A 2,100-year-old "computer" found in a Roman shipwreck may have acted as a calendar for the Olympic Games, scientists report in Nature journal.
The Antikythera Mechanism has puzzled experts since its discovery by Greek sponge divers in 1901.
Researchers have long suspected the ancient clockwork device was used to display astronomical cycles.
A team has now found that one of the dials records the dates of the ancient Olympiad.
This could have been to provide a benchmark for the passage of time.
The device is made up of bronze gearwheels and dials, and scientists know of nothing like it until at least 1,000 years later.
Tony Freeth, a member of the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project, said he was "astonished" at the discovery.
"The Olympiad cycle was a very simple, four-year cycle and you don't need a sophisticated instrument like this to calculate it. It took us by huge surprise when we saw this.
"But the Games were of such cultural and social importance that it's not unnatural to have it in the Mechanism."
The technique of X-ray computed tomography gave the researchers a 3D view of its 29 surviving gears. High-resolution imaging provided them with a close-up of tiny letters engraved on the surface.
The device's "subsidiary dial" was once thought to be a 76-year "callippic" calendar.
However, Mr Freeth and his colleagues have now been able to establish from its inscriptions that it displays the 4-year Olympiad cycle.
Instead of one Olympics as there is today, the ancient Olympiads, called the Panhellenic Games, comprised four games spread over four years.
The four sectors of the dial are inscribed with a year number and two Panhellenic Games: the "crown" games of Isthmia, Olympia, Nemea and Pythia; and two lesser games: Naa (held at Dodona) and a second game which has not yet been deciphered.
In addition, the team was able to identify the names of all 12 months, which belong to the Corinthian family of months.
Corinth, in central Greece, established colonies in north-western Greece, Corfu and Sicily, where Archimedes was established.
Archimedes, whose list of exploits included an explanation for the displacement of water and a screw pump that bears his name today, died there in 212 BC.
The Antikythera Mechanism was "almost certainly made many decades" after his death, according to Alexander Jones, a professor at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World in New York, US.
If it came from Syracuse, the dial could have been made by the school of scientists and instrument-makers he inspired.
The priceless artefact was found by a sponge diver amid other treasures on a wreck near the tiny island of Antikythera between Crete and the mainland. It is on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Athens.
This connection to the Olympics is a bit of a 'stretch', although this does seem to be new (cf. the extensive report in the New Yorker from last year); it seems misleading to suggest the purpose of this was to calculate the date of a festival which would have been 'dated' itself on the basis of a solstice vel simm.. Rather, the Olympic festival (and others) would have been a benchmark to establish the accuracy of the other dates (the journalists seem to envisage everyone having one of these and cranking the gears, waking up one morning and saying 'oh, it's the Olympics today ... see you later mom') ... the Archimedes connections seems tenuous as well (I'd be more convinced of that if it were found in/near Sicily) ... the full article in Nature is definitely interesting reading ; here's what it says on the Olympiad dial:
The subsidiary dial (Fig. 3) inside the Metonic spiral was formerly believed to be a 76-year Callippic dial8 (Supplementary Box 1). We have now established from its inscriptions that it displays the 4-year Olympiad cycle—a suggestion made previously for the main upper back dial19. The four sectors are inscribed anticlockwise with each sector containing a year number and two Panhellenic Games: the 'crown' games of Isthmia, Olympia, Nemea and Pythia and two lesser games: Naa (at Dodona) and a second game not yet deciphered20, 21. As biennial games, Isthmia and Nemea occur twice. The Olympiads were a common framework for chronology, with years normally beginning in midsummer. But here the year must start between early autumn and early spring, because the Isthmian Games are in the years preceding their usual positions in the cycle (Fig. 3). Several month names favour a start following the autumnal equinox. The small (approx8°, that is, one month) offset of the dial took account of the variation in the start of the lunisolar calendar and so ensured that the next Olympiad year would never start before the current year's games were over.
The Olympiad dial must be turned from the existing gearing6 at a rate of one-quarter turn per year. Underneath the Olympiad dial are the remains of an isolated gear with 60 teeth1, 6. Engaging this with a single additional gear with 57 teeth on the shaft of the Metonic pointer provides the correct anticlockwise rotation. Sizing this gear, with tooth pitch equal to the 60-tooth gear, gives a gear radius exactly as required by the interaxial distance: strong supporting evidence both for the Olympiad dial and this mechanical arrangement. The "76 years" inscription (Fig. 1) and other factors favour a Callippic dial, as a second subsidiary, symmetrical with the Olympiad dial—though loss of evidence means confirmation is unlikely. Might a fourth subsidiary, symmetric with the Exeligmos dial (Figs 1 and 2) complete the dial system? An existing shaft here does not penetrate the back plate and does not appear to rotate at any meaningful rate. So this seems doubtful.
From Typically Spanish
A summer camp organised for youngsters by the Junta de Extremadura has resulted in the discovery of three Roman busts dating from the first and second centuries, and of considerable value. One of the busts, of Trajan, is said to be particularly valuable as it is one of the few items to link him to Hispania.
The 15 students were working at the site of the old Roman city, Regina Turdulorum, at Casas de Reina in Badajoz and they found the three busts inside a well.
The busts have now been taken to the Provincial Archaeology Museum in Badajoz.
Here's a photo:
The one on the right looks like Trajan's typical 'bowl cut' hairstyle ... the one on the left looks like Nerva
; some info on the site
Made you look ... the headline from the Australian Stage
made me look too:
A fascinating exploration of IVF, cloning, disease prediction and prognosis, stem cell research, euthanasia, genetic counselling, DNA sampling and forensics is the next production for the Monash University Academy of Performing Arts’ Graduate Theatre Ensemble.
This modern adaptation of Sophocles’ classic play reframes the agonizing events of his drama into a relevant context for today.
Set in an imagined genetics laboratory, Oedipus DNA asks “if you could know everything about yourself, how much do you want to know”? Our cells are the new oracle. An uneasy truce exists between religion and science with the boundaries of scientific knowledge pushing forward rapidly.
Oedipus DNA maintains the harmony and unity of Sophocles, and loses none of his brilliant use of dramatic irony. Visually, Oedipus DNA pays homage to artists Damien Hirst, Matthew Barney and Patricia Piccinnini, and their aesthetic preoccupation with the scientific, the extravagant, the biotechnological, and the theatrical.
This production will be directed by Naomi Edwards, who is an accomplished theatre director and teaching artist. She has directed productions for theatre and opera in Australia as well as internationally, including Noye's Fludde Victorian Opera, Rabbit Hole Red Stitch, Don's Party Assistant Director STC/MTC, Il Re Pastore Lyric Opera of Melbourne, Actors At Work Bell Shakespeare Company, Carmen Assistant Director, Opera Australia, Agoraphobics Clinic RADA, London, Plasticine Birmingham School of Acting, and Saving Anne London, Michigan, New York.
Naomi’s teaching credits include the Arts Centre, St Martins, National Theatre, Bell Shakespeare, VCA, Monash University; Deakin University, Lyric Hammersmith and RADA. She was awarded the 2000 YPAA Directing Mentorship. Naomi is a VCA graduate in Direction, and a board member of Theatreworks.
Sexual Knowledge: uses of the past
27th-29th July 2009
University of Exeter
Call for papers
* Why and how have people throughout history turned to the past in
order to make sense of sexual experience?
* What kinds of authority has the past exercised in popular and
scholarly debates about sexual practices, identities, civilization and
* How do changing interpretations of past sexualities reflect
historical shifts in the way sex is understood?
This interdisciplinary conference invites abstracts for papers examining
any aspect of the way that discussions about sex and human nature over
the centuries have both been informed by and helped to shape ideas about
past cultures and the interpretation of their material and textual
We particularly welcome abstracts from postgraduates and early career
scholars, for whom some limited funding may be available.
Title and abstract to be received by 31 October 2008
Contact details for further information:
Dr Rebecca Langlands, Classics Department, Amory Building, Rennes Drive,
Exeter, EX4 4RJ Email: r.langlands AT exeter.ac.uk
Further conference information is available from the following website:
From Alpha Galileo
A Swiss-Greek research team co-lead by Dr. Frank Rühli from the Institute of Anatomy, University of Zurich, found indication for embalming in Roman Greek times. By means of physico-chemical and histological methods, it was possible to show that various resins, oils and spices were used during embalming of a ca. 55 year old female in Northern Greece. This is the first ever multidisciplinary-based indication for artificial mummification in Greece at 300 AD.
The remains of a ca. 55-year old female (ca. 300 AD, most likely of high-social status; actual location: Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Greece) shows the preservation of various soft-tissues, hair and part of a gold-embroidered silk cloth. This unique find allows multidisciplinary research on these tissues. In addition to macroscopic and anthropological analyses, electron microscopy and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry examinations were also performed. These showed the presence of various embalming substances including myrrh, fats and resins, but could not demonstrate clearly a conservatory influence of the surrounding lead coffin from Roman period. The findings significantly increase knowledge about the use of tissue-preserving, anti-bacterial and anti-oxidative substances in the mortuary practices of Roman Greece.
«This is, thanks to the mummy research at the University of Zurich, another significant increase in knowledge for society as well as historical research» explains Dr. Rühli, head of the Swiss Mummy Project. The actual work was done in collaboration with a Greek colleague from the Demokritus University of Thrace, with infrastructural support from the University of Zurich (Institute of Legal Medicine and Microscopy Centre).
Christina Papageorgopoulou, MA, study initiator and assistant at the Institute of Anatomy University of Zurich, explains: «Never before such embalming substances have been shown for this time period in Greece.» Up to now, only written historic sources suggested that selected people were embalmed in Roman Greece. The application of most modern analytic natural science methods allowed an enormous gain in knowledge particularly in the field of archaeology, and points towards possible future collaborations of social and natural scientists. «This transdisciplinary approach is particularly of interest in mummy science and is a main focus of our own research unit» states Dr. Rühli.
Swiss Mummy Project
The aim of the Swiss Mummy Project is to gain information about life and death, as well as after-death alterations (e.g. embalming procedures) of historic mummies, by using mainly non-invasive examination methods (non-destructive for tissues).The work of the Swiss Mummy Project is funded a.o. by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Research Fund, University of Zurich.
From Vivi Enna
comes news that the military will be doing security detail at the Villa Romana del Casale:
Uno degli obiettivi sensibili da far proteggere in Sicilia dall’Esercito è la villa Romana del Casale di Piazza Armerina, dove si trovano gli splendidi mosaici e dove si registra quotidianamente la presenza di migliaia di turisti italiani e stranieri. Un intervento a sorpresa ma che ha registrato l’approvazione di tutti dal sindaco Nigrelli, alla Soprintendenza ai Beni Culturali, al presidente della Provincia, Pippo Monaco. Lo ha deciso il ministero della Difesa, onorevole La Russa. Il 4 agosto, infatti, arriveranno in Sicilia circa 150 soldati, che per la maggior parte saranno distribuiti tra Palermo e Catania. Si tratta di una prima tranche a cui, successivamente, si aggiungeranno 150 uomini, per un totale, dunque, di 300 militari". Lo ha detto, a margine delle cerimonie di commemorazione del 25° anniversario dell'assassinio del giudice Rocco Chinnici, il comandante regionale militare sud dell'esercito, generale Mauro Moscatelli. Il generale Mauro Moscatelli, almeno nella fase iniziale verranno inviati, a Catania, e un gruppo sarà adibito a presidiare il sito archeologico di Piazza Armerina e in alcuni centri di permanenza degli immigrati. Non è la prima volta che i soldati operano all’interno della provincia di Enna e non è la prima volta che la villa Romana sia oggetto di attenzione da parte delle forze dell’ordine. Anche in passato poliziotti, guardie forestali hanno provveduto a mettere sotto controllo tutto il territorio dove si trova la villa Romana del Casale per evitare soprat
Things like this
are the likely reason ...
"Perspektive, Polyphonie, Performativitaet -
Funktionen von Reden in antiken Geschichtswerken"
Institut für Altertumswissenschaften, Universitaet Giessen, 25-27 September
Venue: Schloss Rauischholzhausen, Ferdinand-von-Stumm-Straße, 35085
Thursday, 25 September
18:00 John Marincola
(Florida State University),
The ‚Rhetoric‘ of History:
Allusion and Intertextuality
in Historiographical Speeches
Friday, 26 September
Chair: Peter von Moellendorff
9:15-10:15 Carlo Scardino (Basel),
Die Rolle der direkten Reden
in der Erzaehlung der Expansion
des Perserreichs bei Herodot
10:15-11:15 Thomas Schmitz (Bonn),
The Mytilenaean Debate in
11:30-12:30 Nicolas Wiater (Bonn),
Speaker and Narrator: Polybius' anèr
Chair: Helmut Krasser
14:00-15:00 Matthew Fox (Glasgow),
Cicero's contribution to the rhetoric
of Roman historiography
15:00-16:00 Chrysanthe Tsitsiou-Chelidoni
Macht – Rhetorik – Autoritaet.
Bemerkungen zur Funktion der
Reden in den commentarii Caesars
16:30-17:30 Ulrike Egelhaaf-Gaiser (Goettingen),
non sunt composita verba mea.
in der Mariusrede des Sallust
17:30-18:30 Dennis Pausch (Giessen),
Der Feldherr als Redner
und der Appell an den Leser.
Wiederholung und Antizipation
in den Reden bei Livius
Saturday, 27 September
Historiography of the Roman Empire
Chair: Fritz-Heiner Mutschler
9:00-10:00 Peter Kuhlmann (Goettingen),
Die Maecenas-Rede bei Cassius Dio:
Anachronismen und intertextuelle
10:00-11:00 Rhiannon Ash (Oxford),
Fighting Talk: Dillius Vocula's Last
Stand (Tacitus Histories 4.58)
11:30-12:30 Christoph Leidl (Heidelberg),
Von der (Ohn)macht der Rede.
Hoererreaktionen in der Historiographie
The conference is open to all,
registration is possible until 15 September.
First call for papers
Conference: Roman latrines and cesspit toilets
in the northwestern provinces.
Contact: Latrine2009 AT gmail.com
The public and private toilets in the Roman cities in the Mediterranean area have been the subject of archaeological research for many years. We know a great deal about the way these toilets were constructed and how they functioned, but also about all kind of related things such as the social aspect of visiting a toilet and rituals connected to it, or practical aspects such as the use of urine in the tanning of leather.
When looking to the northwestern provinces, it is clear that the research of these structures has been much less extensive. Up to now, attention was mainly paid to some large toilets excavated in cities or military complexes. Practically nothing is known about private toilets. The main reason for this is, that most of these private toilets are cesspit-toilets, which - because of the bad preservation chances of the materials used - are difficult to recognize and are often mistaken for rubbish pits. Little attention has been given to this aspect of Roman daily life up to now and when found, such toilets were often supposed to have been indigenous. Recent excavations however have demonstrated that both private and public toilets are to be expected when excavating Roman settlements.
This conference is the first in which Roman period toilets in the northwestern provinces will be the subject of the research. The private toilets as well as the public and semi-public military toilets will be looked into in separate sessions, with a forth session for multidisciplinary research round the toilets, such as research on bio-archaeological data and anthropological research on the use of toilets.
We aim to focus on the construction and functioning of the toilets, their location (inside /outside the house, specific use of rooms etc) with attention also given to the scientific research of the contents, but excluding the finds (ceramics, etc), as this will divert from the main subject.
We plan to publish the proceeds of the conference as a book.
The conference will take place on the 1st -2rd of May 2009 in Nijmegen (the Netherlands) in collaboration with the Radboud University Nijmegen.
We are inviting everyone to come forward with proposals for papers or posters for this conference. Proposals can be mailed to Latrine2009 AT gmail.com. The proposal should contain a title and a short description of the contents of the paper/poster (1 page). Please state clearly in which session you would like to present your paper:
1. Private toilets
2. Public toilets
3. Military toilets
4. Multidisciplinary research (e. g. science and anthropology)
Looking forward to receiving your proposals,
The organising committee
Elly Heirbaut, Bureau Stadsarcheologie Nijmegen
Stefanie Hoss, Small Finds Archaeology, Nijmegen
Gemma Jansen, Radboud University Nijmegen
Eric Moormann, Radboud University Nijmegen
Contact: Latrine2009 AT gmail.com
T'other day I made a general plea for assorted sites to get an RSS feed for their site in order to increase their visibility to all concerned (and Tom Elliott agrees
)... we all know there are great things happening in this or that corner of the Classical blogosphere, but far, far, far too often they are not conveniently made known not only to 'insiders', but to those outside the field of Classics. Providing an RSS feed is possibly the easiest way for a department/publication/organization to provide that 'outreach' thing. In any event, I just spent a couple of minutes making a list of sites which seriously should be tracking down someone to set up an rss feed for some aspect of their web presence; ecce:Classical Journal ReviewsScholia Reviews
(might require some reorganization of the page)Review of Bibilical Literature
(heck, you can't even find the reviews on the web unless you get the newsletter)APA
-- 'new' pageCAC
-- CCB Archive CAMWS
- news pageACL
-- main pageClassical Association
-- news pageAncient Narrative
(a very difficult page to sort through at the best of times)Akropolis World News
-- 'latest news page' specificallyPrinceton Stanford Working Papers
(would require some organization)Classics@First Drafts@Classics@
(how many Classicists know this exists?)Lampeter Working Papers
(ditto)Social Science Research Network Classics Papers
(just came across this myself)Didaskalia
(how may folks know this online journal is being updated?)
I'm sure there are more ...
We've mentioned this project in the past (maybe ... the one we mentioned had a screenplay written by Valerio Manfredi
and starring Antonio Banderas)... it appears to be a 'go', according to Variety
Brit helmer John Boorman is reviving his long-mooted project about the life of Roman Emperor Hadrian, most famous in Blighty for building the eponymous wall that separated England and Scotland.ANI
U.K.-based Handmade Films has boarded the $50 million-$60 million project and will be fully financing "Hadrian." Rome-based Olympus Films will co-produce.
Boorman, as well as Handmade chairman Patrick Meehan and Olympus topper Enzo Peri, who acquired the rights to Marguerite Yourcenar's bestselling novel "Memoirs of Hadrian," are casting the lead role.
Boorman is co-writing the script along with frequent collaborator Rospo Pallenberg, who previously worked with the helmer on King Arthur epic "Excalibur" and "The Emerald Forest."
Principal photography is set to start next spring in Morocco, Rome and Spain.
The resurrection of the project coincides with the British Museum's blockbusting Hadrian exhibition, dubbed "Empire and Conflict," which looks at the period from 117 to 138 A.D. when Hadrian ruled over a Roman empire that spanned much of Europe, Northern Africa and the Middle East.
"The project says so much about the nature of empire, leadership and human aspiration," Boorman told Daily Variety. "The time of Hadrian marked both the height of the Roman empire and the beginning of its decline. It's the irony of his rule."
Handmade Films Intl. will be handling worldwide sales on "Hadrian."
adds some details:
James Bond’ actor Daniel Craig is all set to let go of his impeccable tux for ancient Roman robes as he steps into the role of bisexual ruler ‘Hadrian’ in his upcoming flick ‘Memoirs Of Hadrian’.
The Hollywood hottie will be seen playing the art loving roman ruler, who ruled from 117 to 138 AD and is famous for building the wall dividing Scotland from the Great Britain.
Craig will also be seen portraying the ruler’s affair with a teenage Greek boy Antinuos after, which his wife refuses to bear him any children.
The movie will be helmed by veteran Brit director John Boorman, 75.
Craig raised quite a few eyebrows when he suggested the 007 secret agent should be portrayed as a bisexual in the movie earlier this year.
“Why not? I think in this day and age fans would have accepted it. No-one blinks an eye,” the Daily Star quoted Craig, as saying.
somewhat clears up my confusion from the other day
An ancient Greek trading ship that had lain on the seabed off the coast of Gela in southern Sicily for 2,500 years was brought to the surface for the first time on Monday. The ancient Greek vessel is 21 metres long and 6.5 metres wide, making it by far the biggest of its kind ever discovered. Four Greek vessels found off the coasts of Israel, Cyprus and France are at most 15 metres long.
The one in Gela is also of particular value for scholars who will be able to delve into Greek naval construction techniques thanks to the amazing find of still-intact hemp ropes used to 'sew' together the pine planks in its hull - a technique described in Homer's Iliad. ''Gela's ancient ship is the patrimony not only of Sicily but of all humanity,'' said Sicily's regional councillor for culture Antonello Antinoro, who watched Monday's operation.
The campaign to bring the vessel to the surface began shortly after two scuba divers located it by chance in 1988.
Archaeologists believe the ship sank in a storm some 800 metres off the coast while transporting goods from the Greek colony in Gela back to Greece in around 500 BC.
The bow of the ship, along with an astounding array of amphorae, drinking cups, oil lamps and woven baskets, were brought to the surface in 2003. On Monday coastguards and experts from the Caltanissetta culture department salvaged the rest of the vessel using a boat equipped with a crane able to lift loads of up to 200 tonnes.
Around 20 other support craft joined the operation, sounding their fog horns when the wreck finally emerged from the water.
UK TEAM TO RECONSTRUCT SHIP.
Sicilian archaeologists have long hoped that the find will convince the world that Gela played a key role in ancient times as a major trading centre in the Mediterranean.
Local officials hope the vessel will also turn the city into an attraction for culture lovers. ''This moment signals the rebirth of Gela,'' said culture department head Rosalba Panvini. ''The city's real history has emerged after 2,500 years, but the story doesn't end here,'' she added.
The pieces of the ship will be kept immersed in tanks full of the protective chemical polyethylene glycol before being transported to Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, where experts at the Mary Rose Archaeological Services will conserve and reconstruct the vessel. The culture department says it eventually plans to build a sea museum in Gela with the ship as the key exhibit.
Antinoro said Sicily's regional government was meanwhile raising the funds to recover another ship discovered near the ancient Greek vessel ''in the next few months''.
Gela was founded by settlers from Rhodes and Crete in the late 7th century BC and saw its pinnacle under the tyrants Hippocrates and Gelon, who also conquered neighbouring Syracuse.
The city gradually lost its political importance although it still played a major cultural role and the Greek playwright Aeschylus spent the last years of his life there.
It was destroyed and rebuilt many times and reconstructed by Frederick II in 1233.
... so presumably what was taken to Portsmouth a few years ago was just part of this ship ...
has a (presumably) nice video report ... (I couldn't get the sound to work)
University of Kent 11th-12th October 2008
"The Italians on the Land: Changing perspectives on Republican Italy then and now"
As is well known the period from the end of the Third Century to the First Century BC presents certain problems in the interpretation of Roman and Italian Land Exploitation. This conference is being held to bring together scholars working in this area. We are hoping to provide a platform for younger and more established scholars to present their ideas together and will be publishing the Proceedings.
This is the third and final Call for Papers for this conference. We have space for one, maybe two, more speakers and would particularly welcome contributions from an archaeological or broadly demographic perspective. However, other contributions will certainly be considered. Contracts for publication of the Proceedings have been signed and it is envisaged that we will be going to print sometime early in 2009.
Please forward abstracts to:
lne2 AT kent.ac.uk & a.p.keaveney AT kent.ac.uk
University of Kent
This year is the 25th Anniversary of the first Lampeter Summer Workshop in Greek and Latin, organised by the Classics Department of University of Wales, Lampeter. As usual, courses are offered in both languages at all levels (five levels from complete beginners to advanced), as well as in Medieval Latin at advanced level.
In addition to the courses, special lectures are offered on some evenings, which are also open to the public and accessible to a non-specialist audience. This year, we are extremely fortunate to have the following line-up of eminent scholars and promoters of Classics to a wider public:
Peter Jones: 'What the Romans have done, and still might do, for us.'
Tuesday 5th August, 7.30pm
Edith Hall: 'The Odyssey and Reception Studies.'
Thursday 7th August, 7.30pm
Robin Osborne: 'Pots and Politics in Classical Athens.'
Monday 11th August, 7.30pm
Douglas Cairns: 'Veiling Grief on the Tragic Stage.'
Thursday 14th August, 7.30pm
All lectures take place in the Old Hall in the main building of UWL. All are welcome.
How someone (apparently from Germany) arrived at rogueclassicism:
... fans of SCTV will hopefully recognize the obscure Sid Dithers reference ...
The other day we mentioned Martin Conde's
addition of photos etc. from the House of Agrippina on the Janiculum ... some of the material comes from La Repubblica and I find this item rather interesting:
Perhaps folks can help me out with this lunate inscription, since I've never seen such a thing before (it seems to be relief on stone or possibly a stamp of some sort) and there is no explanation in La Repubblica's article
or the caption to the photo
. As far as I can see (and I've fiddled in photoshop to try to make the second line a bit more clear to no avail), this reads:
DO ? ? A
... anyone have any details on this inscription?
Alexis D’Hautcourt scripsit:
It looks like your inscription is one of these three or has the same text:
Publication: CIL 15, 00828,1
Province: Roma Place: Roma
L(uci) Aquili Fausti / doliare
Publication: CIL 15, 00828,2
Province: Latium et Campania / Regio I Place: Tivoli / Tibur
L(uci) Aquili Fausti / doliare
Publication: CIL 15, 00828,3
Province: Roma Place: Roma
L(uci) Aquili Fausti / doliare
Ahhhh ... now I see; a bit of opus doliare (domestic pottery, stamped with the maker's name). Thanks!
Al Schlaf scripsit:
The photo put me in mind of an online article I printed out and saved from back in 2005. Not the same "company" but similar designs in their stamps.
Ahhhh ... another one I forgot about (time to upgrade the coffee!) ... we did mention the Domitius Brothers brickworks
... in any event, here's the photo that accompanied AS' article (from the Telegraph) for comparison purposes:
I wonder why the lunate stamp was so ubiquitious ... I came across this article (by WLU's Joann Freed) on assorted pottery finds at a Via Gabinia site
; numerous such stamps are mentioned (no photos alas) ...
At Athens's New Acropolis Museum, the most popular exhibit is in London.
That absent art would be what the Greeks label the Parthenon Marbles, the British brand the Elgin Marbles and what the sculptor Greg Wyatt reckons are history's most important and fought-over examples of priceless classical sculpture.
``Those marbles are ultimate masterpieces,'' says Wyatt, artist-in-residence at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York. ``They tell a consequential story.''
And it's a long story.
Greece considers the marbles, chiseled around 434 B.C. by Phidias, Alcamenes and Agoracritus, to be a national metaphor pilfered by a 19th-century Scottish earl out to impress a rich woman named Constance Dundas by garnishing his manor house back in Fife with relics lifted from the Acropolis when the country was occupied by Ottoman Turks.
The British nobleman was Thomas Bruce, the 7th earl of Elgin, a direct descendant of Robert the Bruce and Britain's Ottoman ambassador when the Acropolis doubled as the sultan's military bunker. The ruins were up for grabs, so Bruce in 1801 bribed the Turks and set about harvesting the Treasury of Atreus, the Temple of Athena Nike and the Erechtheum.
Fun With Centaurs
Bruce spent 75,000 pounds to hack, hammer and ship off some 35 panels, dozens of statue chunks and a 247-foot swath of the frieze above Athena's temple that depicted a religious festival known as the Pantheonic Procession, a parade of scenes that depict naked folks cavorting with centaurs.
Back in Scotland, dumped by Dundas and broke, Bruce sold his 61 cases of Acropolis loot to the British Museum in 1816 for 35,000 pounds. It was the sale of the century and it triggered a dilemma of epic proportions.
As the British Museum's current board of trustees tells it, the Elgins aren't leaving the building and souvenir friezes and postcards are available in the gift shop. ``The trustees' position is as it always was,'' British Museum Director Neil MacGregor said at a July 1 press breakfast. ``The Parthenon sculptures are an integral part of the museum.''
For former Greek Culture Minister Elissavet Papazoi, MacGregor's intransigence is a recurring episode in a 201-year- old crisis loaded with charges and counter-charges of everything from asset stripping to psychological distress. Decades of lawsuits, grievances, diplomatic schadenfreude and historical studies have done nothing to cool passions.
``Getting the British to return the marbles has always been a major part of daily government life,'' Papazoi says. ``We have no positive indication that the British will ever give them back. The British Museum has continually failed to realize that the Acropolis is our sacred place and how special the Parthenon Marbles are for us.''
The British Museum, of course, isn't the only culture center built on plunder. When Napoleon pillaged Parma in 1807, he paid no attention to the duchy's fashionable cheese and without complaint hauled the Correggios to the Louvre.
The Greeks haven't been so quiet about the Acropolis heist.
``The marbles must be returned in the name of all stolen artifacts,'' says former Greek President Kostis Stephanopoulos, 80, who has spent much of his adult life trying to coax the British into sending back the treasure. ``The battle is difficult and I fear the English will not return them to our wonderful new museum.''
Government planners after much wrangling decided to put the $178 million museum, designed by Swiss architect Bernard Tschumi and Greece's Michalis Photiadis, on a congested residential area some 300 feet below the Acropolis's southern cliff.
Although the museum sits atop the preserved and accessible ruins of a 6th century B.C. neighborhood with a spectacular view of the Parthenon, the building bursts on the scene like a cloud of concrete against a horizon of neo-classical homes, honking horns and apartment-block terraces strung with drying laundry.
Inside the 14,000-square-meter building, colossal panes of smoked glass filter out harmful light that could damage any of the 4,000 Acropolis artifacts Elgin left behind. Many of the passageways, ramps and observation balconies also are constructed from transparent material, allowing visitors to peer down into the archaeological excavation and the children who explore the ancient shops and homes during the museum's 10 a.m.-to-noon soft opening between now and the official opening in December.
``A big playground,'' says 12-year-old Karolos Demas, sitting on what looks like a stone kitchen shelf.
Greek Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos says the New Acropolis Museum, which has been in the making since 1976, was raised to transmit another message: Beware of Greeks building museums.
``The marbles will return,'' Pavlopoulos says with the assurance of a local who knows that Greeks don't make threats, they deliver prophecy.
The task of fulfilling Pavlopoulos's prediction is now in the hands of New Acropolis Museum Director Dimitris Pandermalis, a 68-year-old field archaeologist with the energy of Indiana Jones and a plan to humiliate the British Museum into returning the sculptures.
Indeed, Pandermalis refrains from describing the four-story building as a museum. He prefers to call the place a ``shelter'' as his electronic key unlocks the door to the top floor. ``Now your eyes can touch what Elgin actually did,'' Pandermalis says.
The spectacle is intended to shock. Restored slabs of the sun-roasted Pantheonic Procession Elgin left behind with assorted weather-worn marble maidens, metopes and pediments are arranged to fill the 3,200-square-meter gallery in the same position as the ancient Greeks would have viewed them in the sanctuaries. Replicas of the many pieces Elgin brought back to London are part of the display, too, cast in bleach-white plaster and fixed to the originals.
Pandermalis says the cosmetic surgery is designed to taunt - - agitprop that reveals the full extent of Elgin's butchery, what no less a critic than Byron likened to a ``hapless bosom gored'' in the poem ``Childe Harold's Pilgrimage.''
`Leg in London'
Zigzagging through the statues, Pandermalis continues his anatomy lesson. ``Breast in London, head in Athens,'' he says, reeling off a list of missing body parts. ``Leg in London, hand in Athens. This is the best way to get the cultural point across.''
Pandermalis says about 50 percent of his Parthenon Marble exhibition is in London. ``The British Museum has thousands of pieces of Greek treasure on display,'' Pandermalis says. ``We only want back the Parthenon Marbles.''
MacGregor refuses to budge and points out that millions of people annually visit the British Museum free of charge. Pandermalis pays no attention to the woman behind his shiny new ticket booth.
``We haven't yet decided on the price of admission,'' Pandermalis says.
Treasury of Atreus???? The article also notes that the museum has a website now
... interesting flash intro with a handful of nice photos ...
From the Courier-Journal
You don't have to swim against Elaine Breeden, the 19-year-old Olympian from Kentucky, to be blown away by her.
Just hearing about her should be enough.
Breeden broke Mary T. Meagher's 24-year-old meet record in the 200-meter butterfly -- twice in two nights -- at the U.S. Olympic Trials early this month in Omaha, Neb.
She's majoring in classics. At Stanford. She got there after taking two years of high school in the same year. When an interviewer asked her the difference between high school and college, she replied that college was easier.
She seriously sprained both ankles during the long run-up to the Olympics but said: "Ankles are important in swimming, but they're not crucial. It wasn't a shoulder, which would have been a lot worse."
The second ankle injury happened in the Stanford weight room, where the pop of twisting tissue allegedly caused the blood to drain from the faces of the football players nearby. The next day Breeden headed for Rome with her sister and was photographed limping on the Appian Way.
She has backpacked around Europe and been to more than 25 countries and all 50 states. Best trip ever?
"I don't think I could narrow it down," she said. "… It's hard to compare a road trip all around the American West to a week on a Greek island."
Breeden's alma mater, Trinity Christian Academy in Lexington, has no swim team, so she competed for Wildcat Aquatics. But she's used to going through back channels: She was home-schooled by her mother, Lenore, through seventh grade.
She's kin to Diane Sawyer -- Breeden's grandmother, Shirley Dougherty, is Sawyer's first cousin. Breeden also apparently is related to Johnny Depp, but in such a distant, technical way that it's not worth mentioning, her mother said.
In high school Breeden composed a 30-page paper comparing Odysseus and Achilles in light of contemporary ideas about heroes.
"Few students tend to deal with classic literature at that abstract of a level," said Shelly Johnson, her teacher.
Said Breeden: "I think that Achilles … would have been the bigger hero to the ancient Greeks but that the hero qualities of Odysseus are more along the lines of what a modern hero would be like."
With Trojan horses, lotus-eaters, fatal beauties and epic voyages full of mortal peril at every turn, Odysseus had his hands full, all right. But his calendar couldn't have been any more crowded than Breeden's was during the year that she held down three jobs: high school junior, high school senior and aspiring Olympic swimmer.
"I swam in the morning before school and then immediately after school," she said. "I had to work my school schedule around my swimming."
While her classmates were taking seven courses, she took a dozen. Since school wasn't actually open long enough to accommodate her arduous schedule, she did some classes at home: American history, American literature and math.
"I was doing geometry at home, and I'm not a mathematician," she said. "That was difficult for me, just to have the discipline to do it."
"Nobody but Elaine could have probably done that," said Paula McGuire, the athletic director and counselor at Trinity Christian. "That's how driven that she is in everything that she does."
Science teacher Stephanie Logan echoed that in glorious understatement: "Elaine had a very rare work ethic."
During that challenging year, Breeden's mother said, "She slept four or five hours a night."
Breeden doesn't recall ever falling asleep in class, but she does remember "several days where I would skip lunch at school and I would just go into a classroom and sleep, and I would have my friends wake me up before the next class."
She went through all that so she wouldn't have to go through a different kind of hell year: leaving home for college, adjusting to a new program and coach and trying to qualify for the Olympics.
"She felt as if being a freshman in college going into the Olympic year, that might be something that was more difficult than necessary," Stanford coach Lea Maurer said.
Breeden had first seen Stanford on a childhood trip to California with her grandparents, and she kept it in her heart and mind as she considered colleges.
"Elaine … read a review of Stanford once when she was looking at schools," her mother recalled, "and it said the students there look kind of like ducks on the water; they look like they're calm on the surface, floating around, but under the surface they're paddling like mad. And she said, 'That's me.' She thought that was a perfect fit for her. She has this calm demeanor, but she is a very hard worker under the surface."
Early in her sophomore year she went to a "majors fair" to check out her options.
"I was getting a little discouraged," she said, "until I came to the classics table. They had classes like Greek mythology, ancient Greek athletics, Roman art and archaeology … and I knew right then and there that that was going to be the major for me."
Whereupon she called her mother and announced she wanted to take every class in the classics department.
"That has been her passion," Lenore said. "She's loved it, absolutely loved it. … She was going to get a master's in business when she finished -- to be practical -- but now she's talking about getting a master's in classics."
She's the only classics major on the swim team.
"The only other classics major my age that I know is actually a football player," Breeden said.
It must be hard enough to study classics at Stanford and do nothing else, much less be a world-class swimmer.
"I think she thrives on it, so that's her gift," Maurer said. "She's a nine-cylinder engine, and part of it is her great love of learning, and part of it is her great love of her classmates and her dorm mates and her church group and her swim team. I think there were a lot of people pulling for her, and she uses it as a source of energy and fuel rather than feeling like it's draining her."
Back home in Lexington, they certainly were pulling for her at the Olympic Trials.
"My guess is that everybody is overjoyed and nobody is surprised," said Johnson, the Trinity Christian teacher. "Elaine is just a really sweet, humble but very ambitious girl."
They were overjoyed for her in Omaha, too.
"When she made the team (in the 100 fly as well as the 200) it was like she was just totally shocked, and it almost brought tears to my eyes," said Olympic teammate Caroline Burckle of Louisville.
Breeden was shocked.
"I was completely stunned to have made the team in that event," she said. "Right after… I was warming down in the warmdown pool, and I just remember I was like yelling underwater, trying to convince myself that I had just made the Olympic team."
Isn't it dangerous yelling underwater?
"Oh, we sing underwater," she said. "It's not that unusual."
Elaine isn't the only multitasking, high-achieving singer in the family. Her 17-year-old sister, Caroline, was a swimmer, too.
"She just gave it up this year," Breeden said. "She's actually focusing on singing."
Then there's 21-year-old sister Kathleen, a club swimmer and senior at Harvard.
"We always teased that she was the smart one in the family," Elaine said. "I can honestly say I don't know anyone smarter or harder-working than my older sister. She's been a huge inspiration to me. And my older sister is the best artist I've ever, ever seen."
All of which helps explain Elaine.
"Got to do something," she said, "to keep up with my singing, painting sisters."
Tidbits that have already begun to accumulate in my mail:
Tip o' the pileus to Laura Gibbs
who alerts us to the debut of Google's Knol project
, which is designed to compete with Wikipedia and be somewhat more reliable in terms of authorship (authors have to establish their credentials) ... LG has written a handful of articles already on Aesop
and rightly thinks that readers of rc might want to contribute their knowledge to this particular project ...
The latest APA newsletter
is up for perusal by all and sundry (I've always figured I'm sundry) ...
An alert from the THS
to a scam targeting academics is making the rounds ... I'm surprised (somewhat) that there is no mention of the 'conference scam', which seem to still circulate (I'm always being invited to some 'big minds' conference that is obviously a scam) ...
Tony Perrottet has a nice piece on Bacchus/Dionysus at The Smart Set
Martin Conde has posted a nice piece (from last May) from La Repubblica on the House of Agrippina on the Janiculum
Not quite sure what's going on with this one ... from La Repubblica
E' iniziato il conto alla rovescia per lo staff della Soprintendenza di Caltanissetta, che da anni lavora per portare a galla una delle piu' grandi scoperte di archeologia marina del Mediterraneo: lunedi' mattina dal mare di Gela la ruota di poppa e la chiglia della nave greca del 500 a.C., riemergeranno per essere poi trasportate a Bosco Littorio, dove verranno posizionate dentro enormi vasche (di 15 metri) per la desalinizzazione, prima di volare in Inghilterra per il restauro nel laboratorio Mary Rose Archeological Services di Portsmouth. E se da un lato i tecnici stanno ultimando le operazioni di "pulizia" del fondale argilloso che ha custodito per 2.500 anni l'imbarcazione; dall'altro, la Capitaneria di porto di Gela sta lavorando per coordinare le delicate operazioni a largo della costa, che vedranno l'intervento di Eni Raffinerie di Gela e Saipem che - con l'ausilio della ditta Eureco - forniranno per l'occasione un moto pontone polivalente (fornito d'impianto iperbarico) "Vincenzo Cosentino", lungo 45 metri e largo 15 metri, sul quale verra' trasportata una gru da 200 tonnellate.
I was under the impression that this wreck had been taken to the Mary Rose facility a few years ago
(I thought we had mentioned it at rc, but I can't seem to locate it) ...
From the Turkish Press
Water will run down from the Antonine Nymphaeum, a monumental fountain located on the north of the ancient city of Sagalassos near Aglasun town of the southwestern Turkish province of Burdur, after some 1300 years.
In an exclusive interview with the A.A, Semih Ercan said on Friday that restoration works on the fountain dated to the reign of Marcus Aurelius (A.D. 161-180) were expected to finish in 2010.
Ercan, who heads the restoration works, said, "the fountain with a height of 10 meters and width of 30 meters, is one of the most splendid structures in the ancient city. It was rebuilt after the massive earthquake in the early sixth century CE. But the second quake around the middle of the seventh century destroy the monumental fountain together with the whole city. Remains of the fountain was first brought to light by Prof. Dr. Marc Waelkens of the Belgian Katholieke Universiteit Leuven."
"We are restoring the fountain by joining together some 3,500 broken pieces. Restoration works will end in 2010 and water will run down from the ancient fountain again after some 1300 years," he said.
Sagalassos is an archaeological site in southwestern Turkey. In Roman Imperial times, the town was known as the 'first city of Pisidia'. The urban site was laid out on various terraces at an altitude between 1400 and 1600 m. Inhabitants were forced to abandon their city after a devastating earthquake around the middle of the seventh century.
Large-scale excavations started in 1990 under the direction of Waelkens. A large number of buildings, monuments and other archaeological remains have been exposed, documenting the monumental aspect of the Hellenistic, Roman and early Byzantine history of this town.
Nice intro to the Nymphaeum at Archaeology's Interactive Dig of Sagalassos
... Troels Myrup Kristensen has some excellent photos in the Stoa photo gallery
The world-famous Parthenon of the Athens Acropolis will undergo restoration work from 2009 that will see its western facade obscured by scaffolding for three years, officials said.
The work will mainly be focused on repairing damage caused by the Greek uprising against Ottoman rule in 1821, when the facade was damaged by around 700 bullet holes, architect Manolis Korres said.
The iconic western facade has also suffered from the ravages of humidity, which is three times higher than that experienced by the other facades because of its position in relation to the sun.
The Parthenon suffered damage as well in earthquakes in 1981 and 1999.
The decision to start a new programme of restoration was taken by the High Council of Archaeology which also decided, after some debate, to transport several of the facade's friezes to the new Acropolis Museum for safe-keeping.
The pieces will be replaced by copies on the Parthenon itself.
A vacancy is now being advertised for a Research Fellow to assist in the preparation and publication of an edition of the Old Latin Gospel according to John.
The Vetus Latina Iohannes project has been running at the University of Birmingham for a number of years, and has already made available an electronic edition of the surviving Old Latin manuscripts of John at http://www.iohannes.com/vetuslatina/ .
The main duties of the Fellow will include assisting in the compilation of an electronic database of gospel citations in Church Fathers, the analysis of this material, and the preparation of a printed edition to be published in the 'Vetus Latina' series.
Applicants must have a PhD in a relevant subject, an excellent knowledge of Latin, the ability to learn relevant IT skills quickly, and the abililty to work effectively as a member of a team. A good working knowledge of Greek, experience of database design and maintenance, and experience of working on a research project are also desirable.
The post-holder will be a member of the University's Institute for Textual Scholarship and Electronic Editing (www.itsee.bham.ac.uk).
Informal enquiries should be addressed to Prof. D.C. Parker (D.C.Parker AT bham.ac.uk) and Dr P.H. Burton (P.H.Burton AT bham.ac.uk).
The University of Mannheim in Germany has now advertised the Chair of Ancient History (Kai Brodersen is moving to the University of Erfurt). This is the only Chair of Ancient History at Mannheim (where neither classics nor archaeology are established); there are also two chairs (plus a professorship) in Modern, and one each in Medieval and in Economic History. The Ancient History unit at Mannheim consists of the chair plus two temporary posts.
The University is looking for an established scholar able and willing to "represent the field in its whole breadth". The Chair is involved in teaching courses in cultural and social history on all levels (9 hours per week are obligatory and emphatically cannot be "bought out"), and the incumbent is "expected to be willing to cooperate across historical and disciplinary boundaries". The legal requirements for an application are a PhD, a "Habilitation" or equivalent achievement, a proven ability to teach (in German); add a willingness to do admin (also in German).
Women are encouraged to apply. The university expects tthat one moves to Mannheim or the surrounding region soon.
The Salary is in the (highest German) category of W3 (from December 2008, this will be 5064,31 Euro pcm plus benefits).
For further information go to www.geschichte.uni-mannheim.de
(Ancient History is listed under >"Abteilungen" >"Alte Geschichte"), and for the advertisement (this e-mail is only an informal reference to it) go towww.verwaltung.uni-mannheim.de/personalabteilung/stellenausschreibungen/professuren
The closing date for applications is August 31st, 2008.
Wayne State University has authorized a one-year lecturer position
(full-time with benefits) for this coming academic year. The lecturer
will teach 3 courses each semester, and the load will consist entirely
of service/general education courses (Classical Civlization, Greek
Mythology, and/or Word Origins).
Candidates must have at least the M.A and teaching experience;
preference will be given to candidates with a PhD and experience
teaching service courses.
The official posting is not yet available, but any interested candidates
should contact me by e-mail *immediately* to begin the application process.
Feel free to circulate this posting.
Jennifer Sheridan Moss
Associate Professor, Classics and Latin
Wayne State University
aa2191 AT wayne.edu
From the Hereford Times
REMNANTS of an old Roman road have been unearthed in Bishopstone.
The discovery was made by Hereford-based specialists Archaeological Investigations Ltd during construction work on a new house.
It is thought to be part of an old road that ran across the county with the remains consisting of a foundation layer of cobbles beneath a red gravel.
“I was expecting a quiet day as previous archaeological investigations next door found nothing, so it came as a bit of a surprise when we found red gravel and laid cobbles in the second trench,” said Daniel Lewis, a field archaeologist with the Faraday Road company.
“It soon became apparent that my quiet day was going to turn into a frantic one and with the help of JP Developments (which was working on the property) we were able to record all the layers that made up the road.”
Mr Lewis said the ancient road may have been laid during Ostorius Scapulas’ campaign against the Iron Age tribe of the Silures in AD47.
Alison Grange, Herefordshire Council press officer, said the finding was a very minor part of a Roman road stretching from Hay-on-Wye to Stretton Grandison.
She added that the discovery had been recorded and that the building work was likely to be allowed to continue.
From the Turkish Press
Excavations in Truva (Troy) Ancient City (the archaeological site at Hisarlik in Turkey was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1998) have been continued for 20 years.
German archaeologist Prof. Dr. Ernst Pernicka, who leads the excavation in the site, told the A.A correspondent that they would gather results of the excavations which have been continued for 20 years and prepare a document on the 20-year excavations in Truva.
"We launched a new project including preparation of Truva archaeological site management plan and modernization of the site. The most important component of the new project is `Truva Museum`. We will focus on the project on establishment of a museum," Pernicka stated.
Pernicka said a team consisting of 50 experts from 10 countries would work in this year`s excavations.
Truva (Troy) is a legendary city and center of the Trojan War, as described in the Epic Cycle, and especially in the Iliad, one of the two epic poems attributed to Homer. Trojan refers to the inhabitants and culture of Troy.
Today it is the name of an archaeological site, the traditional location of Homeric Troy, Turkish Truva, in Hisarlýk in Anatolia, close to the seacoast in what is now Canakkale province in northwest Turkey.
In the 1870s, the German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann excavated the area. Later excavations revealed several cities built in succession to each other.
In 1988, excavations were resumed by a team of the University of Tubingen and the University of Cincinnati under the direction of Professor Manfred Korfmann. The excavations have been conducted by Pernicka and Associate Professor Rustem Aslan for three years.
For the first time in many years, the ruler of London addressed the assembled populus in Latin. Boris Johnson, mayor of the U.K. capital, climbed onto the podium at the opening of the British Museum's Hadrian exhibition and began spouting classical prose.
After awhile, he paused to ask the audience, ``How much more of this do you want? There's yards of it.'' The July 23 audience didn't demur, and perhaps some of them understood what he was saying since there were several professors of classical studies present.
So the mayor plunged on. He is himself, as Neil McGregor, director of the museum, pointed out, the ruler of a vast empire, namely the London government machine.
It was an impressive performance. Tony Blair is able to speak in passable French; President John F. Kennedy famously declared ``Ich bin ein Berliner'' in German. But most British officials nowadays probably no longer have a working knowledge of Latin.
It may be that this was the best Latin speech made by a British politician since the Romans departed in the fifth century. Mayor Johnson studied Greats -- a four-year program in classics -- at Oxford, and is evidently a master of the Latin language. MacGregor, thanking the Italian ambassador for his help, described him as ``the representative of the former colonial power.''
Then the mayor moved into English, saying, according to British Museum curators who are experts in deciphering ancient texts, what he had just said in Latin.
Where's Our Pantheon?
Emperor Boris, it turned out, had a bone to pick with the other emperor, Hadrian. He admitted to ``a vague sense of insult'' at the level of attention the Roman sovereign had given to the damp northern province of Britannia. In the rest of his empire, Hadrian had constructed magnificent palaces, villas and temples such as the Pantheon in Rome, still one of the greatest buildings in the world. But what had he put up in Britain? A wall.
Admittedly, the mayor went on, it was possible to sympathize with the purpose of this: to keep out ``the Caledonians.'' Even non-classicists might suspect a reference here to the current Caledonian prime minister of the U.K. An effective wall, in fact, would have excluded several members of Gordon Brown's government.
The Romans, according to Imperator Boris, had a low opinion of Britain and the British. The Emperor Augustus, the mayor said, had described with horror their habit of drinking milk. Hadrian, though he did actually visit the country, headed for warmer climes after a mere three months. If Hadrian -- or Publius Aelius Hadrianus (A.D. 76-138) -- were to return, he would find that the blue-painted, rain-soaked citizens of Londinium had created, among other things, the greatest financial center in the world.
There are some, particularly in New York, who might dispute that claim. Still, the mayor gave a stellar performance. How many other politicians could open an exhibition with such aplomb? You could have sold tickets for the event. It raised the question of what's next for Emperor Boris? Hadrian ruled most of the territory of the EU, plus North Africa and the Near East. We shall see how far his charm and eloquence will take London's new mayor.
... anyone finds a copy of the text of the speech (or if Mr Mayor would like to send it in himself) please drop me a line; I haven't found it at the Mayor's page
The tomb of a woman who died around 2,600 years ago on the eastern Italian coast is helping archaeologists piece together the vast trade network that once linked this area with the Middle East, North Africa and Greece.
Experts working on a tomb near the port of Ancona say the site contains over 650 artefacts from the 7th century BC, including numerous items made in other parts of the world.
''This tomb is of extraordinary importance, as it contains the only known funerary finds in the area of Conero dating from this time,'' said the Archaeology Superintendent for the Marche region, Giuliano de Marinis. The pieces demonstrate that an extensive network of contact and trade once linked this section of the Adriatic coast not only to Sicily and southern and central Italy, but also much further afield. The tomb contains artefacts manufactured in sites as far away as modern-day Egypt, Rhodes, mainland Greece, the Palestinian Territories and Anatolia. ''This discovery fills in a big gap in our knowledge and helps define the role this area played in past centuries,'' continued De Marinis. ''For example, it shows that items from Greece and the eastern Mediterranean passed through here en route to other parts of the Italian peninsula''. Of particular value are five glazed pottery pendants, which were made in Egypt. Probably used as amulets, they are each six centimetres in length and are shaped like seashells. Also of special interest are a bowl and lid, intricately decorated with horses, and a cowry disc from the Indian Ocean. This latter was considered a fertility symbol and was reproduced in Ancient Egyptians tombs.
Among the other items contained in the tomb were pendants of ivory, glass paste and amber, scarabs, and belts of buckle and bone. The head of the archaeological project, Maurizio Landolfi, said: ''These items were possibly transported to the Marche along with consignments of amber, which was in great demand for decorating jewellery and homes''. Over the last two years, over 200 tombs have been uncovered in the area, particularly around the towns of Sirolo and Numana.
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 diverse parts of the world from antiquity to the present. Speakers include John North (keynote), Esther Eidinow, Deborah Kamen, Rachel Zelnick-Abramovitz, Emily Fairey, Annalisa Paradiso, Roberta Stewart, Doug Lee, Niall McKeown, Douglas Cole Libby, Eduardo Paiva, Junia Furtado, Manuel Barcia.
The conference registration form is now available at: http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/isos/conference.htm
Queries or requests for further information: please contact the conference administrator, sheila.jones AT nottingham.ac.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 modern and contemporary slaveries. It is currently directed by Dick Geary (History) and Stephen Hodkinson (Classics).
Sqwee! BMCR has a proper RSS feed now, which will greatly reduce my workload ... and they apparently read my mind by making it so the entire title of the work appears in the feed (the early version just had the date/number reference). I'll be including the BMCR things in the ClassiCarnival sidebar! Bravo!
On that note, I really, really, really wish that a pile of sites that update content regularly or semi-regularly (e.g. the APA site, the CAC site, all those 'working papers' sites) incorporate an rss feed into their work (it's not difficult ... if you're housed at a university, I'm sure the techies can tell you how to do it) ... it's really the most efficient way to get your news 'out there' ...
Since we're having television difficulties and no one's awake yet, I've got a chance to catch up on a pile of little things that have mysteriously accumulated over the past weeks (I'll get caught up with book reviews later today or tomorrow ... I'll never figure out why, when I have more time to attend to these things, I actually seem to spend less time doing it) :
Not sure whether I've mentioned recent updates at Aoidoi
yet, but there's Mesomedes 3: Hymn to Nemesis and a couple of elegaics from Solon ...
You can still listen to the BBC's In Our Time
program on Tacitus
(In Our Time broadcasts seem to have a longer shelf life)...
A BBC video report
about a Kent publishing house giving its staff Latin lessons at lunch time (the boss is a former Classics guy) ... it takes a while to load
With the big event coming up, folks might want to check out Archaeology Magazine's Ancient Olympics Guide
Caroline Lawrence dropped me a note to inform us that Season Two of Roman Mysteries
has started and there are clips and other goodies available
Lorna Robinson's Latin in the Park initiative was commended in an Early Day Motion in Parliament
There's a kerfuffle brewing as Iran gets its nose out of joint over Spiegel's spin on the Cyrus Cylinder
... we'll watch this one, but I doubt we'll say much more ...
And just in case you didn't get the verdict in the Lesbos v Lesbians case
Piles of folks sent in the Astronomy Picture of the Day which had Jupiter rising over the ruins of Ephesus
(potential wallpaper, albeit with a red line) ...
The CAMWS site has put up a Necrology 2007-2008 page
... we've lost some talented folks ....
Stephen Oakley (Cambridge) is among those who have become Fellows of the British Academy
Mike Bishop writes in to inform us that both volumes of Lorica Segmentata
are now available online (here's one
... here's the other
Mata Kimasatayo sent in a couple of items (thanks, as always) ... first, an item from Harper's on Cusanus' Human Microcosm
... next, a Roman holiday piece from Salon
The Australian webmag The Cud
has a piece on Homer's Presence in Australian Literature
I'll let folks decide for themselves what they think about the conspiracy theory behind Caesar's Messiah
Double-take headline of the week: Helen of Troy Dead
The Guardian had a pile of biography/info card type things on various folks under our purview: Homer
... folks might also be interested in Camus
... Ben Jonson
... William Golding
... and last, but not least, Suzanne Musin alerted us to an episode from Dinosaur Comics
Rogueclassicism: chock full of linky goodness ...
From the Littlehampton Gazette
A 2,000-year-old body has been uncovered in North Bersted.
The rare find has excited archaeologists who have labelled the discovery as being of international importance.
The skeleton is believed to have been a warrior who died around the time of the Roman invasion of England in AD43. He is likely to have been a prince or rich person of some status because of the quantity and quality of goods found with his remains.
Dr Steve Ford, a director of Thames Valley Archaeological Services, said the site had yielded isecrets beyond compare anywhere in this country.
Of particular interest were two highly decorated bronze latticework sheets. These were probably used to cover a shield.
"There is no comparision for this metalwork that we know of," said Dr Fox. "It might well be unique. It's a very intricate piece of work for its time.
"Professor Barry Cunliffe, the professor of European archaelogy at Oxford University, visited the site when he was in Chichester and said he knew of nothing like this metalwork.
"The provisional date of the burial from the associated pottery indicates that it took place either at the end of the Late Iron Age or just into the Roman period, perhaps around 40-60AD.
"The Iron Age people of this age were in essence pro-Roman and the Emperor Claudius launched an invasion, initially, to restore the local king Verica to his throne. The deceased may have been one of the local ruling caste, proud to be buried with his Roman goods."
The grave of the oldest body ever found around the Bognor Regis area was unearthed by archaeologists who have been given time to explore what lies underneath the surface of farmland before it is covered by housing.
Allowing the dig is a condition of the planning permission granted by Arun District Council to the developers, Berkeley Homes and Persimmon Homes, before they use the land for 650 homes and part of the Bognor northern relief road.
The requirements of the dig have been set out by the county council's archaeologist, Mark Taylor. The digging has been based north of North Bersted Street. The discovery of the grave was made a few weeks ago but it has been kept underwraps until now to allow the valuable metalwork and the body to be removed to safety for detailed examination and away from the unwanted attention of illegal prospectors.
Digging has been going on for several months. Dr Ford said the isolated burial was the main point of interest of the work. It was found just 40cms, or 16ins, below the surface.
"The deceased, a mature male more than 30 years old, was laid out in a grave and was accompanied by grave goods.
"These comprised three large pottery jars placed at the end of the grave, presumably containing offerings to the gods or food for the journey into the afterlife, an iron knife and several items made of bronze.
"One appears to be a helmet and the other a shield boss. Also present are two latticework sheets highly decorated, perhaps used to cover a shield.
"The burial and its grave goods seems to have been placed in a large coffin or casket bound by iron hoops with an iron-framed structure place on top," he explained.
The bronze objects have been lifted in blocks of soil by a specialist conservator for careful examination and conservation in a laboratory before they are studied in detail.
The North Bersted burial shared similarities with famous graves of the Late Iron Age in places such as Welwyn Garden City, St Albans and Colchester. All of them were graves of princes or chiefs, or possibly priests, he added.
Also revealed in the excavations were revealed Bronze Age boundary ditches and occupation, a small hoard of four Middle Bronze Age bronze axes, or palstaves, an Iron Age roundhouse and a Roman building set among fields.
The area would have been used for farming all those centuries ago.
Local historian Sylvia Olliver, who lives in North Bersted, said: "I am not surprised they have made such an important find. This area is absolutely full of items from the past. You just don't know what is underneath your feet."
This was reflected by the Stoneage Close and Bronze Close road names close to her home. The ground was being explored when she moved in about 34 years ago.
Just three years ago, the Observer reported on the likelihood of the land north of North Bersted Street being occupied as far back as 4000BC during the Neolithic era.
A short video accompanies the original article
(not firefox friendly, alas ... use the IE Tab addon)
From Global Atlanta
The new Acropolis museum in Athens, Greece, is scheduled to open in September, marking the end of the monumental tasks of building a 270,000-square-foot structure on an earthquake prone site and then transferring 2,500-year-old antiquities into their new home.
Dimitrios Pandermalis, president of the new museum and an archaeologist who has been overseeing the project for years, told GlobalAtlanta in a filmed interview that when the museum is finally opened its anticipated 3 million annual visitors will have “a realistic idea” of what classicism is all about.
“Many have a confused idea of classical art and classical culture,” he said, adding that a close look at the artwork will reveal the original classical view of humanity.
Dr. Pandermalis was in Atlanta for a lecture about the new museum that he gave at the High Museum of Art during which he provided an overview of the $238 million project that has been funded by the Greek government and the European Union.
Besides being able to see the antiquities in natural light, Dr. Pandermalis said the visitors would be able to look at them from all sides and come up very close to them.
He also said that they reveal a humanity not often associated with classicism and often thought to be symmetrical and the epitome of a “balance of form and presentation.”
The New Acropolis Museum is to cast a new light on Greek classical and archaic art.
Closer examination will show the artwork, he said, to be somewhat asymmetrical and “a little off balance.” “They are alive pieces; the changes are soft, kind, beautiful, not stiff and abstract.” He quickly added that it was difficult for him to describe this feeling. “You have to see and feel it,” he said.
The new museum is located some 300 yards to the south of the Acropolis hill, where the 134-year-old original museum stands.
The new, mostly glass structure faces the Acropolis and provides an excellent view of the Parthenon Temple and other structures atop the hill.
Here's part one of the interview in video form (it's somewhat difficult to watch ... the interviewer seems kind of nervous ... the interviewee seems distracted; Pandermalis clearly is not using the word 'classical' in a technical sense):
... here's part two
From the BBC
A Lincolnshire charity has had what could be a 2,000-year-old dog skeleton donated to one of its stores.
A note with the bones said they were Roman, excavated from a 1st Century AD pit at the Lawn in Lincoln in 1986.
Caroline Grosse, from St Barnabas Hospice in Lincoln, said: "I was a bit shocked as bones are not something you expect to find (donated in a box)."
Nicknamed Caesar, the dog bones will be handed over to The Collection museum in Lincoln, she said.
Mrs Grosse said the skeleton was discovered at the charity's sorting centre.
"It's not a big dog, probably like a small whippet or greyhound. There are lots of bones, though perhaps not all, but its like a big jigsaw puzzle," she added.
A note from the Society for Lincolnshire History and Archaeology which was included with the donation said the skeleton dated from the Roman era.
The charity shop has had some other odd donations, including false teeth and hearing aids.
David Moir, from the Association of Charity Shops, said other unusual donations to shops across the UK included a practice grenade, a donkey and a speedboat.
He said a 17th Century economics text book donated a few years ago sold for £18,000.
Antony Lee, collections officer at the museum, said: "Animal bones are very common finds on archaeological sites so they are not valuable as such but they are interesting.
"We will check records from the Lawn excavation and if there is a dog missing we will put him back in his kennel so to speak."
Saw this in the Athens Messenger
Vacant positions on the city's planning commission and zoning board resulting from members resigning in protest have been filled by Athens Mayor Paul Wiehl with new appointees.
Wiehl on Monday appointed Nicholas Bittner, a designer with Panich and Noel Architects, to fill the vacant seat on the planning commission. He also appointed residents Joan Kraynanski and Lisa Carson, both officers in neighborhood associations, to the city's Zoning Board of Appeals.
Carson said she has become more involved in the neighborhood associations and she wants to help out the community.
"It's a willingness to help out," she said of her decision to seek a position on the zoning board. "I'm looking forward to learning more about the housing code."
Carson has a bachelor's degree in classical studies from the University of Michigan, and a master's degree and a doctorate in classics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She teaches at Ohio University as an assistant professor in the Department of Classics and World Religion, and she is a co-chairwoman of the Athens Near North-side Neighborhood Association.
From the Guardian
A rare, complete set of 30 glass counters for a Roman board game has been set out again, more than 50 years since they were excavated and almost 1,700 years since they went into the tomb with their twentysomething owner.
His skeleton, still in its handsome scallop shell decorated lead coffin, is now surrounded again by the refreshment provided for his journey to the next world - flagons, bottles, spoons and bowls, and the 30 counters, probably for the gambling game duodecim scripta, laid on top of his coffin - as well as hundreds of other objects excavated a lifetime ago but now going on show.
The ruins of Lullingstone Roman villa in Kent have been on display since the 1960s. But the leaking structure used to cover it was not safe for the more fragile objects, which remained in store. A £1.8m English Heritage display, opening today, will show off the ruins with an elaborate light show, and for the first time reunite the villa and its contents.
The death of the gambler is still a mystery. He and a woman of a similar age were the only burials found in a mausoleum built behind the opulent villa around 320AD.
Robbers found and destroyed her coffin centuries ago. But his skeleton and fragments of hers survive to show they were in their 20s, above average height - he was 5ft 10in, she 5ft 6in - with no obvious cause of death.
The counters were found with carved bone pieces, including a Medusa head. "Whether they were for his entertainment or because they were his treasured possession, we can't know - but they must be intimately connected with him, they were so deliberately placed on his coffin," curator Jo Gray said.
The villa is famous for fourth-century wall paintings - reconstructed from thousands of plaster fragments and now in the British Museum in London - which are proof of some of the earliest Christian worship in Britain.
The villa was discovered in 1939, on the eve of the second world war, when a tree blew down revealing scattered mosaic fragments.
ASSOCIATE LECTURER/LECTURER (GREEK AND LATIN) (REF: 2412)
SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES
3 year appointment commencing January 2009
Salary range: Associate Lecturer Level A $50,372 - $68,358 p.a. - minimum starting salary for appointee with PhD will be $63,682 p.a.
Salary range: Lecturer Level B $71,957 - $85,450 p.a.
Closing date: Friday, 8 August 2008
Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a Lectureship in the Classics and Ancient History discipline group with particular duties in Greek and Latin languages and literatures. Applicants from the full range of Classics are invited, but professional competence in both languages is essential for the position. You must be competent to contribute to the Discipline's Ancient history offerings and ability to contribute other teaching programmes within the Faculty will be well regarded. Applicants are requested to submit a teaching portfolio as part of their application. For further information regarding the position please contact the Head of School via email jxsmith AT cyllene.uwa.edu.au.
Further details at .
Faculty of Classics
University of Oxfordhttp://www.jobs.ac.uk/jobs/JS056/
Faculty of Classics
University of Oxfordhttp://www.jobs.ac.uk/jobs/JS057/
A reminder that the deadline for bookings for this conference is August 1st.
All bookings received after this date cannot be guaranteed, and will be subject to a £10 late booking fee.
Fragmented Narrative: The Narratology of the Letter and Epistolary Literature in Ancient Greek
An International KYKNOS Conference at the University of Wales, Lampeter
21-24 September 2008
Full details at: www.lamp.ac.uk/ric/conferences/fragmented_narrative.html
Ancient Libraries Conference
School of Classics, University of St Andrews
9-11 September 2008
Tuesday, 9 September
10:15-11:00 Myrto Hatzimichali (Cambridge): The Library of Alexandria after 48
11:00-11:30 Coffee Break
11:30- 12:15 Michael Affleck (Queensland): Libraries in Rome Before the 2nd
12:15- 13:00 Ewen Bowie (Oxford): Libraries for the Caesars
13:00-14:30 Lunch break
14:30-15:15 Eleanor Robson (Cambridge): Reading the Libraries of Assyria and
Philosophy and Papyrology
15:15-16:00 George Houston (Chapel Hill): Thinking Through the Collection of
Non-Philodemus Manuscripts from the Villa of the Papyri
16:00- 16:30 Tea break
16:30-17:15 Fabio Tutrone (Palermo): Beyond the Books, Around the Sources.
Aristotelian Libraries and Eclectic Intellectuals in Roman Italy in the Ist
Century B. C.
17:15-18:00 Dirk Obbink (Oxford): tba
Wednesday, 10 September
Cultures of Library Use
9:00 – 9:45 David Petrain (Vanderbilt): Visual Supplementation and Metonymy in
the Roman Public Library
9:45- 10:30 Massimo Pinto (Bari): Men and Books in the 4th Century BC
10:30 – 11:00 Coffee break
11:00-11:45 William Johnson (Cincinnati): Libraries and Reading Culture in the
11:45-12:30 Christian Jacob (Paris): Fragments of a History of Ancient Libraries
12:30- 14:00 Lunch break
Libraries and Texts
14:00 – 14:45 Annette Harder (Groningen): Text into Text. The Impact of the
Alexandrian Library on the Work of Hellenistic Poets
14:45 – 15:30 Dan Hogg (St Andrews): What does a Greek Know? The Knowledge of
Dionysius of Halicarnassus
15:30- 16:00 Tea break
16:00 – 16:45 Alexei Zadorojnyi (Liverpool): Libraries and Paideia in the Second
Sophistic: Galen and Plutarch
16:45 – 17:30 Paul Nelles (Ontario): After Isidore: the Literary Legacy of the
Thursday, 11 September
Space and Context
9:00 – 9:45 Richard Neudecker (Deutsches Archäologisches Institut Rom): Archives
and Books in Sacred Spaces of Rome
9:45- 10:30 Philippe Clancier (Cambridge): From Tablets to Libraries: the Main
Library of Babylon in the Later First Millennium B.C.
10:30-11:00 Coffee break
11:00-11:45 Gaelle Coqueugniot (Lyon): Where was the Royal Library of Pergamon ?
An Institution Found and Lost Again
11:45-12:30 Matthew Nicholls (Reading): Roman Public Libraries in Context
12:30- 14:00 Lunch break
14:00- 14:45 Keith Dix (Georgia): Bibliothecam tuam cave cuiquam despondeas:
Assembling a Private Library at Rome
14:45-15:30 Michael Handis (Mina Rees Library, NY): Galen on the Alexandrian
Library and the Official Copies of the Athenian Tragedians
15:30- 16:00 Tea break
16:00- 16:45 Víctor M. Martínez - Megan Finn (University of Illinois at Urbana
Champaign): The Professional and his Book: Special Libraries in the Roman World
16:45- 17:15 Closing discussion
Conference venue: Seminar Room 6, School of Art History, 9 The Scores, St
The event is part of the activities of the Leverhulme ‘Science and Empire in the
Roman World’ project: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/classics/science-and-empire/
For more information and bookings, please visit the conference website:
The conference is open to both professional scholars and postgraduates.
Postgraduate funding may be available. Please contact the conference
Dr Jason König (jpk3 AT st-andrews.ac.uk)
Dr Katerina Oikonomopoulou (ao40 AT st-andrews.ac.uk)
Professor Greg Woolf (gdw2 AT st-andrews.ac.uk)
The Society for Late Antiquity will be sponsoring three sessions at the International Medieval Studies Congress, May 7-10, 2009, at Wes- tern Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Mich. As in the past,topics are open. One-page abstracts for 15-minute papers are invited rela- ting to the history, literature, religion, art, archaeology, culture, and society of Late Antiquity (that is, the European, North African, and Western Asian world ca. 250-750). Attention should be given to how the paper relates to Late Antiquity as a discrete period with its own individual characteristics. Abstracts may be forwarded, preferably by e-mail, to Ralph Mathisen at ralphwm AT illinois.edu.and ruricius AT msn.com. Deadline for receipt of abstracts is September 15, 2006. Please note that with the exception of a few awards (information available from conference organizers at http://www.wmich.edu/ medieval/congress) there is no travel funding available for partici- pants, and that the submission of an abstract carries with it a com- mitment to attend the conference should the abstract be accepted. Thank you, and with apologies for cross-posting, Ralph W. Mathisen Professor, History, Classics, and Medieval Studies Department of History, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, IL 61801 USA Editor, Journal of Late Antiquity and Oxford Studies in Late Antiquity Director, Biographical Database for Late Antiquity Administrator: LTANTIQ, NUMISM-L, PROSOP-L. Phone: 217-244-5249 FAX: 217-333-2297
... with Classcon ... From the Telegraph
From the Sun
STUNNING Hustle star Jaime Murray is set to play the Goddess of Love in a new American telly series.
The beautiful brunette, 29, has agreed to star as Aphrodite in the comedy drama called Valentine.
The show tells the story of Greek gods living on earth. Jaime’s character is now running a dating agency with her son Eros after assuming the identity of reformed party girl Grace Valentine.
Last night an insider revealed: “Jaime is red-hot in the USA at the moment. Executives couldn’t wait to sign her up.”
The gorgeous actress became a hot property for her role as the deranged, sex-mad artist Lila in critically-acclaimed serial-killer drama Dexter.
... this appears to be a television version of Marie Phillips' Gods Behaving Badly
Some interesting 'briefs' from Southeast European Times
Scholars at Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University in Turkey are working on their country's first astronomy heritage list, the Turkish National Commission for UNESCO said. A Turkish cultural site list related to astronomy is part of a UN initiative to declare 2009 the International Year of Astronomy. The list is likely to include the ancient city Ptara, where astronomers observed the first accurately predicted solar eclipse in 585 BC.
Romanian archaeologists discovered a necropolis with about 350 graves from the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD near Alba Iulia, Romania. The recent discovery might provide valuable proof of the Roman influence in Dacia during the first centuries after the birth of Christ. Experts called it the greatest archaeological discovery yet in the area of Alba Iulia, saying it proves the existence of the city since ancient times.
From a review
of Hugh Trevor-Roper, The Invention of Scotland
Much of what has passed for the truth about Scottish history, Trevor-Roper suggests, is actually the product of this same mythopoetic impulse. Consider the case of Hector Boece, a 15th-century scholar and humanist from Dundee who wrote a hugely influential "History of the Scots." Boece was not content with the truth about the Scots — that they were an Irish people who migrated to western Scotland in the fifth century C.E. ("Scotus," in Latin, originally meant "Irish.") Jealous of the alleged antiquity of the English, who traced their descent to Aeneas and the Trojan Wars, Boece elaborated a rival myth, according to which the Scots were descended from an ancient Greek hero, Gaythelos, and his wife Scota, an Egyptian princess who was the daughter of the biblical pharaoh.
Because Boece alleged that their descendants — who took the names Gael and Scot in their memory — arrived in Scotland in the fourth century B.C.E., he was faced with a 900-year gap in the historical record. He filled it by inventing 40 kings, whom he not only named but provided with what Trevor-Roper calls "elaborate and detailed biographies." Among them were many wicked monarchs, "a set of human monsters, vicious, violent, and frightening" — such as Lugtacus, who "repeatedly raped his aunts, his daughters, his sisters and their daughters." As befit a moralistic historian, Boece showed these evil kings receiving due punishment, as their suffering subjects deposed and executed them.
FWIW, folks might be interested in this page on Scota
My box filled with this yesterday, and I'm sure it will be seen repeatedly over the next few months as the auction draws nigh ... here's the version from LiveNews
An ancient marble sculpture with an uncanny likeness to Elvis Presley is to go under the hammer at the London auction of a major Australian art dealer's collection.
Graham Geddes is expected to pick up more than STG1 million ($A2.05 million) by selling off more than 150 Greek vases and Roman marble reliefs at the Bonhams auction in October.
The Elvis-like marble sculpture, complete with a quiff similar to that favoured by The King, is believed to be about 1,800 years old and worth STG25,000 to STG35,000 ($A51,000 - $A71,800).
So strong is the likeness, Geddes himself nicknamed the Roman marble acroterion - a carved head from a stone tomb or burial chamber - "Elvis".
"Fans of the King of rock 'n roll, seeing this face from the distant past will be forgiven for thinking that their idol may well have lived a previous life in Rome," a Bonhams spokesman said.
Also included in the auction is a 2nd century Roman marble relief of Diana the Huntress worth between STG60,000 and STG90,000 ($A123,000 - $A184,600).
Many of the vases up for sale depict everyday scenes of life in ancient Greece as well as depictions of various myths and legends.
A large Apulian red-figure hydria vase from around 400 BC is expected to attract bids of up to STG110,000 ($A225,600).
Geddes, who has an antiques showroom in Melbourne, has been collecting since the 1960s.
His work with Australia's top classical archaeologist, Professor Dale Trendall from La Trobe University, inspired him to begin his own collection of ancient Greek vases.
... of course, you have to see the photo:
"Hancock" director Peter Berg is spearheading a fresh take on Hercules for Universal.
Berg will produce and will develop to direct "Hercules: The Thracian Wars," a co-production of Spyglass Entertainment, Berg’s Film 44 and Radical Pictures. Spyglass and Universal will co-finance the film.
Ryan Condal will write the script, based on a five-issue comicbook series by Steve Moore that debuted in May through Radical Publishing.
Spyglass’ Jonathan Glickman, Roger Birnbaum and Gary Barber will produce with Berg and his Film 44 partner Sarah Aubrey, with Barry Levine producing for Radical. Jesse Berger will exec produce.
Levine said the creative partners came together because Glickman, Berg and Aubrey wanted to develop a film that stayed true to the comicbook.
"What resonated for them was that this was character driven, about a character who’s more man than god, with conflicts and redemption," Levine said.
Radical’s the most recent company making an aggressive push for its comicbook properties in motion pictures. Radical Pictures is also teamed to produce "Caliber" with Johnny Depp’s Infinitum Nihil and John Woo’s Lion Rock, with Woo attached to direct. The publishing company recently closed a funding deal through a privately held company called Lacho Calad, with coin coming from Singapore. The money includes a discretionary fund for script development of Radical comicbook properties.
Berg is also set to direct and produce a new version of the Frank Herbert sci-fi novel "Dune" for Paramount Pictures.
You can page through samples of the comic online at Radical Comics
From a press release
They're torn and faded and have the woven texture of a flattened Triscuit. At first glance, the ancient Egyptian texts look like scraps of garbage. And more than 2,000 years ago, that's exactly what they were—discarded documents, useless contracts and unwanted letters that were recycled into material needed to plaster over mummies, like some precursor to papier-mâché.
Now they are priceless clues to everyday life in the Ptolemaic Era, bits of history recently cleaned and sandwiched between pieces of glass so researchers at Stanford could begin translating the Greek writing and Egyptian script while studying the worn papyrus it is scribbled on.
The texts, collectively called papyri, were donated to Stanford in the 1920s by an alumnus who bought them from an antiquities dealer in London. They've been overlooked by generations of faculty who haven't focused on papyrology, said Joe Manning, an associate professor of classics.
"You cannot ignore this," said Manning, who is leaving Stanford this summer to be a professor of classics and history at Yale. "This is the raw material of history. If you're interested in social history or economic history or legal history, you need this material."
But deciphering something written on papyrus between 300 B.C. and 30 B.C. isn't easy.
About 70 texts in Stanford's collection of several hundred papyri were taken from storage and brought to the university's conservation lab in April. They were soaked in water to wash away the remains of an adhesive material applied to them for use as cartonnage—material molded into masks and panels to cover the mummified bodies of humans and animals. The texts were then mounted in thin glass frames, allowing for easy handling and close inspection. The ink, essentially a waterproof mixture of soot and resin, is faded but mostly legible.
The specimens are far from complete documents. Peeled from mummies by archaeologists and grave robbers, the once well-kept records now come with gaping holes. Many are fragments of larger pieces and offer a few hints about a transaction or contract. But there's not always enough to tell a complete story.
"I'm the one in charge of making sense of this," said John Sutherland, a Stanford graduate student puzzling over a text written in Greek, which was Egypt's official language during the Ptolemaic Era. He could make out a few names and realize the document was some type of list.
"That's about all I have now," he said. But he expects additional analysis will tell him more about Egypt's Fayoum region, where most of these texts were written. "We have such a lack of documentation about common people from this time period that you have to use every source you can get."
Sutherland is one of 18 students from 15 universities around the world working this month at Stanford to interpret some of the university's papyri and publish their findings. The group makes up the participants in this year's Papyrological Institute, an annual summer gathering of students and experts sponsored by the American Society of Papyrologists.
About $100,000 for this year's Papyrological Institute comes from Stanford's Department of Classics, the Dean of the School of Humanities and Sciences, the Social Science History Institute and the offices of the President and the Provost.
Working with modern technology to make sense of the ancient texts, the students use laptops to tap into databases of papyrological information maintained by Duke and Columbia universities. After the students enter individual words or phrases gleaned from the texts in front of them, the databases help determine whether the pieces in Stanford's collection are related to any previously published texts.
The matching system also can help put the Stanford pieces in context, revealing whether a text is a marriage certificate, land record or some other common document.
For Marja Vierros, a classicist from the University of Helsinki, one bit of misshapen and torn papyrus gave up plenty of detail.
According to her translation, the document recorded a financial transaction between Haryotes, a 65-year-old flat-faced man of medium height and honey-colored hair, and Thasies, a woman 20 years his junior whose head was shaped like a sugar loaf.
"And the scribe who wrote this was named Panas," Vierros said.
But she wasn't entirely sure if she had that part right. After all, the text was a bit faded.
According to initial analyses, a large Roman bath house found on an archaeological dig in Villena, dates back to between the first century BC and the fifth century AD.
It was found on the 'Casas del Campo' site which came to light during work on the new AVE fast train link last year.
Also found on the dig, which is thought to be the site of a large Roman villa, have been several fragments of pottery as well as a path leading from the bath house to the main dwelling.
From a Bulgarian
The temple of Cybele in Balchik can be completely renewed and will receive a status of a monument of world significance, if the archaeologists have the opportunity to study the western wall of the antique building, announced the head of the History Museum in Balchik, Radostina Encheva for BTA. She added that the western part of the site stands under the foundations of a hotel which is now being constructed and the archaeology studies have ceased. According to her, there is a stand by the commission of the National Institute for the Monuments of Culture, this part of the new building site, which stops the studies, to be demolished. The land plot is a private property and the municipal negotiates with the owner to buy it.
The temple was found during emergency excavations in the spring of 2007. The temple is completely studied from the northern side to the base, the entrance and the antechamber. Scientists have found roof-tiles and announced that the building had a two-level roof. According to the team of archeologists, the temple of Cybele is the only, well preserved temple from the Hellenic period in Bulgaria. It is considered that the building had been constructed during the period 280 – 260 BC. Scientists believe that it had functioned for more than 700 years.
The head of the local museum expects all artifacts to be restored, preserved and exposed in the museum. Archeologist came upon two dozens of intact or half-preserved marble statues – most of the Great Mother of Gods. Specialists work over more than 200 coins from the III – IV century B.C. Scientists plan to restore over 20 inscriptions – most of them in Greek, as well as 15 clay lamps, bone needles, some of them decorated with the head of Aphrodite, announced from the museum.
We've mentioned this site before
All the news spinning out of the Hadrian exhibition is dizzying in terms of quantity and quality ... here are a few items, though, which might be worth checking out:
In contrast to the gushing
Hadrian-was-the-greatest-thing-since-panem-et-circenses reportage which is going on, Mary Beard's post
on what we really know about Hadrian is a welcome relief ... that said, it was probably inevitable that someone would try to compare Hadrian's principate with modern times
)... perhaps equally inevitable would be the 'reactionary' pieces stressing the negative aspects of Hadrian's rule
(including a letter that Hadrian was "worse than Hitler"
) ... perhaps useful, but unfortunately somewhat unfocussed is a brief item on Hadrian's Soldiers Writing Home
(Vindolanda letters, of course) ... definitely interesting is coverage of the ear crease seen in many Hadrianic busts
as presaging the heart condition which killed him ...
We can also mention some Obamamania in conjunction with the Hadriamania, I suppose ... we can introduce it with a piece gushing on the symbolism of the presidential candidate making a speech on the site of the Temple of Hercules in Amman
(although that temple dates from Marcus Aurelius' time) ... then we bring it full circle with a piece on what Obama can learn from Hadrian
An AP photo (via the Telegraph
From the Australian
ON a ravishing afternoon in early May, Museum Victoria director Patrick Greene picked his way along the fire-scorched stones of the city where on August 24, AD79, time stopped dead.
The British archeologist made his first visit to Pompeii, a 44,000sqm slice of lost time that has only recently begun to show its age, in a spirit of professional homage. But he returned in May as something of a power in the archeological world, for next year Greene willbring Pompeii, or at least a good slice of it, toMelbourne.
Italian authorities, pledging to repair degraded buildings and improve tourist facilities, this month declared a state of emergency at the UNESCO World Heritage site, located near Naples, raising the possibility that Pompeii the touring show will be a marked improvement on Pompeii the tourist destination.
As the afternoon crowds thinned and Greene strolled in the shadow of the volcano's shattered cone through the remains of richly decorated villas, bath houses, communal latrines and temples to deities Venus and Isis, Jupiter and Jove -- the chaotic jumble of Roman culture high and low -- he found himself viewing the ruined city with an eye to his Australian audience.
"Roman olive oil and wine everyone knows about," he says. "But the citizens of Pompeii were also fond of a fish sauce made from the crushed and fermented intestines of anchovy and eel, which they sloshed on their food vigorously. Think of it perhaps as Roman ketchup or Vegemite. In fact it probably divided the population in a similar way."
As Greene made his way along streets whose narrowness often surprises the visitor, the remains of Pompeii's takeaway food shops and numerous taverns brought to mind Melbourne's lively bar culture, while the graffiti and election slogans that daub the city's walls evoked a boisterous public spirit. Pompeii may be a dead city but it is certainly not silent.
"It's also clear that the people were obsessed with gladiatorial contests and sport," Greene says. "We have our own version of those called the AFL. In fact, the spectacles were followed with such passion that the stadium was closed down for 10 years by the civic authorities following a riot between fans."
The sickening violence of the blood sports was peculiarly Roman, Greene adds, but the intense tribalism they provoked among the citizenry "brings us right up to the present".
The people of Pompeii also enjoyed a distinctly liberal attitude to what we would regard as pornography: adorning the city walls are outsized phalluses and renderings of lovers, including a fornicating faun and goat. Some of this was designed to please a restricted circle of connoisseurs, but from classical Greek times on, the elephantine phalluses were as common as garden gnomes, of a particularly arresting kind.
More than any other Graeco-Roman archeological site, the Vesuvian cities invite parallels with the art of photojournalism, for what we see here is the classical world stripped bare. For centuries after the rediscovery of Greek and Roman antiquity in the mid-to-late 18th century, bone-white temple friezes and antique statuary fuelled the dreams of philhellenes and shaped the tastes of the European aristocracy. But along with the decorative arts, Pompeii offers up the everyday: the brothels, pie stands and a lively entertainment district.
Like some macabre paparazzo, Vulcan the city's destroyer feeds our vouyeuristic tastes. Priests, plebs and at least one aristocratic woman, who seems to have been carrying on with a gladiator, are preserved in their final moments. The tragedy offers truth in its awful clarity and at great human cost. It is reality archeology.
This sense of gritty realism makes Pompeii a story with a unique appeal to modern tastes, while placing it at the centre of a broad-based revival of interest in classical antiquity. As Greene acknowledges, a recent museum audience poll found that Melburnians were more interested in the ancient world than any other subject, even dinosaurs. They are not alone: the core of the Pompeii exhibition is now touring the US.
At the same time, contemporary culture is awash with specialist, generalist and fictional treatments of Pompeii, Roman civilisation and its Greek precursor. In schools, too, ancient history is on the rise. More students in NSW study the ancient world than the modern. At the universities of Sydney and Melbourne classics are booming at a time when the traditional humanities are on the wane. The pulse of a seemingly dead subject is steady and strong. The classical world, yet again, is being reborn.
One of those contributing to the surge in classical curiosity is the superintendent of Pompeii, Pier Giovanni Guzzo, from whose office the touring exhibition originates. The Melbourne show, set to open in June next year, will differ from the US one, he says, by focusing much more intently on daily life. Though they share the same title, A Day in Pompeii, the American exhibition is more heavily slanted to the tragic narrative of AD79: the death and destruction of a city.
Author of an important book on the Vesuvian cities, Storia e paesaggi della citta antica, Guzzo inhabits a darkened, book-crammed and pipe smoke-filled room on the excavation site at Pompeii. His bright, slightly wild eyes sparkle above a donnish beard as he explains how the intellectual and popular strands of the Pompeii story intersect to "make sensation".
For Guzzo the ruins at Pompeii, Herculaneum and nearby Stabiae, Boscoreale and Oplontis -- in antiquity the Bay of Naples was one long crescent of habitation -- contain "all the ancient material" snap-frozen in time. If not for the work of antiquities hunters 17 centuries later, nothing would have been disturbed. In contrast, ancient cities with continuous civilisations, such as Rome, Athens and Istanbul, are great archeological layer cakes. "Even the pope in Rome used the ancient marble for his palace," Guzzo adds.
The site has also been what Guzzo calls a fixed point in the European cultural imagination: a mecca for writers such as Goethe, Chateaubriand and Shelley, a must-see on the Grand Tour and an inspiration for artists and designers, ceramicists and architects. Its discovery contributed to the birth of neoclassicism, the mania of the Napoleonic court and the inspiration for regency style. "It was on the minds of the cultured peopleof England," Guzzo says. "And England madeAustralia."
But there is a more basic side to the Pompeii experience, which the superintendent expresses simply in his no-frills English, assisted by muchNeapolitan agitation of the hands: "Death -- at Pompeii there are many morti -- is anemotion. A universal emotion. Si. And a personal emotion."
Pompeii not only illuminates the refined and the vulgar, the elite and the plebeian, upstairs and downstairs, it unites these social strata through the democracy of death.
Where nearby Herculaneum was swallowed whole by a slow-moving stream of liquid fire that allowed most of its citizens to escape, Pompeii's end came with a great groaning of the earth followed by the roar of the eruption and then, after a time, a clatter of volcanic pumice and ash. Next came the volcano's poisonous breath, air made viscous with dust and ash, and the crashing columns and masonry. Some of the citizenry were simply trampled to death in the pitch dark. In all, about 2000 people are believed to have perished, one-tenth of the city's population.
For Greene, among the most poignant objects disinterred from Pompeii are the plaster body casts of the victims caught in their death throes: a mother and her daughter, a girl clutching a mirror, a man and his dog, a beggar with surprisingly good quality sandals.
In 1864 the head of excavations realised that the lava had embraced the form of its victims so snugly that it preserved their most intimate contours, in some instances even the delineations of pubic hair. By filling the cavity formed after the body's decomposition with liquid plaster the dead could be re-animated, in a sense, and an August day in the 79th year of the Christian era brought back to life.
"As an archeologist I find these casts extraordinary," Greene offers, "and as a museum director particularly challenging. We're familiar with terrible pictures of China and the human dimension of that catastrophe. These allow us to see Pompeii not just as a buried ruin but as a human tragedy."
According to Steven Ellis, a University of Sydney-trained archeologist and assistant professor of classics at the University of Cincinnati who has been involved in the US version of A Day in Pompeii, the exhibition's fresh slant on ancient urbanity explains something of its attraction.
"We all live in cities and can relate to the experience of walking its streets, looking into windows, stopping for a drink, watching the world go by," says Ellis, who completed a doctoral thesis on Pompeii's wine bars. "And this explains why people from China, North Africa, Australia and Europe all respond to the experience ofPompeii. Compare it to the Egyptian pyramids, for example, which are much more of an alien experience."
At the same time, Ellis observes that US audiences at the exhibition have been much more interested in the death of Pompeii than its vivid and flourishing life. Whether this is the psychic aftershock of 9/11 or an expectation fuelled by too many Hollywood disaster films, he will not say. And yet violence and destruction are, he admits, "part of the story's mass appeal".
As joint leader of an American dig at Pompeii's Stabian Gate, Ellis is working at the leading edge of archeology there. He describes how previous generations had released the site from its aspic of volcanic material, halting their excavations at the floor level. But the latest work is an archeological journey down through Pompeii's own ground zero into its early history, and a reconstruction of the forces that shaped the city.
"We've gone past the floor layer to find out how shops, houses, workshops and businesses worked," he says. "In one of our sites we've been able to see how on adjoining buildings one family thrived economically while the other went into decline. The wealthier family actually expands on to its neighbour's land, opening up a restaurant there. We find the remains of all sorts of foodstuffs: in effect, the menu.
"This included many types of fish, pigs killed quite young, and something very curious: a knee bone that nobody could identify. We had to take it to an archeological zoologist. It turned out to be the remains of a giraffe that may have been shown in the spectacles and later butchered."
Meanwhile, ongoing excavations at nearby Oplontis, Boscoreale and Stabiae are widening our contemporary gaze to the luxurious mansions of the Roman elite. In fact, these were some of the first structures to be excavated under the Bourbon monarchy that ruled Naples in the 1750s, but with the discovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum they became, in effect, sideshows.
Last year, an exhibition of frescoes from the luxurious villas of Stabiae opened at the Hermitage in St Petersburg, and Greene is considering whether to incorporate some of these art works into A Day in Pompeii.
The Australian Museum in Sydney is also considering a show for 2011-12 put together with the help of Guzzo's office and titled In Stabiano: Exploring the Ancient Seaside Villas of the Roman Elite.
Stabiae has a unique part in the Vesuvian story as it was on the beach here that the natural historian Pliny the Elder -- who in AD79 led the Roman fleet towards the conflagration in an attempt to rescue local worthies, and also simply to eyeball the phenomenon -- succumbed to smoke, fumes and exhaustion. His last moments are immortalised in a famous letter from his nephew Pliny the Younger to the Roman historian Tacitus. It records the "umbrella pine" of cloud erupting from Vesuvius, the "broad sheets of fire and leaping flames" spreading across the mountain's flanks, the shower of ash and pumice, the sulphurous fumes and, above all, the fear and confusion.
Angela Vinci, director of exhibitions at the Restoring Ancient Stabiae Foundation, looks each morning on to the beach where Pliny met his fate from her apartment at Castellammare di Stabia. She is keenly aware that whereas the travelling exhibitions focused on Pompeii are concerned with the life and death of a city, the unique concentration of luxury villas found at Stabiae offers a more rarified experience of Roman high art. "They are about six and all are set on the edge of a cliff, facing the sea," she says. "It is only possible to visit part of three of them as the site is just partially excavated: we are really living the excitement of discovery and continuously updating our knowledge of them.
"In these villas the owners did not just spend their time with public activities or business, but cultivated their own personal cultural inclinations, depending on their personalities and their intellectual curiosity. An effort was made to arrange the villas with rooms and spaces adapted for conversation and entertainment and the walls were decorated with stimulating conversational subject matter.
"When completely excavated, each villa will be a kind of essay on Roman painting," she adds.
As the cities and villas destroyed by Vesuvius continue to yield their secrets, the impression grows of our fraternity with ancient Rome. Pompeii is at once a disaster film, a piece of photojournalism, a work of reality archeology, a city like ours, inhabited by people like us. The parallels even carry into our political discussions, in which the US figures as the new Rome on the cusp of its calamitous fall: Romans-R-Us.
But Salvatore Settis, director of the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa and author most recently of The Future of the Classical, warns that our fraternal instincts towards this ancient civilisation are seriously flawed because they assume affinities, taking them for granted. "Thereby we are in the process of creating a fast-food antiquity, easy to deal with because it mirrors our own world," he says.
The discontinuity between the first century Roman world and our own is, ultimately, just as important as the continuity. For in many ways the ghosts of Pompeii are our ancestors. But in many others -- not least in their appetite for blood sports, their tolerance of slavery and the quaint uses to which they put phallic imagery -- they remain perfect strangers.
Malta is getting a reputation for good wine – but this is hardly a recent phenomenon. There is mounting evidence that it was already competing with other ancient Mediterranean producers as far back as the 3th-4th century BC.
The Superintendence of Cultural Heritage is mapping archaeological sites in Malta which could shed important light on the history of alcohol production and consumption in the Mediterranean.
“It has always been assumed that there was alcohol in the Bronze Age (2,500-700 BC) but we are now documenting wine-presses in Mgarr ix-Xini which would confirm that there was a flourishing trade in the 3rd-4th century BC,” Superintendent Tony Pace said.
“There is evidence that wine was used in cultures as far apart geographically as Afghanistan and Portugal. There are wine presses similar to those in Malta and Gozo all over the classical world but we have a real concentration of them in small areas, which would indicate that the volume of wine production at these sites was very significant.”
The presses are located near a valley with access to the sea, where mooring holes in the cliff sides could have been used to tie up the small, agile Roman vessels, the sunken remains of one lies on the seabed outside the bay. This lends support to the theory that the wine was produced in large enough quantities to export.
“We can estimate the amount produced from the size of the basin,” Mr Pace said.
“Some of them were enlarged, which shows that demand must have grown.”
The Superintendence has spent the past three years combing the valley at Mgarr ix-Xini, where 15 wine-presses have been found. Mr Pace and George Azzopardi, who is currently reading for a PhD in archaeology from the University of Durham, have mapped the area, cataloguing the different presses. The project has throughout benefited from the constant assistance and support of the Sannat and Xewkija local councils.
The team of archaeologists have scoured the valley on foot, also finding pottery from Pantelleria dating to Late Antiquity, which they describe with enthusiasm as archeological fingerprints, providing important clues.
They are now ready to present their first findings to an international conference being held in Rome in autumn.
The basins are made up of a square indentation into which the grapes would be put for crushing, either with a cantilevered wooden or stone press or in the old-fashioned one: treading them with one’s feet. The first step in the process was however to soak the stone basins for a few days to saturate the rock. Next the grapes would be pressed and the must (or grape juice) would run through a small channel into a deeper basin, were it would be collected in leather skins and removed for transformation into wine.
“We found shells in one which suggests that the wine used to be diluted with seawater, as classical texts say,” Mr Azzopardi said.
The only mystery is what type of grape was used.
“We could find out. All we need is some money for more research,” Mr Pace said
We mentioned this one first a couple of years ago
... an update from the BBC
A Roman gravestone which shows a soldier holding the severed head of a barbarian is set to be displayed in Lancashire by the end of the year.
The 6ft (1.8m) tombstone was unearthed by builders who were laying foundations for a block of flats in 2005.
Experts are working to restore the stone, which depicts a cavalryman carrying a sword and the head.
It is hoped the stone will go on show to the public in Lancaster City Museum by December.
Stephen Bull, curator of Military History and Archaeology at Lancashire Museums Service, said there was a very good chance the stone depicts a real incident.
"The inscription tells us that the man was ranked as a curator in the Roman auxiliary," he said.
"To depict him in such a dramatic and war-like position, when none of the other tombstones of this period show such a thing, makes it very likely that we are looking at something either real, or very similar to an event that happened."
Donations to help restore the stone, tentatively dated to 100 AD, have come from the V&A, the MLA Purchase Grant Fund and the Oxford-based Haverfield Bequest.
FWIW, here's the small photo that accompanies the BBC piece:
Call for contributions for a forthcoming edited volume of papers
Experiencing Space and Place in the Roman World
We are looking for proposals for papers examining issues of space and
place in the Roman world. Over the last five years the editors have
organised several sessions at conferences covering this subject. We
have now decided to pull together these discussions into one place
along with additional contributions to offer a snapshot of current
thinking on this topic.
The landscape of the late Roman Republic, Roman Empire and Late
Antiquity was divided, re-divided and subdivided in endless and
varying ways, ranging from the creation of provinces and civitates,
to the imposition of a road network, to the planning of new towns, to
the layout of individual buildings. The overlapping historical
processes involved can be seen as the transformation of geographic or
geometric `spaces' into `places', which have specific, and often
localised, cultural meanings. Such activity, though, did not take
place in a `virgin landscape' and actually represents a complex and
non-uniform interaction. The processes involved created an array of
cultural and material landscapes at different levels. These are
reflected in the archaeological data as settlement patterns, artefact
distributions, and relict features. The individuals and groups
involved in or affected by these processes would have had different
experiences depending on their role in the creation and maintenance
of these cultural landscapes.
We are seeking contributions which explore the processes of the
defining, re-defining (or even un-defining) of places within the
landscape. We are not seeking papers that focus on the technologies
of measurement and division, but rather those which instead consider
what the division of space into particular arrangements can tell us
about the people experiencing this process, whether as imposers,
receivers, or simply observers.
Possible topics might include, but are not limited to:
• The construction of spatial knowledge in the past, such as
the creation and use of maps and itineraries or cadastral land
division. Who made use of these technologies and why?
• The development of the ethnic landscape, particularly in
relation to the `assisted' migrations of peoples, such as the
Germanic tribes during the reign of Augustus
• Ideological divisions of the world, such as Roman vs.
Barbarian, Gaul, or Greek, and how these perceptions may have
impacted the creation of territories and boundaries
• Experiences of the landscape, arising from and including the
impacts of visibility, or the methods and costs of travel and
• Patterns in the landscape, e.g., settlement patterns or the
distribution of imports, and what this might imply about the
underlying social processes
• The nature of different experiences of space at different
scales, such as urban space, domestic space, or within military bases
• The maritime viewpoint
• The way in which differing perspectives interacted; whether
combining, conquering or operating independently
If you would like to be part of this or have any questions please get
in touch with us at romanspaceandplace AT googlemail.com. We require
abstracts for your proposed contribution no later than 31st October
2008. Final papers will be due in early 2009. This volume will be
subject to peer review and we plan for it to be published in late
Ben Croxford and Jason Lucas
Experiencing Space and Place in the Roman World
romanspaceandplace AT googlemail.com
Archeologists say they have discovered a Roman spa of monumental proportions in downtown Prokuplje.
The spa was found during works to reconstruct the parochial seat of the local church of Sv. Prokopije in this southern Serbian town.
Archeologist Julka Kuzmanović-Cvetković says the discovery is important because it will put Prokuplje on Serbia's map of ancient Roman sites, known as the Trail of Roman Emperors.
Roman spas were the equivalent of today's fitness centers, frequented by the wealthiest and most respected residents of the ancient Hameum, as a matter of prestige, experts explain.
"The discovery is exceptional, because until now we knew little about Hameum. We knew of this Roman temple and that there are remains of a fort on the Hisar hill, that we have not dug up yet. These structures are another significant addition, as they show us where the urban nucleus likely was," Kuzmanović-Cvetković said.
Scientists are guessing about the size of the settlement that included the spa. So far, the sites in today's Prokuplje also yielded tombs and jewelry used in the burial rituals, and everyday items such as plates and cups, exhibited at the town's National Museum which boasts a rich Roman collection.
Extensive article from Science Daily
The site of the ancient hippodrome course in Olympia, where the emperor Nero competed for Olympian laurels, has been discovered. The hippodrome was discovered in Olympia by a research team that included Professor Norbert Müller (a sports historian from Mainz), Dr Christian Wacker (a sports archaeologist from Cologne) and PD Dr Reinhard Senff (chief excavator of the German Archaeological Institute - DAI.
"This discovery is an archaeological sensation," commented Norbert Müller of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. The research project extended over several weeks before being completed in the middle of May 2008.
Prior to this, the hippodrome had only been known from written sources. Archaeologists had failed to locate its actual site. This is surprising, as German archaeologists have been continuously excavating the site of where the ancient olympiad was held since 1875; this research has become a tradition and innumerable archaeologists, historians, and sports historians from all over the world have been involved in trying to solve this secret for over a hundred years.
Pausanias, a travel writer of the ancient world, described this course for horse races, its starting mechanisms, turning points and altars in much detail in the 2nd century AD: "If you climb over the stand of the stadion along the side where the hellanodikai are seated, you reach a terrain, where the horse races and the starting mechanism for the horses are located. The starting mechanism has the form of the prow of a ship, with the tip pointing to the race-track. Along the side where the prow touches the column of Agnaptos, it is broad. At the farthest tip of the prow there is placed a bronze dolphin on a pole (11) Both sides of the starting mechanism are more than 400 feet long and there are starting gates incorporated in them.
These starting gates are assigned by lot to the competitors in the horse races. A cable is stretched out as starting barrier before the chariots or the ridden horses. An altar of unbaked brick, plastered on the outside, is constructed every Olympiad in the centre of the prow. (12) On the altar there is an eagle with outstretched wings. The race director operates a device inside the altar. When it is put into motion, the eagle flies up, so that it is visible for the spectators, and the dolphin falls to the ground. (13) The first cables to fall down are those on both sides of the column of Agnaptos and the horses in these positions leave first.
They now draw level with those who have drawn the lot for the second place and the starting ropes are lowered here; this procedure continues until all the horses are level in a row at the tip of the prow. At this point the drivers can begin to demonstrate their skills and the speed of their horses. (14) It was Kleoitas who invented the starting device and he was so proud of his invention that his statue in Athens bears the following inscription: "The first inventor of the starting mechanism for horses at Olympia made me: Kleoitas, son of Aristokles." It is said that a certain Aristeides modified this invention. (15) "The racecourse has one side longer than the other, and on the longer side, which is an earthen bank, there can be found, at the passage through the bank, Taraxippos, the Horse-Frightener." (Pausanias VI 20.10-15)
Another - previously unheeded - written source from the 11th century AD goes so far as to state the size and dimensions of the enclosure: "The olympiad has a course for horse races that [has a length of] 8 stadia. Each of the long sides is 3 stadia and 1 plethron long, while the width to the starting gates measures 1 stadion and 4 plethra, [a total of] 4800 feet. Near the Taraxippos, behind which - so it is said - there is concealed an ancient hero, the horses run around a turning post; the finishing point of the race, however, is the pillar of Hippodameia. Among the horses, those in the foal category run a distance of 6 stadia, while those in the adult category run 12 stadia; chariots with a pair of foals travel three times around the circuit and those with adult horses eight times; chariots with four foals complete a total of eight circuits, while those with four adult horses complete 12 circuits." (Tabula Heroniana II, Fol. 27f.)
To date, it had been assumed that nothing of the hippodrome had survived, as the area described by Pausanias to the east of the sanctuary of Olympia has been flooded by the Alfeios River since ancient times and has become covered with silt. In modern plans and descriptions it is usually stated quite simply that "nothing remains of the hippodrome due to flooding in medieval times".
This served as an additional incentive for the German researchers: Using modern geophysical methods, they systematically searched the area for the first time. The experts Armin Grubert (Mainz) and Christian Hübner (Freiburg), who specialize in the use of geomagnetic and georadar techniques, were able to map soil disturbances such as water courses, ditches, and walls. Conspicuous, rectilinear structures were indeed discovered along a stretch of almost 1200 meters. The researchers believe this to be the racecourse, which ran parallel to the stadium. Structural remains identified as the temple of Demeter that is known to have been sited near the hippodrome were discovered in the northern part of the area investigated in the spring of 2007.
Of particular interest is the fact that at the halfway point of the northern access to the starting-gates - where Pausanias describes entering the hippodrome - there is a circular arrangement with a diameter of about 10 meters, clearly marked in the ancient soil layer, which could be the remains of the sacred structure described here by the ancient writer. The actual starting-gates, with boxes for up to 24 teams of horses, are most probably located under a gigantic pile of earth excavated by the archaeologists investigating the temple area since 1875.
The investigation of the area east of the sanctuary of Olympia, only made possible by the research funds provided by the Institute of Sports Science of the University of Mainz and the International Riding Association, has produced the first concrete indications of the location of the racecourse and its geographical dimensions.. Ten students were on hand to assist the sports historian Professor Norbert Müller, who is an authority on Olympia. "The DAI, with its branch in Athens, has done sports history a great service through its contribution," said Müller. "The project could become a new attraction for the sports world, similar to the excavation of the ancient Olympic stadium 50 years ago."
The area east of the sanctuary of Olympia had not been the subject of archaeological investigation before, although the ancient written sources show that this must have been the site of the largest construction, in area terms, built to host competitions. According to Pausanias, the hippodrome lay south of the now researched and reconstructed stadium, and must now be several meters below the current level. It is only here, between the adjoining hills on the other side of the road to Arcadia in the north and the bed of the Alfeios River in the south (which has since been straightened) that the topology is suitable for the accommodation of a racecourse with a length of more than one kilometer.
Nevertheless, the geological and geographical conditions are not favorable. On the one hand, intensive agricultural use has produced stark changes to the historical geography, and, on the other hand, the course of the Alfeios River, which once meandered through the plain, has changed several times over the centuries. The landscape in this area has changed so much that it is nearly impossible to reconstruct its appearance in ancient times. It is known today that the level of the river in medieval times was about 9 meters higher than in ancient times, but that about 7 meters of the deposited material has since been eroded and carried away by the river. This means that the ancient remains to the east of the sanctuary lie about 2 meters below the current level.
The racecourse described in such detail by Pausanias (Book VI 20.10-15) was located at this level. According to this author, the teams lined up in the shape of a prow of a ship in starting-gates in front of a hall; the starting signal was a brass eagle that was raised and lowered by means of a hoisting mechanism, while a dolphin figure moved in front of the drivers. There was space for spectators along a wall on the southern side and along the adjoining hills to the north, but it seems that there were no stone stands similar to those of the great circuses in Rome or Carthage.
Various reconstructions have been based on Pausanias' description, with the racecourse usually assumed to be twice as wide as the starting-gates. However, it was only after a hand-written medieval document from the 11th century was correctly reinterpreted by J. Ebert in 1989 that the actual appearance and dimensions of the hippodrome became apparent. The complex had a length of 1052 meters and a width of 64 meters, not including the earth walls built for the spectators. The starting-gates stretched the full width of the racecourse.
Modern geomagnetic methods were used by a team of German scientists in April/May 2008 to explore the accessible terrain at the level described above. Two different physics-based techniques were used. Geomagnetic mapping of archaeological structures involves the accurate, high-resolution recording of the tiny magnetic anomalies in the earth's magnetic field that these cause. Such anomalies are usually caused by the presence of foundations, large stone objects or burnt layers. This technique was used in combination with georadar, a ground penetrating form of radar. In this electromagnetic technique, short impulses that each last only a few nanoseconds are radiated into the ground. These are reflected by the margins of different layers and by objects. A combination of the two methods can be used to detect anomalies and even to determine at what depth they are located in the ground. This makes it possible to determine within which layer (modern, medieval, ancient) the identified anomalies are probably located.
An area of 10.5 hectares was finecombed with geomagnetic mapping techniques, while georadar was used to investigate an area of 3.6 hectares. It was not always possible to penetrate the thick layers of fine sand, while the remains of decades of agriculture in the form of fences, channels and concrete structures also made results difficult to interpret.
Nevertheless, some significant finds were made. It appears that there was never extensive construction on the site. The innumerable channels extending to the northern perimeter of the area once defined the edges of terraces or water drainage conduits. The Alfeios River would have repeatedly flooded the entire area up to the foot of the hills. As the ancient level is approximately 2 meters below the current level, however, any remains will have been protected to some extent. This means that the parallel anomalies (ditches, walls, earthworks) identified along a length of almost 200 meters must represent the remains of the ancient hippodrome.
The hippodrome was thus sited parallel to the stadium and ended where there is a distinctive bend in the modern road at its eastern turning point. Approximately half-way along the northern access route to the starting-gates - where Pausanias entered the hippodrome - a circular stone formation with a diameter of about 10 metres was found in a layer dating from ancient times. Some remains that were most probably once buildings located on a terrace have been discovered near the road on the northern side of the hippodrome. As remains of a temple of Demeter have been discovered by Greek archaeologists in the immediate vicinity underneath the modern road, it now seems likely that this was the location described by Pausanias.
Hence, without any need for excavation, modern geomagnetic techniques have given us the first clear indications of the site of the hippodrome east of the sanctuary of Olympia. This means that archaeological and sports-historical research has come a little closer to solving one of the last great mysteries of Olympia.
Not quite sure what to make of this one from the Mirror
Golfing millionaires complain it is unfair and unacceptable when it rains, and millionaire footballers whinge that they are treated as slaves.
But in Cardiff, there's a delightful 11-year-old girl who thinks nothing of getting up at 5.30am and doing her gymnastic training before school.
After which she will eat the right, high-protein food before doing her homework, then perhaps a little light training before bed.
"There is no time," says her father, "for socialising."
Such is the lot of one of the young athletes who have Olympic Dreams (BBC1).
Together with the stories of diving sensation Tom Daley and judo hopeful Ashley McKenzie, this absorbing programme featured Venus Valentine Romaeo, who recently came second in the Wales Gymnastic Championships.
Her dream might well be to compete at the 2012 London Olympics, but it is literally the be-all and end all for her father, former stripper Tony Romaeo.
"It means so much to me, to achieve something through my children. I'd be happy to die then." The names of his children are a bit of a giveaway that he has high hopes for them.
Venus' older brother is budding boxer Romeo Casanova Valentino (names not normally associated with a lack of socialising), and her younger siblings are Angel Aphrodite, Isis Ise, Achilles Spartacus Mars, and baby Caesar Augustus Constantine.
They are not all expected to become champions though, oh no.
"If Romeo and Achilles make it as pro boxers, and we are all living comfortably, then I doubt Caesar will need to get into any kind of sport, especially boxing," says Tony.
Now I quite like the idea of my younger daughter competing at an Olympic Games, but after watching Olympic Dreams, I realise I've probably left it too late to start her training regime. She's five years old already.
... wow ... I couldn't even convince my wife to name one of our kids 'Rocky' (Rocco, actually ... but 'Rocky Meadows' sounded like such a good name)
From Today's Zaman
After 154 years of excavations in the ancient city of Sardis, where the first gold coins were made, new artifacts continue to be unearthed, adding to the richness of Turkey’s legacy as a crossroads of civilizations.
Sardis, the present day Salihli district of western Manisa province, was the capital of the Lydian kingdom and was known as the “Queen of Asia.” The city is believed to have prospered under the Persians and Romans as it was the endpoint of the Royal Road, which stretched from Persia to Anatolia.
Excavation first began here in 1854 and was conducted by Spiegelthal. Operations continued systematically until the breakout of World War I and resumed after 1958.
Studies carried out between 1910 and 1914 by Harold Butler of Princeton University produced more than 1,230 tombs in the Artemis Temple. Upon Butler’s death in 1921, a joint initiative by Harvard University and Cornell University, headed by Professor George M. A. Hanfman and subsequently by Professor Crawford H. Greenewalt, Jr., continued his work.
The excavations have also led to the discovery of the Artemis Temple, the biggest known ancient synagogue of the world, one of the seven holy churches of Christianity in Anatolia, a gymnasium and a gold refinery.
Speaking with the Anatolia news agency, Professor Nicholas Dunlop, the current head of the excavations, said many Lydian and Roman remains have been uncovered and restored, including a Roman bath and a gymnasium.
Noting that the restoration was the largest of its kind within Turkey, Dunlop cited the unearthing of the city walls during Greenewalt’s tenure in 1976 as one of the most important achievements of the excavation.
The professor said a one-piece structure, 20 meters wide and 11 meters high, of the 3-3.5-kilometer-long wall unearthed so far is the biggest archeological structure from the Lydian kingdom to be found in western Anatolia.
“The discovery has gone beyond our expectations. Currently we are digging under this wall and hope to find more information to be able to date it better,” Dunlop said.
‘Theaters built over remains of houses’
The excavations have also led to the discovery of Roman houses which had been constructed on the city walls in addition to many painted pieces, coins and pottery as well as Lydian houses under a Roman theater. “The discovery of the remains of Lydian houses, believed to have been burned down by the Persians, is very exciting because it gives us an insight into daily life at the time. In fact, we have used information gleaned from the houses to add to the knowledge of the late history of Sardis. We also concluded that the Lydians were very rich, but that this wealth was taken away by the Persians.”
The professor then spoke about Sardis and money. Sardis was the first city in the world to use coins as money. Professor Hanfman discovered a shop full of gold and silver coins which gave new insight into the beginning stages of minting. Dunlop says: “The coins were very valuable. As far as we can understand, the smallest coin weighed 0.5 grams and would be able to buy three lambs today. The excavations led to the discovery of a coin next to the head of a soldier’s skeleton. There were no pockets back then, so people carried small coins in their mouth.”
Ongoing excavations are concentrating on the region where the Roman theater and acropolis as well as the city walls are located, Dunlop noted. “We feel as if we were at the beginning of the excavation process. Many important finds have been discovered in the last 50 years of work, but another 50 are needed. Many sites are intact, and we have been unable to decipher everything we’ve found. The work completed so far has produced only 0.6 percent of all historical artifacts in the area,” he said, adding that workers do their best to complete their tasks without harming the historical structures.
The Culture and Tourism Ministry’s Manisa branch director, Erdinç Karaköse, says Manisa is home to one of the most important historical sites in the world as it is the home of the Artemis Temple and Sardis. He added that the excavations, once complete, will contribute immensely to both the city and the world because the site will attract considerable attention from all around the world in addition to shedding light on a particular period in history.
“Sardis will be turned into an archeological city once the excavations are complete. In the days to come we will work on setting up demonstrations of how the first coins were minted to increase the number of tourists coming into the city,” Karaköse said.
After all the 'emergency situation' coverage in the English press, I wonder if this piece from the Italian wing of ANSA
will get similar attention:
Il sito archeologico di Pompei si trova "in uno stato di indecenza e quindi abbiamo deciso di nominare un commissario per restituirlo al suo ruolo". Così il premier Silvio Berlusconi nella conferenza stampa che ha concluso la riunione del Cdm a Napoli. "Abbiamo nominato commissario straordinario il prefetto Renato Profili - ha aggiunto Berlusconi - per riportare Pompei, che non è solo patrimonio di Napoli e della Campania, ma che è patrimonio dell' umanità per l' Unesco e quindi del mondo, alla dignità che merita".
BONDI AFFRONTA EMERGENZA: PRIORITA' ABUSIVI
La prima cosa da fare per Pompei? "Cacciare gli abusivi", taglia corto il nuovo commissario Renato Profili. Ministro e sottosegretario, dopo una passeggiata a passo di carica tra le eccellenze dell'area archeologica appena commissariata, lo hanno appena ufficialmente investito di pieni poteri, "poteri ordinatori e derogatori", precisa davanti alla stampa il sottosegretario Francesco Maria Giro. A Pompei il prefetto gestirà la cassa - i 40 milioni di euro della Soprintendenza a cui si dovrebbero aggiungere altri 17 milioni della Regione Campania - e dovrà affrontare di petto, da subito, gli abusi più vistosi, "dall'abusivismo al ristorante, dai cani randagi ai servizi igienici pessimi", ricorda Bondi. Ma non solo: contestualmente Profili dovrà mettere mano alla questione custodi, riorganizzandone il lavoro, rimettendo in riga "gli svogliati e i senza divisa".
Di nuove assunzioni, almeno per ora, non se ne parla. E' vero che l'ordinanza prevede la possibilità di ricorrere ad agenzie di vigilanza privata, ma lui chiarisce di non volerne sapere: "di agenzie private non voglio sentir parlare - reagisce nervoso all'ennesima domanda - io conosco solo lo Stato, i carabinieri, la Finanza, la Polizia". Per ora ci si arrangia con quello che c'é, 150 custodi che tra turni, servizi notturni, malattie e ferie si traducono in non più di 30 unità per turno, spalmati su un'area enorme anche contando le poche case aperte. E proprio quello della apertura al pubblico, delle tante case restaurate eppure ancora inaccessibili (le visitabili sono il 35%) sarà il secondo punto nell'agenda del commissario. Bondi ne sottolinea l'esigenza già mentre visita, guidato dal soprintendente Pietro Guzzo, la casa di Menandro. Attorniato dal piccolo plotone di addetti ai lavori e parlamentari ( ci sono Diana De Feo il sottosegretario all'economia Nicola Cosentino, il parlamentare della pdl Cesano) il ministro chiede quante siano le case ancora chiuse. Il soprintendente gli mostra una piantina che le indica, evidenziate in giallo, lui sgrana gli occhi, gli scappa un esclamativo ("Ma sono la maggioranza!!") poi ridimensiona i toni, parla di "impressionante enormità del potenziale" di Pompei. Tant'é.
"Bisogna aprire, far vedere al mondo che ci muoviamo", commenta poi tornando con il commissario verso l'Auditorium, dove è prevista una riunione tecnica. I cronisti gli fanno notare che non ha visitato le zone del degrado. "La situazione la conosco ora bisogna agire", risponde. Le piante con le case aperte e quelle chiuse, le ha volute tenere. "Le mostrerò ai colleghi in consiglio dei ministrì, assicura. Nell'auditorium la riunone tecnica dura mezz'ora, a Napoli aspetta il Cdm. "Questo è un giorno importante, per me è la prima vera prova da ministro", esordisce poi Bondi parlando alla stampa. Tre, riferisce, i punti messi a fuoco nella riunione alla quale ha partecipato anche il presidente del consiglio superiore Salvatore Settis: gestione dell'emergenza e riaperture, ma per il futuro anche nuove modalita di gestione, con aperture a enti locali, fondazioni bancarie , private. "Il lavoro comincia adesso", sottolinea Bondi. Che poi lascia al sottosegretario Giro il compito di finire la conferenza stampa. Un giornalista giapponese insiste nel chiedere se sono state individuate responsabilità, perché si sia arrivati fino a questo punto. Per tutti alla fine risponde Settis: "più che colpe individuali - dice - parlerei di una lunga sedimentazione di microproblemi". Ma la scelta del commissario, conclude il professore che da settimane sta incalzando il ministro sul dramma dei tagli che incombono sulla cultura, "é potenzialmente promettente".
Two thousand years after Mount Vesuvius buried Pompeii under volcanic ash, Italy's most-visited archaeological site faces destruction at the hands of vandals, tourists and government budget cuts.
Chunks of frescoes depicting life in the Roman city are missing, carried away by visitors or eroded by the elements. Graffiti is gouged into walls. Tourists ignore signs forbidding flash photography as they take pictures of erotic designs inside the Lupanare, an ancient brothel.
The city southeast of Naples has deteriorated so much that the Italian government declared a state of emergency this month. It named the central government's former head policeman for Naples, Renato Profili, to oversee the 76-hectare (188-acre) site and make its 2.6 million annual visitors behave without scaring them away. Culture Minister Sandro Bondi is holding a press conference in Pompeii today to discuss the state of the ruins.
``You think, `Wow, I can just touch everything here,''' said Melissa Murphy, a 25-year-old biology teacher from Dallas as she ate lunch in Pompeii's Forum. ``I like the freedom to roam unobserved, but if it's being destroyed, you must do everything you can to save it. This place needs more security.''
The moves come as Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government is proposing to shave 8 billion euros ($13 billion) from Italy's budget next year, with cuts expected for the Ministry of Culture. A third of Pompeii remains underground. Unless the country comes up with more money, it should stay that way, said Giandomenico Spinola, the Vatican's head archaeologist for classical antiquities.
``It's obvious that there is an emergency in a country like Italy where there's so much to protect and so little money to do it,'' he said.
Visitors once arrived at the gate of Pompeii by boat. Now the site is inland after volcanic debris pushed back the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Temple of Venus greets visitors entering from the Porta Marina. They walk uphill to arrive in the Forum, once the center of ancient municipal life.
On a July 14 visit, tourists ran their hands along the walls of the city's bakeries, theaters and mansions as they tried to visualize life before the volcanic eruption on Aug. 24, A.D. 79. They left behind traces of sweat and acid that will eat away at the ruins.
Stray Dogs, No Guards
Stray dogs cooled themselves on the mosaic floor under the vaulted walls of the men's calidarium, which was the hottest of the succession of bathhouses, as visitors filed past the marble water basin. The walls sported modern graffiti along with remnants of terra-cotta paint.
During a five-hour visit, there were about 20 dogs and no security guards in sight.
Since 2001 the number of security guards has fallen 19 percent to 349, according to Soprintendenza Archeologica di Pompei, the administrative office of Pompeii. And Pompeii must share them with four other Vesuvian sites: Boscoreale, Oplontis, Stabia and Ercolano, the modern name for Herculaneum.
At least 150 square meters (1,600 square feet) of frescoes and plaster are lost to lack of upkeep each year and 3,000 stones crumble away, Antonio Irlando, the Campania region's alderman for culture, told newspaper Corriere della Serra on July 3.
Pompeii last year took in 33 million euros, about that same as in 2006. Eighty-two percent of that was generated by the 11- euro entrance fee, with the rest from the Culture Ministry. All personnel costs are paid out of the ministry's budget.
There has been talk about trying to promote neighboring sites to divert traffic from Pompeii, but limited parking would create chaos, a Soprintendenza official said. A new virtual museum that opened recently at Ercolano, on the Gulf of Naples, allows visitors to discover the sights, sounds and even smells of ancient times. They can ``unearth'' frescoes by waving their hand in front of displays, wiping away virtual ash.
Pompeii isn't Italy's only archaeological site in distress.
Former Prime Minster Romano Prodi's government cut this year's budget for protection of Italy's artistic and archaeological heritage by 20 percent to 489 million euros.
One way of boosting preservation efforts across Italy may be to ask private corporations for help.
Antonello Antinoro, Sicily's alderman for culture, this month proposed handing over management of the region's 2,500- year-old Valley of the Temples, where Greeks once worshipped Zeus and other pagan goods, to private entrepreneurs.
``It's too easy to talk about bureaucracy,'' said Guido Soroldone, administrator of a high school for the arts near Milan, as he peered through a locked gate into one of Pompeii's villas. ``In the end, it's more about taking personal responsibility on how the money is spent. It's about getting a better return on your investment.''
Alfonso Dellie Franci, 56, has worked for 20 years as a guide at Pompeii. He gushed with enthusiasm when recounting stories about ancient palace intrigue, or the city's red-light district. His voice turned angry when talking about tourists who plunder the site for souvenirs and politicians' failure to set the situation right.
When a stray dog rolled over inviting Franci to scratch her belly he obliged. ``I have no problem with dogs,'' he said. ``They have much more respect for Pompeii than people do.''
... herself. Check out this excerpt from a reviewish thing in the New York Sun
of a biography of Heidi Fleiss:
An unexpected element enters the film almost from the start: There are a lot of birds around. And the first topic of conversation in the sit-down interview is how Alexander the Great returned from his conquests with exotic birds, which were then introduced as pets to the privileged classes.
"Are you comparing yourself to Alexander?" she is asked. The question is a non sequitur, but she gamely takes it up. "No," she replies. "Because I conquered the world when I was in my 20s and he was in his 30s and he's dead and I'm alive. ... I took the oldest profession on earth and did it better than anyone on earth."
It always amazes me how many folks don't see the incongruity between claims that "Alexander the Great brought back this or that" and "Alexander the Great died" ...
, inter alia:
No matter what you do to protect yourself; passwords, encryption, biometrics, firewall, and an anti-virus - you still have one major worry, and that’s theft. The one thing worse than that, is mistakenly losing it, because that makes it your fault, and that’s naturally worse than anything else.
Once you’d lost or had your laptop stolen, you relied entirely on the good faith of humanity or at the very least, a police force, to recover your device. Researchers at the Washington University and California University have joined up to create Adeona, named after the Roman goddess which guides children back to their parents.
I wonder where this claim actually comes from (it is all over the web); Adeona is mentioned in the big list of obscure divinities mentioned by Varro that Augustine rails against in CD 7.3
Iuno selecta et regina Iouisque et soror et coniunx; haec tamen Iterduca est pueris et opus facit cum deabus ignobilissimis Abeona et Adeona. ibi posuerunt et Mentem deam, quae faciat pueris bonam mentem,
Tertullian also mentions the pair in a fragmentary section from ad Nationes 2.11
Ab adeundo Adeona, abeundo Abeona est. Domiducam et habent et deam < . . . . . . .>
Cyril Bailey mentions the pair in passing in the section on the religion of Numa
These spirits are, as we have seen, indwellers in the objects of nature
and controllers of the phenomena of nature: but to the Roman they were
more. Not merely did they inhabit places and things, but they presided
over each phase of natural development, each state or action in the
life of man. Varro, for instance, gives us a list of the deities
concerned in the early life of the child, which, though it bears the
marks of priestly elaboration, may yet be taken as typical of the
feeling of the normal Roman family. There is Vaticanus, who opens the
child's mouth to cry, Cunina, who guards his cradle, Edulia and Potina,
who teach him to eat and drink, Statilinus, who helps him to stand up,
Adeona and Abeona, who watch over his first footstep, and many others
each with his special province of protection or assistance.
I'm sure the role of Adeona has been inferred from the above bits; I'm still debating whether Abeona would have been more appropriate ...
From Abitare a Roma
Il nuovo mercato di Testaccio sorgerà proprio dove gli scavi archeologici hanno portato alla scoperta dell’antichissimo mercato romano. Una struttura moderna di ferro e vetro sarà costruita fra via Galvani e via Franklin e dove verranno trasferiti i 112 banchi dell’attuale mercato rionale.
Questo rappresenta lo scavo più grande di Roma che iniziato ad aprile 2005 è stato da subito coordinato dalla Soprintendenza archeologica di Roma che si è avvalsa anche degli studenti dell'Università di Roma Tre, dell'Università di Lecce e della società Saf per riuscire a coprire l'intera area che supera un ettaro di estensione.
“Come spesso accade negli scavi urbani abbiamo rinvenuto una stratificazione che racconta l'intera storia dell'area – dichiara il 15 luglio Sebastiani, l´archeologo della Sovrintendenza con delega agli scavi di Testaccio – Si va dai magazzini di età imperiale, all'epoca dell'abbandono medievale quando la zona ospitava orti e vigne per passare alle vigne rinascimentali e barocche che coprono un periodo dal 1400 al 1800”.
Stando alla ricostruzione degli esperti in quell'area, nell'Antica Roma, sorgevano i grandi magazzini. Le merci arrivavano con grandi navi dall'Africa o dall'Oriente e approdavano al porto di Ostia. Da lì venivano portate nella città con delle chiatte che risalivano il Tevere fino al vecchio porto fluviale (tra ponte di Porta Portese e quello di Testaccio).
“E' questa anche la spiegazione di Monte Testaccio, il monte dei cocci – spiega ancora Sebastiani – In pratica era una discarica Annona (dei magazzini statali) dove venivano distrutte e abbandonate tutte le grandi anfore di olio e di vino al momento della distribuzione al dettaglio in contenitori più piccoli”.
I magazzini sono stati rinvenuti soprattutto nell'area nord dello scavo. Si tratta di tre linee di edifici che formano un triangolo: un lato costituito da una doppia fila di magazzini per un totale, al momento, di circa una ventina di ambienti e l'altro lato formato da una schiera di stanze che per ora risultano essere una decina e che si affacciano su una strada che probabilmente si trova sotto vicolo della Serpe. In uno dei locali, non è escluso che ci fosse un antico forno per la cottura delle ceramiche (anche grazie alla vicinanza del fiume che poteva fornire l'argilla e l'acqua necessarie).
Finora, comunque, sono state recuperate circa un migliaio di cassette di reperti che sono ancora in corso di lavaggio e classificazione.
La presenza principale è, senza dubbio, quella delle anfore olearie spagnole e africane e anfore vinarie di provenienza gallica, orientale e cretese. Sono state rinvenute anche una quarantina di monete di bronzo e di argento di varie epoche (dall'età vespasiana a quella severiana).
“Quello che si prefigurava come il tradizionale conflitto tra salvaguardia dei resti archeologici e realizzazione di opere di pubblica utilità – spiega Renato Sebastiani, – E' stato, invece, vissuto come un'occasione di dialogo e di integrazione tra antico e moderno, a tutto vantaggio della città”. Il nuovo mercato di Testaccio, infatti, si farà lo stesso.
“Al suo interno sarà realizzata anche un'area museale che illustrerà i ritrovamenti in modo da condurre il visitatore dai livelli più antichi a quelli più recenti mettendolo in grado di conoscere e comprendere al meglio l'evoluzione storica dell'area e, in un certo senso, dell'intera città – sottolinea Lucina Giacopini, responsabile della direzione scientifica della Saf –". Inoltre verranno anche realizzate delle attività didattiche dove i visitatori potranno partecipare a forme di archeologia sperimentale.
Nel 2005 il sindaco Veltroni ha fatto un sopralluogo, insieme al Sovrintendente Angelo Bottini e agli assessori Morassut, Rizzo, Calamante e D´Alessandro, al cantiere della Sovrintendenza dove prima sorgeva il campo di calcio dei "pulcini" della Roma. Questo ha rappresentato l’atto formale che ha segnato il via libero definitivo alla sistemazione di tutta l’area dove sorgerà il nuovo mercato rionale di Testaccio, un centro commerciale, una residenza per studenti universitari, un parcheggio e, sotto a tutto ciò, il museo dell’area archeologica. Ma del percorso archeologico faranno parte anche le scoperte relative ai periodi successivi, da quando il mercato fu abbattuto e sostituito da vigne e frutteti, al casale rinascimentale che costruito qui fino alle fondamenta dei "villini" popolari dell´inizio del '900.
La Sovrintendenza sta pensando anche a delle visite guidate a giorni e orari fissi, allargate anche alle altre aree archeologiche di Testaccio: il porto romano e il Monte dei Cocci. Per questo è stato chiesto al sindaco Veltroni che il Monte dei Cocci venga riaperto: «Ne parlerò col sovrintendente La Rocca», ha risposto il sindaco «Se è possibile lo faremo».
La grande riqualificazione della piazza dove verranno trasferiti 112 banchi dell'attuale mercato di Testaccio, prevede inoltre che la struttura di ferro e vetro sarà illuminata in maniera suggestiva anche di notte.
Wow ... now if there were more archaeological museums/sites attached to shopping centres, I could probably convince my wife to spend rather more time in Rome when we went to visit relatives in Sicily ...
Brief item from the Press Association
Visitors to Italy's capital are being told to obey the old maxim - when in Rome do as the Romans do.
Tourists in the Eternal City are now banned from snacking near monuments on pain of paying a 50 euro fine.
City officials say they want to preserve artistic treasures and decorum in a city that has millions of visitors every year.
... well, I guess that means there'll be no snacking anywhere!
From the Daily Star
Serbia has discovered that 16 Roman emperors of the third and fourth centuries AD were born in what is now Serbia. Now Serbia wants tourists to discover that too.
"Those were the dynamic times preceding the final collapse of the Western Roman Empire in the late fifth century," said historian Aleksandar Jovanovic. "Due to specific circumstances, the emperor's throne was not hereditary, but a matter of soldiers' leadership and bravery. In those times, simple but successful military leaders could become emperors.
"However, theirs was a short-lived glory, only a year or two. They were guardians of the borders of the Empire, and died in battles against 'barbarians,' fighting shoulder to shoulder with their soldiers."
These emperors liked to serve at the border towns where they were born, and to make them as glorious as they could, building typical pantheons, theaters and forums.
At its peak, the Roman Empire extended from modern Portugal and Spain in the west to North Africa in the south, across Europe to modern England in the north, and to Romania and Turkey in the east and southeast.
It ceased to exist as a single entity in the late fifth century, when its western part fell to Germanic tribes. The eastern part, in the form of the Byzantine Empire, lasted until 1453 - when the Ottoman Turks conquered Constantinople, modern Istanbul.
One of the most prominent rulers of ancient Rome in the region of the Balkans was Constantine I (272-337 AD), who ended the persecution of Christians in 313 AD and made it a tolerated religion. He was born in Naissus, today's southeastern town of Nis in Serbia.
Modern Serbia wants visitors to step into that past. The first step in "ancient Roman tourism" was taken in Kostolac, 90 kilometers east of Belgrade, when the gates of Viminatium, a former military outpost, were opened to the public in 2006.
The enthusiasm of archaeology professor Miomir Korac, who worked at the site for six years with 40 assistants, paid off. More than 50,000 people visited the site in 2007.
"This is a unique project that can reveal ancient history, and popularise it among both our people and international tourists," Korac said. "It brings together the past and modern times."
Only 4 kilometers from the Danube, Viminatium boasts thermal baths, a water supply system that goes 10 kilometers up into nearby mountains, an amphitheater, and a necropolis.
Today tourist operators pile visitors into replicas of ancient Roman chariots and deliver them to taverns to eat meals made from 1,700-year-old recipes - bread with goat cheese and bay leaves, roasted pork in honey, or sesame dressed meatballs, deep fried in olive oil.
Another attraction is the recently unearthed mausoleum of Emperor Hostilian, who died in the town in 251 AD. It is uncertain whether Hostilian was assassinated, died of the plague or, perhaps, the diet.
... how would you say 'bandwagon' in Latin? Something -carri ...
Richard Arnopp scripsit:
I was very interested by the reports on your site that an imperial mausoleum had been discovered, so I did some digging.
It seems that whatever the Serbian tourist authorities are claiming, the people in charge of the excavations in Viminacium are too honest to make any link between the structure discovered - undoubtedly a high-status mausoleum - and Hostilian,
and in particular
I assume that if there was any positive reason to connect Hostilian with this monument, the case would have been made on the website. The silence - apart from an embarassed-sounding reference to the "so called imperial mausoleum" strikes me as eloquent.
It is mentioned in passing on one of the pages
at the Viminacium website, but doesn't say what the identification is based on. On the Mausoleum page you mention, they do suggest the bones from the site have been sent for DNK (sic) analysis ... I wonder what the results were/are?
... has finally hit the English press, albeit via the Russian RIA Novosti
An ancient horse-racing course that was written about in classical texts but thought lost has been discovered by archaeologists in Olympia in Greece, the Science Daily has reported.
The hippodrome, where the emperor Nero competed for Olympian laurels some 1,600 years ago, was discovered by a research team from Germany.
"This discovery is an archaeological sensation," said Norbert Muller of the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.
Archaeologists for years had failed to locate the remains site of the hippodrome, and it was thought that the nothing had survived, as the area had been flooded and became covered with silt.
Using geomagnetic and georadar techniques, the archaeologists discovered conspicuous, rectilinear structures stretching almost 1,200 meters. The researchers believe that this could be the racecourse, which ran parallel to the stadium.
"The project could become a new attraction for the sports world, similar to the excavation of the ancient Olympic stadium 50 years ago," Muller said.
... I'm sure we'll see more soon.
My box filled with this one yesterday ... more articles with more details; this one is from Spiegel
If one Italian entrepreneur has his way, Rome's Circus Maximus will once again play host to roaring chariot racing. It's time, he says, for Romans to once again leave the Gauls and the Huns in their dust.
It's a situation that keeps Franco Calo up at night. Across Europe and the world, chariot racing, perhaps the most Roman of all sporting events, is enjoying a renaissance of sorts. Events are held in cities from Bulgaria to Germany to France. There is even a hippodrome in Brazil.
But in Calo's native Rome? So far, the 27th generation Roman points out ruefully, there is nothing. That, though, is something Calo is setting about to change. He is pushing for the Italian capital to reclaim chariot racing and establish an event of its own.
"Rome is the only large Italian city without a unique historical manifestation, such as Siena's Palio horse races or Venice's Regata Storica," Calo told SPIEGEL ONLINE. He is slightly more pointed on his Web site Vadis al Maximo: Do Romans, he asks his readers, really want "to come in third behind the Gauls (the French) and the Huns (the Germans), when it comes to Romanness?"
Calo is especially annoyed that many of the races currently held outside of Italy show major shortcomings when it comes to historical accuracy. The re-enactments near Berlin particularly upset him. His Web site links to a video of the chariot races held annually in the city's Karlhorst district, but he warns that: "The site is only to be viewed by those with strong stomachs, as it contains horrific images, such as chariots being pulled by ponies and fake Roman soldiers, all blond and wearing disordered plumes."
The Phenomenon of the Great Spectacle
Such carelessness with past Roman glory simply won't do for Calo. It is time, he says, for chariot racing to come home to Rome -- and more specifically to the Circus Maximus, the site of Rome's earliest and largest circus and host to innumerable chariot races through the ages.
"After a prolonged and undeserved historical silence," Calo announces on his site, "there is finally an initiative to commemorate the glorious past of the Eternal City."
That, though, isn't all. Calo, who works in the Italian film industry, would also like the chariot racing event -- tentatively scheduled for three days starting on Oct. 17, 2009 -- to be accompanied by bits of historical authenticity across the Italian capital. In addition to the races, Cato envisions Roman squares dressed up to look like ancient Rome. He has his eye on props from Cinecitta film studios, the Italian production lots where "Ben Hur" -- the 1959 film whose chariot scene is widely considered to be one of the most spectacular scenes in the history of cinematography -- was filmed.
"I spent five years in Los Angeles," Calo says. "In America, I had the chance to witness the phenomenon of the great spectacle."
Still, as large as Calo's dreams are, so too are the potential hurdles. While he claims that he has lined up some potential sponsors, the site itself, Circus Maximus, is hardly what it used to be. Most of the circus' materials have been carted off over the centuries to be put to use in other buildings, and its grounds are now officially protected as a park. Nowadays, it is mostly used as a dog-run and a place for Romans to go jogging.
Plus, the film studio says it has not yet been contacted about the myriad statues, chariots, armor and catapults Cato would like to use for his re-enactment. Indeed, a representative of the studios says it doesn't even have some of these items in the first place.
NASCAR on Speed
Most challenging of all, however, is getting permission from the city to stage the event in the first place. "We've reached an important moment and we've passed most of the big tests," Calo insists. Marco Pomarici, the chairman of Rome's municipal counsel who is second in charge behind the mayor, has voiced his support for the project, according to Calo.
But Calo will also have to obtain permission from cultural heritage officials, who have been presented with an impact assessment and are currently reviewing the proposal.
Jeremy Hartnett, a professor at Rome's Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies and an expert on ancient Roman urban society, for his part, is skeptical that they will be cooperative. "I can't imagine they'd let him do this," Hartnett told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "One thing we know for sure about Roman chariot racing is that it was extremely dangerous. It was like NASCAR on speed."
Still, Calo figures if chariot races can be held elsewhere, then it certainly should be possible in Rome. Plus, it can be big business. Stellan Lind, for example, a Swedish citizen currently living in Jordan, runs a company devoted to staging such races. Called the Roman Army and Chariot Experience (RACE), Lind's company recreates Roman army displays and chariot races for tourists twice a day year-round. Although the races are choreographed, the hippodrome the races are held in -- located in Jaresh, Jordan -- was built by the Romans and his chariots are based on the original designs of Alfredo Danesi, the Italian expert who made the chariots used in 'Ben-Hur.'
A Porsche Chariot?
"The movie industry -- and especially 'Gladiator' -- has created a new interest in all things Roman," Stellan Lind told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "I always tell people that it's just like today's Formula 1. And, really, what's the difference? What we enjoy watching doesn't change."
In France, film director Robert Hossein transformed Paris's Stade de France into a venue for putting on five re-enactment performances of the "Ben-Hur" racing scene in September 2007. The $17-million (€10.7 million) event used hundreds of extras in period dress and drew nearly 300,000 spectators.
Calo also hopes his events can have international and even corporate flair. "Different companies could sponsor the various chariots," Calo says, "so you could have, for example, a Porsche chariot or a Mercedes chariot."
"And can you imagine," Calo added, "German charioteers driving Arab horses?"
But, of course, where does that leave the Italians and, more importantly, Roman pride? "It's ironic," says Hartnett, "that the people that the Romans conquered are the ones who want to play Romans. You never see modern Italians getting excited about dressing up as Romans."
As suspected, early reports (and some current headlines) give the impression this is a done deal. As Hartnett suggests, this seems rather unlikely ... I assume the excavations of the spina
are still going on at some level (if they were ever started) ... if nothing else, the 'restoration' efforts approved back in April
seem to go against this sort of thing ... perhaps the Stadio dei Marmi
(next to the Stadio Olimpico, where Toti, deRossi, et al do their magic) would be a bit more realistic ...
From the BBC
Business leaders in a Kent coastal town have launched a campaign to erect a statue to Julius Caesar, who landed there in 55 BC.
Caesar and a small fleet landed in Deal on their first reconnaissance visit to England, after deciding a Dover landing would leave them more open to attack.
The Romans won a brief battle and soon left, returning the next year, when they reached as far as the Thames.
Peter Jull, of Deal Chamber of Trade, said a statue would be a good reminder.
John Grigsby, from English Heritage, said Caesar confused his dates, thinking it was August when it was actually mid-September, and he was unsure of the tides, so he did not pursue his visit to Deal and returned to France to build new ships.
His second visit was more successful, he added.
But it was emperor Claudius who finally added Britain to the Roman Empire.
An army of four legions and approximately 20,000 auxiliaries, landed at Richborough, Kent, in AD 43.
Mr Jull said they wanted visitors to Deal to be able to see the prow of a beached ship, together with a statue of Julius Caesar, to give visitors an idea of what it was like.
"They would be able to walk through what was effectively a battlefield," he said.
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-Ã -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
Abstracts of 500 words should be submitted to either Siobhan McElduff
(mcelduff AT gmail.com) or Enrica Sciarrino (enrica.sciarrino AT 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.
Ancient Medicine and its Contexts
Graduate Student Conference
24-26 April 2009
University of Calgary
Preliminary notice and call for papers
In order to bring together graduate students working in or around the area of ancient Greek and Roman medicine, a graduate student conference is planned for Friday 24 April to Sunday 26 April 2009, to be held at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Possible paper topics may include the study of ancient Greco-Roman medicine,or the study of ancient Greco-Medicine as it impacts upon the areas of literature, social or cultural history, gender studies, and so forth, from the Bronze Age to the Byzantine Period. We encourage submissions not just from students specializing in ancient medicine, but also from those whose work intersects with ancient medicine.
Further details will be announced in due course. A preliminary website containing basic information has been setup at http://homepages.ucalgary.ca/~amconf/. Those wishing to offer papers, or be put on a mailing list for information regarding further conference details, should e-mail Amber Porter, the conference coordinator, at amconf AT ucalgary.ca. Some financial assistance may be possible for those aiming to attend.
CALL FOR PAPERS for the 69th ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE COLLEGE LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore
March 25-29, 2009
Session sponsored by the Outreach Committee of the American Philological Association, in memory of John Quinn
Theme: Studies in Black Classicism
People of African descent have shaped the reception of the classical world for centuries. In Europe and Africa the pattern of evidence in classical antiquity moves from Homer and Herodotus to Africa's own Terence, Fronto and Augustine. In later eras it embraces Juan Latino and Anthony William Amo as well as more recent figures such as C.L.R. James and Kwame Nkrumah. Across the Atlantic, Francis Williams, Phillis Wheatley, Johon Cnavis and Alexander Crummell gained fame during the 18th and 19th centuries for learning Greek and Latin, and using it in their work. In the Americas, however, these were exceptional cases. It was not until the end of the Civil War that the study of Greek and Latin became a mainstay of African-American education in general.
With the end of slavery, and the widespread legal interdictions prohibiting the education of slaves, universities and colleges old and new--from Oberlin, Brown and Amherst to Lincoln, Fisk, Atlanta, Clark, Wilberforce and Howard--incorporated the classically-based liberal arts curriculum into their programs, as part of their larger goal of bringing the highest level of culture and learning to their students. As a result, classical training influenced and in some instances permeated the professional and creative lives of college-educated black people for generations: classicists such as William Sanders Scarborough, William Henry Crogman, Helen Maria Chesnutt; literary artist such as Rita Dove, Derek Walcott, Kamau Brathwaite, Wole Soyinka and Femi Osofian.
Until recent times this rich tradition has been overlooked by scholars and lay people alike. While valuable work has been done about the Black Atlantic and African Diaspora in postcolonial studies, myriad aspects of this dynamic topic remain to be explored. With the support of the American Philological Association's Committee on Outreach, we hope to stimulate research in this area more broadly by presenting a panel on black classicism to our fellow philologists in the College Language Association. Papers on any aspect of this topic, drawing from art, literature, law and pedagogy will be welcomes. Our session honors the memory of John Quinn, a classicist at Hope College who passed away in June 2008, and his pioneering scholarship and teaching on this topic.
The deadline for the receipt of an abstract (300 words) is August 31, 2008. Submissions should be sent to both Michele Ronnick (aa3276 AT wayne.edu) and Judith P. Hallett (jeph AT umd.edu)
For further information about the College Language Association, see http://www/clascholars.org/
... have to catch up on assorted things that have been neglected as I've been contending with a virus attack on my wife's computer ... further complicating matters is I'm getting the dreaded 502 error on my gmail accounts ... no mail since yesterday!
UPDATE: it was down for 12 hours!
From a press release
The formal opening of the New Acropolis Museum in Athens had been long-awaited. Now, the highly anticipated opening has scheduled to take place in September 2008. The gallery houses Parthenon marble on the top with a view of the actual Parthenon less than a mile away will also be unveiled, though many other displays will not be complete until 2009.
After discussions for several years, the museum finally decided how it was going to present the Parthenon marbles. The original marble will be displayed along the plaster casts of pieces that have been removed from Greece, but most of them remain present in London’s British Museum.
The construction of the Acropolis Museum has proved to be an extremely lengthy one as the first competition of architecture was launched in 1976 and the second one in 1979. The designs were unsatisfactory and the third construction plan in 1989 was canceled by the government. However, the fourth construction was held in 2000, won by Bernard Tschumi, an architect from New York. Many problems such as archaeological discoveries led to its delays in opening.
In the mean time, the owner of easyJet, a low-cost holiday and business airline, has started a marketing campaign in the UK calling the curators at the British Museum and New Acropolic Museum to engage in a constructive dialogues over Parthenon marbles. His position in the dispute over ownership has been made clear since he painted the quote Reunite the Parthenon Marbles’ on his latest cruise ship, something which can only happen in the Athens’ new museum.
Not sure if this will be useful:
What it does is generate a print version of rc (it generates a pdf document) ... perhaps a way to sneak rc into the coffee lounge where the technophobes can check it out? Useful? I can't decide ... not sure I like the formatting of the pdf. I'm also curious whether the one generated tomorrow will be different or whether it will duplicate a pile of stuff.
Inter alia, a piece from the Times
about growing old suggests:
Cato took up Greek at 80. Plutarch was not much younger when he started learning Latin.
Not sure where the age-specific references come from ... as I recall, both of these are just 'late in life' sorts of things which could mean pretty much anything after, say, 18, relatively speaking ...
From the CBC
Nobel literary laureates Seamus Heaney and Derek Walcott are collaborating on a new opera due to be unveiled this fall at the Globe Theatre in London.
The piece, according to the Guardian newspaper, is based on Heaney's acclaimed play The Burial at Thebes and will be set in a South American republic.
The 2004 work retells the original ancient play by Sophocles, which examines Antigone's punishment, to be walled up in a cave, for defying the king of Thebes. Antigone chooses to take her own life rather than submit.
The Irish poet said he's hoping to get a "huge enhancement" of his work from Walcott, who will direct the production with the Trinidadian composer Dominique Le Gendre providing the compositions.
"Heaney's text is so pressing and so contemporary that it has real relevance to the dilemmas we face today, to questions of competing loyalty which recur everywhere in this story," Le Gendre told the newspaper.
A 'rare opportunity'
It marks the first time Heaney has given permission for an operatic version of his works.
The work was commissioned by conductor Peter Manning for his ensemble Manning Camerata.
Heaney says he's excited by the possibilities of an operatic version of his work.
"[It] will sound more deeply and the pity and the terror strike home more immediately," said Heaney.
Heaney, who won the Nobel in 1995, and the St. Lucia-born Walcott, who captured the prize in 1992, are old friends.
"[This piece] offers a rare opportunity for a work of considerable importance and beauty to be seen and heard," said Walcott, 78.
The opera will premiere on Oct. 11 and go on a national tour.
From the Review
ARCHAEOLOGISTS re-excavating an ancient roman room were surprised to discover parts of it missing today.
The team were left searching for answers when they discovered the mosaic tiles, dating back to the second century, were no longer there.
Simon West, archaeologist for St Albans District Council, believes the tiles, once part of a manor house still buried under ground, could have been sold by its discoverer in the 1930s.
Simon and his team of experienced volunteers began digging up the room next to the Hypercaust building in Verulamium Park on Monday.
He said: "The room was first discovered in the 1930s with details and drawings taken of the room. We wanted to find out if anything had changed naturally and take our own modern reports of the room.
"We have fulfilled our brief, however in quite a negative way.
"It was certainly a surprise to find it was no longer there.
"There's a possibility he may have sold the mosaics to the public, which isn't a criticism of him but it wouldn't be allowed today."
It could be that the mosaic was used to complete another section elsewhere, but Simon admitted that would probably have been put on record.
The dig purposely coinsides with National Archaeology Week with the public invited to watch the experts at work today and tomorrow.
The Young Archaeologists Club were also helping out with the excavation work, the first undertaken in around 10 years.
Special free activities are also on at the St Albans Museum including a "sand dig" where children can discover old coins, special displays of bones and ancient Roman objects and workshops to join in.
A marble discus, which dates to the 5th-4th century BCE, was found by David Shalom, a lifeguard, while diving in the antiquities site of Yavne-Yam, next to Palmahim beach. The lifeguard gave the discus to the Israel Antiquities Authority.
The white discus, which is flat on one side and convex on the other, measures 20 centimeters in diameter. In the middle of the discus are a perforation and the remains of two circles that are painted around the center of it. This object has been identified as representing the pupil of an eye that adorned the bow of an ancient warship or cargo ship. Its Greek name is ophtalmoi and a lead coupling or bronze nail that was driven through the hole in the center of the discus was used to attach the object to the hull of the ship.
According to Kobi Sharvit, the director of the Marine Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “We know from drawings on pottery vessels, pithoi and ancient coins, as well as from historic sources of the fifth century BCE that this model was very common on the bows of ships and was used to protect them from the evil eye and envy, and was meant as a navigation aid and to act as a pair of eyes which looked ahead and warned of danger. This decoration is also prevalent today on modern boats in Portugal, Malta, Greece and in the Far East.
Even though this item was common and one would expect that many such objects would be found, it is actually quite rare: to date we know of only four other such ancient artifacts that were discovered in the Mediterranean Sea. Two were recovered from ancient cargo shipwrecks (440-425 BCE) that were found along the western coast of Turkey between the islands of Samos and Chios at the site of Tektas Burnu and two items were recovered from the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Israel: one from the Carmel coast and the other which was just discovered at Yavne-Yam.
The port city of Yavne-Yam was first settled in the Middle Bronze Age and was inhabited until the Middle Ages. Near the tell is a natural anchorage that is protected by kurkar reefs in the west and two capes located to the south and north.
During the course of archaeological surveys that have been performed there by the Marine Unit of the Israel Antiquities Authority since the 1980’s artifacts were found that originated in shipwrecks, including anchors of various sizes and weights with one to three holes in them, fishing equipment, lead connectors and stone plumbs that belong to stone anchors. Other objects that were found which were used onboard boats include an oven for cooking that is made of lead, grindstones, stone bowls, fishing gear (bronze hooks, lead weights for fishing nets and lead plumbs for measuring the depth of the seabed), as well as storage jars, amphorae, bowls and cooking pots that date to the Late Bronze Age, Persian, Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine periods. All of these bear witness to the extensive commercial activity that transpired there.
Most of the pottery vessels are of types that were manufactured in the Land of Israel or in the Eastern Mediterranean; however, some were imported from more distant lands along the Mediterranean Sea. A concentration of artifacts was discovered at the site which date to the Bronze Age and include dozens of gold objects (earrings, beads, pieces of jewelry and waste from the jewelry industry) and a hematite seal of Syrian provenance. The concentration was located scattered in an area where twenty hematite seals, bronze arrowheads, axes and two small statues of the god Ba’al were found in the past. The archaeological finds indicate that the anchorage was used continuously from the Late Bronze Age until Middle Ages.
holding the discus
... at Whitehall Roman Villa. From the Chronicle
Flooding for Northamptonshire residents even affected Roman settlers in the third century, archaeologists in Nether Heyford have discovered.
Whitehall Roman Villa in Nether Heyford has been under excavation for more than 10 years, since foragers armed with metal detectors discovered a large number of Roman coins in 1996.
And in the latest study, a second bath house has been found close to the River Nene.
Stephen Young, site director, said: "It was in use for perhaps one generation but because of flooding it was abandoned, and the bath house we already knew about was built instead."
He said the evidence for this was that soil on top of the bath house dated back to the fourth century, meaning it could only have been used for a short time.
Remains of a mosaic floor have been found, along with painted plaster, window glass, a well-preserved piece of a horse's bridle and a bracelet.
The bath houses both had several rooms for different uses, to allow bathers to change, lie in a hot room, enjoy a hot bath, a cold bath or even a massage.
Farm owner Nick Adams said: "We were amazed to find the second bath house.
"The thinking is that flooding from a spring would have meant the lower bath house would not work properly."
The site has also been given two interpretation boards worth £2,000 which explain the site and show how it would have looked in Roman times.
Dave Prichard, land management officer from Natural England, which donated the boards, said: "This is about making more people understand what this is all about.
"By having a visual aid we are supporting the ongoing excavation and helping more people understand what it all means."
For further information log on to www.whitehallvilla.co.uk
From the Globe and Mail
History, like poetry, began with war. Around 440 BC, some three centuries after Homer, singing of the wrath of Achilles, composed The Iliad, a Greek by the name of Herodotus embarked upon a project no less epic. His goal was to explain what would now be termed "the clash of civilizations": the inability of the peoples of East and West to live together in peace. A fateful and enduring theme — and prompted, in Herodotus's case, by a concern to explain how the King of Persia, the most powerful man on the planet, had recently sought to conquer Greece.
The onslaught had been launched back in 480 BC. Set against the unprecedented juggernaut of the Persian invasion, the Greeks appeared few in numbers and hopelessly divided. The result seemed a foregone conclusion. And yet somehow, astonishingly, against the largest expeditionary force ever assembled, the Greeks had managed to hold out. The invaders had been turned back. Greece had remained free.
Two and a half thousand years later, and the story remains as thrilling and remarkable as ever. So stirringly did Herodotus tell it, and with such an epic sweep, that it has come to serve as the very founding myth of European civilization: as the archetype of the triumph of freedom over enervated despotism. Yet it is a startling fact that what will perhaps most strike the reader of Herodotus is not any tone of xenophobia, but rather the very opposite: curiosity and open-mindedness. "Philobarbaros," one indignant compatriot labelled him: the closest to the phrase "bleeding-heart liberal" that ancient Greek approached.
The truth is that Herodotus was both intensely a man of his background, and inexhaustibly curious about the world that lay beyond that of the Greeks. Indeed, such was his enthusiasm for pursuing the line of a good story that it ended up giving to his great work something of the character of a shaggy dog story. Readers who start The Histories in the expectation of reading about the heroics of Thermopylae or Salamis will find they have a long way to go. Only a couple of pages in, and suddenly Herodotus is giving us a strange tale about a king who presses a bodyguard to have a peek at his naked queen — with predictably fatal consequences.
Herodotus [Illustration by Anthony Jenkins, The Globe and Mail]
Then comes a story about a musician who is captured by pirates, and escapes them by jumping into the sea while playing his lute — and is promptly rescued by a dolphin. No wonder that Herodotus, "the father of history," has also been sneered at as "the father of lies."
But that is unfair, for not only does it overlook the extraordinarily subtle ordering of themes that gives such an underlying unity to his material, but also — and even more crucially — misrepresents how he saw his own role. "For my job," Herodotus explains at one point, "is simply to record whatever I am told by each of my sources."
Here, as he well appreciated, was something new. For the first time, a chronicler had set himself to trace the origins of a great event, not to a past so remote as to be utterly fabulous, nor to the whims and wishes of some god, nor to a people's claim to a manifest destiny, but rather to explanations that he could investigate personally. Committed to transcribing only living informants or eyewitness accounts, Herodotus had duly toured the world — the original anthropologist, the original foreign correspondent. The fruit of his tireless curiosity was not merely a narrative, but a portrait of an entire age: capacious, various, tolerant. The word that gave to his achievement was one that well deserved to stick. "Enquiries," he termed it: historia.
I first read Herodotus when I was 10. Since then, I have returned to him many times, and never once been bored. It is hard to think of another author of whom I could say the same, let alone one who wrote two and a half millennia ago. "Herodotus," Edward Gibbon declared, "sometimes writes for children and sometimes for philosophers."
And also, thank goodness, for everyone in between.
An unexpected sexual curse has been uncovered by archaeologists at Cyprus's old city kingdom of Amathus, on the island's south coast near Limassol.
"A curse is inscribed in Greek on a lead tablet and part of it reads: 'May your penis hurt when you make love'," Athens Archaeological School head Pierre Aubert told the English language Cyprus Weekly.
He said the tablet showed a man standing holding something in his right hand that looks like an hour glass.
The inscription dates back to the 7th century AD when Christianity was well established on the island, leading the French professor to surmise that it referred to the activity of witchcraft or shamans surviving from the pagan era.
The ancient city of Amathus was founded by the Phoenicians at around 1500 BC and derived its wealth from grain and copper mines.
The city, a regional capital under the Romans, still flourished in the 7th century AD but was abandoned by the 12th century.
... I wonder if I'll get a bump in the search engines for some of those keywords ...
From the Times
It is still the most powerful building in the world. Every time I walk inside – its vast, silent, columnless dome always a surprise after the hubbub of the city – I get goosebumps. If an Ancient Roman were standing right next to you, living, breathing, you’d think it a miracle. Yet slap-bang in the middle of Rome, surrounded by traffic, German tour groups and pigeons, is a piece of Ancient Rome still living, still breathing almost 2,000 years on.
People walk past the Pantheon as if it were part of the furniture, which, in a sense, it is. It is just another church in a city of a thousand precious churches. Inside, several times a day, gawping tourists are tactfully elbowed aside for services. At the end of the day, the building’s checkerboard marble and granite floor, softly pitted by generations of feet, is mopped by the caretakers, while outside, at night, its flanks of sooty ancient bricks are surreptitiously fly-posted to advertise Italian boybands. The Pantheon is a living part of the city, just as it has always been.
It seems all the more powerful because no record exists of its creator, its architect. We do, though, know who commissioned it, and whom some suspect even of having a hand in its design: the Emperor Hadrian, celebrated this month by a big exhibition at the British Museum.
In Britain, Hadrian’s name seems known only for the 73-mile wall that he had built to mark the outer limits of his empire. The exhibition, though, hopes to paint a more vivid picture of an emperor, according to one ancient account, “in the same person . . . niggardly and generous, deceitful and straightforward, cruel and merciful, and always in all things changeable”.
He was both an imperial paper-pusher of the most anally retentive kind – infamous for controversially ditching his predecessors’ policies of war and expansion in favour of a slightly unsexy combination of peace, consolidating territory and increasing administrative efficiency – and an aesthete, perhaps the most erudite, sensitive and sophisticated of all Roman emperors, well versed in poetry and painting, and a virtuoso in his greatest love of all – architecture.
Hadrian began work on the Pantheon as soon as he became emperor, in AD11718. Endowing the city with monuments to butter up the citizens had been a well-honed policy since Augustus. It was perhaps also driven by a need to escape the shadow of his predecessor and adoptive father, Trajan, who guaranteed popularity with the usual bread and circuses – wars, imperial expansion and a monument-building programme of then unprecedented scale with his architect, Apollodorus of Damascus.
Hadrian’s historical detractors claim that so bitter was he at Trajan’s posthumous reputation he had Apollodorus killed after the architect mocked one of Hadrian’s own designs. All myth, alas – indeed, one of the first acts Hadrian undertook as emperor was to honour Trajan and his sister with temples. Under his patronage, vast swaths of the city were restored.
Hadrian could lay claim to being the world’s first conservationist – passing laws curbing unnecessary demolition – and urban regenerator, involving himself in the minutiae of neighbourhood politics, and recognising the civilising effects on his populace of a decent, unpotholed pavement, laws banning heavy traffic and a good flood prevention policy.
And then there were his monuments: the Pantheon, that Temple of the Divine Trajan, the vast Temple of Venus and Roma, the only building for certain designed by Hadrian, his country estate at Tivoli and, to cap it all, his mausoleum – its ruins now assimilated into Rome’s Castel Sant’ Angelo. His wall in northern England was no exception, either. In the provinces, Hadrian bolstered defences, improved cities and built temples, along the way revolutionising the construction industry and securing jobs and prosperity for the plebs. Hail Hadrian, patron saint of hod-carriers.
Hadrian’s architectural passions were the high point of the “Roman Architectural Revolution”, 200 years during which a genuinely Roman language of architecture emerged after several centuries of slavish copying of the Ancient Greek originals.
At first the use of such novel materials as concrete and a newly rigid lime mortar was driven by the empire’s expansion, and the consequent demand for new large, practical structures – warehouses, record offices, proto-shopping arcades – easily and quickly put up by unskilled labour. But these new building types and materials also provoked experimentation – new shapes, such as the barrel vault and the arch – acquired from Rome’s expansion to the Middle East.
Hadrian was, in architectural matters, both conservative and audacious. He was infamously respectful of Ancient Greece – comically so to some: he wore a Greek-style beard, and was nicknamed Graeculus. Many of the structures he put up, not least his own Temple of Venus and Roma, were faithful to the past. Yet the ruins of his estate at Tivoli, with its technical feats, its pumpkin domes, its space, curves and colour reveal a theme park of experimental structures that are still inspirational.
But it was the Pantheon that stole the show. By now, the Roman construction industry was so sophisticated, with its mass production, standardised dimensions and prefabrication, this immense structure was put up in just ten years. It is a technical masterpiece. No dome this size had been built before – or for centuries afterwards. On deep concrete foundations, its drum rose in poured concrete layers in trenches faced with brick walls. The dome was poured on top of a vast wooden support, in sections that get lighter and thinner – though imperceptibly so to the visitor – as you ascend. Imagine the moment when the support was removed. Imagine then walking in for the first time.
Much has been written on the meaning of the Pantheon, its proportional or numerical symbolism – the pleasing harmony, for instance, of the dome’s height being the same as that of the drum on which it sits. Is the oculus, open to the sky, letting light pour in, a surrogate sun? Is the dome an immense orrery (model of the solar system)? All guesswork. Though it seems safely certain that this was meant as the centrepiece of Rome’s now united and peaceful universe, a temple to all the gods.
The mystery, combined with the building’s sublime simplicity, secured its reputation. Indeed the Pantheon has become the most emulated building in the world, its shape echoing in buildings from Jerusalem’s 4th-century Holy Sepulchre, through the Renaissance to the domed pavilions at Chiswick House, Stowe and Stourhead Gardens, to Smirke’s British Museum Reading Room – where the exhibition is housed.
At the back of its porch, there is an inscription put there by Pope Urban VIII in 1632: “The Pantheon, the most celebrated edifice in the whole world.” Hadrian’s edifice was beyond ordinary human reputation – dedicated to gods, but also, for the first time, to architectural pleasure for its own sake. He was rare among emperors for not inscribing his structures with his own name. He didn’t need to.
From Practical Boat Owner
More than 2,500 years after the first circumnavigation of Africa by the Phoenicians, a brand new replica ship with 20 paying crew is preparing to follow in the footsteps of these ancient mariners.
According to the Greek Historian, Herodotus, in 600 BC, Phoenician mariners achieved the first circumnavigation of Africa in a 21-metre square-rigged ship with around 10 rowing stations on each side.
Philip Beale, a City fund manager turned adventurer, arranged for a team of Syrian boat builders to begin construction of a replica Phoenician ship in 2007. The 17,000 mile historical voyage will begin from Syria on 1 August with 20 paying crew aboard. After navigating down the east coast and tackling the Cape of Good Hope, the boat will return up the west coast, through the straits of Gibraltar and across the Med back to Syria, followed by a trip to the UK in summer 2009.
"The journey will be long... The challenges will be great... But the rewards will be inspiring and unforgettable." is the message for the crew, who will be braving some of the most dangerous coastlines on earth in an open boat with little shelter.
Philip Beale has previous experience with such a journey. In 2003, he set sail aboard the Borobudur, a recreation of another historical voyage from Indonesia to Africa.
For more information about the Phoenicia Expedition, please visit: www.phoenicia.org.uk
An agreement was concluded yesterday, July 10, 2008, between the Greek Ministry of Culture and Shelby White. Ms. White is a philanthropist and antiquities collector and has established the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University which supports ancient studies.
Ms. White will return to Greece two antiquities from her collection which, the Ministry contends, were illegally excavated and exported from Greece and which Ms. White acquired in good faith.
The first object is the upper part of a grave stele depicting a warrior and a youth dated to the early part of the 4th century B.C. The lower part of the stele was found in the early 60's in a legal excavation of the Greek Archaeological Service in a private field in Porto Rafti in Attica and today is exhibited in the Vravrona Archaeological Museum. For the first time after all those years the two parts of the stele can be put together and exhibited in their place of origin for the sake of the unity and integrity of the piece.
The second object is a bronze calyx krater dated approximately to 340 B.C. Greek archaeologists believe that the krater originates from Pieria, Northern Greece, and was most probably found in illegal excavations in a royal tomb in the area.
Both antiquities are very important, rare, and their repatriation will take place within July 2008. They will first be exhibited in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens and then be transferred to the Museums corresponding to the areas were they came from.
White also returned some items to Italy back in January
Officials in Austria's third-largest city say they have removed a statue of Aphrodite from a park after learning that it was a gift from Hitler.
Officials in Linz say they looked into the background of the statue after someone left a note on it that read, «Gift from Adolf Hitler.» Historians checked the city archives _ and they said Friday it turns out the claim is true.
The bronze statue had been on display since 1942 in a park in Linz, about 200 kilometers (120 miles) west of Vienna.
Hitler was born not far from Linz, in the Upper Austrian town of Braunau am Inn.
... I've been trying to find a photo; does anyone know if this is an ancient statue?
Not sure we mentioned this one (apparently a month ago) ... from a press release
The J. Paul Getty Museum announced today the acquisition of a remarkable marble sarcophagus that dates to the third-century A.D. Never before seen by the public, Sarcophagus representing a Dionysiac Vintage Festival joins the Museum’s impressive collection of ancient funerary monuments, which are on view at the Getty Villa.
The Sarcophagus representing a Dionysiac Vintage Festival is not only an excellent example of late Roman relief work, but provides insight into how Romans perceived life and death. In addition, the Sarcophagus transcends its function as a funerary monument by touching on themes of daily Roman life, festivals, iconography, religious beliefs, and sculptural reproduction.
“The quality of relief carvings on the Sarcophagus, its state of preservation, and its lively subject matter adds a new dimension to the Museum’s antiquities collection, and helps us tell a fuller story about Italy’s rich cultural heritage,” explains Michael Brand, director of the J. Paul Getty Museum. “It will soon become the centerpiece for a new themed space at the Getty Villa.”
The provenance of the Sarcophagus can be traced back to the 19th century to the Villa Rondinini in Rome. In 1852, it was purchased by François de Corcelle, the French ambassador in Rome, and was in the possession of his descendents in France until 1994, when it was auctioned at Christie’s in London. It had been in a private collection since then.
At the Getty Villa, the Sarcophagus will form the centerpiece of an installation focusing on wine and wine-making in antiquity, featuring objects in the collection that were used for storing and drinking wine. “The making and drinking of wine was a vital aspect of ancient culture,” said Karol Wight, senior curator of antiquities for the J. Paul Getty Museum. “The Greeks produced terra cotta and metal vessels depicting the drinking of wine, while the Romans commissioned entire mosaic floors and marble sarcophagi around the subject. This gives us a wonderful opportunity to put on view a variety of works from the Museum’s permanent collection, including glass flasks shaped as grape clusters. It will also be fun to expand our public programming with events like the ‘Wine Tasting in Antiquity’ course, which was a huge hit and sold out in one day.”
The artist who carved the Sarcophagus is unknown, but the sculptural tradition indicates a workshop in Rome. With the sides rising perpendicular to the base, it belongs to a type known as a lenos, which reflected the form of a long trough used for stomping grapes to make wine.
Several visual cues place the Sarcophagus stylistically. The Vindemia scenes with Erotes (winged gods of love) harvesting and stomping grapes can be placed among a tradition of sarcophagi created in the late third century. These scenes were primarily used for children’s sarcophagi in the second century, but were later used in adult tombs. Erotes not only featured in Greek and Roman art, but were appropriated for Christian imagery as well, and appeared as a continuous motif throughout the history of Western art.
The use of the running drill for carving details in the lions’ manes and the hair of the Erotes, as well as their sharply drawn eyebrows and the holes in the corner of their eyes and mouths that create a shadowing effect, also indicate a late third-century style.
The symmetry in the figural scene strongly suggests the use of pattern books by the sculptor. The three Erotes treading grapes provide the most visible sign of repetition, with each body carved almost identically.
In addition to being the centerpiece for a new gallery theme, the Sarcophagus representing a Dionysiac Vintage Festival will unite with the Museum’s collection of funerary monuments including cinerary urns, tomb altars and stelae, and sarcophagus reliefs. The quality of the relief sculpture, preservation, and subject matter adds a new dimension to the iconography preserved on the Museum’s existing sarcophagi and reliefs. The Sarcophagus will be on view in its new space at the Getty Villa on June 12th.
Can't find a photo of the sarcophagus, but there is a really nice page on the current exhibition at the Getty of the Hope Hygieia
From the BBC
Archaeologists excavating one of the most important Roman sites in Britain have made an "extremely rare" find.
The team digging at part of the Roman fortress in Caerleon near Newport found what they believe is a legionnaire's ceremonial standard.
Dr Peter Guest said he thought the iron flag, broken into three pieces, was the first of its type found in the UK.
He also believed it was likely to have belonged to a high ranking commander who was "not to be tampered with".
A legionnaire would carry a long staff bearing the 45cm standard.
Dr Guest, of Cardiff University, said: "It's a very unusual find and there's not more than a dozen of them.
"I don't know of any of that type in Britain.
"There are a few at fortresses and forts around the Rhine and Danube, the frontiers of the Roman Empire."
The standard would probably have featured some type of decoration such as plumes, which indicated that the carrier was no ordinary soldier.
He would probably have been on special assignment, perhaps with the legion's commander or other high-ranking member of the Roman government in Britain.
The standard was found by a team working at the fortress to try to find out more about what could be a 2,000-year-old warehouse.
A large trench has been opened over the building, which is thought to have supplied the Roman legion.
The building was discovered during surveys and trial excavations last year.
Caerleon was the main administrative centre for the Roman army in Wales by 74 AD and is one of the most important Roman sites in Britain.
No photo, alas, and I confess that I have no idea what such a standard would look like ... perhaps this page explains
Archeologists digging at a site near Macedonia's capital city Skopje announced on Thursday the recent discovery of an ancient statue of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.
"The smoothness of the marble and the beauty of the statue give us the clue that this masterpiece came from one of the best artistic schools in the Mediterranean," archeologist Marina Oncevska said.
According to archeologists, the Venus sculpture dates from the second or third century and appears similar to other pieces from that era currently displayed at the Louvre in Paris.
The figure, which has been named the Shy Goddess of Venus, depicts Venus shyly covering her breasts and groin, with a dolphin engraved on her leg.
The statue will be examined by conservationists before eventually being placed on display at the Museum of Skopje, the team said.
The archeologists have been excavating the site — the ruins of Skupi, northwest of Skopje — since March. Thousands of objects have been discovered during the excavation process, which is slated to end later this month.
A small picture of the rather large statue
accompanies the article ... the item is very much of the 'Modest Venus' variety
CALL FOR PAPERS for the 69th ANNUAL CONVENTION OF THE COLLEGE LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION, University of Maryland, Eastern Shore
March 25-29, 2009
Session sponsored by the Outreach Committee of the American Philological Association, in memory of John Quinn
Theme: Studies in Black Classicism
People of African descent have shaped the reception of the classical world for centuries. In Europe and Africa the pattern of evidence in classical antiquity moves from Homer and Herodotus to Africa's own Terence, Fronto and Augustine. In later eras it embraces Juan Latino and Anthony William Amo as well as more recent figures such as C.L.R. James and Kwame Nkrumah. Across the Atlantic, Francis Williams, Phillis Wheatley, Johon Cnavis and Alexander Crummell gained fame during the 18th and 19th centuries for learning Greek and Latin, and using it in their work. In the Americas, however, these were exceptional cases. It was not until the end of the Civil War that the study of Greek and Latin became a mainstay of African-American education in general.
With the end of slavery, and the widespread legal interdictions prohibiting the education of slaves, universities and colleges old and new--from Oberlin, Brown and Amherst to Lincoln, Fisk, Atlanta, Clark, Wilberforce and Howard--incorporated the classically-based liberal arts curriculum into their programs, as part of their larger goal of bringing the highest level of culture and learning to their students. As a result, classical training influenced and in some instances permeated the professional and creative lives of college-educated black people for generations: classicists such as William Sanders Scarborough, William Henry Crogman, Helen Maria Chesnutt; literary artist such as Rita Dove, Derek Walcott, Kamau Brathwaite, Wole Soyinka and Femi Osofian.
Until recent times this rich tradition has been overlooked by scholars and lay people alike. While valuable work has been done about the Black Atlantic and African Diaspora in postcolonial studies, myriad aspects of this dynamic topic remain to be explored. With the support of the American Philological Association's Committee on Outreach, we hope to stimulate research in this area more broadly by presenting a panel on black classicism to our fellow philologists in the College Language Association. Papers on any aspect of this topic, drawing from art, literature, law and pedagogy will be welcomes. Our session honors the memory of John Quinn, a classicist at Hope College who passed away in June 2008, and his pioneering scholarship and teaching on this topic.
The deadline for the receipt of an abstract (300 words) is August 31, 2008. Submissions should be sent to both Michele Ronnick (aa3276 AT wayne.edu) and Judith P. Hallett (jeph AT umd.edu)
For further information about the College Language Association, see http://www/clascholars.org/
Pondering the Capitoline She Wolf while trying to deal with a major virus problem on my wife's computer (don't let your kids' friends touch your computers during a sleepover), and thinking about James Pfundstein's (Classics list) doubts about radio carbon dating of the bronze statue, a thought occurred to me. Scratch my previous pondering about the effects of lightning affecting carbon dating, and add questioning about the effects a fire would have. The Capitoline She Wolf is thought to have been in the Lateran Palace for a while (trials and executions (maybe) were held near "the wolf" some time after the 10th century ... this is mentioned in the Wikipedia article on the She Wolf
but I know I've read it somewhere else). But we also know that there were a pile of fires in the Lateran -- is it just a coincidence that there were two major fires in the 14th century (1306 and 1361) and this period coincides with the date currently being assigned to the piece?
On a semi-related note ... does anyone know/recall whether that statue called 'The Orator'/Arringatore was cast in one piece?
From a press release
The campaign for the return of the Elgin marbles to Greece has moved up a gear with the appointment by Marbles Reunited of a full-time Campaign Director, Thomas Dowson, who will be based in the organisation's office in the West End of London.
The campaign for the return of the Elgin marbles to Greece has moved up a gear with the appointment by Marbles Reunited of a full-time Campaign Director, Thomas Dowson, who will be based in the organisation's office in the West End of London. The appointment of Thomas was warmly welcomed by Andrew George MP, Chairman of Marbles Reunited.
Says, Andrew George, "When the New Acropolis Museum opens later this year, the absence of the marbles will be obvious for all the world to see. The British Museum and the British Government could of course continue dragging it out, but that will look excruciatingly embarrassing as it would send out an undesirable impression of Britain's arrogance. We have appointed a Campaign Director to up our profile, to enable an alternative dialogue between Greece and Britain. Thomas Dowson has a fine pedigree and the energy to see a job through."
Thomas trained as an archaeologist in South Africa at the University of Witwatersrand, where he obtained a first class honours degree in Archaeology. He has curated a number of museum exhibitions and has held several research and teaching posts at universities in England and South Africa. Thomas has contributed to television documentaries in both countries and has a particular interest in the socio-politics of art and archaeology, including the repatriation of art, the exhibition of prehistoric and ancient arts, and heritage management.
His previous campaign experience includes challenging the Eurocentric agendas of art galleries in early 1990s South Africa, daring these institutions to include on their programmes exhibitions of southern African rock arts. As a result, the Johannesburg Art Gallery invited Thomas to curate a major exhibition on San hunter-gatherer art past and present. The exhibition was opened in August 1994 by the first ANC Minister for Culture and Education and representatives of San communities.
Of his new appointment, Thomas said, "I am delighted to be taking up this post at a time when the New Acropolis Museum is on the point of opening, and when public opinion is moving in our favour. I believe that there is no valid legal, political, moral or academic case that can be made against the return of the Parthenon marbles to Athens. I take the view that there is no obstacle to their reunification other than political and personal obstruction, and these are obstacles that can be overcome."
He adds, “My first task is to write the Marbles Reunited’s new website to be launched next month. Our website will counter decisively the common misconceptions employed by those who argue the Elgin marbles should remain in the British Museum.”
Check out what's on one of the commemorative Olympic bank notes from China:
Prominent Iranian scholar Mohammad Baqaii has recently completed the Persian translation of “The Persian Wars by Herodotus”, which has been authored by the U.S. scholar Spencer Di Scala.
Di Scala, who is a professor of history at the University of Massachusetts Boston, has spent 12 years writing the book, which censures Herodotus’ “The Histories”.
The Persian version of the book will be released next week.
“The Histories” is a record of Herodotus’ inquiries into the origins of the Greco-Persian Wars that occurred in 490 and 480-479 BC.
“Since a major part of the book (‘The Histories’) is dedicated to the Greco-Persian Wars, it has constantly been criticized by Iranian historians and scholars over time,” Baqaii told the Mehr News Agency on Wednesday.
“Prominent figures like Hassan Khan Pirnia, Ahmad Kasravi, and Seyyed Hassan Taqizadeh have also authored criticisms of it and have rejected Herodotus’ views in the book,” he added.
“In his book, Di Scala confirms the views of the above-mentioned Iranian scholars by providing new evidence and reasoning, and also argues that all Herodotus’ remarks on Darius the Great and Xerxes I are blatant lies and completely tendentious,” Baqaii explained.
“According to Di Scala, Herodotus should not be considered as ‘father of history’, but he should be regarded as the father of liars,” he noted.
The Persian version of “The Persian Wars by Herodotus”, which consists of 9 chapters, has been printed by the Yadavaran Publishing Company.
Baqaii received the Tamgha-e-Imtiaz (Pakistan National Medal of Honor) in 2006 for the extensive studies he has carried out on the Pakistani poet Muhammad Iqbal (1873-1938).
Hmmm ... we're all familiar with the 'father of lies' spin on Herodotus, but 'father of liars' is rather more 'political', no?
An item from MINA
Prince Mir Gazanfar Ali Khan with his wife Rani Atika, direct descendants of Alexander the Macedonian, are visiting Macedonia tomorrow afternoon.
Prince Mir, born in 1976, with his delegation will arrive on Skopje's Airport "Alexander the Great", where a special ceremony awaits, organized by Macedonian Authorities.
Next week, on Thursday, there will be a special lithurgy at St Kliment Ohridski dedicated to the visit. During their stay, the delegation will visit all the beautifull spots throughout Macedonia, will meet the entire Macedonian Government, and a day before their return, a special 'happening' will be organized in downtown Skopje, where Macedonians will have the chance to meet their distant brothers.
Who are our guests? It's the Prince and the Princess of the Huns, Macedonian tribe living at the base of the Himalayas in Pakistan.
They are direct descendants of part of Alexander's the Great Army, who not able to continue their conquering with him, decided to stay and live in the area. For the first time, Macedonains heard of the Huns in 2005 when journalist Marina Dojcinovska reported about the life of these people and the eery similarites between them and the Macedonians in the Balkans. The similarities were noticed in the traditional clothing (the clothing motifs and needing lines were the same), the way they built wooden tools used in every day life, the shapes and way their houses were built shows these are the same people who have been apart for 23 centuries.
Macedonian Huns in Pakistan are one, if not the only tribe in Pakistan whose literacy rate is one hundred percent. Princess Ganier Alika owns a five star hotel in Pakistan.
After 23 centuries, their dream has finally come true. They will set food on Macedonian land, where they came from.
"This is a historic moment for Alexander's descendants, but for Macedonia as well. The nephews for those who fought for the greatness of the Macedonian kingdom and unifying the then known world, will pay a visit to Macedonia. We will meet our brothers, separated from Macedonia for 2,3000 years" - say representatives of the Macedonian Institute 16.9, organizers of the welcoming ceremony for Prince Mir's Delegation.
Even without questioning the typos ... hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm ...
Bruce Watson writes at WalletPop
, inter alia:
While the $2.1 million that Zhao Danyang paid for a three-hour lunch with Warren Buffett is a ridiculous amount of money, I'm sure that some smartass classics scholar is going to point out that Cleopatra had a more expensive meal at some point.
Ever notice how when you actually do know more than someone about someone, you tend to be labelled a "smartass" ... anyhoo, at the risk of being labelled a smartass, I've always wondered about the expenses of Vitellius' tastes (Suetonius, Vit. 13
He was chiefly addicted to the vices of luxury and cruelty. He always made three meals a day, sometimes four; breakfast, dinner, and supper, and a drunken revel after all. This load of victuals he could well enough bear, from a custom to which he had enured himself, of frequently vomiting. For these several meals he would make different appointments at the houses of his friends on the same day. None ever entertained him at less expense than four hundred thousand sesterces.1 The most famous was a set entertainment given him by his brother, at which, it is said, there were served up no less than two thousand choice fishes, and seven thousand birds. Yet even this supper he himself outdid, at a feast which he gave upon the first use of a dish which had been made for him, and which, for its extraordinary size, he called " The Shield of Minerva." In this dish there were tossed up together the livers of char-fish, the brains of pheasants and peacocks, with the tongues of flamingos, and the entrails of lampreys, which had been brought in ships of war as far as from the Carpathian Sea, and the Spanish Straits. He was not only a man of an insatiable appetite, but would gratify it likewise at unseasonable times, and with any garbage that came in his way; so that, at a sacrifice, he would snatch from the fire flesh and cakes, and eat them upon the spot. When he travelled, he did the same at the inns upon the road, whether the meat was fresh dressed and hot, or what had been left the day before, and was half-eaten.
... and while looking for an online version of that, I came across this interesting article from the International Journal of Eating Disorders
, which someone might want to track down:
Were the Roman Emperors Claudius and Vitellius bulimic?
Paul Crichton *
Maudsley Hospital, London, United Kingdom
*Correspondence to Paul Crichton, Maudsley Hospital, London, United Kingdom
to investigate the eating habits of Romans during the first two centuries A.D. and their attitudes towards these eating habits in the light of contemporary Latin literary and historical sources and influential Greek medical sources. Method: An extensive search of sources on the Roman Empire and emperors in the first two centuries A.D. was carried out. Two historical cases of binging and self-induced vomiting, namely the Emperors Claudius and Vitellius, were identified and described in translated extracts from the original Latin source. Discussion: It is noted that cultural and social factors are important influences on eating habits which would now be considered pathological.
From the TriCity Herald
Ancient scrolls buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted in Italy in AD 79 spent some time in a Richland hospital room on Wednesday.
Edward Iuliano helped to bring the scrolls to town.
The director of MRI and radiology at Kadlec Medicl Center watched a TV documentary years ago about efforts to read the ancient scrolls and the story stuck with him.
This week, Iuliano is using his expertise to scan fragments of the charred scrolls in hopes of discovering what they say.
"I think it would be just fascinating to get a glimpse of the people (of that era through) what is written," he said.
The papyrus scrolls were discovered more than 200 years ago in a villa in what was the Roman town of Herculaneum. The town was buried along with the more famous city of Pompeii when Vesuvius erupted.
The scrolls make up the only surviving library from antiquity, Iuliano said. Scholars have been able to unfold and read some of them, but others are like charcoal bricks.
Iuliano had the idea of using Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI, to differentiate between the layers of those heavily damaged scrolls without having to handle them.
He also hoped to distinguish the ink from the papyrus.
He eventually connected with Brent Seales, a professor of computer science at the University of Kentucky, who's developing software and hardware to allow for that kind of virtual archeology. They agreed to work together.
Seales has been working with scroll fragments on loan from the Sorbonne university in Paris, and Iuliano got a look at them this week.
Two fragments were brought to the hospital to be scanned Wednesday night.
The larger one was about the size of a notecard and looked like it would crumble if you touched it. The other one was even smaller and had some sharp, clear Greek lettering on it.
Iuliano placed it in the MRI machine.
As he waited for results, he joked the scroll could be an ancient grocery list or silly novel. But even those things would shed light on people back then in a way artifacts like bowls or jewelry never could, he said.
"Gold jewelry is great, but we have gold jewelry now. It doesn't tell you about the person who wore it," said Iuliano. "This kind of text gives us a window into the ancient world."
The fragments also were scanned Wednesday at Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, which is at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland.
More scans are planned today.
... hmmm ... you think anyone with a knowledge of Latin or Greek is involved? A Classicist perhaps?
Sorry for the late start this a.m. ... my a bunch of mail that was bouncing around appears to have finally made it to my box (120 messages from the Classics list alone!) and there's been some wading to do ... we'll start the festivities with a return to something we mentioned about a year ago
... from the BBC
A statue symbolising the mythical origins and power of Rome, long thought to have been made around 500BC, has been found to date from the 1300s.
The statue depicts a she-wolf suckling Remus and his twin brother Romulus - who is said to have founded Rome.
The statue of the wolf was carbon-dated last year, but the test results have only now been made public.
The figures of Romulus and Remus have already been shown to be 15th Century additions to the statue.
In a front page article in the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica, Rome's former top heritage official, Professor Adriano La Regina, said about 20 tests were carried out on the she-wolf at the University of Salerno.
He said the results of the tests gave a very precise indication that the statue was manufactured in the 13th century.
Academics having been arguing about the origins of the statue - known as the Lupa Capitolina - since the 18th Century.
Until recently it was widely acknowledged that the statue was an Etruscan work dating from the 5th Century BC.
The Roman statesman, Cicero, who lived in the first century BC, describes a statue of a she-wolf that was damaged by a lightning strike - the Lupa Capitolina has a damaged paw.
However, in 2006, an Italian art historian and restorer, Anna Maria Carruba, argued that the statue had been cast in a single piece using a wax mould - a technique unknown in the ancient world.
She suggested the damage to the Lupa Capitolina's paw was the result of a mistake in the moulding process.
The statue is among the most important works on display at the Capitoline museums in Rome.
The Lupa Capitolina is the emblem of the Serie A football club, Roma, and was the symbol used for the 1960 Rome olympics.
Back in 2006, when this was also brought up, "Walter" wrote in wondering about the lightning damage
. I now am wondering whether being struck by lightning skews carbon dating results. I also continue to wonder (as I did in 2006), whether the Chimera of Arezzo
is similarly 'more recent' ...
For folks who can read Italian, the front page article from La Repubblica
piece from yesterday seems to provide the most detail:
Nuove analisi al radiocarbonio eseguite sulla Lupa Capitolina confermano l' attribuzione della scultura all' epoca medievale. Le indagini sono state svolte in uno dei più attrezzati laboratori scientifici italiani per questo genere di attività, il Centro per la datazione e la diagnostica dell' Università del Salento. Accertamenti sulla datazione del celebre bronzo erano stati preannunciati dai responsabili dei Musei Capitolini il 28 febbraio 2007 a Roma, alla Sapienza. Ma poi non se ne era saputo più nulla. Solamente nell' agosto del 2007 trapelarono le prime notizie sull' effettivo svolgimento delle analisi. Il 31 ottobre, infine, una nota di agenzia fece sapere che le indagini erano state eseguite, ma i risultati non furono divulgati: il Comune di Roma si era riservato il diritto di pubblicarli, ma non lo ha fatto. Le nuove informazioni sull' epoca del bronzo capitolino sono state così sottratte per circa un anno alla conoscenza del pubblico e degli studiosi. La scultura era stata variamente attribuita all' arte antica: etrusco-italica, magno-greca, romana; secondo l' opinione più diffusa era considerata un oggetto di produzione etrusca dei primi decenni del V secolo avanti Cristo. A riconoscerne la fattura medievale è stata Anna Maria Carruba, la quale per prima aveva accertato che la Lupa era stata fusa a cera persa col metodo diretto in un sol getto, tecnica adottata per i grandi bronzi nel Medio Evo e non in epoca precedente; aveva anche constatato che le superfici della scultura non presentavano i segni caratteristici delle lavorazioni antiche, bensì quelli riscontrabili su tutti i bronzi di epoca medievale. I risultati, insospettati e strabilianti, furono pubblicati dalla Carruba nel dicembre 2006 suscitando attenzione internazionale, specialmente in Germania ove le ricerche sulle antiche tecnologie sono molto avanzate. In Italia, nel mondo degli studi di storia dell' arte antica, si ebbero reazioni non unanimi con segni di contrarietà tra quegli archeologi del Comune di Roma che avevano sottovalutato e respinto le ripetute segnalazioni di Anna Maria Carruba, impegnata nel restauro della Lupa tra il 1997 e il 2000. Anche contrari sono stati taluni ambienti accademici insofferenti dei successi dovuti alle nuove tecniche di indagine; il lavoro della Carruba ha inoltre infranto definitivamente il vecchio pregiudizio di un rapporto gerarchico tra lo storico che interpreta i fenomeni artistici, e gli altri ricercatori che studiano la materia dell' opera d' arte e le sue trasformazioni. La Lupa è un' opera d' arte possente, raffinata e complessa. Ha sempre esercitato un fascino particolare, ha evocato miti e leggende. Theodor Mommsen (1845) osservò che il bronzo, da lui considerato genericamente antico, benché horridum et incultum lo commuoveva più delle belle sculture presenti nel museo. L' attribuzione all' arte etrusca risaliva però già al Winckelmann (1764), il quale aveva tratto questa convinzione dalla rappresentazione appiattita dei riccioli e delle ciocche del pelame che in ogni successiva trattazione sarebbero rimasti l' oggetto di raffronto stilistico con altre opere d' arte. La successiva storia degli studi riguardanti la Lupa è stata offuscata da informazioni erronee, superficiali e fuorvianti su restauri mai eseguiti, come quelli relativi alla coda, oppure su danni subiti, che in realtà sono difetti di fusione. Già nella sua Roma antica Famiano Nardini (1704) attribuiva a un fulmine le lesioni alle zampe, identificando così la scultura con la statua di bronzo dorato, raffigurante Romolo allattato dalla lupa, folgorata nel 65 avanti Cristo sul Campidoglio. Gli aspetti iconografici del bronzo capitolino hanno dimostrato solo generiche analogie con l' arte antica. L' analisi stilistica si è per lo più rivolta all' interpretazione dei caratteri non classici, considerati «italici». Soprattutto nella scuola germanica la critica ha insistito anche per la Lupa nella ricerca strutturale (Strukturforschung), teorizzata negli anni Trenta da Guido Kaschnitz von Weinberg, un eminente storico dell' arte antica. Sulla scia teorica di Kaschnitz sono gli studi sulla Lupa di Friedrich Matz (1951), che vi ha riconosciuto un prodotto dell' arte etrusca. Questa posizione interpretativa è stata ancora ribadita da Erika Simon (1966). Il primo a dubitare dell' antichità della Lupa è stato Emil Braun (1854), segretario dell' Istituto di corrispondenza archeologica di Roma, il quale riconobbe nei danni alle zampe dell' animale un difetto di fusione e non i guasti prodotti da un fulmine. Successivamente Wilhelm Frohner (1878), conservatore del Louvre, ravvisò nella scultura caratteri stilistici attribuibili all' epoca carolingia; infine Wilhelm Bode (1885), direttore del Museo di Berlino, fu parimenti dell' avviso che si trattasse con tutta probabilità di un' opera d' arte medievale. Queste rapide osservazioni nel corso del Novecento caddero in totale oblio. La Lupa capitolina resta un' opera problematica, dovuta a una personalità artistica di cui occorrerà definire la posizione e il ruolo nel contesto della produzione scultorea, e in particolare bronzea, del Medio Evo nell' Italia centrale. I dati finora acquisiti consistono nell' accertamento del luogo di produzione, circoscrivibile in base alle terre di fusione nella vallata del Tevere da Roma a Orvieto (G. Lombardi, 2002); nel riconoscimento di una tecnica di fusione adottata in età medievale, documentata a partire dal XII secolo (Carruba, 2006); in una serie di analisi (radiocarbonio, termoluminescenza) più volte eseguite negli ultimi anni, che concorrono a indicare un' epoca di produzione compresa tra il secolo VIII dopo Cristo e il secolo XIV; le ultime, ripetute una ventina di volte l' anno scorso, offrono un' indicazione molto puntuale nell' ambito del XIII secolo. L' autore è stato soprintendente ai beni culturali di Roma
ante diem vii idus quinctilias
ludi Apollinares (day 4)
597 B.C. -- a suggested date for Thales' eclipse (or so it was thought in several 19th century (and earlier) sources
118 A.D. -- Hadrian
finally arrives in Rome as emperor
emolument @ Dictionary.com
proprioception @ Worthless Word for the Day
iatrogenic @ Wordsmith
... Merriam-Webster has career
as their word of the day but only take it back as far as Middle French; isn't it related to cursus?
Some items that have made it to my box:
An editorial in the Guardian praising Hadrian
is now available again (it disappeared, reappeared, disappeared, reappeared ... ymmv ... tip o' the pileus to Mata Kimasatayo) ...
The BBC's Greek and Latin Voices
series this week looks at Plato ... (you can 'listen again' for a few days) ...
Similiter, on Thursday, the BBC's In Our Time
series will be looking at Tacitus ...
Not sure I've mentioned the Chiron group at Slideshare before (Slideshare provides a place to share powerpoint presentations and Chiron is a group that does Classical stuff; mostly in Spanish to this point) but there's a new presentation/webquest type thing on mythology
which looks useful ...
My alerts from Aoidoi suddenly revived (not sure why they weren't working) but William Annis has posted a number of interesting items over the past couple of months from Mimnermus and Solon
This (major) find still hasn't hit the English press, but Dr. Johannes Deissler sends in several links to German sources (tibi gratias!) ... a couple from Die Welt provide good info ... the first
is on the discovery itself:
Mainzer Archäologen haben nach eigenen Angaben die antike Pferderennbahn – das Hippodrom – im griechischen Olympia entdeckt. Eine Forschungsgruppe des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts (DAI) in Athen unter Beteiligung des Mainzer Sporthistorikers Norbert Müller sei auf der Suche nach der größten Sportanlage im antiken Olympia fündig geworden, wie das Institut für Sportwissenschaften der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität in Mainz mitteilte.
Mit modernen geophysikalischen Methoden sei es den Forschern gelungen, die Lage und die geografische Ausdehnung des Hippodroms zu enträtseln. Bei den Untersuchungen stießen die Archäologen und Historiker auf auffällige, geradlinige Strukturen auf einer Länge von fast 200 Metern. Die eigentliche Startanlage mit Boxen für bis zu 24 Pferdegespanne dürfte mit großer Wahrscheinlichkeit unter einem gewaltigen Erdhügel im Tempelbezirk liegen, hieß es weiter.
Die Pferderennbahn war bislang nur aus Schriftquellen bekannt, archäologisch ließ sie sich nie nachweisen. „Der Fund ist eine archäologische Sensation“, sagte Müller laut Mitteilung. „Das Projekt könnte ähnlich der Ausgrabung des antiken Stadions von Olympia vor 50 Jahren eine neue Attraktion für die Sportwelt werden.“
Mit einer Länge von rund 600 Metern und einer Breite von rund 200 Metern war die Rennbahn nach Berichten von Reisenden der Antike die größte Sportanlage in Olympia.Bisher war die Meinung vertreten worden, ein Fluss habe das Hippodrom weggespült.
Archäologie Hippodrom Olympia Griechenland Athen Mainz
Die Forscher suchten das Gelände nach den Angaben östlich des Heiligtums von Olympia systematisch mit modernen geophysikalischen Methoden wie Geomagnet- und Georadarmessung ab.
Der antike Reiseschriftsteller Pausanias hatte den Wissenschaftlern mit Berichten aus dem 2. Jahrhundert nach Christus bereits einige Hinweise zum Hippodrom, den Startmechanismen, Wendemalen und Altäre gegeben. Eine bisher wenig beachtete Schriftquelle aus dem 11. Jahrhundert nach Christus nenne sogar Maße und Dimensionen der Anlage, hieß es in der Mitteilung.
gives a nice overview of the site of Olympia and the research that has already been done there:
Das antike Olympia ist im Grunde ein einziges großes Missverständnis. Die legendäre Ruinenstätte, in der das Olympische Feuer entzündet wird, um seinen Lauf über die Welt anzutreten, erscheint uns heute als schlichte, karge, dem Göttlichen gegenüber demütige Szenerie, wie ein mahnendes Bild aus der Vergangenheit in eine Gegenwart, in der die Spiele sich zum monströsen Unterhaltungs-Event gewandelt haben.
Doch die Vision von einfältiger, stiller Größe trügt, ist abgeleitet aus der pastoralen Landschaft des Alpheiostals im Westen der Peloponnes. Über die erhabenen Ruinen des Ortes mit dem schmucklosen in die Landschaft gebetteten Stadion schwärmte schon Mitte des 19. Jahrhunderts der Reisende Ludwig Lange: „Ein friedliches Thal, von stillem Bächlein durchflossen, sanfte Hügel mit schattigem Wald bekrönt ... war der Mittelpunkt dieser Festlichkeiten.“
Das Hippodrom – ein Beispiel für Pomp
Doch dieses Bild trog. Allerdings konnte das Bauwerk, das es hätte widerlegen können, lange nicht gefunden werden konnte: das Hippodrom, die Pferderennbahn. Die größte Sportstätte Olympias war zugleich die aufwendigste, Ort des unbestreitbaren Höhepunkts aller Spiele, Forum für die Reichen und Mächtigen der hellenischen Welt, die sich hier, am Ort der hippischen Wettkämpfe, zu präsentieren pflegten. Denn das Hippodrom war das Gegenstück dessen, was Pierre de Coubertin aus der Tradition des antiken Olympia für die Neuzeit destillieren wollte: Pomp statt Demut, Gewalt statt Kraft, Machtkämpfe statt Weltfrieden.
Bislang galt die These, dass die Hochwasser des nahen Flusses Alphaios das monumentale, aber in Leichtbauweise ausgeführte Hippodrom hinweggespült hätten. Seine Reste seien unter meterdicken Schlammschichten verborgen. Doch ein Team um Christian Wacker, Direktor des Deutschen Sportmuseum in Köln, den Mainzer Sporthistoriker Norbert Müller und Reinhard Senff vom Deutschen Archäologischen Institut in Athen, das seit 1875 in Olympia gräbt, ließ das nicht ruhen. An diesem Donnerstag will Wacker im estländischen Tartu erstmals vor einem internationalen Kollegenkreis seinen Satz beweisen: „Wir haben das Hippodrom von Olympia gefunden.“
Modernste Technik ermöglichte den spektakulären Fund. Das heute ackerbaulich genutzte Gebiet zwischen Stadion und dem Fluss Alphaios wurde erstmals mittels Georadar und Geomagnetik bis in eine Tiefe von acht Metern geophysikalisch untersucht.
Das Ergebnis widerspricht allen klassischen Rekonstruktionsversuchen. Nach diesen wäre die Laufbahn doppelt so breit gewesen wie die Startbahn. Tatsächlich aber zeigte das Hippodrom von Olympia schon die langgestreckte Form, die die großen Arenen der römischen Kaiserzeit prägte: Der Anlauf, vor dem sich eine Säulenhalle erstreckte, war genauso breit wie die die eigentliche Kampfbahn.
Ein "Pferdeschreck" am Ende
Es steht nicht von ungefähr für die überragende Rolle des Hippodroms, dass es zu den am besten beschriebenen Bauten Olympias gehört. „Der Start hat die Form eines Schiffsbugs mit dem Sporn in Richtung der Rennbahn“, berichtet der griechische Reiseschriftsteller Pausanias im 2. Jahrhundert n. Chr.: „Beide Seiten des Ablaufs haben mehr als 400 Fuß Länge, und darin sind Gelasse (Startboxen) eingebaut. Darum (um die Aufstellung) losen die Pferdesportler vor dem Wettkampf.“
Doch erst aus der Zusammenschau mit einer Stelle aus der „Suda“, einem byzantinischen Lexikon aus dem 10. Jahrhundert, zog der Hallenser Gräzist Joachim Ebert in den Neunzigern die richtigen Schlüsse. Danach erstreckte sich das Hippodrom über eine Strecke von 576 Metern, deren Enden jeweils Wendesäulen markierten. Die von Pausanias beschriebene dreiecksförmige Aphesis (Starteinrichtung) führte bis zu 20 Gespanne zusammen, die sich anschließend in einem 320 Meter langen Anlauf ihre Position suchen konnten.
Am östlichen Ende der Rennbahn sorgte „ein Pferdeschreck, Tarixhippos, in Gestalt eines runden Altares“ dafür, dass die Pferde „sofort eine heftige Furcht und Verwirrung“ befiel. Es bedarf wenig Fantasie, an dieser heiklen Stelle die begehrtesten der etwa 50.000 Zuschauerplätze zu vermuten, dürfte es doch in den engen Kurven immer wieder zu jenen brisanten Szenen gekommen sein, die den Film „Ben Hur“ zum Klassiker gemacht haben. „Die Wagen zerbrechen gewöhnlich, und die Lenker werden verwundet“, schreibt Pausanias.
Eng mit Mythos Olympia verbunden
Die Forschungen von Wacker/Müller/Senff bestätigen diese aus den Quellen gewonnene Rekonstruktion auf eindrucksvolle Weise. Auf bis zu 200 Metern Länge konnten auch die Wälle lokalisiert werden, von denen aus die Zuschauer die Wettkämpfe verfolgten.
Die Pferdewettkämpfe, die es auch bei anderen hellenischen Spielen wie in Delphi oder Korinth gab, zogen ihre Popularität nicht allein aus spektakulären Stürzen und halsbrecherischen Überholmanövern. Der ganze Mythos Olympias war aufs Engste mit ihnen verbunden, vor allem mit dem Rennen, in dem der legendäre Held Pelops die Königstochter Hippodameia gewann.
Pelops hatte die Metallteile seines Gegners durch Wachs ersetzt. Dessen sterbend ausgerufener Fluch beförderte drei wichtige Ergebnisse: Die Halbinsel wurde nach dem Sieger Peloponnes genannt. Der Clan des Pelops wurde zum Menschenschlachthaus, an dem die Dichter weiter bauten. Und das Pferderennen wurde zum zentralen Sport Olympias, wo es seit 680 v. Chr. nachgewiesen ist.
Die Pferdezucht als "politisches Mittel"
Doch hinter aller weltlicher Pracht, emotionaler Faszination und mythischer Erzählung steckte noch ein zutiefst machtpolitischer Kern. Während sich die übrigen Disziplinen durchaus mit dem demokratischen Ideal in Einklang bringen ließen, das nach der Abwehr der Perser 480/79 weite Teile von Hellas prägte, blieb der Pferdesport ein Relikt des Adels. Denn Pferde zu halten war ein Luxus, den sich kaum die Bürgerheere der Stadtstaaten leisteten, die auf Kavallerie oft verzichteten. Und da ein Auftritt in dem panhellenischen Heiligtum Olympia Publicity in der gesamten griechischen Welt garantierte, wetteiferten Politiker darum, ihren Ruhm mit einem Sieg beim Pferderennen zu steigern.
Berühmt und berüchtigt (und bis heute wegweisend) wurde das Kalkül, mit dem der Athener Alkibiades 416 v. Chr. den Pferdesport für seine Sache einsetzte: „Mein Vater erkannte, dass die Festversammlung in Olympia von aller Welt geliebt und bewundert wurde“, wird dessen Sohn zitiert. „Von diesen Überlegungen ließ er sich leiten..., als er sich der Pferdezucht zuwandte, was nur den vom Schicksal Begünstigten möglich, dem einfachen Manne aber verwehrt ist.“
Alkibiades überließ nichts dem Zufall. Um sicher zu gehen, dass er auf jeden Fall den Kranz aus Olivenzweigen erhielt – denn den gewann der Rennstallbesitzer, nicht der Fahrer – schickte er sieben Gespanne an den Start. Schon der Anmarsch der Pferde und ihrer Betreuer von Athen nach Olympia muss einem Triumphzug gleichgekommen sein. Kaum erstaunlich, dass seine Wagen die ersten drei Plätze belegten. Das Prestige des Olympiasiegers setzte Alkibiades umgehend ein, um das Oberkommando über die Flotte Athens zu erhalten, die Syrakus versklaven sollte. Schon damals hatte Olympia viel mit Realpolitik zu tun. Ob es die Moral der Menschen hingegen hob, darf bezweifelt werden.
Die Pferdezucht und die Emanzipation
Immerhin tat der Pferdesport etwas für die Emanzipation. Die spartanische Prinzessin Kyniska, die als illegal verheiratete Zuschauerin umgehend vom Felsen Typaion gestürzt worden wäre, gewann mit ihren Gespannen im 4. Jahrhundert den ersten Olympia-Sieg für eine Frau – weil es ihre Fahrer auf dem fragilen Wagen mit seinem gerade einmal kniehohen Geländer als erste ins Ziel schafften.
Auch die Tyrannen Siziliens trugen sich auf diese Weise in die Siegerlisten ein und ließen ihren so gemehrten Ruhm sogar auf Münzen verbreiten. Philipp, der Vater des großen Alexanders, soll dreimal gewonnen haben. Der Aufwand ihrer Delegationen sorgte denn wohl vor allem für das prachtvolle Spektakel, als das wir uns die hippischen Wettkämpfe vorstellen dürfen.
Das Rennen des Pferdeviergespanns über eine Distanz von 13824 Metern, zweifellos die Königsdisziplin, war jedoch nur eine unter vielen Konkurrenzen, die im Hippodrom ausgetragen wurden. Es gab auch klassische Pferde-, Stuten-, Fohlenrennen, Rennen mit Maultier-, Pferde- und Fohlenzweigespann. Die entscheidende Rolle spielte übrigens das Tier. Als die Stute Aura (Wind) ihren Reiter schon beim Start verlor, lief sie dennoch das Rennen weiter und erreichte als erste „in richtiger Ordnung“ das Ziel. Ihr Besitzer wurde zum Sieger erklärt und Aura mit einer Stele samt Bildnis geehrt.
Die neuen Entdeckungen in Olympia stützen noch eine andere Hypothese: Die großen römischen Pferderennbahnen entstanden nach dem Vorbild der wichtigsten griechischen Rennbahn. Allerdings waren sie dauerhafter ausgeführt und wesentlich Größer. Der Circus Maximus in Rom soll in der Spätantike 400.000 Besucher gefasst haben. Hippodrome standen in allen großen Städten. Denn die Faszination des Pferdesports konnte sich durchaus neben den blutigen Gladiatorenspektakeln in den Amphitheatern behaupten.
Begegnungsort für Kaiser und Volk
So war es kein Wunder, dass es keinen Geringeren als den Kaiser Nero trieb, auf seiner Griechenlandreise 66/67 n. Chr. höchstpersönlich ein Gespann in Olympia zum Sieg zu führen. Mit Rücksicht auf die kaiserliche Terminplanung hatte man die Spiele sogar verlegt. Nero stürzte zwar schnell vom Wagen, was aber die Kampfrichter nicht hinderte, ihm den Lorbeer zuzusprechen. Der Kaiser hätte zweifellos gesiegt, wäre er ins Ziel gekommen, lautete die weise Entscheidung, die einen gesunden Überlebenswillen und tiefen Einblick in das enge Verhältnis von Sport und Politik beweist.
Das steigerte sich noch in der Spätantike, in der nach Abschaffung der Gladiatorenkämpfe das Hippodrom mehr und mehr zu dem Ort wurde, in dem Kaiser und Volk gleichsam zu kommunizieren pflegten. Die Pracht der Spiele und die Reaktionen des Publikums wurden zum Gradmesser für die Akzeptanz und Stabilität einer Herrschaft. Regelrechte Zirkusparteien wie die Weißen, Grünen oder Blauen überzogen das gesamte Reich. In den Großstädten wirkten sie als Ordnungskräfte, deren Leistung unschwer zu verstehen ist, wenn man sich vorstellt, die Anhänger von Schalke und Dortmund wären gemeinsam für Ruhe und Ordnung im Revier zuständig.
Olympia Hippodrom Olympische Spiele Griechenland Pferde
Nur einmal waren sie einer Meinung. 532 forderten sie im Hippodrom von Konstantinopel lautstark den Rücktritt Justinians und seiner Gattin Theodora, die ihre Karriere mit prallen erotischen Auftritten im Pausenprogramm der Rennen begonnen hatte. General Belisar und seine Leute bekamen Freikarten fürs Hippodrom und Theodoras einstige Fans füllten die Friedhöfe.
Doch das hatte mit dem olympischen Pferderennen nicht mehr viel zu tun. Schon lange bevor die christlichen Kaiser die heidnischen Spiele verboten hatten, waren die Pferderennen in Olympia bedeutungslos geworden. Mit all ihrem Pomp konnten sie sich doch nicht mehr gegen die Spiele in den Arenen der Metropolen behaupten. Der Alphaios schwemmte das Hippodrom hinweg. Nur der Geist, der es einst erfüllt hatte, ist noch heute sehr lebendig, wie erst unlängst der Skandal um den Chef des Motorsport-Weltverbandes, Max Mosley, deutlich machte. Seine Funktionärskollegen beeilten sich, ihm dennoch ihr Vertrauen auszusprechen. Ihre Vorgänger vor 2500 Jahren hätten es kaum anders gemacht.
From RIA Novosti
The ancient sport of chariot racing is to be revived in Rome in the fall of 2009, the organizers of the races announced on Tuesday.
Chariot races were very popular in ancient Rome and were featured in the original Olympic Games. A chariot race was first described by Homer in his Iliad.
"The races will last for three days, starting from October 17, 2009... Chariot racers from around the world are expected to compete," Franco Calo, one of the promoters, said.
He said the races would be held at the Circus Maximus, an ancient chariot racing venue which is now a park.
Chariot racers are, understandably, far and few between, and anyone hoping to participate will have to take lessons before heading for the starting line.
... I'll keep my eyes open for a few more details on this one ...
An ancient Etruscan tomb has resurfaced after centuries underground during the course of building work in the central Italian city of Perugia.
The tomb, which has been preserved in excellent condition, contains seven funerary urns, the municipal archaeology department said. It is in the shape of a square and was covered by a sheet of travertine marble, which had apparently remained untouched since being laid centuries ago. The tomb is split into two halves by a pillar and there are two benches running along each side. The funerary urns, which were placed on the benches, were marked with brightly coloured mythological and religious motifs. A preliminary study suggests that writing on the side of the urns probably refers to a family that was called the Aneis. In addition to the urns, the tomb also housed the remains of a bronze bed and various pottery shards. The site was discovered during digging work for a new roundabout in the Strassacapponi neighbourhood on the outskirts of the Umbrian town.
The Etruscans are believed to have formed the first advanced civilisation in Italy, based in an area called Etruria, corresponding largely to present-day Tuscany, Umbria and northern Lazio.
By the sixth century BC they had become the dominant force in central Italy, but repeated attacks from Gauls and Syracusans later forced them into an alliance with the embryonic Roman state, which gradually absorbed Etruscan civilization.
Although the Etruscans had the upper hand in the early days and supplied Rome with the last three of its first seven kings including the famous Tarquinius Superbus (Tarquin the Proud), the archaeological record of their once sweeping presence in central Italy is scanty compared with that of other civilisations.
Some historians have posited that the Romans actively tried to wipe out the traces of their predecessors, whose sensual and fun-loving approach to life contrasted with the spartan, austere and rigidly patriarchal life of the early Roman republic.
Most of what we know about their civilisation is based largely on archaeological finds, since much of their language has yet to be deciphered.
... sorry, but my visual mind is having a difficult time getting past that opening sentence ... I didn't realize tombs could be so whale-like ...
ante diem viii idus iulias
ludi Apollinares (day 3) -- games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo
rites in honour of Vitula, possibly honouring a divinity who supposedly presided over victory celebrations ... or perhaps she had something to do with heifers
1851 -- birth of Arthur Evans
(excavator of Knossos)
troglodyte @ Dictionary.com
coprolite @ Wordsmith
The Research Unit Ancient History of the University of Leuven is organizing a three-day international conference on The Age of the Successors (323-276 BC) which will be held in Leuven and Brussels from September 25th to September 27th, 2008.
The aim of this conference is to explore the Age of the Successors from a variety of perspectives, addressing new issues and shedding fresh light on old questions. Among the topics dealt with are the problem of the sources, both written and non-written, the development of Hellenistic kingship and the ruler cult, the ambitions of the Successors, the role of the cities, the indigenous peoples, war and the military.
The conference is open to all. More information can be found at http://ldab.arts.kuleuven.be/successors/
comes news of a new Heritage Site designation (inter alia):
Stari Grad Plain (Croatia) on the Adriatic island of Hvar is a cultural landscape that has remained practically intact since it was first colonized by Ionian Greeks from Paros in the 4th century BC. The original agricultural activity of this fertile plain, mainly centring on grapes and olives, has been maintained since Greek times to the present. The site is also a natural reserve. The landscape features ancient stone walls and trims, or small stone shelters, and bears testimony to the ancient geometrical system of land division used by the ancient Greeks, the chora which has remained virtually intact over 24 centuries.
... can't find a photo of anything pertaining to our period of interest ... that said, there is no mention of the Antonine Wall at the UNESCO site, but the Scotsman
SCOTLAND'S greatest remnant of Roman occupation was last night granted World Heritage Site status – ranking it alongside the pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China and the Taj Mahal.
The Antonine Wall, which runs from Bo'ness, in West Lothian, to Old Kilpatrick, in West Dunbartonshire, received the official designation at the Unesco world heritage summit in Quebec, Canada.
The Antonine Wall, widely seen as Scotland's answer to Hadrian's Wall, is the fifth site in Scotland to be recognised by Unesco and the first since New Lanark in 2001.
The 2,000-year-old wall, built in AD142 to keep Scots tribesmen at bay, is widely seen as one of the most significant Roman remains in existence. For a generation, until about AD165, it was the north-west frontier of the entire Roman empire.
The route of Scotland's largest historic monument goes through Falkirk, Kirkintilloch, Polmont and Bearsden, although in some places it is interrupted by roads and railway lines.
About two-thirds of the wall, which was made up of 12ft-high turf ramparts on a stone base, fronted by a deep wide ditch, has survived.
There are also remains of the forts which were built at roughly two-mile intervals.
Perhaps the best example is at Rough Castle, near Bonnybridge, where there are the remnants of a fort with ramparts 20ft thick, which would probably have provided accommodation for 500 men, and in Bearsden, where there are the remains of a bath-house.
Dr Mechtild Rossler, the head of the European Unit for the Unesco World Heritage Centre, said the Antonine Wall had been officially designated a World Heritage Site and was also approved as an extension to the trans-national Frontiers of the Roman Empire.
She said: "It is really quite an accolade for the Antonine Wall, which is a hugely important territory because of the understanding it has given us of Roman military architecture.
"We really hope its World Heritage Site designation will increase greater awareness of it and help to preserve it for future generations to enjoy."
The bid to have the wall recognised as a World Heritage Site dates back five years and had to secure the backing of Holyrood and Westminster before being considered by Unesco.
Scotland's culture minister, Linda Fabiani, said: "I'm delighted the Antonine Wall and its archaeological and historical significance have been recognised by the World Heritage Committee. The decision reinforces the Antonine Wall's international status.
"The Antonine Wall represents an incredible part of Scotland's history. Its inscription as Scotland's fifth World Heritage Site – the highest accolade of a nation's heritage – should be celebrated by everyone both now and in the future."
Edinburgh's Old and New Towns, the St Kilda archipelago, New Lanark and Orkney's "Neolithic Heart" are already recognised as World Heritage Sites.
It is hoped that the granting of World Heritage Status could lead to tours of the Antonine Wall, helping it to become as popular an attraction as the West Highland Way.
The wall is roughly half the length of, and 20 years younger than, Hadrian's Wall, the barrier the Romans built 80 miles south in Northumberland.
I hope it's not 'wishful thinking' and one can only say "It's about time ..." ...
Elsewhere on the UNESCO
site, this just appeared (inter alia):
The Antonine Wall (United Kingdom), a 60 km long fortification in Scotland has been inscribed as an extension of the Frontiers of the Roman Empire (Germany and the United Kingdom), a transboundary property inscribed in 1987 and extended in 2005. The Antonine Wall was started by Emperor Antonius Pius in 142 AD as a defence against the “barbarians” of the north, it constitutes the northwestern-most portion of the Roman Limes.
So basically, the Antonine Wall is lumped in with Hadrian's Wall and the German/Raetian Limes sites
Potrebbe partire dal parco di Solunto (S.Flavia) il piano di affidamento ai privati della gestione dei siti archeologici siciliani. Insieme agli scavi di Himera (Termini Imerese), la località flavese è in testa alla lista delle località da dare in gestione ad imprese private stilata dall´assessore regionale ai Beni Culturali, Antonello Antinoro.
«La zona archeologica di Solunto - precisa l´assessore - fa meno di 10.000 paganti all´anno con un biglietto che costa due euro». Praticamente nulla rispetto alle capacità di un sito ritenuto di grande interesse, ma da sempre poco valorizzato. «Nessuno vuole regalare la Valle dei Templi – aggiunge – ma si può invece partire da questi siti minori che un domani possono diventare maggiori». Il piano prevede il coinvolgimento di banche e fondazioni da selezionare tramite bandi e concorsi di idee, ipotesi questa già prevista dal codice Urbani.
So if a site is making a lot of money, the state is interested; if not, it isn't. I think in the past I've mentioned that the whole repatriation thing is about money, and this is just more evidence of what the Italian government's motives really are ...
6.00 p.m. |HINT| History's Mysteries: Pompeii.
August 24, 79 AD. A day like any other day in the thriving Roman resort town of Pompeii, sheltered in the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius. Then, the volcano erupts and lava engulfs the city, preserving it in time. Historians walk us through the daily life of this ill-fated community.
8.00 p.m. |HISTC| DIGGING FOR THE TRUTH IV | God's Gold - Part 1
This episode goes on the most extraordinary treasure hunt ever! Host Hunter Ellis ventures on a world-exclusive search for the priceless golden artifacts of Jerusalem's Temple--lost since the Romans looted them almost 2000 years ago. From Jerusalem, to Rome, to North Africa, Turkey, and--finally--back to Israel, we'll follow a trail of clues to uncover the final hiding place of the most priceless treasures of the Jewish faith.
10.00 p.m. |HINT|Engineering An Empire: Greece: Age of Alexander
438 BC. The Parthenon is complete. This masterpiece is the crowning achievement for the Greek people. Without Alexander the Great, it is possible Greece's Golden Era would have been just a footnote in history. Tens of thousands would die during Alexander's relentless attacks on Persia and Egypt, yet, his armies carried Greek life, culture and values far abroad and this empire became known as the "Hellenistic" world. Greece's amazing engineering achievements and ideas are still with us today.
HINT = History International
HISTC = History Television (Canada)
This one's just hitting the non-English press ... from Quotidiano
Il quotidiano tedesco Frankfurter Rundschau rende noto che archeologi tedeschi ritengono di avere ritrovato l'antico ippodromo di Olimpia, in Grecia.
Un gruppo di ricercatori dell'istituto archeologico tedesco di Atene in collaborazione con lo storico dello sport Norbert Mueller di Magonza (Germania occidentale) ha annunciato di avere scoperto dove si trovava il piu' grande impianto sportivo di Olimpia, l'antica citta' greca dove si svolgevano i Giochi olimpici e dalla quale hanno preso il nome le Olimpiadi, moderna versione di essi.
Con metodi geofisici moderni i ricercatori sono riusciti a identificare la posizione e l'estensione geografica dell'ippodromo.
L'impianto di partenza con le scuderie per 24 equipaggi da tiro equini con tutta probabilita' si trova sotto un imponente collina di terra nel quartiere del Tempio. Finora l'esistenza dell'ippodromo per le corse di cavalli era noto solo da fonti scritte, ma non c'era mai stata nessuna conferma archeologica. '' questa scoperta archeologica e' sensazionale'' ha detto Mueller, secondo quanto ha reso noto l'istituto di scienze sportive della Universita' Johannes Gutenberg di Magonza.
... I can't find any mention of this in the online version of FR ...
The Executed Today blog highlights the execution of four folks involved in Lincoln's assassination ... interesting for our purposes is the accompanying photo
(which I had never seen before) of John Wilkes Booth as Marc Antony in a production of Julius Caesar ...
ludi Apollinares (day 2)-- games instituted in 212 B.C. after consulting the Sybilline books during a particularly bad stretch in the Punic Wars; four years later they became an annual festival in honour of Apollo
feriae Ancillarum -- a festival in honour of the "maids" who helped save Rome from a Latin attack in the days after the Gallic sack
rites in honour of Juno Caprotina -- rites possibly associated with the above in which Latin women offered sacrifices to Juno Caprotina under wild fig trees (the branches of the tree were also somehow used ... the old canard of 'fertility ritual' is usually mentioned in this context)
rites in honour of Consus in the Circus Maximus -- 'public priests' offered a sacrifice to Consus (possibly in a role of presiding over grain which has been stored underground) at his underground altar (was it uncovered for this?) at the first turning point in the Circus
eighth century B.C.? -- death/disappearance of Romulus
267 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Pales (and associated rites thereafter)
175 A.D. -- the future emperor Commodus
dons his toga virilis
c. 200 A.D. -- martyrdom of Pantaenus
1586 -- birth of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel
(amasser of the Arundelian Marbles
From Tuscia Web
Due capitelli di epoca romana sono stati trovati e sequestrati dalla Finanza di Salerno. Il primo è stato trovato all'interno di un complesso alberghiero in costruzione e il secondo nell'abitazione del proprietario della struttura turistica.
I reperti sarebbero stati acquistati da una ditta di Viterbo come imitazioni di capitelli romani, ma in base alla verifica di un funzionario della soprintendenza dei beni archeologici, si tratterebbe di capitelli romani autentici. Questo tipo di reperti possono essere posseduti solo se denunciati alla soprintendenza ai beni archeologici.
Il proprietario della struttura alberghiera e il venditore dei due reperti sono stati denunciati per illegale detenzione di reperti archeologici.
Obviously from some major structure, no?
From the Times
It begins in Old Kilpatrick, on the River Clyde, and ends in Bo’ness on the Firth of Forth. It runs inconspicuously by cemeteries, schools and rows of shops, along streets where pedestrians walk, probably unknowingly, along its spine.
In some places railway tracks and roads cross it, in others the trains and traffic race alongside. The Antonine Wall is Scottish history’s forgotten legacy.
Yet when members of Unesco’s World Heritage Committee meet in Quebec tomorrow, the wall — built by the Romans in AD142 — will be on their agenda. Having applied for World Heritage Site status, it is on the verge of being recognised as a landmark to be ranked alongside the Great Wall of China and the Egyptian pyramids.
In the haughty Glasgow suburb of Bearsden, through which the Antonine Wall passes, householders might soon be able to lean over their privet hedges and compare their own pieces of World Heritage land. In an area boasting street names that include Roman Road (which follows the route of Military Way, the road that ran parallel to the wall), Roman Court and Antonine Road, residents have found Roman coins while tending to their shrubs.
“A lot of it runs through people’s gardens and the people of Bearsden are really rather pleased that they’ve got it,” says David Breeze, head of special heritage projects at Historic Scotland, which led the nomination bid.
At nearly 40 miles long, the wall is half the length of, and 20 years younger than, Hadrian’s Wall, the barrier the Romans erected 80 miles south in Northumberland, which was named a World Heritage Site in 1987. If granted similar status, the Antonine Wall will combine with Hadrian’s Wall and part of the Upper German and Raetian border to be jointly considered frontiers of the Roman empire as a transnational World Heritage Site.
The Antonine Wall has long suffered in comparison with its English neighbour. Where the stone construction of Hadrian’s Wall still marches grimly across the countryside, interspersed with forts, milecastles, temples and turrets, the original Antonine Wall consisted of turf ramparts built on a stone base. One still resembles a kind of hewn statement of intent, while the other is now a series of grassy hillocks, rueful mounds that can often appear natural to the untrained eye. “The Antonine Wall has a strange relationship to the Scottish historical psyche,” says Breeze. “It’s not got into the soul. That may be down to the fact that Scottish history wasn’t properly taught in schools. Or is it because it’s not as visibly exciting? It suffers because it’s not built in stone, so it’s not so obvious.”
In theory, the Antonine Wall casts a bold shadow. Its 10ft-high turf walls looked down on a ditch 12ft deep and 40ft wide, recent excavations revealing that the areas between the base of the wall and the trench were potted with holes that may have contained pointed wooden stakes. There was a series of forts dotted along the wall, which would have housed up to 7,000 Roman soldiers.
The idea that both walls acted as barricades against marauding, kilted and growling Scots is popular, yet might also be flawed. For one, the walls were too narrow for soldiers to fight from and the Roman legionnaires were equipped to battle on the ground rather than from a height.
Breeze believes the walls were created to protect territory rather than for military defence. “It’s like the ones the Israelis are building, or the Berlin Wall,” he says. “The Romans were similar to us in some ways. They were very regulatory, including \ how people came into the empire, so they were modern in that respect.
“It’s not necessarily the political boundary, it’s just the most convenient line — there were forts north of the Antonine Wall. Yet there’s an element of Scotland that wants to believe that they stopped the Romans conquering the whole country.”
The Antonine Wall was, most likely, the result of political manoeuvring rather than military posturing. When the Emperor Hadrian died in AD138, he was succeeded by Antoninus Pius, a senator who was an experienced administrator but had no military background. It is thought that to emphasise his credentials, he sought to make a grand gesture and so changed the frontier of the empire in Britain, moving it 80 miles north and commissioning the construction of the wall that bears his name.
Sections of the turf ramparts are visible in Bar Hill, Croy Hill, Westerwood, Castlecary and Watling Lodge across the central belt. Remains of forts are identifiable in Bearsden, Bar Hill and Rough Castle, while the Roman bathhouse that Breeze discovered and excavated in Bearsden allows a unique insight into the eating habits of Roman soldiers.
“We found the sewage which flowed out of the fort latrine,” he smiles. “\ sterols survive in the soil, and from this we were able to work out that the soldiers had a mainly vegetarian diet. That had never been done before and has never been replicated.”
The Romans abandoned the Antonine Wall after only 20 years, retreating south to Hadrian’s Wall. Breeze believes this was due to circumstances elsewhere in the empire demanding a redeployment of troops, rather than as a response to doughty, fighting Scots.
If it becomes the fifth World Heritage Site in Scotland — along with New Lanark, the old and new towns of Edinburgh, the heart of neolithic Orkney and St Kilda — there is hope at Historic Scotland that the profile of the Antonine Wall will be raised.
The wall remains Scotland’s largest historic monument and almost two-thirds of it is intact in some form. Whether it lies in somebody’s garden or across a field, it may have far-reaching effects, says Breeze, adding:
“We can use it to illustrate modern citizenship, history and, ultimately, Scotland’s place in the world.”
A plan to make hand-held electronic guides available this year to visitors at 15 of the most significant archaeological sites around Greece are likely to be scrapped because of Culture Ministry delays that would require an agreement with the provider of the gadgets, a consortium that includes Siemens, to be extended.
The arrival of the battery-powered, touchscreen devices that weigh just 270 grams was heralded in March 2007 as improving the experience visitors would have at sites including the Acropolis and National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Delphi, Ancient Olympia, Mycenae, Vergina, Epidaurus and Knossos in Crete.
The gadgets would offer high-resolution video, detailed diagrams of the sites and imagery along with stereo sound.
The Siemens-Fujitsu consortium took over the project in the fall of 2006 after another group led by Hewlett Packard, which had initially won the tender, withdrew from the scheme.
The first devices were due to be made available in April but sources said that the Organization for the Promotion of Greek Culture (OPEP), which operates under the auspices of the Culture Ministry, has delayed supplying Siemens-Fujitsu with the material it needs to transfer to the devices.
A renewal of the contract would require the approval of Culture Minister Michalis Liapis, which appears highly unlikely given that Liapis has been forced to deny taking part in a junket organized by Siemens in 2005.
The government has already paid 4 million euros for the project, which it obtained from the European Union’s Information Society program, but will likely have to pay this back to Brussels if the agreement is called off.
Wow ... has anyone in the Greek government ever heard of an iPod/MP3 player? I'm sure there are plenty of folks reading this list who could take four million euros and make something of high quality that folks could use ... we know there are already private companies
doing this ...
AFRICAN ATHENA: BLACK ATHENA 20 YEARS ON: A CONFERENCE 6-8 NOVEMBER 2008 UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK, UK.
In order to register your attendance, please visit the conference website at: http://www.warwick.ac.uk/go/africanathena
Keynote Speakers: Martin Bernal, Paul Gilroy, Shelley Haley, Stephen Howe, Partha Mitter, Valentin Mudimbe, Rajagopalan Radhakrishnan, Patrice Rankine and Robert J. C. Young.
Please forward any inquiries to: Dr. Daniel Orrells, Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK.
3.00 p.m. |DCIVC| 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.
4.00 p.m. |DCIVC| Lost Temple To The Gods
In 20 B.C., the lost city of Heracleion was famous for its beaches, palatial villas, sexually charged rites and miracle cures; its crowning jewel, the Temple of Hercules, lay at the gateway to Egypt's Nile River and ruled by Cleopatra.
DCIVC = Discovery Civilization (Canada)
A pile of catching up ...
Helma Dik, Word Order in Greek Tragic Dialogue
Robert Faulkner, The Case for Greatness: Honorable Ambition and Its Critics
Giancarlo Giardina (ed.), Lucio Anneo Seneca. Tragedie. I. Ercole, Le Troiane, Le Fenicie, Medea, Fedra. Testi e commenti, 22
Carol G. Thomas, Craig Conant, The Trojan War.
Norbert Eschbach, Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum, Deutschland 83. Goettingen, Archaeologischies Institut der Universitaet 3, Attische Schwartzzfigure Keramik.
Mark Payne, Theocritus and the Invention of Fiction
Teresa R. Ramsby, Textual Permanence. Roman Elegists and the Epigraphic Tradition.
Augusto Cosentino, Il Battesimo Gnostico: Dottrine, simboli e riti iniziatici nello gnosticismo. Hiera/: Collana di studi storico-religiosi 9
Florian Ruppenstein, Kerameikos. Ergebnisse der Ausgrabungen, Bd. XVIII. Die submykenische Nekropole: Neufunde und Neubewertung
Ann Reynolds Scott, Cosa: The Black-Glaze Pottery 2
Diane Arnson Svarlien (trans.), Euripides. Medea, with an introduction and notes by Robin Mitchell-Boyask
Peter Bing, Jon Steffen Bruss, Brill's Companion to Hellenistic Epigram.
John Taylor, Classics and the Bible: Hospitality and Recognition
J.L. Lightfoot, The Sibylline Oracles: With Introduction, Translation, and Commentary on the First and Second Books
Laurent Capdetrey, Le pouvoir se/leucide. Territoire, administration, finances d'un royaume helle/nistique (312-129 avant J.C.). Collection "Histoire"
P. J. Finglass, C. Collard, N. J. Richardson, Hesperos. Studies in Ancient Greek Poetry Presented to M. L. West on his Seventieth Birthday
Michael Maass, Das antike Delphi
Marianne PADE, The Reception of Plutarch's Lives in Fifteenth-Century Italy. Two volumes
Mary Emerson, Greek Sanctuaries. An Introduction
Ilaria Ramelli (ed.), Allegoristi dell'eta\ classica: Opere e frammenti. Il pensiero occidentale
Silvia Orlandi, Epigrafia anfiteatrale dell'occidente romano. VI. Anfiteatri e strutture annesse con una nuova edizione e commento delle iscrizioni del Colosseo. Vetera, 15
Markus Schauer, Aeneas dux in Vergils Aeneis. Eine literarische Fiktion in augusteischer Zeit. Zetemata vol. 128
Paul Allen Miller, Postmodern Spiritual Practices: The Construction of the Subject and the Reception of Plato in Lacan, Derrida, and Foucault
C. Howgego, V. Heuchert, A. Burnett, Coinage and Identity in the Roman Provinces
Matthew Fox, Cicero's Philosophy of History
. Response to BMCR 2008.06.10: Fitch on Trinacty on Giancarlo Giardina
Fergus Millar, A Greek Roman Empire. Power and Belief under Theodosius II (408-450). Sather Classical Lectures, 64
Pat Southern, The Roman Army: A Social and Institutional History
R. Drew Griffith, Robert B. Marks, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Agora: Ancient Greek and Roman Humour.
Jean-Philippe Genet, Rome et l'E/tat moderne europe/en. "Collection de l'E/cole franc,aise de Rome" 377
Joachim Henning (ed.), Post-Roman Towns, Trade and Settlement in Europe and Byzantium. Vol. 1. The Heirs of the Roman West.
Joachim Henning (ed.), Post-Roman Towns, Trade and Settlement in Europe and Byzantium. Vol. 2. Byzantium, Pliska, and the Balkans
Caroline Humfress, Orthodoxy and the Courts in Late Antiquity.
Simon Goldhill, Robin Osborne (edd.), Rethinking Revolutions through Ancient Greece
Violaine Sebillotte Cuchet, Libe/rez la patrie! Patriotisme et politique en Gre\ce ancienne
Michael B. Charles, Vegetius in Context: Establishing the Date of the Epitoma Rei Militaris. Historia-Einzelschrift, Band 194
Allan J. Rutger, Michel Buijs, The Language of Literature. Linguistic Approaches to Classical Texts. Amsterdam Studies in Classical Philology. Vol. 13
Leena PIETILAe-CASTRE/N, The Graeco-Roman Terracotta Figurines of Finland and Their Collectors
Fabio Roscalla (ed.), L'autore e l'opera: attribuzioni, appropriazioni, apocrifi nella Grecia antica. Atti del convegno internazionale (Pavia, 27-28 maggio 2005). Memorie e atti di convegni 34.
Martin M. Winkler, Spartacus: Film and History
Nancy Shumate, Nation, Empire, Decline: Studies in Rhetorical Continuity from the Romans to the Modern Era.
Birger A. Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism: Traditions and Literature
Jane DeRose Evans, The Coins and the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Economy of Palestine
Magnus Zetterholm, ed., The Messiah in Early Judaism and Christianity
Laurence M. Vance, Guide to Prepositions in the Greek New Testament
Birger A. Pearson, Ancient Gnosticism: Traditions and Literature
John Granger Cook, The Interpretation of the Old Testament in Greco-Roman Paganism
A couple of reviews of Karen Essex, Stealing Athena
(fiction):Book ReporterTampa Bay Tribune
The Wrexham Leader reviews Stanley Salmons, Footprints in the Ash
Mary Beard reviews a couple of tomes on the history of humour
The Telegraph has a review of James Cuno, Who Owns Antiquity
The Gate reviews Stephen Dando-Collins, Nero’s Killing Machine
The Times reviews three tomes about Herodotus
Some odds and ends to clear out of my box before I try to catch up with reviews:
Tip o' the pileus to Mata Kimasatayo for this piece from Harper's on Scipio's Dream
The BBC had a report on the threat to an 'Ancient Greek Towpath'
near the Corinth canal ... I haven't managed to get it to work; perhaps it will work for you ...
A while back we had a thing on the Greek origins of mixed martial arts from the Bleacher Report
... turns out there were two more installments: one on Roman gladiators and mixed martial arts
(not bad) and the last on the modern 'pankration'
(if you want the 'whole thing') ... and just as a side note, the author
of these pieces is attending one of my almae matres -- McMaster!
ProTraveller had a short little feature on seven places the ancients went to relax
(Stabiae, Baiae, etc. ... not sure if Ostia should be in this category) ...
Had this one in the sidebar (which includes Eternally Cool, who also mentioned it), but in case you missed it, there's a 'Trojan Horse Tournament'
going on in California challenging artists to create a 3d image of the TH ... (tip o' the pileus to Laura Flusche)
Last, but certainly not least, an item from the Spoof
comments on recent 'redating' of assorted events ... an excerpt:
Speaking from the Texan University of Dumbsville, he said: 'We took a cheese sandwich, and threw it into the Channel, and it floated south west for 20 yards before sinking, thus scientifically proving that the invasion began days earlier than has been believed for hundreds of years.' And fellow professor Nat Enquirer added: 'In fact the Romans invaded lands all across Europe and North Africa, but only when it was sunny and the waves weren't too high, and as long as they had suncream on.'
From the Philly Inquirer comes a review of an interesting production of the Bacchae
The Bacchae launches this summer's Lincoln Center Festival spectacularly. Staged as a rock opera but faithful to Euripides' ancient text, the National Theatre of Scotland's production is both a wildly entertaining tragedy and a shockingly grim comedy of sex, violence and rock-and-roll.
As Dionysus, Alan Cumming enters the blazingly white stage shackled, upside-down and bare-bottomed. With a snap of his fingers (and there is much finger-snapping, signifying both magic and street-smart approval), the handcuffs disappear and the god is revealed in all his glory, his black curls sparkling, his gold lamé kilt sexily bulging.
Dionysus is angry at Thebes for having failed to recognize him as a new god and having disrespected his mortal mother, so he has returned in human form to teach the Greeks that uninhibited sexuality cannot be denied.
Aiding his mission are his "mighty Maenads," the chorus (literally) of nine black women in red gowns and feral hair who sing and dance and electrify. Tim Sutton's music is sometimes soul, sometimes gospel, sometimes tribal, sometimes winking at pop clichés, but never succumbing to them.
Pentheus (the excellent Cal MacAninch), current ruler of Thebes, is an uptight guy whose approach is always to lock up, chain down, shut away anything that disturbs the order. There is a wonderful tiny moment when Pentheus tears a flower from its stem, one of the red poppies memorializing Dionysus' mother, and we watch a sudden flash of anger and disgust cross Cumming's face.
Unable to persuade Pentheus, Dionysus tricks him by tapping his lurid nature: Want to spy on the royal women of Thebes, already intoxicated by wine and freedom, who are performing the secret Bacchic rites in the woods? Pentheus is torn to pieces by the women, and his mother, Agave, (Paola Dionisotti) returns wild-eyed and blood-smeared, carrying his head, in the play's most famous scene.
Dionisotti has the kind of trick voice born for comedy, and her grief and horror seem to lack weight. The show's second half, in which we hear and see the results of human beings being stupid, is necessarily grimmer and duller, Dionysus having left them, and us, to learn the lesson.
The prophet Tiresias (John Bett) and Thebes' founding king, Cadmus (Ewan Hooper), appear as a pair of geriatric vaudeville hoofers in tuxes. Theater is the play's sly metaphor: The standing mike becomes the Bacchic spear, and, later, to prove the unspoken point, the whole stage goes up in flames. We are all following the scripts of our personalities and cultures, and change is the only option to destruction.
David Greig's script (from Ian Ruffell's literal translation) is full of delicious rhymes and puns ("inculcate you to my cult") and manages to make the bizarre plot make sense.
John Tiffany (who also directed last year's Black Watch for the National Theatre of Scotland) has made this Dionysian argument for losing control in a highly controlled, meticulously precise production. He seduces us, taunts us and terrifies us. Euripides, the great subversive dramatist, would likely be pleased.
Excerpt from a review of the flick in the Telegraph
Aspects of the film are strongly reminiscent of Tolkien, or on-screen Tolkien. It is not that Lewis stole walking trees from The Lord of the Rings (though before he wrote Prince Caspian he had heard Tolkien reading from his books). After all, a moving wood figures in Macbeth. The difference is that Lewis imagined what a hamadryad from classical mythology would be like. Tolkien imagined a whole mythology.
Lewis's approach comes out clearly in a lengthy scene in Prince Caspian that the film-makers did not dare include: a corybantic romp by Bacchus and his Maenads, with Silenus on his donkey (conventionally depicted elsewhere with a giant phallus, as, surprisingly, on the Victorian cover of Punch magazine each week). In something of an understatement, Susan remarks in the book: "I wouldn't have felt safe with Bacchus and all his wild girls if we'd met them without Aslan."
Yet Bacchus, or Dionysius, as well as being a mythic god of drunkenness, is as clearly an off-the-shelf figure of Jesus Christ as Lewis's invented Aslan. Lewis as a classical scholar was fully aware of the mythic power of Dionysius.
"I am Dionysius, the son of Zeus," the man-god declares at the beginning of Euripides' play, The Bacchae. "I have put off the god and taken human shape."
Instead of daring these complications, the film prefers to insert a long battle scene not in the book, expanding its duration to two-and-a-half hours of clangorous Dolby Digital. I'm not sure Lewis would have cared for that.
From the Telegraph
There have been three very striking translations of Virgil's Aeneid just recently, all from Americans. I have extravagantly bought them all, but which of them would I recommend if forced to choose but one? They are, in turn, by Robert Fagles of Princeton - whose versions of Homer were rightly praised throughout the world and who, before his untimely death, translated The Aeneid for Penguin; Frederick Ahl of Cornell University, whose translation is published by Oxford University Press, and Sarah Ruden of Yale, whose University Press also publishes her work.
Fagles was an old pro - a great translator, and his version comes with a useful apparatus, including (necessary nowadays) a pronounciation glossary, which explains more than just the main places, gods, mortals and monsters. OUP is to be commended for dropping the really bad translation by Cecil Day Lewis, which used to be its World's Classics Aeneid.
Ahl's notes and apparatus are useful and there is a good introduction by Elaine Fantham. The Yale version comes, like Cordelia, last and perhaps disastrously lacks this explanatory material. Yet who could not be won over by Ruden's opening preface - "I am in awe of scholars who can expertly debate Vergil [sic]'s political purpose and attitude; I find him difficult just to read".
He is difficult, very difficult, even if you have been doing Latin for years. His style is so dense, and he is so clever. It took many of us a whole term at school to read one book of The Aeneid and, in grown-up life, perhaps we have been content to read him in the great translation of John Dryden.
If we assemble Dryden with our three recent American translations, let us see how the four deal with just one line. I choose the onomatopoeic description of a thundering cavalry charge at the very end of the 11th book.
The magnificent Amazonian Camilla is dead, slain by the hand of Arruns, and he has met his death at the hands of the nymph Opis - who is fighting on behalf of the grief-stricken goddess Diana. The battle is over, and Camilla's squadrons are cantering away - "Quadrupedumque putrem cursu quatit ungula campum". You can almost hear the horses' hooves thumping the broken earth of the plain - the soft thump, thump, and the final thud of the hoof that hits the "cam - poom". A wonderful line.
Frederick Ahl (Oxford) has - "Cloven-hoofed quadruped clatter kicks clumps, quivers plain at a gallop". This is a line that is saying: "Look at me, I'm writing poetry, guys!" There is a bit of Hopkins here. It does not exactly make sense. And horses are not cloven-footed, nor does Virgil say they are. He says that the hoof, "ungula", of the quadrupeds hits the crumbly plain.
Sarah Ruden (Yale) has "The speeding hoofbeats shook that soft-earthed plain". This surely conveys the sense much better, and in a much less intrusive way. The "putrem... campum" is a plain that is crumbly because it is dry earth over which many horses have ridden. "That soft-earthed plain" is just right. She has lost the rather odd Virgilian "quadrupeds", but at least she hasn't made them cloven-footed.
Fagels has "Galloping hoofbeats pound the rutted plain with thunder". He is trying to get the sense, while conveying the onomatopoeia, but I still think Ruden has the edge over him. Dryden takes his time, as he often does when unpacking a dense Virgilian parcel, and makes one line into a couplet: "The hoofs of horses, with a rattling sound/Beat short and thick, and shake the rotten ground".
Dr Johnson defines "rattle" as "to make a sharp noise with frequent repetitions and collisions of bodies not very sonorous". It is the last three words that count. "Thumping", though a coarse word, was an option for Dryden. It would have been better than "rattling". Hoof-beats simply do not rattle. On this analysis the best prize goes to Sarah Ruden.
When the fleeing rout meet the city gates, the melée is one of confusion and tragedy. Dryden here outsoars all the modern translators - "The vanquished cry; the victors loudly shout:/'Tis terror all within, and slaughter all without". Dryden can't be discarded - but which of the moderns would I choose?
It is a toss-up between Fagles (earthy and impressive, and with all those useful notes) and the quiet line-by-line modesty of Sarah Ruden whose version "grew" on me the longer I lived with it.
From a Western press release
When Classical Studies professor Kelly Olson studies vintage fashion, she’s not rummaging through a bin of tattered denim.
Instead, she’s helping us understand how really vintage clothing – from ancient Rome and Greece – can teach us about how people lived and what was important to them.
Attire is an important indicator of how people identify with themselves and with others. As such, it can help us learn a lot about gender roles and traditions, cultural anxieties, class and even legal standing.
“Clothing has an almost limitless potential for communication and encapsulated cultural anxieties and values,” she says. “In some cases, it was even legally prescribed in an attempt to solidify social order.”
Messages encoded in the clothing one wears can also depend on personal perspectives and on the social systems in which it’s worn. Views about the miniskirt and the veil, for example, vary greatly depending on the region of the world in which you live, Olson says.
“Clothing doesn’t always mirror social change, but the effects of social change tend to trickle down eventually into garments.”
Despite the importance of attire to everyday life, it hasn’t always been subject to academic scrutiny.
In recent years, this attitude has begun to shift as research about clothing has become increasingly common in a variety of fields, including history, sociology and anthropology.
Olson noticed, however, that nothing had been done about classical clothing, which provided her with an opportunity to combine her passion for fashion with her academic work.
While many classics scholars rely heavily on texts, the relative absence of documentation related to clothing has led Olson to become a quasi-expert in the use of a variety of alternative sources.
“It’s not like you can just open a catalogue to see what people were wearing at the time,” she says, “so I’ve had to do a lot of detective work, looking at literature, art, poetry, legal sources and historical inscriptions.”
It’s a challenge she welcomes. Olson calls her recently-completed first book, Dress and the Roman Woman: Self-Presentation and Society, her biggest accomplishment in academia thus far.
She plans to take an in-depth look at male clothing in her next book, in which she will describe the details of male appearance in Roman antiquity using literary and artistic sources.
“I’m also going to look at how clothing fits into ritual and at certain sartorial conventions in ancient society, such as how one was supposed to show up to a trial wearing mourning clothing,” she says.
As part of the book, she will also look at the clothing of the cinaedus, or the effeminate man, and of the ‘dandy’ figure, both of which types functioned as loci for social anxieties concerning wealth, class, gender, sexuality and political legitimacy.
For those trying to learn, the past doesn’t go out of style.
“History is important for modern society because it’s hard to know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been,” Olson says.
Somewhat vague item from the International Herald Tribune
Italy's Culture Ministry says France has handed over 50 pieces of pottery dating back to as far as the fourth century B.C. that were looted from southern Italy.
The earthenware includes Greek-styled vases, wine cups and plates. They were seized in 2000 by French customs police from an Italian trying to cross the Spanish border with the treasures hidden in his car.
French Budget Minister Eric Woerth handed over the artifacts to Italian authorities in Paris on Friday. The artifacts are believed to have been secretly excavated in the southern Puglia region and are likely to go to museums there.
Italy has recently stepped up its fight against antiquities trafficking.
I can't tell if this item from Notizie Online
(which has much more detail) is referring to the same thing:
Reperti delle zone archeologiche di Timmari (Matera) e di Gravina sono stati scoperti e recuperati in Francia dai carabinieri del nucleo tutela patrimonio culturale in un'indagine durata tre anni. Erano esposti anche nelle vetrine di importanti gallerie d'arte a Parigi, lungo la Senna, ma in realta' quei preziosi reperti apuli e lucani erano stati illecitamente sottratti ed esportati Oltralpe. Ora tornano in Italia grazie alle indagini condotte insieme dall'Arma con i colleghi francesi dell'Ocbc - Office Central de lutte contre le trafic des Biens Culturels, in collaborazione con l'Office Central de Répression de la Grande Délinquance Financiére e il servizio Interpol Italia.
L'attivita' di indagine, svolta nell'ambito della rogatoria internazionale disposta dalla Procura della Repubblica presso il Tribunale di Bari ha portato all'identificazione sia delle persone dedite al reperimento in Italia e all'illecita esportazione in Francia dei beni archeologici sia dei mercanti che a Parigi si occupavano della vendita dei reperti presso note e stimate gallerie d'arte.
L'inchiesta francese e' scaturita dalla presentazione, nel 2005, del catalogo d'asta del Crédit Municipal (ente statale corrispondente al banco dei pegni), sul quale erano riprodotti dei reperti archeologici provenienti da Puglia e Basilicata, falsamente presentati come pezzi di una collezione familiare, venduti per 2.000.000 di euro.
Il traffico verso la Francia era promosso in Italia da due cittadini italo-francesi sui quali erano in corso indagini autonome da parte del nucleo Tpc di Bari. La collaborazione dei due organismi speciali di polizia giudiziaria e lo scambio info-operativo ha permesso di acquisire una serie di elementi utili alle indagini. Le perquisizioni, eseguite contemporaneamente a Parigi, Digione e Nizza dai servizi centrali francesi, supportati dai Carabinieri del Tpc, hanno portato al sequestro di beni per un valore commerciale complessivo di 2.000.000 di euro.
Si tratta di dodici crateri apuli a figure rosse, un'anfora apula e un'idra etrusca, un epichysis e un kantharos, trenta frammenti di cratere e cinque frammenti di una ceramica del pittore di Polignoto, nove tra ciotole e coppe, una kyathos a vernice nera e sedici monete di epoca imperiale. Altri beni archeologici italiani sono stati individuati e sono in corso ulteriori attivita' finalizzate al recupero degli stessi al patrimonio dello Stato e all'esame della copiosa documentazione acquisita.
Il traffico individuato e' uno dei principali filoni di commercializzazione illecita all'estero dei reperti archeologici italiani. Attivo da almeno 15 anni, prevedeva l'esportazione dei beni archeologici italiani, in numero variabile da 1 a 5 pezzi, almeno due volte l'anno. Si stima che l'operazione eseguita, per numero di reperti commercializzati e per il livello qualitativo degli stessi, sia uno tra i piu' importanti successi operativi nel settore dell'archeologia.
We mentioned the Italian press was saying a "state of emergency" had been declared at Pompeii ... it's now hitting the English press in a big way ... we'll use the ANSA
version (which is sort of a cross between the two):
The cabinet on Friday declared a year-long state of emergency at the archaeological site of Pompeii because of a ''continuing state of neglect and deterioration''.
Culture Minister Sandro Bondi said the cabinet will shortly appoint a special commissioner to resolve the emergency at the UNESCO World Heritage site.
''The commissioner will deal with order, public safety and oversee the administration of the archaeological site,'' Bondi said, adding that Pompeii Archaeological Superintendent Pietro Giovanni Guzzo would remain in charge of the preservation of the ruins.
Campania tourist chief Claudio Velardi greeted the cabinet move as ''important and courageous'', adding that he had long been calling for ''a radical change'' at Pompeii.
''But we must also lay down the foundation for an innovative and modern management,'' he said.
Velardi upset local tourist chiefs in March when he suggested capping the number of visitors to the site and boosting revenue by allowing entrepreneurs to hold events among the ancient ruins.
''People thought I was mad and tried to defend what was an unsustainable situation of sloppiness and illegality,'' he said.
''If we work well together we can turn Pompeii into a site that can worthily accommodate millions of tourists, with adequate information, efficient services and usable routes,'' he added.
The cabinet decision comes in the wake of negative media reports about the state of the archaeological site over the last week.
Many of the ancient houses are still covered in scaffolding for restoration projects that started decades ago, while Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported that of the 1,500 houses in Pompeii, ''if you find two out of every ten open it's like winning the lottery''.
According to Antonio Irlando, president of the regional observatory for cultural heritage, the 2,000-year-old site is slowly crumbling.
''We lose a minumum of 150 square metres of frescoes and plaster each year because of the lack of maintenance. It's the same for stones - at least 3,000 end up as crumbs each year,'' Irlando told Corriere della Sera.
In addition to poor signposting, Pompei also suffers from inadequate facilities, with just three bathrooms over the 440,000 square metre site.
Its coffers have also been hit by the drop in tourist numbers in the trash-hit Campania region this year.
''All the Vesuvian sites show a heavy loss in the first five months of 2008 compared to the same period in 2007, and in general compared to the last five years,'' Guzzo said, adding that April saw a massive 19% drop in visitors.
Local newspaper Corriere del Mezzogiorno reported a fall in tourist numbers for June of 13% compared to the same period last year, but Guzzo pointed out that Pompeii did better than the rest of the region.
''In Campania the fall in numbers is well over 20%. Pompei is still one of the most visited sites in Italy,'' he said.
Over two million people visit Pompeii each year, and the site cashed in 20.8 million euros in profits for 2007.
The city was smothered in ash and cinder by the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
20 million Euros and that's the state of the site?! Is there more than 'bad management'
operating at Pompeii?
We are pleased to announce that the next Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient Literature (AMPAL) is due to be hosted by the Open University in Milton Keynes, and will take place on Saturday 24 and Sunday 25 January 2009, a little later than its regular slot in November (hence AMPAL 2008 late in 2009).
AMPAL is a conference where graduate students present their research to other postgraduates. It offers an opportunity to take part in discussion, exchange ideas and meet other postgraduates in a friendly and supportive environment. This year the theme for the conference is:
‘Sex and the (ancient) City: Love and Friendship in Greece and Rome’
FIRST CALL FOR PAPERS
We are now accepting abstracts (maximum 250 words) on any aspect of the theme of ‘Sex and the (Ancient) City: Love and Friendship in Greece and Rome’.
Some suggestions are:
· Gendered roles
· Families, fraternities and friendship
· Importance of the city
· Metamorphoses and transformations
· Boys and girls initiation rites
These are suggestions only, and we welcome any other interpretations of the theme, and as in previous years expect to see a mix of papers covering ancient Greek and Roman literature, performance and reception.
We are also pleased to announce that our keynote speaker will by Professor Lorna Hardwick.
Registration for this conference will be free, although there will be a charge for accommodation. See the website for further details of the venue and accommodation:
Please send your abstract to ampal08 AT googlemail.com with Abstract as the email title and include your name, University, and title of paper, by 1 October 2008. Please also direct any queries about the conference to this address.
The Oxford Roman Economy Project is organising a two-day conference
to take place in Oxford on the 3rd and 4th of October 2008. The focus of this
conference is going to be on the agricultural economy of the Empire, withspecial
reference to issues concerning agricultural productivity. Speakers will include
Katherine Blouin, Alan Bowman, John Creighton, Bruce Hitchner, Dennis
Kehoe, Myrto Malouta, Annalisa Marzano, David Mattingly, and Andrew
Attendance at the conference is free of charge, but numbers are
restricted, so if you would like to attend please register as soon as
possible by email to alan.bowman AT classics.ox.ac.uk and copy to
myrto.malouta AT classics.ox.ac.uk.
Lecturer in Ancient History
School of Archaeology and Ancient History
University of Leicester
Lecturer in Ancient History
School of Archaeology and Ancient History
University of Leicester
Keynote speaker: Professor Louis Godart
Professor of Mycenaean Philology, University of Naples; Director, Archaeological Mission in Crete, University of Naples; author, The Phaistos Disc – the enigma of an Aegean script; Cultural Advisor to the President of the Italian Republic.
Full details via pdf from Minerva
Facebook has recently included a 'blognetwork' app which a number of ancient history type bloggers have signed on to ... a number of same were kind enough to confirm my ownership of rogueclassicism, but apparently I need 15+ readers for a feed of rc to show up on Facebook (although that portion of the app is still in beta). Not sure if that would be useful to folks out there, but if you'd like to read rc via Facebook (for some reason), we need five (+) more folks to become 'readers' ... here's the page
From the Turkish Daily News
A team of eight students hopes to unearth the remains of an ancient city on the Black Sea coast, regarded by many as the "Ephesus of the Black Sea." Excavations will be made July 15, aiming to unveil the architectural plan of Teion (or Tion) located in the city of Zonguldak's Filyos district.
Archaeologist Sümer Atasoy said the excavation team, composed of a map engineer, an archeologist, an art historian and eight students from Greek Yanya University, will conduct a major dig in the ancient city with a team of 35 people, speaking to the Anatolia news agency.
Saying the excavations will begin July 15 if the team receives an annual grant, Atasoy added: "Our excavations will continue in Turkish baths and castles, and, if we get permission, we will conduct research on jetties under the water. Our two archeologist divers will take their photos. It was the first time an ancient city on the Black Sea coast was excavated and this shows that the Black Sea region is an important area in Turkey."
Atasoy said there is evidence that, together with forestry products, bonitos, small fish, were sold to boost trading. He said the team had already unveiled a special Turkish bath, which leads them to believe the ancient city was the location of other Turkish baths, graves and treatment places.
During the excavations last year, the team found remains of two phalluses, which symbolize productivity and fertility. "We think the remains are dated around the Roman period. The farmers might have been using the fertility goddess to increase productivity, or a man who had trouble having a child might use the goddess of fertility to increase his chances. The excavations will unearth everything," noted Atasoy.
The ancient city was established by people coming from Mıletos, according to Atasoy, who added, "Traces of the ancient residential areas of Kastamonu, Sinop, Samsun, Ordu, and Trabzon provinces of the Black Sea were all lost. Filyos is the only place that preserves its beauty."
He said conferences held in Greece drew a lot of attention from citizens. "This year many tourists will come and visit the area. With the help of local authorities, we will host our guests for two days. When the remains of the city are unearthed completely, it will make a great contribution to the city's tourism."
A team of 15 workers is now conducting the excavations and, if the university receives any further grants, the number will increase, said Atasoy.
We mentioned this dig last summer
as well ...
Kenton Robinson in The Day
touches on piles of topics of interest to us:
OK, you've really got to pay close attention here. You've got to keep track of the upper and the lower case.
Letters, that is.
Because our subject today is Lesbians. Note: Not lesbians. Note: Well, actually, Lesbians and lesbians but with the emphasis being on Lesbians.
If you follow the news of the world beyond your daily ration of McCainage and Obamaphobia, you already know what I'm talking about.
If not, here's the scoop:
Several Lesbians, which is to say folks who live on the island of Lesbos, are asking a Greek court to forbid lesbians to call themselves lesbians.
This is because, they say, Lesbians are merely Lesbians and not necessarily lesbians, and being thought lesbian when you are merely Lesbian invites no end of painful ridicule.
For those of you who skipped your classical studies class on the day they taught this, the reason lesbians are called lesbians in the first place is because Lesbos' most prominent resident was Sappho, who lived some 2,600 years ago and was known as “the tenth muse” for writing some of the hottest erotic poetry of all time.
Indeed, even though only one of her poems has survived intact and all the rest are mere fragments, those fragments make for some steamy reading.
”Once again that loosener of limbs, Love,
bittersweet and inescapable, crawling thing,
strikes me down.”
As it happened, Sappho was both a Lesbian and a lesbian, though they didn't call lesbians lesbians then.
Actually, if her poetry is any indication, Sappho was a lover of both women and men, but for some reason, we use the word lesbian to describe women who love women alone.
At any rate, after two millennia of lesbians calling lesbians lesbians, Lesbians who are not lesbians finally have caught wind of it and want it stopped.
This would be known, even back in Sappho's day, as closing the Lesbian door after the lesbian is out.
And that, of course, is the trouble with trying to legislate language. Words are a lot like mercury. Try to nail one down and it's gone before you've raised your hammer.
Which is, in its own way,
similar to other ancient news lately. Just as the law wrestles with language, so does science wrestle with myth and with, most recently, The Odyssey.
As you may recall, after helping the Greeks beat the Trojans, Odysseus heads back to Ithaca. But, due to his crew punking Poseidon, it ends up taking him 10 years to get home.
Meanwhile, there being no cell phones, a bunch of greedy suitors are pressing his wife to marry them.
When Odysseus does get home, he slaughters them all, then chills in the bosom of his family.
It's a great story, but scientists weren't satisfied with that. They had to know: Did this really happen? And if so, when?
Fortunately, Homer sprinkled his tale with a few astronomical clues, from which these scientists were able to deduce that (a) it probably did happen and (b) it happened on April 16, 1178 B.C.
All of which leads me to think that both the litigious Lesbians and the literalists reading Homer could take a tip from Pliny the Elder, who was not Greek but Roman, and who, many would argue, was the first scientist.
Pliny was a man full of prescriptions for what ails you. No matter your infirmity, Pliny knew a cure. Got a fish bone in your throat? Go soak your feet. Etcetera.
As for the aforementioned subjects, Pliny would recommend that they rub beaver testicles on their foreheads.
That was his cure for idiocy.
Well, not quite, but here's what Pliny does say (32.29 ... part of a long section on the medicinal uses of beaver testicles):
somnum conciliant cum rosaceo et peucedano peruncto capite et per se poti ex aqua, ob id phreneticis utiles
"Phrenitis" is some sort of mental derangement ... whatever the case, in the future when I write 'break out the beaver testicles', you'll know what I'm referring to.
From the BBC
Archaeologists are to return to an Iron Age "power centre" to further investigate the influence of the Romans on the north of Scotland.
Dr Fraser Hunter, of the National Museums of Scotland, will lead the dig at Birnie, near Elgin, next month.
Roman coin hordes have previously been found in the area.
Dr Hunter said he hoped the work would further uncover clues to an Iron Age community there and the emergence of ancient people known as the Picts.
The archaeologists will look at a number of key target sites in what will be the final phase of excavations at Birnie.
Dr Hunter, principal curator of Roman archaeology, said it had been a "power centre" going back 3,000 years.
He said: "Around the Roman Iron Age it really flourished and was a place with Roman connections."
He said: "The site shows the influence of Rome beyond the edge of the empire."
The coins were thought to have been buried as a religious offering.
Dr Hunter said: "A series of strange things have also been found recently.
"One was an intact decorative pot buried upside down and a whet stone, a lovely rectangular object hardly used and not the kind of thing that would be have been discarded.
"We think these were buried as sacrifices as offerings to the gods."
Evidence of Roman influence outside the boundaries of the empire have been found across northern Scotland.
Last July, the BBC Scotland news website told how ancient coins were found on a beach in the Western Isles.
Archaeologists believed the pieces of copper alloy date from the middle of the 4th Century.
They were found in a sand dune, but the location in the Uists has been kept secret to protect the site.
From Today's Zaman
Euripides’ ancient tragedy “Phaeton” was staged for the first time ever in the modern world yesterday in the ancient city of Ephesus as part of the ongoing 22nd edition of the İzmir International Festival.
The premiere began with Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis taking to the stage at the historic Celsus Library at 9:30 p.m. Phaeton was featured as part of this year’s “Turkish-Greek Art Get-together” portion of the annual festival.
The manuscripts of the tragedy, believed to be about 2,400 years old, were recovered in the 1890s in Egypt when experts discovered that a number of ancient Egyptian mummies were actually wrapped in old parchments on which Euripides’s tragedy had been written. The parchments were believed to be among those saved during a fire at the Library of Alexandria.
The performance was directed by Nikos Charalambous and featured a musical collage of ancient hymns dedicated to Apollo, one of the 12 principal gods of Greek mythology. Frangoulis sang fragments from Phaeton during the performance.
Filiz Eczacıbaşı Sarper, chairman of the İzmir Foundation for Culture, Art and Education (İKSEV), which organizes the annual İzmir International Festival, said the staging of Euripides’ ancient tragedy after 2,400 is very significant for the theater business. “İzmir has been the scene of important activities since 2001 as part of the festival’s Turkish-Greek Art Get-together section. We attach great importance to this festival. … It has strengthened the fraternal ties between the two peoples (Turks and Greeks), who share the two coasts of the same sea and a common culture,” she said.
Sarper noted that this year’s festival was more important than those held in previous years because of the tragedy’s premiere. “This premiere will be a significant step in theatre history,” she said.
The İzmir International Festival will run until July 22, featuring 10 performances under the slogan “Feeding our appetite for art.” It will end on a high note this year, with world-renowned maestro Zubin Mehta conducting the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino orchestra at the closing concert on July 22 at the Celsus library.
In Greek mythology, Phaeton, the son of Eos, the goddess of dawn, bragged to his friends that his father was the sun god, Helios. One of his friends, however, refused to believe him and said his mother was lying. Phaeton went to his father, Helios, who swore to give Phaeton anything he should ask for to prove his divine paternity. Phaeton wanted to drive his chariot for a day. Though Helios tried to talk him out of it, Phaeton was adamant.
When the day came, Phaeton panicked and lost control of the horses that drew the chariot. First it veered too high, so that the earth grew cold. Then it dipped too close, and the vegetation dried and burned. He accidentally turned most of Africa into desert; burning the skin of the Ethiopians black. Eventually, Zeus was forced to intervene by striking the runaway chariot with a lightening bolt to stop it and Phaeton plunged into a river. His sisters grieved so much that they were turned into trees that weep golden amber.
This story has given rise to two latter-day meanings of “phaeton”: a person who drives a chariot or coach, especially at a reckless or dangerous speed, or a person that will or may “set the world on fire.”
... there are scattered photos of the production here and there ... this is the most interesting:
... I'm kind of hoping something shows up on YouTube ...
From the Independent
Few would doubt the brilliance of Robert Graves, a man considered to be one of Britain's foremost war poets whose verses on Greek mythology and frontline conflict cemented his name in literary history.
But one academic has accused the poet of stealing ideas, literary criticism and poetry from his one-time American mistress and passing them off as his own.
Dr Mark Jacobs, a research fellow at Nottingham Trent University who has spent two decades studying 700 letters he received from Laura Riding Jackson as well as her literary works, said when she discovered the uncanny similarity in his texts she condemned her former lover as a "robber baron".
Dr Jacobs, who is writing a book which will reveal the full extent of the couple's relationship, credits Jackson for having been a major influence on Graves's work and has called for a reassessment of his writings in the light of the revelations.
Jackson's chagrin at Graves' alleged "lifting" of her work is described in her letters to Dr Jacobs, who began writing to her as a PhD student 30 years ago. Their correspondence continued until a year before her death in 1991 and the letters were this week placed in the university's research archive.
The couple became lovers in the 1920s, when Graves was still with his first wife, Nancy Nicolson. Jackson moved into the couple's home for some time before the marriage ended after Jackson's failed suicide attempt when she threw herself out of a window, an event she describes in her letters. The couple's literary and romantic partnership was the inspiration for Miranda Seymour's 1998 novel, The Summer of '30.
Dr Jacobs said Jackson accuses Graves of "robbing" her of key ideas which he appropriated as his own for his seminal study of poetic inspiration, The White Goddess, published in 1948.
He claimed that the inspiration for the work, which equates God with women, related to an early essay Jackson wrote in the 1930s called The Idea of God and her book, The Word Woman, which preceded Graves's magnum opus.
The couple moved from Britain to Spain, where Jackson left her manuscript for The Word Woman when the pair fled the country on the outbreak of the civil war in 1936. Dr Jacobs claims it was this manuscript – which Jackson had asked Graves to burn – that the poet used as the basis for The White Goddess.
"Between 1926 and 1939, he was learning from her what she was doing and thinking," Dr Javcobs said. "He was taking her ideas, her research, he was simply shovelling it in to his own books.... She left her manuscript in Majorca. She later wrote to him [Graves] and told him to burn the manuscript. We now know that he didn't. It all appeared in dribble form in The White Goddess. He used it for his own ends without mentioning it to her. She only found out in the 1950s."
Graves also used four lines of a poem Jackson had published at least two decades earlier about the Greek mythological hero, Hercules, in his own poem, Ogmian Hercules, Dr Jacobs added. "He wrote the poem and stole about four lines in his 12 line poem. Her poem was published by the private Seizin Press that they had set up in the 1920s."
In her letters to Dr Jacobs, Jackson accuses Graves of having "sucked, bled, squeezed, plucked, picked, grabbed, dipped, sliced, carved, lifted the body of my work" after their relationship broke down in 1939."
Professor Dunstan Ward, president of the Robert Graves Society, said there was a host of textual evidence proving that Graves was developing his theory for the White Goddess even before he met Jackson and that a poem called A History, written before the two met, contains "clear references" and the reproduced lines of poetry in Ogmian Hercules was a "homage to her".
This one is from the Times
Chewing gum, high heels, booming amplifiers and other modern plagues are seriously damaging Greece’s 2,500-year-old outdoor theatres and should be banned, according to the country’s powerful archaeological establishment.
As the shows become more elaborate, with bulkier sets, highvolume speakers for acoustic shock effect, and high heels clattering on the ancient marble, experts fear that theatres such as Epidavros, built 2,400 years ago for men in leather sandals and relying on natural acoustics, are under threat.
Add the countless wads of used chewing gum that regularly stud the old terraced marble seats, requiring painstaking removal, and the Central Archaeological Council has declared war on modernity. “We find ourselves regularly cleaning kilos of chewing gum from the Herod Atticus theatre,” said Kathy Paraschi, an architect working on the Parthenon restoration. “It’s an amazing and awful situation.”
She added: “Speaking as a woman and an Athenian, I like my fashionable spiky heels.” But wearing them to Epidavros is “like taking a hammer and splitting the blocks apart”.
The Central Archaeological Council is considering a ban on chewing gum and high heels, though the Herod Atticus theatre on the south side of the Acropolis is made of tougher Attic marble and can better stand up to modern footwear fashion.
As if that were not enough, avant-garde directors are being blamed for damaging the sites where ancient writers once performed their plays. “Despite repeated warnings,” the council said in a recent statement, “stage sets seem to be getting bigger and decibel levels louder. This could inflict damage on the ancient structures.”
Some see the archaeologists’ complaints as part of a conservative campaign. At Epidavros last month Matthias Langhoff, a German director, interrupted his production of Sophocles’ Philoctetes, revamped as a modern antiwar play. In mid-performance he harangued his audience to denounce what he called “Greek culture-politics”. The council had previously objected to Mr Langhoff’s large set and avant-garde interpretation, which they said took unacceptable liberties with Sophocles’s original text.
Mrs Paraschi complained that many modern directors “don’t respect the rules about keeping the theatres safe and clean”. “Is Greece really protecting its antiquities?” wrote a reviewer in Kathimerini newspaper.
“We love them, of course, [but] in any other way, in all the other crucial ways that actually matter, we don’t really pay them that much attention.”
Perhaps more interesting is a letter to the editor from the Times archives (August 10, 1937)
The acoustic properties of the theatre at Epidaurus, and the other Greek theatres mentioned by your correspondents. are well known. I am surprised that no traveller has mentioned the little theatre at Delphi, from whose back seats a listener can hear a whisper from the orchestra. The big theatres of Asia Minor, notably those at Ephesus and Pergamnos, are also remarkable for their acoustics. Surely the explanation is to be sought not in the clarity of the atmosphere, as one of your correspondents suggests, but in the care taken by the ancient architects in selecting their sites. All these theatres are built into hillsides; thus the actors had a wall behind them and a rising slope befole them. if the audiences of ancient times could take a part in this correspondence we might hear another side to the question. It is obvious that when theatres became large enough to accom- modate crowds of 40,000, as they did in Hellenistic and later times, there must have been some difficulty in hearing the actors, no matter how good the acoustics may have been. It was for this reason that the Greeks installed microphones in their theatres to catch and distribute the sound vibrations. These instruments were inverted bell-shaped vessels of bronze, which were placed in niches about the building, presumably all round the Kot.ov, or cavea. The architect Vitruvius tells us that the Greeks called these microphones hXeia, and that it was possible to adjust them (or " tune-in ") to any required musical pitch. I am, Sir, your obedient servant. H. V. MORTON.
Mr Morton's contentions have, of course, been recently scientifically confirmed
in regards to site selection ...
Rome is set to celebrate one of its greatest historical figures with an exhibition exploring the life and achievements of Julius Caesar (100-44 BC).
The show, opening this autumn in the Chiostro del Bramante, will be the first ever to focus entirely on Ancient Rome's most famous political and military leader. It will bring together 180 archaeological, artistic and cultural items to explore Rome's first dictator in all his complexity. It will examine the historic aspects of Caesar's rule, as well as the political and cultural atmosphere of the time, his military campaigns, his literary works, his ascent to power and his brutal murder.
It will then consider the cult that sprang up after his death, and the legends about him that survived the Dark Ages and attracted fresh attention during the Renaissance.
By the 18th and 19th centuries, the figure of Caesar was enjoying a fresh wave of popularity and fame, which culminated in Napoleon Bonaparte, who was fascinated by the achievements of his military forerunner. The exhibit will begin with artefacts from Caesar's time, including a magnificent silver goblet discovered by Napoleon III.
HOLLYWOOD'S VIEW OF CAESAR ALSO FEATURED.
A sculpture of Venus Genetrix, on loan from the Louvre, recalls Caesar's claim to be descended from the Trojan prince Aeneas, son of the goddess Venus-Aphrodite. There will be several busts of Caesar - although only confirmed portraits of the dictator will be on display, such as those from museums in Berlin and the Vatican.
Curator Giovanni Gentili has stressed that uncertain portraits, such as a bust recently discovered in Arles, will not be included. Portraits of key figures in the cast of Caesar's life will also be on show, with busts of Pompey on loan from Venice, Crassus from the Louvre, Mark Anthony and Cicero from Rome, and Cleopatra from museums in the Vatican, Turin and Berlin. Other archaeological treasures include jewellery, manuscripts, mosaics and paintings from a variety of sources, including the villa in Herculaneum that once belonged to Caesar's father-in-law, Calpurnius Piso.
The exhibition moves on to explore the development of the Caesar myth in later centuries, with paintings by masters such as Rubens, Guercino, Pietro da Cortona and Guido Reni. Massive canvases of Caesar by Giambattista Tiepolo, sold to the Russian tsar in 1800, will also return to Italy for the first time in 200 years. The final section will look at the depiction of Caesar in the world of cinema, from early silent black and white movies to the 1963 blockbuster Cleopatra, which was filmed at Rome's Cinecitta studios. The exhibit opens in the Chiostro del Bramante on October 24 and runs until April 5, 2009.
... hmmm ... I think they *should* put that portrait from Arles in this show; it might make it abundantly clear that it isn't Caesar ...
There seem to be a lot of these sorts of articles coming from archaeological sites all over the world lately ... from the Telegraph
The attraction's 2.5 million visitors per year are plagued by bogus tour guides, rubbish strewn streets and poor facilities, said the Corriere Della Sera newspaper.
It added that the city, which was buried in AD79 by an eruption from the nearby volcano Vesuvius, was losing its artefacts either through bad management or casual looting by visitors.
Antonio Irlando, a regional councillor on artistic patrimony, told the newspaper: "'Every year more than 150 square metres of fresco and plaster work are lost at Pompeii because of poor maintenance.
"Tourists also take away items that they find on the floor and in the ruins and what they can put into their rucksacks.''
Corriere added that much of Pompeii was also used as an illegal rubbish dump thanks to the crisis in nearby Naples with tyres, fridges and mattresses littering parts of the ancient site.''
The newspaper noted that 2.5 million a year visit Pompeii paying a £10 entry fee generates an annual income in excess of £25 million a year.
Professor Andrew Wallace Hadrill, director of the British School of Rome, who is leading a dig at nearby Herculaneum which was buried in the same eruption said: "The problems with Pompeii have been known about for 10 years.
"These are just superficial problems but the whole site is very difficult to maintain when you think it has been through an eruption, excavations and now has more than 2.5 million people a year passing through it.
"Pompeii needs a lot more investment into it and to give credit to the local superintendency which overlooks the site they are trying their best.''
No one was available for comment at the Superintendent's office in Naples which oversees the running of Pompeii.
The Italian press (e.g. ASCA
) is claiming that a 'state of emergency' has been declared for Pompeii ...
A proposal to privatize the management of the Valley of the Temples, one of Italy's most important archeological sites, has kicked up a storm of protests.
The idea was the brainchild of Sicily's regional councillor for culture, Antonello Antinoro, who said that ''to make Sicily's cultural assets more profitable we must offer quality private operators a complete tourist attraction package for a period of 30 years''.
''I'm thinking along the lines of the Valley of Temples or the Greek theatre in Siracusa,'' he added.
''In return, private operators must guarantee a fixed fee and pay for related projects, such as road work or building hotels,'' Antinoro explained.
''In the case of the Valley of Temples, for example, we could ask a private operator to revamp the Palermo-Agrigento motorway and build a heliport,'' he said.
The Valley of the Temples is a ridge on which sit seven Doric style Greek temples dating back to the 6th and 5th centuries BC. They constitute some of the largest and best-preserved Ancient Greek buildings outside of Greece and are listed as a World Heritage Site.
According to Antinoro, ''a list of candidate sites would have to be drawn up together with the councillor for tourism and, in my view, should include the ancient Greek theatre in Taormina, the Greek Temples in Selinunte and the Palatine Chapel,'' the Byzantine chapel of Sicily's Norman kings in Palermo's royal palace.
Antinoro even suggested offering the private sector the management of ''groups of artistic works in exchange for building a museum to house them in Sicily''.
Antinoro's proposal got an immediate thumbs down from the opposition Democratic Party (PD) with Filippo Panarello, deputy chairman of the Sicilian regional assembly's culture committee, observing that ''it would be a paradox if the region with the highest number of public employees decided to entrust the management of public assets to private parties''.
Leading archaeologist Andrea Caradini said he was ''very worried'' about Antinoro's proposal saying it reflected ''a sign of the disintegration of a sense of state''.
After recalling that the Valley of Temples ''is one of Sicily's most important archeological sites,'' Caradini said that ''it is true that the region of Sicily has managed the site badly, the same way the state had managed Pompeii badly. But to entrust its management to private operators does not ensure its protection''.
Also on the warpath was the Italian Environment Fund (FIA) which said that cultural assets like the Valley of Temples ''are and must remain public in virtue of their symbolic value''.
According to the FIA, ''the state cannot give up its responsibilites. It must defend what belongs to everyone and is a patrimony of humanity''.
The environment group Legambiente said that Antinoro's proposal ''got off on the wrong foot. This proposal starts at the end and works backwards. It presents a solution before first determining what the final goal should be''.
I know there are already a pile of 'private' sites in Italy, but doesn't privatization of archaeological sites increase the potential for looting of same?
From the Express
Five intact tombs dating to the Roman era were unearthed in Krinides on Thursday by Philippi municipal water board workers while digging for expansion of the local water supply and drainage network in downtown Krinides. Krinides (or Crenides) is a town and ancient site that also includes the famed archaeological site of ancient Philippi in the Kavala prefecture in eastern Macedonia, and the seat of the municipality of Philippi. Crenides, founded in 360 BC by the exiled Athenian politician Callistratus of Aphidnae in the foothills of Mt. Orbelos (Mt. Lekani, today), was a small colony of the island of Thassos.
From the Leader
A HAUL of Roman coins found near Wrexham could be set for a place in the British Museum.
John Formstone is a member of metal-detecting group Wrexham Heritage Society, and had only been metal detecting for 18 months when he found 92 silver Roman coins aged nearly 2,000 years. Just five days later he found another five, taking the total haul to 97.
John, 45, formerly of Gresford but now living in Whittington, near Oswestry, found the coins on a farm in the region to the south of Wrexham, and they are now being cleaned and catalogued by an expert at the British Museum in London.
A treasure inquest is expected to be held, and if the coins are declared treasure they are likely to be kept by the museum, with a reward being shared between John and the farmer whose land they were found at.
"I'm very excited," said John. "What every detector dreams of finding is a hoard of coins.
"My friends in the group are all excited for me but there must be a bit of envy too."
The coins all date from the second century AD and are denarii. Denarius was a high denomination from the period. The Emperor Hadrian is featured on some of the coins. He was emperor from 117 to 138. Trajan, emperor from 98 to 117, is also on some of the coins, with Antonius Pius, emperor from 138 to 161, on others.
John said the coins' value was equivalent to just under half a legionary soldier's annual wage at the time, with soldiers being paid 250 denarius in a year. One denarius would have bought about 18 litres of wine or roughly 20 loaves of bread.
"It's amazing to think they've been in the ground for nearly 2,000 years," said John.
"I was so excited when I was digging them up to think that the last person who touched them was the person who buried them almost 2,000 years ago.
"It gives you a bit of a buzz."
"Phaethon", a recently discovered tragedy written by a prominent tragedian of the Ancient Greece, Euripides, will be staged for the first time within the framework of an international festival held in the Aegean province of Izmir. The world premiere of "Phaethon" will take place at the Celsus Library of the ancient city of Ephesus on July 3 within the framework of the 22nd International Izmir Festival. Numerous Greek actors, musicians and directors, who are the best-known performers of Greek tragedy, will take part in the staging of the 2,400 year-old tragedy. Greek tenor Mario Frangoulis will represent Apollo, the ancient Greek god of light, healing and poetry during the performance. Euripides (480 BC-406 BC) was the last of the three great tragedians of classical Athens (the other two being Aeschylus and Sophocles). Ancient scholars thought that Euripides had written ninety-five plays. Eighteen of Euripides' plays have survived complete. The original text of Euripides' Phaethon was discovered in Egypt in 1860. The tragedy was written on papyrus papers which were later wrapped around three mummies. The restoration process of the writings took quite a long time.
UNIVERSITY OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA
ASSOCIATE LECTURER/LECTURER (GREEK AND LATIN) (REF: 2412)
SCHOOL OF HUMANITIES
* 3 year appointment commencing January 2009
* Salary range: Associate Lecturer Level A $50,372 - $68,358 p.a. -
minimum starting salary for appointee with PhD will be $63,682 p.a.
* Salary range: Lecturer Level B $71,957 - $85,450 p.a.
* Closing date: Friday, 8 August 2008
Applications are invited from suitably qualified candidates for a
Lectureship in the Classics and Ancient History discipline group with
particular duties in Greek and Latin languages and literatures.
Applicants from the full range of Classics are invited, but professional
competence in both languages is essential for the position. You must be
competent to contribute to the Discipline’s Ancient history offerings
and ability to contribute other teaching programmes within the Faculty
will be well regarded. Applicants are requested to submit a teaching
portfolio as part of their application. For further information
regarding the position please contact the Head of School via email
jxsmith AT cyllene.uwa.edu.au.
Benefits include generous superannuation and leave provisions and fares
to Perth (if applicable) for appointee and dependants along with a
removal allowance. These and other benefits will be specified in the
offer of employment.
APPLICATION DETAILS: The position description follows. Written
applications quoting the reference number, personal contact details,
qualifications and experience, along with contact details of three
referees should be sent to Director, Human Resources, The University of
Western Australia, M350, 35 Stirling Highway, Crawley WA 6009 or emailed
to jobs AT uwa.edu.au by the closing date.
An extremely rare Roman bronze rostrum used for ramming enemy ships - which may have been used in the last great naval battle in the First Punic War - has been found off the northwest coast of Sicily.
The rostrum, a single piece of fused bronze, would have been positioned at the ship's bow and was smashed with force into enemy boats in order to sink them fast.
Divers working for Sicily's maritime affairs department recovered the rostrum near the Egadi Islands in water 70 metres deep with the aid of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs).
''At the moment this is the fifth extant rostrum in the world,'' said department head Sebastiano Tusa, adding that Sicily is the only region to possess two.
The second rostrum was recovered by art police in 2004 after fishermen discovered it in water near Trapani, not far from the Egadi Islands.
The Trapani rostrum is now conserved in the city's Pepoli Museum.
Tusa said that the Egadi rostrum confirms his theory that a battle took place north-east of the island of Levanzo between fleets from Rome and its great enemy, Carthage, during the Battle of the Egadi in 241 BC.
The battle, won by the Romans, ended the First Punic War and saw the Carthaginians hand control of Sicily to the Roman Empire.
The word rostrum was later used for the main speaking platform in the Roman Forum. This was because it was decorated with the prows of captured ships.
DEPARTMENT OF CLASSICS AND WORLD LANGUAGES
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AFRICA
- TWO YEAR CONTRACT IN CLASSICS -
Requirements: ● A BA Honours degree in Ancient History or Classical
Culture or Greek ● Good knowledge of English ● Computer proficiency in
Duties: ● Teaching Ancient History, Classical Culture and/or Greek at
undergraduate level ● Participating in curriculum development ●
Administrative tasks ● Furthering qualifications.
Assumption of duty: As soon as possible.
Remuneration commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Requirements: ● An MA degree in Ancient History or Classical Culture or
Greek ● Good knowledge of English ● Computer proficiency in word
Duties: ● Teaching Ancient History, Classical Culture and/or Greek at
undergraduate and postgraduate level ● Participating in curriculum
development ● Administrative tasks ● Furthering qualifications.
Assumption of duty: As soon as possible.
Remuneration commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Persons interested in the positions should please contact Dr. Martine de
Marre at dmarrmea AT unisa.ac.za or 0027 12 429 6811.
We are pleased to announce that Issue 3 of the online journal New Voices in Classical Reception Studies is now availaNeble at:
o The Riddle of the Oedipus: Practising Reception and Antebellum American Theatre
Robert Davis, City University of New York, Graduate Center
o Monumental Texts in Ruins: Greek Tragedy in Greece and Michael Marmarinos's Postmodern Stagings
Eleftheria Ioannidou, St. Cross College, Oxford University
o 'Rewrite this ancient end!' Staging transition in post-apartheid South Africa
Astrid Van Weyenberg, University of Amsterdam
o Classics as a Test of Character in Victorian Public School Stories
Elizabeth Hale, University of New England, NSW
o The Voice of Cassandra: Florence Nightingale's Cassandra (1852) and the Victorian Woman
Laura Monros-Gaspar, Universitat de València
o The Renault Bagoas: The Treatment of Alexander the Great's Eunuch in Mary Renault's The Persian Boy
Shaun Tougher, Cardiff University
Further submissions for the 2009 edition are welcome. Details of how to submit an article for consideration are available at http://www2.open.ac.uk/newvoices
From the BBC
The "stylish" lives of the affluent have been unearthed at one of the "best preserved" Roman towns in Britain by a TV archaeology team.
A bath house, villa and artefacts including a penknife were found at Caerwent, Monmouthshire by Channel 4's Time Team.
What are believed to be shop buildings on a Roman high street were also found during the dig by a team of 50.
Presented by Tony Robinson, the episode will be broadcast early next year.
The three-day excavation at the Roman site, close to the modern day village, involved Wessex Archaeology and volunteers from the local Chepstow Archaeology Society.
Seven different trenches were dug up at three different locations, aimed to uncover more about parts of the town which had previously never been excavated.
A temple, baths and forum in the centre of town and another plot in the north west were discovered.
Long thin buildings were also found in several places, believed to be shop buildings on the high street.
In the north of the town, what is believed to be a Roman villa was unearthed which the team believed had painted walls and mosaic on the floor showing that wealthy people lived in the suburbs.
Nearby, a bath house was discovered, possibly belonging to the villa.
The penknife's hilt was made out of bone depicting two gladiators fighting was unearthed.
Other artefacts uncovered included coins, glass, ceramics, human and animal bones, lead patches used for repairing and bits of mosaic.
Archaeologists will now reinstate the earth and cover up all the walls and all finds will go to the National Museum of Wales and an archaeological report will be published.
Presenter Tony Robinson said it was " real big deal" for the programme to be allowed to dig there "as it's a special heritage site and now a part of the Cadw jewellery box."
Tom Scott, another member of the team, said: "The site appealed to us as it is one of the best preserved Roman towns in the UK and this was a golden opportunity for us to find out more about it.
"This type of town, a 'civitas capital' [civilian town and centre of local Roman government] is one of around 15 in the UK. Most of these had later towns built on top so you can't see the town walls, but Caerwent is beautifully preserved," he added.
"To be able to see the town walls on the south side - up to four metres high - is amazing, definitely the best in the country. This heritage site is extremely important and that's why it is so heavily protected.
"We've discovered some interesting things and originally we didn't know people lived all over the town - especially in the north west part - but, discovering the villa and bath house, it seems as if they did - and in some style too," Mr Scott said.
A couple of items to grace your chatter around the office krater this week ... first, Variety
reports that "Hulk" director Louis Leterrier is slated to direct the remake of Clash of the Titans
; his signing was apparently in response to a rival film company announcing the production of something called "War of the Gods", described thusly:
"War of Gods" is a mythological tale set in war-torn ancient Greece, as the young warrior prince Theseus leads his men in a battle against evil that will see the gods fighting with soldiers against demons and titans.
As if that's not enough, Variety
reports elsewhere that Frank Miller is working on a sequel to 300, but doesn't give details -- I wonder if it will focus on Salamis (and maybe Artemisia will get in there somewhere too).
... no word on the status of Vin Diesel's Hannibal flick ... I suspect it's a non-starter ...
From Cyprus Mail
ARCHAEOLOGISTS have uncovered was appears to have been a jewellery workshop during excavations at the 5,000-year old Souskiou-Laona settlement.
According to the Antiquities Department, a dense concentration of the mineral picrolite in the west ridge of the cliff-top settlement indicates that the spot was a workshop for the production of the cruciform figurines and large pendants.
“The assemblage mainly consists of the raw picrolite material, possibly quarried from the Troodos Mountains rather than imported in pebble form from the Kouris River valley, many waste chips flaked from that raw material in order to reduce it to convenient form and a roughout for a probable figurine,” the Department said in a statement.
It said the roughout bore a multitude of tool marks that showed how the artisan began to fashion what was probably meant to be a cruciform figure.
“Many chipped stones occurred together with these picrolites,” the statement said.
It said more investigations were required, but it was already clear that for the first time archaeologists would be able to reconstruct the stages of production of remarkable prehistoric Mediterranean artwork, from procurement to near-finished product.
“The upper part of a delicate, cruciform figurine that still needed to be finished comes from another part of the West Ridge and it gives some idea of the capability of these Souskiou artisans,” the statement added.
The excavations were carried out by the Lemba Archaeological Research Centre and the University of Edinburgh.
“The 3000 BC settlement is ringed by a number of higher cemeteries, and this year a fifth, looted cemetery was located on the west ridge of Laona. Only a few rock-cut pit graves remain along the cliff edge since this side of the ridge was sharply truncated by the Dhiarizos River. To the south, additional examination of the Vathyrkakas plateau opposite the settlement brought to light more looted graves suggesting that burials had once been placed continuously along the lip of the plateau for a distance of 450 metres.
“It has always been assumed that the Laona settlement was confined to the south slopes of the East Ridge, occupying 1.23 hectares, and that as a consequence the settlement was too small to have generated the number of individuals recovered from associated cemeteries,” the Antiquities Department said.
“We had suspected that the few artefacts recovered in survey from this part of the site in earlier seasons were the result of specific, non-residential tasks, but it is now clear that buildings extend over a much larger area than we had supposed. Their location on the precipitous edge of the ridge means that a considerable part of the site has been lost to erosion.”
Further work will be required to determine if the settlement was sufficiently large to account for all the individuals in the cemeteries.
The discovery of an ancient city buried beneath the sands of modern-day Syria has provided evidence for a Hellenistic settlement that existed for more than six centuries extending into the time of the Roman Empire. The site provides a unique insight into the structures of a pre-Roman Hellenistic settlement. The project, funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, sheds new light on city life in the Hellenistic period.
The Syrian deserts have long kept an important secret hidden deep beneath their sands - the remains of the pre-Roman Hellenistic settlement of Palmyra. Until now, the only evidence for the existence of such a settlement was to be found in historical writing. As part of an FWF-funded joint project, the Institute of Classical Archaeology at the University of Vienna, the German Archaeological Institute and the Directorate General of Antiquities and Museums in Syria have been the first to track down the location of this early city. Moreover, their findings are now producing a unique insight into the structures of a pre-Roman Hellenistic settlement.
"Although a settlement dating back to the second millennium BC has already been identified as Palmyra, a new settlement was evidently established at another site in the third century BC and was later abandoned in the Roman period. While we know a great deal about the later Roman city, the Hellenistic settlement of Palmyra has never been investigated," explains Project Manager Prof. Andreas Schmidt-Colinet from the Institute of Classical Archaeology at the University of Vienna. "The current investigation gives us a unique opportunity to analyse the transition from the Hellenistic period to the time of the Roman Empire by studying the settlement structures that have been uncovered here over a wide area."
Chronology of the Settlement & Trade Routes
In view of the large size of the area, the project has thus far focussed on small sections of the ancient urban settlement structures. This work is already yielding results, particularly as regards the chronology of the individual phases of construction and the trade and commercial background of the Hellenistic "Sand City". The investigations show that building activities were divided across various major phases stretching from the third century B.C. to the end of the third century A.D. This indicates that the site could have fallen out of use around the time when the city was conquered by the Roman emperor Aurelian or around the construction of the wall under the emperor Diocletian.
Pottery finds are particularly important for helping to determine the trade routes used by the citizens of Palmyra. Overall, the archaeologists have found far larger amounts of local domestic pottery than imported ceramic goods from other areas. Nevertheless, amphorae from Rhodes - large clay containers used to transport wine - and goods imported from Africa show that Palmyra had connections with far flung corners of the world from the late Hellenistic period until the late Roman period. Prof. Schmidt-Colinet comments on the team's discoveries: "Our pottery finds reveal a continuous progression of Hellenistic-Roman ceramics over a period of 600 years. What's more, we now have the first ever archaeological evidence for a Hellenistic settlement with continuous habitation over six centuries extending into the Roman period."
Animals on the Menu
The team of archaeologists has also uncovered initial evidence for the keeping and usage of domestic animals. "Kitchen waste" shows that the inhabitants kept and ate primarily sheep and goats, as well as dromedaries, cattle and pigs. In contrast, gazelles, wildfowl and fish seldom appeared on the menus of the Hellenistic inhabitants of Palmyra.
Looking to the future, the archaeologists aim to completely uncover a monumental courtyard-type structure at the centre of the Hellenistic settlement that has close parallels with Syrian caravan structures. However, the team is not just hoping to reveal how or why the individual rooms were built, it also wants to determine the overall importance of the structure for the city of Palmyra. At the end of the project, the findings from the excavations, which have been made possible by the FWF, will be combined with aerial photographs and structures that are still visible above ground to provide a topographical map of Palmyra.
We mentioned this recreation of the Vestalia before it happened
; now it has ... from CCTV:
In the Italian countryside, the ancient Roman feast of Vestalia is being revived. Six modern Vestal Virgins have presided over an event that used to mark the end of the harvest. It's part of a growing trend of "experimental archaeology," to teach history in a more interactive way.
The Vestal Virgins gathered at the Temple of Vesta to revive an ancient ritual. They celebrated the "Vestalia", Rome's week-long feast from ancient times marking the end of the harvest and the beginning of a new season of work.
Adriana Serpi, Member of Senate & Roman People Cultural Club said "During the Vestalia, noble Roman women were allowed the honour of approaching the temple. During the celebration that we are reviving today, the temple was washed with spring water, and actually donkey dung was cleared away."
The Vestals played a crucial role in Rome's religious life. A Vestal Virgin's career began in childhood. After ten years training an acolyte was allowed to stand guard at Rome's Holy Fire. After thirty years at the temple, her days as a vestal virgin come to and end. Then she was free to choose whether or not to marry.
The penalty for Vestal Virgins who actually lost their virginity was death. Since tradition dictated that the blood of Vestal Virgins could not be shed, transgressors were buried alive.
Adriana Serpi said "It's just like the way you extinguish a fire, by covering it with dirt - in order to kill a Vestal they covered her with dirt."
Meanwhile at the gates of the Villa Gregoriana male members of the Cultural Club wielded swords in a less serene cultural re-enactment.
Renato Di Cicco, a member of the scientific committee of the Cultural Club says this approach to the past helps people to understand why Romans did things in certain ways. The "mock battles" with replicas of the Roman sword recreate the way Roman soldiers fought.
In the temple and on the battlefield "experimental archaeology" is breathing new life into the Past.
Here's a video of the recreation (since CCTV's seems to have expired) from the Associaione Culturale SPQR folks (it's Italian, but the brief narration is in Latin; some Italian 'intertitles'):
Haven't seen this one in ages, but the Brantford Expositor
repeats this one which might not be well-known to a newer generation of Classicists:
Here's a bit of train lore that may help you keep your life on the rails.
Though few people realize it, the standard width of train tracks around the world owes its origin to ancient chariots. According to legend, rail lines are precisely four feet, 8 1 /2 inches wide, because that was the uniform width of British wagons. British wagons were that width because the country's roads were built by the Romans, whose chariots were always four feet, 8 1 /2 inches wide. By making wagons with that same measurement, their wheels would fit into the ruts carved by the Roman chariots, making it easier to travel.
But the Encyclopedia of Railways says the standard size of rail tracks actually goes back to the time of Darius, the king of Persia (ancient Iran) who lived long before the Romans and is mentioned in Daniel 6:23. Since the king's military roads often passed along steep mountains, grooves were cut into those corridors to hold the chariot wheels and keep the vehicles from flying over the edge when horses were driven at top speed. Those grooves were precisely four-feet, 8 1 /2 inches wide, and can still be found today.
By the time of the Romans, chariots were usually banned from cities that were designed mostly for pedestrians. At night, though, lumbering four-wheeled freight wagons were allowed in to carry goods to market. Since the streets were narrow and poorly lit, grooves were cut in the pavement to guide the big carts and stop them from hitting each other or the raised stones that marked most intersections. Again, those grooves were the same width as today's train tracks. [etc.]
Way back when rogueclassicism was young (in blog years), we posted another example of this
and referred readers to a post by amicus noster Al Kriman on the Classics list on October 23, 1999. Since the old archives of the Classics list are only available via the Wayback Machine
, I'll reproduce AK's post here in the interests of having some accurate info readily available for folks who try to confirm or refute this canard in the future ... I include AK's footnotes and endnotes, but many of them are now inaccessible (or at least not easily accessible):
Mark Joseph reposts a perennial [], suspecting that its premise is an urban legend
> Thus, we have the answer to the original question. The United States
> standard railroad gauge of 4 feet, 8.5 inches derives from the
> original specification for an Imperial Roman war chariot.
Short answer: almost certainly false, but interesting details along the way to knowing so.
Very long answer:
This made its first appearance on the list three years ago. After a number of appearances in October and December that year, it reappeared in December 1997. It was reported to have appeared elsewhere at least as early as June 1996. Starting at [], I've listed in chronological order the archive URL's for almost all the relevant postings. I've given explicit numbers for those that I cite; a space indicates a new introduction of the topic. Lettered footnotes preceed the numbered endnotes. (My next posting will have a complete ap. crit.)
It is well-known that in the early days of railroads in North America, there was a profusion of different track gauges, and that after the Civil War there began to be substantial standardization. (George Westinghouse, inventor of the air brake, was a major proponent of standardization.)
Christopher Robbins wrote []:
> In fact, track gauges around the world have varied from less than 2' to as
> much as 7', and 5' 6" track gauges are still in use. Narrow gauges are
> typical in the early stages of railroading and in underdeveloped countries
> because they are generally less costly to construct and equip. And even
> today roughly 40% of the world's railroads do not use the so called
> standard gauge.
> In the early years, many North American lines were built with gauges that
> were both wider and narrower than the so called standard gauge. No doubt
> that the importation of English locomotives was an influence on the use of
> the standard gauge for the lines which planned to use those locomotives.
> But it is not at all certain that this alone would have been sufficient for
> the standard gauge to become standard once US industrial capacity began to
> flourish in the second half of the 19th c. Indeed, there was quite a
> controversy over this, and as best I recall one of the various influences
> which led to the increased adopotion of the standard gauge was the money
> and political influence of George M. Pullman (whose big, heavy luxury cars
> introduced in the mid-1860's required a wider gauge than in fact was more
> the norm at the time). Were it not for ad hoc interventions such as this,
> it would be hard to guess what gauge would be called "standard" in the U.S.
See [[a]] for gauges between 381mm (1'3") and 1676mm (5'6") in use around the world. See also George Pesely [].
Thus, if a Roman standard exerted an influence, it could not be in the way described in the xeroxlore -- by affected initial choices in a way that was difficult to overcome later. The most that might be argued consistently with the actual variety of gauges is that *some* of the players initially chose a Roman gauge. (No historical evidence for such a choice was adduced in any of the threads.) Given the various political and business considerations involved, it does not appear that the Roman legacy could have been decisive in the choice between wide and narrow gauges.
On the other hand, if major factors (e.g., Pullman, as suggested by CR) favored a range of gauges, then the particular gauge chosen might have been subject to weaker influences. One could then argue that, given the chance, the Roman gauge prevailed over other similar gauges. This argument can only be pressed, however, if there really was a rather precise Roman gauge. If there was only a loosely defined Roman gauge between, say, 5'5" and 5'11", it is hard to make any credible claim about its influence.
It turns out that there _was_ a rather precise standard, and there was a very old standard in Northern England (4'8") that eventually "won out." (An extra half inch was added to reduce friction against the flanges.) This was the gauge used by Robert Stevenson, identical to the wheelbase of coal carts drawn by horses (and by men, inside the mines). This may have been traditional, but since the coal lines were (I think) of recent vintage, they did not reflect technology caught in an ancient rut. It is claimed that the 4'8" was a compromise found appropriate over time at the collieries. The information in this paragraph is based on postings in news:alt.folklore.urban by Richard Bowles [[b]]. This appears to be the source of the lengthy information that Bob Rust was reluctant to post to the list []. (Related information further below.)
What this does imply, however, is that the great initial variety of North American gauges was ultimately irrelevant. When a gauge was adopted, it was in fact the one that had become fairly standard in the UK, France, and Germany. This is not really too surprising, since in that era, Britain was the industrial superpower. This need not reflect a disadvantageous compromise of N. American interests. Ultimately, the advantage of one standard over no standard is much greater than the slight relative advantages of different possible standards over each other, so once a particular standard gains some advantage, it tends to snowball. (E.g., MS-DOS over CP/M, Metcalfe's Law [[c]].)
The point above must be emphasized, because the variety of early US and Canadian gauges is often regarded as telling against the Roman-standard hypothesis (e.g., see the second missive from the Stumpers list, []). Although the Roman-origin story be false, this is not evidence against it.
>>From the same source, [[b]], it also appears that earlier North American gauges were generally wider than the 5'8.5" standard, so perhaps Pullman's influence did not count for as much as CR suggests.
So US standards are ultimately derived from a UK standard. But what does this have to do with antiquity? In fact, apparently not too much. Here's what Sue Watkins found []:
> From: Jacques Gerber (3mm Society)
> Colliery and mine plateways developed in Central Europe from the
> Sixteenth Century onwards, the first known in Britain (1604)
> having a 3'9" guage.
> This eventually developed into the Eighteenth Century network of
> wooden railways and wagonways in the North East of England all with
> guages of about 4-5' apart.
> The characteristic "Chaldron" wagon was initially hauled by horse
> power on these lines from mine to canal or river, and its guage was
> adopted by the first line built by George Stepehenson that was entirely
[Robert's brother, I think -- AMK]
> worked by steam power (stationary rope-haulage engines on the inclines
> and locomotives on the flatter bits). The Hetton Colliery Railway was 8
> miles long and built to the 4'81/2" or "Stephenson" guage.
> In 1820, John Birkenshaw patented the development of malleable iron
> rails 18 foot long of "bullhead" cross-section, giving a stable track
> for heavier locos and a smoother ride for passengers on the Stephenson
> guage. By 1860, an act of parliament decreed that all new British railways
> had to be of Stephenson guage.
> [the compatition at the time was the Brunels broad guage]
So it doesn't look promising for a Roman origin, but was there an ancient standard?
As Mark Snegg [], RMBragg [], Carin Green [] and later others noted, the age of the chariot as an efficient weapon of war had long passed by Roman Imperial times, and Romans used chariots primarily in races (there's further relevant information in the OCD under "transport, wheeled"). Be it understood that we're really talking about carts. Be it further understood that we're talking oxen probably more often than horses, whose hindquarters have a different gauge than horses'.
There is extensive, but not universal, evidence of deep ruts: Graham Shaw [] and Edwin Menes [] (personal observations at Pompeii), Steven Willett [], Bill Thayer [] and probably others (you could look it up). Pompeii is important because the argument is often brought around to Roman intercity roads and away from streets, and the claim is made that the Romans maintained smooth roads, the ruts only appearing late (this is a bit much, ask me). Peter Green wondered whether there was not in fact a Greek precursor []. Jim Roy [] posted
> Yanis Pikoulas' recent book (in Greek) on roads and forts in
> Corinthia and the Argolid shows, from surviving ruts, that there was
> a standard gauge of c. 1.4 metres. He argues that it was imposed by
> the Spartans in the second half of the sixth century BC.
4'8" = 142 cm.
(Note that the Greeks built rutways rather than roads.)
(I should probably add that Tom Simms [], by some rather confident analysis of photographs of King Tut's hunting chariot, claimed to obtain 4'9".)
(Bob) Metcalfe's Law, so dubbed by George Gilder in his book _Telecosm_, is:
The value of a network can be measured
by the square of the number of users.
It's the conclusion of an argument made by BM promoting computer networking standards in 1980, and it explains a kind of natural monopoly based not on superiority of product but on the instability of polygopoly (not my term). Railroads are networks too. By a slight adjustment, the same rule explains why Betamax lost.
[] Diane Cooper
gopher://184.108.40.206/0R458769-461635-/public/classics/classics.log9610b [] George Pesely
gopher://220.127.116.11/0R467589-469910-/public/classics/classics.log9610b gopher://18.104.22.168/0R4809-6524-/public/classics/classics.log9610c [] Bob Rust
gopher://22.214.171.124/0R196813-198460-/public/classics/classics.log9610c [] Graham Shaw
gopher://126.96.36.199/0R294332-296738-/public/classics/classics.log9610c [] Peter Green
[] Jim Roy
gopher://188.8.131.52/0R146265-149119-/public/classics/classics.log9610e gopher://184.108.40.206/0R150404-153281-/public/classics/classics.log9610e [] Edwin Menes
gopher://220.127.116.11/0R157822-159048-/public/classics/classics.log9610e [] Steven Willett
gopher://18.104.22.168/0R610795-613802-/public/classics/classics.log9612a [] Mark Snegg
gopher://22.214.171.124/0R622455-624426-/public/classics/classics.log9612a [] Bill Thayer
[] Tom Simms via Holly Oyster
gopher://126.96.36.199/0R299864-306020-/public/classics/classics.log9612c [] RMBragg@aol.com
gopher://188.8.131.52/0R443484-446657-/public/classics/classics.log9712b gopher://184.108.40.206/0R448525-450296-/public/classics/classics.log9712b [] Gifford Combs via David Wigtil
gopher://220.127.116.11/0R450296-453113-/public/classics/classics.log9712b [] Christopher Robbins
gopher://18.104.22.168/0R455809-462146-/public/classics/classics.log9712b [] A bunch together:
gopher://22.214.171.124/0R465130-477921-/public/classics/classics.log9712b [] Sue Watkins, as herself and channeling Jacques Gerber gopher://126.96.36.199/0R477921-481681-/public/classics/classics.log9712b
[] Mark Jacob
Some 600 people clad in tunics raced barefoot in the ruins of an ancient stadium Saturday in a revival of games held in antiquity at Nemea, 120 kilometres (75 miles) southwest of Athens.
Two races were staged for the runners aged from 10 to 80, one of 100 metres (110 yards) and the other of 7.5 kilometres. No medals were awarded but crowns of palm branches and wild celery.
The event was organised by the Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games, founded in 1994 after more than 20 years of excavation at Nemea by an archaeological team from the University of California at Berkeley headed by Steven Miller.
The new games, held every four years since 1996, are a form of popular education in history, according to the organisers, as well as a counter to the commercialism of the modern Olympics, which they say "have become increasingly removed from the average person."
"The Society for the Revival of the Nemean Games believes that there is scope for the average person to participate in such an international athletic festival where no records will be kept and no medals awarded," according to its website.
"Races will be organized by gender and age, and all participants will be rewarded only by feet sore from contact with the same stones and the same soil where ancient feet ran more than 2,000 years ago."
The BBC has a nice video report
of same (which I can't embed, alas) ... Scientific American
also has one, which isn't embeddable and doesn't appear to come up in Firefox 3 (unless you have IE Tab installed vel simm).
I've been holding on to this one for a while, but have to share it ... the Times of London
is (apparently) pulling interesting items out of its archives and one of them was picked up by my Homeric spider. It's a bit of eyewitness reportage from Gettysburg (between July 1 and 23, 1863) by an unnamed Times reporter 'embedded' with the Confederate forces ... check this description out:
Far back into the mountains the reverberations rolling from hillside to hillside startled strange and unmusical echoes. Vast cumuli of cloud, such as would have shrouded 10,000 Homeric goddesses, had they cared in these days of villainous saltpetre to mingle in the mêlée, floated over the strife; horses, the suffering and tortured ministers of man's fury and wrath, lay thickly dead or horribly mutilated upon the ground; constantly from out of the white pall of vapour issued wounded and mangled men, and rumours that this or that General was killed, that this or that regiment was reduced to a corporal's guard, traceable to no authentic source, neither believed nor disbelieved by the listerners, rose as it were out of the ground, until the spectator, a prey to that whimsical caprice which at moments of fierce and absorbing excitement seizes on men's minds, found himself wandering in though to strange and far-off scenes, to happy valleys which had never seen war, and vaguely speculating how their echoes would away and respond to such a thunderous din.
Although it definitely has a Bulwer-Lytton
quality to it, for some reason it reminded me of Livy's description of the aftermath of Trasimene (22.7):
As soon as the news of this disaster reached Rome the people flocked into the Forum in a great state of panic and confusion. Matrons were wandering about the streets and asking those they met what recent disaster had been reported or what news was there of the army. The throng in the Forum, as numerous as a crowded Assembly, flocked towards the Comitium and the Senate-house and called for the magistrates. At last, shortly before sunset, M. Pomponius, the praetor, announced, "We have been defeated in a great battle." Though nothing more definite was heard from him, the people, full of the reports which they had heard from one another, carried back to their homes the information that the consul had been killed with the greater part of his army; only a few survived, and these were either dispersed in flight throughout Etruria or had been made prisoners by the enemy.
The misfortunes which had befallen the defeated army were not more numerous than the anxieties of those whose relatives had served under C. Flaminius, ignorant as they were of the fate of each of their friends, and not in the least knowing what to hope for or what to fear. The next day and several days afterwards, a large crowd, containing more women than men, stood at the gates waiting for some one of their friends or for news about them, and they crowded round those they met with eager and anxious inquiries, nor was it possible to get them away, especially from those they knew, until they had got all the details from first to last. Then as they came away from their informants you might see the different expressions on their faces, according as each had received good or bad news, and friends congratulating or consoling them as they wended their way homewards. The women were especially demonstrative in their joy and in their grief. They say that one who suddenly met her son at the gate safe and sound expired in his arms, whilst another who had received false tidings of her son's death and was sitting as a sorrowful mourner in her house, no sooner saw him returning than she died from too great happiness.
The whole Times article can be accessed here
(the initial link up there is the modern intro to the piece).
comes another installment of the saga of the condition of Greek sites:
The open-air Lycabettus Theatre in Athens was closed suddenly on Thursday, leading to the cancellation of two sold-out concerts by British singer James Blunt.
The ancient theatre was closed indefinitely by Athens Mayor Nikitas Kaklamanis for what were described as "security reasons."
There has been concern for months over the safety and repair of the stone bleachers in the Lycabettus Theatre, which is set in a hill overlooking Athens.
In early June, the Greek Tourism Development Agency ordered immediate suspension of the theatre to provide time for inspections and an in-depth technical study, as well as repairs.
Nonetheless, the closing of the theatre to the Blunt concerts Thursday and Friday caught organizers by surprise.
The Athens Festival, a separate agency that organizes concerts, complained that they had to return tickets to 6,000 people.
And Blunt's road crew say they were barred from accessing the theatre to remove concert equipment.