... I'm finally in catch up mode ... I'll be updating throughout the day after running a bunch of errands ...
Okay ... school's finally out so I've been putting together the massive 'to do' list and catching up on assorted email. In an interesting bit of sychronicity, it was mentioned that Jerome Eisenberg (editor of Minerva) is proposing that the Phaistos Disk is a fake (more on this when I pick up the issue) and I mentioned that he seems to find an awful lot of 'big' forgeries, including the Monteleone Chariot. A short time after that, while checking out videos to add to my AWOTV channel at Veoh that clip from the 1925 version of Ben Hur started to play. Throughout the clip one sees bits and pieces of Ben Hur's chariot, and it is pretty clear that his chariot is modelled on that selfsame Monteleone Chariot! It's kind of difficult to see, but compare these stills:

source (Britannica)

source (UGA Classics)
ante diem v kalendas quinctilias

rites in honour of the Lares

after 294 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Jupiter Stator on the Palatine (and subsequent rites thereafter)

ca. 1st century A.D. -- martyrdom of Crescens
horrent @ Worthless Word for the Day

euphuism @ Merriam-Webster
From the Economist:

ATROPOS is the Fate who cuts the lifeline once your time is up; she would seem to have her shears out for the study of classical (Ancient) Greek. Once, with Latin, the staple of a civilised education, it is now flickering on the sidelines.

At first sight, the statistics are positively wine-dark. As part of school education, countries may maintain it in theory but rarely in practice. Portuguese pupils have it as an option in their final year; in Sweden fewer than 100 schoolchildren study it, in Belgium around 800. In Britain, of a mere 241 entrants for Greek A-level (typically taken at 18) in 2007, fully 226 were from independent (private) schools.

The problem for Greek is that snobbery does not trounce pragmatism. Latin, once seemingly moribund, is on the rise again in Britain and America. It is not just useful: in a competitive system, it sends a coded message about the nature of the school, and the kind of pupils it attracts. But finding the time and teachers to teach even one dead language properly is hard enough. A second imposes near-intolerable strains on the timetable.

Yet mingle with the 300-plus participants from Britain, Europe, America, Hong Kong and elsewhere indulging in frantic pedagogy at the Hellenists’ version of Woodstock (an annual summer school at Bryanston in southern England) and a different picture emerges. Monopod classicists add Greek to their existing Latin, covering a semester’s-worth of study in a fortnight. For relaxation, they can listen to the world’s academic authorities disputing the pronunciation of Homer and illuminating the knotty wordplay of Plato’s “Republic”.

The rosy fingers are touching universities too. Though some classics departments in the United States have had to close or merge, the number of students enrolled in Greek has been going up since the 1990s. In 2006 fully 22,849 took some Greek (32,191 studied Latin). Applications for classics courses at top British universities are healthy too.
Logos and Theos

Christianity, rather than the glories of Athens and the horrors of Sparta, may be proving the biggest draw. Though some fundamentalists appear to believe that the Bible was written in English, for the more thoughtful (or pious) Christian, serious study of the New Testament or the early Christian church is impossible without first knowing alpha from omega. In America, Greek and Hebrew are standard parts of a Master of Divinity degree—necessary to become a minister in most respectable Protestant denominations. That does not match the now fast-reviving use of Latin in the Roman Catholic liturgy. But it helps. While the koine Greek current in the eastern Mediterranean in the 1st century AD is different from the Attic, Ionian or Homeric dialects used in the greatest works of classical literature, it is also considerably easier. (For the austere classicists of St Paul’s Girls’ School in London, a touch of koine is regarded as a “Christmas treat”.)

In practice, few classes bond quite as tightly as the six students featured in Donna Tartt’s bestselling novel “The Secret History” (in a pastiche of Euripides’s “Bacchae”, they commit and conceal two vicious murders). But such references highlight the subject as something exotic and therefore desirable, at least to those with time and brainpower to engage in it. The cryptic difficulties of Greek (alphabet, accents, moods, particles and tenses) repel Οί Πολλοί (hoi polloi) but attract devotees. Intellectual elitism, as much as an appreciation of Aristophanes’s bawdy humour, is the glue that binds Hellenists together—stoked, in some schools, by a feeling of official neglect or hostility from peers.

The real threat is not modernity, but globalisation. Europe’s glorious past is one of many: when those seeking to understand China start studying Confucius’s “Analects” with the same attention that past generations have paid to Pericles, the intricacies of the aorist optative may finally lose their charms. But not just yet
From Euro Weekly:

THE remains of a Roman villa have come to light during an exciting excavation in Alfaz del Pi. Having been abandoned for 25 years, a recent investment by the local authority has allowed work to start again on the dig, a settlement believed to date back to the third, fourth and fifth centuries AD.

A necropolis of 400 tombs, various Roman baths in an excellent state of conservation, a kiln, a swimming pool, reservoir and ‘hot air’ room were found in the mid-1980s when the site was last explored.

More discoveries are coming to the surface, thanks to the enthusiasm and tireless efforts of volunteers.

... hopefully we'll be reading more ...
25-26TH JUNE, 2009

Inscribing written documents on permanent media such as bronze and stone was among the most distinctive and enduring practices of Greek and Roman antiquity. The extant material evidence of inscriptions offers a huge body of material with which to investigate the ancient deployment of the written word in both public and private contexts. But it provides only part of the evidence: ancient Greek and Latin literary texts also offer insight into the deployment and interpretation of inscriptions. Ancient literary authors, both poets and prose-writers, discussed and quoted inscriptions (both real and imaginary) as ornamental devices; as alternative voices to that of the narrator; to display scholarship; to make points about history, politics and morality; and for a whole range of other reasons.

Over the past couple of years, a number of scholars have been exploring the possibilities (and impossibilities) of research into the appearance of inscriptions in ancient Greek and Latin literary texts. The subject offers a good deal to scholars interested in the epigraphic habit, the literary implications of the deployment of epigraphy, the reception of particular documents, and the circulation and canonisation of particular texts.

This conference aims to explore the possibilities which the literary
record of ancient inscriptions offer both to those interested in understanding ancient attitudes towards inscriptions and to those interested in exploring the broader relationship (and overlaps) between epigraphical and non-epigraphical modes of expression from a range of literary, historical and epigraphical angles.

Confirmed speakers include J. K. Davies, Damien Nelis and Jocelyn Nelis-Clement, Matthias Haake, Michael Squire, Julia Lougovaya, Andrej Petrovic, Martin Dinter, Yannis Tzifopoulos, Andrew Morrison and David Fearn.

We are also inviting offers of papers on themes which we consider central to this subject:

1. The deployment of epigraphy (real, hypothetical or imaginary) or epigraphic language in particular authors or genres.

2. The reception of inscribed documents (individual documents or types of document) in literary texts.

3. The inscribing of already-circulated literary texts on permanent media.

4. The relationship of 'inscribed documents' to 'uninscribed documents' in literary texts.

The deadline for titles and abstracts (of 300 words) is 15th August,

All enquiries and offers of papers should be sent to the conference organisers, Polly Low (polly.low AT manchester.ac.uk) or Peter Liddel (Peter.liddel AT manchester.ac.uk).
The School of Classics is about to appoint to a Teaching Fellowship in Roman History.

This is a fixed term position of 10 months beginning 1st September 2008 or as soon as possible thereafter. The salary is in the range £23,002 - £27,466 per annum pro rata. The successful applicant will be expected to teach Roman History at all levels, and may be asked to participate in other modules taught by the School.

Application forms and further particulars are available from Human Resources, University of St Andrews, College Gate, North Street, St Andrews, Fife KY16 9AJ, (tel: 01334 462571, by fax 01334 462570 or by e-mail Jobline AT st-andrews.ac.uk. The advertisement, further particulars and a downloadable application form can be found at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/employment/. Enquiries may be directed to classicshos AT st-andrews.ac.uk.

Please quote ref: SK186/08 Closing date: 25 July 2008

The University is committed to equality of opportunity.

The University of St Andrews is a charity registered in Scotland (No SC013532)

Gramma: Journal of Theory and Criticism

The Text Strikes Back: The Dynamics of Performativity

Issue number 17, 2009

The 20th-century theatre has witnessed the gradual decline of verbocentric drama in favour of the image, the performing body and, more recently, the digital and media technology. Concomitantly, the playwright has gradually been superceded as the initiator of theatrical creation by the director, the performer or the composer of a hybrid media spectacle. From Artaud’s infamous condemnation of playwrights as the reptiles of the theatre, through Barthes’s announcement of the death of the author, to Lehmann’s more recent claim for a state of postdramatic theatre, theorists have also been working towards the demise of both the written dramatic text and its skilled artistic producer, the playwright. However, after many years of a theatrical praxis that has denied the artistic value of words in contemporary theatre, there has been a reevaluation of such absolute distrust and rejection of language from the stage. The power of words to heighten sensory perception and refine the mental processes of audience reception has now been recognized and many contemporary playwrights show a renewed ability to use words phenomenologically and reconstitute their performative effectiveness. Obviously the word is finding a new function in today’s theatre and the playwright is negotiating a new meaningful position in the complex contemporary reality of infinite theatrical possibilities.

Issues to be tackled on the above problematics could indicatively be:

· the “postdramatic” playwright

· authorship / authority / auteurism

· word versus image

· collaborative theatre

· devising text / adapting text

· the body as text

· performing and un-forming the word

· hyperstage / hypertext

· the virtual, the corporeal and the symbolic in the art of theatre

· playwriting in the electronic media age

· narrative and poetry into performance

· the way(s) and politics of adaptation

· theatrescapes / wordscapes

Papers should not exceed the length of 7,000 words (including footnotes and bibliography) and should be double-spaced. They should adhere to the latest MLA style of documentation and should be submitted electronically in the form of Word document to the editors of the issue, Savas Patsalidis and Elizabeth Sakellaridou, at the following e-mail addresses:

spats AT enl.auth.gr and esakel AT enl.auth.gr

School of English

Aristotle University of Thessaloniki

54124 Thessaloniki Greece

spats AT enl.auth.gr and esakel AT enl.auth.gr

Deadline for submissions: 31 December 2008
The Charles Tesoriero Lectureship in Latin
Department of Classics and Ancient History
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI)
Faculty of Arts
The University of Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Reference No. 133684

The Department of Classics and Ancient History, within the School of Philosophical and Historical Study (SOPHI) in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Sydney, is seeking scholars of proven potential and outstanding ability to fill the lectureship post.

The Department of Classics and Ancient History is internationally recognised for its excellence in research and teaching in all aspects of Greco-Roman antiquity. It collaborates closely with members of the departments of Archaeology and Philosophy whose expertise lies in the ancient world.

The Department is currently enjoying an exciting period of renewal and growth. This includes participation in the foundation in 2008 of a new Australian Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies on campus, in collaboration with the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, the Near Eastern Archaeological Foundation and others.

The Lectureship in Latin is named in memory of Dr Charles Tesoriero (1973-2005), a distinguished graduate in Latin of the department and lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of New England. It is supported by a generous bequest from his estate. Researchers in all areas of Latin language and literature with a relevant PhD are encouraged to apply for the position. Latin has been an area of great historical strength in the University of Sydney since its foundation. Current expertise lies in the literature, culture and history of both the Roman Republic and Empire.

The successful applicant will be expected to teach broadly across all the major divisions of the department’s undergraduate curriculum - Latin, Greek, and Ancient History (which includes Mythology, Classical literature in translation, and various topics in the study of ancient culture) - and to participate in graduate teaching and supervision as appropriate. The successful candidature will also be expected to demonstrate outstanding research potential and contribute to the vibrant research culture of the department.

For further information on the academic staff and their areas of expertise see: http://www.arts.usyd.edu.au/departs/cah/staff/academic.shtml

The position is full-time continuing, subject to the completion of a satisfactory probation period for new appointees. Membership of a University approved superannuation scheme is a condition of employment for new appointees.

Remuneration package: $86,731 - $102,993 p.a., which includes a base salary Lecturer Level B $73,289 - $87,030 p.a., leave loading and up to 17% employer’s contribution to superannuation.

All applications must be completed online by clicking apply online below (see http://www.usyd.edu.au/positions/index.shtml). Specific enquiries about the role can be directed to Professor Peter Wilson (Chair of Department) via email: peter.wilson AT usyd.edu.au or Professor Duncan Ivison (Head of School) via email: duncan.ivison AT usyd.edu.au

Closing date: 15 August 2008

Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History (Hellenistic Culture)
Department of Classics and Ancient History
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI)
Faculty of Arts
The University of Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Reference No. 133686

The Department of Classics and Ancient History, within the School of Philosophical and Historical Study (SOPHI) in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Sydney, is seeking scholars of proven potential and outstanding ability to fill the lectureship post.

The Department of Classics and Ancient History is internationally recognised for its excellence in research and teaching in all aspect of Greco-Roman antiquity. It collaborates closely with members of the departments of Archaeology and Philosophy whose expertise lies in the ancient world.

The department is currently enjoying an exciting period of renewal and growth. This includes participation in the foundation in 2008 of a new Australian Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies on campus, in collaboration with the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, the Near Eastern Archaeological Foundation and others.

For this Lectureship, researchers in any field of ancient literature, culture and history with a relevant PhD are encouraged to apply. However, preference may be given to candidates whose specialisation lies in the Hellenistic period.

The successful applicant will be expected to teach broadly across all the major divisions of the department’s undergraduate curriculum - Latin, Greek, and Ancient History (which includes Mythology, Classical literature in translation, and various topics in the study of ancient culture) - and to participate in graduate teaching and supervision as appropriate. The successful applicant will also be expected to demonstrate outstanding research potential and contribute to the vibrant research culture of the department.

For further information on the academic staff and their areas of expertise see: http://www.arts.usyd.edu.au/departs/cah/staff/academic.shtml

The position is full-time continuing, subject to the completion of a satisfactory probation period for new appointees. Membership of a University approved superannuation scheme is a condition of employment for new appointees.

Remuneration package: up to $86,731 - $102,993 p.a., which includes a base salary Lecturer Level B $73,289 - $87,030 p.a., leave loading and up to 17% employer’s contribution to superannuation.

All applications must be completed online by clicking apply online below (see http://www.usyd.edu.au/positions/index.shtml). Specific enquiries about the role can be directed to Professor Peter Wilson (Chair of Department) via email: peter.wilson AT usyd.edu.au or Professor Duncan Ivison (Head of School) via email: duncan.ivison AT usyd.edu.au

Closing date: 15 August 2008

ante diem vi kalendas quinctilias

ludi Taurei quinquennales (day 2) -- horse races held every five years to appease the divinities of the underworld

23 B.C. (and several years after) -- the emperor Augustus is given tribunicia potestas

4 A.D. -- the emperor Augustus adopts Tiberius (son of his wife Livia) and Agrippa Postumus (son of Augustus' daughter Julia and Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa)

221 A.D. -- the emperor Elagabalus adopts the future emperor Severus Alexander and gives him the rank of Caesar (?)

363 A.D. -- death of the emperor Julian
marmoreal @ Worthless Word for the Day

devil's advocate @ Wordsmith (sort of)
From Focus:

The start of archeological summer 2008 in the region of Sliven was marked by new discoveries and finds. While excavating a Thracian tumulus near the Bulgarian southeastern village of Staro Selo, Dr Georgi Kitov’s team, who have been studying the antique tombstones in the region for a second successive year, has discovered a wall of stone blocks, surrounding the tumulus. It is supposed that the site was a “sanctuary of the Sun” dating to the Roman epoch – II-III c. AD.
Archeologist Georgi Kitov, head of the Thracian Expedition for Tumular Investigations team, in an interview with Focus – Sliven Radio.

FOCUS: Dr Kitov, on June 5th you started excavating near the village of Staro Selo. You have already discovered valuable finds. Would you give us further details?
Dr Georgi Kitov: The tumulus near the village of Staro Selo is called Drumeva. It has been named after the village mayor Ms Anka Drumeva. The excavations began on June 5th. We have examined a stone wall and five graves, which date back to the Roman epoch and Middle Ages. The tumulus is surrounded by a stone wall, which was at least 2,5 meters in height. Only two rows have been preserved; the third one has fallen aside. Still, I think we will be able to reconstruct it and turn the place into an attractive tourist site.

FOCUS: What century does the find date back?
Dr Georgi Kitov: The wall dates back to the II c AD, the Roman epoch. It was built by Thracians. There are six II-century graves. They are very interesting – some of them are surrounded by bricks and covered with tiles. The bones are well preserved. So far we have discovered two gold earrings, three bronze rings and two silver bracelets.

FOCUS: You mentioned a very interesting and valuable find – valuable because it is very rare.
Dr Georgi Kitov: Yes, that is right. In one of the graves in the tumulus we discovered bones, most probably of a Thracian doctor priest. While excavating the grave of the distinguished Thracian, we found out a stone plate for grinding medicines with some substance left on it. However, a test conducted at the Military Medical Academy was not able to name the substance because it had been buried underground for too long. The doctor was a well-off person because we discovered also two gold earrings and two silver bracelets for a belt. These bracelets most probably were used for fixing the Thracian’s cloak or mantle. There was a coin in the mouth of the skeleton. Mythology says that with this coin in the mouth the dead person has to pay his or her travel along the Styx River. The grave is coated with bricks and tiles. The find is valuable because this is the fifth grave of an ancient doctor discovered in Bulgaria. Three of them are near the southeastern village of Karanovo, municipality of Nova Zagora, and one is in the southeastern village of Madrets, municipality of Galabovo.

FOCUS: What are your expectations for this archeological summer?
Dr Georgi Kitov: You cannot forecast archeology. I hope the summer will be rich. It started well and I hope it will continue in the same way.

FOCUS: You are now studying the region around the village of Staro Selo. What is ahead?
Dr Georgi Kitov: We have a few other tumuli near the village of Staro Selo and then we will work near the southeastern village of Krushare, municipality of Sliven.

FOCUS: Where will the finds be displayed?
Dr Georgi Kitov: All finds that will be excavated this summer by Thracian Expedition for Tumular Investigations team will be displayed in the Regional History Museum in the town of Sliven. The excavation site, which is 300 meters away from Sofia-Burgas main road, can also be visited.

FOCUS: Did you notice traces of treasure hunting in the region?
Dr Georgi Kitov: I noticed some traces of treasure hunters, but they did not manage to find anything in this tumulus. As a whole, it seems to me that treasure hunting has decreased over the last year.
Interesting burial reported in Il Centro:

Erano uno accanto all'altro, con le testoline accostate, uniti per sempre dai secoli e da un crudele destino comune. Sono stati ritrovati così i resti di due fratellini, all'interno di una tomba di età imperiale. La necropoli, riportata alla luce dagli archeologi della soprintendenza d'Abruzzo nel Fucino, è stata scoperta durante i lavori di realizzazione di un acquedotto. Quella dei due bambini è solo una delle numerose tombe rinvenute nel sito archeologico a ridosso della Tiburtina. Sono tornati alla luce anche oggetti di ornamento e culto come vasellame, bracciali, collane e monete.

La meticolosità nella realizzazione delle tombe, la cura del dettaglio e la premura con cui i corpi sono stati adagiati sul fondo delle sepolture sono le tracce più evidenti di un passato di devozione per il prossimo e per i defunti. La necropoli risale al II o al III secolo dopo Cristo. Il ritrovamento durante la realizzazione di un acquedotto.

Il Consorzio di bonifica, infatti, stava eseguendo degli scavi per la messa in cantiere di grosse tubature, quando sono spuntati i reperti. Grazie alla collaborazione tra Consorzio e Soprintendenza dei beni archeologici d'Abruzzo è stato avviato l'intervento di recupero dei reperti. Il Consorzio ha finanziato la campagna di scavi. La necropoli romana sorge nei pressi della Tiburtina.

«Probabilmente nei paraggi», ha spiegato Emanuela Ceccaroni, assistente tecnico-scientifico della Soprintendeza archeologica d'Abruzzo, «c'erano degli insediamenti di epoca romana».
Gli scavi sono condotti dagli archeologi Daniela Villa e Hermann Borghesi. Sono una quindicina per il momento le tombe tornate alla luce. Tra le tipologie prevale quella alla cappuccina, ma non mancano sepolture a forma rettangolare.

Tra tutte, però, quella che ha stupito di più gli archeologi è la tomba contenete il corpo di due bambini, probabilmente un maschietto e una femminuccia, forse fratello e sorella.

Non sono ancora chiare le cause della morte. Potrebbero essere attribuite, però, a un incidente o forse a una malattia. Sembra da escludere l'ipotesi secondo la quale la tomba è stata riaperta per deporre il secondo corpicino. Di certo, però, la scena che gli archeologi si sono trovati di fronte è stata struggente. I corpicini sono uno accanto all'altro, con il capo leggermente sollevato.

Numerose invece le tombe di adulti. Non è stata difficile la datazione, anche grazie al ritrovamento di alcune monete all'interno delle sepolture.
Si tratterebbe dell'"obolo di Caronte", un pedaggio per l'aldilà proprio del rituale funerario.
Un uso che perdura in epoca cristiana ma ereditato dal rito pagano. Veniva posta in bocca o accanto al defunto una moneta con cui, secondo alcuni studiosi, si sarebbe pagato nell'aldilà il temibile traghettatore d'anime sul fiume Acheronte. Secondo altri, però, il significato di tale moneta rimane ancora oscuro.

Tra gli altri oggetti rinvenuti ci sono anche bracciali, decorazioni di vetro, di ceramica e bronzo, tutti a corredo di ogni sepoltura.
Le tombe verranno rimosse e trasportate in uno dei musei abruzzesi.
From the Independent:

John Dore's archaeological career was unconventional and adventurous, involving numerous projects in the north-east of England, Italy, Portugal, Tunisia and, particularly, Libya.

He was co-author or co-editor of seven monographs and over 50 published articles and pottery reports – a substantial legacy and achievement, despite his not having the continuity and security of a permanent academic post and mostly earning his living through fixed-term contracts and somewhat insecure consultancy work in professional archaeology. Dore was always much in demand as a ceramicist, a sign of the huge respect he commanded nationally and internationally. He was elected a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London, in 1990.

The work for which Dore will be best remembered concerns his pioneering classifications of classical pottery from North Africa. For their geographical and temporal range and the elegance and clarity of their construction, his typologies set new benchmarks in the field. He was among the great Mediterranean ceramicists of his generation and his work is widely employed both to date sites and to understand the economic connections between regions.

Born in 1951 in Altrincham, son of the Cheshire historian Robert Dore, John took a degree in Latin and Archaeology at Birmingham University (1969-72). Scratching around for what to do next, he was dispatched by Professor Barri Jones of Manchester University to join an archaeological excavation in Benghazi, initiating a 36-year love affair with Libya and determining Dore's future career. A second key development was his appointment in 1974 as research assistant to the Roman pottery expert John Gillam at Newcastle University. Newcastle upon Tyne became Dore's adopted home thereafter and his specialism Roman ceramics.

As Research Associate in Newcastle he brought to press important work on the Roman frontier in Britain (including books on the forts at South Shields and Corbridge). His pottery reports embellish (and enliven) many a northern excavation report published in the last 30 years. He co-authored the standard work on Romano-British pottery fabrics The National Roman Fabric Reference Collection: a handbook (1998). Periodically he was also a guest lecturer at Newcastle and by all reports he excelled at this too, engaging students with his enthusiasm and humour. A more conventional academic career was denied him by the almost complete absence of permanent lectureships advertised in the 1980s, though Dore was never bitter about such disappointments.

From 1983 until 1985 he served as curator of English Heritage Hadrian's Wall properties, seeing through the opening of a new museum at Corbridge. The museum development phase was exciting but he became frustrated by the narrowness of the subsequent role and he surrendered security of employment in favour of being a self-employed consultant. This allowed him to supplement bread-and-butter projects in British archaeology with more adventurous forays overseas.

From 1995 until 2002 he was director of the Archaeological Practice, the professional unit attached to the Newcastle Archaeology Department. This involved managing all aspects of a commercial archaeological service, operating in a challenging competitive tendering environment. When financial pressures within the university led to the (short-sighted) closure of the Practice, he returned to consultancy work again, while at the same time completing a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Arabic and an MA in Arabic-English Translation from Durham University. Although this suggested a possible change of direction, archaeology in fact continued to be his main occupation.

Dore was a stalwart servant of the Society for Libyan Studies, a scholarly body funded through the British Academy that has done much to foster academic links between Britain and Libya and to facilitate British research in the region, and was Honorary Secretary, 1993-2001, and Head of Mission, 1998-2008. He played a key role in the society's success in the post-Lockerbie years, when fieldwork and academic contacts could easily have been sacrificed in the face of the political difficulties.

Dore's understanding of the quiet dignity of North African society won him many friends in Libya and Tunisia, as did his championing of heritage issues there. He made huge efforts to become expert in Arabic, starting with attending intensive courses over two summers in Tunisia in the 1980s, and built on with his Durham post-graduate courses. His command of Arabic was much appreciated, though his linguistic training in elegant classical Arabic occasionally led him to express ideas in a language that could disconcert Libyans expecting more colloquial conversational constructions – as Dore himself put it, it could be a bit like "hearing someone speaking perfect Chaucerian English on a Newcastle street today".

He played a leading role as ceramicist on the Unesco Libyan Valleys Survey (1980-89) – where my own close friendship with him was forged. Another opportunity seized was a two-year research fellowship funded by the Society for Libyan Studies (1986-88), leading to the publication of the internationally significant pottery assemblage from Sabratha (Excavations at Sabratha 1948-51. The Finds, volume 1, 1989). From 1990 he became involved with the Leptiminus Project, excavating a Tunisian port city of Roman date.

It was also in this phase that he directed a major field project based on al-Marj (ancient Barca) in Eastern Libya (1989-92). Although al-Marj had been expected to produce significant remains of the classical city, what his textbook excavation demonstrated was a deep stratified sequence of medieval and early modern Islamic buildings, overlying the remains of the classical and early Islamic town. In the last decade he worked with me on two major projects in the Libyan desert, the Fazzan Project (1997-2002) and the Desert Migrations Project (2007f; see D. Mattingly et al, The Archaeology of Fazzan, Volumes 1-2). He was already experiencing back pain and a persistent "virus" when we were last in the field in January– the first symptoms of the blood cancer (multiple myeloma) that ended his life.

John Dore was a wonderful colleague who made fieldwork fun, though he always set the highest standards of professionalism. His advice was invariably wise and constructive. He was a good manager of people and wore his own expertise lightly, while being extremely generous with his time to those who sought to benefit from his knowledge. His sense of humour was legendary – he could reduce those he shared workspace with to hysterics by a single word or catch-phrase (often delivered in one of a series of funny voices he cultivated over the years). His facial expressions were equally powerful – the "cocked head and quizzical raised eyebrow look" will be familiar to many.

He was a notoriously tidy and organised person, seemingly impervious to the mud or dust that sticks to most archaeologists. Even in the desert wastes, far from mod cons, he maintained a freshly ironed look. Many of us will always remember him thus, as a dignified and elegant man. He was something of a perfectionist in his work – hating to hand over a pottery report until he was sure it was completely right. That tendency could frustrate excavation directors eager to publish, though in John Dore's case it has led to the creation of a substantial body of work that will prove of enduring value.

Married and divorced at an early age, John was later to have two significant long-term relationships. The first, with Ellen Watts, produced two sons, Tom and Joe, whose company he so treasured – cycling, camping, playing music, hanging out. Linda Green was his partner for the last seven years.

David Mattingly

John Nigel Dore, archaeologist: born Altrincham, Cheshire 25 March 1951; Research Associate, Newcastle University 1974-83, 1986-87; curator, Hadrian's Wall Museums, English Heritage 1983-85; director, The Archaeological Practice, Newcastle University 1995-2002; (two sons with Ellen Watts); died Newcastle upon Tyne 9 June 2008.
From Earthtimes:

An autopsy on the body of an ancient Scythian cavalier found in the Altai Mountains shows he had a degenerative bone disease for several years before he died, German scientists said Friday. The 2006 find of the preserved body and the man's rich possessions on the Mongolian side of the mountains was a scientific sensation. The Scythians were a nation of horsemen in central Asia.

The man, who died about 2,300 years ago at the age of 50 or 60, would have been incapable of any demanding physical work for several years before his death, Michael Schultz, a palaeopathologist or scientist who studies diseases in ancient remains.

Schultz said the cause of the "bone-decaying process" was unclear and an explanation would not be suggested until the end of this year.

The 1.67-metre man would have belonged to the upper middle class of his society. The condition of his teeth showed he mainly ate meat.

"The teeth were barely worn. That's typical for nomads," said Schultz. The man's upper body was poorly preserved, only allowing the team of scientists to study a few ribs and vertebrae.

The study established the man had serious arthritis in the hands and hips and had chronic inflammation of the sinuses. At some point in his life, he had also broken his arm in a fall and suffered a middle-ear infection.

The remains of two horses, a fur coat and weapons were among the possessions which were found in the mound and are under conservation treatment in Novosibirsk, Russia, said Hermann Parzinger, the lead archaeologist on the excavation.

The burial chamber inside the manmade mound had very dry air, thanks to a lump of permanent ice beneath a wooden "floor". Parzinger said the remains had been more or less "freeze-dried" because of this.

The mummy, which was brought to Goettingen, northern Germany in December 2006, will be shipped to Ulan-Bator, Mongolia next month.
5.00 p.m. |DCIVC| History's Mysteries: Hidden Tomb Of Antiochus
King Antiochus was the ruler of an ancient kingdom in what is now southern Turkey; because of an ancient Greek inscription that points the way to his tomb, he has not had an easy rest in the last several decades.

11.00 p.m. |HINT| Barbarians: Huns.
The Huns were a mysterious people who fell upon the European continent like the vengeance of God. Some say the Chinese built the Great Wall to keep them out. In the 5th century, the Huns struck a divided and decaying Roman Empire. The Romans tried to deal with them diplomatically, even allowing children of Roman nobility to live as guests (hostages) in Hun camps. One of these, Aetius, would become one of Rome's greatest generals, and it was he who would face one of the Huns' greatest rulers--Attila.

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)
HINT = History International
ante diem vii kalendas quinctilias

ludi Taurei quinquennales (day 1) -- an obscure festival possibly in honour of the di inferi (read Bill Thayer's note on the 'quinquennales' part)

107 A.D. -- the emperor Trajan arrives in Rome and celebrates his second triumph over the Dacians
glutinous @ Worthless Word for the Day
... some folks might like this bit o' satire ...
First Odysseus, now Caesar ... from a Texas State press release:

Julius Caesar landed an invasion fleet on the shores of Britain in 55 B.C., expanding the boundaries of the so-called “Known World” and inadvertently sparking a dispute between historians and scientists for centuries to come.

Now, a team of astronomers from Texas State University-San Marcos has applied their unique brand of forensic astronomy to the enduring controversy surrounding the precise location of Caesar’s landfall, concluding that the historically accepted date for the event--Aug. 26-27, 55 B.C.--is incorrect. The Texas State team’s proposed new date of Aug. 22-23, 55 B.C., reconciles all the conflicting evidence and offers both sides of the debate some measure of vindication in the process.

O Caesar, Where Art Thou?

“Most history books say Caesar’s landing date was Aug. 26-27 and he sailed to the northeast of Dover to land on an open beach near Walmer and Deal,” Olson said. “That cannot be correct. The afternoon tidal streams could not have carried his fleet to the northeast on that date.”

The origin of the debate, ironically, lies in the strongest historical evidence: Caesar’s first-hand account of the landing and ensuing campaign, which mentions the phase of the moon and chronicles in considerable detail information regarding time of day, landmarks and distances traveled once his fleet reached the famed white cliffs near present-day Dover. Caesar’s narrative describes how, once the winds and tides were favorable, the fleet sailed seven miles along the coast before finding a suitable beach to put ashore. Unfortunately, the actual direction the fleet sailed is one detail Caesar omitted, and in that single oversight lies the bone of contention.

Because of specific coastal and inland land formations referenced by Caesar, historians such as classics scholar Thomas Rice Holmes and archaeologist Charles Francis Christopher Hawkes have long maintained that the fleet sailed northeast along the British coast, coming ashore near the present-day town of Deal. The terrain to the southwest, they argue, simply does not match Caesar’s descriptions. On the other hand, men of science such as Astronomer Royal George Biddell Airy and Admiralty Manual of the Tides coauthor Harold Dreyer Warburg insisted a northeast voyage was impossible since at the historically accepted date and time of Caesar’s landing the tidal currents would be flowing strongly to the southwest--carrying the Roman fleet in the opposite direction from Deal.

Deal or No Deal?

The Texas State researchers traveled to Britain in August of 2007 to study the problem first-hand. In a fortuitous set of circumstances, the equinox and lunar cycle coincided to closely replicate the tidal conditions Caesar experienced--such an alignment wouldn’t occur again until 2140. Extensive on-site research including the collection of tide gauge data, GPS tracking in a freely-drifting boat and a host of other factors confirmed that the tidal currents indicated a landing site southwest of Dover, while the topographical evidence supported a Roman landing at Deal.

The first break in unraveling the mystery came via an obscure account of the landing by Valerius Maximus, a Roman writing in the 1st century A.D. In Valerius’ work Memorable Deeds and Sayings: Of Courage, he recounts one Roman soldier’s bravery as the tide was falling during the fleet’s landing. The tide, however, would be rising during the fleet’s landing if the date of Aug. 26-27, 55 B.C. were correct.

The second break came from historian Robin G. Collingwood, who in 1937 identified a probable transcription error in a sequence of dates relating to Caesar’s landing, essentially rendering one of the Roman numerals for four (IIII) instead of seven (VII) or even eight (VIII). Applying Collingwood’s revisions to Caesar’s landing changes the date to Aug. 22-23--and reconciles all the previously conflicting evidence.

“If that’s the case, then everything falls into place,” Olson said. “Three things fall into place: the topography matches the ancient descriptions; it matches with respect to the direction of the tidal streams; and it matches with respect to the water level.

“Our new result is, essentially, the old result--we’re taking the Roman fleet up to Deal and the open beach, but what you read in the history books, that it was Aug. 26-27, that cannot be correct,” he said. “The scientists were right about the tidal streams, and so were the historians about the landing site. With our new result, our new date, everything is reconciled.”

hmmmm ... I have to think about this one a bit more; I'm always leery when folks try to match terrain/coastline to ancient descriptions; I'm especially wary because I'm sure the sea level was not the same in 55 B.C. as it is today and it should follow that currents/tides probably won't 'match up' either ...
This appeared in my box this a.m. courtesy of Martin Bemmann:

An initiative undertaken in the past few days by the Italian Government is aimed at closing down the Istituto Italiano per l'Africa e l'Oriente (IsIAO). To avoid such an eventuality, which would spell the end of an institution that is unique in Italy and which has been active at the international level in the fields of archaeology, restoration and conservation of cultural assets, scientific research and publishing for over 100 years, we are launching the on-line subscription to an open letter addressed to the President of the Republic. This letter will be available on-line by Tuesday 24 June on the web site www.giuseppetucci.isiao.it.

We hereby invite you to kindly sign (name, surname, university/institution, country) this petition and also to ask your colleagues to do likewise.

Some press coverage (in Italian pdf) is available ...
FINAL CALL FOR PAPERS: deadline 1st July

University of Nottingham

Institute for the Study of Slavery (ISOS)



'Slaves, Cults and Religions'

8-10 September 2008

This conference will examine the cultic and religious activities of slaves and persons from other unfree statuses. Its span embraces any part of the world in any period from antiquity to the present day. Speakers already intending to participate include colleagues from Brazil and North America, as well as Europe and the UK.

ISOS was originally founded by the late Thomas Wiedemann (Professor of Latin at the University of Nottingham), as the International Centre for the History of Slavery (ICHOS). It maintains ICHOS' original aim of giving major attention to ancient slavery alongside slavery in more recent times. Papers on the ancient Mediterranean and Near Eastern worlds are therefore particularly welcome. The keynote conference speakers include Professor John North (UCL). Other confirmed speakers include Esther Eidinow, Deborah Kamen, Rachel Zelnick-Abramovitz, Emily Fairey, Annalisa Paradiso, Roberta Stewart, Doug Lee, Niall McKeown.

Papers may cover cults and religions initiated by slaves themselves, or slave/unfree participation in private or public cults or organised religions controlled by the free population or master class.

Papers are equally welcome from historians of slavery and from historians of cults and religions with an interest in slave/unfree agency and participation.

Proposals, including a brief abstract (250 words), should be sent to the Co-Directors: Professor Stephen Hodkinson, Department of Classics (stephen.hodkinson AT nottingham.ac.uk) and/or Professor Dick Geary, School of History (dick.geary AT nottingham.ac.uk).

This message has been checked for viruses but the contents of an attachment may still contain software viruses, which could damage your computer system: you are advised to perform your own checks. Email communications with the University of Nottingham may be monitored as permitted by UK legislation.
ante diem viii kalendas quinctilis

under Servius -- dedication of two temples to Fors Fortuna (and associated rites thereafter)

1 B.C. -- birth of John the Baptist (traditional date)

79 A.D. -- dies imperii of the emperor Titus

109 A.D. -- the Aqua Traiana are officially dedicated

1741 -- Birth of Alexander Adam (Classics educator)

1989 -- death of Russell Meiggs (author of Roman Ostia, among others)
glutinous @ Dictionary.com

flocculent @ Worthless Word for the Day

procrustean @ Merriam-Webster
This one is quickly filling up the ewaves ... here's the version from the Guardian:

"The sun has been obliterated from the sky, and an unlucky darkness invades the world." With these words from Homer's Odyssey, the seer Theoclymenus foresaw the violent deaths of the suitors who, during the hero's spell away from home, had gathered to court his wife, Penelope.

But the line also set the stage for an argument that after hundreds of years may finally have been settled: did the bloody massacre at the hands of Odysseus and his son take place during a real eclipse?

Ancient writers from Plutarch to Heraclitus have interpreted the seer's words as a poetic description of a total solar eclipse, when the moon completely blots out the sun. That view gained support in the 1920s, when researchers calculated there had been a total solar eclipse over the Ionian Sea around noon on April 16 1178BC. But historians have treated the interpretation with caution.

Marcelo Magnasco, head of mathematical physics at Rockefeller University in New York and an Argentinian colleague, Constantino Baikouzis, scoured the classic text for other celestial clues to whether the eclipse was real or not. Around a month before the slaughter, there is a tentative reference to the planet Mercury being high in the sky at dawn. A few days later, the Pleiades and Boötes constellations are both visible at sunset. Six days before the massacre, when Odysseus arrives home, Venus is high in the sky, and on the day of the fight there is a new moon.

The researchers found only one period matched the movement of the stars and planets described in the book - setting the date of the massacre at April 16 1178BC. The study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

I haven't read the article, but apparently the 'tenative reference' to Mercury must be some sort of 'key' to this ... the full AP version of the story (e.g. here) suggests MM takes a reference to Hermes delivering a message as referring to this. I wonder how many references to other divinities in this context have to be ignored to make the theory 'fit'. FWIW, it reminded me (rightly or wrongly ... I haven't read the following) of a tome that came out a long time ago called Homer's Secret Iliad; not sure if we ever discussed it on the Classics list.

... and just to be fair, as I'm wading through this stuff, only the AFP version (it seems) includes the following (referring to the astronomical stuff):

"If we take it as a given that the death of the suitors happened on this particular eclipse date, then everything else described in "The Odyssey" happens exactly as is described," Magnasco said.

Nevertheless, he stressed the findings rely on a large assumption and the conclusions are very hypothetical.

UPDATE: if you want to read the full journal article, it's now available as a pdf ...
Thanks to a mention by Dr. Weevil (in regards to the tutela valui thing), rogueclassicism was namedropped in Instapundit ... I guess we have to be careful not to let the fame go to our hoary head ...
10.00 p.m. |HINT|Engineering An Empire: The Persians
The Persian Empire was one of the most mysterious civilizations in the ancient world. Persia became an empire under the Cyrus the Great, who created a policy of religious and cultural tolerance that became the hallmark of Persian rule. Engineering feats include an innovative system of water management; a cross-continent paved roadway stretching 1500 miles; a canal linking the Nile to the Red Sea; and the creation of one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Mausoleum of Maussollos. The rivalry between Persia and Athens led to a 30-year war known as the Persian Wars, the outcome of which helped create the world we live in today. Peter Weller hosts.

HINT = History International
ante diem ix kalendas quinctilias

47 B.C. -- birth of Caesarion, a.k.a Ptolemy XV Philopator Philometor (son of Julius Caesar and Cleopatra)

79 A.D. -- death of the emperor Vespasian

1986 -- death of Moses Finley
capacious @ Dictionary.com

nocebo @ Merriam Webster
Interesting item from the Guardian:

Extra staff have been dispatched to guard the great cultural gems of Greece as the government in Athens tries to deflect growing criticism of its handling of national treasures.

Amid unprecedented protests from tour guides, travel companies and tourists irritated by conditions at prime archaeological sites, the ruling conservatives last week rushed hundreds of additional personnel to staff museums and open-air antiquities.

"The situation at museums and sites around the country is bad," the culture minister, Michalis Liapis, conceded in parliament last week. "It has to be corrected."

The move follows embarrassing revelations over the upkeep of Greece's ancient wonders and mounting public disquiet, voiced mostly by foreigners in the local press, over visitor access to them.

Yesterday, the authoritative newspaper Sunday Vima disclosed that the Cycladic isle of Delos - the site of Apollo's mythological sanctuary and one of Greece's most important ancient venues - resembled an "archaeological rubbish dump". Recently, it emerged that many sites, including Delphi, Mycenae and the spectacular Bronze Age settlement of Akrotiri on the popular island of Santorini, were only partially open or permanently closed.

In an effort to stem the criticism, the conservatives last week ordered that opening hours be extended at museums and sites nationwide. Following the timetable of civil servants, sites had opened at 8am and closed by 3pm, denying thousands of tourists, especially those on cruise ships, the chance to see them.

After finding closed gates at the ancient site of Delphi on the slopes of Mount Parnassus, one disgruntled visitor summed up the general mood in the English-language weekly Athens Plus: "The next step should be to close the sites entirely, and perhaps to rebury them so as to ensure permanent inaccessibility. This thoughtful policy must represent one of the most advanced ways of preventing tourism."

Although welcomed by tour guides and operators who have likewise been besieged with complaints by visitors having to cram in sites in record time, the government's decision to extend opening hours until 7pm has also been met with scepticism by the tourist industry.

"The vast majority of people want to visit these sites during the pre- and post-peak seasons and not during the searingly hot summer months when our clientele want to go to the beach," said Rosy Agianozoglou, a hotelier on the Saronic isle of Agistri.

While home to some of the western world's greatest monuments, Greece has fewer than 100,000 employees working in the cultural sector, an eighth of that in the UK.

Critcis claim Athens has been allowed to lose its hard-won lustre since staging the 2004 Olympic Games, with critics pointing to the graffiti that has infested the historic Plaka district beneath the Acropolis and the litter-filled streets surrounding the National Archaeological Museum as evidence of the degeneration.

"What we are seeing is the indifference of a government that simply does not make culture a priority," the shadow culture minister, Maria Damanaki, told the Guardian.

"Every day, less and less funds are allocated to culture with the result that several venerable institutions are closed and the sector has around one tenth of the personnel it needs. It is a very serious problem that is hurting Greece."
Treasures unseen

Museum of Heraklion - houses treasures from Crete's Palace of Knossos, the world's best collection of Minoan art - is closed until 2010 due to renovation.

Archaeological site of Akrotiri, Santorini, closed for third successive year despite government pledges that it would reopen this summer following the collapse of its roof.

Museum of Delos, one of Greece's most important mythological and archaeological sites, was closed until last week due to lack of staff.

Delphi, revered by the ancients as the centre of the Earth, used to open from 8am to 1pm until opening hours were extended at sites in Greece last week.

Ancient theatre of Epidavros was the site of chaotic scenes following strikes by cleaners at its two toilets.
9.00 p.m. |HISTC| Alexander
Academy Award winner Oliver Stone presents a breathtaking new cut of his epic film, Alexander, the true story of the world's greatest warrior. Using new footage and dramatically reshaping dozens of scenes, he brings to life the overpowering forces and fierce personalities that forever changed history. Torn between his parents (Val Kilmer and Angelina Jolie), Alexander (Colin Farrell) left Greece to face massive armies in Persia, Afganistan and India -- and was never defeated.

HISTC = History Television (Canada)
ante diem xii kalendas quinctilias

278 B.C. (?) -- dedication of the Temple of Jupiter Summanus (and associated rites thereafter)
renascent @ Dictionary.com

fescennine @ Wordsmith

sacrilegious @ Merriam-Webster
From the Holland Sentinel:

A Hope College professor died Thursday, June 19, afternoon while jogging near the college.

John T. Quinn, 45, an associate professor of classics who had been a member of the faculty since 1995, was pronounced dead at Holland Hospital where he was taken by emergency responders.

Quinn had been running alone about 1 p.m. when he collapsed in front of 331 Lincoln Ave. before being taken to Holland Hospital.

Quinn arrived at the hospital with no vital signs, said Tim Breed, hospital spokesman.
“There was an effort to resuscitate him after he arrived, but it was not successful,” Breed said.

Because of his physical condition, Hope colleagues were surprised by Quinn’s death.

“He was in excellent condition. He was running all the time,” said Sander de Haan, chairman of the language department. “In many ways, he was everyone’s favorite colleague.”

Others had similar kind words to say about Quinn.

“John Quinn was a respected colleague and friend,” said Hope College President James E. Bultman. “His passion was teaching in the Classics. This he did well and with great enthusiasm. John was a faithful servant, beloved especially by his students and the campus community.”

Quinn taught Latin as well as the two major languages of Roman Egypt: Greek and Coptic (Egyptian). His research interests included the translation of ancient texts. He took his students on study tours to Greece and in 2004 led an alumni tour that explored Italy’s Roman past.

During his career, he was supported in his research by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the U.S. Department of Education, the Fulbright-Hayes Group Study Abroad in Ethiopia and Eritrea and the Consortium for Inter-Institutional Collaboration in African and Latin American Studies, according to Hope College spokesman Tom Renner.

He received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame in 1984 and master’s in 1986 and his doctorate in 1994 from the University of Texas at Austin.
Quinn lived in Holland and is survived by family in the Chicago area, according to Renner.

Funeral arrangements are pending.
From Novinite:

The archaeologist team of Bulgaria's Georgi Kitov has unearthed precious jewels, dating back from second or third century in Drumeva Mound near the Town of Sliven, the manager of the expedition himself announced.

The scientists found golden earrings, silver bracelets and three bronze rings in a Roman brick tomb of woman, buried in the mound.

A mourning bronze coin was discovered in the mouth of the skeleton and there was clay beads round its neck, the deputy-head of the group, Nikolay sirakov, revealed.

Drumeva Mound was girded with a stone wall, which showed it probably was a temple of the sun, Doctor Kitov said few days ago in an interview for Darik Radio
Heidelberg Academy of Humanities and Sciences

3 doctoral positions and 1 post-doctoral position at Heidelberg

Since 2002, the Heidelberg Academy has funded outstanding
young scientists in Baden Wurttemberg and elsewhere who
co-operate on interdisciplinary research projects within
working groups ("WIN-Kolleg"). As part of the WIN-Kolleg, the
research group "Spatial Organisation, Norms and Law in the
Historical Cultures of Europe and Asia" will undertake
comparative studies of select historical cultures of ancient
Europe, the ancient Near East, and pre-colonial India,
focusing on how the concepts of social, political and cultural
order are defined by drawing borders within the natural living
space of humans, and on how a normative spatial order is
subsequently established. The Heidelberg Academy is currently
seeking young researchers with a scholarly project that fits
into one of the areas named above. There is no other
limitation on the choice of topic. More information on the
project can be found at:

The following positions are available:

a. Three half-positions for doctoral students. Doctoral
students may come from any relevant discipline, including
history, archaeology, legal history, and philology. One
position is available for each of three areas: Graeco-Roman
antiquity, the ancient Near East and pre-colonial India. The
doctoral students will be employees of the Heidelberg Academy,
working at the University of Heidelberg with a supervisor from
one of the participating departments (see project
description). Duties will include regular and mandatory
participation in the interdisciplinary workshops of the group.
Passive knowledge of the German language is a pre-requisite,
but the dissertation may be published in another language. The
posts are initially for two years, but can be extended for an
additional year upon a positive evaluation of the research

b. One full position for a post doctoral researcher. The
successful candidate will be an ancient historian with a Ph.D.
in hand and a relevant research proposal in the area of Roman
antiquity. The position is attached to the Seminar for Ancient
History in Heidelberg and includes the duty to participate in
the interdisciplinary workshops of the research group in
Heidelberg. A habilitation within the framework of the project
is possible. Voluntary participation in teaching is desirable.
The post is initially for two years, but upon a positive
evaluation of the individual research and that of the entire
project can be extended for up to five years.

Salary for all posts is based on the rates of the state civil
service (E13 TV-L); specific details can be provided by the
personnel department of the Academy. The positions are to be
filled on August 1^st 2008, or later upon agreement.
Applications (in German or English) should include:

· A C.V. and copies of degree certificates

· Proof of the languages necessary for research in the
relevant field of study.

· A detailed research proposal (ca. 5 pages, in German or
English) or a demonstration of relevant past research.

· An indication of the department in which the dissertation
will be sought.

Please address all inquiries to the speaker of the project:
Dr. Sebastian Schmidt-Hofner, Seminar für Alte Geschichte und
Epigraphik der Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg;

The selection of successful candidates will be made by an
interdisciplinary jury in which all sections of the project
are represented. In addition to excellence in the candidate's
field of study, selection criteria will include the quality of
the research proposal, the suitability of the proposed project
to the entire work group, and the potential of the project for
interdisciplinary research. Disabled candidates of an equal
quality will be preferred. Applications of women are
particularly encouraged.

The deadline for applications is *July 11th 2008*. Please send all application material to:

Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften, Geschäftsstelle

Postfach 10 27 69

69017 Heidelberg
ante diem xiii kalendas quinctilias

240 B.C. -- Eratosthenes calculates the circumference of the earth (I have no idea what the source for this is)

rites at the Temple of Minerva on the Aventine

ca. 165 (?) -- martyrdom of Protase

325 A.D. -- Hosius announces the Nicene Creed during the First Council of Nicaea
defenestrate @ Dictionary.com

litotes @ Merriam-Webster
Double Vision. Views on Roman Institutions in Greek and Latin Writing in
the 2nd and 3rd century CE. Hosted by the Department of History at the
University of Southern Denmark and the School of Classics University of
St. Andrews, 17th -19th April 2009, Odense, Denmark.

This conference will explore the ways Greek and Latin writers from the
late 1st to the 3rd centuries CE experienced and portrayed Roman power and
state institutions. The focus will be on the differences and similarities
in representations of Rome, Roman rule, institutions and practices, across
Greek and Latin literary genres. The aim is to address the relationship
between Greek and Latin authors in their response to Roman power, and in
practice to revisit the emerging orthodoxy of two separate intellectual
groups, differentiated as much by cultural and political agenda as by

There has been a tendency amongst scholars to identify Greek criticism of
Roman power as culturally motivated and determined. It is an aim of this
conference to collate papers on a variety of authors, across several
literary genres, and through this spectrum to make possible an informed
and detailed comparison of Greek and Latin literary views of Roman power.
This comparative model should prove valuable to our understanding of the
dialogue between cultures and status in a diverse imperialist society.
What we hope will emerge from a conference dedicated to such an approach
is a more nuanced appreciation of the differences and similarities between
literary responses to Roman power across the empire.

Confirmed speakers include Jill Harries, Joe Howley, Jason König, Roger
Rees, Greg Woolf, (St Andrews University), Jesper Majbom Madsen, Jesper
Carlsen, Tønnes Bekker-Nielsen, Christian Høgel, Heller Sejersen,
(University of Southern Denmark)
George Hinge (Aarhus University), Ewen Bowie, Tim Whitmarsh, Rhiannon Ash
(University of Oxford), John Moles (University of Newcastle), Giovanni
Salmeri (Università di Pisa), and Tessa Rajak (Reading University).

We invite proposals and abstracts (c.300 words) for further (c.30 minute)
papers by the 30th September to:

Jesper Majbom Madsen
University of Southern Denmark
majbom AT hist.sdu.dk
Brief item from the Echo:

Bulgarian archaeologists had excavated a Thracian tomb in the south-eastern Bulgarian municipality of Tsarevo, Focus news agency said.

The tomb had a semi-cylindrical arch. Tombs of this type had never before been discovered in the Strandzja mountains, according to archaeologist Daniela Agre.

The tomb had been partially destroyed, presumably by treasure hunters, Agre said. Agre called for amendments to the law and tougher sanctions on treasure hunting, Focus news agency said.

The tomb was made of white soft limestone and dated to 370-360 BCE.
... at the CAMWS site
CALL FOR PAPERS: "A Sea of Languages: Rethinking the History of WesternTranslation"

For a proposed anthology on translation in the ancient Mediterranean
Abstracts of 500 words should be submitted to either Siobhan McElduff
(mcelduff AT gmail.com or Enrica Sciarrino (enrica.sciarrino AT canterbury.ac.nz)

Deadline: September 15, 2008.

Translation in the multi-lingual and multi-cultural world of the ancient
Mediterranean was a manifest necessity, and yet there have been very few
studies on the role of translation and translators in this rich
linguistic environment. Even when authors such as Cicero and St. Jerome are
discussed they are too often seen primarily as archaic precursors of modern
Western translation theory and divorced from their cultural context. With
the current upsurge of interest in translation and the explosive growth of
the field of translation studies, we feel that this is an opportune time for
scholars of the ancient Mediterranean to contribute to the present debate by
complicating the too-often monolithic representation of ancient translation
practices and to examine translation in this region as a field worthy of
investigation in its own right, as a multifaceted historically and
culturally grounded activity.

We invite contributions to a proposed volume on translation and translators
in the ancient Mediterranean which will place both in their historical,
linguistic, literary, and cultural contexts. We seek papers from all regions
and all time periods up to the 5th century CE. Questions we would like
potential contributors to consider are: how did ancient translators
function? Under what constraints did they operate? How did literary
translators position themselves vis-à-vis other forms of translation? What
role did official translation play? Can we recover ancient theories of

We seek particularly seek papers that touch on the following topics, though
papers on all subjects are welcome: - ancient theories of translation
- translation and cultural appropriation
- official translations and translators
- interpreting and oral translation
- translation as literary transformation
- the physical and temporal environment of translation
- translator loyalties and translators as social agents
- religious translation and its constraints
- pseudo-translations

Notification of acceptance will be sent out by October 15, 2008. Please
provide abstracts within the email itself or as attachments in MS Word.
ante diem xiv kalendas quinctilias

64 A.D. -- Great Fire at Rome, which was later blamed on Christians (but wasn't it in July?)

c. 135 A.D. -- martyrdom of Hypatius
cogent @ Dictionary.com

altercate @ Worthless Word for the Day

deter @ Merriam-Webster
From Julie.net:

I lavori per la riqualificazione di piazza Veniero a Sorrento hanno restituito alcuni interni di un edificio risalente al I secolo d.C., con una pavimentazione in cocciopesto adornata da piccole piastrelle di marmo a forma di rombi in perfetto stato di conservazione e pareti affrescate. L'importante scoperta archeologica è stata annunciata dalla Soprintendenza archeologica speciale di Napoli e Pompei: la sua importanza è legata al fatto che essa consente per la prima volta di osservare un'intera parete decorata in modo molto simile a quello degli edifici delle vicine Pompei ed Ercolano, con alternanza di riquadri rossi e blu nei quali sono raffigurati candelabri, cespi di acanto e aironi. Durante lo scavo sono stati recuperati anche mnateriali come ceramica da mensa, anfore, utensili metallici, monete di bronzo.
From the EADT:

AMBITIOUS plans to transform the remains of a rare Roman circus - the only one of its kind in the UK - into a state of the art attraction have been unveiled.

Archaeologists discovered the foundations of the giant circus - or chariot racing track - in Abbey Field, Colchester, in 2004.

Proposals have now been put forward for the best way to use the historic site, which is one of only six in the world and the only one in the UK.

The plans, created by Headland Design Associates for Colchester Borough Council, feature an “interpretation centre” that could bring the circus to life through a virtual reality gateway.

Also included in the designs, on show at Colchester Central library yesterday as part of a public consultation process, are sculptures, information points and signs directing visitors around where the stadium once stood.

Llewela Selfridge, who is handling the consultation, said the public had been largely supportive of the proposals, which will form part of a bid for Heritage Lottery Funding later this year.

After showing library users around the exhibition, which featured ancient Roman artefacts, she said: “The feedback has been very, very positive.

“People like the idea that they can see the exposed archaeological remains and then get the feel of what a race might have been like.

“They are very proud of its importance and that it is the only one around.”

The virtual reality element of the interpretation centre will allow visitors to “pass through the entry gate” to the circus and experience the thrill of a chariot race as it crashes past, with the shouts and screams from the audience, the hawkers selling their wares and the rumble of the wheels and hooves.

One interested visitor, 58-year-old Mike Wilson from Shrub End, said he felt anything to promote the town's heritage was a positive move.

He said: “Anything like the circus should be for public viewing, not just for a few people to see. We've got some nice history here and the ideas for the site are good.”

Parts of the site - including the starting gates - are set to remain buried and form part of a private garden when a nearby former garrison building is turned into housing.

Speaking about the plans last night, Philip Crummy, of the Colchester Archaeological trust, said he was encouraged by the proposals.

He said: “I'm certainly very glad that the borough council is trying to do something. There's no right or wrong way of displaying the circus - there's the matter of doing as best as possible.”
9.00 p.m. |HINT|Judas: Traitor or Friend?
He was one of the 12 apostles, one of the elect. Yet for 30 silver coins, Judas Iscariot turned on his teacher and closest friend. Historians, psychologists, theologians, and religious scholars investigate Judas's childhood, relationship with Jesus, and monumental decision that would characterize him for all time. Did Judas believe his betrayal would force Jesus to display his divine power and thereby prove he was the Messiah? Or was he acting on directives given by Jesus to fulfill a prophecy?

HINT = History International
ante diem xv kalendas quinctilias

2nd century A.D. -- martyrdom of Nicander and Marcian

265 A.D. -- martyrdom of Antidius
verdure @ Dictionary.com

extravagate @ Worthless Word for the Day

mansuetude @ Merriam-Webster
This is a reviewish sort of thing ... from the Examiner:

‘There is no doubt that we have found the proper route’

IMAGINE, if you will, that time has flashed forward a couple of thousand years.

England is a vastly different place to how it is now.

The landscape has changed, the people are very different and we have a transport system based on inventions we cannot yet predict.

And just where was that M62? We’ve heard tell of it, but what was its route?

Fantastic? Not really, when you consider that we live in 2008 at the same distance of time from the Roman armies who invaded Britain.

They, too, had a major road across the Pennines, over high moorland and through the steep contours of the Colne Valley.

It ran from Castleshaw fort near Oldham to Slack fort, near Outlane, and was part of the Roman military way linking Chester and York.

Thousands of soldiers and other travellers would have tramped it, but its true course was long ago lost in the mists of time.

Until now, that is.

A dedicated team of amateur archaeologists has knocked all the theories on the head with 30 years of patient detective work.

Prof Mick Aston, a star of Channel 4’s Time Team, has labelled it a remarkable piece of research.

It all began with the chance discovery in 1973 of ancient road foundations in a field near to a causeway at Moorside Edge, Pole Moor.

They were about 25cm below the surface and consisted of graded stones with associated ditches.

A team from Huddersfield and District Archaeological Society was of little doubt that its find was Roman. But what was the road? Where did it go?

It was the start of investigation spanning three decades, ending in a new book telling the true story for the very first time.

Granville Clay, the society’s fieldwork co-ordinator, says: “There is absolutely no doubt that we have found the proper route. And it’s not where people thought.”

Conventional wisdom had it that the Roman road turned north in the Marsden area and then east to follow the course of the present-day A640 Rochdale to Huddersfield road – the Nont Sarah’s road – high above the Colne Valley.

But nothing had ever been found to prove this.

Wouldn’t the logical way have been lower down the Colne Valley, where there would have been a bit of shelter from the tough northern winters?

The finds at Moorside Edge had set minds thinking this might be the answer.

A further discovery in 1982 of Roman stones on the southern slopes of Pule Hill, near Marsden, was an encouragement that the society should keep on digging.

But it was still no further proof that the Roman road took a different route.

Excavation in the following years uncovered a considerable amount of Romano-British material, but was hampered for a period by treasure hunters who had got to know of the dig.

Mr Clay says: “Layers of stone were uncovered and there was no doubt it was a genuine road.

“It was perfectly built, a road of quality as they would say, built at an estimated two miles a week.”

It did look as though the route of the Roman road was about a mile or so away from where historians believed. Word was beginning to get round about the discovery.

“We were met with disbelief and in some places with ridicule. It was so different to the published theories,” says Mr Clay.

Further digs at other sites brought the inevitably conclusion that the road DID pass much lower down the slopes of the Colne Valley than previously thought.

After all, why should it have run along the along the northern ridge, where the high altitude would have been a distinct disadvantage in the long and severe winters?

History has been knocked on the head by people who follow archaeology as a hobby.

It was largely to the enthusiasm and energy of Norman Lunn that the search for the road continued.

A leading member of the society almost since its formation in 1956, he was director of many of the Roman road operations until 1989.

Sadly, he died last October before seeing the book published. But it contains much of his work on the project and there is a bonus CD with it which includes further photos and information.

Mr Clay, Bonwell Spence and Bill Crosland are the other members who have contributed to the volume.

Some questions remain. Where did the road cross the River Colne at Marsden? How long was it in use as a major trans-Pennine road?

Mr Clay adds: “Perhaps we should not overlook the possibility of a villa in the Colne Valley as a bonus.”

The Romans Came This Way, by Norman Lunn, Bill Crosland, Bonwell Spence and Granville Clay, is available at the Tolson Museum at Moldgreen and selected bookshops for £12.99.
I didn't know about this ongoing labor dispute ... from Agrigento Notizie:

Nonostante le rassicurazioni della Soprintendenza ai Beni culturali di Agrigento, comunicate agli organi di informazione dal sindaco Cosimo Piro, è rimasta anche questa domenica ancora chiusa al pubblica l'area archeologica di Eraclea Minoa. La situazione va avanti, malgrado appelli e proteste, da circa un anno.

Indignazione e lamentele da parte di centinaia di visitatori, turisti, guide turistiche e accompagnatori che, ancora una volta, hanno dovuto fare marcia indietro senza poter visitare i resti greci, il museo e l'anfiteatro di Eraclea Minoa. Vari i pulmini-taxi che ieri hanno accompagnato i turisti ad Eraclea Minoa dopo aver appreso dagli organi di informazione della riapertura domenicale di uno dei siti archeologici più importanti della Sicilia.

Protestano anche i ragazzi dell'associazione culturale Cattolica Eraclea Online che, attraverso il presidente Domenico Oliveri, giudicano "vergognosa la chiusura al pubblico nei giorni di festa dell'area archeologica di Eraclea Minoa, una scelta che senza dubbio sta arrecando grave danno all'immagine della zona".

A lamentarsi stavolta sono anche i custodi dell'area archeologica che fanno sapere di non ave ricevuto ad oggi il pagamento degli straordinari dal gennaio del 2007.
In the June issue of Harper's (tip o' the pileus to Mata Kimasatayo) ...
A Sea of Languages: Rethinking the History of Western Translation

Translation in the multi-lingual and multi-cultural world of the ancient
Mediterranean was a manifest necessity, and yet there have been very few
studies on the role of translation and translators in this rich linguistic
environment. Even when authors such as Cicero and St. Jerome are discussed
they are too often seen primarily as archaic precursors of modern Western
translation theory and divorced from their cultural context. With the
current upsurge of interest in translation and the explosive growth of the
field of translation studies, we feel that this is an opportune time for
scholars of the ancient Mediterranean to contribute to the present debate by
complicating the too-often monolithic representation of ancient translation
practices and to examine translation in this region as a field worthy of
investigation in its own right, as a multifaceted historically and
culturally grounded activity.

We invite contributions to a proposed volume on translation and translators
in the ancient Mediterranean which will place both in their historical,
linguistic, literary, and cultural contexts. We seek papers from all regions
and all time periods up to the 5th century CE. Questions we would like
potential contributors to consider are: how did ancient translators
function? Under what constraints did they operate? How did literary
translators position themselves vis-à-vis other forms of translation? What
role did official translation play? Can we recover ancient theories of

We seek particularly seek papers that touch on the following topics, though
papers on all subjects are welcome:

- ancient theories of translation
- translation and cultural appropriation
- official translations and translators
- interpreting and oral translation
- translation as literary transformation
- the physical and temporal environment of translation
- translator loyalties and translators as social agents
- religious translation and its constraints
- pseudo-translations

Abstracts of 500 words should be submitted to either Siobhán McElduff
(siobhan.mcelduff@ubc.ca) or Enrica Sciarrino (
enrica.sciarrino@canterbury.ac.nz) by September 15, 2008. Notification of
acceptance will be sent out by October 15, 2008. Please provide abstracts
within the email itself or as attachments in MS Word.
Mary Harrsch's (excellent) post on her visit to the "Color of Life" exhibit at the Getty reminded me of something that popped into my head the other day while waiting for the lift bridge to descend and I better write it down before I forget it completely ... I've previously mentioned that the statuary in a wall painting from Stabiae might suggest statues weren't colored, but that example was a bit 'vague' for most folks. Accordingly, after poking around the interweb a bit more to find the images I knew I had seen, I'll revise my view slightly ... other wall paintings of things which are clearly statues suggest that color was used sparingly to highlight things ... see, e.g., this painting of a statue of Mars from the House of Livia (that's not right) ... clothing seems to be highlighted, and perhaps the eyes -- notice that there is no paint highlighting the 'swimsuit area' (which is one of the outstanding questions mentioned in MH's article). Another painting (definitely from the House of Livia) has a scene with a statue on a column in the background; definitely not coloured. That said, a curious exception might be the portrayal of herms ... I've come across two examples (here and here) in which it is clear that the herm does not have the 'natural color' of whatever stone it is hewn from. Then again, it is curious that they both seem to be similarly tinted (and possibly 'gilded'). Perhaps the 'influence' or 'comparanda' we should be thinking of is white ground pottery ...
ante diem xvi kalendas quinctilias

212 A.D. -- martyrdom of Ferreolus and Ferrutio

1716 -- Alexander Pope's translation of the Iliad is published

1813 -- birth of Otto Jahn (archaeologist and philologist)

1937 -- birth of Erich Segal (Classicist, known to Classicists for his work on ancient comedy; known to the rest of the world as the author of Love Story)

... Happy Bloomsday
dilatory @ Dictionary.com

Gizmodo noticed this recent d20 (for all you D&D fans out there) or 20-sided dice (for all you eh? folk) which went to auction at Christie's and fetched in excess of 17,000 back in 2003:

It looks like it has the Greek alphabet on it ...
Sabah seems to be a Turkish paper ... here's a recent item on the resailing of the Argo (which apparently was denied port):

The Argo ship, built by the Greeks to recreate the legend of "Argo and the golden fur" in the epic poem of Iliad by Homer, using three thousand year old techniques was stuck at the Turkish foreign affairs. According to the epic, Jason sets out from Volos, Greece for Kolhida and takes back the golden fur, which is the symbol of power and wealth, on the way, the ship was fighting with huge waves and the current. Therefore, they contacted Turkey as the ship could pass through the Bosporus. However, due to security reasons, the minister of foreign affairs did not give permission for the ship to pass, without an engine, driven by 55 oarsmen, known as Argonauts.
From the BBC:

Archaeologists hope to find out more about what could be a 2,000-year-old warehouse over the next few weeks.

A team of 50 are taking part in the excavation of a corner of a Roman fortress in Caerleon near Newport.

The dig will open a large trench over the building, which is believed to have supplied the Roman legion.

Dr Peter Guest, of Cardiff University, said: "Store buildings are a largely unknown feature of legionary fortresses."

The experts from Cardiff and University College London will also keeping a blog updated of their progress in excavating the remains of a monumental courtyard building in the south-western corner of the fortress, which was known as Isca.

'Archaeology in action'

The building's existence was found during geophysical surveys and trial excavations last year.

It is hoped that this summer's dig will provide a wealth of new information about the storage facilities, provisioning, and supply of Roman soldiers in Britain.

Dr Guest, of Cardiff's school of history and archaeology said: "Our work is the first research excavation conducted on a military store in Britain.

"We hope that our findings will not only improve our knowledge of the fortress and its inhabitants, but also tell us more about the history of the fortress and Roman Britain.

"This is real archaeology in action and we are looking forward to an exciting summer in Caerleon."

As well as keeping in touch online, the public will invited to join twice-daily tours of the site, where they can see the latest archaeological finds.

Caerleon is one of the most important Roman sites in Britain, was one of three permanent garrisons, and was home to the second Augustan legion.

But excavations at the other sites in Chester and York are difficult, which makes the work at Caerleon unique.

By 74 AD, Caerleon had become the main administrative centre for the Roman army in Wales, and the site includes a bathhouse and an amphitheatre, which had a capacity for 6,000 spectators.

The project is supported by Cadw and the National Roman Legion Museum.
Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood, who died in May of 2007, was one of the most influential Hellenists of her generation. 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. 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 and 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 from July 4th to July 6th 2008 a symposium exploring central themes in the area of polis-religion and its interpretation.

Participants include Jan Bremmer (Groningen), Joan Connelly (NYU), Esther Eidinow (Oxford), Radcliffe Edmunds (Bryn Mawr), Milette Gaifman (Yale), Alexander Herda (CHS/Berlin), Sarah Hitch (Bristol), Athene Kavoulaki (Rethymno), Julia Kindt (Sydney), Johannes Mylonopoulos (CHS/Erfurt), Fred Naiden (UNC), Petra Pakkanen (RHUL), Andrej and Ivana Petrovic (Durham), Julia Shear (Glasgow), Hannah Willey (Cambridge) and Froma Zeitlin (Princeton).

Full details of the conference, including booking forms and information on accommodation and travel, may be obtained from the conference website:


We particularly bring to the attention of postgraduate students the fact that--thanks to generous funding from the Classical Association --we are able to offer a few student bursaries. For information about these, please apply to one of the organizers as soon as possible.

Nina Aitken (n.l.aitken AT reading.ac.uk).
Milette Gaifman (milette.gaifman AT yale.edu)
Sarah Hitch (clssh AT bristol.ac.uk)
Ian Rutherford (i.c.rutherford AT reading.ac.uk)
3.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Who Killed Julius Caesar
Historians, writers and filmmakers have puzzled over the assassination of Julius Caesar for centuries; using the latest technology and modern profiling techniques, experts reveal the truth behind history's most famous crime.

4.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Mummy Detective: The Three Kings
The identity of the Magi who visited the Christ child in Bethlehem is a biblical mystery; trace their journey from Persia to Jerusalem to their confrontation with Herod; find out why they brought their signature gifts, and how they vanished from history.

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)
From ANA:

An experiment carried out 2,200 years ago by ancient Greek mathematician, geographer and astronomer Eratosthenes to calculate the circumference of the Earth will be repeated this Saturday by amateur astronomers in the northern Greek cities of Alexandroupolis and Thessaloniki and in Warsaw.

The experiment will be part of a simulation game called "The Sun measures the Earth" organised by the Thrace Amateur Astronomers' Society, the Astrophysics and Astronomy department of Thessaloniki's Aristotelian University in collaboration with the Friends of Astronomy Club and the Polish Amateur Astronomers Society.

Duplicating the ancient scientists' experiment, astronomers in the three cities will measure the shadow cast by a metre-long bar placed near the Alexandroupolis Light House, the Thessaloniki University Observatory and the Vistula River crossing Warsaw.

The measurements will begin at 11:00 in the morning and end at 16:00 in the afternoon (Greek time) and the results will be fed into a linked computer system in the three cities in real time, which will carry out the necessary calculations.

Organisers said the experiment was a game designed to promote the public's involvement in amateur astronomy and to show that this was not just observing things through telescopes.

The simulation is taking place seven days earlier than the summer solstice on June 21, which is the day chosen by Eratosthenes to carry out his measurements and the longest day of the year, but will seek to confirm the precise measurements calculated by the Cyrenean mathematician concerning the Earth's diameter.

Eratosthenes and the Aswan well

The mathematician and scientist Eratosthenes was born in Cyrene (276-194 B.C) in present-day Libya. He studied in Alexandria and Athens and became chief librarian of the Great Library of Alexandria, where he learned of a deep, vertical well near the ancient Egyptian city of Swenet (known in Greek as Syene and near the present-day Aswan Dam) in southern Egypt where the sun's rays fell on the water once a year at noon on the summer solstice without casting a shadow.

Setting up a vertical pole in Alexandria, he measured the angle formed by its shadow at exactly the same hour and day.

He found from his measurement that, in his hometown of Alexandria, the angle of elevation of the Sun would be 1/50 of a full circle (7°12') south of the zenith at the same time.

Assuming that Alexandria was due north of Syene he concluded that the distance from Alexandria to Syene must be 1/50 of the total circumference of the Earth. His estimated distance between the cities was 5000 stadia (about 500 geographical or nautical miles). He rounded the result to a final value of 700 stadia per degree, which implies a circumference of 252,000 stadia. There is debate about the exact size of the stadion he used. The common Attic stadion was about 185 m, which would imply a circumference of 46,620 km, i.e. 16.3% too large. However, if he used the "Egyptian stadion" of about 157.5 m, his measurement turns out to be 39,690 km, an error of less than 1%.
From the Scotsman:

THE multi-millionaire founder of easyJet, Stelios Haji-Ioannou, is set to launch a personal campaign for the reuniting of the Elgin marbles.
The controversial marble sculptures, which have been at the centre of a diplomatic dispute between Britain and Greece for decades, are split between the British Museum in London and the New Acropolis Museum in Athens.

However, the Greek-Cypriot entrepreneur will take out full-page adverts in a number of British newspapers this week to argue the case for keeping the artworks in a single collection.

An open letter reads: "I think the time has come for the curators of the two museums to come to have a constructive dialogue.

"Away from the politics and name-calling, I feel there is now a win-win situation for both museums in the form of a cultural exchange. Therefore, art lovers worldwide might get the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see these masterpieces reunited."

As part of his campaign, Haji-Ioannou also plans to arrange for a ship to sail around Greece later in the year with the words 'Reunite the Parthenon Marbles' emblazoned on it.

The marbles adorned the interior of the Ancient Greek Parthenon in Athens, but a significant number were taken by Fife-born Thomas Bruce, the 7th Earl of Elgin, in 1801.

Although the removal was controversial even at the time, and was attacked by many of his contemporaries in Britain, the marbles were purchased in 1816 by the British Museum, where they remain to this day.

A new museum to house the remaining marbles has been built in Athens, just 280m from the Parthenon, and many feel that the Elgin marbles should now be returned to Greece.
Bar-Ilan University
The Faculty of Jewish Studies
The Department of Jewish History

Are pleased to invite the public to an international conference on
Israelite and Jewish Identity during the Biblical and Second Temple Periods: Tribalism, Nationhood and Religion

On Thursday, June 26, 2008, The Feldman Congress Center, Bar-Ilan University
The conference is part of a series on Jewish identity through the ages, held by the Department of Jewish History

8:30-9:00 – Gathering and Light Refreshments

9:00-10:30 Session 1: Questions of Identity in Biblical Literature
Chair: Prof. Meir Bar-Ilan, Bar-Ilan University
Opening remarks: Prof. Benzion Rozenfeld, Chair, Department of Jewish History
Dr. Amnon Shapira, Ariel University Center of Samaria: Israelite Identity in the Biblical Tribal Period: "Primitive Democracy"
Dr. Yigal Levin, Bar-Ilan University and Ariel University Center of Samaria: The Idea of Nationhood in the Book of Judges
Prof. Gershon Galil, University of Haifa: Judean Identity at the Beginning of the Monarchic Age

11:00-13:00 Session 2: Ethnic and Religious Identity in the Archaeological Record
11:00: Greetings: Prof. Moshe Kaveh, President, Bar-Ilan University
Prof. Moises Orfali, Dean, Faculty of Jewish Studies
Chair: Dr. Hayah Katz, The Open University of Israel
Prof. Avraham Faust, Bar-Ilan University: Ceramics and Boundary Maintenance in Iron Age I Israel
Prof. Adam Zertal, University of Haifa and Kinneret College: The Marked Pottery of the Iron Age I –Archaeological Evidence and Ethnic Identity
Dr. Alexander Zukerman, The W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research and Dr. Itzhaq Shai, Bar-Ilan University: Defining the Political Affiliation of Gath and the Ethnicity of Its Inhabitants in the 8th Century BCE
Mr. Ram Bouchnick and Dr. Guy Bar-Oz, University of Haifa, and Prof. Haskel Greenfield, University of Manitoba: Jewish Religious Dietary Practices and the Formation of Jewish Identity: Animal Bone Remains from the Late Second Temple Period

13:00-14:00 – Lunch Break

14:00-15:30 Session 3: The Formation of Jewish Identity in the Second Temple Period
Chair: Prof. Sarah Japhet, The Hebrew University in Jerusalem
Dr. Jacob L. Wright, Emory University: Cultic Community or Nation: Observations on the Identity of Judah in the Persian Period (English)
Prof. Joseph Fleishman, Bar-Ilan University: The Struggle for Jewish Identity in the Days of Nehemiah
Dr. Eyal Ben Eliyahu, The Hebrew University in Jerusalem and Oxford University: Jewish Identity Versus Israelite Identity in the books of Judith and First Maccabees
Dr. Avishag Ayali-Weinberg, Kinneret College: The Search for the Boundary Between Isael and the Nations According to Three Stories in the Mishnah

15:45-17:15 Session 4: Jewish Identity in the Diaspora
Chair: Prof. Isaac Kalimi, The W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research
Dr. Lisbeth S. Fried, University of Michigan: Who Was a Jew? Perceptions of Ethnic Identity at Elephantine (English)
Dr. Ari Belenkiy, Bar-Ilan University: The Septuagint Story: The Hundred Years that Paved the Road to Hellenization
Ms. Giordana Moscati Mascetti, Bar-Ilan University: The “Other(s)" in Josephus’s Contra Apionem
Prof. Aryeh Kasher, Tel-Aviv University: The Ethnic Designation “Judaios" in Ptolemaic and Roman Egypt

17:30-19:00 Session 5: Sects and Schisms in the Second Temple Period
Chair: Prof. Amos Kloner, Bar-Ilan University
Prof. Lawrence H. Schiffman, New York University: Who is a Jew in the Dead Sea Scrolls?
Dr. Avner Roei, Kibbutz Sa’ad: Jewish Nazarites in the Second Temple Period: Between Sectarianism and Social Solidarity
Prof. Hanan Eshel, Bar-Ilan University: Samaritans in the First Century CE: Between Jews and Gentiles
Dr. Rivka Nir, The Open University of Israel: The Image of John the Baptist Between Judaism and Christianity
Closing Remarks: Prof. Aaron Demsky, Bar-Ilan University
Catching up ... first, from BMCR:

James Lesher, Debra Nails, Frisbee Sheffield, Plato's Symposium. Issues in Interpretation and Reception. Hellenic Studies 22.

Leslie Brubaker, Kallirroe Lindardou, Eat, Drink, and Be Merry (Luke 12:19)--Food and Wine in Byzantium. Papers of the 37th Annual Spring ymposium of Byzantine Studies, In Honour of Professor A.A.M. Bryer.

Holford-Strevens on Fincham on R. F. Rhodes, The Acquisition and Exhibition of Classical Antiquities.

Orrin F. Summerell, Thomas Zimmer, Alkinoos, Didaskalikos. Lehrbuch der Grudsaetze Platons. Einleitung, Text, Uebersetzung und Anmerkungen, Sammlung wissentschaftlicher Kommentaere.

Michel Ferre/(ed.), Martianus Capella. Les noces de Philologie et de Mercure. Tome IV. Livre IV. La dialectique. Collection des Universites de France.

Saverio Gualerzi, Penelope o della tessitura. Trame femminili da Omero a Ovidio. Discese, 16.

Charles McNelis, Statius' Thebaid and the Poetics of Civil War.

Pauline Schmitt Pantel, Francois de Polignac, Athenes et le politique. Dans le sillage de Claude Mosse.

Monica R. Gale (ed.), Oxford Readings in Classical Studies: Lucretius.

From CJ Online:

AHL, F. tr., Two Faces of Oedipus: Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus and Seneca’s Oedipus

From RBL:

Daniel Patte And Cristina Grenholm, eds., Gender, Tradition and Romans: Shared Ground, Uncertain Borders

From the New Republic (tip o' the pileus to Dorothy King):

John Burrow, A History of Histories: Epics, Chronicles, Romances, and Inquiries from Herodotus and Thucydides to the Twentieth Century

From the Wall Street Journal (tip o' the pileus to Hernan Astudillo):

Kitty Ferguson, The Music of Pythagoras
From the Turkish Daily News:

Smugglers are plundering the ancient town of Soma, whose artifacts bear traces of Lydian, Pergamon, Roman and Byzantine civilizations, while district officials simply stand by and watch, according to many locals.

Illegal excavations are being carried out on tumuli, necropolises and relics of ancient cities in and around Soma, in the western province of Manisa. Pillagers use bulldozers in their nighttime hunt for treasure on high hills, cutting trees to take construction equipment to the places where they conduct the diggings.

The Soma district administration office, the gendarmerie and the Manisa State Museum are aware of the smugglers' activity but have taken no action, locals say.

History massacred openly in Soma

Mines in the Sarıkaya neighborhood of Soma have caused serious damage to relics of ancient civilizations. The relics of sculpted wolf and ox heads near a mine belonging to the Turkish Coal Authority are in the worst condition. Smugglers have detonated dynamite in certain areas of the mountains and plundered the prehistoric rock tombs there.

Soma is also home to a mysterious ancient city situated atop a 1,500-meter hill. Though no archaeological study has been carried out on relics of this millennia-old settlement, experts argue a Pergamon-like city might be revealed if a series of scientific excavations are conducted there.

Meanwhile, smugglers have plundered an ancient grave under one of the tumuli, situated on both the right and left sides of the Soma-Savaştepe-Balıkesir way, and have wiped out all the precious artifacts in it. They have also conducted illegal excavations with bulldozers and construction equipment on another tumulus located in a nearby forest. The plunderers hire mine workers to use as cheap labor in conducting the illegal excavations, which is why the diggings are performed quite professionally.

No eyewitnesses:

The situation at these two important tumuli not only indicates the level of plundering activity in Soma, but raises other questions. How could smugglers have conducted diggings with construction equipment on these two ancient tumuli without being seen by anyone? Locals are quite cautious about illegal excavations carried out by smugglers and do not file any complaints to authorities.

Reliable sources say some mukhtars, or village leaders, in Soma even help smugglers secretly. Local security forces said they found many detectors strewn around, even though the use of such devices is legal. Ultimately, it seems that neither the district administration nor the Manisa State Museum have made enough of an effort to stop illegal excavations carried out every night on ancient spots in Soma.

Sadly ... I suspect this isn't an isolated case.
And now the reaction comes ... from ThaiIndian:

The recent discovery of the world’s first Christian church by a Jordanian archaeologist has been dismissed by critics as ridiculous.

A team of archaeologists in Jordan led by Abdel-Qader al-Housan, director of the Rihab Center for Archaeological Studies had announced the discovery of the worlds oldest church dating from 33 AD to 70 AD.

The church was found underneath the ancient Saint Georgeous Church, which itself dates back to 230 AD, in Rihab, northern Jordan near the Syrian border.

Al-Housan also said that the cave showed evidence of early Christian rituals.

However, Ghazi Bisheh, former director general of the Jordanian Department of Antiquities dubbed the claims as “ridiculous,” saying the archaeologist behind them “has a tendency to sensationalize discoveries” and offered no evidence to back his recent assertion.

The team had found a mosaic in church that described these Christians as “the 70 beloved by God and Divine”.

According to Al-Housan it referred to 70 disciples who fled Roman persecution in Jerusalem during the first century A.D., after the death of Jesus Christ.

But Bisheh says the identity of the disciples mentioned in the mosaic is not clear.

The experts widely believe that organized churches didn’t exist until at least the third century A.D.

After the death of Jesus Christ, Christian worship used to be in homes and other domestic buildings or, less commonly, by rivers outside city walls during the first century A.D. The organized churches did not emerge until the Byzantine period, in the fifth century A.D.

“It sounds rather anachronistic,” National Geographic quoted Biblical scholar Stephen Pfann, president of the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem, as saying.

He said that during the first century, the term “church” or “ekklesia” was used for the assembled body of believers and not the building or catacombs where they were assembling.

“If they are talking about a cave, it could have been a hiding place. In timeif there were martyrs there or something significant that took place there or a well-known individual who was among the disciples of Jesus then you would have had reason to commemorate the site, which could later be used by the church’s monks, he said.

“But the cave that’s there is one that doesn’t necessarily commemorate anything I don’t know how you can take an underground cave and say it could present itself as a first-century church,” he added.

Two interesting things to note/ask ... first, is this a reaction to evidence or to some comments reported in the Globe and Mail? (and presumably elsewhere, of course):

"It's important for people to know that the Christians lived here historically," said Archimandrite Nektarious, Bishop Deputy of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese in Jordan. "When Muslims came to the place [in ancient times] it was the Christians who received them and they lived together. This shows our shared life. Unfortunately, today many people are trying to destroy the relations between the Christians and Muslims."

Second ... it's interesting that the ThaiIndian piece originated at National Geographic ... an organization which, of course, NEVER sensationalizes any discoveries and certainly has no archaeologists-in-residence who regularly do such.
This seems to be a somewhat random (in the Grade Seven sense of the word) little piece from the Press Association (via Yahoo):

History-loving Italians are to recreate an ancient Roman ritual in which women dressed as Vestal Virgins light a sacred flame at a villa in Tivoli, near Rome. The event will follow rituals performed by female priests to honour Vesta, the goddess of the hearth. The women had to always keep the fire burning. Other volunteers from a cultural association will be dressed as Roman soldiers, legionaries and centurions at the Temple of Vesta in Villa Gregoriana.
From the Cincinatti Enquirer:

Steven Ellis is like all archaeologists: He loves digging around ruins and feels the thrill when he finds something ancient.

But finding things isn't his goal.

"That's the easy part,'' says Ellis, 34. "Understanding and interpreting the findings is the hard part. My goal is to use the finds to understand everyday life of the non-elite people and the role they played in shaping an ancient city.

"I want to know their customs, their habits, how they lived. I'm always happy to find some ancient cookware, but I'm even happier when I figure out how it related to their lives."

Ellis, a classics professor at the University of Cincinnati and a Mariemont father of 10-month-old twin boys, dresses in jeans and doesn't carry a bullwhip or wear a fedora like Indiana Jones, but he follows happily in Indy's footsteps.

Ellis leaves today for a stop in Greece and then six weeks in Pompeii, the Southern Italian city destroyed in 79 A.D. when Mount Vesuvius erupted. Settled by the Romans in 89 B.C., Pompeii was a large and prosperous city, home to 10,000 to 15,000 people at the time it was buried in molten lava.

An excavation site since the 1750s, it is the world's longest continuing dig. About two-thirds of the city has been cleared of 2,000-year-old debris; the final third will remain as is for three or four more generations so "we can study and understand what we have already in hand before we go digging further," Ellis says. "And by then, technology will have evolved so future excavations will be more precise.

Ellis' team will be working in the southern corner of the city, an entertainment district surrounded by houses, shops and restaurants.

"Among the things we're looking for are clues about how Pompeii got to be a great city. We know it didn't just spring up overnight, so we're looking for its history to see how it came about.

"Plus, we've never looked closely at the middle and lower classes ... So now we're asking those new questions about Roman life."

At 34, Ellis is the youngest archaeologist appointed a Pompeii project director and will be leading, along with co-director Gary Devore of Stanford University, a team of 35, some there for a few days, some for the whole summer.

Ellis has been dashing off to Pompeii since graduate school. Born and raised in Australia, he's the son of a travel writer who grew up going on frequent trips with dad. That was the start of a love affair with travel.

"I got interested in archaeology because of the traveling," Ellis says. "As I got older, I realized that we can travel all over the world, but we can't travel time, and that's what I really wanted to do. Along the way, I developed an interest in Mediterranean archaeology because I love ancient cities and trying to figure out their social networks.

"The Mediterranean fascination is why I'm so thrilled to be here at UC ... It's a world-renowned Mediterranean program, even among people who don't study classics."

Before his Pompeii trek, Ellis will stop in Greece for the East Isthmia Project, a study he co-directs with Timothy Gregory of Ohio State University.

"It's a smaller project than Pompeii, six people, and we're three years into it," Ellis say. "The site is a Panhellenic sanctuary discovered in the early '70s and dating from Roman times. We're trying to figure out what the complex and all the accompanying buildings were used for. At some point, I'll try to turn it into a book."

But first he has to turn Pompeii into a book. Ellis is in the middle of editing "The Making of Pompeii: Studies in the History and Urban Development of an Ancient City," a collection of 12 chapters by international scholars who have spent their careers studying the city. Ellis is the project's editor.

All of this - the books, Greece, Pompeii - brings Ellis closer to his ultimate goal: "I want to discover and excavate an entire city and come to understand it fully - how it got there, who lived there, how they lived, how they got along, everything that happened. It's out there somewhere, maybe Southern Italy or Northern Africa.

"Really, it's all about what I said before, about how we can travel the world but not time. And at the end of the day, time travel is the challenge of archaeology."

From ANA:

A reconstruction of the legendary first long ship Argo, which according to ancient Greek myth carried Jason and his Argonauts to recover the Golden Fleece from Colchis, will set sail from the beaches of Volos on Saturday to the strains of the local symphony orchestra, assisted by some 50 people at the oars.

The ship will be seen off in the calm waters of Pagasitic Gulf with due pomp and circumstance, following the traditional blessing by Dimitriada Metropolitan Ignatios, speeches by Volos Mayor Alekos Voulgaris and Deputy Interior Minister Athanassios Nakos and an address by the head of the 'Argo' research programme, Vice-admiral Apostolos Kourtis of the coast guard.

The modern-day Argo is a reconstruction of an ancient Greek penteconter with a ram (a ship with one tier of 50 oars, 25 on either side) and a simple sail that was built of half-cured wood cut from forest timber.

It is built along the line of prehistoric ships of the Greek mainland in the 14th century B.C. and belongs to the same family as Homer's long ships and the later ram-bearing warships of antiquity.

The present-day penteconter Argo is expected to travel between 10 and 15 nautical miles a day until it reaches its final destination in Venice, stopping at 37 ports on the way. It will be accompanied by the ship Hellenic Seaways, where the rowers of the penteconter will eat, wash, dress and receive medical treatment.

The ship's journey is expected to be completed in the port of Venice on August 12 and until July 7 it will be sailing in Greek waters, accompanied by coast guard vessels. During the trip it will raised six flags, equal to the number of countries whose waters it will traverse. These include Greece, Albania, Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy.

It is also scheduled to stop at several ports and harbours along the way, where it will remain for one day and be part of various cultural events.

Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas has officially opened an international conference on the journey of the Argonauts organised by the Greek Parliament and the municipality of Volos.
Antony Kamm, Julius Caesar: A Life. Oxon: Routledge, 2006. Pp. ix + 172. ISBN 0-415-41121-1. US$26.95.

Maria Wyke (ed.), Julius Caesar in Western Culture. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006. Pp. xviii + 365. ISBN 1-4051-2599-3. UK£22.99.

Richard J. Evans School of History & Archaeology, Cardiff University, U.K.

Shakespeare’s Marcus Antonius, in his dramatic funeral oration over Caesar’s corpse, declares: ‘Friends, Romans, Countrymen, lend me your ears; I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him . . . ’ (Julius Caesar Act 3 Sc. 2). In fact, the speech becomes a eulogy advancing Antonius’ own ambitions, while reducing the hoped-for status of the tyrannicides, most obviously, Marcus Brutus and Gaius Cassius. Like Shakespeare’s speech the two works under review here once again have cast Caesar as the centrifugal force, whose career changed forever the direction of Roman history, and whose personality continues to fascinate and absorb to such an extent that together these engender an ever expanding corpus devoted to him in the modern era. Antony Kamm’s biographical study, Julius Caesar: A Life, quite intentionally has a more general readership in mind, the work edited by Maria Wyke, , perhaps falls rather betwixt and between, appealing both to a reader possibly unfamiliar with the material, but also being of much interest to fellow specialists in this field of study.

First of all Kamm’s straightforward chronological account, with a keen sympathetic bias, occupies eleven chapters: ‘The world of Republican Rome’ (pp. 3-18), ‘The Man in the Making 100-73 BC’ (pp. 19-35), ‘The Politician’ (pp. 36-47), ‘Praetor and Consul 62-59 BC’ (pp. 48-61), ‘The General; Gaul and Britain 58-55 BC’ (pp. 62-79), ‘The General: Britain to the Rubicon 54-49 BC’ (pp. 80-100), ‘The Dictator: Civil War 49-48 BC’ (pp. 101-14), ‘Egyptian Interlude 48-47 BC’ (pp. 115-24), ‘The Dictator: Civil War 47-45 BC’ (pp. 125-38), ‘The Ides of March 44 BC’ (pp. 139-51), and ‘Epilogue 44-27 BC’ (pp. 152-55). A series of useful maps are included at the start (pp. xii-xv), a liberal number of black-and-white illustrations, and battle plans are interspersed in the body of the discussion, while Caesar’s family tree, crucial dates, main works consulted, and a detailed index follow the main body of the work (pp. 156-72). On the whole the narrative flows lucidly enough and, on the one hand, provides a sufficiently valid background to Caesar’s early career, and on the other, a plausible historical context for his later actions. However, the large number of errors evident in the text mar the otherwise attractive presentation: Sardinia was annexed by Rome in 238 BC not 241 (p. 9), ‘Gaius Gracchus . . . By some means . . . managed to be elected in 123 for a second term’ (p. 9) takes no account of the fact that C. Papirius Carbo (cos. 120) had made this possible by passing a law allowing iterations of the plebeian tribunate in 131 or 130, Marius had a natural son, not adopted (p. 17), Suetonius is described as Caesar’s ‘near-contemporary’ (p. 20), Cn. Papirius Carbo (cos. 85) is probably confused (p. 23) with C. Paprius Carbo (cos. 120), no source claims a ‘permanent’ dictatorship for Sulla (p. 28) and he probably resigned the position after about twelve months not three years (p. 32), Caesar’s first performance in the law courts was not of an unusual age (p. 33), Catiline’s accomplice Lucius not ‘Gaius’ (p. 43) Manlius, should not be confused with the L. Manlius (pr. 79?) a legate of Sulla, while Lentulus Sura was consul in 71 not 79 (p. 43), the office of pontifex maximus was certainly not always held by ‘elderly statesmen’ (p. 44), the first triumvirate’s meeting at Luca in 56 was hardly ‘secret’ (p. 74). Moreover, while Kamm’s Caesar may have possessed an ‘intricate vision of himself at the centre of the known world’ (p. 61), the reader might have obtained a more realistic and accurate impression of the period with fewer errors and less resort to oddly out-of-place phrases such as the description of Pompey’s theatre as a ‘sporting, entertainment, and conference complex’ (p. 76), Caesar’s senate as being ‘more of a people’s parliament’ (p. 134), or, indeed, Kamm’s last comment, ‘Julius Caesar was the ultimate all-rounder, even if he may not have been an altogether likeable person’ (p. 155). In the end, in trying to accomplish too much in too little space, the general historical account overwhelms and Caesar tends to be cast in an intermittent role in the political and military events of the time, granted that he was increasingly the major player. Kamm might have been wiser to concentrate his focus more strictly on his subject while directing his reader to more comprehensive, and dare one say it, better accounts of this period of Roman history.

The volume edited by Maria Wyke, the result of a British School at Rome conference (2003), examines ‘important aspects of Caesar’s role in western culture across a wide chronological range and diverse media’ (p. xiv). This book is therefore, not surprisingly, divided into six discrete sections: ‘Introduction’ (pp. 1-26), ‘Literary Characterization’ (pp. 27-82), ‘The City of Rome’ (pp. 83-127), ‘Statecraft and Nationalism’ (pp. 129-201), ‘Theatrical Performance’ (pp. 203-65), 'Warfare and Revolution’ (pp. 267-302). Within this division sixteen contributions have been collected, mostly connected by a single strand, namely the effect and use of Caesar, whether as exemplum or source, in later literature and art.

Christopher Pelling’s discussion (Chapter 1, ‘Judging Julius Caesar’, pp. 3-26) acts as a preamble to the entire work both Caesar and his murder became such a constant topic of interest and the development of the focus of the ‘story’ (p. 8) either on Caesar himself or one of the leading assassins Brutus. In Chapter 2 (‘The Earliest Depiction of Caesar and the Later Tradition’, pp. 29-44), Mark Toher looks at the evidence provided by Nicolaus, the earliest source for Caesar’s murder and what may have motivated the conspirators: ‘the significant grievance of all . . . is resentment of Caesar’s clementia’ (p. 35) but not libertas (p. 39). However, Toher tends to ignore the evidence provided by Cicero (p. 40) which does suggest that Brutus had a greater role in the plot than is allowed for by Nicolaus. Christine Walde (Chapter 3, ‘Caesar, Lucan’s Bellum Civile, and their Reception’, pp. 45-61), explores Lucan’s casting of Caesar ‘as both destructive and useful . . . as a godsend, a godlike higher force even, who (through destruction) brought about the change of constitution necessary for the survival of Rome’ (p. 51). Jacqueline Long (Chapter 4, 'Julian Augustus’ Julius Caesar’, pp. 62-82) examines the prominence given by Julian to the first Caesar in his Symposion, and that for the writer this first ruler of the Roman empire failed to achieve perfection because he became ‘infatuated with the glamour of his success’ (p. 77).

From ancient literature to topography in ancient and medieval Rome where Ricardo Valenzani (Chapter 5, ‘The Seat and Memory of Power: Caesar’s Curia and Forum’, pp. 85-94) notes the interconnectedness of the Senate House, rebuilt by Augustus, with Caesar’s Forum and the significance of these buildings’ relationship. Note that the plan of the area (p. 86) contains an error, and that the construction labelled ‘Forum of Augustus’ should be that of Caesar’s. In a rather repetitive analysis, John Osborne (Chapter 6, ‘St. Peter’s Needle and the Ashes of Julius Caesar: Invoking Rome’s Imperial History at the Papal Court, ca. 100-1300’, pp. 95-109) traces the history of the obelisk which currently stands before St. Peter’s Basilica and its connection with Caesar. Chapter 7 (Nicholas Temple, ‘Julius II as Second Caesar’, pp. 110-27) highlights the conscious effort made by Julian II, ‘warrior pope’ (p. 116) to emulate Caesar both in the restoration of ‘Roman justice’ and as ‘triumphator’ (p. 116), although the maps provided (pp. 112, 115, 121) are really very unclear.

Chapter 8 (‘Imitation Gone Wrong: The “Pestilentially Ambitious” Figure of Julius Caesar in Michel de Montaigne’s Essais’, pp. 131-47) sees the discussion move from the political landscape to Caesar as a subject worthy of imitation or avoidance in political life in the early modern period. Here Louisa Mackenzie deals with Montaigne’s use of Caesar as exemplum. In Chapter 9 (‘Manifest Destiny and the Eclipse of Julius Caesar’, pp. 148-69) Margaret Malamud explores the varying American views of Caesar in the changing political climate of the first half of the nineteenth century. Wyke in Chapter 10 (‘Caesar, Cinema, and National Identity in the 1910’s’, pp. 170-89) discusses how the cinematic image of Caesar was adopted from Italian productions for American audiences in the years between 1914 and the early 1920’s. Giuseppi Pucci (Chapter 11, ‘Caesar the Foe: Roman Conquest and National Resistance in French Popular Culture’, pp. 190-201) examines the views and changing perceptions of Caesar in French literature, from Napoleon’s Caesarism to the adulation of Vercingetorix. However, no mention is made of the reception of any other Roman writers, especially Gallo-Roman such as Sidonius, and whether or not five hundred years of connection with the Roman empire has been suppressed or even ignored.

Theatrical performance is the theme of Section 5 in which Nicholas Royle (Chaper 12: ‘Julius Caesar and the Democracy to Come’, pp. 205-27) dwells on particular ‘instances of the iteraphonic’ (p. 221) in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, most notably the brief speech of the poet Helvius Cinna. In Chapter 13 (‘Shaw’s Caesars’, pp. 228-43) Niall Slater surveys Shaw’s version of Julius Caesar for the stage and his ‘attempt to rehabilitate Caesar as political genius’ (p. 241), a not wholly successful mission. Jane Dunnett in Chapter 14 (‘The Rhetoric of Romanità: Representations of Caesar in Fascist Theatre’, pp. 244-65) looks at the way Italian writers in the 1920’s and 1930’s employed Caesar in fascist propaganda. Some references to various plays have possibly crept in erroneously (pp. 254-55) since they are anonymous, giving only line numbers but no titles.

Section 6 dealing with war and revolution contains two chapters; the first by Jorit Wintjies (Chapter 15, ‘“Capitano” to “Great Commander”: The Military Reception of Caesar from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Centuries’, pp. 269-84) assesses how the literary works of Caesar were employed by military tacticians and strategists, and how their value changed from textbook manual to a framework for character-building (but observe some inconsistence in naming political figures, pp. 271, 274); the second by Oliver Hemmerle (Chapter 16, ‘Crossing the Rubicon into Paris: Caesarian Comparisons from Napoleon to de Gaulle’, pp. 285-302) discusses how Caesar’s career and example were employed or avoided by French politicians in the two centuries following the destruction of the ancien régime. In an Afterword (Chapter 17, ‘A Twenty-first Century Caesar’, pp. 305-23), Wyke, rather than drawing together the various strands of the volume, introduces the in-vogue theme of comparing America and its leadership with the Roman empire and its rulers, primarily Caesar, in the context of recent world instability, and affirms that ‘this new mode of reception . . . makes such an urgent claim on our attention’ (p. 306). A full consolidated bibliography follows the last chapter, and throughout the body of the text there are a liberal number of interesting illustrations.

The nomen Caesar has meant and continues to impart many things to many commentators, whether they are scholars, literary figures, even artists, nearly from the moment of the dictator’s death probably in perpetuo. The studies generated by Caesar’s ambition, glory, clemency, and literary output remain unequivocally buoyant: the volume edited by Wyke, although with content of variable quality -- to be expected in such a collection -- and perhaps not entirely cohesive but still mostly engaging, will, nonetheless, prove valuable for the initiated, especially those involved in Reception Studies, Kamm’s almost panegyric is very much for the ephebe, and I doubt that ‘this new book . . . will be indispensable’ (p. i). Yet, the opinions expressed and the arguments advanced in both works mean that they will join the ever growing reservoir of Caesar scholarship, and add still further aspects to the character, fame and legacy of one of history’s most influential figures.
idus junias

Quinquatrus minusculae (day 1)

? -- dedication of a Temple of Jupiter Invictus (and associated rites thereafter)

323 B.C.-- death of Alexander the Great after a brief illness (according to one reckoning)

40 A.D. -- birth of Gnaeus Julius Agricola

313 A.D. -- Edict of Toleration of Licinius
apprise @ Dictionary.com

impuissant @ Merriam-Webster
I've waited a couple of days for something to show up in the English press to no avail ... from Asca:

Oltre 13 mila reperti paleontologici e archeologici per un valore stimato di circa 4 milioni di euro, piu' di 50 opere ceramiche false del periodo magno-greco e medioevali, per un valore di un milione di euro e la denuncia a piede libero di 10 persone, responsabili di violazione in materia di ricerche archeologiche, commercializzazione ed impossessamento illecito di beni culturali appartenenti alla Stato, sono il bilancio dell'ultimo semestre di serrate indagini condotte dai militari del Nucleo Carabinieri Tutela Patrimonio Culturale di Venezia nel Triveneto. I risultati conseguiti sono il frutto di un'intensa e sistematica attivita' di vigilanza dei siti archeologici terrestri e marini del Triveneto svolta con le altre componenti specializzate dell'Arma dei Carabinieri ed in particolare con i Nuclei Elicotteri di Treviso e Bolzano, il Nucleo Natanti dei Carabinieri di Venezia e con il Nucleo Subacquei Carabinieri di Trieste e di un controllo sempre piu' mirato ed efficace nei confronti di chi immette illecitamente nel mercato clandestino i beni archeologici sottratti al pubblico godimento.

Nello specifico, veniva sottoposta a stretta vigilanza la zona compresa lungo il corso del fiume Adige dalla Provincia di Bolzano a quella di Verona, quale antico crocevia di uomini e merci (ambra, selci, piccoli utensili ed accessori di uso comune) che per millenni hanno transitato il cuore dell'Europa.

I servizi svolti permettevano, in perfetta sinergia con le Soprintendenze Archeologiche competenti per territorio - come e' stato detto stamani in un incontro con i giornalisti a Palazzo Ducale, a Venezia - di monitorare oltre 100 siti archeologici, aggiornando le relative schede con le foto effettuate durante i sorvoli aerei, identificare numerosi soggetti votati a questo tipo di attivita' illegali ed alla ''mappatura'' dei luoghi d'interesse frequentati dagli stessi, come il santuario preistorico di Collina Alta a Caldaro ed i vari insediamenti antropici di Settequerce sempre a Bolzano, la Caverna dell'Orso nell'area pertinente il Parco Naturale Regionale della Lessinia (VR) o il paleoalveo del Natis da Aquileia a Grado.
From a UBuffalo press release:

Latin speakers have few opportunities to get together with their peers for a good yak. That's because, dead or alive, Latin is taught to be read, not spoken.

But plenty of garrire et blaterare (babble and chat) will take place the weekend of June 27-29 at the Conventiculum Buffaloniense: The Buffalo Spoken Latin Workshop, sponsored by the University at Buffalo Department of Classics.

The workshop is aimed at Latin instructors and will focus on the teaching of spoken Latin but is open to anyone who wants to sit around and chew the pinguis.

The event will open at a dinner on June 27 at Byblos restaurant on 270 Campbell Road in Getzvelle and continue on the next two days in 120 Clemens Hall on the UB North (Amherst) Campus. Registration is $75 and includes meals, a reception and workshop materials.

The program schedule is online at http://www.classics.buffalo.edu/events/buffaloniense. Questions can be addressed to the UB Department of Classics at (716) 645-2154 or to the conventiculum organizer Neil Coffee, Ph.D., assistant professor of classics, at ncoffee@buffalo.edu.

Coffee says the classics department hopes to make it an annual event, one that will "fill a niche in the ecology of summer Latin language sessions."

In addition to Coffee, workshop moderators will be Scott Ettinger, a teacher at the Riverdale Country School in the Bronx, N.Y., and winner of the 2003 American Philological Association Award for Excellence in the Pre-collegiate Teaching, and Matthew McGowan, assistant professor of classics at Fordham University.

Although such events have been held elsewhere, including the University of Kentucky and at Wanatchee Valley College in Washington State, Coffee says that, as far as he knows, this is the first time such an event has been held in Western New York, and the first time in modern memory one has been held in New York State.

"It's actually going to be a lot of fun," he says, "and participants will benefit from this just as French or German speakers benefit from speaking those languages together.

"Conversing in any language brings it to life, increases fluency and facilitates the reading of texts by increasing spontaneity with the language," he says, "and programs like this tend to have a particular flavor all their own."

The University of Massachusetts, Boston, holds a conventiculum every year. Two years ago it was a "Latin boot camp" on Nantucket where Latin speakers "built sand replicas of the Colosseum and the Arch of Constantine to scale," wrote the Boston Globe. They also played games like "20 Questions" and made up stories in Latin, activities teachers could employ in teaching the spoken language.

"Our conference is intended to be more accessible because it's shorter and has a definite program. We will introduce participants to spoken Latin and allow them to begin practice it, so, in that sense, it may be of interest to many people," he says.

"But we also will offer a forum for learning and discussing spoken Latin pedagogy. The workshop represents an ideal starting point for those who intend to participate in other active Latin seminars and informal discussion groups."

Although Latin is unlikely to spring into use again as the language of scholarship, religion and statesmanship, Coffee says there is a resurgence in interest Latin in the globalized world because it can serve as a neutral language without the cultural assumptions that come with other languages.

"It was the old language of diplomacy," he says, "and right into the early 20th century, diplomatic documents were compiled in Latin. In fact, some countries like Hungary produced its official documents in Latin until quite recently. The Finns also have a strong Latin tradition. One Finnish radio station presents the news in Latin every day and, of course, Finland is the source of the famous Elvis CDs in Latin."

But the resurgence of interest of which Coffee speaks has nothing to do with Elvis belting out "Nunc Hic Aut Numquam" and everything to do with the idea of a universal humanism that harkens back to the philosophical debates of the ancients.

"The very structure of Latin facilitates discussion of the abstract questions of human existence that animated the philosophical concerns of antiquity and the Renaissance," he says. "It has the vocabulary and conceptual framework used by thinkers like Cicero, Tacitus, Sallus, Ovid, Virgil, Horace, Augustine and Boethius (who saw the end of the Roman Empire). They all had to work these issues out in Latin, and of course, every serious philosopher, scholar and scientist through the 18th century was writing up their research and thinking in Latin, so Latin literature offers a world of original humanistic thinking.

"Understanding the language provides access to the texts in a way far superior to that offered by translation."


John McMahon scripsit:

Scriptum est:

"Although such events have been held elsewhere, including the University of Kentucky and at Wanatchee Valley College in Washington State, Coffee says that, as far as he knows, this is the first time such an event has been held in Western New York, and the first time in modern memory one has been held in New York State."

In July of 2004 I attended a three-day Summer Spoken Latin Workshop sponsored by the Classical Association of the Empire State (CAES). It featured Terry Tunberg and Milena Minkova.
Someone was just asking me about that replanted ancient date from Masada ... from New Scientist:

Forget cryopreservation – hot and dry conditions might be all you need to awake far into the future. A date palm seed some 2000 years old – preserved by nothing more than storage in hot and dry conditions – has germinated, making it the oldest seed in the world to do so.

The ancient seed was found along with several others in the 1960s in the Masada fortress on the edge of the Dead Sea in Israel. Recently, three were planted in soil and one germinated.

To determine their age, an Israeli and Swiss team carbon dated the two dud seeds and found them to be approximately 2000 years old – making them possible contemporaries of Jesus.

When the germinated date was 15 months old, the researchers moved it to a new pot and retrieved fragments of the seed shell so they too could be carbon dated.

Although the plant is now just 26 months old, the dating process indicated that the seed was around 1750 years old – 250 years or so younger than the seeds which had not germinated. However, this figure was not a true reflection of its great age.

"During its growth the date plant had taken up modern carbon and this affected the carbon dating results," explains Sarah Sallon of the Louis L Borick Natural Medicine Research Center in Jerusalem.

The modern carbon skewed the result and made the seed appear about 250 to 300 years younger, she says.

Previously, the oldest seed to have germinated was a 1300-year-old Chinese lotus seed, but the plant that grew from it had serious genetic abnormalities.

Useful genes?

Sallon thinks that the extreme dryness and heat of the Dead Sea region may have helped conserve the seed in a way that it was able to germinate 2000 years later.

In the first century AD, the area was famous for its high-quality dates, but the plants were later lost. Preliminary genetic analysis suggests the ancient date plant is quite different to its modern cousins, but the researchers caution that with only one plant to test, the results are not conclusive. They are seeking more ancient seeds to carry out more genetic studies.

If the ancient dates are very different, they could carry genes that make modern varieties more successful or resilient.
Brief item from News.bg:

An extremely precious statuette of Venus - 15 cm high was found in archaeological excavations in Rome's Trimamium.

This was announced by Nikolay Nenov, director of Regional History Museum in Ruse.

The bronze figure was found in a pit from Roma's period, where before that were discovered 36 coins that dates from I-III century.

According to archaeologist Vurbin Vurbanov the statuette has been made in local workshop. The find will be conservative and restored because is covered with coating.

... and here's the unfortunate followup from Novinite:

Treasure hunters destroyed the work of an archeological team at the exploration of the Roman fortress Trimamium close to Bulgaria's northeast city of Ruse, the Bulgarian National Television reported.

The treasure hunters searched the site after it was announced that a unique 15-cm tall statute of the goddess Venus had been discovered there by the archeologists on Wednesday.

The treasure hunters destroyed everything the researchers had accomplished including all preparations for taking pictures of the archeological site. They also destroyed layers, which had no been studied so it is unclear whether they found anything valuable during their raid.

The artifacts found at Trimanium were not at the site so none of them got stolen.

The Venus statue that was discovered there is made of bronze and is dated back to the second half of the third century A.D.
3.00 p.m. |NG|The Real Mary Magdalene

8.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Mummy Detective: The Three Kings
The identity of the Magi who visited the Christ child in Bethlehem is a biblical mystery; trace their journey from Persia to Jerusalem to their confrontation with Herod; find out why they brought their signature gifts, and how they vanished from history.

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

NG = National Geographic

DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)

HISTC = History Television (Canada)
pridie idus junias

456 B.C. -- Herodotus recites his Histories at Athens (according to one reckoning; supposedly on the 12th of Hekatombaion)

17 B.C. -- venatio, ludi circenses, lusus Troiae (the latter was a sort of precision equestrian drill put on by the sons of the rich and famous, probably a lot like the RCMP's Musical Ride)

86 A.D. -- ludi Capitolini (day 7)
hyperbole @ Dictionary.com

exclave @ Merriam-Webster
From the Herald Sun:

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have dug up the skeletons of 16 horses and a two-wheeled chariot in a grave dating back to the Roman Empire in north-east Greece, the culture ministry announced today.

Half of the horses were buried in pairs, whilst two human skeletons were also discovered in a dig near Lithohori, in the Kavala region.

Near to the remains of six of the horses archaeologists found a shield, weapons and various other accessories.

Ten of the horse skeletons were complete, and in addition to the horses, diggers found a grave and four tombs covered with a ceramic lid, which contained four bronze coins dating back to the fourth century AD.

The chariot, dating from the first or second century AD, was "undoubtedly designed to be used in war or hunting", the ministry said.

The chariot was decorated with a frieze relief in bronze, depicting three of Hercules' labours: namely, the Cerberus dog, the wild boar of Erymanthian, and the Stymphalian birds.

The ministry said that in 2007 archaeologists discovered a chariot wheel placed underneath two horse skeletons in the same area.

These excavations were begun to mark the beginning of work on a new motorway linking the Ionian Sea in the west with the Greek-Turkish border.
This one's buzzing all over the interweb and finally has made it to the Classics list ... from the NY Daily News:

Revealing Daily News pictures of Eliot Spitzer's favorite hooker cavorting on the beach gave rise to some obvious musings, but also some not-so-obvious, like: What exactly does that tattoo mean?

Ashley Alexandra Dupre's teeny bikini exposed a Latin phrase inked on her lower belly: tutela valui.

Experts said it was pseudo Latin, like the mostly meaningless Chinese characters some people tattoo on themselves - but even stodgy scholars were chuckling at the double entendres jumping out of it.

Tutela, which is related to tutor, has to do with a protector or guardian. Valui appears to be a past form of the word strong.

"So I guess you would say it means, 'I have a strong patron' or 'I have a strong keeper,'" said Doug Machle, assistant to the chairman in the classics department at the University of Washington.

"Or, actually, it's more like, 'My guardian was strong.'"

Others read it differently.

Daniel Nodes, a classics professor at Ave Maria University in Florida, translated it as "I've been well and remain that way because I have protection."

Mark Buchan, a classics professor at Columbia, took a different tack, musing that it could mean "safe haven."

One California professor translated it as "I have been highly proficient in support" - which he further simplifies to "I have been an expert escort."

In any case, Latin teachers are used to seeing lots of fishy tattoos.

"Latin is really a living language - it's a lot more prevalent than you'd think," said Gerry Visco, administrator of the classics department at Columbia.

"We get a lot of people calling up - every day, I'd say - wanting to put something on a mug or T-shirt. They think there's a team of scribes sitting here waiting to translate for them."

Best photo of the tat seems to be in NY Magazine:

... FWIW, my translation would be "I am strong/powerful with protection" (tutela would be ablative of means)
From the Guardian (just the ones of interest to us):

1. Heracleitus (540-480 BC)
Heracleitus became such a hater of humanity that he wandered in the mountains and lived on a diet of grass and herbs. But malnutrition gave him dropsy and he returned to the city to seek a cure, asking to be covered in cow dung, which he believed would draw the bad humours out of his body. In the first version of the story, the cow dung is wet and the weeping philosopher drowns; in the second, it is dry and he is baked to death in the Ionian sun.

2. Diogenes (d.320 BC)
Once described as "a Socrates gone mad", Diogenes asked to be buried face down "because after a little time down will be converted into up". He is said to have been nearly 90 when he died, either after eating raw octopus or by committing suicide by holding his breath.

3. Chrysippus (280-207BC)
Perhaps the greatest of the Stoics. There are two stories of his death, both involving alcohol. In the first, he took a draught of sweet wine unmixed with water, was seized with dizziness and died five days later. But the second is even better: after an ass had eaten his figs, he cried out to an old woman, "Now give the ass a drink of pure wine to wash down the figs". Thereupon, he laughed so heartily that he died.


10. Michel Foucault (1926-1984)
Foucault was first hospitalized in June 1984 with the symptoms of a nasty and persistent flu, fatigue, terrible coughing and migraine. "It's like being in a fog," he said. But he carried on working until the end on the second and third volumes of The History of Sexuality, which appeared shortly before his death. Although he was a very early victim of the virus, it seems that Foucault knew that he had Aids. Foucault was fond of reading Seneca towards the end and died on 25 June like a classical philosopher.
The Department of Classics at the University of California, Irvine invites
applications for a one-year Lecturer position for academic year 2008-09.
We are looking for a Latinist capable of teaching Latin (and Greek)
language and literature at all levels as well as courses in translation.

Minimum Requirements: Applicants should hold a Ph.D. in Classics and have
experience in language instruction. Preference will be given to candidates
with experience teaching in large classroom situations. Applicants should
submit their complete dossier, including curriculum vitae and three
letters of reference, no later than June 24, 2008 to: Search committee,
Department of Classics, 120-HOB2, University of California at Irvine,
Irvine CA 92697-2000.

Information about the UCI Classics Department, the Tri-Campus Graduate
Program in Classics (UC Irvine, UC Riverside, UC San Diego) can be
obtained by consulting our web page at http://www.hnet.uci.edu/classics.
UC Irvine is an Equal Opportunity Employer committed to excellence through

UCI is an equal opportunity employer committed to excellence through
CFP: Emotion, Status, Power in Late Antiquity

On the occasion of the retirement of Dr Ronald Newbold, Senior Lecturer in Classics at the University of Adelaide, a conference will be held 8-9 December 2008 at the University of Adelaide (South Australia) to celebrate his long and fruitful career as a teacher and researcher.

The conference/colloquium will focus on emotions, status and power in antiquity. All papers dealing with the topics of emotions, status and power in literature, history and archaeology of Greece and Rome are welcome, but papers on late antiquity (c. 300-700 CE) and authors such as Ammianus Marcellinus, Nonnus and Gregory of Tours are especially encouraged as these represent a significant focus of Dr. Newbold’s research. Selected papers from the conference will be published in the planned proceedings. Abstracts (ca. 150-200 words) are now accepted up until the 15th of October 2008.

Keynote speaker will be Prof. Thomas S. Burns of Emory University (USA).

For more information contact the convenor, Dr Danijel Dzino (danijel.dzino AT adelaide.edu.au).
ante diem iii idus junias

Matralia -- a festival held in honor of Mater Matuta involving matrons and their nieces (with some slave abuse thrown in as well)

1184 B.C. -- Greeks capture Troy (according to one reckoning)

during the time of Servius -- dedication of the Temple of Mater Matuta and the Temple of Fortuna in the Forum Boarium

17 B.C.. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii(day 7)

86 A.D. -- ludi Capitolini (day 6)

204 A.D. -- lusus Troiae performed during the Saecular Games

patrician @ Dictionary.com

corvee @ Merriam-Webster (I have long wondered about this one; nothing to do with crows)
Philadelphia Weekly has a very lengthy article on this interestingly-premised school, to wit:

David Hardy, 57, Philadelphia Boys’ Latin’s CEO, says he chose Latin as the foundation for his new school because students who study it consistently score higher on SATs and do better in other subjects because it holds them to high standards that public schools can’t hold them to.

Studying the Latin language, according to the school’s statement, also helps students learn other languages faster—especially romance languages—while aiding in the acquisition of non-romance languages. Additionally, Latin’s differing structures and sentence order “help develop observant, analytical and logical students,” according to the school’s website and promotional pamphlets.
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. There are still a few spaces left for anyone wishing to attend.

A updated 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. Anyone wishing to attend is invited to contact the Organiser as soon as possible: powellanton@btopenworld.com.

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
(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."
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'
Noreen Humble (Calgary)
Ned Lebow (Dartmouth) `Thucydides' counterfactuals on Sparta'
Marcello Lupi (Naples) '"The votes of the Spartan kings: Some remarks from Herodotus 6.57.5 and Thucydides 1.20.3
Katerina Meidani (Athens) `Herodotos and Thucydides on Pausanias'
Ellen Millender (Reid)
Anton Powell (ENS, Paris and UWICAH) `Thucydides and Sparta: a certain credulity?'

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

For further information and registration details see

10.00 p.m. |HINT| Lost Worlds: Herod the Great
Herod, king of Judea, was famous for creating a series of great buildings, and laying the foundations for Jerusalem. Watch as Herod's impressive projects are charted, including his masterpiece, Herod's Temple. Follow a team of historical detectives who use evidence from recent excavations, scientific studies and historical documents to piece together clues to what ancient locations looked like. They are brought to life by computer graphics which allow viewers to fly over, enter the streets, walk through the halls and peer into these vanished worlds.

HINT = History International
ante diem iv idus junias

17 B.C. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 6)

38 A.D. -- death of Drusilla, the much-beloved sister of the emperor Gaius (Caligula)

86 A.D.. -- ludi Capitolini (day 5)

120 A.D. -- martyrdom of Gaetulius and companions at Tivoli

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 7)
surfeit @ Dictionary.com
opificer @
Worthless Word for the Day
Given the recent popularity of MMA (mixed martial arts), I was wondering when someone was going to write something like this; first reading suggests it's pretty good ... from the Bleacher Report:

Inspired by my colleague Derek Bolender and his article on MMA for newcomers(http://bleacherreport.com/articles/27230-MMA-Get-to-Know-the-Fastest-Growing-Sport-in-America-040608), I felt that a more in-depth look at the history of MMA would be appreciated by all fans, both novice and veteran followers of the sport alike.

Such a history I hope will enable us to examine the foundations of our sport so we can better understand its current shape and structure, both as an athletic competition and as a legitimate enterprise rapidly gaining popularity among mainstream audiences.

This first article in a proposed four-part series will chronicle the appearance of ancient Greek Pankration as the original incarnation of MMA. The second article will discuss the gladiatorial games of the Romans and their influence on the perception and organization of current MMA events.

The third article in my series examines the resurgence of modern Pankration and cross-training through pivotal (though perhaps lesser known) figures such as Jim Arvanitis and Amir Makris, and the legendary Bruce Lee. The final article will detail the Gracie family’s development of brazilian jiu-jitsu, including the role of vale tudo matches in Brazil throughout the 20thcentury as the precursor to modern MMA combat.

Etymology and Origin

The word Pankration comes from the Greek pan (all) and kratos (power). Thus it literally means “all powers.” It was originally developed by combining boxing and wrestling techniques into a singular contest of strength and courage.

Greek mythology stipulates that Hercules and/or Theseus created the Pankration mode of fighting. Our early ancient sources contain a mix of fact and fiction, so it is difficult to ascertain exactly when Pankration developed as a historical phenomenon.

However, we do know that Pankration was regarded as the premier Olympic combat event, and was introduced at the games of 648 BC. The date of the first Olympics is generally agreed by historians to have been 776 BC.

Many athletic contests which made it to the Olympics had been around for several centuries prior, and this is most likely the case with Pankration. Thus it seems reasonable to assume that it was invented at least a few hundred years before the first Olympics, since boxing and wrestling had been known in the Greek world dating back thousands of years.


Those who practiced Pankration were known as Pankratiasts. Eventually, Pankration became the core focus of a Greek soldier’s hand-to-hand training regime. This evidence suggests that Pankration was created to supplement a warrior’s battle prowess (as weapons would often break and combatants would have to use their bare hands and feet).

Ancient literary sources state that wrestling was a very important component of a Greek hoplite’s repertoire (heavy infantrymen were called hoplites). Hoplites would use their wrestling skills to stay balanced and get back to their feet quicker than the enemy if they fell down. Getting back to your feet quicker was often the difference between life and death.

Over time, the accomplishments of the strongest and most successful Pankratiasts formed the basis of legendary stories and mythical embellishments. One famous tale focuses on the Olympic victor Polydamas, who was rumored to have killed three fully armed Immortals (elite Persian warriors) with only a stick, after the king Darius invited Polydamas to his court and had him ambushed to test his skills.

Some competitors were well-rounded enough to win both the boxing/Pankration and wrestling/Pankration events at the same tournament, with the latter feat occuring more often than the former. The available evidence suggests that grappling was more integral than striking and that most fights ended on the ground, so those better trained in wrestling and submissions had an advantage in Pankration fights.

Rules and Regulations

There were two kinds of Pankration: ano pankration (when the fight had to stay standing, similar to kickboxing) and kato pankration(in which the fight could go to the ground). Only two rules prevailed: no biting and no eye gouging (similar to the early UFC events). In Sparta, even these techniques were allowed during their bouts.

Pankratiasts would compete naked in a wrestling-pit, and the referee would use a rod to enforce the rules. There were no rounds or time limits, and the fight only ended once somebody gave up or was rendered unconscious (or dead). Fighters would signal defeat by raising their arm or tapping out.

Fatalities were common, especially by strangulation, as many fighters refused to give up after being caught in a choke. Submissions were prominent, and there is ample evidence to suggest that the ancient Greeks knew all or almost all the submissions that current fighters use today, including knee bars, heel hooks, and a variety of chokes and arm locks.

Kicking was not neglected either, and one source sarcastically states that the prize in Pankration was awarded to a donkey due to his kicking ability. Broken fingers were often sustained while trying to sink in a submission, and even broken necks. An age group for younger competitors was introduced around 200 BC.

Pankration was regarded as dangerous, bloody, and brutal even by the ancient Greeks, who were certainly no strangers to the art of war and violence. Pankratiasts fought for honor and pre-eminence amongst their peers, and were very proud warriors. They would often rather die than submit to an opponent.

Olympics and Other Tournaments

There were several different Pan-Hellenic (all-Greek) competitions in the ancient world, with the Olympic Games regarded as the most prestigious. The Spartans did not participate in the Pankration or boxing events at such festivals, but only the wrestling tournament (where three falls in each match were needed for a victory, and the Spartans believed that you did not concede defeat in such a manner, i.e. having your back touch the floor).

Pankratiasts fought in tournaments to decide who the best fighter was. There would often be a regional qualifying tournament before a major tournament. Larger competitions such as the Olympics would contain at least four rounds (not counting the preliminary qualifiers, which could have been up to five fights per contestant), thus having a draw of 16 fighters in the main tournament.

Lots would be drawn each round to determine the match-ups. Athletes would be representing their own city-state, or polis. The Pankration tournament proceeded in a single knockout format, often being contested on the same day directly after the boxing tournament.

Winners of the Pankration tournament were regarded as heroes by their polis, and often recieved lavish rewards when they came back home. Their names would be inscribed on the Olympic victor lists, and they were given various prizes depending on the specific tournament won (with Olympic winners receiving the famous olive wreath).

The wrestling-only contest was distinct from Pankration. It was somewhat similar to modern submission wrestling. In Greek wrestling, three points were needed to win a match, and you could score a point by making your opponent’s back touch the floor; by submitting him; or by forcing him out of the wrestling-area. Any form of striking was disallowed.

Historical Decline and Legacy

The conquering Romans would eventually incorporate a modified form of Pankration into their gladiator games. Ultimately, Pankration was practiced as an Olympic event for over a thousand years, and remained the focus of a hoplite’s training program for just as long a period.

In the year 393 A.D., the Roman Emperor Theodosius I issued an edict that outlawed all pagan festivals, including Pankration. There is evidence that Pankration continued in some shape or form until the sixth century, though in an underground setting. Traces of Pankration could be found in some parts of Greece and Turkey until its revival this past century.

Pankration left a wide and varied legacy. Alexander the Great recruited the strongest combatants into his army. It has been argued by scholars and historians that his conquests spread the techniques of Pankration into Asia, and that this contributed to the rise of Eastern martial arts such as kung fu, karate, and Japanese jiu-jitsu.

Pankration aided Greek soldiers throughout the many wars and battles of the Classical and Hellenistic periods (500-150 BC). It complimented a hoplites training with a spear and shield, and was useful in close quarters (it is said that the Spartans at Thermopylae fought with their bare hands and teeth once their spears and swords had shattered).

Ancient Greek Pankration was the first historical instance of a combined multi-art hand-to-hand fighting system. As such, current MMA may justifiably be termed an evolved form of the Pankration that the Greeks of antiquity practiced.

Stay tuned for part two of this series which will detail the history of the Roman gladiatorial games and their connection to modern MMA competition.

Folks might also want to check out the Historical Pankration Project ... we need some academic articles on this, though.
From Balkan Travellers:

Buyers from Greece are purchasing archaeological artefacts from Macedonia through illegal channels, Macedonian media reported today.

“Treasure-seekers and gullible citizens,” according to the Utrinski vestnik newspaper, are selling antiques they have discovered at exceptionally low prices. In this way they are selling history, archaeologists from the town of Bitola say.

Historical treasures, ceramics, coins, glass, metal and decorative objects found by citizens of Bitola in their yards or fields often end up at the antiques black market in Greece.

Greek buyers are especially interested in objects from the fourth century AD, the time of Alexander the Great, who is also known as Alexander III of Macedon. Claims over his nationality play an important part in the dispute between Greece and Macedonia about the latter’s name, which have marked the tense relationship between the two countries for more than 50 years, reaching a high point in recent months.

Experts, quoted by Utrinski Vestik, appeal to the Macedonian state to establish a fund for the trade of Macedonian antique artefacts in order to create a legal market and set adequate prices for them. This, they claim, would be the only way to counteract the trend which could harm Macedonia’s national identity.
From the Examiner:

A SMILING 2500-year-old goddess Athena can bring prosperity and good fortune to any household, at the cost of more than $30,000.

A piece of an upmarket Etruscan roof was one of the oldest pieces at the four-day Tasmanian Antiques Fair in Albert Hall, which finished yesterday.

Hobart antique dealer Peter Lane said the terracotta antefix, or roof ornament, would have been made between 650 and 500 years BC and was still in good condition.

Athena was the Greek goddess of wisdom, arts, industries and prudent warfare and Mr Lane estimated the value of the piece at more than $30,000.

He said the piece would have smiled down on residents in the ancient country in western Italy and she was still happy.

"You can see she is smiling to the future, optimistically," Mr Lane said.

"There are not too many things made by mankind that have survived for so long and are good ... it shows art."

Fair co-organiser Robert Henley said the event attracted about 4000 visitors, up from 3000 last year.

He said the fair did better in poor weather, because it was an indoor event, but still managed to attract more visitors despite the weekend's good weather.

Mr Henley said a lot of "serious collectors" had visited the fair, looking for particular items.
Here's the photo accompanying the piece:

... I wonder about the provenance ...
The first one of these that popped in my box is from AP:

First-century burial grounds near Rome's main airport are yielding a rare look into how ancient longshoremen and other manual workers did backbreaking jobs, archaeologists said Monday.

The necropolis near the town of Ponte Galeria came to light last year when customs police noticed a clandestine dig by grave robbers seeking valuable ancient artifacts, Rome's archaeology office said.

Most of the 300 skeletons unearthed were male, and many of them showed signs of years of heavy work: joint and tendon inflammation, compressed vertebrae, hernias and spinal problems, archaeologists said. Sandy sediment helped preserve the remains well.

Judging by the condition of the skeletons, archaeologists concluded that the men likely carried loads on their backs at a nearby port during the early years of Imperial Rome, said Gabriella Gatto, a spokeswoman for the archaeology office.

Many ailments "seem to hark back to work as laborers, in transport and carrying of heavy loads, in an especially humid environment, circumstances that makes one think of the burial of individuals who worked in port areas of the city," the office said in a statement.

Finding a necropolis near ancient Rome is not rare, but most of them have been the burial grounds of the privileged classes. So the Ponte Galeria find is enlightening experts how the ancient lower class lived.

Also excavated was a skeleton of a man whose lower jaw was fused to his upper jaw.

Study indicated "how for all of his life this individual was fed, likely through the care of his family" with liquids or semisolids "introduced through a hole made through his teeth," the archaeology statement said.

The man lived into his 30s, a decent age at the time. Experts took that as evidence that the lower classes cared for the disabled.

Artifacts found in the necropolis were simple ones, including lanterns to guide the dead to their next life, Gatto said. One ceramic-and-glass lantern was decorated with a grape harvest scene.

The dig yielded a glimpse into a working-class community that was "humble and marked by strong ties and solidarity among its members," the statement said.

The necropolis was one of the most extensive ones to be excavated near Rome in recent years, archaeologists said.

... verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry interesting ... hopefully we'll hear a lot more about this one.
4.00 p.m. |NG|The Gospel of Judas

6.00 p.m. |HISTU| History's Mysteries: Ancient Monster Hunters
One-breasted female warriors; the one-eyed, man-eating Cyclops; the ferocious griffin, part bird, part lion. Were these creatures, celebrated by the ancient Greeks and immortalized by Homer, something more than myth? Join the hunt with some of today's leading paleontologists as we explore newly-translated evidence and examine remains that may link the Greek classical age with Earth's prehistoric past. New data suggests that the ancients searched for, excavated, measured, and displayed massive fossils.

9.00 p.m. |HISTC| Secret of the Snake Goddess
This archaeological detective thriller takes viewers from the island of Crete in the Mediterranean to the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Canadian archaeologist Alexander McGillivary discovered a 3500 a 3500 year old gold and ivory statuette of a male god. McGillivray’s investigation into the statuette challenges everything we thought to know about the mysterious Minoan civilization.

9.00 p.m. |HISTU| Ancient Discoveries: Ancient Computer?

NG = National Geographic
HISTU = History Channel (US)
HISTC = History Television (Canada)
ante diem v idus junias

Vestalia -- festival in honour of Vesta, the goddess of the hearth

53 B.C. -- the Roman army under Marcus Licinius Crassus (Dives) suffers a massive defeat at the hand of the Persians under Surenas near Carrhae; Crassus dies as a result of the battle

17 B.C.. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 5)

62 A.D. -- Nero has his first wife, Octavia, killed while in exile for adultery on Pandateria

68 A.D. -- the emperor Nero commits suicide

86 A.D. -- ludi Capitolini (day 4)

193 A.D. -- arrival of Septimius Severus in Rome

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 6)
aptyalism @ Worthless Word for the Day
Xinhua seems to be first off the mark with this one:

Jordan has discovered a cave underneath the Saint Georgeous Church in Rihab, Mafraq, in northern Jordan, which is described as the oldest Christian church, local daily Jordan Times reported on Monday.

"We have uncovered what we believe to be the first church in the world, dating from AD 33 to AD 70," said Archaeologist Abdul Qader Hussan, head of the Rihab Center for Archaeological Studies.

The discovery was "amazing," said the scholar, adding that "we have evidence to believe this church sheltered the early Christians: the 70 disciples of Jesus Christ."

The early Christians, described in the mosaic inscription on St. Georgeous floor as "the 70 beloved by God and Divine," are said to flee from Jerusalem during the persecution of Christians to the northern part of Jordan, particularly to Rihab, he added.

Bishop Deputy of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese Archimandrite Nektarious described the discovery of the cave as an "important milestone for Christians all around the world."

"The only other cave in the world similar in shape and purpose is in Thessalonika, Greece," the bishop said in an interview in Amman.

Citing historical sources, Hussan said the 70 lived and practiced their rituals in secrecy in this underground church.

"We believe that they did not leave the cave and lived until the Christian religion was embraced by Roman rulers. It was then when St. Georgeous was built," said the expert.

Saint Georgeous is believed to be the oldest "proper" church in the world, built in AD 230. This status is only challenged by a church unearthed in Aqaba, Jordan, in 1998, also dating back to the 3rd century.

The findings in the graveyard near the cave offer valuable clues, according to Hussan. "We found pottery items that date back from the 3rd to 7th century,"

The findings show that the first Christians and their offshoot continued living in the area till the late Roman rule, he said.

The cave also embraces the living place of the first Christians. There is also a deep tunnel, which is believed to have led the 70 Christians to their source of water, the archaeologist added.

Rihab is rich in unique archaeological sites and so far 30 churches have been discovered.

In some manuscripts, they are referred to as the 72 disciples/apostles ... I guess this mosaic at least clears that up.
Haven't heard about this for a while, so this update seems worthwhile ... from the Guardian:

A row is raging at the foot of the Acropolis. It goes like this: should pilgrims to a new museum dedicated to the world's pre-eminent classical site be allowed to have an unimpeded view of the 5th-century BC masterpiece at the expense of two rather more contemporaneous cultural gems? Or should the monuments in question - listed buildings whose contribution to art deco is among the best in Europe - be allowed to stay? Put another way, can the city's great classical heritage coexist with the architectural heritage of its midwar period?

All these are questions that a panel of Supreme Court judges in the Greek capital has begun to ponder only months before the opening of the €130m museum. If Athens's centre-right government had its way, the offending buildings would have been torn down last summer, when it took the controversial decision to have them "de-listed" as protected monuments - preservation orders that conservationists had fought hard and fast to win back in the seventies and eighties. In a highly contentious move, Giorgos Voulgarakis, the former culture minister, gave the green light for their demolition after it was discovered that the edifices rather inconveniently blocked the view of the sacred rock from the new museum's mezzanine-level restaurant.

Unless razed, he snorted, visitors would not only have to put up with an "interrupted" vista of the Periclean masterpiece - when unequalled views of the Acropolis had been the new museum's great selling point. Even worse, they'd have to feast their eyes on two buildings whose backsides were anything but fetching (even if their façades seen from the vantage point of Dionysiou Areopagitou, one of the most beautiful walkways in Europe, were fabulous).

What neither the government nor the Archaeological Council - whose discredited chairman has since been replaced - counted on was the furore the decision would cause, or the mobility and ability of campaigners to amass protest votes.

The idea that two early 20th-century architectural gems - one designed by a friend of Pablo Picasso, the other belonging to the Oscar-winning composer Vangelis Papathanasiou of Chariots of Fire fame - could be demolished in a city bereft of much beautiful urban landscape has, quite rightly, incensed the likes of the World Architectural Council, ICOMOS (the International Council for Monuments and Sites) and art deco societies around the world.

With the Supreme Court not set to announce its decision for several months yet, the hullabaloo now threatens to eclipse the grand opening of a museum in which Greeks one day hope to house the Parthenon Marbles - and, much more than that, which they have wanted for decades.
Dexter Hoyos sent this one in (thanks!) ... from the Guardian:

A cherished image of the Roman emperor Hadrian as a gentle, philosophical man wearing the robes of a Greek citizen has been shattered with one blow of a conservator's chisel at the British Museum.

The head, with its neatly trimmed beard and fringe of exquisitely crimped curls, is certainly Hadrian but it seems the body it has been attached to for almost 150 years belongs to somebody else. The statue, a unique piece that has been cited in many biographies of Hadrian as proof of his love for Greek culture and customs, and illustrated countless times, is an ingenious Victorian confection.

Thorsten Opper, curator of the exhibition on Hadrian which opens at the British Museum next month, said he initially felt "gutted" as Tracey Sweek, a stone conservator, delicately removed the layer of Victorian plaster masking the join of head and body.

As soon as the team saw that the carved draperies continued under the plaster, and how awkwardly the head sat into the neck socket, they knew immediately that the two pieces could never have belonged together.

Opper always intended the exhibition to re-examine the myths and truths about the Spanish-born general who became a highly unusual Roman emperor, but had not planned such a literal piece of iconoclasm.

The statue, which has been a star exhibit at the British Museum since the 1860s, was due for a check on its condition before the opening of the exhibition on the man who left Britain one of its world-famous monuments, the massive wall stretching coast to coast across northern England.

Hadrian, emperor from AD117-138, was a brutally pragmatic military leader, who put down a Jewish revolt with exemplary savagery, but was as interested in architecture as conquest and scattered spectacular building projects across Rome and the empire. He was married - to the niece of his predecessor, the empire-building Trajan - but openly gay, and declared his lover, Antinous, to be a god. When the beautiful young Greek man drowned mysteriously in Egypt, he founded a city in his memory.

The exhibition will include a ravishing portrait of Antinous on loan from the Vatican, and an inscribed stone from a temple to him excavated only in the past few years. Even in his day, there were suggestions Hadrian might have had Antinous murdered, because he had grown up enough for the relationship to be seen as shameful, or that, heartbroken and abandoned, Antinous had taken his own life.

Scores of portraits, all officially sanctioned images, show Hadrian either in military uniform, naked as the god Mars, or clad in a Roman toga. Several show him literally trampling the body of a barbarian under his feet.

However Hadrian was interested enough in Greek culture to earn the nickname "Graeculus", the little Greek, and the British Museum statue was held to be a unique illustration of that gentler, Hellenised Hadrian.

The statue was excavated by two British naval officers in 1861 from the ruins of a temple to Apollo in Cyrene, in what is now Libya. It was broken in several places, with the head of a goddess tucked between its feet. The Hadrian head was found nearby. All the fragments were shipped to London and reassembled.

"As a sculptor, once I looked at it properly the proportions were all wrong, the head was the wrong size for the body," Sweek said. She also believes the hands were added, possibly from two separate statues.

The British Museum workers were not consciously creating a fake, Opper believes. He thinks they were restoring the statue as they thought it had originally appeared, precisely matching the Victorian view of a weaker, less impressive figure than Trajan. In the exhibition the statue will be displayed with the head in place, and an explanation about Hadrian's borrowed robes.

"I felt awful for about 20 minutes because we were physically destroying a cherished vision of the kind of man Hadrian was, but we have to tell the truth as far as we understand it. That is what museums are for," Opper said. "Our exhibition will certainly show a much darker, grittier figure than the traditional character. But I don't think you ever find a nice, cuddly man that can rule an empire."

What the Romans did for us


Not just Hadrian's Wall, a tourist attraction drawing up to 750,000 visitors a year, but also the walls of London, Newcastle, York, and any town with chester in its name.


These routes often followed older straight tracks. They set new standards of engineering and maintenance and were intended to make tax gathering efficient and help speed up troop movements.


The word comes from the Latin for lead. The Romans brought with them not just hot baths - although the Celts were already keen on natural hot springs, such as those at Bath - but also flush lavatories, saunas and steam rooms.


A universal language for some time before txt spk took over the world, and still the language of Christianity, law, and urban district council mottoes.

Fine dining

Instead of just boiling up a boar in a bronze cauldron, the Romans cooked fish, game and delicacies such as dormice served in honey, adding fruit, herbs, spices and dressings including a rotted fish sauce that was imported in vast quantities in amphorae. Archaeologists who recreated the recipe do not recommend it.

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

9.00 p.m. |HINT|Caligula: Reign of Madness
Caligula ruled the Roman Empire fewer than four years, and was only 28 when assassinated by officers of his guard in 41 AD. His reign was a legendary frenzy of lunacy, murder, and lust. Between executions, he staged spectacular orgies, made love to his sister, and declared himself a living god. Join us for a look at this devoted son, murderer, pervert, and loving father whose anguished life was far more bizarre than the myth that surrounds him.

9.00 p.m. |HISTC| ROME II | De Patre Vostro
In the aftermath of the battle of Actium, Mark Antony returns to Alexandria, settling into a world of numbing debauchery with Cleopatra. Meanwhile, Octavian turns to Pullo to try to convince Vorenus to give up Cleopatra’s palace in lieu of a fiery siege. Predictably, Vorenus refuses, but Cleopatra seems all-too-willing to dupe Mark Antony in order save her life, if not her honor. With Octavian’s army at the palace steps, Vorenus flees with Caesarian, Cleopatra’s imperious son and Caesar’s supposed heir, whom Octavian wants dead. As Vorenus exits the city with the boy, Pullo is ordered by Octavian to track them down. Their journeys lead Vorenus and Pullo back to Rome for an emotional reunion at the Collegium – just as Octavian’s triumph is being held amidst bittersweet pomp and circumstance.

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

HINT - History International
HISTC - History Television (Canada)
An alert from the news that an earthquake has hit the Peloponnese ... early reports from the BBC says the epicentre was near Patras and felt as far away as Athens ...
As I'm compiling Explorator for this a.m., the following item (BBC version) caused some synapse to make a connection:

A study of 7,000-year-old skeletons, led by Durham University scientists, found that one of the burial groups consisted only of men and children.

This indicated that the women were spared and their capture could have been the motive for the attack.

The findings, from a burial pit in Talheim, Germany, are published in the journal Antiquity.

The 34 skeletons were discovered in the 1980s, but new studies of different types (isotopes) of atoms in their teeth show that they came from three groups - locals, cattle-herders and a "family" of a man, woman and two children.

All the skeletons bore marks to the left side of the skull showing that they were hit in the head with an axe, indicating they were executed while bound.

'Tribal warfare'

The scientists concluded the absence of local females meant they were captured instead.

Dr Alex Bentley, from Durham University's Anthropology Department, said: "It seems this community was specifically targeted, as could happen in a cycle of revenge between rival groups.

"Although resources and population were undoubtedly factors in central Europe around that time, women appear to be the immediate reason for the attack.

"Our analysis points to the local women being regarded as somehow special and were therefore kept alive."

Dr Bentley added: "It looks like tribal warfare on a small scale.

"It's crucial for a group which has a very small population to have access to mates."

... if this were found in Italy, I'm sure the Italian spin on it would be 'evidence for the Rape of the Sabine Women' ... I wonder if the original article mentions the tale.
A different sort of video today ... J.K. Rowling recently addressed the graduands of Harvard ... it's all good and has some scattered ClassCon ... somewhere in the first part there's a bit on how she came to Classics ... in the third part, there's some potential ClassCon as she quotes Plutarch (not sure if it's genuine, though ... no specific reference and I see it also attributed to Otto Rank) and Seneca:

Part I:

Part II:

Part III:

... the Seneca quote, by the way, in the original:

Quomodo fabula, sic vita: non quam diu, sed quam bene acta sit, refert.

From Epistulae 9.57
From the Guardian:

Teach Latin to help curb knife crime, ran the headline in the Daily Telegraph. No prizes for guessing which politician was behind this sentiment. "I think there's a huge amount we can do in London by promoting the learning of languages including Latin," Boris Johnson was quoted as saying. "I would like to see not only that but I would like to see ancient Greek."

The irony is that I, as a fellow classicist (and a product of Johnson's very own alma mater), have no particular argument with the general idea. Yes, it would be great if Latin and Greek were more widely taught in schools. Yes, education has to form part of the struggle against knife crime. But the notion that learning Latin and Greek might be an integral part of preventing this horrific phenomenon – well, has anyone thought of letting them eat cake?

Johnson has, to be fair, put a great deal of energy into promoting the classics. He is president of the Joint Association of Classical Teachers; he speaks for classics; he campaigns; he broadcasts. He deserves great credit for his efforts. My worry is not that Johnson is a champion of classics, but that he is the only prominent, high-profile champion of classics in this country. And he represents something very particular: a posh, white, public-school, rightwing, blokeish version of classics that, when unchallenged by any other popular view of the subject, does it enormous disservice. If the prevailing feeling is that Latin and Greek are for toffs, then Boris, frankly, is not the man to dispel that notion.

The fact, of course, is that classics is not for toffs. As Latin and Greek have drifted away from school timetables, so many universities have adapted, offering teaching in the languages from scratch: these days, no one need be held back by not having been to the "right school". And, while the Boris version of classics might summon up visions of pipe-smoking dons trading bons mots from Horace in the senior common room, professional classicists these days are more likely to be interested in sexuality and gender; in the implications of ancient colonialism; in ancient notions of humour or national identity or class or a host of other questions that would probably make the traditionalist in Johnson shudder.

Rather than a subject for the posh, classics is a subject for the intellectually ambitious, like Hardy's Jude; or indeed Virginia Woolf, who taught herself Greek so as to be able to read Sophocles in the original. (She wrote about it movingly in her essay On Not Knowing Greek). It is, in short, classless. Mary Beard, professor of ancient history at Cambridge University and the nearest we have to a non-Boris popular champion of the subject, has written fascinatingly in her blog about the working-class classicists of the past – including a fellow called Alfred Williams, born in 1877, who worked in a railway factory and learned Latin and Greek by chalking up irregular verbs on his forge.
It's time, then to take the class out of classics. And, while we're at it, we might remember that the ancient world is not a great place to start if you want to reduce knife crime. Does anyone remember how Julius Caesar was murdered?
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
The Roman Society's biennial Roman Archaeology Conference will be held at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on April 3-5, 2009.
Please note the website which is


Each session (see list below) will have about 6 speakers and run for a full morning or afternoon. Sessions will start promptly at 9 am on Friday 3rd April and end at about 4.30 pm on Sunday 5th April. Participants and attendees should therefore plan to arrive by Thursday evening (2nd April) and to leave on Sunday evening (5th) or Monday morning (6th). The closest airport is Detroit Metropolitan Airport (40 minutes by road from Ann Arbor). In view of the increasing airfares, we urge participants to make their plane reservations promptly.
We have blocked out a large number of rooms in local hotels, at reduced rates. They include a cheaper hotel option of about $52 (about 27 pounds) per room per night (many of these rooms also have two beds). Participants will be able simply to make their own reservations online. We will give you information on making such reservations in the coming months.

We will be very grateful if you will forward this e-mail to any of your colleagues who may be interested in attending.
Session organizers please forward this message to each of your session speakers.
Please send any queries to jra AT JournalofRomanArch.com

With many thanks and best wishes
Nic Terrenato and John Humphrey

RAC sessions:

The Late Republican period in “native” Southern Italy
Organizer: Fabio Colivicchi (Queen's University)

Kings, Clans and Conflict: Italic Warfare in the first millennium BC
Organizers: Hilary Becker (Washington & Lee University) and Jeremy Armstrong (University of Auckland)

Current Approaches to the Archaeology of first millennium BC Italian Urbanism
Organizers: Jeffrey Becker (Boston University) and Elizabeth Robinson (University of North Carolina)

The Roman city as ‘written space’
Organizers: Simon Esmonde Cleary, Ray Laurence, and Gareth Sears (University of Birmingham)

The lives of others: peoples of the peripheries
Organizers: David Mattingly (University of Leicester) and Peter Wells (University of Minnesota)

Archaeology-based approaches to the study of food and drink in the Western Roman Empire
Organizer: Robert Curtis (University of Georgia)

Between Canon and Kitsch: Eclecticism in Roman Homes
Organizers: Sinclair Bell (University of Manitoba) and Francesca Tronchin (The Ohio State University)

Rethinking Britannia. New Approaches to a Grand Old Lady
Organizer: Peter Wilson (English Heritage)

Irrelevant Wall or Untapped Resource? Challenging Preconceptions of Hadrian’s Wall
Organizers: Rob Collins (University of Newcastle) and Matt Symonds (Durham County Council)

Comparative issues in the archaeology of the Roman rural landscape, site classification between survey, excavation and historical categories
Organizers: Peter A.J. Attema (University of Groningen) and Günther Schoerner (Friedrich-Schiller Universität, Jena)

Rome and the Alps
Organizers: Bruce Hitchner and Maxence Segard (Tufts University)

Roman Imperialism in Africa Proconsularis
Organizer: David Stone (Florida State University)

Alteration, influence, transfer and exchange: architectural relations between Rome and the Greek East
Organizer: Philip Stinson (University of Kansas)

Roman villa landscapes in the Latin west: economy, culture and lifestyles
Organizers: Nico Roymans and Ton Derks (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)

Incorporating coin finds into the archaeological and historical narrative
Organizer: Kris Lockyear (Institute of Archaeology, University College London)

Late Roman Jerusalem - Urban Development in the Light of Recent Research
Organizer: Gideon Avni (Israel Antiquities Authority)

Organizers: Jennifer Baird and Simon James (University of Leicester)

The Troubled Adolescence of Late Antique Studies: Archaeological approaches to ‘change’ in Late Antiquity
Organizer: Hendrik Dey (The American University in Rome)

RAC 2009 will also host a group of TRAC sessions.
From the International Herald Tribune:

Rome police say they have recovered more than 2,000 looted artifacts and 1,500 fragments worth over $4.6 million.

Police say the items include a fragment believed to belong to a fifth century B.C. wine cup by Greek artist Euphronius, which was returned by California's J. Paul Getty Museum in 1999.

The cup had been looted from an Etruscan site near Rome and now is on display in the capital.

Police said Friday the Roman and pre-Roman artifacts also include fragments of bowls, vases, statues and columns.

The items were recovered in three investigations earlier this year in private homes in and around Rome. Police are investigating 13 people. No arrests have been made.

... announcement, but no arrests? What's up with that?
Interesting how the stuff at the end of this incipit of a lengthy piece at Al Ahram hasn't hit the ewaves like Hawass's original claim did:

An Egyptian-Dominican Republic archaeological team working at Taposiris Magna, an area of archaeological importance west of Alexandria and site of a temple dedicated to the prosperity god Osiris, as well as a number of Graeco- Roman catacombs, have stumbled upon several Ptolemaic objects that date back to the reign of the famous Queen Cleopatra.

The team was searching the site in the hope of locating the tomb of Cleopatra VII and her lover Mark Anthony. Excavation work started early last year in the area, as it was believed that the tragic couple had dug their tomb in an area some distance from Alexandria in order to be out of reach of their enemies.

Zahi Hawass, secretary-general of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) and the head of the archeological mission, said that what fuelled the belief was that early historians were able to describe the tomb of Alexander the Great (ruled Egypt 332-323 BC) but made no mention of a name or a description of a tomb either for Cleopatra or Mark Anthony.

The team unearthed an alabaster head of Cleopatra and a mask thought to be of Mark Anthony, as well as an alabaster statue of the goddess Aphrodite and a headless basalt statue of a royal Ptolemaic figure. Inside the temple a number of 50-metre deep tunnels and corridors have been found leading to the temple's foundation stones, revealing that it was built during the reign of Ptolemy II (281-246 BC). With them were found 20 bronze coins dating from the reign of Cleopatra.

But if the team members had set their hearts on making that special discovery, they were disappointed. "We have found nothing that indicates the presence of Cleopatra's or Anthony's tomb," Hawass said.

The classical Taposiris Magna, now called Abu Sir, was known in the Pharaonic era as Po-Osiris, which means the place of the god Osiris. Under the Graeco- Romans this was shortened to Posiris. It was believed to be where Isis buried the 14th part of Osiris's corpse after he had been killed and his body scattered by his evil brother Set. Further excavation is now on hold until November.

The rest of the article deals with finds outside of our purview ... it has some photos, but still none of the 'mask' ...
From AP:

Greek authorities say subway construction work in the northern city of Thessaloniki has unearthed an ancient grave with a wealth of golden jewelry.

The 2,300-year old grave contained a female skeleton, accompanied by four gold wreaths and gold earrings in the shape of dogs' heads set with semiprecious stones.

A Culture Ministry statement said Friday that the grave goods included a bronze mirror, a bronze vase and six clay pots.

The woman had been buried in a wooden coffin, traces of which survived. The ministry said part of the grave had been destroyed by a modern sewage pipe.

The Thessaloniki subway is scheduled for completion in 2012.
A few more details in this piece from the Scotsman:

TWO years ago, a Cypriot diver was stunned by a chance find: hundreds of ancient ceramic wine jars, rising from a featureless expanse of flat, desert-like seabed off Cyprus's southern coast.
Together they formed the shape of a ghostly ship, still submerged beneath the sands. It now appears that what the diver discovered was a supertanker of its time, and the biggest and probably oldest wreck ever found in the island's waters.

The merchant vessel may also prove to be one of the best preserved wrecks of the Classical period, from the 5th to 4th centuries BC, archaeologists said yesterday.

"There are very few shipwrecks of Classical times left, so it will be very important for the study of ancient shipbuilding techniques and navigation," said Dr Stella Demesticha, a Greek marine archaeologist and visiting lecturer at the University of Cyprus. "It will add a lot to our knowledge."

The ship was carrying high-quality red wine from a Greek island when it sank a mile-and-a-half off the southern coast of Cyprus in about 350BC, around the time Alexander the Great was born. Within days, several of the large wine jars, or amphorae, were brought to the surface.

Why the vessel sank is a mystery – the result of a collision, storm-tossed seas or perhaps structural failure. There is speculation, however, that similar ships were deliberately scuppered to scam the insurers of the day.

The wine was probably destined for one of the island's renowned ports, Kition or Salamina. Alternately, the ship may have been using Cyprus as a handy stopover on the way to Egypt or the Syrian-Palestinian coast. The island was a well-placed trading hub on the commercial sea routes of antiquity.

The vessel has been named the Mazotos shipwreck after the nearest village, but the wreck's precise location is being kept secret to protect it from treasure hunters. It lies at a depth of 45 metres, meaning divers can only work on the site in 20-minute stretches. Some 500 amphorae were found on the seabed's surface and at least 300 more are believed to lie buried in the sand.

That suggests its cargo was twice the size of Cyprus's most celebrated wreck, the Kyrenia, a 50ft merchant vessel found off the northern coast more than 40 years ago. The Mazotos wreck, then, is probably twice as big as the Kyrenia, which was carrying 385 amphorae.

"It is the largest shipwreck we have found in Cyprus, said Dr Pavlos Flourentzos, the director of Cyprus's Department of Antiquities. "It's approximately 50 years older than the Kyrenia."

Experts say the skills of captains who sailed in the 4th century BC without compasses is often underestimated. The ancients invented geometry, were skilled astronomers and understood the importance of getting goods to market quickly, efficiently and in bulk to turn a good profit.

Nautical experts suggest ancient weather patterns, unafflicted by climate change and global warming, were more predictable and regular than today.

"The ancients possessed an ocean of maritime information," said Glafkos Kariolou, an expert in nautical tourism with the Cyprus Tourism Organisation.

The son of a pioneering Cypriot diver who discovered the Kyrenia, he has skippered a replica of the vessel on several long voyages along shipping routes of antiquity.

"We believe that the ancient mariners knew a lot more about the statistics of weather than we do now," Mr Karioulou said. "They knew meteorology like we know the programme of buses in London. They knew exactly when certain winds would blow, they could predict discrepancies in the weather and knew exactly when to sail."

A team has mapped the site of the Mazotos wreck and the finds lying on the sand and seven amphorae have been found. The wreck itself has yet to be excavated.

But as the amphorae were not dispersed and the ship sank in fine sand on Cyprus's leeward side, archaeologists are hopeful there are wooden remains to be uncovered.

"We have serious reason to believe that the hull of the ship is well-preserved in the sand," Dr Demesticha, who is leading the research, told The Scotsman.

The design of the amphorae from the Mazotos wreck indicates they were from the Greek island of Chios. Wine was a leading product of the north Aegean island in antiquity, exported in distinctive, narrow-bottomed jars with long stems.

Dr Demesticha said the amphorae would have lost their wine almost immediately with the stoppers on their spouts dissolving in the salty water. "Now they contain just seawater and sand," she said.

Wreck's importance to early nautical history

THE Mazotos wreck has been dated to about 350BC, and is one of the few finds dating back to the Classical period, from 475-325BC. It is of potentially enormous importance in tracing early economic and nautical history, shedding light on ancient trade routes and the types and sizes of ships.

Cyprus was an important source of raw materials, particularly timber, and for shipping, at a time of great naval battles such as the Battle of Salamis, in 480BC, when the Greeks defeated a much larger Persian fleet in a battle involving hundreds of ships.

In the aftermath of a revolt against the island's Persian rulers, the city states of Cyprus were divided between pro-Greek and pro-Persian cities.

While archeologists cannot be precise about the dates, they have placed the wreck very close to the birth of Alexander the Great in 356BC.
From the Independent:

It must have given him a nasty scare, but the day Isidoro Vannozzi fell into a hole in the ground was the luckiest day of his life.

The farmer was digging in front of his half-built house near Monteleone in Umbria when the ground gave way and he tumbled in – to find himself inside a domed, stone structure four and a half feet high. At his feet in the gloom lay two skeletons. Metallic objects glinted around them. Between the two skeletons was a thing with two wheels, a small carriage and a long pole: a chariot.

It was 1902 and Vannozzi had stumbled upon an Etruscan tomb from the 6th century BC; sealed with its aristocratic corpses and their treasures in an Italy about which we know tantalisingly little. The tomb had remained inviolate for 2,500 years and its treasures were in mint condition.

For more than a century the chariot Vannozzi discovered has been one of the glories of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. But if Nando Durastanti, mayor of Monteleone, gets his way, some day soon it will be coming back to the town where it was found.

Since 2004 Mr Durastanti and his supporters have been conducting a noisy campaign to have the chariot returned. They have had the support of a lawyer born in the town but long resident in Atlanta, Georgia, who has bombarded the Met with letters. But as of today the chariot remains grounded in Manhattan.

After Vannozzi's discovery, the pots quickly found a place in their kitchen and the chariot was used in their children's games. Then two months later he took a sample pot to the nearby town of Norcia to see if he could find a buyer. He called in on a man called Benedetto Petrangeli, owner of a trattoria outside the town gate, who did some side business in antiques. "I've got lots of old stuff like this at home," he said, flourishing his pot.

When Petrangeli and his partner dropped by they were astonished to find Vannozzi had unearthed a chariot in extraordinary condition, decorated with scenes from the life of Achilles.

Vannozzi's house was still unfinished. "How much will it cost to put a roof on your house?" Petrangeli asked him. "A thousand lira," was the reply. "Look, for this old stuff I can't go higher than 950 lira." The deal was sealed with a handshake. Petrangeli had struck the bargain of a lifetime. And so "La Biga di Monteleone", "the Golden Chariot" as it is now known in America, began its long journey.

From Monteleone it travelled to Norcia, and from there to Rome, where it was hidden in a chemist's shop, because it was hot property. According to Mario la Ferla, historian of the chariot, the Italian parliament had just passed a law on the conservation of ancient treasures. Italy was awash with souvenir-hunting foreigners, and Italian dealers were happy to keep them supplied. But for the first time the government was at least thinking about taking a stand on the issue.

Petrangeli sold the chariot to Amadeo and Teodoro Riccardi, cousins and notorious forgers, for an unknown sum, and the Riccardis sold it on to the American financier J P Morgan for 250,000 lira. Besides being one of the richest men in the world, Morgan was also a connoisseur of art, and a pillar of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The chariot was dismantled and taken to Paris by train, hidden inside other merchandise.

At least this is the version of the chariot's departure from Italy credited by Mario la Ferla. The authorised version has the chariot arriving in Paris by mysterious and unknown means, and only then coming to the attention of Morgan – a version which conveniently expunges the financier of any guilt in the chariot's theft. Because although precious antiques were flying out of Italy in those days, the chariot was a special case. When it arrived in New York in November 1903 its theft sparked an outcry in the Italian parliament. Morgan, who had previously been in trouble with the Italians for other acquisitions, needed to be disassociated from the theft. And so he was.

In New York the chariot was re-assembled – wrongly, it was later discovered – and quickly became one of the museum's biggest draws. Today, after a six-year restoration during which it was put together correctly, it is again a star.

Monteleone, meanwhile, is languishing. Crowded around the summit of a steep hill in the pretty Umbrian countryside of Valnerina, the town has been losing people for decades. Today the population is about 650. It has its abandoned Franciscan monastery, a pretty main street, a mood of sleepy languor, a sense of being stuck somewhere in the 1950s, all of which are deeply appreciated by people flashing through from the big city – but not special enough to put the place on the map. Monteleone is famous for what it has not got, what it cannot get back. And that's not enough.

Who were the Etruscans?

The Etruscans were an ancient, seafaring people who flourished in Italy. Although the origins of their civilisation are unclear, experts have found traces of a distinctive culture going back to around the 9th century BC. The Etruscans were skilled craftsmen who created lavish works of art that they traded with the peoples of the eastern Mediterranean. They believed in the supernatural, and several huge necropolises – cities of the dead – have been found in their former territories.
In case you were wondering:

blog readability test

ante diem viii idus junias

356 B.C. -- birth of Alexander the Great (according to one reckoning)

17 B.C.. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 1)

86 A.D. ludi Capitolini (day 1)

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 3)
repletion @ Dictionary.com

pleionosis @ Worthless Word for the Day

gelid @ Merriam-Webster
From the Sentinel:

I would like to know the present value of the two Greek pottery Lekythos that date to 600 B.C. They were purchased from a reputable Greek dealer years ago, and they came with a certificate from Greek customs. Thanks for your help,


Dear S.H.:

I have no doubt whatsoever that these pieces are authentic and around 2,500 years old. But in reading the certificate I find some small discrepancies with the research I did. This leads me to suggest that you have these two pieces independently authenticated by a specialist in the field.

First, perhaps I should explain what a Lekythos is. A Lekythos is generally defined as a cylindrical vessel with a slender neck that has a single handle attached from the top of the shoulder to below the flaring mouth.

These vessels are ancient Greek in origin but some were made in the Greek colonies in Italy. The original use for these items was religious or decorative; most feel they were used mainly for funeral rituals.

Lekythoi vary in size from pieces that are almost 3 feet tall to examples that are less than 8 inches tall. Most were meant to hold oil and occasionally perfume for funerary purposes. Many have been found tossed into graves after the anointing of the deceased's body was completed.

Contrary to what the certificate says, this type of decoration originated in Corinth in the 7th century B.C. (circa 620) and spread to other Greek city states including Sparta and Athens. In fact the artists of Athens created many beautiful black-figure pieces considered by many to be the pinnacle of this art form.

I checked extensive records for the past few years (about 100 pieces) and came to the conclusion that this black-figure Lekythos is circa 550 B.C. and is probably worth $1,500 to $1,800. That sum, however, depends very much on how collectors react to the extensive chipping of the decoration balanced with the interest of the subject matter that features Penelope, Odysseus and their dog.

The other piece is Athenian circa 450 B.C. and is worth a bit less. This is a white ground piece with floral decorations and should be valued for about $1,000 to $1,200. It, too, has extensive, but less unsightly damage to the painting.

... sounds like someone bough something on eBay ... a photo of the (rather grotty) piece accompanies the original article.
From a Luther College press release:

Simon & Shuster publishing company has announced the release of “Julius Caesar,” the latest book by Philip Freeman, professor of classics at Luther College. Freeman’s fascinating biography of the Western world’s best-known military-political leader is now available in bookstores nationwide and at all popular Web site book vendors.

Freeman’s “Julius Caesar” is listed as a main selection by both the Book of the Month Club and the History Book Club and has received critical praise in Kirkus Reviews as a “fresh look at one of history's most dynamic and controversial figures.”

In a Publishers Weekly review historian and author Anthony Everitt wrote, “Freeman's cultural and historical knowledge bring the emperor to life and humanize him in a way no writer before him has succeeded in doing… The scholar will find much to admire in this book, but, better still, the newcomer to ancient Rome will turn its pages with excitement, enlightenment – and sheer narrative suspense.”

Freeman’s new book received a favorable review in Booklist and has been lauded by internationally known historians including Paul Cartledge, author of “The Spartans” and “Alexander the Great” and professor of Greek history at the University of Cambridge; Barry Strauss, author of “The Trojan War” and professor of history and classics and Cornell University; and Jeff Sypeck, author of “Becoming Charlemagne.”

Freeman holds the Orlando W. Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College. An internationally recognized specialist in Greek, Roman, medieval culture and Celtic studies, he is the author of “The Philosopher and the Druids” (Simon & Schuster, 2006); “St. Patrick of Ireland” (Simon & Schuster, 2004); “War, Women, and Druids” (University of Texas Press, 2002); “The Galatian Language” (Mellen Press, 2001); and “Ireland and the Classical World” (University of Texas Press, 2001).

Before joining the classics department at Luther, Freeman taught at Boston University and Washington University. He has been a visiting scholar at the Harvard Divinity School, the American Academy in Rome, and the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C.

A frequent speaker and presenter. Freeman has given talks on the ancient world at the Smithsonian Institution and interviews on National Public Radio and Minnesota Public Television.

Freeman’s “Julius Caesar” is a compelling account of the great achievements – and a look at the day to-today life – of one of the greatest heroes, or greatest villains, of history.

Modern scholars have been divided concerning Caesar's legacy. Some have seen him as a paradigm of the just ruler, but in the wake of 20th century dictators and devastating wars, other historians have turned a cold eye on a man who caused the death of so many and established the rule of emperors over elected magistrates.

“In my biography, however, I strive not to praise Caesar overmuch or bury him among the tyrants of history,” writes Freeman. “Caesar was a complex man of incredible courage, ambition, honor, and vanity, as well as one of the greatest generals the world has ever known. But he was also a masterful politician, priest, lawyer, and writer, who among his many lesser-known accomplishments gave us the calendar we still use today.”

Freeman’s “Julius Caesar” follows the Roman leader from his childhood in the slums of Rome to his military victories throughout the Roman world and murder on the Ides of March. He introduces a host of characters who shaped Caesar’s life, from his mother Aurelia to Marius, Sulla, Pompey, Cicero, and Cleopatra.

The book is especially fascinating for the general reader because of Freeman’s skill at weaving the background story of the late Roman Republic, from the slave rebellion of Spartacus to the luxurious world of Ptolemaic Egypt to the arenas of the gladiators and chariot races.

Freeman ventures educated guesses about Caesar's early schooling and training to help readers understand the making of a man singularly bent on attaining greatness. The young Caesar who emerges was possessed of immense ambition, intellect and courage that drove his every action. Freeman frames any judgments of Caesar in the context of the hard life of the Roman era, when a reputation for mercy could be gained by cutting a man's throat before his crucifixion.

Caesar combined an instinct for political manipulation with legendary oratorical skills and shrewd promotion of his battlefield victories to cultivate an aura of military genius and divine destiny. He survived political chaos and civil wars in the first century Roman republic, maneuvered himself into the halls of power, made himself enormously wealthy, crushed the barbarian enemies of Rome, and overpowered political opponents to enact government reforms that laid the basis for the Roman imperium.

A champion of the plebian classes when it served his designs, Caesar frequently challenged the political, social and economic status of powerful vested interests in Rome, which ultimately led to his murder. With much to compare to current national and international travails of empire and republic, Freeman’s “Julius Caesar” is not only an educational but also an entertaining book.
From the Mirror:

Although it was actually a long poem, Homer’s Odyssey is sometimes called the original sci-fi novel. As a chronicle of the “hero’s journey” it is such an archetype that many have had an irresistible urge to create modern versions. This must have been what tempted UCLA’s Ray Bolger Musical Theatre Program to launch its production of the new musical Homer In Cyberspace.

Sad to report, then, that although much work has gone into this musical adaptation of The Odyssey, the result is more odd than Odyssey and the journey is less heroic than the kind of trip that has your kid repeating “Are we there yet?” in the back of the car.

In Homer In Cyberspace, the familiar story of the returning war hero Odysseus, who ends up a wanderer due to a god’s curse, and his wife Penelope, who is plagued with suitors in her husband’s absence but remains faithful, is very loosely updated to modern high-tech times. Penelope (Grace Ann Wall, who has a lovely singing voice but has to do her best with an underdeveloped character) wards off her suitors but finally settles on marrying an admiral who promptly starts exploiting the local landscape for uranium mining. Son Telly (Tony Silva) holes up in his room downloading Internet porn, but when he happens upon the Goddess Athena (Kaitlyn Daley, in an exuberant performance that steals the show), she promises to help him find his long-lost father “O”(Kevin Thyme, playing Odysseus more bewildered than wily).

“O” begins his journey home, but runs afoul of “Sy Klops,” a giant eye projected on the stage back wall. Sy Klops is not the humorously simple giant of the original; instead he’s a computer brain who swallows up other brains. “O” incapacitates Sy, his parents “Bernie and La Belle Klops,” and the “I-Gods,“ whatever they are, take revenge, and “O” finds himself cursed to wander in “cyberspace.” This nebulous region involves Sirens of both genders, the inhabitants of Hades, the abduction of Persephone by Hades (a guest appearance by another myth), the I-Gods and their mother, and so many cross-dressing jokes that the show threatens to become the Rocky Horror Odyssey.

This sort of freewheeling silliness in the service of a classic can be very funny in the hands of the right people (like LA’s Troubadour Theatre Company). But as written by Mel Shapiro and Daniel Keleher, the book of Homer in Cyberspace is overly long and often tedious in pace. The songs (with computer-composed music by Roger Bourland) vary in quality and slow down the action. The digital-age inside jokes don’t really work with the Odyssey scenario. We are supposed to understand that the “I-Gods” have replaced the more beautiful pantheon of classical Greek myth; that pantheon struggles to return. But how this fits into the Odyssey’s story line of marital fidelity, father-son bonding, and personal identity is never made very clear.

There is much about the production that one can admire. The scenery, costumes, and much of Nicholas Gunn’s choreography are right-on, and the media effects by students from UCLA’s film, television, digital media, and computer science departments are executed with incredible precision. There is also a poignancy to the musical’s final scene, in which an elderly Odysseus and Penelope try to rediscover their love.

It may be that those who are less familiar with ancient Greece and The Odyssey may find Homer In Cyberspace amusing. For a musical rendition of The Odyssey that gets the whole story done in less than five minutes, try Cream’s song “Tales of Brave Ulysses” instead.
From Novinite:

The local police captured Wednesday night one more treasure hunter on the spot in the ancient Roman town of Ratsiaria located close to the city of Vidin in northwest Bulgaria.

The man was digging illegally using a metal detector, a pickaxe, and a shovel. He turned in voluntarily the only ancient Roman coin he had found.

The ancient Roman town of Ratsiaria has been completely destroyed by treasure hunters who at one point used even bulldozers and other large machines to unearth its treasures.
That two-faced cup we mentioned a week or so ago didn't quite meet expections at auction ... from the BBC:

A 2,500-year-old gold cup which had spent 60 years in a box under the owner's bed has sold for £50,000 at auction.

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

Mr Webber, 70, said he remembered the cup as a small boy and "it's been quite exciting finding out what it was".

Guy Schwinge, of Duke's auctioneers in Dorchester, Dorset, said the analysis of the cup spoke for itself.

The gold cup is 14cm high (5.5in) and has two female faces looking in opposite directions with their foreheads decorated with a snake motif.

Experts from the University of Oxford and Harwell Scientifics dated the gold cup from the Achaemenid empire in the 3rd or 4th Century BC.

The Achaemenid empire was based around Persia, but at its height stretched from what is now Iran to Libya. It was wiped out by Alexander the Great in 330 BC.

Two other items passed down by Mr Webber's grandfather were also auctioned. A Roman gold spoon sold for £5,000 and a "Hellenistic" gold mount with a figure sold for £1,000.

The cup had been expected to fetch up to £100,000, although Mr Webber said he was happy with the result.
The Faculty of Arts, McGill University, invites applications for a Faculty Lecturer position in Classical Studies to start September 1, 2008 (three year appointment, renewable). The successful candidate must be able to teach introductory courses in ancient Greek, Latin and Classical mythology. A letter of application, curriculum vitae and teaching dossier should be sent to Professor Hans Beck, Director of Classical Studies, Department of History, McGill University, 855 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, QC, H3A 2T7. McGill University is committed to equity in employment and diversity. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be given priority. The deadline for applying is June 30, 2008.

2.00 p.m. |SCI| Alexander the Great: Murder Unsolved
Unravel one of the strangest mysteries of ancient times, the suspicious death of history's most extraordinary leader, Alexander the Great. Experts attempt to decipher if his early death at age 32 was caused by disease, excessive drinking or even murder.

nonas junias

470/469 B.C. -- birth of Socrates (according to one estimate)

466 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Dius Fidius ... a.k.a. Semo Sancus (and associated rites thereafter)

17 B.C. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 1)

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 2)
tremulous @ Dictionary.com

feuilleton @ Merriam-Webster
From Brand Republic:

Sky One is to air a new six-part drama series set during the Roman Empire, which chronicles the life of Octavius, the boy destined to become Emperor Augustus after the death of Julius Caesar.

'Empire' has been shot entirely on location in southern Italy and Rome, with an international cast including Santiago Cabrera from 'Heroes', playing the lead role of Octavius.

Cabrera played Isaac Mendez, the artist who painted the future, in series one of 'Heroes'.

The TV series is set in 44BC and Rome is a Republic stricken by poverty and controlled by a Senate corrupted by power.

Conqueror Julius Caesar, played by Colm Feore from 'Chicago', is murdered by members of the Senate; General Marc Antony, played by Vincent Regan from 'Troy' and '300', assumes the throne.

However, Caesar's dying wish is for his 17-year-old nephew, Octavius, to become his heir. Raised in privilege and pleasure, Octavius has never seen a battlefield and has no experience of leading a Republic. Antony vows to annihilate Caesar's entire bloodline and retain his control.

Octavius finds an ally in the gladiator Tyrannus (Jonathan Cake from 'First Knight'), who has sworn to protect him and help secure his inherited throne.

The duo must wrestle the tenuous power from Antony's grasp with the help of Agrippa (Chris Egan from 'Home and Away'), a young soldier and Camane (Emily Blunt from 'The Devil Wears Prada'), a vestal virgin.

'Empire', which has been made by the executive producers of the Oscar-winning movie 'Chicago', starts Thursday June 26 at 10pm on Sky One.

... this series aired in North America a couple of years ago ...
Remember that article rethinking the power of Mycenean women? Discover Magazine has labelled it the worst science article of the week:

Ancient Greek societies were, like the vast majority of other societies, patriarchal. Even as Athens moved toward an early version of democratic government around 500 B.C., men ran the show. But according to an article published on Sunday in the British newspaper The Observer, everything we knew about Greek gender relations was wrong.

The Observer article, titled “DNA Explodes Greek Myth About Women,” reports on a Manchester University study of DNA that dates back to the Mycenaean civilization from around the 16th or 17th century B.C., more than a millennium before the classical Athens of Socrates, Pericles, and Plato. What the scientists actually found through DNA analysis was that two skeletons located in a royal grave together were brother and sister, not husband and wife as archaeologists had previously thought.

The researchers’ study and their subsequent news release were tempered in their enthusiasm, saying that the find showed that Greek women from that era may have been able to achieve high social status—if they were born into a powerful family. Previously, they said, they thought women could only ascend to any kind of influence my marrying a wealthy man. The Observer, however, wrote that find elevated the status of Mycenaean women from little better than servants to places where they “often played key roles in running affairs of state.”

That’s overstating things by quite a bit, according to MIT ancient historian William Broadhead. “The presence of a brother and sister in this grave instead of a husband and wife actually changes little,” he told DISCOVER. “I would expect all the women in an imperial court to be buried in more or less similar fashion, regardless of any formal or informal power they might have wielded while alive.”

The Observer quotes Terry Brown, a member of the research team, as saying that “this discovery shows both the man and the woman were of equal status and had equal power.” But even if that was true for these two people, it doesn’t overturn much of anything, Broadhead says. Historians didn’t previously hold that these women were “chattel” or slaves in a man’s world, and it’s a stretch of the evidence to suggest that Ancient Greek women as a whole were power brokers based on such a small finding. “The article plays the classic rhetorical trick of exaggeration at both ends,” says Broadhead.
The incipit from a piece in the Telegraph:

The new Mayor of London also suggested that building more boxing academies could help curb youth violence.

Speaking two days after the murder of 15-year-old schoolgirl Arsema Darwit – the 16th teenager to be killed in London this year – Mr Johnson said it was vital that the "root causes" of such crimes were addressed.

As well as tough action by police, youngsters needed a varied academic and physical education.

"I think there's a huge amount we can do in London by promoting the learning of languages including Latin," he said, who studied Classics at Oxford University.

"I would like to see not only that but I would like to see ancient Greek. Latin can help with all languages.

"The government want to encourage more kids from less advantaged backgrounds to top universities and that would really help them."

"And of course education is one issue to do with all the social problems."

Elsewhere (and presumably at the same press conference):

Boris wants to see Latin and ancient Greek recognised by the government for inclusion when the government is setting up language schools.

Who studied Latin, he asks. And who hated it? I can't see how many hands went up, but Boris insists the classics are great.

... and in yet another place, but at the same pc:

While backing the teaching of Latin in schools, a technical problem meant the audience could not hear Mr Johnson. He said: 'What's going on? Can you hear me? There we go... some anti-Latin gremlin creeping in there!'

... hmmm ... I wonder if promotion of Latin and Classics is going to be BJ's 'carthago delenda est' phrase ...
From a Berkeley press release:

Just as the official Summer Olympics get underway in Beijing on June 21, an ancient athletic stadium at a UC Berkeley archaeological site in Greece that was home to the original Panhellenic Games will once again come alive with competition.

The Nemean Games, revived footraces held in the village of Ancient Nemea every four years since 1996, are not for trained athletes, but for anyone worldwide who wants to run. There will be a 100-meter sprint on the fourth-century clay track on June 21 and a 7.5- kilometer race the following day from the ancient temple of Herakles near the town of Kleonai to the stadium.

The 45-acre archaeological site, with its restored stadium, has been the focus of 35 years of excavations, analysis and study by UC Berkeley scholars. Stephen Miller, a UC Berkeley professor emeritus of classical archaeology, led the effort from its outset until his retirement in 2004. He now lives primarily in Nemea, and continues to promote the footraces in his role as honorary president of the Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games, the Greek organization responsible for the event.

Among this year's crowd at Nemea will be 18 UC Berkeley students and Robert Knapp, a UC Berkeley professor emeritus of classics. Knapp said that while he has been involved since 1987 with the excavation at Ancient Nemea, which is 80 miles southwest of Athens, this year marks his first entry into the race.

"Now that I am retired and can make plans pretty much as I please, it seems like a great time to see what it would feel like to run where ancient Greeks ran 2,300 years ago," Knapp said. "The stadium itself is enough to inspire me, but in addition, the chance to get a 'real taste' of the ancient world in this little corner of its life is very exciting indeed."

The 1996 races drew more than 660 runners from 29 countries and who ranged in age from 10 to 93. The games, covered by reporters from The New York Times, Reuters and other major media outlets, featured judges, heralds and trumpeters dressed in ancient-looking garb. Runners included then-U.S. Ambassador to Greece Thomas Niles, then-UC Berkeley Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien, and 1968 U.S. Olympic track coach Payton Jordan. In the 2004 games, more than 1,000 participants, including then-UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Berdahl, took to the track.

With the ancient vaulted tunnel that leads into the stadium currently in a weakened state, scaffolding has been installed to shore it up for use by race participants. In ancient days, the tunnel allowed athletes to prepare themselves outside the sight of the watching crowd and then make a dramatic entrance into the stadium, just as they will do at this year's games.

UC Berkeley students will be in Ancient Nemea for the races, some of them to participate and others to assist with language translation and other event-related chores that are apart from their field study assignments with Kim Shelton, a UC Berkeley assistant professor of classics and the director of the Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology. The center promotes teaching, research and public service centered on the campus's Nemean excavations.

Knapp will be in Greece not only for the Nemean Games, but to conduct work on an ancient coins project for the Nemea Center's Peterson Archaeological Museum.

More information is available on the Nemean Games website.
From the LA Times:

In a move signaling its return to collecting Mediterranean antiquities -- with tight restrictions -- the J. Paul Getty Museum has acquired a late 3rd century Roman sarcophagus that depicts a wine-making festival.

One of only six similarly decorated ancient funerary monuments known to exist, the elaborately carved marble work will go on display at the Getty Villa on June 12.

The sarcophagus -- which portrays a panorama of curly-haired cupids harvesting and stomping grapes, bordered by a pair of lion heads -- is the first major piece to be added to the antiquities collection since the Getty and many other museums became embroiled in an international controversy about ancient artworks thought to have been illegally exported, said Karol Wight, the Getty's senior curator of antiquities.

The Getty has returned 39 pieces to Italy over the last year and will send back a particularly prized, monumental cult figure in 2010 to fulfill an agreement with Italian authorities. So far, pieces from the museum's collection have been pulled out of storage to fill gaps, Wight said. But the sarcophagus will be the centerpiece of a new installation about the production and consumption of wine in ancient times.

The recent purchase -- made at an undisclosed price from an unidentified private collection in London -- adheres to a Getty policy adopted in 2006 that requires each newly acquired antiquity to have a clear ownership history dating to 1970, when an international agreement prohibited traffic in looted art.

The sarcophagus can be tracked to 1808 at the Villa Rondinini in Rome. A French ambassador, François de Corcelle, bought the marble in 1852. It was kept in his family in France until 1994, when it was purchased at auction by the collector who recently sold it to the Getty through an American dealer.

"It's a wonderful addition to our collection," Wight said, "and a really fun piece that will be great for family groups and educational programs." Although the sarcophagus was used as a watering trough for horses at some point during its residence in France, it will help the museum to explain themes of life and death and the vital place of wine in Roman culture, she said.
From Kathimerini:

Using new anti-seismic technologies to bolster Greek museums would offer significant protection to the treasures they hold, experts told a conference in Athens yesterday.

“The anti-seismic fortification for museums should be twofold: for the building itself and for the protection of the exhibits,” said Costas Spyrakos, the head of the anti-seismic laboratory of the National Technical University of Athens.

The technology, already adopted by the New Acropolis Museum, is crucial if Greece is to protect its ancient heritage, the experts said.

Techniques such as the seismic insulation of display cases and using of mechanisms that absorb shock waves, can make the impact of an earthquake “four to six times smaller.” Even simple measures would help protect museum exhibits, experts said. “Securing exhibits in place with special string offers basic protection,” Spyrakos said.
Word's out that Cicero will be the subject of The Essay on the BBC beginning Monday ...

Maritime Archaeology and Ancient Trade in the Mediterranean

Madrid, Spain, 18-20 September 2008

Organised by the Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology

The purpose of the conference is to explore the contribution of archaeology to the
understanding of maritime trade and exchange in the region of the ancient Mediterranean.
Papers are invited which discuss the results of recent research in sessions on:
• Conceptual issues in maritime trade
• Ships and shipping
• Ports and connectivity
• Landscapes of maritime trade.

We welcome papers that deal with either material from maritime contexts or those which
integrate land-based evidence into wider patterns of maritime trade. More theoretical
papers that deal with issues such as the scale and organisation of maritime trade are also
welcome. The conference is part of an Oxford-based series of lectures and seminars on
ancient trade in the Mediterranean and will lead to the publication of a monograph on this

Financial support will be given to those presenting papers.

The deadline for the submission of abstracts is the 30th of June.

For further information: http://www.ocma.ox.ac.uk/events
Or alternatively, please contact Damian Robinson (damian.robinson AT arch.ox.ac.uk) at the
Oxford Centre for Maritime Archaeology, Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford, 36
Beaumont Street, Oxford, OX1 2PG, UK

2008 Symposium on Allegory

22-23 September 2008 at Clare College, Cambridge

This Symposium is being co-organised by the
Cambridge Society for Neo-Latin Studies and the
Faculty of Classics at Cambridge University, as
part of Polymnia, an international programme of
research on myth and mythography in the ancient and early modern worlds.


Professor Michael J Allen (UCLA) Professor
Mariano Madrid Castro (Universidad Nacional a
Distancia, Motril, Granada) Dr Tania Demetriou
(St John's College, Oxford) Professor Jacqueline
Fabre-Serris (Université Charles-de-Gaulle-Lille
3) Professor Philip Ford (University of
Cambridge) Professor Dr Therese Fuhrer (Freie
Universität Berlin) Professor Françoise Graziani
(Université de Paris 8) Professor Philip Hardie
(University of Cambridge) Professor Richard
Hunter (University of Cambridge) Professor Glenn
Most (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa) Professor
Filippomaria Pontani ((Università Ca' Foscari,
Venezia) Valery Rees (School of Economic Science,
London) Professor Peter Struck (University of
Pennsylvania) Dr Paul White (University of Cambridge)

See http://www.mml.cam.ac.uk/other/courses/ugrad/NL_Symposium_2008.html
pridie nonas junias

468 B.C. -- birth of Socrates (by one reckoning)

218 B.C. (?) -- dedication of the Temple of the Great Custodian Hercules (and associated rites thereafter)

105 A.D. -- The emperor Trajan departs on his second campaign against the Dacians

204 A.D. -- ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 1)
lachrymose @ Dictionary.com

Hercules Killed in Traffic Accident

From the New York Times:

After a year and half of deliberations, the directors of the country’s largest art museums will announce new guidelines on Wednesday for how their institutions should collect antiquities, a volatile issue that has led in recent years to international cultural skirmishes and several highly publicized art restitution cases.

The Association of Art Museum Directors, whose 190 members also include leaders of Canadian and Mexican museums, says the new policy will probably make it even more difficult for museums to build antiquities collections through purchases or, as is more often the case, through gifts and bequests from wealthy private collectors. But they assert that the change will help stanch the flow of objects illegally dug up from archaeological sites or other places.

The new policy advises museums that they “normally should not” acquire a work unless solid proof exists that the object was outside its country of probable modern discovery before 1970, or was legally exported from its probable country of modern discovery after 1970. That is the year Unesco ratified a landmark convention prohibiting traffic in illicit antiquities, and it has become a widely accepted cutoff for antiquities collecting.

Objects that appear on the market without documentation leading back that far are much more likely to have been stolen or illegally dug up and smuggled out of their countries. Many in the archaeological field argue that museums and private collectors create an incentive for looting by accepting artifacts whose provenance is uncertain.

A previous guideline had established a rolling 10-year cutoff. But while the new museum policy now accepts 1970, it leaves the ultimate decision on whether to buy or accept such objects up to individual museums.

“The museum must carefully balance the possible financial and reputational harm of taking such a step against the benefit of collecting, presenting and preserving the work in trust for the educational benefit of present and future generations,” the guidelines say.

The association will also create a new centralized Internet database through which its members can provide detailed information about newly acquired antiquities, part of an effort to make that area of museum collecting much more transparent.

“We’re not, in a nutshell, adopting 1970 as a hard and fast bright line,” said Dan L. Monroe, director of the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., and the chairman of the committee that formulated the new policy. “We simply don’t see the world in such black and white terms. The facts on the ground are that such acquisitions have been extremely complex, and they need to be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.”

The immediate reaction to the new policy among archaeologists and others who have lobbied for stringent collecting standards was generally favorable. But some said they had hoped the policy would make the 1970 cutoff inviolable, as many university museums and some large museums — including the British Museum, the J. Paul Getty in Los Angeles and the Indianapolis Museum of Art — have done.

“On an overarching level this is a significant step forward,” said Patty Gerstenblith, a law professor at DePaul University in Chicago and the president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Cultural Heritage Preservation.

Still, she added, “the fact that a museum can use its own informed judgment obviously leaves a lot of discretion, a lot of room for exceptions.”

Ms. Gerstenblith also criticized the spirit of the guidelines, which speak primarily of the museums’ need to balance acquisitions against potential harm to their reputations or to their finances should they have to return a valuable object that is later found to have been looted.

“It does not seem to take into account the possible damage to the world’s cultural heritage and to archaeological sites in source countries,” she said.

But Michael Conforti, the new president of the directors’ association, said the new policy — which is not legally binding on the member museums, though he predicted that all of them would abide by it — would send a powerful signal to the antiquities market.

“If there are those out there who see this as just some kind of veiled license to collect, then they’re going to have to explain that to me,” he said. “I think this is a more than honorable stance, and one that will actually help the archaeological field.”

Is it just me, or are other folks wondering how this is different from the policies they're trying to 'fix'? Would this policy, e.g., have prevented the Getty from acquiring all those items it eventually returns?
From the Stourbridge News:

A MEDIAEVAL skeleton, a human tooth and hoardes of Roman pottery have been found buried under modern-day Worcester.

Archaeologists excavating the former Worcester Royal Infirmary site, in Castle Street, have unearthed more than 1,700 years of history.

Beneath the five-acre site, which is being transformed into the University of Worcester's new city campus, they found evidence of a busy, noisy, dirty Roman district.

As well as two Roman buildings and large pits used for disposing rubbish, they found proof of metal-working and huge amounts of pottery, some of which proves the people of Roman Worcester had trading links with Roman France.

There is a mysterious circular ditch, 13m in diameter and dating to the third century AD, which has baffled archaeologists.

They also found the partial remains of a late mediaeval burial - although no one knows why a person would be buried on the site - and the entrance to a tunnel which once connected the hospital to the old Castle Street Gaol.

Death masks were allegedly recovered from the tunnel during the 1950s.

Although the entrance is now bricked up and the tunnel filled with rubble, the brick vaulted roof was found intact. Eerily, one of the first items to be found in the rubble was a human tooth.

"There have been some really exciting finds during this study and the university is keen to ensure the history of this important part of the city is fully recorded," said Mark Evans, from the University of Worcester's city campus project team.

"The investigations currently under way will allow present and future generations with an interest in the archaeology and history of Worcester to understand more of the city's past."

Elsewhere on the site, buildings demonstrate architectural innovation including a very early air ventilation system.

When the builders dismantled the former nurses' homes, dating back to 1930, they found stacks of postcards, polling cards, letters and invitations, which had fallen behind a fireplace mantelpiece and been forgotten.

Many, from the late 1940s and early 50s, give a tangible sense of relief following the Second World War.

The infirmary itself, built between 1768 and 1770, is also being recorded and analysed.

Display boards detailing the exciting finds will be placed at the site soon. There will also be a series of public events giving people a first hand glimpse into the site's history.
ante diem iii nonas junias

Saecular Games continue (day 3)

some time after 296 B.C. -- dedication of a Temple of Bellona (and associated rites thereafter)
bagatelle @ Dictionary.com (maybe)
Saw this on the Classics list (and elsewhere):

Beginning on June 12, Bolchazy-Carducci-Publishers kicks off its summer
webinar series for Latin teachers:

Thurs., June 12 - 3:00 p.m. EST (2 p.m. CST): "Using Roman History to Learn
Latin Reading Skills", Rose Williams, Emerita Latin teacher

Wed., June 18 - 2:00 p.m. EST (1 p.m. CST): "Teaching Catullus: Pedagogical
and Scholarly Perspectives", Ronnie Ancona, Hunter College, City University
of New York

Wed., June 25 - 3:00 p.m. EST (2 p.m. CST): "Roman Art and Archaeology for
Latin Teachers", Jayni Reinhard, Arizona State University

Follow this link to read course descriptions and to reserve your space:
From a UMichigan Press release:

The event will last longer than an Indiana Jones movie, and thanks to blogging, it's the closest many people will get to experiencing life on an archeological dig.

Conservators from the University of Michigan's Kelsey Museum of Archaeology have joined archaeological team members in Israel for the 2008 season of the excavations at Tel Kedesh, Israel.

During the expedition, which runs through July 17, Kelsey Museum conservators Suzanne Davis and Claudia Chemello will maintain a Web site, including a blog with photos, detailing the day's events and the team’s ongoing task of excavating and conserving artifacts from the site.

Visitors to the site can email questions and comments to the conservators and learn about the "Find of the Week” at: http://sitemaker.umich.edu/kelseymuseum.digdiary/home

The Web site focuses on archaeological conservation in the field, said Chemello, senior conservator for the U-M’s Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. It offers an up-close view of the preparation, process, and excitement of being on a dig, she said.

"The Web site, and particularly the blog, will allow teachers to bring a current excavation into the classroom,” said Todd Gerring, Community Outreach Supervisor at the Kelsey Museum. “The ability to ask questions directly to the conservators gives a much needed interaction that will actively engage students as the work progresses.”

Located on the Israeli-Lebanese border, Tel Kedesh is one of the largest tels (or mounds) in the Upper Galilee in Israel. Archaeological tels result from the accumulation and erosion of material deposited by human habitation over a long period of time. Since antiquity, the area has been home to a variety of different cultural and ethnic groups such as the Canaanites, the Israelite tribe of Naphtali, Persians, and Phoenicians from the nearby city of Tyre.

The excavation, which began in 1997, is a joint project between U-M and the University of Minnesota; it is co-directed by U-M's Sharon Herbert, director of the Kelsey Museum and Professor of Classical Studies, and Andrea Berlin, Professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota.

One of the goals of the 2008 dig is to continue the excavation of a large building on the site, which dates to the Hellenistic period (3rd to 1st century BC). The building – approximately 148-by-164 feet – was constructed on top of another building dating to the Persian period (6th to 3rd century BC).

To date, far, about 40 percent of the structure has been excavated.
8.00 p.m. |NG| The Gospel of Judas
ante diem iv nonas junias

Saecular Games continue (day 2) -- the celebration of Rome's anniversary continues

261 B.C. -- death of Antiochus I Soter (I have not been able to confirm this date)

177 A.D. -- martyrdom of Blandina, Alexander (and others) at Lyons (a.k.a. the Martyrs of Lyons)

193 A.D. -- recently-deposed emperor-for-a-little-while Didius Julianus is murdered
countermand @ Dictionary.com
A couple of articles on some local high schools' success at the NLE:

Muskogee High (Muskogee, Oklahoma)
West Geauga High (Ohio)
We'll see how many of these sorts of things show up in the coming months ... from the BBC:

Come with me, if you will, on a journey back to the Ancient Olympic Games for today's countdown,

Ahhh, the gold old days when men competed in the altogether and married women were not allowed within a javelin thrown of the stadium; any that were found in the stadium were sentenced to death.

A time when sportsmanship reigned and the Games were not ruled by money.

Err...stop right there, while the bit about nudeness and married women is true, the original incarnation of the Games were every bit as susceptible to a bit of cheating and corruption as they are today.

Depending on which sources you want to trust, there are all manner of controversies to plough through, such as the first recorded incident of actual cheating in 388 BC when the boxer Eupolus of Thessaly bribed three opponents to take a dive.

Other athletes tried to bribe judges and those caught had to pay a fine, which helped finance the statues of Zeus that lined the route to the stadium.

There were, of course, many athletes who, like today, played within the rules.

But corruption really peaked in AD 67 when Roman Emperor Nero decided to get involved.

Not only did Nero bribe Olympic officials to hold the Games out of sequence to suit his own purposes, he also persuaded judges to disqualify all possible competitors so that he could compete against himself and win six events.

And according to the writer Suetonius, despite failling from his chariot in a ten-horse race and not finishing, Nero was declared the victor anyway.

Several hundred years later, the founder of the Modern Games, Pierre de Coubertin proclaimed: "The important thing is not to win, but to take part."

For Nero, it appeared to be the other way round.

By the way, one married woman did manage to watch the Games.

Kalipateira disguised herself as a man and sneaked into the stadium in 404 BC with her son, Peisirodos, who she had trained following the death of her husband.

When Peisirodos won, Kalipateira's secret was revealed as she caught her tunic while clambering over a barrier in excitement and revealed a little too much flesh.

But rather than being thrown by the Eleans from the cliffs of mount Typaion, as happened to other women, officials decided that because her father, brothers, and son were all Olympic victors, she would not be punished, in order to honour them.

However, after this incident it was decided that trainers would also be required to be naked at the Olympic games, making it impossible for women to enter in disguise.

And so endeth today's history lesson - I hope you enjoyed it and if you know of any other Ancient Olympic scandals, please reveal them below.
3.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Mysterious Death Of Cleopatra
The daughter of an incestuous marriage, Cleopatra married and murdered her brothers, inheriting the throne of Egypt at age 17; her life was filled with the unexplained; experts re-examine the circumstances of Cleopatra's untimely death.

9.00 p.m. |HISTC| ROME II | Deus Impeditio Esuritor Nullus
Rome is facing a dire shortage of grain, forcing Octavian to barter with Mark Antony to get new shipments sent from Egypt. But instead of agreeing to Octavian’s price – money and territory – Mark Antony flatly turns him down, pointing towards an inevitable conflict between the two former allies and, perhaps, Vorenus and Pullo. As a last resort, Octavian sends Atia and Octavia to Alexandria, knowing their reception will most likely be a chilly one. At the Collegium, where Pullo is rationing out grain to increasingly restless Romans, Gaia saves her master from a caged animal’s wrath, but can’t save herself. After fleeing a deteriorating situation in Egypt, Posca gives Octavian the ammunition he needs to turn the people against Mark Antony, setting in motion the wheels of war.

DCIVC = Discovery Civilizations
HISTC = History Television (Canada)
Kai-Christian Bruhn alerts us to the following (thanks!) ... first, Wolfgang Will writes in FAZ:

Wenn nicht an ihren Gegnern, so scheiterten sie doch an der „langen und zahllosen Zeit“, die nach einem Wort des Dramatikers Sophokles alles, was sie offenbar macht, auch wieder ins Verborgene versenkt. Könige, Potentaten und Diktatoren ließen wenig unversucht, der Zeit entgegen zu arbeiten und ihr Andenken zu wahren. Sie bestallten eigene Historiker, errichteten Triumphbögen, stifteten Kulte und Tempel, ließen Ehreninschriften verfassen oder Münzen prägen. Mit den Bildnissen Alexanders des Großen begann der Siegeszug des Herrscherporträts. Das Interesse der Regenten am Nachleben traf sich mit dem Wunsch des Publikums, vergangener Größe oder vergangenem Schrecken aus zeitlich sicherer Distanz „ins Auge zu sehen“.

Auch Caesar dachte an die Nachwelt. Eine Statue des Diktators stand im Quirinus-Tempel, eine andere auf dem Capitol, eine dritte auf der Rednerbühne, eine vierte aus Elfenbein wurde beim Festzug während der Zirkusspiele auf einem Wagen in die Prozession der Götterbilder eingereiht. Einer Statue im Victoria-Tempel des kleinasiatischen Ortes Tralles rühmte er sich selbst in seinen Schriften. Und auf dem Forum Iulium in Rom präsentierte er sich als neuer Alexander, indem er den Kopf eines dort aufgestellten Reiterbildnisses des makedonischen Königs durch sein eigenes Porträt ersetzen ließ.

Eingeschmolzen, umgearbeitet, entsorgt

Wichtiger als Inschrift und Bild aber war Caesar die historiographische Überlieferung seiner Taten. Anders als Alexander wollte er deren Schilderung nicht den Berufshistorikern überlassen. Zehn Bücher Commentarii stammen aus seiner Feder, sieben über den Krieg gegen die Gallier, drei über denjenigen gegen Pompeius und die eigenen Bürger. Der Nachruhm währte freilich nur kurz. Schon in der Catilina-Monographie Sallusts, dem einstigen Günstling Caesars, gewinnt der große Gegenspieler Cato an Boden; Augustus distanzierte sich versteckt von seinem Adoptivvater und in der Dichtung Lucans wird Caesar bereits in Neronischer Zeit zum Schlächter an den Mitbürgern.

Caesars Bildnisse wurden eingeschmolzen, umgearbeitet oder in Abfallgruben, Brunnen und Gewässern entsorgt. Es blieb kein einziges erhalten, das sich durch einen Namenszug ihm mit Sicherheit zuweisen ließe. Sein schriftliches Werk verschwand, bereits im fünften Jahrhundert hielt der Historiker Orosius den „Gallischen Krieg“ für ein Werk des Biographen Sueton. Erst in der Renaissance wurden die Commentarii wiederentdeckt, 1469 zum ersten Mal gedruckt und im neunzehnten Jahrhundert auch allgemeine Schullektüre. Wer das Gymnasium besuchte, kam seitdem nicht mehr an Caesar vorbei. Doch die Commentarii vermitteln kein Bild vom Staatsmann Caesar. Der Autor versteht es, von allen seinen Zielen zu schweigen. Der Leser begegnet im „Bellum Gallicum“ einem Feldherrn, der von Sieg zu Sieg eilt und nicht einmal in den Pausen die Maske des überlegenen Strategen ablegt.

Das zwanzigste Jahrhundert wollte seinen Kopf

So entstand Neugier auf den Mann hinter den Zeilen, doch der „authentische“ Porträtkopf, der sie hätte befriedigen können, fehlte. Im letzten Jahr des Diktators, 44 vor Christus, prägten die beiden berühmten Münzmeister Buca und Mettius qualitätsvolle Denare, aber alle Münzen zeigen Caesar nur im Profil. Wie im sechzehnten Jahrhundert nach Scipio-Köpfen, im achtzehnten nach denen Catos gesucht wurde, so wollte das zwanzigste den seinen Vorstellungen entsprechenden Caesar-Kopf. Der durch Münzvergleich als gesichert geltende Caesar-Typus Pisa-Chiaramonti, ein etwas heroisierter Kopf mit festem Lockenschema, den die Vielzahl der Repliken als berühmten Mann ausweist, war offenbar augusteisch. So genügte er den Ansprüchen auf „Authentizität“ nicht, zumal ihm die vom Biographen Sueton bezeugte Stirnglatze fehlte, die Caesar angeblich kaschierte, indem er das spärlich gewordene Haar über den Scheitel von hinten nach vorn kämmte oder den Lorbeerkranz trug, den ihm Senat und Volk als Auszeichnung verliehen hatten.
Er will ihn sofort erkannt haben: Luc Long mit der Büste aus der Rhône

Der „gewünschte“ Kopf musste dann aber erst gar nicht ausgegraben werden. Er war bereits 1825 in Tusculum gefunden worden und lag mehr als hundert Jahre in einem Turiner Museum, bis ihn der Archäologe M. Borda 1943 „zweifelsfrei“ als zeitgenössischen Caesar erkannte. Er besitzt die von Sueton beschriebene Stirnglatze, die Haare sind von hinten nach vorn gestrichen, mit den Münzbildern stimmen der lange, faltige Hals überein und der gestreckte Schädel mit dem ausladenden Hinterkopf. Aber vor allem ist es natürlich ein Caesar, wie er in seinen letzten Lebensjahren, in denen das Porträt entstanden sein soll (das inzwischen auch wieder zur Kopie eines Originals herabgestuft wurde), ausgesehen haben kann: ein gealterter Mann, gezeichnet von den Anstrengungen eines vierzehnjährigen permanenten Kriegszustandes mit Feldzügen in drei Erdteilen, ratlos angesichts seines politischen Scheiterns. Es ist der Caesar, den wir heute sehen wollen, und so wird er sich auch gegen den „grünen“ Kopf aus ägyptischem Hartgestein in Berlin (Fälschung?) oder die Neufunde des einundzwanzigsten Jahrhunderts behaupten. Paul Zanker hat sich an diesem Montag in der „Süddeutschen Zeitung“ schon in diesem Sinne geäußert.

Gefürchtet und gefeiert wie noch kein Mensch vor ihm

Weder der Caesar, der 2003 aus einer Zisterne der sizilianischen Vulkaninsel Pantelleria geborgen wurde, noch derjenige, der im Oktober des Vorjahres aus der Rhône bei Arles gefischt wurde, werden sich in absehbarer Zeit als gesichert erweisen. Es ist der Wille des Archäologen, der die Büste zu(m) Caesar macht. Er habe ihn sofort erkannt, soll der französische Altertumsforscher Luc Long über den Fund in der Rhone geäußert haben, ohne allerdings zu sagen, woran. Die Ähnlichkeit mit dem Turiner Kopf ist nur gering, und die dominierenden Naso-Labialfalten sind in dieser zangenförmigen Ausprägung von anderen Caesar-Köpfen her nicht bekannt. Die veristischen Züge könnten auf ein republikanisches Porträt verweisen. Und für Caesar spricht, dass er im Fundort Arles im Jahre 46 eine Veteranenkolonie gründete oder gründen ließ (durch Ti. Claudius Nero, den Vater des Kaisers Tiberius), denn persönlich kann Caesar erst im Sommer 45 in Arles gewesen sein, als er sich nach der letzten Schlacht des Bürgerkrieges auf dem Rückweg aus Spanien in der Gallia Narbonensis aufhielt.

Es wären Veteranen der dort angesiedelten 6. Legion gewesen, die die Büste aufgestellt hätten, aber wohl nicht in den Jahren 49 bis 46, wie die französischen Archäologen meinen, sondern erst 45, als Caesar nach dem erwähnten spanischen Sieg über die Söhne des Pompeius in Spanien, „gefürchtet und gefeiert wie noch kein Mensch vor ihm“ (so der Historiker Appian), allerorten Standbilder erhielt. Dass die Büste unmittelbar nach der Ermordung Caesars an den Iden den März in die Rhône geworfen wurde, wie ebenfalls behauptet, entbehrt jeder Wahrscheinlichkeit. Dazu bestand keinerlei Anlass.

Es wird nicht der letzte Caesar gewesen sein

Glauben wir den in den letzten Wochen verbreiteten Nachrichten, besitzen wir nun einen Caesar, wie wir ihn noch nicht kannten. Das ist insofern richtig, als die Büste ein Einzelstück ist. Sicherlich wird es auch nicht der letzte Caesar sein, der das Licht des einundzwanzigsten Jahrhunderts erblickt. Ausgräber geben ihren Funden verständlicherweise den prominentesten Namen, der den Umständen entsprechend möglich ist. Aber selbst wenn sich die so eilig propagierte Identifizierung als richtig erwiese, bedeutet der Fund in der Rhône für unser Caesar-Bild wenig. Es entsteht aus den literarischen Zeugnissen namentlich der Zeitgenossen und konstituiert sich in kurzen Abständen regelmäßig neu.

Wenn denn jemand Caesars wahres Gesicht zumindest ahnen will, muss er Ciceros Brief an seinen Freund Atticus vom 19. Dezember des Jahres 45 vor Christus lesen. So nah ist niemand dem Diktator gekommen. Caesar-Büsten illustrieren nur dieses von Cicero entworfene Bild. Vielleicht auch die aus der Rhône, vielleicht aber auch nicht.

The article is accompanied by the following photos (the person in the second one is Luc Long):

From Die Welt comes an interview with Luca Giuliani:

Die Welt:

Vor einigen Tagen haben französische Archäologen einen marmornen Kopf präsentiert, den sie bei Arles aus der Rhone geborgen haben und der das früheste, noch zu Lebzeiten geschaffene Bildnis Caesars sein soll, das bislang auf uns gekommen ist. Kollegen von Ihnen haben diese Deutung mit ja, jein und nein quittiert. Was sagen Sie?

Luca Giuliani:

Ich halte das für ein frühaugusteisches Porträt einer unbekannten Privatperson, von dem wir keine Repliken haben.

Was macht Sie da so sicher?


Es gibt praktisch keinen Kopf aus jener Zeit - wenn er nicht weiblich, dick oder aus anderen Gründen völlig unpassend war -, der nicht schon irgendwann von irgendwem als Caesar bezeichnet worden wäre. Das ging bis in die Dreißigerjahre des vergangenen Jahrhunderts so. Seitdem hat sich unser Fach gewisse handwerkliche Regeln angeeignet. Und die sprechen in dem Fall klar gegen Caesar.



Man geht von den Münzen aus und prüft, wo man Gruppen von Repliken findet. Der Witz ist, dass Porträts von berühmten Römern kopiert worden sind und diese Kopien über das gesamte Reich verbreitet wurden. Kopien, die auf ein und dasselbe Original zurückgehen, nennen wir Repliken. Die Originale sind immer verloren, denn die waren in der Regel aus Edelmetall und haben sich daher nicht erhalten. Von den Repliken haben wir, wenn es gut geht, zwei bis drei Prozent der Köpfe, die damals produziert worden sind.

Und woher weiß man, welche Köpfe zu welcher Person gehören?


Jetzt kommen die Münzen ins Spiel. Wenn Sie eine Gruppe von Repliken haben, können sie diese mit namentlich zugewiesenen Münzporträts vergleichen. Oder sie haben Repliken mit einer Inschrift - so etwas hat man aber noch nicht gefunden. Selbst von den rund 200 Augustus-Kopien gibt es keine mit seinem Namen. Oder Sie haben Galerien mit Kaiserporträts. Das Porträt Caesars, das 2003 auf Pantelleria gefunden wurde, stammt aller Wahrscheinlichkeit nach aus solch einem Fundzusammenhang.

Und warum wird der Kopf aus der Rhone zu Caesar?


Aus keinem dieser Gründe. Der Ausgräber sagt, er habe ihn sofort erkannt. Aber man fragt sich amüsiert, woran er ihn erkannt hat.

Wann fängt diese Sitte denn an, dass von einem bedeutenden Römer ein Bild hergestellt wird, von dem Repliken über das Weltreich verteilt werden?


Im großen Stil mit Augustus, aber die frühesten Kopien von berühmten Römern haben wir schon um 100 v. Chr.

Von wem?


Es gibt ein Porträt, von dem mehrere Repliken erhalten sind. Komischerweise werden verschiedene Namen ins Feld geführt. Ich halte es für Cato den Älteren. Andere tippen auf Marius.

Man kann also nicht sagen, dass Caesar noch in ein Experimentalstadium fällt.


Auf keinen Fall.

Von Caesar soll es rund 25 Porträts geben.


Von zwei Typen. Der eine ist noch zu Lebzeiten zu datieren, dazu gehört auch der Kopf von Tusculum. Der andere, ein idealisierendes Porträt mit ungeheuer starken Backenknochen, augusteischer Miene und reichlicherem Haarwuchs, stammt aus der Zeit des Augustus. Die Glatze, die der frühere Porträttypus getreu überliefert, wurde offenkundig als ästhetisches Problem empfunden.

Und Pantelleria?


Ist eine Variante von Tusculum.

Und der aus Ägypten stammende Kopf aus grünem Basalt?


Ich habe keine Ahnung, ob das wirklich Caesar ist. Es kann eine lokale Variante sein. Aber mit unseren Methoden ist das nicht schlüssig zu klären.

Es könnte also sein, dass in der Veteranenkolonie Arelate eine besondere Variante Caesars aufgestellt wurde.


Dazu ist die Abweichung zu den anderen Typen zu stark.

Wen zeigt der Kopf aus Arles dann?


Einen Gutsbesitzer, einen Magistrat, einen Soldaten. Wie gesagt, vom ganzen Habitus, von der Mimik, von der Gestaltung der Haare her gehört er in die augusteische Zeit.

Dann ist das Stück also wertlos.


Nein, warum denn? Es ist ein gut erhaltenes, schönes Porträt. Ich bin mir allerdings nicht sicher, ob die Münchner Glyptothek es ausstellen würde. Sie hat viele gute Stücke. Die Berliner würden es zeigen. Doch davon abgesehen: Welche Information böte uns eine weitere Caesar-Darstellung, außer, dass sie in eine bekannte Gruppe passen würde?

Sie wäre authentisch.


Warum kommt das Stück auf die Titelseite von "Le Monde"? Was für ein Bedürfnis befriedigt das? Caesar gehört wie Napoleon und Hitler zu den bekanntesten historischen Figuren überhaupt. Und dann hat man auf einmal sein authentisches Gesicht. Das aber ist ein Mythos. Denn Caesars Bild ist ja keineswegs nach dem Leben geformt, sondern so, wie er oder andere ihn darstellen wollten. Mit modernen Kategorien gesagt: Es handelt sich um Wahlplakate.

Für Charakterstudien also ungeeignet.


Das wissen nur die Leute vom Fach. Das Publikum aber will ihm, dem allmächtigen Diktator, in die Augen schauen.

Als vor einigen Jahren in Berlin ein Papyrus mit der vermeintlichen Unterschrift der Kleopatra präsentiert wurde, waren zwölf Fernseh-Teams anwesend.


Das ist niederschmetternd. Sagt ihre Unterschrift etwas über die Frau, über ihren Charakter? Der Informationsgehalt geht gegen Null.

Aber mit solchen Funden hat es die Archäologie geschafft, von einer Exotendisziplin zum angesagtesten historischen Fach der Gegenwart aufzusteigen. Zwei der intellektuellen Leuchttürme Berlins, Ihr Wissenschaftskolleg und die Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz, werden mittlerweile von Archäologen geführt.


Ich bin gern in diesem Haus. Ob das etwas damit zu tun hat, dass ich Archäologe bin, weiß ich nicht.

Könnte man sagen: Je weniger die Menschen von der Geschichte wissen, desto mehr klammern sie sich an die Leute, die zu deren Wurzeln vordringen.


Nach der Suche nach den Wurzeln des Abendlandes haben sich die Altertumswissenschaften ja frei gemacht. Wir verstehen die Antike heute als exotisch, sehen sie als ungeheuer aufregendes Laboratorium, erkennen, wie der Klassizismus die Antike missverstanden hat und wie fremd sie eigentlich ist. Das ist das wirklich Spannende.

Kämpfen Sie da nicht gegen Windmühlen?


Das glaube ich auch. Wir haben viel zu lange dieses diffuse Bedürfnis des Publikums bedient und einen Fund schnell mit dem größten Namen zusammengebracht, den wir finden konnten, in diesem Fall Caesars. Ich glaube, es wäre besser gewesen, diese Erwartungen anzusprechen, sie als historisches Problem aufzudecken und dann zu zeigen, was der richtige methodische Umgang mit einem Fund sein sollte. Ich will nicht gegen Windmühlen kämpfen, aber mich ihnen behutsam nähern und ihnen langsam den Wind aus den Schaufeln nehmen. Die Gier nach dem Authentischen erklärt sich durch unser Versäumnis, beizeiten gezeigt zu haben, was wir in unserer Wissenschaft eigentlich machen.
From the New York Times:

In Greek mythology Tyche was the goddess of luck who brought fortune and prosperity to cities. She is often depicted with a miniature walled town perched on her head, which is said to be the first crown. The Tyche of Antioch, a marble sculpture in the Vatican Museums in Rome, is a renowned example.

Coincidentally, both Christie’s and Sotheby’s have exceptional Tyche sculptures in their antiquities auctions on Thursday.

Lot 264 at Christie’s is a Roman 31-inch-tall Tyche, second century A.D., who is missing her head and arms. She is made of porphyry, a stone quarried in Egypt that was particularly prized in Rome during the reigns of Trajan and Hadrian.

She is seated on a rock, her right elbow on her thigh, with a tightly wrapped cape, the folds deeply carved.

Lot 28 at Sotheby’s is a 21-inch-tall bronze Tyche, late Hellenistic or Roman, about first century B.C. to 1st century A.D. She is standing, with a crownlike diadem resting on top of her curly hair.

I seem to have fallen behind in my auction coverage ... Here's the porphyry Tyche from Christie's (official description here):

... and here's Sotheby's (official description):

From Dominican Today comes some more info:

An Egypt-Dominican archaeological team which excavates a dig to look for the tombs of Cleopatra and Marc Antony has made important findings, said Friday doctor Kathleen Martinez, the Dominican embassy's Cultural attaché in that Arab country and the group’s leader.

Martinez said the findings were possible by the work of leading researchers and Egyptian technicians, who’ve worked for more than four years in a Ptolemaic temple in the outskirts of Alexandria, where she believes Cleopatra and the Roman general are buried. “He had to be a moved to a point away from the city of Alexandria, to preserve the bodies of disgrace for the Romans, by then victorious agaisnt the queen and her ally.”

Interviewed on Colorvision Channel 9 and later in a press conference in the Foreign Relations Ministry (SEREX), the researcher said she’s studied the Egyptian queen’s possible burial sites for the last 15 years, and which has fueled numerous myths and doubts.

The Egyptologist, who’s in Dominican Republic after taking a recess in the excavations to resume in November, said her project was approved after she presented her theory to Egypt’s Antiques Council four years ago.

Martinez added that found so far is an alabaster statue believed to be of Cleopatra and a mask which could belong to Marc Antony.

The original article has a little slide show of sorts ... the last one depicts (presumably) the alabaster statue; I'd be very interested in seeing the 'mask' ... Folks might also be interested in the National Geographic coverage (although their only photo is of Zahi Hawass, of course)
Folks might be interested to know that I've created an AWOTV 'channel' at Veoh ... as I come across videos, I'll mention them here from time to time, but they'll be available as a sort of 'ancient history channel' at Veoh for whenever you want to access them. The channel itself consists of the five minute previews of programs; to get the full thing, you have to have Veoh TV (which also allows you to download most, if not all, of them). Highlights of things I've just added include Michael Wood's In Search of the Trojan War (which is becoming increasingly difficult to find), Bettany Hughes' Spartans and Helen of Troy, and assorted other good stuff.

Give it a look see here ... whatever was the last thing I added will start playing; a menu of items is on the right (34 items as of this writing). There's a comment facility too ... not sure how that will work out, but feel free to make use of it!