pridie kalendas novembres

ludi Victoriae Sullanae (day 6) -- games held in honour of Victoria commemorating Sulla's defeat of the Samnites in 82 B.C.

286 -- martyrdom of Quentin
eccentric @ Podictionary

chiropteran @ Merriam-Webster

quiddity @ Wordsmith
From the Station (I think this find is in Luxembourg):

Following previous archaelogical discoveries at the Dalheim dig (see, another artefact has been discovered.

The site of the former Gallo-Roman baths has now produced what is described as an "exceptional archaeological discovery". The National Museum of History and Art (MNHA), led by the young German archaeologist Heike Posch and overseen by the curator John Krier, has uncovered fragments of a large 1.3m high limestone altar. The discovery dates from the 3rd century AD and has a Latin inscription showing that the altar was dedicated to the goddess Fortuna.

The text over 10 lines mentions not only the people of Ricciacum vicus, but it also describes the return of the portico of the building baths, destroyed 'by violent barbarians', probably during an incursion by Germans. The curator of the work undertaken at that time was a soldier of the 8th Augusta legion stationed in Strasbourg.

The fragments have been transferred to the MNHA workshop in Bertrange where they will be restored.

Other major surprises are not excluded in further excavation work at the site.

... the link referenced in the article takes you to some more (brief) info about the Dalheim dig, which links to yet another (about a pedestal find). As for the inscription mention above, a photo (copyright MNHA) is included:

From ANA:

Culture Minister Mihalis Liapis on Thursday inspected works for the restoration of the Athens Acropolis, after which he praised the effort underway.

"The work to preserve and highlight the monuments provides a unique experience for visitors to the Sacred Rock, since a more comprehensive image of the Acropolis is formed that allows the monuments to be better recognised and understood," he said.

Liapis reported that work was continuing at a brisk pace, with the greater part of the restoration expected to be complete in three months time. According to experts, about 1,000 pieces of marble have been placed in their proper position since work started in the year 2000.

At the Propylaia, the entrance to the Acropolis, the scaffolding is expected to be removed in about a month's time, providing visitors of a unique experience of a roofed space in one of the most impressive monuments of antiquity.

The restoration work included the cleaning of the roof of the Erechtheion temple supported by the Caryatids using a new laser technique that combined the use of ultraviolet and infra-red light.

The minister was also briefed on the installation of a network of seismic sensors to check and monitor the behaviour of the buildings during earthquakes, as well as the installation of a fibre optics in the walls.

In the much larger Parthenon building, the placement of some 209 missing stones is expected to be completed in early 2009, while restorers are nearing completion of repair work to the north aspect of the building, which was the largest restoration programme carried out on the Acropolis.

As part of the whole project, the Acropolis Monument Preservation Service has undertaken to install a virtual reality room at the new Acropolis Museum, using funds given by the Information Society, which will give 3D tours of the history of the buildings and their restoration. This new digital display will be the first of its kind in an archaeological museum.

An interesting excerpt from a piece in CSM on an Italian football team made up entirely of refugees:

The team’s name, Liberi Nantes, comes from a verse in Book I of the “Aeneid” by Virgil. The exiled Trojans, fleeing their burning city, had shipwrecked and only a few of them (rari nantes) immersed in the vast sea (in gurgite vasto) reached shore. The Trojans were refugees, too, forced to flee a war, and, like the players of the Liberi Nantes, they crossed the Mediterranean in search of a place to start life anew.

More than 2,700 years later, in the same place they settled, Ibrahin makes an impressive save as he jumps to catch a ball hurtling toward his goal. The imposing Togolese is the captain and goalkeeper of the squad.
From Turkish Daily News:

The Temple of Artemis, or Artemision in Greek, recalled in both Greek and Byzantine anthologies for its magnificence, was once one of the Seven Wonders of the World. After decades of vandalism, religious conflict and decay it is finally to be rebuilt.

Erected at the expense of the Lydian king, Karun, at Ephesus (modern-day Turkey) in the seventh century B.C., the Temple of Artemis was dedicated to the goddess Artemis, or Artemis of Ephesus, the daughter of Zeus and twin sister of Apollo. She was the Hellenic goddess of forests, hills, virginity and fertility.

Artemis of Ephesus is often thought to be a cult of Cybele, the fertility goddess worshipped in Anatolia. Historians say that Cybele came to be known as Artemis over time.

According to Christian literature, the Virgin Mary succeeded Artemis in receiving the devotions of the people of Ephesus.

Bank of the time

Numerous myths have existed surrounding the Temple of Artemis, the construction of which lasted a hundred years, and its plan belonged to prominent architects of the time. One of the myths tells of how the temple was burned down. According to the myth, an insane man named Herostratos set the temple on fire in 356 B.C. When people asked why Artemis could not protect the temple against a madman, certain wise men replied to them that Artemis had gone to help in the birth of Alexander the Great.

The Temple of Artemis was not only a religious structure; it was also the largest and richest bank of the time. According to Turkish writer Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı (the fisherman of Halicarnassus), it was not a madman that set fire to the temple, but the guardians of the temple, who got away with all the money kept inside. After the great fire, the temple was rebuilt.

Alexander the Great offered financial support for the reconstruction but the people of Ephesus rejected his offer, saying one god could not give votive offerings to another god or goddess.

The Temple of Artemis became less popular as Christianity became more widespread throughout Anatolia. The Temple of Artemis was pillaged, as Artemis was seen not only as the predecessor to, but also as a rival of the Virgin Mary.

In the fifth century, Johannes Chrysostomos, the Patriarch of Constantinople, outlawed the cult of Artemis. The roof, the altar and the columns of the temple were removed and disposed of. Narratives suggest many of the columns were taken to Constantinople and used in the construction of numerous buildings.

The first archaeological excavation of the site where the relics of the temple were located took place in 1869. It was during this excavation that the exact location of the temple was discovered on the western side of Ayasoluk Hill. Between 1965 and 1994, the area set the stage for a series of excavations led by Dr. Anton Bammer of the archaeology institute at the University of Vienna, Austria. During this period, experts searched for the techniques on how to rebuild Artemis.

New temple not an imitation

Dr. Atılay İleri, the founder of the Selçuk Artemis Culture, Arts and Education Foundation, met with Bammer 10 years ago to realize the reconstruction of the once magnificent Temple of Artemis.

With support from Austrian scientists, İleri had Swiss architects prepare a plan for the reconstruction of the temple. İleri, who has dreamed of reconstructing the temple for 10 years, said: “When completed, the temple will not be a copy or an imitation of the original Artemis but the Artemis itself. And its sisters of the past will set their eyes on it with pride and emulation.”

The original Temple of Artemis had 120 columns. Thirty-six of them were placed on cubic circles. If completed, the new temple of Artemis will be the third Temple of Artemis constructed in history. Its size will be the same as the original. A total of 25,000 cubic meters of solid marble, the original construction material of Artemis, will be used in the construction of the third temple. Sixty of the 120 columns of the new temple will have base plates.

To find the best sculptures to adorn the restored temple, a lottery will be held to form a selection committee chosen from representatives of 196 U.N. member countries. Each selected representative will then select two sculptors from the nation they represent. The selected sculptors will then take part in workshops run by the Artemis Culture, Arts and Education Foundation.

The sculptors will first begin work on the cubic bases for the columns, with sculptures to be inspired by either of two sayings attributed to Heracleitos of Ephesus: “War is the father of everything” and “Everything flows and nothing abides.”

An international jury will then choose two sculptures from all the pieces produced by artists to be featured in the temple. One of the winning sculptures will be displayed on one of the cubic circles and the other will be displayed in the temple's yard.

İleri said the project would rock the world of art. “When the temple is completed, the workshops will start serving as a school of sculpture. Selçuk will be the center of world sculpture,” he said.

Expected cost $150 million

The Artemis Culture, Arts, and Education Foundation was opened in Selçuk in September 2007. The foundation's mission is to reconstruct the Artemis Temple. The project is expected to cost $150 million. The foundation will complete the project with no financial assistance from the state.

İleri said the Culture and Tourism Ministry welcomes the project. The foundation applied to the ministry for the allocation of land via the Selçuk Municipality. The new temple will be constructed on an area called Kurutepe, 1,500 meters away from the temple's original location. Construction will begin when official permission is provided for land allocation.

ante diem tertium kalendas novembres

69 A.D. -- sack of Cremona

130 A.D. -- Hadrian's pal Antinous drowns in the Nile

c. 298 -- martyrdom of Marcellus the centurion
neutered @ OED

palpable @ Merriam-Webster

copesmate @ Wordsmith

hubris @
From the Daily Toreador:

Like Latin? Learn it at Texas Tech.

The Department of Classical and Modern Languages and Literatures at Tech showcased its program to about 220 high school students and teachers of Latin from across the region Wednesday during a "Classics Day" event on Tech's campus.

"We're basically trying to recruit them," said Barbara Weinlich, assistant professor of classics and coordinator for the event. "We hope they'll be students of Texas Tech and the classics program."

Participating schools included Lubbock, Frenship, Tascosa, Monterey and Coronado high schools.

"I have local kids and I was hoping to get them involved," said Alicia Robins, a high school Latin teacher at Monterey and Coronado high schools.

Students spent their morning observing several classics classes such as Classical Mythology, Sports and Public Spectacles in Antiquity and a Beginning Course in Greek.

Don Lavigne, a professor of classics, said he enjoyed the addition to his Greek class.

"What I was looking for is that they get a sense of what a Greek class is like," he said. "Most are familiar with Latin, and I hope they see that Greek isn't as strange as they might think."

Lavigne played frisbee with several high school students during the day, and he said he noticed a general excitement about the event.

"I think that they're enjoying themselves and getting a good sense of Tech," he said. "One student in particular showed a strong interest in the program. I'm sure it'll have a real impact on her decision."

Students seemed to enjoy the competitive activities, Weinlich said. Groups of students - four from each represented high school - participated in a "Certamen" competition. Student volunteers from the classics department quizzed competitors on classical antiquity, anthology and other Latin-related subjects, and each participating student earned a prize.

Other students participated in a campus scavenger hunt, she said. They collected letters from various places on campus and the letters formed a Latin sentence, which they had to translate.

Austin Huber, a junior at Amarillo High School, said his favorite part of Classics Day was Certamen, because he learned a lot of new facts.

"I really enjoyed today," he said. "It's been more than I expected, and getting to see the campus was nice."

Huber said he had not visited Tech's campus before Classics Day, and it has "moved Tech up on the list" of colleges he is interested in attending.

During the afternoon, the high school students and teachers took guided tours through "The Medieval Southwest" exhibition in the Southwest Collection library.

We especially emphasized the Latin side of it, Weinlich said, because there are several Latin texts included in the exhibit.

At the end of the day, teachers and students gathered in a Chemistry building lecture hall to watch a theater play performed in Latin by Tech students and faculty of the classics section.

Performers donned paper-plate masks and entertained the audience with witty banter, which included English commentary for beginning Latin students.

"We want to show them early on that Tech has some interesting programs and a beautiful campus," Lavigne said. "If we plant the seed early on, there's a better chance of them coming here."
The San Francisco Chronicle is a lone voice on this one:

The high-profile trial of two Israeli antiquities experts accused of faking a burial box containing the remains of Jesus' brother and other priceless artifacts faced a humiliating collapse Wednesday after a Jerusalem judge advised the prosecution to consider dropping the proceedings after more than three years in court.

Israeli Consul General Meir Romem inspects damage to the ...Oded Golan, an Israeli collector, was charged with forgin... View Larger Images

"After all the evidence we have heard, including the testimony of the prime defendant, is the picture still the same as the one you had when he was charged?" District Court Judge Aharon Farkash pointedly asked public prosecutor, Adi Damti. "Not every case ends in the way you think it will when it starts. Maybe we can save ourselves the rest."

The discovery of an ossuary or burial box inscribed "James son of Joseph brother of Jesus" created a sensation when first displayed at the Royal Ontario Museum in 2002. If authentic, it would be the only physical evidence ever discovered directly linked to the family of Jesus.

But the owner of the ossuary, Israeli engineer and collector Oded Golan, was arrested by Israeli police in 2003, and then charged a year later along with four others on 18 counts of forgery, fraud and damaging archaeological artifacts.
'Unholy Business'

In her new book on the case entitled "Unholy Business, A True Tale of Faith, Greed, and Forgery in the Holy Land," author Nina Burleigh appears to believe that Golan is guilty, but suspects his lawyers have raised enough doubts to avoid conviction.

The often explosive testimony has given a rare insight into the shadowy world behind the apparently cultured facade of priceless antiquities. Witnesses have described furtive encounters with Arab grave robbers, international smuggling and transactions involving hundreds of thousands of dollars based on a handshake.

But the collapse of the prosecution's case would be a major embarrassment for the Israeli police and Israel Antiquities Authority. They maintain the defendants faked the burial box along with other biblical-era relics that were then sold for huge sums of money and sent to major collections and museums around the world.

"This was fraud of a sophistication and expertise which was previously unknown," said Police Comdt. Shaul Naim, who headed a two-year police investigation. "They took authentic items and added inscriptions to make them worth millions."

Scholars appointed to a special committee convened by the Israel Antiquities Authority accused Golan and his co-defendants of taking valuable ancient relics and adding inscriptions to increase their value.

Shuka Dorfman, director of the Israel Antiquities Authority, had described the charges against Golan as "the tip of the iceberg. These forgeries have worldwide repercussions," he said after the indictments were filed. "They were an attempt to change the history of the Jewish and Christian people."

But under cross-examination by defense attorneys, many experts recanted some of their findings. Judge Farkash's comments, which were excluded from trial transcripts but said in open court, came after more than 80 witnesses and 10,000 pages of testimony including evidence and cross-examination of Golan and leading archaeologists and scientists from around the world.

No definitive proof

"Have you really proved beyond a reasonable doubt that these artifacts are fakes as charged in the indictment? The experts disagreed among themselves. Where is the definitive proof needed to show that the accused faked the ossuary?" Judge Farkash asked prosecutor Damti. "You need to ask yourselves those questions very seriously, and if necessary consult with your superiors in the public prosecutor's office."

The two most important items said to be fakes were the James ossuary - a limestone burial box in use during the time of Jesus and a black stone tablet inscribed with 14 lines commemorating renovations to the Temple in Jerusalem by the biblical King Joash.

Golan, a 57-year-old world-renowned expert who started collecting antiquities when he was 8 years old, has consistently denied all charges during the more than three years of proceedings.

"The James ossuary and the Joash Tablet are 100 percent authentic. I have never faked an archaeological artifact in my life," he has said.

To date, witnesses have included antiquities dealers, museum curators, experts and professors of archaeology, history, epigraphy and chemical isotopes from leading universities and museums in Israel and around the world.

In four days of testimony, multimillionaire collector Shlomo Moussaieff described scenes where dealers, professors and even Israeli diplomats came to his home, produced rare antiquities from their pockets and negotiated sales worth thousands of dollars.

On one occasion, Moussaieff sent his personal banker with Golan to buy some rare seal impressions from a Palestinian villager. They parked their car on a dirt road near the border with the West Bank and when the Palestinian arrived they gave him a bag containing $150,000 in cash.
Charges dropped for 2

Charges against two of the defendants were dropped during the trial. Another man pleaded guilty to a minor charge unrelated to the main accusations, leaving Golan and antiquities dealer Robert Deutsch, who were alleged to have been the leaders of the supposed forgery ring.

"I have never faked anything nor committed any crime," said Deutsch. "The authorities have ruined my reputation and I have lost my university teaching position because of the baseless charges leveled against me. When this is over, I will sue them for slander."

Meanwhile, Judge Farkash has advised the prosecution to think about continuing the case before reconvening the trial in January.
Tom Elliott writes in numerous fora:

Please send me (tom.elliott AT information about digital projects, publications and computer-aided research in epigraphy. This information will be used to update or inform multiple resources including:

* The "ASGLE links" resource (currently out of date):

* A section on "digital epigraphy" in the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Latin Epigraphy

I am interested in any undertaking that involves computational approaches or digital data, whether it has resulted in publication or not. Any subdiscipline of epigraphy (Latin, Greek, other) is of interest.

The ASGLE links update will include a software upgrade, and will be carried out in collaboration with the editorial board of Current Epigraphy ( and the leadership and appropriate committees of the Association Internationale d' Épigraphie Grecque et Latine and of the American Society of Greek and Latin Epigraphy. All information presented in the resulting "new" links collection will be released to the public under terms of a Creative Commons Attribution license so that it can be re-used freely by others. All information sent to me will be assumed to be the intellectual property of the person submitting it, and will be treated under terms of the CC license.

Ideally, I would like to have as much of the following information as possible (please feel free to use your native language):

Title of project, resource or publication
Principal investigator(s), author(s) or editor(s)
Intitutional affiliation(s)
URLs for websites
Publication citation(s)
A short description
Status (e.g., experimental, complete, published, in progress, continuing, private)
Technologies, methodologies used
Sources of funding (past and present)
Contact email address

Thank you for your assistance in this endeavor.
From a press release:

With the documentary feature film 'The Gospel of Caesar' Dutch public broadcast television VARA and producer/director Jan van Friesland present a new solution to the origin of Christianity. The documentary will be screened at film festivals in Leiden, Leeds and Luton in early November 2008.

'The Gospel of Caesar' documents the revolutionary research of the Italian linguist Francesco Carotta, who concluded after a decade-long investigation that the Gospel narrative of the New Testament completely originated from the ancient sources on the life of Julius Caesar.

'Everything in the story of Jesus can be found in the biography of Caesar. The Gospel appears to be the history of the Roman civil war, a mistelling of the life of Caesar-from the Rubicon to his assassination-mutated into the narrative of Jesus, from the Jordan to his crucifixion. Jesus is a true historical figure: He lived as Gaius Iulius Caesar and resurrected as Divus Iulius, who was later transformed into Jesus.' (Francesco Carotta)

Intrigued by the discovery that Caesar could be the historical Christ, the Spanish priest Pedro García González joins him on his journey all across Europe to search for traces of the deified Caesar in old Christian rituals and traditions, written sources, church art and archaeological finds. To verify the theory they use the Roman sources to reconstruct the pivotal funeral ceremony of Caesar, which could have been the historical incident behind the later story of the crucifixion of Christ. They resuscitate this ancient historical event with young people from the priest's parish and reveal the image of the first Savior on the Cross, who had been forgotten for almost 2000 years.

'The death and deification of Caesar is the essence and origin of Christianity, which happened on the Forum Romanum in Rome.' (Pedro García González)

For more than four years the documentary filmmaker Jan van Friesland accompanied the linguist and the priest on their collaborative search for the traces of the historical Christ.

Scholars, clerics and journalists have noted and praised Carotta's research and findings about the origin of Christianity.

'I received it as a shock. This is a shift of paradigm in the history of religion.'

- Fotis A. Kavoukopoulos, Ph.D., linguist (Athens)

'The author draws parallels between the religious founder Jesus and the Roman commander Julius Caesar, whose name was given to all succeeding emperors.'

- Erika Simon, Ph.D., archaeologist (Würzburg)

'Does the passion story have its origins in a misunderstood version of a Vita Caesaris on the last days of this dictator and high priest of Rome, who was also known for his clemency and who was celebrated as a benefactor of the people? That sounds like an absolute nonsense. However, Carotta substantiates this theory with numerous proofs.'

- Thomas von der Dunk, Ph.D., (Amsterdam) -

'It is highly notable-St Mark's gospel as corrupt retelling of the Roman civil war.'

- Sir Peter Stothard, classics editor, Times Literary Supplement (London)

'When Francesco Carotta asks if Julius Caesar and Jesus Christ are the same person, a question which is rhetorical to him, he participates in the development of normative future models which the elite of Church and state considers undesirable, but for the average citizen, who wants to explore his own future himself, this is experienced as inspirational.'

- W. J. de Ridder, Ph.D., Future Studies (Twente)

'Caesar is no longer the shadow of Christ, but Christ the shadow of Caesar.'

- Maria Wyke, Professor of Latin (London)

'As a working hypothesis it is very important, especially because it fills a gap, something that-from the point of view of the investigation-was never made heuristically.'

- Francisco Rodríguez Pascual, Ph.D., ethnologist (Salamanca)

'...a new opening to the research on the accounts of Jesus' life, an extremely important one...'

- Andreas Kinneging, Ph.D., philosopher (Leiden)

'... a perspective on the European heritage that will remain indelibly printed in your memory.'

- Willem Dijkhuis, Het Financieele Dagblad (Amsterdam)

'Even if one cannot or will not follow the author's conclusions, one learns much about Roman religiousness, which became the basis of the development of the Christian faith in the European cultural environment.'

- Rev. Stephan Ch. Kessler SJ, Dr. theol., (Frankfurt am Main, Vienna)

'I try to explain this theory to my students at school and give arguments for its plausibility, and they react with lots of enthusiasm.'

- Gerard Janssen, MA, classisist, (Leeuwarden)

...... hmmmmmmmmmmmmm (that's a Marge Simpson type hmmmmmmmm, not a 'things that make you go hmmmmmmmm' hmmmmmmm) ...
From MK News:

As the credit crunch hits pensioners across the country one pair have hit the jackpot by finding buried treasure.

The finders of a hoard of thousands of Roman coins agree with the words inscribed on them; 'happy times are here again'.

The collection of bronze coins, which may be worth hundreds of thousands in sterling, were discovered in a field north of Newport Pagnell and have now been declared as treasure.

It was discovered by a pair of experienced metal detectorists on ploughed farmland on December 1, 2006.

An investigation into the find was concluded by the Milton Keynes Coroner yesterday.

The court heard that pensioners Dave Phillips, from Dunstable, and Barrie Plasom, from Aspley Guise, were searching together using metal detectors with permission from the land owner.

The pair, who have been detecting together for three years, were on opposite sides of a field when Mr Plasom 'struck gold'.

Mr Phillips, who has been involved in nine previous significant finds, said: "Barrie found the first six stuck together and rang me on my mobile.

"Ten minutes later he called again and said he had 22 now.

"I said hang on and ran across the field."

They continued to dig a hole three feet deep and found more than 1,400 bronze coins and pieces of pottery.

"It was about 5.30pm at this time of year so it was pitch black and we couldn't see a thing," added Mr Phillips.

"We laid on our bellies and kept pulling out coins.

"It is difficult to explain how you feel when you are finding coins left, right and centre.

"We are a couple of old men and we suddenly became like young men.

"For me it is just finding the history, that is what I love."

The hoard has since been identified by the British Museum as dating from the 4th century AD.

Mr Phillips believes some could fetch up to £500 each and the collection may be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds in total.

The coins are inscribed with the heads of various Roman emperors and leaders and some with words translated as 'Happy times are here again', which date from around 348AD and was meant to reassure Roman citizenry of their safety against barbarian raids.

It is believed the hoard was deposited on a Roman rubbish pit.

The pair, who have both been metal detecting for 30 years, declared their find to Bedford Museum, though later realised the site was 250 yards inside the Buckinghamshire border.

An investigation by the coroner was called for as the Buckinghamshire County Museum, in Aylesbury, wants to acquire it.

Coroner Rodney Corner declared the hoard and its ceramic holder as treasure under the Treasure Act 1996.

The collection will now be valued by a committee of experts and the museum will then decide if it can afford to buy it.

An excerpt from the APA page on this one:

Program Details. Page and Stage: Theater, Tradition and Culture in America unites the assets of the Aquila Theatre Company (professional company-in-residence at NYU's Center for Ancient Studies), the Urban Libraries Council (ULC), the American Philological Association (APA), and the Center for Ancient Studies at New York University in the creation of a new program that will bring 16 public libraries together with their local performing arts centers to inspire people to come together to read, see, and think about classical literature and how it continues to influence and invigorate American cultural life. The program is organized around four thematic units: 1) Know Thyself: Issues of Identity. 2) Nothing in Excess: Crossing Boundaries. 3) The Trojan War: History or Myth? 4) From Homer to Hip-Hop: Reinventing the Classics. It will consist of free public performances of Homer's Iliad by the Aquila Theatre Company at each library, and an acting master-class using Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors to demonstrate how these themes have been conveyed, and are still relevant today. There will also be scholar led reading groups, lectures and post-performance discussions.

... the full thing
From my mailbox:

With this mail we send you information about a new MA program in Ancient Cultures and Societies at the University of Alberta. The program will start in September 2009 and the application deadline is January 21st 2009. Please, disseminate this information amongst your students.

For more information please contact Margriet Haagsma at the address or phone number below.
University of Alberta
Department of History and Classics
MA in Ancient Societies and Cultures

This two –year program is for students who wish to develop their personal research interests and critical skills within the general area of Ancient Societies and Cultures. Students are particularly encouraged to take inter- and cross-disciplinary approaches as part of their education and research. The program provides the possibility, for instance, to pursue advanced comparative studies in Greek, Roman and ancient Israelite historiography, cross-linguistic studies, ancient Mediterranean cross-cultural studies, research in ancient Indian and Hellenic contacts, ancient China; and comparative studies in ancient religions, societies, polities, built spaces and visual cultures.

Entrance Requirements

In addition to general departmental admission requirements, students should hold a BA either in Classics, History or a suitable related field (e.g., Religious Studies, Philosophy, Anthropology) and must demonstrate suitable preparation for the desired program of study, including a level of language preparation suitable for research on the primary sources, as applicable to the student’s program (e.g.,appropriate preparation in Greek, Hebrew, Latin and/or Sanskrit).

Program Requirements and resources

Program requirements include: a specified number of courses, proficiency in an ancient language of the area of specialization, a modern language requirement and a thesis which should normally be no more than 100 pages in length. Students should be able to complete the program in three or four terms depending on preparation and course selection. The University of Alberta has one of the best research libraries in Canada.


Ben Zvi, Ehud Hebrew Bible, intellectual history of ancient Israel, constructions of the past in ancient Israel.

Braun, Willi History of early Christian thought, social formation of early Christian associations

Fracchia, Helena Greek, Pre-Roman and Roman art and archaeology

Haagsma, Margriet Greek archaeology, the archaeology of domestic space

Harris, John Greek language, literature and philosophy

Hijmans, Steven Roman art and archaeology, Roman religion

Jay, Jennifer East Asia

Kemezis, Adam Roman literature and history

Kitchen, John Christianity in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Landy, Francis Hebrew Bible

Lynn-George, Michael Greek language and literature, Homeric epic

MacFarlane, Kelly Greek and Latin literature, Greek Music, The Persian wars

Mackay, Christopher Greek and Latin literature, Roman History

Nagel, Rebecca Latin literature, the Classical tradition in England

Parasher Sen, Aloka Ancient and Early Medieval Indian History up to 1200 AD

Pownall, Frances Greek history and historiography

Rossiter, Jeremy Archaeology of the Roman provinces

Stewart, Selina Greek and Ancient Near Eastern literature, historical linguistics, queer theory


Detailed information about application procedures and funding can be found on the department website:


Margriet J. Haagsma

Dept. of History and Classics

University of Alberta, Edmonton AB

T6G 2H4

Tel. ##-780-4922985

margriet.haagsma AT
An International Conference on ERÔS IN ANCIENT GREECE

Saturday 28 - Tuesday 31 March 2009
Organisers: Ed Sanders, Chiara Thumiger, Chris Carey, and Nick Lowe

One of the most exciting developments in recent classics research has been
in the field of ancient emotions and representations of the mind and self.
Within this rich field of inquiry, University College London and the
Institute of Classical Studies are hosting an international conference on
the topic of "Erôs in ancient Greece".

The conference will offer papers on a wide range of topics related to Erôs
as pathos or epithymia, including iconography associated with erotic
passions, Erôs as literary motif, and philosophical approaches. The
chronological span will be from the Archaic period to the Second Sophistic,
including reception.

Programme and booking details can be found at the conference webpage:
Ante diem iv kalendas novembres

ludi Victoriae Sullanae (day 4)-- games held in honour of Victoria commemorating Sulla's defeat of the Samnites in 82 B.C.

1729 -- birth of James Boswell (biographer of Johnson)
intrigue @ OED

superficies @ Merriam-Webster

asperse @ Wordsmith
Some familiar names in this piece from the Carolina Coast Online:

You look at your class schedule and see Latin listed for this semester. Oh the drudgery, opening a textbook and memorizing vocabulary words. Why would you want to have any interest in this ancient language through a textbook?

Educators are working to change that attitude by incorporating Latin studies into modern technology via iPods, cell phones, online games like World of Warcraft and Internet social pages. Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers Inc., a company that specializes in classical literature, has an eLearning mission to utilize all of these media and more to bring this ancient language into the styles of learning that today's students are demanding.

Take World of Warcraft for example. ELearning Director Andrew Reinhard has established a Horde guild, Carpe Praedam in the Feathermoon realm. Latin students can join the guild and play the most popular online game, working with other players to perfect their language skills.

"We give students access to methods of learning in ways they're familiar," Reinhard says about all the eLearning programs, which can be found at "I think one of the big things is its convenience. Latin anywhere, anytime. You can literally get it out of your pocket. Right at your fingertips."

Latin for the New Millennium is a new product on the site for first- and second-year students in traditional and online classrooms. It is a complete program of study with the first Latin textbook to use the fusion approach to learning an ancient language through a balance of grammar and reading. The exercises are designed for oral learning and involve studies that illuminate Roman life, civilization, history and mythology.

Behind the classroom scenes, teachers have access to a secure Teacher's Lounge Web site which allows them to post projects, lesson plans and share syllabi for other teachers using the series. The 1,000 test questions are popular on the site and available in Quia or downloadable document formats as a convenient help for teachers. Plus, the site allows Bolchazy-Carducci to share information about the series on when other materials are available.

Also in the eLearning program is the Artes Latinae Level 2 DVD 2.0 package which allows students of multiple skills, including the elementary level, to learn at their pace on a personal computer. It teaches Latin and at the same time engages students' minds with aphorisms, proverbs and sentence structure to help them think beyond the vocabulary.

"Artes Latinae itself has morphed over the years, starting out as books and tapes, then moving to CDs and now DVD's," says Marie Bolchazy, executive vice president of the company.

The transition has been valuable, allowing thousands of students to learn Latin through the program and continue being interested in studying the classical language over the years, Bolchazy says.

One project in the works through eLearning is an online site which will have more than 6,000 self-correcting grammar drills and exercises for students and teachers at any level of learning who are using any Latin textbook including Latin for the New Millennium. Bolchazy-Carducci eLearning has also created integrated pages and groups on social Web sites like Facebook, and launched the first social network for Latin and Greek teachers at, allowing students and teachers to share Latin experiences.
From the Pioneer Press:

Sentence by sentence, Kate Underwood dissected a letter between Cicero and Atticus of ancient Rome.

With each word, the 12th-grader translated Latin into English. It was the latest assignment for her advanced Latin class this week at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights.

"People don't understand why you would take Latin, because it is a dead language," said Underwood, 18, who attends Convent of the Visitation School and takes Latin at St. Thomas.

Her response: Latin literature is classic.

Students across the country are resurrecting the so-called dying language as a way to improve their vocabulary, grades and standardized test scores.

Long favored by exclusive East Coast schools, Latin has become a popular addition at schools nationwide. The ancient language is being taught as early as third grade in public, charter and private metro-area schools, and enrollment is growing.

Enrollment in Minnesota Latin classes rose 65 percent between the 2000-01 and 2006-07 school years, according to a state Department of Education survey. It was one of the fastest-growing languages to study in the state.

"I'm intrigued by the modern resurgence of Latin," said Brian Bloomfield, director of curriculum and instruction at Nova Classical Academy, a St. Paul charter school.

The K-12 public school with 406 students begins Latin classes in third grade. School officials believe Latin is one reason the school has a 300-student waiting list.

"Everyone is really excited about it," Bloomfield said.

Third-graders start by learning Latin verb tenses, which they pick up in chants and songs. They also find similarities in Latin and English nouns, such as manus, which means hand. Teachers explain how manus led to English words like manual.

"(Students) get a kick out of it," Bloomfield said.

St. Paul's Central High School also offers two Latin classes, beginning and advanced, with an average of 25 students in each, Latin teacher Craig Wolke said.

St. Thomas Academy, a private all-boys Catholic high school, experienced a 47 percent increase in Latin enrollment three years ago, said teacher Mitch Taraschi. At that time, class numbers jumped from 67 students in the 2004-05 school year to 99 the following year.

Since then, enrollment has remained steady at 87 pupils for about six Latin classes.

Students often choose Latin as a foreign language because their parents encourage it, because Latin can help them in careers like medicine or law or because college admissions processes tend to favor it, Taraschi said. Knowledge of the language can give medical and law students an edge, because both professions deal in Latin terms.

Most remember it as a bland, academically snooty subject, but Latin class has changed since the 1960s.

Teachers and students speak Latin in class more than before. And teachers now incorporate tales of Roman civilization and history into their lessons, said Marty Abbott, director of education for the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages, based in Alexandria, Va.

On Monday, Taraschi started an eighth-grade beginners' class by chanting the "Lord's Prayer" prayer in Latin — required learning by the end of the semester. The prayer is a favorite for grandparents at family dinners, Taraschi said.

The students then took turns translating the story of the Trojan Horse, from the Latin poet Virgil's epic, "The Aeneid."

Eighth-grader Joseph Weichert, 13, said learning
the language has helped him with English vocabulary. He hopes Latin also will help with standardized tests.

An estimated 60 percent of English vocabulary derives from Latin, Abbott said.

Latin students tend to have better analytical and grammar skills. They also find it easier to learn other romance languages such as Spanish and French.

That's another reason Underwood was attracted to the language.

"It's a basis of so many other languages I want to go into," said Underwood, who plans to major in French and Italian in college. "They cross a lot."
From the Independent:

Frank Walbank, Emeritus Rathbone Professor of Ancient History at Liverpool University, was one of the great ancient historians of the 20th century. For around half a century he defined and dominated the field of Hellenistic history. Above all he was the unchallenged expert on the Greek politician and historian Polybius, who composed his history of Rome around the middle of the second century BC. Walbank's magnum opus is the monumental three-volume Historical Commentary on Polybius – a project launched in 1944 and completed in 1979 – which is widely regarded as the finest commentary ever composed on a historical author from antiquity.

Walbank also published the monograph Polybius (1972), and many of his 350-odd papers concerned the historian. Some of these papers were collected in two volumes (of 1985 and 2002); the second of these has an introductory chapter, "Polybian Studies c1975-2000". Walbank, remarkably, not only remained abreast of Polybian scholarship but was still contributing to it virtually until his death at the age of 98: his last article, on Fortune (tyche) in Polybius, appeared in 2007.

The collection of 2002, as indicated by the title, Polybius, Rome and the Hellenistic World, points to his mastery of Hellenistic history in general. In this area, one thinks especially of the two prize essays published as Aratos of Sicyon (1933) and Philip V of Macedon (1940), the Fontana Hellenistic World (1981, widely translated), and the three volumes of the revised Cambridge Ancient History which he co-edited and wrote for.

Curiously, the book for which he is best known in other fields of history and other cultures is an essay on the later Roman Empire, published in 1946 as The Decline of the Roman Empire in the West and reissued in 1969 as The Awful Revolution (recalling Gibbon). Walbank later distanced himself from some of its conclusions and from the Marxist views that inspired it, but nevertheless justified its composition as "a tract for the times", and stood by his attempt therein to explore the relevance of ancient history to the contemporary world.

Frank William Walbank was born at Bingley in the West Riding of Yorkshire in 1909. He was proud of his origins, and in his later days enjoyed studying old maps of Bingley, recalling incidents from his boyhood. His father, the son of a cobbler, won a scholarship to the Yorkshire College (later Leeds University) and became a schoolteacher; Frank was a scholar at Bradford Grammar School and then at Peterhouse, Cambridge, which he entered in 1928.

He had chosen Classics under the impression that Classics was the only means of entry into higher education and a career in one of the professions or the higher civil service. One suspects that his Classics teacher, Ned Goddard, fuelled this misapprehension, aware that he had in his charge an unusually talented student; the same man assigned him some Polybius (an unlikely author for a schoolboy), and later gave him his own multi-volume Encyclopaedia of Classical Antiquity (in German).

At Peterhouse, Walbank encountered the grammar school/public school division and like most others stayed with his own kind. It was something of an ordeal when James Mason (Marlborough, Peterhouse and Hollywood) invited him to tea to meet a friend of his from Trinity, who like Frank, had won a Hellenic Travellers' Club Prize. In scholarship, Walbank was totally at ease. One prize led to another, a brilliant performance in Tripos earned him a year of research, which included a summer spent learning German in Jena, and after a short spell as a Latin master in Manchester in 1932-33, he embarked on an academic career at Liverpool University in 1934.

He spent the Second World War in Liverpool with the University Tower Watch (a branch of the National Fire Service), having been prevented, to his great disappointment, from serving in the Home Guard and in Bletchley because of his radical political past. After the war, his academic career in Liverpool continued: the Chair in Latin (1946-51) was followed by the Chair in Ancient History and Classical Archaeology (1951-77). As a lecturer, he could hold any audience – undoubtedly his wartime experience in teaching the troops stood him in good stead; his writing style is marked by clarity, economy and quiet elegance.

Walbank was elected a Fellow of the British Academy at the early age of 43, was Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Public Orator in his own university, and was active in advancing the cause of Classics and Ancient History in the UK as a whole, taking his turn in steering bodies such as the Roman Society and Classical Association, and, not least, in participating regularly at seminars and conferences, in particular during his long and active retirement at Cambridge. He positively enjoyed meeting other scholars and hearing their lectures.

Overseas, he was a popular lecturer and visitor, and forged strong friendships with sundry academics in particular in North America, Germany, Italy and Israel. He had a lifelong connection with Albania, which country he visited with his wife Mary for the first time in 1936. Honours multiplied: abroad, in the United States, he was Sather Lecturer at Berkeley, Mellon Professor at Pittsburgh, Kentucky Colonel, and Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; at home, he received an Honorary DLitt from Exeter University, was awarded the British Academy Kenyon Medal and appointed CBE (1993).

Frank Walbank bore his distinction lightly. He was aware of his lofty position in the world of classical scholarship, but seemed pleasantly surprised by it, and certainly did not glory in it. Joined with this rare modesty was an extraordinary generosity of spirit, an openness towards and tolerance of, others. He was immensely helpful to younger scholars, and very pleased to read their work, correspond with them, and get to know them.

He did have strong opinions, on scholarship, on politics, and on religion, but by and large kept them to himself and did not dwell on them. He was splendid company, had a ready wit and a great fund of stories, which he told with panache. His optimistic and positive attitude to life carried him through the loss of his wife and the various trials of old age; for others it was infectious and uplifting, in particular for his family (with whom he was very close) and friends. This was a man of high achievement and humanity who was regarded by all who knew him with the greatest respect and affection.

......... Peter Garnsey

Frank William Walbank, ancient historian: born Bingley, West Yorkshire 10 December 1909; Hugo de Balsham Research Student, Peterhouse 1931-32, Honorary Fellow 1984; Senior Classics Master, North Manchester High School 1932-33; Assistant Lecturer in Latin, Liverpool University 1934-36, Lecturer 1936-46, Professor of Latin 1946-51, Rathbone Professor of Ancient History and Classical Archaeology 1951-77 (Emeritus), Public Orator 1956-60; Dean, Faculty of Arts 1974-77; FBA 1953; CBE 1993; married 1935 Mary Fox (died 1987; one son, two daughters); died Cambridge 23 October 2008.
The Guardian has a feature on 1000 artworks to see before you die ... here are the ones under 'Greek':

Greek (c475BC) - Charioteer from Delphi
Commissioned by Polyzalus, Tyrant of Gela in Sicily, to commemorate a victory in the Olympic games, the charioteer was once part of what would have been an imposing group (now only fragments of his horses remain). The young bronze face is delicately beautiful; the folds of his chiton fall with simple severity. (CH)

Greek (c460BC) - Zeus with a Thunderbolt
Most Greek sculpture survives as Roman marble copies of the bronze originals, so when you come face to face with the real thing, it's incredibly impressive. This over-life-size Zeus, poised to hurl a thunderbolt, is all virile beard and finely honed musculature. (CH)

Greek (c450BC) - Bronze warriors
These two bearded, naked bronze warriors found in the sea off Riace, near Reggio, southern Italy, were perhaps originally produced to commemorate a Greek military victory. Like so much Greek sculpture, they were looted by the Romans after Greece became part of the empire. In this case, however, the loot never reached its destination, but sank with its ship — hence the survival of these statues (most Greek bronze sculptures were melted down and the metal reused). The modelling and naturalistic poses of these imposing warriors is staggering. Their teeth are of silver, their nipples of copper and their six-packs are to die for. (CH)

Greek (late 2nd century BC) - Aphrodite of Melos (Venus de Milo)
The figure is given a soft, S-shaped pose; the drapery — tantalisingly — seems about to drift free from her hips. This masterful, informal Aphrodite, discovered in 1820, is all seduction and dimpled flesh. (CH)

Greek (early 2nd century BC) - Winged Victory of Samothrace
You can practically hear the thrash of the wind through her beautiful, feathered wings. Her airborne speed has pressed her filmy, billowing chiton back against her body, revealing her nipples and navel. It is hard to grasp that this goddess is carved from stone. (CH)

... there's others in the catalog ... I have to winnow them out though ...
Fri 12th - Sat 13th December 2008
Faculty of Classics, Cambridge

This conference brings together scholars working on the syllabic scripts of Bronze and Iron Age Cyprus as well as their archaeological context, in order to create an interdisciplinary forum in which linguists, epigraphists and archaeologists may enter into a common dialogue on this topic.

Please visit the website (address above) for further information. The conference is open to all, but due to limitations of space please contact the Conference Organiser (Philippa Steele pms45 AT to register your intention to attend.
Announcement of a conference on ‘empire and the political’ organized
by the Network on Ancient and Modern Imperialisms


Friday, October 31,
and Saturday, November 1, 2008

Franklin Humanities Institute
Duke University
Durham, North Carolina, USA

For the programme in full, please see:

Participants in the conference include:

Wole Soyinka, Franklin Humanities Institute &
Karl von der Heyden Distinguished Scholar in Residence, Duke University
Page duBois, University of California, San Diego
Srinivas Aravamudan, Duke University
Gregson Davis, Duke University
Carla Antonaccio, Duke University
Peter Euben, Duke University
Daniel Tompkins, Temple University
Peter Burian, Duke University
Margaret Williamson, Dartmouth College
Werner Riess, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Giovanni Salmeri, University of Pisa
Megan Williams, San Francisco State University
Lidewijde de Jong, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ranjana Khanna, Duke University
Nancy Rabinowitz, Hamilton College
Andrew Laird, University of Warwick
Cashman Prince, Wellesley College
Giovanna Ceserani, Stanford University
Sheila Dillon, Duke University
Eric M. Meyers, Duke University
Mikael Hörnqvist, Uppsala University & National Humanities Center
Phiroze Vasunia, University of Reading
Emily Baragwanath, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mary T. Boatwright, Duke University
Richard Hingley, University of Durham
Elizabeth Clark, Duke University
Mary Nyquist, University of Toronto
Michael Hardt, Duke University
Brendan Boyle, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The conference is sponsored by the Franklin Humanities Institute, the Department of Classical Studies, and the Program in Women’s Studies, at Duke University, and the Network on Ancient and Modern Imperialisms.
Not sure what to make of this press release:

The world of gladiators comes to life as the Roman Empire's most brutal fighters clash in the ultimate arena. Starz's new series, "Spartacus," an entirely new twist on the ancient legend, will utilize virtual environments giving it a unique graphic novel look and style, along with a fresh narrative approach. Debuting exclusively on Starz, "Spartacus" will be produced by Starz Media with Executive Producers Sam Raimi, Rob Tapert and Joshua Donen. The announcement was made today by Stephan Shelanski, executive vice president, programming, for Starz Entertainment. It will begin production in early 2009, debuting on Starz and its suite of channels later in the year.
This is the second original drama series on Starz, and the first drama produced in-house by the premium service's studio sibling, headed by William Hamm, executive vice president, originals productions. Hamm brought the project to the channel.
Steven S. DeKnight ("Smallville," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") has been signed as head writer and show-runner of the series, which was developed by Raimi (Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3 and Evil Dead), Tapert (The Grudge, "Xena: Warrior Princess" and "Hercules: The Legendary Journeys") and Donen (The Quick and the Dead) and is being produced in New Zealand by Starz Media's Starz Productions. DeKnight is one of the most sought after Producer/Director/Writers in television and is currently consulting on Joss Whedon's "Dollhouse" and tapped to write for the upcoming season eight in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer comic book series.
From the talented team responsible for some of the biggest action feature film hits, and consistently popular action TV series, "Spartacus" will take the story of the rebellious warrior-slave and re-imagine it for a generation of TV viewers raised on graphic novels and cutting-edge production technology. Audiences will get 13 hour-long episodes of unsparing action, set in the brutal world of gladiators. Because the series is being produced for Starz -- the fastest-growing premium television service -- there is no shortage of intense action and vivid, R-rated storytelling. This will be a TV series with an original narrative and a very unique look and feel.
"When 'Spartacus' debuts in the summer of 2009, it will give our subscribers a show unlike anything currently on TV: a fresh, high-energy action series with nothing held back," Shelanski said. "We think it will be the destination show for next summer. It, along with our other original productions underscores our commitment to being a new kind of TV company, programming the biggest movies and the best new television series."
"By utilizing the latest digital filmmaking techniques to create the look of this series, we'll be able to tell the story in a way never before seen with production values far beyond what even the most ambitious TV series can offer," Tapert said. Raimi added "It is going to be very exciting to take one of the most beloved and inspiring characters of all time, re-invent and bring them to life for a whole new generation of TV viewers."
Starz's new "Spartacus" series was inspired by the actual slave of the Roman Republic who in 73 BC led a slave revolt that grew to more than 120,000 fighters. Defying the Roman Republic's legions of soldiers, they campaigned for two years through much of what is now Italy before succumbing to a much larger army. The new series will tell a new set of stories rich in character, action, sex and combat.
Starz Media's Anchor Bay Entertainment will hold exclusive worldwide home entertainment distribution rights to "Spartacus," while the company's Worldwide Distribution group will handle international television and domestic syndication sales.
"Spartacus" is just the latest original series for Starz. Its first dramatic series, "Crash," a co-production from Starz Entertainment and Lionsgate, premiered Oct. 17. Starz Media will also produce "Party Down" for Starz, debuting in early 2009, the companies announced recently. These come on the heels of Starz's original half-hour comedy series, "Head Case," which stars Alexandra Wentworth and is currently in production on additional episodes. Starz also features "Starz Inside," a monthly series of original specials examining people, trends and culture in entertainment, hosted by film critic Richard Roeper.

For an eighth year now, a team of archeologists led by Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov, has been exploring the grounds of the holy city of Perperikon(also Perpericon) in the eastern Rhodope Mountains.

The place acted as a cult site as early as the end of 5 and the early 4 millennium BC. Researchers have come across finds from the second millennium BC and there is evidence the city prospered during Thracian times in Antiquity. An Episcopal center was set up here in the Middle Ages.

At a press conference in Sofia Nikolay Ovcharov showed unique finds originating from different periods in the history of Perperikon. The oldest one is dated to the Trojan War, the archeologist contends.
"It is a sword with a broken handle from 12-13 c. BC. It is made of high-quality bronze. I have dated it to the Trojan War because that war was waged using precisely such swords. The fact that the sword is broken implies two things. One, that it got broken in combat. Two, that it was broken on purpose during a cult ritual. People used to lay dear objects in shrines, and swords were indeed perceived as extremely valuable. This has been the third such sword found in the Bulgarian lands, meaning it is quite a rare and inspiring find."
Nikolay Ovcharov argues that during his expeditions he is not after gold. According to him a tiny ceramic figure from 10 c. BC similar to a human body, can have a greater scientific value than an intact gold treasure. Well, the rough make of the small idol will hardly intrigue art connoisseurs.
"The idol is pierced all over - it obviously stands for some sort of illness", he adds. "Could be measles, could be plague. In any case it was a lethal disease. We know that in voodoo religion a small figure would be desecrated in a bid to transfer on it human illness or suffering. It is obvious that the small idol was used in magic in an effort to banish disease away from the body and into the object."
Apart from the ceramic item, there is also a small silver jewel found recently in Perperikon. It is a cloak fibula and has two parts.
"When the two parts of the fibula fit together the jewel displays a human face with a halo. The halo is a Christian symbol. At first glance the illustration is unsophisticated, Barbarous in style. But in fact it depicts Christ. Our research suggests that this object is part of a Constantinople fashion trend in 5 c. AD. Back then, Constantinople, the capital of Byzantium, had attracted many Barbarians. The Greek used that word to denote various Germanic tribes, mostly Goths, and Asia Minor tribes. Byzantium of that time saw quite prolific writings that condemned the Barbarian fashion trends, especially the ones brought over by the Goths. There was a period when even noblemen copied the Goths - in hairstyles, clothing and adornments. So in this particular case we have a silver jewel that was owned by a Byzantine aristocrat. Well, he could have been one of Perperikon's military leaders," archeologist Prof. Nikolay Ovcharov said in conclusion.
ante diem vi kalendas novembres

ludi Victoriae Sullanae (day 2) -- games held in honour of Victoria commemorating Sulla's defeat of the Samnites in 82 B.C.

43 B.C. -- Marcus Junius Brutus commits suicide in the wake of the defeat at Philippi (by one reckoning)

113 A.D. -- the emperor Trajan departs from Rome for his war against the Parthians

251 A.D. -- the future emperor Valerian is elected by the senate to the recently-revived office of censor

1469 -- birth of Erasmus
suppose @ OED

manticore @ Merriam-Webster

corroborate @
Not much in the news this a.m., but my box is filling up with multiple copies to this one from the BBC (thanks to all who sent it!):

When I asked my medical students to name famous doctors in the history of medicine, their first answer was Harold Shipman, the GP who murdered hundreds of patients.

I nearly swallowed my tongue.

Their second answer was House, the fictional doctor from the American TV series.

Tears of frustration welled up in my eyes.

Their third answer was Hippocrates, presumed author of the Hippocratic Oath - I breathed a sigh of relief.

Written nearly 2,500 years ago, the Oath is the most famous text in Western medicine, yet most people (including doctors) know precious little about it.

One GP recounted the story of an elderly patient who believed the Oath instructed doctors never to tell patients the truth. It contains no such advice.

Here is a brief guide to the Oath.

The Oath starts: "I swear by Apollo the physician and by Asclepius and Hygieia and Panacea... to bring the following oath to fulfilment."

Apollo, the god of healing, fell in love with a human, Coronis.

In his absence, Apollo sent a white crow to look after her.

When the crow informed Apollo that Coronis loved another man, Apollo's rage turned the crow black.

To avenge her brother, Apollo's sister shot Coronis with an arrow and, as she lay dying, Coronis told Apollo that she was bearing his child.

Although Apollo could not save Coronis, he rescued the unborn child, Asclepius.

Hygieia, the goddess of health, and Panacea, the goddess of cures, are the daughters of Asclepius.

According to legend, Hippocrates was a descendant of one of Asclepius' sons.


Doctors taking the Oath would doubtless have been inspired by this illustrious lineage of healers.

The next section instructs the doctor to treat his teachers as his parents, and to pass on the art of medicine to the next generation of healers.

The Oath continues: "And I will use treatments for the benefit of the ill in accordance with my ability and my judgment, but from what is to their harm and injustice I will keep them."

In other words, doctors should act in the best interests of their patients, and when unjust circumstances arise - for instance, a certain life-prolonging drug may not be available on the NHS - they should strive to correct the injustice harming their patients.

The next part seemingly concerns euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, saying: "And I will not give a drug that is deadly to anyone if asked, nor will I suggest the way to such a counsel."

Two leading scholars of the Oath, Littre and Miles, have however suggested that this passage alludes to the then common practice of using doctors as skilled political assassins.

Steven Miles notes: "Fear of the physician-poisoner may be traced very close to the time of the Oath."

The word "euthanasia" (meaning "easeful death") was only coined a century after the writing of the Oath.


The text continues: "And likewise I will not give a woman a destructive pessary."

This passage is often interpreted as a rejection of abortion.

However, abortion was legal at the time and the text only mentions pessaries (a soaked piece of wool inserted in the vagina to induce abortion), not the oral methods of abortion also used in ancient Greece.

As pessaries could cause lethal infections, the author of the Oath may have had a clinical objection to the method, rather than a moral objection to abortion itself.

The next sentence - "In a pure and holy way, I will guard my life and my art and science" - is a call for professional integrity.

Doctors should refrain from immoral behaviour and resist the temptations that accompany their privileged position (today, from drug companies offering generous gifts, for example).


The Oath continues: "I will not cut, and certainly not those suffering from stone, but I will cede this to men who are practitioners of this activity."

Another common misconception is that the Oath forbids surgery.

In fact, it instructs doctors to acknowledge the limits of their competence and to refer cases to more specialised practitioners.

Next, the doctor enters the patient's house: "Into as many houses as I may enter, I will go for the benefit of the ill, while being far from all voluntary and destructive injustice, especially from sexual acts both upon women's bodies and upon men's."

The need for such a statement reflects the wide distrust in healers at the time.

In a competitive marketplace where quacks abounded, it was necessary to reassure the public that doctors would not exploit patients.


The penultimate section deals with confidentiality and reads: "And about whatever I may see or hear in treatment, or even without treatment, in the life of human beings, I will remain silent, holding such things to be unutterable."

As today, patients in ancient times shared deeply personal information with doctors on the assumption that their details would not be revealed to others.

Without this trust, patients may withhold facts that would help the doctor make an accurate diagnosis.

The text ends with the rewards that await those who respect the Oath ("the benefits both of life and of art and science, being held in good repute among all human beings for time eternal") and the punishment of those who do not ("if, however, I transgress and swear falsely, the opposite of these").

This whistle-stop tour of the Oath gives some idea of the content and spirit of this ancient text.

In an age of technological developments, cosmetic surgery, complementary medicine, drug companies, and many other temptations for patients and doctors alike, the spirit of the Oath is as relevant as ever.
This week's collection of other items which might be of interest to rc readers:

More positive publicity for the Iris Project ...

Archaeology has a nice little interview with Eric Powell about traffic patterns in Pompeii ...

An interesting excerpt from an interview with Ursula LeGuin and her reaction to the Aeneid ...

A review of a performance of Addison's Cato ... (here's a version of the script, if you've never perused it) ...

Not sure whether I need to tune up my gag reflex for this one or not ... Catherine Zeta-Jones is going to star in a 3D rock opera story about Cleopatra ...

An ancient allusion in the new UEFA logo ...

The Pompei and the Roman Villa exhibition at the National Gallery of Art looks good and is being reviewed by the New York Times ... ANSA ...

Haven't mentioned a Dear Socrates letter in a while ...

If you want to hear a couple of Mary Beard's Sather lectures ...

Other exhibitions of note include Gods in Color ...

Folks might be interested in the shenanigans which went (?) on in the Getty ...

Theatre reviews: Bacchae (Rice University) ... Antigone (Manchester) ... another of same ...
From AdnKronos:

"Il restauro della Villa del Casale di Piazza Armerina e' uno dei piu' grandi e complessi d'Europa e dell'intero bacino del Mediterraneo. Abbiamo completato la ricostruzione, la ripulitura e il consolidamento di circa 120milioni di tessere di mosaico". Lo dice il direttore del Centro regionale siciliano di restauro, Guido Meli. "Considerato che usufruiamo dei fondi delle risorse liberate di Agenda 2000 e, quindi, non abbiamo piu' vincoli di tempo - prosegue - prevediamo di concludere i lavori e di inaugurare la villa, riportata ai fasti originari, entro la prossima estate".

Scongiurato l'ultimatum del 31 dicembre, data in cui dovevano concludersi i lavori per non perdere i finanziamenti del Por, Guido Meli, in una intervista al TgWeb (, detta i tempi per restituire alla Sicilia, completamente rinnovata, la Villa romana del Casale, visitata ogni anno da oltre mezzo milione di persone. Come spiega Meli, affiancato nel corso di un sopralluogo a piazza Armerina dall'alto commissario per la Villa del Casale, Vittorio Sgarbi, "il sito dovra' chiudere da novembre a febbraio per le operazioni di smontaggio dell'attuale copertura e la contemporanea collocazione della nuova struttura ventilata con elementi in legno, realizzata per non disturbare l'ambiente circostante".

Negli altri servizi del TgWeb si parla del disegno di legge di riforma della polizia locale, del piano anti desertificazione messo a punto dalla Regione, dei risultati della campagna promozionale della pesca di Bivona, ormai prossima al riconoscimento Igp (Identificazione geografica protetta) e delle manifestazioni del Columbus day, che hanno offerto l'occasione per discutere delle condizioni degli emigrati siciliani e delle nuove possibilita' d'impresa nel mercato statunitense.

... now if only they can get Cicerones who don't make the 'dining room' the site of orgies ...
I keep forgetting to mention this one ... Rudiments of Wisdom has an excellent little image on how to dress up in a Greek chiton and/or Roman toga (and yes, it does recognize that they're two different things) ...
ante diem ix kalendas novembres

31 A.D. -- execution of Strabo, son of the Praetorian Praefect L. Aelius Sejanus

51 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor T. Flavius Domitianus, better known as Domitian
exoteric @ Merriam-Webster

limn @
Nice article from Yahoo's business pages:

The antiquities trade has been making headlines, and they are weird ones: "Eulogy for the Euphronius Krater." (What in the world is a "krater"?) "Museum to Show Off Fake Egyptian Sculptures." (That's ridiculous, isn't it?) "Antiquities Dealer Gets Prison Time." (A nice old man with a pince-nez comes to mind, dragged off to the clink for some tragicomical offense, no doubt.)

Read beyond the headlines, though, and it becomes clear that something large is going on. The dealer convicted in 2002 is none other than Frederick Schultz, former head of a major professional group in the antiquities field and once an advisor to President Clinton on international arts policy. He was convicted of conspiring to smuggle newly found Egyptian relics to the U.S. by passing them off as tourist junk.

As for the actual fake sculptures, so overheated has this segment of the art market become that even counterfeits are now noteworthy. The faux Egypt pieces are works identified in the renowned Egyptian collection of the Brooklyn Museum.

What the museum had thought were important Coptic (Egyptian Christian) and pagan sculptures turned out, on close examination, to be sophisticated forgeries, probably from the 20th century. The museum has announced it will include them in an exhibition next year (rather than the more standard approach - hiding them in shame and disgrace).

And the Euphronios krater? Well, that's an 18-inch-tall wine-mixing vessel signed by famed Greek artist Euphronios - and a case that goes right to the heart of the matter. It used to reside in New York City's Metropolitan Museum of Art, which bought it in 1972.

Italian authorities, claiming that it had been illegally excavated and exported, demanded that the museum return it to Italy. (Although the krater is of Greek cultural origin, it was found in Italy, part of an ancient Etruscan collection of ancient Greek art.) This year the Met bowed to international pressure and sent the krater back home, inspiring eulogies from American admirers.

The return of the krater was a watershed: It told the world that an international consensus had finally and firmly taken hold on the rules for ownership of ancient artifacts. The consensus had been a long time coming - it grew out of a 1970 Unesco declaration seeking to impose some kind of order on the murky, often disputatious business of trading antiquities and authenticating their origin. And it had an extraordinary consequence: The market took off like Ben-Hur.

So just as New York was preparing to bid goodbye to the krater, the following headline appeared on Dec. 6, 2007, in the New York Times: "Tiny Lioness Commands Many Millions." A 5,000-year-old, 3 1/4-inch limestone figure from the Mesopotamian region of Elam - known as the Guennol lioness - went to auction after almost 60 years on loan to the Brooklyn Museum. And if the presale estimate of $14 million to $18 million had people talking, the sale price of $57.2 million left them speechless.

Just six months before, Sotheby's had sold a three-foot first-century bronze statue called "Artemis and the Stag" - now on loan to the Met from an unnamed owner - for a then-staggering $28.6 million, a record-setting auction price for both antiquities and sculpture at the time. But the Guennol lioness, with her pristine provenance (or origin documentation) and record-annihilating pricetag, provided proof that a "new" antiquities industry had emerged from the scandals of the recent past.

Michael Steinhardt is getting misty. "A little part of my life is built around ancient art," he says, something that sounds almost funny considering the contents of his Manhattan office: The two computer monitors on his desk do confirm that he is a hedge fund guru, but just about every other surface and vista in the large corner room feature Judaica and ancient art - his true love.

"If you see a wonderful archaic Greek marble object in a museum, it's not only that it's beautiful, but what comes to your mind is the fact that it's 2,600 or so years old, and it was done by a human being at that time who you have such a limited ability to grasp - and yet you have this enormous ability to grasp," Steinhardt says.

He's been collecting for more than 20 years, amassing what is probably one of the larger private American collections, and was moved to create it partly out of the impulse to do something more "ennobling" with his fortune than buy a "private jet or Picasso."

Ancient art presented a challenge: Antiquities "require more of yourself to be a good collector," says the autodidact. "You see an Andy Warhol - well, thank you very much. Maybe there's something to know and maybe there's a depth that totally escapes me, but I don't think you can collect fifth-century Greek material or collect Greek pots without understanding a good deal more."

Steinhardt conducts a walking tour of his office, pointing out a mockup of a Roman stela he's just bought depicting a Greek killing an Amazon, a scene he says touched him with its Holocaust echoes. But there's one story about his collection that he won't tell: the time U.S. customs agents entered his Manhattan home, confiscated a Sicilian phiale (that's a bowl) valued at more than $1 million, and sent it back to Italy, all at the request of that country's authorities.

The case made major headlines, particularly because it underscored the U.S. government's willingness to enforce a foreign government's cultural patrimony - i.e., national heritage - laws in the antiquities arena. Steinhardt is right: You do have to know a good deal to be a successful antiquities collector, not just to spot value but to avoid being publicly embarrassed, accused of theft, or forced to bid farewell to an artifact you've acquired (and even the money you've spent on it).

That's because what ultimately catapulted antiquities from relative commercial obscurity to the art world's center stage was the codification of provenance and the rules of national ownership. This began with the Unesco declaration in 1970, formally called the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership and Cultural Property.

As one country after another has ratified the convention, it has become something like international law. And many governments have gone further, enacting measures that make any new finds within their borders property of the state. The upshot is this: No newly excavated antiquities will be hitting the market, so any piece with good papers - showing it came out of the ground before the convention was established in 1970 or was legally exported after that - automatically skyrockets in value.

But owning an antiquity isn't quite the straightforward affair that picking up the odd piece of Pop Art or animal in formaldehyde might be. Aside from the legal matters - finding a reputable dealer, confirming provenance, generally avoiding search and seizure - there are the more nuanced ethical questions. Many archaeologists say any antiquities trade, and particularly one with the recent astronomical prices, promotes looting and destroys archaeological context.

Museum curators, dealers, collectors, and even a few scholars take the opposite view, pointing out that the antiquities trade has existed since, well, antiquity. (And that eliminating it altogether would force those with unprovenanced artifacts or accidental finds to go underground, thereby - you guessed it - encouraging looting and destroying archaeological context.)

"The state of the discussion between archaeologists and museum curators and directors is so polarized that it has ceased almost entirely to be productive," says archaeologist Geoff Emberling, who is also museum director of the Oriental Institute at the University of Chicago, whose museum specifically does not acquire pieces on the market.

Emberling calls the lioness sale a "catastrophe," saying that prices at this level put archaeological sites in greater danger than they have ever been before. "In the big picture," he says, those artifacts "are better off still in the ground, awaiting a detailed excavation. But I acknowledge that's sort of a dream."

In the meantime, the question of who owns antiquity persists. Is it the farmer who stumbles on an ancient piece of silver while tilling his field? Or the government that demands he turn it over as state property? Or the cultural descendants of the civilization that made it? Or the criminal who spirits it away into hiding? Or the collector who eventually buys it? Or the museum that receives it in someone's will? No one at all - or everyone?

Jasper Gaunt could be the Platonic form of a Ph.D. Pensive gaze, salt-and-pepper shag, soft leather briefcase clutched in his lap, he looks as though he's been thinking about history since he was 5. And actually, he sort of has.

Born in Rome with an archaeologist for a grandmother, he says the Forum was the only place to play. So it wasn't a shock when he decided to pursue his doctorate in vase painting, and today he's the curator of Greek and Roman art at Emory University's Michael C. Carlos Museum in suburban Atlanta.

"There are lots and lots of stories of people bankrupting themselves and going nuts about collecting things," he says. "One of the world's earliest panel paintings belonged to Gyges, one of the kings of Lydia in the seventh century. And he paid what was at the time a record price. Pliny tells us it was staggering."

What we consider antiquities today began traveling the world as ancient empires were built and trade routes opened. As early as 2750 B.C., the Sumerians were collecting Persian and Egyptian works. The Emperor Hadrian collected from Greece and Egypt in the early second century. The Vatican began formally displaying its collections in the 16th century and subsequently pushed for measures to protect and build its stores, including new excavations. (Gaunt is cracked up by correspondence between the second earl of Shelburne and his agent in Rome: "The question was, 'Something was found - does the Pope get it?' ")

Conflict went hand in hand with collection. No sooner did the earl of Elgin Thomas Bruce remove his Marbles from the Parthenon during the Ottoman occupation of Greece in the early 1800s than some of his contemporaries began calling him a vandal. (Lord Byron, in fact, wrote a stern poem in protest.) And it's said that after Howard Carter discovered King Tutankhamen's tomb in 1922, his team used sharp tools to remove the Pharaoh's death mask and adornments, leaving his mummy in 18 scattered pieces. No wonder they were cursed.

The problems endured into modern times. For every artifact with a documented history of legal ownership and sale, dozens more are supposedly from an "old European collection" or some similarly suspicious source. They are the ones governments are likely to pounce on. As former Greek culture minister Giorgos Voulgarakis told London's Guardian newspaper in 2006, "Whatever is Greek, wherever in the world, we want it back."

Gaunt isn't swayed. "Is that constructive?" he asks. "It's political, and a total PR campaign." For Greeks outside Greece, he says, it denies any access to their heritage, and perhaps worse, stymies the cross-cultural understanding museums are built upon.

Still, today repatriation is the rule: Institutions including the J. Paul Getty Museum in L.A., the Metropolitan, and Boston's Museum of Fine Arts have sent disputed pieces back home, and without going to court. But if all the drama sounds like a deterrent to collectors with scruples, Gaunt says it shouldn't.

"No museum would be anywhere without our collectors' backing," he says. "Coming from Europe, I'm deeply impressed by the way in which American museums reach out to the community. And it's paid for by very wealthy patrons, in a brilliant manner. And, yes, there's all the hype - to spend the money and have your name on labels and galleries - but it's done for the greater good. It really is."

Whatever the antiquities trade's troubles, not everyone is shocked by what's happened. Brothers Hicham and Ali Aboutaam have been surrounded by antiquities since they were toddlers, traveling the world with their father as he bought and sold artifacts for his successful Beirut business. Once they were old enough to join in, it wasn't long before they'd earned a reputation for something like recklessness.

"I remember there was an auction in London," says Ali, who's known for being the quiet older brother with a wild buying streak. "I was 25 years old, wearing a jean jacket, and it was an auction of really tiny things. I was trying to buy the whole thing - everything."

As the Christie's auctioneer brought the gavel down to such unprecedented proclamations as, "Sold to the gentleman in the denim jacket," Ali continued outbidding even his most enthusiastic competition, going so far as to pay £14,000 - or 70 times the estimate - for a piece listed at £200 to £400.

" 'This is a record!' - the auctioneer was making comments like this," he says, laughing. "Then my friend who worked with us went to collect the pieces and check what was worth the £400,000 I'd spent. He could put everything in his hand."

What probably seemed foolish then wasn't much of a gamble in retrospect. Hicham grew up collecting Greek and Near Eastern seals, and Ali, ancient coins, so it wasn't difficult for them to see the value in even the smallest relics of antiquity.

"That was such a gift from our father," Hicham says, "the appreciation of little things, with exquisite carving, or exquisite detail." Much of what Ali bought at Christie's that day has since sold for double or triple the original price, with some of the finest pieces still in the brothers' collection.

"We're buying so much all the time," Ali says, "but it's because these things will not come back. Most people don't understand, but when you feel that you are not going to see something like this again, you try as much as you can to get it. Sometimes more than you can."

It's a philosophy that's also passed down from their father, whose business was known for its aggressive acquisitiveness. When they inherited the business after losing their parents, the brothers carried on in this tradition, but the secretive world of antiquities dealers was undergoing a transformation that made old practices anathema. And Phoenix Ancient Art, as the brothers now called it, ran into some very public trials.

In 2004, Hicham pleaded guilty in a federal court in New York City to a misdemeanor, and received a $5,000 fine, for misrepresenting the country of origin of an artifact he took through U.S. Customs. The same year Ali was sentenced in absentia by an Egyptian court to 15 years in prison for alleged involvement in a smuggling ring. (The case was eventually dropped for lack of evidence.)

Today the family business is very different. Phoenix, once an appointment-only gallery, now has offices open to the public in New York and Geneva. It publishes glossy catalogs and offers curated exhibitions of its collections. Determined to transform their public image, the Aboutaams have courted the press, spoken out in favor of regulation, and worked to broaden their client base.

"We just sold a $150,000 piece over the web," Hicham says. "We never met. The buyer just wired the money, and we sent the piece. That's it."

The most crucial development at Phoenix, though, has been their new guarantee: So we sold you a million-dollar artifact whose provenance turns out to be false? Return it for a full refund! (Even if, in these pro-provenance times, we won't be able to give it away for free now.)

"You want a dealer who'll stand behind the pieces and anticipate potential issues," says Peter Chavkin, a partner at the law firm Mintz Levin, who has worked with the Aboutaams and others in the antiquities field, "and the Aboutaams have the wonderful approach of not sticking collectors with a piece that turns out to have problems."

The revamped business model has Phoenix doing better than ever before. Insiders say it has traditionally done more business in antiquities than Sotheby's and Christie's combined, and though Sotheby's record sales of the bronze Artemis and Guennol lioness in 2007 will change that, Phoenix also had a banner 2007. Last year the gallery sold 12 pieces for more than $1 million each, compared with just two in 2005. (By comparison, Sotheby's sold no antiquities for more than $1 million in 2006, and six in 2007, four from a single museum collection put up for auction.)

When it comes to appreciation, Phoenix's numbers hold up as well. In 2001 the gallery sold a Cycladic marble idol - a 4,000- to 5,000-year-old form known for its abstract lines - from Greece to a private collector for $340,000. In 2007, Phoenix sold another Cycladic idol, of similar quality but one inch shorter, for $950,000 - almost triple the comparable sale.

And the business continues to grow. Last year Phoenix sold to more private collectors than museum clients, and the Aboutaams estimate that 25% to 30% of those private clients were new - a marked shift from the fixed, closed group of collectors and museums that have traditionally made up their business.

What's more, expertise like the Aboutaams' is becoming increasingly advantageous. The stemmed antiquities supply has encouraged sellers to put more average specimens on the block, sometimes obscuring the standouts in an auction catalog.

"Auction houses don't necessarily know the value of the great masterpieces," Hicham says. "They're good at the average pieces, but they're not used to handling the top works. This is why when I hear the estimate at $100,000 for something I'm pursuing, I go with a budget of a million. That means something. That means what I'm seeing is not what they're seeing."

At a Sotheby's auction last year, a head of Hercules came up with a presale estimate of $20,000 to $30,000. Ali grabbed it for $300,000, a sum Hicham later called "ridiculous" - as in ridiculously low. Why? Because having grown up collecting ancient coins, Ali quickly identified the head as one of the Roman Emperor Commodus representing himself as Hercules, which made it considerably more valuable.

But the mere presence of these artifacts on the licit market is a sign of antiquities' potential. "There are antiquities available for purchase that are considered among the finest five in the world," Hicham says. "Compare that to an Impressionist painting or the Old Masters, where the top 20 or 30 are off the market - in public institutions - and it's obvious why there's so much interest in antiquities."

By all accounts, despite the fact that most newly excavated antiquities will be off-limits, some great works are still in private hands and could yet appear on the market. Much of the collection the Vatican has been building for more than five centuries - all of which it couldn't possibly display - is just sitting in its storerooms.

Jasper Gaunt, given the opportunity to study some of it, was only the second person to see it in 40 years. And recently Ali Aboutaam returned from a surreal visit to a Delaware family's warehouse: "We were seeing this amazing collection, all in boxes, with cheap furniture and bottles everywhere, like a junk shop. And then in all of that, there are just these gems."

Though the American wealthy have historically dabbled in antiquities, the field has been largely unknown to most U.S. citizens. And not just for financial reasons. In Europe, Asia, and other parts of the world, ancient history is never far from modern life; Americans just don't live that way. So it has taken U.S. collectors longer to connect with antiquity, and some would argue that the connection many feel now is owed in large part to all the titillating bad press.

But the marketplace is changing. When the Artemis sold at Sotheby's last year, the auction room was full. There were the people you'd expect - bespectacled dealers cradling catalogs and brandishing paddles - and many others too: middle-aged couples in loungewear, a hyperactive grade-schooler with his blond mom, even a dealer who'd had too many drinks at lunch and spent much of the auction fondling the wares in a disturbing fashion.

The objects on display, far from sequestered and secure, were spread around the room, being looked at and leaned on. Someone had discarded a couple of Coke cans and a Cheetos bag behind a sarcophagus. Hardly a stodgy affair, the auction had the appearance of an all-American afternoon out.

And that's as it should be, says Hicham: "There are more and more Americans - all sorts of different classes and types of Americans - traveling throughout the world, going to museums, visiting old Europe, bringing these interests home with them, and wanting to learn more. They go see these things and think, 'Wow, it can be this beautiful?' It's grassroots. It's exciting."

Americans' historical detachment may even help make them smarter buyers. "American collectors are very enthusiastic and intuitive," says Gordian Weber, a second-generation German antiquities dealer and an archaeologist. "Their intuition to invest in quality, not so much in history, is always right. While in Europe we'll always have the historical collector who'll buy a piece because it shows a certain aspect of this, or was collected by that family - when it's still a terrible piece - for you, quality is essence."

There is something at work here that emperors, tomb raiders, and Englishmen seem to have known forever. "A great work of art is great the moment that it's made," says Michael Bennett, curator of Greek and Roman art at the Cleveland Museum of Art. "When you look back over thousands of years, a thing that has always been great will be great today, and it will be great a thousand years from now. So antiquities aren't as speculative as some areas of the art market. But there's more to it than that. There's a feeling when you're looking at one of these pieces that you're looking directly into history."

So if, on the arc of investments, a Jeff Koons sculpture is Google stock, then an ancient work is perhaps most like the family home - an asset whose monetary value may rise or, ahem, fall, but whose intrinsic worth reaches far beyond the market.

"It's not that I'm so interested in the market being lower or the market being high," says Steinhardt. "I just hope that the piece I really care for comes my way. As a collector, I am shepherding this stuff for a brief period, and what's going to happen when I'm gone? It'll wind up in a public institution. So, what was the tragedy? That it was in my living room for 15 years before it went there?"

People like Steinhardt tend to be not just collectors but also students and stewards. They fund research, endow galleries, and eventually bequeath their artifacts to museums.

It's easy to understand why, listening to Jasper Gaunt. While every new construction project in Italy or Greece may yield another ancient vase, that piece will go into one of those countries' museums. But outside Gaunt's museum in Atlanta, there isn't another piece of ancient art on public display for hundreds of miles.

So when he sees a visitor transported by a glimpse of the ancient world, the importance of these works - and the people who collect and protect them - becomes clear. "If you take $57 million and you ring Mr. Damien Hirst's doorbell, you don't get much, frankly," Gaunt says. And should Hirst's shark even hold up for 5,000 years, it remains to be seen if the value would too. But, for a fraction of the price, you could become the curator of something great - right now.
From Today's Zaman:

The town of Datça, in Muğla province, is planning to apply to the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for the return of a sculpture known as the "Knidos Lion" and a statue of Demeter. The pieces are currently being exhibited at the British Museum in London.

Speaking to the Anatolia news agency, the mayor of Datça, Erol Karakullukçu, said they want to take back the carvings, which were found in the ancient city of Knidos near Datça and that they will petition the Ministry of Culture and Tourism for their return. Karakullukçu said, "In order to keep the public aware that these sculptures were made in Datça thousands of years ago, and that they were taken to be exhibited in Britain, we made marble replicas of the original sculptures and exhibit them at the city park."

Adding that there was another famed sculpture from the ancient site, the "Knidos Aphrodite," which has now been lost to time, Karakullukçu said: "If we try hard we can have these two sculptures returned to us. The Datça Municipality also gives its full support to NGOs that make people aware of this issue. As soon as our signature campaign ends, we will officially contact the Ministry of Culture and Tourism."

Giving information about the history of the sculptures, a professional tourist guide, Osman Akın, who works for the Datça Municipality's Department of Culture, said the lion figure, which dates back to 2000 B.C., weighs some eight tons. "The monument was made to celebrate a naval battle victory near Knidos. It was set on a headland which ended in a sheer cliff 200 feet high, and it was built in such a way that it was able to be seen by all ships sailing near the city. The lion was taken by the English officer and archeologist Charles Newton in 1855. It was not taken without permission, as unfortunately the Ottoman palace consented to it," he said. Stating that the most significant piece that was taken was the "Knidos Lion," Akın said the lion is the first thing that visitors to the British Museum see at the museum entrance and is evidence of its great importance.

Stating that there were many other historical artifacts taken from the ancient city of Knidos to other places, not just Britain, Akın also noted that the sculpture of Demeter is also of great historical value. "These sculptures are part of this area, and they are the products of the region's inhabitants of thousands of years ago. They should be brought back to where they belong," he added.
ante diem x kalendas novembres

42 B.C. -- the forces of Marcus Antonius defeat those of Cassius and Brutus in the second Battle of Phillipi; Brutus subsequently commited suicide

12 A.D. -- the future emperor Tiberius celebrates a triumph for his victories in Pannonia and Dalmatia

524 or 525 -- martyrdom of Boethius
damn @ OED

plenary @
From the Rocktown Weekly:

Arthur Rogers’ second-grade lesson begins with a recitation of Pater Noster, the Lord’s Prayer, followed by three rousing verses of Si Hodie Felix Es, Manus Plaude (“If You’re Happy And You Know It”). All dozen uniformed Redeemer Classical School second-graders clap their hands, stamp their feet, shout Jubile! and then do all three. Next comes a call-and-response round of arithmetic:

Mr. Rogers: “Gabriel, quot sunt quattuor et tres?”

Gabriel: “Septem”

Mr. Rogers: “Optime!”

Rogers, Latin teacher at RCS, spends his days moving from classroom to classroom, linking a few dozen young minds and a few millennia of old matter.

Rogers’ interest in Latin began a little more than a decade ago, at Hollins College (now University) near Roanoke, where he earned a master’s degree in English and creative writing. One day in the library, he came across an essay in The Paris Review arguing that the English language’s best poets have been the ones who’ve studied Latin and Ancient Greek. “That’s when I decided I had to start studying Latin,” he says. “I just loved it as soon as I started studying it. It was amazing.”

He sat in on a few Latin classes at Hollins, got himself a few textbooks — “Wheelock’s Latin” is one of the best — and began to learn the language. One of his favorite aspects of teaching Latin is the way he’s constantly learning new things.

The best thing of all is when one of his students responds to the language with an enthusiasm that rivals Rogers’ own.

Old languages, in general, fascinate him. Rogers has been working on a doctorate in Old English from the University of Virginia since 2002; his dissertation may be the preparation of an electronic edition of King Alfred’s 9th Century Old English translation of St. Augustine’s “Soliloquies,” which, of course, he’s also read in the original Latin. He’s also spent a decade or so at self-guided study of Ancient Greek, of which he’s become a proficient reader, and he can pick his way through anything written in French from the Oath of Strasbourg (Anno Domini 842) onward.

“I’d like to study Sanskrit some day as well. And Hebrew. That would be good too … ” Roger says.

With his elementary students, Rogers emphasizes games, songs and memorization. Hangman is one of his biggest hits. By middle school his students get into the formidable minutiae of Latin grammar. After a 10-minute lesson with the second-graders, Rogers heads to his eighth grade class.

Discussion wanders from the ablative case to neuter nouns in the third declension, habitual actions in the past requiring the imperfect tense, to perfect passive participles, et cetera, as his students write their homework sentences on the board, exempli gratia: Ramanae feriae fuerunt novae natura multae numeroque (“There were many strange Roman holidays”).

Posters adorning the walls include the translated Pledge of Allegiance (Fidem meam obligo vexillo civitatium Americae… ), a map of the Roman Empire and a list of key “Star Wars” phrases, exempli gratia iterum: Luci, pater tibi sum. “Luke, I am your father.” (This was a student project; Rogers can’t stand “Star Wars,” thanks to overexposure in years past and the irritating prequels of years present).

Latin study has been gaining popularity in American schools during the past decade. In 2007, 8,700 students took the Latin Advanced Placement exam, according to the College Board, which administers AP courses. In 1997, just 4,700 students took the Latin exam (more than 116,000 students took the Spanish AP exam in 2007). That trend applies locally as well.

“We’ve seen a resurgence in interest, but teachers are in short supply,” said Ed Smith, assistant superintendent for instruction at Rockingham County Public Schools. The county school system has two Latin teachers teaching in the county’s three high schools.

To Rogers, calling Latin a “dead language” is both defamatory and inaccurate.

Much of Europe’s great literature, philosophy and theology was originally written in Latin, he points out, and there’s even an ATM in Vatican City that operates in Latin.

Rogers has yet to patronize it — he’s been to France three times, but never the Vatican, though it’s on his list. His students, though, often question their study of a language of perceived impracticality.

The reason lies at the heart of the Redeemer Classical curriculum, which focuses on the “traditional, tried-and-true” elements of Western education, said Headmaster Ike Lassiter.

“I think that [Latin study] is very helpful in a number of practical ways,” said Lassiter, adding that it helps students learn vocabulary and grammar and gives them a good foundation to study other languages in the future. The curriculum revolves around the traditional elements of grammar, logic and rhetoric. Though that model of education goes back centuries, Rogers says it remains pertinent. “The primary purpose of any education ought to be to teach students how to think, and [to] think well,” says Rogers. A curriculum of classical study, he continues, equips students with wisdom and eloquence. “With those two things, a young man or woman is going to be prepared to live in their world — to live virtuously and to live prudently.”
From the South Wales Echo:

AN inner-city school is making its own history by becoming one of the few state schools in Wales to offer Latin lessons.

Fitzalan High School in Cardiff is offering the ancient Roman language to Year 7 pupils. And already it is proving popular with 30 students volunteering to give up their lunchtimes to take the lessons.

Latin was at risk of disappearing from the curriculum a decade ago but it is now enjoying a revival. And the launch of the lessons in Fitzalan in Leckwith was prompted by a grant from the Friends of the Classics organisation to pay for books.

The class is following the Cambridge Latin Course, which includes learning about the history and culture of Romans as well as studying the language itself.

Teacher Ed Johns, who is running the course, said: “Fitzalan is now one of the only state schools in Cardiff to offer Latin and one of only eight secondary schools across Wales to offer the subject.

“We are one of a growing number of schools across the UK to realise the benefits of studying a subject which a decade ago looked set to disappear from the curriculum altogether.

“Latin is a very beautiful language, which is probably the main reason for wanting to give the pupils here an opportunity to enjoy it. It is also very useful for such professions as law, medicine, fictional or technical writing and even business.

“Latin provides around 60% of all English words and 90% of words over two syllables. It helps to develop and expand your vocabulary, and can help to improve confidence. Since Roman culture is the foundation of European civilisation it also helps in the understanding of, amongst others, French, Spanish, Italian and Romanian.”

He added: “Latin has traditionally been the preserve of the privileged, and this is a fabulous chance to open up this wonderful subject to people from all backgrounds.”
Alas, it's that time of year and I suspect we'll see this sort of thing a lot ... excerpt from the Bucks County Examiner:

After the Romans conquered the Celtic lands, they combined two of their own festivals with Samhain. (In this case, when not in Rome, do as the Romans don’t do.) The first of these festivals, Feralia, fell in late October and commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was to honor the goddess, Pomona, the goddess of fruit and trees. Her symbol was the apple and hence, the tradition of bobbing for apples on All Hallow’s Eve.

We've dealt with this before (scroll down to 'chatter') and the story is repeated on an annual basis, alack ...
From ANA:

The first specialized exhibition focusing on the controversial Antikythera Mechanism opens Wednesday at the Ionian Centre for Scientific Studies in Plaka, downtown Athens, in cooperation with the team of scientists studying the device.

The visitors of the exhibition, that will run until December 14, 2008, will learn about unknown applications of the Mechanism in ancient Greek calendars, the study of the movement of the Sun and the Moon, and eclipse prediction.

The exhibition is held under the auspices of the ministry of culture and in cooperation with the National Archaeological Museum of Athens where the Antikythera Mechanism is housed.

The Antikythera mechanism is believed to be an ancient mechanical calculator (also described as a "mechanical computer") designed to calculate astronomical positions. It was discovered in the Antikythera wreck off the Greek island of Antikythera, between Kythera and Crete, and has been dated to about 150-100 BC. Technological artifacts of similar complexity appeared a thousand years later.

Sometime before Easter 1900, Elias Stadiatis, a Greek sponge diver, discovered the wreck of an ancient cargo ship off Antikythera Island at a depth of 42 m (138 ft). Sponge divers retrieved several statues and other artifacts from the site. The mechanism itself was discovered on May 17, 1901, when archaeologist Valerios Stais noticed that a piece of rock recovered from the site had a gear wheel embedded in it. Examination revealed that the "rock" was in fact a heavily encrusted and corroded mechanism that had survived the shipwreck in three main parts and dozens of smaller fragments. The device itself was surprisingly thin, about 33 cm (13 in) high, 17 cm (6.7 in) wide, and 9 cm (3.5 in) thick, made of bronze and originally mounted in a wooden frame. It was inscribed with a text of over 2,000 characters, many of which have only just recently been deciphered.

If you haven't checked out the Antikythera Mechanism Research Project site yet, it's definitely worth a look ...
From ANSA:

The Lazio region is celebrating its ancient forebears with a major new exhibition devoted to its four best-known Etruscan settlements. The exhibition at Palazzo delle Esposizioni showcases some of the extraordinary artefacts uncovered in Veio, Cerveteri, Vulci and Tarquinia over the centuries. It also features a series of miniature and life-sized reconstructions of the most important temples and burial sites.

The four settlements shared common roots but over the course of the centuries they gradually developed their own character in most fields, including art, religion, culture, trade and lifestyle.

The exhibition places a particular emphasis on the art produced by these ancient towns, much of which is on public display for the first time. Veio, just north of Rome, was famous for its production of terracotta which was used to decorate the roofs of buildings and create religious sculptures. In addition to a selection of such pieces, the exhibit also features a papier-mache reconstruction of part of the Temple of Apollo, complete with reproductions of statues of Apollo, Latona and Heracles that once adorned the roof. Visitors will also be able to admire the original statues in detail, thanks to a loan from the National Museum of Villa Giulia.

Cerveteri is famous among archaeologists for its elaborate necropolises, and the exhibit will feature a life-sized reconstruction of an entire burial chamber from the settlement. This is designed to give a sense of the pomp involved in Etruscan funerary rites, in which ancestor worship played a large role.

Vulci, near the city of Viterbo, is best known for its massive sculptures of local stone but the exhibit will also feature several large vases, considered masterpieces for their stunning Greek decoration. The influence of Greek culture on Vulci is of particular interest as it reveals the major trade ties the settlement enjoyed with Greece, which brought Corinthian, Greek and Attic pottery to the area. Tarquinia is home to 100 tombs decorated with frescos in the early Etruscan and Greek style. The tombs are today considered the most important ''galleries'' of ancient art. The Etruscans lived mainly between the rivers Tiber and Arno in modern-day Umbria, Lazio and Tuscany, in the first millennium BC.

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

Most of what is known about the Etruscans derives from archaeology as the few accounts passed down by Roman historians tend to be hostile, portraying them as gluttonous and lecherous.

This problem is compounded by the fact that Etruscan cities were built almost entirely of wood and so vanished quickly, leaving little for archaeologists to investigate. The Rome exhibit runs until January 6, 2009.

... the website info seems to mostly echo the above ...
Hosted by the Association for the Study and Preservation of Roman Mosaics

Saturday December 6 2008, 2-5.30 pm
Kings College London, Strand Campus, Room 2c


Ruth Westgate, Party Animals: the imagery of status, power and masculinity
in Greek mosaics

Liz James, Byzantine Wall Mosaics: questions and a few answers

Lucy Donkin, Mediaeval Italian Floor Mosaics: continuities and
discontinuities with Roman antiquity

Registration fee £12, including refreshments; lunch is also available, at
£20. For booking information, please see the ASPROM website:
ante diem xi kalendas novembres

4004 B.C. -- 9.00 a.m. ... according to Bishop Ussher, God created the universe some time during the 'preceding night'

50 B.C. -- the 'Civil War' between Pompey and Caesar began (not sure where my source got this one)
palinode @ Wordsmith

lacuna @ Merriam-Webster

nihilism @ OED
From a Western press release:

A U.S. scholar will explore the ancient Olympic Games through a modern lens Friday in a lecture at The University of Western Ontario.

Classicist David Gilman Romano, from the University of Pennsylvania, will present the International Centre for Olympic Studies’ annual Ion P. Ioannides address on Oct. 24, at 3:30 p.m., in Room 11 of the Arthur and Sonia Labatt Health Sciences Building.

The lecture is called, "True heroes and dishonourable victors at Olympia."

Romano, an adjunct professor of Classical Studies and senior research scientist in the Mediterranean section of Pennsylvania’s Museum of Archaeology, draws on a career-long scholarship in the ancient Olympic Games. He returns to Western’s campus, which he visited for the first time in 1974, to present his first professional research paper on the theme of the Olympic Games in antiquity.

A public reception will follow the lecture.

The Ioannides address was established in 1986 and memorializes Ion P. Ioannides, who distinguished himself in the Second World War as a Greek guerilla hero during the German and Italian occupation of Greece.

He became Deputy Minister of Physical Education, championing Olympic-type sports in elementary and high school curricula. Ioannides, who died in 1984, taught summer courses at Western in the 1970s, helping to conduct field experiences in Greece and Turkey for Western sport history students.
From an IU press release:

Classicist James O'Donnell, provost at Georgetown University, will lecture on "Two Hundred Years Is a Long Time (for a historian), or, What Should Historians Write About?" on Tuesday, Oct. 28, and "Ten Years Is a Long Time (on the Internet), or, What Will Cyberspace Make of the Humanities?" on Thursday, Oct. 30, as part of the William T. Patten Lecture Series. Both lectures will take place in Ballantine Hall room 109 at 7:30 p.m., at Indiana University Bloomington.

O'Donnell's first lecture will question what history should be "about," considering the long-term movement of DNA-carrying peoples and their economic development, as well as the crises of a given president or prime minister.

Ancient history and its narratives shaped much of what people think of as history, so this lecture will use Greco-Roman examples to think through these issues and show that the title of the lecture, though seemingly an obvious fact, is actually a daring proposition for a historian. A source for the content in this lecture is his recently published book, The Ruin of the Roman Empire: a New History.

His second lecture takes a close look at the mass usage of the Internet in its second decade and how it is described in his book Avatars of the Word, which is a study of the place of media in cultural history. O'Donnell will discuss what people have and haven't learned, especially what sense people make of the scale and speed of change for the most traditional ways of building and preserving culture.

Professor O'Donnell has contributed broadly to the study of late antique Mediterranean culture, and is a Fellow of the Medieval Academy. He is widely recognized for his pioneering application of networked information technology in higher education, harnessing the Internet to produce some of the first scholarly journals and successful undergraduate courses online. For further information on O'Donnell, see

Patten Lecture Series History

Since 1937, the William T. Patten Foundation has provided generous funds to bring to IU Bloomington people of extraordinary national and international distinction. More than 180 world-renowned scholars have lectured at Indiana University under its auspices. Noted specialists in their fields, speakers have been chosen for their ability to convey the significance of their work to a general audience. Chosen by a campus-wide faculty committee, Patten Lectures have represented over 50 academic departments and programs. Past lecturers have included Oscar Arias, Jorge Luis Borges, Noam Chomsky, Natalie Zemon Davis, Umberto Eco, Julian S. Huxley, Evelyn Fox Keller, Toni Morrison, Amos Oz, Helmuth Rilling, Edward Said, Amartya Sen, Wole Soyinka, Ren Thom, Lester Thurow, Strobe Talbott, and Martha Nussbaum.

William T. Patten received his A.B. degree in 1893 in history from IU. After graduation he settled in Indianapolis, where he made a career in real estate and politics, including serving as county auditor. He remained appreciative of the educational opportunities that IU had afforded him, and toward the end of his life, in 1931, made a gift to the university in the form of liberty bonds and Indiana municipal and county bonds. The gift was to be held as an endowment bearing his name, and the income used for bringing to the campus eminent leaders in their fields for residence and lectures to enrich the intellectual life of the campus.

Greek police said on Tuesday they were holding three men in connection with an attempt to sell an antique statuette from a Syrian site.

Two Syrian immigrants and a Greek national were detained in Athens on Monday following a sting operation by a police unit combating illegal dealings in antiquities which had been tipped off.

An officer posing as a potential buyer agreed a price of 120,000 euros (158,000 dollars) for the bronze statuette of a lion, said by experts to date from the 4th century BC and measuring 25 by 10 centimetres (10 by four inches).

The two Syrians, aged 45 and 32 and living illegally in Greece, said the statuette came from illegal excavations in their country, the head of the unit Dimitris Pitikakis told AFP.

It is unusual for foreign antiquities to be seized in Greece, even though the illegal traffic has intensified in recent years with the arrival of tens of thousands of immigrants, in particular from Iraq and Afghanistan, he said.

To protect its own heritage Greece passed tougher legislation last year against trafficking, with rewards paid to informers.
From something called PMI-Dome:

Ancora una volta un esempio di come le innovazioni tecnologiche possano aggiungere valore al settore della ricerca in ambito umanistico, con importanti ricadute sull agestione del territorio nel presente.

E’ stata denominata Imago Urbis ed è una banca dati nata da una ventennale esperienza di ricerca finalizzata alla raccolta e alla catalogazione di tutti i dati archeologici relativi alla città di Roma e al suo territorio nel periodo compreso tra la metà del IX secolo a. C. e la metà del VI secolo d.C. La significativa attività di ricerca è stata portata avanti dalla Cattedra di Archeologia e Storia dell’Arte Greca e romana, facoltà di Scienze Umanistiche, dell’Università La Sapienza di Roma.

Con il supporto tecnico di Intergraph, è stato possibile creare un sistema GIS (sistema informativo territoriale) all’interno del quale poter gestire i diversi e numerosi dati disponibili.

In questo modo è possibile capire con precisione come la città e i suoi quartieri si siano sviluppati nel corso del tempo. Gli scopi sono diversi. Primo fra tutti quello di poter disporre di uno strumento efficace per la tutela dei Beni Culturali, per la progettazione di opere e infrastrutture urbane; per esempio, per l’adeguata collocazione delle uscite a cielo aperto della terza linea della metropolitana romana, evitando l’impatto con i reperti. Un altro significativo obiettivo vede la progettazione di un percorso didattico-espositivo per l’offerta al pubblico di un itinerario virtuale nell’Antica Roma.

Il progetto GIS

Il progetto Imago Urbis, sviluppato su piattaforma GIS Intergraph con specifiche funzionalità, si basa, su una serie di carte archeologiche generate da archivi relazionali connessi a banche dati grafiche vettoriali e georeferenziate. Alla base dell’analisi territoriale ci sono le circoscrizioni della città antica (Regiones). Attraverso l’esperienza dello scavo e l’indagine delle fonti letterarie ed iconografiche, si è giunti alla rappresentazione di dettaglio dei singoli elementi archeologici e dei vari livelli informativi (Aree, Complessi, Isolati, Infrastrutture, Limiti delle Regioni Augustee e Serviane).
Ciascun elemento di dettaglio è stato denominato Unità Topografica ed è stato rappresentato in relazione alle azioni che lo hanno creato e trasformato. Il sistema consente, quindi, di ricreare contesti e ricostruire settori del paesaggio urbano antico.

Le informazioni sono state organizzate in modo tale da permettere una agevole consultazione dei dati geografici; allo scopo di aumentare la leggibilità e la correlazione con il contesto territoriale, sono stati inseriti strati cartografici come la cartografia attuale di Roma rielaborata sia nei contenuti che nella veste grafica, le carte storiche del Lanciani e del Nolli, la Forma Urbis Marmorea, la Foto aerea, l’idrografia e l’orografia antica e moderna.

Funzionalità e obiettivi

Lo strato applicativo Web-GIS è costituito da un’applicazione che permette la navigazione e la consultazione della banca dati. E’ possibile un livello di analisi molto specifico di ogni dato che risulta, quindi, facile da leggere e da utilizzare. Il flusso di lavoro prevede la predisposizione di analisi sia di tipo spaziale che alfanumerico e la possibilità di visualizzare (e stampare) report alfanumerici in formato tabellare.

Il progetto Imago Urbis è, in definitiva, in grado di permettere:

* la creazione di un metodo di gestione dinamica dei dati archeologici su base Gis
* la realizzazione di un luogo virtuale ove i ricercatori, esperti ed enti pubblici possano accedere ai dati, ai metodi di analisi e alla ricostruzione dei contesti urbani e rurali
* la pubblicazione di una larga parte dei dati archeologici sul portale web-gis consentendo di compensare i problemi tipici di frammentazione e disomogeneità dell’archiviazione dei dati archeologici
* la creazione di una struttura multidimensionale e moderna di comunicazione
* l’integrazione della ricerca archeologica con gli strumenti informatici al fine di favorire la massima diffusione della conoscenza storica
* la costituzione di un reale punto di partenza per la diffusione e la condivisione di diversi tipi di informazioni per promuovere la cooperazione di ricercatori, esperti, enti pubblici ed aziende private.

... here's the tech company's description of the project (in English) ...
From Today's Zaman:

The Turkish capital, which has been the cradle of a variety of civilizations, is watching as a significant archeological dig takes place at Augustus Temple in the Ulus area.

The temple stands next to the Hacıbayram Mosque. The dig aims to clean up the areas dug in the temple in the 1930s and bring a wealth of new history to light.

The deputy director of the Anatolian Civilizations Museum, Emel Yurttagül, is leading the dig, with help from experts from Ankara University. In the coming days, a delegation of archeologists from Italy’s Trieste University, under the direction of Professor Paula Botteri, is expected to join in the project.

The dig, which began Sept. 15, was sparked by the need for certain factors at the historical site: a new detailed plan of the site, refurbishment of broken or damaged pieces of the building and restoration of the site. Within this framework, the archeological dig at Augustus will allow experts to examine historical evidence that was uncovered almost a century ago.

“The digs at the Augustus Temple began one month ago, and for as long as weather permits, will continue for another two months or so,” said Orhan Düzgün, general director of Cultural Treasures and Museums. “The Augustus Temple was used as a pagan temple and then later as a church. Later, when the Hacıbayram Mosque was built alongside it, this also became known as the area with the Hacıbayram Mosque. So, this really is one of the areas of our country that portrays the high level of tolerance between religions.”

“After Muslims took over this region, the sections of this temple that were used as a pagan temple and later as a church were not touched, and in fact part of the mosque’s roof was built over one of the walls of this site, which really showed that religions could coexist in tolerance.”

The Augustus Temple was built after Roman Emperor Augustus annexed the lands of Galatians and Ancyra (Ankara) into the Roman Empire in the year 25 B.C. The temple, known in Latin as Monumentum Ancyranum, was dedicated to Rome and built in honor of the Emperor Augustus and the city’s local goddess.

During its restoration, an important text -- the spiritual testament of the Emperor Augustus -- was uncovered. This text, written in red, is called “Res Gestae Divi Augusti.” Though it wasn’t until the archeological efforts in the 1930s that the full extent of the architectural wonders in the Augustus Temple was uncovered, a delegation was sent during the 16th century from Germany to the Ottoman Empire. During the delegation’s tour of the lands, an examination of the temple caused the men to later call the site a palace or theater on their return to Europe.

The temple was listed in October 2001 by the World Monuments Watch as one of the top 100 archeological sites that needs to be protected as a shared piece of world history.
From ANSA:

Nine Ancient Roman columns believed to have originally lined the most important Roman road into the Balkans have been discovered on a riverbed in northern Italy.

''This is an extraordinary find because of the number of columns and the inscriptions they bear,'' local archaeological authorities said.

The stone columns are believed to date back to the fourth century AD and some carry inscriptions relating to the emperors of that late stage in the Roman Empire.

The columns are originally believed to have served as milestones along the road that led from Aquileia to ancient Aemona, today the Slovenian capital Ljubljana.

It was the main southwest route into the vast province of Pannonia which comprised most of today's Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia, Slovenia and Serbia.

At some stage in history, probably after the Empire fell, the pillars were moved to a bend in the river in which they were found, near Gorizia, archaeologists said.

... hopefully we'll get more details on this one ...
ante diem xii kalendas novembres

1558 - death of Julius Caesar Scaliger
precedency @ OED

bidentate @ Wordsmith

halitotic @ Worthless Word for the Day

synecdoche @
University of Bristol
Institute of Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition

Figures of Translation: A One-Day Symposium

Wednesday 3 December 2008

The practice and discussion of translation have sometimes been limited by the dormant metaphor ('carrying across') that the word 'translation' contains. Meaning, sense, character, or spirit - it is sometimes thought - can be taken out of one text and put into another. But this way of seeing the matter is both limited and misleading. Throughout literary history, translators have reached for other metaphors to describe what they are up to: archaeology, travel, conquest, interpretation, friendship, desire, loss, re-birth, trans-gendering, or metamorphosis. These metaphors might
possibly offer a more nuanced description of the work that translation does and may open the way to a better understanding of the faithful creativity that is the translator's paradoxical talent. This symposium will explore what it means to translate - and to read translations - in that light.


2.00 p.m.:
Dr Matthew Reynolds (St Anne's College, Oxford): Translation and Metaphor: McKendrick, Lakoff, Carson, Dryden, Pope

3. 15 p.m.:
Dr Tania Demetriou (St John's College, Oxford): George Chapman and The Translator's Mission

3. 35 p.m.:
Dr Victoria Moul (Trinity College, Oxford): Translation as Aggression?: Jonson's Sejanus

3. 55 p.m.:
Dr Paul Davis (University College, London): Something in it like Fatality: Translation and Necessitarianism.

4. 15 p.m.: Tea Break

4. 40 p.m.: General Discussion of issues raised by papers.

The celebration concludes at 6.00 with a drinks reception in the
Humanities Common Room. There will be an informal symposium dinner later in the evening, when members of the audience will have an opportunity to meet the speakers.

You are warmly invited to this event, which will take place on Wednesday 3rd December, Link Room 2, 3/5 Woodland Road (entrance for non-university members at 21 Woodland Road), starting at 2.00 pm. Could you inform Debra Blackmore-Squires, Faculty of Arts, room B3, 3-5 Woodland Road (telephone 0117 3317879, e-mail D.J.Blackmore-Squires AT if you intend to come, and whether you wish to attend the dinner.
An extremely slow news day, so I'll mention the only thing that appears to have turned up in the scan this a.m. (other than news of a purported secret chamber in the Great Pyramid which is more Explorator material but hasn't appeared in anything reputable yet): an enotes question about the Iliad. enotes is one of those 'ask the teacher' sites (that I've never seen before) which seems to have some pretty decent answers. There's a summary and study guide for the Iliad and in the sidebar one sees links to essays and all sorts of stuff which could be useful or used for nefarious purposes, depending on intent ... I just noticed that it is a payfer service as well ...
ante diem xiii kalendas novembres

480 B.C. -- Battle of Salamis (one reckoning; seems a bit late)

127 A.D. -- ludi votivi decennales pro salute Augusti

c. 250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Maximus of Aquila

1524 -- death of Thomas Linacre ... "the best Greek and Latin scholar of his age"

1952 -- death of Michael Rostovtzeff (author of The Social and Economic History of the Roman Empire and the Social and Economic History of the Hellenistic World among other things)
aggress @ Merriam-Webster

obambulate @ Wordsmith

contortuplicate @ Worthless Word for the Day

malfeasance @
Brief item from Radio Nostalgia:

Una tomba risalente al III secolo a.C. è stata trovata casualmente a Vagli di Spra, in alta Garfagnana, in un cantiere aperto dal Comune per la costruzione di una nuova strada. ''Un ritrovamento eccezionale che va ad arricchire la conoscenza della cultura ligure apuana del terzo secolo avanti Cristo'', hanno commentato gli studiosi che l'hanno esaminata. All'interno, resti di ossa e poi fibule, anelli, bracciali, anfore, monete e altre suppellettili.

Discipline of Classics and Ancient History
School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics
Faculty of Arts
University of Queensland

Energetic, innovative specialist in Greek History and Language needed to join a strong existing team. Participate in, and lead, research projects and the teaching of undergraduates and an established cohort of postgraduates in Greek History and Language.

The School of History, Philosophy, Religion and Classics is a dynamic team with a reputation for innovative approaches to teaching and research excellence. The School is the second largest in the Faculty of Arts, with thirty-six academic staff who are widely published internationally and have extensive research backgrounds. The School, regarded as a leader in humanities teaching and research in Australia, has the largest cohort of undergraduates and postgraduates, and the largest research income and publication output in the Faculty.

The role The successful applicant will be expected to pursue a strong and productive program of research, to be primarily responsible for the teaching of Greek History and Language and to contribute to the teaching of other courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and to supervise honours and postgraduate research students. Taking on some administrative work in the School is expected.

The person Applicants should possess a PhD in Greek History or Classics. The applicant will have an established research track record, excellent teaching skills, and a capacity to develop a strong and productive research program, and contribute to successful postgraduate teaching. A commitment to excellence in teaching and ongoing development of the undergraduate and postgraduate programs is essential. Preference will be given to an appointee who relates well to a collegiate environment and can create links to other disciplines in the School.

Remuneration The remuneration package will be in the range $70,968 - $84,275 p.a. (Level B) or $86,936 – $100,243 p.a. (Level C), plus employer superannuation contributions of 17%. Total package will be in the range $83,033 - $98,602 p.a. (Level B) or $101,715 - $117,284 p.a. (Level C). This is a full-time, continuing appointment.

Contact Obtain the position description and selection criteria online . To discuss the role contact Head of School, Professor Clive Moore, telephone or email c.moore AT

Send applications to the Human Resources Consultant, Faculty of Arts, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, or email applications.arts AT

Applications close 24 November 2008.
Reference No 1049395.

Other items of interest that have accumulated in the rogueclassicist's mailbox this week:

From the APA comes some election results ... and news of a major Mellon Grant ...

This Ecce Roma II tour sounds interesting ...

Interesting exhibition at the Colosseum of assorted sculptures associated with Napoleon and Goethe (in Italian including a nice slide show/imaggini) ... other potentially interesting exhibitions: Etruscans: The Ancient Cities of Lazio ...

Performances this week include Psyche ...

New paper up at the PSWPC site: Christian Kaesser, Causes and Cases. On the Aetiologies of Aetiological Elegies

Podcast/interview thing with Robert Strassler of Landmark Thucydides and Herodotus fame ...

The Classical Association of Ireland website has some updates ...

Will we see Obama mentioned in upcoming Black Athena debates? ...

Strange item from an Iranian source trying to equate Mithraism and Christianity ...

Spoof spoofs the dia Chrestou find ...

Someone's trying to get an ancient Greek version of Wikipedia started ...

Wanna buy a temple of Cybele?

Recent auction results at Bonham's were better than expected ...

Someone's trying to connect political activities to satyr plays ...

Michael Werner is talking about things ancient ...

Robert Fisk thinks leaders should heed some advice from Thucydides ... another version here (tip o' the pileus to Mata Kimasatayo)

Greece is having a day to honour Byron ...

Akropolis World News has been updated (man I wish they had an rss feed) ...

Tim O'Reilly has a nice photo essay thing on Greece (plenty of wallpaper potential here)...

It's nice when Classics types marry each other ...

Martin Conde has added a pile of scans of recent news and finds to his photo set ...
This week's accumulation:

From CJ Online:

SWAIN, et al., Severan Culture

LEWIS, Solon the Thinker: Political Thought in Archaic Athens

From the popular press:

John Clark, Londinium and Beyond: Essays on Roman London and its hinterland for Harvey Sheldon (Alpha Galileo)

Mary Beard, Pompeii: The Life of a Roman Town (Times)

Charlotte Higgins, It's All Greek to Me
Philip Matyszak, Ancient Athens on Five Drachmas a Day (Reviewed together in the Telegraph)
From US News:

When high school teacher Sarah Roach takes attendance, she routinely notices that she has more students in her classroom than the number who are technically enrolled in Latin courses she teaches. They're not lost or sneaking into her classroom to visit friends. The extra half-dozen students are coming for the Latin.

Roach, 54, has taught Latin at Highland School in Warrenton, Va., for 25 years and has seen interest in the ancient language grow steadily throughout her tenure. When she first began, Roach taught a few students in a single class. Now she teaches 80 students, in classes geared toward a range of skill levels.

Though it is often considered a dead language, Latin is alive and flourishing in high school classrooms across the country. In the past 10 years, the number of students taking the National Latin Exam has risen by 30,000 to about 135,000, while the number of students taking the Advanced Placement Latin exams has nearly doubled. Some say the resurgence is linked to increased interest in SAT preparation and Latin's ability to help students succeed on the test's verbal section, while others believe young adults' obsession with Harry Potter and his Latin spells are driving the trend. But popular Latin teachers like Roach suggest that dynamic, enthusiastic educators might actually be the key to the language's surging popularity.

American Classical League President Sherwin Little says the allure of understanding the English language better may spark an SAT-conscious student's interest in Latin, but it is the teachers who implement modern, engaging teaching styles that keep students hooked. Little says the focus of Latin teaching methods is no longer boring, torturous translations but rather the language in terms of its application to archeology, mythology, and literature. "The reason we know about the Greeks and the Romans and the reason we can talk about the significance of the literary works is because of the language," he points out. "Language and culture are inseparable."

At the Ellis School in Pittsburgh, enrollment in Latin classes is larger than enrollment in the school's French or Spanish programs, says Director of College Counseling Joanna Schultz, who attributes the ancient language's popularity to the excellence of the school's main Latin teacher, Victoria Jordan. Ellis's Latin program is not only popular, but its success is measurable as well. In 2006, all 19 of Jordan's AP Latin students took the exam and all 19 got 5's, the highest mark, Schultz says, adding that Jordan is as engaging and dedicated as she is tough.

"One day a year or two ago, I was patrolling the halls during a power outage and I happened to walk by the Latin room," Schultz says. "On a winter day, with no power and very little light, I saw the AP Latin students sitting on the classroom's windowsill doing their work. These students were determined to have class. Power, or no power."

Though Little applauds the work of Latin teachers around the country, he says teachers who retire or switch professions can cause a program with soaring enrollment and high student interest to crumble due to a national shortage of Latin teachers. Schools that lose their Latin teacher and cannot find a replacement are sometimes forced to discontinue the program, he says.

To combat the shortage and raise awareness among Latin students that they can become teachers of the language, the American Classical League holds an annual Latin Teacher Recruitment Week. Jordan says four or five of her former students are majoring in Latin in college, and that makes her hopeful the teacher shortage can be remedied before it starts drastically affecting what is now a growing interest in the ancient language. "One of my former students just graduated from Yale and will probably go on to medical school—she fulfilled all her pre-med requirements—but do you know what she's doing right now? She's teaching middle school Latin."

From Reuters:

In the past two and a half thousand years, the temples of the Acropolis have suffered fire, bombing and earthquake. Now, scientists are trying to save them from a new modern enemy: pollution.

Standing on a hilltop at the centre of Athens, a city of 4 million people, the Acropolis' elaborately sculptured stones have fallen prey to a film of black crust from car exhaust fumes, industrial pollution, acid rain and fires.

A team of Greek engineers and restorers are using an innovative laser technology system to clean the surface of the ancient monuments, uncovering colours and ornamentation hidden for decades.

"It is very serious," said Maria Ioannidou, director of the Acropolis Restoration Service, of the pollution. "It destroys sculptural, structural and painting details. One of our aims is to regain these cultural details using new technology."

For years the team tested 40 different methods, including mechanical and chemical processes, to find the safest solutions to restore the white of the marbles without losing detail.

The winner was the brainchild of Crete's Foundation for Research and Technology, which created a system that uses two laser beams of infrared and ultraviolet rays simultaneously.

These rays have been used separately to clean ancient marble, but it was found that one left a yellow tint while the other left a grey one. The new system blasts off layers of black film leaving the marble details intact, without discoloration.

But it is a risky process.

"If you remove something you cannot put it back in place, so we must be quite sure that we remove unwanted pollutants and leave ... all the information on the original surface," said Evi Papaconstantinou, the chemical engineer in charge of the team.

The system was first used on the sculptures of the west frieze of the Parthenon temple in 2004. Now the team has begun a second operation on the porch of the Caryatids, where besides pollution they must erase soot from fires and the mistakes of past restorers who tried to mend the roof with cement.

Scientists first scan the marbles with ultrasound and an infrared imaging and spectroscopy system to reveal what lies beneath the black crust. To their astonishment, they found colours, ornamentation and script that had been hidden for years.

Even wearing goggles, restorers can work only for two hours a day because of the flashing rays from the laser. They lie on a reclining doctor's chair to carry out the time consuming process on the roof inch by inch.

Restoring the Caryatid porch is expected to take one year, but the cleaning will continue as long as pollution persists.

"The conservation team will remain on the rock because the marble is alive. It will remain exposed to the atmosphere," said Papaconstantinou.

For years, archaeologists and scientists have debated how to protect the monuments from pollution, some even suggesting the temples be covered with domes. The creation of an Athens subway helped reduce pollution, but vehicles still cram the streets and the Greek capital remains blanketed in a thick smog.

Acid rain has eroded some fine details from the porous marble of the Acropolis sculptures, including the Caryatids, and have had to be moved to museums and replaced with replicas.

"We can't stop the pollution, but we can lessen the effects," said Ioannidou.
From Die Welt:

Its crowning glory was a statue of Aphrodite, the goddess of love, by Athenian sculptor Piraxitelles – which attracted admirers from across the Mediterranean basin.

Prof. Ramazan Ozgan is now fighting a legal battle at the country's highest administrative court to overturn the government's cancellation of his almost 20-year-old excavation permit. The government also suspended excavations by the British Museum and Germany's Freiburg University, which had been digging under Ozgan's permit and leadership.

The dispute began when one of a series of columns that Ozgan's team had restored and raised collapsed during a storm in January, 2007.
„I can't describe my happiness when we raised those columns, it was like having a new baby," said Ozgan of the 2006 restoration of the stoa, or row of shops, to which the column belonged. „And I can't describe my grief when that column fell

The government immediately suspended digging and launched an investigation that eventually blamed Ozgan for faulty restoration and accused him of failing to hand over artifacts to a local museum and keeping them at a depot at Knidos. It revoked his permit on April 28.

Two reports by independent experts say the column, which was broken in three when it collapsed, can be repaired and disputed government allegations of negligence.

One of the reports said Ozgan's team could not have been aware of an internal crack in the base of the column because the fissure was covered in calcite. The administrative court ruling could take months.

„I can't describe my happiness when we raised those columns, it was like having a new baby,“ said Ozgan of the 2006 restoration of the stoa, or row of shops, to which the column belonged. „And I can't describe my grief when that column fell.“

Both the British Museum and Freiburg University, which were not involved in the restoration of the column, expressed disappointment at the government decision but said they hoped to resume work at Knidos, at the southwestern corner of Turkey.

„We are of course disappointed with the decision to suspend the excavation but we hope for a way forward,“ said British Museum spokeswoman Hannah Boulton.

„It would be a great historical advantage to study the infrastructure of such an important city, to know more about the sanctuaries and the religion, the houses of the rich and of the poor, the administrative center of the city, the agora," said Wolfgang Ehrhardt of Freiburg University's Archaeology Institute.

Excavations have unearthed important temples, statues and other artifacts since the 19th century – but experts say less than 10 percent of the city has been excavated. Archaeologists hold out a slim hope that they will unearth the legendary sculpture of Aphrodite, whose creator was feted for his ability to turn marble into „living flesh.“

Archaeologists are also searching for clues about life and trade in the ancient city. They hope to find evidence of a visit by Julius Caesar, and confirm a theory that it was then that the city's heavy Roman tax burden was lifted.

„It would be a great historical advantage to study the infrastructure of such an important city, to know more about the sanctuaries and the religion, the houses of the rich and of the poor, the administrative center of the city, the agora,“ said Wolfgang Ehrhardt of Freiburg University's Archaeology Institute.

Experts say famous figures from Knidos include Astronomer Eudoxus, believed to have invented the sun dial; Sostratos, architect of the light house at Alexandria, one of Seven Wonders of the ancient world; and Artemidoros, who warned Caesar of the conspiracy to murder him as he entered the Roman Senate.

The British Museum's project is aimed at finding out more about artifacts from Knidos that entered the museum in the 19th century, including a colossal marble lion from a tomb monument and marble statue of Demeter, the goddess of fertility.

The city was inhabited until late antiquity, when it was abandoned, probably as a result of repeated raids by pirates. Arabic inscriptions in some of the temples testify to attacks by Arab raiders who also sacked other coastal cities in Anatolia in the mid-7th century AD.
... link
Latin by the Sea

A Full Immersion Experience for Teachers of Latin at all levels offered by UMass Boston

... more info
Call for papers: Asterisks and Obelisks: Greece and Rome in Children’s Literature.
University of Wales Lampeter, 6-10 July 2009.
Organisers: Helen Lovatt (Nottingham); Owen Hodkinson (Lampeter).

Keynote speakers: Prof. Edith Hall, RHUL
Prof. Sheila Murnaghan, Pennsylvania
Prof. Deborah Roberts, Haverford College

Children’s authors confirmed as participating:

Michael Cadnum (author of many versions of classical myths based on Ovid Metamorphoses)
Lucy Coats (Atticus the storyteller’s Greek myths)
Caroline Lawrence (the Roman Mysteries series),

Deadline for abstracts: 1 December 2008

This conference will be the first major conference on receptions of classics in children’s literature. Abstracts (up to 300 words) are invited for papers (20 or 40 minutes) on any aspect of the reception of classics (broadly construed: Greek and Roman texts, myths, culture, history, etc.) in children’s literature. We aim to bring together contributors from a wide range of disciplines to gain different perspectives on the issues (classics, English and other modern languages, children’s literature specialists, as well as authors of modern children’s literature reflecting the classical world, classics teachers, classics outreach staff, etc). Contributions will range from broader papers addressing issues specific to reception in children’s literature, to readings focussing on particular texts and receptions. See further details below.

Please send abstracts to o.hodkinson and helen.lovatt; please give full name and title, institution, provisional title of the paper, and specify whether a 20 or 40 minute paper.

Questions and issues to be explored (not exhaustive: any relevant topic will be considered):

* what have been the roles of children’s literature in contributing to the broader awareness of the Classical world, from the beginning of children’s literature to the present? What (other) roles should it play?
* what roles have and could children’s literature play(ed) in more general education and in stimulating thought and imagination, in particular through encounters with Classical myths, history, society, etc.
* what makes something ‘children’s literature’, ‘teen fiction’, etc? (Why) is literature less likely to be studied by literary scholars and taken seriously by literary critics and commentators if it has such labels?
* has the advent and flourishing of such kinds of literature from the Victorian period onwards led to the labelling of stories with fantastical, mythological, and perhaps other elements previously at home in main-stream literature as children’s literature, or as not ‘serious’ literature? Is there anything inherently ‘childish’ in the appeal of myths or other aspects of the Classical world?

Explorations of these and other relevant issues through discussion focussed upon particular texts or authors, and papers directly addressing methodological or other broader questions, will be equally welcome. The above points are by no means intended to be exhaustive or prescriptive.
From the Daily Star:

Ancient history is getting in the way of construction in Beirut's building boom as new archaeological discoveries delay the springing up of long-planned high rises. And the delays can be long, frustrating and expensive. Construction on a luxury 23-story residential building in the heart of the Lebanese capital, for example, has been stalled for 15 months after excavators stumbled on a 2,000-year-old Roman bath house.

"Imagine a developer waiting a year and three months without any progress being made on his building," says Samir Bey of Saifi Crown real-estate development company that owns the 1,144 square meter plot of land.

This latest discovery of the ancient bath house is considered "a peripheral archaeological site for Beirut. It is not a landmark," says archaeologist Asaad Seif of the Directorate General of Antiquities (DGA).

The price of expropriating the site, located next door to a trendy restaurant, was too high and the action deemed unnecessary, he told AFP.

Instead, archaeologists and architects came together to devise a plan which would allow the preservation of the artifacts and at the same time permit the tower construction to proceed.

Under the plan, the three-roomed bath house is being taken apart piece by piece and will then later be rebuilt in its original form on the ground floor of the tower when it goes up.

"We are preserving it, but we are preserving it in a different way," says Seif.

"Since we are going to integrate it on the ground floor of the future building, we will not be losing the information or the spatial memory of this place," Seif says, labelling the measure a "mitigation solution."

"This is the first time this is being done in Lebanon and the Middle East," he explains.

Architects are now busy updating their designs to allow for the changes.

In the meantime, archaeologists are working to dismantle the structure's columns, once used to hold up a marble floor, to allow for four levels of underground parking.

The team - about a dozen archaeologists and some 25 support staff - are also working behind a red metallic fence on the dig, taking measurements and sifting through sand for small finds that comprise everything from coins, pots and nails to human teeth.

"Every detail, every object will tell us a story about how things were done and we can discover trends," Seif says.

"The objects are meant to help us see and understand the dynamics of how it got built, how they used it, why it was destroyed and why it is abandoned," he explains.

Lebanese law requires developers to work with the DGA to find solutions when artifacts are found during building excavations. But the solutions don't come cheap.

"We had to reach a compromise. The people who are going to build here are disturbing this archaeology ... So they have to pay a tax," Seif explains.

"This tax is used to pay the archaeologists to remove the information in a proper way. Everyone has to assume their role," he adds.

Saifi Crown is absorbing the major portion of the costs of the excavation, including thousands of dollars to remove, package and transfer a 110-square-meter mosaic from the site.

The mosaic will later be erected as a backdrop to the bath house when it is restored in the tower-building.

"This creates a large burden for the developer. However, we as Lebanese understand that Lebanon has archaeological treasures that shouldn't be taken lightly. We want to preserve them," says Bey.

The task is not without its complications. There is the question of moving the 18-ton basin or labrum that once served as a source of fresh water for people in the "hot" room of the bath house.

Ways also have to be found to keep the antiquities from being harmed by slight movements coming from the parking garage below.

Plus, there is the issue of how to make the restored bath house publicly accessible.

"Though every person has a right to see it, it's a residential building, not a museum. There are security issues," Bey says.

The floor plan, therefore, is to include glass windows for passers-by to be able to peek at the artifacts from the outside. Visits inside the building can be coordinated with the DGA.

In a city with a history that spans over 5,000 years of Canaanite, Phoenician, Hellenistic, Roman and Ottoman civilizations, it's not surprising that many traces of antiquity lie below the surface.

Another Roman bath and an ancient Roman road are among the ruins preserved within Beirut's city center but there are others too.

When excavation began for a commercial and residential complex near Beirut's synagogue in Wadi Abu Jamil, a Roman hippodrome was unearthed.

The historic find prompted the culture minister to send an official letter to the developer saying the land was of "national heritage value" - effectively freezing the project.

"The hippodrome ... is a landmark. We cannot in any case remove it," says archaeologist Seif, explaining why the project was frozen.

Though the site is still not open to the public, procedures for expropriation of the property are under way.

Digs in other neighborhoods have turned up ancient human remains. A worker on a construction site of another residential tower said that work had been held up for four months to allow archaeologists to scour the site.

"All they found were bones," he said.

According to Seif, this isn't surprising. "We know that the periphery of Beirut was a necropolis, or city of the dead," he xaplained. "So when building excavation begins there, we know what they'll find."
ante diem xvi kalendas novembres

c. 107 -- martyrdom of Ignatius of Antioch

c. 136 -- martyrdom of Heron
habilitate @ OED

genius @ Merriam-Webster

cacology @ Wordsmith (no, it's not the study of poop ... or maybe it is)

expeditious @ reports:

After turning Homer's epic poem "The Iliad" into the 2004 film Troy, Warner Bros. and Brad Pitt are teaming with George Miller to adapt the Greek poet's other masterwork, "The Odyssey."

Their intention is to transfer the tale to a futuristic setting in outer space.

Variety says Warner Bros. has quietly set up The Odyssey, and the early hope is that Pitt will star and Miller will direct, with Pitt's Plan B producing.

Both Homer poems dealt with the Trojan War; "The Odyssey" focused on the exploits of Odysseus, who hatched the idea to build the Trojan Horse. "The Odyssey" deals with his long journey home after he declines to become a god.

hmmmmm ....
From the Review-Atlas:

Brian Tibbets, a Latin teacher at Monmouth-Roseville High School for the last six years, was honored by his peers at the annual Illinois Classical Conference last weekend at Augustana College.

The conference, established in 1937, named Tibbets as its Illinois Classical Conference Latin Teacher of the Year.

The internal nominating process, by conference members, takes place during the summer and the winner's name is closely guarded until a few weeks before the annual meeting, said MRHS Principal, Jeff Bryan.

“Our school was notified Tibbets had won the honor about a month ago. I notified his wife and asked her if she could keep a secret,” he said.

The high school had to prepare and submit a biography. Others who needed to be present were also notified and sworn to secrecy.

Tibbets earned his degree in Latin and Greek from Knox College. He credits his professor, Brenda Fineberg, and her husband, Steve, for renewing his love of the Latin language. Tibbets said its structure and form tie the English and Latin cultures together through its use in law, engineering, architecture and medicine.

The Finebergs attended the conference, along with M-R Superintendent Martin Payne, Bryan, Tibbet's wife, Megan, and their daughter, Clara, who will be 2 in December.

They were sequestered in an adjoining banquet room until the Conference President Emerita, Vicki Wine, began reading the winner's biography.

“I sat there in stunned silence while each detail kept sounding more and more familiar,” Tibbets said. “I went to the conference in charge of setting up a book exhibit. It started sinking in that I was about to receive this prestigious award and I felt humbled beyond words.

"As I stood there receiving my plaque, I scanned the room and saw all of the wonderful people I have worked with and admire so much. I thought about all of their outstanding achievements and I began wondering how I was ever even considered for such an honor," he added.

What makes his selection even more astounding is that MRHS is the smallest school in the state of Illinois to offer a four-year Latin program.

“Believe me, we know how fortunate we are to have Brian with us,” Bryan said. “The smaller class size allows him to give his students almost one-on-one attention.”

Tibbets gets especially excited when his four-year students — he has about a half dozen this year — are exposed to authentic Latin text. During his class Thursday, students were translating “Cicero.”

“I don't expect them to get it word-perfect. Loose translation is acceptable as long as they convince me they are understanding the full concept of the context,” he said.

Monmouth College Professor of Classics Tom Sienkewicz is a friend and mentor who has also had an effect on Tibbet's career.

“He works tirelessly to promote and inspire classic teachers. I have surrounded myself with some amazing people who deserve to share this honor with me,” he said.
Seems like the 'Gladiator Tomb' angle is only one which might have been played up ... an AP report teases us with this:

Workers renovating a rugby stadium have uncovered a vast complex of tombs beneath Rome that mimic the houses, blocks and streets of a real city, officials said Thursday as they unveiled a series of new finds here.

Culture Ministry officials said that medieval pottery shards in the city of the dead, or necropolis, show the area may have been inhabited by the living during the Dark Ages after being used for centuries for burials during the Roman period.

It is not yet clear who was buried in the ancient cemetery, but archaeologists at the still partially excavated site believe at least some of the dead were freed slaves of Greek origin.

"It's a matter of a few weeks to discover what is down there," said archaeologist Marina Piranomonte. "But it's something big; it looks like a neighborhood."

A separate dig in the north of the city has turned up the tomb of a nobleman who led Rome's legions in the second century A.D.

The mausoleum was covered in mud during a flood of the river Tiber, which collapsed most of the monument but helped preserve exquisite decorations, marble columns and inscriptions from plunderers and the ravages of time.

Writings at the site led experts to identify the tomb as belonging to Marcus Nonius Macrinus, one of the closest aides and generals of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius during his campaigns against Germanic tribes in Northern Europe.

Other spectacular discoveries were also unveiled at the news conference at the Culture Ministry.

Archaeologists restoring the imperial residences on the Palatine Hill, in the heart of ancient Rome, believe they have discovered the underground passageway in which the despotic Emperor Caligula was murdered by his own guards.

The hill, which is honeycombed with ruins of palaces and villas, has also yielded frescoes and black-and-white mosaics in the first century B.C. home of a patrician, the ministry said in a statement.

Separately, experts working in Castel di Guido on the outskirts of Rome have enlarged their dig at a previously known complex of country villas owned by Rome's rich and powerful, uncovering fountains, baths and a cistern, the statement said.

Archaeologists will keep working at the digs to make them accessible to visitors. Officials plan to build a museum next to Macrinus' tomb, which will also offer a virtual reconstruction of the site.

All sorts of photos are available at the Ministry of Culture site (along with pdf reports about the finds in more detail; I'm surprised no one is playing up the Caligula angle yet) ... check out this one from the Palatine:


Hmmm ... just checking my stats in an idle moment and yesterday we had 1200+ visitors! Further checks suggest the vast, vast majority of them came from search engines looking for more info on Nonius Macrinus; if that's what folks seek, I direct them to Adrian Murdoch's post (also mentioned in my sidebar, of course) ...
We're getting a wave of coverage now ... the best seems to come from the Independent:

Natural disaster makes for great archaelogy. Pompeii and Herculaneum we owe to the fury of Vesuvius – and today Italy's Culture Ministry announced the dramatic discovery of the ruins of the tomb of the general who was the inspiration for the patrician-turned-vengeful gladiator played by Russell Crowe in the film Gladiator, fabulously well preserved thanks to a catastrophic flood.

The general in Gladiator, named Maximus Decimus Meridius by the film makers, was a favourite of the philosopher-emperor Marcus Aurelius in the late 2nd century AD and fought with him against the fearsome Germanic tribes who threatened to inundate Italy, beating them back and postponing the empire's decline and fall for another century or more.

All of this was also true of Marcus Nonius Macrinus, the man whose last resting place has now been identified. What is also true is that, while Marcus Aurelius is celebrated as a wise, prudent and benign emperor, his son and heir Commodus was a luxury-loving spendthrift who blew his father's careful legacy in a few years of riotous living and had a particular passion for gladiatorial shows.

Commodus was just the sort of emperor, in fact, who would likely have driven his old man's favoured generals up the wall with exasperation and contempt. Hence, in the film, the clash between the general and the new emperor, the destruction of the general's family, his exile as a slave and eventually triumphant – and highly improbable – return to Rome as a gladiator. All jolly good fun and completely fanciful, beginning with the patricidal murder of Marcus Aurelius by Commodus.

Concerning the true Marcus Nonius Macrinus, we know plenty about his military career – Daniela Rossi, the archeologist with Italy's Culture Ministry who reported this week's finding, says more than ten inscriptions have been found recording his triumphs, the fullest one to date being from Ephesus and in the Greek language – but tantalisingly little about what made him tick. He came from Brescia in northern Italy, where his was one of the most important families, he began his military career under Aurelius's predecessor Antoninus Pius, and fought valiantly and successfully against the Quadi and the Marcommani, the Germanic tribes which had crossed the Danube and were set on invading Italy.

Two years ago the remains of a great villa were discovered on the shores of Lake Garda, not far from the modern city of Brescia where the Fabia tribe to which his family belonged were the rulers. Here Macrinus lived with his wife Arria, who was from the Etruscan Arri tribe.

What is certain is that Macrinus was one of the most important figures of his age and an intimate friend of the emperor who was famous for his wise rule and his aphorisms, such as "Everything harmonises with me which is harmonious to thee, O Universe. Nothing to me is too early or too late, which is in due time for thee."

Doubtless he was one of the men on whom Aurelius most depended for the safety of the empire while he was ordering the construction of beautiful monuments and thinking great thoughts back in Rome. When Aurelius's brother Verus, with whom he had ruled jointly, died in battle, Macrinus was "chosen out of the closest friends", in the general's own words, to be a priest in the cult of the new Roman god Divus Verus, the deified spirit of the dead brother.

And when Macrinus died his son erected this magnificent tomb for him between the River Tiber and the Via Flaminia, the road leading north-east across the Appenines to the modern seaside resort of Rimini which Macrinus must have taken many times on his way to confront the Quadi and the Marcommani. Eight and a half kilometres from the city walls, it was in an area where his Fabia tribe had become important landowners.

Professor Rossi calls the find "the most important ancient Roman monument to come to light in the suburbs of Rome for many years," and she and her ten colleagues in the dig are now working against the clock to find what else is down there, stuck in the ancient mud which settled over the tomb once the flood had done its devastating work.

The site belongs to Gruppo Bonifaci, a Roman construction company, which has sponsored the dig and promised funds for a museum on the site to house the findings when everything has been recovered. But because of the site's commercial value to the firm – they plan to build housing on it - the archeologists have limited time to retrieve what can be retrieved, "perhaps until Christmas," says Professor Rossi.

The work is arduous because the ancient site of the tomb was seven metres below the present ground level. It was built at a depression in the landscape, another reason why in the long term it was a poor place to build anything, being vulnerable to the moods of the river nearby. Around 1500 Rome's rulers reached the inevitable conclusion and moved the Via Flaminia to higher ground further west where it would be safe from further flooding.

Today, as it has been unearthed over recent months by the archeolgists, the tomb looks much as it must have done when the Tiber's flash flood wreaked havoc on it, smashing walls and columns and pediments and caking the resulting mess in a coat of lime

"The tomb was destroyed by the river, perhaps by a sudden flood," said Professor Rossi. "We have only just begun to find how much is down there, so it is too early to say what form the tomb took, whether it was a single structure or two or several: much of it remains buried in mud; perhaps we will also find the sarcophagus. It's also too early to say how big it is, but it appears there was a row of columns at least 15 metres long, so it was quite huge."

When and how did Marcus Nonius Macrinus die? "We really don't know," admits Professor Rossi, "but if we succeed in finding the other two parts of the broken inscription, perhaps we will find out."
From ANSA:

Some of the greatest discoveries pulled from the ruins of the ancient Vesuvian town of Herculaneum have been reunited under one roof for the first time for a major new exhibition that opens here today.

Statues, skeletons, artefacts and textiles go on show from the small seaside town south of Naples, which was destroyed in the same eruption that buried Pompeii on August 24, 79 AD.

''It's an extraordinary collection of 150 works that restores to the world the richest existing testimony of the classical age,'' said Campania President Antonio Bassolino at the show's inauguration.

While Pompeii was covered by hot ash and lava, its less famous neighbour disappeared under an avalanche of molten rock, which mingled with mud and earth and solidified, allowing fragile organic matter like wood, fabrics, wax tablets and papyrus rolls to survive.

Archaeologists began digging at the site at the beginning of the 1700s and continue to make discoveries today. Among the highlights of the show are sacks, little bags, and pieces of material thought to have belonged to tunics and cloaks that were dug from the town and which form part of the museum's little-known collection of 180 ancient Roman fabrics - the largest in the world.

On display for the first time ever is fabric from a mass of organic material discovered in July 2007 on what was once the terrace of a large thermal bath complex. A fragment of cloth made from hemp was among the material, discovered alongside a leather bag, carbonised wood belonging to a boat and a fishing net with lead weights.

The biggest crowd-puller is likely to be the skeletons of ancient Romans in the act of fleeing the town - one of the most extraordinary archaeological discoveries of the last few decades.

Men, women and children were fleeing to the ancient beach when the first volcanic surge hit.

While at Pompeii bodies decomposed in the ash (allowing archaeologists to make plaster casts of the spaces left by the bodies), Herculaneum's solidified mud preserved the skeletons intact, providing a rare treat for researchers because of how frequently ancient Romans cremated their dead.

The exhibition is divided into three sections, focusing first on the magnificent statues of gods, heroes and emperors found among the ruins.

The second section is dedicated to the noble Herculaneum families such as that of the proconsul Marcus Nonius Balbus, one of the town's main benefactors, and showcases many statues found at the Villa of the Papyri.

The villa, the largest and most sumptuous found outside Rome, is thought to have belonged to Lucius Calpurnius Piso, father of Calpurnia, Julius Caesar's wife.

Only partially excavated, the villa has so far yielded 1,800 papyri, half of which have been deciphered to reveal Epicurean philosophy, and some experts say there may still be lost literary treasures of antiquity hidden in the ruins.

In the third section, the skeletons of fleeing townspeople are on show with other objects putting the daily life of the common people under the microscope, while fabrics go on display in the final section.

Herculaneum: Three Centuries of Discoveries runs at the Naples Archaeological Museum until April 2009.
From Newsbg:

Remains of a temple complex dedicated to the cult of Isis and Osiris were discovered in the Paleokastro region in Pomorie.

The temple dates back from the second century A.C., announced Burgasinfo

The building was built on the grounds of an ancient Thracian pagan temple, claim the archaeologists.

"There are many temples in Bulgaria, connected to Isis and Osiris, but this is the first temple complex, discovered through the means of archaeology", explains Sergey Torbanov, leader of the diggings.

During this season the main street in Anhialo was also discovered. The site of the diggings is put under security.

The artifacts, found during the working process, will be exhibited in Pomorie State Museum.
ante diem xvii kalendas novembres

1861 -- birth of J.B. Bury, author of History of the Later Roman Empire, among other 'standard' texts
castigate @ Merriam-Webster

semasiology @ Wordsmith

metastasize @ Worthless Word for the Day
From New Kerala:

Excavation work in southeastern Sanliurfa province in Turkey has led to the discovery of a Roman palace (fifth to sixth century A.D.) and floor mosaics, which feature an ancient Amazonian queen from the early Byzantine period.

According to a report in Today's Zaman, the Anatolia news agency reported that the Haleplibahce district, one of the oldest historical residential areas of the city, constitutes an important part of the ancient city of Edessa, famous for its wall pictures depicting the Amazonian queens Hippolyte, Antiope, Melanippe and Penthesileia hunting in the forest.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism began the excavation work two years ago after these wall pictures were found.

Archeologists have analyzed the mosaic of goddess Kticic, the founder and guardian goddess, found during the course of this year's excavations, which lasted for four months.

She stands in the foreground, holding the scales of justice in her hand. The background includes a black man and a zebra.

The archeologists explained that the figure of the black man and the zebra in mosaics are characteristic of Palestine and that this was the first time they had been encountered in Turkey.

The work also partly revealed a mosaic that depicts a scene in which Chiron, the trainer of Achilles - the famous Greek mythological warrior - is learning how to fight.

Excavation work in the region still continues and, following its completion, the area will be turned into an archeology park.

Mehmet Onal, one of the archeologists working on the Haleplibahce excavations, said that the mosaics they found were very similar to those found in Antakya and Byzantine mosaics in Istanbul.

Onal noted that they have revealed western, northern and eastern walls of the ancient building this year, adding that there were also fountains and shallow pools around the walls of the palace.

According to Onal, the palace had a 34-meter-long baronial hall with a floor covered with mosaics, adding that the palace was similar to villas that were found in the ancient city of Zeugma in Gaziantep province.

"The tesserae used for the mosaics of this palace are very small, which shows that the workmanship of the mosaics was very good. This shows that the palace belonged to an important administrator of the Eastern Roman Empire," Onal said.

"There is an unbelievable color harmony in the mosaics with their rich anatomical figures. No other mosaic has ever had the influential image of the horse that Amazonian Penthesilea rides," he added.
We may have mentioned this before ... from the LA Times:

Sir Humphry Wakefield, 72, on the phone from Chillingham Castle in England, was eager to talk about his role as a proud member of the Society of Dilettanti, an exclusive men's club founded in 1734. But first he needed to check on one of the horses, which he thought might have sustained an injury earlier in the day.

"We have several. They come and they go," Wakefield said, unable to remember the exact horse count at his castle upon calling back to report that this one had turned out to be fine. "They chase after foxes and they jump over jumps and they play horse games. They have a lot of fun."

And so, in fact, does Wakefield, one of several club members who have traveled to Los Angeles to visit the exhibition “Grecian Taste and Roman Spirit: The Society of Dilettanti,” a display of pictures, sculpture and objects on view at the Getty Villa through Oct. 27. According to those members, despite their distinguished professions and titles, fun remains the name of the game for the elite 274-year-old society, which got its name from the Italian dilettare, to take delight.

One of its favorite toasts is "seria ludo," translated from the Latin as "serious matters in a playful vein."

The Society of Dilettanti was founded as a private dining club by a group of young British gentlemen who were alumni of the Grand Tour in Italy, an educational rite of passage for the upper classes. The club was known for its enjoyment of good food and wine, battles of bawdy wit and a taste for erotic artifacts, many of which are displayed in their own naughty little gallery within the Getty exhibition.

But on the serious side, its early members are also credited with advancing the study of classical antiquity by funding scholarly expeditions, collecting art and publishing books on ancient architecture and sculpture.

Today, the society is strictly limited to 60 members; no one new gets in until someone retires or dies. They meet five times a year at the private club Brooks's in London, founded in 1764, which also houses the Dilettanti's extensive art collection, some of which is on loan to the Getty.

"It's an interesting occasion on which to, I suppose in modern parlance, to network," said Dilettanti member Nicholas Baring, a retired merchant banker and former chairman of the charitable Baring Foundation, after going through the Getty Villa galleries on his way back from a trip to Peru as part of an organization trying to bring back into use neglected agricultural terraces in the Andes.

Every few years, the dinner proceedings feature an introductory ceremony for inductees, including a procession involving the newbies as well as club members portraying the characters of the Imp, who leads the procession bearing silver candlesticks with lighted candles, and the Arch Master, who is dressed in lavish red robes.

"We all lift our glasses and say 'William,' or whatever the man's name is," said Charles Sebag-Montefiore, 58, who has served as the society's joint secretary since 1997. "And he is expected to make a pretty speech of thanks. Some people get it just right. Some go on too long."

These days, although the membership probably skews a bit older than it did in the 18th century, the distinguished list includes the wealthy, the titled and the scholarly. The society won't reveal its membership roster, citing privacy issues, but the list includes Richard Dorment, art critic of the Daily Telegraph, who has reviewed the exhibition from an insider’s perspective, and . Prince Charles is an honorary member.

And, following in the long tradition of such artist-members as George Knapton, Joshua Reynolds and John Singer Sargent, British artist David Hockney, a longtime Los Angeles resident, now serves as the club's official portraitist -- although, according to other members, Hockney has yet to paint a society portrait (the artist could not be reached for comment).

On the matter of selecting members, they must be nominated and seconded by two club members, but "there aren't requirements in the sense that nowhere is it written down," said Sebag-Montefiore while in town to give a lecture on the society at the Getty. "We have quite a relaxed attitude toward rules. It is more characteristics that are looked at.

"I think it's essentially to have an interest in fine or applied arts, that's the raison d'être. But you could have a very scholarly man, who knows all there is to know about the world of fine arts, but that would not be sufficient," he continued. "He would need to be a pleasant character and somebody people like to spend an evening sitting next to. Congeniality and wit -- wit is much applauded. People aren't expected to wear their scholarship on their sleeves, it's discreet.

"On the whole, the right people seem to get elected."
Well, I guess Italy didn't demand this one back ... from the Daily Express:

A ROMAN marble head that looks like Elvis – right down to the quiff – was sold for £24,000 at auction yesterday.

The 13-inch carving, which came from a 2nd century AD sarcophagus, was bought by an unnamed collector at a Bonhams sale in London.

Antiquities specialist Georgiana Aitken said: “It bears an uncanny likeness to Elvis. It’s the quiff that does it. It wasn’t a hairstyle of the day as far as I know.”
The Department of Classics, Faculty of Arts, at the University of Manitoba invites applications for a full-time tenure-track position in Greek and Latin Language and Literature at the rank of Assistant Professor. The successful candidate shall have special scholarly interests and competence somewhere within the broad spectrum of Classical Philology, demonstrated competence in both languages and a readiness to teach both Greek and Latin at all undergraduate levels and one or both at the M.A. level. The appointee must also teach lecture courses in ‘Classical Studies’ including survey courses on Greek and Roman civilization, Classical Mythology and Classical Literature in Translation. Duties will also include supervision of M.A. theses and service to the Department, Faculty and University. Candidates are requested to demonstrate success in both research and teaching and to present evidence of an agenda of scholarship and scholarly publication. The appointee shall have been awarded a Ph.D. by the effective date of the appointment, July 1, 2009.

The Department of Classics at the University of Manitoba has a vigorous staff complement of 6 permanent members with professorial rank. This complement is regularly augmented by part-time and/or temporary lecturers, instructors, post-doctoral fellows and teaching assistants. The Department offers undergraduate major and minor programs in Greek, Latin and Classical Studies and an M.A. in Classics. Further information on the Department is available at

Starting salary will reflect the qualifications and experience of the appointee.

The University of Manitoba encourages applications from qualified women and men, including members of visible minorities, Aboriginal peoples, and persons with disabilities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply although Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.

Applications for this position must include a letter of application, a curriculum vitae and three confidential letters of reference sent directly by the referees. Candidates may also include samples of scholarly writing and evidence of effective teaching, such as teaching evaluations and sample course outlines. Applications should be sent to:

Professor Rory B. Egan, Chair
Department of Classics Search Committee
364 University College
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB Canada R3T 2M8

(204) 474-9502 ; FAX (204) 474-7658; regan AT

The deadline for receipt of applications is December 1, 2008. Applications, including letters of reference, will be handled in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Manitoba).

Man ... if I won a lottery or if this could be done by distance education, I'd do it in a heartbeat ...
From ANSA:

The tomb of an Ancient Roman aristocrat believed to have inspired the hit film Gladiator has been found, Rome cultural authorities said Wednesday.

Parts of the tomb have been recovered but most of it is thought to have fallen into the Tiber, they said.

They named the ancient patrician as Marcus Nonius Macrinus, a proconsul who achieved major victories for Marcus Aurelius, emperor from 161 AD to his death in 180 AD.

Macrinus, a favourite of the emperor, is thought to have prompted the writers of the Ridley Scott film to imagine their ''general who became a slave, slave who became a gladiator, gladiator who defied an emperor,'' as the tag line to the 2000 epic said.

Russell Crowe won an Oscar in the title role.

Three more important finds which also ''enrich the history of Rome'' have been uncovered, the Rome archaeological superintendency said.

They will be presented at a press conference Thursday.

I'm assuming there will be more to come, but just so y'all know I'm on the case ...
idus octobres

festival of Jupiter -- all ides were sacred to Jupiter

Rite of the 'October Horse' -- one of the many rituals which makes the study of Roman religion so fascinating. On this day a race between two-horse chariots would be held in the Campus Martius, and the right hand horse of the victorious pair would be sacrificed by the flamen of Mars on an altar (in the Campus Martius, of course). After the sacrifice, people who lived in the Via Sacra neighbourhood would fight the people who lived in the Suburra for the right to the head. If the 'via sacranites' won, they'd display it on the Regia; if the Suburranites won, it would be displayed at the Turris Mamilia. Meanwhile, the cauda (tail - genitals) would be rushed to the Regia so the blood would drip on the sacred hearth; the Vestal Virgins also probably kept some of the blood for use at the Parilia on April 21.

ludi Capitolini -- a somewhat obscure day of games which was unique in its not being 'public' (in the sense of being put on by a magistrate) but rather the ballywick of a collegium of 'Capitolini'. Not much is known about what went on at these games save that an old man wearing the bulla of of a young boy was paraded about and mocked; there were possibly competitions in boxing and running as well.

55 B.C. -- death of Lucretius

70 B.C. -- birth of Publius Vergilius Maro, a.k.a. Vergil, a.k.a Virgil

1999 -- death of Don Fowler, fellow of Jesus College, Oxford and frequent contributor to the Classics list almost from its inception, among other things, of course
jury @ OED
palmary @

paragoge @ Wordsmith
From Emportal:

A mosaic floor from the Roman era, the largest ever to be found in the Balkans, was discovered by Bosnian archaeologists in Skelani, near Srebrenica, in the eastern part of Bosnia, media reported.

At a depth between 80 and 180 centimetres below the ground's surface, archaeologists discovered the ruins of buildings and streets of the Roman town, as well as the mosaic flooring that has been dated to the first century A.D. "

We have discovered the largest Roman mosaic ever to be found in the Balkans, and maybe even Europe", said the director of the local museum in Bijeljina, Mirko Babic, who heads the team of archaeologists.

"There are - he added - 40 square metres of mosaics unique for the diversity of colours, images and ornaments of marvellous vividness".

The ruins of buildings and streets discovered up to this point indicate, Babic said, that Skelani was a rich and important centre in the Roman era.

Can't figure out what Skelani would have been called in Roman times ...
From ANSA:

A London auction house on Tuesday withdrew a number of ancient Roman artefacts thought to have been stolen from Italy in the 1970s that were due to go under the hammer on Wednesday.

Bonhams made a last-minute withdrawal of 10 lots worth a total of 250,000 euros following an official request by the Italian Embassy in London that no lost Italian treasures go on sale from the former collection of British antiquarian Robin Symes.

''We're always happy to cooperate to avoid the sale of objects that should not be sold,'' said Bonhams chief Robert Brooks, adding that he would nevertheless have preferred more than 24 hours' warning about the Italian government's concerns.

Roman fresco fragments, busts, statues and vases are among 600 items in the auction catalogue.

Earlier on Tuesday, Italian art police chief Gianni Nistri said nine lots in particular had been marked as probably ''coming from thefts or illegal digs'' during the 1970s.

The move by Bonhams to withdraw the lots came a week after former Italian culture minister Francesco Rutelli sounded the alarm about the auction and hit out at his successor, Sandro Bondi, for ''not taking sufficient action'' to safeguard the artefacts. Rutelli revealed that he had begun secret negotiations in May 2007 to return hundreds of Italian works in the massive collection, but said negotiations had recently ground to a halt.

The former minister said Tuesday he was ''satisfied'' by Bonhams' decision.

Bondi meanwhile said he did not wish to enter into ''petty squabbles'' with Rutelli, but underlined that Italian cultural diplomacy ''was not on hold''.

''I have not let my guard down,'' he said. ''These are controversial issues which require patience and effort. I'm doing everything I can to reach a positive conclusion''.


Symes, whose collection comprises some 17,000 items, was a leading international antiques trader in the 1970s - a decade in which tomb raiders were particularly active in Italy.

As one of the main dealers for museums, he handled a number of high-profile artefacts including the Morgantina Venus, a 5th century BC Greek statue of Aphrodite that the Getty Museum in Los Angeles is due to return to Italy in 2010.

Italian prosecutors in the ongoing trial of former Getty curator Marion True and an American antiquities dealer, Robert Hecht - who are accused of knowingly acquiring smuggled artefacts - also investigated Symes' ties to the pair, as well as those with Rome-based dealer and trafficker Giacomo Medici.

No charges were brought against Symes.

When liquidators were brought in in 2005 following the failure of Symes' business, an Italian team was asked to help certify the authenticity of certain works in the collection, estimated to be worth around 160 million euros.

It examined some of the collection's 33 warehouses and discovered vast numbers of artefacts it alleged had been stolen from Italian sites.

Rutelli campaigned hard to have stolen Italian antiquities in museums across the world returned to Italy during his stint as culture minister, successfully negotiating deals with the the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Boston Museum of Fine Arts and the Getty.
The Hollywood Reporter reports:

NBC has picked up a script that retells the Greek mythology tale "Jason and the Argonauts."

NBC won a bidding war for the story by Josh and Jonas Pate ("Moonlight," "Surface"). The project is considered development, sources say, but there's a penalty should NBC pass.

"Argonauts" is best known as the 1963 film that featured the stop-motion animation work of Ray Harryhausen. If produced, NBC is considering shooting the entire project on green screen, meaning "Argonauts" would be a TV series that takes place on a ship at sea, but that doesn't go near the water. Sci Fi Channel used the method to produce its new series "Sanctuary."

The ratings of period-piece adventure drama "Crusoe" on Friday could serve as a bellwether for the project's chances. If picked up, this also wouldn't be the network's first "Argonauts" project -- in 2000, NBC aired an "Argonauts" miniseries during sweeps.
From the CHE (via the Australian):

FOR more than 2500 years, classical epic has been the province of men: written by, for and about them, and passed down through the centuries by male translators. One could certainly describe Virgil's Aeneid as a manly poem. From its arms-and-the-man opening to its climactic bloodbath on the battlefield, the Latin epic tells a tale of exile, combat and slaughter, with a body count rivalling that of Homer's Iliad. Women figure mostly as collateral damage.

In what appears to be a first, however, a woman has finally tried her hand at bringing Virgil's dactylic hexameters to a modern, English-speaking public. Yale University Press has published a blank-verse translation by poet and classicist Sarah Ruden. And she has plenty of company.

The Aeneid has never been a forgotten work, but since the most recent millennial turn it has enjoyed a burst of renewed popularity with translators. Four English-language versions have appeared in the past three years alone.

At least two more editions are in the works, one by poet and translator David Ferry, widely admired for his Horace translations, and the other by Jane Wilson Joyce, a professor of literature in the classical studies program at Kentucky's Centre College, who is about four-fifths of the way through her Aeneid. All this activity comes as scholars have broken free of the constraints imposed by a tradition that stretches back to the early English translations of the 17th and 18th centuries. Bringing a sense of personal passion to the task, modern translators are reminding readers that for all the fierceness and grandeur of the events it describes, the Aeneid is also intimate, at times even tender.

It raises an urgent question - What price empire? - even as it creates a foundational myth of how a great empire came to be. In an age that has had its fill of war and foreign adventures, Virgil's epic, written 2000 years ago, still speaks volumes.

Although the biographical details remain sketchy, we know that Virgil (70BC-19BC) lived through the civil wars that marked the death throes of the Roman Republic and the birth of the Roman Empire. He found a powerful patron, Maecenas, at the court of Augustus Caesar and probably read the Aeneid to the emperor and his sister, Octavia. We also know that the epic was unfinished at Virgil's death. Almost immediately, however, it became required reading for Roman schoolboys, for whom it was a model tale of empire building and the making of a leader.

But this war story is also a tale of piety, loyalty, sacrifice, grief and perseverance. It describes how a family and a people survive catastrophe - the sack of Troy - and make a new home for themselves, founding what will one day become a great empire, Rome.

The first six books of the tale describe Aeneas's flight from Troy with his father, Anchises, and his young son, Iulus. Along the way, the hero encounters storms, shipwreck and ill-fated romance.

He briefly falls for Dido, queen of Carthage, who kills herself after Aeneas abandons her to fulfil his destiny.

The second, less familiar half of the epic - books 7-12 - follows the hero as he lands in Italy and must fight what amounts to a bitter civil war to claim his empire. Aeneas wins, but not before countless warriors have slaughtered one another.

The epic ends with an especially troubling moment: Aeneas denies mercy to Turnus, leader of the opposing force, and skewers him in a fit of rage on the battlefield. The moment ends the story on a discordant note, as the most faithful and pious of heroes succumbs to a dramatic loss of self-control.

It is likely that Virgil did not intend to end the book with that scene; he probably had in mind a much longer work, which would have followed Aeneas's evolution from warrior to statesman. Either way the harsh ending and the story's account of the human cost of war have kept scholars debating: was Virgil an empire booster or a critic who managed to question the imperial enterprise even as he celebrated it?

Our own recent, bloody history makes it easy to hear echoes in Virgil's tragedy. That has made the Aeneid even more appealing to a post-Vietnam generation of translators.

"Particularly when you get meaningless wars like World War I, Vietnam and Iraq, the legitimacy of death gets questioned," says Richard F. Thomas, a professor of Greek and Latin and director of graduate studies in the classics department at Harvard University. "This is a poem that activates that question pretty well: Is Rome worth it?"

He points to a 1971 translation by Allen Mandelbaum as one that has been particularly popular with instructors "who wanted to get Virgil as a post-Vietnam poet".

On the subject of Virgil's attitude towards war, Ruden warns against casting an ancient tragedy as some kind of modern political statement. "People make a fundamental mistake arguing about the politics of the Aeneid," says Ruden, a visiting fellow at Yale divinity school.

"It's about things that have to be, about which people have no choice, and that means it's about submission to the divine will."

Born in 1962 in Bowling Green, Ohio, and reared in the countryside, Ruden did her doctoral work in classics at Harvard. There, she recalls, "somebody told me, 'Don't work on Ovid. All of these women work on Ovid."' Rather than study a writer known for his love elegies as well as the Metamorphoses, she chose the harder-edged satirist Petronius instead. Like many of Virgil's translators, Ruden is a published poet in her own right. But she did not approach the epic for the poetic challenge of it or to be a feminist trailblazer. She signed on for practical reasons.

"I had to do it to stay in translation," she explains. "I had to do a major work. I had to do one that's taught very often. But I got caught up. This was something that came to mean a lot to me."

Here her personal history guided her. After completing her doctorate, Ruden found her first teaching job at the University of Cape Town. Living in South Africa, a country still gripped by turmoil at the end of apartheid, she says she came to understand how Virgil felt about the brutality of civil war.

"How imperial conflict works itself out isn't an academic matter for me," she explains. "The Aeneid isn't a stiff antiquarian pageant. It's immediate and primal. 'They're taking our stuff! They want all of it! They're killing us for it! Let's kill them first!' I don't believe I put the slightest strain on the Latin in trying to echo Virgil's defensiveness and helpless grief, but first I had to understand it, and Africa gave me that gift."

Although most scholars agree that, until now, women mostly have steered clear of Greek and Latin epic, they have more than one theory about why.

Stephen Harrison, a classical languages and literature professor at the University of Oxford, believes the phenomenon dates back to when the works took shape. "Epic was perceived in antiquity as a male prestige genre, and the fact anyone who knows any classical languages will have a view on a translation of Homer or Virgil makes it a tough thing to do, especially for women in pre-feminist days when it was wrongly thought that women could not learn classical languages to the levels of men," he says.

For Stanley Lombardo, professor of classics at the University of Kansas and translator of a 2005 Aeneid, the English tradition hasn't helped. "Pope's Iliad and Odyssey established this standard for epic decorum, and it's all grand and high diction. What woman would want to touch that?"

Lombardo has made a name for himself as a translator and as a performer of Homer and Virgil. He is emblematic of the new breed of Virgil translator, for whom the Aeneid is anything but stuffy and highfalutin.

"This is living literature and that's how it should be rendered," he says. "The immediacy of Greek and Latin literature is astonishing when you read it that way."

To do justice to the Aeneid, Lombardo says, "it's got to pulse with life".

Thomas points to a phrase in Lombardo's edition that illustrates that turn in translation. "Without very much justification on the level of Virgil's Latin but a great deal of justification from what's going on in the poem, Lombardo writes 'shock and awe', which immediately takes one to more-recent events and sets one asking the question: Are we Rome?" he says.

Joyce, well into her own translation of the Aeneid, has opted, like Ruden, for a line-for-line approach. "I try, at least in general, to keep a vaguely dactylic rhythm going, but it's amazing how often it wants to turn around into anapaests," she says. The economy of Latin compared with English is "so unfair", she adds. "It's just a joy."

Like Ruden, she sees beyond the story's martial themes: "I find Virgil a tender presence. So even when horrible things are happening on the battlefield, there is a tenderness, and his feel for human relationships, his feel for landscape and his pity for humans is something that I find intensely appealing." Joyce laughs. "I don't know; I'm in love with the guy."

Such a sense of personal connection, Ruden believes, gives female translators an edge over their male counterparts.

"I'm going to get killed for voicing this, but I believe women have the right attitude," she says. "Women get more involved. The authors are more real to us. We develop relationships with them."

Not long ago, she heard a talk at Yale given by Edith Grossman, who translates Gabriel Garcia Marquez's works into English and has done an English-language version of Don Quixote. "I came away convinced that women, not men, are the natural translators for the great books," Ruden says. But she cautions that women who translate "must follow the Edith Grossman line" and keep a certain scholarly distance and balance. "The danger of emotional engagement is to impose the self on this alien author," she says.

Women now have far greater liberties and a much greater sense of their historical oppression than the women of 2000 years ago did, but that doesn't mean a 21st-century translator should portray, say, Dido as a victim of male chauvinism.

"You shouldn't take that to an author like Virgil," Ruden argues. "You're not being true to his context if you're thinking in those terms. You have to go back to tragedy.

"Everybody in here is a person, an individual, and they get annihilated in these big events. You have these injured or abandoned women; you have these men who are cannon fodder."

That sense of poignant fatalism touches translators male and female. Ferry, an emeritus professor of English at Wellesley College, Massachusetts, is in the first stages of translation, at work on Book 3 of the Aeneid. But even in the grand early passages, in which Aeneas and his family flee Troy, Ferry sees "so much else going on besides the epic": for example, the way that Aeneas's boy, Iulus, "is trying to keep up, matching hisfather's footsteps" as the city burns behind them.

Thomas, who taught Ruden at Harvard, puts it this way: "Epic poetry is the title we give it, but look on to any page and you're looking at human voices, male and female, you're looking at the human condition, you're looking at worlds gone wrong, you're looking at power and victory and defeat."

Translators take up a text such as the Aeneid for an army of reasons. For Ruden, it began as a practical decision.

For Lombardo, Virgil represented the logical next step in retracing the literary journey from Homer to Dante. (He is working on the Inferno.)

For publishers, however, the decision to take on the Aeneid is increasingly perilous. How many additional versions does the world need?

"It's fair to say that it gets more difficult to do this the more translations are published," says Brian Rak, Lombardo's editor at Hackett. Most Aeneid translations are intended to work their way into the undergraduate curriculum but, as with Aeneas, they have to fight to earn their place.

In Rak's experience, an edition becomes entrenched for a while as the classroom favourite, "and it's difficult to even think of another translation that could compete with it", he says.

"But along comes a new translation and people want to have a look at it."

Every new translation offers the tantalising possibility that it will strike closer to the thrill and beauty of the original than any has before. "The sorrow with any translation is that you're never really quite there," Lombardo says. "You may be someplace almost as good."

Behind the hope is a never-ending struggle to crack the code of language.

"I know the Latin of a particular passage once I've worked on it," Ferry says. "Then I start my whole life over again."

"Great works of literature do come from God," Ruden says. "They are so miraculous, you can't figure out how a human being could have pulled off something like this."

A translator must strive to see the work in its own terms, she believes, while knowing that such a goal will always be just out of reach. "But it's something that you keep pushing and pushing and pushing, until you pass out from exhaustion. You have to keep up hope for an impossible thing. Again, it comes back to religion."

No wonder the ancient poets always began their work with an invocation of the muse.
From Spiegel:

A team of archaeologists, scientists and software programmers has created a 3D virtual model of the city of Cologne as it was 2,000 years ago. Though not yet online, the software allows visitors to fly through the city in its Roman glory.

A new computer program will allow the curious to see Cologne, Germany's fourth-largest city, as it was almost 2,000 years ago, when it was a major northern outpost of the Roman Empire.

"Now, for the first time, people will be able to visualize what an amazing city Cologne already was in antiquity," said Hansgerd Hellenkemper, the director of the city's Romano-Germanic Museum.

The city's history stretches back to 38 B.C. After Julius Caesar pushed the empire north during his conquest of Gaul in the mid-first century B.C., the Romans resettled the Germanic Ubii tribe on the banks of the Rhine River. In 50 A.D., the settlement was granted the status of an official Roman city and was given the name Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium. The city grew to be a major trading center, a status it still preserves today.

The program allows visitors to use a computer mouse to navigate a virtual "flight" around the city, where they will find impressive sights, such as the massive city wall and its monumental gates, the forum, the over 40-meter-high (130-foot) Capitoline Temple, the forum with its semicircular portico and the proconsul's palace.

The project, which has taken over three years to put together, is a collaboration between archaeologists, researchers and software experts drawn from the Archaeology Institute at the University of Cologne, the Köln International School of Design (KISD), the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, the University of Potsdam's Hasso Plattner Institute (HPI) and Cologne's Romano-Germanic Museum.

According to the project's Web site, the purpose of creating the model was to "allow Roman Cologne to be visualized using the findings of current research and to thereby make it comprehensible in its historical dimension to an even larger public."

While the model's content was completed this week and can be accessed using CAD software, it has yet to be made accessible online. The project's leaders have declined to specify when this process will be completed, but the project's team has already begun working on its next project, a virtual model of modern Cologne, dominated by the 157-meter (515-foot) twin spires of its famous cathedral.

Hamburg and Berlinalready have 3D city models that allow users to take virtual flights through the cities using Google Earth. Virtual models of other historical places also exist -- for example, for Rome, Pompeii and Herculaneum -- but in a different form. "Those were more like computer-generated animations rather than large-scale models that you could navigate," says Jürgen Döllner, a professor of computer graphics at the HPI, who led the technical implementation of the project.

Spiegel has some photos from the project too ... the project website has some info (in German) too ...
From the Times:

The opening of the New Acropolis Museum will almost certainly reignite the debate over the Elgin Marbles.

The museum, which is expected to open in early 2009 after 30 years in conception, has even reserved a space for the missing sculptures in optimistic anticipation of their return.

The Elgin marbles, which were removed from the Parthenon in Athens by Lord Elgin in the early nineteenth century, and sold to the British Museum, now remain in its Duveen Gallery, to the distress of the Greek government.

At present the British Museum’s policy remains the same, that the marbles, which are the largest collection of Parthenon sculptures outside of Greece, are staying put.
In the know in Athens

The Greek government’s appeals have had more luck elsewhere – it has already received a slab of the Parthenon frieze from the Salinas Museum in Palermo, where it has hung for more than 200 years, but will now take its place in the New Acropolis Museum.

It portrays the draped lower leg, ankle and foot of a seated goddess, believed to be Artemis.

Missing body parts like this are commonplace in the Athens frieze – the new museum displays its original pieces and missing parts are shown in glaring white plaster chunks. The Greek government hopes these sections will gradually be replaced by the genuine artefacts.

Commenting on the Italian gesture, Anthony Snodgrass, chairman of the British Committee for the Reunification of the Parthenon Marbles said: “Following on the return of the ‘Heidelberg foot’, a somewhat smaller fragment from the Parthenon’s North Frieze, two years ago, and of a piece from another Acropolis temple, the Erechtheion, by a retired Swedish teacher a little later, it looks like part of an inexorable chain reaction.

“We are looking forward to the news of further returns of Parthenon fragments, from other European museums.”

One of the arguments that has kept the marbles in London concerns the lack of suitable space and environment in which to display them in Athens, but the opening of the state-of-the-art museum will quash that tack.

Architect Bernard Tschumi designed the museum to allow the sculptures to be seen in natural light, but high-spec glass and climate-control ensures they are not damaged by sunlight. The piece de la resistance is the top floor, where visitors will be able to see the frieze, then turn their back to look at the Parthenon.

The Greeks hope that public opinion will sway in their favour following the museum’s opening. The museum expects to receive some two million visitors a year – a sizeable chunk of the 13 million who visit the site of the Acropolis annually.

Currently opinion is divided – a 2008 Mori poll of 2,100 people found that 50 per cent of people were familiar with the marbles debate, and 69 per cent of them believe the marbles should be returned to Athens.

Regardless of your stand on the debate, the New Acropolis Museum, and its priceless treasures housed in a stunning modern building at the base of the Acropolis, is a must see.
From AP:

Police in northern Greece say they have arrested two men, including a museum employee, for allegedly trying to sell dozens of illegally excavated antiquities.

Thessaloniki police say the Greek suspects negotiated the sale of the artifacts — together with more than 20 modern fakes — to an undercover officer for euro400,000 (US$550,000).

They said in a statement Tuesday that officers confiscated more than 100 genuine ancient and medieval items. These included bronze clothing ornaments, a silver bracelet, earrings decorated with snakes' heads, a bronze lamp and an iron lance-head.

The suspects were arrested near Thessaloniki Monday. Police say one suspect worked at an archaeological museum in northern Greece.

By law, all antiquities in Greece are state property.
Research Institute of Classics
University of Wales, Lampeter

Research seminar series 2008-9: Michaelmas term

All research seminars, except when otherwise noted, will take place in the Roderick Bowen Research Centre. Papers start at 6pm. Everyone is most welcome to attend.

Thursday 16 October: Professor Chris Collard (The Queen’s College, Oxford University): ‘Fragments of Satyric Drama’, in TRS seminar room 1

Thursday 23 October: Dr Costas Panayotakis (University of Glasgow): ‘The titles of plays attributed to the mimographer Decimus Laberius’

Thursday 30 October: Fiona Mac Góráin (Corpus Christi College / Magdalen College, Oxford University): ‘The Influence of Euripides on Virgil: the dismemberment of Pentheus’

Thursday 6 November: Dr Mark Bradley (University of Nottingham): ‘Crime and Punishment on the Capitoline Hill’

Thursday 20 November: Dr Tim Whitmarsh (Corpus Christi College, Oxford University): ‘Beyond the second sophistic: Hellenism, nationalism, and the Greek novel’ (a KYKNOS seminar)

Thursday 27 November: Dr Stephen Lambert (Cardiff University): ‘Aristocracy and the Attic Gene: A Mythological Perspective’

Thursday 4 December: Dr Barbara Kowalzig (Royal Holloway, University of London): TBA

Thursday 11 December: Dr Ian Ruffell (University of Glasgow): ‘"I am Serious - and Don’t Call Me Shirley": a Comic Look at Tragic Politics’

The Ohio State University at Newark invites applications for a
tenure-track position of Assistant Professor of Classical Studies to
start in the autumn of 2009. Criteria include a Ph.D. in Greek or
Latin at the time of appointment, strong potential for success in
teaching and research, and teaching experience at the college or
university level. Responsibilities include teaching lower-level
undergraduate courses in classical literature and mythology, Latin,
and medical terminology, as well as courses in the successful
candidate's area of specialization, conducting research, engaging in
service to the campus, and participating in outreach activities. The
faculty member at the Newark campus is also a member of the Department
of Greek and Latin at The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, and
is evaluated accordingly. Send a CV, a cover letter, three letters of
reference, and representative publications or a writing sample of no
more than 30 pages to Human Resources, Assistant Professor of
Classical Studies, The Ohio State University at Newark, 1179
University Drive, Newark, OH 43055. Review of applications will begin
on November 1, 2008 and continue until the position is filled.
pridie idus octobres

rites in honour of the Penates Dei -- the Penates Dei were originally the penates who watched over the storehouse of the king (when Rome had such, obviously); at some point, the Penates Dei came to be identified with Castor and Pollux, but they still had a temple under their own name on the Velian hill which was apparently restored by Augustus.

223 A.D. -- martyrdom of Calixtus
otiose @

luxated @ Worthless Word for the Day

univocalic @ Wordsmith

facetious @ Merriam-Webster
From Carolina Coast Online:

"It's ancient history" -- the phrase is often used to dismiss information deemed irrelevant to modern life. But Latin scholar and former teacher Rose Williams considers ancient history pertinent to current events. She gives ancient stories a modern twist, emphasizing the meaning important history may have for today's life.

Rather than just a summary of wars and dates, she considers history a guide, and a warning, for people today. "The human race has not changed in 5,000 years," Williams says. "I'm always looking at the human experience and trying to relate it to my audience. History is the summary of the mud holes people have fallen into and whether or not they got out of them."

Williams has long known how to reach her students and pull them in, giving them an interest in her favorite subject of classical literature. It's no surprise she's able to accomplish the same level of interest in her books published with Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers Inc. Her writings in English, all of which display an ironic humor often seen in the works of the Romans themselves, include brief histories of Rome, a biography of Cicero, a wry retelling of the Aeneid and brief mythology studies. "The Romans are a great help in writing these stories," says Williams. "They have an excellent sense of humor and very few illusions about themselves or anyone else. Romans always have tongues not very far from their cheek."

English titles include "The Original Dysfunctional Family," "From Romulus to Romulus Augustulus" and "The Labors of Aeneas: What a Pain It Was to Found the Roman Race." These stories would make excellent seasonal gifts for readers with an interest in history.

For those beginning Latin study or wanting to go into more depth in their Latin studies, there are her readers, such as "The Young Romans," "Lectiones de Historia Romana" and "Duces Romanorum." Not only are students and readers learning the Latin language in Williams' stories, they're also studying a bit of history. The books are written in chronological order, following Williams' historical subjects and using excerpts from their works. "If students go to the trouble to decipher the Latin," Williams says, "I want them to come away with some information both interesting and worthwhile."

She doesn't just reach out to older Latin speakers either. Williams has a series called "I am Reading Latin Stories." These simple stories, which use pictures and a vocabulary of about 30 basic Latin words related to English, are about little animals learning important lessons of life.

Meet Rena Rhinoceros, who is impatient to be a grownup; Ursus et Porcus, a bear and a pig who learn to be friends; Octavus Octopus, who wants to wear socks and live on land and Taurus Rex, who discovers size and strength are not always enough.

To find Williams' books for the student on your Christmas list, visit and either search for Williams' name in the author search, or click on New and Forthcoming. They can also be found on her Web site,
ante diem iii idus octobres

Fontinalia -- a festival in honour of the divinity Fons, who presided over springs and wells; such sources of water were festooned with garlands for the occasion

54 A.D. -- death of the emperor Claudius, purportedly succumbing to a plate of poisoned mushrooms dished up by his niece/wife Agrippina; dies imperii of Nero (son of Agrippina)
perseverating @

epeolatry @ Wordsmith

koine @ Merriam-Webster

pandemonium @ Podictionary

cornucopia @ OED
Very slow news day, so we'll present this OpEd piece in its entirety:

With modernity crumbling, our thoughts turn to antiquity.

The decline and fall of the American Empire echoes the experience of the Romans, who also tumbled into the trap of becoming overleveraged empire hussies.

As our sand-castle economy washes away under the tide of bad gambles and debts, this most self-indulgent society lurches toward stoicism (even bankrupt Iceland gives us the cold shoulder and turns to a solvent superpower). It’s going to require more than giving up constant infusions of stocks, Starbucks and Botox.

As Seneca, the Roman Stoic who advised treating the body “somewhat strictly,” wrote in a letter: “Avoid whatever is approved of by the mob, and things that are the gift of chance. Whenever circumstance brings some welcome thing your way, stop in suspicion and alarm ...They are snares. ... we think these things are ours when in fact it is we who are caught. That track leads to precipices; life on that giddy level ends in a fall.”

The study of Latin and Greek, with illuminations on morality, philosophy, mob rule and chariot races, reached a nadir in the greedy ‘80s and ‘90s, when it seemed irrelevant for kids who yearned to be investment bankers and high-tech millionaires. But now we’ve learned the hard way that greed is bad — avaritia mala est — and the classics have staged a comeback. Amo Latinam, so I was happy to see last week’s Times story about the soaring enrollment for Latin classes in New York.

In high school, I translated swatches of Julius Caesar’s “The Battle for Gaul” from Latin to English while nibbling cheese crackers. To boost the felicitous new trend toward Latin, I enlisted Gary D. Farney, an associate professor of history at Rutgers University, to translate (loosely and creatively) from English to Latin “The Battle of Gall,” my take below on why the hyperventilating Republicans are not veni, vidi, vici-ing.

Bellum Gallium

Manes Julii Caesaris paucis diebus aderant — “O, most bloody sight!” — cum Ioannes McCainus, mavericus et veteranus captivusque Belli Francoindosinini, et Sara Palina, barracuda borealis, qui sneerare amant Baracum Obamam causa oratorii, pillorant ut demagogi veri, Africanum-Americanum senatorem Terrae Lincolni, ad Republicanas rallias.

Rabidi subcanes candidati, pretendant “no orator as Brutis is,” ut “stir men’s blood” et disturbant mentes populi ad “a sudden flood of mutiny,” ut Wilhelmus Shakespearus scripsit.

Cum Quirites Americani ad rallias Republicanas audiunt nomen Baraci Husseini Obamae, clamant “Mortem!” “Amator terroris!” “Socialiste!” “Bomba Obamam!” “Obama est Arabus!” “Caput excidi!” tempus sit rabble-rouseribus desistere “Smear Talk Express,” ut Stephanus Colbertus dixit. Obama demonatus est tamquam Musulmanus-Manchurianus candidatus — civis “collo-cerviciliaris” ad ralliam Floridianam Palinae exhabet mascum Obamae ut Luciferis.

Obama non queretur high-tech lynching. Sed secreto-serventes agentes nervosissmi sunt.

Vix quisque audivit nomen “Palinae” ante lunibus paucis. Surgivit ex suo tanning bed ad silvas in Terram Eskimorum, rogans quis sit traitorosus, ominosus, scurrilosus, periculosus amator LXs terroris criminalisque Chicagoani? Tu betchus!

“Caeca ambitio Obamana,” novum rumorem Palina McCainusque dixit. “Cum utilis, Obama laborat cum amatore terroris Wilhelmo Ayro. Cum putatus, perjuravit.” McCainianus bossus maximus Francus Keatinx vocat Obamam, “plebeium,” et ut iuvenum snifferendum cocaini minimi (“a little blow.”)

Cum Primus Dudus, spousus Palinanus, culpari attemptaret “Centurionem-Gate,” judices Terrae Santae Elvorumque castigat gubernatricem Palinam de abusu auctoritatis per familiam revengendum.

Tamen Sara et Ioannes bury Obama, not praise him. Maverici, ut capiunt auxilium de friga-domina, hench-femina, Cynthia McCaina Birrabaronessa, (quae culpat Obamam periculandi suum filum in Babylonia), brazen-iter distractant mentes populares de minimissimis IV 0 I K.ibus, deminutione “Motorum Omnium,” et Depressione Magna II.0. Omnes de Georgio Busio Secundo colossale goofballo. “V” (because there’s no W. in Latin) etiam duxit per disastrum ad gymnasium.

Gubernatrix (prope Russia) Palina, spectans candidaciam MMXII, post multam educationem cum Kissingro et post multam parodiam de Sabbatis Nocte Vivo atque de Tina Feia, ferociter vituperat Obamam, ut supralupocidit (aerial shooting of wolves) in Hyperborea.

Vilmingtoni, in Ohionem, McCain’s Mean Girl (Ferox Puella) defendit se gladiatricem politicam esse: “Pauci dicant, O Jupiter, te negativam esse. Non, negativa non sum, sed verissima.” Talk about lipsticka in porcam! Quasi Leeus Atwater de oppugnatione Busii Primi ad Dukakem: “non negativus, sed comparativus.”

What's really interesting is that -- as of this writing -- this item has received well over 700 comments (this one -- although not really on topic -- caught my eye! By contrast, the column on Latin which inspired it seems to have stopped getting comments at the 132 mark ...
The final bits from my inbox! Euge! Now we can enjoy our Thanksgiving revels without guilt or something like that.

Our regular tip o' the pileus to Mata Kimasatayo for contributing items from Harper's ... one on Petrarch's Ascent of Mount Ventoux ... Pythagoras' Human Typology ...

An OpEd on the Elgin/Parthenon Marbles ...

Touristy thing with plenty o' ClassCon on Ventotene ...

The New York Times jumped on the 'rise of Latin' bandwagon this past week (I think I missed this one originally) ...

Mary Beard told the Independent about her school days ...

Some Spartathlon coverage ...

Check out this guy's library ...

Nice slideshow of the Roman Art from the Louvre exhibition ...

Before reading the item a bit below on ClassCon in the elections, folks might appreciate this Palin Ode ...

Some theatre reviews: Thyestes' Feast ... Antigone (Manchester) ... Elektra ... Women of Troy ...

Haven't done one of these in a while, but in the interest of getting my inbox to zero, I'll write them down here:

From Stuff:

The Greek historian Thucydides was the first to relate tsunamis to submarine quakes.

From the Daily Star (on Egyptian bride sacrifice):

The first is the Greek historian Plutarch who first invented it. Repeated by many Greeks, it told the story of a king known as Egyptos who offered his daughter as a sacrifice to the Nile to avoid the gods’ wrath.

After he did that he committed suicide by throwing himself in after her. Since then, Plutarch said, the Egyptians began to sacrifice a virgin every year.

From the Huffington Post:

If you seek a more extreme measure, in the famous panic of 33AD, Tiberius banned all interest payments for three years among other measures.

... on the latter, I've got this page bookmarked for further perusal ...

Last, but not least, from the Democrat Gazette:

Folks have been confused by the old lipstick on a pig aphorism ever since it was first written by Pliny the Elder in A. D. 77.
Stuff that's accumulated in my mailbox and which I decided to hang onto for its collective mind boggling potential (one needs to boggle one's mind every now and then) ... these are all excerpts from longer pieces over the past couple of weeks or so:

Judith Rich in the Huffington Post (eh?):

Palin looks to me like the patriarchy in a skirt, a Helen of Troy.

Robert Griffard in News By Us:

On the House Floor, Steve Cohen, the self-righteous democratic representative from the state of Tennessee said that “… Barack Obama was a community organizer like Jesus…” and “Pontius Pilot was a governor.”

John Armor at Canyon News:

Remember the PBS series special on the Roman Emperor Claudius? The title, which captured the style of his governance, was “I, Claudius.” It was a 13-part series on Masterpiece Theater. How many of you saw it? Let’s not always see the same hands.

Well, almost all of you remember some of the history of the Roman emperors. They ranged from mad and murderous, like Nero, to rational and effective, like Augustus. Hold that thought, and we’ll get to today’s subject.

A good friend, Duncan Parham, is a man of eclectic interests. One of those is rare coins. Last weekend he showed me a catalog of a major New York dealer, which had coins going back to the Ptolemaic regimes in Egypt and the Eutruscans in Italy.

What particularly interested me were the Roman emperor coins. They had coins depicting each emperor, many at reasonable prices.

Those coins had a common appearance, which you probably recall from memory. On the obverse of each coin was a silhouette of the leader in question, with an olive branch wreath. Both aspects had meaning.

The emperor was not in the business of looking at his subjects, nor were the subjects encouraged to look into his eyes. Hence, the profile image in which the emperor could be admired from a distance.

The olive wreath has several meanings. One denotes peace. Another comes from the ancient Olympics, in which the winners were crowned with such wreaths to show the respect they had just earned from the people. Peace and respect of the people were symbols that Roman emperors might want, though the truth is that all of them gained power either by murdering their competitors, winning a war, or being descendants of ones who murdered or fought their way into power.

Now, think about a personal quirk of a presidential candidate, a quirk you have all seen dozens of times. When Barack Obama gives a speech, he seldom looks squarely at the audience, either the live one or the TV one. With each of his ringing phrases, he looks first to the left, later to the right, showing just his profile to the audience.

Imagine an olive wreath on his brow, the way he would appear on a coin, sometime after he became president, if that ever occurs. Nothing like thinking ahead, now is there?

But, there is more to it than just that. Obama does not present a complete profile, he offers a three-quarters profile with his chin up, gazing into the middle distance. You have seen that pose before, also.

Deena Stryker in OpEd News (under the headline "Palin's Roman Circus"):

Where Roman Emperors delivered soaring rhetoric to old men in togas, Sarah Palin has mastered the soundbite for a People's Senate, from the tribute to victory, to the claim that there's nothing patriotic about paying taxes.

Don't think this made it to the US Press ... from ANA:

In keeping with the ancient legacy of the host country and to the unabashed joy of local Obama campaign organisers, the hottest item on sale at the campaign stand was none other than the "Baracko": gold-, silver- and copper-plated commemorative coins sporting a likeness of Barack Obama as … Hercules, complete with a lion's skin.

Located almost midway between two icons of Hellenic heritage, Greece's 19th century neo-classical Parliament building and the quintessence of "classical", the Parthenon atop the Acropolis, the touristy eatery on this evening was packed mostly with whooping and cheering Obama-Biden supporters instead of the usual assortment of out-of-town visitors.

In crediting the paternity of the "baracko", local Democrats Abroad vice-chairwoman and Obama in Greece campaign head Yvette Jarvis -- herself one of the most recognizable American ex-pats in Greece for more than two decades -- says her friend Ann Papazoglou initially came up with the fundraising idea by comparing the Democratic candidate's campaign for the White House with mythical Hercules' epic "Twelve Labours".

By contrast ... up here in the Great White North we are also going through the pains of an election campaign (although ours is a more sensible 30 or so days, rather than a couple of years), the closest thing we get to ClassCon in connection with voting has to do with a contest for the new theme song for Hockey Night in Canada (from the Globe and Mail):

'A change to a new type of music is something to beware of as a hazard to all our fortunes," writes Plato in The Republic. It would be hard to find a better summation of the anger and disbelief that still roils fans of the CBC's abandoned Hockey Night in Canada theme music.
From Today's Zaman:

Archeologists have been exploring a necropolis housing 55 bodies and 18 pieces of 1,700-year-old golden jewelry in the ancient city of Ephesus, located in the Aegean province of İzmir.

The deputy leader of the excavation team, Austrian Sabine Ladstätter, spoke yesterday to the Anatolia news agency and said they had found important archeological remains during this year's Ephesus excavation season, which finished at the end of September, and added that the jewelry they found had been a surprise.

Ladstätter noted that they had found a necropolis this year with mosaics and pictures on its walls, saying there were 55 bodies inside the five graves in the necropolis, along with gold jewelry and silk fabrics with gold fibers. "The jewelry we found inside was sophisticated, and we think these graves belong to the elites of that age."

The biggest problem they have encountered in the region is illegal excavation, said Ladstätter, adding that other tombs in the area have a history of being looted and so the jewelry they found was a surprise. She said they have met people who have opened online bids for the artifacts they have illegally taken from Ephesus and added that the Ministry of Culture and Tourism had decided to accelerate excavations at the necropolis to prevent these illegal operations. Ladstätter also said 166 scientists from Germany, Austria and Turkey participated in this year's excavations.
From Cyprus Weekly:

AN ancient merchant boat that sunk near Cape Greco in the 2nd century A.D. may have been trying to dock at nearby coastal settlements mentioned by the Roman geographer Strabo which are still to be located, Cypriot archaeologists say.

Announcing the end of this year’s survey of the island’s eastern coastline including an undersea investigation off the Cape Greco area and Protaras to the north, the Antiquities Department said they based their theory on the fact that the wreck lay in shallow waters.

Strabo names one of the undiscovered settlements as Levkolla.

The wreck, discovered only in 2007, was investigated and its site established during the four-week programme. Pottery fragments representative of its cargo have also been collected which will be replaced after examination.


The programme is jointly funded by the Nautical Archaeology Institute of Texas A&M University, the University of Pennsylvania and the RPM Nautical Foundation, as well as the Thetis Foundation.

According to the Department of Antiquities the ship appeared to carry cargo in three types of amphorae, mainly from south Asia Minor and imported ones from the Mediterranean coasts of France or replicas of them.

A smaller number of amphorae are of unknown provenance but could originate in Cyprus or neighbouring coasts.

Traces of a thick layer of resin discovered at the bottom of some of the amphorae indicate that they might have contained wine. Sherds from other types of ceramics were also discovered but no anchors of other components of the ship were found.


Although the cargo was scattered around it provided important information both regarding commerce with far away destinations and local trade in that quiet district of the Roman Empire.

The fated vessel was either trying to unload its cargo at the coastal settlements or was sailing along the shore.

The next task is to map the wreck as well as the pottery seen on the surface. The search would also continue for other wrecks in deeper waters using special equipment.

Local divers confirm ancient sources such as Diodoros who wrote that Demetrios the Conqueror defeated the Ptolemy of Egypt at a sea battle in the area in 306 BC. Although Ptolemy lost about a hundred warships he returned to capture Cyprus.

Below is given the 2008-9 KYKNOS programme. For more information about the various activities of the research centre, please visit our website ( or contact Professor John Morgan (John.Morgan or Dr Magdalena Öhrman (m.ohrman AT

Research seminar series

Friday 31 October, Professor Ian Storey (Trent University), ‘Sub-creation and imagination in Lewis and Tolkien’, Swansea University, Keir Hardie, Room 130, 6.00pm

Thursday 13 November: Dr Tim Whitmarsh, (Corpus Christi College, Oxford University), ‘Beyond the second sophistic: Hellenism, nationalism, and the Greek novel’, University of Wales, Lampeter, Roderick Bowen Research Centre, 6.00pm

Friday 28 November, Dr Marko Marinčič (University of Ljubljana), ‘Sit modo libertas: Competing voices in Propertius’, Swansea University, Keir Hardie, Room 130, 6.00pm

Thursday 22 January: Professor Roy Gibson (University of Manchester), ‘Problems with Pliny the Younger’, University of Wales, Lampeter, Roderick Bowen Research Centre, 6.00pm

Thursday 29 January: Dr Elton Barker (Christ Church, Oxford University), ‘Homer’s Thebes’, University of Wales, Lampeter, Roderick Bowen Research Centre, 6.00pm

Friday 30 January: Professor Loveday Alexander (University of Sheffield), ‘Women and Religion in the Ancient Novel’, Swansea University, Keir Hardie, Room 130, 6.00pm

Friday 27 February: Michael Cummings (Edinburgh University), ‘Eros and Cognitive Metaphor in the Greek Novel’, Swansea University, Keir Hardie, Room 130, 6.00pm

Friday 13 March 2009: Daniel King (Merton College, Oxford University), ‘Narrative and Overcoming Pain’, Swansea University, Keir Hardie, Room 130, 6.00pm

Thursday 19 March: Melanie Marshall (Brasenose College, Oxford University), TBC, University of Wales, Lampeter, Roderick Bowen Research Centre, 6.00pm

Friday 8 May: Dr Regine May (University of Leeds), TBC, Swansea University, Keir Hardie, Room 130, 6.00pm

Thursday 14 May: Nora Goldschmidt (Magdalen College, Oxford University), TBC, University of Wales, Lampeter, Roderick Bowen Research Centre, 6.00pm

Friday 15 May, Jane McLarty (Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge University), ‘Paul and Thekla’, Swansea University, Keir Hardie, Room 130, 6.00pm

Thursday 28 May: Dr Johanna Akurjärvi (Lund University), ‘The narrative of Pausanias’, University of Wales, Lampeter, Roderick Bowen Research Centre, 6.00pm

KYKNOS Reading Group

A fortnightly KYKNOS reading group is held at Swansea University. For more information please contact Professor John Morgan.


Panel at the 2009 CA conference on ‘The Erotics of Narrative’, University of Glasgow, 3-6 April

Workshop on ‘The narrative of Hymns’, University of Wales, Lampeter, 9-10 May (*provisional dates)

Conference on ‘The Erotics of Narrative’, Gregynog, nr Newtown, Powys, 15–17 July

From ANSA:

An ancient Roman stadium where Emperor Antoninus Pius staged Rome's version of the Olympic Games will be open to the public for the first time in almost 500 years this weekend.

Archaeologists have so far excavated half of the stadium, built around 142 AD at Pozzuoli, near Naples, and buried by volcanic ash in 1538 following an eruption by the nearby Mount Nuovo.

''Like the great Italian culture capitals of Florence, Venice, Rome and Urbino, Pozzuoli can also take advantage of its illustrious past, which is reflowering from the bowels of the earth,'' said Pozzuoli Mayor Pasquale Giacobbe at the inauguration of the stadium on Friday.

Antoninus Pius (86-161 AD) built the Greek-style stadium in honour of his predecessor, Hadrian, who died at the exclusive ancient seaside resort of Baiae in 138 AD and who was briefly buried at Pozzuoli while his mausoleum - better known as Castel Sant'Angelo - was being completed in Rome.

Constructed from volcanic rock on a natural terrace, the stadium was 330 metres long and 70 metres wide and overlooked the bay of Pozzuoli on one side and the road from Rome to Baia on the other.

Olympic-style games, known as Eusebeia, were begun in honour of Hadrian, who was renowned for his love of Greek culture, and continued until the third century AD.

In 1931, the stadium - by then buried in ash and rock - suffered a further blow when a road was built through the middle of it, complicating the current excavation project.

Campania President Antonio Bassolini said the region was considering the construction of a flyover to allow the two halves of the stadium to be reunited.

''I haven't forgotten that we have only recovered a part of the stadium, which was disastrously cut in half by the new Domiziana road under the Fascist regime,'' he said. ''We must make every effort to recover the other, downhill half so that such a great work is restored whole''.

The excavation project received five million euros of funding from the European Union.
The Department of Classics at the University of Cincinnati invites
applications for a tenure-track position at the level of Assistant or
advanced Assistant Professor of Classics, to begin in the fall of
2009. Candidates must be competent to teach Greek and Latin at all
levels, as well as classical civilization; they should also provide
evidence for high-quality scholarly research and future potential. A
Ph.D. in Classics or a related field is required for appointment;
candidates should have at least defended their dissertation at the
time of application; teaching experience and publications are highly

The department offers the B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. degrees and with this
position is expanding to 14 full-time faculty lines. The graduate
program is one of the largest in the country, with c. 45 students in
residence. The Department is housed as a single unit with offices,
classrooms, lecture halls, and library occupying adjoining floors. The
Burnam Classics Library contains one of the largest and best Classics,
Byzantine, and Modern Greek collections in the world. Full information
about the department is available on our website:

The teaching load (on the quarter system) consists of five 10-week
graduate and undergraduate courses per year. Faculty are expected to
make significant contributions to knowledge through research and
publication, to teach with excellence, and to fulfill reasonable
service obligations to the scholarly and local communities.

Candidates should send a letter of application, a curriculum vitae,
three letters of recommendation, and a writing sample to Search
Committee, c/o William A. Johnson, Head, Department of Classics,
University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio 45221-0226, and also
register for the position online at
(preliminary inquiries can be addressed to the Search Committee at program.coordinator AT
). The committee will review applications starting November 17, 2008.
The position will remain open until filled. The University of
Cincinnati is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Women
and minorities are encouraged to apply.
ante diem vi idus octobres

rites in honour of Juno Moneta -- apparently commemorating a restoration of the temple vowed by M. Furius Camillus in 345 B.C.; the epithet 'moneta' possible recognized Juno's role in goading the sacred geese to wake everyone up during the Gallic sack of Rome

ludi Augustales scaenici (day 6 -- from 11-19 A.D. and post 23 A.D.)

19 A.D. -- Germanicus, the adopted son of the emperor Tiberius, dies under mysterious circumstances in Daphne near Antioch
posse @ Merriam-Webster

serein @ Wordsmith
From NewsOK:

Most have heard the story of the Carthaginian general Hannibal leading elephants across the Alps to face the Romans. Writer Brendan McGinley wants you to see it.

"There’s already plenty of good prose about Hannibal, (but) no good visual medium for a story that crackles with so many unforgettable images, like elephants on the Alps or Mago Barca spilling dead Romans’ rings on the Senate floor,” he said. "Maybe Vin Diesel’s long-stalled film will change that; Victor Mature’s sure didn’t.”

McGinley and artist Mauro Vargas, along with colorist Andres Carranza, bring the Hannibal story to life — with some humorous asides — re-enacting the second Punic War on the Shadowline Web comics page,

Vargas "really defines and expresses his characters; you need that where history meets comedy,” McGinley said.

McGinley said the trickiest part of creating "Hannibal Goes to Rome” is sorting which Carthaginian did what.

McGinley meshes historical accounts to create the tale, which he then passes on to Vargas to draw. "The historians and artist make it easy for me; all I have to do is throw a little observational humor into the mouths of the poor schlubs caught up in events,” he said.

"Hannibal Goes to Rome” was first a candidate on DC Comics’ Zuda site ( Zuda is a site created to seek fresh talent. After competing on Zuda, McGinley hooked up with Shadowline’s Jim Valentino, who was looking to launch some Web comics.

McGinley said the trickiest part of creating "Hannibal Goes to Rome” is sorting which Carthaginian did what. "There are so many Hannos, Hannibals, Hasdrubals and Giscos!”

... not sure when the comic was originally drawn, but it does note in passing that the Barca name = "Baraq" = Lightning ... whatever the case, it's a nice little comic, with enough Latin to make you go hmmm and enough sidetrack-type tidbits to keep you interested (although I doubt Hannibal himself rode an elephant).
From the Times:

Bonhams, the London auction house, was under pressure yesterday to withdraw several pieces from a forthcoming sale of antiquities after a senior Italian politician raised questions about their provenance.

Francesco Rutelli, a former Minister for Culture, told the Italian parliament that he believed that some of the antiquities to be auctioned in London next week had been exported illegally from Italy and called for their sale to be blocked. He told reporters that he was most concerned about an Apulian vase which dates from the 4th century BC.

He said that other items in the sale “in all probability originated in Italy”, after discovering that the vase was owned by Robin Symes, the disgraced British dealer who was jailed for two years in 2005.

Symes sold looted antiquities to many Western museums, including the Getty in Los Angeles, whose former curator, Marion True, is on trial in Rome for the alleged illegal trafficking of antiquities.
From Il Messaggero ... tip o' the pileus to David Gill's website (his comments are worth checking out too):

E’ un caso, e diverrà uno scandalo mondiale senza precedenti: è indetta la più grande vendita d’archeologia clandestina mai organizzata. Roba da far impallidire Sotheby’s o Christie’s, che per anni hanno messo all’incanto reperti di “arte rubata” (al sottosuolo spesso italiano, agli studi scientifici, al patrimonio della cultura).

I curatori fallimentari dei beni appartenuti al “mercante nero” di archeologia più fornito al mondo, l’inglese Robin Symes che tra l’altro ha commercializzato capolavori come l’Afrodite di Morgantina, il Volto d’avorio, il trapezophoros con Due grifoni che sbranano una cerva e molto ancora, hanno deciso di alienare i suoi reperti, non considerando la loro provenienza, del tutto illegittima. E non si tratta di poca cosa: a Symes erano stati trovati, a New York, Londra e in Svizzera, ben 33 depositi, con 17 mila oggetti, almeno per sei decimi scavati illegalmente nel nostro Paese e valutati 125 milioni di sterline, 160 di euro. Ma ancora peggio è che i curatori di Londra venderanno gli oggetti forti delle expertise della missione ufficiale italiana che ne ha garantito l’autenticità.

Riassumiamo la pessima storia: nel 1972, il Metropolitan Museum di New York sborsa per la prima volta un milione di dollari per un singolo reperto archeologico, e compra il Cratere di Eufronio (Cerveteri) che ha dovuto restituire nel 2007. Da allora, per più di tre decenni, fino agli inizi degli Anni 2000, s’è compiuta la Grande Razzia: un sistematico ed organizzato furto dal nostro sottosuolo, operato da decine di migliaia di persone («Soltanto io ne ho indagate oltre 2.500», dice il sostituto Procuratore di Roma Paolo Giorgio Ferri, del pool investigativo specializzato); la Razzia ha privato l’Italia forse di un milione di oggetti antichissimi, tra cui parecchi capolavori unici al mondo. Un centinaio di questi oggetti, cioè pochissimi, sono stati finora restituiti da alcuni musei (tra cui il Getty, il Metropolitan, Boston e Princeton), gallerie e collezionisti americani, mentre ancora s’indaga su numerosi altri musei, giapponesi ed europei (perfino sul Louvre) e tanti privati. Agivano infinite squadre di “tombaroli”, che vendevano a pochi trafficanti (il più famoso è Giacomo Medici, condannato in primo grado a 10 anni di carcere e 10 milioni di euro di provvisionale da rifondere allo Stato). Dai trafficanti, gli oggetti giungevano ai grandi musei spesso attraverso pochissimi mercanti internazionali. Uno è Robert Bob Hecht, sotto processo a Roma con la curator del Getty Marion True: quello che ha ceduto al Metropolitan il Cratere di Eufronio. Ma Symes non ha certo venduto meno di lui, anzi. Per indicarne il giro d’affari, disponeva di fidi in banca per ben 57 milioni di dollari.

Symes ha vissuto numerose disgrazie. Il 4 luglio 1991, cadendo da una scala in una casa nel Ternano, muore il suo socio e compagno di vita Christo Michaelides. E, dopo una battaglia legale in Gran Bretagna, gli eredi ottengono la metà dei suoi beni. Symes finisce anche in prigione per tre anni. Addio alla bella vita a Londra, New York, Atene e Schinoussa, nelle Cicladi, Gstaad, Bahamas e Montreaux.

Il crac, nel 2005, è terribile. In base a una legge inglese, i curatori devono accertare l’autenticità dei suoi beni; e, grazie a un accordo riservato nel 2007 tra l’allora ministro dei Beni culturali Francesco Rutelli e l’omologo inglese, e perfezionato dall’Avvocato dello Stato Maurizio Fiorilli (Il Messaggero l’ha svelato nel febbraio scorso), una missione italiana, per sei mesi ha esaminato alcuni dei 33 depositi di Symes, e ha certificato l’autenticità, ma anche l’illegale provenienza, di numerosi dei suoi tesori archeologici. Ecco: sono questi i beni, truffaldinamente acquisiti, che i curatori inglesi hanno deciso di vendere, incuranti perfino dell’eventualità che la giustizia italiana li possa perseguire penalmente. Chi sa che un reperto antico proviene da scavi clandestini e lo commercia, rischia anche un’accusa di riciclaggio: fino a 12 anni di reclusione. Ma, soprattutto, sarà uno scandalo a livello mondiale: mai, prima d’ora, si era infatti verificata una vendita così massiccia di oggetti dichiarati di provenienza clandestina.

Chi lo sa: forse, i curatori contano anche sulla lentezza della giustizia italiana. Il processo contro Bob Hecht e Marion True, iniziato nel 2005, non si è ancora concluso; anzi, ha appena subito un altro mese di rinvio. E quello contro altri due grandi mercanti, i libanesi Ali e Hisham Aboutaam che erano anche partner di Medici, non è nemmeno iniziato. Intanto, però, Alì è in galera: arrestato in Bulgaria, per un mandato di cattura emesso dall’Egitto, dove è stato condannato a 15 anni per scavi clandestini. Insomma, anche Il Cairo è più rapido di Roma. E il cognome degli Aboutaam, secondo un rapporto riservato, può anche condurre a finanziamenti, attraverso l’arte rubata, dei gruppi islamici più oltranzisti. Del resto, anche Mohammed Atta, “regista” della strage americana dell’11 settembre, cercava di vendere dei reperti afgani, diceva «per comprare un aereo». Soltanto a ricordarlo, fa ancora rabbrividire.
ante diem vii idus octobres

rites in honour of Genius Publicus

rites in honour of Fausta Felicitas

rites in honour of Venus Victrix

ludi Augustales scaenici (day 5 -- from 11-19 A.D. and post 23 A.D.)

ludi Augustales scaenici (day 7 -- from 19-23 A.D.)

28 B.C. -- dedication of the Temple of Apollo on the Palatine (and associated rites thereafter)

c. 95 A.D. -- martyrdom of Dionysus the Aeropagite

259 A.D. -- martyrdom of Denis and Rusticus
gelastic @ Worthless Word for the Day

indagate @ Merriam-Webster
... it's a very slow day, alas, but we should note that Dan Cohen is blogging the Digital Humanities and the Disciplines conference and Day Two featured a talk by Greg Crane (tip o' the pileus to Tom Elliott) ... in addition, Dr. Ekaterini Tsalampouni wrote in (thanks) to tell of stories in the Greek press of the excavation of a Roman stadium at Patras:

The stadium – not mentioned in the literary sources but known through the epigraphic ones- was found in the centre of the town. The archaeologists date it in Domitian’s reign, in 86 A.D. It has got a double apsis similar to the found in two other stadia (one in Rome and one in Asia Minor). The experts assume that the plans of the stadium were those of Rubirius.

... hopefully this one will be picked up by the English press at some point ...

There's also an online petition aimed at preventing development of a golf course on Cavo Sidero (Crete), an area with much of archaeological interest ...
Cardiff Ancient History seminars for Autumn semester 2008. All seminars are
on Mondays at 5.10 pm, in the Humanities Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff.

Programme updates will be posted at:

Monday 13 October 2008
Cardiff & District Classical Association
Shaun Tougher
‘Imagining Julian: Gore Vidal and the Fall of the Roman Empire’
Room 0.36

Monday 27 October 2008
speaker & title to be announced
Room 4.45

Monday 10 November 2008
Cardiff & District Classical Association/Roman Society
John Rich (Nottingham University)
‘Warfare in Early Rome’
Room 0.45

Monday 24 November 2008
Jamie Sewell
‘Roman colonisation and urban domestic architecture in Italy during the
third century BC: a foreign model?’
Room 4.45

Monday 8 December 2008
Cardiff & District Classical Association/Hellenic Society
Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones (Edinburgh University)
‘An Empire of Pleasure? Masculinity, Reproduction and the Harem in Ancient
Persia and the Near East’
Room 0.45


Seminars are held on Thursdays 4-6 in Amory 128, Seminars can be on any topic but one of the themes of the year is Galen and medical history.

Seminars marked CA are lectures delivered to the Classical Association and begin at 5 in Amory 417.

(A special seminar on pseudo-Xenophon, ‘The Constitution of the Athenians (‘The Old Oligarch’) is being organised, to mark the publication of a new edition by John Marr and Peter Rhodes. The rearranged date for this (no longer Oct 22nd) will be circulated separately.)

Term 1

Week 1, Oct 9 no seminar

Week 2, Oct 16 Richard Seaford (Exeter)

‘Aeschylus and Pythagoreanism’

Week 3, Oct 23 Martin Lindner (Oldenburg)

‘Old New Myths: Classical Reception and Modern Nationalism’

Week 4, Oct 30 CA: Barbara Borg (Exeter)

‘What’s in a Tomb? Roman Death Public and Private’

Week 5, Nov 6 Ivana Petrovic (Durham)

‘Callimachus’ Hymn to Apollo and Greek Metrical Sacred Regulations’

Week 6, Nov 13 CA: Robert Fowler (Bristol)

‘Herculaneum and the Villa of the Papyri: Recent News’

Week 7, Nov 20 Rebecca Langlands (Exeter)

‘Getting a Rise out of the Tourist: the Suburban Baths in Pompeii and the Interplay of Academic and Popular Imaginations’

Week 8, Nov 27 CA: Nick Fisher (Cardiff)

‘Festivals, the Charities and Social Cohesion in Greek City States’

Week 9, Dec 4 Masahiro Imai (Hirosaki)

‘The Hippocratic Tradition in Early Alexandrian Medicine’

Week 10, Dec 11 Dr Julius Rocca (Exeter)

‘Reading Galen: by Galen’


Week 11, Jan 15 Mark Jackson (Centre for Medical History, Exeter)

‘Classical Asthma: from Homer to Galen’

Week 12, Jan 22 Sarah Hitch (Bristol)

‘Food for the Greek Gods: A Mythological Paradox’
From A Good 5c Cigar:

The entire basis for the university system is credited to the ancient Greeks, and now the University of Rhode Island has a student group to honor the ancients.

The newly formed URI Classics Society is trying to educate and involve students in Greek and Roman mythology through analyzing classical literature and creating ancient-themed activities and events.

The student society had its first event last Thursday, in which they showed the recent movie "Troy," and had two professors debate as to whether or not it was accurate to Homer's version. Ann Suter, professor of languages, head of the classical section in the languages department, argued against the legitimacy of the film.

"I gritted my teeth last weekend and watched 'Troy' again," said Suter, who is also the group's adviser. "Where are the gods in this version of the Trojan War? They were the cause of it."

The event was a fundraiser for the group so it could get a license and full legitimate group status. Junior Erin Mullen, a co-creator of the group said it was a difficult process to get full recognition, dealing with the Student Senate, but completely worth the effort.

"We started the society to create more of an interest in classical society for the students," Mullen said. "[We wanted to] have students learn it in a fun and interesting way."

Suter said she had little to do with the formation of the group, giving credit to creators Mullen, group president Heather Cotoia and vice president Emily Moore.

"I had suggestions every now and then, but they were the ones who did it all," Suter said. "It's really the students who have been doing this, I have been privileged to watch it grow and develop."

Cotoia said she and other students got the idea for the group in their Latin class last year.

"It was the advanced level and there weren't many of us, so we all became really close," she said. "We had so much fun in class that we thought, this should be a group that anyone can join and enjoy all this dorkiness with us."

She added that the class made her realize that so much of our culture and customs are derived from Roman and Greek society, any student in any major would benefit from studying them.

Mullen said it was during one of her classes at URI, Introduction to Art History: Ancient Medieval, that got her really interested in classical literature, and she said all students have something to learn from studying ancient Greek and Roman stories.

"You know how they say, 'history repeats itself?" Mullen said. "Some of the stuff I've seen in classical history [and literature] ends up repeating itself in today's society."

Another movie night is planned, and Disney's "Hercules" is the current choice, but this may change at a later date. They are also planning a classics-themed fair and an ancient-themed monopoly game called Thermopoly.

"It's a great group," said freshman Jessica Alter, a biological science major, in an e-mail. "You get to meet people with similar interests (if you're interested in Ancient Greece and Rome), I joined because I am interested in Greek mythology I am currently studying the language of Ancient [Greece]."

The group also advocates students to choose Classics as their major or double major, because it helps in all other aspects of academia. They cite the Association of American Medical Colleges, saying, "students who major or double-major in Classics have a better success rate getting into medical school than do students who concentrate solely in biology, microbiology, and other branches of science."

For updates on meetings and events, check the Facebook group labeled the URI Classics Society.

"We are still coming up with ideas, and suggestions are more than welcome!" Cotioa said.

ante diem viii idus octobres

ludi Augustales scaenici (day 4 -- from 11-19 A.D. and post 23 A.D.)

ludi Augustales scaenici (day 6 -- from 19-23 A.D.)
circumlocution @
From the Oxford Mail:

The ancient language that Alexander the Great used to command his vast empire is to be taught on an Oxford estate.

Koine Greek — the language of philosophy, mathematics and mythology — will be taught in a six week course in Blackbird Leys.

From tonight members of the public will be taught how to read, write and pronounce the ancient tongue.

The language was the equivalent of English in the time of Epicurus, Pyrrho and Euclid and was spoken across Alexander's empire from Greece to India.

Lecturer Jim Barlow, who is running the It's All Greek To Me course, said the language helped shape the way we talk today — with hundreds of words, such as graph, acoustic and prophet, handed down to us.

Mr Barlow, who will teach the course at the Leys Linx Centre on Wednesday nights and Friday mornings, said Koine Greek was spoken between 320BC and 500AD.

He said: "In those days it was like English — it was the language everybody spoke. But if you wanted to speak it in Athens now it would be like Chaucerian English."

The free course has been funded by Oxford University's continuing education department and will particularly focus on the Greek of the New Testament.

Students will have to learn the Koine alphabet and the pronunciation of words during the introduction to the language.

The course is the first part of a three pronged Leys Theology Programme which will also include the study of the Gospel of Mark, and Jewish and Christian Wisdom.

Mr Barlow said: "The course is open to anybody. We want to offer higher learning on the estates. Just because people live in Blackbird Leys or Rose Hill or Barton it does not mean they are not interested in higher learning.

"It is not as difficult as you might think and it is very good mental exercise.

"If you learn a classical language it helps you learn the structure of all languages. It will take practice and perseverance but it is a very beautiful language."

Students may visit the British Museum to view original Koine Greek manuscripts.
From Discovery Channel:

Greek temples honored specific gods and goddesses, and now new research suggests that even the dirt under such buildings held spiritual significance.

The discovery could help explain why writers like Homer and Plato wrote of "divine soil" and soil that can affect a person's soul. It may also explain how the ancients selected locations for their sacred buildings.

"Temple sites were chosen to honor the personality and aspirations of gods and goddesses, which, in turn, were shaped by the economic basis for their cults," author Gregory Retallack told Discovery News.

Retallack, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Oregon, took soil samples from 84 Greek temple sites dating to the Classical Age from 480 to 338 B.C. Based on analysis of each sample, he created a profile for the soils naming their characteristics and how they might have been used at the time.

His findings are published in the latest issue of Antiquity.
From a Cambridge Press Release:

A new Professorship dedicated to explaining what the Ancient Greeks did for us has been established at the University of Cambridge.

The A. G. Leventis Professorship of Greek Culture is the first chair in Classics to have been endowed at Cambridge since World War II. It will focus on the study of more than 1,000 years of Greek cultural achievements, and will highlight the lasting influence they continue to have on society today.

The first post-holder will be Professor Paul Cartledge (pictured), a leading authority on the history of Greek political thought and practice, especially democracy; and on the societies and economies of Classical Greece (especially Sparta). He has also examined the post-antique reception of ancient Greece and the Greeks - including the way in which they are portrayed in film and other media.

As well as being an expert in the field, Professor Cartledge has an active role in popularising the study of Ancient Greece through books, television and radio appearances. He was even a consultant on the 2007 box-office hit 300 - a gruesome depiction of the Spartan stand at the Battle of Thermopylae - by virtue of his (more accurate) book Thermopylae, The Battle That Changed The World.

His other books include the Cambridge Illustrated History of Ancient Greece and The Greeks: A Portrait of Self and Others. Forthcoming in 2009 are A History of Greek Political Thought in Action and Ancient Greece: A Very Short Introduction. He has been the historical consultant for several documentaries on Channel 4 and the BBC, and has made regular appearances to talk about his subject on radio shows such as In Our Time and Start The Week.

His work has even seen him awarded two Greek honours - he is a holder of the Gold Cross of the Honour of Order and an Honorary Citizen of (modern) Sparta. Besides the Leventis Professorship, he holds a visiting Global Distinguished Professorship at New York University, funded by the Greek Parliament.

The new chair has been endowed by a generous donation from the Cyprus-based Leventis Foundation. Established in 1979 as a result of provisions made by Anastasios G. Leventis, the Foundation aims to support educational, cultural, artistic and philanthropic causes with an emphasis on Greek and Cypriot cultural heritage.

The Leventis family has a special connection with Cambridge as the late Constantinos ("Deno") Leventis studied Classics at Clare College, where Professor Cartledge is a Fellow. The Foundation has also established a graduate scholarship fund for Classics at Clare.

Professor Cartledge said: "It is a huge honour to be named the first A. G. Leventis Professor of Greek Culture at Cambridge.

"The culture of the ancient Greeks is a pillar of western civilisation; their political ideas, philosophy, scientific enquiry, historical writing and art not only broke new ground but have inspired those who followed in their wake, from the Romans through to the present day. A central part of my role will be spreading awareness of the rich heritage that they have passed down."

Professor Cartledge will be giving his Inaugural lecture on Monday, February 16, 2009. Further details will be available one the University website news pages closer to the time.
Exile After Ovid
Call for Papers

An international conference to be held at Durham University, 3rd-4th
September 2009 under the auspices of the Centre for the Study of the
Classical Tradition

Confirmed speakers include: Josephine Balmer (author of the forthcoming The
Word for Sorrow, incorporating versions of the Tristia), Stephen Harrison
(Oxford), Stephen Hinds (University of Washington, Seattle), Duncan Kennedy

The poet Ovid stands at the head of the Western tradition of the exile of
the author. Banished by the emperor Augustus in AD 8 from Rome to the far-
off shores of Romania, in his Tristia and Epistulae ex Ponto he records his
unhappy experience of political, cultural, and linguistic displacement from
his homeland. For a huge variety of artists in the two millennia after his
exile, Ovid has performed the rôle of archetypal exile, allowing them to
articulate a range of experiences of dislocation and alienation. The
disgrace and downfall of Rome’s leading contemporary poet has passed into
the broader cultural consciousness, and even for those with little or no
direct access to the poems in which Ovid describes his exilic sorrows, he
has nevertheless been a potent symbol.

Authors and topics confirmed speakers intend to treat include Joachim du
Bellay’s Regrets, C20th and 21st poetry, Russian receptions, the
translator’s role in reception, Oscar Wilde, and Salman Rushdie.

Papers are welcomed on these and all aspects of the reception of Ovid as an
exilic figure in any period, for the only major conference dedicated to the
exile of Ovid to be held around the anniversary of his banishment. It is
hoped that a wide variety of media, approaches, and research interests will
be represented, particularly from those working outside the discipline of
Classics, and that contributions will result in a substantial publication.
Proposals for papers of 20 minutes should include a title and an abstract
of no more than 500 words, and should be received by 1st December 2008;
submissions from postgraduate students are particularly welcome.

Proposals for papers and further enquiries should be sent to Dr Jennifer
Ingleheart (jennifer.ingleheart AT, Department of Classics and
Ancient History, 38 North Bailey, Durham University, Durham, UNITED
Department of Classics & Ancient History, University of Durham

Wednesday 15 October, 5.30pm [PG20]
Professor Michael Silk (King's College London) Apollo and Dionysus

Tuesday 21 October, 5.30pm [Ritson room] Professor Hans van Wees (UCL)
Attic Vikings: society and state in archaic Athens

Monday 27 October, 5.30 pm [PG20]
Professor Christopher Gill (Exeter)
What can we learn from the Stoics about what it means to be human?

Wednesday 29 October, 5.30pm [Ritson room] Professor Christos Tsagalis
(Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) CEG 594, Euripides' Erechtheus
and the riddle of its anonymous author

Saturday 1 November, 10am - 4.30pm [ER 141, registration in Department]
Subject Centre: Workshop on Teaching Critical Visual Skills

Wednesday 5 November, 5.30pm [Ritson room] Dr Maude Vanhaelen (Warwick)
Man - hero - daimon: Marsilio Ficino and the revival of Plato in
Renaissance Florence

Wednesday 12 November, 5.30pm [Seminar room] Professor Tom Harrison
(Liverpool) [Classical Association & Hellenic Society] History as myth:
the memorialising function of Herodotus' Histories

Wednesday 19 November, 5.30pm [Ritson room] Professor Matthew Dickie (St
Andrews) The Sacred Laws of Antiochus I of Commagene: Persian or Greek?

Wednesday 26 November, 5.30pm [Ritson room] Dr David Lambert (St
Andrews) Salvian and the image of decline in the fifth-century West

Wednesday 3 December, 5.30pm [Ritson room] Professor John Onians
(University of East Anglia) Landscape and the mind: hidden neural
origins of Greek art and culture

Wednesday 10 December, 5.30pm [Ritson room] Dr Lena Isayev (Exeter)
Contested meanings of homeland and belonging in ancient Italy

Wednesday 17 December, 5.30pm [Ritson room] Professor Stephen Oakley
(Cambridge) Rediscoveries of Latin texts in the Renaissance

The lectures by Michael Silk, Christopher Gill and Maude Vanhaelen are
part of the series 'Being Human - Classical Perspectives', which is
co-sponsored by the Durham Institute of Advanced Study
( and the Durham Centre for the Study of the
Classical Tradition ( Please
contact Ingo Gildenhard (ingo.gildenhard AT for more

All are welcome!
nonas octobres

rites in honour of Jupiter Fulgur -- the deity who was responsible for daytime lightning was worshipped at a shrine in the Campus Martius

rites in honour of Juno Quiritis -- a divinity possibly originally from Falerii and brought to Rome by evocatio in 241 B.C. was also worshipped at a shrine in the Campus Martius

ludi Augustales scaenici (day 3 -- from 11-19 A.D. and post 23 A.D.)

ludi Augustales scaenici (day 5 -- from 19-23 A.D.)

15 B.C. -- birth of Nero Claudius Drusus (Drusus "Minor"), son of the future emperor Tiberius and Vipsania Agrippina

1st century A.D. (?) -- martyrdom of Sergius and Bacchus ... and Apuleius
puissant @ Merriam-Webster

skeuomorph @ Wordsmith

sinisterity @ Worthless Word for the Day

implacable @
From the Guardian:

For 800 years Oxford and Cambridge universities have competed in everything from Nobel prizes to boat races. The academic rivalry runs deep: Oxford has tutored 25 British prime ministers, while Cambridge claims Darwin and Newton as its own. But today the venerable institutions launch into battle on iTunes, taking their ancient competition into the 21st century.

The universities are simultaneously publishing about 450 hours of free audio and video podcasts of lectures, films and admissions guides for people to download to a computer or MP3 player. They will be available from iTunesu, the download provider's university portal, where American institutions have been broadcasting their academic wares for some years. Both universities will provide podcasts advising students on applications, how to choose a college, and how to prepare for an interview.

They deny today's simultaneous launch is designed to start an iTunes race, instead claiming it is a sign they are opening up to a wider audience. Both were happy to provide a rollcall of the great and the good who will be available for all under their respective university brands. It will inevitably invite accusations of a new battleground for the famous foes.

After eight centuries the competition between the institutions is fairly even: Oxford has produced more prime ministers but Cambridge claims more Nobel laureates. Oxford's podcast includes Michael Palin of Monty Python fame in a documentary filmed to promote the university's £1.25bn fundraising drive. Lectures come from Prof Joseph Stiglitz, former chief economist of the World Bank, Craig Venter, who led the private effort to sequence the human genome, Sir Nicholas Stern, the climate change academic, and the philosopher Julian Savulescu.

John Hood, Oxford's vice-chancellor, said: "We hope that this service will make Oxford's diverse range of audio and video material more widely accessible to applicants, alumni, supporters of the university, and the intellectually curious." Cambridge features podcasts from the historian David Starkey, who presents a history of the university and town, and the foreign secretary, David Miliband, and downloads from St John's College choir.

"It's not just for students and potential students but for the wider public," said Greg Hayman, head of communications at Cambridge.

In a further sign that the internet is now all-encompassing, the left-leaning thinktank Demos yesterday called for blogging to be made part of the national curriculum. While it may be second nature to schoolchildren, teachers are failing to capture the changing technological world in their lessons in schools, its report said.

A quick perusal of the Cambridge offerings includes Cambridge Codebreakers and British Intelligence, which I suspect must have some Classics connection. Oxford offers Oliver Taplin on Classics and Bryan Ward-Perkins on the End of the Roman Empire.
From France 24:

Israeli archaeologists on Monday announced the discovery of a stone sarcophagus fragment with Hebrew script that was apparently taken from the original burial grounds and used for a Muslim building near Jerusalem.

The discovery was made along the West Bank separation barrier north of Jerusalem, the Israel Antiquities Authority said in a statement.

The sarcophagus is believed to be that of a Jewish priest from about 2,000 years ago. The fragment of the limestone lid bears the carved inscription "Ben HaCohen HaGadol" which can be loosely translated as "the high priest."

"It seems that the fragment was plundered from its original location approximately one thousand years ago and was used in the construction of a later Muslim building that was erected atop the ruins of the houses from the Second Temple period," the statement said.

The 60 centimetre by 48 centimetre (two foot by one-and-a-half foot) fragment likely comes from the sarcophagus of a priest who officiated at the Jewish Second Temple in Jerusalem some time between 30 and 70 of the first century, it said.

From AFP:

The authorities call it a Greek tragedy, but the graffiti artists who have increasingly left their mark on this ancient city and its monuments say they are simply responding to a different sort of muse.

Churches and archaeological sites in Greece used to enjoy a certain immunity from graffiti and the stylised signatures known as tagging, but are now increasingly part of the action as the phenomenon takes off in Athens.

"There is an inability to distinguish what is a monument, and what is not," said Zetta Antonopoulou, an architect who has conducted extensive research on Athens statues, many of which are routinely marked with spray paint.

"It's getting out of control and it's not easy to explain why," she adds.

The "art form" has come a long way since 1810.

It was then that a young tourist in Greece carved his name into the ancient temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounio south of Athens.

Little did he know that the scrawl would become a cherished part of modern Greek heritage.

The traveller was 22-year-old George Gordon, Lord Byron, the maverick English poet who died fighting alongside the Greeks in their war of liberation against the Ottoman Empire and who is considered a national hero here.

Two centuries later, Greek archaeologists are proud of young Byron's handiwork -- but contemporary graffiti artists are not as welcome.

"The mark left by Byron is a historical document ... youths today write slogans, it's not the same thing," says Miranda Karatza, an archaeologist who heads the Greek culture ministry's sites and monuments office.

While other forms of graffiti related to sports or politics have been around for a long time in Greece, many Athenians remain unaccustomed to the latest phenomenon of street art and wall tagging by young "crews" marking territory.

"Graffiti is vandalism, it's an element of conflict, and sometimes things that are nice are also ruined," said Fotis, a 28-year-old street artist.

Fotis, who paints lizards and dragons, said he turned to graffiti as a way out of hooliganism and substance abuse but also in reaction to growing up in "a city full of ugliness and hate".

While full-fledged street art in Athens mostly keeps to the suburbs and alleys around the centre, quick-fix tagging on the city's main squares and public monuments is the clearest indication of the trend.

"A certain level of tagging is unavoidable in any city but in Athens it has been allowed to run riot," a reader recently commented in local English language weekly Athens Plus.

"More depressing still is the corresponding lack of any concern about it."

One striking example is Syntagma Square, one of Athens' busiest gathering points which recently became a popular hangout for teen skateboarders.

"We have to send crews to clean the walls and steps around once a month," says Alexandros Pouloudis, a supervisor at Athens' city maintenance office, noting that a comprehensive cleanup can cost up to 2,000 euros (2,950 dollars).

In the case of statues and monuments that must be carefully restored, the cost can exceed 20,000 euros, adds conservation expert Bessy Argyropoulou.

"The longer graffiti remains on stone or marble the more it is absorbed," she says. "It's not a quick and dirty operation like washing a car."

Closely associated with hip hop and rap music, street art arrived in Greece in the early 1990s and experienced a boom ahead of the Athens 2004 Olympics, says Antonis Katsouris, an urban culture writer for Highlights magazine.

"Graffiti is an identity statement in a hostile urban environment," he said. "And hip hop and rap are very popular in the poorer Athens districts."

Within a decade, a group of young painters inspired by Greek folk art and iconography caught the eye of art galleries, entered the mainstream and started taking commissions from hotels and restaurants.

"That generation has since abandoned the street (and) artistic graffiti is no longer as prevalent," he said.

"But tagging is going strong, and there is certainly no shortage of walls in Athens."
From a press release:

A Duke University-led research team will use an $814,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to develop collaborative online editing tools for ancient documents preserved on papyrus.

The new electronic editing environment, when completed, will enable scholars –- regardless of their location -- to research, retrieve and display ancient texts, supplementary data and digital images of papyri.

The research team is led by Duke professor Joshua Sosin and university librarian Deborah Jakubs.

Sosin, associate professor of classical studies and history, co-directs the Duke Databank of Documentary Papyri, an online repository of ancient Greek and Latin documents preserved on papyrus, pottery and wood. The collection contains more than 50,000 published texts that can be searched electronically through the Papyrological Navigator (PN), a new interface that merges data from different scholarly projects to allow simultaneous searching of texts, translations and images. The PN, whose development was also funded by Mellon, is online at

The Mellon grant will support the integration of the Duke Databank with collections at Columbia University and the University of Heidelberg, Germany. The integration will allow researchers to search, retrieve and display Greek texts, supplementary metadata and digital images of the papyri themselves. The Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments at the University of Kentucky will be building the distributed editing system and New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World is supporting technological developments to the PN interface.

“This is yet another significant vote of confidence in the cutting-edge research of individual Duke faculty,” said Gregson Davis, Andrew W. Mellon Distinguished Professor of the Humanities in Classical Studies and dean of the humanities at Duke. “Classics departments are, and have been from the beginning, leaders in harnessing new information technology instruments and resources to the study of the past.”

Sosin said the collaborative editing environment will “vest responsibility for maintenance of core disciplinary data in the wider scholarly community, rather than a small and exclusive group of editors.

“It will also be the first step toward building a future in which scholarship in this important subfield of Classical Studies takes place entirely online,” he said. “The project’s environment should be deployable in a variety of other fields: from Latin epigraphy, or Greek, or Chinese, to manuscript studies, to numismatics, to bibliographical controls, to any domain of textual data over which a community would exert collaborative and transparent scholarly control.”

pridie nonas octobres

ludi Augustales scaenici (day 2 -- from 11-19 A.D. and post 23 A.D.) -- -- festival in honour of Augustus involving primarily mime and pantomime theatrical displays

ludi Augustales scaenici (day 4 -- from 19-23 A.D.)

105 B.C. -- the Cimbri inflict a massive defeat on Roman legions at Arausio

68 B.C. -- Romans under Lucullus defeat the Armenians under Tigranes II at Artaxata (according to one reckoning) ...

175 A.D. -- martyrdom of Sagar in Phrygia
officious @

paranomania @ Worthless Word for the Day (sort of)

hypergelast @ Wordsmith

agrarian @ Merriam-Webster
From Caboodle:

One of the earliest villas in Budapest is being excavated at Bécsi út 262 (District III), reports the Budapest History Museum. The site is of special importance, as it fits well into the line of villas previously found in the area, providing more information on the location and extension of villa farms around Aquincum, wrote Krisztián Anderkó, the archaeologist leading the excavations, on the museum's website.

Ruins of the Roman building complex were discovered following several months of excavation work at a plot destined to become a hypermarket. The Office of Cultural Heritage had ordered the excavation to be carried out, as a Roman wall was found under the neighboring plot at Bécsi út 260 in 2004.

At Bécsi út 262, walls of a five-by-five meter, independently standing Roman building were unearthed. The building was surrounded by a 45-50 centimeter thick wall built from limestone slabs held together by yellowish-white mortar forming a perfect square. Further excavations revealed that a larger building stood nearby, and the walls belonged to a multi-room villa.

A written limestone sign, ceramics, iron nails and bronze coins were also unearthed at the site. The earliest identifiable coin can be traced to the time of Emperor Hadrianus, while the latest to Diocletianus, suggesting that the villa was standing in the first third of the 2nd century BC and was in use until the end of the 3rd or beginning of the 4th century AD. This makes it the earliest Roman villa unearthed at the foot of the Buda hills.

I haven't had a chance to visit eClassics for a while due to start of year hecticity and football, so I suspect the folks there might appreciate my reproduction of this note from Andrew Reinhard making the rounds:

Hi! (and apologies for cross-posting)

For Friday, I thought some of you might enjoy a video of "Smoke on the
Water" in Latin as written and sung by Latin teacher Steve Perkins. These
guys are great! Here's the link:

Also on eClassics ( this week:

New and Updated Educational Materials Now Available from the Campanian

eClassics Party at AIA/APA?

Thesis on Usage of Latin in the Vatican

Also, there have been updates on a few discussions including student use of
laptops in class, iPod Latin, AP Latin Lit, and more.
Okay ... time to vent. The folks at ANI have clearly a major need for a geography lesson and or some purging of their editorial department when it comes to items about the ancient world. A while back, we noted the howler wherein an original article about Roman remains in Cleveland (in the UK) had located the ruins to the U.S. without any apparent sense of anachronism (or whatever you want to call it) ... now this week, the Boston Globe had a very nice article on what the Iliad and Odyssey might tell us about ancient Troy which was morphed by the ANI folks into something suggesting Troy had just been 'rediscovered' .... but now, fulfilling the scholastic rule of three, they've hit the jackpot of stupidity by morphing the article (mentioned at rc) on the UBC (University of British Columbia) dig at Punta Secca and the mysterious burial there to something being done by the University of California, Berkley (sic). Twits.
I can't believe how much stuff has accumulated in my inbox of late ... here's a pile of stuff of interest:

Amphora 7.1 is now online ...

Ditto the latest issue of the American Journal of Archaeology ...

Elsewhere at the APA, they're looking for an editor for TAPA ...

Classics@ has a feature on photos of some Iliad manuscripts ...

The Campanian Society website has recently been updated ...

Touristy thing on Sicily ... and one on Troy ... retracing Odysseus' journey ...

Mata Kimasatayo sent in some more excerpts from Harper's on Plotinus ... O Fortuna ...

A nice tribute to a Latin teacher ...

Not sure I mentioned this Venus project (virtual exploration of shipwrecks) ...

A piece on Romans' sexual obsessions (which probably would cause rc to be blocked) ...

A strange intellectual property lawsuit involving video games and Greek myth ...

Prior to the bailout passing, there was 'news' of the US appointing a magister populi ...

On the theatre front, I've also accumulated some reviews of Agamemnon at the Getty ... here ... here ... here ... here ... here

... and of Antigone (Providence) ... here too .... Women of Troy (Sydney) ... here too ... Persians (Philadelphia) ...

I pondered the inclusion of Zeus-Europa symbolism on some ID card proposal ... but then I thought I was reading to much into it ...

Some info on the upcoming Hercules flick ... and here ... the Iliad (Aquila) ...

... and some chatter about a 300 sequel ...

Interesting prose translation of the Odyssey by T.E. Shaw (a.k.a T.E. Lawrence) in the Times ...

A restaurant in Singapore where you recline to eat ...
I've got a pile of catching up here:

From Scholia:

Lorna Hardwick & Christopher Stray (edd.), A Companion to Classical Receptions.

Daniel Ogden, In Search of the Sorcerer's Apprentice

Todd Penner and Caroline Vander Stichele (edd.), Mapping Gender in Ancient Religious Discourses.

Steven D. Smith, Greek Identity and the Athenian Past in Chariton

Fritz-Gregor Herrmann, Words and Ideas

From CJ Online:

HEJDUK, Clodia: A Sourcebook

STROH, Cicero: Redner, Staatsmann, Philosoph

VALAVANIS, Great Moments in Greek Archaeology

JONES, Juvenal and the Satiric Genre

CANFORA, Julius Caesar: The Life and Times of the People's Dictator.

From RBL:

Frederick E. Brenk, With Unperfumed Voice: Studies in Plutarch, in Greek Literature, Religion and Philosophy, and in the New Testament Background

Zeba A. Crook and Philip A. Harland, eds., Identity and Interaction in the Ancient Mediterranean: Jews, Christians and Others: Essays in Honour of Stephen G. Wilson

Andrew Bernhard, Other Early Christian Gospels: A Critical Edition of the Surviving Greek Manuscripts

Karin Finsterbusch, Armin Lange, and K. F. Diethard Römheld, eds., Human Sacrifice in Jewish and Christian Tradition

In the popular press:

Peter Green, Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic Age (Times)

Nigel P Brown, Nike, Nurses and Neon: The Ancient Greek and Latin Words We Use Every Day. (Examiner)

Mary Beard, Pompeii (Telegraph)

Ditto (Independent)

Ditto (Times)

Robin Lane Fox, Travelling Heroes (Telegraph)

Martin Goodman, Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations (not really "popular press")

Charlotte Higgins, It's All Greek to Me (Guardian)

Also seen:

John Clark, Jonathan Cotton,Jenny Hall,Roz Sherris, Londinium and Beyond: Essays on Roman London and its hinterland for Harvey Sheldon
ante diem v nonas octobres

ludi Augustales scaenici (day 1 -- from 19-23 A.D.) -- a festival in honour of Augustus involving primarily mime and pantomime theatrical displays
littoral @
I haven't seen this mentioned elsewhere ... from Newsx:

A Mycenaean warrior who died in western Greece over 3,000 years ago was the proud owner of a rare gold-wired sword imported from the Italian peninsula, a senior archaeologist said on Thursday.

"This is a very rare discovery, particularly because of the gold wire wrapped around the hilt," archaeologist Maria Gatsi told AFP.

"To my knowledge, no such sword has ever been found in Greece," said Gatsi, head of the regional archaeological department of Aetoloakarnania prefecture.

Tests in Austria have confirmed that the bronze used in the 12th century BCE, 94-centimetre (37-inch) sword came from the Italian peninsula, she said.

The Mycenaean remains were discovered in July 2007 near the town of Amphilochia, some 300 kilometres (186 miles) west of Athens during construction work on a new motorway, Ionia Odos.

Archeologists also discovered a second bronze sword with a bone handle, a bronze and iron dagger, a pair of greaves (armoured plates), an arrowhead, a spear point, a golden kylix or wine cup and a bronze boiler in the grave.

The finds confirm the Mycenaeans were trading with other civilisations in the Mediterranean basin.

The dagger is also considered a rare discovery because of the combination of metals used.

Conquerors of the Minoan civilisation, the Mycenaeans flourished between the 17th century BCE and the 12th century BCE, occupying much of the Greek mainland and establishing colonies in Asia Minor and on Cyprus.
Various versions of this one ... from the Telegraph:

The Roman-era sculptures were located 8ft under water in a submerged port at Mandraki, on the western side of Kythnos, a Greek island in the Cyclades.

Greece's culture ministry said the statues consisted of a stone torso of a man in armour as well as another figure - the bearded head of another man.

In a statement, the ministry said it did not yet know whether the torso and the head were both taken from the same figure, but that the torso stood 4.5ft high.

It is not clear who the statues represented.

In the past, surveys at Mandraki have uncovered piers and building material under the azure waters of the Aegean.

The latest finds were thought to have been used as building materials sometime after they were no longer wanted as statues.

The statues are thought to have been sculpted sometime during the Romans' domination of the Greek mainland from the 2nd century AD when they defeated the weakening Macedonian kingdom and some Greek city states.

The Romans ruled Kythnos, located about 60 miles southeast of Athens, until around 330 AD.

A pair of AFP/Getty photos accompany this one:

For the armour one, there's a nice comparanda piece in a flickr photoset (I think this is the Terme Museum) ...


Dr. Ekaterini Tsalampouni scripsit:

The phrase “The statues are thought to have been sculpted sometime during the Romans' domination of the Greek mainland from the 2nd century AD when they defeated the weakening Macedonian kingdom and some Greek city states.” of Telegraph that is repeated in your blog sound somehow awkward to me; the Macedonian kingdom was certainly not defeated in the 2nd c. AD. Did perhaps the author of the article mean that the sculptures should be dated in the 2nd c. A.D.? However browsing the Greek newspapers today and reading the articles about the discoveries I did not come across any explicit mention of a date of the findings.


Not sure ... the Canadian Press version is a bit more explicit:

The statement said Thursday it was unclear whether the head matched the torso, which stands some 1.4 metres high. They date from the era of Rome's control of Greece, between 146 BC and AD 330.
From a UBC press release:

UBC archaeologists have dug up a mystery worthy of Indiana Jones, one that includes a tomb, skeletons and burial rites with both Christian and pagan elements.

This summer, Prof. Roger Wilson led excavations at Kaukana, an ancient Roman village located near Punta Secca, a small town in the south-eastern province of Ragusa in Sicily.

Combing through the sand-buried site, the 15-member team made a series of startling discoveries. Central to the mystery was finding a tomb inside a room in a house dating from the sixth century AD.

Wilson explains that tombs during this period are normally found only in cemeteries outside the built-up area of a town, or around the apse of a church. And since the building was substantial with mortared walls and internal plaster, this would have been likely a tomb for the wealthy.

“It’s extremely unusual to find an elite burial set inside a house in the middle of a settlement, even as late as the sixth century,” says Wilson, who heads UBC’s Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies.

The UBC initiative -- in collaboration with Prof. Giovanni Di Stefano of the Superintendency for the Cultural Heritage of Ragusa -- is the first major exploration of this historic site since 1972.

Locals first stumbled upon the late Roman village during the 1960s when a bulldozer preparing for new houses uncovered the tops of some 24 ancient buildings. Only a few, among them a church, were explored at the time, by renowned Italian archaeologist Paola Pelagatti.

Wilson directed students from UBC and Sicily in their painstaking work, focusing on what proved to be an “exceptionally well-preserved” structure on the south side of Kaukana, only yards from the beach. The walls uncovered stand nearly six feet high.

Once the cover was lifted off the tomb, one team member spent 10 days sieving the contents with great care. Two skeletons were found. One was of a woman between the ages of 25 and 30, with teeth in excellent condition and no signs of arthritis.

“She was in pretty good nick, so we know this wasn’t a peasant working in the field,” says Wilson.

The other skeleton was a child of indeterminate sex between the ages of five and seven. The position of their bones showed that the woman had been laid to rest first. The tomb was then re-opened to bury the child and the woman’s spinal column was pushed to one side. A hole in the stone slab covering the tomb allowed visitors to pour libations for the dead.

“This shows that the long-established, originally pagan, rite of offering libations to the dead clearly continued into early Byzantine times,” observes Wilson.

Yet, the presence of a Christian cross on a lamp found in the room and on the underside of a grave slab suggests that the deceased were Christian. As well, the skeletons were wrapped in plaster, a practice believed to be Christian for preserving the body for resurrection.

“It is the first plaster burial recorded in Sicily, although the practice is known from Christian communities in North Africa,” says Wilson.

What also intrigued the archaeologists was learning that the tomb was opened one further time, an intrusion that disturbed the bones of the child and caused its skull to be placed upside down. Wilson says he wondered whether it was grave robbers in search of expensive jewelry or other loot.
“But the tomb was tidied up again afterwards.”

Around the tomb was plentiful evidence of periodic feasting in honour of the dead. The archaeologists found cooking pots, glass and several large clay containers (amphorae), of which one is virtually intact. These would have been used to carry oil and wine to the site. The team also found the remains of two hearths where meals had been prepared.

As well, the room was designed with niches along one wall. Wilson says a knife, seafood, and fragments of stemmed goblets and other glass vessels were left on these shelves, “as though placed there after the last party.”

UBC’s snapshot of late Roman and early Byzantine life has stirred considerable interest among the Italian media and historians worldwide. With support for three years of study from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Wilson says the team is eager to further unravel the skeins of history.

When they return to Kaukana next summer, they will attempt to solve the riddles encountered this first year. “Along with questions of when the house was built and whether it was still occupied when the tomb was inserted, we want to find out why the woman and child were buried in the tomb at all.”
From ANA:

A large gate dated back to the ancient Greek times was brought to light during archaeological excavations in the region of ancient Pelinna, located along the east bank of Pineios River in Trikala Prefecture, Thessaly in central Greece.

Pelinna is first mentioned by Pindar (522-438 B.C.), the greatest Greek lyric poet, who refers to it as the homeland of Hippocles a winner in the Pythian Games in 498 BC. The games were held at Delphi every four years (the third of each Olympiad) and included musical, literary, and athletic contests held in honor of Apollo, one of the Greek gods. The games were named after Pythia, the priestess of the oracle at Delphi.
ante diem vi nonas octobres

322 B.C. -- death of Aristotle (according to one reckoning)

c. 303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Eleutherius and companions
From the Plainsman:

Students who want to read Homer in his original language or go more in depth with their personal study of the New Testament can do so through the Foreign Languages Department this year.

An opportunity is now available for students, who want to study up on the alphas and omegas, through the new Greek language classes being offered at Auburn this year.

Assistant professor of classics in the department of foreign languages, Meredith Prince, is the instructor.

Prince is in the process of revising the requirements for students interested in completing a minor in classics.

The Department of Foreign Languages Chair, Robert Weigel, said because there has not been a permanent faculty member for classics in several years, it’s important at this stage to let students know Prince is here, and Greek and Latin will be offered on a regular basis.

This year, Prince is teaching the elementary sequences for both Greek and Latin.

“Depending on enrollment numbers and interest, I would like to offer one or both languages at the intermediate level next year,” Prince said.

“A number of my current Greek students are interested in taking an intermediate course next year.”

Prince said the way the minor is set up now, students would have to take several upper level Latin or Greek classes.

However, these classes are not offered on a regular basis because Prince is the only one teaching the languages.

Prince said with the revisions, a student would need to take Greek or Latin at the intermediate level and four courses in English, which include classes in other departments.

Prince said she hopes this gives the department incentive to continue offering classes.

For the students, Prince said it takes time to become comfortable reading, writing and recognizing the Greek alphabet.

Also, Prince said the goal of the class is to be able to read Greek, not learn how to speak it or have conversations in Greek.

“I think students are pleasantly surprised at how soon they can read a passage of Greek and how much they learn,” Prince said. “They seem to be enjoying it.”

Michael Cole, a sophomore in history with a minor in classics, is in Prince’s Elementary Greek class this semester.

“I decided to take Greek to help improve my vocabulary for graduate school,” Cole said.

Cole also said he believes taking Greek is important to him because it gives him a better understanding of the words he uses every day.

“Some of them find it more difficult than others, but since so many of them have personal reasons to take the class, they want to learn and want to stick with it,” Prince said.

For students interested in reading literature from the Roman time period, Prince will also be teaching a Greek Literature and Culture class in translation in the spring.

Prince said all readings will be done in English, so no knowledge of Greek is needed.

The class is called “Heroes, Hedonism and Hollywood.”

It will introduce students to ancient Greek history, mythology, literature and art.

Half of the course will be spent viewing recent Hollywood adaptations of ancient Greece, such as “Troy,” “300” and “Alexander.”

Prince plans to discuss and analyze the films within the context of the ancient sources themselves.

“So, for example, we’ll be reading Homer’s ‘Iliad’ while watching ‘Troy’ and see how a work of literature more than 2,500 years old is adapted to modern times, made more accessible or applicable,” Prince said.

Prince said students with concentrations in the medical field or those interested in going to seminary would benefit greatly from taking Greek.

“Nearly half of my students are taking Greek to further advance their study of medical terminology or to able to read the New Testament in the original language,” Prince said.

Weigel said he is excited about what Prince is doing with the minor.

He said he thinks it will provide Auburn students with a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the cradle of Western civilization by exposing them to language, culture and literature courses.
Well ... it's finally made it to the English Press ... here's the version from

A team of scientists led by renowned French marine archaeologist Franck Goddio recently announced that they have found a bowl, dating to between the late 2nd century B.C. and the early 1st century A.D., that is engraved with what they believe could be the world's first known reference to Christ.

If the word "Christ" refers to the Biblical Jesus Christ, as is speculated, then the discovery may provide evidence that Christianity and paganism at times intertwined in the ancient world.

The full engraving on the bowl reads, "DIA CHRSTOU O GOISTAIS," which has been interpreted by the excavation team to mean either, "by Christ the magician" or, "the magician by Christ."

"It could very well be a reference to Jesus Christ, in that he was once the primary exponent of white magic," Goddio, co-founder of the Oxford Center of Maritime Archaeology, said.

He and his colleagues found the object during an excavation of the underwater ruins of Alexandria's ancient great harbor. The Egyptian site also includes the now submerged island of Antirhodos, where Cleopatra's palace may have been located.

Both Goddio and Egyptologist David Fabre, a member of the European Institute of Submarine Archaeology, think a "magus" could have practiced fortune telling rituals using the bowl. The Book of Matthew refers to "wisemen," or Magi, believed to have been prevalent in the ancient world.

According to Fabre, the bowl is also very similar to one depicted in two early Egyptian earthenware statuettes that are thought to show a soothsaying ritual.

"It has been known in Mesopotamia probably since the 3rd millennium B.C.," Fabre said. "The soothsayer interprets the forms taken by the oil poured into a cup of water in an interpretation guided by manuals."

He added that the individual, or "medium," then goes into a hallucinatory trance when studying the oil in the cup.

"They therefore see the divinities, or supernatural beings appear that they call to answer their questions with regard to the future," he said.

The magus might then have used the engraving on the bowl to legitimize his supernatural powers by invoking the name of Christ, the scientists theorize.

Goddio said, "It is very probable that in Alexandria they were aware of the existence of Jesus" and of his associated legendary miracles, such as transforming water into wine, multiplying loaves of bread, conducting miraculous health cures, and the story of the resurrection itself.

While not discounting the Jesus Christ interpretation, other researchers have offered different possible interpretations for the engraving, which was made on the thin-walled ceramic bowl after it was fired, since slip was removed during the process.

Bert Smith, a professor of classical archaeology and art at Oxford University, suggests the engraving might be a dedication, or present, made by a certain "Chrestos" belonging to a possible religious association called Ogoistais.

Klaus Hallof, director of the Institute of Greek inscriptions at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy, added that if Smith's interpretation proves valid, the word "Ogoistais" could then be connected to known religious groups that worshipped early Greek and Egyptian gods and goddesses, such as Hermes, Athena and Isis.

Hallof additionally pointed out that historians working at around, or just after, the time of the bowl, such as Strabon and Pausanias, refer to the god "Osogo" or "Ogoa," so a variation of this might be what's on the bowl. It is even possible that the bowl refers to both Jesus Christ and Osogo.

Fabre concluded, "It should be remembered that in Alexandria, paganism, Judaism and Christianity never evolved in isolation. All of these forms of religion (evolved) magical practices that seduced both the humble members of the population and the most well-off classes."

"It was in Alexandria where new religious constructions were made to propose solutions to the problem of man, of God's world," he added. "Cults of Isis, mysteries of Mithra, and early Christianity bear witness to this."

The bowl is currently on public display in the exhibit "Egypt's Sunken Treasures" at the Matadero Cultural Center in Madrid, Spain, until November 15.
I think it's a general rule of thumb that if you build a pipeline in the UK, you'll find Roman remains ... from the Press:

ARCHAEOLOGISTS have unearthed the remains of a Roman settlement near York during the construction of a new £6 million pipeline.

Evidence of an ancient bridgehead settlement has been discovered on the banks of the River Nidd at Kirk Hammerton.

Yorkshire Water said the discoveries were made following its decision to build a new pipeline linking its water treatment works at Acomb Landing with the mains network which feeds villages to the west.

A spokeswoman said: “Archaeologists working along the line of the new trunk main discovered that the line of the Roman road – which was always thought to run along the A59 corridor between York and Green Hammerton – may actually have diverged further north.”

Oliver Cooper, of Northern Archaeological Associates, said: “It was common knowledge before we started that the A59 from York to Green Hammerton follows the line of an old Roman road, so there was always a good chance the pipeline would identify further evidence and reveal some interesting finds.

“Surveys suggested the fields adjacent to the main road on the banks of the Nidd would be a good place to focus our work and, although the weather has been a real challenge, we haven’t been disappointed.

“We were finding Roman pottery from the beginning as well as some smaller artefacts which suggest there was a Roman settlement here around 200AD.

“However, perhaps most interestingly, the dig shows the Roman road crossed the Nidd on the line of the old A59 county bridge before diverging from the line we thought it took, to skirt the north east of Green Hammerton.

“The evidence we have also shows there was a settlement bordering the road on the west bank of the river.

“Our finds were not limited to the Roman era.

“There were one or two which suggested the bridgehead was established before the occupation, dating back to the Iron Age.”

He said there was evidence of ditch systems, which suggested there were once fields there linked to a village which was there before the Roman occupation.

Yorkshire Water said that once the pipeline project had been completed and the supply was switched over next spring, softer water from the River Ouse would be pumped from Acomb and then into the distribution network feeding Marton, Whixley, Upper Dunsforth, Little Ouseburn, Great Ouseburn, Thorpe Underwood, Cattal, Hunsingore, Walshford, Kirk Deighton, Green Hammerton, Nun Monkton, Moor Monkton, Rufforth and Hessay.

Spokesman John Bond said the pipeline remained on schedule despite the finds.

“We always knew there was a possibility of some significant archaeological work along the route so that was built into the programme before we started,” he said.
From Kentnews:

An archaeological dig at a Roman fort in Sandwich has uncovered evidence of the Roman coastline – two miles inland from where it is today.

Experts from English Heritage have been carefully examining the fort as part of a month-long excavation project that is nearing its conclusion.

They have also discovered the remains of a 90-metre long stretch of collapsed wall as well as Roman coins and fragments of Italian marble dating back to the first century AD.

... which is why recent attempts at relocating the landfall/redating of Caesar's invasion don't make sense (can't find the link this a.m.!)
kalendas octobres

rites in honour of Fides on the Capitoline -- these involved a procession of the flamines in a "two horse hooded carriage" to the shrine. The flamines had to bind themselves up as far as their fingers as a symbolic gesture that fides (good faith) had to be kept.

rites associated with Juno Sororia at the tigillum -- although a number of false etymologies associated this ritual of passing under a beam (the tigillum) with the tale of Horatius murdering his sister, it is more likely originally some sort of 'coming of age' ritual for Roman girls

331 B.C. -- Battle of Gaugamela (one suggested date)

208 A.D. (?) -- birth of the future emperor Severus Alexander
analphabet @ Wordsmith
... oh wait ... there's a full size one (a ballista, actually) up for auction on eBay (no really! it was made for that BBC series Building the Impossible) ... aww heck, my wife would never go for it (tip o' the pileus to Gizmodo) ...
... the title of Charlotte Higgins' new book ... she writes in the Guardian:

It's a very exciting week for me: my latest book, It's All Greek To Me, is published tomorrow, and today the Guardian has printed an extract.

The book is a product of a long love affair with the literature of ancient Greece. Writing it was one of the most joyous and enriching projects I have ever had the good fortune to undertake.

What underpins the book is my profound belief that the great writers of Greece – such as Homer and Herodotus, Plato and Aristotle, Sophocles and Sappho – are not worthy-but-dull, forbidding authors of dusty, unreadable tomes. These authors have left us vivid, exciting, provocative, often devastating, often hilarious reads. They should be as widely enjoyed as Jane Austen or Charles Dickens – and it saddens me that they are not.

The storytelling of Homer – whose humanity, whose deep understanding of love and loss is utterly unmistakable – is unmatched, for my money, in later literature. Plato's Republic (more often discussed than read cover-to-cover) is one of the most terrifying, challenging and bold thought experiments ever to have been dreamed up – and you certainly don't need to be a professional philosopher to be gripped by it. The dramas of Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides still lay down a ridiculously high standard for playwrights today – which is why directors and actors keep returning to them. Oedipus the King opens at the National Theatre in a couple of weeks – aside from being an almost perfect play in terms of the relentless logic of its structure, it is also the world's first detective story, one in which the detective and the perpetrator, horrifyingly, turn out to be the same person.

I was just now reading our Books site's excellent poem of the week, and I was thinking about which poem of Sappho I would put in that slot, and why. Well, I'll finish this post with another little chunk of the book: a few words about Sappho's fragment two.

"... Of her wonderful poems of love and longing, many are unambiguously homoerotic; some are wedding songs. Part of their appeal is their very fragmentary quality: these beautiful lines and half-lines are like finely decorated potsherds, separated for ever from their fellows – they act as a poignant metaphor, perhaps, of the study of the ancient world itself, the way we try to make a world from beautiful scraps and bits. In fact there is a (part) poem of hers which was actually discovered written on a potsherd; fragment two, as it is known:

down from the mountain top
and out of Crete,
come to me here
in your sacred precinct, to your grove
of apple trees,
and your altars
smoking with incense,

where cold water flows babbling
through the branches,
the whole place
shadowed with roses,
sleep adrift down
from silvery leaves
an enchantment

horses grazing in a meadow
abloom with spring flowers
and where the breezes blow sweetly,

here, Cypris,
delicately in golden cups
pour nectar
mixed for our festivities.

[Translation: Stanley Lombardo]

It is an invocation, a summoning of the goddess Aphrodite, named here for Cyprus, the island off which she was born from the foam of the sea. It's astonishingly powerful, this evocation of place, this apple grove in which the love-goddess's sanctuary lies. It's synaesthesic, almost, every sense is stimulated: there's the heady scent of the incense; the sight of the stream (in the background) with the shading apple trees in front; the icy coldness to the touch of the water; the drowsy sound of the breeze through the leaves; beyond, the glimpse of the horses grazing in the flower-filled meadows. To read this poem is to be there, lying in the deep grass of the grove, gently heading for sleep ..."

The extract of which she writes is here ... looks fun ...
The Department of Classics at the University of Reading is pleased to announce the following seminars:

15 October, Wednesday, 4 p.m.
Room: Palmer G03
Dr Wolfgang de Melo (All Souls College, Oxford):
Translating Plautus: Technical Problems

22 October, Wednesday, 4 p.m.
Room: Palmer G03
Dr Dunstan Lowe (Reading):
Epic items: Greek myth in video games

29 October, Wednesday, 4 p.m.
Room: HUMSS 128
Nicholas West (Reading):
Revolution in Plutarch’s De Iside et Osiride

5 November, Wednesday, 4 p.m.
Room: HUMSS 128
Dr Katherine Clarke (St Hilda’s College, Oxford):
A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place: Man v Nature in the Histories of Herodotus

12 November, Wednesday, 4 p.m.
Room: Palmer G03
Professor Boudewijn Sirks (All Souls College, Oxford):
Encountering Roman Law

19 November, Wednesday, 4 p.m.
Room: Palmer G03
Professor Tobias Reinhardt (Corpus Christi College, Oxford):
Some aspects of the language of Lucretius

26 November, Wednesday, 4 p.m.
Room: Palmer G03
Marianne Bergeron (Reading):
Topic TBA

Dr Peter Kruschwitz (Reading):
Classical Reception Studies at the University of Reading: The Case of Catullus

3 December, Wednesday, 4 p.m.
Room: Palmer G03
Professor Simon Dentith (Reading):
Historicism and humanism in the Homeric 'accounts' of Michael Longley and Christopher Logue

For directions to the University of Reading, please see:

For further information, please contact Phiroze Vasunia at p.vasunia AT,
or write to the organizers at:

Department of Classics
The University of Reading
Reading RG6 6AA

Telephone: 0118 378 8420