This just in from the Guardian:

Women in Ancient Greece were major power brokers in their own right, researchers have discovered, and often played key roles in running affairs of state. Until now it was thought they were treated little better than servants.

The discovery is part of an investigation by Manchester researchers into the founders of Mycenae, Europe's first great city-state and capital of King Agamemnon's domains.

'It was thought that in those days women were rated as little more than chattels in Ancient Greece,' said Professor Terry Brown, of the faculty of life sciences at Manchester University. 'Our work now suggests that notion is wrong.'

Mycenae is one of the most important and evocative archaeological sites in Europe. According to legend, Agamemnon led his armies from Mycenae to Troy to bring back Helen - the wife of his ally, Menelaus - who had run off with the Trojan prince Paris.

The citadel was first excavated in the 1870s by Heinrich Schliemann, who uncovered tombs containing crumbling bones draped with jewels and gold face masks. 'I have discovered the graves of Agamemnon, Eurymedon, and their companions, all slain at a banquet by Clytemnestra and her lover Aegisthos,' he told the King of Greece.

In fact, the graves have since been dated and shown to be too old for those of Agamemnon. Nevertheless, Mycenae has since proved to be a treasure trove of archaeological riches. Most recently, these have involved scientists using a range of new techniques, including facial reconstruction work carried out by Manchester researchers John Prag and Richard Neave. They recreated the faces of seven individuals whose skeletons had been excavated at a circle of graves inside the citadel.

The images provided scientists with a family picture album for the rulers of Europe's first great city-state. However, genetics experts have now taken this work a stage further by attempting to extract DNA from 22 of the 35 bodies found in the grave circle. 'The facial reconstructions were carried out 10 years ago, but it is only now that scientists have developed sensitive enough techniques to get DNA from skeletons as old as these,' said Brown. 'In each case we had to deal with a single cell's worth of DNA.'

The genetic material isolated by the scientists is known as mitochondrial DNA, which humans inherit exclusively from their mothers. However, of the 22 skeletons that were tested, only four produced enough DNA for full analysis. Nevertheless, findings from these provided a shock for the team from Manchester.

While two of the males had DNA that indicated they were unrelated, the genetic material extracted from the remaining pair, a man and a woman, revealed they were brother and sister. They had been thought to have been man and wife.

'To be precise our DNA evidence suggests the pair were closely related, possibly siblings or possibly cousins. However, the facial reconstruction work of Prag and Neave also shows they were very similar in appearance which indicates they were brother and sister,' said Brown.

The critical point, he said, was that the woman was thought to have been buried in a richly endowed grave because she was the wife of a powerful man. That was in keeping with previous ideas about Ancient Greece - that women had little power and could only exert influence through their husbands.

'But this discovery shows both the man and the woman were of equal status and had equal power,' he said. 'Women in Ancient Greece held positions of power by right of birth, it now appears.

'The problem has been that up until recently our interpretation of life in Ancient Greece has been the work of a previous generations of archaeologists, then a male-oriented profession and who interpreted their findings in a male-oriented way. That is changing now and women in Ancient Greece are being seen in a new light.'

As I recall, there were a couple of infants buried at Mycenae as well. So taking this argument to its logical extreme conclusion, we see that infants must also have been major power brokers. All those who think they're reading waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too much into this, raise your hand ... thought so.
This seems to have been compressed beyond understanding ... from ANSA:

Historical artifacts found during the construction of a primary school in Milas district of Mugla revealed the existence of a circus area in the second century B.C.. The chamber grave, unearthed during the construction of Zekeriya Gumuskesen primary school, was reported to belong to an artist family lived in the second century B.C., Turkish daily news reported. Historical artifacts found in the chamber grave are now on display at Milas Museum. Milas Museum director Erol Ozen said: "This is a different and a special situation, as well as an important historical development. Because of a theater mask of Heracles' head and a figure of Apollo in the grave we think that the chamber grave belonged to a family of artists." Ozen added that scientific research on the project continues. "There is also an earthen bear figure with a bell around his neck. This indicates that there was a circus area in the region in the ancient times. We focused on the subject, and found that the bear was caught by the people living there and that it probably participated in circus shows. We can get important clues about the social life of the city with these findings," he explained.

Not sure about the bear with the bell ... never saw this sort of thing before. There is a nice photo of a bear sculpture/bronze in the Met here ... no bell, though.
From PressTV:

Geological surveys in the south of Iran have revealed rectangular formations inspired by Greek architecture dating to the Sassanid era.

Archeologists say the structures located in Fars Province are part of the urban planning of the ancient Achaemenid city of Istakhr during the Sassanid period (226-651 CE).

“The design is loaned from Hippodamus' style of urban planning during a series of armed conflicts with Persia's great rival to the west, the Roman Empire,” said Ali Asadi, archeologist and expert on the archeology of Istakhr.

“The wars during the first two Sassanid kings, Ardashir I (206-241 CE) and Shapur I (241-272 CE), brought Roman slaves to the country. The Greek architecture penetrated Iran through the work of the slaves,” Asadi added.

Istakhr was once the capital of the Sassanid Empire but today only the archaeological sites of the city remain. The ancient city once contained the original Avesta before it was burned by Alexander of Macedonia.

Hippodamus (498 BC - 408 BC) was an ancient Greek architect and urban planner famous for his designs of repeated square geometric shapes.
They're bringing this up again ... from Kathimerini:

The relationship between the Culture Ministry’s archaeological authorities and the Hellenic Festival, the organizer of the drama and music productions at the ancient Herod Atticus and Epidaurus theaters, has always been difficult. But the problems just seem to be getting bigger.

The debt owed to the TAP archaeological fund for various productions staged at the Herod Atticus and Epidaurus has reached 1.5 million euros, and complaints have grown regarding the lack of respect shown to the ancient venues by both visitors and production teams.

For years now, the Central Archaeological Council (KAS) has been discussing the negative impact of over 350,000 annual show-goers on the Herod Atticus.

Up until a few years ago, the number of shows hosted by the ancient venues was KAS’s main concern.

Irreverent ways

Now, the inappropriate behavior of attendants has become another major concern.

High-heeled shoes worn by some members of the audience and the unbelievably irreverent behavior of many who leave behind their chewing gum are a couple of KAS’s concerns regarding the public.

As for the production teams putting on shows at the ancient venues, KAS is not happy with their comportment either. Many of the stage sets, KAS contends, are incongruous with the ancient venues’ nature.

Also, despite repeated warnings, the stage sets seem to be getting bigger and the decibel levels louder. Authorities fear these higher volumes could be inflicting damage on the ancient structures.

KAS regulations

KAS regulations specify that stage sets should not be heavy and the colors used must not be discordant with the venue. Also, sound levels are not permitted to exceed 100 decibels.

Highlighting the overall neglect of KAS standards and procedures, a National Opera application for permission to use the Herod Atticus made it to the archaeological authority just four days ahead of show time.


Relegating KAS’s approval to a matter of routine, many producers send in their applications very late, which goes to show how little they respect KAS’s concerns for the ancient venues.

And this lax attitude has only aggravated the problem. The stage setting for the National Opera’s production which will begin the proceedings at the Herod Atticus this summer was deemed as being incongruent with the venue. It covers two-thirds of the stage. Worse still, it has already been set up.

The bulk of Hellenic Festival performances at the Herod Atticus run until July 31.

The festival has also booked an additional four nights in September for Anatoly Vasiliev’s “Medea.” The ancient venue is given a respite in August.

As for the Little Epidaurus Theater, which has been used to host concerts since its relatively recent reintroduction, KAS authorities expressed reservations about also making that venue available for theatrical productions.

A small number of conditional approvals for plays at the small theater have been granted.
From the Cyprus Mail:

PROFESSIONAL and amateur divers yesterday began the process of hauling up ancient urns buried onboard the Mazotos shipwreck.

The shipwreck, possibly the largest commercial ship located in open Cypriot waters, sank in 350 BC en route from the Greek island of Chios carrying around 1,000 urns filled with wine. Today it is buried 45 metres below sea level and is the oldest shipwreck found off the coast of Cyprus to date. The Kyrenia II shipwreck, found almost 50 years ago, dates back to 300 BC.

The Antiquities Department said last year it was one of the very few shipwrecks of the Classical period found in such a good state of preservation.

Around 500 urns are visible while the remainder are believed to be buried under one or two layers of sand.

The shipwreck is guarded by the competent security services 24 hours around the clock and no one is allowed near it without permission.

Dr Stella Demesticha, Visiting Lecturer of Underwater Archaeology at the University of Cyprus who is carrying out the research, said the find was an important event for Cyprus’ history.

The project was undertaken by the Research Unit of Archaeology of the University of Cyprus in agreement with the Department of Antiquities and with funding and logistical support from the Thetis Foundation. It is the first time a project of this kind has been exclusively undertaking by Cypriot institutions.
From the Chronicle:

THE MANAGER of a city centre hotel has questioned why Chester’s amphitheatre has been filled in after complaints from guests about its condition.

Damon Yoxall, general manager of the Westminster Hotel, City Road, has stopped recommending the ancient site because of the number of complaints he has received from tourists staying at the hotel.

He said: “I would like to know what plans there are for the amphitheatre – I have had many complaints about the state of the site and would not recommend a visit for any of my guests or myself as a local.

“A quarter has been filled in and I want to know why it was not grassed over to match in with the other quarter, and what is happening with the derelict building? It remains because it is the only Georgian building in Chester but it is being left to crumble.”

As the hotel relies on tourism for its survival, Damon has also questioned the development of other areas of the city which he says have a detrimental effect on business.

“Why spend money on Chester Gateway outside the train station and not on the other end of City Road?

“The city should be attracting the same clients as Harrogate or York – after all we charge the same prices to stay here and charge the same prices for the local attractions.”

Chris Brown, chief executive of Visit Chester and Cheshire, said: “We cannot take our eye off the ball and move Chester forward. People who visit Chester are our customers and we cannot afford for them to go away having had a poor experience.”

Chester city council say the amphitheatre was backfilled with sand and limestone chips to conserve the findings whilst the long-term conservation and development of the site is considered.

Spokesman Kathryn McGiveron said: “Protecting our city’s heritage and boosting Chester’s position as an international tourist attraction are both important priorities and the council is looking forward to exploring options of how it can make the most of this internationally important site.”
Saw this in the continuing comments at Mary Beard's blog ... Paul Zanker weighs in on the Caesar bust thing:

Vor ein paar Tagen rauschte der Blätterwald gewaltig. Die Begeisterung galt einer von französischen Unterwasser-Archäologen bei Arles aus der Rhone gezogenen, wohlerhaltenen Büste, in der der glückliche Finder Luc Long keinen Geringeren als Julius Caesar zu erkennen glaubte. Die Journalisten zögerten nicht, der Welt das neue, "wahre" Gesicht des Diktators vor Augen zu führen, und versuchten sogleich, in den Charakter des Dargestellten einzudringen.

Luc Lang erfand einen passenden Anlass für die Anfertigung des Bildnisses und war sich sicher, dass Caesar dem Bildhauer Modell gesessen hat. Es tut mir leid, dass ich Essig in diesen Wein gießen muss. Denn leider handelt es sich bei dem Dargestellten nicht um Caesar, sondern um einen Zeitgenossen, der mit dem Diktator lediglich sein hageres Gesicht und seine Halbglatze gemein hatte.

Die einzig sicher zu Lebzeiten Caesars entstandenen Bildnisse sind die Münzporträts. Zu Beginn des Jahres 44 v. Chr. hatte der Senat Caesar zusammen mit anderen übertriebenen Ehrungen das Recht verliehen, sein Bildnis auf die Münzen zu prägen, eine Ehre, wie sie keinem Römer vor ihm zuteil geworden.

Diese Münzen stellen den damals 56-jährigen Caesar mit magerem Gesicht, scharf ausgeprägten, ebenmäßigen Zügen und einem langen faltigen Hals mit stark hervortretendem Kehlkopf dar.

Diesen Münzbildnissen entspricht nun aber in allen wesentlichen Zügen ein seit langem bekanntes Bildnis, das bereits im 19. Jahrhundert auf dem ehemaligen Forum von Tusculum ausgegraben worden ist und sich heute im archäologischen Museum von Turin befindet. Bislang sind 6 Kopien dieses Bildnisses bekannt geworden, es handelt sich also um einen festen "Bildnistypus", was die Glaubwürdigkeit des Kopfes aus Tusculum als Caesar-Porträt verstärkt.

Dazu kommt, dass die Kopien des nach Caesars Tod entstandenen Bildnistypus "Vatikan-Pisa" - ein Bildnis mit längerem Stirnhaar und jugendlichen, im Stil des augusteischen Klassizismus geschönten Zügen - wesentliche Elemente derselben Physiognomie aufweist.

Ein langer, faltiger Hals

Vergleicht man nun dieses gut beglaubigte Bildnis aus Tusculum mit dem aus der Rhone gefischten, so wird man kaum umhin können festzustellen, dass wir es mit zwei verschiedenen Männern zu tun haben. Sieht man von der Halbglatze ab, sind alle wesentlichen Merkmale wie Schädelform, Mundpartie, Augen unterschiedlich, ganz zu schweigen von dem völlig verschiedenen Ausdruck.

Der unentschieden nachdenklichen Stimmung des neuen Porträts mit seinem leicht geneigten Kopf steht ein Gesicht voller Energie gegenüber. Der Künstler, dem wir das Urbild des Kopfes in Turin verdanken, hat sich um eine detaillierte Wiedergabe der physischen Erscheinung des alternden Diktators bemüht. Wir sehen einen langen, faltigen Hals, einen extrem weit ausladenden Hinterkopf, eine Schädeldecke, die sich im Profil muldenartig einsenkt. Das schmal zulaufende Gesicht kennzeichnen scharf ausgeprägte Falten, fast eingefallene Wangen, kleine Augen und ein breit ausladender Schädel mit hoher Stirn.

Aber auch etwas von Cäsars Charakter ist darin zu erfassen. Die kaum merkliche Bewegung des leicht angehobenen Kopfes und die momentane Konzentration der Stirn und des Mundes sprechen von einer wachen, überlegenen Präsenz. Dem Blick aus den leicht zusammengekniffenen Augen meint man gleicherweise aristokratische Distanz wie einen Zug von Ironie ablesen zu können.

So problematisch solche Charakterisierungen auch sind, sie machen deutlich, dass es sich bei dem Mann aus der Rhone nicht um das Gesicht Caesars handeln kann. Der mit der kaiserzeitlichen Bildniskunst Vertraute wird zusätzlich dadurch bestärkt, dass der neue Kopf mit dem Bildnistypus Tusculum in keiner Weise übereinstimmt, dass von ihm selbst aber keine Kopien bekannt sind.

Der neue Kopf ist im übrigen nur einer von zahlreichen Bildnissen aus der Zeit Caesars und des jungen Augustus, die in ihrer Magerkeit, ihrem Gesichtsschnitt, ihren Stirnfalten und ihren tiefen Einbuchtungen über der Stirn an Caesar erinnern, sich aber gleichwohl durch jeweils individuelle eigene Physiognomien unterscheiden. Es handelt sich bei diesem Gesichts-Schema um ein ausgesprochenes "Zeitgesicht", das vielleicht von den überall präsenten Caesarstatuen in Mode gekommen sein könnte.

Es ist jedenfalls zum ersten Mal, dass wir in der römischen Porträtkunst dieses Phänomen des "Zeitgesichtes" beobachten, das dann unter den beliebteren Kaisern immer wieder in Erscheinung tritt, ein Phänomen, das uns ja auch heute von den Größen des Show-Geschäftes vertraut ist.

Also nicht Caesar, sondern ein vermutlich nicht unwichtiger Mann, dem es geschmeichelt hätte, wenn er gehört hätte, sein Aussehen erinnere an das des Diktators. Denn vermutlich ist der Kopf erst in der Augustus-Zeit entstanden.
From BMCR:

Susan E. Alcock, Robin Osborne, Classical Archaeology. Blackwell Studies in Global Archaeology, 10.

Hendrik Lorenz, The Brute Within: Appetitive Desire in Plato and Aristotle.

Scot McKendrick, Kathleen Doyle, Bible Manuscripts: 1400 Years of Scribes and Scripture.

L.B. van der Meer, Liber Linteus Zagrabiensis. The Linen Book of Zagreb. A Comment on the Longest Etruscan Text. Monographs on Antiquity, 4.

Miranda Marvin, The Language of the Muses: The Dialogue Between Greek and Roman Sculpture.

Christian Mann, Die Demagogen und das Volk. Zur politischen Kommunikation im Athen des 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. Klio, Beitraege zur Alten Geschichte, Beihefte, Neue Folge Band 13.

Gyburg Radke, Die Kindheit des Mythos--die Erfindung der Literaturgeschichte in der Antike.

Christiane Reitz, Literatur im Zeitalter Neros, Klassische Philologie kompakt.

Colin F. Macdonald, Carl Knappett, Knossos: Protopalatial Deposits in Early Magazine A and the South-West Houses. Supplementary Volume No. 41.

J. Theodore Pena, Roman Pottery in the Archaeological Record.

Jaclyn L. Maxwell, Christianization and Communication in Late Antiquity.

Pierre Vidal-Naquet, The Atlantis Story: A Short History of Plato's Myth. Translated by Janet Lloyd.

Robin F. Rhodes (ed.), The Acquisition and Exhibition of Classical Antiquities. Professional, Legal, and Ethical Perspectives. A symposium held at the Snite Museum of Art, University of Notre Dame, February 24, 2007.

M. A. R. Habib, A History of Literary Theory and Criticism from Plato to the Present.

Siriol Davies, Jack L. Davis, Between Venice and Istanbul. Colonial landscape in early modern Greece. Hesperia Supplement 40.

Maria Michela Sassi (ed.), La costruzione del discorso filosofico nell'eta dei Presocratici. The Construction of Philosophical Discourse in the Age of the Presocratics.

Peter Wilson (ed.), The Greek Theatre and Festivals. Documentary Studies. Oxford Studies in Ancient Documents.

H. Boerm, Prokop und die Perser. Oriens et Occidens 16.

Daniele Malfitana, Jeroen Poblome, John Lund, Old Pottery in a New Century: Innovating Perspectives on Roman Pottery Studies (Atti del Convegno Internazionale di Studi, Catania, 22-24 Aprile 2004), Monografie dell'Istituto per i beni archeologici e monumentali.

From Classical Journal:

REINHARDT and WINTERBOTTOM, eds., Quintilian Institutio Oratoria Book 2

GRIFFITH and MARKS, A Funny Thing Happened on the way to the Agora. Ancient Greek and Roman Humour

ante diem iii kalendas junias

339 A.D. -- death of Eusebius
grandee @

fabulist @ Worthless Word for the Day

garrulous @ Merriam-Webster
From Art Daily:

In 1734, a group of young British gentlemen, all alumni of the Grand Tour in Italy, formed a dining club in London. Calling themselves the Society of Dilettanti (from the Italian dilettare, to take delight), this close-knit association transformed classical antiquity from a private pleasure to a public benefit by sponsoring archaeological expeditions, forming collections, and publishing influential books on ancient architecture and sculpture. The Society’s first century is explored in Grecian Taste and Roman Spirit: The Society of Dilettanti, on view from August 7–October 27, 2008, at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa.

The exhibition presents the Society of Dilettanti as connoisseurs—of statues, sexuality, and the science of antiquity. Over 100 objects will be on view, primarily drawn from the collections of the Getty Research Institute (GRI) and the Society of Dilettanti in London. Most of the works are on display for the first time in the United States, and many of them have never been seen by the public. The installation features oil portraits, sculptures, drawings, caricatures, artifacts, and rare books that tell the story of the Society, whose cultural ambitions flourished in an atmosphere of Dionysian revels and aesthetic refinement.

“The Library of the Getty Research Institute holds an archive of exceptional drawings commissioned by the Society, including rare examples of the work of John Samuel Agar, recognized as among the finest ever made of sculpture,” said Claire Lyons, co-curator of the exhibition and curator of Antiquities at the Getty Museum. “We soon recognized that many antiquities, sculptures and paintings in the Museum’s collection can also be linked to the 18th-century Dilettanti. This offers us a fruitful opportunity to display these collections together, and to explore a widely influential but little known network of artists, architects, and their aristocratic patrons."

The exhibition’s companion publication, Dilettanti: The Antic and the Antique in Eighteenth-Century England was written by Bruce Redford, co-curator of the exhibition and professor of Art History and English at Boston University. “Convivial social intercourse was the Society of Dilettanti’s raison d’être, but cultivating the public taste for classical antiquity was its primary mission. Ultimately, they set a fresh course for the field of classical archaeology,” says Redford.

Generous sponsors of expeditions to Greece, the Ionian coast of Asia Minor, and the Middle East—regions then still largely unknown to Continental travelers—the Society published lavish folios that set unprecedented standards for objective archaeological research. In 1762, the Society underwrote the three-year sojourn of painter James "Athenian" Stuart (1713–88) and architect Nicholas Revett (1720–1804) in Athens, where they measured, excavated, and drew the city's classical monuments. Stuart and Revett's findings were presented in The Antiquities of Athens, an imposing three-volume publication that inspired Greek Revival architects and designers for the next century. Important books underwritten by the membership also circulated the observations of teams sent out to map ancient lands and explore ruins in Ionia, Baalbek, Palmyra, and Attica.

Membership in the Society was far from all scholarly fieldwork. Meeting in taverns to discuss "those objects which had contributed to their entertainment abroad," they elevated "convivial intercourse" to a high art. Echoing the Roman poets Virgil and Horace, their drinking toasts and mottoes signaled the Society’s priorities: “Seria Ludo” (serious matters in a playful spirit), “Res est Severa Voluptas” (pleasure is a serious business), and “Viva la Virtù” (long live the fine arts). As the English novelist Horace Walpole (1717-1797) waspishly observed, “The nominal qualification [for membership] is having been in Italy, and the real one, being drunk.”

Ribald and profane, the Society nurtured a lively curiosity for ancient erotica, piqued by the sensational finds of sexually explicit art in Herculaneum and Pompeii. They made a subversive contribution to the interpretation of ancient mythology and religion with A Discourse on the Worship of Priapus, which drew from reports of a phallic cult in southern Italy. Designed both to inform and to titillate, this daring treatise argued that all art is rooted in religion, and all religion in sexuality. The exhibition Grecian Taste and Roman Spirit includes what scandalized critics termed "obscene" artifacts, installed in an intimate, dimly lit gallery evoking the “museo segreto,” or a cabinet of erotic curiosities.

Taking inspiration from such groups as the libertine Hell Fire Clubs, the esoteric Freemasons, and the Arcadian Academy in Rome, the Dilettanti carried out traditional rituals in rooms hung with witty portraits by George Knapton and Sir Joshua Reynolds. The president draped himself in a scarlet toga and sat in a mahogany armchair called the “sella curulis,” after the official chair occupied by Roman consuls. Other officers included an "arch master" and an "imp" who sported a tail. Suitably decorated with sensual and suggestive imagery, a mahogany "Tomb of Bacchus" and balloting box were used to conduct business and to collect fines as "face money" for failure to present a portrait. During the Society’s early years, the most colorful members were Sir Francis Dashwood (1701–1781) 11th Baron le Despencer, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer (1762–1763) and the founder of the notorious Hell Fire Club; and Charles Sackville (1711–1769), 2nd Duke of Dorset, an impresario of Italian opera in London.

The Dilettanti's reputation for revelry and riot was tempered by their stature as "arbiters of fashionable virtù." The last of their monumental publishing enterprises, Specimens of Antient Sculpture, features collections of Greek and Roman art created by such prominent members as author Richard Payne Knight (1751-1824), Charles Townley (1737-1805), and Thomas Hope (1769-1831). Hope’s collection is also explored in The Hope Hygieia: Restoring a Statue’s History, on view at the Getty Villa through September 8.

Celebrated connoisseurs, Dilettanti members established and enlarged some of the finest antiquities galleries in England, including the collections at Castle Howard, Shugborough, Towneley Hall, Lansdowne House, Woburn Abbey, and Rokeby Hall.

Members of the Dilettanti emerged on the wrong side of history in the aesthetic disputes over the controversial 1816 acquisition of Lord Elgin's Parthenon sculptures by the British Museum, and as a result the Society's prestige suffered a serious blow. The Dilettanti nevertheless revolutionized the study of classical architecture and sculpture, eastern Mediterranean topography, and ancient religion, setting the stage for the great archaeological endeavors of the 19th century.

With 60 members, today's Society of Dilettanti still counts among its ranks distinguished figures from the world of the arts and culture including collectors, museum directors, art historians, authors, and aristocrats who have inherited great collections of paintings and sculpture. The Society meets five times a year at Brooks’ Club in London for dinners which are celebrated with traditional rituals, regalia, and toasts dating back to the eighteenth century. Vacancies in this “men only” group arise on death or retirement and are filled through an election in which each member can propose or second a candidate.

Current members include artist David Hockney, continuing a tradition of distinguished artist-members which began with George Knapton and includes Sir Joshua Reynolds, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Sir Martin Archer Shee, Lord Leighton, and John Singer Sargent. With the aim of reviving its original mission to support projects connected with archaeology and the arts, the Society established a charitable trust in 1977 and makes grants to cultural institutions, research centers, and young scholars of classical art and architecture.

“Grecian Taste and Roman Spirit brings together objects from across the Getty to illuminate a singular episode in the history of classical archaeology and neoclassical taste,” said Michael Brand, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “The Getty Villa’s classically inspired architecture provides the perfect setting and a vivid reminder of how Greek and Roman art has resonated, due in no small part to Dilettanti collectors and explorers.”

“We are very grateful for the generous loans that the Society of Dilettanti has made available,” adds Thomas Gaehtgens, director of the Getty Research Institute. “Their cooperation allows us to view our own archive through the enlightened eyes of travelers rediscovering ancient Mediterranean sites for the first time.”
From the Observer:

Chichester's Roman baths have been uncovered for the first time in 17 years.
The baths are to be the main attraction of the new £6.9m District Museum planned for the Tower Street site.

On Tuesday, archaeologists began exploratory work of the ancient remains currently buried underneath a car park.

Archaeology South East closed the car park for a four-week period while they assess the site's condition.

Project manager Diccon Hart hopes the new exploration will bring the previous findings up to date.

He said: "We are excited to be working on the site. It is one of the more significant sites in the Chichester area. We wish to fully and accurately locate the previous findings using modern equipment to assess any changes to 17 years ago."

First discovered in the 1970s by Chichester archaeologist Alec Down and a team of volunteers, the baths are due to undergo a full re-excavation to be on permanent display as the centrepiece of the new museum.

Cllr Nick Thomas, responsible for culture and sport, said: "Although access to the car park will be closed, members of the public will be able to see the work in progress from the footpaths around the edge of the car park, giving them a glimpse of what they can expect to see at the proposed museum."

Cllr Thomas believes that the Roman baths will bring something extra-special to the museum.

He said: "Having these remains is a great bonus. The whole team is looking forward to seeing the remains and checking their condition so we can safeguard them in the new building."

The archaeologists will also examine areas underneath a proposed housing development on the site.

"This is to ensure the building design will not damage any archaeological remains, and allow them to be preserved for the future," said a district council spokesman.

"It will also reduce the risk of any new archaeological discoveries during the main construction period which could cause delays and extra costs."

Following the excavations, the lower, larger part of the car park will be re-opened, but to protect the remains, the upper area will stay closed.
From ANA:

Did the ancient Greeks and Gauls have a foretaste of cabernet wine 2,000 years ago?

In "Desert Island Wine," wine expert Miles Lambert-Gocs outlines his theory that the balisca wine, which Pliny identified as Greek in the 1st century AD, had a key role in the evolution of grapes in southwest France, including Bordeaux, and is the oldest specifiable source of cabernet.

According to a Wine Appreciation Guild announcement, Pliny wrote that the balisca was already present in Rome's Spanish provinces in his time. "It is likely," says Lambert-Gocs, "that the balisca began crossing over the Pyrenees into southwestern France as early as that, since its quality was already recognized." Pliny paid attention to the balisca and became knowledgeable about it precisely because of its quality, which was also noted by the first-century Roman writer and agriculturist Columella.

By comparing Pliny's information with modern Greek and Albanian descriptions of native grapes, Lambert-Gocs traces the identity of Pliny's balisca and the 'black volitsa' of the northwestern Peloponnese, and the "vlosh" of coastal Albania -- where ancient Greek colonies flourished. Further, key traits of the volitsa (balisca) are seen in Cabernet Sauvignon, as specified and sourced in the addendum report in 'Desert Island Wine,' according to the author.

Lambert-Gocs is a long-time researcher on Greek wine history. His previous books are 'The Wines of Greece' (1990) and 'Greek Salad: A Dionysian Travelogue' (2004).

... we had an earlier post on this; some folks are skeptical of the claim (actually, the post is virtually identical, with the skeptical bit snipped)...
ante diem iv kalendas Iunias

Ambarvalia (?)

1905 -- birth of E. Togo Salmon (Samnium and the Samnites)
durable @ Merriam-Webster
The fine folks at Scholia are in the midst of installing a new server and have given me permission to post reviews here for now:

Scholia Reviews ns 17 (2008) 17.

James B. Rives, Religion in the Roman Empire. Blackwell Ancient Religions 2. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2007. Pp. x + 237, incl. 11 half-tones, 4 maps, 6 text boxes and two glossaries. ISBN 1-4051-0656-5. US$34.95.

Alison B. Griffith
Department of Classics, University of Canterbury
Christchurch, New Zealand

In this recent volume on Roman religion James Rives undertakes the daunting task of providing an overview to religion in the Roman Empire for undergraduates, secondary teachers, and other interested readers. The result is a concise, readable, stimulating, and adroitly organized introduction to a vast, cumbersome topic. Though only the second in the ‘Blackwell Ancient Religions’ series, the present volume joins a now steady stream of introductory texts and sourcebooks on Roman religion.[[1]] Readers will undoubtedly find it a welcome update for John Ferguson's The Religions of the Roman Empire,[[2]] its long- serving predecessor.

Given his audience, Rives wisely approaches the topic in terms that contrast ancient religion with modern preconceptions -- derived mainly from the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic traditions -- which readers might understandably bring to the subject. This is most apparent in the introduction (pp. 1-12), where he explains the choice of words in the title -- specifically, why 'religions' is a modern term that cannot be applied to religious practices in antiquity, and what exactly is meant by 'Roman Empire' (rightly acknowledged as simultaneously a geographical, chronological, and political term on pp. 1f.). Throughout the book Rives demonstrates his thorough familiarity with a wide range of primary sources for the subject by using an eclectic and, on the whole, judicious selection of ancient evidence to illustrate the nature of ancient religion and the extent to which it differs from its modern counterparts. That said, pictures and plans are few, and archaeological evidence for religious practices, particularly those outside the mainstream traditions, is not used as much as literary and epigraphic evidence.

It is in drawing the distinction between religion then and now that Rives introduces the concept of a ‘Graeco-Roman normative tradition’ in religion, a ‘sort of implicit religious standard, a set of practices and beliefs that the [Greek and Roman] social and cultural elite of the empire regarded as normal’ (p. 6), that underlies his entire approach to this subject. Chapter 1, ‘Identifying Religion in the Graeco-Roman World’ (pp. 14-53), addresses more fully the ancient norms that constituted what is otherwise an elusive concept of religion -- the broad notion of ‘the divine’ and the manifold ways in which ancient gods were approached through cult, myth, art, and philosophy. Rives concludes with a discussion of the most palpable differences: the nature and role of authority, belief, and morality in defining people's experience with religion. What he does not do, and perhaps should, is defend more explicitly his argument that the Graeco-Roman normative tradition is a more useful device for understanding religion in the Roman Empire on a general level. The point that Roman religion was one of so many local traditions and was not imposed on the conquered is made somewhat indirectly and sporadically.

In Chapter 2, ‘Regional Religious Traditions of the Empire’ (pp. 54-88), Rives argues that the variety of local observances, even under Roman rule was another aspect of the Graeco-Roman norm, in which each cultural group had its own gods and religious practices. His aim is to show how these many local traditions were both similar to and different from the Graeco-Roman tradition, and thus he begins not with Italy but with Greece (followed by Asia Minor), whose culture was as pervasive as that of Rome and was adopted by members of the Roman elite and spread even further by conquest. Thus the reader gains the impression that the center of gravity in the Graeco-Roman norm sits decidedly east of the Adriatic, and this is reinforced by the discussion of religion in Italy which, despite a clear description of major differences between Roman and Greek practices and beliefs, emphasizes Greek influence. Apart from this, Rives accomplishes the difficult task of summarizing regional religious traditions in other parts of the empire in a manner that is succinct, informative, and gives a clear idea of practices before and after Roman conquest.

The nature of the divinity, only briefly described in the first chapter, is examined in more detail in Chapter 3, ‘The Presence of the Gods’ (pp. 89-104). Rives begins with the greatest commonality, the recognition of divine power in features of the natural world -- especially groves, caves, and water, and the omnipresence of shrines and altars honouring divine presence. In the second part of the chapter he makes effective use of inscriptions and votives to show how ordinary people, in invoking or thanking gods for assistance, perceived divine power of the gods and acknowledged the gods' direct intervention in their lives.

In Chapter 4, ‘Religion and Community’ (pp. 105-31), Rives explores religion as a social phenomenon that shaped group identity and social hierarchy. In contrast to the emphasis on personal experience in the previous chapter, he notes that any individual dedication attests not just a personal encounter with a god, but also that individual's relationship with a range of groups. The ensuing examination of the role of religion in shaping group identity and people's everyday experience in the most important communities -- city, household, and voluntary association -- stems from Aristotle's identification of natural human relationships in Politics 1.2. In the section on the city, Rives ably illustrates how urban spatial and temporal organization was oriented around temples and festivals, as well as how benefaction of these defined and reinforced social hierarchy. The story is much the same on the household level, where both cults specific to the family (for example, worship of the dead) as well as those that reduplicated public cult on a micro-scale (for example, worship of the Lares) influenced physical space and familial structure. In the final section Rives examines the role of religion in groups formed among those with shared religious beliefs, ethnicity, or occupation.

The next two chapters are devoted to the variety of gods and religious options within the Roman Empire. In Chapter 5, ‘Religion and Empire’ (pp. 32-57) Rives explains the ‘religious integration’ of the empire as the result of near universal recognition of the multiplicity of gods in conjunction with the mobility of worshippers to specific, specialized sites, and the transportability of gods with the relocation of their followers (especially slaves, soldiers, traders, and other officials). Such movement also spread the worship of initially local gods to entirely new places and social networks, and fueled the consequential process of syncretism and interpretatio. An examination of the historical development and importance of the deified figure of the emperor as a unifying factor concludes this chapter. Chapter 6, ‘Religious Options’ (pp. 158-81), looks at the other side of the coin; religious alternatives offering an experience or teachings outside the mainstream religious tradition that constituted the integration described in the previous chapter. The discussion is remarkable for the breadth of cults and source material addressed with concise clarity. Rives skillfully organizes the vast array of cults under the subheadings ‘Attractions’ and ‘Advantages’ and returns, implicitly, to his initial focus -- the substantial difference between modern and ancient definition of religion -- to show where Judaean and early Christian teachings fit in the range of options. Though he rightly represents the various options as offering a difference in degree and intensity rather than substance, the word ‘cult’ creeps in, as it must, without any discussion of the Latin word, or acknowledgement of the pejorative connotations that its English cognate carries today.

In Chapter 7, ‘Roman Religious Policy’ (pp. 182-201), Rives returns again to the idea of a Graeco-Roman tradition to describe the extent to which there was a religious policy, given the existence and nominal acceptance of multiple, overlapping traditions. He defines important terms such as atheism, impiety, and superstition from a Graeco-Roman point of view, which was largely bound up in the idea of showing respect for the gods through proper, traditional religious observances. Here superstition is represented as a question of degree and substance. Accepting that direct intervention in religious matters was rare, and more often took the form of ‘indirect pressures and incentives’, Rives examines the negative impact of Roman rule in terms of exertion of or disregard for authority and three instances of active suppression (magic and monotheism in Judaean and Christian practice).

Some features of the book, including further reading sections at the end of each chapter, a full bibliography, and two glossaries (of major deities and of authors and texts) will assist readers new to the subject. The intra- textual citations (pp. 69, 128, 129, 134, and 139) are conspicuous by their paucity and send a mixed message to students about the necessity of proper citation. The six text boxes are well chosen and provide a stimulating point of departure for discussion, but this is not a source book per se, especially since there is no index of the hundreds of other references to ancient source material in the text.

None of the criticisms herein should detract in any major way from this book, which offers a fresh view on a broad, even intractable subject in a manner that is both accessible and understandable for the uninitiated. It will, no doubt, become one of the staple texts for any introductory course on Roman religion and grace many a ‘further reading’ list in Roman imperial history and civilization courses.


[[1]] C. Ando (ed.) Roman Religion (Edinburgh 2003); M. Beard, J. North and S. Price Religions of Rome. Vol. 1: A History. Vol. 2: A Sourcebook (Cambridge 1998); J. North Roman Religion. Greece & Rome New Surveys in the Classics, No.30 (Oxford 2000); V. Warrior Roman Religion: A Sourcebook (Newburyport, MA 2002); J. Scheid (tr. J. Lloyd), An Introduction to Roman Religion (Bloomington, IN 2003).

[[2]] John Ferguson, Religions of the Roman Empire (Ithaca, New York 1970).

Interesting item from the Jerusalem Post:

Can a 6,000-year-old shroud uncovered in the Judean Desert in 1993 help illuminate the centuries-old debate over the Shroud of Turin?

That is the question posed by Olga Negnevitsky, a conservator at the Israel Museum who was involved in the conservation of the lesser-known shroud for the Antiquities Authority after it was discovered inside a small cave near Jericho.

The idea to use the older shroud to learn more about the famous one came to Negnevitsky this week after she listened to an address on the Shroud of Turin at the International Art Conference in Jerusalem on the conservation of cultural and environmental heritage.

"If we reexamine the [Jericho] shroud with all the latest modern technology, then maybe we will find out more information that will help solve the secrets of the Shroud of Turin," Negnevitsky said Wednesday.

The finely-decorated shroud, which is 7 meters by 2 m., was found by Israeli archeologists at the entrance to what has been dubbed the Cave of the Warrior, during a search for additional Dead Sea Scrolls near Wadi el-Makkukah.

Instead of finding biblical scrolls, the archeologists stumbled on the 6,000-year-old tomb of a nobleman whose body was wrapped in an elaborate linen shroud.

The skeleton was accompanied by a long flint blade, wooden bowls, sandals of thick leather, and bows.

The shroud, like the Shroud of Turin, had signs of blood on it, likely from a wound suffered by the bandaged warrior, Negnevitsky said.

After painstaking preservation, the shroud was displayed at the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 1998 and then at the Israel Museum in 2003 before being placed in the storeroom of the Antiquities Authority in Jerusalem, she said.

The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth, about 4.3 m. long and 90 cm. wide, that is kept in a cathedral in Turin, Italy. It bears the faint image of a blood-covered man and is believed by some to be Jesus's burial cloth.

A 1998 radiocarbon test dated the cloth from some time between 1260 and 1390 CE, ruling out any connection with Jesus.

Other studies suggested that the radiocarbon test was flawed and that the shroud was anywhere from 1,300 to 3,000 years old. Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have said that pollen and plant images on it put its origins in Jerusalem sometime before the eighth century.

Despite numerous tests carried out over the years, the Shroud of Turin, which was first documented in 1357 in Lirey, France, has remained a puzzle as debate continues over whether it is a major Christian find, a fascinating example of medieval folk art, or a fraud.

The hope is that, provided the Antiquities Authority gives the go-ahead, a comparison with the Jericho-area shroud - found relatively near where scholars believe the Shroud of Turin was discovered - will lead to a more accurate estimate of the latter shroud's age, as well as other information.

"This is another source that could shed light on the mystery of the Shroud of Turin," said Prof. Amos Notea of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, who is the Israel chairman of the conservation conference that brought together scholars from around the world.

"It was here the whole time, but no one connected it until now," Notea said.
ante diem v kalendas Iunias

585 B.C. -- solar eclipse predicted by Thales of Miletus occurs during the battle of the Halys (another possible date)

20 A.D. -- Drusus "Minor", the son of the emperor Tiberius, celebrates an ovatio for his victories in Illyricum

ca 250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Heliconis
krotoscope @ Worthless Word for the Day

heliolatry @ Merriam-Webster
From Ha'aretz:

A Roman-era bronze figurine of a woman and an intact ceramic pitcher more than a meter high were among dozens of antiquities that Haifa law-enforcement authorities discovered Monday while raiding the home of a man suspected of planning to sell the goods.

The finds - which also include three anchors from ancient ships, pottery, ancient coins, and glass and bronze tools - were allegedly recovered during illegal dives to undersea archaeological sites in the north.

The suspect has confessed to retrieving the antiquities, and the prosecution is set to decide in the next few days whether to indict him.

Inspectors from the Israel Antiquities Authority unit for the prevention of antiquities theft, who conducted the raid with the assistance of the Haifa police, said they were particularly surprised to find the intact Amphora pitcher, which has two handles and a pointed base. They said it was in the hold of a ship that apparently sank in the Mediterranean in antiquity.

One of the handles bears the imprint of a seal with a Greek inscription that is expected to tell archaeologists where the cargo was shipped from, what kind of goods were sent, and most important, when they were sent.

Amir Ganor, the director of the antiquities theft prevention unit, said removing antiquities from sunken ships is illegal and hampers archaeological research.

"If you dive and accidentally discover antiquities on the sea floor, do not remove the antiquities from the sea," Ganor said. "Try to mark the location and try to get exact coordinates, and immediately report it to the Antiquities Authority. Diving and removing antiquities from sunken ships on the sea floor sabotages archaeological research and erases important historical evidence. In addition, it is illegal."
This is in Wired today!:

585 B.C.: A solar eclipse in Asia Minor brings an abrupt halt to a battle, as the warring armies lay down their arms and declare a truce. Historical astronomy later sets a likely date, providing a debatable calculation point for pinning down some dates in ancient history.

This was not the first recorded solar eclipse. After failing to predict one such in 2300 B.C., two Chinese astrologers attached to the emperor's court were soon detached from their heads. Clay tablets from Babylon record an eclipse in Ugarit in 1375 B.C. Later records identify total solar eclipses that "turned day into night" in 1063 and 763 B.C.

But the 585 B.C. eclipse was the first we know that was predicted. The Greek historian Herodotus wrote that Thales of Milete predicted an eclipse in a year when the Medians and the Lydians were at war. Using the same calculating methods that predict future eclipses, astronomers have been able to calculate when eclipses occurred in the past. You can run the planetary clock in reverse as well as forward. To coin a word, you can postdict as well as predict.

The most likely candidate for Thales' eclipse took place on May 28, 585 B.C., though some authorities believe it may have been 25 years earlier in 610 B.C. Hundreds of scholars have debated this for nearly two millenniums.

Predicting a solar eclipse is not easy. You need to calculate not only when it will happen, but where it will be visible. In a lunar eclipse, when the moon passes through the Earth's huge sun shadow, the event is visible on the whole side of the Earth that's in nighttime, and totality often lasts more than an hour. But in a solar eclipse, the moon's shadow falls across the Earth in a relatively narrow path, and the maximum duration of totality at any given place is only about 7½ minutes.

So you need to know the moon's orbit in great detail -- within a small fraction of a degree of arc. The early Greeks did not have this data.

We do not know the method Thales used to make his prediction. The method may have been used only once, because we have no other records of the Greeks of this era accurately predicting further eclipses. Thales is believed to have studied the Egyptians' techniques of land measurement (geo metry in Greek) later codified by Euclid. One has to wonder whether Thales made the famous eclipse prediction himself, or if he simply borrowed it from the Egyptians.

However he made the prediction, and however precise or vague it may have been, the eclipse occurred. Aylattes, the king of Lydia, was battling Cyaxares, king of the Medes, probably near the River Halys in what is now central Turkey.

The heavens darkened. Soldiers of both kings put down their weapons. The battle was over. And so was the war.

After 15 years of back-and-forth fighting between the Medes and the Lydians, the kings of Cilicia and Babylon intervened and negotiated a treaty. The River Halys, where the Battle of the Eclipse was fought, became the border between the Lydians and the Medes.
Here's an interesting detail from Dominican Today:

A Dominican archaeologist sponsors an expedition in Egypt that experts think is about to locate the Egyptian queen Cleopatra’s tomb who sedated Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony.

Kathleen Martinez, defined by a Catalonia newspaper as a rich explorer born in Santo Domingo, began her quest in 2004 when she traveled to Egypt to implement her ambitious project.

"Under her orders and paid from her own pocket, a team of 30 people removed from soil from the temple Tabusiris Magna, near Alexandria, in search of what would be the greatest archaeological discovery since Tutankhamen’s tomb," explains the website Egyptology Friends (EA).

The press agency AFP said Martinez is part of a Dominican-Egyptian expedition allegedly found "Cleopatra’s alabaster head.”


Rick Darby scripsit:

Julius Caesar and Mark Antony were sedated by Cleopatra's tomb? Was it
injected into them, or were they just next to her tomb when they were
sedated? In either case, a bold new theory. I love this kind of thinking
outside the box, or tomb.

"The press agency AFP said Martinez is part of a Dominican-Egyptian
expedition allegedly found 'Cleopatra¹s alabaster head.'

If her head was made of alabaster, no wonder she was able to keep it when
all about her were losing theirs (like Pompey).

I'm sorry, I get these spells sometimes.
From the Catholic News Agency:

The crypt below St. Peter’s basilica, which houses tombs from the first centuries of the Church and some Roman families, has had its largest mausoleum refurbished, Cardinal Angelo Comastri announced today.

Cardinal Comastri, who is the archpriest of the papal basilica of St. Peter's in the Vatican, presented the results of the recently-completed restoration of the Valerii Mausoleum at a press conference this morning.

The mausoleum, which dates from the 2nd century A.D. and is famous for its stucco decorations, can be found as one walks through the middle of the necropolis toward the tomb of St. Peter.

According to a Vatican press release, the stuccowork was in need of restoration because it had been damaged by the instability of the microclimate in the necropolis and by earlier restoration using inappropriate materials.

The operation, which lasted ten months and was undertaken by a team of experts specializing in underground restorations, was carried out using scalpels, mini drills and, for the most delicate areas, laser equipment. Furthermore, by studying stucco fragments conserved in the storerooms of the Fabric of St. Peter's, it was also possible to recompose three of the four-sided Greek columns known as hermae.

The Valerii family mausoleum has been covered within a glass case to allow viewing while maintaining a proper internal microclimate, which is constantly monitored by a high-precision computerized system. New illumination, using fiber optic cables, makes it possible to admire the colored surfaces, frescoed to imitate polychrome marble, and the white stucco decorations, modeled to replicate marble statues.

The restoration work was made possible with help from the "Fondazione pro Musica e Arte Sacra."
Diana Wright sent this one in (thanks!) ... from the Times:

A 2,500-year-old gold cup that has spent the past 60 years in a box under its owner’s bed is expected to fetch up to £100,000 after being rediscovered during a house move.

The cup was given to John Webber by his grandfather, a rag-and-bone man, who acquired it in the 1930s.

Because his grandfather, William Sparks, dealt in brass and copper scrap, Mr Webber assumed that it was made from those metals until he had the unusual piece valued this year.

The cup, which is 5.5in (14 cm) high, is embossed with two female faces, each wearing a crown formed from snakes. It baffled experts from the British Museum until metallurgical tests identified its likely origins as the Middle East or North Africa between three and four centuries before Christ.
Related Links

Mr Webber, 70, has no idea how his grandfather came to acquire the cup or what it was doing in Taunton, Somerset, where he had his business before and during the Second World War. “My grandfather was originally a proper rag-and-bone man from Romany stock and lived in a caravan. He formed a scrap metal company in the 1930s and made enough to have his own house built.

“My father died in the war and afterwards my grandfather gave me some things shortly before he died. One of the things was the cup, which I remember playing with. I put it in a box and forgot about it. Then last year I moved house and took it out to have a look and I realised it wasn’t bronze or brass.”

Double-headed bowls and tableware depicting the two faces of Janus, the god of gates, doors, doorways, beginnings, and endings, were common in Roman times. But in Roman mythology, Janus was usually depicted as a hirsute male, not a beautiful female.

Experts from the British Museum advised Mr Webber to have the gold tested to establish its precise make-up. He said: “I paid quite a bit of money for it to be examined by a lab the museum recommended. They found that the gold dated from the 3rd or 4th century BC.

“I really don’t know where it came from, but I remember it from when I was a small boy. It’s been quite exciting finding out what it was.”

An analysis of trace elements in a gold sample taken from the cup was carried out by Harwell Scientifics, of Didcot, Oxfordshire, and the University of Oxford. The Oxford Materials Characterisation Services, part of the university, concluded that the method of manufacture and the composition of the gold were found to be “consistent with Achaemenid gold and gold smithing”. The Achaemenid empire, the first of the Persian empires to rule over significant portions of Greater Iran, was wiped out by Alexander the Great in 330BC.

Stating that the cup was probably made in the latter years during the empire, the Oxford study states: “It would be reasonable to argue here that the presence of cadmium could be connected with the addition of silver and copper to the alloy and not the gold — if this is the case it would argue that the gold in the cup is refined and this might place it later rather than earlier in the Achaemenid period.”

Peter Northover, the scientist who reported on the gold analysis, said in his report: “Although Janus was not part of Achaemenid mythology, cups and beakers made with high-relief heads do appear in Achaemenid art. The analysis of the gold might place it later rather than earlier in the period.”

Jeannine Davis-Kimball, an American expert on the ancient peoples of Central Asia, said: “The cup is stunning, just stunning. The heraldic snakes relate to the iconography found in eastern Iran, especially during the early Elamite period.”

Guy Schwinge, of Duke’s auctioneers in Dorchester, Dorset, which is selling the cup, said: “The scientific analysis of the cup speaks for itself. Bearing in mind the differing views of the experts it will be fascinating to see what happens on day of auction.”

Two other items passed down from Mr Webber’s grandfather are also for sale at the auction on June 5. They are a Roman gold spoon valued at £10,000 and a “Hellenistic” gold mount with a figure thought to be Ajax, probably from the second century BC and valued at up to £2,000.

The Daily Mail seems to have the best photos:

School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Cicero Awayday V

A one-day conference to mark the 2,050th anniversary of the death of M.
Tullius Cicero

Friday 20 June 2008

Room 6.11, David Hume Tower, George Square, Edinburgh

10.30-12.30: Soldiers, Morals and Historians
Chair: Dr Dominic Berry

Katherine Liong (University of Edinburgh)
“To be or not to be a general: Cicero’s varying views on the value of
military service”

Dr Jakob Wisse (Newcastle University)
“Not in that imaginary Republic of Plato’s: Cicero on the ethics of

Professor Andrew Lintott (Worcester College, Oxford)
“Cicero and Greek historiography”

12.30-1.45: lunch

1.45-3.45: Cicero’s Speeches
Chair: Professor Andrew Lintott

Dr Dominic Berry (University of Edinburgh)
“What are Cicero’s Catilinarians?”

Dr Gesine Manuwald (University College, London)
“Permiscenda laus: on the function and uses of panegyric in Cicero’s

Professor Jonathan Powell and Professor Lene Rubinstein (Royal Holloway,
“Sextus Roscius’ defence team”

3.45-4.10: tea

4.10-5.30: Oratory and Rhetoric
Chairs: Professor Jonathan Powell and Professor Lene Rubinstein

Dr Henriette van der Blom (Merton College, Oxford)
“The formation of an orator: Lucius Crassus in Cicero’s works”

Dr Kathryn Tempest (Roehampton University)
“Attic oratory and Cicero’s rhetorical strategy”

5.30-6: wine reception

Conference organiser: Dr Dominic Berry (University of Edinburgh)
Email: d.h.berry AT

Lunch will be available at a local restaurant at an approximate cost of
£10-12 per person, payable to the restaurant on the day.

The conference is open to all, but those intending to come should inform
the conference organiser Dr Berry in advance, indicating whether or not
they wish to reserve a place for lunch.

The conference will be held in Room 6.11, David Hume Tower, George
Square. David Hume Tower is 15 minutes’ walk from Waverley train
station. Maps may be found at Details of the
bus service between Edinburgh airport and the terminus at Waverley Bridge
may be found at

Bed and breakfast accommodation may be available at the University’s
Kenneth Mackenzie Suite, which is 15 minutes’ walk from Waverley train
station and three minutes’ walk from David Hume Tower. Please contact:
Kenneth Mackenzie Suite, The University of Edinburgh, 7 Richmond Place,
Edinburgh EH8 9ST (tel. 0131 651 2007; fax 0131 668 3821; email
bed.breakfast AT The cost is £49 per night for a single bedroom,
£54 per night for a double bedroom occupied by one person, and £69 per
night for a double bedroom occupied by two people.
From a press release:

As a chemical engineering major, James Morrison has earned the top ranking in the department and a reputation among his professors as one of the most impressive students they have taught at Princeton.

But it is Morrison's love of Latin that will be highlighted at Princeton's Commencement ceremony on June 3, when he will deliver the traditional Latin address as the salutatorian of the class of 2008.

From exploring political themes in Roman poetry to experimenting with potential advances in nanoelectronics, Morrison has tackled an array of intellectual challenges over the past four years -- just what he envisioned when deciding to attend Princeton.

"I ended up choosing Princeton because it offered me a wider variety of experiences and a liberal arts education even though I would be studying engineering," he said.

Morrison, who is from Kensington, Md., has taken courses in 12 departments and programs. A student of Latin throughout middle school and high school, he continued that path by taking five courses in classics at Princeton, engaging his particular interest in Roman literature -- all while majoring in chemical engineering and pursuing a certificate in engineering physics.

"There is a common thread of puzzle-solving, in that decoding a physical problem is somewhat the same idea as decoding a Latin text," Morrison said. "But ultimately I think they are a very good complement, because it uses different parts of your brain to engage a more artistic side as opposed to a very quantitative side."

Andrew Feldherr, an associate professor of classics, taught Morrison in courses on the poet Horace and on Roman civilization. Noting that Morrison demonstrated "flawless Latin" in his upper-level course on Horace, Feldherr said, "I was impressed not only with James' overall mastery of the material, but also with his thoughtfulness about how to interpret it."

For that course, Morrison wrote an original political interpretation of one of Horace's odes that Feldherr called "probably the single best idea on a piece of Latin literature that I have heard from an undergraduate in 10 years of teaching here."

Morrison earned similar praise from faculty in the chemical engineering department, where he earned the highest ranking in class on the strength of A+ grades in more than half of his courses.

"James is one of the most outstanding students I have encountered during my 16 years of service at Princeton," said Ilhan Aksay, professor of chemical engineering. "During the last four years, he worked in my group on various research projects. On all projects, he excelled and produced impressive results."

Pablo Debenedetti, the Class of 1950 Professor in Engineering and Applied Science, added that Morrison "is one of the five best undergraduates (out of a total of approximately 600) that I have taught in my 23 years at Princeton. He is truly off-scale."

As a sophomore, Morrison took a course on thermodynamics with Debenedetti, in which "he demonstrated superior mastery and understanding of this complex and challenging subject, and excelled in every aspect of the course," Debenedetti said. "His questions, both in class and during office hours, and the overall quality of his work revealed a truly unusual appreciation for the nuances and subtleties of thermodynamics."

Morrison excelled the next year in a graduate-level course on that subject with Debenedetti, who also co-advised Morrison on his senior thesis project along with Aksay.

In his thesis, which involved theoretical and experimental research, Morrison investigated methods for patterning surfaces with very small particles, which could ultimately have applications in nanoelectronics.

For Morrison, this project capped an academic journey that more than lived up to his expectations of Princeton.

"I will remember the amazing intellectual experience that I had here -- having outstanding researchers talk with me and teach my classes. I will remember the ability I've had to do independent work in chemical engineering, which has been very rewarding," Morrison said. "And I will remember, certainly, the personal relationships that I've had with my friends."

Morrison earned the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence, was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and served as vice president of Princeton's chapter of the Tau Beta Pi engineering honor society. Outside the classroom, he sang bass in the Chapel Choir for four years, performing solos in Bach's "Magnificat" and Mozart's "Requiem" this year. After graduation, he will work in quantitative finance for Goldman Sachs in New York City, and he may pursue graduate studies in applied physics in the future.

"He is, in short, one of a kind: a deep thinker and an extraordinarily gifted and creative individual," Debenedetti said.
An interview from Focus (a Bulgarian magazine):

The new archeologist season in the region of Sliven will be launched soon. The excavations organized by the Regional Historical Museum and Thracian Expedition for Tumular Investigations /TEMP/ continue.
Archeologist Nikolay Sirakov, deputy head of the excavations, tells more about the Thracian urban culture in an interview with Focus News Agency.

FOCUS: Mr. Sirakov, the urban culture is usually an indicator of the achievements of a civilization – since when have there been cities in Thrace?
Nikolay Sirakov: The first cities south of the Balkan Mountains /Stara Planina/ date back to IV century BC. These cities were different from the Greek polis because of differences in relations of ownership and urban life organization. Usually such cities are labeled neopolis – Philippoupolis, Seuthopolis, Kabile, Uskudama, ect. The region between the upper and middle course of the Tundzha river is of enormous industrial, cultural, military and politician significance for the entire history of Thrace.

FOCUS: What is the area of influence of these cities?
Nikolay Sirakov: Roads are an important factor in the flourishing commercial relations in the region. They connected the central settlements with commercial centers along the eastern and southern seaside. Using the numismatic material obtained from Kabile’s hinterland we can approximately determine the border of the urban territory of the Thracian settlement. Kabile’s northern border reaches the foot of Eastern Balkan Mountains. In the west Kabile spreads to St. Iliyski and Manastirski hills, in the south – to northern slopes of Strandzha and Sakar mountains, in the east – to Apollonia and Mesambria.
Another big Thracian center – Seuthopolis – includes most probably the upper course of the Tundzha river, bordering on Kabile in the east. In the south it reaches the foot of Sredna Gora mountains and in the north – Balkan Mountains.

FOCUS: What did Thracian cities look like?
Nikolay Sirakov: The urban planning of the two Thracian cities mirrors the development stage of the social and economic relations in the Odrysian kingdom – a union of Thracian tribes who lived in the two cities at the end of IV and beginning of III century BC. What is typical for the Early Hellenistic period is agora (an open place of assembly) and temples. The city’s reinforced part was built by means of the so-called Hippodamus urban planning system. The houses’ foundations were made of stones soldered with mud and an additional storey made of timber framework and adobe. The roof is wooden and covered with tiles. The Thracian cities’ hinterland contains the already discovered sub-tumulus temples and tumuli with burials. The temples differentiate according to their planning. They date back between the end of VI and beginning of II century BC. The plan of the Thracian temple-tombs is almost one and the same. There is a central chamber – round or rectangular with a dome or an arch and a dromos (corridor), which leads to the chamber. Sometimes the chamber and dromos are separated by a door, thus stressing on the isolation from the outer world and heightening the sacral.

From comes word of a possible temple to Dionysus in Bulgaria:

Over the tomb of Sevt III (on the coin) in the mound Goliama Kosmatka near Shipka town (Central Bulgaria) is most probably located the temple of Dionysius - the God of Fruitfulness.

The news was reported in Kazanluk city by the director of local History Museum Kosio Zarev.

According to Zarev's words the conclusion was made after the detailed geo-radar examinations of the mound executed by a private team.

The researches showed that immediately over the Sevt III's tomb, revealed three years ago, is located a premises, similar to a temple, in which left outlet was defined a presence of big bronze statute.

The scientists believe that the discovery treats the unrevealed until now, but existing in ancient times temple of Dionysius, for who is known for sure that was by the river valley of Tundja River (South - Eastern Bulgaria).

Kosio Zarev supposes that firstly was created the temple pf Dionysius by Sevt himself, who had praised the God of Fruitfulness.

According to the Kazanluk Museum's chief the temple was active until the moment it was turned into a religious spot.

This summer are expected to start examination excavations in the region of the sanctuary.

If in the mound of Goliama Kosmatka will be discovered the disappearing temple of the Thracian God, the valley will become big scientific world sensation.
8.00 p.m. |HISTC| RE-INVENTORS, THE II | Roman Crane
Ancient structures like the Coliseum and Hadrian’s Wall give testament to the skill and knowledge that builders had thousands of years ago. Join The Re-Inventors as they give due to the power behind these creations – the Roman Crane. This massive piece of equipment, powered by a human-sized hamster wheel, was responsible for building some of the most impressive structures in history. The Re-Inventors have a few questions though: How did it work? How much could it lift? Matt and Jeremy are going to build it and find out.

HISTC = History Television (Canada)

ante diem vii kalendas junias

17 A.D. -- Germanicus celebrates a triumph for his victories in Germany

106 A.D. -- martyrdom of Zachary in Gaul

107 A.D. -- Trajan arrives in Rome and celebrates a triumph for his victories over the Dacians

303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Felicissimus, Heraclius, and others at what is now Todi (Umbria)
vehement @

exeleutherostomize @ Worthless Word for the Day

garboil @ Wordsmith

decorous @ Merriam-Webster
From the Turkish Daily News:

An ancient Roman structure discovered in the eastern city of Malatya's Kuluncak district will be brought to the surface during an archaeological excavation set to begin this year.

The building, known as an agora, is believed to have acted as an important trading center and courtroom in the Roman era.

"The center, which was found during excavations carried out in Kuluncak's Kaynarca village, was the foundation of an agora," said Malatya Archaeology Museum Director İzzet Esen. "We have been carrying out excavations in the village for the last year. When we first saw the mosaic in Kuluncak we thought it did not cover a very large area and that we could bring it to the surface easily."

He said the archaeologists had originally planned to take the mosaic to a museum, but further excavations showed that it covered a larger area than they originally imagined. Instead, they were standing on the ground of a complex structure, a "Basilica," located in an Agora that acted as a trading center and courtroom in the ancient Roman city.

Esen believes the excavations to be conducted in September or October will bring the complete structure to the surface. He said the museum has also prepared a project for the mosaics, which will be covered with wood and turned into an open-air museum. He promised that the museum will take the necessary security measures and protect the structure from environmental damage.

"This structure shows that it was a significant settlement area in the Roman era. This is why it is also important in tourism," he said.

Esen added that the museum plans to ask the Culture and Tourism Ministry for YTL 25,000 for the open-air museum project and excavations.
A piece in the Independent begins by suggesting:

Stone Age Britons had a sophisticated knowledge of geometry to rival Pythagoras – 2,000 years before the Greek "father of numbers" was born, according to a new study of Stonehenge.

Five years of detailed research, carried out by the Oxford University landscape archaeologist Anthony Johnson, claims that Stonehenge was designed and built using advanced geometry.

The discovery has immense implications for understanding the monument – and the people who built it. It also suggests it is more rooted in the study of geometry than early astronomy – as is often speculated.

Mr Johnson believes the geometrical knowledge eventually used to plan, pre-fabricate and erect Stonehenge was learnt empirically hundreds of years earlier through the construction of much simpler monuments.

He also argues that this knowledge was regarded as a form of arcane wisdom or magic that conferred a privileged status on the elite who possessed it, as it also featured on gold artefacts found in prehistoric graves.

The most complex geometrical achievement at Stonehenge is an 87-metre diameter circle of chalk-cut pits which mark the points of a 56-sided polygon, created immediately within themonument's perimeter earthwork.

Mr Johnson used computer analysis and experimental archaeology to demonstrate that this outer polygon was laid out using square and circle geometry. He believes the surveyors started by using a rope to create a circle, then laid out the four corners of a square on its circumference, before laying out a second similar square, thus creating an inner octagon. The points of the octagon were then utilised as anchors for a surveyor's rope which was used to "draw" arcs which intersected the circumference so as to progressively create the sides of a vast polygon.

Indeed, his work has demonstrated that a 56-sided polygon is the most complex that can easily be created purely through square and circle geometry using a single piece of rope.

It then goes on to say:

It is likely that this basic limitation determined the number of sides of Stonehenge's outer polygon – and may also have led to the 56-sided polygon concept becoming important within wider European religious belief. Ancient Greek classical mythology associated just such a 56-sided polygon with Zeus's great rival for divine supremacy, the weather god Typhon.

I've heard of Typhon having a hundred heads (sources compiled at Theoi), but never this 56-sided polygon claim ....
From the Miami Herald:

The ancient language spoken in the Roman Empire is gaining popularity at one Broward high school.

Latin has been a part of the World Languages curriculum at Cypress Bay High since the school opened several years ago. Instructor Declan Lyons says more students are learning how important it can be in their studies.

Latin words form the basis for much of the vocabulary in the English language, according to Lyons, who teaches Ancient Classical Languages and French at the Weston school, one of just a handful in Broward that teaches the language.

Latin is one of six languages taught at Cypress Bay, along with French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and American Sign Language.

The program offers several levels of instruction, from beginner to two different Advanced Placement Latin courses.

In one of those courses, students read the ancient Roman love poets Ovid and Catullus.

In another, they tackle Virgil's epic poem, the Aeneid, written in the first century B.C.

''Latin is a gift they will carry with them and a knowledge base which will always help them understand English. It is not something they will ever lose,'' Lyons said.

For the first time, 23 of his students were recently inducted into the National Junior Classical League Latin Honor Society, whose members include more than 50,000 students from around the world.

Student Jake Marika said he has enjoyed learning Latin because it helps him break down words and better understand their context.

''When you learn a language structurally, it happens step by step and you understand what's going on,'' the 17-year-old senior from Weston said.

Lyons said he approaches the class not only from a grammatical and linguistic point but also from a literary, historical and cultural perspective.

''I teach them the love of words and the culture and history that surrounds those words,'' he said.

The priority is not on learning how to actually speak the language but on its structure and format.

Lyons said having a Latin base can often provide the key to unlocking words students don't know and help boost vocabulary.

Junior Anne Salsbury of Southwest Ranches said that during a recent SAT practice, she relied on her Latin to help her figure out several questions.

''I knew that taking it would help me with SAT's or any kind of language,'' she said.

The incipit of an item at Catalyst (it's a transcript of an interview):

Narration: What’s the fast growing source of greenhouse gas?

You might be surprised but it’s cement.

Cement’s already the 3rd largest man-made source of carbon dioxide - more than two billion tonnes of it a year. That’s after fossil fuels and defrorestation.

And because of all the construction going on around the world, cement’s carbon footprint is growing rapidly.

We desperately need greener concrete.

Professor Jannie van Deventer’s team at the University of Melbourne has found one. And surprisingly it’s chemically similar to a cement used by the ancient Romans.

Professor Janine van Deventer: The good properties of geopolymeric concrete are also present in the old Roman structures, so old roman concrete be made along similar lines in terms of the chemistry.

Narration: Over time the Roman knowledge was lost. The cement we know and use was invented in the 19th Century. The problem with it is its fundamental chemistry.

Narration: 60% of the carbon emissions from cement manufacture come from the chemical reaction required to make it.

Calcium carbonate is heated until breaks down into calcium oxide – which is needed in the cement – and the by-product Carbon dioxide.

An environmentally-friendly cement will need a completely different chemical reaction.

... here's the rest ...
Martin Conde has put up some interesting clippings from the New York Times from the early 1900s, including one which shows that the controversy surrounding the Monteleone Chariot is a longstanding one -- the sale appears to have been approved due to the "negligence" of a public official. There's something else odd about the report ... it claims the chariot was discovered in Umbria and had been buried by the ashes of Vesuvius. Now as far as I know, there was no eruption of Vesuvius between archaic times and 79 A.D., so that doesn't quite make sense. Umbria and Vesuvius are also rather distant from each other and I'm not sure how one could get significant ashfall from an eruption at such a distance. Something doesn't add up here ... whether bad reportage or deliberate deception ...
9.00 p.m. |HISTC| ROME II | a Necessary Fiction
Octavian proclaims a new era of virtue in Rome, issuing a stern mandate that proves impossible for his family and subordinates to obey. A shipment of gold is mysteriously hijacked while en route to the Roman treasury, casting suspicion everywhere and sending Vorenus on a mission to learn who betrayed whom. In the wake of personal tragedy, Pullo channels his grief and fury on Memmio, Omnipor and their henchmen. After courting an “appropriate” bride named Livia, Octavian turns his attentions to more important matters, issuing to Mark Antony an ultimatum he knows he can’t refuse.

HISTC = History Television (Canada)

Online Videos by

... preview (such as it is); full version available on Veoh TV ...
From the Buzzard (what a great name for a newspaper):

PART of a Romano/British ring found by a Leighton metal detectorist in fields near Hockliffe has been declared treaure.
The ring, which has provided archaeologists with the missing link to a bloodthirsty ancient Celtic warrior god, was unearthed by Greg Dyer of Churchill Road in September 2005.

At an inquest last Tuesday, Beds coroner David Morris told the court that the piece of ring, thought to be from the third century AD, contains 2.98 grammes of silver.

The piece of jewellery, inscribed with the words 'Deo Tota Felix' is currently in the British Museum waiting to be valued.

In a report, the museum said that the missing part of the ring would almost certainly be inscribed with the word 'Vtere', as the four words together mean 'Use this ring happily'.

The god in question is Toutatis, of course ... we've had reports of rings for him before ...
The hype's picking up ... from the Times:

A flamboyant archeologist known worldwide for his trademark Indiana Jones hat believes he has identified the site where Cleopatra is buried.

Now, with a team of 12 archeologists and 70 excavators, Zahi Hawass, 60, the head of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, has started searching for the entrance to her tomb.

And after a breakthrough two weeks ago he hopes to find her lover, the Roman general Mark Antony, sharing her last resting place at the site of a temple, the Taposiris Magna, 28 miles west of Alexandria.

Hawass has discovered a 400ft tunnel beneath the temple containing clues that the supposedly beautiful queen may lie beneath. “We’ve found tunnels with statues of Cleopatra and many coins bearing her face, things you wouldn’t expect in a typical temple,” he said.
Related Links

A fortnight ago Hawass’s team discovered a bust of Mark Antony, the Roman general who became Cleopatra’s lover and had three children with her before their ambitions for an Egyptian empire brought them into conflict with Rome.

They committed suicide – he with his sword, she reputedly by clutching an asp to her breast – after being defeated by Octavian in the battle of Actium in 31BC. “Our theory is that both Cleopatra and Mark Antony are buried here,” said Hawass.

The archeologist, best known in Britain for demanding the return of the Rosetta Stone from the British Museum and for promoting the Tutankhamun exhibition at the O2 dome in London, believes the temple’s location would have made it a perfect place for Cleopatra to hide from Octavian’s army.

Work on the site has been suspended until the summer heat abates and is due to resume in November, when Hawass will use radar to search for hidden chambers.

The queen’s life and death were immortalised in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, and the Hollywood movie Cleopatra – starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, who fell in love during the filming – but the location of her tomb has remained a mystery.

If Hawass is right, he could make the greatest archeological discovery in Egypt since Tutankhamun’s tomb was uncovered by the British archeologist Howard Carter in 1922.

Other experts are cautious, though. John Baines, professor of Egyptology at Oxford University, warned that searching for royal tombs often proved a “hopeless” task. He also doubted that Antony would be buried alongside his lover.

“It’s unlikely Mark Antony would have a tomb that anyone would be able to discover because he was the enemy at the time he died,” he said.

Hawass, however, remains defiant. “This is our theory. Others may disagree, but we are searching to see if we can prove it,” he said.

... worth checking out our earlier coverage of this one ...


Ramiro Sánchez-Crespo Dalmau scripsit:

It is amazing how Mr. Hawass keeps manufacturing amazing headlines. One day is a lost mummy, the other is some nasty detail about the death of a teenage pharaoh, or some never seen before opening of a sarcophagus...

... to me there are only 3 possible explanations to such media frenzy:

1. this man is a vedette, hungry for magazine covers, or...
2. there is a well orchestrated campaign to keep Egypt on the media, and continue attracting (cultural) tourism to the country. In these days, competition among rival touristic destinations is fierce, and promoting your country through this kind of news could be a good idea. I developed this idea further and wrote about it in a past article in my blog. I found that (surprisingly enough), Egypt's tourist statistics are not as impressive as one might expect, being surpassed by theoretically less interesting established in all Western countries and keeps many tourists from flying to Egypt. I suppose that, should you have to change Western people minds, cooperating with Discovery Channel or National Geographic is again the best you can do.
The Department of Classics at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville,
has been authorized to make a two-year sabbatical-replacement
appointment at the level of Lecturer, to start in August 2008. Ph.D.
preferred. The preferred area of expertise is Greek philology. The
successful candidate should expect to teach introductory-level courses
in both Greek and Latin; there will be opportunities to teach
upper-division language courses as well as courses in translation.
Ability to teach an upper-division undergraduate survey of Greek history
would be a plus. Please contact Dr. David Tandy (dtandy AT
), Professor and Head, with expressions of
Still poking around Veoh -- there's tons of stuff of interest there -- I find some of these items are a 'preview' with options to watch the whole thing on Veoh TV. This is extremely useful for folks who follow my Ancient World on Television listings and don't have access, e.g., to the History Channel or whatever. Much of this does seem to be available on Veoh. What I am putting below, however, is a preview of an item on the Antikythera Mechanism. Hopefully the option to see the full thing on Veoh TV also gets embedded:

Online Videos by

UPDATE: It does seem to work -- then again, I have Veoh TV installed. YMMV, but it seems like this might be definitely a good thing ... if you have a decent video connection, you can actually contemplate downloading these things (40 min videos are in the 350 mb range) ...
ante diem x kalendas junias

Tubilustrium -- a purification of the battle trumpets which, like the one which occurred in March, was designed to prepare the troops for war (perhaps ... this tubilustrium is somehow connected with the following)

Festival of Vulcan

1270 B.C. -- Pierre Henri-Archer suggests this day for the fall of Troy

63 B.C. -- Pompey takes Jerusalem (by one reckoning)

37 B.C. -- Herod takes control of Jerusalem

ca. 303 A.D. -- martyrs of Cappadocia

1617 -- birth of Elias Ashmole
antejentacular @ Worthless Word for the Day
Cinematical is reporting that a production of Rosemary Sutcliff's Eagle of the Ninth is in the works ...
The Artemidorus Papyrus
A one-day conference at St John's College, Oxford,
on Friday, June 13th, 2008

The so-called Papyrus of Artemidorus with it three parts - a text, a
map, and images - is one of the most spectacular artefacts published in
this decade.

The one-day conference at St John's College, Oxford, aims to bring
specialists on all aspects of the papyrus together. We are especially
glad that colleagues from Germany, Italy, Switzerland, the UK, and the
USA have agreed to participate: While Luciano Canfora (Bari/Italy) has
had to cancel due to other commitments, we shall hear Margarethe
Billerbeck (Fribourg/CH), Baerbel Kramer (Trier/Germany), Dirk Obbink
(Oxford/UK), Peter Parsons (Oxford/UK), Nicholas Purcell (Oxford/UK),
Richard Talbert (UNC Chapel Hill/USA), Nigel Wilson (Oxford/UK), and others.

The aim of the conference, organized by Kai Brodersen and Jas Elsner, is
to study the artefact, and its text, map, and images, as "gobbets" first
(in a well-established Oxford tradition), thus contributing to a deeper
understanding of what the papyrus presents, before discussing
probabilities and authenticities.

You can find further information, and registration details, 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
8.00 p.m. |DCIVC|Searching For Lost Worlds: Atlantis - Mystery Of The Minoans
A lost civilization uncovered at Knossos, Crete in the early 1900s displayed many similarities to Plato's descriptions of Atlantis; but in 1939, it was proposed that the island of Thera might be the lost city.

8.00 p.m. |HISTC| CITIES OF THE UNDERWORLD | Rome's Hidden Empire
Rome, Italy is a city where the past meets the present on every street, and below them. Caesar. Augustus. Nero. Rome has had some of the most infamous rulers, and each one of them has left their mark on the city - and left remnants of his reign underground. A secret cult practiced right next to the Circus Maximus, and their temple still remains beneath the street. The famous Piazza Navona sits on top of Domitian's Stadium. Pieces of Trajan's Basilica can be found under a gallery owned by fashion dynasty, Fendi. Rome's underground is filled with evidence of life during the Empire. Join host Eric Geller as he discovers what life was like during Nero's tyranny and Augustus' reforms. We're peeling back the layers of time on Cities of the Underworld: Rome's Hidden Empire

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)
HISTC = History Television (Canada)
The conversation about that purported bust of Caesar continues in the comments at Mary Beard's blog ... in one of them, Mary Jane alerts us to a video at France 3 on the discovery which shows the statue from a few more angles -- from certain angles, and in certain light (especially under water, covered in grime) the bust does look 'caesar-like' to a certain extent, but I'm still not convinced. I want to see a clean profile photo.

What's more interesting than this narrow focus on the identity of but one bust, however, is the apparent jumble of antiquities from several periods that seem to be all in one area. Again, I suggest (as I did at MB's blog), that there might be some connection of this deposit to the pontoon bridge which we know was at Arelate. Because of the amount of stuff, though, I'm wondering if much of it was tossed in later times during some Saracen invasion vel simm. ...
ante diem xi kalendas junias

415 B.C. -- The "mutilation of the herms" occurs, which would briefly delay the launching of the Sicilian Expedition (by one reckoning)

334 B.C. -- Battle of the Granicus, one of Alexander's major victories against the Persians (by one reckoning)

337 A.D. -- death of Constantine I
subreption @ Merriam-Webster
From the (Charlottetown) Guardian:

Former UPEI music professor Bert Tersteeg says is going to miss making music with Dr. C.W.J. Eliot on Thursday mornings.
Eliot, president and chancellor of the University of Prince Edward Island from 1985-95, died Tuesday at the Sackville Hospital after suffering a stroke at his home in Dorchester, N.B., last month. He was 79.
“He became almost like a brother more than a colleague,’’ Tersteeg said Wednesday.
The former music professor said he and Eliot got together every Thursday morning at 10:15 to chat and play music — Tersteeg on cello and Eliot on piano.
“He came (to my house in Charlottetown) every Thursday morning to make music and talk about everything for the past 20 years.’’
At first, the two shared their love of talk and music at the university before shifting to Tersteeg’s home in Charlottetown.
He said Eliot would always call on Wednesday night to make sure their fun time was a go before driving over from Dorchester.
“We got quite close the last 15 years. I was the one who enticed him to go back to music when he was president (of UPEI). Even then we got together every Thursday and had lunch together. He called it his therapeutic session,’’ said Tersteeg, who ran the music department at the Charlottetown campus from 1965-93.
Eliot was named president emeritus in 1996.
He was the third person to serve as president since UPEI was created in 1969. He also taught classics at UPEI from 1985 to 1997.
Born in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, in 1928, Eliot had a prolific professional career as a classicist, especially in Greek history and archaeology. After receiving his bachelor of arts, master of arts and doctor of philosophy from the University of Toronto, he attended the American School of Classical Studies in Athens from 1952 to 1957 where he did graduate research.
“He was a gentleman, a scholar and a person who was totally committed to liberal education but had a lasting respect for all areas at the university,’’ said Joe Revell, who served as dean of the school of business under Eliot.
Revell said Eliot was famous for his daily walkabouts around the campus, dropping in at odd times just to chat.
Verner Smitheram, dean of arts at UPEI from 1983-91, said Eliot was a living embodiment of academic intellectual values.
“He was a classicist and that was reflected in everything he did,’’ Smitheram said.
“He guarded very clearly the autonomy of the university, from encroachment outside the university with government. He firmly believed the university should
be run strictly along academic values.’’
UPEI issued a statement on Wednesday that said Eliot’s “advice and counsel on academic issues was highly valued and often requested. He provided a strong public voice on issues pertaining to the state of Canadian education and the plight of Canadian students.’’
Smitheram said Eliot was adamant that the direction of the university should be set by faculty and the student body.
“He was a real academic democrat,’’ said Smitheram, who worked at UPEI in one capacity or another from 1967-2007.
Smitheram said one of Eliot’s lasting legacies will be that Main Building was restored under his watch.
Eliot is survived by his wife, Mary (Williamson) Eliot, and their children, Charles, Nicholas, Johanna and Luke. He was predeceased by his daughter, Sophia.
UPEI will hold a memorial celebration in honour of Eliot at a later date.
From Today's Zaman:

The exhibition, "Artemision: A Temple of a Goddess," will be inaugurated today at the İstanbul Archaeology Museum with a ceremony that visiting Austrian President Heinz Fischer will attend.

The exhibition will showcase 453 items on loan from the Ephesus Museum in Selçuk and 72 works from the İstanbul Archaeology Museum's own inventory, reported the Anatolia news agency. The artifacts to be displayed include bronze, glazed, precious metal, ivory and amber findings from the archaic period and about 100 electron coins created in the oldest known coin minting in history. Some of these artifacts were preserved in the treasury room of the İstanbul Archaeology Museum and have not been on display since 1970. Likewise, a majority of the artifacts brought from the Ephesus Museum will be put on public display for the first time, Anatolia said.

The Temple of Artemis, or Artemision in Greek, was designed and built by Cretan architect Chersiphron and his son Metagenes in 550 B.C. The construction of this all-marble temple was financed by Lydian King Kroisos.

The temple was unearthed by British archaeologist John Turtle Wood in 1870 after a long search that lasted for seven years. Upon application by the British Museum, David Gorge Hoghart started conducting archaeological excavations in 1905 on the temple and its surrounding area. These excavations unearthed not only parts of the temple, but also thousands of amber, bronze, ivory and glazed objects and coins dating back to sixth and seventh centuries B.C. Since 1965, the excavations at the site have been carried out by an Austrian team of archeologists, who discovered new findings that helped shed more light on the architecture of the temple. By expanding the excavations, the team found important evidence that relates to the early period of the temple dating back to the second millennium B.C.
Laura Flusche sent in a couple of interesting links (thanks!) to some Classically-inspired graffiti (street art) ... here's the she-wolf ... and a reference to the seven kings ... not related but also at the eternally cool site is an interesting item on gifts "for the god who has everything" ...
From Huliq:

The evolving practice of antiquities conservation is the focus of The Hope Hygieia: Restoring a Statue’s History, a new exhibition on view through September 8, 2008 at the J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Villa.

The Hope Hygieia, a seven-foot-tall, nearly one-ton marble statue of Hygieia, the goddess of health, is on loan to the J. Paul Getty Museum from the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). It was found in 1797 at Ostia, the ancient port of Rome. Since its discovery, the statue has been restored, de-restored, and now re-restored, to bring it full circle.

Discovered 10 meters underground, the statue was missing its nose, inlaid eyes, right forearm, and left hand, as well as parts of the drapery and sections of the snake the figure is holding, including its head. At the time of its discovery, there was no question that the missing elements would be restored with marble replacement parts designed to look just like the restorer imagined the original sculpture might have looked. These initial restorations took place in the 19th century.

Once the statue was restored, it was acquired by the English designer Thomas Hope. The Hygieia appeared whole, its 19th-century restorations essentially untouched, for the next 170 years as the statue passed from Hope to the industrialist Alfred Mond, to newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst. In 1950, Hearst donated the statue to LACMA.

The Hope Hygieia underwent a transformation in 1973 when LACMA lent the statue to the J. Paul Getty Museum for exhibition and de-restoration. In accord with a minimalist aesthetic, the statue was stripped of its 19th-century additions.

"Starting in the 20th century, conservators and archaeologists began to reject previous restorations, and many sculptures were stripped of their additions,” explains Jens Daehner, curator of the exhibition and assistant curator, Department of Antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum. “This attitude influenced the work done by the Getty on the Hope Hygeia in the 1970s when its restorations were removed.”

Consequently, at that time, everything was removed from the Hope Hygeia that was not ancient marble. The desired authenticity, however, was compromised by the absence of naturally broken surfaces: when the statue was restored in the 19th century, the restorer had cut away the broken parts, leaving smooth surfaces that looked like intentional amputations.

For these and other reasons, new generations of conservators have come to believe that once an ancient sculpture is restored, its original state is lost forever, and the restorations become an intrinsic part of the object’s history. In 2006, at the request of LACMA, Getty conservators reversed the de-restoration done by earlier conservators, reconstructing the Hygieia to its 19th-century appearance with the goal of restoring it to the way it looked when it was owned by Hope.

“The early restorations had some historical accuracy,” says Jerry Podany, senior conservator of antiquities for the J. Paul Getty Museum. “Fortunately, many of the segments that were removed in the 1970s had been preserved, and could be reattached.” Restorations that were lost or damaged since the 1970s were re-created based on drawings and photographs.

“Objects from antiquity don’t have a static history,” adds Erik Risser, assistant conservator of antiquities for the J. Paul Getty Museum, who completed the re-restoration. “This is simultaneously an ancient statue and a reflection of 18th- and 19th-century attitudes toward antiquities.”

Relying on mechanical joints and soluble adhesives, Risser made certain that his new assembly of ancient and modern elements is fully reversible. Current conservation practice does not entirely reject restoration if it is historically accurate and provides the object some structural integrity—as long as it can be easily undone by conservators in the future.

“The point of this exhibition is to highlight the changing attitudes within the conservation profession and the different ways this particular object has been seen, understood, and interpreted since it was discovered some 200 years ago,” continues Daehner.

In addition to the Hope Hygieia statue, the exhibition features a 19th-century drawing of the figure soon after its initial restoration, and an engraving of Hygieia in a book on ancient costume by Thomas Hope, both from the Getty Research Institute’s collection, as well as a marble head of Hygieia from the J. Paul Getty Museum’s collection.

Following its exhibition at the Getty Villa, the statue will be returned to LACMA, where it will be featured in an exhibition titled Hearst the Collector, beginning November 2008. “The Hope Hygieia is the most important example of its type. The Getty’s contribution to rehabilitating this historic work of art is an ideal example of collaboration between museums. The restoration would not have happened without the support and approval of Michael Brand1 and Karol Wight2,” commented Mary Levkoff, curator of European sculpture and classical antiquities at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
From the Journal:

WHEN it came to their daily bread, troops at a Northumberland Roman fort took no chances.

Excavations at Vindolanda are revealing two massive granaries whose quality even outshone the nearby commanding officer’s quarters. The dig is also uncovering a magnificent flagged roadway next to the granaries.

“The masonry of these granaries is far superior to that of the nearby commanding officer’s residence, and although some of the walls have suffered from stone robbing, others are standing to a height of around 5ft,” said director of excavations Andrew Birley. “The magnificent section of superbly flagged Roman roadway is probably now the best example to be seen in the North.”

Samples of material trapped in vents below the flagged floors of the granaries are expected to reveal the nature of the foodstuffs and other goods once stored in the buildings, together with the bones of rodents that attempted to feed upon them.

Patricia Birley, director of the Vindolanda Trust, said: “They would have had to keep considerable amounts of supplies for at least 500 men in the fort.

“But the granaries and roadway are very impressive. It is Roman building at its best.”

Archaeological evidence, including a bronze brooch and strap end, has also confirmed that people were using the granaries as accommodation from the 5th to the 8th Centuries, proving that Vindolanda continued to be occupied long after the end of Roman rule in Britain. Previous digs have uncovered the remains of a 5th Century church on the site.

The Vindolanda 2008 excavations, with a large contingent of volunteers drawn from all over the world, will continue every day until mid-September.
ante diem xii kalendas junias

Agonalia -- the rex sacrificulus would offer a ram to various deities

rites in honour of Vediovis

429 B.C. -- birth of Plato (by one reckoning)

70 A.D. -- Roman forces break through Jerusalem's middle wall

194 A.D.(?) -- Septimius Severus acclaimed as Imperator

293 A.D. (?) -- elevation of Galerius to the rank of Caesar by Diocletian

1920 -- birth of John Chadwick (The Decipherment of Linear B)

1929 -- death of Rodolfo Lanciani (perhaps May 22)

1953 -- birth of Don Fowler

malnoia @ Worthless Word for the Day

lucullan @ Wordsmith

opine @ Merriam-Webster
10.00 p.m. |HINT|Lost Worlds: Lost City of Aphrodite
Aphrodisias is a magnificent city of marble dedicated to the Greek goddess Aphrodite. It is widely recognized as one of the best-preserved sites in the Classical World. Although forgotten until the mid-20th century, the city's remarkable state of preservation led to comparisons with Pompeii. A devastating earthquake in the 7th century destroyed the city and damage caused to the remaining buildings is still plainly visible. Watch as the city is recreated by a team of historical detectives who use evidence from recent excavations, scientific studies and historical documents to piece together clues as to what ancient Aphrodisias looked like.
ante diem xiii kalendas junias

325 A.D. -- Council of Nicaea opens (maybe)

1912 -- birth of Moses Finley (Ancient Slavery and Modern Ideology, among others)

1957 -- death of Gilbert Murray ((History of Ancient Greek Literature, among numerous other things)
misocaenea @ Worthless Word for the Day
From the Jerusalem Post:

For the second time in the past year, archeologists have uncovered a Second Temple Period quarry whose stones were used to build the Western Wall, the Israel Antiquities Authority announced Monday.

The latest archeological discovery was made in the city's Sanhedria neighborhood, located about two kilometers from the Old City of Jerusalem.

The quarry was uncovered during a routine "salvage excavation" carried out by the state-run archeological body over the last several months ahead of the construction of a private house in the religious neighborhood.

The quarry is believed to be one of those used to build the Jerusalem holy site because the size of the stones match those at the Western Wall.

"Most of the stones that were found at the site are similar in size to the smallest stones that are currently visible in the Western Wall, and therefore we assume that the stones from this quarry were used to build these structures," said Dr. Gerald Finkielsztejn, director of the excavation.

The stones were dated by pottery found at the site, he added.

"This is a rather regular quarry except that there are really big stones," Finkielsztejn said.

The largest of the stones found at the quarry measures 0.69 x 0.94 x 1.65 m, while some of the stones were apparently ready for extraction but were left in place.

The quarry was probably abandoned at the time of the Great Revolt against the Romans in 66-70 CE, he said.

Last year, archeologists unearthed an ancient quarry that supplied enormous high quality limestones for the construction of the Temple Mount in an outlying neighborhood of Jerusalem.

Dozens of quarries have previously been found in Jerusalem, but these are the first two that archeologists have uncovered which they believed were used in the construction of the Temple Mount.

A few dozen quarries were likely used in the building of the Temple Mount, said Prof. Amos Kloner, a former Jerusalem district archaeologist at the Israel Antiquities Authority.

He said it was "no surprise" that the first two had been found, and noted that the neighborhood where the latest quarry was found was in itself built on top of a quarry.
Looks like Boris Johnson isn't the only one tossing around Classicisms in the halls of power in the UK ... from Yahoo:

For those of you who were itching to ask the PM about his views on classical oratory styles on his Youtube free-for-all, don't bother! He's dealt with this thorny issue already.

Addressing the Google Zeitgeist conference this morning, Gordon Brown explained that when Cicero spoke, people said "Great speech," but when Demosthenes spoke, the response was "Let's march."

I'm glad that's sorted. And yes, he's in the marching camp.
Al Ahram has a useful little item on this find which we briefly mentioned a while back:

TWO rare gold coins from the reign of Emperor Valens have been unearthed in Egypt. Nevine El-Aref reports on the find. Archaeologists from the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) carrying out a routine archaeological survey at Sail Al-Tofaha area, west of Saint Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, have chanced upon two gold Byzantine coins bearing the head of Emperor Valens (364-378 AD). A number of grotto caves and fragments of clay and glass have already been found in the area.

Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the SCA, described this discovery as unique because it is the first time that objects linked to that emperor have been found in Egypt. "Coins of Valens were previously found in Lebanon and Syria," Hawass said, adding that remnants of walls along with fragments of clay, glass and porcelain dating to the same era were also unearthed.

On the obverse side is an image of Emperor Valens wearing his official attire and an ornate crown decorated with two rows of pearls surrounding a gold cross. The reverse shows the emperor in military attire, holding in his left hand a staff with a cross and in his right a ball surmounted by a winged angel.

Tareq El-Naggar, head of Coptic and Islamic monuments in Sinai, said both coins were minted in Antioch (now Antakya in southern Turkey). He said further excavations were expected to uncover other objects that could help explain more about the history of Sinai, especially during the Byzantine era.

The original article is accompanied by this photo:

... this is one of Valens' 'restitutor rei publicae' issues ... to be pedantic, he's carrying a labarum and a victory/nike ...
6.00 p.m. |HINT|History's Mysteries: Hidden Tomb of Antiochus
According to ancient Greek inscriptions, the tomb of King Antiochus I, ruler of Commagene, lies buried atop the 7,000-foot high Mt. Nemrud. In the 19th century, German excavators claimed the burial grounds were of Greek and Persian ancestry. But in the 1950s, American archaeologist Theresa Goell began to unravel the secrets of the funeral sanctuary. Today, both archaeologists and tourists are amazed and puzzled by the colossal burial place. But the human remains and tomb's riches are still hidden.

7.00 p.m. |HINT| Battlefield Detectives: Alesia
In the late summer of 52 BC, Julius Caesar, Rome's most brilliant general was pitted against the great Gallic chieftain Vercingetorix. Fifty thousand Roman soldiers came face-to-face against a quarter of a million Gallic warriors. For the first time, at a small hilltop called Alesia in what is now central France, all Caesars's enemies were gathered in one place. And Caesar won. Yet for 2,000 years there's been only one explanation for his victory--his own. Does evidence from the battlefield correspond with this account? The battle that day shaped the map of modern Europe. How did Caesar do it? Recent archaeological discoveries, systematic analysis of Roman warfare, and extraordinary photographic evidence reveal the secrets of Caesar's success

HINT = History International
ante diem xiv kalendas junias

c. 160 A.D. -- martyrdom of Pudentiana

175 A.D. -- Commodus departs for Germany

307 A.D. -- martyrdom of Cyriaca and companions at Nicomedia

1795 -- death of James Boswell, author of Life of Dr. Johnson,
obtrude @

nephelococcygia @ Worthless Word for the Day

cicerone @ Wordsmith (never have figured out why this one is connected to Cicero)

propensity @ Merriam-Webster
A handful of items worth checking out:

Kotaku has a Roman perspective on Classical gaming ...

BBC Magazine has some 'Classical' advice for Boris Johnson ...

Not sure why, but New Design World has an article on the Roman Army during the Punic Wars ...

The Spring 2008 issue of the CSA Newsletter is posted (time for a makeover) ...

This week's video of note is a performance of the Delphic Hymn to Apollo:

... and last, and certainly least, one should check out the plans to make Hadrian's Wall higher ...

Interesting item from Express India:

Reader Indira Malani sends an e-mail asking what a Greco-Roman Buddha is. It may come as a surprise but no one knew what Gautam Buddha really looked like. In fact, the Hinayana cult, or early Buddhists, prohibited artists from rendering any human form of Buddha.

The Great One was only indicated through symbols, like the chakra, the stupa, the three-headed deer and the peepal tree—where He gave his first sermon. This is the art that Ashoka the Great partonised in his province, like Sanchi, and the early rock edicts bare witness to this phase in Buddhist art.

However, it was around 327 B.C that we witness a change. Alexander the Great led an invasion that stopped just short of the Kushana Mountains where the historic battle with King Porus was fought. Alexander did not ‘win’ the war with Porus but he left Greek garrisons and rulers behind and it was then the idea that Buddha could be humanised began to gain popularity. Historians have uncovered through archeological digs at the Swat Valley, early images of Buddha rendered as a Greco-Roman God, with curly hair, an aquiline nose and dreamy half closed eyes encircled by an elaborate halo. This came to be known as the Gandharva Buddha and, for many years, historians believed these to be the first images of Buddha as a human.

However, another group of historians uncovered images what could be called an earthy, wide-eyed, proto-Buddha in Mathura that apparently pre-date the Gandharva Buddhas, according to carbon dating. Over the years, artists in and beyond the subcontinent practised many permutations and combinations of these two types. However, Buddha with the half-closed eyes became more popular.
From the Guardian:

Our collective memory of the past is mostly confined to grand figures and epic events, while the vast majority of humanity ends up in the wastelands of oblivion.

Thanks to nearly half a million papyrus fragments uncovered in Hellenic Egyptian rubbish dumps which are being gradually decoded, however, we are, quite literally, salvaging fragments of ordinary people's lives from the dustbin of history.

The rubbish dumps in question belonged to the provincial but thriving Egyptian city of Oxyrhynchus (City of the Sharp-Nosed Fish), about 100 miles south of modern Cairo, which was established during the pharaonic New Kingdom and became Hellenised in Ptolemic times, but was eventually reduced to a single standing column.

Most of the unearthed documents, discovered by two Victorian archaeologists, date from the time when Egypt was part of the Roman empire, and include a treasure trove of lost classics and non-canonical gospels.

Peter Parsons, an archaeologist who spent two decades leading the team deciphering the papyri, has written a book that offers a fascinating reconstruction of life in Oxyrhynchus.

For me, the mundane aspects of ordinary life highlighted in correspondences and letters in the book are among the most enthralling of all the finds because they reveal both how familiar and how different that lost world is.

"... Write to me about your health and what you need from here," Achillion exhorts his brother, Hierakapollon. "If you do this, you will have done me a favour: for we shall have the impression, through our letters, of seeing one another face to face."

Not everyone is as friendly as Achillion. Some letters reveal ancient snobberies and grievances. "You exult in your wealth and your great abundance of possession and so you look down on your friend," Theoninos chastises Didymos.

Serenos informs his wife, Isidora, of his sense of abandonment: "From the time you went away from me, I have been mourning, weeping by night and grieving by day ... You sent me letters that could shake a stone."

Nowadays, we are fortunate enough to have telephones, email and web-based tools so that we can actually chat face to face, as Achillion desires, at a distance.

Future historians ought to have a much easier task reconstructing ordinary lives than their counterparts do today. But this may not actually be the case. Future civilisations may not be aware of how our computer systems worked, and may find the endless streams of binary code indecipherable.

So future historians and archaeologists may also be left rummaging around in our rubbish dumps, where our most enduring artefacts are likely to be "disposable" yet strangely indestructible nappies, Styrofoam boxes and plastic bags.

As you will have noticed, most of the names above sound Greek. That is because, following Alexander's conquest of Egypt, in 332 BC, Oxyrhynchus and other Egyptian cities were Hellenised. This meant that, over the next millennium, they became home to perhaps 500,000 Greeks as well as Hellenised Egyptians.

How "Greek" these urban dwellers were is open to question, since their culture and lifestyle was a heady blend of Egyptian and Greek elements. But they did speak Greek and studied the classics. "To some extent, the Greeks remade Egypt; to a much larger extent, it remade them," notes Parsons.

At the same time, as a "foreign" ruling elite, the Greeks of Egypt looked down on the native Egyptians and mocked their weird beliefs and practices, such as sibling marriage. Greek myth, like many strands of Orientalism, stereotyped Egyptians as "cruel, perverse, depraved and treacherous".

One area of particular venom was the relative freedom enjoyed by Egyptian women. "Egyptians rear all their offspring," one Egyptian Greek mocked, referring to the fact that Egyptians did not dump their unwanted children, particularly girls, in the city's rubbish dumps.

Prior to the Hellenisation of Egypt, Egyptian women enjoyed equal legal rights with Egyptian men and "marriage" was an oral affair, easily entered into and easily dissolved.

In Hellenic Egypt, Greek norms in which women had no independent legal status from men began to filter into the Egyptian system. Roman rule brought a certain amount of relief for women because it allowed women with three children to own property and conduct their own affairs.

So, much about Oxyrhynchus is like contemporary city life but with a peculiarly ancient twist. The city had its own town council, with a mayor (prytanis) and magistrates. However, the council was staffed by prominent citizens who had to pay out of their own pockets if they failed to meet their targets.

Tax collecting was outsourced to private individuals, and the city implemented a Roman version of the dole in which free rations were given to the wealthy and prominent citizens, not the poor and needy.

Oxyrhynchus, like other towns, had the equivalent of banks, bank accounts and cheques, and clients could order payments to be made or receive funds in other cities, too. The twist here was that wheat was a recognised currency back then. People also entered into surprisingly detailed and binding contracts.

For a provincial city, Oxyrhynchus had a surprisingly wide range of goods - from food and beer to medicaments and books - and a large population of specialist tradesmen and professionals. The city also had pretensions to a higher status, with costly public baths and fountains dotted all around. It also once took on the potentially crippling burden of hosting the Roman version of the Olympics, the Capitoline games.

Just as the ordinary people of Oxyrhynchus were ignored by history, they also paid little heed, judging by the fragmentary evidence, to the grand events of history going on about them: the rise and fall of different emperors in Rome, rebellions in Alexandria and Judea, and the persecution of Christianity followed by the persecution of pagans.

"We hear nothing about political attitudes, nothing about the deeds, characters or deaths of great men. It may be a matter of prudence; it may be a matter of indifference," Parsons observes. In a way, that's poetic justice.
From the Lawrentian:

At 4:30 p.m. Tuesday evening in Main Hall 201, Kevin Tracy addressed an issue very controversial in the study of classics and philology, the study of human nature in ancient texts and languages: Friedrich Nietzsche's position as a classicist and philologist. The lecture was a part of events for Classics Week. Professor Tracy's lecture drew an interesting audience, ranging from members of the Classics department, including recently retired Professor Dan Taylor, to high school students, whose sheepish looks of being overwhelmed suggested that the lecture had been required.
Overall, Professor Tracy's talk was interesting and not too difficult to understand for the interested but unknowledgeable student. It was worthwhile even for those who are not disciplined philologists, as it linked many intriguing concepts between an ancient study and a recent philosopher.
Professor Tracy began by speaking about Friedrich Wolf's effort to take credit for Homeric epics away from Homer, and give it to multiple poets constructing an epic over time. Professor Tracy linked this view to the Epicurean view of the world as an accident. Nietzsche took Wolf's Epicurian model and applied it to his world, making the world accidental and meaningless.
Professor Tracy continued by looking at Nietzsche's only work on the classics, "The Birth of Tragedy," and how it can be seen to fit into this philological tradition, if at all. He saw this work as not only non-philological, but also anti-philological. Tracy mused that Nietzsche would cringe if he knew he were being considered a classicist, for his work did not represent the careful study of philological questions characteristic of philology, but the dramatic presentation of an ambiguous reality in Homer's work.
Professor Tracy furthered his argument by showing that most philologists at the time disregarded Nietzsche's work as more than an entertaining read because the rash, revolutionary scholar had become an embarrassment to the science.
Interesting Roman burial of an infant and (possibly) a lamb ... from la Tribuna:

Scoperta negli scavi archeologici in corso a Santa Lucia, la tomba di un bambino romano. All’interno, accanto alle ossa del piccolo , anche quelle di un ovino, quasi certamente una pecora, l’animale domestico a cui, secondo gli archeologi, il bimbo doveva più legato. Negli scavi, che riprenderanno nell’area adiacente, sono state ritrovare anche le fondamenta di una casa e vari laterizi.
La pratica di cremare o inumare i bambini con gli animali domestici a cui erano più affezionati (che, ahimè, venivano sacrificati per l'evento) era molto diffusa nell'antichità, e non solo presso i Romani. L'obiettivo era quello di dare ai bambini un compagno fidato nel viaggio verso l'aldilà, per non farli sentire mai soli, neppure nell'oltretomba. Troviamo esempi di questa pratica già con i Fenici: in Sardegna, a Sant'Antioco, qualche anno fa sono stati ritrovati i vasi (risalenti al nono secolo A.C.) contenenti le ceneri di oltre 5000 bambini, e accanto ad essi i resti dei loro animali domestici preferiti. Gli Etruschi, nel V-IV secolo A.C., quando non seppellivano le bestiole di casa coi bimbi, li raffiguravano sulle tombe. La stessa pratica della sepoltura degli animali domestici fu seguita anche dai Romani fino all'età tardo imperiale, per i bambini e, più raramente, anche per gli adulti. A volte gli animali domestici venivano cremati insieme alla vittima, altre volte inumati vicino, oppure sepolti vicino alle ceneri. Cani, gatti, volatili, cavalli, oppure, come nel caso di Santa Lucia, pecore, certamente curioso e insolito. Normalmente questa pratica veniva seguita solo dalle famiglie facoltose o almeno di medio ceto sociale, i più poveri venivano seppelliti da soli nel terreno.
From New Kerala:

If reports are to be believed, the ancient city of Aizanoi in Turkey might have housed the world's first stock exchange.

According to a report by the Turkish Press, Aizanoi, located in Cavdarhisar town of the western Turkish city of Kutahya, housed a round building that might have served as a functional stock exchange.

"There was a round building (Macellum) which was used as food market in the second part of the second century AD. This area was excavated in 1971 and on its partly repaired walls was hung a copy of the price lists of the Emperor Diocletian, which he prepared so as to bring down inflation," said Ismail Tanriverdi, sub-governor of Aizanoi.

"For example, a physically strong slave would be the same price as two donkeys and one horse was worth three slaves," explained Tanriverdi.

These facts have made Tanriverdi suggest that the building might just be the world's first stock exchange.

Aizanoi also has a temple built for Zeus, which is believed to be the best-preserved temple in all Anatolia.

Recent excavations around the Temple of Zeus revealed several levels of settlements dating from as far back as 3000 BC.

In 133 BC, the city entered the dominion of the Roman Empire. Aizanoi printed its first coins in the second and first centuries. During the days of the Roman Empire, the town became rich from its production of grains, wine and wool.

It was the center of the episcopacy in the early Byzantine period, but it lost its influence in the 7th century.

"We want to introduce this ancient city as one of the most important tourist attractions in Turkey," said Tanriverdi.

... not sure how you go from 'price controls' to 'stock exchange' ...
This one was bumping around various spiders, so I might as well mention it ... from Thai Indian:

Filmmaker David Lynch is all set to make a new horror movie based on a Greek tragedy. Lynch, who has directed hits like “Blue Velvet” and “Mullholland Drive”, will team up with Werner Herzog to make “My Son, My Son”. It’s a story of a San Diego man who becomes obsessed with Sophocles and kills his mother, reports

Lynch will flash back scenes of the murder to tell the killer’s story. The shooting for the film, which was announced at the Cannes film festival, will begin in March 2009.
From Today's Zaman:

Archaeological excavation and restoration of Roman baths in Ankara will continue this year as part of a large archaeological project dating back to 1937. The Roman baths in Ankara, the second largest bath complex in the world, were built between 212 A.D. and 217 A.D. during Roman Emperor Caracalla's reign.

This year the work -- which is funded by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism and which has been performed at different areas of the site every year since 1937 -- will include restoration of marble columns along what is known as the sacred path. The floors of the frigidarium, a room with a large cold pool that people would use after enjoying a hot Roman bath, and the apoditerium, the main entry to the baths containing a large changing room, will also be restored this year.

Last year a unique 2.2-meter statue was found during excavations, and it is being exhibited at the Museum of Anatolian Civilizations in Ankara. Smaller items that were found last year included oil lamps and tools made of bone. The archaeological team also discovered parts of the sacred path, which begins from the Roman baths and extends to the Augustus Temple.

The excavated parts of the site were covered with geotextile membranes last year to prevent soil from eroding from banks and filling areas that had already been exposed.
From Novinite:

Professor Konstantin Boshnakov from Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski" announced Friday about two unique inscriptions that he recently discovered in the Thracian tomb in the Bulgarian town of Kazanluk.

In the last year, Boshnakov conducted the first in Bulgaria testing in the Kazanluk tomb to search for inscriptions.

The two inscriptions that he found on the walls of the tomb about three meters above the floor state: "Kodzimases painted" and "Roygos, Son of Sevt".

The inscriptions provide new invaluable information about the history of Ancient Thrace casting light on the names of two previously only vaguely known figures.

The name of the Thracian ruler Roygos had been known only from the coins minted at his time. The Bulgarian archeologists and historians thought he was an insignificant regional ruler in what is today southeast Bulgaria.

After Boshnakov's findings, it is now certain that Roygos was not only an important Thracian king in 4th-3rd century B.C. but also the son of the founder of the Thracian capital Sevtopolis King Sevt III.

In Boshnakov's words, the name of the ancient painter Kodzimases, who was totally unknown to the world, now deserved to become world famous.

"The unique is that we have the name of the artist", Boshnakov said, adding his finding was a human masterpiece and the Kazanluk tomb frescos most likely were the work of Kodzimases's life.

The Professor also said that the inscription "Kodzimases painted" was the first autograph in the history of the European monumental painting.

Boshnakov also explained he had noticed the inscriptions in the tomb years ago but they looked just as stains until he suspicion moved him to test them with a new method.

In his words, the two inscriptions were more valuable than any treasures that might be found in the Kazanluk tomb because there were many unknown things about the Thracian civilization and its history.

Boshnakov made it clear that the findings had global significance because many scientists had been interested by the Kazanluk Tomb but it had remained largely unfamiliar for two reasons - first, because it was unknown who was buried there, and second, because the painter of the frescos also was not known.
From Novinite:

A unique Roman ritual plate from the middle of the 3rd century A.D. has been discovered during excavations in Bulgaria's spa resort of Hissar, the Bulgarian National Television reported Thursday.

The plate was discovered in one of the rooms of the Roman thermal baths, and provides new information about the late antiquity complex in the ancient Roman town of Diocletianopolis, at whose place today's Hissar is located.

The marble plate with size of 50 cm x 50 cm shows the three nymphs, who were believed to be guardians of the mineral springs in the town. The heads of the women's illustrations are damaged by the water but as a whole the plate is very well preserved.

"The work of the ancient master was really precise. The folds of the nymph's are really well-defined", said Mitko Madzharov, the Director of the Hissar Archeological Museum.

The plate has inscriptions in Greek, from which it is understood that it was made by a Roman aristocrat as a sign of gratitude for his curing. It also provides new information about the time of origin of the thermal baths complex. It was believed to have been built in the fourth century but now the archeologists relate it to the third century A.D. The place is now thought to have been a nymphs' altar.

The town of Hissar in central southern Bulgaria has an ancient history of about six thousand years. The Thracian village there was later turned into a town by Romans and named Diocletianopolis after Emperor Diocletian (285-304) stopped there because of the mineral baths.

The original article is accompanied by a photo:

... which seems to suggest that 'plaque' was the word they were looking for ...
From BMCR:

Lynette G. Mitchell, Panhellenism and the Barbarian in Archaic and Classical Greece.

J. Althoff (ed.), Philosophie und Dichtung im antiken Griechenland. Akten der 7. Tagung der Karl und Gertrud Abel-Stiftung am 10. und 11. Oktober 2002 in Bernkastel-Kues. Philosophie der Antike Band 23.

Kevin Hester, Eschatology and Pain in St. Gregory the Great.

Catherine M. Chin, Grammar and Christianity in the Late Roman World.

Christophe Pebarthe, Cite, democratie et ecriture. Histoire del'alphabetisation d'Athenes a l'epoque classique.

Bruce Lincoln, Religion, empire, and torture. The case of Achaemenian Persia, with a postscript on Abu Ghraib.

Roman Roth, Styling Romanisation. Pottery and Society in Central Italy. Cambridge Classical Studies.

Jean-Marie PAILLER, Bacchus. Figures et pouvoirs.

Keld Zeruneith, The Wooden Horse: The Liberation of the Western Mind from Odysseus to Socrates. Translated from the Danish by Russell L. Dees. Edited by W. Glyn Jones.

From CJ Online:

Die innere Vergegenwärtigung des Bühnenspiels in Senecas Tragödien. By CHRISTOPH KUGELMEIER.

7.00 p.m. |HINT| Battlefield Detectives: Siege of Masada
Masada is an extraordinary place and an epic story. A seemingly impregnable mountain fortress built by King Herod, it rises from the Judean desert of Israel close by the Dead Sea. It's said that there, 2,000 years ago, a band of Jewish freedom fighters defied the might of the Roman legions for three years. How did they hold out against such odds? How did the Romans conduct a siege in such a hostile environment? The Romans eventually battered their way into the fortress. But in a famous act of defiance, all the Jews chose death over slavery. Overnight 960 men, women, and children committed suicide rather than submit to their Roman conquerors. Or did they? Today, using the latest scientific tools and re-examining archaeological evidence, experts are piecing together a new story of the Masada siege, one that threatens to overturn a legend.

9.00 p.m. |HISTC|ROME II | Death Mask
Servilia’s incessant cries for justice drive Atia to distraction, and result in an unfortunate public denouement. Meanwhile, Octavian, Mark Antony and Lepidus agree to divvy up Rome’s territories, sharing a common treasury. The coalition is immediately tested when Mark Antony fails to report a substantial bribe. At the Collegium, Eirene insists that Pullo punish Gaia for insubordination, but the slave turns the flogging to her advantage. Levi urges a reluctant Timon to help him kill Herod, who has arrived from Judea with a secret agenda. While the newly freed Posca takes a bride, Octavian turns a more public wedding into a political statement of unity.

HINT = History International
HISTC = History Television (Canada)
One of the commentators (Richard) to the discussion at Mary Beard's site points to an article in Le Point:

Le buste de Jules César découvert par l'archéologue plongeur Luc Long, en Arles, croupissait dans les eaux du Rhône depuis plus de 2050 ans. Ce buste en marbre daterait de 46 avant Jésus-Christ. Cette statue du fondateur de la cité d'Arles "constitue la plus ancienne représentation aujourd'hui connue de César", notait, mardi 14 mai, Christine Albanel, qui, après plusieurs mois de silence, révélait la découverte majeure du département des recherches archéologiques subaquatiques et sous-marines (DRASSM).

Pourquoi tant de mystère ? "D'abord, il nous fallait sécuriser le site d'exploration afin d'éviter les pillages, explique Michel L'hour, le directeur du département. Ensuite, nous avons consulté les plus éminents spécialistes des statuaires antiques afin d'être certains qu'il s'agissait bien d'un portrait de Jules César. À l'unanimité, les chercheurs ont confirmé l'authenticité du portrait." D'autres détails ont pu être livrés, comme la datation, grâce à l'étude de la stylistique : "Ce buste grandeur nature est typique de la série des portraits réalistes d'époque républicaine, explique le conservateur du patrimoine. Les traits du visage sont durcis par l'âge, le front de César est gagné par un début de calvitie. Tout montre qu'il s'agit d'un portrait de l'empereur réalisé de son vivant."

Une pêche miraculeuse

Toujours selon Michel L'hour, la cité d'Arles, du fait de sa proximité avec son fondateur, devait receler de nombreuses statues de l'empereur romain. L'assassinat de Jules César le 15 mars, en 44 avant J.-C., a ,sans doute, "convaincu les habitants d'Arles qu'il fallait se débarrasser de ces statues devenues encombrantes. C'est ce qui expliquerait que celle-ci ait fini dans le Rhône," suppose l'archéologue.

Le repêchage a eu lieu entre septembre et octobre 2007. Une pêche miraculeuse, à bord du bateau Nocibé II , qui a permis de faire remonter du fond des âges et du Rhône... plus d'une centaine de pièces ! Le filon antique est, semble-t-il, loin d'être épuisé, si bien qu'un nouveau programme d'expertise sous-marine est prévu cet été sur le même site.

Neptune sauvé des eaux

Parmi les autres découvertes majeures, une statue de Neptune en marbre de près de 1,80 m de hauteur serait datée de la première décennie du IIIe siècle après Jésus-Christ. Les plongeurs du DRASSM ont également retrouvé une statue en bronze du satyre phrygien Marsyas. Cette statue haute d'environ 70 cm, dont les mains sont liées derrière le dos, est sans doute d'origine grecque hellénistique. Enfin, une statue en bronze de Victoire d'environ 70 cm de hauteur, se présentant en demi-relief, était probablement vouée à décorer un parement de marbre.

"Certains de ces objets seront mis en dépôt et présentés au musée départemental de l'Arles antique", indique le ministère de la Culture. Basé à Marseille, le DRASSM emploie une trentaine de personnes, dont 14 techniciens et archéologues plongeurs. Du fait de son immense surface maritime (la deuxième au monde), la France fut la pionnière en matière de plongée archéologique. Le DRASSM couvre actuellement 550.000 kilmètres carrés de fonds marins. Il est question d'élargir la zone couverte à 11 millions de kilomètres carrés.

The article is accompanied by photos of the other statuary (Marsyas ... Neptune) which were apparently found in the same context (?) and/or expedition:

... why are these ones in such poor condition compared to the 'Caesar' (the Marsyas seems okay, I suppose, but the 'later' Neptune has definitely suffered)? I also wonder what the inscription is on the base of the Neptune ... Whatever the case, I figured out last night while watching football practices that this 'Caesar' identification probably has more to do with departments trying to secure funding for further exploration than with hysterical accuracy ...
I can't get my comment to post at Mary Beard's blog this a.m. (probably our school filters), but the suggestion has been made by 'Ed' (and agreed to by Dr. Beard), that the bust might actually be a head broken from a larger statue. If so -- and I can't say one way or the other unless we get a couple of side views -- it seems to me this would have been a nude statue (note no evidence of toga or cuirass on the shoulders) and I doubt greatly whether Julius Caesar ever had any of those made ...
idus maias

Festival of Jupiter

rites in honour of Mercury

rites in honour of Maia

the Argei are tossed into the Tiber from the Sublician Bridge ....

251 -- martyrdom of Isidore of Chios

392 A.D. -- death of the emperor Valentinian II
paean @
University of South Africa, Pretoria
Date: October 23 - 25, 2008
Greeks, Romans, Africans

Contributions are invited on topics related to the reciprocal relationship
between Africa and the cultures of Greece and Rome. Papers dealing with
ancient authors writing about Africa or with an African connection,
historical and archaeological issues, as well as the reception of the
classical world in Africa are welcomed. While the colloquium focuses on
classical material, we encourage proposals from related fields and of an
interdisciplinary nature.

Papers are limited to 45 minutes. Please submit abstracts of appr. 200
words via e-mail attachment to bosmapr AT by 1 September 2008.
The body of your email should include your name, institution, department,
e-mail address, and the title of your paper. If necessary, submissions may
also be sent via post to the following address:

Department of Classics and World Languages
University of South Africa
PO Box 392
0003 UNISA
Republic of South Africa.

Further enquiries relating to the colloquium should be directed to Philip
Bosman at the e-mail and postal addresses given above.
Classical Myth and Psychoanalysis

Institute of Advanced Studies, University of London, 3-6 Sept. 2009

Call for Papers

Since Freud published the Interpretation of Dreams in 1900 and utilised Sophocles' Oedipus Rex to work through his developing ideas about the psycho-sexual development of children, it has been virtually impossible to think about psychoanalysis without reference to classical myth. Since that time psychoanalytic theorists of various persuasions have continued to work with myth, viewing it as a resource that is less restrictive than individual literary texts, bound up as they are with issues of authorship and temporality. The mobility of myth offers psychoanalysis an alternative to the culturally specific and provides a framework within which to think through issues such as the redefinition of the personal and the radical alterity at the heart of what is most familiar. This capacity of myth to transcend the context of any particular retelling and to continue to transform the understanding of the present has long been recognised by Classicists for whom it has been a notoriously slippery object of study. Classical myth has more often been interpreted as encoding a loosely conceived ancient mentalité than as evidencing explicitly configured psychological truths, but the tension between its potency in a particular context and its multivalent potential has repeatedly been stressed. And throughout the twentieth century experts on the ancient world have sometimes turned to the insights of psychoanalytic criticism to supplement and inform their readings of classical myth and literature.

Just as psychoanalysis has developed a canon of classical myth (e.g. Oedipus, Narcissus, Prometheus, Antigone, Greek tragedy in general) so Classical Studies has developed its own canon of texts that seem to attract psychoanalytically-informed analysis (e.g. Greek Tragedy, philosophy and Roman poetry in particular). In some cases this seems to be because of a perceived 'fit' or coherence between the literary work and the mode of analysis, for example the fragmented articulation of desire in Catullan verse or the glorification of the irrational in Euripides' Bacchae; in others it is inspired by an influential reading of a classical text by a particular critic - an obvious example here is Lacan's analysis of Sophocles' Antigone in the seminar The Ethics of Psychoanalysis. The aim of this conference is to probe the limits of these mutually influencing canons and to explore the potential of texts so far excluded from them. Why is it, for example, that Greek myth and literature continues to attract more attention in this context than their Roman counterparts? Why have certain forms of psychoanalysis tended to dominate whilst others have been almost completely ignored? What constitutes an authoritative version of a psychoanalytic or a classical myth? Are there new forms of criticism of classical myth and literature which will harmonise with developing forms of psychoanalysis as we move forward in the new millennium?

Suggested topics for panels include:
Foundational narratives Fantasy and the Past
Religion Getting the Myth Wrong
Text and Object 'And'
Group Psychology and the Collective Archetypes
Colonialism Creativity & the Visual Arts

Invited speakers include:
Richard Armstrong (University of Houston, Texas); Page DuBois (University of California, San Diego); Eric Gunderson (University of Toronto); Bruce King (Vassar College); Michaela Janan (Duke University); Jonathan Lear (University of Chicago); Paul Allen Miller (University of South Carolina); Jill Scott (Queens University, Ontario); Robert Segal (University of Aberdeen); Sonu Shamdasani (Wellcome Trust Centre for the History of Medicine, University College London); Victoria Wohl (University of Toronto).

Proposals for panels are welcomed as are papers on relevant psychoanalytic or mythic texts. Please send a title and half-page abstract by 1st September 2008 to Vanda Zajko & Ellen O'Gorman, Department of Classics & Ancient History, University of Bristol, BS8 1TB

v.zajko AT; e.c.ogorman AT

This conference is organised under the aegis of The Bristol Institute for Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition
Classical Association of the Canadian West (CACW)
University of Manitoba, 6-7 March 2009

Violence in Greek and Roman Antiquity

The University of Manitoba will host the next conference of the Classical Association of the Canadian West on 6-7 March 2009. The keynote speaker is Dr. Victoria Pagán of the University of Florida. Her recent books include Conspiracy Narratives in Roman History (University of Texas Press 2004) and Rome and the Literature of Gardens (Duckworth 2006).

Papers are invited on all topics of interest to Classicists, but we particularly encourage papers on topics related to the broad theme of violence in the ancient world.

Violence permeated all aspects of ancient Greek and Roman culture. Ancient literature, art, and historical evidence demonstrate that the Greeks and Romans understood the important role which violence played in their cultures. Myth provided numerous stories of acts of violence committed by both gods and humans. Watching violence in the form of gladiatorial competitions was a popular form of entertainment. The violence which initiated and later removed tyranny in Athens, as well as the regularity with which Roman emperors were assassinated, demonstrates that the Greeks and Romans understood that violence was a means of achieving political ends. Violence was also state sanctioned: the testimony of a slave was only admissible in a Roman trial if extracted under torture. And Greek tragedy explored violence as a manifestation of some of the darker aspects of human nature.

Despite the fact that Greeks and Romans were confronted by violence, both real acts of violence and representations of violence, our understanding of the phenomenon in the ancient world is still very limited. This conference aims to place Classicists in a position to understand better the complex discourses of violence in Greek and Roman history, literature, and art, as well as early modern and contemporary representations of the ancient world. The conference aims to explore violence from the perspectives of both those who commit acts of violence and their victims.

Topics might include:

* violence in/ as sport and public entertainment
* violence in art
* ancient law and violence
* ancient morality of violence
* punishment and torture
* spectators versus participants in acts of violence
* women as victims
* revenge
* changing attitudes towards violence in Christian Rome
* cruelty as a character trait, especially of foreigners
* violence in cinematic representations of the ancient world
* violence in ancient Israel, Egypt or ancient Near East versus ancient Greece and Rome

The committee strongly encourages proposals on the following themes:

* violence in myth, including myths of foundation
* political violence (esp. assassination)/ stasis/ discordia
* violence in ancient epic

Abstracts of up to 200 words for papers of twenty minutes should be sent by Monday, 8 September 2008 to Dr. James Chlup at chlupj AT . The committee particularly invites proposals from those in related disciplines and graduate students. Notification of acceptance will be conveyed no later than the end of September. We will be seeking funding support for the conference from SSHRC. Therefore, titles and abstracts must also be accompanied by the following information:

Family name, given name, initials
Institutional affiliation (if any) and department
Degrees received; please identify discipline
Recent positions held
Recent publications, especially those relevant to the theme of the conference

Please also indicate any audio-visual or other requirements.

Please send proposals and enquires to: Dr. James T. Chlup, Department of Classics, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB, Canada, R3T 2M8. Phone +204 474-9171. E-mail: chlupj AT . Electronic submissions are preferred.
I just commented on Mary Beard's post and figure I should back up my contention that the more I look at the thing, the more it looks like George Bush ... ecce this photo by Evan Vucci:

... and just for easy comparison purposes:

pridie idus maias

rites in honour of Mars Invictus

procession of the Argei (images of humans made from bullrushes) in anticipation of them being tossed in the Tiber tomorrow

c. 130 A.D. -- martyrdom of Henedina
A pile of folks have sent various versions of this one in (thanks!) ... here's the version from the Australian:

A BUST of Julius Caesar, believed to be the oldest representation of the Roman emperor yet known, has been found at the bottom of the River Rhone.

The life-sized bust showing the Roman ruler as a balding and ageing man with wrinkles and hollows in his face is tentatively dated to 46 BC.

Divers trained in archaeology uncovered the marble bust and a collection of other finds in the Rhone River near the town of Arles in the south of France.

Among other items in the treasure trove of ancient objects found in the bed of the river was a 1.8m marble statue of Neptune, dated to the first decade of the third century after Christ.

Two smaller statues were also found, both in bronze and measuring 70cm each.

One of them, a satyr with his hands tied behind his back, "doubtless" originated in Hellenic Greece, the ministry said.

"Some (of the discoveries) are unique in Europe," Culture Minister Christine Albanel said. The bust of Caesar is in a class by itself.

"This marble bust of the founder of the Roman city of Arles constitutes the most ancient representation known today of Caesar," the ministry statement said, adding that it "undoubtedly" dates to the creation of Arles in 46 BC.

Among other things, researchers are trying to uncover "in what context these statues were thrown into the river", said Michel L'Hour, who heads the Department of Subaquatic Archaeological Research, whose divers made the discovery between September and October 2007.

The site "has barely been skimmed", L'Hour told The Associated Press, adding that a new search operation will begin this summer.

With its Roman beginnings, the area around Arles in the Provence region of southern France and the Rhone are "propitious" for discoveries, L'Hour said.

All the articles are accompanied with some version of this photo found at the French Ministry of Culture site:

I dunno ... definitely Republican, style-wise, but it doesn't look like Julius Caesar to me other than the two vertical wrinkles between the brows ... I wonder what the identification was based on ...

UPDATE: Mary Beard and Rick Darby are also doubting the Caesar identification

UPDATE II: Mary Jane -- in a comment at the Numismatics and Archaeology blog -- offers an excellent list of reasons why the bust isn't JC ....
Projet Volterra II: Law and the End of Empire
Workshop on the afterlife of Roman law 2
Monday-Tuesday 15-16 September 2008
History Department
University College London

Projet Volterra II, an AHRC-funded project based in the History Department of UCL, is examining the post-imperial afterlife of Roman law (initially to the Carolingian period). Over the two days of 15 to 16 September 2008, we are hosting a small colloquium-cum-workshop, organised loosely around the themes 'Authorities and Subjects' and 'Manuals and Jurisprudence'. For an introduction to the project and its aims, see .

Confirmed speakers include Professors Michael Crawford, Gero Dolezalek, Wolfgang Kaiser, Dario Mantovani, and Drs Simon Corcoran, Magnus Ryan, and Benet Salway but we welcome offers of other papers. Preference will be given to those related to our themes but contributions outside the themes but still relating to the survival/reception of Roman law in the early medieval period are also most welcome.

The colloquium is supported by the AHRC and we will be able to contribute towards speakers' travel and accommodation expenses.

Those interested in offering a paper should contact Dr Benet Salway by Friday 1 August 2008.
ante diem iii idus maias

Lemuria (day 3)

177 A.D. -- martyrdom of Glyceria
Digital Spy notes (inter alia):

Diane Kruger has admitted that she doesn't like her breakthrough movie Troy.

Speaking to Esquire magazine, Kruger said: "You can't tell whether or not I can act from Troy. It kind of sucked to be honest."

Kruger played Helen of Troy in the 2004 Illiad epic opposite Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana and wasn't happy with the type of roles offered to her after its release.

"I was just starting out and didn't want to play all the parts I was subsequently offered in these big movies. I had to get out," Kruger explained.

"it" kind of sucked? ... or "I kind of sucked" ...
From the Evening Post:

Might Wigan youngsters have helped to uncover a long lost Roman road in Wigan?
Local archaeologists are getting increasingly excited that an historic breakthrough has finally been made in locating an almost 200-year-old route linking the town with Manchester.

Finding this and two other suspected routes to Warrington and Preston would confirm the belief that Wigan was the Roman settlement of Coccium.

It is an excavation in the playing fields of Ince CE School that has caused a stir amongst members of Wigan Archaeological Society.

These digs are the final phase of a project which has involved the many Wigan schools. The Ince youngsters had been invited to explore an area 6m by 2m and while it drew a blank - only colliery residue was found - it inspired the archaeologists to explore further.

They then opened up a new site closer to George Street and this is where the road section was discovered at a depth of about 1m.

It consisted of a band of mixed gravel, grey-blue clay/brown clay and cobbles and flat stones about 50cm thick at the south west side tapering to 20cm on the north east ending in a ditch-like feature.

A society spokesman said: "The exposed section was 4.5m wide and if we assume the thickest end is the centre then the road could be assumed to be 9m wide (with the south west end lining up with the centre of George St).

"It appears the houses on the north east side of George St were built right on top of the section with the red sand being used to level the ground prior to construction. Further excavations are planned so that full extent and direction can be determined. If it can be confirmed that this is the Roman road it certainly would be great find for the society."

An ordnance survey map from 1849 shows two dotted lines running from across Amberswood Common to Common Nook.

The map was drawn up by Edmund Sibson, who had also traced routes from Wigan to Warrington and Preston. The Wigan Archaeological Society also found hints of the road during a dig in 2003 at Walmsley Park, Ince.

An old map of the North West shows Coccium from Roman times but it has
not yet been conclusively proved that it is Wigan.

But the more evidence of Roman remains – and there is a growing amount of it in the Millgate area of the town centre – the greater the chance that Wigan was home to Roman invaders towards the end of their occupation.
Exploring the Classical World Summer School.

Courses for the Public at The University of Manchester, Summer 2008

Mon 30th June
Session 1: Introduction to Exploring the Classical World (Dr Georgina Muskett)
Session 2: The Athenian Acropolis and the Parthenon Frieze (Dr Georgina Muskett)
*Lecture (6.30 ?8.00pm): Odysseus and Agamemnon (Prof. David Langslow) HE078S07

Tues 1st July
Session 1: How to Build Rome in 5 Easy Steps (Dr Birgitta Hoffmann)
Session 2: Roman medicine and healers (Dr Clare Pilsworth)
*Lecture (5.00 ? 6.30pm): Ovid?s Erotic Poetry (Prof. Roy Gibson) HE079S07

Wed 2nd July
Session 1: At the service of Rome- the City of Ostia (Dr Alessandra Pompili)
Session 2: Leptis Magna ? Olive Oil magnates between East and West (Dr Birgitta Hoffman)
* Lecture (4.00 ? 5.30pm): The Power of Pompeii (Prof. Tim Parkin) HE080S07

Starting at 10.30am each day in the Ellen Wilkinson Building, The University of Manchester, Oxford Rd. Fee for the Full Summer School (not including accommodation or lunches) £175.00 (Course No: HE076S07)

*The lectures are bookable separately at £7 each by those not enrolled on the summer school

For an application form please visit:
Or ring 0161 275 3275
Lists of accommodation may be obtained from Courses for the Public reception.
Pre enrolment is required. (Telephone bookings not accepted.)
ante diem iv idus maias

19 B.C. (?) -- dedication of the Temple of Mars Ultor on the Capitoline

2 B.C. -- opening of the Forum of Augustus

113 A.D. -- opening of the restored Temple of Venus Genetrix

304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Dionysius and Pancras at Rome
cavil @

iconoclast @ Merriam-Webster
3.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Cleopatra's Lost City
Alexandria, one of the greatest cities of the ancient world, was named after one of history's greatest warriors, Alexander the Great; archaeologist Jean-Yves Empereur tells the story of this beautiful ancient city and its most famous inhabitant.

8.00 p.m. |HINT|Crucifixion
Throughout history, crucifixion has been one of the cruelest and most excruciating ways to die. Approximately 500 years before the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, the Persian King Darius crucified political opponents and both Alexander the Great and Caligula used crucifixion as a means of punishment and entertainment. Watch as a team of forensic experts reconstruct a 2000-year-old body using the only physical evidence of a crucifixion ever discovered. Modern day footage will show real crucifixions that take place in the Philippines. Recreations will be used along with extensive CGI animation and CSI forensic-style graphics to illustrate the different types of crucifixion techniques throughout history and how it eventually kills its victim.

9.00 p.m. |HISTC| ROME II | Philippi
Brutus and Cassius see their military advantage vanish in the wake of Octavian’s new alliance with Mark Antony. In Rome, Vorenus receives orders to execute scores of Rome’s elite, dividing the task among the Collegium’s gang captains. Cicero attempts to warn Brutus of his army’s danger, but is foiled by the arrival of Pullo at his villa. Mark Antony adds a few names to the list of condemned, as does Atia; Octavia and Vorena the Elder find themselves enchanted by unlikely suitors; Eirene shares some domestic news with Pullo; Levi and Timon precipitate a synagogue melee; and Atia gets Octavia to reveal a secret as Octavian heads out of Rome. On the plains of Philippi, two armies clash, with the future of Rome at stake.

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)
HINT = History International
HISTC = History Television (Canada)
Dorothy King introduced me to Veoh videos and I've just come across the chariot race ... I can embed it, but I don't know how visible it is to y'all:

Online Videos by
Somewhere down below I claim to have figured out how to deal with my kids' sports schedules and my sleeping patterns and updating here ... basically, I'm going to publish as much as possible as normal (i.e. daily ... and sometimes only once on weekends), but on Tuesdays and Fridays (with some Mondays), I might update a bit later than might be useful for folks using, e.g., This Day in Ancient History in class ... but I will do it!

Anyhoo ... here's assorted other items that have caught my eye this week:

Dorothy King sent in (thanks) a piece from the Washington Post with plenty of ClassCon about the current Democratic primaries ...

Mary Lefkowitz was on NRO's Between the Covers ...

Folks interested (or not) in Boris Johnson's Classics roots might be interested to read about his father's (and rest of the family's) similar radices ...

Last, but certainly not least, is a rap version of some of the Confessions which has been making the rounds of various lists this week:

From the LA Times comes a nice bit of ClassCon with nary a mention of Cybele:

Today marks the 100th observance of Mother's Day; the first one was on May 10, 1908, in a Methodist church in Grafton, W.Va. By now most people know that it started with Anna Reeves Jarvis, who in the mid-1800s tried to improve health conditions in Appalachia through her Mother's Work Days; that, in 1870, Julia Ward Howe issued a Mother's Day Proclamation, calling for peace after the Civil War; and that Jarvis' daughter, also named Anna, was behind the 1908 celebration, to honor her mother. She finally saw Woodrow Wilson make Mother's Day an annual holiday in 1914 but came to despise its devolution into a card, a box of candy and a buffet brunch.

But a mere 100 years offers little perspective. I suggest we look further back, to the first mothers of Western culture: the mothers of Achilles and Odysseus, heroes of Homer's "The Iliad" and "The Odyssey." Individually, they're remarkable. Together -- call them the Meddler and the Martyr -- they give a snapshot of what it means, and has always meant, to be a mother.

Start with Thetis, mother of Achilles, the brooding hero of "The Iliad." Thetis, a nymph, marries Peleus, a mortal, and the couple provides an example -- long before Darrin and Samantha Stephens of television's "Bewitched" -- that intermarriages face unusual difficulties. In fact, it's a brouhaha among the gods at the wedding of Thetis and Peleus that sets in motion the events that caused the Trojan War.

But today, consider Thetis only as Achilles' mother -- the meddling type who has difficulty cutting the apron strings. First, worried that her precious boy has been sullied by mortal blood, she tries to render her infant son immortal by dipping him either into the water of the River Styx or into fire, depending on which myth you prefer. Either way, she holds him by the heel, which doesn't get the treatment; hence Achilles' weak heel.

But she's not done trying to manipulate her son. A prophecy states that if he fights at Troy, Achilles will gain renown but also surely perish. Thetis tries to keep him away from the war by dressing him as a girl. Yes, Achilles' mother turns her warrior son into the Cpl. Klinger of Bronze Age Greece, 3,000 years before "MASH." Thetis fails in her endeavors, and Achilles spends part of his life impersonating a woman and then dies young. Let's leave that to the Freudians and move on to Odysseus.

"The Odyssey" describes the adventures of war-weary, middle-aged Odysseus as he returns from Troy. His mother, Anticleia, falls, unlike Thetis, in the martyr camp. In one of his lesser-known episodes, Odysseus ventures to the land of the dead to consult an inconveniently deceased prophet. While there, he runs into a great many famous people, including ... Anticleia!

The scene runs like something from a Woody Allen movie: "Mom! What are you doing here?" Anticleia: "Well, you never call, you never write. ..."

At this point in the story, Odysseus has been away from home about 12 years; he's won the Trojan War, he's blinded the Cyclops, and he has spent the preceding year contentedly feasting and having sex with the witch Circe. And it turns out that in his long absence his mother has died -- from grief, missing him: "It was my longing for you, my shining Odysseus ... that tore away my life that had been sweet." A thousand guilt-inducing-mother jokes leap to mind: "No, no, Mr. Big Shot, you go out and have your war, fight your giants, you're very important: I'll just stay home alone and die!"

It's hilarious and perfect, especially because immediately after comes the heartbreak: Odysseus, "desperate to hold her," tries to embrace his mother three times -- and each time her phantasmal form "fluttered through my fingers ... dissolving like a dream." He pretty much hurries home to his wife after that.

So, two mothers, two sons at the dawn of our culture, and what has changed? Nothing. Mothers will do anything to protect their children from harm, and may on occasion forget that eventually that becomes their children's job, not their own. Mothers may free children to pursue their interests -- then develop a litany of grievances when freedom carries the children far away. And children, too late, wish to embrace their mothers, to hold them dear. (It's even rumored that Anna Jarvis fought so hard for Mother's Day because her mother died before the two could resolve a quarrel.)

So it's the same as it ever was. Your mother does her best, and if you're lucky she lives until you're ready to embrace her. But she cannot protect you forever because, in fact, you do need to go out and fight your wars and confront your giants.

But would it hurt so much to call your mother once in a while?

Scott Huler is the author of "No-Man's Lands: One Man's Odyssey Through 'The Odyssey.' "
From the Chronicle Journal (a newspaper from Thunder Bay which yours truly once sold at a camp kitchen in Terrace Bay, Ontario!):

A Thunder Bay DNA expert was in New York City on Monday to discuss findings that could help researchers prove that Jesus did marry Mary Magdalene and that they had children.
Lakehead University‘s Paleo DNA Laboratory operations supervisor Renee Fratpietro joined English filmmaker Bruce Burgess in the Big Apple to discuss his film “Bloodline”, which follows a three-year investigation led by Burgess and his American producing partner, Rene Barnett, in their search for answers into the bloodline conspiracy made popular by the “Da Vinci Code”.
Fratpietro sat on a panel of experts at a news conference promoting the film and discussed the role Lakehead‘s Paleo DNA Laboratory had in the movie-making process.
Her husband, Steve Fratpietro, technical manager at the Paleo DNA lab, spoke about the connection in an interview Monday.
He said the lab was approached to test a 13-centimetre long hair that was very old and was extracted from a tomb.
“That is essentially all they told us. We didn‘t know anything about it,” he said about the hair that he and his wife tested for three weeks about a year ago.
They were able to find some genetic information.
“We were able to trace back the genetic origins on the maternal side of this particular person to the northern middle east, and that is essentially what the analysis entails,” said Steve Fratpietro.
He said he couldn‘t be sure why the LU lab was approached, but noted there are very few labs that do the kind of work that is done in Thunder Bay. He added that the lab has a good reputation for its specialized work in getting DNA from ancient samples.
“Bloodline‘‘ opens in New York on Friday.
The film revolves around the discovery of a tomb in the mountains of the Languedoc region of southwest France. Video footage of the site, which has yet to be excavated, shows it holds a mummified corpse under a shroud bearing the red cross of the Knights Templar.
Burgess has explained that rumours dating back to the late 13th century Crusades indicate the Templars had excavated the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem and had hidden something priceless on their return to France. He has said that what was hidden has been rumoured to be documents and even the embalmed remains of Jesus and Mary Magdalene.

Meanwhile, the latest round of classes for the Paleo DNA lab‘s ancient DNA training program opened Monday. This is the 10th year the program has been available.
Carney Matheson, associate professor of anthropology at Lakehead and forensic examiner at the Paleo DNA lab, is the main lecturer for the three-week certificate program that attracts students from around the world.
He said 20 students have enrolled, and they hail from Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the U.S. and Canada, including Thunder Bay.
Students spend the three weeks testing their own saliva, hair and blood samples. They are trained in extracting the DNA, amplifying DNA and how to troubleshoot the analysis.
“By the end of the first week they usually have a headache. They are tired and frustrated and asking themselves ‘what have I got myself into?‘. (The program) is extremely intensive,” said Matheson.
But he added, “It gets better over time and students are excited once the third week comes along where they have a chance to choose a topic and do self-directed research.”
Matheson said his students range from professors and people with their PhDs to undergraduate students who are still trying to find the right path to follow.
His students have gone on to work in many different professions including at the Molecular Medicine Research Centre, the Centre of Forensic Sciences and Genesis Genomics Inc.
The BBC gives news of things folks have been requesting for quite a while:

The Roman Catholic Church, for centuries a bastion of Latin usage, has given the ancient tongue a 21st Century boost by launching a website in Latin.

The Vatican website now has a section - Sancta Sedes (Holy See) - with Latin papal texts and religious works.

Pope Benedict XVI is an advocate of Latin, allowing Mass in the language.

But when a papal decree was issued only in Latin by mistake last June, there was confusion until the Vatican press office put out an Italian version.

"It caused a bit of panic for my colleagues who had no schooling in Latin," said the BBC's Rome correspondent David Willey, "until the official translation finally emerged."

The Vatican website already has sections in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish.

Ancient traditions

Father Reginald Foster File photo
Fr Foster: Using Latin means you have to say something

For centuries church documents were all written in Latin, the mass was said only in Latin.

Without a knowledge of the language you would not go far if you were an ambitious priest.

But Latin has fallen out of favour in recent years as the subject has been dropped from school curricula in many countries and normal Vatican business is conducted in Italian, or increasingly in English.

But Pope Benedict wants the Catholic Church to keep its ancient traditions.

After his election to the papacy three years ago, he addressed the Church's cardinals in Latin.

He has encouraged the use of the language in seminaries where new priests are trained.

Page of the Bible in Latin
The new website will make sacred texts available in Latin

Last year he lifted restrictions on celebrating the Latin Tridentine Mass,

The Latin Mass had been largely abandoned in the 1960s, as part of reforms to make Catholicism more relevant to its worldwide congregation.

But Father Reginald Foster, an American priest who is the Pope's official Latinist, praises the virtues and the clarity of the Latin language.

"You have to say something and move on," he says.

"It's not like French and some of these philosophical languages where you can write a whole page and say nothing - in Latin you can't do that!''

Fr Foster has a weekly programme on Vatican Radio called The Latin Lover, in which he explains the historical and contemporary uses of the language.

... check out the Documenta Latina section for yerself ...
Interesting/strange item in the National Post:

Achillia and Amazon - these are the names of female gladiators who were famous long ago. They were the female counterparts of the oiled costume-epic hunks like Charlton Heston's charioteer Ben-Hur. The Spartacus-era Kirk Douglas. Russell Crowe's beefy Gladiator. According to scholars of ancient Rome, these gladiatrices clashed at a contest in the second century AD. They wielded steel swords. Their shields were made of birch, or maybe brass. Their sandals were made by Dolce & Gabbana.

Just joking. Dolce & Gabbana didn't make gear for ancient gladiatrices; they make them for warrior women of today. This season, the designing duo seem to have been inspired by Achillia and Amazon: They're selling a range of strappy gladiator sandals. And they're not alone: Fashionable footwear brands, from Alaïa to Zanotti, are offering similar styles for spring and summer. In the ancient world, gladiatrices battled to the death; their sandals, it seems, are still to die for.

"It is historical fact that there were female gladiators" writes Stephen Wisdom, author of Gladiators: 100 BC to AD 200. The proof lies in literature: Suetonius and Martial, among other authors, made mention of gladiatrices. A marble relief in the British Museum depicts combatants named Achillia and Amazon in the midst of a match in a region of the Roman Empire called Halicarnassus.

No one can say for certain how Achillia and Amazon became gladiatrices. Emperor Nero is said to have sent the wives of senators into gladiatorial combat. The sight of pampered patrician women fighting for their lives no doubt amused him. In his Satire VI, Juvenal mocked ladies of leisure who chose to become gladiatrices for a thrill. For some wealthy women, being a gladiatrix was fun and fashionable; for some wealthy women today, looking like a gladiatrix still is.

"Gladiators probably did not wear shoes," Wisdom has written. Achillia and Amazon probably battled barefoot in sand. It's possible that they wrapped their feet in felt. Some gladiators sported the sort of leather sandals that Roman soldiers wore. These sandals consisted of sturdy straps. Azzedine Alaïa sells something similar: a flat sole with three black straps that buckle at the side of the foot and a strap that buckles at the ankle. The price of Alaïa's simple sandals is patrician: $1,000 and up.

Achillia and Amazon wore fasciae, thick leather pads that shielded their shins from sword slashes. Fasciae were fastened on with leather laces that crisscrossed up the calves. Dolce & Gabbana's knee-high sandals feature thin leather fasciae; in lieu of laces, gold buckles climb from ankle to knee.

Balenciaga's gladiator boots take a different tack: They lace up the front, and have supple leather strips on the sides of the legs. Balenciaga's boots also come with high heels, spikes in black or rose steel. The effect is sci-fi: boots made for a gladiatrix from a galaxy far, far away. In Rome, the spikes would have sunk in sand. The gladiatrix? A goner.

Achillia and Amazon were provocatrices, a kind of gladiatrix known to have worn armour. It's possible that their fasciae were made of bronze. Both Burberry's and Miu Miu's gladiator sandals come in metallic colours. Gold, silver, bronze - metallic leather has the look of armour, without the weight.

Italian label Modern Vintage sells sandals whose fasciae are festooned with rhinestones. They're garish - perfect for a fashion victim - or fascia victim. Who knows?

Perhaps gladiatrices had similarly flashy footwear. In 2000, historians in England unearthed a grave that many believe belonged to a gladiatrix. All that was left of her was ash, bits of bone and fragments of coloured glass that had decorated her body in death. The glass sparkled in the soil. Gladiators may be gone; their glitter lingers on.

... I think Dorothy King sent me something similar a while ago, but I must have deleted it ...
This one's confusing ... first, we read in the Canadian Press (and elsewhere):

Italy has reached an agreement with a U.S. museum for the return of artifacts that Rome says have been looted or smuggled out of the country, art officials said Friday.

Under the deal the Cleveland Museum of Art will return 16 artifacts to Italy, the Culture Ministry said, without giving details.

Italy - which has been conducting an aggressive campaign to recover disputed antiquities - has reached earlier agreements with other U.S. museums including the J. Paul Getty Museum in California and the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Friday's announcement coincided with a new culture minister, conservative Sandro Bondi, taking over the portfolio from predecessor Francesco Rutelli.

"I immediately gave some good news to the new minister," Rutelli said. "Just these past days we have concluded the agreement - which will be formalized by Minister Bondi - with the Cleveland museum."

Rutelli said the artifacts to be returned were "significant," but did not say what they were.

Italian art officials could not be reached for comment.

Italy says ancient treasures have ended up in museums or private collections abroad after allegedly being looted from archeological sites and then sold with false documentation. Among items recovered is a 2,500-year-old vase by Greek artist Euphronius, returned by the Metropolitan Museum in New York and unveiled in Rome earlier this year.

... but the Cleveland Plain Dealer notes:

Italy sent conflicting signals Friday about whether it had reached an agreement with the Cleveland Museum of Art over returning ancient works of art the country believes were looted. The Associated Press reported that the Italian Culture Ministry in Rome announced completion of an agreement with the museum under which 16 unspecified objects would be returned.

But when contacted by The Plain Dealer, Maurizio Fiorilli, the lawyer handling the negotiations for Italy, at first said that there was no agreement yet and that the original AP report was "sbagliato" -- mistaken.

He said the culture ministry's statement was only "an expression of hope" and "an expression of desire that the negotiations would conclude shortly."

Hours later, in an interview with the Associated Press in Rome, Fiorilli said that Italy and the museum had reached a verbal agreement and that negotiations were almost at a final stage. The musuem, however, said there was no agreement.

Fiorilli told the Associated Press that Italy hopes to hear back soon from Cleveland on finalizing the deal.

Amid all this, the museum seems to have been taken by surprise.

"No agreement has been reached, nor has the museum agreed to transfer any objects to Italy," the museum said in a statement Friday.

Cindy Fink, the Cleveland museum's director of marketing and communications, declined to comment on Fiorilli's description of a verbal agreement.

The statements from Rome coincided with a change in leadership at the Ministry of Fine Arts. Conservative Sandro Bondi, appointed by newly elected Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, succeeded Francesco Rutelli as minister of culture.

The Associated Press quoted Rutelli as having said: "I immediately gave some good news to the new minister. Just these past days we have concluded the agreement -- which will be formalized by Minister Bondi -- with the Cleveland museum."

Rutelli described the objects to be returned as "significant," without elaborating.

Speaking to The Plain Dealer, Fiorilli praised Cleveland museum director Timothy Rub for being "sensitive and open," and expressed the hope that an agreement could be reached within a couple of months.

He said the works under discussion "are of sure Italian provenance . . . acquired on the European market from persons more or less connected with a network of traffickers that also supplied other American museums."

When Italy reaches an agreement with the Cleveland museum, "you can read it as a manifestation of cultural collaboration, not a defeat for Cleveland and a victory for Italy," he said.

"It will be a victory of culture."

From the Turkish Daily News:

Christine Bruns-Özgan, head of the archeology department at Mimar Sinan Güzel Sanatlar Universitesi, knows the historical value of a Turkish stone all too well.

Having lived in the heart of Turkey, Konya, for 26 years and having attended dozens of excavations in her lifetime, Bruns-Özgan, a German native, told the Turkish Daily News that Turkey holds a new surprise for her and the country's cultural collective history every year.

Bruns-Özgan's path to Turkey in many ways started when she was still a school-girl attending an international school in Belgian capital Brussels, where her father, a lawyer, was working to organize legal details of the now European Union, she said.

There she learned to think outside the box of nations and understand that “we are all people.” It was this wide perspective that prepared her to make the leap to move to Turkey years later when as a student of archaeology she traveled to the region for excavations.

“As archaeologists we are traveling most of the time,” she said. “It wasn't uncommon for us back then to travel to Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and North Africa,” often becoming pioneers not only into the realm of history, but by extension of their work of geographies.

As a result she arrived to Turkey in 1978 to participate in an excavation in Muğla province at a time when “it was still not a well-known country,” she said. “To travel was different at this time.”

On her first trip to Muğla she experienced something that in many ways became a theme to the rest of her career, not unlike other archaeologists trying to work in Turkey. There she saw how the quest for natural resources, in this case coal, conflicted with the preservation of history.

It was “The clash of history and progress,” she said. In her mind this clash is also evident in the choice of the government to create a ministry that houses both culture and tourism.

“Turkey is the only country that has tourism and culture together in the same ministry; it's a paradox,” she said. “It's wrong.” As an archaeologist, she said this is a conflict of interests.

“Culture is for everyone and it's necessary for the identity of a nation. But the people in tourism just want to make money. They just think of accommodation, restaurants and amusement,” she said.

Although these are also very necessary, she said, they should not work against and defy culture and the preservation of history. “We have so many examples of clashes like this and all archaeologists can tell you about them,” she said.

In the southern town of Patara, for example, on a long beach after the 1960s, pensions and hotels were built. But then the archaeologists came to draw tourism by revealing the ancient history of the town.

“We aren't working for ourselves. We're presenting our work to the community and people. The local community and hoteliers didn't see this and they wanted to stop it and even burned one of the houses where the archaeologists were holding their equipment,” she said.

Her own life project in Turkey has been excavations in Knidos that started in 1989 through the work of her husband and colleague a professor at Konya University.

Although they have been working at the same site every summer over 20 years with teams of professors and students usually for two-month stretches, she said that at the annual archaeological symposium held in Ankara every year she gets up in front of her colleagues and says: “yet another surprise!” she told the TDN.

Her book on Knidos, printed in 2004, is already outdated by all the “amazing finds” they've since unearthed. A new edition is on its way, she said.

A love for a place and its people

The archaeological duo met in Bonn, Germany in the 1970s where they both studied archeology. The two fell in love and soon Bruns-Özgan found both of her passions, archeology and man, leading her to Konya where her husband – and later she – landed a teaching position. “If I told you all of the events leading up to me moving there, it would be a film,” she said. When asked if she met any other German compatriots who made Konya their home in the quarter of a century she lived there, she thought for a few seconds, and said, “yes, one.”

Bruns-Özgan managed to convince her parents that Turkey was no more dangerous than neighboring Greece. “I was in love,” she said and explained that archaeologists more often than not marry foreigners, in countries where they spend significant time excavating. “I know some Turkish-German couples only in the field of archeology,” but, “I started the tradition of course,” she said jokingly. Bruns-Özgan credits her European education for her fearlessness to live in a foreign country at that time. “There weren't many flights between the two countries, but we managed it,” she said.

The many layers of Knidos

Excavations in Knidos offer the archaeological team from Konya a double reason to love the ancient site that is located on the very end of the Datça Peninsula because “you can work and have holidays,” said Bruns-Özgan. That is, if you are into hard work under the sun from dawn to dusk interrupted only by an afternoon cooling swim and lunch. “Excavations are not easy but you have the sea and it's a nice climate,” she said. “We are like pioneers and detectives,” she said.

Knidos hosted civilizations from as early as the 13th and 14th centuries B.C. and is the birthplace of Sostrates of Knidos, the architect of the lighthouse of Alexandria. The lighthouse 110 meters tall was one of the Seven Wonders of the World, was built in the 4th century B.C. and survived well into the 14th century A.D. when it was destroyed by earthquakes.

When asked what is the most important find the Konya teams found in Knidos Bruns-Özgan had a difficult time answering, not for a lack of treasures. “Every year we find exiting things,” she said.

In the first years the team visited, the site seemed like a “virgin” one, she said. Excavations in Knidos were stopped in 1978 and the site had been unprotected for 10 years. Tourists who made their way to the site by boat or the rocky dirt road could practically pick up the artifacts, said Bruns-Özgan. “It was unprotected, undetected; a forgotten place,” she said of the site.

When the archaeological teams from Konya started coming in, the local authorities looked at them with much suspicion, said the archaeologist. The local authorities wanted to use the site as a tourist place and had established half a dozen restaurants that tourists would crowd to on boat tours. “We fought and still fight,” she said. “They want tourists and money, but not culture and history, and they don't understand that the tourists, they are interested in the ‘stones ,'” she said of the ancient ruins. Since then, of course much has changed. The site is now protected by the municipality and the excavations supported from the Turkish Ministry of Tourism and Culture.

Bruns-Özgan showed the TDN photos of the ruins of Knidos where she and a team of other colleagues and students are once more gearing up to set up shop over two months this summer. Although Bruns-Özgan describes the process of getting to the point where as an archaeologist she can do her work as one of the important themes of working in Turkey, she said, the finds are not to be forgotten.

“Of course the finds are also important for us. For archaeologists in our work we're not searching for a hidden treasure,” she said. “We're looking for the remains of history. For us a small bone can be more important than a gold earring.”

Bruns-Özgan opens her book on Knidos and points to an image of a head of a statue that dates back to the 4th B.C.. “It was an amazing discovery for us,” she said of the marble head. “We weren't expecting such an early find.” The woman's head in the image belongs to classical antiquity rather than the Byzantine, Hellenistic, or Roman periods that left the majority of historical traces found in Knidos. Both the quality and time of the find made it exciting for Bruns-Özgan, “because we don't have many samples from that time.” The fact that the head was an original rather than a copy, made it even more valuable. A common practice in antiquity was to copy statues of great sculpture masters. “They were affected by Greek sculptures and made copies of famous originals,” she said. In 2004 another original sculpture turned up in Knidos the work of a sculptor who Bruns-Özgan and her team believe participated in the making of the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, an important work of antiquity the remains of which are located in present day Bodrum.

On another digital photo on her computer, Bruns-Özgan shows the TDN the site the Konya team of professors and students has been focusing on for the last 10 years. It's a storehouse located by the sea 130 x 50 meters. “This was completely under the earth and it's exciting that such a long building came to life,” she said. “In one of its rooms we found inscriptions and statues,” she said. In a photo she shows a room exposed to the sun covered in blue marble.

In another photo she shows an inscription in Doric, a Greek dialect where each letter was inscribed on a different marble plaque. She tells the story of how all the letters were jumbled in a bag, and one morning up before the rest of the group she put all the pieces on the ground to try to make sense of what they were. “I like puzzles she said,” and that as she realized it meant something, she became more and more fascinated and surprised to find the letters spelling the name of god Apollo.

Bruns-Özgan now lives in Istanbul, where her husband, soon to retire will join her this summer. “It wasn't an easy decision to move here,” said Bruns-Özgan, but “it's been good for research.” And at the end of the day, from an archeologist's point of view, this is the city of culture after all.

In a country where so many civilizations met often concurrently, Bruns-Özgan said it is not uncommon to find in antiquity the traces of expatriates and bi-cultural individuals as one does today in Turkey. “We find this phenomenon even in antiquity and we excavate it,” she said. “Especially people in Anatolia felt like this, where the different cultures were intertwined,” she said.
From the Bucks Herald:

PLANS to open a stud farm in Granborough may have to be reassessed after claims that there is a Roman Villa and the remains of a medieval settlement on the site.
The information came to light when a previous owner revealed to Davina Thorogood, chairman of Granborough Parish Council, that there were considerable archaeological remains on the land at Green Lane.

In a letter to district council planning officers, Mrs Thorogood said the Roman villa was in the top left corner of the site and revealed that the remains of the settlement were in the bottom left hand of the field. Last year Roman coins dating back to 79AD were found on the surface using a metal detector.

Before this information was released, residents turned up at a meeting called by Granborough Parish Council to protest against the planning application. Many protestors said that the road to the proposed farm is only a single carriage road not big enough for horse boxes or able to withstand the volume of traffic.

One anonymous complaint received by The Bucks Herald from a resident said: "It is a single lane, crumbling road with verges that are unforgiving to those that pull over to let oncoming vehicles pass. The anger is aimed at the vehicles with horse boxes going down this narrow lane which is 'used' for recreational activity by the villagers such as walking, cycling, children playing and dog walking. The human risk is high."

The application was to change the use of the land to a stud farm with the erection of a Dutch barn, horse walker, re-modelling of existing building and formation of car park.

Granborough district councillor, Janet Blake backs the residents' opposition to the plan because of road side and countryside issues and welcomes an obstacle to the plans.

She said: "It is exciting if there is a Roman village there, it is not something that happens everyday but at the moment it is a good reason for why development should not continue. My intervention is however on planning."

Planning and conservation archaeologist from Bucks County Council, David Radford said that they were unaware of the findings on the site and had to dig through records.

He added: "We will review this planning application and double check our records to see if there is any information of this in the back logs. This could be misplaced information. I will check to see if there is any new information that has not yet made it to us and also look into the historical environmental records.

"We need to have concrete information to go forward with an archaeological investigation. If it is hearsay that is quite difficult to act upon. If there is however a significant site then we will have to take a view on what we can ask. We may ask for trial trenching. It would be a very interesting part of the jigsaw puzzle. Questions to establish its value would also be raised."
From the County Times:

Dr. Potter, the Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Greek and Latin at the university, has published several books on ancient themes, including "Life, Death, and Entertainment in the Roman Empire," "The Roman Empire at Bay" and most recently, "The Emperors of Rome." He is currently working on yet another book on Roman history that he expects to publish in 2010.
Dr. Potter will return to Norfolk next weekend to participate in the Norfolk Library Board of Trustees and Library Associates biennial gala, Literary Liaisons, slated for May 17. The event honors contemporary American authors Ellen Feldman, Frances Fitzgerald, James Sterba, Daniel Hecht, Verlyn Klinkenborg, George Packer, Dr. Potter, Dani Shapiro and Dennis Watlington and begins with a cocktail reception for the authors and their guests at the Norfolk Library.
The reception will be followed by intimate dinners hosted by local residents. There are still a few seats left at the tables and the reception. Those wishing to attend should call co-chairmen Sally Briggs at 860-542-0060, or Libby Borden Evans at 860-542-5106.
Dr. Potter will be the literary lion ensconced at his own parents' table. "I think it will be a great deal of fun," he said in a telephone interview this week from Ann Arbor. "I love the Norfolk Library."
He added that while he was raised in New York City, his family started coming to Norfolk in the 1960s. "It's very much a second home for me. We've been in Ann Arbor for 22 years, but when the university is out, I have a tendency to head straight to Norfolk," he said.
Dr. Potter began his teaching career after earning a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and receiving his doctoral degree from Oxford University. His own academic preparations were followed by a period of research and teaching at New College, Oxford, and then as an assistant professor at Bryn Mawr and the University of Michigan. In 1991, he was named associate professor in classical studies there, and was promoted to his current position in 1996. He is currently chairman of the university faculty committee.
In a day of instant communication, rampant technology and a head-long rush into the future, one might question the relevance of classical studies for students. But Dr. Potter finds similarities and parallels between the past and present that both intrigue and stimulate his young charges. He offers, for instance, a survey course entitled "Sports and Daily Life in Ancient Rome" that contrasts the experiences of modern day American and ancient Rome.
"The students absolutely enjoy these courses," he said. "We are looking at parallel questions-What is the role of sports in the society? When a society spends so much of its money entertaining itself, what does that tell us? There are only two times in history when so much money has been spent on entertainment-between the first century B.C. and the third century A.D. and today. And a lot of the discussions held in those two eras are similar.
"The Romans discussed how much money should be spent on athletes, just as we do today. Athletes were hugely highly paid, and at one point Marcus Aurelius put a cap on gladiators' salaries. We have a text relating to one charioteer-his income over 24 years was 35 million sesterces. An average person made 1,000 sesterces a year to support a family of four, while a charioteer could make 1.5 million. By comparison, the highest salary for a major official was only about a half a million sesterces."
Romans were willing to pay fabulous sums for entertainment. "We have one wonderful moment when one emperor paid 100,000 sesterces for a single fight," Dr. Potter reported. At one point Emperor Tiberius limited the games to keep his government from going bankrupt, and top gladiators earned enough from one bout to buy their own slaves or estates.
"Gladiators, like modern professional athletes, could become little corporations," Dr. Potter observed.
With that kind of money involved, Romans were as careful of their athletes as are modern-day team owners. "Contests ended with first blood," he said. "We have a number of texts that talk about accidental deaths of gladiators. It was not a safe sport, but these guys were really expensive to train and to hire. Marcus Aurelius came up with a schedule of fees for paying gladiators, and the top run of slave gladiators were paid 15,000 sesterces to fight-you'd have to be crazier than George Steinbrenner to get them killed. In gladiatorial combat, the death rate was only about 5 percent, and that was usually through accidental injury or poor medical care. One doctor to a gladiatorial troupe in Turkey wrote that none of his athletes died."
He said the myth of the fight to the death between gladiators is a Hollywood invention, as is the Fascist salute that epic movies like to depict. "In Rome, gladiatorial events tended to be more dangerous than elsewhere," he conceded, "because there was more pressure for thrills from the crowd. It's just like television today where they will re-show and re-show and re-show when someone takes a nasty hit on the football field. The fans were driving it to be more dangerous and vicious than it was."
He sees similarities, too, in the modern-day emphasis on pseudo-reality shows and contests such as "American Idol" where the "blood lust" of the viewing audience is satisfied through the aggressive behavior of contestants and hosts alike. "In this country the Fox network even ran programs on successful animal attacks," he said, likening them to the contests between condemned prisoners and wild animals in Roman arenas.
"But the gladiators had homes and families," he said. "They didn't want to die. The vast majority we know about were free men, although some were slaves. If you paid a certain amount for a guy and he was big and strong, you might have thought, 'Maybe I can sell him as a gladiator.' There were quite a few slave gladiators, but the majority were certainly free people-but only free people who had enough money to get the training needed to not get killed."
In that, the Roman gladiator was much like a modern day inner city kid who finds the road to riches through boxing. "You needed incredible strength. You had to hire a trainer, to work out, to learn how to be a gladiator. And if you were successful in the arena you could make a pretty good living and retire," Dr. Potter said.
The names of famous gladiators adorned common household items like oil lamps. Pottery vessels were painted with images of famous bouts. Children even played with clay gladiator "action figures." "It was a culture that was obsessed with superstars," Dr. Potter said, "and the gladiator was a symbol of it." Even the Emperor Commodus wanted to be a gladiator, he added.
The fantastic sums athletes were paid is not the only comparison Dr. Potter draws for his students. He said that the antipathy between the athletic and the academic sides of society was "very relevant" in antiquity and continues today on college campuses.
As a member of Michigan's advisory Board on Intercollegiate Athletics, he has been in the mainstream of the university's efforts to ensure that student-athletes are required to perform both in the classroom and on the field or court. "The University of Michigan tries to help its athletes know what it is like to live in a different kind of society," he said. "Many of these athletes come from very disadvantaged homes, while the average Michigan student comes from a home with an annual income of $100,000 or more. The department spends a lot of time to get them to adjust so if they do move on to the NFL they will have fewer problems and be less likely to be involved in corruption."
Dr. Potter sees analogies between Roman life and modern America off the playing field as well. "[In the classroom] we talk about what makes an empire run," he said. "We look at how power was exercised in the Roman Empire-which lasted for 500 years. What did they do differently?"
His conclusion is that Roman leaders provided an opportunity for inclusion in the empire that subsequent conquerors have not. "Romans were quite clear that they were there [in occupied countries] for themselves, but they knew they could only stay if they incorporated the rulers of those countries into their own structures. If the English had understood that, we would have had Indian members of Parliament. The failure to do that is one of the reasons these imperial systems tend to end catastrophically."
Under the British Empire, even colonists from the mother country were denied a say in government, leading to the American Revolution. "The Romans would look at that and say, 'That is crazy,'" he concluded. Conquered people under the Roman Empire could look forward to having representatives as senators or even emperors.
He suggests that the Bush administration could benefit from the examples of the "world's great imperialists." "You have to share power," he warned.
The Romans were aware that they had a winning concept. "We have a speech by a first-century emperor who said former [conquered peoples] become members of Roman society completely," he reported. "They were very conscious of it. And there is another very interesting document written in the third century B.C. that said even freed slaves could become citizens. It was a very peculiar aspect of Rome and something that allowed it to become as powerful as it did."
It was only when the Roman leadership developed "a fundamental lack of imagination" that things began to break down. "It was not a Nero type of thing," he said. "It wasn't those guys who brought Rome down. It was the bureaucrats of the fourth and fifth centuries."
When Rome lost its tolerance for other cultures, its days were numbered. "It was really a failure of an immigration policy," said Dr. Potter. "The army was largely German and the [Germanic] Goths wanted to be assimilated. But there was a change in attitude [and the Romans] said, 'We don't like these people and we don't want them around anymore.' One law specifically says that people could no longer wear German clothing. The tolerance of outsiders breaks down, and in the fourth and fifth centuries you see powerful bureaucratic groups unwilling to share citizenship. It was an absolute change in Roman behavior toward outside people."
Dr. Potter says he hopes his students can see the relevance of such issues to their own time. "When you look at institutions that is the way comparative histories work. We can say large societies tend to have similar issues-that's the way such studies can have a useful application."
From BMCR:

Caroline Vout, Power and Eroticism in Imperial Rome.

Patricia Curd (ed.), Anaxagoras of Clazomenae. Fragments and Testimonia. A Text and Translation with Notes and Essays. The Phoenix Presocratics, 6. Phoenix Supplementary Volumes, 44.

Lenn E. Goodman, Robert B. Talisse, Aristotle's Politics Today.

Stefano Gori, Maria Chiara Bettini, Gli Etruschi da Genova ad Ampurias. Atti del XXIV Convegno di Studi Etruschi ed Italici, Marseille-Lattes, 26 settembre - 1 ottobre 2002. Two volumes.

Stanley M. Burstein, The Reign of Cleopatra.

Paraskeue Kotzia, Peri tou Melou e peri tes Aristotelous Teleutes (Liber de Pomo sive de Morte Aristotilis). Seira: Philosophia 12.

Marc Van de Mieroop, A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000-323 BC. 2nd edition.

Celia E. Schultz, Paul B. Harvey, Jr., Religion in Republican Italy. Yale Classical Studies 33.

Laura Chioffi, La collezione epigrafica di Camillo Pellegrino a Casapulla.

Marlies Heinz, Marian H. Feldman, Representations of Political Power. Case Histories of Change and Dissolving Order in the Ancient Near East.

Boris Dreyer, Die roemische Nobilitaetsherrschaft und Antiochos III (205 bis 188 v. Chr.).

From CJ Online:

Ovid and Augustus: A Political Reading of Ovid’s Erotic Poems. By P.J. DAVIS.

Reviews of Ursula LeGuin's Lavinia:

Baltimore Sun
Philadelphia Inquirer
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Washington Post
New York Sun

... i think i've figured out all these sports schedules ...
... to see if this gets past our school filters ...
ante diem viii idus maias

1737 -- birth of Edward Gibbon (Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire)
moiety @

[apologies for missing this feature for a couple of days ... my bookmarks weren't available for some reason]
From iAfrica:

Italian police recovered a valuable Roman-era marble bathtub stolen from Italy after spotting it by chance in a Barcelona antique dealership, Spanish police said on Tuesday.

The officers, specialists in stolen artwork, were in the Spanish Mediterranean port city on other business when they stumbled across their find, which had been stolen from the garden of a villa in Rome in 2005.

The owner of the antique dealership said he thought the oval-shaped bathtub, was a modern copy of an antique.

He said he had bought it at the end of 2005 for €3000 from another dealer and had it on sale for a mere €6000.

In fact the bathtub, which dates back to the era of the Roman emperor Hadrian, in the second century anno domini, is worth a cool €300 000.

The only other surviving example is on display at the Vatican Museum.

Spanish police believe the bathtub, which weights half a ton, was transported to Spain by sea, most likely hidden in a shipping container.

It was handed over to the Italian authorities on Tuesday, they said.
From ANSA:

Italian archaeologists have found more than two dozen new tombs at the famed Etruscan burial grounds at Tarquinia north of Rome.

''This is the most exciting discovery here in decades,'' said the archeological superintendent for southern Etruria, Maria Tecla Castaldi.

So far 27 tombs have been added to the thousands at the site since a chance discovery during building work two months ago, she said.

''I've just been down and visited the only tomb that is open, which was probably broken into around 50 years ago,'' she said.

''The other tombs are sealed and presumably intact''.

Police have cordoned off the area, less than half a mile (500m) from the main necropolis, to ward off tomb raiders as digs go on. The well-preserved tombs at Tarquinia and nearby Cerveteri have been described by some experts as 'cities of the dead'. Experts believe the Etruscans wanted their deceased to have everything they might need easily to hand in the afterlife, and so crammed the tombs with everyday objects.

Archaeologists say women were buried in stone tombs separate from the men and that slaves were cremated and their ashes placed in urns besides their masters' remains.

The general span of the graves stretches from the seventh to the first century BC.

Excavations first began on the Tarquinia site in 1489 and since then over 6,000 tombs have been uncovered.

The Tarquinia tombs also have wall paintings, some probably dating back to the eighth century BC, depicting scenes from the lives of the dead.

The paintings give an insight into the habits and customs of the Etruscans, showing a refined, flourishing, and highly developed culture.

Experts say the later wall paintings show Greek and perhaps even Eastern influences, reflecting the cosmopolitan nature of this civilization.

Some of the most popular ones, such as a sexually explicit fresco from the Flagellation Tomb, have been posted on the Web.

The Etruscans lived mainly between the rivers Tiber and Arno in modern-day Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany, in the first millennium before Christ.

By the sixth century BC they had become the dominant force in central Italy, but repeated attacks from Gauls and Syracusans later forced them into an alliance with the embryonic Roman state, which gradually absorbed Etruscan civilization.

However, the Etruscans had the upper hand in the early days and supplied Rome with the last three of its first seven kings including the famous Tarquinius Superbus (Tarquin the Proud).

Like his predecessor Tarquinius Priscus, he was from Tarquinia. Most of what is known about the Etruscans derives from archaeology as the few accounts passed down by Roman historians tend to be hostile, portraying them as gluttonous and lecherous.

This problem is compounded by the fact that Etruscan cities were built almost entirely of wood and so vanished quickly, leaving little for archaeologists to investigate.

In 2004 Tarquinia and Cerveteri became Italy's 37th World Heritage Site.

They have since been joined by the Val d'Orcia in Umbria, the ancient Greek city of Siracusa and the Palazzi Rolli in Genoa.

With 40 sites including Venice, Rome, Naples, Florence, Siena, Pisa, Verona, Vicenza, Ravenna, Ferrara, Urbino, Assisi, San Gimignano, Pienza and the Amalfi Coast, Italy has more treasures on the UNESCO list than any other country. Among UNESCO's other ancient Italian listings are Pompeii, Agrigento and Emperor Hadrian's Villa (Villa Adriana) at Tivoli.
nonas maias

431 B.C. -- the "Peloponnesian War" began (according to one reckoning)

399 B.C. -- death of Socrates (according to one reckoning)

1941 -- death of Sir James Frazer (The Golden Bough)
From a Barnard press release:

Helene Peet Foley, a professor of classics, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAAS), one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious honorary societies and independent policy research centers. Foley is among a group of 212 distinguished scholars, scientists, artists, and civic, corporate and philanthropic leaders selected this year for their preeminent contributions to a variety of fields. Other Fellows elected this year include U.S. Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice John Paul Stevens; computer company founders Michael Dell (Dell Computer), and Charles M. Geschke and John E. Warnock (Adobe Systems, Inc.); two-time cabinet secretary and former White House Chief of Staff James A. Baker III; Academy Award-winning filmmakers Ethan and Joel Cohen and Milos Forman; blues guitarist B.B. King; and corporate CEOs Margaret Whitman (eBay) and Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo).

A leader in the study of women in antiquity, Professor Foley is renowned for her expertise in many aspects of Greek tragedy. Widely published, she is the author of "Female Acts in Greek Tragedy" (2001), and co-editor of and contributor to "Visualizing the Tragic: Drama, Myth, and Ritual in Greek Art and Literature" (2007). She served as president of the American Philological Association in 1998, and has received numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1991, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship in 1992, and a Loeb Library Classical Foundation Grant in 2005. While on leave from Barnard this semester, she is serving as Visiting Sather Professor of Classical Literature at the University of California, Berkeley, and focusing on the ultimately successful struggle of Greek tragedy to find a place on the American stage.

AAAS is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. Founded in 1780 by John Adams, James Bowdoin, John Hancock and other scholar-patriots, the Academy has elected as members the finest minds and most influential leaders from each generation, including George Washington and Benjamin Franklin in the eighteenth century, Daniel Webster and Ralph Waldo Emerson in the nineteenth, and Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill in the twentieth. The current membership of 4,000 American Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members includes some 200 Nobel laureates and more than 60 Pulitzer Prize winners.
The BBC goes on a preview tour (video) of the new museum ... taking a while to load this a.m. ...
From the Philly Inquirer:

He doesn't look like a Latin teacher - no tie or sports coat with elbow patches.

J.D. Munday is more a jeans, button-down shirt and hoop earring kind of guy.

But spend five minutes in his class at Cherry Hill High School West and you will find the unmistakable evidence of a Latin teacher who loves what he's doing, declensions, Ovid and all.

Judging by the honors his students routinely earn - gold medals for the National Latin Exam and state championship titles at the National Junior Classical League's Certamen competition, a Knowledge Bowl-type event - Munday is pretty good at his work, too.

"I've always had a soft spot in my heart for kids, and I love to play with words," said Munday, 44, of Lindenwold. "I love my job."

Munday didn't start out hoping to become a Latin instructor. The Minnesota native, who moved to Malvern as a teenager, was a philosophy student at Temple University one summer when he saw a flyer challenging students to learn to read an ancient language in a few weeks.

On a whim, he signed up for Latin lessons.

"I didn't think Plato sounded like a 19th-century Englishman, which was what the translations I was reading made him sound like," Munday said.

He proved to be a natural and soon could do his own translations.

"I thought it was so easy and fun," he said of mastering the language.

Munday continued to study Latin and added a dual major in the classics. (He also speaks ancient Greek "and a little French.")

He figured he had three career options: lawyer, minister, or teacher.

"I was too heretical to become a minister and too moral to become a lawyer, so I thought, 'I'll become a teacher,' " Munday said.

After two years in the Willingboro school district, he came to Cherry Hill West in 1994 to revive a Latin program that had been dormant several years. Though by no means universal, the language is not uncommon at area schools where a large percentage of graduates go on to four-year colleges and universities.

West's program exploded. From teaching just a handful of students, Munday soon had more than 130 students in five classes, Latin I to Latin IV Advanced Placement. He added a Latin Club, and his kids began winning state awards.

"It's not just useful for doctors and lawyers and scientists. It's useful if you want to use English well. It's very useful for the SATs," Munday said, adding that learning the ancient language helps students build their English vocabulary.

Some students were attracted to the class for those reasons. Others heard of Munday's reputation as a fun teacher.

On a recent weekday, his classroom was a hive of activity.

Jingly Italian music played softly in the background as students worked on translations and read poetry. At the front of the room, Munday, a tall man with slightly spiky hair and a frequent smile, kept things flowing.

"What does est opus mean? It is the work, the task," he told his students.

West's Latin program is not the biggest in the region, and the number of students who take the language is small compared to those enrolled in Spanish, Italian and French classes. But there is something special about the program, administrators and students say.

Munday is a star, said Joseph Meloche, West's principal. "He brings the language alive," he said.

From reenacting scenes from ancient plays alongside his students to encouraging struggling students to stick with it, "he's a teacher that inspires kids to want to take Latin," Meloche said.

Jeremy Silver, now in AP Latin IV, has been with Munday for four years, having switched from Spanish after middle school. He's president of West's National Latin Honor Society, was on three first-place Certamen teams, and recently received a perfect score on the National Latin Exam.

"I've learned much more about English in Mr. Munday's class than I have in any English class," said Silver, 17, who will attend Princeton University in the fall.

When Munday veers off topic even the diversions are edifying, Silver said.

"He's got an entertaining personality, and he can make the subject matter interesting, especially in the upper levels," Silver said. "We translate poetry, and we make connections to other things."

Dave Washick, another senior, says he's not the best student, but he's stuck with Munday because his class is a thrill.

It's not just the corny jokes and games intended to help students with their memorization. When Washick, 18, got to a state competition, he had a revelation:

"I knew more than I thought," he said. "When you see what's around the state, you realize we have a really good Latin program, and that's because of Mr. Munday."

"Kids soak up my energy," said Munday, who emphasizes fun as well as form.

When his students need to leave the room, their hall pass is not a slip of paper, but a long wooden stick topped by lush green leaves, the remnant of a Latin project from years gone by.

"My kids aren't all stars, but they're great kids," Munday said.

As an instructor, "I don't have to compete with native speakers," he said, joking. "Those are all dead."
This seems to be a sidebar to a larger article ... from the Daily Herald (originally in the Post):

• The so-called "Cuirass-Torso," discovered on the Acropolis in Athens in 1896, would have been carved about 470 B.C. At first glance, the piece looks like a typical classical nude. In the 1990s, however, close study of the marble's surface revealed traces of an elaborately decorated undertunic that had once been painted poking out from all around the figure's torso. In ancient times, that would have made it doubly clear that the warrior's six-pack in fact represents a body-contoured breastplate made of beaten bronze. Almost invisible scratches in the marble had once acted as guidelines for the painting of the undertunic's pattern, and later weathering marks indicate that several different colors had been used to fill it in. The colors actually used on the reconstruction are hypothetical, based on other painted statues of the period. The marble of the breastplate might have been gilt, as a great many ancient sculptures were, but its gleaming metal could also have been rendered in shades of yellow.
• A marble nude, presumed to represent the god Apollo, survives in a museum in Kassel, Germany. The glowing whiteness we now see probably has nothing to do with how the work originally looked. The marble is almost certainly a Roman copy of a Greek original made hundreds of years earlier, about 450 B.C., perhaps by the great innovator Phidias. It would have been cast in bronze, like perhaps two-thirds of all Greek statuary -- almost every single piece of which has long since been melted down.

It's almost certain that the sculptor would have polished his figure to some kind of brassy sheen and added suitable accessories to it. In a bronze reconstruction in Kassel, the metal has been buffed and varnished to the point of imitating solid gold -- which, we know, was the prestige material for making monumental sculptures in the ancient world.

• The Augustus of Prima Porta, a marble sculpture of the Roman Empire's first emperor, was discovered in 1863 and is now in the Vatican Museums.

"Can you imagine the family-values, back-to-basics, republican emperor Augustus ... represented by something that looks like a cross-dresser trying to hail a taxi?" says Fabio Barry, an art historian at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland who's not overly fond of the Prima Porta sculpture's colored reconstruction. Barry, who is an expert on the history of marble and worked for a time in Washington, D.C., insists that the Romans cherished the whiteness of fine marble as an important symbol of light and purity. He doesn't deny that the precious Parian marble of the Prima Porta statue would have had some tints on top of it -- the colors noted when the piece was first unearthed were confirmed when it was cleaned in 1999 -- but he cannot buy their wildly unsubtle reconstruction. "I'm vehemently against any notion that people in the past were stupid or didn't have taste." Vinzenz Brinkmann, leader of the recent work on color in antiquity, doesn't disagree. He has a house on the Greek island of Paros, and often visits its ancient quarries. Their Parian marble, he raves, is "whiter than sugar and more beautiful than snow." And he says he's almost sorry there's such clear evidence that the Greeks and Romans often covered it in paint.

• A bronze head of a boy, cast by Roman artists about 20 A.D., survives in the Glyptothek collection in Munich. Eyeless and dark green, it represents our classic vision of classical art -- and one that's largely wrong. A bronze reconstruction shows it with the polished surface it once would have had; ancient texts refer to athletes' skin as glowing like "a well-mixed bronze," and to how sculptors labored to achieve lifelike colors in their metals. The reconstruction also re-creates the kind of inlaid eyes the sculpture had when it was found in the 1790s -- they were lost early on -- and the golden lips and eyebrows that still show traces on the Munich head. (Other ancient bronzes used polished copper inlays to represent red lips and nipples and even bloody wounds.) The dark hair is just a guess, but it evokes the broad range of finishes that ancient sculptors would have used for realist effects.
ante diem iii nonas maias

ca 300 A.D. -- martyrdom of Jovinian
Since I didn't get to them yesterday (football road trip) ...

Archaeology Magazine has a feature on the Sebasta (Augustus' games at Naples) ...

The conversation continues about electronic publication at the CSA Newsletter site ...

Last, but certainly not least, I've added to the ClassiCarnival/blogroll/sidebar some entries from Roger Travis' Living Epic blog, which examines the intersection between gaming/gamer culture and the ancient world ... there's also an online course ...
From the Hereford Times:

A ROMAN cemetery containing items of national importance has been uncovered in Herefordshire.

One of the biggest historical finds in the Marches has been made at Stretton Grandison. A complete wooden coffin – only the third to be found in the UK – was one of the items uncovered by Leominster-based Border Archaeology (BA).

A kiln, various urns and a working brooch were also unearthed, along with the remains of up to 19 bodies.

The results of the four-month dig – kept secret until now for fear of theft – were revealed to a packed Ashperton Village Hall on Tuesday.

Neil Shurety, BA managing director, was thrilled at the discovery, but believes the site is hiding more.

“We found a hell of a lot and it’s probably the largest find of its kind in Herefordshire,” said Mr Shurety.

“We had indications it was a Roman site, but we had no idea it was going to be this big. The major find was the coffin – this is only the third complete Roman coffin ever found in the UK, and the others were found in London in the Thames.” The dig coincided with major pipeline work, being carried out by Welsh Water and Laing O’Rourke between Lyde and Ledbury. The cemetery was discovered east of Watery Lane, one of 13 sites earmarked for investigation either side of the A417.

The coffin and the body – nicknamed Lucius – is being preserved, following tests at Durham University.

According to archaeologists, Lucius was 46, 5ft 9ins tall, suffered toothache and died around 1,800 years ago.

Most bodies were from the second to the fourth centuries AD, but some dated to the Middle Ages.

One find, dating to 650AD, was much more grisly – a decapitated 15-year-old girl who suffered multiple sharp blows.

Neolithic stakes, used for fishing, were also discovered, suggesting much earlier occupation.

“To have found these stakes I think, personally, was one of the highlights of our dig,” said Mr Shurety.

“These are made of alder and they date to 3,500 BC – it’s so humbling to think that man has been working on this land for all this time.” The coffin, Lucius, and recovered items will go on display in Hereford next year, while the other bodies will be given a proper burial. A book is also being planned, while BA intends to meet villagers to discuss their finds.
Dorothy King sent this one in (thanks!) ... a documentary on the wall from the BBC:

This story's making the rounds again ... from the Daily Herald:

The statues of ancient Greece and Rome are masterpieces.
Here's an idea for making them better: We should equip every gallery of ancient art with paints, in red and green and even gold, then set museum-goers loose on all their sculptures. How else are we going to convince ourselves that those pure-white marbles of Venus and Caesar, or those dark-green bronzes of athletes and Apollo, look better when their surfaces are tarted up?

For nearly two centuries, some scholars have been arguing that white-on-white and green-on-green were not the true tints of antiquity. The Parthenon in Athens and the Forum in Rome might have been almost gaudy. But such ideas have never trickled down, or even sideways: In Hollywood today, but also in many experts' talk, the ancient world comes off as monochrome. In Ridley Scott's "Gladiator," when Russell Crowe strides down the streets of ancient Rome, circa A.D. 180, he's backed up by the proper complement of bronzes and marbles. All of them are green or white.

A flood of recent exhibitions has set out to put their color back. Over the past five years, audiences in Amsterdam, Athens, Basel, Boston, Copenhagen, Istanbul, Munich and Rome have been treated to a bright new image of Greek and Roman art. Now, with an exhibition called "The Color of Life" at the Getty Villa in Malibu, it's Californians' turn.

One of the greatest statues of Augustus, first emperor of Rome, has come down to us in marble. His carved armor and rippling robe meld into the symphony of cream on cream we all expect. At the Getty, a reconstruction of the piece, retouched with colors based on tints that still cling here and there to the original, has the great Augustus togaed in a cherry red that matches his lips. His tunic's touched with blue. What he's lost in elegance he's regained in verve.

A carved portrait of Caligula, the mad Roman emperor who died in the year 41, looks blank-eyed and remote in the marble that's survived. His reconstruction, computer-carved into another block of marble and then painted, now has nice pink cheeks, red lips and brown eyes and hair. The insane leader who declared himself a god now comes across as the Roman next door.

More than anyone else, German scholar Vinzenz Brinkmann has led the way in putting color back into our view of ancient statues. After 25 years of scientific study, he says he finds it "very hard to imagine" that they could have ever started life as monochromes. Lifelike sculptures were the pride and joy of Greek and Roman art, so why would artists have missed out on using paint to liven them up further?

We haven't always thought of classical antiquity as dull and dingy. In the later Middle Ages, artists naturally depicted the rich culture of ancient Rome as full of gold and lavish ornament. Aesthetic fancy filled in for a lack of evidence of what ancient artists had actually made.

It was the evidence that screwed things up, once it came along. In the years to either side of 1500, more and more ancient sculpture began to be recovered. Centuries of burial or neglect had bleached the marbles, and greened the bronzes, beyond their makers' recognition. But it was those altered colors that became the model for how the ancient world had looked, and for what all new sculpture ought to look like.

By 1764, Johann Joachim Winckelmann, often named as the founder of art history, could look at the classical marbles that had come down to him and definitively pronounce that "the whiter a body is, the more beautiful it is as well."

That view went on to dominate. It led Lincoln in his Memorial to come out white on white.

It also touched the modernist opponents of historic styles. The stripped-down Getty Center in Los Angeles -- head office for the organizers of the Malibu color show -- is faced in gleaming travertine. Richard Meier, its designer, once declared that "white is the most wonderful color of all, because within it one can find every color of the rainbow."

Tell that to Praxiteles.

"Oh Praxiteles, which are your greatest marbles?" a fan once asked that famous sculptor, who pioneered the art of female nudes in Athens around 350 B.C. The artist -- or so the story went in ancient times -- answered that he preferred those works whose stone had been colored over by Nicias, a leader in the art of realistic panel painting. So much for the ancients' taste for sculpture's white perfection.

"For the Greeks it was all about mimesis," says Getty curator Kenneth Lapatin, using the Greek word for realistic imitation. Beauty depended on it.

"If only I could shed my beauty and assume an uglier aspect / The way you would wipe color off a statue," says Helen of Troy, in lines written by Euripides in 412 B.C. For Greeks of that era, not only were sculptures assumed to be painted, but also if you stripped their paint you stripped their good looks, too.

Nineteenth-century experts took a new look at such texts, and at newly unearthed colored objects and murals, and rethought their image of ancient art. Some artists followed suit: They sculpted neoclassical nudes, then tinted them in living color, or painted scenes of what a bright-hued antiquity might have looked like.

And then, for most of the 20th century, nothing.

Most artists, more interested in modern life than dead antiquity, simply lost interest in the issue. Those who stuck with classical figures often came to cater to a Fascist taste for white triumphalism.

In academia, not much new evidence emerged to keep the topic hot. Some of the earlier evidence actually faded away: Colors that had once been seen on newly excavated objects were bleached by exposure and overzealous cleaning. On top of that, classicists came to prefer issues of social history to questions of aesthetics and taste, which meant that what an artwork had originally looked like came to matter less and less.

That was how things stood in 1981 when Brinkmann was a graduate student working on toolmarks in Greek marbles. He realized that the special lighting used to spot where a chisel had once passed could also reveal where ancient colors had been. Even where the paint itself had absolutely vanished, it had left behind patterns of "weathering relief" -- areas of marble that the elements had etched more or less deeply, depending on the kind of pigments that had once protected them.

If you looked closely enough, with scientific equipment and rigor, many sculptures started to look like a coloring book just waiting to be painted in. Lab analysis of the microscopic grains of pigment that had survived here or there on many sculptures, along with close examination of the faded tints that had survived intact on another few, supplied the colors of the paint. Coupling that research with other information about statues' vanished hues -- classical vases and murals that depict sculptures being painted; new readings of ancient texts and the color notes of early archaeologists -- led experts to achieve a larger picture of the coloring of ancient art.

Painted reconstructions of that art, commissioned by Brinkmann and others, are meant to start to bring that image home to all the rest of us.

There are signs it's working.

The Boston show called "Gods in Color: Painted Sculpture of Classical Antiquity," which closed a few months ago, had visitors "lining up on the stairs" to get in, according to curator Susanne Ebbinghaus -- not a situation they're particularly used to at Harvard's Arthur M. Sackler Museum of classical and Asian art.

All of us "need help visualizing colored antiquity," Ebbinghaus says, as well as help in fighting the cliches of an all-white classical world.

The Sackler show provided that. Its reconstructions depend almost as much on conjecture as on science, she admits. But they still get us closer to the ancient masterpieces than gleaming marble ever could.

I still suggest the colors weren't as garish as Brinkmann suggests ... color, yes, but faded/muted (and possibly designed with fading/muting in mind) ... a possible piece of evidence is that fresco of a harbour scene at Stabiae from Pompeii ... there are a series of statues on top of columns in what appears to be varying states of colorization ...
From AP via Google:

The project: Atlas, scrubbed.

Rockefeller Center's iconic statue of Greek mythology's burdened giant is set to get its most thorough cleaning in decades, starting next week.

The four-story-tall, seven-ton sculpture is among the complex's cherished attractions. It stands across Fifth Avenue from St. Patrick's Fifth Cathedral.

Wax and lacquer have built up and dulled the bronze statue's surface since it was installed in 1937.

EverGreene Painting Studios expects to spend six weeks cleaning the artwork with steam and solvents, applying a protective coating and hand-waxing it. Initial steps are to begin Monday.

The results should accent the play of highlights and shadows across the statue's surface, said EverGreene President Jeffrey Greene. The statue was washed and waxed regularly through at least the late 1980s, but Greene believes the upcoming cleaning may be its most extensive restoration.

Rockefeller Center's statue of Atlas' brother, Prometheus, was refurbished nine years ago.

"What we try to do is keep track of the artwork and what needs tending to," said Jerry I. Speyer, the chief executive of Rockefeller Center owner Tishman Speyer Properties. "It's a fascinating piece of what nobody sees but what you really have to do if you're going to be a fiduciary for a place like that."

According to ancient Greek lore, Atlas and fellow Titans battled Zeus for control of the universe, and lost. As a punishment, Atlas was condemned to hold up the heavens forever. He is often depicted, as in Rockefeller Center, carrying a globe on his shoulders.
4.00 p.m. |DCIVC| First Olympian
Examine the remains of an ancient athlete called Ikkos; forensics detail the competitor's tip-top conditioning, diet and best sports; witness training and events from early Olympics when athletes weren't worried about doping but simply staying alive.

9.00 p.m. |HISTC| ROME II | Heroes Of the Republic
Against Pullo’s advice, Vorenus returns to the Collegium with his rescued daughters and Lucius, who are soon reunited with Lyde and undergo a cleansing ritual for past sins. Denied a triumph in Rome, Octavian urges Cicero to embrace his request to be made Consul; in exchange, Octavian promises not to make a move without consulting Cicero first. Octavian is reunited with Atia and Octavia; while the former begs for forgiveness, the latter doesn’t like what her brother has become. Octavian’s first act as Consul takes Cicero and the Senate by surprise. Vorenus attempts to make peace with Memmio and Cotta, who wonder if he’s gone soft. To gain advantage over Brutus and Cassius’ army, two adversaries patch up their differences.

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

HISTC = History Television (Canada)
From the Chicago Tribune:

Sometimes a guy just has to ungird his inner gladiator.

Sergio Iacomoni used to look up from his desk at Banca d'Italia and wonder about the likes of Spartacus. The father of two consumed books on ancient Rome. He tracked news of archeological digs, daily fare in Italy, for nuggets on how gladiators might have trained or lived. He socialized with buddies—accountants and bureaucrats cooped up in their own office or government jobs—who shared the same kind of Walter Mitty daydreams.

"One day, we were talking. We had played enough tennis, worked out with enough sports. So we decided: OK, now we'll be gladiators," Iacomoni said.

The men, whose graying temples hadn't dimmed memories of boyhood soldiering, began spending hours thinking up games and exercises that they imagined ancient warriors would use.

Iacomoni went further: He began calling himself Nerone and wondering whether this lifestyle could fit into a modern Rome budget.

The middle-age dad began pounding out metal helmets, twisting leather straps into sandals and designing the kind of garb that Charlton Heston, in his "Ben-Hur" days, might have appreciated. He then floated a petition to scout for other people who might want to join a club, a foundation of sorts, to preserve some Roman heritage.

Gruppo Storico Romano, as he called it, quickly pulled in dozens of members. More than a decade later, about a hundred Romans are loyal to the cause. Iacomoni qua Nerone said the initial response led him to explore a business opportunity.

In 2004 he opened a school for modern-day gladiators, a small, shady rural outpost off the Via Appia Antica, the ancient Roman road. It is part learning center, part tourist attraction and even provides a lovely spectator sport for those not inclined to swing a sword on a warm spring day.

Trident in hand
These days, the 56-year-old said with a laugh, are spent doing what every Roman boy dreams. He dons leather sandals and a deep-red tunic and spends hours heaving wooden swords and metal tridents up and down the dusty little arena he has created for the gladiator-wannabes. He works every day in the sunshine. His friends come by after work, all still eager to play gladiator.

"This is our passion," said 60-year-old Michele Forglione, a logistician at Italy's Defense Ministry.

Any day of the week, Nerone has schoolchildren from around Rome learning the fine art of slaying their imaginary dragons or foes. "Head and back, neck and back," he calls out, teaching the youngsters to swing and step back, deftly challenging their opponents' body parts and protecting their own. If it seems like shtick in the first minutes, children quickly learn that there is a purpose to the play.

Nerone keeps youngsters—and adult tourists or families who enlist in far more challenging exercises—on their toes. The 1st Century warriors were men to be remembered, he believes, and his courses take Roman history seriously. He also runs a small museum in the back of his lot. He admits that not a lot is known about the actual life of a gladiator, so Nerone spends his time—and his buddies'—contemplating how to hone Roman physical glory.

"The history of Rome is all along the ruins," he said. "But for gladiators, a lot has to be interpreted. The fact is that there is not a lot of documentation. ... So we've tried to understand what was real and what was known. If an archeologist finds something or tells us something was not really used, we no longer do it.

"You have to build something authentic. If you build something strong from the beginning, there will always be a strong base to build on."

Net flicks (and DVDs too)
Instructors teach with fishnets at first, swinging them, side to side and overhead, to encourage coordination. Students joust with 5-pound helmets on their heads to understand the weight, emotional and otherwise, of battle. Nerone, during breaks in the three-hour classes, also taps into a computer and flips through DVDs to bring Rome's ancient treasures into this century.

He markets his specialty well: The group has been featured on the Discovery Channel. His school, one of several in Rome, is booked with private groups and educational sessions throughout the year.

And every April his merry band of self-made historians takes over the streets of Rome—tromping from the Forum to Colosseum to the Circus Maximus—for an eye-popping celebration. They parade in costume to mark "Natale di Roma," the anniversary of Rome's founding, according to legend. This year, Rome was teeming one Sunday with short-skirted men roaming the cobblestones with authority.

"I think lots of people come here and want to feel Roman," Nerone said as he prepared for another class. "Some people have it in their blood. Foreigners come and envy the history."
From the Northern Echo:

HISTORIANS hope to acquire a Roman brooch found on North-East farmland to exhibit in London.

It was discovered by a man with a metal detector in 2000, but was left forgotten in his drawer for six years.

This week, an inquest heard that the item is attracting the interest of the British Museum, which hopes to add it to its collection.

The hearing, in Spennymoor, County Durham, on Tuesday, was told that experienced metal detectorist David Scott made the find.

Mr Scott, from Seaham, east Durham, was searching farmland at Seaton, near Easington, in October 2000 when he found the trumpet-shaped fragment.

He reported it to the Portable Antiquities Scheme, which records objects of historical importance found by members of the public, and Durham's county archaeologist.

Initially, it was believed to be a bronze item that would not be classed as treasure, but in 2001 it was found to be made of silver and dating from the Second Century. It is known as a trumpet-headed brooch because of the flared head, and features an acanthus leaf decoration.

It was probably used to fasten a cloak or tunic and could have connected to another brooch by a chain.

Mr Scott said: "It lay in a drawer for over six years until someone followed up on it recently and realised it could be special."

Coroner Graham Hunsley found the item to be made of a precious metal and older than 300 years, so declared the item as treasure trove.

It will now be valued and if no museum in the region expresses an interest in it, the British Museum hopes to buy it.

Dr Rob Cillins, finds liaison officer for the North-East, said the brooch was a fine example because the details of craftsmanship had not been corroded.

He said: "Mr Scott is a very responsible metal detectorist who always records his finds, even those he is not legally obliged to report.

"Because of this, Mr Scott has added to our knowledge of the past in County Durham."

Richard Hobbs, the British Museum's Roman Britain curator, said: "This type of brooch is reasonably rare. There are maybe a dozen like it.

"We feel if no local museum is interested, that it would complement our existing collection."
The Classics Department of the University of Athens is hosting a one-day Conference entitled:

«Rhetoric and Literary Genres in Ancient Greece and Rome»

The Conference will be held on Friday, 9 May 2008, at 18:00 - 21:00, in the Propylaia Hall of the University of Athens (30, Panepistimiou st).

The program is as follows:

Bernhard ZIMMERMANN (Universit"at Freiburg): Rhetoric and Critique of Rhetoric in the Drama of the 5th century BC.

Christopher CRAIG (University of Tennessee): The Courtroom Speech as Literary Genre: the reader’s experience of rhetoric in Cicero’s Pro Roscio Amerino.

Jacqueline DANGEL (Universit'e de la Sorbonne-Paris IV): Genres litt'eraires et rh'etorique `a Rome : la po'etique 'epidictique dans l’Institution oratoire de Quintilien.

James MAY (St. Olaf College): Cicero’s Ideal Orator and Liberal Arts Education: Wisdom and Eloquence in the 21st century.

The event is followed by a reception at the Cultural Centre «Kostis Palamas».

All welcome.
Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood, who died in May of 2007, was one of the most influential Hellenists of her generation, and one of the strongest voices in the study of Greek religion. The focus of much of her work was the religious system of the Greek polis, or more precisely the ways in which the political structure of the Greek city-state shaped religious practices and representations, and within this field she devoted special attention to myth and ritual, adolescent transitions, representations of the afterlife, variations of panhellenic religion found in specific cities ("divine personalities") and the articulation of polis religion in Greek tragedy. Her work in these areas drew on a methodology which she called "reading", applicable equally to iconographical and archaeological sources as to literature and epigraphy.

As a tribute to Dr. Sourvinou-Inwood's scholarly achievement, and as a contribution to the ongoing debate, the Classics Department at the University of Reading will host on July 4-6 2008 a symposium exploring central themes in the area of polis-religion and its interpretation.

Keynote speakers are Jan Bremmer (Groningen), Julia Kindt (Sydney) and Froma Zeitlin (Princeton). Other speakers include Joan Connelly (NYU), Esther Eidinow (Oxford), Radcliffe Edmunds (Bryn Mawr), Milette Gaifman (Yale), Alexander Herda (CHS/Munich), Sarah Hitch (Bristol), Athene Kavoulaki (Rethymno), Johannes Mylonopoulos (CHS/Erfurt), Fred Naiden (UNC), Petra Pakkanen (RHUL), André and Ivana Petrovic (Durham), Julia Shear (Glasgow) and Hannah Willey (Cambridge).

Full details of the conference, including booking forms and information on accommodation and travel, may be obtained from the conference website:

For booking inquiries contact Nina Aitken (n.l.aitken AT

We particularly bring to your attention the fact that, thanks to generous funding from the Classical Association, we are able to offer a few bursaries to eligible postgraduate students. Please encourage them to contact one of the organizers directly and as soon as possible.

Sarah Hitch (Bristol), clssh AT
Milette Gaifman (Yale), milette.gaifman AT
Ian Rutherford (Reading), i.c.rutherford AT
**Digital Classicist Work-in-Progress seminars**
Institute of Classical Studies

Fridays at 16:30 in NG16, Senate House, Malet St, London, WC1E 7HU
(June 20th, July 4th-18th seminars in room B3, Stewart House)
(June 27th seminar room 218, Chadwick Bdg, UCL, Gower Street)


6 June (NG16)
Elaine Matthews and Sebastian Rahtz (Oxford), The Lexicon of Greek Personal Names and classical web services

13 June (NG16)
Brent Seales (University of Kentucky), EDUCE: Non-invasive scanning for classical materials

20 June (STB3)
Dot Porter (University of Kentucky), The Son of Suda On Line: a next generation collaborative editing tool

27 June (UCL Chadwick 218)
Bruce Fraser (Cambridge), The value and price of information: reflections on e-publishing in the humanities

4 July (STB3)
Andrew Bevan (UCL), Computational Approaches to Human and Animal Movement in the Archaeological Record

11 July (STB3)
Frances Foster (KCL), A digital presentation of the text of Servius

18 July (STB3)
Ryan Bauman (University of Kentucky), Towards the Digital Squeeze: 3-D imaging of inscriptions and curse tablets

25 July (NG16)
Charlotte Tupman (KCL), Markup of the epigraphy and archaeology of Roman Libya

1 Aug (NG16)
Juan Garcés (British Library), Digitizing the oldest complete Greek Bible: The Codex Sinaiticus project

8 Aug (NG16)
Charlotte Roueché (KCL), From Stone to Byte

15 Aug (NG16)
Ioannis Doukas (KCL), Towards a digital publication for the Homeric Catalogue of Ships

22 Aug (NG16)
Peter Heslin (Durham), Diogenes: Past development and future plans


We are inviting both students and established researchers involved in the application of the digital humanities to the study of the ancient world to come and introduce their work. The focus of this seminar series is the interdisciplinary and collaborative work that results at the interface of expertise in Classics or Archaeology and Computer Science.

The seminar will be followed by wine and refreshments.

(Sponsored by the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, and the Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London.)

For more information please contact gabriel.bodard AT or simon.mahony AT, or visit the seminar website at
*Platonism and Aristotelianism** in the moral philosophy of the Scottish

A workshop to be held in the Philosophy Department, University of St
Saturday June 7th 2008, starting at 10am.

Giovanni Gellera (UCSC, Milan)
'Aristotelianism in Pre-Enlightenment Aberdeen'

Alexander Broadie (Glasgow)
'Aristotle, Adam Smith, and Enlightenment Values'

Michael Gill (Arizona)
'From Cambridge Platonism to Scottish Sentimentalism'

Aaron Garrett (Boston University)
'Mind against Mechanism: Monboddo's Platonic Anti-Newtonianism'

Craig Smith (St Andrews) will chair a roundtable discussion

For further information, and to register, please contact James Harris
(jah15 AT
The Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies invites applications for a one-year Limited Term position at the rank of Assistant Professor, effective July 1, 2008. We are seeking a candidate with a research specialty in Greek history (including social history) and who is competent to teach courses in Greek history, ancient Greek language and Classical civilization. Preferred applicants will have completed a PhD or be close to completion by the time of appointment. Other requirements include a demonstrated excellence in teaching and evidence of a research program; publications are preferred. Applicants are asked to submit, in hard copy, a curriculum vitae, a covering letter outlining research interests and teaching experience, a short teaching dossier, and the names and contact information for three professional referees, to Professor Gerald P. Schaus, Chair, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, N2L 3C5. Applications will be assessed after May 23, 2008, until the position is filled. Wilfrid Laurier University is committed to equity and values diversity. We welcome applications from qualified individuals of all genders and sexual orientations, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal persons, and persons of a visible minority. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. Members of the designated groups must self-identify to be considered for employment equity. Candidates may self-identify, in confidence, to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Dr. David Docherty.
... we're still adjusting to kids' sports schedules ...
kalendae maiae

1700 -- death of John Dryden (poet and translator of many of the versions of ancient poetry which abound on the internet)

cloy @ (wow)

sphinx @ Wordsmith

salad days @ Merriam-Webster (sort of)
I don't think I mentioned this last weekend (I meant to) ... Expatica seems to have the best coverage of what is still available:

A town gate that was probably built with a grant from Roman Emperor Nero has been discovered in Cologne, Germany during work on a new underground train line, archaeologists said.

"This is finest Roman handiwork," said Hansgerd Hellenkemper, director of the Roman museum in the city.

The gate, found complete with 11 meters of wall, was a goods-delivery entrance to the Roman town from its river port outside on the Rhine. The sturdy Roman wall protected Cologne for 1,000 years.

The city fathers have appropriated 3 million euros to preserve the site with a train line underneath and a road deck overhead.

"I'm delighted it's going to stay in the ground where it has always been," said Hellenkemper.

Recently diggers also found the bottom of a Roman wooden barge in Cologne.

The assumed Nero connection is based on the fact that the wall was built in the second half of the 1st century AD and that the city itself could not have afforded the cost. Nero's mother had been born in Cologne, so the emperor is thought to have fortified the town.

In the late Roman period, the inhabitants walled up the gate for fear of attack by the warlike Frankish tribe, using any rocks at hand including tombstones. Hellenkemper said the closure would not be undone and the gate would be left as is.

Birgitta Hoffmann sent along some German coverage for Explorator (thanks!) which includes a very nice video news report from WDR ...
From the Telegraph:

The remains of 91 men, women and children are believed to have been hurriedly dumped during an outbreak of disease in the 2nd or 3rd century.

It is the first officially-recognised Roman mass grave to be found in Britain.

The site was first discovered in Gloucester in 2004 and archaeologists have now gone public after four years secretly excavating the site and analysing the bones.

Louise Loe, Head of Burial Archaeology at Oxford Archaeology who led the analysis, said: "The skeletons were lying with their bones completely entangled, reflecting the fact that they had been dumped in a hurried manner.

"When we studied the skeletons we looked for evidence to explain why they had been buried in such a way.

"This has led us to conclude the individuals were the victims of an epidemic."

The burial site is now occupied by Cathedral Court, a complex of retirement homes opposite the Church of St Mary Magdalene, a former 12th Century lepers hospital.

Two other mass Roman burial sites have previously been found in York in the 1870's but were not properly recorded and are therefore not officially recognised.

It is believed the bodies were victims of the Antonine Plague, which tore through Europe in the second century.

Archaeologists spent a painstaking 18 months analysing the bones, which were dumped about a century before the Romans quit Britain.

Project officer Andrew Simmonds added: "This is very exciting and is unique in as much as we are able to tie the find in with an actual historical event.

"By analysing the pottery and broaches found on the women we have been able to determine the date as the second half of the second century AD.

"This ties in with an outbreak of the Antonine Plague, which was probably small pox.

"The bones were not in a very good condition because of the manner in which they were discarded.

"We have managed to identify 21 of the bodies as definitely male and eight have been confirmed as female."

Two 1st Century sculptured and inscribed tombstones were also found at the site.

One was for a 14-year-old slave and the other was for Lucius Octavius Martialis, a soldier of the 20th Legion.

The legion was stationed at Gloucester until the 70s AD and the mass grave may have been civilian descendants of the Roman military.

The discovery is significant not only because it pre-dates the Roman departure from Britain but also because it is so rare to discover remains in such a hap-hazard manner.

The Romans were very particular about where remains were buried, which makes the find so unique.

Roman Gloucester is thought to have been founded in 48AD by the river, at Kingsholm.

In about 97AD Glevum, the Roman name for Gloucester, was given the status of 'colonia' – the highest urban status.
The Daily Telegraph gives us some interesting news about Rome's new mayor:

ROME'S new Mayor Gianni Alemanno has renewed a pledge to remove a modern structure on the banks of the Tiber designed by US architect Richard Meier to protect an ancient monument.

The glass and marble structure surrounding the 2000-year-old Altar of Augustan Peace, inaugurated in 2006, is something "to remove," the right-wing Alemanno said today after taking the oath of office.

"It's obviously not the first priority," the former neo-fascist said, while adding: "We should review the structures in the city centre."

Mr Meier's work took seven years to build and drew harsh criticism, especially from the right.

The ancient white marble altar, built to commemorate the peace after the Emperor Augustus' triumphal return from wars in Spain and Gaul, features finely sculpted bas-reliefs.

The dictator Benito Mussolini had the structure moved to the banks of the Tiber in 1938.

Mr Alemanno, who unexpectedly won a run-off election on Tuesday against outgoing national Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli, in 2006 called Mr Meier's work a "scar in the heart of the city, an act of intellectual arrogance against the citizens".

He vowed that if the right took City Hall it would move the structure to the suburbs.
From a press release of some sort:

Rome, as they say, wasn’t built in a day. But it was built with great imagination and engineering brio. From elegantly simple pulleys to arches, aqueducts, and catapults, the Romans harnessed and improved all kinds of technology, building in the process one of the most modern cities in the ancient world.

Consider the Pantheon, built by Roman Emperor Hadrian in the second century CE as a temple to all the gods and a monument to his power. Its concrete dome was unprecedented in weight and size, spanning 142 feet in diameter. For almost 1,800 years the massive, coffered dome with its twenty-seven foot oculus stood unparalleled in the world. Just how did the Romans engineer such a structure?

Dan Perl ’08, a neuroscience, biology, and psychology major, could tell you how because he helped build a small-scale version of the Pantheon’s dome, albeit out of Styrofoam blocks. He is one of forty students enrolled this semester in “Roman Technology and Art,” a course in which the students explore Roman technologies by applying modern physics.

Perl and his classmates are learning first-hand how the ancient Romans engineered and built architectural monuments like the Pantheon and the Colosseum, Roman baths, aqueducts, mosaics, and catapults. At the same time, they are learning about Roman daily life, from art and architecture, to transportation and urban planning.

Under the expert team teaching of professors Ann Olga Koloski-Ostrow, chair of the department of classical studies, and physicist Robert Meyer, the students are covering highlights of Roman technology from the 8th century BCE to the end of the Roman Empire in the 4th century CE, focusing particularly on the imperial period, from the 1st century BCE to the 3rd century CE.

The Romans were technologically savvy enough to astound even Meyer, whose current research interests include hyper-complex fluid systems, liquid crystals, and smart materials. He says he was amazed at how the Romans managed to import about 400,000 tons of wheat a year from Africa, mostly from Egypt, to feed one million people in the city during the first and second centuries CE.

“In our course, the students calculate how many ships this took, how many containers for the wheat were used, and other interesting facts to see the implications of a central fact like this one for other aspects of Roman culture and economics,” explains Meyer. “The Romans had ships that could carry well over 1,000 tons of wheat from Egypt to Rome, very big ships that were not surpassed in size for well over a thousand years!”

Koloski-Ostrow, a classicist who is also a leading expert on Roman water and sanitation systems, provides the “humanist” side of the lectures, while Meyer weighs in with class demonstrations and models. “His own clear teaching style explains the science behind the accomplishments of the Romans both to me and to many humanist students who would be afraid to confront it without his steady guidance," says Koloski-Ostrow.

“I love the class; it’s a really nice blend of physics and culture,” says English major Justine Root ’10.

“I like the pulleys the most because it brought the math together with reality,” explains Perl, adding, “this is a good class to see why physics is important.” The students recently devised compound pulley systems to get an idea of how the Romans were able to hoist huge and enormously heavy stones into place.

In addition to lectures and discussions, a series of afternoon labs enable the students to learn by doing, creating small mosaics, Roman arches, catapults, and of course, domes inspired by the Pantheon’s dome. In the process they are asking questions about the causes of technological change, what role technology played in Roman life and culture, and how they fulfilled needs and desires by manipulating nature.

When studying Rome, do as the Romans did, you might say.
CELTIC CONFERENCE IN CLASSICS - University College Cork, 9-12 July 2008
This summer's Celtic Conference, in Cork, will begin from 2pm on Wednesday 9th July, and will end at midday on Saturday 12 July.

A provisional list of panels, speakers and topics is given below. Some of the panels are open to further recruitment of speakers. If you are interested in giving a paper, please contact the relevant panel chair(s).

Attendance at the Celtic Conference is open to all. The cost of the event to each member will be 260 Euros, payable on arrival. This includes 3 nights' bed-and-breakfast close to the Cork campus, two lunches, two dinners and various refreshments. There is no registration charge. Speakers will receive booking forms in the near future, and some travel information later. Others wishing to attend are invited to contact the Organiser as soon as possible: powellanton AT

For students attending the Conference a limited number of small travel grants are available, thanks to the generosity of learned societies. Those wishing to apply should contact the organiser, as above.

Accommodation (b&b) is available for those wishing to stay (an) extra night(s) before or after the event; if you require this, please give the organiser early notice.

Anton Powell, Organiser, CCC
powellanton AT
(Chairs: Nancy Rabinowitz, Sue Blundell, Douglas Cairns)
Judith Barringer, (Edinburgh) "Images of Victory, Shades of Immortality"
Sue Blundell (London) and Douglas Cairns (Edinburgh): Introduction
Elizabeth Craik (St.Andrews) `Sight, Sex and Reproduction in Hippocratic Medicine'
Gaelle Deschodt (University of Paris) "Seeing the Gods in Ancient Greece"
Michael Duigan (Courtauld Institute) "Power and Gendered Viewing in Greek Scenes of Craftsmanship"
Rosie Harman (Nottingham) "Vision, Travel and Greek Identity in Xenophon’s Anabasis"
Melissa Haynes (Harvard) "Framing a View of the Unviewable: Architecture, Aphrodite, and Erotic Looking in the Lucianic Erôtes"

Fritz-Gregor Herrmann (Swansea) "Vision and Viewing in Plato"
Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones (Edinburgh) "Ogling the Concubines: Harem Fantasies à la grecque"
Helen Lovatt (Nottingham) "The Epic Gaze: Genre and Viewing in Archaic and Classical Greece" (Hesiod)
Robin Osborne (Cambridge) "How the Gauls Broke the Frame Gauls"
Georgia Petridou (Exeter) "Close Encounters: The Power of Ritual Viewing in Greek Mysteric Cults"
Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz (Hamilton) "Tragedy’s Women as Subjects and Objects of the Gaze"
Ian Ruffell (Glasgow University) "Humiliation? Voyeurism, Violence and Humour in Greek Comedy"
Anastasia Serghidou (Crete) "The Eye of the Master: Seeing, Authority and Dependency in Greek Tragedy"
Michael Squire (Cambridge) "Viewing and Reading in the 'Greek Anthology'"
Eva Stehle (University of Maryland) "The Eleusinian Mysteries: Vision and Representation"
Deborah Steiner (Columbia) Sixth century vase painting
Chiara Thumiger (UCL) "‘Rather than seeing he was seen by them’. Views and Viewers in Euripides’ Bacchae"
Susanne Turner (Nottingham) "Viewing Relationships on Classical Attic Stelai."
Froma Zeitlin (Princeton)
Panel: La religion des femmes en pays grec. Mythes, cultes et sociétés
(présidantes: Lydie Bodiou & Véronique Mehl)
Lydie Bodiou (Poitiers) « Les femmes et les odeurs »
Sandra Boehringer « Monter au ciel : Kallisto et Artémis dans la mythologie grecque »
Louise Bruit « Femmes et religion dans les Lois de Platon »
Pierre Brulé (Rennes II) « En revenant de Besançon »
Florence Gherchanoc (Paris VII) « Des cadeaux pour numphai : anakaluptêria, epaulia, etc ? »
Claudine Leduc « Oliviers sacrés ou méthodologie d’Athéna et l’olivier »
L. Llewellyn-Jones (Edinburgh) "Hera's Veil: second-hand brides and born-again virgins"
Véronique Mehl (Lorient) « Femmes, rites et parfums »
Philippe Monbrun «Artémis ? Une belle plante ! La vierge courotrophe au palmier-dattier»
Jacques Oulhen (Rennes II) « Les noms théophores athéniens »
Marta Pedrina Un petit groupe d’oenochoés à figures rouges représentant Athéna
Gabriela Pironti « La féminité des déesses à l’épreuve des épiclèses »
Pauline Schmitt-Pantel (Paris I) « La religion des femmes dans les « Vertus de Femmes » de Plutarque »
Jérôme Wilgaux « De l’exil au partage : la transmission féminine des identités parentales et religieuses »
(Chairs: Nick Fisher and Hans van Wees)
Guy Bradley (Cardiff) [Early Italy]
Alain Duplouy (Paris) [Elites in early Greece]
Nick Fisher (Cardiff) `Aristocracy in Aegina?'
Stephen Lambert (Cardiff) [Athenian gene]
Kathryn Lomas [Literacy and elites in S.Italy]
Olivier Mariaud [Archaic Samos]
Sato Noburo (Tokyo, KCL) `Greek aristocratic culture'
Corinna Riva [Archaic Etruria]
Benet Salway `New and old in the Roman senatorial aristocracy of the 4th century AD'
Gillian Shepherd `Burial and elites in archaic Sicily'
Rens Tacoma (Leiden) [Imperial Roman municipal elites]
Hans van Wees (UCL)
James Whitley (Cardiff) `Agonistic aristocrats? The curious case of archaic Crete.'
(Chair: Keith Sidwell)
Valeria Cinaglia (Exeter) `Comic knowing: "Samia", the misleading power of passion and perceptions'
Ashley Clements (TCD) `A comedy of mortal error? Paraphilosophy and politics in Aristophanes' "Thesmophoriazusae" '
Greg Dobrov (Loyola) `Problems with satyrs in Old Comedy'
Hallie Marshall (Vancouver) `From Nigeria to Greenham Common: Tony Harrison's adaptations of "Lysistrata" '
Toph Marshall (Vancouver) `Three actors in Old Comedy, again'
Sarah Miles (Nottingham) `Strattis and paratragedy: a comic poet at tragic play'
Ralph Rosen (Pennsylvania) `Badness and intentionality in Aristophanes'
"Frogs" '
Ian Ruffell (Glasgow) ` Another look at the formal structure of Old Comedy'
Keith Sidwell (Cork) `Aristophanes the democrat: the politics of Old Comedy, again'
Ian Storey (Trent, Ontario) `New thoughts on an Old Comedy: Kratinos'
"Dionysalexandros" '
Mario Telo (Pisa) `Embodying the tragic father in Aristophanes'
John Wilkins (Exeter) `Nature and culture in Comedy'
Matthew Wright (Exeter) `Did the comedians want to win prizes?'
(Chairs: John Morgan, Mirjam Plantinga, Ian Repath)
Pavlos Avlamis `Life of Aesop'
Lynn Fotheringham (Nottingham) [Cicero]
Fritz-Gregor Herrmann (Swansea) `Socrates' story-telling'
John Morgan (Swansea)
Mirjam Plantinga (Lampeter) `Hellenistic Poetry'
Ian Repath (Swansea) `Courting authority in Achilles Tatius'
Federico Santangelo (Lampeter) `pseudo-Sallust: the invective to Cicero and the letter to Caesar'
(Chairs: Stephen Hodkinson, Ellen Millender, Anton Powell)
Nancy Bouidghaghen (Cambridge) `"...whose names I learnt...": Herodotos on Thermopylai'
Paula Debnar (Mt.Holyoke) `The coast of Sparta and the Archidamian War'
Thomas J.Figueira (Rutgers)
David Harvey (Exeter) `Thucydides in Sparta'
Ned Lebow (Dartmouth) `Thucydides' counterfactuals on Sparta'
Katerina Meidani (Athens) `Herodotos and Thucydides on Pausanias'
Ellen Millender (Reid)
Anton Powell (ENS, Paris and UWICAH) `Thucydides and Sparta: a certain credulity?'
Nicolas Richer (ENS, Lyon) `Thucydide et la mentalite/ des Lace/de/moniens'
(Chair: David Woods)
William Adler (North Carolina) `History and opposition history in the "Chronographiae" of Julius Africanus'
Dmitri Afinogenov (Russian Academy of Sciences) ‘The Eighth Century Byzantine Chroniclers and Their Sources’
David Dumville (Aberdeen) ‘The Multiple Origins of Early Mediaeval Insular Chronicling’
Nicholas Evans (Glasgow) ‘The Medieval Irish Annals: Continuations of Late Antique Chronicles or Separate Creations?’
Joseph Flahive (Cork) `Medieval Irish Annals'
Maria Kouroumali (Oxford) `Byzantine chronicles'
M. Kulikowski (Knoxville) ‘Mosaics of Time: Revisiting the Late Antique Chronicle Tradition’
Sergei Mariev (Munich) ‘John of Antioch’
Dan McCarthy (TCD), ‘The Origins of Insular World Chronicles and Their Evolution over c.425-740’
Roger Scott (Melbourne) ‘Christianization and the Limits of Tolerance: Interpreting the Late Fifth and Early Sixth Centuries from Byzantine Chronicle Trivia’

Diarmuid Scully (Cork) ‘Bede’
Frank Trombley (Cardiff) ‘Greek and Syriac Chronographic Documents on the 7th century’
Witold Witakowski (Uppsala) ‘The Syriac Chronicle of AD724’
Jamie Wood (Sheffield) ‘Time for some 'RnR': Reception and Reuse in Isidore of Seville's Chronica Maiora’
A Symposium on Horace in Honour of Margaret Hubbard: St. Anne's
College, Oxford, Saturday 17 May, 2008.

The St. Anne’s College Classics Society invites you to attend the
following event to be held in the Tsuzuki Lecture Theatre, Ruth Deech
Building, St. Anne’s College.

10.45 a.m.: Arrival and Coffee

11. 15 a.m. Greeting

11. 25 a.m. Dr. Llewelyn Morgan (Brasenose College, Oxford): ‘Odes
3. 13: The One and Only Fons Bandusiae’

12. 45 p.m. Lunch

2 p.m. Dr. Victoria Moul (Queen’s College, Oxford): ‘Horatian Genres in
Jonson and Donne’

3. 15 p.m. Tea

Those wishing to attend are asked to notify Prof. Matthew Leigh (St.
Anne’s) on matthew.leigh AT

There will be no charge for refreshments.
There is no registration fee for this conference, and all are welcome. However, if you are planning to attend, please notify Professor Maria Wyke (m.wyke AT in advance, as space may be limited. A few bursaries are still available to support the costs of attendance by postgraduate students.



Friday 23 May 2008

Rm 106, Gordon House, University College London

/Sponsored by the Classical Reception Studies Network, the Institute of Classical Studies, and the Department of Greek and Latin at University College London./


10.15-10.45 Coffee

10.45-11.00 Welcome & Introduction

Maria Wyke & Chiara Thumiger (University College London)

Lorna Hardwick (Open University & CRSN)

11.00-12.30 Panel 1- Chair David Hudson (Political Science, UCL)

- ‘Reviving classical knowledge while writing about globalization’,

Richard Hingley, (University of Durham)

- ‘Writing empires: neo-liberalism and the ends of civilization’

Richard Alston (Royal Holloway, University of London)

-’Empire, States of Exception, and Iustitium. Augustus and Agamben'

Ahuvia Kahane (Royal Holloway, University of London)

12.30-2.00 Lunch Break

2.00-3.30 Panel 2 – Chair Lindsay Allen (Classics, Kings)

- ‘The last Shah at Persepolis: The Iranian use of the Persian past 1960-2007’,

Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones (University of Edinburgh)

- ‘Hollywood versus Ahmadinejad: conquering the east in the third-millennial western cinema’,

Edith Hall (Royal Holloway, University of London)

- ‘Xena versus the Romans: Anti-imperialism in /Xena Warrior Princess/’,

Amanda Potter (Open University)

3.30-4.00 Tea and Coffee

4.00-5.30 Panel 3 – Chair Adam I.P. Smith (American History, UCL)

- ‘Athens and America: Comparing Empires in /The New York Times/’,

Adam Goldwyn (City University of New York)

- ‘The decline and fall of the Roman empire and its place in American political discourse’

Leslie Dodd (University of Glasgow)

- ‘Greeks and Persians all over again? The intellectualisation of imperial metaphors in contemporary politics’

Naoise Mac Sweeney (University of Cambridge)

5.30-6.00 Round Table Discussion
To enroll at enroll at Montclair State University as a visiting student is a fairly simple process. For more information, see .

For more information on the Department of Classics and General Humanities, see
For more information on Montclair State University, see

SUMMER 2008; Course Dates May 19 to June 26, 2008

GNHU 285-91 (11272) Mythology. Instructor: Dr. Patricia Salzman

Dr. Patricia Salzman, of the Classics and General Humanities Department and known particularly for her work on Ovid’s Metamorphoses, will offer for the first time an online course on Greek and Roman Mythology this summer. We will study the major gods, goddesses and heroic tales of Greek and Roman myth and we will read some substantial ancient texts where these myths are transmitted. The reception of classical mythology in later times, especially in art and film will also be a component of the course. The class will run from May 19th through June 26th There are no designated “class hours” but the student will have to complete different modules by specific deadlines. If you have any questions please contact Dr. Patricia Salzman (salzmanp AT

FALL 2008. Course Dates Sept. 3 to Dec. 19. 2008

GNHU 320-03 (16255) Special Topics in Interdisciplinary Humanities:
Imaging Woman from the Stone Age to Barbie.
Instructor: Dr. Senta German

Senta German, of the Department of Classics and General Humanities and the Department of Art and Design will also offer for the first time online her course “Imaging Women” which looks at the representation of women in the West in various media from prehistory through the modern era. Arranged chronologically, the course focuses on core themes in women’s history shown through a variety of representative evidence. This evidence includes painting, sculpture, architecture, literature and film. Major themes include religion, mythology, authorship, the male/female gaze, sexual identity, political activism and consumer culture. This promises to be a wide-ranging and eye-opening course.

For further information, contact Dr. Senta German (germans AT
If there are any questions about prerequisites, contact Dr. German or
Dr. Jean Alvares, Chair of Classics and General Humanities (alvaresj AT

FALL 2008. Course Dates Sept. 3 to Dec. 19. 2008

GNHU 201-11 (16255) General Humanities I. To 1400.
Instructor: Dr. Senta German

Senta German, of the Department of Classics and General Humanities and the Department of Art and Design will also offer for the first time as an online course General Humanities I. This course is a broad survey of the history, culture, literature, art and philosophy of (primarily) the Western world from the Neolithic to the early Renaissance. At Montclair State University this course fills a General Humanities requirement and has a substantial writing component. There are no designated “class hours” but the student will have to complete different course components by specific deadlines. If you have any questions concerning the course please contact Dr. Senta German (germans AT

We have posted a somewhat fuller version of this announcement at

For more information on the Department of Classics and General Humanities, see
For more information on Montclair State University, see
Ancient Languages Summer Schools 4th-8th August 2008

Our week-long intensive courses in Ancient Languages are now planned for Summer 2008. Suitable for students 14+, the summer schools will provide those new to Classics with the opportunity to immerse themselves in the language of their choice, Greek or Latin, at Beginners' level, while those with some linguistic experience will have the chance to consolidate their skills at Intermediate level. Prospective Undergraduates and Postgraduates are also specifically catered for with an intensive 5 day course in either Greek or Latin, from Beginners' through to advanced level. This course is intended to provide students with valuable experience and a head-start in their chosen area of study at university. The course is available for residential and non-residential students. More information and booking forms can be downloaded at, or by contacting Dr Eugénie Fernandes at info AT
... for the lack of an update on Wednesday ... kids' volleyball playoffs and football practices conspired to give me a 19 hour day on Tuesday and the sandman kept me from my self-appointed rounds ...