was a scribe at the court whose ambition to write stems from the loss of his manhood as all men working for the Assyrian king had to be castrated.

For Latacz, the book presents "sheer fantasy." But he is unlikely to regret its publication last month because it increased media attention for the Basel show running through Aug. 17.

The Museum has a little flash thing on this (in German and French) which isn't very enlightening, alas; I can't seem to open the link about the Catalog, which I suspect would be worth owning ...

UPDATE I: Todd (Warburg) writes in (thanks) to mention he got a copy of the catalog from Amazon's German version ... he also sent in a link to the publisher's description and a photo of himself holding the 500-page, "nearly seven pounds" tome!

UPDATE II: Prof. Dr. Joachim Latacz also sends in (danke!) a link to the publisher but also suggests going to the exhibition page and clicking on the "D" after "Ausstellungtexte" ... you will get a zip file of four pdf documents describing the exhibition in rather nice detail (in German).
I don't think we mentioned this Druid burial find a while back ... here are some details from the Independent:

As sacred priests, their duties included teaching, law enforcement and possibly even burning people to death in giant wicker men. Druids dominated British culture with their mysterious magical rites in the centuries before the Roman invasion.

For such an important band of men, however – it could take 20 years to train to be a druid, according to some sources – hardly anything is known about them. That could be about to change now, though, after what is thought to be the first discovery in Britain of a druid grave.

The extraordinary find was made at the Essex village of Stanway, near Colchester. It is among a number of graves of eminent people interred around the time of the Roman invasion of Britain in AD43.

Following Queen Boudica's uprising in AD61, Emperor Claudius ordered the druids be wiped out. Their Anglesey stronghold and sacred groves were destroyed, along with their entire history.

In the grave, archaeologists uncovered a board game with the glass counters laid out, medical equipment – the earliest ever found – a tea strainer still containing some kind of herbal brew, and some mysterious metal poles.

The first find at the site was made in 1996. But now, after 12 years of painstaking digging and research, the final report into the unearthing suggests that the grave could be the only one of a druid ever found. The clues are not just in the objects buried with an obviously important man, but also in the way they are laid out. The metal rods, possibly used for divining, are in a specific order and near the surgical equipment – scalpel, surgical saw, hooks and forceps. There is also a jet bead, believed to have been seen as magical.

Writing in this month's British Archaeology magazine, the team of excavators from Colchester Archaeological Trust say: "It is hard to avoid the conclusion that he belonged to the stratum of late Iron Age society that comprised druids, diviners and healers. It is conceivable that this grave was the final resting place of a British druid."

Philip Crummy, director of the trust, remained cautious, adding that there may be other explanations. "In the report we draw the possibility that this man or woman was a druid," he said.

"The so-called druid could have been a doctor. The tea strainer contains artemisia pollen, which is commonly associated with herbal remedies. Healing is an attribute given to druids. We don't know what the metal rods are for, but we think they could have been used for divining. The question is whether all that stacks up to him being a druid. It could be – it was certainly somebody special."
From the New York Times:

The Italian Culture Ministry announced on Thursday the discovery of a late-second-century Roman sarcophagus on the outskirts of Rome. The find, by the national Revenue Guard Corps, took place while the corps’s Archaeological Heritage Safeguard Unit was safeguarding a protected area from thieves. The sarcophagus, probably once the property of an aristocratic family, was excavated in the area of the Isola Sacra Necropolis, a large Roman Imperial-era pagan cemetery in the town of Fiumicino, site of Rome’s main airport and a few miles from the famous ancient ruins of Ostia. The coffin presents an exquisite frieze showing the sun god Apollo escorting the nine Muses in the presence of Athena, the Greek goddess of knowledge and heroic endeavor. The sarcophagus, archaeologists say, is not only an invaluable work of art but also a representation of a political elite that regarded culture and education as essential to reaching the afterlife. The remains inside the sarcophagus are being analyzed by the Luigi Pigorini National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnology in Rome.

... this appears to be the 'Sarcophagus of the Muses' which we mentioned a few days ago and seems to be part of the same 'bust' which recovered the Lucius Verus thing which is getting a pile of press coverage ...
From a press release:

A double-headed Roman sculpture of Bacchus and his lover, Ariadne, lot 221, circa 2nd -3rd Century A.D. found in a Jerusalem market in 1941 by Somerset de Chair, a young British army officer, is to be included in Bonhams Antiquities sale on 1st May. It is expected to sell for £60,000 to £90,000.

The sculpture was spotted in an antique dealer’s shop window directly opposite the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, which was subsequently bombed on July 22, 1946. The bomb attack was aimed at the British Mandate government of Palestine and its armed forces by members of the Irgun, a militant Zionist organization, which was led at the time by Menachem Begin, the future Prime Minister of Israel.

Somerset de Chair paid a ten per cent deposit for the bust and gave his executors 18 months to pay the balance and collect it if he did not return from the battlefield. De Chair left Jerusalem shortly after negotiating the purchase, serving as Intelligence Officer during the capturing of Baghdad. He was wounded on a subsequent engagement near the ruins of Palmyra and was evacuated back to Jerusalem where, while convalescing, he was able to secure an export license for the bust. It was transported to the Rockefeller Museum, in Jerusalem where a full-size plaster cast of it was taken, which is still on display today. The bust was then packed and, ‘Shipped home as ‘Wounded Officer’s Kit'.

This magnificent ancient sculpture adorned the home of the de Chair family at Chilham Castle in Kent, and then travelled with the family to their subsequent home, St Osyth’s Priory in Colchester. It remained there for 40 years until the death of Somerset de Chair in 1995, when it passed by descent to his eldest son Rodney de Chair, the present owner.

Originally discovered at Beth Shan in Palestine, probably in the 1930’s, the monumental double-headed figure (known as a herm or double herm) depicts Bacchus and his lover Ariadne, the daughter of the King of Minos of Crete, who helped Theseus to escape from the labyrinth with the aid of a ball of string. In return, she was cruelly abandoned by him on the island of Naxos. Here Bacchus came to her rescue, taking her jewelled crown and flinging it into the heavens where it became a constellation. Ariadne was readily consoled by him and they were married shortly afterwards. According to Greek mythology, Bacchus founded the Greek city at Beth Shan.

The site of Beth Shan is situated just south of the Sea of Galilee, on the main trade route from the Transjordanian highway to the Mediterranean coast. It flourished under Egyptian rule and was re-founded in the Hellenistic period, by Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.), who made it one of the ten cities of the Decapolis and renamed it Scythopolis, ‘city of the Scythians’. It was later rebuilt by Pompey in 63 B.C., and by the 1st Century A.D. had become one of the most imposing cities in Palestine, with a 7000 capacity theatre, colonnaded street and extensive buildings. It continued to grow and prosper through the later Roman and Byzantine periods until it was destroyed by an earthquake on 18th January 749 A.D.

Here's an image from the catalog of the piece:

More photos and details at the online catalog page ... the provenance description for this one is actually pretty good (one can read between the lines and pretty much figure it came from an illicit dig); other items up for this auction can't be similarly complimented, alas ... we'll be showing some other items of interest over the course of the week.
From the Lariat:

Dr. Antony Augoustakis, an assistant professor in the classics department, was recently elected to spend the fall semester as a visiting scholar at Oxford University.

"This is just a tremendous honor for him. It's not everybody that gets invited to be a visiting scholar at Oxford. This is an important thing for him and an important thing for the university as well," said Dr. John Thorburn, an associate professor and interim chair of the classics department.

From September to December, Augoustakis will work on his research at Corpus Christi College, a part of Oxford university.

His research is centered on book eight of the twelve books of Statius' Thebaid.

The translation of this section hasn't been done since 1604, Augoustakis said.

The project that Augoustakis is undertaking will last about five years and result in a commentary on the book.

He will finish around 2012, he said, and hopes to have the book published by Oxford University Press.

"For me, as someone who has already written a commentary on a book of Latin poetry and is starting another one now, it will be especially beneficial to have him with us as we can discuss our work and approaches as he seeks to do the same," said Dr. Stephen Harrison, a fellow and tutor in classics at Oxford.

Harrison was the professor who originally nominated Augoustakis for the position at Oxford.

"He's working on similar poems in Latin literature, so it will be nice to be close to him," Augoustakis said of Harrison.

Augoustakis will also have access to the Senior Common Room, a place in which the university professors meet to eat dinner and discuss their research, he said.

Another benefit of doing this research at Oxford is the proximity to the Sackler Library and the Bodleian Library.

These two libraries house many of the manuscripts he will need to work with, Augoustakis said.

These resources will help Augoustakis because he's one of a few professors across the world working in the area of Silver Latin poetry, Thorburn said.

This is Latin poetry from the first and second century A.D.

Having this relationship with Oxford will help with Baylor's goal of becoming a top tier university, Thorburn said.

"It brings prestige to the university itself," Thorburn said. It brings greater visibility to everybody who's involved.

He said one of the goals of Vision 2012 is to increase the research visibility of the university, and said that Augoustakis' invitation helps with making Baylor more visible.

This experience will also enhance what Augoustakis does in the classroom, Thorburn said.

"Primarily Antony teaches Latin poetry for us, and so this is going to further deepen his familiarity with what he does in the classroom," Thorburn said.
From the Times:

It took him nigh on 2,000 years, but Hadrian, the Roman emperor, has finally returned to inspect his legacy – the he built to consolidate the borders of his empire and to control the troublesome Scots.

A priceless bronze head of Hadrian, one and a quarter times lifesize, which was recovered from the Thames in 1834 where it had lain preserved by silt, has been installed at Wallsend. It was accompanied on its historic return by Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, where it will star in this summer’s exhibition Hadrian: Empire and Conflict.

Mr MacGregor said: “This is a great moment – to reunite Hadrian with his wall. I thought it was profoundly moving to see him there.” Hadrian is believed to have travelled to the North in AD122, to oversee the design of his strategic 73-mile barrier that stretched across the country from west to east. He never saw it completed.
Department of Classics & Ancient History, University of Durham

Wednesday 23 April, 5.30pm [Ritson room]
Dr Sandra Ducic (Honorary Research Fellow at Durham)
Turning points in the reception of Classical Antiquity: Hölderlin's Pindar and the second Renaissance

Friday 25 April, 5.30pm [Ritson room]
Andreas Schwab (University of Trier)
The 'new' Thales of Miletus: an approach to the history of his presentations

Wednesday 30 April, 5.30pm [Ritson room]
Professor John North (UCL)
Caesar at the Lupercalia

Saturday 3 May, 10.30am - 6pm [Ritson room]
Spring Colloquium of the British Epigraphy Society: 'Religion and politics in Greek and Roman epigraphy in Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean'
(under the auspices of the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East)
Full programme:

Tuesday 6 May, 5.30pm [Ritson room]
Professor Irmgard Männlein-Robert (University of Tübingen)
Voices from the Underworld - Callimachus' poetics in frg. 64 Pf

Wednesday 14 May, 5.30pm [Seminar room] - Classical Association
Professor Alison Sharrock (University of Manchester)
Ovid and epic

Wednesday 21 May, 5.30pm [Ritson room]
Dr Carry Vout (Christ's College, Cambridge)
The art of damnatio memoriae

Friday 4 July, 9.30am - 6pm [Ritson room]
Workshop on The Image of the Author
(under the auspices of the Durham Centre for the Classical Tradition and the Durham Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies)
Programme details will be distributed in due course. Please contact Dr Ingo Gildenhard at ingo.gildenhard AT for information about this workshop
ICS Graduate workshop:
Theory and Reception
24th April 2008
Room NB 336: Please note the change of venue!

11-12: Professor Lorna Hardwick (Open University)
A Framework for Reception: the place of Translation and its Theories
12-1: Professor Barbara Goff (University of Reading)
Reception and the Postcolonial
1-2 Lunch
2-3: Professor Freddy Decreus (University of Ghent)
Structuralism and Post-structuralism and the case of Oedipus
3-4: Dr. James Moore (IHR)
A historical Perspective on the Classical
4-5: Dr. Anastasia Bakogianni
Reception in Popular Culture

With the generous support of the CRSN network and the AHRC
To book a place please email Dr. Anastasia Bakogianni Anastasia.Bakogianni AT
ante diem xiv kalendas maias

ludi Cereri continue (day 7)

359 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Gratian
inveigle @

enlenctic @ Worthless Word for the Day

geoponic @ Wordsmith

rescript @ Merriam-Webster (I think they need to think about the origins of this one a bit more)
From ANSA:

An Ancient Roman staircase which appears to have led into a previously unknown major building has been found during excavations for a new subway station.

Archaeologists immediately dubbed the white-marble staircase, the latest in a trove of finds at the site, ''the imperial steps''.

Only a part of the staircase - five steps measuring some ten metres - has so far been uncovered.

It is inset into pink granite and the Romans' favourite monumental building stone, travertine.

''This is an extremely important find and completely unexpected because the staircase was not known,'' said Rome Archaeological Superintendent Angelo Bottini.

''It must have been an entrance into an important place but we have to find something in ancient sources if we are to make any circumstantiated hypothesis,'' he said.

''At the moment we can't even make a precise dating''.

Bottini said there was no trace of the monument ''even in the Forma Urbis,'' a massive marble map of ancient Rome created under the emperor Septimius Severus between 203 and 211.

The map was destroyed in the Middle Ages but much of its content is known from ancient writings. Archaeologists have managed to assemble shards of some 10% while Stanford University experts are using computer algorithms to try to recover more of it digitally.

The remains of brickwork pillars, which archaeologists say may have collapsed in an earthquake ''in ancient times'', were found alongside the stairs. The staircase was discovered just around the corner from the Ancient Forum in the middle of Piazza Venezia, the central Roman square where Benito Mussolini gave his speeches.

One of the 30 stations on Rome's new C metro line, the third in the capital, is being built in the square.

All the Roman, medieval and Renaissance artefacts and monuments which digs have thrown up will be showcased in the future station.

Roman taverns, a sixth-century copper factory, medieval kitchens still stocked with pots and pans and remains of Renaissance palaces are among the finds that have turned up over the last ten months Bits of the ancient Via Lata, one of the main roads out of the city, have also been found.

The Via Lata was what Via Flaminia - the most important highway to northern Italy - became once it entered the city.

Today's Via del Corso follows its course from Piazza Venezia to Piazza Del Popolo.
The Department of Classical Studies at Boston University seeks
applications or nominations for a full-time position in Latin at the
rank of visiting assistant professor (non-tenure track) for the
2008-2009 academic year. PhD or advanced ABD status required.
Candidates must demonstrate exceptional potential as teachers of
undergraduate students of classical civilization and Latin.
Applicants should send a CV and at least three letters of
recommendation to Professor Loren J. Samons, Chair, Department of
Classical Studies, Boston University, 745 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston
MA 02215, to be received by 15 May 2008. Boston University is an
Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.
ante diem xv kalendas maias

ludi Cereri (day 6)

69 A.D. -- suicide of the emperor wannabe Otho (this might have happened on April 16)
roister @

conviciatory @ Worthless Word for the Day

noctilucent @ Wordsmith
From Arezzo Notizie:

Reperti di notevole interesse e valore storico, risalenti all’epoca etrusca e romana, sono stati sequestrati dai finanzieri della Compagnia di Arezzo.
Un busto femminile risalente al II sec. a.C., i resti di due sarcofaghi di epoca romana risalenti al III sec. d.C. ed un cippo marmoreo del I sec. d.C erano custoditi illegalmente in un’abitazione privata.
I finanzieri hanno quindi denunciato per ricettazione Z. V. un antiquario di 62 anni di Monte San Savino, per non aver dimostrato la legittima detenzione dei beni archeologico.
Alcuni segni sulla superficie dei reperti fanno presumere che i b beni siano stati portati alla luce dopo operazioni di scavo effettuate con attrezzi o mezzi meccanici.
I reperti sono stati sequestrati dagli uomini delle Fiamme Gialle.
From WTHI in Terre Haute:

A 12-foot statue of Julius Caesar is being removed from outside the Caesars Indiana casino along the Ohio River in southern Indiana.

The 750-pound statue of the Roman leader will be removed with a crane and flatbed truck Wednesday and given to Harrison County.

It's part of a makeover for the riverboat casino that will be renamed Horseshoe Southern Indiana sometime this summer. The casino was part of Harrah's Entertainment purchase of Caesars Entertainment and its 26 casinos in 2005 for $9.3 billion.

Harrison County Councilman Carl Mathes says he will store the statue on his farm until commissioners can figure out what to do with it.
Spring Colloquium of the British Epigraphy Society

3 May, Department of Classics & Ancient History, Durham University (38 North Bailey, Durham)

Religion and politics in Greek and Roman epigraphy in Greece and the Eastern Mediterranean

10.30am – 11.00am registration + coffee

11.00am - 11.50am Professor P.J. Rhodes (Durham)
State and religion in Athenian inscriptions

11.50am - 12.30pm Dr Margherita Facella (Pisa)
Between war and revolt: on the chronology of IG II2 207 once again

12.30pm – 12.50pm Short presentations:
Dr Michela Nocita (Padova)
Dedications of Italiotai (Italiote Greeks?) from the Sarapieion C on Delos

1.00pm - 2.00pm lunch

2.00pm – 2.30pm Short presentations:
Peter Alpass (Durham)
The epigraphy of Nabataea
Shane Wallace (Edinburgh)
IG XII (2) 526, Polyperchon, and the Tyrants of Eresus

2.40pm - 3.20pm Dr Stephen Lambert (Cardiff)
Connecting with the past in Lykourgan Athens: an epigraphical perspective

3.30pm - 4.20pm Professor Maurice Sartre (Tours)
La politique religieuse des cités de Syrie: la constitution des panthéons civiques à l'époque impériale

4.20pm - 4.40pm tea

4.40pm - 5.20pm Dr Francesco Guizzi (Rome, La Sapienza)
The imperial cult in Hierapolis of Phrygia: old and new evidence

5.20pm - 6.00pm Dr Andrej Petrović & Dr Ivana Petrović (Durham)
θεὸς νομοθέτης - Constructions of divine authority in Greek sacred regulations

The colloquium is held under the auspices of the Durham Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near East [CAMNE], and is generously sponsored by the British Academy, and by the Faculty of Arts & Humanities and the Department of Classics & Ancient History of Durham University.

The attendance fee is £5.00 for BES members, and £10.00 for all other categories. Payment on the day will be accepted, but please let the organisers know in advance if you plan to attend.

A booking form can be downloaded from

For further information, please contact Paola Ceccarelli (paola.ceccarelli AT or Ted Kaizer (ted.kaizer AT
The Department of History at Emory University invites nominations and applications for the newly endowed Betty Gage Holland Chair in Roman History.

The department seeks an outstanding scholar with a distinguished record of publication, teaching, and service. Scholars at the level of full professor in all periods of Roman history, including Late Antiquity, are welcome to apply. Ability to contribute to both the undergraduate and graduate programs in ancient history is required. A letter of application, c.v., and the names and addresses of three referees should be sent to James L. Roark, Chair, Department of History, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322. (jlroark AT Review of applications will begin in August. Emory University is an EEO/AA employer.
Call for Papers:
Ancient Graffiti in Context

Workshop: School of Archaeology & Ancient History, University of Leicester
November 8, 2008

This workshop will examine the spatial and social context of graffiti in the
Greek and Roman worlds. Graffiti has been marginalised in archaeological and
historical studies, published in distinct volumes or seen as a curiosity. There
are few theoretical studies of ancient graffiti or its interpretation, and
little reflection on how we – as scholars – categorise this material.

New questions now need to be asked: How do we negotiate the relationship between
text and image? What can we say about the materiality of textual graffiti? What
social processes or practices produce graffiti? To what extent does graffiti
represent or subvert the cultural values of the society in which it occurs? By
bringing together examples and approaches from across the discipline we hope to
develop a better understanding of graffiti and what it can contribute to bigger
questions about the ancient world.

Potential speakers, including postgraduates, are encouraged to submit abstracts
of c.300 words by email to the organisers by May 31st, 2008.

For more information, contact:
Dr Claire Taylor, Department of Classics, Trinity College Dublin
claire.taylor AT

Dr Jennifer Baird, School of Archaeology and Ancient History, University of
jb188 AT
11.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Warrior Women: Boudica
After her husband's death and ruthless attacks on her and her daughters, Queen Boudica took up the sword, summoned her Iceni warriors and went on a rampage against the Romans; the Iceni were eventually stopped by the more disciplined Roman legions.

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)
ante diem xvi kalendas maias

ludi Cereri (day 5)

43 B.C. -- Octavian (the future emperor Augustus) is hailed as Imperator for the first time

69 A.D. -- suicide of the emperor wannabe Otho (this might have occured on April 17)

304 A.D. -- martyrs of Saragossa

1928 -- death of Jane Ellen Harrison (Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion among others)
objurgate @

fucivorous @ Worthless Word for the Day

setiform @ Wordsmith

semelparous @ Merriam-Webster
From the Oregonian:

Consider the galley slave, clad in rags, chained to a hardwood bench and clinging to an oar as long as a three-story flagpole. A burly man with a whip walks back and forth shouting encouragement. You've seen the movie.

That galley slave would have known that the rowing stations in the middle of the ship were best, though he might not have known why. That took scholars to figure out.

"Think of the oar as a lever," said Mark Schiefsky, a professor in the classics department at Harvard. "Think of the oarlock as a fulcrum, and think of the sea as the weight."

The longer the lever arm on the rower's side of the fulcrum, the easier to move the weight. In the middle of the ship, as the rowers knew, the distance from hands to oarlock was longest.

This explanation is given in Problem 4 of the classical Greek treatise "Mechanical Problems," from the third century B.C., the first known text on the science of mechanics and the first to explain how a lever works. It preceded, by at least a generation, Archimedes' "On the Equilibrium of Plane Figures," which presented the first formal proof of the law of the lever.

Sophocles for fun

Schiefsky teaches Greek and Latin and reads Thucydides and Sophocles in ancient Greek for fun. He majored in astronomy as an undergraduate, and about nine years ago, feeling science-deprived, he joined a multinational research endeavor called the Archimedes Project, based at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

The Archimedes team studies the history of mechanics, how people thought about simple machines such as the lever, the wheel and axle, the balance, the pulley, the wedge and the screw -- and how they turned their thoughts into theories and principles.

The text record begins with "Mechanical Problems," moves to Rome and then through the medieval Islamic world to the Renaissance. It ends with Newton, who described many of the basic laws of mechanics in the 18th century.

A surprising number of old and extremely old scientific texts have survived the ravages of time in one form or another. The Archimedes Web site lists far more than 100, including Euclid's geometry, Hero of Alexandria's Roman-era technical manual on crossbows and catapults, medieval treatises on algebra and mechanics by Jordanus de Nemore and Galileo's 17th century defense of a heliocentric solar system.

The nice thing for Schiefsky is that hardly anyone reads the stuff. Scientists generally are not into ancient Greek or Latin, let alone Arabic, and most of Schiefsky's colleagues work on literature, philosophy, philology or archaeology. In fact, Schiefsky suggests that "about 100 people" worldwide work on both science and the classics.

By following the historical record, the Archimedes researchers have discovered that the evolution of physics -- or, at least, mechanics -- is based on an interplay between practice and theory. The practical use comes first, theory second. Artisans build machines and use them but do not think about why they work. Theorists explain the machines and then derive principles that can be used to construct more complex machines.

What ancients understood

The Archimedes researchers say that by studying this dialectic they can better understand what people knew about the natural world at a given time and how that knowledge may have affected their lives.

The author of "Mechanical Problems" certainly understood how a lever worked, but it was Archimedes who described the precise relationship between the weights and their distances from the fulcrum.

"He made this into a fundamental principle of theoretical mechanical knowledge that could be used by practitioners," Schiefsky said. Classical tradition credits Archimedes as having said, "Give me a place to stand, and I will move the Earth."

"And the principle," Schiefsky said, "is that there is a proportionality between the force and the load, no matter how big the load. This is an intellectual transformation."
From the Sun-Sentinel:

Long ago the goddess Eos fell in love with Ares, the god of war, and like so many others, he could not resist the beauty of this goddess of the dawn. Rosy-fingered Eos dressed in long robes of saffron, and sitting upon her throne she glimmered and cast a look upon Ares he could not resist.

Alas, Aphrodite heard news of Ares' love, and bursting with jealousy, she cast a curse upon Eos: The goddess of the dawn would never stop falling in love.

And so it was that time after time, Eos fell in love with mortal men. This was a sad fate for a goddess, for mortal men do not live forever as goddesses do. But of all the tales of heartbreak, there was no sadder story than the tale of Tithonus.

Tithonus was a proud young man, a prince of Troy, handsome and brave, and the moment Eos saw him, she fell deeply in love. That was her way, but this time she decided she must carry him away with her, and so she brought him to her palace, away from his homeland.

Naturally Tithonus loved Eos. Who could resist the love of such a beautiful goddess? Just as she does today, in those years long ago, Eos woke the world each morning with curling rings of light, and every morning she mystically brought the world out of darkness. Whenever Tithonus looked at her, he felt a glow, the way so many people feel at dawn — as buoyant as an April morning on those days when the first buds begin to bloom.

Tithonus and Eos lived together happily, and they had two sons, Memnon and Emathion, who also became famous among men and gods. All seemed well, but as time passed, Eos remembered something she had forgotten: Mortals do not live forever.

Eos began to mourn the future. How would she survive without her love? She could not imagine such a life, and so she asked the greatest god of all, Zeus, to grant Tithonus immortality.

"Please," Eos pleaded, "let my beloved Tithonus live forever." Her eyes filled with tears, her skin flushed, and even Zeus was moved, and so he granted her request.

Now Tithonus was immortal.

Never was there a happier man. Loved by a beautiful goddess, he was a proud father and ruler of a bountiful land, and Eos too was joyful, but they hadn't realized one thing.

Tithonus would live forever, but even Zeus did not have the power to make him a god. And so, as time passed, Tithonus, like all mortals, began to age. First Eos noticed the wrinkles upon his brow, and as the years passed, his muscles began to grow weak, his arms and legs grew slender, his hair grew gray and thin. Even the light of his beloved Eos no longer gave him the strength it once had.

When Eos understood Tithonus's fate, the sight of him filled her with such sadness that she could not bear to look at him. So she left him alone and traveled, falling in love with others.

Eos fell in love with other mortal men and other gods, and when she returned to Tithonus she would see her once-handsome beloved withering away. Day after day, he grew older. Like a shadow he roamed silent palaces of the gods of the east, thinking of long-ago days, remembering Eos' wish for his immortality, and ashamed of his desire for it.

How arrogant he had been. He hadn't thought of the future. In his youth he had never even imagined waste, and now here he was wasting away. Even love and beauty and power could not save him. Soon he wanted to be like other mortal men. He wished for the return of the natural order of life.

Some mornings when a soft breeze parted the clouds, he looked down at the dark world where he had once lived, and again he looked at Eos. Seeing her mysterious glimmering face and her exquisite light, he remembered the way she had once loved him. He watched with longing as the gloomy darkness below parted, and the rosy light of his beloved Eos warmed the world. This made him still sadder, for her warmth and glow were now lost to him, and he began to sing, "Give me back my mortality." But even the gods could not grant this request.

And now the rosy shadows of Eos bathed him in coldness as he looked down at his wrinkled feet, and cried out to Eos: "Every morning you renew your beauty, but I am a fool, a fool who desired to be different from his fellow men, and now I cry to you, forever. I will never stop singing this song. I sit here remembering what I cannot be."

Eos could bear this no longer, and so she used her powers to transform this shell of a man into a cicada. She watched as he emerged from the ground, his body pale but fresh as he shed his old skin, wings spreading where once there were arms, and that voice, singing on, and on, and on.
Oxford Plutarch Conference
14-15 July 2008

Plutarch and Philosophy- scholarship and/or dilettantism?

Plutarch quite possibly would have wanted to be remembered as a
philosopher or teacher of philosophy. Yet it is his monumental Lives of
Greek and Roman statesmen that, for the most part, have lent him a
standing reputation through the centuries. Plutarch’s philosophical side
remained more or less in the shadow of his moralist biographies partly, it
seems, because of its dilettante and popularised appearance and partly
because of its sometimes mystical obscurity. Fortunately, this no longer
seems to be the case: in the last few decades there has been a growing
interest in, and appreciation of, Plutarch as a philosopher-scholar. The
conference on ‘Plutarch and Philosophy’ seeks to appraise the changing
tide in the approaches to Plutarch’s philosophical activity and move the
debate forward, by bringing together international scholars with expertise
on different aspects of Plutarch’s oeuvre.

Keynote Address: Professor Donald Russell (Emeritus Professor, University
of Oxford)

Speakers: Prof. Keimpe Algra (Utrecht), Dr Mauro Bonazzi (Milan), Prof.
Frederick Brenk (Pontifical Biblical Institute of Rome), Prof. John Dillon
(Trinity College Dublin), Prof. Heinz Gerd Ingenkamp (Bonn), Prof. Judith
Mossman (Nottingham), Prof. Jan Opsomer (Cologne), Prof. Chris Pelling
(Oxford), Prof. Aurelio Pérez Jiménez (Málaga), Prof. Luc van der Stockt
(Leuven), Prof. Frances Titchener (Utah State University), Dr James Warren

Conference Organiser: Dr Eleni Kechagia (Keble College, Oxford)

Venue: Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles,



The Conference is funded by: the John Fell OUP Fund, the Hellenic Society,
the Classical Association and the Faculty of Classics, University of

For further information please see:
or contact the conference organiser eleni.kechagia AT
From ANSA:

Excavations conducted at the archaeological site of Philippi since 1988 have unearthed new findings, as ANA reports today. Philippi is an ancient town east of Thessaloniki in central-eastern Macedonia, northern Greece, situated east of the Strymon River on the border with the province of Thrace. King Philip II of Macedon (382-336 BC), the father of Alexander the Great, gave the town its name and fortified it. In 42 BC it was the scene of the decisive Roman battle in which Mark Antony and Octavian (later Augustus) defeated Brutus and Cassius, the leading assassins of Julius Caesar. Many Christian ruins, especially of the 5th-6th century AD, are spread over the site. St. Paul had preached the gospel to Christian converts there. Private residences and an agora in successive residential phases through the centuries have been discovered in the region of Philippi as new excavations brought to light up to three layers of settlements, one built on top of the other during different time periods. Among the findings of the new university-sponsored excavation, to be presented during the 21st meeting assessing the 2007 archaeological work, which was launched Thursday at the Thessaloniki Archaeological Museum, is a 4th century AD mosaic floor of impressive technique featuring geometrical design. The recently unearthed floor was discovered beneath findings that were built earlier, dated in the times of Emperor Justinian (527-565 AD).
ante diem xvii kalendas maias

ludi Cereri continue (day 4)-- games in honour of the grain goddess Ceres, instituted by/before 202 B.C.

Fordicidia -- an obvious fertility ritual in which a pregnant cow would be sacrificed to the earth goddess Tellus

421 B.C. -- Peace of Nikias brings the first phase of the Peloponnesian war (a.k.a. the Archidamian War) to an end (by one reckoning)

69 A.D. -- the forces of emperor wannabe Vitellius defeat the forces of emperor wannabe Otho

251 A.D. -- Martyrdom of Maximus and Olympiades in Persia
miasma @

nubivagant @ Worthless Word for the Day

endogamy @ Wordsmith
From HarnessLink:

PW Roman Lover scores at The Meadows

... well I didn't think it was *that* newsworthy ...
From Newsweek:

The excavated rooms of the Fullonica of Stephanus wool factory are home to some of Pompeii's best-preserved artifacts. Against one wall the terracotta basins used to wash wool with a mixture of water and urine—a winning formula before soap was developed—offer a rare glimpse into Pompeian life before the disastrous eruption of Mount Vesuvius in A.D. 79. But on a recent morning these stunning chambers became the scene of a clash of a different kind. On one side French tourists were trying to get out. On the other German visitors were trying to get in. They met, and got stuck, in the room's narrow doorway. After much elbowing, shoving and cursing, umbrella-wielding tour guides broke the impasse. The bottleneck, however, underscores one of Pompeii's most serious problems: overcrowding.

Pompeii's haunting ruins are one of the world's most important ongoing archaeological digs, attracting nearly 2.6 million visitors each year. Not surprisingly, the site is a major source of national pride among Italians, who strive to showcase heritage sites without sullying their historical context. Like many Italian excavations, Pompeii's accessibility allows tourists to wander through the ancient ruins unhindered—provided they can find the elbow room. Now local officials have come up with a controversial plan to fix the chronic crunch. Campania's new regional heritage councilor, Claudio Velardi, wants to limit visitors to the site and offer the newly freed-up space as a venue to rent to large foreign corporations. "My idea is very precise," Velardi told NEWSWEEK. "By programming the number of visitors we could, first, make the Pompeii experience better for everyone. But we could also increase revenue by offering an opportunity for someone like Google or Microsoft to use the site for a private event."

Indeed, Velardi has already had talks with both these tech giants about renting Pompeii for sponsored and private events, even though he faces an admittedly tough battle to get governmental approval to use a public site for any private non-Italian use. Undeterred, he also plans to talk to Pixar and Warner Bros. about leasing the ruins as movie sets after Roman Polanski's film "Pompeii," which is stalled in production, was shot in Spain. Velardi has a long list of other multinational companies that he believes would be interested and able to afford what he refers to only as an "astronomical" rental fee. "This is Pompeii, after all," he says. "It is obviously a venue that would command a major investment."

In most countries this might seem like a sensible suggestion. But in Italy the proposal is seen as absurd and has become a lightning rod for a broader political debate about whether the nation's archeological treasures are going to become backdrops for American-style theme parks. Italian heritage sites have always been run according to strict rules meant to protect their integrity. To many Italians the notion of any sort of commercial meddling by outsiders—especially American concerns that may "Disneyfy" a site like Pompeii—will detract from its aesthetic and cultural value. "We face an incredible battle to do what would, in the end, be the best thing for Pompeii," says Velardi. "The opposition is completely closed to the idea because they see it as selling Pompeii rather than enhancing the site."

Certain sections of the ruins are already frequently rented out for publicly financed events. Last week the grassy Grand Palestra was closed to visitors as workers set up a stage for a grand piano and linen-covered banquet tables for a pre-election dinner sponsored by a local politician. And many organizations regularly sponsor specific projects in return for branding opportunities. The California-based Packard Humanities Institute has given 1.5 million euros in grants toward the conservation of Pompeii and nearby Herculaneum, and local companies like the Compagnia di San Paolo have funded restorations of the Terme Suburbane and the Lupanare brothel.

That, however, hasn't curbed criticism from people like Pompeii's superintendent Pietro Giovanni Guzzo. Guzzo insists that limiting visitors should only be for the enhancement of services and not to turn a privately generated profit, even if the proceeds would go directly to the local cultural ministry for reinvestment. While Pompeii is considered an active archaeological dig, most funds allocated to the ruins are strictly for conservation and upkeep rather than any further exploration. Only two-thirds (44 hectares, or 107 acres) of the buried city has been excavated since the first digs began in the 18th century. An estimated 350 million euros would be needed to dig up the remaining third, but some conservationists would prefer to keep it underground as a way of preserving it for future generations. Velardi argues that renting out the site could even fund future digs.

Other opponents say that the plan also blurs the line between Italy's public cultural heritage and private enterprise. Michele Trimarchi, professor of arts economics at the University of Bologna, worries that opening up the site for private sponsors will backfire. He points to failed experiments like the privatization of some of Rome's major monuments—and the fact that they eventually had to revert to public administrators. "Restricted entry on its own is pointless," he says. "It serves a purpose if it ensures an enhanced visitor experience, which will not come from handing the site over to private sponsors who have already proved disappointing in the heritage sector."

Velardi counters by saying that any corporation hoping to use the site would be subject to a rigorous selection process and would be required to contribute to improving on the premises. This could include renovating an existing excavation or providing funds to upgrade basic infrastructure, like lighting or restrooms. "This is not some sort of scandalous plan," says Velardi. "It's what they do at the MoMA, the Prado and the Louvre." In ancient Pompeii, though, that may just be too modern an idea.

... and, of course, this has nothing to do with certain 'activities' at Pompeii that we mentioned a while back (he said, cynically) ...
National Geographic has a nice photo of that recently-resurfaced bust of Lucius Verus:

... another moustache for Judith Weingarten and David Derrick (yes, there's a beard, but it's not attached) ... I thought I had commented somewhere on facial hair in one of these posts, but I can't seem to track it down.

UPDATE: See David Derrick's and Judith Weingarten's most recent posts on the subject ...
From LX News:

Latin, Ancient Greek and other subjects with their focus mainly in the B.C are up for a fresh lot of scholars with the help of writers who have built their careers on the antiquated worlds.

This is down to a new scheme at the University of Liverpool, which is being initiated by top authors Robert Harris and Tom Holland in an attempt to get students more interested in ancient history of languages.

Author Robert Harris, who penned the historical novel Enigma as well as numerous other books based on the ancient city of Pompeii, will launch the ‘Classics 08’ programme alongside fellow writer Tom Holland whose works include Rubicon (based on the late Roman republic) and Persian Fire (about the Persian Wars).

Classics lecturer at the university Eugenie Fernandes puts the renewed interest in ancient cultures down to blockbusters such as Gladiator and Alexander the Great. “The study of Classics and in particular classical languages has attracted renewed interest in recent years” she said recently. “Both languages have shown to help students improve reading, comprehension, vocabulary and grammar. As part of the initiative we have set up a ‘Classics Club’, held on Saturdays for students over the age of 14, which is proving highly popular. We cover topics such as ancient art and drama, local architecture and archaeology and we also arrange trips to museums and theatres across the country.”
Some logrolling going on in this piece from ANA:

Well-known former French culture minister Jack Lang met on Sunday with Greek Culture Minister Michalis Liapis in the northern port city of Thessaloniki, on the occasion of the European Theatre Awards' closing ceremony.

During the meeting, Lang again referred to the return of the Parthenon Marbles, stressing that "it's Britain's duty to hand over to Greece the marbles. The marbles belong to a monument that was looted in the past, during a period of colonialism."

Liapis expressed his pleasure with the meeting, calling Lang one of France's pre-eminent figures in the field of culture.

"The relationship between the two countries was and is excellent in all sectors and in culture in particular. I briefed him about Greece's major interest in the Parthenon Marbles and he expressed his understanding, voicing his support for our national efforts, even more now that the New Acropolis museum will open to public," Liapis said.
A few days ago we mentioned an antiquities bust wherein the president of a Hellenic cultural/environmental organization was in the spotlight ... here's a followup from Kathimerini:

One of Greece’s leading cultural and environmental organizations hit back yesterday at the arrest of its president last week for allegedly possessing undeclared antiquities.

The Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and the Cultural Heritage is celebrating its 35th anniversary this week and has taken the opportunity to defend itself against the treatment it received.

The raid on its premises last Monday led to the society’s 70-year-old president Costas Karras being held in police custody for three nights. The organization issued a statement last week denying any wrongdoing.

Vice president Vassilis Dorovonis told Kathimerini yesterday that the raid was unnecessary.

“They seized items that Mr Karras had bought at auctions abroad. They even took his son’s cuff links, which were purchased at bazaars in Asia Minor.”

Dorovonis underlined that the authorities had been properly notified about any antiquities at the society’s offices in Plaka, central Athens.

“We have documents from 1989 in which the person in charge of the antiquities department decrees that the artifacts should remain on the premises,” he said.

“People have been coming to see these items all these years and we have asked the Culture Ministry to come and put up a sign to inform people about them but this has not happened.”
A reviewish sort of thing in the WSJ:

In 1994, Home Box Office and Pepsico celebrated Black History Month by producing a poster that was intended to show black achievement: It featured a large picture of the pyramids and many smaller images, including one of the Sphinx. Worse, the companies sent 20,000 copies of the poster to predominantly black schools. Honest teachers in those schools had to explain why a corporate seal of approval had been given to a historical claim that just isn't true.

This "celebration" marked the high-water mark of Afrocentrism, a movement that had begun in the academy in the 1980s and gained astonishing momentum with the publication of Martin Bernal's "Black Athena: The Afroasiatic Roots of Classical Civilization" (1989). According to various Afrocentric books and popular assertions, ancient Egypt invaded ancient Greece, Plato and Herodotus somehow picked up their ideas in travels along the Nile, and Aristotle stole his philosophy from the library at Alexandria. Though the arguments were contradictory and scattered, the point was that Western civilization had been founded on materials and discoveries borrowed or stolen from black Egyptians.

During this whirlwind of dubious scholarship, the academic world mostly remained mum, hiding behind the curtain of academic freedom and withholding its criticism lest a statement of simple truth be branded "racist." For a 1991 column in U.S. News & World Report, I phoned seven Egyptologists and asked whether the ancient Egyptian population had been "black." Of course not, they all responded, but not for attribution, since, as one said, "this subject is just too hot."

The scholar who did the most to break this silence was Mary Lefkowitz, a mild-mannered classicist at Wellesley College. Without fully understanding the abuse she would invite by speaking out against Afrocentrism, she accepted an assignment in the fall of 1991 to write a long review of the second volume of Martin Bernal's "Black Athena" for the New Republic magazine. She was shocked to discover that the Bernal volume, and a stack of other nearly fact-free books on Afrocentrism, had made headway in the schools and even in the universities.

She concluded that the Afrocentric authors regarded history as a form of advocacy: Like other postmodernists, they believed that truth is impossible to know -- that all "narratives" are socially constructed and thus possess an equal claim to legitimacy. At the time, traditional scholarship was generally under assault, but the classics were particularly vulnerable, because they purported to study the foundational texts of the West. Attacking the classics as a complex system of lies was emotionally important to those who wanted to take Western culture down a peg. Feelings and politics mattered, not scholarship. As Ms. Lefkowitz puts it: "[Bernal] seemed to be saying that the most persuasive narrative was the one with the most desirable result. In effect, he was preaching a kind of affirmative action program for the rewriting of history."

"History Lesson" is Ms. Lefkowitz's personal account of what she experienced as a result of questioning the veracity of Afrocentrism and the motives of its advocates. She has advanced the intellectual case against Afrocentrism before, in "Not Out of Africa" (1997); here she takes a more personal approach, at one point mentioning the strain of the controversy as she battled breast cancer.

Outraged by the nonscholarly approach of Afrocentric writers, she somewhat naively imagined that facts would put their extreme theories to rest. She noted, for instance, that Socrates couldn't have been black, as alleged, because his parents were Athenian citizens and blacks, in classical Athens, were not eligible for citizenship. She noted, as well, that Aristotle would have had a tough time stealing his philosophy from the library at Alexandria, since he died before the library was built. Such arguments went nowhere, Ms. Lefkowitz writes, with those who saw Greek philosophy "as yet another case of a colonialist European plundering of Africa."

While Ms. Lefkowitz was being targeted by Afrocentrists nationally, she fell into a war on her own campus with Anthony Martin, a vituperative and litigious tenured professor of "Africana studies." It was an odd battle. Ms. Lefkowitz kept trying to make it a debate about evidence and truth. Mr. Martin made it personal and added a large helping of anti-Semitism. Eventually he turned out a book titled "The Jewish Onslaught," endorsed the crackpot theory that Jews had dominated the slave trade and demanded Jewish reparations to blacks.

When Mr. Martin sued Ms. Lefkowitz for libel -- claiming that she had misreported an incident involving him -- the dean of the college, Nancy Kolodny, declined to indemnify her. "It's your problem, she said to Ms. Lefkowitz. "The college can't help you." Some turned on Ms. Lefkowitz for dividing the campus. Others shrank from criticizing a black professor or were simply intimidated by the explosive Mr. Martin. Nan Keohane, Wellesley's president (soon to become the president of Duke University), offered little help. She urged one pro-Lefkowitz group to consider Mr. Martin's feelings and introduced an extreme Afrocentrist speaker as "a distinguished Egyptologist."

In the end, Wellesley behaved well. The history department refused to give credit toward a history major for courses in the Africana Studies Department, and Mr. Martin was denied a salary increase. The Anti-Defamation League found a law firm willing to defend Ms. Lefkowitz. After six years of legal wrangling, she won the case. Both Ms. Lefkowitz and Mr. Martin are now retired.

Though much of academia is still lost in postmodern theory and relativism, Ms. Lefkowitz insists on what we might call a counternarrative: Teachers owe it to themselves and their students to get as close as possible to the truth. The academy has still not firmly answered the central question of "History Lesson": What should the university do when a professor insists on teaching demonstrable untruths? No prattle about academic freedom, please.
10.00 p.m. |HINT|Engineering An Empire:Carthage
Carthage, a remarkable city-state that dominated the Mediterranean for over 600 years, harnessed their extensive resources to develop some of the ancient world's most groundbreaking technology. For generations, Carthage defined power, strength and ingenuity, but by the third century B.C., the empire's existence was threatened by another emerging superpower, Rome. However, when the Romans engineered their empire, they were only following the lead of the Carthaginians. From the city's grand harbor to the rise of one of history's greatest generals, Hannibal Barca, we will examine the architecture and infrastructure that enabled the rise and fall of the Carthaginian Empire.

HINT = History International
ante diem xviii kalendas maias

ludi Cereri continue (day 3) -- games in honour of the grain goddess Ceres, instituted by/before 202 B.C.

69 A.D. -- first battle at Bedriacum; the forces of emperor wannabe Vitellius eventually would defeat the forces of emperor wannabe Otho

73 A.D. -- mass suicide at Masada (?)

195 A.D. -- Julia Domna, wife of the emperor Septimius Severus, is given the title mater castrorum ("mother of the camp")
cenotaph @ Wordsmith

deglutition @ Merriam-Webster
I don't usually mention the never-ending saga over the use of Macedonia yadda yadda yadda (I grew bored with it long before I started this blog), but here's an actual development ... an extract from a piece in Kathimerini:

As diplomats in Athens and Skopje brace for a new round of United Nations-mediated talks on the Macedonia name dispute, sources say the Greek government now prefers the composite name New Macedonia rather than Upper Macedonia which it had favored for its “geographical qualifier.”

The change of tune in Athens, the same sources say, has been influenced by a report by eminent Greek academics citing extracts from the writings of ancient scholars Herodotus and Thucydides – and from the speeches of ancient Greek warrior Alexander the Great – which refer to Upper Macedonia.

The Upper Macedonia mentioned in these texts corresponds to four Greek prefectures, the report says, and so could fuel irredentism.

... which leaves one wondering, of course, whether this is the first time ancient historians have been mentioned at all ...
9.00 p.m. |HISTC| ROME II | Son Of Hades
Cleopatra arrives in Rome to pay her respects to Caesar – and to attempt to get her young son legitimized. The Egyptian Queen’s arrival intrigues Mark Antony and rankles Atia, who barely tolerates her new rival and Servilia during a fete. Called off a grisly mission at the last minute, Timon returns home to find his brother Levi has unexpectedly arrived from Jerusalem, his distain for all things Roman intact. Meanwhile, Erastes’ death has plunged the Aventine Collegium, and Rome’s river commerce, into chaos. In an effort to restore order, Mark Antony orders Vorenus to assume Erastes’ captaincy, and he and Pullo bully the warring gangs into an uneasy truce. Frustrated by Mark Antony in his attempt to secure his inheritance, Octavian takes out a loan to pay off Caesar’s promise to the people, angering his mother and especially Mark Antony, who refuses the boy’s offer of a power-sharing strategic alliance. The confrontation leads to Octavian leaving Rome.

HISTC = History Television (Canada)
A handful of items that have accumulated in my mailbox ... in no particular order:

Tip o' the pileus to Diana Wright who sent in a link to the podcast of the Dinner With Socrates thing ...

Ditto to Mata Kimasatayo for an item from Harper's on Lucretius' invocation to Venus ... and something on Plato and 'pregnant' men ...

At the APA site, one can find a number of papers relating to the teaching/studying of Ancient History ...

Harrison Eiteljorg III has an interesting view of the Electronic Monograph .... which prompted some similarly interesting responses by Judith Winters ...

Tony Perrottet enlightens us about some ancient protests at the Olympics ...
From adnKronos:

The remains of hundreds of victims, believed to have been killed in a plague that swept Italy 1500 years ago, have been found south of Rome.

The bodies of men, women and children were found in Castro dei Volsci, in the region of Lazio, during excavations carried out by Lazio archaeological office.

News of the extraordinary discovery was reported in the magazine, "Archeologia Viva".

The victims are believed to have been victims of the Justinian Plague, a pandemic that killed as many as 100 million people around the world during a 50 year period in the 6th century A.D.

It spread through Europe as far north as Denmark and as far west as Ireland.

The archaeological find is the first evidence of the devastating impact of the plague.

The plague swept across the Mediterranean during the reign of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I in the early 540s and according to some historians changed the course of European history because the empire then entered a period of decline.

Carried by rats and parasites, the disease spread rapidly because families at the time lived in close quarters in poor hygienic conditions. A large number of the inhabitants in Castro dei Volsci were wiped out.

Modern scholars believe that the plague killed up to 5,000 people per day in Constantinople, now known as Istanbul, at its peak and later went on to destroy up to a quarter of the human population of the eastern Mediterranean.

From Reuters:

Archaeologists have discovered two gold coins in the Sinai peninsula dating to the era of Eastern Roman Emperor Valens that are the first of their kind to be found in Egypt, its antiquities council said on Sunday.

Egypt's Supreme Council for Antiquities said excavations at a site west of St. Catherine's monastery in Sinai unearthed two coins containing images of Valens, who ruled the Eastern Roman Empire from 364 to 378 AD.

Valens attacked the Visigoths in 378 AD near Adrianople in a battle often viewed as marking the start of the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. The Gothic cavalry routed the Romans, killing over 20,000 people, including Valens.
From the News:

Lingua Latina vivit! For those who are convinced Latin is a dead language, the new Certamen Latin Team at Choate hopes to breathe new life into classical studies.

Certamen (which means struggle or competition) is a quiz bowl competition, in which teams of four students each “buzz in” to answer questions about Roman history, culture, mythology and literature as well as Latin grammar. Each round of the contest consists of twenty ten-point questions each, with five-point bonus opportunities after each correctly answered question. New Latin teacher Oliver Morris recently initiated the Choate “chapter” that will compete against the program’s founders, Exeter and Andover. Mr. Morris wants to draw in participation from other nearby schools and hopes that Choate will host the competition at some point.

While the program is in its early stages, Mr. Morris says, “We’ll go with whatever Exeter and Andover have already set up.” In the meantime, the Latin Team will compete once per term and host weekly meetings for students to practice weak areas. Mr. Morris sees much potential in members from his Advanced Placement Literature (LA550) section, especially Maddie Broder ’09, Julie Paret ’08, and Ashley McGeary ’08, as well as in enthusiastic underclassman James Barasch ’10.

While many current members are experienced Latin students who will participate in the “upper level” competition, Certamen also has a “lower level” team and encourages first and second year students to hone and show off their skills.

Despite the promising future of Certamen, Mr. Morris thinks it will be difficult for Choate to upset Exeter and Andover right away, as the two have been competing against each other for a while.

Although Choate is eager for another opportunity to defeat rival schools, Morris realizes, “It might take us a little practice before we’re able to really give them a run for their money.”

Certamen is an academic team and can be a tool for students to sharpen Latin skills and to gain a new perspective on the language. Grammar tasks such as “put [the verb] ‘amat’ into the imperfect [tense] passive [voice]” improve the students’ applications of basic skills. Certamen is also meant to complement a student’s study of Latin with the study of Roman history and culture, areas which courses sometimes cover in less depth in order to meet other expectations.

“It’s good to learn in a different way, rather than thinking ‘How many lines of Virgil can we get through tonight?’” said Morris.

For example, a culture question might ask, “Who was the last king of Rome?” Some of the questions will even be asked in Latin, which is certainly a new use of knowledge because a dead language such as Latin is rarely spoken in the classroom.

Since Certamen is a very new team at Choate, its members may need some practice with the new format of competition. However, the club already adds a new dimension and perspective to classics education, and its enthusiastic members will hopefully have successes similar to other academic teams such as the Math, Economics, and Debate Teams.

Certamen meets on Wednesday nights at 7:00 pm in Steele Hall and is looking for interested Latin students at all levels.
From AdnKronos:

La soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici di Ostia presentera', giovedi' 17 aprile alle 11,30, il ''Sarcofago delle Muse'' recentemente recuperato nell'area della Necropoli dell'Isola Sacra. L'azione investigativa, condotta dalla Guardia di Finanza - nucleo polizia tributaria di Roma - tutela Patrimonio archeologico, ha evitato il trafugamento di un bene di ingente valore, ed ha impedito la manomissione della sepoltura contenuta al suo interno, in corso di studio presso la sezione di antropologia del Museo nazionale Luigi Pigorini.

In marmo greco, il sarcofago a fregio, con il coro delle nove Muse condotto da Apollo alla presenza di Athena, ed il suo coperchio, su cui si dispongono scene di conversazione tra filosofi e poeti, rappresenta l'espressione di una classe sociale colta e raffinata. Manufatto artistico inquadrabile nei decenni finali del II secolo d.C., riassume in forma allegorica i temi di pensiero di una e'lite politica che assume la cultura come valore, anche in ambito funerario, dove il raggiungimento di una vita ultraterrena e' connesso alla meditazione, alla poesia ed alla musica.

Interverranno alla presentazione Vito Augelli, comandante nucleo polizia tributaria di Roma; il sostituto procuratore Paolo Giorgio Ferri e il sostituto procuratore aggiunto Giancarlo Capaldo della procura di Roma; per la soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici di Ostia il soprintendente Marina Sapelli Ragni, il direttore degli scavi di Ostia Angelo Pellegrino e il responsabile delle aree archeologiche dell'Isola Sacra Paola Germoni.

... not sure how 'recentement recuperato' this one is ...

A gang allegedly responsible for the plunder and sale of thousands of archaeological items has been arrested and suspected booty including Roman and Stone Age pieces seized, police said Friday.

The gang operated with metal detectors at sites throughout Spain, often selling their finds on the Internet, police said in a statement.

Among the locations plundered were archaeological digs at Calpe on the eastern Mediterranean coast and Municipium Augusta Bilbilis near Calatayud in central Spain, where the Romans built a colonial city on an even earlier settlement.

Agents searched 24 addresses, arrested 20 suspects and needed three vans to carry away suspected loot from one of the places searched, the statement said.

Roman swords, a statue of a she-wolf suckling Romulus and Remus, 12,000 coins, stone and metal axes and more than 10,000 paleontological pieces were among the artifacts seized, police said.

... very interesting ... does anyone else know about statues of the she-wolf being found outside of Italy?
From ANSA:

Italian art police on Friday revealed they have recovered two ''priceless'' Roman statues of key imperial figures in the latest of a series of operations to crack down on antiques trafficking.

They described a marble head of Emperor Lucius Verus (130-169 AD) and a bust of his adoptive mother Faustina the Elder (105-140 AD) as ''of a beauty and scientific importance equal only to a few other pieces'' in the Louvres and the British Museum.

The head of Verus, who ruled the empire alongside his adoptive brother Marcus Aurelius for eight years, was discovered hidden in a boathouse used by a Rome art dealer at the coastal town of Fiumicino. An adopted son of both Emperor Hadrian and his successor Antoninus Pius, Verus is shown with a mass of curly hair and a long beard that he reportedly used to sprinkle gold dust into to highlight its blond colour.

Police tracked down the bust of Faustina the Elder to the US, where it ended up after being stolen from the Roman theatre of Minturno in Lazio in 1961 and bought by an American collector in the 1980s.

A temple to Faustina and her husband Antoninus Pius still stands in the Roman Forum, where it was built by the grief-stricken Antoninus Pius when she died and later rededicated to them both by their adopted son Marcus Aurelius.

Twelve other important artefacts have been recovered as part of the same operation, with a series of Greek vases and a haul from an ancient Etruscan grave found hidden alongside Verus's head in the boathouse.

All the works will go on show in Rome later this month at Castel Sant'Angelo for an annual exhibition of artefacts recovered by art police that runs from April 24 to June 19.

Booking is now open for this conference devoted to exploring interdisciplinary work between classics (esp. Greek literature) and the cognitive sciences. The conference will be held on 4th and 5th July 2008, at the Open University's London campus (Hawley Crescent, Camden). It is co-organised by Royal Holloway University of London, the Institute of Classical Studies and the Open University.

Provisional programme:

Friday, 4th July

Registration, coffee

11.00-12.45 Welcome

Egbert Bakker, Yale: ‘From the past into the future: a cognitive account of “tense” in Greek’

Seth Schein, UC Davis: 'Greek metre in the light of cognitive linguistics: some thoughts on Hermann’s Bridge'


1.45-3.30 Nancy Felson, UGA: ‘Narratology from a cognitive perspective: how a text element triggers a spectator's memory of plot types’

Nick Lowe, Royal Holloway: ‘Memory, narrative, and the birth of historiography’


4.00-5.45 James Robson, Open University: ‘Cognition, humour appreciation, and Aristophanes’ punch lines’

Felix Budelmann, Open University: ‘A cognitive perspective on ambiguity in Greek tragedy’

Conference dinner

Saturday, 5th July

9.00-10.45 Douglas Cairns, Edinburgh: ‘Rites of passage, cognitive metaphor, and the symbol of the veil’

Elizabeth Minchin, Australian National University: ‘Plans, goals and themes: cognitive studies and the creation of character in Homer’


11.00-1.15 Luigi Battezzato, Piemonte: ‘Techniques of reading and textual lay-out in ancient Greek texts’

Malcolm Heath, Leeds: ‘Formalism in interpretation: its cognitive grounds’

Plenary discussion

The conference fee is £50 with conference dinner and £25 without conference dinner. Booking form and further information available at Delegates are asked to make their own arrangements for accommodation.

A limited number of bursaries are available for graduate students, covering conference fee, conference dinner and a contribution of ca. £50 towards accommodation and/or travel (if needed). Applicants should email Felix Budelmann (f.budelmann AT with the following information by 31st May: name, contact details, institution, thesis title, a brief statement on how attendance would be helpful for their work, projected costs of accommodation and travel (if any), other funding applied for (if any).

The conference organisers gratefully acknowledge financial support from the British Academy, the Hellenic Society, the Classical Association, the Hellenic Foundation and the Gilbert Murray Trust.

For further information about the conference please contact the organisers Felix Budelmann (f.budelmann AT and Nick Lowe (n.lowe AT

The Leeds International Classics Seminar will be holding a one-day
conference on the theme ‘Humans and Other Animals in the Ancient World’, on
Friday 9 May 2008, 11.30am – 5.30pm.


Louise Calder (Wolfson College, Oxford): The importance of Greek pets

Chiara Thumiger (University College London): The other tragedy: animals and
human character in Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides

Gordon Campbell (NUI Maynooth): “And bright was the flame of their
friendship” (Empedocles B130): humans, animals, justice and friendship in
Lucretius and Empedocles

Catherine Osborne (University of East Anglia): Thinking, knowing, speaking
and imagining animals

Brigitte Resl (University of Liverpool): Writing about animals, thinking
about humans: animals as models for human behaviour in the middle ages

Mary Beagon (University of Manchester): Powers of life from death: animal
remedies and the Roman arena

Full details of the programme (and a printable programme) can be found at

The meeting is open to all academic participants; postgraduate and
undergraduate students are especially welcome. Those interested in
attending should let Malcolm Heath know (m.f.heath AT at least a
week in advance. The conference fee (including tea/coffee and a buffet
lunch) is £15 (£10 students and unwaged), payable on the day.
Dear David.

At Lund University we are now launching the popular course "Christianity" as a worldwide internet course.

The course "Christianity" (TEO D01, 30 ECTS credits) explores the origins and varieties of Christianity throughout the world today. It traces Christianity's development from a local group of Jesus followers to a worldwide movement of faith communities, the formation of Christian doctrines and identities and the emergence and reception of the Bible as Christian Scriptures.

The course is offered entirely through internet communication technology, providing maximal accessibility and independence of location so that whoever wishes can enroll from anywhere on the globe.

The Centre for Theology and Religious Studies (CTR) at Lund University is committed to the highest standards of academic excellence; its faculty is completely independent of confessional or religious affiliations. Whoever is looking for an approach to the subject that is non-confessional yet sympathetic, that combines a Religious Studies perspective with a familiarity with faith contexts, may find this to be an interesting course.

The website of the course is:
Call for Proposals: Classical Commentary Writers’ Workshop Georgetown University, October 16–18 2008

Proposals are solicited for participation in the third annual Classical Commentary Writers’ Workshop, to be held at Georgetown University on October 16–18 2008. The 2008 workshop will be devoted to Latin texts. The deadline for proposals is June 15, 2008. The workshop will consist of five 3-hour sessions, each devoted to discussion of a single pre-circulated chunk of text and commentary. We work in an intensely practical, hands-on way, asking questions, making suggestions, working out problems, and the like. Our expectation is not that the group will examine the whole of anyone’s primary text, but that all participants will return in the end to their projects with fresh insights, ideas and questions, new bibliographic resources, and a sense of working within a supportive scholarly community. Workshop sessions are open only to the convenors, S. Douglas Olson and Alex Sens; the five participants; and (by invitation) previous participants and occasional graduate student observers. Participants are expected to arrive late in the day on the 16th, and to stay for the entire proceedings, including a celebratory final dinner on Saturday night.

Projects should be well enough advanced to provide a substantial sample of text and commentary, but not so far along that the Workshop will be unlikely to affect the final shape of the project. Proposals should consist of (1) a brief (maximum one-page) description of the project, its intended audience, and the expected publication venue; (2) a 10-page sample of text and commentary. Proposals should be submitted, preferably in PDF form, to the convenors at sdolson AT and sensa AT Final Workshop samples will be due on Monday September 15, 2008, for pre-circulation to all participants.

Participants are asked to call first on their own research accounts and institutional resources to cover their transportation and housing costs. For those who lack such resources, the Workshop will provide up to $750 for travel and housing related expenses. All meals will be provided.

Support for the Workshop has been provided by the Loeb Classical Library Foundation.
From Classical Journal:

ARMSTRONG, Cretan Women: Pasiphae, Ariadne, and Phaedra in Latin Poetry

LANNI, Law and Justice in the Courts of Classical Athens

From BMCR:

Guelden Erkut, Stephen Mitchell, The Black Sea. Past, Present and Future.

Helmuth Schneider, Geschichte der antiken Technik. C.H. Beck Wissen.

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

Laurentino Garcia y Garcia, Alunni, maestri e scuole a Pompei. L'infanzia, la giovinezza e la cultura in epoca romana. Coordinamento e revisione di Maria Elisa Garcia Barraco.

Craig Kallendorf, The Other Virgil: 'Pessimistic' Readings of the Aeneid in Early Modern Culture.

Monika Schuol, Augustus und die Juden. Rechtsstellung und Interessenpolitik der kleinasiatischen Diaspora. Studien zur Alten Geschichte, 6.

Pascal Darque, Michael Fotiadis, Olga Polychronopoulou, Mythos: La prehistoire egeenne du XIXe au XXIe siecle apres J.-C. Actes de la table ronde internationale d'Athe\nes (21-2 novembre 2002). Bulletin de Correspondance Hellenique Supplement 46.

Fabio Massimo Giuliano, Platone e la Poesia: Teoria della composizione e prassi della ricezione. International Plato Studies Vol. 22.

Sheila Dillon, Ancient Greek Portrait Sculpture. Context, Subjects, and Styles.

David Kremer, Ius latinum. Le concept de droit latin sous la Republique et l'Empire. Romanite et modernite du droit.

Diana Spencer, Elena Theodorakopoulos, Advice and Its Rhetoric in Greece and Rome.

Pedro Lopez Barja de Quiroga, Esclaves et affranchis a Rome. Las relaciones de dependencia en las Instituciones de GAYO.

From RBL:

Don Sausa, The Jesus Tomb: Is it Fact or Fiction? Scholars Chime In,

.... and last, but not least, a couple of reviews of Ursula Le Guin's Lavinia

Wall Street Journal
Christian Science Monitor

Catching up:

Antigone (Nashville) another

Medea (Baton Rouge)

The Cure at Troy (Seattle)

Antigone (Melbourne)

Hippolytus (Kingsport)

The Burial at Thebes (Dublin)

Medea (Providence)

Antigone (Portage)

Aesop's Fables (Melbourne)

Phaedra (Sydney)

Philoktetes (Seattle)

Philoktetes (Getty Villa)

ante diem iii idus apriles

421 B.C. -- Peace of Nikias brings the first phase of the Peloponnesian war (a.k.a. the Archidamian War) to an end (by one reckoning)

52 B.C. -- trial of Milo -- with Cicero on his side -- for the murder of Clodius (by one reckoning)

92 A.D. -- martyrdom of Antipas

145 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Septimius Severus
caesura @

pieriansipist @ Worthless Word for the Day
A Reuters report via Yahoo:

Ancient open-air theatres across Greece are crumbling due to neglect and need swift government intervention to rescue them, archaeologists said on Thursday.

Greece, where Classical drama was born in the 5th century BC, boasts scores of theatres that form a key part of the country's classical cultural heritage. But while about 30 are in a state to host cultural events, 76 are in need of urgent repair, they said.

"Ancient theatres need to be constantly preserved, some need to be restored, but what they mostly need is to be used," classical archaeology professor, Petros Themelis told Reuters.

Archaeologists, architects and dignitaries from Greece's political and cultural life have joined forces to push the government to take action to preserve the structures.

"The image of our monuments is discouraging," said former Socialist culture minister Stavros Benos, one of the group's founders. "Our aim is to constructively push the government on this issue."

Greece's renowned Epidaurus theatre, built in the 4th century BC in the northeast of the Peloponnese peninsula, attracts thousands of tourists every year who flock to watch ancient Greek plays by playwrights such as Euripides or Sophocles.

Famous for its acoustics, it is the most used ancient theatre while others have fallen victim to the ravages of time and nature.

The 6th century BC Dionysus theatre on the Athens Acropolis, which served as a model for Epidaurus and where the ancient Greek plays were originally performed, is in disrepair and cannot host cultural events.

Archaeologists said that ancient theatres should be part of every day life in order to be preserved.

"We might restore them, but nature will destroy them again (if they are not used)," Themelis said.

Another 28 ancient theatres are known to exist but have not yet been located or excavated, the archaeologists said.
From the BBC:

Allianoi, an ancient site that was discovered just 10 years ago, will be submerged under the waters of Yortanli irrigation dam, which is much needed for the local farmers.

When construction of the dam began in 1998, the archaeologists, as a routine procedure, were asked to make a survey of the land.

Local people knew about and used a thermal spa centre called Pasa Ilicasi, which had been there since the Ottoman Empire.

But nobody knew that this place was actually a Roman asclepion (ancient healing temple) dating back to second century AD.

The then manager of Bergama Museum and leader of excavation team, Ahmet Yaras, found the site.

"Once we realised that it had an enormous cultural heritage and a beauty, we continued excavations despite the planned flooding," he explained.

"We found the best preserved thermal spa from the 2nd Century AD, but unfortunately they haven't stopped the dam project."

For almost seven years there have been arguments and debates about the future of the site.

Finally, last September, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism decided to go ahead with the dam and protect the archaeological site by simply surrounding it with a wall and covering it in clay.

Government officials that say if the dam can collect enough water from the spring rains, then they might flood the land before this summer.

Because Allianoi is spread over 40,000 cubic metres, Mr Yaras said that the team had not excavated surrounding parts of the site.

"We, the scientists, aim to reach the knowledge. Whether the government decides to protect these sites or open them to tourism is up to them.

"What makes us sad is that before we reach the knowledge, a cultural heritage is being destroyed.

"It is not Turkey's knowledge, it is universal and obstructing people from reaching the knowledge is a crime against humanity."

'Healing temple'

According to the archaeologists, if you check the history books you come across the word Allianoi (the name of the town) in only one book, called "Hieroi Logoi", or "the Sacred Tales", written by Aristides.

In this book, he says: "on my way to Pergamon (sometimes called Pergamum), I came across a thermal place.

"I had a sore throat, so I took a bath and I prayed to the God Zozimos. Then I was cured... and this place was called Allianoi."

But the Water State Authority officials insist that the place found is not actually what archaeologists say it is.

According to an industrial engineer, Ahmet Tomar, who works for the government, this place had been and known as Pasa Ilicasi since Roman times.

"Wherever you chose to build a dam in Turkey, you would come across an archaeological site as well," he said. "By development-led excavations we rescue the most precious artifacts."

The Bakircay river basin project was originally planned in the 1960s, but not actually finished until 2005.

The engineers of the Yortanli dam say the water gathered by this and one of the other dams being built nearby will irrigate 18,000 hectares (44,000 acres).

According to them, people here need water desperately.

Mixed feelings

The villagers in the area, many of whom earn their living from agriculture, have mixed feelings.

Tomatoes and cotton are the most produced crops around this region. These crops need more water than any others and, especially during summertime, it gets difficult as most of the rivers around the area dry up.

Some villagers longing for water for their fields believe that the region will become wealthier than it could through tourism. Others insist that if Allianoi is opened to tourism, they will benefit more.

Some villagers have been paid by the government to leave their homes that are located within the area to be flooded.

A village head says: "Money is not always the most satisfying thing. We earn our living by breeding animals in the fields.

"I am sure it is very beneficial for our country but not for our village."

Turkey has a rich history beneath its soil, but it is also trying to boost its economy to be ready for entry into the European Union.

This dam project itself has caused a diplomatic war of words between Ankara and Brussels.

Turkey has wanted to join the EU for more than 40 years, but people who want to preserve Allianoi argue that its destruction is in conflict with EU rules on preserving ancient monuments.

They hoped that the EU would raise strong enough objections to make the Turkish government change its mind.

However, the EU's objections so far, have been ineffective.

Greek Socialist MEP Stavros Lambrinidis asked a question at the European Parliament (EP) about Allianoi earlier this year.

Lambrinidis says he wanted to know "what the EP was planning to ensure that the Allianoi will not be flooded without any concrete and scientifically justified measures to protect it."

Cem Ozdemir, a German MEP of Turkish descent, also quizzed the European Commission about the plans.

"Imagine the Tower of London being destroyed by British government," Mr Ozdemir says.

"It would be beyond British interests, it would raise worldwide awareness. I believe Allianoi deserves same kind of awareness."

The legal cases opened to save Allianoi are still ongoing. The Allianoi Initiative, an NGO which supports the protection of the site, has decided to approach the European Court of Human Rights on this issue.

They are demanding permission for the excavation team to continue their work for another five years.

The group is also hopeful that there might be a solution, maybe a legal challenge that can still save Allianoi, but in theory the clock has stopped ticking.

The government can start flooding this ancient site anytime.
From the Age:

The decades-long restoration effort on Athens' famed Acropolis is set to speed up with the removal of 17 carved stone squares from the ancient landmark for cleaning, Greece's Culture Ministry says.

Officials from the ministry's Central Archaeological Council (KAS) said that of the 17 squares or metopes, 14 will be from the west side of the Parthenon, which experts say, is in a "lamentable state."

According to an article published in the Athens daily Kathimerini newspaper, another metope, depicting a centauromachy or a fight in which centaurs take part, will be taken down from the south side and two more from the north side of the monument.

Restoration of the pollution-ravaged friezes of the Acropolis first began in the mid-1970s.

The ongoing project has involved painstaking repairs on major monuments on the Acropolis, including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion and Athena Nike temples and the Acropolis Walls.

The architectural masterpieces suffered from both pollution and a flawed reparation attempt in the 1930s, when workers used iron clamps in their repairs that eventually rusted and cracked the marble.

Efforts have gathered momentum in recent years mainly due to the Athens 2004 Olympics and British criticism that Greece has abandoned its ancient treasures to the forces of acid rain and pollution.

Archaeologists last year removed six metopes from the west side of the Parthenon and officials reportedly hesitated about approving the removal of an additional 17 metopes, fearing it would leave the Parthenon bare.

They finally decided to proceed with the removal, saying the work is crucial if the landmark is to be preserved.

Preservation experts have used marble from the ancient quarry on Mount Pendeli, the site just north of Athens where the ancient Greeks originally found the marble used to build the Acropolis monuments.

Culture Ministry officials have said that all secondary work on the ancient monument will be completed by 2020.

ante diem iv idus apriles

ludi Megalesia (day 7) -- the Cybelefest continues

250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Pompeius and Terence at Carthage

401 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Theodosius II
pugnacious @

retrogenesis @ Worthless Word for the Day

pavid @ Wordsmith

velleity @ Merriam-Webster
From the Evening News:

HE was many miles from home - a Roman soldier posted to Manchester, perhaps feeling cold and lonely, longing for loved ones left behind.

He was called Aelius Victor. And now after 2,000 years an altar he built to keep a promise to the goddesses he prayed to has been unearthed in the middle of the city.

The altar - described by experts as being in 'fantastic' condition - was discovered during an archaeological dig at a site on Greater Jackson Street earmarked for development.

Aelius Victor had dedicated it to two minor goddesses.

A Latin inscription on the altar says: "To the mother goddesses Hananeftis and Ollototis, Aelius Victor willingly and deservedly fulfils a vow."

The find marks the first time in nearly 400 years that archaeologists have been able to put a name to a Mancunian Roman solider.

In 1612 another altar was found by the River Medlock, dedicated by Lucius Seniacianius Martius, a centurion - an officer - with the 20th Legion from York.


It is believed that Aelius Victor may have been a centurion commander posted from Germany - where worship of Hananeftis and Ollototis originates.

Norman Redhead, Greater Manchester's county archaeologist, said: "This is the first Roman stone inscription we have found for 150 years. It is a very, very valuable find and it is in fantastic condition, considering it has been in the ground for 2,000 years."

The altar was discovered during a pre-development dig at the site at the junction of Great Jackson Street and Chester Road.


Evidence suggests it may have been constructed in the latter part of the first century AD and later discarded, as it was found on top of an ancient rubbish pit.

The existence of a number of pits and ditches in the area suggest it was cleared for farming use.

The site is only hundreds of yards from a known fort and civilian settlement of Roman Manchester, dropping down to a ford across the River Medlock.

Mr Redhead said that, traditionally, that was the kind of area where places of worship were located. The altar will go on display at Manchester Museum.

General Julius Agricola (40-93AD), the commander of the invading legions, first founded a Roman settlement at the meeting point of the Rivers Irwell and Medlock. He called the place Mamuciam - meaning 'breast-shaped hill' because of the shape of the outcrop.

Archaeologists will be holding an open day at the dig site on Saturday between 10am to 3pm.

... the original article includes this photo (nice!):

This one's interesting ... from Kathimerini:

The head of one of Greece’s leading environmental and cultural organizations was arrested yesterday on suspicion of possessing undeclared antiquities at his home in Plaka, central Athens.

Costas Karras, the president of the Hellenic Society for the Protection of the Environment and Cultural Heritage, was taken into custody after police raided the property and found 24 marble artifacts, nine silver and bronze coins, four icons and four religious books from the 17th and 18th centuries. Archaeologists are examining the seized items.

Police said that the items had not been registered with the Culture Ministry, as Greek law dictates.

The 70-year-old suspect told police that some of the antiquities were family heirlooms, while others had been discovered on his land in Plaka. Karras is due to appear before a magistrate today.
From AdnKronos:

A fragment of an ancient Roman equestrian statue that once adorned the Colosseum has been found during excavations near the world famous Italian landmark.

According to the Italian daily, Il Messaggero, the fragment was discovered among the remains of an ancient pavement that once surrounded the amphitheatre.

"A marble fragment measuring one metre by a metre and a half, is from an equestrian statue, probably a statue that embellished the arches of the Colosseum," said archaeologist Silvana Rizzo, advisor to the minister of culture and tourism, Francesco Rutelli.

"The left flank of a rider with the detail of a leg, bridle and harness of a horse, as well as a part of a dagger scabbard are perfectly visible from the fragment," said Rizzo, who has spent his life doing Roman excavations.

"They are details that suggest the statue of an emperor and left us with the hope that we could find the entire statue."

According to Il Messaggero, the archeological find is a reminder of how many pieces of ancient sculpture are discovered on a regular basis in the Italian capital when centimetres of soil are swept away.

Angelo Bottini, Rome's archeological superintendent, called the discovery of the equestrian statue "an exceptional discovery".

"What's clear is this new discovery is the umpteenth demonstration of the underground surprises in Rome that are a gift to us," Bottini told the Italian daily.

The new discovery could shed light on the statues that once adorned the exterior wall of the Colosseum.

The Colosseum, also known as the Flavian Amphitheatre, was constructed by the Emperor Vespasian in 72 A.D. and inaugurated by his son Titus in 80 A.D.

It was the largest amphitheatre ever built in the Roman Empire and considered one of the greatest examples of Roman architecture and engineering.

But it has suffered extensive damage over the centuries due to earthquakes and pillaging.

The arches on the third floor of the Colosseum were decorated by three eagles, signs of power in Rome, while the second floor had statues of ancient gods, Hercules, Apollo and Aesculapius.

Experts believe the uncovered equestrian fragment could have been part of a statue above the Imperial entrance to the amphitheatre.

More archaeological discoveries are expected to be uncovered as the city proceeds with construction of its third subway line near the Roman Forum, in the heart of the Italian capital.

Construction on the 30-station line has already been interrupted several times as archeologists have uncovered ancient and mediaeval treasures.

Under Italy's strict conservation laws, the city must decide whether any historic objects are removed or preserved.

The 4.6 billion dollar subway line is expected to be completed in 2015.

... I'll try to track down a photo ...

UPDATE: Martin Conde is compiling various Italian news reports with photos etc. (check out the video clip from RAI ...
From the Hunstville Times ... perhaps those looking for things to celebrate the foundation of Rome in a week or so will find something here:

Students take a cue from ancient Greeks in language Olympics

A Zeus challenge tug-of-war, an egg toss for vicious winged creatures, and a three-legged race for a wounded half-man-half-horse were games at the First World Language Olympics at Bob Jones High School.

The tongue-in-cheek events were "for the kids to have fun, not (as) a question-and-answer contest," said sponsor Raymond Congo, a Latin and history teacher at the high school. The athletes were language students and competed in various tests of strength and skill, such as field day activities.

Congo said a fellow teacher told her students to "remember in elementary school when you got to run around, act silly and play for a day. That's what this is, so go have fun."

Many of the students are taking several honors and/or advanced placement classes, he said. "Several teachers were glad these students were just having fun for a change, instead of worrying about their next test," he said.

The Olympics created a sense of camaraderie among the language clubs. As a follow-up for the World Language Festival in the fall, Congo said he wanted a spring event to involve students. Last year's state Latin convention inspired the Language Olympics. Before holding written competitions, Latin students from across Alabama held an Olympics competition, in which Bob Jones won third place in the boys' Stygian Stomp relating to the River Styx and second place in the girls' Herculean Holdup, a weightlifting contest.

Congo borrowed several games from the convention, and students added a few more.

To participate, students needed only to belong to the Spanish, French, German or Latin club. The athletes competed as teams, with the champion's sponsor keeping the "World Language Cup in their room and bragging rights for the next year," he said. The Latin Club took top honors, followed by the French, Spanish and German clubs, respectively.

Events were based on contests from Greek and Roman mythology. For the Perseus Toss, entrants threw a discus, or a Frisbee, through a hula-hoop target.

"Based on the myth that fate predicted Perseus would kill his grandfather," who then had Perseus and his mother locked in a chest and tossed into the sea, Congo said. "In mythology, you can never get away from fate," he said. As an adult, Perseus entered a discus-throwing contest but his discus "veers off course and kills an old man sitting in the stands. Guess who it was?"

Wrestling Proteus, based on a river god capable of changing shape at will, set students in a contest of saxum, charta, forficulae, or Latin for rock, paper, scissors.

Star Market in Madison donated bottled water and fruit for the World Language Olympics.

A foreign language is required for an advanced diploma, which most Bob Jones graduates receive. More than 700 students enroll in a language class yearly.

Charlotte Higgins comments as Caesar in the Guardian (tip o' the pileus to Mata Kimasatayo):

Si linguam latinam potes intellegere... If you can understand the Latin language, which I doubt, since you are not only boastful by nature, but also you speak an inferior version of the tongue loaded with many barbarian accretions, let me tell you this. It is possible that you dare to think of yourself as an equal of one of the great leaders of ancient Rome, but if so you are deluded.

First, look at your family and upbringing. You are a mere provincial novus homo, a new man, a Gaul from Mediolanum, which they now call Milan; I, on the other hand am a scion of the gens Iulia, descended from Iulus himself, son of Aeneas, prince of Troy. I learned politics as a child, from watching Rome rip itself apart under Marius and Sulla; it was Sulla who planted the idea that what Rome needed was a dictator though he, the fool, resigned his post after a year. More importantly, I learned power in the battlefield and by enduring great hardship on campaigns. This is where great men are made, not, as you might say, in the boardroom.

Why, my first famous act was, having been captured and then ransomed for 50 talents by a band of ruthless pirates, to pursue the bandits' ship, capture and crucify them, as I had coolly promised them I would during my period of incarceration. Fools! They took me for a mere boy.

But that was just the beginning. Julius Caesar conquered all Gaul and added it to the possessions of the already great Roman empire, whose territories encompassed Africa, Hispania, Graecia, Syria, Asia and beyond. And what is Rome now? Merely the "capital" of a country they call Italia? Alas, I had hoped the gods of Rome had a more glorious destiny in mind. The only military undertaking to which you have contributed (not personally, of course, as you yourself do not know one end of a sword from the other) is in Parthia, what you call Iraq. But the Parthians are doughty fighters, and even in my lifetime we failed to subdue these lawless tribes. To Rome's eternal shame my own former colleague and sponsor Crassus lost a legion, and his head, to these barbarians.

I admit that at times you have showed a certain shrewdness: in evading prosecution; and, the use of bribery - or so it is rumoured in the shady regions of Dis that I now inhabit. If so, you have done nothing more than I: bribery is necessary to ensure the goodwill of influential men, and money is indivisible from power. Like me, you also showed a certain skill in forging alliances in order to attain power for yourself; you may remember, if your history lessons meant anything to you, my creation of the First Triumvirate. Your facility for controlling "the media" is clear, and had I been living in your benighted times, no doubt I would have done the same. Your marriages, your love affairs, are understandable: even the conqueror of Gaul was at times conquered by Cupid, and there are moments when I still sigh for Servilia, mother of my assassin Brutus; and for the enchanting Cleopatra of Egypt.

But why am I continuing to address you? Having attained power, you failed to cling on to it. You are no true leader of warlike Rome; you are a mere merchant. It is more out of kindness than respect that I offer you one last piece of advice: beware your friends, lest they turn into assassins.
A reviewish thing from Joy Connolly in the Times (tip o' the pileus to Dorothy King):

For all the glory and glamour of its art and literature, classical antiquity produces household statistics that make the heart sink. Greek and Roman girls were normally married in their mid-teens to men twice their age. Until menopause, if they were lucky enough to survive that long, they could expect to give birth at least six times, probably more. As for their babies, one-third of those born alive died before completing their first year; half perished before turning ten. Birth control was rudimentary, and lactation’s fertility-diminishing effect did not apply to well-off women accustomed, or pressured, to hand infants over to wet-nurses.

Uncountable by any statistic was the abuse that might be dealt out by a violent husband. As in modern times until very recently, wife-beating was not much talked of by classical writers beyond the odd aside, as when Augustine in his Confessions recollects the bruises he saw as a child marking the faces of his mother’s friends, or when Herodotus and Suetonius report that the Corinthian tyrant Periander and the Emperor Nero beat their pregnant wives to death. Plutarch hints at the frequency of abuse in his Roman Questions, a quirky study of Roman religion and customs, when he wonders why Romans avoid marrying close relatives. He suggests three reasons: Roman men may seek to expand their influence by marrying into different families; they may fear that domestic over-familiarity breeds contempt; or they might prefer an exogamic system where sisters and daughters, should they suffer abuse, could seek help from male kin unrelated (thus under no obligation) to the abuser. The Greek preference for endogamy, Plutarch implies, caught women in a familial trap from which there was no easy escape.

Appia Annia Regilla Atilia Caucidia Tertulla was a Roman woman born into a powerful family closely linked to the Antonine dynasty, imperial rulers of Rome during what Gibbon called its “most happy and prosperous” era. She married far outside her family, to the celebrated Greek politician and orator Herodes Atticus, whose lovely Odeon still commands the southern slope of the Acropolis. A priestess and philanthropist whose work won her public recognition in the form of honorific statues in Corinth and Olympia, Regilla died in her mid-thirties, eight months pregnant with her sixth child. According to the biographer Philostratus, she was punched or kicked in the belly by a freedman acting on orders from her husband, who was angry with her over a petty concern. Her brother Braduas, as Plutarch would have predicted, prosecuted Herodes on a murder charge. But the absence of witnesses, Herodes’s insistence that he had not intended his freedman to administer such a violent beating, and his extraordinary public expressions of grief (including the dedication of the Acropolis Odeon to his dead wife) got him off.

The gruesome tragedy of Regilla’s death makes uncomfortable reading in a scholarly era largely preoccupied with gender and sexuality as a strategy of cultural transformation or a literary trope. Transgression, performance, subversion and play are key terms in this discourse; the gaze has displaced the blow as the primary object of concern. Sarah B. Pomeroy’s passionate account in The Murder of Regilla, following her from birth to death, is a sharp reminder of the brutally blunt edges of gender inequality. So forceful is Pomeroy’s righteous anger over her subject’s fate that it quenches nuance and largely ignores postmodern gender studies’ crucially useful insights into psychology and politics.

The path-breaking scholar who in 1975 wrote Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves, the first general feminist treatment of women in the ancient world, has not changed much with the times. Pomeroy’s reconstruction of Regilla’s life, especially her education and her relationship with her husband, seizes most of many opportunities to cast the Roman matron as a victim. Her conviction that Regilla’s life in Greece was one of cultural isolation and marital neglect closes off reasonable alternative explanations for her experience – say, that her family selected Regilla to marry a prominent Greek because she loved and was expert in Greek language and culture, that she viewed her civic works as her special contribution to the current renaissance of Greek culture in which her husband played a leading role, or that she found her husband’s affection for his distractingly attractive foster sons amusing or simply irrelevant in her busy life. For Pomeroy, the remarkable intensity of Herodes’s grief for Regilla is hypocritical at best, an elaborate cover story at worst. The truth about Regilla’s death remains unsolved.

But was Regilla murdered in the first place? If Pomeroy stands for an earlier feminist mode of doing history, then Caroline Vout represents the latest iteration of 1980s-style gender studies which started in classical scholarship with Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality. Reading eclectically across imperial historiography, epigram, satire and sculpture, Vout seeks to explain the role played by the erotic imagination in the maintenance of imperial rule. Her lively account shows how residents of the empire gained a sense of collective identity not only through oohing and aahing at massive inscriptions or dignified marbles and by passing on the latest news about war and taxes, but by sharing in jokes, gossip and fantasy about the emperor’s sex life. As our own culture of celebrity shows, speculation about the erotic experience of the rich and famous easily cuts across lines of gender, class and nation.

From this perspective, Regilla’s murder may be pure rhetorical invention. Consider Vout’s persuasive argument that Herodes Atticus is an excellent example of an ambitious member of the non-Roman elite who seeks to assume a local portion of the emperor’s global authority by imitating the imperial style. Herodes decorated his large estates with numerous images of his foster sons (Philostratus wryly reports Herodes’s fondness for statues that, snapshot-like, showed the youths “hunting, just having hunted, and about to hunt”). One Polydeuces stands out, both because of the sheer number of extant images and in their resemblance to Antinous, the moodily handsome favourite of the Emperor Hadrian. Where Pomeroy interprets the ubiquitous Polydeuces as evidence of Regilla’s marital distress, to Vout, this is proof of how the emperor’s erotic desires – or at least the visual hints he chose to drop about it – opened up avenues of assimilation for citizens across the empire. By commissioning statues of his own beautiful youth, Herodes Atticus intentionally confused himself with Hadrian and advertised his own investment in the erotic as well as the political economy of the Roman Empire. As consumers of images like these, less well-off subjects, too, were caught up in the imperial identification game.

While Vout is not concerned with exonerating Herodes, her analysis transforms the case from murder to slander. Contemporary Athenians, Philostratus tells us, worried by Herodes’s increasing power and influence, spread tales of his tyrannical leanings. Since beating pregnant wives to death was a habit associated with tyrants, could the Athenians have invented the story of Regilla’s death? Might Herodes himself have encouraged the story precisely to call attention to the resemblance between himself and an earlier Roman emperor who had murdered his wife?

Interpreting the erotic effects of images 2,000 years old is an inexact science. We may well wonder, along with Vout, whether we will ever be able to understand the degree to which sexuality is a “locally constructed” or a transcendent, “trans-historical experience of Eros”. Perhaps our best response is to hope for closer dialogue across the current scholarly divide, which would bring theoretical ballast and subtlety to Pomeroy’s pessimistic historicism; and bring to Vout’s imaginative “erotics of imperium” a deeper critical analysis of psychological guesswork and its limits, along with closer attention to the different modes of circulation and commodification that shaped the reception of sculpture, ode and satire.

It is rewarding, though, to learn from Vout how Statius’s poem in honour of Domitian’s castrated favourite Earinus, which meditates on the relationship between intimacy with the emperor and loss of masculinity, joins with Juvenal, Martial, Suetonius, Tacitus and numerous anonymous artists in charging the ruler’s body with a new erotic jolt. While Vout reflects on the political significance of stories about emperors sleeping with senators’ wives and marrying men, Pomeroy compels us to ask what Regilla would have made of all this.

Call For Papers on behalf of Robert Montgomerie, Sparta's Managing Editor,
Nottingham, UK.

"For the next issue of Sparta we would like to call for papers directed at
two very different periods of Spartan history. The first is the time of the
early Messenian Wars and the foundation of the Spartan constitution by
Lycurgus, that mysterious figure who the oracle puzzled over: I know not
whether to declare you human or divine - Yet I incline to believe, Lycurgus,
that you are a god. (Herodotus I.65)

The second period covers Sparta's dealings with the Romans and the eventual
formation of the Roman province of Macedonia, from where Achaea was
controlled. In addition papers might consider later views of Sparta held by
the Romans and other peoples after c200BC."

Deadline: December, 29, 2008
Forthcoming Issue: Volume 4 no. 1 (25th July, 2008)
Max. number of words: 3,000 - bibliography is required

Please send your article with an email entitled
sparta [at] markoulakispublications [dot] org [dot] uk

The articles will be peer-reviewed and the editorial may ask for further
ante diem v idus apriles

ludi Megalesia continue (day 6)

193 A.D. -- Septimius Severus given the rank of Augustus
afflatus @

pusillanimous @ Wordsmith

stygian @ Merriam-Webster
A pile of videos have landed in my box so y'all can have a little film festival with a Classics bent on this otherwise slow news day ...

First, one that was making the rounds of assorted Latin lists hesterno die ... Miles Gloriosus as put on by the Luna Nuova Theatro troupe ... (in Italian):

... the rest of the episodes ...

Next, and I don't know how long this will survive on line, is Michael Woods' In the Footsteps of Alexander the Great:

There are 31 parts to this one ...

Last is a trailer for a documentary (?) about Orpheus, coming out this fall:

Tragedy and Archaic Greek Thought
Conference hosted by the School of History, Classics and Archaeology at the University of Edinburgh
Friday June 13 to Sunday June 15 2008

For further information and registration please visit

Provisional Programme

Friday 13 June

Place: Old High School, Infirmary Street

4:15 Registration

5:00 Opening

5:10 Prof. Lutz Käppel (Kiel)

‘Anaximander's Fragment (12 A 9 = B 1) and the Aeschylean Concept of Guilt’

6:00 Prof. R. Seaford (Exeter)

‘Aeschylus, Heraclitus, and Pythagoreanism’

7:00 Reception

8:00 Dinner in local restaurants

Saturday 14 June

Place: Old High School, Infirmary Street

9:30 Prof. Alan Sommerstein (Nottingham)

‘Ate in Aeschylus’

10:20 Dr Fritz-Gregor Herrmann (Swansea)

‘Decision-making in Aeschylus’

11:10 Tea and Coffee

11:30 Prof. Alex Garvie (Glasgow)

‘Aeschylus' Persae and the hybris of Xerxes’

12:20 Lunch

2:00 Prof. Robert Zaborowski (Polish Academy)

‘Presocratics and Aeschylus’

2:50: Prof. Vayos Liapis (Montreal)

‘Creon the Labdacid: Spill-over of Hereditary Guilt in Sophocles’ Antigone’

3:40 Tea and Coffee

4:10 Dr Scott Scullion (Oxford)

‘Sophocles as "The Last Great Exponent of the Archaic World-View"?: Problems in the Interpretation of Oedipus the King’

5:00 Prof. Douglas Cairns (Edinburgh)

‘Dodds, Gods, and Oedipus Rex’

8:00 Dinner in local restaurants

Sunday 14 June

Place: Old High School, Infirmary Street

9:30 Dr Bill Allan (Oxford)

‘Knowledge, Intention and Responsibility in Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus and Oedipus at Colonus’

10:20 Dr Michael Lurje (Edinburgh)

‘Not to Be Born is Best’

11:10 Tea and Coffee

11:30 Prof. Michael Lloyd (Dublin)

‘The Mutability of Fortune in Euripides’

12:20 Dr Simon Trépanier (Edinburgh)

‘Entertaining Ideas: Poetry and Philosophy down to 400 B.C.’
Classicisms in the English Renaissance

A conference to be held in Cambridge, Thursday, 19 June to Saturday, 21 June, at the Centre for
Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities

For the full programme and registration details see:

This conference is planned as a workshop in association with the writing of a volume on The
English Renaissance (edited by Patrick Cheney, Penn State, and Philip Hardie, Cambridge), part of a
new 5-volume Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature (OUP). This volume will
combine the methods of traditional studies in literary influence with more recent approaches to
allusion, intertextuality, and reception, set in the wider frame of the cultural and institutional
contexts of the English Renaissance.

The speakers at the conference will include most of the contributors to the volume, an
international group numbering many of the leading scholars in the field as well as younger
scholars. The conference is intended not as an occasion for the airing of first drafts of the
chapters in the volume, but rather to promote a more general discussion of approaches and
methods. How does one do classical reception in English literature in the twenty-first century? A
particular purpose will be to bring together experts in English literature and classics in a dialogue
over the ways in which they approach texts and their contexts. The conference will be open to
other scholars and students, and we hope that it will generate wide interest in both classics and
English literature.
ante diem vi idus apriles

ludi Megalensia continue (day 5)

217 A.D. -- murder of the emperor M. Aurelius Antoninus (Caracalla)

1898 -- Birth of Maurice Bowra (The Greek Experience)

1979 -- death of E.R. Dodds (The Greeks and the Irrational)
voluble @

tremulous @ Wordsmith

anthropomorphic @ Merriam-Webster
Last week Mary Beard was commenting on the fascist origins of the Olympic Torch thing and we wanted to mention that there were some Classical connections ... a piece in the Independent gives rather more weight to the fascist side of things:

There is a two-word answer to those who think the Olympic torch is a symbol of harmony between nations that should be kept apart from politics – Adolf Hitler.

The ceremony played out on the streets of Paris yesterday did not originate in ancient Greece, nor even in the 19th century, when the Olympic movement was revived. The entire ritual, with its pagan overtones, was devised by a German named Dr Carl Diem, who ran the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Although he was not a Nazi, and was appointed to run the Olympics before the Nazis came to power, Diem adapted very quickly to the new regime, and ended the war as a fanatical military commander exhorting teenage Germans to die like Spartans rather than accept defeat. Thousands did, but not Diem, who lived to be 80.

He sold to Josef Goebbels – in charge of media coverage of the Games – the idea that 3,422 young Aryan runners should carry burning torches along the 3,422km route from the Temple of Hera on Mount Olympus to the stadium in Berlin.

It was his idea that the flame should be lit under the supervision of a High Priestess, using mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays, and passed from torch to torch along the way, so that when it arrived in the Berlin stadium it would have a quasi-sacred purity.

The concept could hardly fail to appeal to the Nazis, who loved pagan mythology, and saw ancient Greece as an Aryan forerunner of the Third Reich. The ancient Greeks believed that fire was of divine origin, and kept perpetual flames burning in their temples.

In Olympia, where the ancient games were held, the flame burnt permanently on the altar of the goddess Hestia. In Athens, athletes used to run relay races carrying burning torches, in honour of certain gods.

But the ancient Games were proclaimed by messengers wearing olive crowns, a symbol of the sacred truce which guaranteed that athletes could travel to and from Olympus safely. There were no torch relays associated with the ancient Olympics until Hitler.

The route from Olympus to Berlin conveniently passed through Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Austria, and Czechoslovakia - countries where the Nazis wanted to extend their influence. Before long, all would be under German military occupation. In Hungary, the flame was serenaded by gypsy musicians who would later be rounded up and sent to death camps.

In Berlin, the flame was carried the last kilometre along Berlin's main boulevard, by a 26- year-old runner named Siegfried Eifrig, who was watched by hundreds of thousands as he transferred the flame to a cauldron on an altar surrounded by vast Nazi flags. Eifrig, amazingly, is still alive, aged 98, and told the BBC this month that carrying the ceremony should be a purely sporting affair.

Despite its dark political overtones, the event was an unqualified success for the organisers, immortalised in a propaganda film by the Nazi director Leni Riefenstahl. The ritual has been repeated before each Olympics but not always with such organisational flair.

In Melbourne, in 1956, the 19-year-old athlete Ron Clark burnt his hand as he put the torch to the cauldron, because technicians had increased the gas flow, fearing it might not light. When the Games returned to Australia 44 years later, Clark was persuaded to do the honours again, and burnt his forearm during a rehearsal. One of the Australians taking part in the 2000 torch ceremony decided to do his stretch in a tractor instead of on foot.

Before yesterday, the flame had gone out just twice. It was extinguished by a sudden downpour in Montreal in 1976, when a worker scandalously relit it with a cigarette ligher, forgetting the pagan mystique involved; it should have been relit from a back-up torch. In 2004, it was blown out by a gust of wind. Yesterday's events pushed the number of such mishaps from two to five, making the President of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, furious.

"Violence for whatever reason is not compatible with the values of the torch relay or the Olympic Games," he said. Someone should have told Adolf Hitler.

Of course, if you really want an opening that is ancient and designed to unite the people, you should slaughter a bull and have a barbecue ...
Hmmm ... I'm still wondering about this one from Balkan Travellers:

A marble from the Parthenon in Athens is being sold on the Internet, Greek media reported.

The starting price in the bid is 50,000 US dollars, according to the Antena television station. As proof of the antique object’s authenticity, it was reported, a recording of its being stolen was offered.

The report added that while the marble’s seller is anonymous, there is information on his identity and Greek authorities were informed.

This is the latest blow to Greece’s battle to protect ancient objects from its cultural heritage. As reported in February, the country’s ministry of culture proposed a new law to regulate various rights and dispute settlements regarding the ownership of Greek cultural monuments.

Greece’s longest-lasting effort for the recovery of its cultural objects has been the dispute over the Elgin Marbles, currently owned by and displayed at the British Museum in London. The country’s newly-constructed Acropolis Museum, which is expected to open in September, was built largely in order to pressure Britain to return the pieces, so that they can be displayed just metres away from their place of origin – the Parthenon.

... doesn't seem to be on eBay ...
Folks (most recently, Dorothy King ... thanks!) keep sending me stuff about the new Dr Who series having an episode set in Pompeii, so I better mention it (I confess I've not seen the new series yet ... it's on CBC but at some strange time) ... Anyhoo, here's the incipit of a blurb in the Daily Mail:

Doctor Who and exuberant sidekick Donna team up following their successful series opener - which attracted nine million viewers - to battle it out in ancient Rome next week.

Newly released pictures show the Doctor and Donna squaring up to a series of outrageous baddies in notorious volcano hotspot Pompeii.

... and here's the most interesting of those released images:

The episode isn't up at the official website yet, but I'm sure it will be soon ...

UPDATE: not on the BBC yet, but it is at Surfthechannel ... (thanks DK again!)

UPDATE II: Nick Lowe adds:

Apologies for inflating the mailbox still further on this, but my 12-year-old excitedly points out that the new print edition of Radio Times (though not, so far as I can find, the website) confirms what has long been rumoured about the Dr Who Pompeii episode shot on the Rome sets that escaped the Cinecittà fire: that the Caecilius played by Peter Capaldi is indeed L. Caecilius Iucundus of Cambridge Latin Course fame, though billed here as a "marble merchant" rather than an argentarius - and the castlist incorporates his fictional CLC family of wife Metella and son Quintus. In the books, of course, Quintus survives the eruption while the others get pyroclasticised; it'll be interesting to see how this plays out in the TV version. Unfortunately I don't seem to be able to find a decent link for this online; Wikipedia has got hold of it (<>), but just links to an old BBC press release naming Caecilius and Metella. I expect they won't do anything terribly clever with it, but it's sweet of them to give us a nod...
Nice piece in the Daily Princetonian:

In the last week of March, we lost both Robert Goheen '40 and Robert Fagles - humanists and Princetonians who did much to shape our community.

By the time I came to Princeton in 1975, Goheen had departed. In retrospect, it's clear that he carried out a revolution. He transformed an excellent men's college with higher aspirations in a few disciplines into a coeducational university that strives for excellence in all fields. But I took this new Princeton for granted, as the young do. It was only after years here that I came to know Goheen a little bit, and to learn from others something of what he had done for the University.

Bob Fagles, by contrast, was a very active presence in my Princeton from the start. Friends who had junior positions in the comparative literature department talked about the courtesy, kindness and wisdom with which he was building the new department. Students who took courses in comp. lit. or majored in it told stories of what it meant to study with a professor who loved literature without reserve and devoted himself with extraordinary modesty and warmth to teaching students how to bring both passion and critical attention to the act of reading. As an occasional staff member in humanities courses, I came to know his translations - especially those of the Greek tragedians and the Iliad - and to appreciate the way that he could make these ancient, alien, ferociously powerful texts come blazingly alive for contemporary students.

What makes me think about them together now, though, is not so much what they achieved, great though that was, as what they shared. In the early decades of the American university system, professors didn't receive job offers. Instead, like ministers, they were "called" - and like ministers, many of them saw the positions they accepted as callings rather than mere jobs. They stayed at the same universities for decades; they did the soul-destroying administrative work; they built departments and curricula and acted as mentors to students and junior colleagues. Naturally, they cherished hopes and ambitions of their own. They sought fame of the modest kind that academics can win: as writers and teachers. But they also saw themselves as serving institutions, working to realize purposes larger than themselves.

Goheen and Fagles were rooted, in this once-normal way, in a place and a a community. They came to Princeton young: in Goheen's case, as a freshman; and in Fagles', as a young instructor. They stayed for decades. And though they cherished Princeton, they could see its faults and never lost the desire to make it better: in particular, to make it live more consistently by its own humanistic ideals. Commitment to an institution, in their terms, required being informed and critical - in a way that's hard to imagine in an age of hyper-mobile academics.

The two men had other qualities in common. All of us like our subjects, but Goheen and Fagles somehow embodied the great texts that they studied. I once heard my friend S. Georgia Nugent '73, a distinguished scholar who serves as president of Kenyon College, explain how she decided to study Greek and Latin. As a newly hatched freshman from Florida, raw and ill informed, she had no idea what she wanted to study. But then she heard Goheen address her class. She had never heard anyone speak with such clarity, such power, or such love of learning, and when she found out that he was a classicist, she knew that she had to become one too - even though she was far from certain what a classicist actually did for a living.

I had the good fortune to see Bob Fagles carry out a very similar kind of magic. With his usual generosity, he agreed to address the high school seniors who came to Princeton for its first Humanities Symposium. Frail, low-voiced, but erect as always, he talked thrillingly about what it meant to translate Homer and read aloud passages in which the violence and power of the ancient poem came back to life. Like Goheen's speech to the Class of 1973, Fagles' speech proved life-changing for more than one of the symposiasts who heard it. If we're going to preserve the humanities, we'll need new generations of humanists who live their work in this way - something hard to do in an analytical, unsentimental world.

Finally, Goheen and Fagles shared something as precious as it is rare: a particular way of dealing with others. Another great humanist who worked in Princeton, Erwin Panofsky, loved to tell this story: "Nine days before his death Immanuel Kant was visited by his physician. Old, ill and nearly blind, he rose from his chair and stood trembling with weakness and muttering unintelligible words. Finally his faithful companion realized that he would not sit down again until the visitor had taken in a seat. This he did, and Kant then permitted himself to be helped to his chair and, after having regained some of his strength, said, ‘Das Gefühl für Humanität hat mich noch nicht verlassen' - ‘The sense of humanity has not yet left me.' " Courtesy, as Kant practiced it, meant something more than simple manners: It meant adhering to the principles that make human community possible, in the teeth of the weakness and decay that affect all men and women in the end. Goheen and Fagles were both men of courtesy, in this distinctive - and humbling -sense, one that finds little obvious place in our brusque, hurried lives.

Goheen and Fagles have left us great examples. I hope that we can use them as creatively as they used the ancient traditions that they did so much to preserve.
10.00 p.m. |HINT|Engineering An Empire: Greece: Age of Alexander
438 BC. The Parthenon is complete. This masterpiece is the crowning achievement for the Greek people. Without Alexander the Great, it is possible Greece's Golden Era would have been just a footnote in history. Tens of thousands would die during Alexander's relentless attacks on Persia and Egypt, yet, his armies carried Greek life, culture and values far abroad and this empire became known as the "Hellenistic" world. Greece's amazing engineering achievements and ideas are still with us today.

HINT = History International
ante diem vii idus apriles

ludi Megalesia (day 4)

30 A.D. -- crucifixion of Jesus (one reckoning according to the astronomical estimates)

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Calliopus at Pompeiopolis

310 A.D. -- martyrdom of Peleusius at Alexandria
infovore @ Worthless Word for the Day

ebullient @ Wordsmith
From AFP:

Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi on Sunday boasted that his grasp of Latin was good enough to hold a lunchtime conversation with Julius Caesar.

The 71-year-old former prime minister, who is renowned for his high opinion of himself, told an Italian radio interviewer he had been a brilliant Latin student at school and was often chosen to speak with "illustrious guests, including cardinals".

"My Latin is good enough that I believe I could even have a lunch with Julius Caesar," he said in answer to a question about which figure in history he would most like to meet.

Berlusconi, who is leading the Italian conservatives into the country's legislative election on April 13-14, said he hesitated between Caesar and Britain's World War II statesman Winston Churchill whom he "very much admired".
From the New York Times:

In ancient times the Appian Way, which links Rome to the southern city of Brindisi, was known as the regina viarum, the queen of the roads. But these days its crown appears to be tarnished by chronic traffic congestion, vandalism and, some of its guardians grumble, illegal development.

The abundance of monuments on the Appian Way, like the tomb of Cecilia Metella, above, has not deterred unregulated growth.

“Look at this!” bristled Rita Paris, the Italian state archaeological official responsible for the Appian Way, peering through a weathered bamboo screen lining the road while bumpily maneuvering her car through a patch of uneven ancient stones. “You can bet that it was once a canopy that was walled in and transformed into a home.”

A bit farther on she fumed about a plant nursery that had become a restaurant (without planning permission), a cistern that had morphed into a swimming pool, and the new villas tacked on to ancient monuments. Several are rented out for wedding receptions or society balls, which makes for a steady stream of traffic — and occasionally, “fireworks,” Ms. Paris said with a shudder.

Considered prime real estate in ancient times, when the Romans buried their dead along tomb-lined roads outside the city walls, the Appian Way underwent a contemporary renaissance in the 1960s when Rome was known as the Hollywood on the Tiber. Italian film stars moved in en masse, although today it is mostly home to the moneyed.

But these days some residents seem indifferent to the roadway’s archaeologically rich past, said Livia Giammichele, an archaeologist who, like Ms. Paris, has been waging a campaign against denizens whom she describes as “neo-barbarians.” They “don’t always realize that they’re living in special conditions,” she said.

What especially galls the archaeologists who monitor the thoroughfare, which was begun in 312 B.C. by the censor Appius Claudius Caecus, is that several laws govern the Appian Way, at least on paper.

Although the idea of creating a public park along the roadway dates from Napoleonic times, it was only in 1965 that a 6,000-acre lot was designated for that purpose. In 1988 the Lazio region instituted the Regional Park of the Appia Antica, a crocodile-shaped green expanse in southeastern Rome.

Technically this means that the area is protected by strict laws to conserve this natural habitat. The abundance of ancient monuments, both seen (like the tomb of Cecilia Metella or the catacombs) and unseen (because they’re on private property), should also preclude unregulated development under Italian law.

The reality is more complex. The park area is vast and difficult to monitor. (In tracts leading out of the city “there are acts of vandalism almost every night,” Ms. Paris said.) And over 90 percent of the park is still private property.

Complicating the situation, three amnesties on illegal building have been approved by national governments since the early 1980s. Critics complain that condoning past abuses only encourages more illegal construction.

“You can’t build a Berlin Wall around it — that’s not the most modern solution,” said Adriano La Regina, the president of the regional park, who was formerly Rome’s top archaeologist.

Even if it could be roped off, that would not resolve the question of who’s in charge. “There are a mass of administrations and institutions involved at municipal, regional and administrative levels that can make life very complicated because they each touch on some aspect of running the park,” Mr. La Regina said. A unified purpose has yet to take shape.

If archaeologists ruled the ancient road, he declared, it would reclaim its royal status as “an extraordinary historical monument.”

Over the last few years archaeological officials have successfully lobbied the Italian Culture Ministry to have the state acquire some of the properties that have come up for sale on the Appian Way. In 2002 the state bought a large villa in an area known as the Farmhouse of Capo di Bove. Excavations in the gardens revealed the foundations of a 54-room thermal bath complex.

The villa itself was built in the 1950s, and the outside walls are coated with recovered archaeological artifacts like amphora lids, marble inscriptions and terra cotta tiles. “They shouldn’t have been able to do it but they did it,” Ms. Paris said with a shrug. It will soon house the archives of Antonio Cederna, a journalist and political activist who campaigned to preserve Italy’s heritage and was a vociferous advocate of the Appia Antica park.

More recently, the Culture Ministry acquired and is now restoring the church of Santa Maria Nova, which abuts the spectacular second-century A.D. Villa of the Quintili, about five miles from Rome’s city center. Near the church they found mosaics depicting gladiators. But work on the site stopped earlier this year when money ran out. The ministry’s budget for the Appia is about $1.5 million a year, which never goes far enough, Ms. Giammichele said.

Life on the Appian Way isn’t always easy for residents either. Paolo Magnanimi, who manages the restaurant Hostaria Antica Roma, which he says opened on the Appia in 1796, suggests that while cultural officials are right to seek protection for the neighborhood, they should be more accommodating. “They can’t always be looking at things with the eyes of a gendarme,” he said.

When his father bought the restaurant in 1982, Mr. Magnanimi argued, he gave new life to something that had been abandoned. “Controls are fine, but keep in mind that we took a monument that could have ended up in a private home and opened it to the public,” he said. “Anyone can come in and look at it — you don’t have to eat a plate of pasta.”
From the Mirror:

A drunk driver smashed his car into a tree then fled the burning wreck - dressed as a Roman gladiator.

Businessman William Bianchi, 38, who had also painted his face black, was later found by police in A&E - next to a friend dressed as Superman.

The dad of two was leaving a fancy dress bash in the early hours when he crashed his Mercedes.

He was trapped alone in the smouldering car until four passersby pulled him clear just before it burst into flames. Three rescuers took him away in a van before police arrived.

Apc who attended in Prestbury, Cheshire, said: "We expected it to be fatal."

Bianchi, of nearby Bollington, was one-and-a-half times the booze limit and told Macclesfield magistrates: "I don't remember anything."

He was convicted of drink-driving, failing to stop, and two other offences. Bianchi could be jailed when he is sentenced on April 16.
The Department of Classics at Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, invites applications for one two-year, non-renewable appointment effective September 1, 2008 subject to budgetary approval. Rank and salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

We seek an outstanding and enthusiastic scholar who has demonstrated excellence in both teaching and research. The successful applicant will have a Ph.D. or be very close to receiving the degree and will teach a full course load (2.0) at the undergraduate level in introductory courses in Latin and Greek and Roman civilization in the first year of the appointment. The opportunity exists for teaching senior undergraduate courses in the second year.

A letter of application (with current CV, a statement of research and teaching interests and any other materials candidates wish to submit for consideration) should be sent to Professor Caroline Falkner, Head, Department of Classics, John Watson Hall, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario K7L 3N6, Canada. Phone 613-533-2745; fax 613-533-6739; email classics AT Candidates should also arrange for three letters of reference to be sent to the above address under separate cover. Consideration of candidates will commence on May 1, 2008 and continue until a successful candidate is selected.

Queen's is committed to employment equity and diversity in the workplace and welcomes applications from women, visible minorities, aboriginal people, persons with disabilities, and persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity. The University invites applications from all qualified individuals; however, Canadians and Permanent Residents will be given priority. The academic staff at Queen's University are governed by a Collective Agreement between the Queen's University Faculty Association (QUFA) and the University which is posted at .

Plato in the Stoa

A workshop on Plato's legacy in Stoicism. The workshop will be held in the School of Classics,
University of St Andrews, on Saturday September 6th 2008, starting at 9.30am.

George Boys-Stones (Durham)
‘Anaxagoras’ revenge: Seneca against Plato in Letter 65’

Inna Kupreeva (Edinburgh)
‘Plato and Stoic psychology’

Alex Long (St Andrews)
‘The rehabilitation of Plato’

Malcolm Schofield (Cambridge)
‘The Laws and the Politics in Diogenes of Babylon’s music 

All are welcome. There is no registration fee for the workshop, but please contact Alex Long
( if you wish to attend.

This will be the first of two workshops on Plato’s legacy in Stoic thought. A second workshop, to
be held in April 2009, will examine the reception of Plato’s Timaeus in the Stoa.

The project is funded by the British Academy.

The Society for the Promotion of Hellenic Studies is generously providing three bursaries for
postgraduate attendance. The bursaries will contribute towards or cover the costs of travel to St
Andrews from elsewhere in the UK. Applications for these bursaries should be sent in writing to
Dr Alex Long, School of Classics, Swallowgate, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9AL. Applications should
include 1) a statement of your research interests and a short explanation of why attendance at the
workshop would benefit your research, 2) an estimate of your travel expenses and 3) a brief letter
in support of your application from your supervisor.
The deadline for applications is 15th July 2008.

Further information about travel and accommodation is available at
Digitizing Early Material Culture: from Antiquity to Modernity

A Seminar to be held in conjunction with

CaSTA (the Canadian Symposium on Text Analysis) 2008:

New Directions in Text Analysis
A Joint Humanities Computing, Computer Science Seminar and Conference at
University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, 16-18 October 2008

“Digitizing Early Material Culture: from Antiquity to Modernity” seminar will be held at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon 16 October 2008 and will feature guest speakers:
Melissa Terras, Lecturer in Electronic Communications in the School of Library, Archive and Information Studies at University College London
Lisa Snyder, Associate Director of the Experiential Technologies Centre, University of California, Los Angeles

It will be held in conjunction with CaSTA 2008–“New Directions in Text Analysis,” 17-18 August, featuring guest speakers:

David Hoover, Professor of English at New York University (keynote)

Hoyt Duggan, Professor Emeritus in English at University of Virginia

Geoffrey Rockwell, Associate Professor in Humanities Computing at University of Alberta

Cara Leitch, PhD candidate in English at University of Victoria

Call for submissions for “Digitizing Early Material Culture: from Antiquity to Modernity”

The organizing committee also invites proposals (approx. 500-700 words) from Canadian and

international scholars and practitioners working on the application of digital technology to the study of material culture up to c.1700 (computer science, archaeology, anthropology, geography, history, literature, etc.) for a pre-conference seminar on “Digitizing Early Material Culture: from Antiquity to Modernity.” Final submissions should aim to be 2,500-5,000 words in length and may address digital projects, programs of research, digital tools and practices, or theory related to the digitization of material culture to the end of the seventeenth century. Complete papers will be circulated in advance of the conference and participants (presenters and non-presenters) will sign up for and participate in two to three sessions on Thursday, 16 October, having read the complete papers (2-3 per session) in advance. Each session will comprise short introductory summaries by presenters (5-10 minutes) followed by extensive discussion of the circulated texts. Participants can expect to receive concrete and expert advice from other participants as they pool expertise (together with our invited speakers) to consider how the project, tool, or theory can be further developed toward publication or implementation.

All accepted papers will be published in the conference proceedings, which will be available subsequently through the conference Web-site. Complete papers will be published on the conference Web-site prior to the conference. Contributors to the digitizing material culture seminar will also be invited to submit papers for a planned collection on “Digitizing Early Material Culture.”

Proposal abstracts should be sent electronically as a MS Word, WordPerfect, or pdf file to:

Brent Nelson, conference committee chair, brent.nelson AT The deadline for proposal submissions is 15 May 2008, and complete papers will be due 15 September 2008
Call for submissions for “New Directions in Text Analysis”

The organizing committee of CaSTA 2008 also invites proposals from Canadian and international scholars and practitioners working in any area of technical or textual studies addressing the conference theme, “New Directions in Text Analysis.” This will be the sixth annual CaSTA conference, held in association with TAPoR (the Text Analysis Portal). The two days of the conference (17-18 October) will feature keynote and plenary addresses, papers, panels, and posters on a wide range of topics related to the future of digital text analysis. Presentations might address such topics as

• changing notions of what constitutes a text

• the relationship of the material text (its physical manifestation) to the ideal text (the text as an abstraction of words in a particular combination)

• editing and publishing digital texts for a changing readership

• new media and digital textual scholarship

• new tools and methodologies for text analysis

• digital texts and analysis in the scholarly mainstream

• working with graduate students and research teams

Abstracts of 500-700 words should propose presentations in one of three forms:

• Single papers (max of 3,000 words)

• Panels (three to five papers on a common theme)

• Posters (max of 750 words), either hard copy (approximately two square metres of board space)

or digital with terminal access provided. Posters will remain on display throughout the conference and there will be a designated session time for presenters to discuss their work. Abstract proposals should include the following information: title of paper, author's name(s); complete mailing address, including e-mail; institutional affiliation and rank, if any, of the author; statement of need for audio-visual equipment. Abstracts of papers should clearly indicate the paper's thesis, methodology and conclusion. CaSTA 2008 especially wants to encourage the participation of graduate students, whose work is even now incubating many of the new directions that this conference will begin to explore. Cara Leitch (PhD candidate, University of Victoria) will conduct sessions of particular interest to graduate students and to projects that involve significant student training and participation. Travel grants will be available to students who travel to attend the conference.

All accepted papers and posters will be published in the conference proceedings, which will be

available subsequently through the conference Web-site. Abstracts will also be published on the

conference Web-site prior to the conference. Selected papers from the conference will be included in a special issue of the peer reviewed journal, Text Technology.

Proposal abstracts should be sent electronically as a MS Word, WordPerfect, or pdf file to:

Brent Nelson, conference committee chair, brent.nelson AT The deadline for proposal submissions is 15 May 2008.

Please see the conference website for further developments:
New Perspectives on Roman Material Culture: Reinterpreting the Archaeological Record

January 8-11, 2009
Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA
Deadline: May 15, 2008

Guidelines for Submission:
Applicants should submit by e-mail attachment an abstract for consideration not exceeding 250 words. The abstracts will be judged anonymously and applicants will be notified by May 10th. All contact information should be confined to the body of the e-mail and omitted from the abstract itself.

In recent years students of Roman archaeology have increasingly recognized difficulties in interpreting material culture. Throughout twentieth century excavations, emphasis continues to be placed on monumental architecture with portable objects receiving minimal consideration. In particular, artifacts with little artistic embellishment have either been left in situ, discarded, or confined to storerooms. As such, the full potential for information that studies of complete artifact assemblages could provide has been largely unrealized.

This colloquium aims to address this issue by bringing together a group of scholars who will discuss innovative ways of dealing with the material culture of the Roman world from past and current excavations. Topics for consideration could include, but are not limited to, domestic or shipwreck assemblages, publication of small finds, reinterpretation of past archaeological analyses, formation processes, and life cycles of objects.

Please e-mail abstracts as attachments to Scott Gallimore (scg6 AT and D. Matthew Buell (dmbuell AT
Joint colloquium with Modern Greek Studies, University of Oxford

2 PM – 6.30 PM, 16 June 2008
Lecture Theatre, Classics Centre, 66 St Giles’

Constanze Guthenke ( Princeton University )
‘Inside or Outside the University? Greek Classical Scholarship After 1945’

Eleftheria Ioann id ou ( University of Oxford )
‘The Heterotopia of the Ancient Theatre: Greek Tragedy and Cultural Politics in Post-War Greece ’

Pantelis Michelakis ( University of Bristol )
‘The Tragedy of History in Theo Angelopoulos’ Travelling Players’

Dimitris Papanikolaou ( University of Oxford )
‘Popular Culture, Banal Exceptionalism and the Classical Tradition in Post-War Greece ’

Dimitris Tziovas ( University of Birmingham )
‘Meta-Classical Revisions: Modern Attitudes to the Past’

The Plenary discussion, led by Edith Hall (Royal Holloway, University of London , Co-Director APGRD) and
Oliver Taplin ( University of Oxford , Co-Director APGRD) , will be followed by a drinks reception.

APGRD, Classics Centre, University of Oxford , 66 St. Giles’, Oxford OX1 3LU . Telephone: 01865 288 210 . Email: apgrd AT
9.00 p.m. |HISTC| ROME II | Passover
In the wake of Caesar’s murder, a cauldron of contrary emotions bubble across Rome. Narrowly escaping the swords of Quintus Pompey and his henchmen outside the Senate, Mark Antony decides to flee to the north to raise an army, and makes plans to leave the city with Atia, her children, and Caesar’s widow Calpurnia. But Octavian, after learning he is heir to Caesar’s name and fortune, argues it would be best for his family to remain in Rome, and offers Mark Antony a plan. Boldly entering Servilia’s lair, Mark Antony proposes an amnesty arrangement in which Caesar will be given a statesman’s funeral, and Brutus and his Senate “liberators” will be acquitted of murder. Brutus’ acquiescence backfires following the funeral, which turns the tide of public opinion in Mark Antony’s favor. Meanwhile, a distraught Vorenus has his own funeral to arrange, but it will be done without the presence of his daughters or Niobe’s illegitimate son Lucius, on whom he has issued a curse. Driven to nearmadness, Vorenus is rescued by Pullo, who has returned to Rome with his new wife (and former slave) Eirene. Learning that Erastes has abducted Vorenus’ daughters, the two soldiers end up paying a not-so-congenial visit to the captain at the Aventine Collegium.

HISTC = History Television (Canada)
From the Times:

Hundreds of Latin and Greek enthusiasts are seeking to bury their crusty image at a festival that features a hip-hop version of 2,000-year-old verse and the opportunity of a glitzy career for classicists.

Organisers of the European Festival of Latin and Greek are trying to show that the languages are a gateway to understanding and wealth. They say advertisers and industrialists need speakers of ancient tongues to work on an increasing number of products, from perfumes to clothes, that have Latin names. “When the Chinese import a wine, for instance, they want it to evoke Europe - and that often means putting Latin on the label,” said Elizabeth Antébi, who founded the festival in Nantes. “I'm fed up with hearing that this is all elitist and does not lead to a job.”

Audi, which means “hark”, Volvo, which means “I roll” and Sony, a derivative of Sonus, or sound, are among the brands whose names have Latin roots. Another is Uterque (“both”), the shoe store chain launched last month by Zara, the fashion house.

The French festival comes amid signs of renewed interest in classics in Western Europe, according to its promoters. The number of French schoolchildren studying Latin and Greek, for instance, has stabilised at about 546,000 after years of decline.
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“Twenty years ago Latin really was a dead language,” said Marc-Olivier Girard, a teacher and an actor who is a member of the Paris Latin Circle. “It's being relaunched because people realise that it's part of our heritage. It's a monument, like the Eiffel Tower or the Tower of London. Latin circles are springing up all over the place. There are about 30 of them in Europe now.”

Mr Girard's contribution to the three-day festival was a performance yesterday in Latin of a work based loosely upon The Three Little Pigs. He said he hoped Fabella de Tribus Porcellis et de Malo Magno Lupo, which drew an audience of 200 children and adults, had shown Latin to be “living and funny”.

“I think they enjoyed it,” he said afterwards. “Some people want Latin to be the official language of the European Union. Personally, I wouldn't go that far but we must promote it.”

Much of the festival, expected to attract about a thousand people, will be taken up with discussions on how the Romans and the Greeks shaped modern Europe. “They founded all the exchanges between the peoples of Europe from Byron to Goethe,” said Mrs Antébi. There will also be games, gastronomy, music and a reading of Asterix the Gaul in Ancient Greek.

A hip-hop concert by Ista, a German group that specialises in Roman verse, is scheduled for tonight. The group will perform its version of the celebrated poem by Catullus: “Odi et amo. Quare id faciam, fortasse requiris/ Nescio, sed fieri sentio et excrucior (“I hate and I love. Why do I do it, perchance you might ask? I don't know, but I feel it happening to me and I'm burning up.”) The festival includes a “jobs corner" where business leaders have been invited to promote the idea that ancient languages can be an advantage on CVs in industries, such as tourism and advertising.

Mrs Antébi believes that filmmakers are also keen on Latin and Greek speakers. “Hollywood is recruiting people able to reconstitute Antiquity,” she said.

Fabella de Tribus Porcellis et de Malo Magno Lupo

‘Si non vis aperire portam , ego inspirabo inflabo,
sufflabo exflabo domum tuam’.
Et Lupus aer in pulmones inspiravit et tant‚ violenti‚
expiravit ut domus porcelli devastata sit et fracta sit.
A couple of petitions of interest have landed in my mailbox:

First, the news that is burning up the Classical blogosphere right now relates to the cancellation of the AP Latin Literature ... over at eNing Classics:

As many of you know, AP Latin Literature is being cancelled, although AP Vergil will remain in place for the immediate future. Please read the letter from the AP in the news section on the right and the letter from Ronnie Ancona in the Blog, and if you feel strongly about keeping the AP Latin Literature program alive and active in the United States, please add a comment to this post with your name and school affiliation attached. I will collect these in preparation for what is sure to be a counter-offensive by some of the leading lights in US Classics education. Thanks for adding your names to the list.

I believe you have to be a member to add your name to the list, but you'll be in good company!


Dear Friends,
We fell in love with Crete - its people and its landscape - 30+ years
ago. In that time we have seen many changes, some for the better some
for the worse.

As tourism becomes the mainstay of the Cretan economy, developments
are inevitable. Many are ugly, a shame but not a catastrophe. Others
may be beautiful but environmental and cultural disasters. The
current proposal for the Cavo Sidero golf resort falls in the latter
category. We know this area well because for the last two years we
have been conducting environmental and archaeological research there.
It is a museum of ancient field systems and settlements unique in
Crete. It is also home to endemic flora and fauna. The proposed golf
resort is ludicrous given the semi-desert climate and environment and
a travesty given the antiquities it will destroy and endemics it will

We have recently organized an online petition to protest the
construction of this golf resort. If you are in agreement, please
sign it and pass it on.

Please contact us if you are interested in more information on why we
are convinced this development is sadly misdirected.

The court case is now set for May 9th. Time is short.

Thank you for your consideration,
Jennifer Moody and Oliver Rackham
authors of The making of the Cretan landscape, 1996 / I Dimiourghia
tou Kritikou Topiou, 2004
The incipit of a piece from ANSA:

Venice's self-styled 'guardian angels' are set to fly back into action to stop unsightly scenes spoiling the magic of St Mark's.

''They ran into some yobs last year but managed to handle it. This time round they'll be ready to tackle anything,'' said Augusto Salvadori, head of the city council's 'urban decorum' office.

Given the success of the initiative and the boost it gave to civic pride, the angels' ranks have swollen over the winter break to include ''people from all walks of life,'' he said. The small army of unpaid 'sentinels' will ''show no hesitation in rapping tourists who fail to show Venice the respect it deserves,'' Salvadori said.

The recruits will restart patrolling St Mark's on Saturday, kitted out in a vest emblazoned with the city's lion mascot and the slogan ''Servizio per il rispetto della citta'' (''Service for respecting the city'').

Their mission is to prevent ''indecorous behaviour'' among tourists, which the city has decided includes sitting on the pavement, eating sandwiches there or going bare-chested.

''The council's battle for Venice's decorum is shared and supported by everyone,'' said Salvadori.

''It is a battle we will continue to fight, for our own dignity and in order to defend Venice's image. Sitting around criticizing is useless but taking action demonstrates a real love for Venice''.

The guardians are understanding with weary travellers wanting to rest their feet but implacable when T-shirts come off or improvised picnics began.

The volunteer army provides backup to seven female 'guardians of decorum' employed by the council to enforce rules on proper behaviour.

The women, who work for a municipal agency called Vesta, have already earned the nickname Vestali, the Italian word for the Vestal Virgins who looked after an important temple in ancient Rome.
pridie nonas apriles

ludi Megalesia (day 1 ... associated with the next item, obviously)

204 B.C. -- the image and cult of the Mater Magna (a.k.a. Cybele) is brought to Rome during the conflict with Hannibal on the advice of the Sybilline books

37 A.D. -- the ashes of Tiberius are placed in the Mausoleum of Augustus

186 (or 188) A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Septimius Bassianus (later known as M. Aurelius Antoninus Caesar; better known as Caracalla)
I confess I've never heard of this temple before ... from Granma:

THE Museum of Fine Arts Universal Art collection is exhibiting, for the first time in Cuba and in Latin America, 23 chalcographies depicting friezes from the Temple of Apollo Epicurius at Bassae, Greece, accompanied by plaster casts of three blocks of friezes, donated by the Winckelmann Institute.

The engravings, which are part of the Julio Lobo collection, were published in a limited edition in 1814 in Rome, based on drawings made on-site by the German Martin von Wagner (1777-1858).

Thanks to his audacity —because Von Wagner drew and edited without the consent of archeologists— humanity can now enjoy this exquisite sculptural art from the Classical Greek period.

A World Heritage Site since 1886, the Temple of Apollo Epicurius (he was given this surname, which can mean rescuer or liberator, either for having supported the citizens of Arcadia in their fight against Sparta, or for having protected them against the plague during the Peloponnesian War) at Bassae is one of the most-studied buildings from ancient Greece because of its uncommon characteristics.

In the first place, it is aligned in a north-south direction, in contrast to the majority of Greek temples, which are east-west. This position is owing to the very small amount of space available on the steep, narrow mountainsides. To compensate for this difficulty, the building has an opening in its east wall to let in light, which moreover illuminated the statue of its deity.

Another unique characteristic was its decor, which includes the three classic orders – Doric columns on the peristyle, Ionic in the portico and Corinthian in the interior. While its exterior is little-adorned, its interior exhibits the friezes that now, in engravings and plaster casts, may be seen in Havana, the 23 blocks with scenes of battles, Greeks against Amazons and centaurs.

The temple in honor of Apollo was planned by Ictinus, the creator of no less than the Parthenon, in Athens. The temple is believed to have been built between 450 and 425 B.C.

The location of the Temple of Apollo Epicurius was located in a mountainous area of Peloponnesia that contributed to its preservation, far away from wars and even the acid rain that is wearing down other monuments close to major cities.

While it was discovered in the 18th century, excavation did not begin until 1810 by scientists Charles Robert Cockerell and Otto Magnus von Stackelberg. More thorough investigation was done in 1836, and the oldest Corinthian capitals were revealed.

Unfortunately for Greek culture, the 23 friezes in marble were taken away by Cockerell in 1815 to the British Museum, where they are now on exhibit, together with the famous Elgin Marbles collection of friezes that were also taken away, from the Parthenon.

Since the great Greek actress Melina Mercouri was minister of culture, Greece has justly demanded their return, given they are part of the country’s heritage.

It was precisely from those originals now in London that the Winckelmann Institute in Berlin proceeded to make the plaster casts, and it made three to donate to the Dihigo Musuem of the University of Havana, which has lent them to the Museum of Fine Arts to accompany the significant exhibition of 23 engravings.

Regarding the exhibition and some explanations, we talked with María Amelia Castro, a Greek art specialist at the museum.

What kind of relations exist between the Museum of Fine Arts and the Winckelmann?

"The Winckelmann Institute for the study of classic archeology at Humboldt University in Berlin has provided us with scientific advisement for many years, not just for this exhibition, but for previous projects. We even have a great joint project – the publication of a well-reasoned catalog of the entire Lagunilla Collection, our great collection of ancient art. At the Winckelmann Institute, we carried out the entire investigation related to this exhibition; it provided us with a bibliography, viewing similar engravings, meeting with specialists. It is scientific help that goes back many years."

Tell us about the donation.

"The plaster casts are exceptionally valuable. While they are not works of art in and of themselves, they are reproduced on a scale that allows those of us who cannot travel to all of the museums in the world to appreciate the work in its original size, its main characteristics and above all its texture, in its projection. Moreover, these are not just any, commercial-type plaster casts that are made on a mass scale; their molds were taken from the originals in the 19th century, during the time that they were sold to the British Museum in London. This is something that cannot be repeated, because molds will never again be taken from those originals. The Winckelmann Institute, which possesses one of the best collections of plaster casts in Europe, has the molds, and reproduced three of these fragments for us, donated to the Faculty of Arts and Literature, which is where the plaster cast museum is. They will be used the entire time as a theoretical and technical support for the exhibition, and when it closes on May 26, they will be returned to the University of Havana’s Dihigo Museum, where they can always be studied."

It complements the exhibition…

"That’s right. We present the engravings, and with those three plaster casts, we give the public the opportunity to compare the engraving with the natural size of the fragments, and they can recognize many aspects."

A lot is owing to Von Wagner…

"The Temple of Apollo Epicurius is so unique, with such an importance and specific particularities, that of course there is a large bibliography, many publications. There are excellent photos, lithographs, everything offered by technology, but the first one to draw it, there, at the foot of the fragment, was Martin von Wagner, who later became a draftsman and a representative of King Louis of Bavaria to try to buy a fragment. Von Wagner became an important figure, a great collector, architect, engraver and painter. There is a museum named after him in Germany."

The engravings belong to the Julio Lobo Collection…

"The file with these engravings using the chalcography technique, according to the data in our archives, entered the National Museum in 1972. In effect, their origin is the National Library’s Julio Lobo Collection, which had it in its care, and probably because of its characteristics, it became part of the Museum of Fine Art’s collections. Now these engravings are going to be exhibited for the first time in Cuba, and I am sure for the first time in Latin America, because it was a limited and special edition in the early 19th century. I have seen two similar copies in very specialized libraries in Europe."

The exhibition "Engravings of the friezes from the Temple of Apollo Epicurius," in the temporary exhibition gallery on the fourth floor of the Universal Art building, may be seen from April 4 to May 26.

An interesting webpage on the temple, with excerpts from folks who have visited it, notes (inter alia):

It remained undiscovered because of its isolation, until a French architect came upon it accidentally in 1765 and brought it to the attention of the academic world; the archeological investigation were profitable but prejudicial to the integrity of the monument, that was divested of the internal architrave of the cella, with the Ionic 22 frieze’s sculptured plates (with the Centauromachy and the Amazonomachy, maybe sculpted by Kallimachos), acquired in 1814 by order of the future king George IV of England and transferred to the British Museum with the oldest Corinthian capital. It was restored in 1902 and in 1965 and is now entirely shored up and covered by a tent (the restoration and consolidation works continue), because its critical state.

William Safire writes at the OUP Blog:

Who was the first blogger?

Hundreds of weblog pioneers will compete for that title, and it will be interesting to see who they will consense upon. (As a language columnist, I feel free to coin a neologism now and then; “consense” is a verb that can replace “form a consensus”. Not the opposite of “nonsense”.)

In the search for the Grand Originator, bloxicographers should not limit themselves to finding the first to use the Internet. “Blogging”, as it will be understood, is broader than “creating a weblog to express a personal opinion and/or to establish an information community.” Although the word “blogosphere” was coined in 1999 by Brad L. Graham “as a joke” and re-minted in all seriousness in 2002 by William Quick with his Daily Pundit, we ought to dig more deeply to place blogging in the great scheme of human communication. That means we should reach back in history to find the person who first popularized the idea of influencing the world by using some medium to get across his ideas to large groups.

The first to suggest a nominee is Joseph Felcone, an antiquarian bookseller in Princeton N.J.. In his most recent catalogue of books for sale, he lists under the headline “The First Blogger?” a book by Plinius Caecilius Secundus, Gaius, better known to all of us as Pliny the Younger, a consul of the Roman empire. The book (a 1518 edition of which, lightly dampstained on a few leaves, is offered for 1400 depreciating U.S. smackers) is titled “Epistolarum libri X. Panegyricus”. We all recognize “epistle” as a letter; according to the Oxford English Dictionary, panegyricus is a “public eulogy”. Thus, young Pliny’s book, one of nine he published between A.D. 99 and 109, would be titled if published today: “Letters in Praise of Great Friends”. The bookseller notes that this Roman consul commented “on political events, social life in Rome and the provinces, and the domestic events of the day. Some letters are paeans of praise for particular friends, whereas others are requests for support of his own agenda…Unlike many of the existing letters of Cicero, Pliny’s letters were intended for public consumption, and are well-crafted from a literary perspective.”

Is this not the definition of the pre-blogger, especially one touting a particular candidate for office or seeking support for his own altruistic ideas or nefarious schemes? Pliny the Younger (son of Pliny the Elder, who ventured too close to the mouth of Mt. Vesuvius) deserves consideration for the title of “First Blogger”.

Others commenting on this OUP blog will put forward the abovementioned Cicero, who preceded the Plinys by a century, famed for his denunciation in the Senate of an assassination conspiracist: “You are not, O Cataline, one whom either shame can recall from infamy, or fear from danger, or reason from madness.” Tough criticism, making today’s sparring between Obama and Clinton look tame, but limited to listeners in the Forum and not disseminated to the wider public — the sine qua non of the blogosphere.

Bloxicographers and blogymologists around the world and elsewhere are invited to comment on my choice and submit their own choices for “first blogger”. By virtue of their participation and scholarship, they will be consider “superbloggers” and their votes will be dispositive no matter who else marshals popular votes for Mulliganicus.
There are those who will complain “who are you, Safire the language columnist, to select the first blogger when you don’t even have a blog, and when you have not even found the ‘first columnist’?”

The fact is, I have. His name is Simeon Stylites the Elder. According to the OED, a stylite was “an ascetic who lived on the top of a pillar”. (Greek “stylos” means “pillar”.)The sainted Simeon the Elder took up residence atop a column in Syria in AD 423. He remained atop that column and others for 37 years, each loftier and narrower than the preceding; his final column was 66 feet high.

Simeon the Elder stood day and night, leaning on a rail, dependent for food on what his disciples (and presumably the Younger) brought him by ladder. He preached sermons to those gathered around his column, who then went out and spread his pastoral teachings. Other columnists took up his technique and were also called stylites. He was the subject of a poem by Tennyson, concluding with “I, Simeon, The watcher on the column till the end.”

That was the first columnist. Now it’s up to you guys: who was the first blogger?

Well, my vote would be for the 'father of Roman Satire': Lucilius ... an excerpt from the Wikipedia article on same pretty much cinches the deal, near as I can tell:

Further, he not only created a style of his own, but, instead of taking the substance of his writings from Greek poetry, or from a remote past, he treated of the familiar matters of daily life, of the politics, the wars, the administration of justice, the eating and drinking, the money-making and money-spending, the scandals and vices, which made up the public and private life of Rome in the last quarter of the 2nd century BC. This he did in a singularly frank, independent and courageous spirit, with no private ambition to serve, or party cause to advance, but with an honest desire to expose the iniquity or incompetence of the governing body, the sordid aims of the middle class, and the corruption and venality of the city mob. There was nothing of stoical austerity or of rhetorical indignation in the tone in which he treated the vices and follies of his time.

His character and tastes were much more akin to those of Horace than of either Persius or Juvenal. But he was what Horace was not, a thoroughly good hater; and he lived at a time when the utmost freedom of speech and the most unrestrained indulgence of public and private animosity were the characteristics of men who took a prominent part in affairs. Although Lucilius took no active part in the public life of his time, he regarded it in the spirit of a man of the world and of society, as well as a man of letters. His ideal of public virtue and private worth had been formed by intimate association with the greatest and best of the soldiers and statesmen of an oldergeneration.

Any other suggestions?
From Kathimerini:

Crete’s fabled Minoan civilization was built by people from Anatolia, according to a new study by Greek and foreign scientists that disputes an earlier theory that said the Minoans’ forefathers had come from Africa.

The new study – a collaboration by experts in Greece, the USA, Canada, Russia and Turkey – drew its conclusions from the DNA analysis of 193 men from Crete and another 171 from former neolithic colonies in central and northern Greece.

The results show that the country’s neolithic population came to Greece by sea from Anatolia – modern-day Iran, Iraq and Syria – and not from Africa as maintained by US scholar Martin Bernal.

The DNA analysis indicates that the arrival of neolithic man in Greece from Anatolia coincided with the social and cultural upsurge that led to the birth of the Minoan civilization, Constantinos Triantafyllidis of Thessaloniki’s Aristotle University told Kathimerini.

“Until now we only had the archaeological evidence – now we have genetic data too and we can date the DNA,” he said.
From the Telegraph:

Professor Nicolas Coldstream, who has died aged 80, was a leading scholar of Greek archaeology and one of its greatest teachers.

His work on the Early Iron Age in Greece, Crete and Cyprus and on the impact of Greek civilisation on the Mediterranean world broke new ground and had a huge influence on generations of scholars. His magnum opus, Greek Geometric Pottery (1968), a painstaking work of description, classification, chronology, and attribution of geometric pottery styles from the entire Greek world, became the ultimate reference work for anyone studying the Geometric period.

But Coldstream did not confine himself to issues of classification, placing his account of pottery design within a historical context. He developed the historical dimension further in Geometric Greece (1977), which remains the standard work on a period which saw the rise of the great Panhellenic sanctuaries, the evolution of the Greek city state, the composition of the Homeric poems and the colonisation by Greek settlers of southern Italy and Sicily.

As a field archaeologist Coldstream conducted excavations at Knossos, at Motya in Sicily (where he studied Greek imports of the 8th century BC), and on the Aegean island of Kythera where, with George Huxley, he led excavations at a putative Cretan colony at the port of Kastri in Palaiopolis. Although he never made any sensational discoveries, his thorough, systematic approach and his ability to synthesise the knowledge based on archaeological finds into a coherent and readable account greatly added to the scholarship of ancient Greece.

As a writer and lecturer Coldstream ranged widely and, although it was for his work on the 9th and 8th centuries BC that he became famous, he took an interest in periods from the Minoan and Protogeometric to the Orientalising and Archaic. His inaugural lecture at Bedford College, where he was appointed lecturer in 1960, was on Aegean religion; and he also wrote or lectured on such diverse subjects as hero cults, nature goddesses, architecture, Homeric epic, the Aristotelian polis, the invention of the Greek alphabet and social status.

At Bedford College, and later at University College London, where he was appointed Yates Professor of Classical Art and Archaeology in 1983, his lectures, always witty, illuminating and jargon-free, attracted students from other universities who, when queried on their attendance would often admit: "We just don't get anything like this."

He encouraged his students to acquire a disciplined and thorough familiarity with the full range of Greek archaeological material as their starting point, and many went on to make notable careers as scholars of Greek and Minoan archaeology and civilisation.

Coldstream tended to view changes in pottery and other design as a reflection of changing taste and fashion or as a matter of individual choice. This brought him some criticism from proponents of a more ideological "New Archaeology" looking for deeper social or economic explanations. But, as Coldstream's admirers tended to point out, this was unfair - not least because, without his painstaking works of description, classification, chronology and so on, the theoreticians would have had little on which to construct their theories. Moreover, although he himself never strayed into the ideological - always emphasising the "provisional" nature of his interpretations - he encouraged his students to develop their own theoretical or methodological approaches.

John Nicolas Coldstream was born on March 30 1927 at Lahore, in what was then British India, where his father, Sir John Coldstream, was serving as a judge. After Eton and National Service in the Buffs and the Highland Light Infantry in Egypt and Palestine, he went up to King's College, Cambridge, to read Classics, graduating in 1951.

After four years teaching at Shrewsbury School, he worked for a year as a temporary assistant keeper at the British Museum's department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, where he published his first monograph, An Etruscan Neck-Amphora, in 1958. By now fascinated by the archaeology of the Mediterranean world, he went on to carry out research into Geometric pottery as a Macmillan Student at the British School at Athens from 1957 to 1960. He published the results of his first excavation, A Geometric well at Knossos, in 1960.

After six years as a lecturer at Bedford College, London, in 1966 he became a reader, and in 1975 Professor of Aegean Archaeology. He remained at Bedford until his appointment to the chair at UCL in 1983. He retired in 1992.

Though in many ways Coldstream was an archetypal dignified English gentleman, he was totally unstuffy and unsnobbish, and was as happy travelling by bus or mucking in with student communal life on a dig as he was being feted by academies and embassies. A talented pianist, he took an unaffected pleasure in life and got on particularly well with children, treating them with the same seriousness or humour that they themselves showed him.

He served as a member, and chairman from 1987 to 1991, of the managing committee of the British School at Athens and edited the school's Annual from 1968 to 1973. He went on to become vice-president of the school. He died on March 21, shortly before it was due to hold a celebration to mark the publication of a second edition of Greek Geometric Pottery.

Coldstream enjoyed a high reputation abroad, and was a member or honorary member of academies and institutes around the world. He was elected a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in 1964 and of the British Academy in 1977. In 2003 he was awarded the academy's Sir Frederick Kenyon Medal for Classical Studies.

Nicolas Coldstream married, in 1970, Nicola Carr, an eminent historian of medieval architecture and art, who survives him.
A number of folks have sent this one in from the New York Times:

Consider the galley slave, clad in rags, chained to a hardwood bench and clinging to an oar as long as a three-story flagpole. A burly man with a whip walks back and forth shouting encouragement. You’ve seen the movie.

EARTHMOVER Archimedes said he could move the Earth if given a place to stand.

That galley slave would have known that the rowing stations in the middle of the ship were best, although he might not have known why. That took scholars to figure out. “Think of the oar as a lever,” Prof. Mark Schiefsky of the Harvard classics department said. “Think of the oarlock as a fulcrum, and think of the sea as the weight.”

The longer the lever arm on the rower’s side of the fulcrum, the easier to move the weight. In the middle of the ship, as the rowers knew, the distance from hands to oarlock was longest.

This explanation is given in Problem 4 of the classical Greek treatise “Mechanical Problems,” from the third century B.C., the first known text on the science of mechanics and the first to explain how a lever works. It preceded, by at least a generation, Archimedes’ “On the Equilibrium of Plane Figures,” which presented the first formal proof of the law of the lever.

Dr. Schiefsky teaches Greek and Latin as his day job and reads Thucydides and Sophocles in ancient Greek for fun. He also majored in astronomy as an undergraduate, and about nine years ago, feeling science-deprived, he joined a multinational research endeavor called the Archimedes Project, based at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin.

The Archimedes team studies the history of mechanics, how people thought about simple machines like the lever, the wheel and axle, the balance, the pulley, the wedge and the screw and how they turned their thoughts into theories and principles.

The textual record begins with “Mechanical Problems,” moves to Rome and then through the medieval Islamic world to the Renaissance. It ends, finally, with Newton, who described many of the basic laws of mechanics in the 18th century.

There are a surprising number of old, and extremely old, scientific texts that have survived the ravages of time in one form or another. The Archimedes Web site lists far more than 100, including Euclid’s geometry, Hero of Alexandria’s Roman-era technical manual on crossbows and catapults, medieval treatises on algebra and mechanics by Jordanus de Nemore and Galileo’s 17th-century defense of a heliocentric solar system.

The nice thing for Dr. Schiefsky is that hardly anyone reads the stuff. Scientists generally are not into ancient Greek or Latin, let alone Arabic, and most of Dr. Schiefsky’s colleagues work on literature, philosophy, philology or archaeology. In fact, Dr. Schiefsky suggests “about 100 people” worldwide work on both science and the classics.

By following the historical record, the Archimedes researchers have discovered that the evolution of physics — or, at least, mechanics — is based on an interplay between practice and theory. The practical use comes first, theory second. Artisans build machines and use them but do not think about why they work. Theorists explain the machines and then derive principles that can be used to construct more complex machines.

The Archimedes researchers say that by studying this dialectic they can better understand what people knew about the natural world at a given time and how that knowledge may have affected their lives.

“What do you do when you want to weigh a 100-pound piece of meat and you don’t have a 100-pound counterweight?” Dr. Schiefsky asked. “You use an unequal-armed balance, with a small weight on the long arm and the meat on the short arm.”

The uneven balance, known as a steelyard, is a kind of lever, and Dr. Schiefsky notes that it has a cameo in Aristophanes’ “Peace,” a comic fantasy about ending the Peloponnesian War. When a furious arms dealer cannot figure out what to do with a surplus war trumpet, Trygaeus, the central character, suggests pouring lead in the bell to make a steelyard.

Referring to the mouthpiece, Trygaeus says, “Attach at this end a scale-pan hung on cords, and you’ll have the very thing to weigh out figs to your servants out in the country.”

One reason why Archimedes scholars find mechanics so attractive is that devices like the steelyard and lever have such long histories. “Practitioners knew about the lever long before the development of scientific theory, pretty much since the origin of civilization,” Dr. Schiefsky said. At some point, theorists decided that the phenomena had to be explained. “It was an accident,” Jurgen Renn, a lead investigator for the Archimedes Project, said in a telephone interview from Berlin. “In China and Greece, you get many urban centers with vigorous debate. In China, the tradition dies out with Confucianism and the formation of empires. It is legitimized in the West by Aristotle.”

“Mechanical Problems” arrived in the modern world along with Aristotle’s works. In fact, it was thought for centuries that Aristotle wrote it. “Most scholars discount that now,” Dr. Schiefsky said. Aristotle cast wide theoretical nets, he added, while “Mechanical Problems” “is much more focused.”

The author of “Mechanical Problems,” Dr. Schiefsky said, clearly knew about Aristotle and adopted his matter-of-factness to describe a seemingly intractable dilemma in neat, practical terms. Problem 3 describes the lever’s property.

“For it seems strange that a great weight is moved by a small force,” the author wrote. “For the very same weight, which a man cannot move without a lever, he quickly moves by taking in addition the weight of the lever.”

Problem 4 is the oarsmen, demonstrating the principle in a different context. The oarsmen sit in a row from stern to bow. The oars are the same length, but the distance between hands and oarlock, the lever arm, is longer amidships, because the ship is wider there. The midships oarsmen exert less force than their bow or stern co-rowers to move the same weight of water. Conversely, if the midships oarsmen row as hard as the others, they will move a greater weight of water and contribute more to the ship’s movement.

Although the author of “Mechanical Problems” certainly understood how a lever worked, it was Archimedes who described the precise relationship between the weights and their distances from the fulcrum.

“He made this into a fundamental principle of theoretical mechanical knowledge that could be used by practitioners,” Dr. Schiefsky said. Classical tradition credits Archimedes as having said, “Give me a place to stand, and I will move the Earth.”

“And the principle,” Dr. Schiefsky added, “is that there is a proportionality between the force and the load, no matter how big the load. This is an intellectual transformation.”

In the Middle Ages, the Arab world was a source for new scientific knowledge, as well as the custodian for much classical tradition, translated from Greek into Arabic beginning in the ninth century. By the 13th century, Western scholastics translated Aristotle from Arabic into Latin.

“Mechanical Problems” arrived later in the Renaissance, along with Greek copies of Aristotle’s works, rediscovered in libraries, monasteries and other Middle East repositories. It inspired many commentaries by Renaissance scholars and was read by Galileo and other theorists. Indeed, “Mechanical Problems” is in many respects as useful today as it was 2,500 years ago, as anyone who has twiddled the weights on a health club scale can attest.

Or consider the New York Athletic Club rowing coach, Vincent Ventura, a close student of Problem 4, even though he has never read it: “It’s different for our people, because the length of the oar to the oarlock is the same no matter where you sit in the boat. Everybody pulls the same weight,” he said in a telephone interview. Still, “once in a while we might shorten oar for a guy who’s not as big as the others.”
From the New York Times:

Robert F. Goheen, who as president of Princeton revolutionized the university by admitting its first women, pursuing minority faculty members, buttressing finances and doubling the space in campus buildings, died on Monday in Princeton, N.J. He was 88.

The cause was heart failure, Cass Cliatt, a Princeton spokeswoman said.

In November 1956, Dr. Goheen was as surprised as most of academia when he was chosen at 37 to be the youngest Princeton president since the Revolutionary War. An assistant classics professor, he had thought the trustees wanted to speak with him about what younger faculty members wanted in a new president. Instead, they unanimously elected him to the job.

In an interview with The New York Herald Tribune on June 30, 1957, the day before he assumed the presidency, Dr. Goheen emphasized that he intended to preserve individualized instruction.

“The thoughtful, creative minds which we require in numbers in all important aspects of our national life cannot be mass produced,” he said.

But buildings can. Dr. Goheen would eventually build or acquire 38 buildings, increasing the university’s indoor square footage by 80 percent. He quadrupled the budget, doubled alumni giving and increased the number of faculty members by 40 percent.

The university changed fundamentally under Dr. Goheen’s leadership, going from an establishment cradle to a diversified and complex research university. He attacked the exclusivity of the eating clubs, even opening one to be run by the university. He hired Princeton’s first black administrator and first black full professor and aggressively recruited promising minority students.

Dr. Goheen opposed coeducation in 1965 but said four years later that necessity mandated it. “I was just plain wrong in 1965,” he said “It’s no use pretending you’re not wrong when you are.”

He explained that Princeton was losing excellent male applicants, not to mention brilliant young women. But he first laid the groundwork by increasing the size of the faculty so that more undergraduates would not mean larger classes.

He weathered the protests, the rebellion and the confusion that swept higher education in the 1960s, using humor and urging civilized debate. He had little use for angry protest, even when he agreed with the protesters, as he ultimately did with critics of the Vietnam War.

Robert Francis Goheen was born on Aug. 15, 1919, in Vengurla, India, where his parents were medical missionaries.

At 15, he moved to the United States to attend the Lawrenceville School in New Jersey. At Princeton, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and won its top academic prize. He completed a year of graduate work in the classics before enlisting in the Army in 1941. He served in intelligence in the War Department, then in the infantry in the South Pacific, receiving the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star.

He received his Ph.D. from Princeton in 1948 while working as a part-time instructor. He became a full-time instructor and then an assistant professor.

Beginning in 1963, Dr. Goheen was also director of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowships, which encourage young scholars to pursue academic careers, helping to persuade the Princeton trustees of his administrative competence.

Dr. Goheen wrote “The Imagery of Sophocles’ Antigone” (1951), which was widely and well reviewed. On his retirement in 1972, Dr. Goheen became president of the Council on Foundations. In 1977, he was appointed United States ambassador to India, where he served until 1980. In 1981, he became a senior fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs of Princeton University.

Dr. Goheen is survived by his wife of 66 years, the former Margaret Skelly; his daughters Anne Goheen Crane of Ridgewood, N.J.; Trudi Goheen Swain of Amherst, Mass.; Megan Goheen Lower of Baltimore; and Elizabeth Goheen of Princeton; his sons Stephen, of Corvallis, Mont., and Charley, of Wellesley, Mass.; 18 grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.

When the Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, early in his tenure as president of Notre Dame, asked Dr. Goheen in 1952 how his school, much the same size as Princeton, could go about getting Princeton’s reputation for scholarship, Dr. Goheen answered, "First, fire the football coach."
From the Burlington Free Press:

The University of Vermont's classics department will host about 1,000 high school students for the 32nd annual Vermont Latin Day, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 11 in Patrick Gymnasium.

The theme this year, "Urbs Roma: Myths and Monuments of the Eternal City" embraces all aspects of the city of Rome from history to topography to mythology.

Students will perform skits featuring tales of the founding stories of Rome and events of its later history and create displays studying the intricacies of how Rome was built, exploring famous buildings and the stories behind them, the architecture and construction that made them possible and the archaeology that preserves them.

Other events include ceremonial Latin greetings and response, singing, and written competition covering grammar, vocabulary, Greek and Roman history, literature, geography, art and mythology.

Special awards will be presented for best costumes, the largest delegation of students, the highest per capita Latin enrollment, sight translation test winners and others.
From the Oxford Mail:

Archaeologists working in Oxford city centre have unearthed bones that could be more than 2,000 years old.

A team of archaeologists has been excavating a site between St Giles and Blackhall Road since mid January - and last week the diggers struck bone, uncovering what could be a mass grave.

Seven bodies, believed to date to the Roman or Saxon period, have been found at the site.

Sean Wallis, project officer for Reading-based Thames Valley Archaeological Services, said "The whole of the site has been quite dense with archaeology but the area that the bodies turned up we only started on last week.

"We've got legs and arms and torsos at the moment but we haven't got any full skeletons.

"We are speculating they could be Roman but there is a chance they may be from a later date."

The dig is part of planning requirements for the construction of a new quadrangle for St John's College.

UPDATE: The bodies are (as of April 6) believed to come from the Saxon period ...
From a press release:

Glen Bowersock, D.Phil., an internationally respected historian on Greek, Roman and Near Eastern history and culture, will give the Biggs Lecture in the Classics for the Assembly Series. The talk, "Globalization in Late Antiquity," is scheduled at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 10, in Steinberg Hall Auditorium on the Danforth Campus at Washington University in St. Louis.

Bowersock is professor emeritus of ancient history in the School of Historical Studies at the Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) in Princeton, N.J. He served as professor of ancient history at IAS from 1980 until his retirement in 2006. He came to IAS after a distinguished career at Harvard University (1962 to 1980), where he served as chairman of the classics department and associate dean of the faculty of arts and sciences.

His research interests include the Greek East in the Roman Empire and Late Antiquity, as well as pre-Islamic Arabia.

He received a bachelor's from Harvard University in 1957. After earning bachelor's and master's degrees from Oxford University, he was awarded a doctorate from Oxford in 1962 as a Rhodes Scholar.

He has written or edited more than a dozen books and published nearly 300 articles. His books include "Greek Sophists in the Roman Empire" (1969), "Julian the Apostate" (1978), "Roman Arabia" (1983), "Fiction as History" (1994), and "Martyrdom and Rome" (2002). He co-edited "Late Antiquity: A Guide to the Postclassical World," published in 1999 to wide critical acclaim.

He has received numerous awards recognizing his scholarship and contributions to his field. In 2004, he was named a Chevalier, or Knight, of the Legion d'Honneur (Legion of Honor), one of France's most prestigious awards and the country's highest civilian honor. In 1992, he received the James H. Breasted Prize from the American Historical Association for his book "Hellenism in Late Antiquity" (1990).

He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Institut de France and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

As the Biggs Resident in the Classics, he will spend a week interacting with students and faculty. The Biggs Residency is a gift from John and Penelope Biggs, alumni of Washington University.

The event is free and open to the public. Steinberg Hall is the middle of three buildings located at the corner of Skinker and Forsyth on the Washington University Danforth Campus.
From Reuters via Yahoo:

In one of his books, Italian archeology professor and novelist Valerio Massimo Manfredi recounts his elation of the moment when as a university student he started reading the Odyssey in ancient Greek.

"As soon as I read the Odyssey I left for a trip around Greece with a friend, almost without money and with lots of enthusiasm. The last five days we lived on bread and raisins that a man there gave us. It was great," Manfredi said in an interview at his house near Modena, in northern Italy.

"Reading the Odyssey allowed me to read the greatest novel of all times. After, I don't think much was invented."

Manfredi gained international acclaim in 1998 with his trilogy on Alexander the Great, which was translated into 32 languages.

The author of 13 novels, which have sold 7 million copies, Manfedi has also written screenplays. Two of his novels have been made into films, including "The Last Legion," starring Colin Firth.

Q: Your last novel, "The Lost Army," which will come out in English in October, is based on Xenophon's Anabasis, the tale of the 10,000 Spartans who fought their way home from the middle of the Persian empire in 401 B.C. Why did you choose this story?

A: When I read it for the first time in high school I was fascinated by their route. And as a young professor I found that no one had ever covered it all. Only partial reconnaissance had been made. So I made three great expeditions. I worked seven years on it and wrote a commented translation of Anabasis and a book called the Road of the 10,000 in which I reconstruct their route step by step.

Q: In The Lost Army for the first time you chose a woman, Abira, as the narrator. Why?

A: First of all because Anabasis is a wholly male story. Secondly because it's a long and narrow story. And Xenophon, as was characteristic at the time, writes in an extremely detached way. He's moved only a couple of times. Instead, because this story must have been emotionally extremely powerful, it deserved an emotional literary telling. So I believe a female point of view was more appropriate and allowed to filter from the outside a story of such extreme and also have a vision on all the collateral effects that Xenophon was not interested in.

As William Woodthorpe Tarn said, "If the feat of the 10,000 was extraordinary, that of the women who accompanied them was incredible." There were these young prostitutes that followed them, probably rented slaves, but from the few occasions in which they are described (in the Anabasis) there's room to believe that they had established a rapport with these young warriors, and that's beautiful and moving.

Q: Your next book, "Ides of March," deals with the last three days of Julius Caesar. What made you come back to a Roman theme?

A: I'm fascinated by the idea of this crucial moment for humanity with this man who could have changed radically the history of the world. Just think of his project to romanize Germany and the Middle East. This would have completely changed the history of Europe. Maybe we would not have had two World Wars. And think about a deeply romanized and Hellenized Middle East, what would Islam have been able to do?

Q: Any advice for aspiring writers?

A: A great idea first of all. An important idea. Literature proceeds by emotions, so a great story is important. And then write it in the best way possible. So you need a great culture and preparation and to have read and studied a lot.

Still to this day when I walk into a book store I can't explain it to myself, I keep saying, how did I do it? I convinced (publisher) Mondadori to publish a book I had not written. I went with an idea and met the publisher. He was quite irritated when he realized I was there to talk about just an idea. I understood I had only five minutes to convince him he could not miss this book. So I told him the plot like a screenplay. And when he asked me to sit down and offered me a coffee I knew I had him.

I could not believe it when I held my first published book in my hands. It's moving. Even today when the publisher gives me the newly published book I'm moved.
From the Telegraph:

Rome's ancient monuments are so poorly guarded that tourists are taking away mementos of their visit to the Eternal City with impunity.

Archaeologists said yesterday that Trajan's Forum, in the heart of the city's classical ruins, had been stripped of all the fragments of statues and shards of amphorae that adorned the site until recently.

To highlight the problem, a reporter from Il Messaggero newspaper carried away large boxes full of ancient artefacts during the daytime without being challenged.

An archaeologist working at the site, who asked not to be named, said: "Everything has been taken from Trajan's Forum. The close-circuit television cameras are pointless, and the gates are practically non-existent. Even a child could climb over them.

"The treasures of ancient Rome are very vulnerable, but there are lots of gaps in the security system of one of the most important archaeological areas in the world." He added that he had often seen people in restricted areas, collecting keepsakes.

The newspaper blamed the 20 million tourists who pass through the city each year for the looting. "Who knows how many of these small fragments now adorn living rooms all over the world?" it said.

The forum was built in AD 112, followed by Trajan's Column in the following year. The whole area is currently undergoing reconstruction, including the insertion of a raised walkway for tourists.

"This is an open-air museum," said Eugenio La Rocca, the head of Rome's cultural heritage authority.

"You have to bear in mind that we cannot cover every angle, especially since restoration work is going on. We cannot put bunkers of guards everywhere. If we did the whole of Rome would be a giant bunker.

"However, the area is closed off and the television monitoring system is connected to a cabin staffed by guards. It is also connected to the police."

Mr La Rocca said the most valuable artefacts were fully catalogued and carefully stored away in warehouses.
Interesting item from the Independent:

It still bears its thrilling ancient name, and the antique ruins on the Palatine Hill, the heart of ancient Rome and home of the Caesars, still gaze down upon it. But now it takes a feat of the imagination to see Circus Maximus as it must have been in its pomp.

Today it is little more than a long, narrow park, 340 metres in length, with a small archeological dig fitfully in progress at its south-eastern end. It can still hold a crowd: Genesis played a free concert here last year, and Bob Geldof persuaded Rome's mayor, Walter Veltroni, to let him use it for the Italian leg of the Live-8 spectacular in 2005. The rest of the time it is the haunt of dog-walkers, joggers and the occasional conceptual artist.

But 2,000 years ago this was the most exciting spot in the city. Long before the building of the Colosseum, crowds in their hundreds of thousands packed the stands to watch 12 teams of charioteers scorch the earth. Gladiators and wild animals fought in mortal combat, and the central arena was often flooded so miniature triremes could battle it out for the Romans' delight. If a particularly large number of people had to be crucified, Circus Maximus was the obvious place to do it.

The strip's last big show was in AD549. Then the Barbarians arrived and laid it to waste, and for the next millenium and a half it was no more than a very large allotment with a fancy name.

But now, after the centuries of neglect and years of debate and campaigning, Circus Maximus is finally to get some attention. Beginning on 20 June, the city's archeological authorities are to begin a careful and respectful restoration.

Eugenio La Rocca, Superintendent of Rome and lecturere in archeology at Rome's Sapienza University, said: "We are trying to realise the old dreams that Rome has maintained from the 19th century up to the present. We will do our best to restore this site, which was of the utmost importance in our history.

"[Emperor] Tarquin drained the site 2,500 years ago, but it was Julius Caesar in 46 BC who erected the first buildings here, which were consumed by fire in AD64. With the Emperor Trajan, the performances began to assume the wondrous proportions that we only know today from films."

Professor La Rocca stressed that he will not be attempting to restore the Circus to its former glory. "We will clean up the whole site to make it practicable and legible, and give it a simple curved enclosure," he said. During chariot races the long track was divided by a raised spine of beaten earth, and this is one element the authorities plan to recreate.

They will also continue excavating, with greater urgency. Despite the fame of the Circus, Professor La Rocca told La Repubblica newspaper, "Paradoxically we have little information about it. Pliny claimed it could hold 250,000 spectators but others said 150,000, which seems much more likely." Treasures recovered from the Circus and other sites will eventually find a home in a new Museum of the City of Rome, to be built a few steps away.
The incipit of a piece at the Breeze:

Starting this fall, students can learn to read the works of Aristotle and Plato in their original form with the re-introduction of the Greek language into the foreign languages department.

“Today we cannot survive in this world without a foreign language,” said Giuliana Fazzion, the foreign languages and literatures department head.

Following the retirement of the Greek professor in the early ’90s, Greek disappeared from JMU. It will be reintroduced by Dr. Michael Allain, who taught the 101 course from ’86-’88.

Fazzion said the reinstatement of Greek into the course catalog was a collaborative effort of the departments of philosophy and religion, history, and foreign languages, literatures and cultures.

The department of philosophy and religion wanted to expand the language opportunities in its classical studies minor from just Latin, according to Fazzion. Greek is the basis for understanding the most influential thinkers including Aristotle, Plato, Socrates and Epicurus.

Greek 101 will be offered in the fall followed by the addition of Greek 102 in spring ’09.

“Students will have the chance to ‘meet’ Plato and all the great Greek authors,” Fazzion said. “They have been the basis of our civilization.”
I'm just emerging from some router/wireless modem problems (hence the silence) and am now working through the backlog ... to make up for it, here's something I just came across ... it's Layla in Latin ... with Layla changed to Clodia: