NEMO MAGNORUM FATUM ________
... I couldn't make out the fourth word (presumably the verb)
Tip o' the pileus to Dan Diffendale for spotting this article which suggests the whole phrase was Nemo magnorum fatum delere potest ... different sort of attitude to associate with Italian football fans ...
Cleaning out the inbox yet again:
At the Smartset, Tony Perrotet writes about the debaucherous get-togethers of humanity's top thinkers
The Spoof has some (potentially offensive) parodic content on the Antikythera Mechanism
Some Colorado College students participated in the Nemean Games
The IHT was reconsidering the 'peaceful' image of Hadrian
...Ancient Monsters on Ancient Coins
I think the jury's still out on this possible Roman coin 'prank' find
Romans are marching along the Danube again
There's an update
to the Kalos Greek dictionary software ...
The BBC has a radio program (available for five more days as of this writing) on the Ancient Novel
A German Radio station that isn't Radio Bremen has a page of Latin stuff
to accompany what appears to be a regular radio program in Latin ...
At the home page of Harvard's Center for Hellenic studies there's an announcement of The First Thousand Years of Greek
... here's the first bit:
The First Thousand Years of Greek aims to create a corpus, to be made available under a free license, of TEI-compliant texts and lemmatized word indices coordinated with the on-line Liddell-Scott-Jones lexicon from the Perseus project. The coverage ultimately should include at least one version of every Greek text known to us from manuscript transmission from the beginning of alphabetic writing in Greece through roughly the third century CE.
... elsewhere on the same site is a nice collection of online books and dissertations
And, in case you didn't get enough of the Olympics, we have an item on nudity at the ancient games
... we can also close with Peter Jones' comments in the Telegraph on what ancient Olympic victors were referred to as:
I asked Dr Peter Jones, The Spectator's classicist, about the use of "hero" for athletes. He said it's nothing new, this over-adulation of runners and jumpers.
He quoted Aristotle to show that, no matter what this Government says, sport is not a general civic benefit, nor will it inspire our overweight slob generation to win gold. "The athlete's style of bodily fitness does nothing for the general purposes of civic life, nor does it encourage ordinary health or the procreation of children.
Some exercise is essential, but it must be neither violent nor specialised, as is the case with athletes." But would the Greeks have called the last man standing after the wrestling match a hero? He said: "Well, its main meaning is a warrior, though Homer uses heroes really widely for anything from a soldier to a butler. Heroes were semi-divine beings, who were heroised after their death. A great warrior could be heroised for his achievements on the field of battle."
So the classical Greek for a Medalled One at Beijing would be what? "It would be ho nikon, the winner. Nike trainers are winners' trainers."
More cleaning out of the inbox:
Fritz-Gregor Herrmann, Words and Ideas
AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN CLASSICIST REASSESSED (reviews of the following):
Michele Valerie Ronnick (ed.), The Autobiography of William Sanders Scarborough
Michele Valerie Ronnick (ed.), The Works of William Sanders Scarborough
From CJ Online:
FITCH, ed. Seneca
HARRIS and PLATZNER, eds. Classical Mythology: Images and Insights: Fifth Edition
STONEMAN, Alexander the Great: A Life in Legend
Leslie Houlden, ed., Decoding Early Christianity: Truth and Legend in the Early Church
Valerie M. Warrior, Roman Religion
Valerie M. Warrior, Roman Religion
Maria Wyke, Caesar: A Life in Western Culture
From the NYT:
Edith Hall,THE RETURN OF ULYSSES: A Cultural History of Homer’s Odyssey
From the Telegraph:
Tim Whitmarsh (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to the Greek and Roman Novel
From the IHT
A small group of pagans pledged Thursday to hold a protest prayer among the ruined Acropolis temples, more than 1,500 years after Christians stamped out worship of the ancient Greek gods.
Group spokeswoman Doretta Peppa said the worshippers would pray Sunday to Athena — goddess of wisdom and patron of ancient Athens — to protect the 2,500-year-old site. Peppa said followers of the old religion object to the removal last year of hundreds of sculptural masterpieces from a tiny museum on the Acropolis to a large new building under the citadel.
In a statement, her group, Ellinais, described the landmark glass and concrete structure as "an incredible architectural monstrosity that insults (Greece's) cultural heritage."
The €129 million (US$190 million) building is where Greece hopes one day to display the Elgin Marbles beside the other Parthenon sculptures. Greek officials have said it will open next month, displaying some 4,000 artifacts. The Elgin Marbles were removed from the Parthenon temple by Scottish diplomat Lord Elgin in the 19th century, when Greece was still an unwilling part of the Ottoman empire. The British Museum has repeatedly rejected Greek calls for their return.
Peppa told The Associated Press she would prefer the Acropolis sculptures to have stayed at the ancient temples — from where they were removed by Greece over the past 30 years to
"But even if we accept a new museum was needed ... it should be in a style close to that of the ancient buildings," she said. "It's not a museum of modern art."
Peppa's Athens-based group, Ellinais, is campaigning to revive ancient religion and has defied Culture Ministry bans to hold prayers at several ancient temples.
She said she would not seek state permission for the ceremony, to be held near the ancient Parthenon temple, built between 447-432 B.C. in honor of Athena.
"We will just sing three hymns. It won't be a big ceremony," Peppa said. "I don't know how many of us will be there. People are afraid. The fact is that we are subject to religious persecution."
Christianity took hold in Greece in the 4th century. Roman Emperor Theodosius wiped out the last vestige of the Olympian gods when he abolished the Olympic Games in 394 A.D. The Parthenon was converted into a Christian church in the 5th century A.D.
Designed by U.S.-based architect Bernard Tschumi in collaboration with Greece's Michalis Photiadis, the new Acropolis museum has been criticized for its bulk and modern style.
Architects and conservationists have denounced government plans to enhance its view of the Acropolis by demolishing two elegant, early 20th-century houses — one of which belongs to Oscar-winning composer Vangelis Papathanassiou.
Totally off topic, but an interesting story, Doretta Peppa is the same woman who was given legal ownership of a Nazi-looted (purported) notebook
of Van Gogh last January ...
Wow ... our friends to the South sure know how to overdo things, both in the doing and in the interpretation of the doing ... my email box is bursting at the seams with accounts before, during, and after Obama's speech in front of the Greek "Temple" in Denver, so I probably should mention it. H.N. Koonce sent (gratia tibi ago) a McCain office memo suggesting appropriate attire for the event (the memo is available at McCain's website
); personally, I would have thought that someone who was so into Epictetus would at least know (and/or pass down to the folks who wrote the memo) that togas are Roman, not Greek. Unless, of course, someone would have taken it to the next level and had portrayed Obama as a togate Nero proclaiming the freedom of the Greeks. Oh well, moment missed. Even so, John Kass in the Chicago Tribune
noted inter alia:
In this, our American politics are not classic Greek—despite what the Republicans were saying sarcastically about Obama's Democratic convention stadium stage. Once again, the GOP displays its ignorance of the Greek culture by suggesting the Democrats wear togas to the Obama speech.
Togas are Roman. And our American politics are quite Roman, too, right down to the political elites lounging in their expensive, catered skyboxes—at Republican and Democratic conventions—the lobbyists looking down upon the orator charming the common people with words.
The Roman elites also developed the habit of chattering excitedly about the many virtues of the imperator even though the elites knew better. And these days, our chattering media elites confer unearned virtue on Obama, and earlier, before they became bored with him, piled similar grandeur on John McCain.
In case you didn't watch the spectacle, here's a good photo of the structure from the New York Daily News
As they note, it does look more like the White House than a Greek temple. WSJ commentator Peggy Noonan
The famous Greek amphitheatre didn't look all Alexander the Great if you were there. It looked instead like the big front display window at Macy's during Presidents Day Sales Weekend. You expected to see "Sofas 40% off!" in a running line on the bottom of the screen. A friend said the columns looked like "a ballroom divider at the Hyatt Hotel.Clive Crook in the Financial Times
was similarly dismissive about the set:
Who in the world thought that the Greek temple stage-set was right? If the designer’s brief had been ”low-budget hubris”, it worked; by any other standard it was a calamity.
I think Witold Rybczynski in Slate
nailed it, though (even if he pondered whether Obama was a "closet Classicist"):
Actually, the Denver setting was a loose (and much smaller) version of the neoclassical colonnade in Chicago's Soldier Field. That structure, part of an athletic stadium designed in 1919 by Holabird & Roche, commemorated World War I soldiers, hence the name.Philip Kennicot in the Washington Post
(painfully) dissected the imagery even more:
There is no more generic architectural statement in the United States than the Greek temple. White columns and classical proportions are the aesthetic DNA of our banks, libraries and office buildings, as well as almost every important structure in Washington, from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial. It is the default architectural style of democracy -- and totalitarianism, too.
Which makes criticism of the neoclassical platform on which Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination Thursday evening rather odd. John McCain's campaign mocked the structure -- the "temple of Obama" -- which included simple Doric-style columns supporting a classical entablature. The "Barackopolis," it was claimed, was a sign of Obama's hubris.
The sudden aversion to classical references on the part of Obama's opponents puts them at odds with a distinguished history of conservative scholarship. Conservative academics, invited to speak in Washington, can't seem to get started without reaching for the Greeks. Donald Kagan, a Yale scholar, cited Sophocles, Herodotus, Thucydides and Aristotle in his 2005 National Endowment for the Humanities Jefferson Lecture. Two years later, Harvey Mansfield, another Jefferson lecturer, focused on the Greek idea of thumos -- which means something like "spiritedness."
As the culture wars roiled academia, and classical studies were threatened by multiculturalism, conservatives became possessive in their defense of the Greeks, which irks left-wing classicists, and would confound writers such as I.F. Stone, the progressive journalist who wrote "The Trial of Socrates." The Greeks were volatile people, and their legacy is not easily reduced to "conservative" or "liberal" ideas.
"We throw open our city to the world, and never by alien acts exclude foreigners from any opportunity of learning or observing, although the eyes of an enemy may occasionally profit by our liberality," said the Athenian leader Pericles in his "Funeral Oration" -- a remarkable expression of tolerance during a time of war. Try selling that, as a Democrat or a Republican, on the hustings -- a term that originally referred to the platform on which a political candidate would speak.
Closer examination of Obama's platform (the architectural, not ideological one) suggests some basic neoclassical precedents, including the Oval Office. That may account for part of the criticism he received: It is presumptuous to assume the trappings of the White House before earning the keys to it. This is hubris, the Greek term for dangerous pride.
It's an idea that Republican National Committee spokesman Danny Diaz emphasized by slyly comparing Obama to a deus ex machina -- the divine figure at the end of a Greek play who sets the world in order.
"It's only appropriate," Diaz said, "that Barack Obama would descend down from the heavens and spend a little time with us mere mortals." Never mind that George Bush gave his 2004 acceptance speech on a very similar husting. Obama's opponents may worry that the deus ex machina idea needs to be mocked so it doesn't get traction. Obama, after all, would love to be seen as someone who can cut through intractable problems and rebalance the political order.
This suggests that the platform wasn't so much a temple as a theater. And indeed, it somewhat resembles a Greek theater with its distinction between the palace, behind, and the public forum in front.
But there's another architectural reference that may have greater resonance. While neoclassicism was the default architectural style across the United States, it became particularly associated with the aristocratic architecture of the antebellum South. Obama wasn't just borrowing ancient precedents, he was unconsciously recalling -- and appropriating -- the look of Tara and dozens of other (real) plantation houses.
Is race involved in the criticism of Obama's "temple"? Perhaps.
Consider an academic debate that roiled classical studies in the 1980s and '90s. This was the "Black Athena" controversy, which centered on claims of Martin Bernal -- a professor of ancient Eastern Mediterranean cultures -- that Greek culture was essentially cribbed from Afro-Asiatic roots. Bernal's book is not held in high repute today, but it fostered an important debate about the role of racism in classical studies.
The vitriol of the discussion also demonstrated the extent to which "classical" culture is equated with "white" culture, even on the most superficial level: white temples, white statues, white marble. Which turns out, of course, to be an illusion of history. Greek temples and statues were routinely painted with vibrant colors.
Efforts to use race against Obama often have centered on a stark juxtaposition of architectural ideas with Obama's blackness: One cartoon circulating on the Internet shows Obama painting the White House black; the controversial July 21 New Yorker cartoon in which he appeared as a terrorist inside the White House, rendered the Oval Office with precise neoclassical details: an arched alcove, molding and wainscoting.
The debate, then, isn't about arrogance, or Greek gods, or hubris. It's about whether Obama can lay claim to an architecture, and a culture, that is perceived as both our collective inheritance, yet is also deeply coded as European and white.
Wow ... apparently it doesn't take much in the U.S. to "lay claim" to something.
Whatever the case, when this rogueclassicist saw the set, he thought not of Athens or Rome, but of Pergamon ... specifically the altar therefrom ... here's a photo from UTexas
I won't presume to mention what Albert Speer used the Pergamon Altar for (and no, I won't engage in praeteritio) ...
Meanwhile, up here in Canada we keep getting rumours about impending elections calls ourselves ... moves to assert our sovereignty in the Arctic (including furthering the search for ship remains from the Franklin Expedition
) are much more interesting effort at 'laying of claims' ...
Amicus noster John McMahon just posted an item from the LA Times by architecture critic Christopher Thorne
on the thing which has a couple of things in the same vein ... first a description:
Not content with a basic combination of video screens and slogans, Obama's campaign produced a full-on neoclassical temple facade: four imposing Doric columns and 10 sizable pilasters, all connected by a frieze and arranged in a gently curving arc. From the center of this colonnaded contraption extended a long peninsular walkway, lined with blue carpeting and capped by a circular stage and wedding-cake steps. Like a nervous parent dropping a child off at school, the set seemed to protect Obama and push him forward at the same time.
... and the symbolism:
Classicism offers an almost bottomless pool of symbolism, and the campaign dipped into it with a number of goals. For an American viewer, a row of columns can suggest stability or even martial strength, which may have appealed to counselors eager to use Thursday's speech to take on charges that their candidate is soft on national security. Such columns can also suggest populism and public participation -- the highest-minded ideals of democratic government.
Obama clearly wanted to forge a link to the 1960 Kennedy appearance, which conveniently enough took place inside a neoclassical stadium. Even more obvious was the way the four big columns -- two on either side of the stage, framing a pair of video screens -- and the frieze suggested the imposing facade of Henry Bacon's Lincoln Memorial, where Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have a Dream" speech 45 years to the day before Obama's address.
I now note that Michael Barone in US News
also saw the Pergamon Altar connection (tip o' the pileus to A.V. Michaels
I also should mention that amicus noster Jan Gabbert reminded me that it was John Stockdale who was the Epictetus reader; I haven't been able to find such a connection to McCain ...
Jess Paga scripsit:
When I was watching the speech, the backdrop reminded me of the Lykourgan skene from the Theatre of Dionysos in Athens - central skene with doors, flanked by two paraskenia, all topped with a Doric entablature. I thought this reference was particularly pertinent given the general theatricality of these conventions, with Obama in the "orchestra," and spectators ringed around him.
From the conclusion of an item in PR-Inside
Berlusconi's office said in a statement that the premier would also hand over to Gadhafi the Venus of Cyrene, an ancient Roman statue taken in 1913 by Italian troops from the ruins of the Greek and Roman settlement of Cyrene, on the Libyan coast.
Relations between the two countries have warmed over the last few years, with Italian leaders meeting Gadhafi several times. However it has taken years of negotiations for the two sides to hammer out a deal on compensation for Italy's rule over Libya from 1911 to 1943.
We (or at least I) first heard about this a year ago April
... then came a legal challenge in July
From the Times
The new rooftop gallery built to display the Parthenon marbles is one of the most beautiful exhibition spaces in modern architecture.
Just as the Parthenon itself enjoys a 360-degree panorama of sparkling sea and green hills, the new ¤130 million gallery has a continuous view over the rooftops of Athens, interrupted only by the Acropolis itself. Sunlight fills the gallery through floor-to-ceiling glass, and the windows have such slender supports you might be standing in the open air enjoying blue skies and the crystal light which is the wonder of Attica.
The Parthenon friezes now being installed consist of original stones belonging to the museum and casts of the 50-odd blocks removed by Lord Elgin in the 19th century. The friezes are being set at eye level, arranged precisely as they were on the Parthenon, so the effect is akin to viewing them from a scaffold such as the original sculptors might have used.
From outside the new museum gives away little of its amazing interior. It is a sleek Modernist dark-glass box that appeals for its clean lines, smooth surfaces and clever geometry. A flaw is the attractiveness of the many ledges to pigeons which are already staining the lower façades.
The Swiss-French architect Bernard Tschumi who designed the museum overcame the problem of constructing it in an area rich in archaeological remains by elevating it on 100 slender concrete columns, carefully placed to avoid damage to the remains.
The interior of the museum is a thrilling progression from dark to light. The black marble floor of the entrance hall creates an immediate sense of cool. As you turn the first corner you enter a lofty atrium with a rising floor suggestive of the ascent of the Acropolis itself. Glass panels beneath your feet provide dramatic views of the remains up to 30ft below.
Shafts of light above the grand steps create the illusion that you are staring at a series of giant fluted Doric columns like those of the Parthenon itself.
The smooth 30ft columns of the Archaic Sculpture Gallery on the first floor provide an immensely airy space in which the early Acropolis statues surviving from a Persian assault of 480BC can be admired in the round. The rows of columns are not parallel with the walls and in places there are perspectives as dramatic as in an Egyptian hypostyle temple. Statues are being tested in different positions with the help of a large model on which miniatures of the prize pieces can be moved around like chessmen.
By contrast the top-floor gallery for the Parthenon marbles is a perfectly ordered rectangle, precisely reflecting the measurements of the temple itself and set on exactly the same east-west alignment. Tellingly the recesses in which the friezes are being set vary greatly in depth. This reflects the fact that after Lord Elgin removed the friezes he had a large section cut off the back of each block to make it easier to transport. By contrast the blocks removed more recently from the Parthenon to avoid continuing erosion are the full blocks. Though the friezes will run continuously, entrances have been made at the points where sections were completely destroyed in an explosion of 1687.
The Parthenon friezes were set inside the colonnades of the temple. The new museum will also display the superb sculpture from the outside of the temple with the statues of gods, horses and chariots from the end pediments displayed so the fully carved backs can be seen as well as the fronts.
Other famous sculptures from the Acropolis going on display include the famous female caryatids from the Erechtheion and friezes from the Temple of Athena Nike.
A big test of the gallery will be impact of noise from guided tours. The open-plan, marble floors and concrete walls could intensify noise, but Tshumi has studied the acoustic as carefully as in an opera house, providing “portholes” in the atrium walls which act as sound sponges and an absorbent coating on the ceilings.
A second challenge will come at the end of November when the museum is scheduled to open and visitors will be able to decide whether the Greeks have trumped the superb interpretative displays of the British Museum.
CLASSICS AND EMPLOYABILITY
Roehampton University, Duchesne Building.
17th September 2008
The CUCD and CSC day on classics and employability aims to investigate
ways in which the study of classical subjects can best prepare students
for the work place. The schedule for the day is:
Session 1 (11am-1pm)
Professor Jane Broadbent, Deputy Vice-Cancellor, Roehampton University -
Welcome and Introduction
Dr Kathryn Tempest, Lecturer in Classical Civilisation, Roehampton
University, The Employability of Classics Students (with video
presentation of classics graduates)
Alison Williams, Some reflections on a career after a Classics degree
Professor Freda Tallantyre, Project Leader, Employer Engagement/ Workforce
Development, The Higher Education Academy - Some implications of Employer
Engagement for Non-vocational subjects
Session 2 (2pm-4pm)
Dr Helen Day, Research Fellow, Centre for Employability through the
Humanities [CETH], University of Central Lancashire – title tbc
Dr Jan Parker, Humanities HE Research Group, Open University - Can we
account for Classics complex skills?
Julie Hall, Head of Learning and Teaching Enhancement Unit, Roehampton
University - Embedding Employability
Session 3 (4.15pm-6pm)
Daniel Dench, 3rd Year Classical Civilisation student, Roehampton
University - The Work Placement module at Roehampton
Guest speaker tbc
6.00pm: Wine reception
The conference is open to all. If you have any further questions or if
you would like to register, please email k.tempest AT roehampton.ac.uk. The
deadline for registration is Monday 8th September.
From the Telegraph
Professor John Barron , who has died aged 74, was an eminent Hellenist and was Master of St Peter's College, Oxford, from 1991 to 2003.
Barron's research interests were wide and still growing at his death. His Silver Coins of Samos (1966) is still the standard work, and he continued to publish intermittently in this area. His Introduction to Greek Sculpture was published in 1965, with a second edition in 1981.
Among his most memorable works were articles on early Greek lyric poetry, which displayed both his ability to combine historical analysis with literary criticism and material culture and a capacity for radical rethinking, some of which is still making waves.
Over a distinguished career up to and well beyond retirement he also served in a number of senior academic posts, as a member of (what was) the University Funding Council and on a large number of committees and governing bodies at Oxford and elsewhere.
John Penrose Barron was born on April 27 1934. He was educated at Clifton College, Bristol, where he first acquired a love of Classics, and went on to study at that Classics hothouse, Balliol College, Oxford, graduating in 1957 with first-class honours and a clutch of university prizes. He completed his doctorate in 1961.
His career at London University lasted almost 30 years, and during his time there he taught across the Classics spectrum, a measure of his remarkable versatility. He began as lecturer in Latin at Bedford College before becoming lecturer in Archaeology and then Reader in Archaeology and Numismatics at UCL.
In 1971 he became Professor of Greek Language and Literature at King's College, where he served as head of the Classics department (1972–84) and Dean of the Faculty of Arts (1976–80). A contemporary from his time at King's described him as "one of the most ambitious men I ever knew in academia, and also one of the nicest and most helpful (a rare combination)".
Barron went on to become Director of the Institute of Classical Studies in Senate House from 1984 to 1991. The Institute brought out the best in him. Its library attracts visiting researchers from all over the world, and Barron always found time for them, especially for younger scholars. He was in his element at the institute's social events (the ICS had the reputation for giving the best Christmas parties in the University of London).
While Director he also served as Pro-Vice-Chancellor from 1987 to 1989. He was instrumental in setting up the University of London Institute for Advanced Study (now the School of Advanced Study) to pull together the research institutes in Senate House, and he served as Dean of ULIAS (1989–91).
During this period Barron left an indelible mark on the discipline, when he chaired the review of Classics in British universities set up by the (then) University Grants Committee. This involved face-to-face meetings with potentially threatened departments, which he managed with his customary charm but also with frankness, as well as an ironic detachment from attempts to win a good result through good hospitality.
The 1987 Barron report produced a number of closures and amalgamations, and the process was painful for many of those affected. But it created departments with the critical mass needed to survive in the competitive landscape of post-1980s higher education. It put the discipline nationally in a better position to exploit the expansion of the 1990s and the culture of the research assessment exercise.
At St Peter's he was passionately concerned to raise academic ambitions. A popular Master, he is remembered for an old-fashioned management style with a strong focus on people, both colleagues and students. If his end-of-term progress meetings with students and their tutors had a tendency to overrun, it was because he was genuinely interested in the students. He revelled in freshers' dinners, where those attending would time his speeches to see how long he could hold forth.
He was a keen promoter of creative activity, especially music. He loved church music and never missed Sunday evensong (which also appealed to his sense of community) unless he was away from Oxford. At the formal dinner in hall afterwards he would preside with great style. It was therefore fitting that his retirement was marked with a special performance of The Messiah, one of his favourite works, at a crowded event. One of his high moments as Master was the re-inauguration of the "Father" Willis organ in 2003 after its restoration.
His other great passion was building. Three new buildings were added to the college on his watch; one of the disappointments of his time in Oxford was that his desire to acquire the land around Oxford prison for St Peter's never came off. As ever, he bore the outcome with equanimity.
He was keen on outreach work, and always ready to visit schools to encourage applications from state school pupils. He genuinely enjoyed ceremonial, but his sense of fun meant that he was never taken in by it.
In retirement Barron served as president of Clifton College, where he presided over meetings with easy grace and took an active interest in academic standards and senior appointments. He was also a very effective and committed chairman of the library committee at Lambeth Palace, playing a pivotal role in the cataloguing project of the Greek manuscript collection.
At the same time he returned to London as visiting professor at King's College and senior research fellow at the School of Advanced Study. He became interested in the contacts between Greek Orthodoxy and Anglicanism in the 17th century.
Barron's most recent publication, in the Bodleian Library Record 2008, was on the 14th-century Book of Hours from the collegiate foundation of St George's in Oxford Castle. He also found time to enrol in a graduate class in Greek manuscript hands, a measure both of his love of learning and lack of pomp.
He was a gifted lecturer, reflected in visiting professorships at Vassar and Princeton and a string of public lectures over the years. While at King's he was a much-admired Public Orator for London University. He was also a witty and erudite lecturer on Swan Hellenic cruises, and used to produce hair-raising anecdotes of the rigours of these expeditions in the early days under the likes of Sir Mortimer Wheeler. He was fascinated by, and fascinating on, the Riace bronzes.
Barron was one of those Hellenists who love Greece and Greeks in the present and not just as an abstract in the distant past. He had many Greek friends and loved to travel there, enjoying the food and drink as much as the monuments. Greece was also a source of surreptitious cuttings for his garden.
John Barron married, in 1962, Caroline Mary Hogarth, a distinguished medieval historian at Royal Holloway. She survives him with their two daughters.
This one is beginning to trickle out ... from the Times
The new Acropolis Museum may prove to be the most lavishly appointed white elephant in history. Nothing will change the view of the British Government that the intended centrepiece, the magnificently sculpted Elgin Marbles, must remain permanently in the British Museum.
Not that the museum will be empty. There will be 4,000 exhibits including the remaining Parthenon sculptures. But the crown jewels, the 247ft of the original 524ft frieze, 15 of 92 metopes and 17 figures from the pediments, all dating to the 5th century BC, will remain 1,500 miles away in London.
Britain has long argued that when the Earl of Elgin took the Marbles between 1801 and 1805, he was acting legally and that, had he not done so, they would have suffered further deterioration. The Parthenon was already a ruin. Also, fearing their destruction in the conflict between the Greeks and the Turks, Elgin got permission from the Turks, whose empire then ruled Greece, to remove the antiquities.
But the British Museum’s ownership of the sculptures has been called into question by a challenge to the validity of a crucial 19th-century legal document. A specialist in Ottoman law says that without the signature and seal of the Sultan as supreme head of the Ottoman Empire, Lord Elgin had no legal right to remove the ancient sculptures from the Acropolis.
Professor Vassilis Dimitriadis, of the University of Crete, says that the document of 1801 — an Italian translation of an Ottoman firman or licence which the British Museum acquired two years ago as the only legal evidence of ownership — is invalidated by vital missing elements.
The British Museum argues that the translated document is from a lost original firman in which the Sultan’s acting grand vizier was authorised to permit Elgin to acquire the sculptures.
Professor Dimitriadis claims that the original was not a firman because only the Sultan could issue one by Ottoman law, that it lacks the Sultan’s emblem (a tougras), and an invocation to God (da’vet tahmid).
... okay ... so now the Parthenon Marbles dispute will be descending into arguments over what the meaning of "is" is ...
There are a number of versions of this one kicking around ... this one's from the Kansas City Star:
A priceless gold wreath has been unearthed in an ancient city, buried with human bones in a large copper vase that workers initially took for a land mine.
The University of Thessaloniki said in a statement Friday that the “astonishing” discovery was made during its excavations this week in the ruins of ancient Aigai. The city was the first capital of Macedonia, where King Philip II — father of Alexander the Great — was assassinated.
Gold wreaths are rare and were buried with ancient nobles or royalty. But the find is also highly unusual as the artifacts appear to have been removed from a grave during ancient times and, for reasons that are unclear, reburied in the city’s marketplace near the theater where Philip was stabbed to death.
“This happened quite soon after the original burial; it’s not that a grave robber took it centuries later and hid it with the intention of coming back,” excavator Chryssoula Saatsoglou-Paliadeli said. “It probably belonged to a high-ranking person.”
The “impressively large” copper vessel contained a cylindrical golden jar with a lid, with the gold wreath of oak leaves and the bones inside.
“The young workman who saw it was astounded and shouted, ‘Land mine!’” the university statement said.
Saatsoglou-Paliadeli, a professor of archaeology at the university, said the find probably dates to the 4th century B.C., during which Philip and Alexander reigned.
“Archaeologists must explain why such a group … was found outside the extensive royal cemetery,” the university statement said. “(They must also) work out why the bones of the unknown — but by no means insignificant — person were hidden in the city’s most public and sacred area.”
During the 4th century B.C., burials outside organized cemeteries were very uncommon.
In a royal cemetery at Vergina, just west of Aigai, Greek archaeologists discovered a wealth of gold and silver treasure in 1977. One of the opulent graves, which contained a large gold wreath of oak leaves, is generally accepted to have belonged to Philip II. The location of Alexander’s tomb is one of the great mysteries of archaeology.
The sprawling remains of a large building with banquet halls and ornate mosaics at Aigai — about 320 miles north of Athens — has been identified as Philip’s palace.
... hmmm ... human remains in the marketplace ... I wonder if this is somehow connected to a heroon ...
Interesting item from Vergilio Notizie
Gli scavi di Pompei saranno una delle priorità del Governo Berlusconi. Lo ha detto il sottosegretario all'Economia, Nicola Cosentino, che questa mattina ha incontrato il prefetto Renato Profili, dall'11 luglio scorso, commissario straordinario agli Scavi.
"Al pari dell'emergenza rifiuti, fare degli scavi di Pompei un luogo dove misurare l'efficienza e la credibilità delle istituzioni, continuerà a essere una delle priorità del Governo Berlusconi - ha affermato Cosentino - Il prefetto Profili mi ha messo al corrente dei progressi fatti sul piano della sicurezza e della lotta al degrado. Sono convinto che in tempi assai brevi gli scavi di Pompei torneranno a ricoprire un ruolo importante nell'economia della Campania, e dell'area costiera e vesuviana, in particolare".
"Ma per poter tenere testa al programma che s'è dato il ministro per i Beni e le Attività culturali, e con lui l'intero esecutivo, è necessario non abbassare la guardia, in presenza dei primi successi. Cominciando con l'assicurarsi - ha concluso - che efficienza e legalità all'interno della cittadella archeologica non restino un fatto episodico, bensì una costante sulla quale fare affidamento 365 giorni l'anno".
The New York Times
reports, inter alia:
Another drama, “Cupid,” is about a character “who may or may not be the Roman god of love,” ABC said.
... here's a bit of a gloss from TV Series Finale
(from back in October):
It’s not often that a series gets a second chance but that’s just what’s happening with the cult favorite show Cupid.
Cupid debuted on September 26, 1998 on ABC. The series starred Jeremy Piven as Trevor Hale, a man who believes that he is the mythological Cupid. As punishment for his arrogance, he’s been sent to Earth by Zeus to connect 100 couples without using his powers. Not surprisingly, he finds himself in an institution and is put under the care of Chicago psychologist Dr. Claire Allen (Paula Marshall). The state mental health board agrees to Trevor’s release providing that Claire continue to monitor his progress, a professional situation made all the more difficult when the two begin to fall for one another.
Cupid was one of the early projects by writer Rob Thomas who went on to create the very popular (yet ratings-challenged) Veronica Mars. Though Cupid was cancelled after only 15 episodes (one of those left unaired), the series attracted a small but devoted group of fans. They’re likely going to be very happy to hear that Cupid is coming back, albeit in a new form.
As part of a previously announced development deal, ABC has now asked Thomas to develop a new version of Cupid.
... can't recall ever having seen it ...
From the Gazette
When Ruth Ann Besse transferred to University of Maryland, Baltimore Countym in 1982, she didn't know it would set off a passionate devotion to the classical Latin language.
Besse currently splits time between St. Vincent Pallotti High School in Laurel, where she teaches all four levels of the language, and her 25 homeschoolers.
"Instead of it being just a job, it's very personal to me," she said. "My students are contented and challenged."
She is one of only two Americans that are on the Primary Latin Project management committee. Located in England, the organization helps promote the language's teaching from elementary through middle school with the aid of its cartoon mouse Minimus.
After a 17-year lull, Besse began teaching Latin in 2002 to her youngest son, Samuel, who is now 12. While searching on the Internet for a proper teaching book, she came across an image of Minimus.
That same year, Besse's physical therapist asked if his children could be taught as well. Within four months, Besse was teaching 10 home schooled students in her Laurel basement. She also taught Latin 101 at UMBC and started an afterschool Latin Club for 14 students at Bond Mill Elementary using the Minimus book.
"It was amazing," she said, "the kids were in school all day and yet they would stream into the room all excited about learning Latin."
Bond Mill Principal Justin FitzGerald said the club was "highly popular."
"It challenged the students," he said. "Besse knew how to make it an enjoyable afterschool program."
Takoma Park resident Annemarie Stroud's daughter Ripley, 11, works with Besse.
"I think she's a brilliant teacher," said Stroud. "She responds very well to the individual needs of a student."
Ripley received a Gold medal in the 2008 National Latin Exam, where she answered 39 out of 40 questions correctly in Latin 1.
Besse said some people question why she teaches Latin rather than a more widely spoken language such as Spanish. But she said that she often has to remind people that Spanish, French and other common languages all come from Latin. She also said learning Latin makes it easier to learn those languages and helps with one's English grammar.
"It's not debatable how your scores on the SATs are improved by taking Latin," she said. "You're sneaking English grammar into them, and they're not even thinking about it. They're just having fun with that little mouse."
When asked if Latin is a dead language, she points to the surrounding schools - Laurel High School, Eleanor Roosevelt in Greenbelt, and Martin Luther King Middle School and High Point High School in Beltsville- that teach it.
"Latin is definitely alive around here," she said.
From the Turkish Press
An ancient city in western Turkey, discovered by smugglers of ancient artifacts at an illegal excavation six years ago and recovered with soil by officials, now waits to be unearthed.
Local officials asked archaeologists to dig the region in Saruhanli town of the western province of Manisa to bring to light the ancient city which is thought to be dated from around 3rd or 4th century B.C.
"Six years ago, smugglers found a few pieces of historical artifacts at an illegal dig here. There were mosaics of a stag`s head among them. But no researches have been carried out since then," Suleyman Cinar, mayor of the village of Buyukhanli in the region.
"We believe that there is an ancient Roman city hidden beneath the soil," he said.
Cinar also said that the city could be the outskirts of the nearby ancient city of Sardis, the capital of the ancient kingdom of Lydia where the first money was coined in history.
With school starting (or started), it seems salutary to alert the teachers who might (hopefully) be reading rc to some online educational resources they may have missed/forgotten about over the summer/were unaware of:
First, we should mention the eClassics (a.k.a. eLatin eGreek eLearn) network
, where one will find a nice repository of teacher-made (and student-made) audio visual items, forums, blogs, etc ...
Also (very) worthy of note is the recent update to Dr. J's Audio-Visual Classics Database
and her Illustrated Guide to the Classical World
. The former is useful if you're looking for audio visual materials to show in class; it grew out of an article in Classical World and is a searchable. The latter is still a work in progress, but there are links to some very nice photos and the like which teachers should find useful ...
An item in the Times
mentions a study in which scientists have found some sort of genetic link to bravery ... in the same newspaper comes the following comment
Achilles had Briseis. Hector wed Andromache. Paris stole Helen. The Trojan War is a tragic epic of beauty and the brave. Dryden versified it: “Happy, happy, happy pair! None but the brave deserve the fair.” Genghis Khan, “very mighty ruler”, was also a very mighty progenitor. His hordes depopulated much of the world from the Black Sea to the Pacific, but his wives, concubines and children repopulated it. Lancelot and Guinevere, Dido and Aeneas, Samson and Delilah, Tristan and Iseult, Nelson and Emma, El Cid and Sophia Loren — in fiction, film and history it is a topos (a stock literary cliché) that brave men get the best girls.
Literary fiction runs on the story of heroes getting their just rewards, and its converse. In Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, the protagonist, Newland Archer, fails to get the girl because of a lack of courage of his convictions. Western horse epics, one of the great modern art forms, end either with the hero riding off into the sunset alone, or, more traditionally, falling into the arms of his lady.
And, of course, the story seems counterintuitive. The brave man falls in the front line, while the coward avoids (evades?) Service, stays at home and marries his lover. It seems melancholy common sense that the paths of glory lead but to an early grave and that prudence leads to a long and philoprogenitive life, far from the front line. So, two-and-a-half cheers for the scientists for demonstrating genetic foundations to the legend. However, those who are not genetically brave need not totally despair. Odysseus (Ulysses) was not brave like Achilles, nor a brute like Ajax, not a bully like Agamemnon. He was clever and quick, the man of many tricks. But he too had irresistible sex appeal, to the goddess Calypso, to the witch Circe, to all the girls, and to his long-suffering wife, Penelope. Cheer up the not-so-brave. There is hope for you too.
Or in the words of Joe Jackson:
Pretty women out walkin' with gorillas down my street
From my window I'm starin' while my coffee goes cold
The Cleveland Museum of Art (CMA) presents the Fifth Annual John and Helen Collis Lecture featuring Professor Carol C. Mattusch, Mathy Professor of Art History at George Mason University. The lecture, Greek Bronze Statuary: The Birth of the Classical Style, will take place on October 5, 2008 at 2 p.m. in Gallery 101 of the museum, with a simulcast in the CMA lecture and recital hall.
Professor Mattusch will reveal how the amazing bronze-casting techniques of the ancient Greeks allowed them to create large life-like figures in bronze. Her beautifully illustrated lecture will show how the advanced technologies of the ancient Greeks led directly to the emergence of the famous Greek classical style. “I want the audience to learn how technology is just as important as style,” said Mattusch. “You have to look at the artistic side of things, and you need to consider all the different techniques used to create the figures.”
Mattusch is a widely published author on ancient Greek art. Her two books on large classical bronzes have become standard works: “Greek Bronze Statuary: From the Beginnings through the Fifth Century B.C”., 1988; and “Classical Bronzes: The Art and Craft of Greek and Roman Statuary”, 1996.
A graduate of both Bryn Mawr College and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Mattusch teaches at George Mason. Her exhibition, Pompeii and the Roman Villa: Art and Culture around the Bay of Naples will open at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. this year and at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 2009. “The exhibition will contain art collections and evidence from Roman times,” said Mattusch. Sculpture, paintings, and mosaics will be on display.
The annual John and Helen Collis Lecture is made possible through the John and Helen Collis Family Endowment. The annual John and Helen Collis Lecture alternates between Ancient Greek and Byzantine Art. Every year it brings nationally and internationally recognized experts in the field of art history and archeology to CMA to discuss new scholarship, museum exhibitions and archaeological discoveries.
“We’re very proud to have been able to make this contribution to The Cleveland Museum of Art,” says Dr. John Collis. His wife, Helen Collis, adds, “After the Magna Graecia exhibition, our family wanted to continue fostering an understanding of Hellenic culture, both ancient and Byzantine, by making these lectures available to everyone.”
The endowment is the first of its kind at the museum, as it presents an annual lecture dedicated to a particular art historical emphasis. Additional support for this lecture comes from The Hellenic Preservation Society (HPS) of Northeastern Ohio. HPS is a non-profit organization whose focus is to preserve the Hellenic legacy that will promote the Greek experience through education, collection and preservation. Dr. John and Helen Collis are both members of HPS; Mrs. Collis is a founding member, while Dr. Collis is on the HPS advisory board. --
I wonder of Dr. Mattusch has commented on the recent Capitoline She-Wolf claims
The incipit of a piece from the Irish Times
commenting on the Olympics:
I SPENT the past two weeks lost in France, and glad of it. Not literally lost, except for a couple of short-lived misunderstandings with signposts; and not lost in the Bonnie Tyler sense either. It was just that my holiday coincided with, and almost completely obscured, the Olympics - which, from the opening ceremony until the climax of the boxing championships, were only a rumour where we were staying.
A fairly persistent rumour, admittedly. It was circulating on every television set we passed, but always in rapidly spoken French and therefore hard to follow. Local bias further obscured the message. Such was the runaway success of "les Bleus", apparently, that Britain's shock emergence as a sporting superpower went unreported. Concerns about Irish underperformance were - if possible - of even less concern to the local media.
As a result, the most emotionally involving athletic event I witnessed during the fortnight was not in Beijing but in a place called Puy du Fou. This is a history theme park in the Vendée region, whose multiple arenas include a full-size Roman amphitheatre. And the latter is the setting for a show involving chariot races, gladiator fights, and other tasteful spectacles from the Roman era, including that proven old crowd-puller: a contest between lions and Christians.
Just before the climax of this last event, an automated metal fence is cranked up all around the arena, presumably to protect spectators. Then a Christian maiden (or possibly just an actress posing as one) is tied to a stake by centurions. Following which, three real-life lions are released into the ring and directed towards the set lunch.
Spectators are on the edge of their seats by this time, and it looks bad for Team Christianity, whose champion fighter is locked in a cage nearby, forced to watch the impending horror.
But then - lo! - the first lion lies down harmlessly near the maiden. So does the second. Finally, the third lion rolls belly-up, pawing the air and apparently demanding to be tickled. Whereupon the crowd cheers a sensational victory for the Christians - which, if it happened at the Olympics, would surely see the lions selected for drug-tests.
The show also features a cameo performance by a tiger: equally real and equally vegetarian when faced by Christian-flavoured snacks. And the passing of the pagan era is confirmed when the Roman emperor who has presided over the spectacle is forced to perform an Usain Bolt-style sprint through the arena, chased by a real hyena.
I'm fairly sure that the Roman soldiers in the ring with the maiden were in fact trained big-cat tamers. Even so, and not for the first time, I was struck by how much lower public liability insurance premiums must be in France. Imagine trying to open a theme park of this kind in Ireland and explaining your idea for the Lions v Christians spectacle to the bank manager.
In another of the Puy du Fou spectacles - a bird show - animals and audience get even closer. By the end, owls, falcons, and even eagles are flying around the arena in all directions, inches over spectators' heads. The whole thing works on bribery: the bird-handlers, placed at intervals in the audience, ensure their feathered friends' cooperation - and their nerve-inducing trajectories - with pieces of meat.
But as eagles flew so close overhead that we could feel the breeze from their wings, I found myself wondering if they could mistake other things - such as my three-year-old son - for food. Indeed, there was a warning beforehand that people should not put their hands in the air during the show. Typically, however, this was delivered only in French.
I'd never heard of the Puy du Fou before ... their flash-based website
is definitely worth a look (click on the gladiator, then when the screen changes, navigate to the Colosseum-like structure and click it ... then click the gladiator or whatever) ...
From the Daily Telegraph
SWORD-and-sandal epics and facts have little in common.
Take Troy, the rather woeful Brad Pitt, Eric Bana and Orlando Bloom movie where beautiful men fight the good fight for Helen – and Hollywood – and damn the archaeological evidence.
Does anyone care that the action takes place in a few days, not (the reputed) 10 years? Or that the towering walls of Troy were nowhere near as imposing in 1200BC – it would have been wasteful, as enormous siege engines were yet to be invented?
Minor points to movie-goers, perhaps, but those who guide visitors around the real Troy know they're up against it. When the tour buses roll up to the dusty mound in north-western Turkey, reality can be a shock.
There's a parking lot, rose garden, a souvenir shop selling trinkets, fake armour and guide books, a small museum and a giant wooden horse, built as a tourist attraction in 1975 by a Turkish artisan. Behind, a road winds through tumbled stones and broken columns towards the mound and its ruins.
Jumble of ruined walls
Any wonder that the Trojan horse is the immediate star? It's the Troy version of the Big Merino at Goulburn.
There's another horse, too: a dark, forbidding steed used in the movie, which today stands guard over the Dardanelles at Canakkale, a short way to the north. Those who don't want to make the brief trip to the real Troy see this one instead, before crossing to the Gallipoli Peninsula.
But again, those pesky facts get in the way of a good story… was there ever a wooden horse? It is briefly mentioned in Homer's Odyssey, not in The Iliad, Homer's epic poem about Troy, Helen, Paris, Priam and Hector, and the conflict between mankind and the gods.
According to legend the wooden horse was used by the attacking Greeks to trick the Trojans into opening their gates to soldiers secreted in its belly, hence the saying: "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts."
Yet Troy is far more than a sun-blasted and dusty site with a jumble of ruined walls. Look towards the distant Dardanelles, past the herders with their goats and the farmers tilling their fields, and you can understand why it once commanded the plain of Troy before it, and the vital seaway beyond.
Tour of Troy
Archeologists believe Troy covered 30ha and was inhabited for about 3000 years.
Only a fraction has been unearthed but, since excavation began in the late 1800s, they've found the remains of 10 cities, layered one over another, from the first Troy in the early Bronze Age until the settlement was abandoned in the Middle Ages.
Frank Calvert, an Englishman living in the Dardanelles area, was convinced he had found the legendary city when he dug at the mound, near modern Hisarlik.
He told a contemporary: wealthy German businessman and Iliad enthusiast Heinrich Schliemann, who between 1871 and 1890 established that the Troy of Homer was not a mythical place.
Schliemann's worst excesses can be seen on a tour of Troy today and are, in their own way, a tourist attraction.
A short walk from the parking lot, past the famous walls that are excavated below ground level, visitors are confronted by a massive trench that cuts through centuries of deposits.
This is known as Schliemann's Trench, and is renowned not so much for its discoveries but because it destroyed so much in the search for the Troy of Homer.
Fortunately, Schliemann piqued a curiosity among archeologists and visitors which remains, as well as leaving much for future generations to explore.
Meet the author
The Troy site is confusing to those who come totally unprepared, with signposts at various levels in the earth showing the eras, such as Troy II or Troy VI – and not always in numerical order.
Consequently, the easiest way to understand Troy is with a tour guide, although there is a clearly marked walking track with explanation posts around the site for those on a quick tour.
Afterwards, stop at the souvenir shop, where you may meet the author of the guide books, Hisarlik resident Mustafa Askin, who is fluent in English and is happy to talk to anyone about his favourite site.
Just don't mention the movie.
Live theatre was the popcorn fare of the ancient Greeks.
“People came from all over the Mediterranean to view these tragedies,” enthuses Professor Leona MacLeod. “Today, everyone comes to film. Film performs the same role in our society as it (drama) did in Athens.”
Skeptics doubting that such classical literature could be “entertaining” to modern crowds are directed to Homer’s epic poems. Filled with dramatic love affairs, massive action and tons of beach scenes, The Iliad is the original summer blockbuster.
The Iliad’s staying power is epic; after presumable millennia in development hell, a silver screen Iliad remake – Troy – was released in 2004. Featuring Eric Bana as Hector and an implausibly stalwart Brad Pitt as Achilles, Troy is just one of many films on the syllabus when Dr. MacLeod premiers her new course offering – Myth into Film I: the Greek World (CLAS 2515).
Nor is Prof. MacLeod stopping at Troy. During our interview, I’m boggled to see the DVD of 300 sitting on her desk. “You can go and watch them as entertainment or you can get something more out of it… There’s a lot of enthusiasm out there for something like this,” she says cheerfully, describing the course as an “introduction to the ancient world through the medium of film.”
“My second love after classics is film, so this is just perfect for me, (but) I wasn’t sure how well it would go over,” she adds. “Some classicists are a little, um, reluctant to bring in the popular culture.” When the course was proposed, however, her peer response was overwhelmingly supportive. Now, as September looms closer, Prof. MacLeod is fine-tuning the “reading list” for Myth into Film.
It won’t all be swashbuckling adventure flicks, of course. She will be teaching historical texts as well, including Homer’s Iliad.
“You can divide people into two kinds of people,” Professor MacLeod declares, “Iliad people and Odyssey people.” She is an Iliad person. “The very first work I read (in university) was The Iliad, and I just fell in love. Homer is a fantastic storyteller. I find myself today still impressed by his storytelling capabilities... he takes this little slice out of what is a much larger story and makes that the main level. I sometimes think we’ve never surpassed it in terms of storytelling techniques.”
Of course, no one’s going to argue that The Iliad isn’t literature. But the movie version is a harder sell. “The first time I watched it (Troy)…” Professor MacLeod shakes her head. “(But) you have to kind of look beyond that, see why things are the way they are. He’s much more sympathetic to the Trojans than the Greeks… Why is (the director) so uncomfortable with a character like Achilles? Why all these changes? ... This movie is far more about us than it is about the ancient world.” The divergences, the “modernizations” and anachronisms, are part of the point. “We return to the Greek world again and again… we find something in those stories.”
So, what will this class have that you can’t get anywhere else? What are people going to ‘find’?
“A blend of the ancient and modern world,” Prof. MacLeod replies. “What the ancient world can do is offer us a broad perspective, a new way of looking at the modern world.”
Plus Brad Pitt. Really, what more do you want?
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. The deadline for registrations is September 5. More information can be found at http://ldab.arts.kuleuven.be/successors/
Organizers: Hans Hauben and Alexander Meeus
From the Enterprise
The school system will no longer offer courses in Latin, credited with boosting English language mastery and SAT scores, unless the district finds a full-time Latin teacher to hire, school officials said.
“We did look for a Latin teacher, but we were unsuccessful,” school Superintendent Margaret Frieswyk told the School Committee Monday.
Latin teacher Brendan Jones resigned in June to pursue graduate studies. Avon hired him back as a part-timer to teach second year Latin courses, Frieswyk said.
She said the Middle High School would continue to offer Spanish and French classes, but no first year Latin courses unless the district finds a full-time teacher, preferably someone certified to teach Latin and Spanish.
Students continue to be very interested in Spanish classes, and French holds its own as an academic language, she said.
If Avon discontinues Latin, Frieswyk said the school district would consider adding another foreign language, possibly German or Chinese Mandarin, but not Russian.
Students studying Chinese Mandarin in the Whitman-Hanson and Hingham school districts seem to be having a very difficult time learning the language, she said.
Avon would also consider adding Portuguese or Cape Verdean or Haitian Creole, she said.
“We'll continue to look for a Latin teacher,” Frieswyk said. “Latin is a course I wanted to preserve and I have worked to do that.”
Avon Middle High School's webpage with info on who to apply to is here
We're starting to get photos of the recent find from Sagalassos ... here's the photo from AFP:
Something I've just noticed about MA ... his moustache isn't attached to his beard (it's a separate thing) ... he clearly is missing that little patch of 'connective hair' (as I call it ... it's the reason I've never grown a beard myself). A photo (by Philip Harland
) of a bust in the Archaeological Museum of Ephesus shows the moustache equivalent of a 'comb over' rather clearly:
... by the way, PH's photo set from Ephesus is very nice
Maritime Archaeology and Ancient Trade in the Mediterranean
Madrid, Spain, 18-20 September 2008
This conference will seek to explore the contribution of maritime
archaeology to the understanding of trade and exchange in the region
of the ancient Mediterranean. Papers will examine issues such as sea
routes and trade patterns, the links between shipwrecks and the
ancient economy and between land-based archaeology and maritime
commerce. The conference will also concentrate on the evidence from
ports and shipwrecks and their connections with wider Mediterranean
trading networks. Finally there will be a special session devoted to
Egyptian production, ports and trading routes.
For more information see: http://www.ocma.ox.ac.uk/events
SESSIONS AND SPEAKERS
Session 1: Maritime archaeology and trade
1. Prof. Josep Padró
Department of Prehistory, Ancient History and Archaeology, University of Barcelona
The maritime commerce between the eastern and western Mediterranean
between 1200 and 200
2. Prof. Andrew Wilson
All Souls College and Institute of Archaeology, University of Oxford
Maritime trade from 200 BC – 1000 AD
3. Prof. Pascal Arnaud
Maison des Sciences de l’Homme de Nice, University Nice – Sophia Antipolis
Ancient sea-routes and trade patterns
4. Prof. Elizabeth Green
Department of Classics, Brock University
Eastern Mediterranean Interconnections: From Shipwrecks to Models of an Archaic Economy
5. Dr Sean Kingsley
Research Centre for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, University of Reading
Please mind the Gap: the ‘Byzlamic’ maritime revolution in Israel
6. Prof. Jaime Alvar and Dr Mirella Romero
Department of History, University Carlos III de Madrid, Spain
Underwater archaeology in Spain and the history of ancient seafaring
Session 2: Ports, trade and maritime connectivity
7. Franck Goddio
European Institute of Underwater Archaeology
The harbours of the Alexandrian coast (Heracleion-Thonis and Alexandria)
8. Dr Rocío Gutiérrez
Coordinadora General de Museos, Melilla
Russadir-Melilla and the Mediterranean in the Punic period
9. Dr Josephine Quinn
Worcester College and Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford
Coastal Connectivity in Hellenistic North Africa
10. Prof. Cheryl Ward
Department of Anthropology, Florida State University
Pirates, vintners and lumberjacks in Rough Cilicia
11. Prof. John Oleson
Department of Greek and Roman Studies, University of Victoria
Technology, innovation and trade: Research on the engineering
characteristics of Roman maritime concrete
12. Candace Vaden
Exeter College, University of Oxford
Connectivity and Ports
13. Katia Schörle
St Cross College, University of Oxford
Constructing port hierarchies: harbours as indicators of global and
14. Benjamin Russell
Lady Margaret Hall, University of Oxford
Lapis transmarinus: stone-carrying ships and the maritime distribution
of stone in the Roman Empire
15. Karen Heslin
Merton College, University of Oxford
Approaching the Roman Wine Trade from the Mediterranean Hinterland: A
Study of Dolia Shipwrecks
16. Dr Theodore Papaioannou
St John’s College, University of Oxford
A reconstruction of the maritime trade patterns originating from
western Asia Minor during Late Antiquity, on the basis of ceramic
17. Prof. Robert Hohlfelder
Department of History, University of Colorado, Boulder
Maritime Connectivity in Late Antique Lycia: a Tale of Two Cities,
Aperlae and Andriake
Session 3: Egyptian maritime trade
18. Dr Francisco Martín Valentín
Director of the Institute for the Study of Ancient Egypt, Madrid
Egyptian commerce with the eastern Mediterranean in the time of Amen-
hotep III and Aj-en-aton
19. Dr David Fabre
European Institute of Underwater Archaeology
The organisation of maritime trade in Ancient Egypt: The example of
20. Dr María Antonia García Martínez
Tamkang University of Taipei and Alcalá University, Madrid
Egyptian influence on the Atlantic Littoral of the Iberian Peninsula
in the pre-Roman periods
21. Julian Whitewright and Dr Lucy Blue
Centre for Maritime Archaeology, University of Southampton
Production for export: the evidence from around Lake Mariotis
22. Teresa Bedman
Institute for the Study of Ancient Egypt, Madrid
The trade relations during the reign of Hatshepsut: the expedition to
An interesting item from the Turkish Daily News
, but I keep getting hung up on a typo:
"I have been told that there is an American who has set up a site for people visiting Ithaca; among other special attractions for a visitor, he claims, is that you can pick pieces from the palace of Odysseus and take back to your country."
The ex-mayor of Ithaca Spyros Arsenis is furious about the indifference of the central archaeological authorities in Athens who are viewing the whole quest for finding the ancient Palace of Odysseus as not a worthwhile investment of their limited funds. As we are guided around a large stretch of mountainous land in the north end of this small but fascinating island, we ourselves picked up ancient clay shards scattered around on the surface. I picked up a small part of an ancient jar sticking out of the ground. Many more pieces were lying around. My Turkish friend and colleague Haluk Sahin who had decided this year to make the long journey from Tenedos (Bozcaada) to Ithaca and see this Greek island with his own eyes was looking puzzled. He had a special reason to want to come to Ithaca.
King Odysseus, the canning hero of the Iliad, the owner of the ingenious idea of the Trojan Horse had started his 10-year journey back to his island Ithaca from Tenedos. That journey was the theme of the second masterpiece of ancient Greek literature the "Odyssey."
But this is not a story of the past. Almost 3,000 years after those mythical-historical events, King Odysseus still rules the fame and fortunes of this tiny island of just under one hundred square kilometers and approximately 3,500 inhabitants.
Archaelogy and Hollywood
The quest for the palace of Odysseus extensively described by Homer, where his ever-waiting wife Penelope and his son Telemachos were trying to push away the ruthless suitors to the throne, has been the biggest challenge for every archaeologist since Heinrich Schliemann who visited the island in 1869 and after failing to discover the palace of Odysseus, he sought better fortunes in Troy. Travelers and archaeologists have agonized long about the location of the palace, which would have been a conclusive proof that present day Ithaca is the same as the Homeric one. This crucial identification would have shut the mouths of the contemporary suitors of Homeric heritage like the islands of Lefkada and Kefalonia that have been attempting to usurp the throne of Ithaca.
But Kefalonia has been a recent and formidable claimant thanks to archaeology but also to … Hollywood! A large Mycenaean tomb dating from the 13th century B.C. discovered in late '90s in Kefalonia claimed to be a royal tomb by its archaeologists, indicated that the island was an important center during the times where the whole drama of Iliad and Odyssey was taking place. The change of tide in favor of Kefalonians became even stronger when in 2001 the island was chosen as the set of the exaggerated Hollywood version of the autobiographical book "Captain Corelli's mandolin." Kefalonia became known to everyone for its landscape and started to attract international celebrities, who also brought tourism, development and high prices. It was only a matter of short time before Odysseus was added to the Kefalonian indigenous celebrities. As the highly enterprising Kefalonians who are known for their idiosyncratic character, their intelligence and adventurous spirit as well as their increased feeling of self-importance, would claim the Homeric hero as their own.
Gleam of hope
Since the discovery of the Mycenaean tomb in Kefalonia and since the discovery of Kefalonia by the international jet set, the traditional claimants of the island of Ithaki and consequently of King Odysseus, have been on the losing end. The erratic excavations conducted by professor Symeonoglou in the south of the island after the mid 80s did not produce any conclusive evidence about the existence of a palace. It did produce, however, a lot of hard feelings against the American based Greek professor who is now being sued by the local authorities for causing irreparable damage to known sites by his careless digs.
But all is not lost. A strong gleam of hope, has emerged during the last three years with the excavations that are taking place in the north of the island under the auspices of the University of Ioannina A site of an old church built probably on the very site of an ancient temple, perhaps a Temple of Athena, has produced some surprising finds. Ancient walls, wells, tomb like structures, manmade steps hewn on the rock, gigantic gates leading to ruins where the nicely arranged slabs of a floor have been preserved, show that on the slope of the mountain on the north of the island, on a commanding location overlooking "three seas" " as Homer mentions -- at last the Ithacans may find the palace of their ancient king. They are particularly encouraged by a recent astonishing find: a small, incised piece depicting a man tied on the mast of a boat with various flying creatures and monsters around him!
It is hard to be small threatened by the deadly embrace of a bigger and stronger one. But the Ithacans are obsessed enough, not to allow the Kefalonians to steal their legend. " If the Culture Ministry does not give money, we will find the money, if they do not expropriate the land, we will buy it," says defiantly the ex-mayor after guiding us through the excavation site, which is about to restart. He feels his duty to hand us a locally produced archaeological map, which states on the top, "The Ithaca of today is the Ithaca of Homer!" At any rate, he reminds us, it was on our Ithaca that a piece of clay jar " albeit from A.D. 2 -- was found with a dedication to Odysseus!
I make the journey to Ithaca every year. As an archaeologist I have not still seen the conclusive hard evidence to cast modern Ithaca as the Homeric site. But until science closes the matter, poetry can keep us busy with its feelings. The palace may take long time to find but Ithaca is giving its modern inhabitants the excitement and the energy to keep on exploring. In our modern world of scarce passions, one cannot but admire this and believe in premonitions.
We've mentioned this one before
but the tale is somewhat different ... from NST
The oldest historical reference to rakhi goes back to 300BC when Alexander the Great invaded India. It is said that he was shaken by the fury of the Indian king Puru (Porus in the Greek annals) in the battle. Upset by this, Alexander's wife, who had heard of the Rakhi festival, approached King Puru. Puru accepted her as his sister and when the battle resumed, he refrained from killing Alexander.
By the time of the battle of the Hydapses, of course, Alexander's wife was Roxane ... still haven't been able to track down anything like this in a source, though ...
The Department of History of the University of the Antilles and Guyana organises a conference at its Martinique campus. The conference will convene 7 to 9 April 2009, with the deadline for the submission of abstracts on 24 November 2008.
The conference will run under the title:
IDENTITY AND IDENTIFICATION IN ANTIQUITY
Submissions should treat the period from early Greece to late antiquity (including early barbarian kingdoms). The conference welcomes contributions by historians, but also specialists in archaeology, literature, philosophy and other connected disciplines, as long as contributions fit the overall conference theme. Contributions by modern scholars on the use of "classical identities" in modern history are also encouraged. We hope to convene a mixed conference of established academics and graduate students. Please see the Call for Papers available on the conference website for details on suggested themes.
For detailed information on conference location, fees, accommodation etc. please also refer to the conference website (up, but currently still in beta status):identity-antiquity.pagesperso-orange.fr
Please help us in publicising the conference by distributing this Call for Papers within your institution as well as in relevant networks to which you subscribe or have access. Many thanks in advance.
We are looking forward to welcoming you in Martinique next year.
From HotNews Turkey
A sculpture of Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius has been unearthed during archaeological excavations in the ancient city of Sagalassos in southwestern Turkey.
In an interview with the A.A, Professor Marc Wealkens of the Belgian Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, who heads the archaeological excavations, said on Friday that the 80-centimeter sculpture weighed about 30 kilograms.
Wealkens said that the sculpture would be exhibited at the archaeological museum in the southeastern province of Burdur.
Born in A.D.121, Marcus Aurelius was Roman Emperor from 161 until his death in A.D.180. He was the last of the "Five Good Emperors", and is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers. His tenure was marked by wars in Asia against a revitalized Parthian Empire, and with Germanic tribes along the Limes Germanicus into Gaul and across the Danube.
Marcus Aurelius' work “Meditations”, written in Greek while on campaign between A.D.170 and 180, is still revered as a literary monument to a government of service and duty.
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 meters. 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 Prof. Dr. Marc Waelkens of the Belgian Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. 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.
I keep forgetting to mention Archaeology Magazine's 'interactive dig' page on Sagalassos
... this find isn't mentioned yet, but I'm sure it will be soon ...
Archeologists have unearthed a mosaic and an iron furnace from the Roman period, as well as a marketplace, through excavations of the ancient city of Pompeipolis, located in the western Black Sea city of Kastamonu in Turkey.
According to Professor Latife Summerer, the head of the excavations and a lecturer at Munich University, a team of 39 people was working on the excavations and they had made their findings in a very short time.
She added they had found more artifacts that they had expected during the three-year excavations.
As works progress in the Pompeipolis ancient city, which was founded around 64 to 65 B.C. by the Roman commander Pempeius Magnus, the team is discovering a great deal of information about the historical structure of the city.
Last year the excavations uncovered the Temple of Augustus, a Turkish bath, a drainage system and the ruins of a villa from the late Roman period.
History is hidden in this ancient city. We have so far found many things and this is the beginning of excavations, Summerer told Turkish Daily News.
When the work finishes, we will have significant information about the history of city structures of that period, she said.
According to Tathkopru Mayor Mustafa Gunay, the findings were expected to make a great contribution to Black Sea tourism and that the municipality would provide its support to the excavations.
Previous finds from Pompeiopolis were mentioned here
From the Anchorage Daily News
On the southwest coast of Turkey, near Greek islands in the southern Aegean Sea, shielded from the Anatolian Plateau by rugged, craggy mountains, lie the ruins of the ancient city of Patara, one of seven cities of the first century B.C. Lycian League. Turkey is littered with Neolithic, Hittite, Hellenic and Hellenistic, and Roman ruins; they are everywhere. As ancient kingdoms go, Lycia was small business: At its greatest extent it wasn't much larger than an average-size Texas county. But the Lycian League has a huge claim on our sensibilities as Americans, for it was apparently the first representative democracy in the ancient world.
Like most of that world, after the sixth and fifth centuries B.C. Lycia was a kingdom whose several small cities and towns were ruled by a king of one sort or another, whoever was strong enough and charismatic enough to command the loyalty of an army and the fealty of the region's farmers and shopkeepers. Most ruled through oligarchy, control by a single individual, confirmed and supported by a few wealthy and powerful families, the patriarch of any one of which might himself become king at any succession. Such kingdoms were in turn conquered routinely by whichever visionary was mighty enough to realize his imperial ambitions. Thus, Lycia became part of the empire of the Persian Cyrus the Great in the middle of the sixth century, then the Athenian empire in the middle of the fifth century, the empire of Alexander the Great (Macedonia) in the late fourth century, the Ptolemaic empire of Egypt in the third century, and the empire of Rhodes in the second century, and finally became a Roman province under Claudius in 43 A.D. The heir to Augustus Caesar, Gaius Caesar, died while fighting in Lycia in 4 A.D.
Through all of this the Lycians earned a reputation for jealous and fierce defense of their independence. The various conquerors usually found it easier to make an accommodation with the Lycians that left them largely in control of their internal affairs than to expend the time, resources and energy required to subdue them, though they were not above sacking and razing one or more of the Lycian cities when they felt they needed to demonstrate that they could.
Perhaps in recognition of that spirit, their Roman conquerors granted Lycia its independence in 168 B.C., and the Lycians proceeded to found a representative assembly with its capitol at Patara. The assembly, called a senate, convened every autumn. Each of the six largest cities sent three representatives, the smallest cities and towns one; together they totaled about 1,000 people. Though they rotated their meetings among the six largest cities, they met in Patara in times of crisis. Their meeting place there was an open-air theater called the bouleuterion, a stadium-like structure of tiers of marble seats fashioned in a severely raked semicircle, where the solons sat staring down at the speaker standing in what was called the orchestra. Each annual senate elected a leader, the "Lyciarch," who acted as executive during the succeeding year. The Lycian League, with its annually elected Lyciarch, lasted until the fourth century A.D., after which Lycia became part of the new Byzantine Empire. Several of the region's bishops subsequently attended various of the Christian ecumenical councils.
It is remarkable to stand today among the ruins of Patara, gazing up into the imposing bouleuterion, listening to the imagined shouts of the senators floating above the white marble tiers as they debate how to respond to the latest demands from Rome, or how much money to allocate for the new road to nearby Xanthos.
History took note of the Lycian League: Herodotus described it at length, as did Livy. Montesquieu noted its success, and both Hamilton and Madison pointed to it in the Federalist Papers when advocating adoption of the new U.S. Constitution in 1787, with its federal system and its national Congress.
The Lycians abandoned Patara after the fourth century, and remarkably, it lay mostly undisturbed until very recently. The full bouleuterion was not uncovered until just last year.
Listening to our political debates this week, one hears again those boisterous voices at ancient Patara, trying out representative democracy for the first time.
On the connection between the Lycian League and early ideas about democracy in the U.S. ... Saudi Aramco World
also had a nice article on same last fall ... coverage of the excavations at Patara (and mention of this democracy connection) can also be found in an item from the New York Times from Sept. 9, 2005
which we have previously mentioned
Troy was much bigger than what was believed until now, Ernst Pernicka, professor of Archeometry at the University of Tuebingen and in charge of the excavations under way in Turkey, affirms. While the scholars believed for long time that the legendary city spans on a surface of at most 27 hectares, in fact Troy was located on a surface of 35 hectares, Pernicka told the German media. The continuation of a defensive trench from the Bronze Age was recently discovered by the archaeologists and it allowed evaluating unequivocally the real expansion of Troy.
The German coverage (if I'm reading it correctly) says much the same thing but also seems to hint that funding for the excavation is running out ... see, e.g., Kolnische Rundschau
Archaeologists digging near the town of Cioroiu Nou, in Dolj country in southern Romania, have come across a Roman fort that might have been the capital of the province of Dacia Malvensis.
“We’ve made some important discoveries. We’re almost certain that we’ve unearthed the capital of Dacia Malvensis, something archaeologists were searching to find for hundred of years,” Mihai Fifor, director of Oltenia Muzeum, told the local press agency NewsIn.
Dolj country is located in southern Romania and almost two millennia ago it was part of the Roman province of Dacia Malvensis.
Until now, it was believed that the province got its name from its capital Malva, like Dacia Porolissensis which was named after its capital Porolissum, but archaeological evidence could not empower the theory.
“We’re waiting for a confirmation that it really is Malva. Our experts from the University of Craiova are currently analyzing an inscription we’ve found. It is the first time an inscription bears the name of this Roman city,” said Fifor.
Due to the outbreak of the Marcomanic Wars, when German tribes forced the border of the Roman Empire, Emperor Marcus Aurelius split the Dacian province in three financial districts, Dacia Porolissensis, Dacia Malvensis and Dacia Apulensis and added another legion to the one already present in Dacia.
Other important findings have been reported near the town of Cioroiu Nou.
Archaeologists have discovered a temple, a necropolis, administrative and military buildings all suggesting the presence of a Roman fort. Additionally, statues, coins, weapons and ceramics were discovered.
The site may become one of the most important in Romania.
According to Mihai Fifor, if it really is Malva, they will turn the site into an archaeological park similar to that from Carnuntum in Austria.
From the Daily Yomiuri
How has the Parthenon in Athens managed to retain its magnificent structure and survive several major earthquakes since it was built in the fifth century B.C.?
Mie University Prof. Toshikazu Hanazato hopes to find answers to this question through a joint seismic resistance study on the ancient Greek temple set to begin in September in collaboration with the Greek Culture Ministry, Athens Technical College and his university in Tsu.
The entasis of the columns that bulge slightly in the middle at the Parthenon is achieved by stacking 90-centimeter-high cylindrical stones cut with slightly varying diameters on top of one another, with small slivers of wood sandwiched between them.
The 52-year-old professor will pay special attention to the flexible structure of the columns that can withstand quakes.
Hanazato, who is known as a leading researcher into the seismic resistance of five-story pagodas, has concluded that pagodas are not destroyed in quakes because the stories are stacked on top of one another with only wooden dowels known as dabo holding them together.
He began focusing on the seismic resistance of the Parthenon when he was a research associate at Tokyo Metropolitan University 20 years ago. Since he later began working for a major construction firm, he was unable to continue his research.
But three years after being invited to become a professor at Mie University, his dream will finally come true.
During the next three years of research, he will shuttle back and forth between Japan and Greece. His wife and two children will remain in Japan.
"I've given up on spending more time with my family because I've been traveling all around the world and Japan on business since my days working at the construction firm," he said, with a wry grin.
His grin then turned into a beaming smile as he said, "I'd like to make a contribution to the conservation and restoration of the world's heritage."
The Department of Classics at the University of Toronto is soliciting
applications for a tenure-stream position at the rank of Assistant
Professor, to be filled by a specialist in Latin poetry with expertise
in republican Latin literature and/or Roman drama. The successful
applicant will have demonstrated potential for excellence in research
and teaching, and will be expected to contribute to a growing and
research-intensive doctoral programme and to a thriving undergraduate
programme in Latin, Greek, and Classical Civilization; an ability to
teach Latin and Greek literature at all levels is required. The
department welcomes a wide range of methods and innovative approaches to
the study of literature and is particularly interested in candidates who
combine a thorough training in Classics with an interest in other
disciplines in the humanities or social sciences. The Department of
Classics cooperates closely with the graduate Drama Centre, the Centre
for Comparative Literature, the Centre for Medieval Studies, the Women
and Gender Studies Institute, and the Departments of Art, Near and
Middle Eastern Civilizations, and Philosophy, among others.
The appointment will begin 1 July 2009; an appropriate doctoral degree
must have been earned by that date. Salary will be commensurate with
qualifications and experience.
Applications should include: a curriculum vitae, a sample of academic
writing, evidence of excellence in teaching, and a short description of
the applicant’s current research plans. Applicants should also arrange
to have three letters of recommendation sent to: Latin Poetry Search
Committee, Department of Classics, University of Toronto, 125 Queen’s
Park, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2C7, CANADA.
To ensure full consideration, the application and all supporting
documentation should be received by November 1, 2008.
The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its
community. The University especially welcomes applications from visible
minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with
disabilities, members of sexual minority groups and others who may
contribute to the further diversification of ideas. All qualified
candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent
residents will be given priority.
Any enquiries about the application should be sent to
chair.classics AT utoronto.ca.
The Department of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies at The Pennsylvania State University seeks applicants for a tenure-track appointment in Greek language and literature at the assistant professor level, beginning August 2009. We are particularly interested in scholars working on the ancient Greek prose tradition or Hellenistic and/or Roman-period literature, though candidates specializing in other aspects of Greek literature are also encouraged to apply. Primary teaching responsibilities include Greek language and literature at the undergraduate and graduate levels and lecture courses on Greek civilization and/or myth.
Candidates must have Ph.D. in hand by the time of appointment and a clear research agenda. Applications should include a letter of application, curriculum vitae, a sample of scholarly writing (no more than thirty pages), and three letters of recommendation. Electronic submission of all materials except letters of recommendation is preferred; please send to Sandi Moyer, Administrative Assistant, sjm1 AT psu.edu. Material that cannot be sent electronically may be mailed to Prof. Daniel Berman, Chair, Hellenist Search Committee, Department of Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies, Penn State University, Box A, 108 Weaver Bldg., University Park, PA 16802-5500, USA. Applications will be accepted until November 10, 2008. Preliminary interviews of selected candidates will be conducted at the APA/AIA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, January 8-11, 2009. More information about the department may be found at http://www.cams.psu.edu. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce.
The University of South Carolina announces a joint position at the rank of assistant professor in Comparative Literature and Classics.
In Comparative Literature, the successful applicant must be able to teach in the undergraduate Great Books curriculum and a Graduate course on ancient literary theory. In Classics, he or she must be prepared to teach beginning language and more advanced courses in Latin and Greek as well as classical culture courses. Research specialty: open, except for Golden Age Latin poetry.
Please send letter of application, cv, and three letters of recommendation to Recruitment Coordinator, Dept. of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208.
Application deadline November 1.
The University of South Carolina is an affirmative action, equal opportunity employer. Minorities and women are encouraged to apply. The University of South Carolina does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities or decisions for qualified persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation or veteran status.
From the Telegraph
The discovery is one of the largest and best-preserved Roman villas yet discovered in the country.
Shaped like a church, the building was discovered on the Isle of Wight, and has been likened to a medieval hall.
Its remains were discovered at the site of another Roman villa in Brading, and are believed to have been constructed 150 years before the other building.
The later Brading villa's remains had disappeared from sight until 1879 when a couple of local men stumbled across them by chance.
Its ornate decorations are unrivalled in Britain and the building may have belonged to Allectus, who in AD293 murdered his predecessor Carausius, a Roman army commander who had proclaimed himself Emperor of Britain.
The discovery is comparable in scale to the Bignor Roman Villa, near Pulborough, and the hall of Fishbourne Roman Palace, near Chichester, both West Sussex.
Its remains, around 3ft below ground, are so well preserved that the standing structure, masonry and many roof tiles have survived.
Sir Barry Cunliffe, Emeritus Professor of European Archaeology at Oxford University and head of the excavation, said: "It's a very impressive building, absolutely magnificent. It could have been seen for miles around."
The residential part had under-floor heating and walls plastered and painted with mock marble patterns while the communal end would have been used for meetings and legal matters such as boundary disputes and payment of dues.
The Victorians explored this part of the site in the 1880s, although they dismissed the remains as a barn.
A team of 30 archaeologists from America and Europe are now involved in the excavation.
The new site will now have to be covered up however, with Sir Barry warning they would disintegrate in two winters.
A SMALL excavation team have beguns works on the ‘Sacred Road’ which runs between the ancient cities of Miletus and Didim.
Head of Excavation in Didim since 2003, German Anreas Furtuöngler said the excavations in the ancient city of Didyma and the renovation works at the Apollon Temple had restarted Monday August 4.
Furtuöngler said the renovation works at the temple would continue for about two and a half months with a team of 24 people and the excavations, which were carried out in the area of Rabbit Island and Forestry Camp last year, would focus this year on the area known as the Sacred Road.
Furtuöngler said that they were following tracks of the Sacred Road in the excavations and had not yet come across any significant findings but only pieces of ceramic.
He said the land route running and the houses on top of the sacred Road had a diverse effect on their work, while traffic on the road around the Apollon Temple was damaging the temple.
Furtuöngler pointed out that the temple was damaged by nature through earthquakes and also by humans through plunderers and undisciplined tourists.
He said there were two officers at the gate but not a single watch in the temple, which was a great defect in controlling the temple and protecting the historical works.
Archaeologist Christoph Kronewirth, running the renovation works, said undisciplined tourists had to be taken under control and believed the road running by the temple had to be closed for traffic.
God of sun, music and prophecy, Apollon is an Anatolian god whose roots go back to the Hittites.
According to myth, God Apollon comes across shepherd Brankhos one day. He likes him a lot and teaches him the secrets of prophecy.
The shepherd Brankhos builds the first temple in the name of Apollon in the laurel grove and by the water spring, where the present temple is now.
The Apollon Temple, where merchants sailing from Panormos Harbour and soldiers would seek for prophecies and sacrifice for the gods, well-known for the Medusa Head is now identified with Didim.
For more technical stuff on the temple, see the entry in the Perseus catalog
... plenty of good photos at flickr
WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY IN ST. LOUIS - ST. LOUIS, MO
Washington University in St. Louis seeks an assistant professor of Ancient
Mediterranean Religions/Early Christianity. This position, which will
begin in August 2009, will be held jointly between the Department of
Classics and the Program in Religious Studies. While the precise area of
research specialization is open, we would be most interested in a
promising and productive scholar who is engaged in interdisciplinary study
of Christian literature (canonical and extra-canonical), history,
exegesis, or theology in the context of the religions of the ancient
Mediterranean world. Teaching duties will include courses in Greek and
Latin at all levels, as well as courses in early Christianity and in
Greco-Roman religions. The ability to teach an introductory course in the
New Testament would be particularly welcome. The teaching load is two
courses each semester. Applicants should have a Ph.D. either in Classics
or Religious Studies (in hand by time of appointment), a well-developed
research agenda for the future, and experience in the classroom. Please
submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae, three letters of
recommendation, and a sample of scholarly writing to: Ancient
Mediterranean Religions Search, Religious Studies Program, Campus Box
1065, Washington University in St. Louis, One Brookings Drive, St. Louis,
MO 63130. Consideration of applicants will begin on October 25, 2008 and
continue until the position is filled; preliminary interviews will be held
at the AAR meeting in Chicago in November and the APA/AIA meetings in
Philadelphia in early January. Washington University is an affirmative
action, equal opportunity employer. Women, minority candidates and persons
with disabilities are encouraged to apply.
Items of accumulation in my mailbox over the past little while:
One of the folks who will be helping people figure out their Xbox has a Classics degree
(or at least studied Classics) ...
Latin teacher Scott Stephens was selected as Cobb County Teacher of the Year
One of the earliest uses of the interweb for 'exhibition' purposes way back in the previous century was something called Rome Reborn ... it has now been significantly enhanced
, it appears; more details here
but I can't see when we will get to see it ourselves ...
I can't recall whether we mentioned this 'truth about the Picts' piece from the Independent
The Marshall News Messenger has an oped piece connecting Plato's Gorgias to the upcoming US elections
Wanted in Rome reports on the discovery of a Roman mausoleum beneath the Stadio Flaminino
... I haven't found any further coverage, alas ...
BBC Radio 7 has been running a series of dramatizations based (it seems) on Suetonius ... the series does not appear to be online
, but perhaps I'm wrong about that ...
A very nice site on the Ancient Olympics
Wallpaper had an interview with Bernard Tschumi
about that museum ...
The Australian had a lengthy piece on the Villa of the Papyri
Nice abstract of an article in Archaeology on the Tomb of the Badger
The Dartmouth Review did just that with Alma-Tadema and Antiquity: Imaging Classical Sculpture in Late-Nineteenth-Century Britain
at the Hood ...
Am I being unfair to spew coffee at reading that Tyne Daly will be portraying Clytemnestra
If you've been looking for the Extant Works of Arataeus the Cappadocian
online, they're now available ...
Some ClassCon in a piece at the Smartset
pondering the vague notion of what the 'canon' is now ...
Folks might be interested in reading a small monograph put out by the Pentagon on Military Advantage in History
, especially the chapters on the Macedonians and the Romans; definitely different reading about such things from people who are actually military folk ...
Speaking of the military, in the wake of that item on Sophocles' resonance with active soldiers last week, Nancy Reyes sent in a link (thanks!) to an online textbook on biomedical ethics
which draws heavily on ancient sources ...
The Journal of Roman Archaeology website
has been nicely revamped and has news of the latest monographs being put out therefrom ...
The Times and Transcript (a Canadian newspaper!) has a 'what have the Romans ever done for us' piece
(I have to track down the Cicero quote it concludes with)...Dallas News
also had a piece on Dennis Miller, which included this excerpt:
During a rant on Fox News last year, for example, Mr. Miller skewered Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in part by mocking his oratory skills, which are so lacking that the senator makes "Mr. Limpet seem like Demosthenes."
Everybody get your Google on to either learn or remind yourself that a) Mr. Limpet, played by Don Knotts, was a meek, ineffectual nebbish who turned into a cartoon fish in the 1964 film The Incredible Mr. Limpet , and b) Demosthenes was a Greek statesman (384 B.C.-322 B.C.) widely considered to be the greatest of the ancient Greek orators. In a word, wow.
Haven't tried to track down claims in a while but a couple popped up this weekend to distract me long enough ... first there is this claim from the some thing different
The Lydians minted the first coins in 10 BC but it wasn’t until nine hundred years later that the coin toss became a decision-maker. Julius Caesar’s head appeared on one side of every Roman coin of his time,and such was the reverence for the emperor that in his absence often serious litigation was decided by the flip of a coin. If Caesar’s head landed upright, it meant that through the guidance of the gods, he agreed in absentia with the decision in question.
Aside from the anachronism in the first sentence, and the spurious claim of the second, is there any evidence of this sort of 'divinatio' by coin? It is mentioned on scattered sites throughout the interweb (and some books in Googlebooks, none of which seem 'scholarly'), none of which have any authority.
The second item of distraction was the opening bit from a piece on superstitions in the Olympian
If you delve deep enough into any culture, you will find a repertoire of superstitions. These beliefs and practices pass through time and space -- from one generation to the next, from one culture to another -- with ageless continuity. Take, for example, breaking a mirror. Ancient Romans believed that a broken mirror presages seven years of bad luck. This superstition is now found in North and Latin American folklore.
Again, this is found all over the interweb, and the seven-year limit on the luck does strike me as a 'Roman' number. Outside of that, a tantalizing excerpt from a tome called Mirror by Design
connects this somehow with 'scrying' (and connects the latter to ancient Greece), but there do not appear to be any references available. Any refs anyone?
From Il Messaggero
Un ninfeo o un teatro d'epoca romana sarebbero celati sotto la chiesa di Santa Maria in Forcassi, nell'antico Forum Cassii, nei pressi di Vetralla in provincia di Viterbo. Una delle ultime tappe dei pellegrini della via Francigena in cammino verso Roma. È quanto è emerso nel corso del convegno "Foro Cassio, un'occasione di sviluppo, un'opportunità per creare nuova occupazione", tenuto a Tre Croci.
Durante l'incontro sono stati illustrati gli studi condotti dalla British School at Rome, secondo i quali, tra l'attuale Foro Cassio e Tre Croci, ci sarebbero i resti di una città romana con strade, resti di terme e abitazioni databili tra il II secolo a.C. e il III secolo d.C.. Andrea Natali, docente dell'Università di Bologna ha inoltre ipotizzato che sotto gli affreschi della chiesa di Santa Maria in Forcassi, attribuiti al Masaccio, in stato di conservazione pessimo, ci siano altri dipinti murali precedenti al XIV secolo. Gli amministratori comunali di Vetralla hanno ribadito il loro impegno per la valorizzazione del patrimonio archeologico di Forum Cassii e per l'avvio di una campagna di scavi che riporti alla luce le sue vestigia
... no mention of this at the BSR site
Archaeologists on an Israeli-German dig south of Jerusalem have uncovered a cache of 15 silver coins dating back 2 000 years and lying in a pot hidden in a pigeon hole.
Describing the find as "exciting", Professor Manfred Oeming, co-director of the excavations at Ramat Rahel, said on Monday that "if you are lucky, you can find a treasure like this (only) every 20 years".
Professor Oded Lipschits, the head of the dig, believes the pot was hidden in a hurry, around the time the Romans destroyed the Biblical temple in 70 AD and the owner of the coins possibly intended to return for them.
Jews commemorated the anniversary of the destruction of the Temple - on the ninth day of the Hebrew month of Av - on Sunday.
The dig at Ramat Rahel is in its fourth season. The team at the site also found 380 coins from the Byzantine period, the fourth and fifth century AD.
Ramat Rahel is located about halfway between Jerusalem's Old City and Bethlehem, on the border between modern Israel and the West Bank.
Archaeologists believe some sort of palace may have existed there around 700 BC, which may have served as an administrative office, a summer palace, or a palace for women.
In the 5th to 7th centuries AD the site houses a Byzantine church and monastry.
A kibbutz was founded on the site in 1926.
From Hotnews Turkey
Archeologists unearthed a 1,700-year old Apollon statue in Soloi Pompeipolis ancient city in the southern province of Mersin.
Dr. Remzi Yagci, an archeologist from Dokuz Eylul University, told AA that the statue was made up of bronze in the first half of 3rd century, and belonging to Roman period.
Yagci said that the statue of sun-god Apollon was 615 grams and 20 cm. He added that the statue would be given to officials of Mersin Museum.
Yagci said that their excavations would continue till August 20th. The ancient Roman city of Soloi Pompeipolis was founded in 65-66 B.C. and located 10 kilometers from Mersin in the district of Mezitli.
... can't track down a photo ...
I don't know if it's just me, but I have a heckuva time getting BBC videos to work on demand like they're supposed to ... there currently is, e.g., a video report on that recent pair of sarcophagi found at Newcastle
which I can't get beyond the 'loading' stage. I'm curious whether it sheds any light on the state of the child burial ... the caption to the piece reads:
A second sarcophagus has already been opened and removed from the site. It contained the headless remains of a child.
The Press Association's
coverage was a bit more clear:
The head of the child appeared to have been removed and placed elsewhere in the coffin, which was an unusual but not unknown practice in Roman times. It is possible the burial included the remains of an older person in the same coffin.
We've dealt with headless burials before in these pages ... here
... etc... they are somewhat mysterious although I personally lean toward 'execution victims' as an explanation rather than 'ritual'. A child (some reports suggest he's about six years old) is a bit of a spanner in the works, though.
From Princeton University
For several decades, archaeologists in Greece have been painstakingly attempting to reconstruct wall paintings that hold valuable clues to the ancient culture of Thera, an island civilization that was buried under volcanic ash more than 3,500 years ago.
This Herculean task -- more than a century of further work at the current rate -- soon may get much easier, thanks to an automated system developed by a team of Princeton University computer scientists working in collaboration with archaeologists in Greece.
The new technology "has the potential to change the way people do archaeology," according to David Dobkin, the Phillip Y. Goldman '86 Professor in Computer Science and dean of the faculty at Princeton.
Dobkin and fellow researchers will report on their work in a paper they present Friday, Aug. 15, in Los Angeles at the Association of Computing Machinery's annual SIGGRAPH conference, widely considered the premier meeting in the field of computer graphics.
"This approach really brings in the computer as a research partner to archaeologists," said Dobkin, who got the inspiration for the project after a 2006 visit to the archaeological site of Akrotiri on the island of Thera, which in present-day Greece is known as Santorini.
To design their system, the Princeton team collaborated closely with the archaeologists and conservators working at Akrotiri, which flourished in the Late Bronze Age, around 1630 B.C.E.
Reconstructing an excavated fresco, mosaic or similar archaeological object is like solving a giant jigsaw puzzle, only far more difficult. The original object often has broken into thousands of tiny pieces -- many of which lack any distinctive color, pattern or texture and possess edges that have eroded over the centuries.
As a result, the task of reassembling artifacts often requires a lot of human effort, as archaeologists sift through fragments and use trial and error to hunt for matches.
While other researchers have endeavored to create computer systems to automate parts of this undertaking, their attempts relied on expensive, unwieldy equipment that had to be operated by trained computer experts.
The Princeton system, by contrast, uses inexpensive, off-the-shelf hardware and is designed to be operated by archaeologists and conservators rather than computer scientists. The system employs a combination of powerful computer algorithms and a processing system that mirrors the procedures traditionally followed by archaeologists.
"We mimic the archaeologists' methods as much as possible, so that they can really use our system as a tool," said Szymon Rusinkiewicz, an associate professor of computer science whose research team led the Princeton effort. "When fully developed, this system could reduce the time needed to reconstruct a wall from years to months. It could free up archaeologists for other valuable tasks such as restoration and ethnographic study."
Tables full of fresco pieces
In 2007, a large team of Princeton researchers made a series of trips to Akrotiri, initially to observe and learn from the highly skilled conservators at the site, and later to test their system. During a three-day visit to the island in September 2007, they successfully measured 150 fragments using their automated system.
Although the system is still being perfected, it already has yielded promising results on real-world examples. For instance, when tested on a subset of fragments from a large Akrotiri wall painting, it found 10 out of 12 known matches. Further, it found two additional matches that were previously unknown.
"This showed that the system could work in a real-life situation," said Tim Weyrich, a postdoctoral teaching fellow in computer science at Princeton who is the technical lead researcher on the project and who designed many of its components. The team is planning another trip to the site this fall to permanently install the system for the archaeologists' use, said Weyrich, who in September will become an assistant professor of computer science at University College London.
The setup used by the Princeton researchers consists of a flatbed scanner (of the type commonly used to scan documents and which scans the surface of the fragment), a laser rangefinder (essentially a laser beam that scans the width and depth of the fragment) and a motorized turntable (which allows for precise rotation of the fragment as it is being measured). These devices are connected to a laptop computer.
By following a precisely defined and intuitive sequence of actions, a conservator working under the direction of an archaeologist can use the system to measure, or "acquire," up to 10 fragments an hour. The flatbed scanner first is used to record several high-resolution color images of the fragment. Next, the fragment is placed on the turntable, and the laser rangefinder measures its visible surface from various viewpoints. The fragment is then turned upside down and the process is repeated.
Finally, computer software, or algorithms, undertake the challenging work of making sense of this information. The Princeton researchers have dubbed the software that they have developed "Griphos," which is Greek for puzzle or riddle.
One algorithm aligns the various partial surface measurements to create a complete and accurate three-dimensional image of the piece. Another analyzes the scanned images to detect cracks or other minute surface markings that the rangefinder might have missed.
The system then integrates all of the information gathered -- shape, image and surface detail -- into a rich and meticulous record of each fragment.
"This in itself is extremely useful information for archaeologists," said Weyrich.
Once it has acquired an object's fragments, the system begins to reassemble them, examining a pair of fragments at a time. Using only the information from edge surfaces, it acts as a virtual archaeologist, sorting through the fragments to see which ones fit snugly together.
"Having this ability to really exhaustively try everything very quickly could potentially be quite helpful," said Benedict Brown, whose doctoral thesis, completed recently under the direction of Rusinkiewicz, is devoted in large part to the fresco project.
Analyzing a typical pair of fragments to see whether they match is very fast, taking only a second or two. However, the time needed to reassemble a large fresco may be significant, as the system must examine all possible pairs of fragments. To make the system run faster, the researchers are planning to incorporate a number of additional cues that archaeologists typically use to simplify their searching for matching fragments. These data include information such as where fragments were found, their pigment texture and their state of preservation.
However, Weyrich noted, Princeton's system will never replace the experience, contextual knowledge and "soft skills" that conservators and archaeologists bring to the table. "Reconstructing these frescoes is incredibly complex, given the condition of the fragments and the sheer number of fragments," said Weyrich. "The computer takes over the laborious parts of the process while leaving the important, intuitive decisions to the humans."
This research by the Princeton Graphics Group was funded by the Kress Foundation, the Seeger Foundation, the Thera Foundation, the Cotsen Family Foundation and the National Science Foundation.
The Department of Classics at Mount Allison University in Sackville NB will be hosting the Annual Meeting of the Atlantic Classical Association on the afternoon of Friday 31st of October and Saturday November 1st, 2008. This will take place in conjunction with the Annual Crake Lectures, to be given by Dr. Helen King of Reading University on Thurs. October 30 and Friday October 31st.
The conference's theme will be 'Quality of Life in the Ancient World'. Although Dr. King's research on Medicine and Physicians in the ancient world addresses this topic through health, we intend for the theme to be broadly construed: we hope collectively to explore 'quality of life' in the varied material conditions of living in the ancient world, as a goal of ancient philosophical and historiographical thought, and as recurring theme of ancient literature from Hesiod to Augustine.
Please submit abstracts of up to 200 words for papers of twenty minutes to Bruce Robertson by Tuesday September 30th.
XI INTERNATIONAL COLLOQUIUM ON ROMAN PROVINCIAL ART
Mérida (Spain), May 18-21, 2009
As a member of the Academic Steering Committee, I would like to encourage CAC/SCEC colleagues to consider participating in the 11th International Colloquium on Roman Provincial Art, to be held in Mérida (Spain), May 18-21, 2009, at the invitation of the Museo Nacional de Arte Romano (MNAR; the National Museum of Roman Art) and the Institut Català de Arqueologia Clàssica (ICAC; the Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology). (Post-congress excursions, not included in the standard registration fee, will take place on May 22-23.)
The theme of the 11th Colloquium will be: “Rome and the Provinces: Models and Diffusion”.
Proposals for the presentation of research papers or regional syntheses (20 minutes, plus 10 minutes discussion), news of recent finds (10 minutes, plus 5 minutes discussion), or posters will be welcome on the following topics:
* Metropolitan artistic models.
* Variants on urban models found in regional artistic workshops.
* Regional workshops and the dissemination of models: routes and circuits.
* Regional art and its influence on Rome.
The official Colloquium languages are Spanish, French, English, German, and Italian.
The Academic Steering Committee reserves the right to accept or reject proposals.
The Colloquium proceedings will be published.
Full details, including instructions for the submission of proposals for papers (deadline: November 15, 2008) and for registration (deadline: December 31, 2008), are now available (in Spanish and in English) on the conference’s website: http://oliba.uoc.edu/icac/merida/
The Department of Classics at McMaster University invites applications for a new tenure-track appointment in Greek Literature at the Assistant Professor level to commence July 1, 2009. McMaster University is a research-intensive university, and the Department of Classics has an undergraduate degree program in Classics, as well as a graduate program at the M.A. and Ph.D level. The successful candidate will have a Ph.D. in Classics, with specialization in Greek language and literature, and demonstrated excellence in teaching and research, with a clearly defined research program which will result in publication. The successful candidate will be expected to teach ancient Greek language and literature at all levels (in the original as well as in translation) and to contribute to all aspects of the Department's graduate program. The ability to teach courses in Latin as well as Greek is an advantage. Applicants should send a letter of application, together with a curriculum vitae and a sample of their writing (e.g., an article or chapter of a book/dissertation) to:
Dr. Michele George, Chair, Department of Classics,
McMaster University, 1280 Main West,
Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4M2,
e-mail:georgem AT mcmaster.ca;
fax: (905) 577-6930
Applications must be received by Friday, November 28, 2008, and applicants should arrange for three letters of reference to reach the Department by the same date. All documentation submitted in support of your application becomes the property of the University and is not returnable. The Department will be conducting interviews at the January 2009 meeting of the American Philological Association in Philadelphia. Applicants are encouraged to consult the departmental website at: http://www.humanities.mcmaster.ca/~classics/
All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and Permanent Residents will be given priority. McMaster University is strongly committed to employment equity within its community, and to recruiting a diverse faculty and staff. The University encourages applications from all qualified candidates, including women, members of visible minorities, Aboriginal persons, members of sexual minorities, and persons with disabilities.
The Department of Classics at the University of Toronto is soliciting applications for a tenure-stream position at the rank of Assistant Professor, to be filled by a specialist in Latin poetry with expertise in republican Latin literature and/or Roman drama. The successful applicant will have demonstrated potential for excellence in research and teaching, and will be expected to contribute to a growing and research-intensive doctoral programme and to a thriving undergraduate programme in Latin, Greek, and Classical Civilization; an ability to teach Latin and Greek literature at all levels is required. The department welcomes a wide range of methods and innovative approaches to the study of literature and is particularly interested in candidates who combine a thorough training in Classics with an interest in other disciplines in the humanities or social sciences. The Department of Classics cooperates closely with the graduate Drama Centre, the Centre for Comparative Literature, the Centre for Medieval Studies, the Women and Gender Studies Institute, and the Departments of Art, Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, and Philosophy, among others.
The appointment will begin 1 July 2009; an appropriate doctoral degree must have been earned by that date. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Applications should include: a curriculum vitae, a sample of academic writing, evidence of excellence in teaching, and a short description of the applicant’s current research plans. Applicants should also arrange to have three letters of recommendation sent to: Latin Poetry Search Committee, Department of Classics, University of Toronto, 125 Queen’s Park, Toronto, Ontario, M5S 2C7, CANADA.
To ensure full consideration, the application and all supporting documentation should be received by November 1, 2008.
The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community. The University especially welcomes applications from visible minority group members, women, Aboriginal persons, persons with disabilities, members of sexual minority groups and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.
Any enquiries about the application should be sent to chair.classics AT utoronto.ca.
... August listings up at the APA site
The Eighth Biennial
SHIFTING FRONTIERS IN LATE
"* Shifting Cultural Frontiers in Late Antiquity* "
April 2-5, 2009
The Society for Late Antiquity announces that the Eighth Biennial Conference
on Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity will be held at Indiana University
and will explore the theme "Shifting Cultural Frontiers in Late Antiquity"
[ca. 200 - 700 AD]. The confirmed plenary speakers will be Professors Jas
Elsner (Corpus Christi, Oxford) and Seth Schwartz (Jewish Theological
Beneath the familiar political and religious narrative of late antiquity
lies a cultural history both more complicated and more fascinating. Late
antiquity was a time of intense cultural negotiation in which new religious
communities and new populations sifted through existing modes of cultural
expression, adopting many elements for themselves and turning others aside.
This conference seeks to understand how cultural transformation occurred
amidst the political and religious disruption that can seem characteristic
of late antiquity. To this end, we seek contributions that explore three
distinct areas of late antique cultural history: 1) the interaction of
"high" and "low" culture, 2) the impact of changing and collapsing political
centers on their peripheries, and 3) the emergence of hybrid literary,
artistic, and religious modes of expression. Possible contributions to
these areas may highlight the permeable division between elite and
vernacular culture, the ease with which cultural memes were transmitted
across geographic and linguistic boundaries, the adaptability of established
cultures to new political and social realities, and the degree to which
newcomers were integrated into existing cultural communities.
As in the past, the conference will provide an interdisciplinary forum for
ancient historians, philologists, Orientalists, art historians,
archeologists, and specialists in the early Christian, Jewish, and Muslim
worlds to discuss a wide range of European, Middle-Eastern, and African
evidence for cultural transformation in late antiquity. Proposals should be
clearly related to the conference theme. They should state both the problem
being discussed and the nature of the new insights or conclusions that will
Abstracts of not more than 500 words for 20-minute presentations may be
submitted via e-mail to Prof. Edward Watts,
*shifting.frontiers.8 AT gmail.com*(Department
of History, Indiana University, Ballantine Hall, Rm. 828, 1020
East Kirkwood Avenue, Bloomington, IN 47405-7103, USA). The deadline for
submission of abstracts is October 15, 2008. The submission of an abstract
carries with it a commitment to attend the conference should the abstract be
The final submission deadline for the AIA's 110th Annual Meeting, to
be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, January 8-11, 2009, is less
than two weeks away.
The full Call for Papers and submission instructions are available on
the AIA website (www.archaeological.org). Please be sure to review
these instructions prior to submitting your abstract or session. All
submissions must be made by means of online submission via the AIA
website. The program committee is particularly keen to receive
submissions on the following topics: European Prehistory; Ancient Near
East; new methods of research and analysis, and thematic papers from
any region or period that address use of sacred space, funerary art
and practices, patterns of urbanism, and identifying ethnicity in the
physical record. All submissions, of course, must pass the PAMC's
vetting process to be put onto the program. As with past meetings, all
submissions must be made electronically. The online submission forms
and supporting documents are available on the AIA website.
* View the 2009 Call for Papers -http://www.archaeological.org/webinfo.php?page=10454
? Online Submission Forms -http://www.archaeological.org/webinfo.php?page=10193
CALL FOR PAPERS
The Southwest Texas Popular Culture Association/American Culture
Association will once again be sponsoring a session on CLASSICAL
REPRESENTATIONS IN POPULAR CULTURE (formerly entitled “Classical Myths
in Recent Literature and Film”) at the 30th Annual meeting to be held
February 24-28, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Conference Hotel in downtown
Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Papers on any aspect of Greek and Roman antiquity in contemporary
culture are eligible for consideration. Papers focused on the following
themes are particularly welcome:
Classical themes in contemporary art
Classical references in popular music
Classics and Western film
Classic sword and sandal films
Modern representations of Greek and Roman women
Roman history in contemporary literature and film
Classical references in advertising and marketing
Classics on the internet
Classical representations in popular culture and pedagogy
Other possible topics include (but are not limited to): film versions of
ancient myths; modern adaptations of Classical material in film,
television, music, or literature; the Classical heroic figure in modern
film or literature; Classical period historical fiction in modern film
or literature; Greek epic or drama in popular culture; and Greek and
Roman mythology in children's film, television, or literature.
Presentations will be limited to 15 minutes.
Submit abstracts of 500 words or fewer to Kirsten Day at
kirstenday AT yahoo.com. The priority deadline for abstract submissions is
NOVEMBER 15, 2008, and the final deadline is DECEMBER 1, 2008.
Information about the site, travel, graduate student awards, guest
speakers, special events, a complete list of areas, and other conference
matters can be found on the conference website:
See you in Albuquerque!
Archaeologists have uncovered two 1,800-year-old Roman stone coffins at a dig on the site of a former office building in Newcastle, UK.
These coffins are thought to have been used to bury members of a rich and powerful family from the nearby walled fort of Pons Aelius, whose West Gate would have been sited just yards away.
While the lid of one sarcophagus will be lifted soon by Durham University experts to discover what it holds inside, the other sarcophagus has already been opened and removed from the site for safekeeping.
It was found to contain the poorly-preserved skeleton of a child, aged around six years old, which was submerged in water and sludge.
The head of the child appeared to have been removed and placed elsewhere in the coffin, which was an unusual but not unknown practice in Roman times.
It is possible the first burial included the remains of an older person in the same coffin.
The sarcophagi, about 70cm wide and 180cm long, have walls around 10cm thick and weigh up to half a tonne each.
They are both carved out of a single piece of sandstone. Each lid was fixed in place with iron pegs sealed with molten lead.
According to archaeologist Richard Annis, from Durham University, They would certainly have had to belong to a wealthy family of a high status in the community, perhaps at fort commander level or at senior level in the Roman army.
Very few people could have afforded to bury their child in such a grand fashion, he added.
Other discoveries at the site, on Forth Street, include cremation urns, providing evidence of other Roman burials on site; and, a cobbled Roman road which experts believe may have been part of the old main road from the South of England to the North.
Also discovered were a Roman well and a Medieval well; the remains of the foundations of Roman shops and workers homes, along with the remains of flint tools from Stone Age hunter-gatherers.
From the Moscow Times
Impressionist art is hardly a rarity in Moscow. In fact, a large part of the Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts' original collection was made up of French Impressionist paintings. But the new exhibition of Edgar Degas' illustrations for two books, which opened this week at the Museum of Private Collections, is something special.
"This is the first time that all of the illustrations have been exhibited together," said Anna Chudetskaya, the exhibition's curator. "This is a unique opportunity to see rare and unfamiliar works by one of the most enigmatic members of the Impressionist movement."
The Pushkin Museum's large Impressionist collection was acquired before the Revolution by the Moscow merchants Ivan Morozov and Sergei Shchukin. Degas, however, is a relative rarity in Russia. By the early 20th century, Chudetskaya explained, he had become something of a classic, and thus less of a draw for the two collectors, whose great talent lay in discovering relatively unknown or underappreciated artists.
But now, 100 years after Morozov and Shchukin, the artist and private collector Yuri Petukhov is reviving the old tradition and filling in the gaps. "Over the last few years, Petukhov has been focusing on French art, and more specifically, graphic art," Chudetskaya said. Among his recent finds are two rare volumes published by the art collector and bibliophile Ambroise Vollard, with illustrations by Degas. These two works are now being exhibited in the Gallery of Private Collections.
Degas' illustrations, which were originally included with the books in loose-leaf print portfolios, occupy the walls of an entire floor of the gallery. The books themselves, Lucian's "Dialogs of the Courtesans" and Ludovic Halevy's "The Cardinal Family," are on display in two glass cases in the center of the room.
Neither book came out during the artist's lifetime, Chudetskaya said. "The prints that serve as illustrations for 'Dialogs of the Courtesans' were not actually created for the purpose," she said. They represented Paris' seedy underworld and were shown only to a few of Degas' close friends.
"They reveal a side of Degas that most are unfamiliar with," she said. Degas' "public art" had to pass "his internal censor," and so, as long as he lived, the world remained ignorant of what she describes as his "ruthless depiction of Paris' darker side."
Even after his death, the prints were rarely seen. "Many of them were destroyed by Degas' brother in an attempt to preserve the artist's reputation, and those that survived were auctioned off and scattered among various private collectors," Chudetskaya said.
It was only in the 1930s, almost 20 years after Degas' death, that Vollard published some of the prints as illustrations to Lucian's work.
According to the exhibit's catalog, Vollard was at first unsure whether he could use Degas' depictions of modern brothels as illustrations for a classical text on the same subject. He went so far as to ask an expert on antiquity if the courtesans of Ancient Greece could have worn stockings. Apparently, the answer -- that they probably did wear them, because they would have needed a place to put their earnings -- was enough to overcome Vollard's initial skepticism.
The illustrations to Halevy's "The Cardinal Family" were not published during Degas' lifetime for a different reason, Chudetskaya said. Since the story is told in the first person, Degas decided to use the author's likeness in some of his illustrations. Halevy, however, was not amused at being portrayed as a member of the morally suspect world of his characters and refused to accept Degas' contribution.
But the illustrations were finally published alongside the book after Degas' death, again thanks to the efforts of Vollard. The complex process of turning Degas' monotypes, which could only be produced once, into reproducible etchings took 3 1/2 years.
"Today, the original monotypes are scattered among various museums and private collections and some are considered to be lost," Chudetskaya said. But the prints from the books that are on display provide a fascinating insight into a little-known side of Degas' work. "One of the copies was even purchased by Picasso," she said.
I'm not sure what the evidence is for 'stocking'-wearing in Greece. We know of the Roman soccus, and a number of sites make vague reference to 'stockings' being worn by slaves in Greece ... similiter, stockings are only useful for keeping earnings of the paper variety, no? I think someone was pulling M. Vollard's leg ...
From the Times
With the number of tourists in Rome down by 5 per cent this summer — thanks to the credit crunch and the strong euro — the city fathers have come up with a scheme to bring back the crowds: a Disneyland-style theme park depicting life in Ancient Rome, complete with gladiators and Julius Caesar.
It might be thought that Rome already has enough genuine marvels to offer, from the Colosseum, the Forum and the Pantheon to St Peter’s and countless Renaissance palaces and Baroque churches. But Nazzereno Sacchi, the head of the Roman traders’ association, said that 2008 was proving a “black year” for tourism, and that thousands of waiters, cooks and hotel staff were having to be laid off.
In response, the new right-of-centre Rome administration plans to build the Ancient Rome theme park on a site of 400-500 hectares (988-1,235 acres), yet to be chosen. Mauro Cutrufo, the deputy mayor, said: “Our model is EuroDisney in Paris.” The aim was to have the “family friendly entertainment park” open for customers within three to four years, he said.
Instead of Pirates of the Caribbean, visitors would be offered rides through a replica of the Colosseum, where they could watch gladiators fighting each other or wild animals, as the Emperor looked on. The park would offer attractions based on life both in republican Rome, ending with the murder of Julius Caesar and civil war, and the power and might of the Roman Empire.
Mr Cutrufo said that he was looking for private investment in the theme park to the tune of €700-€800 million (£555 million£635 million), and calculated that it would bring an extra three million people a year to the Eternal City. A feasibility study would be completed next month.
Giuseppe Roscioli, head of Federal-berghi, the Italian hoteliers’ association, said that he backed the idea, provided that it was accompanied by other measures, such as the expansion and upgrading of airport facilities in the Lazio region.
Claudio Mancini, head of tourism for the Lazio region — which is controlled by the Centre Left — was sceptical. He said that Lazio was using its promotion budget of €1 million to target not only the United States and Europe but also the growing number of visitors to Italy from China, Russia, Japan, Eastern Europe and the Arab world. But a Disney-style theme park was incompatible with Rome’s character and urban preservation plan.
“I say no to Americanisation,” Mr Mancini said. There were, in any case, considerable planning regulation hurdles to overcome, since “500 hectares is no small amount of land”.
The omens from previous schemes are not auspicious. Plans were mooted to transform the set of the television drama series Rome — which boasted 20,000sq metres (215,000sq ft) of streets, squares, temples and shops in Ancient Roman style — into a theme park, but a destructive fire a year ago at the Cinecittà film studios appears to have put paid to the idea.
Ten years ago a plan was announced for an Ancient Rome theme park called Roma Vetus near Orvieto, 50 miles north of the capital, with two-thirds scale reproductions of the Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Baths of Caracalla and the Pan theon. Originally due for completion by 2000, the park has yet to be constructed.
There are still some news reports kicking around about Roma Vetus ... here
... and here
coverage from that time drops some more names ...
The screams of agony from the soldier echoed through the ballroom-turned-theater, forcing a hushed whisper among those witnessing his sudden break with reality.
He was no longer with his wife, seated beside him on the stage; no longer with his comrades. In his mind, he was back on the battlefield, killing his enemy — the price of years of combat stress from witnessing war's horrors.
In this "Theater of War," the wounds date back millennia and the words spoken by actors are translated from Greek, but they speak to Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans and the doctors and therapists who treat them.
"I wanted to keep the pain to myself, son, but now it cuts straight through me. Do you understand? It cuts straight through me," the lead character in the play "Philoctetes" tells a comrade.
Those hidden wounds and their effect on family members and caregivers were the focus of the Greek readings at a three-day combat stress conference hosted by the Marine Corps that addresses post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression brought on by combat.
Just like the characters in the tragedies of Sophocles' "Ajax" and "Philoctetes," many of the Marines and sailors in the audience Wednesday night know the damage isn't always on display.
"I found that even 2,500 years ago Sophocles was using words like 'shell-shocked' and 'the thousand-yard stare.' Those are things that you hear today," said retired Lt. Col. Jay Kopelman, who fought in the fierce Iraq battle of Fallujah in November 2004.
"I know it's a bit odd to have Greek plays read to a conference of military people," said actor David Strathairn, best known for his Oscar-nominated role in "Good Night, Good Luck," who read the role of Philoctetes. "But you read these plays and you understand they are the first investigations into the condition of war in Western civilization."
Roughly 40,000 troops have been diagnosed with PTSD since 2003, making identifying and treating troops a priority. Earlier this year, Defense Secretary Robert Gates urged troops to get psychiatric counseling for wartime mental health problems, saying it wouldn't count against them if they apply for national security clearances for sensitive jobs.
"I don't know if the readings are going to get anyone to admit they have a problem. My goal is to open up a space for dialogue," said Bryan Doerries, who directed and translated the ancient plays.
Doerries was inspired to produce the performance by Dr. Jonathan Shay, author of the psychology book "Achilles in Vietnam," who took the position that Greeks used theater as a way to reintroduce combat veterans into society through the plays of Sophocles and others.
"We know that Greek drama was theater for combat veterans by combat veterans," Doerries said.
In the first-of-its kind readings for military personnel, Doerries said he selected the two plays because they were textbook cases of PTSD, even though the Greeks didn't have a term for it.
In Sophocles' "Ajax," the play follows the story of a combat veteran who slips into depression and attempts to kill his commanding officer only to be shamed by his actions and later have his wife and comrade try to talk him out of suicide.
"Philoctetes" tells the story of a wounded soldier left behind by his army, which then returns for him in the last year of the Trojan War. But Philoctetes struggles with the emotional trauma of accepting medical care from an army he longer trusts.
To make the plays more palatable to a modern audience, Doerries updated the language. But some of the signature lines in "Ajax" that describe his mental state translated through the ages to the more than 300 people in the audience.
Some women in the audience nodded their heads when Ajax's wife, played by stage actress Heather Raffo, intoned: "A divine madness poisoned his mind, tainting his name during the night."
Each 40-minute reading was met with a standing ovation, and a nearly two-hour discussion followed with Marines and their wives lining up to share their stories and their take on the Greek tragedies.
Kopelman, who wrote the memoir "From Baghdad with Love: A Marine, the War and Dog Named Lava," said he was also taken by a scene in "Philoctetes" where two soldiers bond over their dead comrades.
"That's something all warriors can relate to," he said.
Retired Navy Capt. Bill Nash, a psychiatrist who was embedded with troops in 2004 in Iraq, said the story of Philoctetes brought back memories of a counseling session with a Navy corpsman who suffered from PTSD brought on by a combat-related experience.
Nash said the corpsman had promised a scared, young Marine private that he would make sure to look after him during the battle of Fallujah. The private was cornered by insurgents during house-to-house fighting and killed, calling out for the corpsman as he died.
The suffering Ajax's wife endured while coping with her husband's demons moved Marshele Carter Waddell to tears. Waddell is the mother of a Marine and wife of a Navy SEAL diagnosed with PTSD in 2005 after multiple deployments.
"I don't think much has changed at all," she said of the plays' relevance today. "The war came home with my husband all four times."
FINAL CALL FOR PAPERS
9TH UNISA CLASSICS COLLOQUIUM
University of South Africa, Pretoria
DATE: October 23 - 25, 2008
THEME: Greeks, Romans, Africans
Prof Karla Pollman, University of St Andrews
Prof John Hilton, University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban)
Prof Jo-Marie Claassen, University of Stellenbosch.
Contributions are invited on topics related to the reciprocal relationship
between Africa and the cultures of Greece and Rome. Papers dealing with
ancient authors writing about Africa or with an African connection,
historical and archaeological issues, as well as the reception of the
classical world in Africa are welcomed. While the colloquium focuses on
classical material, we encourage proposals from related fields and of an
Papers are limited to 45 minutes. Please submit abstracts of appr. 200
words via e-mail attachment to bosmapr AT unisa.ac.za by 10 September 2008.
The body of your email should include your name, institution, department,
e-mail address, and the title of your paper.
The Unisa Classics Colloquium is a pleasant and intimate conference in a
relaxed atmosphere with ample opportunity for discussion. Over two and a
half days, appr. 20 papers from scholars across the world are presented.We
avoid parallel sessions to promote unity and focus in the conference, and
attendants get to know one another properly. We also try to show guests
from abroad a little of the country during the conference.
The colloquium takes place on the main campus of the University of South
Africa in Pretoria, capital of the Republic of South Africa. Among other
attractions, Pretoria is famous for its Jacaranda trees, which are in full
bloom at the time of our colloquium
We start on Thursday morning the 23th and end at lunch time on Saturday
the 25th of October. This means that you should preferably book your
flight to arrive on the 24th already. You may book your ticket out for
Saturday evening, but that might have cost implications (staying for a
Saturday night often reduces the ticket price considerably) and you will
lose out on the Pilanesberg outing (se below).
A preliminary programme will be published soon at:
Full conference: R350-00 (including coffees, teas, snacks and lunches)
Per day: R120-00
You may work on an exchange rate of roughly ZAR 7.50/$ or ZAR 15/£.
Postgraduates, other students and interested parties not able to claim
their conference fees back from their institutions should please contact
me for a discount.
Transport from and to the OR Tambo / Johannesburg International Airport to
be arranged. During the colloquium a university vehicle transports
participants between the guest house and the university in the mornings
Pretoria offers a variety of accommodation. For logistical reasons, we
prefer that all guests stay at the Brooklyn Guest Houses
(http://www.brooklynguesthouses.co.za/) situated in a safe and attractive
neighbourhood close to Unisa, the University of Pretoria, and the Brooklyn
and Hatfield shopping centres. Single rates are currently ZAR490-00
p.p.p.d. including breakfast. There are limited rooms available, so please
indicate your choice to me as soon as possible. I will make a single
booking for the group.
You are welcome to enquire about alternative possibilities.
You are free to experience the local cuisine on your own, or join the rest
of us for an organised outing to one of the Pretoria restaurants after the
We plan a trip for Sunday 26 October to the Pilanesberg Game Reserve, 1½
hours drive west of Pretoria where the Big Five may be seen (if we are
lucky) in their natural habitat. Transport will be provided, and the
entrance fee for day visitors is minimal (R20 pp.)
Prof. Pollmann has agreed to give a seminar on a topic of her current
research on Monday, 27th of October at Unisa. You are welcome to
participate should you still be around.
The possibility exists – should the contributions be of sufficient
quality - that we may publish the colloquium papers in an edited volume on
the theme. Inclusion of articles is not automatic, since submitted papers
will be peer reviewed. If you would consider submitting your paper to be
published, please indicate that to me via return mail for further
guidelines on style.
Further enquiries relating to the colloquium should be directed to Philip
Bosman at the e-mail and postal addresses given above.
From Villagio Globale
A giudizio del direttore della missione, prof. Attilio Mastrocinque dell'Università di Verona, potrebbe essere il Mundus della città romana, vale a dire il tempio delle divinità infere
La campagna di scavi nell'area archeologica di Grumento Nova (Potenza), organizzata dall'Università di Verona, a cura del prof. Attilio Mastrocinque e del dott. Massimo Saracino, ha consentito di proseguire l'attività di recupero di un tempio rotondo, decorato da una cornice modanata in marmo, che, a giudizio del direttore della missione, prof. Attilio Mastrocinque, potrebbe essere il Mundus della città romana, vale a dire il tempio delle divinità infere, la porta fra il mondo dei vivi e quello dei morti.
Lo ha riferito lo stesso responsabile della campagna prof. Mastrocinque in una relazione inviata all'assessore regionale alla Formazione-Lavoro-Cultura Antonio Autilio, il quale ha espresso compiacimento per i risultati conseguiti nell'attività di scavo. Autilio ha quindi sottolineato l'impegno della Giunta regionale di affidare al Comune di Grumento Nova la predisposizione dello studio di fattibilità dell'istituendo «Parco Archeologico della Val d'Agri» e la destinazione di un fondo di 2 milioni di euro, nell'ambito del Programma Operativo Val d'Agri, per la riqualificazione di un'area più vasta, che comprende il lago del Pertusillo, di rilevanza oltre che archeologica anche naturalistico-ambientale, e che consentirà di compiere un salto di qualità negli interventi di valorizzazione dei beni culturali ed ambientali della Val d'Agri.
Quanto ai risultati della campagna di scavi, sempre il prof. Mastrocique ha detto che «una bella sorpresa è stata la scoperta di una parte di iscrizione dell'imperatore Claudio (41-54 d.C.), che si unisce ad un frammento già rinvenuto nel 2004. Uno fra i punti critici per la ricostruzione della storia di Grumento – a parere del professore dell'Università di Verona - è l'ambiente posto accanto al Cesareo, tempio del culto imperiale. Qui la dott.ssa Federica Candelato sta mettendo in luce, uno ad uno, i molteplici pavimenti, che, con gli oggetti che vi sono racchiusi, servono a ricostruire le fasi di vita del centro grumentino. La piazza del Foro viene indagata dal dott. Ugo Fusco, che ha scoperto un canale di deflusso delle acque, che correva sotto il bel selciato lapideo.
Contemporaneamente agli scavi, dal 28 luglio al 2 agosto si è svolto a Grumento Nova un corso estivo per studenti di archeologia. Il tema trattato è stata l'archeologia preventiva: argomento quanto mai attuale, vista la normativa in corso di definizione al fine della tutela dei beni archeologici nell'ambito dei lavori pubblici e delle grandi opere.
Le lezioni sono state mirate anche all'aggiornamento nelle metodologie della prospezione del sottosuolo. Geo-radar, magnetometria, resistività del terreno, tomografia sono le tecniche attualmente in uso per l'indagine preventiva delle realtà archeologiche presenti nel sottosuolo. I docenti che tengono lezione sono dell'Università di Verona, dello Iuav di Venezia, del centro di eccellenza dell'Università di Perugia, della Fondazione Lerici, della Soprintendenza archeologica della Basilicata. Il Comune di Grumento Nova ha patrocinato l'iniziativa, ospitando i corsi e gli allievi, che sono arrivati da tutte le regioni d'Italia.
All'inizio di agosto i docenti di architettura dell'Università Iuav di Venezia hanno organizzato a Viggiano un altro corso dedicato all'elaborazione informatica delle immagini dei monumenti archeologici. Il corso è stato coordinato dal prof. Francesco Guerra, coadiuvato dal viggianese dott. Dario Cianciarulo ed era destinato a far apprendere metodologie avanzate nella creazione ed elaborazione di immagini digitali, oltre che all'acquisizione di immagini a due o tre dimensioni di monumenti mediante strumenti e programmi specifici. Il Comune di Viggiano ha sponsorizzato l'iniziativa. Entrambi i corsi hanno come oggetto, prima di tutto, la migliore conoscenza del patrimonio archeologico della città romana di Grumentum, perla dell'archeologia della Val d'Agri, nel cui Foro sono riprese le indagini archeologiche da parte dell'Università di Verona. Un lavoro enorme è in corso per studiare i numerosi reperti venuti in luce negli ultimi anni. Giovani studiosi di varie Università, coordinati dalla santarcangelese Teresa Perretti, da Barbara Lepri ed Elisa Tommasella.
Nel frattempo il direttore del Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Grumento Nova sta portando in luce tombe romane, con iscrizioni e corredi di grande interesse. Gli scavi da lui condotti sono stati resi necessari dai lavori per l'ampliamento del museo, il quale si trova collocato in una zona di grande interesse archeologico: tra l'acquedotto romano, l'area sacra di epoca lucana e la chiesa medievale di S. Marco. In settembre inizieranno indagini archeologiche presso la chiesetta di San Laverio, in un'altra area di necropoli romane. Qui lavorerà un'équipe dell'Università di Bari guidata dalla prof.ssa Bertelli.
There are some very nice Roman remains at Grumentum ... some Flickr photos here
... folks with JSTOR access might be interested in A. L. Frothingham, Circular Templum and Mundus. Was the Templum Only Rectangular? American Journal of Archaeology
, Vol. 18, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1914), pp. 302-320
Archaeologists in Rome have unearthed the colossal portrait head of the Roman empress Faustina, wife of the emperor Antoninus Pius, who ruled from A.D. 138 to 161.
The find comes almost exactly one year after archaeologists discovered the remains of a colossal 16 foot statue of the emperor Hadrian (A.D. 117-138) at a spot about 6 m (20 feet) away.
Both the Hadrian statute and Faustina head come from the largest room of the Roman Baths at Sagalassos, which have under excavation for the past 12 years.
This roomcross-shaped, with mosaic floors, and up to 1250 sq. meterswas most likely a cold room or frigidarium.
Earlier, the researchers though that the Faustina head probably belonged to Vibia Sabina, who was only 14 years old when she was forced into marriage with Hadrian.
But it was clear once the head, which was face down, was turned over, that it represented a woman more mature than as Sabina was usually portrayed.
The head is 0.76 m in height (2.5 feet). It has large, almond-shaped eyes (only the tear ducts are rendered, not the iris or pupils as became usual during the reign of Hadrian) and fleshy thick lips.
Its hair is parted in the middle of the front and taken in wavy strains below and around the ears toward the back.
On top of the head is a circlet, a feature typical for most of Sabinas portraits, yet in this case the whole physiognomy of the face clearly indicates it is the empress Faustina the Elder, wife of Hadrians successor Antoninus Pius.
Not sure why ThaIndian (or rather the ANI) seems to always be first off the mark on these things lately ... in the past few minutes, though, the BBC
has posted their version, which includes a photo:
The i.d. seems right to me (unlike the Julius Caesar thing
, which I still doubt) ... here's a comparative bust from VRoma
Classical Association of Scotland
CALL FOR PAPERS: THE END OF ANCIENT EMPIRES
University of Edinburgh, 19-20 June 2009
The Classical Association of Scotland (founded 1902) invites offers of papers on any aspect of the above theme for its first annual conference in a new format, to be held in Edinburgh, 19-20 June 2009.
We envisage a primary focus on the fall (or otherwise) of Rome, but welcome contributions, from both experienced and younger scholars, on the decline, fall, or transformation of other ancient empires or hegemonies. The keynote speaker will be Professor T. D. Barnes (Toronto/Edinburgh).
Papers should be 20 minutes long, and will be followed by 10 minutes of discussion.
Please send abstracts (500 words or less) by e-mail attachment to the Secretary, Dr Costas Panayotakis (C.Panayotakis AT classics.arts.gla.ac.uk) by 28 November 2008.
From Il Tempo
LONGANO Ha più di duemila anni la maschera di bronzo rinvenuta qualche tempo fa in territorio di Longano. È databile alla prima meta' del VI secolo a.C." A parlare della scoperta il soprintendente ai Beni Archeologici della Regione Molise Mario Pagano.
«Fin dall'inizio non abbiamo avuto dubbi sulla sua autenticità - ha spiegato qualche tempo fa Pagano a RaiUtile - visto che da un sopralluogo effettuato sul sito del ritrovamento sono stati raccolti numerosi frammenti, databili dalla fine dell'età del ferro all'eta' arcaica. Il contesto archeologico, il luogo, lo stile non danno dubbi sul fatto che sia vera. Questo e' stato in parte confermato dalle analisi in corso presso l'Istituto Centrale del Restauro e dai restauratori che hanno condotto gli interventi di conservazione". Rimane avvolta nel mistero la funzione della maschera. Per il soprintendente Pagano: "L'oggetto riporta dei fori praticati in epoche diverse a scopo di riparazione, che testimoniano un uso prolungato nel tempo. Quindi, la maschera doveva essere applicata ad un supporto o a un volto. Due sono le ipotesi. La prima e' che venisse indossata in cerimonie rituali da personaggi di altissimo rango della comunità sannitica locale. La seconda e' che fosse parte di uno xoanon, ovvero un immagine di culto, di fattura magnogreca e di epoca arcaica, di cui rappresentava il volto."
Gli xoana sono statue di vari materiali, come legno, metalli o avorio, di epoca arcaica, sul cui volto poteva essere applicata una maschera, come nel caso del Guerriero di Capestrano (VI sec. a. C.).
Infine sulla provenienza della maschera, Pagano ha spiegato a RaiUtile potrebbe trattarsi di un manufatto magnogreco, proveniente da Cuma o Taranto, attraverso la rotta dell'ambra che passava per l'Adriatico. L'oggetto testimonia inoltre un deciso influsso magnogreco in ambito sannitico, gia' in età arcaica.
... alas, no photo ...
From the Ambler Gazette
Five Upper Dublin High School students won 33 awards from the National Junior Classical League Convention and Latin language competition in Ohio this month.
The convention was held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, from July 28 to Aug. 2. More than 1,000 students from across the nation represented their schools' Latin clubs and explored their love for the language by competing in sports, Latin academic testing and the arts.
Upper Dublin students Katie Blood, Jenny Chen, Devin Kees, Charlotte Weinstein and Julie Zauzmer attended the convention. The five returned home with awards in categories ranging from photography, swimming, dramatic interpretation, academic testing, essay writing, sight reading of Latin, graphic arts projects and swimming.
The Upper Dublin Team traveled to the convention with Mary Jane Koons, Upper Dublin advisor for the Junior Classical League and Latin teacher for Upper Dublin High School.
Koons said Upper Dublin was the only school in Pennsylvania to send students to the national convention this year. The Upper Dublin team also competed in the state Junior Classical League Convention at Penn State University in May.
Koons said the students' preparation for the Latin games started with their participation at the state convention's contest in Latin related history and vocabulary testing, graphic and creative arts and athletics.
Koons has been taking students to the conventions since about 1998 and encourages them to participate because, she said, it provides them with a unique learning and bonding experience and a positive exchange of ides.
"I feel that they are able to extend their skills and knowledge beyond the classroom and learn so much by doing it. Also, at the convention itself the students are able to associate with Latin students from other states," Koons said.
Weinstein, a senior at the high school, attended the national convention for the third time. Weinstein earned fourth place in sight Latin reading poetry and won third place for dramatic interpretation of a passage from the Aeneid. Weinstein, who has been taking Latin classes since seventh grade, said she enjoys meeting other students interested in Latin.
Weinstein said each of the students who attended scored in the top five for at least one event each.
"It's really exciting because Latin is one of the smaller languages at our school, so it is nice to see a group of people who are interested in the same subject," she said.
Weinstein and Zauzmer both competed in the creative arts and won awards for oratories and dramatic interpretation. Weinstein placed 10th overall, and Zauzmer placed sixth.
Zauzmer has taken Latin since eighth grade. This was her third year attending the convention, and she won third place overall for editing a newsletter - The Keystone - for the state's Junior Classical League.
Zauzmer said she enjoys acting in Latin during the dramatic interpretation contests and looks forward to attending each year.
"Once you go you have to go back. The convention makes you see that there is no way that Latin is a dead language," Zauzmer said.
From the Press-Register
John Shaw of Lower Fish River, Ala., was stumped by a word he found in the comic strip "Monty" in the Baldwin Register.
In the strip, Monty's intellectual sidekick is translating a conversation he's having with a dolphin, and Monty asks, "What kind of conversation could you possibly have with a stupid fish?"
In response, said the intellectual, the dolphin reminded him that it was a mammal, not a fish, and "He said something unflattering and fescennine about primates."
"I don't know what it meant, and couldn't find that word in my dictionary," said John.
Fortunately, Bubba does the maintenance on Professor Claptrap's Fiat, and the professor once accused him of using fescennine language while using a regular wrench to loosen a rusty bolt that needed a metric wrench because Homer was using his metric tools on Sherman Grant's old Yugo.
The professor's ancestors on his mother's side were Etruscans — the people who brought civilization to Italy before Rome stole the show. In the Etruscan city of Fescennia, the people developed a talent for dirty lyrics, and were famed for scurrilous verse sung at hick weddings. Maybe they developed their vernacular from cussing at their Latin neighbors.
Anyway, "fescennine" now means "indecent, especially using coarse and vulgar language."
"There once was a girl from Virginia," said Floyd, "who talked like a rube from Fescennia."
"Hush," said Bubba. "Miss Lulabelle's in the ladies' room, and she might hear you."
... alas, the comic does not seem to be online
any more ...
University of Kent
11th & 12th October 2008
The Italians on the Land: changing perspectives on Republican Italy then and now
The study of Italy under the Roman Republic is currently enjoying something of a resurgence in popularity. New techniques and ideas are being brought to bear on old questions with interesting results. This conference aims to look at Italy from an Italian as well as from a Roman perspective.
However, its remit is intended to be quite broad, looking at a broad range of areas covering:
Agricultural & Economic history.
Population movements & urbanisation
Settlement pattern trends.
Reform under the Republic.
For full details please follow the link below:http://www.kent.ac.uk/secl/researchevents/Italians/index.html
Tip o' the pileus to Patrick Swan for passing along a link to a series of photos like this:Trendhunter Magazine
has more photos of the 'photographic sculpture' of Eugenio Recuenco which recreate (in spirit, at least) some of those Parthenon frieze sculptures ... semi-related: I'm sure there are many Queen's grads out there who remember R. Hope-Simpson's one-man creation of the pediment of the Temple of Zeus at Olympia ...
suggests some more sword-and-sandal projects are underway:
Hollywood’s latest love affair with the toga, which heated up after DreamWorks-Universal’s "Gladiator" nabbed $458 million worldwide at the B.O. and a best picture Oscar, is starting to rival the output of the 1950s when such pics as "The Robe," "Quo Vadis" and "Ben-Hur" hit the bigscreen.
Now, Zak Penn is taking a stab at Greek life. The scribe, who is best known for adapting such comicbook properties as "The Incredible Hulk" and "The X-Men" for the bigscreen, is writing and will produce "The Argonauts" for 20th Century Fox.
In the wake of the success of "300," sword-and-sandals pics have become a hot commodity.
Warner Bros. is moving forward with a "Clash of the Titans" remake, with Louis Leterrier at the helm, as well as a "300" sequel.
Joining the chariot race is Relativity Media, which has fast-tracked "War of Gods" about Greek warrior Theseus, who led a fight against imprisoned titans.
And at least three Hercules pics are in development around town, including Universal Pictures and Spyglass Entertainment’s "Hercules: The Thracian Wars," which Peter Berg is attached to direct. Meanwhile, Universal also has a "God of War" pic in the works, based on the epic Greek myth-inspired vidgame, with Brett Ratner attached to helm.
Fox’s version of "The Argonauts" is based on Penn’s original take on the classic Greek tale. In Greek mythology, the Argonauts were a band of heroic sailors who, in the years before the Trojan War, accompanied Jason to Colchis in his quest to find the Golden Fleece. The Argonauts name comes from the sailors’ ship, the Argo.
John Davis ("Alien vs. Predator") is also on board to produce "The Argonauts."
The Argonauts tale has spawned a number of projects, including the 1963 film "Jason and the Argonauts," as well as a 2000 NBC miniseries. DreamWorks is developing a project, also titled "The Argonauts," about a group of treasure hunters who discover the wreck of the mythological sunken ship thought to have been captained by Jason, and are transported back in time to ancient Greece.
Penn is writing "The Avengers," which is based on the Marvel comicbook.
... still no word on Vin Diesel's Hannibal flick ...
CALL FOR PAPERS for the CAC Women's Network/Réseau des Femmes Panel
Classical Association of Canada, Annual Meeting, May 12-14, 2009 in
Vancouver (University of British Columbia).
GENERATIONS OF WOMEN
The theme for this year's Women's Network/Réseau des Femmes Panel at
the CAC is "Generations of Women". This panel explores the
construction and representation of women as mothers, daughters,
sisters and grandmothers and intergenerational connections with the
body, the family and society more broadly, as well as the legacy of
women scholars in the discipline of Classics. Suggested topics
include, but are not limited to: functional and dysfunctional familial
relationships (including both public and private contexts); women and
reproduction (within medical texts, religious rituals and demography);
women in foundation myths; feminist pedagogy; contributions of 19th
and 20th century female classical scholars. This call for papers is
meant to be suggestive rather than exclusive; we welcome papers that
consider the theme from a variety of perspectives and sources of
evidence (textual, visual, and material).
Send 200 word abstracts by January 15, 2009 to Dr. Leanne Bablitz via
e-mail: email@example.com or regular mail: Dr. Leanne
Bablitz, Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies,
University of British Columbia,
BUCH C 1866 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1. Indicate on the
submission form and in the e-mail subject line that the submission is
"To be considered for the "Generations of Women" WN/RF panel."
See http://cac-scec.ca/eng/congres.html for the submission form.
For general inquiries e-mail Fanny Dolansky (fdolansky(at)brocku.ca),
Allison Glazebrook (aglazebrook(at)brocku.ca) or Kathryn Mattison
The Research Institute of Classics of the University of Wales, Lampeter
is pleased to announce the 2009 Gregynog Classics Colloquium. The
Colloquium will take place on 21-22 May 2009 in the familiar setting of
Gregynog and its theme will be 'Wealth in the Ancient World'. We aim to
gather a series of papers approaching wealth from a variety of angles:
economic and social developments, literary representations,
philosophical discussions. Archaeological and iconographical studies
will be welcome too.
We intend to offer a multi-disciplinary discussion of a complex theme,
which must necessarily rely on a variety of abilities and approaches.
The participation of graduate students is especially encouraged: we
would like to have at least one panel devoted to the presentation of
current doctoral research.
We anticipate that we would like to pursue the publication of the
Colloquium's proceedings in an edited book.
For manifestations of interest, you are welcome to email
e.bissa AT lamp.ac.uk and/or f.santangelo AT lamp.ac.uk.
The deadline for prospective papers is the 31st of October 2008.
In the latest Past and Present
, which is devoted to "Superstition in a Non-Christian Context" :
Hugh Bowden, Before Superstition and After: Theophrastus and Plutarch on Deisidaimonia
Richard Gordon, Superstitio, Superstition and Religious Repression in the Late Roman Republic and Principate (100 BCE–300 CE)
... your institution may have access
There's also a new issue of the Journal of Early Christian Studies
First page of a lengthy item in the Telegraph
Bad news for the art thieves who for years have been selling Italy's ancient treasures to foreign museums: 'Il Bulldog' is on your case. Alastair Smart meets the resolute attorney demanding their returnmore
Pasquale Camera didn't do light lunches. After a third plate of veal Napolitano, washed down by his nth glass of Barolo, the 25-stone ex-police captain galumphed his way out of a Naples restaurant, climbed into his Renault 21, and set off north for Rome. The August heat was intense, and just a few miles up the motorway, he fell asleep at the wheel, smashed into the guardrail and overturned his car. He died instantly.
Yet, as local police officers learnt from searching his glove-box, Camera was more than just the latest fatality on Italy's roads. On his death in 1995, they found photographs of 10 looted artefacts, setting off an international trail of raids, investigations and seizures that uncovered a vast antiquities-smuggling network, connecting Camera and the team of tombaroli (tomb raiders) he employed, via a pair of shady art dealers, to America's most prestigious museums.
Thirteen years after Camera's somersault off the motorway, and with an estimated 1.5 million items looted from Italy's myriad archaeological sites in the past four decades, the government is finally clamping down. Its uncompromising state attorney, Maurizio Fiorilli, has forced heavyweight art establishments such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts (MFA) in Boston, and the J.Paul Getty Museum in California, to relinquish 100 dubiously acquired masterpieces and return them to Italy. Seventy of these are now on show in a stunning state exhibition in Rome.
Nicknamed 'Il Bulldog' by the Italian media for his over-my-dead-body approach to cultural diplomacy, Fiorilli, after sealing one prickly Stateside deal, reportedly insisted on travelling with the recovered prizes, from museum to airport, and seeing them back onto their plane to Italy.
Fiorilli's office, at the Avvocatura dello Stato (Government Law Bureau), sits in the suitably historic setting of Rome's medieval backstreets. It's rather spartan inside, with sober mahogany furniture and little by way of ornament, except a huge bust of Hercules placed proudly at the front of his desk.
Though he speaks fluent English, Fiorilli has insisted that we conduct our meeting in Italian - making him speak my language, not his, would be cultural imperialism, and Fiorilli has made a career of standing up to that. Disarmingly, Il Bulldog greets me with a warm smile. But why? Have the former Getty curator Marion True and the American dealer Robert Hecht, both on trial in Rome for trading in stolen antiquities, just been found guilty? Or has he forced another chastened museum director into surrendering an Etruscan bronze or Apulian vase?
'No, neither. There's never any forcing or surrendering. Relations with the museums we've signed deals with are good,' Fiorilli tells me. 'They know we're not trying to empty their entire collections, but just addressing 38 years of illegal excavating and export of Italian artefacts'.
His dating is so precise, because 1970 was the year of the landmark Unesco Convention, by which United Nations states, in response to the rampant looting of archaeological sites worldwide, outlawed the importing of another nation's 'cultural property' without consent.
Peru, Egypt and Greece (Elgin Marbles, anyone?) are among the many states clamouring to get antiquities back from foreign museums, but Fiorilli stresses that their gripes are usually about pre-convention lootings and are very different from Italy's. 'Since 1970, whole new rules of behaviour have been in force for art-purchasing internationally, and pieces illegally trafficked after that date must return to Italy not as a concession, but as a matter of course.'
The attorney speaks from a position of strength and he knows it. Unlike his peers in Athens, Cairo or Lima, he can assert a legal, as well as a moral, right for the return of looted material: he can cite not just the Unesco Convention, but also an Italian law of Mussolini's, that from 1939 onwards any item found on its soil belongs to the Italian state. 'We've even got proof of where pieces ended up,' adds Fiorilli, pointing to half-a-dozen boxes on the shelf beside his desk, each marked in thick red ink with a different museum's name.
In their investigations after Pasquale Camera's car crash, Italian police learnt that he had been one of various 'middlemen', employing tombaroli and then selling the finds to leading Italian art dealer Giacomo Medici - head, allegedly alongside Robert Hecht, of an international smuggling ring. Medici's warehouses in Geneva were raided by police later in 1995. They discovered not only 10,000 looted artefacts but also, more significantly, Polaroid photos of a few thousand others, shot just after their excavation while many were still encrusted in soil, and accompanied by a list of their purchasers, predominantly the top museums in America.
Seen in passing ... an excerpt from Holiday Mathis' horoscope column
Leo computer inventor Steve Wozniak has the signature of a progressive. A special configuration between Jupiter, Uranus and Pallas in Steve's chart indicates his exceptional creative intelligence. Synchronously, his nickname is Woz, which is also an acronym for "Wheels of Zeus," a company he founded. Zeus is the Roman Jupiter, and a deity known for his intelligence. Brilliant!
... just in case you didn't know.
From Alpha Galileo
Ruins of a Roman temple from the second century CE have recently been unearthed in the Zippori National Park. Above the temple are foundations of a church from the Byzantine period. The excavations, which were undertaken by the Noam Shudofsky Zippori Expedition led by of Prof. Zeev Weiss of the Institute of Archaeology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, shed light on the multi-cultural society of ancient Zippori.
The discovery indicated that Zippori, the Jewish capital of the Galilee during the Roman period, had a significant pagan population which built a temple in the heart of the city center. The central location of the temple which is positioned within a walled courtyard and its architectural relation to the surrounding buildings enhance our knowledge regarding the planning of Zippori in the Roman era.
The building of the church on the foundation of the temple testifies to the preservation of the sacred section of the city over time. This new finding demonstrates not only the religious life, culture and society in Roman and Byzantine Zippori, but also that this was a city in which Jews, pagans and later Christians lived together and developed their hometown with various buildings.
The newly discovered temple is located south of the decumanus - colonnaded street - which ran from east to west and was the main thoroughfare in the city during the Roman through Byzantine period. The temple, measuring approximately 24 by 12 meters, was built with a decorated façade facing the street. The temple’s walls were plundered in ancient times and only its foundations remain.
No evidence has been found that reveals the nature of the temple’s rituals, but some coins dating from the time of Antoninus Pius, minted in Diocaesarea (Zippori), depict a temple to the Roman gods Zeus and Tyche. The temple ceased to function at an unknown date, and a large church, the remains of which were uncovered by the Hebrew University excavation team in previous seasons, was built over it in the Byzantine period.
North of the decumanus, opposite the temple, a monumental building was partially excavated this summer. Its role is still unclear, although its nature and size indicate that it was an important building. A courtyard with a well-preserved stone pavement of smooth rectangular slabs executed in high quality was uncovered in the center of the building, upon which were found a pile of collapsed columns and capitals - probably as a result of an earthquake. The decoration on these architectural elements was executed in stucco. Beyond a row of columns, an adjacent aisle and additional rooms were discovered. Two of them were decorated with colorful, geometrical mosaics.
Tom Hodgkinson writes in the Telegraph
One of the many sad developments in education lately has been the death of Latin in state schools. Instead of being taught the classics, children today are educated in severely practical matters such as media studies, PowerPoint presentations and advertising. Employers no longer offer apprenticeships: they expect schools and universities to deliver their sales force, marketing people and phone handlers fully tooled up in the latest software.
I regret my own lack of Latin. I gave up at O-level, but wish I'd done A-level and then classics at university. I did English, but why do you need to go to university to read books? As the late Jeffrey Bernard once said to me: "Why can't you read Pride and Prejudice in the ------- kitchen?"
I decided I would learn Latin and teach it to Arthur at the same time. In the kitchen. I had many reasons for this. First, if I am to continue to have my kids educated by the state - about which I have reservations, as I think the state is quite moronic - then they are never going to have Latin lessons, as they would at a private school. Under my expert tutelage, though, my children will become brilliant Latin scholars and therefore will have the pick of the universities. That means I save on school fees. Meaning less work. Meaning more time for loafing.
Latin, of course, is the basis of many languages, so a good foundation in it will help with French and Spanish. Another motivation was simply the pleasure in itself. Latin is something you learn almost for learning's sake. It is perceived as useless. Teaching Arthur while learning myself would also be a way of finding out whether I was actually capable of doing a bit of home education.
I also want to be able to understand Latin quotations in books I am reading and maybe one day read Latin poetry and drama in the original. A further thought was to write Latin epigrams, have them carved in stone and leave them lying around in the vegetable patch.
How to start? As luck would have it, I had recently been invited by a Latin teacher at the Royal Grammar School in Guildford to talk to his students about the pleasures of idling. I asked him for some guidance and he recommended something called the Cambridge Latin Course. He also translated my first epigram for me: In Terra Libertatem Quaerimus, meaning, "We Seek Freedom in the Earth."
I ordered Book One. It cost about a tenner. I sat down at the kitchen table with it. Here was a totally different world to the dry rote learning of Kennedy's Latin Primer that I remember from school. The thing is absolute genius. I was speaking Latin after two pages. The language lessons are interspersed with fascinating stories about everyday life in Pompeii, chronicling the doings of beautiful slave girls, naughty dogs, avaricious merchants, skilful painters and drunken cooks.
Luckily Arthur, aged eight, agreed and thought it was great fun too. So now I read a few pages and then go through them with Arthur. I have also followed William Cobbett's advice on teaching children. He writes that he simply left good books on the kitchen table for his son to find and read for himself, reasoning that one tends to learn much more quickly when the learning is undertaken voluntarily rather than being forced by authority.
Miraculously, this seemed to work and I actually had to drag Arthur away from the book because it was time for bed. "I just couldn't leave it alone," he said. The course also offers a host of back-up material online, which is another seduction for computer-friendly children. So may I convey to the creators of this marvellous work my deepest gratitude. Plato said that learning should be play and the Cambridge Latin Course really is fun. And if Latin is this much fun, imagine the larks we'll have when we start learning Greek…
Interesting item from the LA Times
On a recent sunny Saturday, while most Southern Californians were deployed somewhere enjoying a weekend hiatus, 20 art historians, conservators and museum officials shifted in their chairs around a long, U-shaped table in an air-conditioned conference room at the Getty Villa in Malibu, theorizing, listening and pondering out loud whose head to put on a headless 1,800-year-old Roman statue.
The result of their scholarly exchanges and deliberations would determine whether the future identity of the monumental white marble semi-nude, 2nd century male being reassembled in the Getty's workshop would be the Roman god Bacchus or the real-life boy lover of the Emperor Hadrian, known as Antinuous, or the Greek conqueror Alexander the Great.
Imagine such a group in future millenniums trying to decide whether a headless torso dating from 20th century America was originally a likeness of Elvis Presley, Truman Capote or Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Such challenges have faced collectors and curators of classical antiquity since Roman statuary began being unearthed by archaeologists in the 17th century, often missing heads and limbs and conclusive identities. The decisions made by museums through the years regarding how best to present and display these precious remains of the Greek and Roman past have reflected changing attitudes toward conservation and its purposes, aligned with improved methods and techniques.
The Saturday workshop convened by the Getty's Antiquities Conservation Department offered a case study in the current state of the rarefied craft. It wasn't until the mid-20th century that conservation became a profession and the custom of restoring damaged statues by whatever means was supplanted by the desire to display them closer to the state in which they were found.
"We undertook this because of our interest in the history of restoration," said Jerry Podany, the head of antiquities conservation at the J. Paul Getty Museum since 1985. "This piece has been apart and put back together several times."
He spoke from a podium at one end of the table, addressing his Getty colleagues, along with a delegation from Germany's Dresden State Museum, which owns the statue.
"How comfortable are we, after all these restorations, to show a statue without a head?" Jens Daehner, the German-born assistant curator of antiquities at the Getty, asked during his own formal remarks that reviewed the statue's various incarnations since its first known display in Rome in 1704, when it carried an ancient female head (not original to it), probably a likeness of Athena but restored with a helmet so as to match an image of Alexander the Great seen on Greek coins. Though this sounds contrived by today's standards of archaeology, during the Baroque era a preference for complete sculptures allowed and encouraged such improvisation.
After the statue was removed from Italy in 1733 by a Saxon prince and brought to Dresden, it was modified again to include a fig leaf and a spear, still identified as Alexander. Then in 1804, according to a contemporary catalog of the museum's collection, it became Bacchus (Dionysus to the Greeks), a result of prevailing notions about its body type and drapery style, but retained the previous head and helmet associated with Alexander -- while losing the earlier restored right arm along with the fig leaf and spear.
WHAT Podany referred to as "the unrecognized power of the restorer" was demonstrated when, during the tenure of the sculptor Emil Cauer the Elder as a restorer in the Dresden antiquities collection, the statue became "Antinuous in the guise of Bacchus," with a new head made of plaster and a new plaster right arm attached.
Then, in 1894, a new director of the museum replaced Cauer's Antinuous head with a plaster cast of another Antinuous on display in the British Museum. The right arm was again removed, and this was the state of the statue when it was placed in storage during the Dresden museum's closure due to World War II. It was not damaged during the bombing of Dresden but in June 1945 was shipped to Moscow along with the rest of the collection, regarded as the spoils of war.
By the time it was returned to Dresden by train in 1958, the statue had suffered extensive damage in transit and had broken into 158 pieces. It remained out of sight, stored in four wooden crates until those crates were air-freighted to the Getty in November.
In his remarks, Daehner mentioned the "high, wide chest" to be a signifier of Antinuous, yet the absence of long hair on the shoulders pointed again to the god of wine. "I am convinced we are dealing with a statue of Dionysus," the curator said. He also noted that a piece of paper plugged into a plastered hole turned out to be a page from a book published in 1894, but this detail did not aid the investigation.
After Marc Walton, a scientist at the Getty Conservation Institute, showed a microscopic slide of the statue's Carrara marble exterior that looked like the surface of the moon and revealed "multiple plasters, referring to different campaigns of restoration," the group adjourned to the studio to see the statue itself, headless but otherwise impressive. It rose somewhat larger than life (6 feet, 8 inches) from a wood pallet, its white torso supported temporarily by a heavy chain hoist. Seeing the statue reassembled for the first time in their lifetimes, the scholars and conservators circled it and examined the details of its drapery; the pitch, or attitude, of its interface with the platform; the fissures and lines revealing where the fragments had been attached.
The consensus seemed to be that it was more beautiful than they had thought, based on old photographs and catalog engravings. Moritz Woelk, director of the Dresden museum's sculpture collection, was visibly pleased by what he was looking at. "We imagined it to be more ugly from the photographs and fragments," he said.
Christiane Vorster, a professor at the University of Bonn who oversees the catalog of ancient sculptures at the Dresden museum, said: "What struck me most over the past two days was the quality of the sculpture -- it's so much more than just fragments."
And the Getty team was not yet done. "One of the goals," Podany said, "will be to infill some of the fractures so as to make them less disturbing."
Reflecting current methods and procedures, however, he said that anything he and the other conservators did would be "inert and reversible," compared to the old-fashioned joinery of iron pins that rusted and plaster patches that often corroded.
Yet Podany still believed in touching up the subject a bit, at least for its December unveiling at the Getty Villa. "If you show all the restoration marks," he said, "you can't see the statue."
"Frequently statues are carved from a single block of marble," said Karol Wight, curator of antiquities at the Getty, as she pointed to the obvious separation of this torso from the lower body, connected by a sizable tenon, or tongue, that fit into the bottom of the torso. When the Getty team assembled these two main pieces, it was the first time in 60 years, they had been back together.
Resolving a drama
BY LATE afternoon, when the seven-hour colloquium had concluded, the group had not reached a decision as to the clear identity of the statue. In advance of the conference, Woelk had led some at the Getty to believe that he favored restoring the head of Alexander so as to acknowledge the statue's Baroque past, but as one scholar said, "an Alexander head would mitigate the sensuality factor."
"There's no one correct solution to restoration," said Mette Moltesen, a curator of Greek and Roman sculpture from Copenhagen, "when you consider the grave misfortunes that have become some of our sculptures."
If the big mystery was not solved, the question raised earlier by Daehner about whether the museum was ready to exhibit the statue without a head turned out to be the clue to the resolution of the drama at hand. A week later, Wight announced that the statue would go on display at the Getty Villa in December without a head or any of the earlier restorations of arms or accessories; however, those heads and the missing arm will also be on view as part of an exhibition titled "Reconstructing Identity: Statue of a God From Dresden," which will illustrate the changing art and science of restoration and conservation.
"The general consensus is that the statue is more likely Dionysus rather than Antinuous," Podany said.
But the case is not closed. "Where we are right now," Podany said, "we look at each piece and try to balance points of view," with regard to what best serves the public understanding and appreciation of ancient sculptures and the images they bring us. "If someone disagrees with us in the future -- which they no doubt will -- they can add or take away from what we've done."
The labor and expertise expended by the Getty's conservators, in other words, has been devoted not to hammering a stamp of interpretation on a Roman artifact but to rescuing it to allow scholars and members of the public in the years ahead to experience the statue at some intersection of history and their own imagination.
adds some needed detail to the previous coverage:
The grave of an ancient British warrior with tantalizing Roman connections has been unearthed in southern England, archaeologists say.
The 2,000-year-old skeleton of the tribal king or nobleman was found buried with military trappings, including a bronze helmet and an ornate shield both of a style previously unknown in Britain, experts say.
The Iron Age man, who died in his 30s, was discovered in June at the site of a new housing development in North Bersted on England's southeastern coast.
"What we've found is of national and international importance," said dig team member Mark Taylor, senior archaeologist at West Sussex County Council.
Pottery—including three large jars placed at the foot of the grave—date the site to between A.D. 40 and A.D. 60, the team said.
A bronze shield boss was found along with semicircular latticework plates that are thought to have decorated the shield.
The ornate artwork is unique "certainly in the U.K. and Europe, as far as we know," Taylor said.
The scroll patterning most closely resembles that of mainland Europe's La Tène culture, named after a late Iron Age site in Switzerland, Taylor noted.
The domed helmet likely had a similar origin, according to John Creighton, an archaeologist from the University of Reading.
Creighton, who specializes in the late Iron Age period, said it appears to be a Celtic-style Mannheim helmet—the first one ever found in Britain.
While the helmet originated in Gaul—the ancient Roman name for a region of western Europe—it was also worn by Roman soldiers, Creighton noted.
A greater mystery is a large, iron-framed structure that was placed on top of the warrior's body.
The study team suspects the object was a household item intended for use in the afterlife rather than the remains of a coffin.
"My hunch is that it was some usable part of the domestic riches that went into the grave with this chap," Taylor said.
The corroded object may have been a "fire dog," which was used to burn wood inside the home, he suggested.
Experts say the burial may provide important new evidence of Roman influence in the region before the Roman conquest of England in A.D. 43.
Alliances forged by the Romans with southern tribal kings after Julius Caesar (see photo) arrived in 55 B.C. are thought to have involved taking hostages.
"One of the tempting and really exciting prospects is that the find might fulfill the theory that the sons of nobility may have been sent to Rome or sent abroad to undertake military training or to complete their education," team member Taylor said.
"It was all part of the empire-building process of that time to secure loyal, high-status client kings in the countries that were to become part of the Roman Empire."
Creighton, of the University of Reading, says the newly discovered grave adds to recent "astonishing finds of metalwork demonstrating a close link between Britain and the Roman world in the years before the conquest."
Scientific analysis of the warrior may reveal more evidence of Roman links, experts say.
"Hopefully, in six months … we'll have a lot more information," Taylor said.
For example, isotope analysis will reveal the chemical signature of the water the warrior drank, which could show if he lived overseas in his youth.
aThe tests may similarly indicate his diet, according to Steve Ford, director of Thames Valley Archaeological Services, which led the excavation.
"We might also find out what killed him—whether there had been any traumas such as broken bones or knife wounds," Ford said.
... a photo of the 'lattice work' accompanies the original article
; I can't picture how it relates to a shield ...
From Turkish Daily News
The Austrian archeological team that has been carrying out excavations in Ephesus enlarged the scope of their activity in the past months to cover the nearby tumulus Çukuriçihöyük. The team has uncovered archeologically unique relics in the ancient tumulus
Traces of ancient settlements were unearthed during excavations of a tumulus located to the southeast of the ancient city of Ephesus.
The Austrian archeological team that has been conducting excavations in Ephesus near the city of İzmir for more than a year expanded the scope of their activity in recent months to include the nearby tumulus of Çukuriçihöyük. Led by Dr. Sabine Ladstatter, the team has uncovered archeologically unique relics in the ancient tumulus. Relics shed light on ancient settlements that existed from 6,000 B.C. to 3,000 B.C.
Furthermore, the team has uncovered some relics at a site where the port of ancient Ephesus used to be. Ladstatter said they have also spent time on geophysical examinations in Ephesus in the last few months.
Concert in Ephesus' ancient open air theater
"I appreciate the public demand to watch concerts in the big theater. We plan to complete its restoration within two or three months, but to do so we need cooperation between Austrian and Turkish authorities. Restoration of the ancient open air theater in Ephesus is a genuinely big task, both for archeologists and the restoration experts. We need to strengthen the theater so that we do not have any problems in holding music concerts there. I know that not only Turks but also foreign tourists who visit Ephesus want concerts to be held in Ephesus. I hope this will happen as soon as possible," said Ladstatter.
Excavations in Ephesus did not start on the scheduled date but at a later time because the Austrian Archeology Institute was late in appointing a head for the excavation team. But since they started, excavations have been carried out intensively, said Dr. Soner Ateşoğulları, an official from the Culture and Tourism Ministry. Ateşoğulları, who is also an archeologist, said the particular excavations carried out in Çukuriçihöyük are significant because they cast light on the prehistory of Ephesus. "We now have so many new facts related to the Ephesus of prehistoric times thanks to relics we have uncovered in Çukuriçihöyük," he added.
Only 13 percent Ephesus has been unearthed so far. How long it will take to fully uncover the ancient site is unknown. "Archeologists need time. Excavating alone is the easiest part of their job. But restoration of unearthed remnants takes quite a lot time. The Culture and Tourism Ministry wants to have the uncovered remnants restored in a professional way," said Ateşoğulları, adding, "If restoration of them cannot be fully achieved, then they'd better remain under the soil."
This one from the Age
has been making the rounds:
It is possible that cricket, a game venerated all over the Commonwealth, is older than currently thought. In fact, Jesus may very well have played the game (or a similar bat and ball contraption) as a child himself, according to an ancient Armenian manuscript.
Long before the English launched cricket some 300 years ago, similar games were being played as early as the 8th century in the Punjab region, Derek Birley writes in his Social History of English Cricket.
But an Armenian scholar says there is good reason to believe that similar games were played in the Middle East long before that time.
Dr Abraham Terian, recently a visiting professor at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem as Fulbright Distinguished Chair in the Humanities, points to a rare manuscript as his source.
He notes that in the Armenian Gospel of the Infancy, translated into Armenian in the 6th century from a much older lost Syriac original, a passage tells of Jesus playing what may well be the precursor of cricket, with a club and ball.
Terian discovered the manuscript more than a decade ago at the Saint James Armenian Monastery in the Old City of Jerusalem.
His English translation of the book has been published by Oxford University Press.
He says he has now identified the same passage in a couple of other manuscripts of the same gospel of which some 40 copies exist in various archival collections in Europe and the Middle East, including the oldest copy now in Yerevan, the capital of the Armenian Republic.
The latter manuscript is dated 1239, whereas the undated Jerusalem manuscript is considerably later.
Quoting from his Armenian source, Terian says the gospel relates how Jesus, at the age of nine, had been apprenticed to a master dyer named Israel in Tiberias, on the shores of the Sea of Galilee.
"Jesus is instructed to watch Israel's house and not leave the place while the master goes away on a tour to collect clothes to be dyed. But no sooner has Israel left the house, than Jesus runs out with the boys,'' Terian says.
"The most amazing part of the story of the nine-year-old Jesus playing a form of cricket with the boys at the sea shore, is that he would go on playing the game on water, over the sea waves.''
He gives the following translation: "He (Jesus) would take the boys to the seashore and, carrying the playing ball and the club, he would go over the waves of the sea as though he was playing on a frozen surface, hitting the playing ball. And watching him, the boys would scream and say: 'Watch the child Jesus, what he does over the waves of the sea!' Many would gather there and, watching him, would be amazed.''
Terian says the story echoes allusions to Jesus' walking on the Sea of Galilee, as told in the gospels.
"But the apocryphal story shows that for a ball game even Jesus would forget work and would go to have fun with the boys!'' he says.
... I dunno, 'going over the waves as though on a frozen surface' sounds more like hockey to me ... the evidence for hockey in the early empire
has been mentioned before ...
Now that BMCR has a feed which is much easier to deal with than cutting and pasting, I can clean out a bunch of other reviews which have accumulated ... first, from Scholia:
J. D. McClatchy (ed.), Horace: The Odes. New Translations by Contemporary Poets
; Colin Sydenham (tr.), Horace: The Odes. New Verse Translation with Facing Latin Text and Notes
. (reviewed together
Hanna Boeke, The Value of Victory in Pindar's Odes
Christopher Francese, Ancient Rome in so Many Words
Paul Erdkamp (ed.), A Companion to the Roman Army
David Breeze, Roman Frontiers in Britain
Martin M. Winkler, Spartacus: Film and History
From CJ Online:
COLEMAN, Martial: Liber Spectaculorum
EDWARDS, Death in Ancient Rome
MURGATROYD, Mythical Monsters in Classical Literature
RICHARD, Greeks & Romans Bearing Gifts: How the Ancients Inspired the Founding Fathers
April D. DeConick, The Thirteenth Apostle: What the Gospel of Judas Really Says
, (here's another review
Jane DeRose Evans, The Coins and the Hellenistic, Roman and Byzantine Economy of Palestine
(here's another review
Paul L. Maier, trans., Eusebius: The Church History
Centuries-old shards of pottery mingle with spent ammunition rounds on a wind-swept mountainside in northern Afghanistan where French archaeologists believe they have found a vast ancient city.
For years, villagers have dug the baked earth on the heights of Cheshm-e-Shafa for pottery and coins to sell to antique smugglers. Tracts of the site that locals call the "City of Infidels" look like a battleground, scarred by craters.
But now tribesmen dig angular trenches and preserve fragile walls, working as labourers on an excavation atop a promontory.
To the north and east lies an undulating landscape of barren red-tinted rock that was once the ancient kingdom of Bactria; to the south a still-verdant valley that leads to the famed Buddhist ruins at Bamiyan.
Roland Besenval, director of the French Archaeological Delegation in Afghanistan and leading the excavation, is sanguine about his helpers' previous harvesting of the site.
"Generally the old looters make the best diggers," he said with a shrug.
A trip around the northern province of Balkh is like an odyssey through the centuries, spanning the ancient Persian empire, the conquests of Alexander the Great and the arrival of Islam.
The French mission has mapped some 135 sites of archaeological interest in the region, best known for the ancient trove found by a Soviet archaeologist in the 1970s.
The Bactrian Hoard consisted of exquisite gold jewelry and ornaments from graves of wealthy nomads, dated to the 1st century AD. It was concealed by its keepers in the vaults of the presidential palace in Kabul from the Taliban regime and finally unlocked after the militia's ouster.
The treasure, currently on exhibition in the United States, demonstrates the rich culture that once thrived here, blending influences from the web of trails and trading routes known as the Silk Road, that spread from Rome and Greece to the Far East and India.
But deeper historical understanding of ancient Bactria has been stymied by the recent decades of war and isolation that severely restricted visits by archaeologists.
"It's a huge task because we are still facing the problem of looting," said Besenval, who first excavated in Afghanistan 36 years ago and speaks the local language of Dari fluently.
"We know that objects are going to Pakistan and on to the international market. It's very urgent work. If we don't do something now, it will be too late."
Looting was rife during the civil war of the early 1990s when Afghanistan lurched into lawlessness. Locals say it subsided under the Taliban's hardline rule, but the Islamists' fundamentalism took its own toll on Afghanistan's cultural history.
They destroyed the towering Buddha statues of Bamiyan chiselled more than 1 500 years ago, and smashed hundreds of statues in the national museum simply because they portrayed the human form.
The opening up of Afghanistan did little to curb the treasure hunters. British author Rory Stewart, who made an extraordinary solo hike across the country in 2002, wrote how poor tribesmen were systematically pillaging the remains of a lost ancient city dating back to 12th century around the towering minaret of Jam in western Afghanistan.
State control is a little more pervasive in Balkh but still patchy. The provincial culture authority says it has just 50 guards to protect historical sites across an area nearly the size of New Jersey.
Saleh Mohammad Khaleeq, a local poet and historian serving as the chief of the province's cultural department, said the guards ward off looters, but concedes the only way to safeguard Afghanistan's rich heritage is through public education.
"People are so poor. They are just looking for ways to buy bread. We need to open their minds as they don't know the value of their history. We have to give them that knowledge and then they will protect it," he said.
Villagers hired as labourers at Cheshm-e-Shafa recall how they too used to be among hundreds of locals who would scavenge the site they are now paid 230 afghanis (about R34,41) a day to excavate.
"During the civil war everyone was involved," said Nisarmuddin, 42, who covered his face with his turban to block the dust that a stiff breeze whipped across the mountainside.
Nisarmuddin, a farmer who like many Afghans goes by one name, said people used to keep their finds secret so the local militia commander would not claim them.
They could sell items of ancient pottery and glass for a few dollars to antique dealers in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif, which lies an hour's drive down a bumpy track through the desert.
One of the Afghan culture officials working at the Cheshm-e-Shafa excavation was clearly anxious that media coverage could bring unwanted attention to the site, where archaeologists have uncovered a two-meter-tall anvil-like stone believed to have been an altar at a fire temple originating from the Persian Empire period around the 6th century BC.
"Hezb-e-Islami and Taliban and other extremists might use explosives and blow up this stone," said archaeology department official Mohammed Rahim Andarab.
Many archaeologists remain wary of working in Balkh as Islamic militancy seeps into new regions of the country. Yet the sheer breadth of history to be unearthed is enough to lure Besenval and his colleagues.
They are also restoring an ornate 9th century AD mosque. Its stout, half-buried columns, decorated with abstract floral and geometric patterns in stucco, reflect local art but also influences from central Asia, Buddhism and Persia.
Chahryar Adle, a Frenchman of Iranian descent with long experience in Afghanistan, said the mosque of Noh-Gonbad, or Nine Cupolas, is the oldest in the country and "undoubtedly it is one of the finest in the world of this period."
French archaeologists have a long association with the region. They first visited in 1924 to excavate a fortress in the nearby town of Balkh.
They hoped to find an ancient city of Alexander, whom history recounts married a local princess, Roxanne, in Bactria, in 327 BC, but left disappointed.
The mirage of Alexander also lurks over Cheshm-e-Shafa, about 30 kilometres away. The site had a strategic location at the southern entry point into Bactria with fortifications circling an area of about 400 hectares, and its network of mountaintop lookout towers suggest it was well defended.
A flat field the size of several football pitches that may have been a parade ground or barracks lies on the plain below. And the local nickname "City of Infidels" also suggests a foreign occupation at some time.
So could this have been Alexander's redoubt in Bactria, where he met the local princess Roxanne? The archaeologist allowed himself a rare foray into the realms of speculation.
"Who knows? Maybe they married in Cheshm-e-Shafa," Besenval said, smiling.
has a nice photo:
The accompanying article
also adds some interesting details absent from the previous reportage, including:
At the funerary mound, the team also discovered table pottery, glass vessels and other gifts for the funeral of a wealthy Thracian aristocrat.
In a separate pit, they unearthed skeletons of two riding horses apparently sacrificed during the funeral of the nobleman, along with well preserved bronze and leather objects, some believed to horse harnesses.
An item from Reuters
making the rounds:
Ancient Greek athletes sometimes resorted to cheating, bribing competitors and potions to secure victory at the Olympic Games, a far cry from the image of the classical sporting ideal, an expert said.
Organizers of the Beijing Olympics have vowed a drug-free Games after doping scandals have rocked the prestigious competition in recent years.
But the modern Olympics, revived in 1896 by Frenchman Baron Pierre de Coubertin as an amateur competition, have much in common with the "winning is everything" attitude of their ancient counterparts when athletes went as far as consuming wild boar manure in search of sporting laurels, academics say.
"There is a danger of making ancient Greek athletes superhuman ethical people, but they were humans like us," Hugh Ming Lee, classics professor at Maryland University, told Reuters. "There was cheating for sure, bribery for sure."
"As in modern sports, most contests were honestly competed, so I would say it was unusual but it happened," he said.
Ancient Greek and Roman athletes would bribe officials or pay competitors to ensure they secured a lucrative triumph.
"The winner simply took home a bunch of olive leaves but the pride was so great the home city would often give a cash handout to the athlete or free meals for a life-time," Lee said.
According to Greek chronicler Pausanias, whose Second Century AD texts were used as a guide to excavate Olympia, disgraced athletes had to pay for a statue of Zeus to be erected at the stadium's entrance to dissuade others from cheating.
Six statue bases still line the walkway to the arena in the Peloponnese, some 175 km (110 miles) southeast of Athens.
"Sometimes when a scandal occurs it distorts the picture because the scandal is so shocking, but some 90 percent of the athletic contests are honest. I would say it was probably the same (in ancient times)."
Roman Emperor Nero bribed officials to have Games postponed two years until AD 67 to coincide with his tour of Greece. He won the four-horse chariot race with a team of ten.
Like many Olympic competitors, Nero drank a potion of wild boars' manure supposed to give an advantage to charioteers.
"Apparently Nero wasn't the only one doing it, but is that like taking vitamins? Is that like taking an illegal drug? The distinction is not made," Lee said. "Greatness in athletics doesn't mean you are a great human being."
When the Games returned to Greece in 2004, the country was shocked when local athletics heroes Costas Kenteris and Katerina Thanou, who won sprint medals at Sydney in 2000, withdrew from competition after missing a doping test.
A more serious setback to the Games' reputation came in December, when Olympic hero Marion Jones was forced to give back her five medals after admitting to doping.
In Beijing, the World Anti- Doping Agency (WADA) will conduct 4,500 doping tests, the highest ever. Unlike ancient potions, drugs such as steroids and the human growth hormone have side-effects like kidney damage and heart diseases.
Asked if ancient Greeks would be shocked by doping scandals, Lee said they had a strong awareness of human fallibility: "If Hercules was vulnerable, why not human athletes?"
.... hmmm .... not sure of the Hercules reference there; I've also tried to track down the reference to wild boar manure to no avail ...
I believe this is somewhere near Caserta ... from Interno 18
Il ritrovamento di una villa romana di epoca imperiale non è certo una cosa che accade tutti i giorni. San Nicola la Strada ha avuto il privilegio di scoprire sul suo territorio un reperto di tale importanze e per questo l'amministrazione comunale targata Pascariello si è subito messa all'opera per tutelare un bene di importante valenza archeologica.
LA SCOPERTA – Il ritrovamento della villa romana è avvenuta nel corso dei lavori che stanno interessando la località Grotta. Là dove secondo i piani dovrebbe sorgere un'area attrezzata per ospitare la fiera mercato settimanale. Ebbene durante gli scavi gli operai hanno riportato alla luce un bene storico rimasto nascosto per secoli. Ora l’area che era già sottoposta a vincolo preventivo da parte della Soprintendenza, è stata definitivamente dichiarata di interesse archeologico
TUTELARE E VALORIZZAZIONE – Il sindaco Pascariello e l'assessore ai lavori pubblici Giovanbattista Zampella hanno subito richiesto all’ufficio tecnico comunale di redigere un idoneo progetto che preveda interventi per la salvaguardia e la valorizzazione dei reperti d'epoca romana.
From the Standard
A HUGE early Roman settlement unearthed in Cirencester is the most significant historical discovery ever made in the town, archaeologists said this week.
The encampment which covers several hectares, dates back to the late-Iron Age in the 1st century ad, and was likely to have been occupied by the first Roman settlers in Cirencester.
Alongside the exciting discovery at the Kingshill development on the A417, Oxford Archaeologists unearthed a Bronze Age burial mound dating back to 2,000 bc containing a skeleton.
County archaeologist Charles Parry said when the proposal to build 270 houses and a shop on the land came up his team recommended an excavation to retrieve the town's lost past.
"It is one of the most significant and interesting sites discovered in Cirencester. We knew that there was important archaeology there as it is very close to the major road system of the Roman town of Cirencester," he said.
"There are known to be a scatter of such farmsteads across the Cotswold landscape but what is remarkable is the size of the settlement as it is quite large and the activity on it was unusual."
The settlement enclosure contains lots of pits probably used for grain storage.
Archaeologists are now trying to find out if the settlement dates back to just before or after the Roman conquest.
Senior project manager at Oxford Archaeology, Ken Welsh said the team of 15 have found evidence suggesting there were round houses there and textile making took place.
So far they have found some loom weights made of stone and pottery and a weaving comb.
Mr Parry said: "This is one of the largest excavations in Cirencester as it covers several hectares. It seems to have been a settlement which went through various changes over time which is unusual."
The prehistoric round barrow burial mound found near to the settlement contained a central pit where what is thought to be a male skeleton was found buried with a pottery vessel known as a beaker from the late-Neolithic and early Bronze Age.
An array of prehistoric material has been found at the site including flint from various tools, polished stone axes and tools made from bone and antlers as well as highly decorated pottery.
Mr Welsh, said: "It may have been an area people came back to again and again and perhaps these materials were placed as some type of thanksgiving."
Oxford Archaeologists are hoping their painstaking research will unearth the history of who may have once lived or worked in the area.
The team, who finish their dig commissioned by Robert Hitchens and Redrow housebuilders tomorrow (Fri), will review all of the finds which will eventually go to Cirencester's Corinium Museum.
From the Beijing Olympics
site comes news of a huge painting called 'Ode to the Olympics' ... here's an excerpt:
If you look carefully, you can see Confucius, Laozi, Quyuan and Socrates taking in the action ... not sure who the gang behind them are ... check out the original article
to get a better idea of the scale of the work ...
From the List
With sculpted, Harlow-platinum wigs, gorgeously gilded corsetry and tongues in cheeks firmly set to ‘high camp’, this riotous piece of dance theatre by Company XIV merges Baroque dance forms, Can Can and contemporary ballet to music by Offenbach and Marilyn Monroe. It’s hyper-engaged, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink storytelling reminiscent of fellow off-off Broadway companies TEAM and Axis.
The Greek myth of the first ever beauty contest, where Paris chooses Aphrodite (re-imagined as a voluptuous Weimar brothel madame) in exchange for the love of Helen of Troy, becomes a messy, eroticised meditation on the construction of femininity and the blonde bombshell archetype. The overall point of the show disappears in places, but it’s told with so much zing and gusto, by dancers so comfortable with their bodies that they can find sensuality in battle as well as surprisingly tender love scenes, that the audience is carried along, whooping.
From the Make Magazine
Because it's been so popular with our viewers, this will be our third attempt at a story called Archimedes Death Ray. The myth is that the [Greek] army defended themselves from invading [Roman] ships by lining the shores with 300 soldiers. But these soldiers did not use conventional warfare. By using their mirrored shields to focus the sun's rays at the invading ships they could, the myth alleges, set the invading ships on fire and save the city.
WHAT WE NEED
300- 350 Volunteers to operate mirrors for the one day of experiment (engineering and science backgrounds preferred)
* We would require volunteers to be 18 years or older and to Pre-register with us prior to the experiment date by email.
* All volunteers would be required to sign a Participant Release/Liability waiver.
* Experiment will take place in September (date still to be determined).
* Volunteers will need to be available from 9am to 7pm and would have to bring their own lunch and transport themselves to the location (similar to going to an outdoor concert). Possible locations include the Greek Theater, Oyster Point Marina or Alameda NAS.
* We'll supply volunteers with a MythBusters T-shirt, a signed autograph card and possibly a group photo with Jamie and Adam.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
Send and email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please provide Full Name, Age and Contact Information
Please write [*MythBusters - Death Ray*] in the subject header.
MythBusters will then follow up and contact them with more details very
We've commented on Mythbusters' earlier attempts ... back in 2005
... a bit later that year
... and in 2006
... I assume they'll realize that the convex nature of ancient shields doesn't lend itself to focussing the sun's rays ...
The Charles Tesoriero Lectureship in Latin
Department of Classics and Ancient History
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI)
Faculty of Arts
The University of Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Reference No. 133684
The Department of Classics and Ancient History, within the School of Philosophical and Historical Study (SOPHI) in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Sydney, is seeking scholars of proven potential and outstanding ability to fill this lectureship.
The Department of Classics and Ancient History is internationally recognised for its excellence in research and teaching in all aspects of Greco-Roman antiquity. It collaborates closely with members of the departments of Archaeology and Philosophy whose expertise lies in the ancient world.
The Department is currently enjoying an exciting period of renewal and growth. This includes participation in the foundation in 2008 of a new Australian Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies on campus, in collaboration with the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, the Near Eastern Archaeological Foundation and others.
The Lectureship in Latin is named in memory of Dr Charles Tesoriero (1973-2005), a distinguished graduate in Latin of the department and lecturer in Classics and Ancient History at the University of New England. It is supported by a generous bequest from his estate. Researchers in all areas of Latin language and literature with a relevant PhD are encouraged to apply for the position. Latin has been an area of great historical strength in the University of Sydney since its foundation. Current expertise lies in the literature, culture and history of both the Roman Republic and Empire.
The successful applicant will be expected to teach broadly across all the major divisions of the department’s undergraduate curriculum - Latin, Greek, and Ancient History (which includes Mythology, Classical literature in translation, and various topics in the study of ancient culture) - and to participate in graduate teaching and supervision as appropriate. The successful candidature will also be expected to demonstrate outstanding research potential and contribute to the vibrant research culture of the department.
For further information on the academic staff and their areas of expertise see: http://www.arts.usyd.edu.au/departs/cah/staff/academic.shtml
The position is full-time continuing, subject to the completion of a satisfactory probation period for new appointees. Membership of a University approved superannuation scheme is a condition of employment for new appointees.
Remuneration package: $86,731 - $102,993 p.a., which includes a base salary Lecturer Level B $73,289 - $87,030 p.a., leave loading and up to 17% employer’s contribution to superannuation.
All applications must be completed online by clicking apply online below (see http://www.usyd.edu.au/positions/index.shtml). Specific enquiries about the role can be directed to Professor Peter Wilson (Chair of Department) via email: peter.wilson ATusyd.edu.au or Professor Duncan Ivison (Head of School) via email: duncan.ivison ATusyd.edu.au
Closing date: 15 August 2008
Lecturer in Classics and Ancient History (Hellenistic Culture)
Department of Classics and Ancient History
School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry (SOPHI)
Faculty of Arts
The University of Sydney, AUSTRALIA
Reference No. 133686
The Department of Classics and Ancient History, within the School of Philosophical and Historical Study (SOPHI) in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Sydney, is seeking scholars of proven potential and outstanding ability to fill this lectureship.
The Department of Classics and Ancient History is internationally recognised for its excellence in research and teaching in all aspect of Greco-Roman antiquity. It collaborates closely with members of the departments of Archaeology and Philosophy whose expertise lies in the ancient world.
The department is currently enjoying an exciting period of renewal and growth. This includes participation in the foundation in 2008 of a new Australian Centre for Classical and Near Eastern Studies on campus, in collaboration with the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, the Near Eastern Archaeological Foundation and others.
For this Lectureship, researchers in any field of ancient literature, culture and history with a relevant PhD are encouraged to apply. However, preference may be given to candidates whose specialisation lies in the Hellenistic period.
The successful applicant will be expected to teach broadly across all the major divisions of the department’s undergraduate curriculum - Latin, Greek, and Ancient History (which includes Mythology, Classical literature in translation, and various topics in the study of ancient culture) - and to participate in graduate teaching and supervision as appropriate. The successful applicant will also be expected to demonstrate outstanding research potential and contribute to the vibrant research culture of the department.
For further information on the academic staff and their areas of expertise see: http://www.arts.usyd.edu.au/departs/cah/staff/academic.shtml
The position is full-time continuing, subject to the completion of a satisfactory probation period for new appointees. Membership of a University approved superannuation scheme is a condition of employment for new appointees.
Remuneration package: up to $86,731 - $102,993 p.a., which includes a base salary Lecturer Level B $73,289 - $87,030 p.a., leave loading and up to 17% employer’s contribution to superannuation.
All applications must be completed online by clicking apply online below (see http://www.usyd.edu.au/positions/index.shtml). Specific enquiries about the role can be directed to Professor Peter Wilson (Chair of Department) via email: peter.wilson ATusyd.edu.au or Professor Duncan Ivison (Head of School) via email: duncan.ivison ATusyd.edu.au
Closing date: 15 August 2008
All sorts of things are happening in the wake of the 'state of emergency' including (!) satellite monitoring of the site (!!!) ... it hasn't hit the English press yet, so here's the Corriere del Mezzogiorno
Fari puntati sugli scavi di Pompei e sulla loro riqualificazione. Il neo commissario straordinario per l'area archeologica di Pompei, Renato Profili, non ha perso tempo e si è subito messo al lavoro per restituire decoro agli scavi e far si che il flusso turistico torni ai livelli di un tempo. Controllo satellitare sull’intera area degli scavi, riapertura ai visitatori di alcuni siti da tempo chiusi al pubblico, nuovo sistema di illuminazione pubblica da piazza Esedra a Villa dei Misteri. E ancora realizzazione di 20 fontane e di altrettanti bagni forniti di acqua corrente. Queste alcune delle inizitive messe in campo dal commissario. Per quanto riguarda la sorveglianza dal satellite è stato stipulato un accordo con l'Agenzia aerospaziale italiana per l’utilizzo del satellite «Venere» per la videosorveglianza. Nel corso dell’incontro con i sindacati, Profili ha stabilito, inoltre, che vengano aperte al pubblico le case e i monumenti finora negati ai visitatori. Profili - ha riferito il portavoce Luigi Necco - dopo aver sottolineato cha ha la facoltà di precettare il personale, ha ribadito che intende reperire il personale necessario per la sorveglianza dei siti riaperti nell’ambito degli attuali organici. In alternativa, il commissario provvederebbe con l’affidare incarichi a un istituto di vigilanza.
Ma cio che preme al neo commissario non è soltanto garantire la sicurezza all'interno dell'area archeologica. Ciò che è importante per aumentare il flusso di stranieri è l'accoglienza e i servizi offerti per far sì che la passeggiata tra le rovine e i resti dell'antica città romana sia non solo un viaggio nel tempo, ma anche una passeggiata piacevole. Da lunedì i visitatori avranno a disposizione 20 fontanelle dislocate in vari punti all’interno degli scavi, mentre i bagni chimici saranno sostituiti con 20 bagni con acqua corrente. Dal 6 agosto inoltre, dopo dieci anni di chiusura, riaprirà alle funzioni religiose la cappella di San Paolino, nell’area archeologica e saranno ripresi i lavori - fermi da due anni - di sostituzione dei cancelli e del muro di via Plinio. Durante un incontro con i dirigenti scientifici e amministrativi e con il sovrintendente Guzzo, Profili ha sollecitato la celere assegnazione degli appalti relativi al completamento dei lavori. Lavori per cui il ministero ha oggi messo a disposizione del commissariato 40 milioni di euro.
Il sindaco di Pompei - ha reso noto il portavoce - ha assicurato che «raddoppierà» l’illuminazione pubblica da piazza Esedra fino alla Villa dei Misteri. Resta un altro importante problema da risolvere, che è stato evidenziato nel corso dell’incontro con i dirigenti scientifici: la carenza di personale specializzato per la tutela di mosaici e pitture esposti alle intemperie. Per quanto riguarda, infine, l’eventuale utilizzazione dell’esercito per la tutela del sito archeologico, alla quale aveva accennato il prefetto Pansa, Profili ha detto: «faremo quello che riterrà il governo, ma crediamo di poter proteggere Pompei con le nostre forze».
From a Southeast European Times
Romanian archaeologists discovered an ancient cemetery, which experts consider the largest necropolis ever found in the Dacian area. They made their discovery in Malaia Kopalnia, Ukraine, 20km from the Romanian border. It should reveal more about the Dacians' burial rites. Women's graves contained fibulas, jewels, buckles, rings and chain loops, while the men's graves contained weapons, such as a one-bladed sword called "fica", spurs, spearheads and other objects.
... more details if they become available ...
We mentioned this one
before but Live Science via Yahoo
has more details anyway:
A mummy of a middle-aged woman dating to Ancient Greek times has been discovered in a lead coffin inside a marble sarcophagus, the first clear indication of embalming in Greece from the era when the Romans ruled there.
A research team co-led by Frank Rühli of the University of Zurich was able to show that various resins, oils and spices were used to embalm the body, dating to A.D. 300. Along with the skeleton, the methods partially preserved some soft tissues from the body, most of which are now brittle, thin and extremely desiccated, including eyebrows, a muscle in the hand, hair and blood cells.
Rühli told LiveScience that this a "unique finding for this temporal and spatial setting."
The body was covered with a gold-embroidered purple silk cloth, indicating that the woman was probably of high social status, Rühli said. Her bones reveal that she was somewhere between 50 and 60 years old. The finding will be detailed in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science.
The mummy currently is held at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki, Greece.
Myrrh, fats and resins
The sarcophagus was uncovered initially in 1962 during an archaeological dig in Northern Greece, on the eastern cemetery of Thessaloniki, which was used from the Hellenistic to the Byzantine Periods for burial and other ritual practices.
In addition to macroscopic and anthropological analyses, electron microscopy and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry examinations were also performed on the remains. These showed the presence of various embalming substances including myrrh, fats and resins. The lead coffin encasing the remains might also have assisted in their preservation, though the researchers were uncertain if that was intentional or effective.
The coffin was made specifically for this corpse. The body, with a stature of about 63 inches, or 5 foot, 3 inches, lay on a wooden pallet inside the coffin and was wrapped with cotton and linen bandages.
Writing about corpses
Writings by Homer, Herodotus and Pliny the Elder suggest that the Ancient Greeks wrapped their dead in a funeral garment consisting of a long ankle-length robe. The corpse also might be washed with water and wine and treated with olive oil, but direct evidence for embalming practices and aromatics that might have been mixed into the oil has been less clear, the researchers wrote.
"Never before [have] such embalming substances been shown for this time period in Greece," said Rühli's colleague Christina Papageorgopoulou of the University of Zurich, who did much of the analysis and initiated the study of the mummy after coming upon the sarcophagus two years ago. "Up to now, only written historic sources suggested that selected people were embalmed in Roman Greece."
For instance, Alexander the Great is reported to have been preserved in beeswax, Papageorgopoulou and her colleagues wrote.
The research was done as part of the Swiss Mummy Project, aimed at gaining information about life and death, as well as after-death alterations (e.g. embalming procedures) of historic mummies, by using mainly methods that do not destroy the tissues. The work of the Swiss Mummy Project is funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Research Fund, University of Zurich.
... our original post on this is in the archives, but not on the main page?
The Biblical Archaeology Society is offering a download of a free eBook The Olympic Games: How they All Began
if you sign up for their newsletter ... I think this was originally a series of articles in Archaeology Odyssey before its demise ...
Pindar wins Artemis Challenge
... as I recall, Artemis actually gets a pile of credit for assorted victories in Pindar ...
I'm still agape at this one ... from La Vanguardia
Cleopatra VII, la gran Cleopatra, la de la nariz geopolíticamente poderosa, está en París. Es un asunto de justicia, porque ¿dónde iba a estar mejor una mujer como ella? Concretamente, está enterrada en los jardines de la Biblioteca Nacional de Francia, en su vieja sede de la Rue Vivienne, cerca del Louvre y el Palais Royal. Eso es lo que sostiene desde hace años Juan Angel Torti, chileno y periodista jubilado, posiblemente el jubilado más elegante de París. Este antiguo reportero de la Agencia France-Presse, cuya sede está a dos pasos de donde yace la reina egipcia, espera con ansia que llegue el momento en que los arqueólogos accedan al final del túnel de 120 metros del templo de Tabusiris Magna, a 50 kilómetros de Alejandría, en el que supuestamente están los sarcófagos de Cleopatra y Marco Antonio. Se espera que eso ocurra a finales de año, así lo anunciaron las autoridades egipcias. Pero Torti está seguro de que se llevarán un chasco: "La tumba de Cleopatra está vacía".
Seguir leyendo noticia
Autor de un libro sobre este asunto (Cleopatra en París,publicado en Chile y recientemente traducido al francés), Torti dio casualmente con una publicación antigua en la que Théodore Mortreuil, conservador y secretario tesorero de la Biblioteca Nacional, muerto en los años 50, sostenía que la faraona estaba enterrada en los jardines de la institución. A partir de ahí Torti inició una investigación que le deparó no pocas sorpresas, algunas no relacionadas con Cleopatra, como la existencia de un lago artificial con peces en los sótanos del Palais Garnier, el teatro de la Ópera de París, o la presencia de otras momias enterradas a los pies del monumento de la Bastilla. Torti sostiene que la momia de Cleopatra formaba parte de un lote de tres (dos hombres y una mujer) regaladas al general Bonaparte en su fallida expedición a Egipto. "Fueron de las pocas cosas que el futuro Napoleón I pudo sacar de Egipto tras la derrota ante los ingleses. Esas tres momias fueron expuestas en la Biblioteca Nacional a su regreso, con un gran éxito de público. Todo el mundo iba a ver a Cleopatra y todos los diarios hablaron del acontecimiento".
En 1870, el sobrino de Napoleón, Napoleón III, declaró la guerra a Prusia. Los prusianos derrotaron a los franceses, llegando a París. "Era la primera vez que las tropas prusianas desfilaban bajo el Arco del Triunfo, y la última, porque después de la Primera Guerra Mundial se colocó al soldado desconocido a los pies del monumento y cuando llegaron en 1940 los soldados alemanes no tuvieron más remedio que rodearlo". Los prusianos acabaron yéndose tras cansarse de desfilar por París. "¿Qué había pasado en la Biblioteca Nacional durante su estancia? Sus responsables habían hecho construir un muro para sellar una habitación en la que ocultaron las joyas de la institución para salvarlas del pillaje, incluyendo las tres momias. "Cuando desapareció el peligro, el muro fue destruido, pero la humedad había empezado a descomponer las momias. Pese a ello, fueron expuestas de nuevo". Poco después, en 1871, se produjo el movimiento de la Comuna de París, el alzamiento popular que se hizo fuerte sobre todo en el norte de la capital y que creó el caos. "Al responsable militar encargado de proteger la Biblioteca Nacional le irritaba el olor que desprendían las momias y una noche ordenó enterrarlas en el jardín. Monsieur Mortreuil estaba consternado, pero no tuvo más remedio que acceder a los deseos del militar y encabezó con un farolillo el séquito que llevo a cabo la sepultura, dando incluso la primera palada". Torti espera que, cuando los egipcios se den de bruces con la tumba vacía de Cleopatra, las autoridades francesas asuman su responsabilidad y, de nuevo, alguien dé paladas en el hermoso jardín de la Biblioteca Nacional. Pero esta vez para rescatar a Cleopatra, la más parisina de las reinas del mundo.
For those of you in a hurry, there's a translation at All About Egypt
Okay ... I think I've figured out the chronology ... these mummies are displayed shortly after Napoleon loses in Egypt, so let's say around 1801-1802 or thereabouts. Something which Napoleon didn't get to keep was the Rosetta Stone, which really wasn't translated until a decade or so later. You don't suppose these mummies were presented as 'Cleopatra's' (etc.) as a publicity stunt? How were they able to identify it if they hadn't deciphered the script yet? And why would it be buried later -- definitely not a practice we associate with these times. Was it embarassment that the mummy turned out to be some commoner?
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, John Chavis 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/
seems to be the only one with this tantalizingly-poorly translated (it seems) piece:
Bulgarian archaeologists have unearthed a fully preserved, 19-century horse-drawn carriage from a Thracian tomb, news reports said Wednesday. The opulently decorated vehicle, was found at Elchovo in south-eastern Bulgaria, along with other artefacts buried 1,900 years ago with a rich Thracian nobleman. The storage tank in the coach was full of glass wine gourds and ceramic plates.
The find, described by the Bulgarian experts as "sensational," was the first of an entire Thracian coach. Previously, only parts had been found.
Thracians, who developed elaborate art, populated the Balkans in area today belonging to Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey in pre-Roman times.
... so you'll probably notice things appearing and disappearing as I try to incorporate Laura Gibbs widgets into the sidebar ... it appears doable, but some reorganizing will be necessary. It will probably wreak havoc with rss readers ...
CALL FOR PAPERS on CLASSICS AND EMPLOYABILITY
17th September 2008
The CUCD and CSC day on classics and employability aims to investigate ways in which the study of classical subjects can best prepare students for the work place. Papers will be divided into 3 sessions:
1. Theoretical discussion on government policy / the future of employability in the Humanities
2. Employability in the classroom
3. How classical subjects prepare students for the workplace
Papers on any aspect of the topic are welcomed. Please send your suggestions to Dr Kathryn Tempest (k.tempest AT roehampton.ac.uk). The deadline for submission of abstracts is 17th August 2008.
It is hoped that the papers presented on the day will be published in the CUCD Bulletin later this year. If you are unable to present at the event, but would like to offer a paper for the Bulletin, please send your contribution to the Editor, Dr Fiona McHardy (f.mchardy AT roehampton.ac.uk) by 30th September 2008.
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*What a Waste: Polluting Space, Body, and Mind in the ancient world*
The University at Buffalo Graduate Student Association seeks papers for
its second annual graduate conference. This year's theme will be What a
Waste: Polluting Space, Body, and Mind in the ancient world
This conference aims to explore how refuse and pollution were created,
conceptualized, and managed in the ancient world, particularly in
economic, societal, and religious contexts. What was thrown away? Where
did refuse go? How did ideas about pollution impact civic and religious
life? We welcome archaeological, historical, and philological
perspectives on topics ranging from sewer systems to miasma, and from
broken pots to literary trash.
Topics might include, but are certainly not limited to, the following:
-waste management, including sewer systems and trash heaps
-miasma and forms of religious impurity
-dealing with corpses and carcasses
-garbage as a metaphor
Our keynote speaker will be professor Anne Kolowski-Ostrow from Brandeis
University. This conference will take place on campus at the University
at Buffalo on October 17th-19th. one page abstracts are due August 24th,
2008. Please email all abstracts to wsduffy At buffalo.edu
Time to purge the mailbox again:
Although a bit out of our period, Ramiro Sanchez-Crespo sent in notice about the collapse of a section of the medieval wall at Leon
(ancient Numantia), but possibly more importantly, of plans for development near the ancient archaeological remains
which obviously will have an impact on them ...Philosophy Now
has another installment of Dear Socrates ...
At the Smartset, Tony Perrottet writes about the ancient Olympics
Speaking of the Olympics, the Teaching Company has a couple of free downloadable lectures by Jeremy McInerney on the Ancient Origins of the Olympic Games
If you're still following the Gela shipwreck thing, the BBC has posted a nice video report
Nature Magazine has a nice video report on the Antikythera Mechanism
... after which, you might want to read the Daily Mash (a satirical/humour mag)'s take on the AM
Discover had a nice feature on the Scythians
All Things Pakistan had a lengthy piece on Hellenistic and Parthian Gandhara
The National Post
had a somewhat rambling (especially from Robert Fulford) piece on Greek myths ...
... while the Baltimore Sun rambles even more
in a touristy piece on Mycenae and assorted other sites ...
The BBC had a lengthy 'what the Romans did for us' piece
(and yes, they have Monty Python) ...
News of some historical fiction starring Pliny and Tacitus
The America-as-Rome pieces seem to be picking up again ... first we have Vox Day at Worldnet Daily taking inspiration from Thucydides to theorize how America's empire will fall
... less infomed (based on citation of the historian "Taxidus" is a semi-similar piece in the Trumpet
Martin Conde has updated a pile of his photos of the Imperial Fora
(Google Earth has recently updated) ...
From Youtube comes this very nice collection of Roman portraits (mostly mummy portraits from the Fayyum):
From La Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno
Una struttura urbana dotata di un assetto viario, caratterizzato da un asse principale da cui accedere a vicoli secondari, un’area termale, marmi policromi per alcune delle vasche e resti di mosaici sui piani pavimentali: sono alcuni dei ritrovamenti dell’ultima campagna di scavi a Canne della Battaglia, luogo in cui, nel 216 avanti Cristo, si scontrarono romani e cartaginesi che, guidati da Annibale, sconfissero l’esercito di Gaio Terenzio Varrone.
L'epoca studiata con l’ultima campagna di scavi, però, è differente: è quella imperiale e va dal 27 avanti Cristo alla fine dell’impero romano d’occidente, il 476 dopo Cristo.
Per due settimane 40 persone, studiosi, appassionati e ricercatori, hanno partecipato agli scavi organizzati dall’Archeoclub di Barletta, d’intesa con il Comune, la soprintendenza per i beni archeologici della Puglia e la direzione dell’antiquarium di Canne della Battaglia.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's government plans to tear down part of a Rome museum designed by U.S. architect Richard Meier, Corriere della Sera said, citing comments by Culture Undersecretary Francesco Giro.
A travertine stone wall at the Ara Pacis museum will be removed to facilitate viewing of two historic churches in the same square that houses the 2,000-year-old Mausoleum of Roman Emperor Augustus, Giro said yesterday at the museum, according to the report. A section of another travertine wall connected to the museum also will be knocked down, he said.
Giro said Roman Mayor Giovanni Alemanno agrees on the plan, and a joint meeting between the mayor's office and the Culture Ministry will be held in September or October to discuss technical issues, according to Corriere.
The Meier-designed museum was inaugurated in 2006 and houses the Ara Pacis, an altar constructed in 9 B.C. to commemorate the peace following Rome's Gallic and Spanish campaigns.
Two ancient piers belonging to the first centry A.D. have been discovered by archaeologists in the ancient city of Aphrodisias in western Turkey, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported Thursday. The nearly 2,000 year-old piers were discovered by a team of archaeologists led by Roland Smith, a professor of the Oxford University, during their excavations in the ancient city located near Karacasu town in Aydin province.
The news agency quoted Smith as saying that the team found pieces of a beautiful arch and two piers during this year’s excavations in the ancient city.
“The piers were decorated with a lion head placed between two bull heads,” he said.
Aphrodisias was a small city in Caria, in the ancient western Anatolia or Asia Minor region that comprises most of modern Turkey. Aphrodisias was named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of Love.
The city was built near a marble quarry that was extensively exploited in the Hellenistic and Roman periods, and sculptors in marble from Aphrodisias became famous in the Roman world.
Many examples of statuary have been unearthed in Aphrodisias, and some representations of the Aphrodite of Aphrodisias were also discovered from other parts of the Roman world.
The Research Institute of Classics, University of Wales, Lampeter is pleased to announce:
Priests and State in the Roman World
An International Conference
University of Wales, Lampeter
28-30 August 2008
Thursday 28 August
1.30-1.50 Arrival to Roderic Bowen Centre; coffee
Priestly colleges and the state (Chair: J. Reynolds)
2.00-2.40 J. North (London), ‘Lex Domitia revisited’
2.40-3.20 J. Rüpke (Erfurt), ‘Different colleges – never mind?’
Priests, peace, and the state (Chair: J. North)
3.30-4.10 J. Rich (Nottingham), ‘Roman Priests and Roman War’
4.10-4.50 F. Santangelo (Lampeter), ‘Pontiffs and pax deorum’
Priests and the records of the state (Chair: J. Rich)
5.00-5.40 T. Cornell (Manchester), ‘Cato and the tablet of the pontifex maximus’
5.40-6.20 J. Richardson (Lampeter), ‘The Vestal Virgins and the Chronicle of the pontifex maximus’
Friday 29 August
Priestesses and the State (Chair: T. Cornell)
9.30-10.10 F. Glinister (London), ‘The Salian Virgins’
10.10-10.50 E. Isayev (Exeter), ‘Just the right amount of priestly foreigners: Roman citizenship for the Greek priestess of Ceres’
Priests and the Empire (Chair: J. Rüpke)
11.10-11.50 A. Raggi (Pisa), ‘Religion in Municipal Laws?’
11.50-12.30 A. Dalla Rosa (Pisa-Cologne), ‘Auspicia of the emperor and the proconsuls’
Priests, Church and State (Chair: S. Mitchell)
2.10-2.50 M. Humphries (Swansea), ‘Towards a new pontifex maximus? Roman Church and Roman State in Late Antiquity’
Priests in the Empire I (Chair: M. Humphries)
3.10-3.50 A. Clark (Oxford), ‘Magistri and ministri in Roman Italy’
3.50-4.30 R. Häussler (Osnabrück), ‘State and Religion in Gallia Narbonensis’
4.30-5.10 B. Goffaux (Lille), ‘Priests and Provincial Organization in Hispania Citerior’
Saturday 30 August
Priests in the Empire II (Chair: E. Isayev)
9.00-9.40 B. Rossignol (Paris), ‘Municipal and provincial priests from the Danubian provinces (Pannonia, Dacia, Moesia superior)’
9.40-10.20 L. Capponi (Newcastle), ‘Priests and State in Roman Egypt’
Priests in the Empire III (Chair: I. Barton)
10.40-11.20 J. Reynolds (Cambridge), ‘Priests in Cyrenaica’
11.20-12.00 S. Mitchell (Exeter), ‘The origins of emperor worship under Augustus - a new look at Galatia’
There is a number of places available. If you would like to attend and/or book accommodation on campus, please email the conference organisers (James Richardson: j.richardson AT lamp.ac.uk; Federico Santangelo: f.santangelo AT lamp.ac.uk) by Monday 11 August 2008.
From the Turkish Daily News
During the construction of a new business and cultural complex in Antalya, workers inadvertently discovered a number of ancient graves and historical artifacts, which have now become the site of extensive excavations that have revealed important new information about the history of the southern city but caused a rift between a local museum and university.
Following the destruction of a festival bazaar in the Doğu Garajı district of Antalya by the Antalya Metropolitan Municipality, construction began on the Doğu Garajı Business and Culture Complex. Kadıahmetoğulları Construction undertook the project after obtaining the contract for construction March 15, 2008. But when workers discovered that the area was in fact an important cultural site, construction halted and excavations began.
The excavation of the site is being carried out by Antalya City Museum under the academic supervision of professors Nevzat Çelik and Havva İşkan Işık of Akdeniz University along with two associate professors and a team of 30 others from the university. After a delicate investigation, the ancient graves, covering an 8,000-square-meter area, were found to date back to Roman times.
City 200 years older
Supervising the excavation work on the site, the team from the Akdeniz University said the newly found graves and artifacts are of great importance as they indicate that the city of Antalya is 200 years older than was previously believed.
"We also came upon findings dating back to the Hellenistic Period in the third century B.C., besides the ancient graves pertaining to the Roman and Byzantium times," said Işık.
"The discoveries tell us that the Antalya district had been used as a residential site well before the time of Attalos, the Pergamon King, who was regarded as the founder of the city," the academic added.
New hotspot of Antalya
Visiting the site, Antalya Mayor Menderes Türel made changes to the building plans for the site -- originally allocated for a pedestrian mall -- with the aim of exhibiting the historically important site to tourists visiting the city.
"It is highly important for us to protect our historical artifacts and to pass them onto future generations. Upon the completion of this excavation, which I respect a lot, Antalya will gain a new hotspot. This will highly contribute to the international reputation of the city as well as to the growth of other sectors," said Türel, highlighting the importance of Antalya as a city of cultural and historical significance.
"We will have the opportunity to exhibit the ancient graves of thousands of years to domestic and international tourists by turning the excavation site into an open excursion area," noted Türel, who added that the business and culture complex would include a folk bazaar reminiscent of the building it replaced, complete with fish restaurants and trading and shopping centers.
Work progressing slowly
The excavation work in the district has caused a rift between Akdeniz University and Antalya City Museum, though they had initiated the "rescue excavations" together.
"We undertook the academic consultancy of the Doğu Garajı excavations as the sole university in the city. We worked with a team of 30 people and four professors, and found 38 ancient graves on the site," Nevzat Çevik, chairman of the archeology department of Akdeniz University, told the Turkish Daily News.
"According to our agreement with the Antalya City Museum, we would conduct the excavations for one-and-a-half months, which would be followed by a break for one month," noted Çevik. "The museum wanted to go on with the excavations despite our absence, which was of course unacceptable for us. We could not undertake the academic consultancy of a project which we were not involved in."
"Antalya City Museum created the conditions that forced us to abandon the project," emphasized Çevik, adding, "The museum told us that the works are progressing slowly since the excavation is too scientific. I see Antalya as a rather unlucky city for having such an understanding by one of its most important foundations."
"University opted to abandon project of own will'
"With the permission of the Culture and Tourism Ministry, we started the excavation works on May 12, 2008 with the aim of protecting our cultural heritage as well as preventing any attempts to steal the historical artifacts," Mustafa Demirel, acting director of Antalya City Museum, told the TDN.
Excavation work is continuing on an area of 22,000 square meters, with five archaeologists assigned by the museum, noted Demirel, adding: "Akdeniz University assigned their team to other excavation work in Kaş' Patara district and Kumluca's Rhadiopolis district between July 12 and September. However, the permission for the Doğu Garajı excavations has been given up to the end of 2008 by the ministry. In other words, we need to go on with the works with or without them in order to get the best output within the shortest possible time."
Emphasizing that Akdeniz University abandoned the project of their own accord without any demand from the museum, Demirel added, "The works are going on with great care and the Antalya Metropolitan Municipality is supporting us in this project with some technical aids."
Wow ... this is utterly silly.
If you're not in the UK, you can watch the latest episode of Roman Mysteries online
for the next five days or so (although it's not working this a.m. for some reason)...
And here I thought the sword and sandals genre was starting to cool off ... Variety
Columbia will turn the story of an ancient Greek military expedition into an epic action film.
The studio has acquired a pitch for an adaptation of "Anabasis," a memoir written around 400 B.C. by Xenophon, a Greek soldier who was among 10,000 elite mercenaries who attacked the Persian Empire and who led them back through hostile terrain after their leader was betrayed and slain.
The tale inspired Walter Hill's 1979 film "The Warriors."
Script will be written by Robert Schenkkan, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who just served as writer and co-producer on HBO miniseries "The Pacific." Jimmy Miller will team with Robbie and Jonathan Stamp to produce under Miller's Sony-based Mosaic label.
Project marks a dramatic departure for Miller, a prolific supplier of Sony comedies like "Talladega Nights" and "Step Brothers." "Anabasis" will be the first of several period dramas he will produce with the Stamp brothers, clients of his management company who are accomplished historians, authors and documentary filmmakers.
Robbie Stamp, former partner of author Douglas Adams ("The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"), has produced docus and co-authored historical books, as has Jonathan Stamp, a former Unesco Intl. Scholar who was historical consultant and producer on the HBO series "Rome." The brothers also have an HBO deal to develop other history-based series.
"Anabasis" is an ancient work written right after Xenophon's ordeal. Sony Pictures chairman-CEO Michael Lynton and Schenkkan both had read the book in college and sparked to the tale. The success of "300" also helped.
"Crazy tribes, brutal terrain, vicious combat, hellacious weather -- 'Anabasis' is full of astounding endurance and heroism," said Jonathan Sharp.
Miller said they chose this project to be the first of several historical pics.
The Stamps "are so knowledgeable in this world of big historical pieces, and I think they're going to be formidable in the genre," Miller said.
... so by my count, we've got this one, the Hadrian flick, the sequel to 300, and (possibly) a Hannibal flick in the works ...