66 (or 67) A.D. -- the emperor Nero proclaims the "freedom of the Greeks"
interlude @ OED
eminent @ Dictionary.com
I don't think I included this one in my 'catching up' of the other day ... from the Plain Dealer
The Cleveland Museum of Art agreed Wednesday to return 13 antiquities and a late Gothic processional cross to Italy after government authorities proved that the works had been looted, stolen or illegally exported.
The museum and authorities from the Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities announced the agreement at a press conference in Rome 3 p.m. Wednesday, 9 a.m. E.S.T.
The agreement, the first of its kind between the Cleveland museum and a foreign country, concludes what officials on both sides called a friendly and collaborative 18-month negotiation.
"I'm very pleased," Timothy Rub, director of the museum, said Wednesday, speaking by phone from Rome. "I think it's always difficult when adverse claims are made against an object or objects in a museum's collection, but the most important thing to do is to first of all determine if these claims have any merit, and if they do, to deal with them as transparently and as thoroughly as possible. This has been a very open and thoughtful discussion."
Maurizio Fiorilli, the Italian state lawyer who represented the ministry in the negotiations, praised Rub and the Cleveland museum.
"The director is an exquisite person," Fiorilli said by phone from Rome. "This was a negotiation among gentlemen. They always collaborated and exhibited great openness, therefore, I am content."
Fiorilli said he anticipated a positive reaction in Italy, "because I think that public opinion can really appreciate that this is another reaction to counteract the illicit traffic" in antiquities.
Rub signed a document formalizing the agreement with Giuseppe Proietti, the secretary general of the Italian Ministry for Cultural Assets and Activities. Sandro Bondi, the head of the agency, also attended the signing, along with Fiorilli.
The accord with Cleveland is the latest in a series of negotiations in which Italy has persuaded American museums to return antiquities unearthed by tomb robbers, or "tombaroli," and ultimately sold to unwitting museums.
The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, have all agreed to return scores of artworks.
The Cleveland deal includes Italy's agreement to loan the museum 13 antiquities similar to those being returned to Italy, for a renewable 25-year period. Italy will collaborate on an exhibition of artworks from state museums and other initiatives.
The 14th object, a 14th-century processional cross from Trequanda, a small town outside Siena, was stolen from a local church after World War II, and will be returned by the Cleveland museum as a gift, Fiorilli said. The museum had purchased the object in 1977.
Both sides agreed to form a joint scientific commission to perform further research on the large ancient bronze statue of Apollo acquired by the museum in 2004, plus an additional small ancient bronze chariot ornament in the form of a winged victory.
The Apollo has been a subject of controversy because it lacks a complete provenance, or ownership history. The museum has said the work belonged to a collection in the former East Germany before World War II. Scientific evidence shows the work was excavated at least 100 years ago, before the advent of contemporary laws governing international trade in antiquities.
If Italian scientists feel that new tests show that the work was excavated more recently, the Apollo could become the subject of a fresh round of negotiations, Fiorilli said.
Italy originally presented the Cleveland museum with a list of 42 objects about which Italian authorities had questions, including the Apollo and a widely admired South Italian Medea vase. The list ultimately was whittled to 14, including many from South Italy, formerly a hotbed of looting.
Fiorilli said that evidence connecting the Cleveland artworks to illegal activity included photographs, letters and other documents obtained in a 1995 raid on a Swiss warehouse.
That evidence and information from subsequent investigations linked the artworks to convicted antiquities smuggler Giacomo de Medici and others in his circle, Fiorilli said.
They include the American art dealer Robert Hecht, the English dealer Robin Symes, and Fritz Burki a Swiss art restorer close to Medici, who restored the famous Euphronios Krater, a large ceramic vessel returned to Italy recently by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
Rub said the agreement with Italy is based on the understanding that neither the museum nor its directors or curators are in any way tainted by the return of objects.
Instead, Rub said, the understanding is that the museum innocently acquired objects that "clearly were associated with bad actors" at some point in their past.
Rub also said the museum purchased all the artworks in question after the 1970 UNESCO convention governing international trade in antiquities, aimed at halting illegal trade in antiquities.
The majority of the objects were purchased between the 1970s and the 1990s. Rub declined to give names of dealers involved in the histories of the objects. Perhaps the most significant object to be returned is an Apulian red-figured volute krater by the Dorias painter, which stands roughly four feet high.
Other works include Etruscan silver bracelets; a group of Neolithic Sardinian bronzes representing warriors; an Attic rhyton, or drinking vessel, in the shape of a mule; and a Corinthian column krater acquired by the museum in 1990.
"Our experience has been, and I say this in all sincerity, very positive," Rub said. "The representatives of the Italian government we've worked with have been dedicated to their work and to righting what they perceive as wrongs, as well they should. But they've also conducted these conversations reasonably and in a very thoughtful manner. We've looked at things together and come to conclusions that both sides believe are fair and equitable."
The original webpage has a very nice slideshow
of the items that are part of this agreement ...
Conference announcement of the international research project:
Between Ideal and Reality
Exercise of Power in Sicily from Antiquity to Early Modern Times
From February 13th to February 15th, the Institute of History of the
University of Aachen (Theaterplatz 14, 52062 Aachen, Germany) will be
hosting a conference on „Exercise of Power in Sicily from Antiquity to Early
Modern Times". Everyone interested in the topic is welcome to attend the
event. The 17 international researchers involved in the project are
investigating the discrepancy between ideal and reality in the exercise of
political, economical and religious power in Sicily. The results of the
paradigmatic and interdisciplinary case studies will be published as a
collection of papers. The research project is organised and supervised by
the chair of Roman History of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) and
the chairs of Ancient and of Medieval History of the University of Aachen
(RWTH). The project initiators are David Engels (Roman History, ULB), Lioba
Geis (Medieval History, RWTH) and Michael Kleu (Ancient History, RWTH). The
conference is attendance free. Those interested are kindly asked to apply
until the 19th of January 2009. Further information concerning the project
and the conference can be obtained by consulting
1. Michael Kleu, M.A. (Aachen): Von der phönizischen Hegemonie zur
karthagischen Epikratie. Eine Untersuchung der karthagischen
Herrschaftsausübung auf Sizilien
2. Dr. phil. Stefan Schorn (Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ/Leuven):
Politische Theorie, `Fürstenspiegel´ und monarchische Propaganda: Philistos
von Syrakus, Xenophons Hieron und Dionysios
3. Alexander Schüller, M.A. (Aachen): Der Befreier Siziliens und die Macht
der Soldaten. Dions sizilisches "Experiment" und das Problem seines Scheiterns
4. Dr. phil. Luca Guido (Sassari/Heidelberg/Düsseldorf): La prima guerra
punica e la costituzione dell'amministrazione provinciale romana
5. Thomas Bounas, M.A. (Athen/Aachen): Cicero und Verres: Realität und
Idealität römische Provinzverwaltung
Imperial Rome, Byzance, and Islam
6. Dr. phil. Julia Hoffmann-Salz (Köln): Augustus und die Städte Siziliens
7. Dr. phil. Peter Van Nuffelen (Exeter): Episcopal Succession in Late
8. Carla Nicolaye, M.A. (Leuven/Aachen): The Vandal Occupation of Sicily and
the Struggle for Domination over the Mediterranean
9. Dr. phil. Volker Menze (Münster): Gregor der Große (590-604) und die
Päpstliche Herrschaft in Sizilien
10. Erik Lipperts, M.A. (Aachen): Sizilien zur Zeit der Anfänge des
11. Dr. phil. David Engels (Bruxelles): L'insurrection d'Ibn Qurhub: La
Sicile entre Fatimides et Abbasides
Middle Ages and Early Modern Times
12. Dr. phil. Julia Becker (Rom): Graf Roger I. von Kalabrien und Sizilien.
Eine realistische Herrschaft zwischen drei Kulturen?
13. Lioba Geis, M.A. (Aachen): Die Hofkapelle als Herrschaftsinstrument
Rogers II. für Sizilien?
14. Dr. phil. Georg Vogeler (München/Lecce): Sizilien unter Friedrich II.:
Vom Kernland des Regnum Siciliae zur imperialen Peripherie
15. Dr. phil. Christian Friedl (München): Herrschaftskonzeption bei König
Manfred. Staufisches Ideal und Scheitern der realpolitischen Ansätze
16. Philipp Schneider, M.A. (Aachen): Die Sizilianische Vesper und die
17. Sascha Schlede (Aachen): Von der Herrschaft Friedrichs III. bis zur
Vereinigung mit dem Königreich Neapel 1296-1458
ante diem v kalendas decembres
43 B.C. -- the lex Titia de triumvirato gave G. Julius Caesar Octavianus, Marcus Antonius, and Marcus Aemilius Lepidus the title of triumviri rei publicae constituendae
with near-dictatorial powers for a period of five years
8 B.C. -- death of the poet Horace
(Quintus Horatius Flaccus)
ca 110 A.D. -- birth of Hadrian's paramour Antinoos
cadence @ Dictionary.com
pilgrim @ OED
doctor @ Podictionary
accentuate @ Merriam-Webster
Workers at a business park construction project near the northeast Hungarian town of Nagykálló have unearthed a series of graves and the remains of a Scythian village that enjoyed prosperity in the time of the Roman Empire, reports historical portal mult-kor.hu.
The contents of the graves are expected to be particularly rich as the custom of the time dictated that knives, broaches, and bronze figures, as well as dishes and ceramics containing food be buried with the dead to ease their passage in the afterlife.
A gold hair-band and a silver mirror have already been recovered from the site.
The Scythians were an Iranian-speaking nomadic people who dominated the present-day middle east, although the exact definitions of their origin and culture are debated.
An archaeological discovery of a great importance has been during an anti-treasure hunting action.
During an inspection damages on the mould have been noticed and that provoked a further investigation of the site.
At the level of the antique terrain a funeral ritual had been performed.
Several bronze objects were found, a ring and silver earrings.
Another silver earring was found on the upper level of the mould, dating from IV B.C.
A fragmented urn with burnt human bones is one of the biggest discoveries. It's hand-made. A small object, most probable a knife, was found inside the urn.
The research makes it clear that funeral rituals had been performed by corpse burning in an urn. The researchers' conclusion is that the Thracian mould is sepulchral, and most probably a local Thracian king was buried underneath it.
... the headline identifies the site as being near Pravets ...
For as long as there have been wars, there have been warriors who survive — and yet become as much casualties of battle as those who died.
In fact, some think that the Greek playwright Sophocles was writing, in military dramas like Ajax and Philoctetes, about what today we call post-traumatic stress disorder — and that his plays were performed by veterans, for veterans, in part to help them heal.
Now Sophocles is finding a military audience once again. The venue? A Marriott hotel ballroom, where 300 uniformed men and women sit watching, box lunches on their laps.
Onstage, a soldier's wife weeps over the carnage caused by her husband — the crazed combat veteran Ajax, who in a rage has slaughtered dozens of farm animals, believing them to be his superior officers.
The cast, including John Adams star Paul Giamatti as Odysseus, Marine-turned-actor Adam Driver as the Chorus, and the husband-and-wife Broadway veterans Bill Camp and Elizabeth Marvel as Ajax and Tecmessa, is performing at something called the Warrior Resilience Conference.
It's a three-day gathering designed to help military personnel — from enlisted men and women to generals — deal with war's emotional toll.
Brig. Gen. Loree Sutton, who runs the Pentagon division behind the conference, says that despite the graphic horrors depicted in Sophocles' tragedies, today's warriors can find comfort in them.
The plays can reassure a soldier, she says, "that I am not alone, that I am not going crazy, that I am joined by the ages of warriors and their loved ones who've gone before me, and who have done what most in society have no idea our warriors do."
The original page
is definitely worth a visit, with an audio version of the story as well as two video excerpts from productions of Ajax and Philoctetes respectively ...
Though no one knows if Valencia's grail is the true Last Supper chalice, a group of experts says it has tremendous cultural value due to its impact on history and literature.
This was affirmed by members of the international congress "Valencia, City of the Holy Grail," focusing on the chalice traditionally associated with the institution of the Eucharist.
The congress was held Nov. 7-9 at the Catholic University of Valencia and was organized by the Archdiocese of Valencia, the cathedral’s metropolitan chapter, the Catholic University of Valencia, the Spanish Center for Sindonology, the Royal Brotherhood, and the Holy Chalice Confraternity.
Experts from several countries attended the congress. They gave presentations on the ways in which this relic has marked history and literature since its move from Rome to Spain by Lawrence the Martyr in the year 258, as held by tradition.
The body of existing data points to the Valencia grail as the most probable authentic chalice of Christ.
Antonio Beltrán, professor of archaeology at the University of Zaragoza, noted that the cup is formed by a deep red agate, called "Oriental carnelian," with streaks in the form of flames. By its material he asserts that it must come from a workshop in Palestine, Syria or Egypt between the fourth century B.C. and the first century A.D. The subsequent additions, such as the precious stones and the frame, date from the 13th or 14th century.
Jorge Manuel Rodríguez, president of the Spanish Center for Sindonology, explained that although films have always shown "a wooden Holy Grail, […] that material did not comply with the norms of purification of the Jews."
Another element discussed by the scholars was the journey of the chalice from Rome to Valencia.
The experts affirmed that if the chalice arrived in Rome from Jerusalem, it was most likely taken by the Apostle Peter himself.
Jaime Sancho, president of the liturgy commission of the Archdiocese of Valencia, presented a datum that supports the theory that the first popes celebrated the Eucharist with the same chalice that Jesus used.
Sancho explained that in the Roman Canon, which dates back to the second century, it says literally at the moment of consecration "and, taking this glorious chalice in his holy and venerable hands," instead of "the chalice."
This and other proofs contributed by Sancho demonstrate the existence in Rome of a unique chalice.
This was affirmed by José Vicente Martínez, professor of ancient history at the University of Valencia, and American researcher Janice Bennet, doctor in Spanish literature. They both spoke about Pope Sixtus II, martyred in Rome during Valerian’s persecution, entrusting the Holy Grail to Deacon Lawrence to protect it from the emperor.
A manuscript by St. Donatus told of this event, said Bennet, as well as the fact that Lawrence was a native of Valencia, not Huesca, as traditionally believed.
Several presenters gave historical proofs of the presence of the chalice in Spain over many centuries, from the study of various annals and paintings.
German anthropologist Michael Hesemann stated that "as opposed to what many think, the grail legends did not begin with the Anglo-Saxon accounts of King Arthur, but in the rooted tradition that says that the chalice of the Last Supper was already in Spain in the Middle Ages."
Faith and science
The researchers were practically unanimous in supporting research on the chalice with modern scientific techniques to determine its origin, though they emphasized that its religious value does not depend on the resulting discoveries.
Miguel Navarro, doctor in church history from Rome’s Gregorian University, stated that the chalice "is not a magical object, but consecrated by Jesus' use of it and by the faith that perceives it as such, which has great religious value, regardless of the fact that it cannot be proved with absolute scientific certainty that it is the Lord’s chalice."
Relics, he added, are not "simple keepsakes, but something more valuable: palpable evidence of the reality of the human or historical event on which our faith is based, as salvation takes place in history, in the flesh."
Moreover, Father Manuel Carreira, doctor of physical sciences, added that science and faith "are not opposed." However, he specified that "although science can give an explanation of all this, it cannot demonstrate anything literally about what happens in the Eucharist."
Navarro added that the chalice "insofar as relic, is beyond and above science, because its primordial significance belongs to the realm of faith, which does not mean that we approach it in an anti-scientific or fundamentalist way." Rather, "we have the obligation to study it scientifically in its materiality."
... I tracked down a photo of the 'cup'
... even taking away the later additions, it looks a bit extravagant for a pre-Passover get-together in a rented upstairs room ...
This one's making the rounds ... in case you missed it, Charlotte Higgins (of It's All Greek to Me
fame) in the Guardian
In the run-up to the US presidential election, the online magazine Slate ran a series of dictionary definitions of "Obamaisms". One ran thus: "Barocrates (buh-ROH-cruh-teez) n. An obscure Greek philosopher who pioneered a method of teaching in which sensitive topics are first posed as questions then evaded."
There were other digs at Barack Obama that alluded to ancient Greece and Rome. When he accepted the Democratic party nomination, he did so before a stagey backdrop of doric columns. Republicans said this betrayed delusions of grandeur: this was a temple out of which Obama would emerge like a self-styled Greek god. (Steve Bell also discerned a Romanness in the image, and drew Obama for this paper as a toga-ed emperor.) In fact, the resonance of those pillars was much more complicated than the Republicans would have it. They recalled the White House, which itself summoned up visual echoes of the Roman republic, on whose constitution that of the US is based. They recalled the Lincoln Memorial, before which Martin Luther King delivered his "I have a dream" speech. They recalled the building on which the Lincoln Memorial is based - the Parthenon. By drawing us symbolically to Athens, we were located at the very birthplace of democracy.
Here's the thing: to understand the next four years of American politics, you are going to need to understand something of the politics of ancient Greece and Rome.
There have been many controversial aspects to this presidential election, but one thing is uncontroversial: that Obama's skill as an orator has been one of the most important factors - perhaps the most important factor - in his victory. The sheer numbers of people who have heard him speak live set him apart from his rivals - and, indeed, recall the politics of ancient Athens, where the public speech given to ordinary voters was the motor of politics, and where the art of rhetoric matured alongside democracy.
Obama has bucked the trend of recent presidents - not excluding Bill Clinton - for dumbing down speeches. Elvin T Lim's book The Anti-Intellectual Presidency: The Decline of Presidential Rhetoric from George Washington to George W Bush, submits presidential oratory to statistical analysis. He concludes that 100 years ago speeches were pitched at college reading level. Now they are at 8th grade. Obama's speeches, by contrast, flatter their audience. His best speeches are adroit literary creations, rich, like those doric columns, with allusion, his turn of phrase consciously evoking lines by Lincoln and King, by Woody Guthrie and Sam Cooke. Though he has speechwriters, he does much of the work himself. (Jon Favreau, the 27-year-old who heads Obama's speechwriting team, has said that his job is like being "Ted Williams's batting coach.") James Wood, professor of the practice of literary criticism at Harvard, has already performed a close-reading exercise on the victory speech for the New Yorker. Can you imagine the same being done of a George Bush speech?
More than once, the adjective that has been deployed to describe Obama's oratorical skill is "Ciceronian". Cicero, the outstanding Roman politician of the late republic, was certainly the greatest orator of his time, and one of the greatest in history. A fierce defender of the republican constitution, his criticism of Mark Antony got him murdered in 43BC.
During the Roman republic (and in ancient Athens) politics was oratory. In Athens, questions such as whether or not to declare war on an enemy state were decided by the entire electorate (or however many bothered to turn up) in open debate. Oratory was the supreme political skill, on whose mastery power depended. Unsurprisingly, then, oratory was highly organised and rigorously analysed. The Greeks and Romans, in short, knew all the rhetorical tricks, and they put a name to most of them.
It turns out that Obama knows them, too. One of the best known of Cicero's techniques is his use of series of three to emphasise points: the tricolon. (The most enduring example of a Latin tricolon is not Cicero's, but Caesar's "Veni, vidi, vici" - I came, I saw, I conquered.) Obama uses tricola freely. Here's an example: "Tonight, we gather to affirm the greatness of our nation, not because of the height of our skyscrapers, or the power of our military, or the size of our economy ..." In this passage, from the 2004 Democratic convention speech, Obama is also using the technique of "praeteritio" - drawing attention to a subject by not discussing it. (He is discounting the height of America's skyscrapers etc, but in so doing reminds us of their importance.)
One of my favourites among Obama's tricks was his use of the phrase "a young preacher from Georgia", when accepting the Democratic nomination this August; he did not name Martin Luther King. The term for the technique is "antonomasia". One example from Cicero is the way he refers to Phoenix, Achilles' mentor in the Iliad, as "senior magister" - "the aged teacher". In both cases, it sets up an intimacy between speaker and audience, the flattering idea that we all know what we are talking about without need for further exposition. It humanises the character - King was just an ordinary young man, once. Referring to Georgia by name localises the reference - Obama likes to use the specifics to American place to ground the winged sweep of his rhetoric - just as in his November 4 speech: "Our campaign ... began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston", which, of course, is also another tricolon.
Obama's favourite tricks of the trade, it appears, are the related anaphora and epiphora. Anaphora is the repetition of a phrase at the start of a sentence. Again, from November 4: "It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools ... It's the answer spoken by young and old ... It's the answer ..." Epiphora does the same, but at the end of a sentence. From the same speech (yet another tricolon): "She lives to see them stand out and speak up and reach for the ballot. Yes we can." The phrase "Yes we can" completes the next five paragraphs.
That "Yes we can" refrain might more readily summon up the call-and-response preaching of the American church than classical rhetoric. And, of course, Obama has been influenced by his time in the congregations of powerfully effective preachers. But James Davidson, reader in ancient history at the University of Warwick, points out that preaching itself originates in ancient Greece. "The tradition of classical oratory was central to the early church, when rhetoric was one of the most important parts of education. Through sermons, the church captured the rhetorical tradition of the ancients. America has preserved that, particularly in the black church."
It is not just in the intricacies of speechifying that Obama recalls Cicero. Like Cicero, Obama is a lawyer. Like Cicero, Obama is a writer of enormous accomplishment - Dreams From My Father, Obama's first book, will surely enter the American literary canon. Like Cicero, Obama is a "novus homo" - the Latin phrase means "new man" in the sense of self-made. Like Cicero, Obama entered politics without family backing (compare Clinton) or a military record (compare John McCain). Roman tradition dictated you had both. The compensatory talent Obama shares with Cicero, says Catherine Steel, professor of classics at the University of Glasgow, is a skill at "setting up a genealogy of forebears - not biological forebears but intellectual forebears. For Cicero it was Licinius Crassus, Scipio Aemilianus and Cato the Elder. For Obama it is Lincoln, Roosevelt and King."
Steel also points out how Obama's oratory conforms to the tripartite ideal laid down by Aristotle, who stated that good rhetoric should consist of pathos, logos and ethos - emotion, argument and character. It is in the projection of ethos that Obama particularly excels. Take this resounding passage: "I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations." He manages to convey the sense that not only can he revive the American dream, but that he personally embodies - actually, in some sense, is - the American dream.
In English, when we use the word "rhetoric", it is generally preceded by the word "empty". Rhetoric has a bad reputation. McCain warned lest an electorate be "deceived by an eloquent but empty call for change". Waspishly, Clinton noted, "You campaign in poetry, you govern in prose." The Athenians, too, knew the dangers of a populace's being swept along by a persuasive but unscrupulous demagogue (and they invented the word). And it was the Roman politician Cato - though it could have been McCain - who said "Rem tene, verba sequentur". If you hold on to the facts, the words will follow.
Cicero was well aware of the problem. In his book On The Orator, he argues that real eloquence can be acquired only if the speaker has attained the highest state of knowledge - "otherwise what he says is just an empty and ridiculous swirl of verbiage". The true orator is one whose practice of citizenship embodies a civic ideal - whose rhetoric, far from empty, is the deliberate, rational, careful organiser of ideas and argument that propels the state forward safely and wisely. This is clearly what Obama, too, is aiming to embody: his project is to unite rhetoric, thought and action in a new politics that eschews narrow bipartisanship. Can Obama's words translate into deeds? The presidency of George Bush provided plenty of evidence that a man who has problems with his prepositions may also struggle to govern well. We can only hope that Obama's presidency proves that opposite.
THE BRITISH SCHOOL AT ATHENS
THE BRITISH EPIGRAPHY SOCIETY
POST GRADUATE TRAINING COURSE IN GREEK EPIGRAPHY
14th – 28th June 2009
Whether publishing new texts, challenging old ones, or critically analysing editions, this course provides training for historians, archaeologists and textual scholars alike in the discipline of reading and interpreting epigraphic evidence. Inscriptions are constantly changing the way in which we view the ancient world, as year on year hundreds of new discoveries are made. This course will focus upon this new material, with lectures and site tours by scholars currently excavating and publishing in the field. Students will be guided through the process of producing editions of inscriptions, gaining both practical first hand experience with the stones, as well as instruction in editorial and bibliographic skills. The course will be taught at the BSA and at the Epigraphic Museum, the world’s largest collection of Greek inscriptions, where students will each be assigned a stone from which they will create an edition and commentary, and where they will receive tuition from leading scholars in Athens. The importance of seeing inscriptions within their archaeological and topographical contexts will be explored during visits to sites in Athens and Attica. Some prior knowledge of Greek is essential, although students with only elementary skills are advised that reading inscriptions is a very good way to learn! For advice about whether this is the right course for you, please contact assistant.director AT bsa.ac.uk.
Students will be based at the BSA Hostel in shared rooms of two. Self catering facilities are available as well as 24 hour access to the superb library facilities. Accommodation, tuition, entry to all sites and museums, and membership of the BSA for one month are included in course fee of £580. Free membership for the remainder of the session will be offered to students wishing to remain at the BSA after the course to continue their research. Travel to and from Greece is the sole responsibility of the course participants, who are also required to provide their own travel insurance. Students are recommended to apply to their universities or funding body for financial support. A number of bursaries are available (see the application form) from The British Epigraphy Society.
Further information and an application form can be obtained from the Assistant Director (assistant.director AT bsa.ac.uk) and from the website (www.bsa.ac.uk). Application forms and a reference letter should be received no later than April 1st 2009.
REMINDER: AMPAH 2009
Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient History
Saturday, 28th March 2009
The AMPAH 2009 organising committee would like to remind postgraduate students in the field of Ancient History, that the deadline date for submitting abstracts for the upcoming conference is Monday 12 pm 1 December 2008.
We welcome papers up to 20 minutes in length from students in all stages of their research. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words in length and applicants are also asked to include the university, title of the paper, and state which of the categories below best applies to their topic.
* Art and Culture
* History (general)
* History of ideas
* Myth and Religion
* Social History
Abstracts should be sent to ampah2009 AT gmail.com. Speakers will be notified by mid-December.
More information will be made available at ampah2009.tk in due course.
From the Crimson
In order to make the Classics more appealing to students without previous exposure to Latin and Greek, the department may eliminate its rigorous six-hour general examinations and create a specialization in classical civilizations.
While long, written general exams used to be standard across departments, Classics is the only one that still requires students to pass a comprehensive test of that length to graduate, according to Director of Undergraduate Studies Mark J. Schiefsky, who is on the review committee that will present the proposal to the full department next month.
The exam requires students to be able to translate and analyze a variety of canonical Latin and Greek texts on sight, including portions of Herodotus’ Histories, Homer’s Iliad, and Virgil’s Eclogues.
Schiefsky said that he did not want the prospect of general exams to scare away potential concentrators, especially those who did not study Latin or Greek in high school.
“One can satisfy the requirements without really being ready for the general exam,” he said. “That is uncontroversially true.”
Some current concentrators said that the proposal would be able to attract more students to the oft intimidating concentration.
“I think it’ll help the Classics department grab more new students since the generals tend to scare freshmen away when they hear about them,” said Andrew T. Rist ’09, who was president of the Classical Club last year.
But Schiefsky said that the department is not simply trying to attract more students.
“There’s no sense of crisis at all,” he said.
Although some seniors said they are looking forward to taking the general exams as a touchstone of their academic achievement, one concentrator said that he is glad the department is trying to reach out to more students.
“I think it’s very valiant and noble and valuable that they’re trying to open the classics to more people,” Brian P. Hill ’11 said, “because the more people you get, the better.”
The Classics professors on the review committee will present their plans to colleagues at a department meeting on Dec. 2, when the proposal may come to a vote.
The current proposition specifies two main tracks within Classics—classical languages and literatures and classical civilizations—both of which would see the number of basic requirements reduced from 12 to 11 because of the delayed date for concentration declaration.
According to a Classics professor who asked not to be named, the revamped language and literature track would require six courses in Latin or Greek—as opposed to the current eight—as well as Classical Studies 97a and 97b and three additional Classics electives instead of the current two.
The new Classical Civilizations track would require four classes in Greek or Latin, Classical Studies 97a and 97b, and five electives, which could be taken in areas including art, philosophy, and history.
From the Independent
Bill Putnam, who died on 14 October at the age of 78, studied Classics at University College, London, where his interest in archaeology was fired by Professor Sir Mortimer Wheeler. After National Service as an RAF officer, he went to Newtown Grammar School in Wales as Head of Classics, and embarked on the research into Roman Wales and England which became one of the major themes of his working life. He moved to Weymouth College in 1967 as the first lecturer in archaeology at a higher education college, and soon became Head of History and Archaeology.
Weymouth College evolved into the Dorset Institute and Bournemouth Polytechnic, becoming Bournemouth University in 1992. During the 1970s and 1980s at Weymouth Bill introduced a range of courses with a practical and professional emphasis – courses from which Bournemouth's current archaeology and heritage programmes developed. He embraced educational innovation, and was in some ways ahead of his time: his courses embodied what the higher education world now calls "widening participation" and "work-based learning", to creative effect.
Bill made a significant impact on the study of the Romans in Britain, particularly in Wales and Dorset. With the late Professor Barri Jones he essentially drew the map of Roman roads in mid-Wales. He was for many years the leading archaeologist of Roman Dorset. His excavations at Dewlish established this as the classic Dorset Roman villa, and his research on the Dorchester aqueduct established this monument as the only one of its kind in Britain about which we know anything of substance. In later years, with John Edwin Wood, he turned his attention to southern France and published The Treasure of Rennes-le-Chateau as a scholarly antidote to far-fetched tales about the riches supposedly discovered there.
Bill was also a leader in local and regional bodies and projects. As Chairman of the Dorset Archaeological Committee in the 1970s and 1980s he guided the county's archaeological thinking and activity through times of change. He was Chairman of Wessex Archaeology from 1977 to 1999, during which time it became one of the UK's leading archaeology and heritage management companies. But he retained his pleasure in teaching and lecturing to the end of his life. He was at ease with his audience, and always inspirational, whether in a lecture or tutorial with undergraduates, or in an extramural class, at a conference or on a field expedition.
Bill Putnam's distinction as an archaeologist, teacher, lecturer and writer was recognised by his election to the Society of Antiquaries in 1971. In 2004 Bournemouth University conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate of Science. But what perhaps meant most to him was the appreciation of the many people who learned and enjoyed archaeology with him, and the countless friendships which resulted.
From a Knox College press release
Brian Tibbets, a 1996 Knox College graduate who teaches Latin at Monmouth-Roseville High School, has been named the 2008 Farrand Baker Illinois Latin Teacher of the Year. The award from the Illinois Classical Conference was presented at the conference's annual meeting at Augustana College in Rock Island.
The award is given in recognition of "exemplary teaching of Latin but also outstanding service to ICC, dedication to the cause of Classics in the teacher's home community and participation in regional and national organizations of the Classics."
The Conference cited Tibbets for reviving the Latin curriculum at Monmouth-Roseville High School and for his service as "advisor to the Latin Club [that] produces memorable Latin-themed floats for the homecoming parade. Every winter [Tibbets] works with his [upper-level] Latin students to organize the annual Classics Bee, which introduces elementary and junior high school students to the classics."
Tibbets majored in classics at Knox and received college honors for his advanced research project on the ancient poet Callimachus. In an interview with the Monmouth Review-Atlas, Tibbets, who studied both Latin and Greek in college, credited Knox classics professors Brenda Fineberg, who teaches Latin, and Stephen Fineberg, who teaches Greek, with nurturing his love for languages.
"Congratulations to Brian for this recognition. And, congratulations to Monmouth High School for offering Latin," said Knox College President Roger Taylor '63. "Latin was the most important high school subject that I studied. Sadly some high schools have eliminated Latin. Monmouth-Roseville can be proud that it has bucked the trend and doubly proud of the Illinois Latin teacher of the year."
The award also noted that Tibbets has taken two groups of students to Italy to study Roman civilization, coaches the school's state-champion girls track team, and serves as president of the Monmouth-Roseville teachers' union.
From the Herald-Leader
[Which of the] following words was not derived from Latin: legal, eagle, beagle, regal.
If you answered beagle — which is correct — you would have been right at home at the state convention of the Kentucky Junior Classical League in Lexington this weekend.
The event brought together about 260 teenagers, representing 10 high schools scattered across Kentucky, who spent the better part of three days learning about and celebrating the wonders and mysteries of antiquity and classical studies.
The convention, at the Griffin Gate Marriott Resort & Spa, was the only place in town where you could dress up for a real Roman banquet; learn to make Roman wax tablets; put yourself up for sale at a Roman slave auction; or try your Latin skills at a quick-recall competition called "Certamen." (The beagle question came from the competition.)
You could even hear Robert Rabel, professor and director of the University of Kentucky's Gaines Center for the Humanities, compare Homer's Iliad, written around the 7th century B.C., with The Unforgiven, Clint Eastwood's 1992 western.
Indeed, Rabel thinks The Unforgiven really is the Iliad set in the Old West, and that Eastwood's character, Will Munny, is cut from the same rough cloth as Achilles, the central figure in Homer's epic.
All of that seems to fit in nicely with the motto for this year's Junior Classical League convention: "Fortuna noblis vi animi tantum frenabitur." Or, in other words: "The level of our success is limited only by our imagination."
By now, you should be getting the idea that there's nothing dull or uninteresting about the ancient world or the study of antiquities.
Which is what the Kentucky Junior Classical League is all about. It's part of a national organization for junior high and high school students that encourages appreciation for the language, literature and culture of ancient Greece and Rome.
Bari Clements, one of several high school Latin teachers who helped put on the conference, reflects the enthusiasm of the organization. She has taught English and humanities, but always comes back to Latin, which she now teaches at Madison Central High School in Richmond.
"I just love the language and culture," she said.
Maddie Kusch-Kavanagh, the outgoing student president of the Kentucky Junior Classical League, is one teenager who thinks ancient civilization is anything but dull.
Maddie is a senior at Covington Latin School, though only 15 years old (she skipped two grades), and she has studied Latin for four years.
"Latin is work, but it really pays off," she said. "Latin will always be useful; 65 percent of the words in the English language are derived from Latin. It helped me so much on the SAT, and the skills you learn in Latin will stay with you forever."
I thought I had an English version of this one from Il Messaggero
, but I seem to have misfiled it ... anyhoo, the Lapis Niger will be 'open' to the public beginning next year:
Fino ad oggi, l'unica possibilità di dare una sbirciatina all'interno del Lapis Niger era consentita da una apertura con una scaletta in ferro, sempre e comunque chiusa. Ma dal prossimo anno il complesso monumentale al Foro Romano sarà aperto al pubblico al Foro Romano. All'interno del Lapis Niger - secondo tradizione - ci sarebbe la tomba di Romolo, fondatore di Roma.
L'annuncio. Ad annunciare l'apertura del sito è stato il soprintendente archeologico della capitale Angelo Bottini: «Entro dicembre cominceremo i lavori», ha anticipato. Gli elementi del Lapis Niger appartengono all'epoca repubblicana e fanno parte del Comitio, il cuore del Foro Romano su cui si affaccia la Curia Senatus e nel quale i cittadini si riunivano per ascoltare le arringhe dei magistrati.
Il programma dei lavori «prevede innanzitutto la rimozione della vecchia copertura del complesso del Lapis Niger - dice Bottini - una struttura ormai logora e deteriorata che sta crollando, fatta di putrelle di ferro e cemento, creata negli anni Cinquanta. In questo modo potremo avviare un intervento importante per recuperare testimonianze fino ad oggi rimaste nascoste. Al posto della vecchia copertura erigeremo un capannone, una struttura studiata appositamente per coprire l'area interessata dai lavori, ma allo stesso tempo per consentire l'accesso al pubblico che potrà seguire in diretta i lavori degli archeologi».
Il complesso del Lapis Niger, che si sviluppa sotto il noto lastricato di marmo nero, è databile al VI secolo a.C. ed è famoso per aver riconsegnato agli studiosi una piattaforma su cui si erge un altare a tre ante mancante della parte superiore, accanto al quale è riconoscibile un tronco di colonna, forse la base di una statua, e un cippo iscritto in un latino arcaico secondo un andamento bustrofedico, ossia a righe alterne dall'alto al basso e dal basso in alto. Tale iscrizione, preziosissima per gli archeologi, potrebbe essere interpretata come una lex sacra riconducibile al vicino altare. La tradizione non solo parla del Lapis Niger come della tomba di Romolo, ma vuole anche che in quel luogo Romolo sarebbe stato ucciso e che lì stesso ci sarebbe stata una statua di Romolo, collocata in cima alla colonna.
Già stanziato un milione di euro. «Per iniziare i lavori a dicembre - dice Bottini - la soprintendenza ha già stanziato un milione di euro». I lavori al Comitio rientrano in un programma più ampio di interventi messi a punto dalla soprintendenza archeologica di Roma in occasione del bimillenario anniversario della nascita di Vespasiano, che si celebrerà nel 2009. Si parte con un finanziamento di circa 5 milioni di euro da parte della soprintendenza: «Stiamo mettendo in campo risorse per migliorare tutto il sistema di fruizione dell'intera area archeologica - avverte Bottini - In occasione delle celebrazioni di Vespasiano, tutto il percorso di visita tra Colosseo, Palatino e Foro Romano avrà un apparato segnaletico e didattico nuovo. Sarà una forma di sperimentazione che se risulterà efficiente per il pubblico diverrà permanente. Inoltre, punteremo ad allestire un percorso didattico nell'area archeologica dedicato alla dinastia flavia. Partendo dal Colosseo, focalizzeremo tutti i monumenti riferibili agli imperatori Flavi tra Palatino e Foro Romano, con l'esposizione di nuove opere emblematiche nei monumenti più significativi, come per esempio le due statue colossali di basalto rappresentanti divinità, scavate sul Palatino da parte della famiglia Farnese, provenienti dall'aula regia della Domus Flavia e oggi conservate alla Pinacoteca di Parma, che esporremo nella Curia. Sempre nell'ambito del percorso didattico Flavio - continua Bottini - al fine di rivelare i resti della dinastia imperiale puntiamo ad aprire anche il tratto relativo al Foro cosiddetto della Pace, o di Vespasiano, con un progetto che nasce dalla collaborazione con il Comune di Roma».
... oops ... just found it ... from the Times
The spot in the Roman Forum where Romulus, the first King of Rome, is said to have met a grisly end at the hands of senators who resented his high handed autocratic rule is to be shown as a tourist attraction after being covered up for half a century.
Professor Angelo Bottini, Superintendent of Archeology in Rome, said the underground area of black marble paving stone or "Lapis Niger" marking the spot where Romulus is traditionally said to have been killed and dismembered, had been covered over with cement in the 1950s and surrounded by iron railings to protect it.
However recent heavy rain had damaged the covering, and he had decided to remove it. A canopy would be erected over the exposed "murder site" - first discovered in 1899 - so that archeologists could work on it while visitors to the Forum watched.
According to legend the twins Romulus and Remus, sons of the Vestal Virgin Rhea Silvia and Mars, the god of war, jointly founded Rome in the eighth century BC. Romulus became sole ruler after killing Remus in a dispute over omens indicating which of them had the support of the gods.
Romulus went on to create the foundations of Roman society - its army legions, religious cults and civic and political institutions such as the Senate. He expanded Rome's territory, and added to its population by abducting the women of the neighboring Sabine tribes.
However like a number of later Roman rulers, Romulus fell foul of the Senate, and was murdered at the age of 53 in 717 BC, the thirty eighth year of his reign. According to the historian Plutarch, the senators were "exasperated by the imperious behaviour of Romulus toward them, and plotted against his life".
Some accounts claim that Romulus was not murdered but was "carried up into heaven" during a storm and became the god Quirinus, after whom the Quirinal Hill is named. However Plutarch suggested this was invented by his killers to cover up the fact that they had committed regicide. Livy also observes that "some secretly maintained that the king had been torn to pieces by the senators."
Romulus was succeeded by Numa Pompilius, the second King of Rome. A memorial was later erected at the site of the murder with a Latin inscription reading "Whoever violates this place will be consecrated to the infernal gods".
According to legend, Romulus and Remus were the grandsons of Numitor, ruler of the kingdom of Alba Longa (on Lake Albano, south of Rome), who was deposed by his brother Amulius. Amulius ordered a slave to kill the twins, but instead they were cast into a river in a basket and saved by a she wolf, who suckled them until they were found by a shepherd.
Some scholars believe the word "Lupa" refers not to a wild animal but to a woman, since it was the nickname for a prostitute. Last year archeologists said the decorated grotto or "Lupercal" where Romulus and Remus were supposedly brought up had been found 15 metres beneath the Palatine Hill.
The incipit of a piece at 7th Space
This morning a Mercedes Benz, a BMW and a Volkswagen, driven by a group of “climate barbarians”, entered the Circus Maximus in Rome  led by the new “Emperor Nero” (Berlusconi). Greenpeace activists, wearing ancient Roman dress blocked the symbolic convoy, unrolling banners reading: “QUO VADIS, BERLUSCONI?” and “VADE RETRO CO2! INQUINATORES NON PREVALEBUNT” - Where are you going, Berlusconi? Go back CO2! Polluters will not prevail!
... must be money in Classics or something ...
From the Telegraph
The 73-mile long Roman wall, built in AD 122 to defend the Roman Empire from hostile Celtic tribes, created a thriving economy to serve the occupying army, according to aerial surveys.
Farmers, traders, craftsmen, labourers and prostitutes seized the occasion to make money from the presence of hundreds of Roman troops.
"Some of the local population will have seen the opportunity presented by the occupying forces and gone for it," said David MacLeod, of English Heritage. "There are entrepreneurs in every society ready to go for the main chance."
The research carried out by English Heritage has revealed over 2,700 previously unrecorded historic features, including prehistoric burial mounds and first century farmsteads, medieval sheep farms, 19th century lead mines and even a WWII gun battery, sited along the 15 foot high wall which stretched from Wallsend on the English east coast to Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast.
The study, based on over 30,000 aerial photographs taken over the last 60 years, offers an insight into the impact of the wall on the area's history and landscape.
Among the most startling discoveries are dozens of Roman-era farms and settlements strung out along a 15 mile corridor either side of the 10ft thick wall.
Instead of being wiped out by the Romans, the local population appears to have flourished as part of a booming military economy.
One farm trapped between the new wall and the gigantic defensive earthworks built by the Romans appears to have adapted to its new surroundings – much like a modern farm stuck between two motorways.
Other aerial shots show significant settlements next to the wall's military forts at sites such as Chesters and Housesteads – suggesting the presence of a large civilian population providing services to the Roman legionnaires and officers.
Mr MacLeod, senior investigator for English Heritage's aerial survey and investigating team, said: "Having got over the first shock of the invasion and occupation the native population began to see the potential created by the presence of the Roman garrison.
"The building of the wall appears to have provided a boost to the local economy. A sophisticated network seems to have grown up to supply the new market created by the occupation."
He said the survey found photographic evidence of several farmsteads and field networks on either side of the wall which would have adapted themselves to supply crops, livestock and other raw materials, such as leather, to the Romans.
Mr MacLeod added: "The Romans preferred to pacify the natives without resorting to violence, as its military force was dependent on the local population to provide it with goods and services.
"Every Roman fort along the wall attracted a motley collection of people selling food, alcohol and crafts, as well as labourers and even prostitutes."
The arrival of the Romans in the north of England would have also led to an influx of new consumer goods, with wine, olive oil, new types of jewellery and glassware made available to the local population for the first time.
"The locals would have had to pay taxes, but there must have been substantial economic benefits going both ways," said Mr MacLeod.
The aerial survey has emphasised the uniqueness of Hadrian's Wall and drawn attention to the wealth of human activity in the region which preceded the arrival of the Romans and continued after their departure.
At Errington Hill Head, near Hexham, the corduroy patterns of Medieval field cultivation are visible from the air, lying beneath a landscape now used as pasture, while earthwork remains show the outline of the Medieval manor and village of Ingoe, Northumberland.
Mr MacLeod said: "We need to remember that Hadrian's Wall is not an isolated monument set within a landscape devoid of any other history. This region saw a tremendous amount of activity before the Romans arrived and after they left, traces of which remain today."
One of the most vivid aerial shots, taken by the RAF in August 1945, shows an anti-aircraft gun battery defending nearby shipyards from German bombardment. Close inspection reveals that close to the guns was a baseball diamond, signalling the presence of a more recent foreign army in the shadow of Hadrian's Wall.
From the Bowdoin Orient
Latin is not a dead language at Bowdoin. In fact, for all intents and purposes, it's alive and kicking.
In accordance with national trends, enrollment in Latin at Bowdoin has spiked in recent years. A Modern Language Association (MLA) study from 2002 to 2006 revealed that Latin enrollments at the collegiate level increased by 7.9 percent.
According to a recent New York Times article, secondary school enrollment numbers also reflect increased interest in Classical Studies. And as of last year, Latin had surpassed German as the third-most popular non-English language studied in American classrooms. This phenomenon, in turn, feeds into the upward trend in language enrollment at colleges.
Associate Dean for Faculty Development James Higginbotham, who has spent considerable time at Bowdoin as an associate professor of Classics, cites the cultural relevance of the language today as a reason for the sudden increase in study of a language that has been considered dead for centuries.
"Interest in Latin has always reflected students' broader interests in ancient culture," he said. "Studying the language is a gateway for appreciating a particular part of the past."
Currently, the Bowdoin Classics Department includes 22 declared majors over a span of three different programs: Classics, Classical Archaeology and Classical Studies. The department employs four faculty positions: one specializing in Latin language, literature and culture; a second concentrating on Greek language; a third focusing on classical archaeology and a fourth specializing in ancient history.
According to Associate Professor of Classics Jennifer Kosak, the department has long existed at Bowdoin as a cornerstone of the liberal arts curriculum.
"Latin and Greek have had a long history here as Classics was central to liberal arts education in the 19th and early 20th centuries," said Kosak. "It is no surprise to see that these languages have maintained a profound influence on education at Bowdoin today."
Kosak attributed the continuing strength of the department at Bowdoin to its interdisciplinary focus as well as the strength of the ancient Mediterranean collection at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.
"Classics here is truly an interdisciplinary field in that language, literature, social and political history and material culture are all essential pieces in the study of the ancient world," she said.
Traditionally, student interest in 100-level classics and classical archaeology courses has remained strong over the years. Likewise, 200-level Greek and Roman history courses also enjoy consistently high enrollment numbers.
Over the past few years, the department has seen the majority of enrollment increases in the language sector, in parallel with national enrollment increases cited by the MLA.
"If I were to note an upsurge in any particular area of our enrollments in the past few years, it would probably be in elementary Latin," said Kosak. "Many students are eager to take a year of Latin in order to provide a base for their understanding of linguistic systems and of the impact of Latin on the development of English."
Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics Ryan Ricciardi noted a similar increase with enrollment in advanced Latin courses. Students with previous classical training often elect to enroll in advanced courses upon arrival at the College. Ricciardi noted that this phenomenon was similar at the University of Cincinnati, where she previously worked.
"The upward trend in enrollment is remarkably similar at Cincinnati," she said.
This increased student motivation to take Classics courses at the college level can be traced to a number of sources. Kosak noted that many students enroll in courses with hopes of furthering initial interests in classical mythology and history. Others have read Greek and Latin literature in translation and hope to learn more.
For Mary Kelly '10, it was the multi-faceted focus of Classics that piqued her interest. Kelly began taking Latin during her freshman year of high school and has continued to pursue the field at Bowdoin as a major.
"My decision to major in Classics was pretty much made when I came to Bowdoin," she said. "I met with [Henry Winkley Professor of Latin and Greek] Barbara Boyd as a pre-frosh, and the department as a whole really influenced my decision to come here."
"I like Classics as a major because it is inherently interdisciplinary," she added.
Like Kelly, many other Bowdoin students have elected to pursue studies in Classics, and Latin in particular, as a result of forays into the language during high school.
While the instruction of Latin has long been relegated to the halls of preparatory institutions and established public schools such as Boston Latin School, high schools across America have more recently continued to bolster their classical language curricula.
"Taking Latin serves as incredibly good preparation for the verbal sections of standardized tests," said Higginbotham. "Many secondary schools have begun to realize this."
In regards to secondary school instruction, Higginbotham noted that the number of students taking the Advanced Placement Latin examination has doubled over the past five years. He attributes this overall upswing in Classical education to "a new generation of teachers."
"These teachers don't have the stodgy reputation of the typical Classicist," Higginbotham said. "As Latin is taught increasingly as a living, dynamic language, students will become more interested."
It is this shift in focus, which regards Classics as a naturally dynamic and interdisciplinary field, that Higginbotham, Kosak and Kelly see as one of the major factors in the recent surge in enrollment, both across the country and at Bowdoin.
Back at Bowdoin, students in Ricciardi's Roman Archaeology course meet in the Zuckert seminar room of the Walker Art Building to examine ancient artifacts.
They crouch over small boxes, each containing a coin from antiquity. Using magnifying aids, they identify various coins as products of the reigns of Vespasian, Caesar and Marcus Aurelius.
It is firsthand experience such as this, says Higginbotham, which keeps student interest in Classics at Bowdoin thriving. He regularly takes students on excavations, giving them the opportunity for field experience at sites such as Pompeii and Paestum.
"I think that the curriculum here opens up a lot of possibilities to students," Higginbotham said. "Once they get past the grammar and fundamentals, there is a beauty inherent in Classical Studies that will carry many students forward."
comes another tale of clumsy archaeology:
Archaeologists from Nova Zagora discovered a well-preserved chariot for funeral of a Thracian aristocrat.
The discovery was made at the so called East mound near the village of Karanovo. The chariots has four wheels and a basket, informs sliveninfo.
The specialists believe it dates back to 1-3 century AD. The archaeologists claim they have stumbled on a secondary funeral in the Thracian mound.
The archaeologists are working in very unfavorable climate conditions and at an unusual time because of the treasure hunters raids.
A month ago the minister of culture announced it will finance a 24-security of the Mound in Karanovo exactly because of the robbers, who are destroying the historical heritage.
Additional funds were given for urgent investigations because of which the archaeologist continued to dig in November as well.
It is believed that five years ago the treasure hunters have stolen another chariot.
From the Cumberland News
MECHANICAL excavators have begun to further explore the Roman settlement unearthed near Penrith by workmen preparing the ground for a sewage pipe.
Artefacts: Discoveries include – above, a handle used to carry a helmet; Imported Samian pottery, left; and a mount used as a male adornment, far left
Archaeologists were called in by United Utilities when the firm began excavations for the seven-kilometre Hackthorpe-Penrith pipe.
It lies close to the site of the Brocavum Roman fort where Brougham Castle now stands.
Experts have declared that the site is of national significance.
This week, excavations continued revealing the settlement which has lain undisturbed for around 1,000 years just one metre beneath the grass.
The remains of two timber buildings, cobbled lanes, three stone buildings and a rare Grubenhauser – a sunken feature building from the early medieval period – have so far been uncovered.
According to Alison Plummer, dig leader from Oxford Archaeology, the fort would have attracted entrepreneurs seeking to relieve off-duty soldiers of their silver.
“The pipeline route is close to an existing Roman fort and graveyard, so we knew there was the chance of a significant find,” she said.
“Within days of removing the topsoil it was clear that we had hit upon something very important indeed.”
She added that the site has lain undisturbed up until now because it has been used purely for agriculture for centuries.
Artefacts found at the vicus, or civilian settlement, give hints about the Roman way of life.
Finds including copper-alloy buckles, brooches, jet and pewter buttons provide clues about how people wore and fastened their clothes.
Jewellery fragments such as jade beads and a Whitby jet pendant and ring have also been found.
Counters made from reused pottery and drinking vessels show how inhabitants of the vicus would have passed their leisure time.
“The discovery offers some enticing clues as to how our ancestors spent the cold Cumbrian evenings,” said Mrs Plummer.
It is also thought possible that some of the occupants worked the fields to the east and west of the fort. Wells, together with watering holes for livestock, have also been discovered in these fields.
The 18 archeologists on the dig are expected to continue excavations at the site for another four weeks.
United Utilities spokesman Melvin Dawson added: “The ancient Romans were pioneers in sanitation, so it’s perhaps fitting that this discovery was made during a sewage pipeline project.
“Our environmental policy means that we are committed to funding archaeological digs of this kind when important discoveries are made during our construction schemes.”
An exhibition of finds from the site will be held at Brougham Hall today and Saturday, between 10am and 4pm. A local re-enactment society will provide ‘centurions’ to guard the treasures.
From the Independent
They are among the finest survivors of ancient Greek civilisation in the Mediterranean: a line of imposing Doric temples on the southern coast of Sicily which have been listed as a Unesco World Heritage site since 1997.
But now the Italian government plans to build a huge liquid gas terminal less than a mile away from the famous Agrigento site, to the fury of environmentalists.
The site is protected by environmental laws, but the effect of these has been cancelled by the simple act of stating that the heritage site does not exist, according to Carlo Vulpio, the Corriere della Sera journalist who has been spearheading the environmentalists' fight back. Mr Vulpio disclosed yesterday that a ruling signed into law on 28 September by the Environment Minister, Stefania Prestigiacomo, backed by the Culture Minister, Sandro Bondi, stated that the planned €500m (£420m) plant "does not infringe on the special protected zone at a community level, inasmuch as the closest affected district is between 13 and 20km from the area of the planned development."
Thanks to this claim, the project has now obtained the all-important "environmental impact assessment" go-ahead from the ministerial commission in charge of these questions, on the grounds that it will not impact on sites of importance to the community. "It's therefore a pity," writes Mr Vulpio, "that at less than 1km (and not 13 or 20) from the point at which they want to realise the project, which consists of two holding tanks, each of 160,000sq m, 47m high and 72m across, plus the 40m-high flame tower, is to be found the Archaeological Park of the Valley of the Temples."
The Valley was awarded World Heritage Site status in 1997. It was founded as a Greek colony in the 6th century BC. "Its supremacy and pride," says Unesco, "are demonstrated by the remains of the magnificent Doric temples that dominate the ancient town, much of which still lies intact under fields and orchards. Its... row of Greek temples is one of the most outstanding monuments of Greek art and culture."
At the Valley of Temples page on Unesco's website, the file "Threats" is empty. But the menace posed by the terminal, to be built by Enel, Italy's national energy corporation, is lively enough that Unesco's Japanese director-general, Koichiro Matsuura, plans to visit the site tomorrow to make a first-hand assessment.
The Agrigento temples are set amid rolling hills with a commanding view over the sea, but the Mafia is a powerful force here. Environmentalists have for years been sounding the alarm over the rash of legal and illegal apartment blocks and hotels sprouting perilously close to the monuments. Back in 2002, Unesco was sounding the alarm about these developments. One official told Reuters: "The proliferation of illegal building growing up around Agrigento makes you think a bomb wouldn't be a bad solution." Opponents of the new liquid gas terminal believe the legislative sleight of hand which enabled the project to hoodwink the environmental assessment risk commission was thanks to the Mafia's ability to "oil the wheels" of government.
Now, however, critics hope that the self-evident outrageousness of building a major industrial facility a few minutes' walk from a world-famous Unesco site is gradually dawning on the island's politicians. The EU's Culture Commissioner Stavros Dimas has asked the Sicily region to furnish "urgent clarification" about the project, and now the Mayor of Agrigento, Franco Zambuto, and president of the park's ruling body, Rosalia Camerata Scovazzo, have agreed to challenge the project "in every court in the land".
From Mayo News
AFTER a lapse of around 30 years, Latin is back in St Colman’s College, Claremorris. Four students have expressed an interest in taking the subject for the Junior Certificate examinations in 2010. It is understood that they are the only students in the province of Connacht contemplating doing the subject for either the Junior or Leaving Cert exams at this time.
Latin was once taught extensively in many schools throughout the country and here in the Connacht region. Numerous students took the subject in St Colman’s College up to the mid-1970s. But over the past three decades, the study of Latin and Greek and Classical Studies went out of favour and all but vanished from the curriculum.
Roy Hession, a member of the staff at St Colman’s College, and who is also a member of the Classical Association of Ireland, decided to give students the option of taking Latin as a course subject for the Junior Certificate.
The Cambridge Latin Course is the guideline for the current effort to revive interest in Latin in St Colman’s College and Roy hopes that some of the students currently attending the school will be encouraged by their fathers who already took Latin as a major subject during their years in the school.
“There is obvious goodwill towards the subject. It is not a difficult language and students taking the subject can confidently aim for good marks. The Greek and Latin Academy are hoping to create a far greater interest in these languages and aim to create a fresh awareness of the languages at national level over the coming months.
“At the moment, we are doing the subject for half an hour one evening a week after school and we also hope to take a few Saturday sessions. The idea is to progress this to the Junior Cert in 2010 and ultimately to re-introduce Latin as an optional subject for the senior cycle,” says Roy.
It is estimated that over half the words in the English language come directly from Latin. The Romans continue to be a source of fascination for some people and their extraordinary engineering skills can still arouse a sense of awe. They also provided the basis for the legal system which operates in many parts of Europe to this day while the musings of some of their top writers and poets has resonated strongly across Europe down through the centuries.
Thanks to the generosity of the Classical Association and the Hellenic Society we are able to offer a number of graduate bursaries to attend this conference (programme below). Please contact Professor Judith Mossman at judith.mossman AT nottingham.ac.uk if you wish to attend or to apply for a bursary. The deadline for both is close of play next Friday, 28 November.
The Department of Classics, University of Nottingham, and the Centre for Ancient Drama and Its Reception (CADRE) cordially invites participants for the following conference:
MARS AND VENUS: GENDER-SPECIFIC COMMUNICATION IN THE CLASSICAL WORLD
Arts Centre, University of Nottingham, Saturday December 6 2008
10.00 ARRIVAL AND COFFEE
10.30 JENNIFER COATES (ROEHAMPTON) ‘Gender myths and gendered reality: a sociolinguistic overview’
11.15 TONI BADNALL (NOTTINGHAM) ‘Gendered speech in Lesbian love-lyric?’
12.00 EVERT VAN EMDE BOAS (OXFORD) ‘Gender-specific communication and speaker-line attribution in tragedy: two test cases’
2.00 JUDITH MOSSMAN (NOTTINGHAM) ‘A man’s a man for a’ that: male speech in Euripides, Trojan Women’
2.45 STEPHEN COLVIN (UCL) ‘The koiné: a common language (for men, that is)’
3.30 LUUK HUITINK (OXFORD) ‘Xenophon's gallery of women: speaking women in Xenophon's works’
4.30 ALISON SHARROCK (MANCHESTER) ‘Further voices in Ovid's Metamorphoses’
5.15 HELEN LOVATT (NOTTINGHAM) ‘The eloquence of Dido: speech and gender in Virgil's Aeneid’
6.00 CLOSING REMARKS AND WINE RECEPTION
DINNER AFTERWARDS FOR THOSE WHO WISH AT A LOCAL RESTAURANT
All are welcome. Cost will be £30 (including coffee, lunch, and tea) plus £20 (£10 for postgraduate students) for dinner. If you wish to attend, please contact Judith Mossman, Department of Classics, University of Nottingham, University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD, preferably by email (judith.mossman AT nottingham.ac.uk).
Macht Antike Politik? / Do Politics 'Make' Antiquity?
Thursday 4th December to Saturday 6th December
Fourth Conference of the SFB 644 "Transformationen der Antike"
Location: ICI Kulturlabor Berlin, Christinenstr. 18–19, Haus 8
Contact: Stefan.Schlelein AT geschichte.hu-berlin.de
Even after the end of the political structures of Antiquity, after the downfall of its empires and polities – from the Greek polity to the Persian or the Roman Empires –, the ancient world never lost its influence on political theory and practice in Europe and the western world completely: ancient precepts and paradigms serve as points of reference in the most variant public discourses up to our days. And even more so: they shaped these discourses in a sustained manner. It seems obvious to say that Antiquity ‘makes’ politics. Anyway, it still needs to be discussed to what extent these influences can be detected exactly and in what ways they function in each case. Taking specific transformations of political ideas, theories and courses of action as starting points, the conference will discuss the importance of Antiquity for politics especially in the Modern Era. To be more precise: Which political conceptions and norms, institutions and modes of representation are shaped or at least influenced by the ancient world, and to what extent? Where, when and why do political players choose to use Antiquity in order to reach their aims? Finally, starting from the premise of our theoretical concept of transformation that every reception implies at the same time a re-constitution of its object, we also have to take into account the opposite case: Do politics ‘make’ Antiquity?
Donnerstag, 4. Dezember 2008
13:45 Uhr – Hartmut Böhme (Berlin): Begrüßung und Einführung
Sektion 1: Die Antike im politischen Denken: Theoretische Modelle und
Moderation: Johannes Helmrath
14:00 Uhr – Herfried Münkler (Berlin): Erodierender Republikanismus:
Von Machiavelli zu Shakespeare
15:00 Uhr – Joaquín Abellán García (Madrid): Das Fortleben des
politischen Aristotelismus in der Neuzeit: Der Fall Spanien zwischen
dem 17. und 19. Jahrhundert
16:00 Uhr – Pause
16:30 Uhr – Wiebke-Marie Stock (Berlin): Politische Utopien. Die
'politeia' der Kirche nach Dionysius Areopagita (~500) und die
'Internationale der religiösen Intelligenz' nach Hugo Ball (1886–1927)
17:30 Uhr – Miriam Leonard (London): Jacques Derrida between Athens,
Rome, and Jerusalem: The Ancient City and the New Europe
18:30 Uhr – Pause
19:00 Uhr – Christian Meier (München): Das Politische und die
Freiheit: Der Neuanfang der Griechen
Freitag, 5. Dezember 2008
Sektion 2: Die Verortung der Antiketransformation: Institutionen und
Moderation: Matthias Pohlig
9:00 Uhr – Caspar Hirschi (Freiburg i. Ü./Cambridge): Die Antike als
Inspirations- und Legitimationsquelle für politische Gelehrtenrollen
10:00 Uhr – Sabine Dombek (Frankfurt a. M.): Landesherrschaft im
römischen Gewand. Der Hof des Franz I. zu Erbach-Erbach als Ort
11:00 Uhr – Pause
11:30 Uhr – Stefan Kipf (Berlin): Von der Wesensverwandtschaft zur
gemeinsamen Rasse – die Transformation des neuhumanistischen
Griechenbildes im altsprachlichen Unterricht der Nazi-Zeit
12:30 Uhr – Egon Flaig (Rostock): Keine Theokratie. Warum wir die
politische Autonomie der Antike verdanken
13:30 Uhr – Mittagspause
Sektion 3: Der Nutzen der Antike: Funktionen und Motivationen
Moderation: Charlotte Schreiter
15:00 Uhr – Marcus Becker (Berlin): "... not one good quality to
recommend him..." – Kaiserserien und ihre Transformationen im 18.
16:00 Uhr – Michael North (Greifswald): Antike Erkenntnisse bei
Geldtheoretikern und -praktikern an der Wende zur Neuzeit
17:00 Uhr – Pause
17:30 Uhr – Karsten Fischer (Berlin): Imperiale Verfallssucht:
Eigendynamiken und Fernwirkungen des Dekadenzmotivs
18:30 Uhr – Dimitris Grigoropoulos (Athen): Die Antike als Dystopie:
Zur Rezeption und Repräsentation der römischen Herrschaftsperiode im
Samstag, 6. Dezember 2008
Sektion 4: Antike-Inszenierung: Medien politischer Repräsentation
Moderation: Susanne von Falkenhausen
9:00 Uhr – Peter Seiler (Berlin): Öffentliche Ehrenmonumente im
italienischen Spätmittelalter und ihre antiken Vorbilder
10:00 Uhr – Gudrun Gersmann (Paris): Märtyrer in Wachs. Der Totenkult
der Französischen Revolution
11:00 Uhr – Pause
11:30 Uhr – Nancy Shumate (Northampton/MA): The Persistence of Rome
in Later Discourses of Empire
12:30 Uhr – Pascal Weitmann (Berlin): Das griechische
‚Nationalheiligtum‘ von Missolunghi
13:30 Uhr – Hartmut Böhme (Berlin): Schlusswort
E-mail: Stefan.Schlelein AT geschichte.hu-berlin.de
From the Register
Athenian triremes were legendary warships, the guided missiles of their day.
The human-powered vessels defeated a much larger Persian fleet at the Battle of Salamis, and in the process rescued Western civilization from likely oblivion.
The trireme was celebrated and much written about by Thucydides and other Greeks of the 5th century B.C. But nobody recorded any plans or specifications.
Consequently, later historians could only make educated guesses about the size, construction and configuration of the craft. The only clues came from a fragment of the relief in the Acropolis, images on shards of pottery, a joke in a play by Aristophanes, and a few other sparse references.
"Historians were arguing in the 1970s and 1980s about what did a trireme look like," said William Abbott, associate professor of history at Fairfield University. "It was a ramming ship, and probably made of light wood. It was rowed by a crew of 170, probably in three levels."
What else could the "tri" in trireme mean? Three men to an oar? Or three rows of one-man oars?
The Lenorman relief, removed from the Acropolis in 1852, seems to show three tiers of rowers.
In the mid-1980s, naval architect John F. Coates and others who would eventually found the Trireme Trust decided to build a trireme. The project was financed by the Greek navy and cost about $1 million.
The resulting craft, the Olympia, is now the world's only trireme.
The Olympia is resting in Greece, and the Trireme Trust hopes to bring it to New York Harbor in 2010. Meanwhile, any photograph of a trireme that you see is the Olympia.
Ford Weiskittel, director of the Trireme Trust and a former collegiate rower, saw the project through — selecting a crew and eventually eking about 9 knots out of Olympia.
Unlike other historical ships preserved in silt, triremes were buoyant, Weiskittel said. They floated, rather than sank, either to be towed away and repaired or washed ashore to rot.
Archeologists found the remnants of shelters built along the shore to house triremes. The foundations suggested that the ships were about 120 feet long and 18 feet wide, making them extremely narrow.
This length is optimal for balancing the opposing bow and stern waves that would otherwise stress and weaken the ship, Weiskittel said.
Contrary to public belief, trireme crews were not slaves. "Rowers were highly skilled and well paid," he said. Crews trained eight months a year at propelling and maneuvering a trireme.
Coordinating 170 oars required tremendous skill, not to mention turning the craft and attacking the enemy, Weiskittel said. Coates, and others, considered how the three decks of rowers would have fit into the ship.
All oars had to be the same length, and all met the water at the same distance from the side of the ship.
That left a limited number of ways for the crew to be seated. Coates and others decided that the most likely design, which also resembled the ship in the relief, had rowers on deck, another line lower and a foot or two down, and a third line in what would have been the ship's hold.
All the rowers could fit in this configuration, and could row without bumping into crew mates. The Olympia showed that rowing was exhausting and difficult in the confined spaces, and the lowest rowers could not see out of the ship.
Triremes were built of light wood, and likely assembled with mortise and tenon joints to save weight, Weiskittel said. Light ribs supported the inside of the hull.
A key part of the ship, the hypozoma, was a powerful, taut rope connected from the bow to the stern. It stiffened the hull and kept the craft true. The keel extended through the bow and ended in a 400-pound, bronze ram.
A ram was found and reproduced. Tellingly, the ram does not end in a point. Rather, it widens, and has side ridges intended to restrict the depth of penetration.
The goal of ramming would have been to pierce the hull of the enemy ship, not to bury the prow in the target, which would have allowed enemy soldiers to board and slaughter the crew.
Weiskittel said the apparent tactics of triremes would have been to maneuver behind the enemy and then ram the stern. The trireme would then withdraw and allow the other ship to fill with water and sink.
The Olympia never had the opportunity to ram anything. The crew achieved 7 knots, which is about the speed a trireme would have traveled, given various historical accounts.
With practice, the crew could turn the ship in a circle only slightly longer than the length of the vessel. They could accelerate from zero to 7 knots in about 30 seconds.
Weiskittel picked male and female crew members between 5-foot-4 and 5-foot-7 to duplicate the likely stature of ancient Greek men. Even so, the lowest line of rowers had to bend their heads to avoid hitting a beam in front of them, and inevitably bumped the backs of their heads on the return stroke.
Since no one is sure of the water level of the Aegean Sea in ancient times, or how far ashore the triremes were dragged, it's possible the ships were 3 to 4 feet longer than the Olympia, Weiskittel said. This would give the crew more rowing room.
The trireme bested Xerxes' fleet at the Battle of Salamis, sinking or capturing more than 200 enemy vessels in the narrow straits between Piraeus and Salamis, a small island in the Saronic Gulf, near Athens.
If Xerxes had won, the triremes smashed to splinters, then what?
No more Athens, no more democracy, and probably no Plato or Aristotle.
"The Battle of Salamis was a huge impetus for Greeks and democracy," Weiskittel said.
Or, as some historians and trireme enthusiasts see it, Western civilization.
... and as long as we're talking about triremes, we might as well mention this bit of ClassCon from the incipit and conclusion to a piece in the Motley Fool
Had the crew of an ancient Greek trireme crossed paths with a member of Aegean Marine's (NYSE: ANW) fleet, there's no telling how they might have reacted.
As far-ranging as their hollow ships may have been, the mariners of Homer's day would have soiled their tunics had they known the extent of wine-dark sea now covered by this fuel transporter. Aegean provides fuel to oil tankers, container ships, drybulk carriers, cruise ships, ferries, and other shipping vessels both at sea and in port, and it operates all over the world. Last Thursday, it reported quarterly diluted earnings per share of $0.22 on $951 million in total revenues -- higher than last year's fiscal third quarter by 22% and 167%, respectively.
If you're brave like Achilles and unafraid of its risks, you might consider how an investment in Aegean's stock would fit into your already well-diversified portfolio.
quick update ... we should return tomorrow, barring any more interruptions ...
sorry folks ... i'm totally swamped right now with marking, report cards, and two confirmations (and my (computer) mouse just died, which makes all this all the more difficult) ... service should resume in a day or two ...
ante diem xiv kalendas decembres
Mercatus -- in the wake of the lengthy ludi Plebeii, the Romans needed a few days to restock their cupboards
ca. 64 A.D. -- upside down crucifixion of Peter
303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Hesychius of Antioch
1718 -- premiere of Voltaire's Oedipe
From Balkan Travellers
Macedonian archaeologists found over 100 new artefacts, dating to the early Roman period, at the Gabrevci site in the central part of the country.
130 ceramic vessels and deformed bronze objects were discovered during initial excavations, Trayche Nachev, head of the archaeological team, told national media on Sunday.
The new findings come a month after a ritual funeral coach was discovered at the site, according to media reports.
The area around the village of Konche and the town of Štip is rich in well-researched archaeological sites from different eras. Several tombs dating to the first century AD and the late Bronze period can be found near Konche, the Macedonian Information Agency wrote.
In addition, as BalkanTravellers.com reported in October, excavations of the medieval fortress of Isar in Štip yielded findings, including a one-nave church, that illustrated how life in the fortress was organised during different periods of its existence.
Teaching ab initio Ancient Languages to Postgraduates: Issues & Approaches
CALL FOR PAPERS: Deadline 4.30pm 12th December 2008
CSC (Classics in the History, Classics and Archaeology Subject Centre)
is sponsoring a no-charge one-day workshop to consider 'Teaching ab
initio Languages to
Postgraduates: Issues & Approaches' on Saturday 17th January 2009, which
will be hosted by the Department of Classics and Ancient History at the
University of Bristol.
The aims of the day are three-fold: to enable the identification of
common issues, to offer a variety of approaches, both strategic and
pedagogical, to surmounting those issues and to engage in discussion
within a community of practice that goes beyond individual departments.
The programme will feature a number of invited speakers whose work in
this area is known to the organisers, but because this is an area of
interest for all departments this call for papers is also being made.
Papers and sessions on any topic or theme relating to the subject of
teaching ancient languages to beginners' at postgraduate level are
Titles and brief abstracts (c. 250 words) should be sent by email with
the Subject 'Teaching PG languages Abstract' to g.liveley AT bristol.ac.uk
or e.r.okell AT durham.ac.uk by Friday 12th December 2008.
Further details of the workshop can be found at
initioPG_IssuesansApproaches_17_01_2009 where booking details appear and
the programme will be available in due course.
This call for papers appears online at
http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/hca/classics/events, where you can find out
more about the kinds of events that CSC and HCA organise (including
those in partnership with Departments) and the line-up for the next
couple of months. CSC expects to add more January events soon, so you
might wish to bookmark this page and revisit it.
‘The Erotics of Narrative’
A KYKNOS Conference
KYKNOS is a Centre for Research on Ancient Narrative Literatures (www.kyknos.org.uk)
15-17 July 2009
At Gregynog (www.wales.ac.uk/gregynog/)
Desire, anticipation, pleasure, and satisfaction are all concepts which apply to hearing, reading, and giving narratives, as well as to love and sex. In some cases, horror, boredom, pain, and frustration are involved instead, or even as well. When a narrative concerns love and/or sex, then there is the possibility of dynamic interplay between the contents of the narrative and its narration, and between the provocations and reactions of narrators and their narratees.
This conference aims to explore the ways in which ideas and theories surrounding ancient narratives and erotic subject matter interrelate and affect each other. Avenues we envisage being interesting to explore include: How do narrators understand and treat love and sex, and what can this tell us about them and their narrative? What do narrators focus on or avoid, and how much of an impact does the (presence/age/gender etc. of the) narratee(s) have? How are the processes and rhythms of reading/listening related to sexual desire, pleasure, and so on? To what extent are questions of genre important for understanding the erotics of narrative? How do narrators use, and/or narratees understand, metaphors, similes, and ambiguous or multi-dimensional terminology and language in describing love and its effects, and what factors determine their usage? How do aspects such as guilt, shame, voyeurism, censorship, explicitness, knowing allusions, revelation, and concealment relate to and complicate narration? Can ideas of deviance, fetishism, compliance, force, teasing, and transaction be usefully applied to narrative? To what extent are activity and passivity important in narration? How do narratives reflect, question, and/or subvert sexual and erotic norms and theories?
This list is by no means exhaustive or prescriptive, and we shall be more than happy for contributors to interpret the topic in other ways. We anticipate that the terms ‘erotics’ and ‘narrative’ will be taken reasonably broadly, to reflect the potential for different methods and levels of interpretation and understanding.
Venue and Publication
This conference will take place at the University of Wales Conference Centre at Gregynog Hall, a historic and beautiful country-house in peaceful rural Wales. For information on Gregynog see www.wales.ac.uk/gregynog/. We aim to repeat the success of the 2007 KYKNOS conference ‘Lies and Metafiction in Ancient Narrative’, which was also held at Gregynog. The papers of the 2007 conference will be published in 2009 in an edited volume in the Ancient Narrative Supplementum series, and we aim to publish an edited volume based on this conference.
Confirmed speakers include:
Konstantin Doulamis, Steve Nimis, Stelios Panayotakis, Alison Sharrock, Tim Whitmarsh, Froma Zeitlin
Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words in length, and should be sent to the conference organisers: John Morgan (John.Morgan AT swansea.ac.uk), Mirjam Plantinga (m.plantinga AT lamp.ac.uk), and Ian Repath (i.repath AT swansea.ac.uk), by the 10th of December at the latest. We hope to be able to make decisions and inform all those who have submitted abstracts of those decisions within two weeks of the deadline.
Papyrological Institute at the University of Michigan
1 July- 31 July 2009
In July 2009, the Department of Classical Studies and the Graduate Library at the University of Michigan will host a Papyrological Institute for advanced graduate students and junior faculty in Ancient History, Classics, Egyptology, Byzantine Studies and related disciplines. The 2009 Papyrological Institute will focus on late antique documentary papyri. In keeping with the goals of previous years, the Institute aims to provide participating scholars with direct experience of the papyri through close reading of individual texts, and with knowledge of the field of papyrology in general, so that they may employ this knowledge effectively in conducting their own future teaching and research. The Institute at Ann Arbor will be the latest in the series of institutes that have been held at Yale (2003), UC Berkeley (2004), Cincinnati (2005), Columbia (2006), and Stanford (2008) under the sponsorship of the American Society of Papyrologists.
The institute will include a combination of lectures and advanced coursework with first-hand experience working with ancient sources. Students are expected to participate actively in all of the institute’s programs and activities; a full-time commitment is required while the Institute is in session. In general, mornings will be dedicated to introductory lectures by the principal instructors, Professor James G. Keenan, Director, Loyola University of Chicago, and by Professors Traianos Gagos, Arthur Verhoogt and Terry G. Wilfong, and Ms. Leyla Lau-Lamb (conservation) of the University of Michigan. Afternoons will be devoted to advanced coursework, to workshops on individual papyri, instruction in elementary Coptic, and papyrological conservation. A selection of unpublished material will be provided for participants to work with. At the end of the week, Fridays will be devoted to pro-seminars and to lectures on special topics concerned with the historical documentation for late antique Egypt.
Admission to the summer Papyrological Institute is by application only; approximately twelve scholars will be selected to participate. Any qualified academic may participate; no previous experience with papyrology is required. For work with Greek and Coptic papyri, a high degree of competence in Ancient Greek and/or Coptic is essential. Instruction in elementary Coptic will be provided as part of the course. Participation in the institute is free of charge. Applicants are expected to seek financial support from their home institutions to facilitate their participation, but grants may be available for candidates who lack other means of support. Participants who complete the Institute will receive a certificate from the American Society of Papyrologists, but no credit will be given for the course and no grades or transcripts will be issued.
Application Procedure: The application consists of the completed application form along with current curriculum vitae and two letters of recommendation. All materials must be received by 15 February 2009 in order to be considered for admission. Notification of decisions will be issued in March. For further information about the Summer Institute, please contact Professor Traianos Gagos (traianos AT umich.edu).
Send application materials to:
Professor Traianos Gagos
Department of Classical Studies
University of Michigan
2160 Angell Hall
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003
ante diem xv kalendas decembres
ludi Plebeii (day 14) -- the Jupiterfest is almost over
9 A.D. -- birth of the future emperor Vespasian
303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Alphaeus
From the Guardian
It may not straddle the port as its predecessor once did, but in terms of sheer luminosity and eye-catching height the new Colossus of Rhodes will not disappoint. Nor will it fall short of the symbolism that once imbued the ancient monument.Back in 2005
Twenty-three centuries after craftsmen carved the legendary statue that has inspired legions of painters, poets, playwrights and politicians, a new world wonder, built in the spirit of the original Colossus, is about to be born on the Aegean island.
After decades of dashed hopes, the people of Rhodes will fulfil a long-held dream to revive one of the world's seven ancient wonders - thanks to the promise of international funding and the East German artist Gert Hof.
"It will be a unique architectural creation," said the island's mayor, Hatzis Hatziefthimiou, presenting what is likely to become one of the 21st century's largest artistic projects in Dubai last week.
"We want to make it a work of global appeal and significance."
Like the original, erected in homage to the sun god Helios by the master sculptor Chares of Lindos, the new Colossus will adorn an outer pier in the harbour area of Rhodes, and be visible to passing ships.
And like its ancient namesake, the modern-day wonder will be dedicated to celebrating peace and built, at least in part, out of melted-down weapons from around the world.
But unlike the ancient Colossus, which stood 34 metres high before an earthquake toppled it in 226BC, the groundbreaking work of art is slated to be much taller and bigger. And unlike previous reconstruction efforts, officials say the Cologne-based design team is determined to avoid recreating a replica.
In the past, new Colossus aficionados have persistently run up against the objections of Greece's powerful lobby of archaeologists.
A proposal to recreate the legendary statue in the run-up to the 2004 Athens Olympics whipped up such controversy that opponents claimed its glitzy, we're-bigger-than-you overtones were not only offensive but defiled rather than boosted the country's cultural heritage.
"Monumental works can't be copied for the simple reason that they risk becoming caricatures," insisted Hatziefthimiou.
Instead, in the spirit of the 21st century the new Colossus has been conceived as a highly innovative light sculpture, a work of art that will allow visitors to physically inspect it by day as well as enjoy - through light shows - a variety of stories it will "tell" by night.
"We are talking about a highly, highly innovative light sculpture, one that will stand between 60 and 100 metres tall so that people can physically enter it," said Dr Dimitris Koutoulas, who is heading the project in Greece.
"Although we are still at the drawing board stage, Gert Hof's plan is to make it the world's largest light installation, a structure that has never before been seen in any place of the world."
The statue is also expected to cost up to €200m according to yesterday's Vima newspaper. But, in another first that has also been welcomed by the people of Rhodes, international organisations led by the World Trade Centre Association, a network of exporters who promote peace through trade, have weighed in with financial help.
"The new Colossus has been the dream of Rhodians for many years," said Yannis Hadzimarkos, president of the Dodecannese Islands' Chamber of Commerce which is also supporting the project. "It will be a marvellous opportunity for the economy of the region even if it is naive to think it will be easy."
Carved by Chares of Lindon, one of antiquity's greatest sculptors, the original Colossus was erected in homage to the Sun god Helios. It is believed to have been about 120ft high on a 25ft white marble plinth (compared with the Statue of Liberty's 151ft on a 159ft plinth). For almost seven decades it stood over Rhodes before being destroyed by an earthquake in 226BC. In later years, its huge bronze and marble parts were carted off by Arab tradesmen. "Even lying on the ground, it is a marvel," wrote Pliny the Elder. It was so big, he said, that "few people can get their arms around its thumb". Although historians have spent years arguing about the wonder's exact location, artists have always depicted it straddling Rhodes' imposing harbour. Unlike the original statue, which took Chares 12 years to carve in situ, the new statue could be built in less than half that time if adequate funding is found, project organisers say. While the Statue of Liberty was built in France and then assembled in New York, the new Colossus is expected to be built by locals on the island. The Colossus was included in Sidon's list of the Seven Wonders of the World compiled some 2,137 years ago along with the Pyramids, the Walls and Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus in modern Turkey, the statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the Lighthouse at Alexandria.
someone else was talking about the same sort of thing (sans light) ... I guess if you're looking for money for this sort of thing, Dubai's the place to go ...
Slow news day, so we'll mention this one from the Inquirer
A work by the Filipino master Juan Novicio Luna (1857-1899), believed to have been lost and missing for over a century, has surfaced and will be auctioned off by Christie’s during its Fall sale of Southeast Asian Modern & Contemporary Art on Nov. 30, in Hongkong, the auction house has announced.
“The recovery of an important and beautiful Luna will surely cause a stir on our art scene,” Ramon Orlina told the Inquirer. (Orlina’s sculptures are among those to be auctioned off.)
The found work is “Las Damas Romanas” (Roman Maidens), which will have a floor price of HK$8,000,000-10,000,000 or US$1,025,600-1,282,000).
Christie’s says the auction of the painting will surely be one of the highlights of the bidding.
“This extraordinary work was, until only recently, presumed lost as its whereabouts were unknown over a century since it was painted,” the auction house notes. “Its reappearance on the market now makes it one of only a small number of drawings, watercolors and oils by Luna that have surfaced in the past quarter of a century.”
Documentation on the work is scant. It was noted in the 1957 biography of Luna by Carlos E. Da Silva, and appeared as a faded black-and-white photograph from the file of the prewar art dealer and historian Alfonso T. Ongpin, which was reproduced by art historian and teacher Santiago Pilar in “Juan Luna: The Filipino as Painter,” published by the Eugenio Lopez Foundation in 1980.
The painting is an oil on canvas, 100 x 170 cm (around 39 x 67 inches). It is signed and dated “Luna Roman 1883” at the lower right.
Like “Spoliarium,” Luna’s most famous mural showing the corpse of a Roman gladiator being dragged in a chamber under the coliseum, “Damas” is also drawn from ancient Roman history but its elements are cheerful.
It shows two maidens on the steps of a building, one with her back reclining on a Roman pillar and the other, partly supine, holding on her leash, two frisky dogs trying to chase doves which are all around them, creating a merry scene of rest and languor. In the background is what appears to be a small shrine with incense smoke rising.
In his notes to the Christie’s catalogue, Ambeth Ocampo, Inquirer columnist and chair of the National Historical Institute, notes: “Should ‘Las Damas Romanas’ be seen at face value? Is it but a typical domestic scene in ancient Rome or does it have deeper, hidden meanings?”—much like “Spoliarium,” which Filipino propagandists and contemporaries of Luna in Madrid said was an allegory of the sufferings of
Filipinos under colonial Spain.
Ocampo takes particular note of the probable symbolic value of the doves, which he says, in ancient Rome, were given erotic connotations. “So, is this an allegory of restrained lust?”
Ocampo adds that there have been observations that the dark woman with the leash resembles Paz Pardo de Tavera, Luna’s wife whom he shot and killed in Paris, in 1802, in a fit of jealousy.
Is the painting, despite its cheerful scene, Luna’s way of painting his perception of his wife as a flirt?
“(B)ut unfortunately,” Ocampo notes, “Luna was not married when he painted ‘Las Damas’ in 1882. He had not even met his future wife at the time.”
Luna did the work while he was a student of the Spanish Academy in Rome. It was completed between his prize-winning works “Death of Cleopatra,” a silver medal in the Madrid Exposition of 1881; and “Spoliarium” which garnered the first gold medal in the Madrid Exposition of 1884. “Las Damas Romanas” itself won a Diploma of Honor at the Munich Art Exposition of 1886.
Against the dark interpretation of the doves, some observers have noted that the doves in Roman mythology really symbolize the divine. The fact that the two ladies seek to restrain the dogs from attacking the birds appear to highlight the sacredness of the divine. This makes it really a picture of the abundant richness of life, with humankind shown in harmony with Nature.
Perhaps it couldn’t have been otherwise. As a student in Europe’s classical academies, Luna was supposed to observe and sketch classical Roman architecture and artifacts as studies and the work may be a culmination of these observations.
“Christie’s is delighted to play a role in the recovery of ‘Las Damas Romanas’ and is honored to present this tour de force to collectors this season,” the auction house says. “This extraordinary work will be offered alongside 120 other works of Southeast Asian Modern & Contemporary Art, a category that provides a distinctive element in the art market of Hong Kong, and contributes to the full richness and flavor of the art from Asia, that Christie’s offers each season.”
Aside from the Luna and Orlina works, to be auctioned off are works by Antonio Blanco, Lao Lian Ben, Gabriel Barredo and National Artists José Joya, Ang Kiukok and Bencab.
But works by younger Filipino artists dominate the auction: Roland Ventura, Rodel Tapaya, Kiko Escora, Geraldine Javier, Renato Orara, Lena Cobangbang, Kawayan de Guia, Nona Garcia, Yasmin Sison, Wire Tuazon and Lirio Salvador.
Christie’s Hong Kong Southeast Asian Modern & Contemporary Art Auction: Sunday, Nov. 30, Grand Hall, Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center.
Christie's has an image of the Damas (larger version available at their site
It seems odd that there are so few versions of Spoliarum available on the web (which is one of those huge, wall-sized works) ... here's the only one I could find:
As the source
notes, it's 23 x 13 feet in size, and shows some dead gladiators being dragged away as a woman mourns in the corner. It is one of the treasures of the National Museum of the Philippines' collection and was considered to evoke the sacrifices and struggles of the Philippine people as they struggled to free themselves from the yoke of Spanish oppression.
Not much this week:
NPR has a short little thing with Elaine Fantham on Roman voting
Theatre Reviews: Influence
(Vancouver) ... Trojan Women (a high school production
) ... Medea
(Brock) ... Persians
(Fresno State) ... Oresteia
... told you it wasn't much.
The intro to a piece in Hurriyet
In general, the changes we have made - and are making - in the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review have been warmly greeted by readers. Yes, the "Horizons" page with its unorthodox geographical divisions has turned a few heads. And if the point of our our new "Metronome" is indeed to catch the "beat of the cities," we will first have to catch it ourselves. Give us another week or two.David Judson
What seems to be most disconcerting about our new look is the "Economic Review" section, which consists of five pages printed upside down, enabling us to start a "second front" from what was hitherto the back page. I hope a bit of amplification will prove helpful.
The background to the use of this approach must include the fact that while it is an innovation at the Daily News, and probably a journalistic "first" in the way we have done it, it is not truly original. In newspaper jargon, it is sometimes called the "Janus format," so named for the god of Roman mythology said to have two faces. In addition to the new look of the Daily News, this patron of doorways and new beginnings has also given the English language at least two words. "January," for the beginning month of the year, and "janitor," the one who looks after the maintenance of buildings and doorways are among them. I would include the Ottoman equivalent of the Pretorian Guard, the "Janissaries" in English, but this is just a guess I have been unable to substantiate. [etc.]
... wow, outside of the obvious janitor and January, I can't find any confirmation of 'Janus format' being used in this way; I'm pretty sure Jannisary derives from a Turkish word, not Latin ...
From La Repubblica
Sono 47 in totale le tombe rinvenute nella necropoli di origine etrusca venuta alla luce a Strozzacapponi, alla periferia di Perugia, in seguito ai lavori per la realizzazione di una rotatoria tra la Pievaiola e Castel del Piano. Trentacinque delle urne sono a camera ed altre a fossa. Alcune si presentavano gia' depredate in antico, altre integre. Le indagini archeologiche sono state rese possibili grazie ai fondi della Provincia di Perugia per un totale di 160 mila euro, ente impegnato nel progetto di riqualificazione della intersezione stradale teatro del ritrovamento. Questa mattina la Soprintendenza per i Beni Archeologici dell'Umbria, in una conferenza stampa, ha illustrato presso l'Antiquarium Ipogeo dei Volumi di Ponte San Giovanni (Perugia) i ritrovamenti delle tombe. Erano presenti, tra gli altri, il Soprintendente Mariarosaria Salvatore, la responsabile degli scavi per la Soprintendenza Luana Cenciaioli e le archeologhe che hanno seguito tutte le fasi di scavo Maria Cappelletti e Federica Fico, i consiglieri provinciali della I Commissione consiliare permanente, Palmiero Bruscia, Stefano Zuccarini, Fiorello Primi, Edoardo Alunni, Luciano Paci, Paolo Borgioni, Domenico Caprini, Gianfranco Becchetti e Luigi Andreani. Per quanto riguarda i lavori di scavo, il ritrovamento piu' importante per ricchezza di materiali e' avvenuto il 4 luglio con la tomba degli 'anei marcna' cosiddetta 'del letto funebre'. La tomba fa parte di una necropoli molto estesa, costituita da un centinaio di sepolture e si colloca lungo uno degli assi viari antichi che uscivano dalle porte della cinta muraria etrusca di Perugia per raggiungere le citta' vicine, in questo caso Chiusi.
From the Westmoreland Gazette
A RARE Roman settlement has been unearthed near Penrith, shedding light on the life and times of the region's ancient settlers.
The discovery on agricultural land in Bougham near the A66 - described by experts as a find of national significance - was made by water company United Utilities during initial excavations for a 7km Hackthorpe-Penrith wastewater pipeline.
The civilian settlement, or vicus, is believed to date back to the first century AD. It features the remains of two timber buildings, cobbled lanes and three stone buildings, and a very rare Grubenhauser - a sunken feature building from the early medieval period.
From the Saginaw News
Call it a dead language, but Latin came alive Wednesday night at Heritage High School, 3465 N. Center in Saginaw Township.
Drawing more than 400 Latin students and their families, the annual Latin Banquet hearkened to the heyday of ancient Rome. Dubbed the Cena Romana, or dinner of Rome, students garbed in togas and coronas performed skits while their families feasted on Roman-themed cuisine.
"We tried to make it as authentic as possible," said Latin teacher Janet M. Bixby.
"Everyone sits on the floor because the Romans would have ate lying down. We have all the food they would've had, with turkey instead of pheasant and juice instead of wine."
Former Latin teacher Gerald Meyers started the event more than 30 years ago. Meyers died in 2005, with Bixby keeping the endeavor going, partly in tribute to his memory.
"Everything was made by the students," Bixby said. "They worked for several weeks on this."
Members of each class had different tasks, with Latin I students working as servants for the upper classmen. Fourth-year students planned the dinner and arrived as guests of honor.
"Each class does their own skit," said senior Katie MacGillivray, 17, daughter of Ken and Rena MacGillivray of Saginaw Township.
The skits were the highlight of the night, MacVilliray said.
As a yearly event, students advance in their roles each year. MacVilliray her fellow seniors fashioned their ensembles as freshmen.
"This is what we work for for half the year," said Leah Short, 18, a senior and daughter of Suzanne and Jack Short of Saginaw Township.
... can't resist posting the photo; looks like a good time:
The capital’s National Archaeological Museum will showcase in February hundreds of unseen artifacts in a section of its first floor that has been closed to visitors for a decade, the museum’s director, Nikos Kaltsas, revealed yesterday.
The new exhibition will feature about 800 pieces, chiefly from the Hellenistic period, including funerary urns, a cooling device – used in antiquity to chill wine – as well as spectacular funerary murals by the 4th-century Athenian painter Lydos.
“The aim is to present every kind of ancient artifact that exists in the museum but has not yet been displayed due to lack of space,” Kaltsas told Kathimerini. Why were the exhibits not displayed sooner? “It was not expedient to scatter the pieces over various collections,” Kaltsas said. The museum has undergone extensive renovation over the past few years.
From the Chronicle
If you hate cleaning the bath of a weekend, spare a thought for a team of council workers.
They have just spent six hours scrubbing Britain's biggest bath in a rare makeover for a city tourist attraction.
Visitors to the council-run Roman Baths complex were treated to the sight of the Great Bath empty of hot water.
Once it had been drained, staff mineral-rich sediment from the bottom of the pool.
Heritage chiefs at the council wanted to photograph the empty bath as part of interpretation work at the attraction.
The Great Bath is the largest of the pools in the middle of the 2,000-year-old temple and religious bathing complex.
A quarter of a million gallons of hot water normally flow through the baths every day from the thermal spring at the heart of the site, the only natural hot spring in the country.
To drain it, the hot water was diverted through an original Roman overflow, a method of cleaning that has not changed in those 2,000 years.
After the Roman-designed sluice gate was closed, the bath filled up again at the rate of three gallons per second.
The bath is regularly cleaned but rarely is it completely drained.
Stephen Clews, Bath and North East Somerset Council's manager of the baths, said: "We wanted to photograph the Great Bath in order to illustrate stories from the past, so staff were careful to drain it completely on this occasion.
"In Roman days, a formidable team of stonemasons, sculptors, tile-makers and builders must have been drafted in from far and wide by the Romans to construct such an impressive and substantial building.
"We are keen to put stories of the people who lived here 2,000 years ago back into the stones that remain."
The complex is currently undergoing a five-year, £5 million redevelopment.
It is visited by around a million people a year but the council is keen to improve access for the disabled.
From the Star
Mikenna Everett, Flower Mound High School junior, captured third place in the Latin essay contest at the National Junior Classical League conference held at Miami of Ohio University.
“I was just really excited about placing,” Mikenna, 16, said.
She also finished 11th overall in the Latin prose contest held at the conference.
“My essay was about the aspects of Roman culture,” she said.
She prepared for the contests by reading about the culture.
Mikenna has participated in the Flower Mound Junior Classical League since her freshman year. She had competed each year, making it to area her first year and state and on to nationals her sophomore year, where she won her awards.
“I have been in the JCL since my freshman year, and I am the club president this year,” MiKenna said.
Adam Sales, Mikenna’s Latin teacher, had praise for her work ethics.
“Mikenna is a model student in every way,” Sales said. “She is very dedicated to her academics, her behavior is perfect and she is the kind of student every teacher likes to have in class.”
Sales has been teaching Mikenna for two years, but he added he didn’t think he would have her in class this year because of her schedule.
“She started with Latin I and had completed all the way to Latin IV in the two years I have been teaching her,” he said.
The honors at the conference pleased Sales.
“I was not surprised at the outcome,” Sales said. “She’s at the top of everything she does for the most part, and she makes it look effortless too.”
Besides her academic endeavors, Mikenna participates in the ROTC at Flower Mound. She is a Cadet Second Lieutenant in command of the color guard detachment. Her hobbies include reading, when she can and “hanging out with my friends.”
Her parents were happy about their daughter’s efforts at the conference.
“We were just thrilled with what she accomplished,” said Mark Everett via a telephone interview.
“We were proud she went and did so well,” said Laurel Everett, Mikenna’s mother.
As for what lies ahead for Mikenna, she wants to continue her Latin studies and attend Carleton College in Minnesota.
“It’s only a two-year college but I think I would like to go there,” Mikenna said.
She said she also would like to go again to the JCL national conference next year.
A zillion versions of this one in my box ... here's the one from Tiscali
"I'll tell you what's wrong with it. It's dead, that's what's wrong with it."
For those who believe the ancient Greeks thought of everything first, proof has been found in a 4th century AD joke book featuring an ancestor of Monty Python's Dead Parrot sketch where a man returns a parrot to a shop, complaining it is dead.
The 1,600-year-old work entitled "Philogelos: The Laugh Addict," one of the world's oldest joke books, features a joke in which a man complains that a slave he has just bought has died, its publisher said on Friday.
"By the gods," answers the slave's seller, "when he was with me, he never did any such thing!"
In a comedy act Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch, first aired in 1969 and regularly voted one of the funniest ever, the pet-shop owner says the parrot, a "Norwegian Blue," is not dead, just "resting" or "pining for the fjords."
The English-language book will appeal to those who swear that the old jokes are the best ones. Many of its 265 gags will seem strikingly familiar, suggesting that sex, dimwits, nagging wives and flatulence have raised laughs for centuries.
In many of the jokes, a slow-witted figure known as the "student dunce" is the butt of the jokes. In one, the student dunce goes to the city and a friend asks him to buy two 15-year-old slaves: "No problem,' responds the dunce. "If I don't find two 15-year-olds, I'll get one 30-year-old.'
In another, someone asks to borrow the student's cloak to go down to the country. "I have a cloak to go down to your ankle, but I don't have one that reaches to the country," he replies.
The manuscript is attributed to a pair of ancient comedians called Hierocles and Philagrius. Little is known about them except that they were most likely the compilers of the jokes, not the original writers.
The multi-media e-book, which can be purchased online (www.yudu.com/oldestjokebook), features veteran comedian Jim Bowen, 71, reviving the lines before a 21-century audience.
"Jim Bowen brings them back from the dead. It's like Jurassic Park for jokes," Richard Stephenson, CEO of digital publisher YUDU, said in a statement.
For Bowen, much of the material seemed very familiar: "One or two of them are jokes I've seen in peoples' acts nowadays, slightly updated: they put in a motor car instead of a chariot."
Other one-liners in Philogelos may baffle a modern audience, such as a series of jokes about a lettuce, which only make sense in light of the ancient belief it was an aphrodisiac.
Oddly, this one doesn't seem to mention that William Berg, erstwhile professor of Classics at UCLA ... longtime readers of rc will also recall that amicus noster Michael Hendry spent quite a bit of time posting and commenting on the Philogelos in the Ioci Antiqui section of his Curculio blog
Amicus noster (and erstwhile instructor) Barry Baldwin notes that his (annotated) The Philogelos or Laughter-Lover
(London Studies in Classical Philology Series, 10) is still available as well ...
TWO THOUSAND YEARS OF SOLITUDE
Exile After Ovid
Call for Papers: Reminder
An international conference to be held at Durham University, 3rd-4th
September 2009 under the auspices of the Centre for the Study of the
Confirmed speakers include: Josephine Balmer (poet and author of the
forthcoming The Word for Sorrow, incorporating versions of the Tristia),
Susan Bassnett (Warwick), Stephen Harrison (Oxford), Stephen Hinds
(University of Washington, Seattle), Duncan Kennedy (Bristol).
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, the Anglo-Latin poet Westonia, C20th and 21st poetry,
Russian receptions, the translator’s role in reception, Oscar Wilde, and
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 durham.ac.uk), Department of Classics and
Ancient History, 38 North Bailey, Durham University, Durham, UNITED
KINGDOM, DH1 3EU.
The New Hypereides
The Institute of Classical Studies in co-operation with The British
Academy and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences announces a one-day
colloquium devoted to the newly published palimpsest text of Hypereides.
The aim is to engage a wider audience in the discussion of one of the most
exciting texts to emerge in recent decades.
Date: Friday 30 January 2009
10.00 Arrival, welcome and coffee
10.30 The palimpsest: image and decipherment (tbc)
11.00 The Hypereides manuscript: codicology, palaeography
12.00 Hypereides, Demosthenes and Philip (Laszlo Horváth, P.J. Rhodes)
2.30 Hypereides Against Diondas and the rhetoric of political failure
Hyperides' Against Diondas and the rhetoric of revolt (Jud Herrman)
4.30 Law, language and rhetoric in the Timandros (Lene Rubinstein, David
5.30 Drinks Reception
There is no fee for attendance; but places are limited and anyone wishing
to attend is encouraged to contact the Secretary of the Institute of
Classical Studies at admin.icls AT sas.ac.uk.
Thinking of Applying to the Classics M.A. Program?
The Classics Department at the University of Arizona in Tucson would like to
introduce you to our Classics M.A. program, which should be of interest to
both Classics majors and Humanities-oriented undergraduate students. Our
graduate program has enjoyed remarkable growth since its inception in 1985
and, along with our undergraduate program, continues to expand. It is now
one of the premier M.A. programs in the United States and attracts qualified
students from all regions of this country and from abroad.
Students in our M.A. program emphasize Classical Philology
Ancient History or
Latin Pedagogy . A
number of Graduate Fellowships, Teaching and Research Assistantships, as
well as waivers of tuition and fees, are available. Graduate students take
courses and seminars, teach under supervision, and write their theses under
the directorship of the departmental faculty
M.A. concentrators in Classical Philology focus on ancient Greek and Latin
languages and literatures and study with the department's philologists: John
Bauschatz, David Christenson, Marilyn Skinner, Christopher van den Berg,
Gonda Van Steen, Bella Vivante and Cynthia White. Faculty in Classical
Philology are active researchers in a broad range of specialties, including
Homer, Greek and Roman drama, Augustan literature, feminist approaches to
Classics, ancient sexuality, neoteric poetry, ancient astronomy and
astrology, Greek papyrology, Greek and Roman historiography and social
history, textual criticism, the classical tradition, early Christian and
late antique Latin literature, medieval Latin and Greek, Latin paleography,
literary reception, rhetoric, and ancient and modern performance studies. In
addition, Julia Annas and Rachana Kamtekar of the Philosophy Department, and
Alison Futrell and Steven Johnstone of the History Department regularly
teach cross-listed courses and work closely with departmental students.
The Classical Archaeology option aims to provide students with broad
disciplinary training, including an introduction to a wide variety of field
methods and interpretative approaches to material culture, as well as a firm
foundation in Greek and Latin. Students wishing to pursue a Ph.D. in
Classical Art and Archaeology may do so through the Department of Art
. All students are encouraged to participate
in fieldwork throughout the Mediterranean region. David Soren takes students
to his excavations in Italy every summer, and Mary Voyatzis is a Co-Director
of the Mt. Lykaion Excavation and Survey Project
in the Peloponnese in
Greece. Students interested in the wider Mediterranean intercultural nexus
may work with Richard Wilkinson, who directs excavations in the Valley of
the Kings in Egypt . Eleni Hasaki, a
specialist in ancient craftsmen and technology, takes students to
excavations on Paros. Robert Schon, an expert in Minoan and Mycenean
society, is Co-Director of the Marsala Hinterland Survey in Sicily with Emma
Blake, an expert in the Western Mediterranean Bronze and Iron Ages who will
join the department in 2009.
The faculty of the Classics Department approaches ancient history from a
variety of anglesâ€¹political, economic, social, military, cultural,
religious, etc.â€¹and encourages this same approach in our students. Students
in the Ancient History emphasis work with the department's philologists and
archaeologists, as well as Alison Futrell and Steven Johnstone of the
History Department, to design M.A. programs tailored to their interests in
ancient history. They first master the names, places and dates, and then
move on to more in-depth analysis of ancient Greek and Roman history via
fields such as historiography, prosopography, papyrology, epigraphy and
numismatics. Those who obtain the M.A. in the Ancient History emphasis from
the Classics Department are well-qualified for study at the Ph.D. level. For
more information on this emphasis, contact John Bauschatz
Students whose interests are in Latin Pedagogy and teaching may earn
Secondary School Latin Teaching Certification
through the Department of Classics in association with the College of
Education. Students may also enroll in graduate level courses in second
language acquisition and teaching through the SLAT Program and participate
in language pedagogy workshops and seminars. As Graduate Teaching Assistants
they will have opportunities to teach in our Elementary Latin and Summer
programs, both directed by Cynthia White
. Our M.A. graduates who have earned the Latin Teaching Certificate have had
enormous success in securing secondary school and community college teaching
positions throughout the country.
Our Modern Greek Program
is one of the
most active in the western United States. Under the direction of Gonda Van
Steen , this program offers a four-semester
sequence in modern Greek language and further options at a more advanced
level in modern Greek literature. The program typically attracts graduate
students who plan to travel, study, or do field work in Greece, or who are
interested in post-classical Greek language and culture. Qualified students
may also serve as teaching assistants in the program.
To take full advantage of our M.A. program, an undergraduate applicant
should have basic preparation in the classical languages, ancient history,
and archaeology, and will be expected to demonstrate basic reading knowledge
of German or French by the end of the first year of graduate study.
Applicants who are not equally prepared in all these areas, but who have
shown promise in their undergraduate coursework in ancient Greek, Latin, or
archaeology (as well as courses in related areas) are also encouraged to
apply. The department generally expects students to earn the M.A. degree in
two years. Our faculty are
committed to promoting deserving M.A. students in every possible way and
routinely nominate them for regional and national scholarships, including
the new CAMWS Award for outstanding accomplishment in Classical Studies. Our
program has an excellent record of placing students in top Ph.D. programs.
The Department of Classics normally has about thirty graduate students in
residence. These students enjoy the breathtaking beauty of Tucson
and its surrounding mountain ranges,
its benign desert climate ("it's a dry heat"), and its relatively low cost
of living. Interested undergraduate students are invited to visit the
department in Tucson, or to contact any of our faculty or student
Applications for fall 2009 are due February 15; the deadline for
international students is January 15. For information and application
materials, please contact the graduate school
or get in touch directly with us.
Haec Studia Floreant!
Bella Vivante (Director of Graduate
Gonda Van Steen (Greek Program
Cynthia White (Basic Latin Program
University of British Columbia
Faculty of Arts
Applications are invited for a tenure-track position in Near Eastern Studies and/or Egyptology in the Department of Classical, Near Eastern and Religious Studies (CNERS) in the Faculty of Arts, University of British Columbia. The appointment will be made at either Assistant Professor or Associate Professor level. The position is subject to final budgetary approval. Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. It is intended that the successful applicant will teach courses in the area of Near Eastern archaeology and history and/or Egyptology that complement the expertise of the present full-time faculty members in the area. Candidates should already have completed their PhD and should be able to demonstrate excellence both in research and in teaching at graduate and undergraduate levels. The successful candidate will be expected to maintain an active program of research, teaching, and service. UBC hires on the basis of merit and is committed to employment equity. All qualified persons are encouraged to apply; however, Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada will be given priority. The expected start date of the appointment is July 1st 2009. Informal enquiries may be made to the Head of the Department of CNERS, Professor R J A Wilson, at roger.wilson AT ubc.ca. Please visit www.cnrs.ubc.ca for information about the department.
Applicants should send their letter of application, together with a copy of their curriculum vitae, evidence of teaching effectiveness, and the names and addresses of four referees. Candidates are asked to request that their referees write separately on their behalf to the address below, to reach the Department not later than the date indicated. E-mail applications are not acceptable, but referees’ letters of support can be so forwarded (to the e-mail address indicated above). Applications should be sent to Professor R J A Wilson, CNERS, Buchanan C227, 1866 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC Canada V6T 1Z1, to reach him not later than Friday January 9th 2009.
Wilfrid Laurier University - The Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies invites applications for a tenure stream position at the rank of Assistant Professor, effective July 1, 2009, subject to budgetary approval. We are seeking a candidate with a research specialty in Greek history (including social history). The successful applicant will also be expected to teach undergraduate courses in Greek history, culture and language, and to participate in the new MA program in Ancient Mediterranean Cultures (offered jointly by WLU and the University of Waterloo). Candidates should have completed the PhD, or be near completion. Applicants should submit a letter of application, curriculum vitae, a writing sample, a teaching dossier, and the names and contact information for three professional referees in hard copy to Professor Judith Fletcher, Chair, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, N2L 3C5 by January 30, 2009. Wilfrid Laurier University is committed to equity and values diversity. We welcome applications from qualified individuals of all genders and sexual orientations, persons with disabilities, Aboriginal persons, and persons of a visible minority. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. Members of the designated groups must self-identify to be considered for employment equity. Candidates may self-identify, in confidence, to the Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Dr. David Docherty.
The Department of Classics at Emory University seeks to fill a possible
one-year visiting position for the academic year 2009-10; PhD desired.
The successful candidate will be expected to teach five undergraduate
courses and should be able to teach all levels of Greek and Latin as
well as courses in classical literature and culture to a broad student
audience. The candidate is likely to be asked to teach Intensive Latin
and a survey course on Greek literature and culture; other courses are
Because we have not yet received the funding for the position, at this
point we ask that candidates send us only a curriculum vitae and a short
cover letter. These may be e-mailed to Louise Pratt at lpratt AT emory.edu
or mailed to Search Committee, Department of
Classics, 221F Candler Library, 550 Asbury Circle, Emory University,
Atlanta GA 30322. Because we expect to do some preliminary interviewing
at the APA meeting in January, please let us know in your cover letter
whether you will be attending the meeting. We will need to receive your
CV by December 17th to consider you for interviews.
Emory University is an equal-opportunity, affirmative action employer.
We strongly encourage minority and women candidates to apply.
The Department of Classics and the Center for Greek Studies at the University of Florida invite applications for a tenure position in Classics and Greek Studies to begin August 2009. The position to be filled is an Associate Professorship at the advanced level, to occupy the Andronicos Nicholas Cassas Chair in Greek Studies. Ph.D. degree or equivalent is required. We are looking for candidates whose research contributes to the promotion of Greek civilization from a variety of perspectives. Classicists, both Hellenists and Latinists, will be considered within these parameters, as well as specialists in Modern Greek language and culture. The successful candidate will be expected to have a strong publication program in his/her field and will be expected to contribute to the department's teaching mission in proportion to his/her research responsibilities.
Salary is negotiable commensurate with qualifications and experience.
Interested candidates should submit a CV, letter of interest, as well as three letters of recommendation to:
Professor Konstantinos A. Kapparis
Search Committee Chair
125 Dauer Hall, POB 117435
University of Florida
Gainesville FL 32611
Email: kapparis AT ufl.edu.
Review of applications will begin on December 30th and will continue until the position is filled. Please reference position #00008854.
ante diem xviii kalendas decembres
equorum probatio -- the official cavalry parade of the equites
ludi Plebeii (day 11) -- the Jupiterfest continues
252 A.D. -- martyrdom of Serapion
From Yale Daily News
Leave it to Yalies to cheer in ancient Greek at a football game.
Tomorrow during the Yale-Princeton game, Yale Cheerleading will be reintroducing the “Long Cheer,” a traditional chant first used at football games in the 1880s. The team is performing the cheer, written half in Greek and half in English, at the request of alumni Robert O’Connor ’48 and Frank Gibson ’49, who will be attending the game.
The words of the chant come from Aristophanes’ ancient Greek comedy “The Frogs,” written in 405 BCE. Legend has it that Yalies studying Greek in 1884 thought that “brek-ek-ek-ek-ex, ko-ax, ko-ax,” the sound Aristophanes attributes to frogs in the underworld, would make a rallying football cheer, according to an article in the Yale Alumni Magazine.
Gibson said he always wanted to reinstate this “great Yale tradition.” Earlier this year at their Yale reunion, Gibson said, he and O’Connor contacted and met with then-Dean of Yale College Peter Salovey in the Woolsey Hall Rotunda to show him the cheer. Their hope, Gibson admitted, was for Salovey to lead the cheer at football games, just as he leads the marching band. Gibson said he was surprised when a reporter from the Alumni Magazine appeared and videotaped his performance of the “Long Cheer.”
It was from this tape that Yale Cheerleading, after being contacted by the Dean’s Office with the alumni’s request to stage the cheer at the Yale-Princeton game this year, was able to learn the lyrics and motions of the cheer.
Current co-captain of the cheerleading team Lindsay Barbee ’09 said there was no question of whether the team would do it.
“This will be a one-time tribute to the alumni,” Barbee said of the cheer’s debut. “Unless the crowd really enjoys it.”
Barbee said she wanted to reinvent the “Long Cheer,” making it appealing to current audiences and also reconciling it with the contemporary style of cheerleading. The co-captain said she had to choreograph new, sharper moves that still reflect the simplicity for which the cheer is traditionally known.
“We had to modernize it into something the alums could still recognize and also something we could perform confidently,” Barbee said.
Last year, Simone Berkower ’09, assumed the position of unofficial Yale Cheerleading historian after she researched the history of Yale Cheerleading for an academic paper. Berkower said that the “Long Cheer” was one of the most popular cheers at Yale in the early 20th century.
She said she is glad that the team decided to keep the original words but change the motions of the cheer. Before, Berkower said, the movements were manly and antiquated. “What we’re doing is a physical representation of a larger idea,” she said. “We’re taking an old tradition and modernizing it.”
Yet Yale Cheerleading still wants to give its audience a taste of authenticity. Barbee said the team will try to induce Gibson and his friends, who are also scheduled to attend the game, to come onto the field and participate in the cheer themselves.
While adapting and teaching the “Long Cheer,” Barbee said she noticed a shift in cheerleaders’ roles simply by watching Gibson’s rendition of the cheer on video.
“It seems like he is a cheerleader, whereas now cheerleaders are a staple in themselves — sometimes we’re leading cheers but sometimes we’re just cheering,” Barbee said, drawing a fine distinction.
As for the extinction of the “Long Cheer,” the facts are hazy. The Alumni Magazine dates the disappearance of the cheer to the 1960s, based on a survey of alumni visiting during the 2008 reunion last summer. And, though it will be resuscitated tomorrow, Barbee and Berkower said they are unsure if the cheer is back to stay. “If people get into it, which may or may not happen, then we can do it again,” Barbee said.
But she added that Yale Cheerleading already performs many traditional Yale cheers, such as the Fight Song, and doesn’t know how prominent this one will be.
From La Nazione
UN NOTO medico pisano è finito nei guai in Sardegna. Si tratta del dottor Stefano Barsantini, cinquantaseienne abitante a Marina di Pisa, attualmente consigliere provinciale e vicecapogruppo di Alleanza Nazionale. Il professionista è stato infatti denunciato dai carabinieri di Cabras (in provincia di Oristano) che lo hanno sorpreso in uno dei più celebri i siti archeologici sardi mentre, ‘armato’ di un metal-detector stava raccogliendo alcuni reperti, ovvero monete di epoca romana. Sulla base di questo nei confronti del medico i militai dell’Arma lo hanno denunciato per «impossessamento illecito di beni culturali appartenenti allo Stato», ovvero di di reperti archeologici, secondo quanto previsto dall’articolo 176 del Codice dei Beni Culturali, ovvero la cosiddetta ‘Codice Urbani’. Sull’episodio la Procura della Repubblica di Oristano ha aperto un’inchiesta. Il dottor Barsantini rischia una condanna penale fino a tre anni e una multa da 31 a 516,50 euro.
L’ASSALTO ai tesori nascosti di Tharros era stato ben organizzato e un gruppo di turisti toscani era arrivato in Sardegna con tanto di metal-detector. La ricerca di reperti archeologici nella collina di San Giovanni di Sinis non è però passata inosservata e così il noto medico pisano è stato bloccato e denunciato dai carabinieri. Qualcuno che passeggiava tra San Giovanni e Capo San Marco ha notato il gruppetto impegnato nella caccia di reperti ancora sotterrati e si è subito preoccupato. Immediatamente è partita la chiamata ai carabinieri di Cabras e una pattuglia è arrivata a Tharros e ha fermato i quattro tombaroli. Scoprendo che il dottor Barsantini era già riuscito a recuperare alcune monetine di epoca romana, individuate in mezzo alla macchia mediterranea grazie al supporto tecnico del metal-detector. Secondo gli accertamenti dei carabinieri il gruppo di turisti con la passione per l’archeologia aveva già ispezionato un’area abbastanza vasta sulle colline tra i resti di Tharros e la zona di Capo San Marco. Nei confronti del medico è quindi scattata una denuncia per ricerche archeologiche clandestine e le monete romane che custodiva nel marsupio sono state ovviamente sequestrate. Così come il metal-detector. I militari hanno immediatamente disposto anche una perquisizione nell’abitazione del professionista, ma i controlli non hanno permesso di recuperare altri reperti.
THARROS è un sito archeologico che si trova nella propaggine sud della penisola del Sinis. Le ricerche archeologiche fatte nell’area hanno stabilito che nell’VIII secolo a.C. la città fu fondata dai Fenici. L’assalto dei tombaroli nelle aree archeologiche del Sinis ha fatto sparire nel giro di mezzo secolo gran parte dei tesori fenici, punici e romani rimasti nascosti per secoli e secoli. Pezzi di grandissimo valore sono stati trafugati e rivenduti sul mercato clandestino a prezzi da capogiro e purtroppo solo in pochi casi i predatori della storia sono stati colti sul fatto. Anche se è vero che numerose indagini hanno consentito di recuperare oggetti di grande valore che stavano per essere fatti sparire.
A Roman settlement has been unearthed by a water company laying pipelines.
The civilian settlement in Cumbria is believed to date to the first century AD and includes the remains of timber buildings and cobbled streets.
The discovery was made by United Utilities engineers during excavations for a sewage pipeline near Penrith in October.
Archaeologists believe the settlement was attached to a fort and used to house soldiers' families and local market traders.
Researchers have discovered jewellery including jade beads and copper alloy buckles at the site, along with a large quantity of gaming counters and drinking vessels.
Alison Plummer from Oxford Archaeology, who led the excavation team, said: "The pipeline route is close to an existing Roman fort and graveyard, so we knew there was the chance of a significant find.
"Within days of removing the topsoil, it was clear that we had hit upon something very important indeed.
"This settlement would have been used by the unofficial wives and children of soldiers in the nearby fort, along with traders and craftspeople. The discovery offers some enticing clues as to how our ancient ancestors spent the cold Cumbrian evenings.
"The beautiful and ornate jewellery also indicates that people took a lot of care over their appearance. These items are likely to have been worn by women of considerable social standing."
Melvin Dawson, from United Utilities, said: "The ancient Romans were pioneers in sanitation, so it's perhaps fitting that this discovery was made during a sewage pipeline project. The find has caused a lot of excitement among the engineering team."
The site has now been excavated and the recovered artefacts will be exhibited at Brougham Hall, south of Penrith, on 21 and 22 November.
Work will recommence on the sewage pipeline in the next year.
From the BBC
Algae and sludge deposits built up over years are being removed from the original Roman lead-lined floor of one of Bath's top tourist attractions.
The Great Bath at the city's Roman Baths has been drained of natural thermae spa water for the clean-up.
The site, below the modern street level, is one of the best examples of a preserved Roman bath complex in Europe.
Previous cleanings have revealed modern debris, including traffic cones, shopping trolleys and even a moped.
The steps, which were rediscovered in the 1800s, and the Great Bath's lead lining are more than 2,000 years old.
More than 1,000,000 people visit the baths each year.
From the BBC
A major conservation project to protect a stretch of Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland has started.
The 800m section of the 2,000-year-old Roman wall at Great Chesters, near Haltwhistle, is in poor repair because of weather and animal grazing.
Natural England is funding the £200,000 scheme which will also see an adjoining dry stone wall repaired.
The project will take several months and will help safeguard wildlife that thrives in the area.
Dr Tom Gledhill, Natural England's historic buildings advisor, said: "Thanks to this special project we can not only save one of the finest sections of the Roman wall, but also safeguard some of Northumberland's most precious wildlife."
Mike Collins, Hadrian's Wall archaeologist at English Heritage, added: "This section of Hadrian's Wall is a fantastic survival from our Roman past, and one which allows us to see the detail of the original Roman construction work on the wall.
"Its condition has long been of concern, leading to its inclusion on our Heritage at Risk Register, and it is therefore very welcome that these repairs are now taking place to save this for the nation."
RESEARCH WORKSHOPS –Call for papers - Deadline 1st December REMINDER
"Classics and Robert Graves: a relationship in literature, translation and
7th March, 19th September, 31st October, 21st November 2009
This series of interdisciplinary workshops in the School of Classics,
University of St Andrews will allow for the discussion and re-evaluation of
the work of Robert Graves in relation to the discipline of Classics. The
concept is to provide a platform for the exploration of subjects such as
adaptation of Graves’ novels for film, TV or stage (I Claudius was adapted
for all three media); his relationship with T.E. Lawrence (who translated
The Odyssey of Homer (1932) and corresponded with Graves’ on drafts of I,
Claudius and Claudius the God; his impact via Classics on twentieth century
poetry; his translations from Latin into English; his understanding of Greek
myth; the historical novel; the use of classical subjects in his poetry; the
reception of his novels (including adaptations by scriptwriters for stage
and screen) and the influence of his novels, translations and ideas on the
discipline itself and public consciousness. Even Graves’ books for children
should not be overlooked in this context. Other conferences and edited
papers have addressed wider issues around Graves’ poetry and literature but
this is an opportunity for the relationship between the discipline itself
and the body of his work to be revisited and reviewed within an
There is no agenda to promote Graves’ work or to suggest that his work
related (however loosely) to Classics should be rehabilitated. These
workshops aim to enhance and extend our understanding of his works within
their original context and of their relevance for the way we understand the
ancient world as a discipline. How did Graves see the classical world? Can
Graves’ interpretation of antiquity and his translations be seen in a new
light or are they limited and synchronic? Is his literary success
detrimental to the discipline?
The perception is that Graves’ influence on the general public’s view of the
ancient world has been immense; therefore a secondary aim of the workshops
will be to address the advantages and disadvantages of using Graves’ work to
spark interest in the classical world, and their use within school and
Papers are invited from across the disciplines of Classics, English
Literature and Film Studies to consider either the broader themes
specifically related to Classics, to examine an individual work (or a
combination of his works), or to offer alternative relationships. The first
workshop will examine the issues outlined above from a broad perspective and
this will be followed by three meetings to be staged in 2009 centring on the
themes of the “Greek Myths”; “Rome” and “Historiography and Literature”. The
output from these in-depth discussions will be a collection of essays that
will stimulate further debate and encourage further research.
List of Robert Graves’ main classical publications:
• I, Claudius, 1934
• Claudius the God and his Wife Messalina, 1934
• Count Belisarius, 1938
• The Golden Fleece 1944; (Hercules, My Shipmate 1945 )
• Apuleius The Golden Ass, 1950 translation
• Suetonius The Twelve Caesars, 1951 translation
• Homer's Daughter, 1955
• The Greek Myths, 1955
• Lucan Pharsalia, 1956 translation
• Anger of Achilles, 1960 (Penguin will publish Anger of Achilles:
The Iliad 2009)
• Greek Gods and Heroes, 1960; Myths of Ancient Greece, 1961
• The Siege and Fall of Troy, 1962
• The Comedies of Terence, edited the translation of Laurence Echard
( and wrote the foreword) 1962
• Greek Myths and Legends, 1968.
• poetry includes themes on Sappho, Hercules, Oedipus
The workshops are to be in held St Andrews on the following dates:
Saturday 7th March 2009, Classics
Saturday 19th September 2009, Greek Myths
Saturday 31st October 2009, Historiography & Literature
Saturday 21st November 2009, Rome
Please send abstracts of 300-400 words by 1st December 2008 to the organiser
Alisdair Gibson, either by email aggg AT st-andrews.ac.uk or by mail to The
School of Classics, University of St Andrews, Swallowgate, St Andrews,
Scotland, KY16 9AL
rites in honour of Jupiterepulum
in honour of Jupiter
rites in honour of Feronia
rites in honour of Fortuna Primigenia
rites in honour of Pietas
ludi Plebeii (day 10) -- the Jupiterfest goes on and on and on (much of the above must be connected to it all)...
36 B.C. -- ovatio of Octavian
for "his" victories over Sextus Pompeius
in Sicily; the real author of the victory, Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, was granted the corona rostrata
354 -- birth of Augustine
A zillion different versions of this one filling my box this a.m. ... here's the Guardian's
Its creator has called it a "virtual time machine" – a digital reconstruction of ancient Rome that today became available to hundreds of millions of internet users around the world.
Users of Google Earth can now see the city, down to the last aqueduct and arena, just as it looked at midday on April 1 AD320. They can float through the Forum, past the platform or "rostra" from which Cicero once declaimed, admire the statues, read the inscriptions, pry into palaces, and then slip round to the Colosseum or whisk over to the Circus Maximus where the ancient Romans held their chariot races.
There, the virtual traveller will find, not the slightly disappointing, though enormous, oval expanse of grass that confronts the real tourist, but the huge, walled stadium that tourists are forced to conjure up from their imagination.
It is the "Rome of [the emperor] Constantine in which everything is new", said Google Earth's chief technologist, Michael T Jones, at the presentation in Rome's city hall. "It's new. It's modern. It's beautiful".
All that the awe-inspiringly detailed reconstruction lacks is people. Their absence gives a slightly eerie feel to the stadiums and temples, the marketplaces and thoroughfares of classical Rome.
Some 6,700 digitally reconstructed structures have gone towards making up Google Earth's latest layer, which can be superimposed on its images of the city. Users can enter ten of the buildings, including monuments such the Colosseum, where the software enables them to marvel at the architecture and even gaze on details like marble floors whose exact shape and pattern are known because their remains have survived to the present.
The first concerted effort to "recreate" the ancient imperial capital was made by an Italian architect, Italo Gismondi. Three years before his death in 1974, he finished a vast, plaster model of ancient Rome in 1:250 scale that can be seen in the city's Museo della Civilta Romana.
Gismondi's research played an important role in the digital project, which was begun in 1997 by a teacher at the University of Virginia, Bernard Frischer. After 10 years of work and collaboration between his own university, UCLA in California and Milan's Politecnico, Rome Reborn – made up of 50m polygons (the building blocks of three-dimensional computer graphics) – was unveiled last year.
The job of transferring it to the web was shared between Google's 3D unit and a Rome-based firm, Past Perfect Productions, run by a Briton, Joel Myers. He said today it had taken 15 people the best part of a year to complete the operation.
Myers said Rome Reborn was "the largest and most complete reconstruction of an ancient city". Its creator had chosen 320 AD "because it was Rome at its moment of greatest splendour as far as its architecture is concerned. If you went back to periods of more historical interest, like Julius Caesar's, you would not have the Colosseum, for example."
Rome's mayor, Gianni Alemanno, said he hoped the project would get over a "problem of communication" that the city had noted with its visitors who increasingly demanded something more than just ruins. "Obviously, providing a monumental, archaeological reality is fundamental", he said. "But for many people it's insufficient, it's too remote."
And, in a sense, it is much smaller too. Of the real classical Rome, just 300 buildings – and, in most cases, their remains -- have survived.
There's a nice video report (with 'flybys') here
... it looks potentially useful, but at this point there seems to be an awful lot of 'green space', which might give an inaccurate impression, no?
Graham Shipley posted this on the Classicists list (we mentioned this situation back in April
Some weeks ago I posted information about the petition (organized by Jennifer Moody and Oliver Rackham) against tourist development---huge hotels, golf courses, etc.---at the NE tip of Crete.
As so many recipients of 'Classicists' e-mails evidently signed it, I take the opportunity to publicize this text, forwarded to me by Jennifer, from the campaign's lawyer in Siteia.
The petition reached its target of 10,000 signatures on 20 October, but can still be signed at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/Save-the-Cretan-landscape. See also the group page 'Stop the Cavo Sidero development!' at www.facebook.com.
The court hearing on the Cavo Sidero project took place as scheduled on Friday, Nov. 7 despite an attempt by Loyalward/Minoan and their allies for a new delay. A postponement was sought on the grounds that further evidence was needed to rebut the proposing judge's report, which finds in favor of the petition to nullify the Greek government's environmental approval for the project. The 35-member plenary session of the Supreme Administrative Court (Council of State) rejected the request by a majority vote.
The proposing judge, Caterina Christoforidou, says that the proposed project, which will inject six "villages" with 7000 new residents into an area of less than 2000 present inhabitants, constitutes an intensive development contrary to planning laws currently in force which allow only mild tourist development in the area.
In her 33-page non-binding report, Christoforidou takes note of the fact that the area is within the NATURA 2000 protection network. She also says that the proposed three golf courses will alter the natural landscape and that the huge amounts of water required will tax the limited water resources of the area and will increase the existing desertification risk. A proposed desalination plant, she says, is not an answer.
The report also points out that the project poses a threat for the nearby palm forest at Vai.
The parties were given until November 21 to complete their written arguments and submit them to the court. These documents include a 600-page compilation of more than 10,000 signatures and respective comments accompanying a web petition titled "Save the Cretan Landscape" sponsored by Jennifer Moody (environmental archaeologist, University of Texas Austin) and Oliver Rackham (Prof of Historical Ecology, Cambridge University). The signatories include more than 500 scientists from from 84 countries.
The court will meet again in closed session within the coming months to make its final judgement.
pridie idus novembres
ludi Plebeii (day 9) - the Jupiterfest continues
Very interesting one from ANSA
Archaeologists working at the ancient Greek city of Himera in northern Sicily have uncovered what they now believe to be the largest Greek necropolis on the island.
Although experts have long known about the burial ground, they have only recently understood its importance because of building work to extend a local railway track. Hundreds of graves have already been uncovered but archaeologists believe there are thousands more waiting to be found in the burial ground of the city, which rose to prominence more than 2,500 years ago.
''The necropolis is of an extraordinary beauty and notable dimensions,'' Sicily's regional councillor for culture, Antonello Antinoro, said Tuesday.
''Preliminary estimates indicate the presence of around 10,000 tombs, which gives the site a good claim to being one of the most important discoveries of recent years,'' he said.
Among the most exciting finds are skeletons of newborn babies placed inside funerary amphorae along with the ancient version of babies' beakers - small terracotta vases equipped with spouts to function as feeding bottles.
Most of the graves in the necropolis date from between the sixth and fifth centuries BC, and archaeologists believe that many of the tombs contain the remains of thousands of soldiers, civilians and prisoners who died during two bloody battles that took place in the city.
In the 480 BC Battle of Himera, a massive army from Carthage, in modern-day Tunisia, suffered a dismal defeat as it tried to help the city's ousted leader, Terillus, reclaim his throne from Theron, the ruler of modern-day Agrigento.
But in a second battle in 409 BC, the Carthaginians returned to Himera, which had great strategic military importance, and razed the city to the ground, slaughtering a good part of its residents and deporting the rest to Carthage.
SKELETONS SHOW SIGNS OF BATTLE WOUNDS.
Stefano Vassallo, who heads the dig, said archaeologists were excited to have found a common grave containing a dozen bodies, all of whom he said were young, male and showed unequivocal signs of a violent death in battle.
Some of the skeletons bear the signs of being hit by heavy objects, while others still have arrows attached to them, Vassallo said.
He added that skeletons found in the necropolis would undergo analysis by forensic anthropologists to determine information about the population's lifestyle and eating habits.
In addition to the huge numbers of human remains, the necropolis is gradually offering up a significant haul of funerary goods buried alongside the bodies such as oil-lamps, bowls, and ceramics.
Finds are being transferred to a small museum at the site, where they will be catalogued and restored before going on display at a new museum to be built at nearby Termini Imerese.
Sicily's regional councillor for culture, Antonello Antinoro, said he would put the wheels in motion to create a national archaeological park at Himera in light of the new discoveries.
From the Star-Tribune
The seventh-graders in Meredith Widiker's class at Casper Classical Academy were having a tough time translating some English words to Latin as they worked on a Thanksgiving project last week.
"What is basketball?" a boy asked.
"What is volleyball?" a girl chimed in.
"If you're thankful for any ball game, just put 'pila,'" Widiker said. "The Romans didn't play volleyball."
Widiker has taught Latin at Casper Classical since 1991, when the school first opened. This year is Widiker's last, which leaves principal Marie Puryear in a bit of a bind -- these days, Latin teachers are few and far between.
"It poses quite an issue," Puryear said.
Widiker also acknowledges her shoes will be big ones to fill. Students earning degrees from Latin programs are preparing themselves to teach college-level classes, not middle school students, she said.
"We've been dying out," Widiker joked. "It's so hard to find somebody to step in."
While the number of secondary teachers certified to teach Latin is dropping, the number of schools adding Latin is increasing. Studying the language is proven to develop a larger English vocabulary and achieve higher verbal SAT scores.
The number of students taking the National Latin Exam has increased to more than 134,000 in each of the past two years. In comparison, only 101,000 students took the test in 1998.
The language has also enjoyed increased popularity in part because of the success of J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" books, where Latin is used for names and spells.
Casper Classical requires all seventh- and eighth-graders take Latin, a request parents made when the school was developed, Puryear said. Ninth-graders are allowed to choose between Latin and Spanish, and usually a small number choose to stick with Widiker.
"The kids don't get why we think it's important," Puryear said. "She spends a lot of time showing them it's all around us."
"It really does help with vocabulary," Widiker said. "It helps [students] think logically."
Seventh-grader Megan Barella said she was convinced she'd fail Latin after her very first class. So far, she's earned herself an A in the class.
"I like being able to learn this, instead of maybe Spanish. It's kind of hard to memorize the words at first, until you get used to it," Megan said. "For the most part, it's easy, and Mrs. Widiker helps because she explains it in a way that helps me understand."
Wayne Sayles scripsit:
I was pleased to see your post about the Casper Classical Academy and their success as well as concern for the future
As you may know, the American Classics League has a committee and program specifically oriented toward promoting classical languages, particularly Latin, in the primary grades (perhaps Meredith Widiker is somehow affiliated). The committee chair, who has done award winning work at her own school, St. Louise de Marillac in Pittsburgh, uses genuine ancient coins as a teaching aid. She has also presented several seminars about her coin-related lessons at ACL conventions and workshops. A Google search for "Zee Ann Poerio" will provide plenty of background. Her experience has shown that being able to work with genuine artifacts inspires students to greater heights and draws the interest of parents as well. The result is better education and greater support for educational programs. The ACCG is proud to enjoy the cooperation and assistance of Mrs. Poerio, who for several years now has served on the ACCG's Education and Youth Programs task force and is a shining example that collecting, teaching, learning and concern for the past are not mutually exclusive. Unfortunately, a briefing on this program at one of the Cultural Property Advisory Committee hearings prompted one prominent archaeologist to attack the program and compare it to selling drugs on school grounds. The ACL, nonetheless, is doing very productive work in promoting and facilitating classical education at elementary and middle schools throughout the United States.
We have, of course, mentioned Zee Ann Poerio's efforts in the past in these pages ... see here
... and here
... FWIW, I have always been of the opinion that the quantity of ancient coins that are found and would otherwise sit decaying in a box in the back room of some museum or some archaeologist's closet would be more usefully used to promote study of the ancient world as, ZAP and ACE have been doing ...
From a press release
Reading ancient Greek at the Getty Villa research library in Malibu, Jody Valentine found an unexpected connection in the work of fifth century B.C. philosopher Parmenides.
In his poem, Parmenides travels by chariot “beyond the beaten paths of mortal men,” where a goddess reveals the secrets of nature.
The USC College fifth-year doctoral candidate was struck by the distinct pottery imagery throughout the poem.
The chariot’s “whirling wheels spinning on their axles” evoked the image of a clay pot twirling on a wheel. Even Parmenides’ paradoxical argument that time both changes and doesn’t change harkened pottery – each pot made with earth’s wet mud becomes durable once fired.
A student in the College’s Department of Classics, Valentine decided to focus her dissertation on ancient Greek pottery – comparing the developments in ceramic technology to the ideas of pre-Socratic philosophers about time, history and change.
Advisers embrace her unconventional approach. The golden rule among classics scholars in the College is to traverse conventional boundaries and study material culture along with ancient text.
“We treat classics as a lens for viewing broader intellectual, cultural and political issues in a new light,” said Thomas Habinek, professor and chair of classics. “We believe we have not only kept abreast of current developments, but moved far ahead of the field.”
At the Getty Villa library, Valentine carefully studied photo plates in a rare book detailing some of the world’s first painted vases.
“Take a look at these bizarre, mythical beings on the side of this pot,” Valentine said, pointing to a vase in a photo plate. “They commingle with images of humans, animals and purely decorative elements. Like Parmenides’ poem, it tells a story in multiple layers.”
Valentine had just returned from Greece, where she spent five weeks researching ancient pottery collections. She compared that data with information gleaned from some of the Getty Villa’s library archive and collection of 44,000 Greek, Roman and Etruscan antiquities.
“USC classics is not a department comfortable ascribing to conventional ideas about what it means to study the classics,” Valentine said. “This is a department that embraces the idea that what we need to do to keep classics relevant and alive is to take it in a new direction.”
She chose USC over other major universities after visiting the campus and spending time with classics professors and graduate students.
“I saw that I would be encouraged to do my own work,” Valentine said. “The faculty here have a great knack of making themselves available and offering plenty of material and advice. They’re helping to mold the scholarship, but they’re not trying to mold me into a mini-version of themselves. For some people that could be fine. But for me, I’m not moldable.”
Habinek agreed his department bucks tradition. He wouldn’t have it any other way. Such departments in the United States traditionally focus on the literature and culture of ancient Greece and Rome. But in the College, the field is not so narrowly defined.
His faculty and students situate their research and teaching in relation to the broader topics of the humanities and social sciences. They relate the remains of classical antiquity to a wide range of questions concerning gender, social status, aesthetics, politics and ethics.
“We remain the leader in this endeavor,” Habinek said. “Our faculty and graduates are distinguished by the theoretical breadth and rigor of their work.”
The College’s classics department also broadens the geographical definition of ancient culture to include the Mediterranean basin and most of the Near East.
And students are constantly challenged to articulate the stakes of their research, whether the material studied is linguistic, literary, topographical or archaeological. The interdisciplinary research ranges from law and society, science and culture, and relations between Europe and the Near East.
In Valentine’s case, she believes ancient pottery may unlock clues about how early Greeks perceived history.
She mostly conducts research at the Getty Research Institute in Brentwood, home to rare antiquity materials and digital archives. At times, she furthers her studies at the Getty Villa and research library, which is dedicated entirely to ancient art.
Back at the Getty Villa, Barbara Furbush, senior reference librarian, helped Valentine locate the materials she needed to advance her dissertation.
Until recently, the villa was open only to Getty scholars. USC College faculty and select graduate students have been among the first outside scholars permitted to use its distinguished research library by appointment.
“It’s exciting to watch professors and students researching ancient material discover something new,” Furbush said.
Valentine is constantly uncovering new layers in her research.
“Many people might say pottery and philosophy have nothing to do with each other,” Valentine said. “But I’m hoping to create a circle around the two that will show how they can illuminate each other and the period in an inspiring way.
“Every day, I’m closer to finding answers.”
Pompeii is entering the second phase of a major rescue plan, which will triple the number of areas open to the public, the archaeological site's emergency commissioner Renato Profili has announced. Profili, who was appointed during the first stage of the plan, said a sweeping restoration drive would get under way in the next few weeks, focusing on houses, walls and public buildings throughout the ancient city. Over the next two years, it will be turned into a ''building site'', said Profili, but the end result will be worth it. The majority of Pompeii's buildings are currently closed to the public but the restoration will triple the number of structures open to visitors.
In addition, a new museum will be created to house the 12,000 precious mosaics, plates, urns, frescoes, bronze items and marble statues that are currently locked up in safes.
The government declared a year-long official state of emergency for Pompeii in July, after a string of press reports highlighted the poor condition of the site.
These pointed to crumbling frescoes and walls, poor signposting, inadequate facilities and the fact so many buildings were closed.
Unveiling the three-phase emergency plan, Culture Minister Sandro Bondi said it was ''staggering'' that so many of Pompeii's 1,500 houses were not open to visitors and admitted there was a ''continuing state of neglect and degradation'' at the site.
Since then, the ancient site has seen a flurry of activity. Restoration has been completed on 19 villas and 22 ancient fountains. In addition, extra public bathrooms have been installed and CCTV coverage has been extended. By the end of this month, the site's new entrance by Piazza Anfiteatro will be open to the public, reducing queues. Following the two years' restoration, the Pompeii Commission will start work with local authorities to remove hawkers and unauthorized guides, and install a kilometre of street lighting. The third phase will involve a new system of management based on the model of other European archaeological sites, which will include allowing private investment.
Every year over two million people visit Pompeii, which was smothered in lava and ash by the 79 AD eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
Weird one from the BBC
Three men wearing Roman-style fancy dress costumes carried out a "vicious and unprovoked" attack in Aberdeen, police have said.
The men were wearing shorts and togas or Roman-style garments.
They approached a man on Windmill Brae near the junction with Bath Street and attacked him at about 0130 GMT.
Grampian Police said the men may have been part of a larger group, and had left the victim with facial injuries which needed hospital treatment.
No ... not the of Radar Love variety (for those of you who came of age in the 1970s) ... from the Times
Archaeologists have discovered an “astonishingly well-preserved” 2,000-year-old gold earring under a car park next to the walls of the old city, the Israeli Antiquities Authority said. “It must have belonged to someone of the elite,” Doron Ben-Ami, director of excavation, said. “Such a precious item, it couldn’t be one of just ordinary people.” Finds from the Roman period are rare in Jerusalem because the city was destroyed in the 1st century AD. Shimon Gibson, an archaeologist, said the discovery “adds to the visual history of Jerusalem” and brings attention to the lives of women in antiquity.
From El Khabar (with headline):
Valorous archaeological Roman bath discovered in Skikda
A very important archaeological Roman bath dating back to Romans Era has been discovered at Ramdane Djamel Municipality, Skikda eastern province. The precious archaeological site is still in a good state.
I'd link to it
, but strangely, it's not to the page in English ... Skikda is the ancient Rusicade
A couple of versions of this one kicking around ... this one is from news.bg
The marble head of a statue of a Roman emperor was delivered in the National History Museum today from "Sofia Airport - Customs".
The head, most probably representing Octavian August, was found in a package sent from Haskovo to Western Europe.
It was part of a sculpture or a bust of the famous Roman emperor who conquered Cleopatra and Mark Antony.
According to NHM's director Bozhidar Dimitrov this is a piece of art with excellent qualities and the work of a master, probably dating back from I c. A.C.
"Findings of such a magnitude arrive once every 25 years", remarks Dimitrov.
er ... let's look at the accompanying photo:
Is it just me or does this thing not look like an ancient sculpture at all? Stunningly crisp lines, the nose and every other protruberance pretty much intact ... someone's yanking someone's chain, no?
Paul Cartledge in the American Chronicle
Cynisca sounds like a childhood nickname, because it means (female) puppy (little bitch...!). But it almost certainly wasn't that, as we know of adult males called by the masculine equivalent, Cyniscus. Our Cynisca in any case was anything but puppyish in adult life; and she was no one_s poodle. Born at Sparta probably some time round about 440 BC, she became the first woman ever to win a victory in the Olympic Games, a feat which she repeated remarkably enough at the immediately succeeding Games. Yet unlike the male victors, she did not have to compete physically in person, as we shall see.
At the probable time of Cynisca's birth, Sparta was one of the two major powers of mainland Greece, indeed of the entire Greek world - which by then stretched from the eastern end of the Black Sea (modern Georgia) to the west coast of Spain (Ampurias, for example, is a hispanisation of Greek emporion, meaning 'trading-station'). The other power was Athens, democratic, naval-imperial, with which Sparta_s relations since their Persian Wars entente (480-79) had been strained to the point of outright military conflict during the so-called First Peloponnesian War (460-445). A sort of peace, technically a truce, had been patched up between them and their respective allies in 445, but that had involved Sparta in effect in recognising the Athenians' empire, and that smarted among an influential section of highly placed Spartan opinion which was just looking for a pretext for a renewed showdown with the upstart Athens.
Such a pretext arose in the late 430s, when the Spartans' influential allies, the Corinthians, urged the Spartans to declare war on Athens and her empire, on the grounds that Athens had broken the terms of the truce of 445. The Spartans though apparently needed little persuading - the ordinary Spartans anyhow, not least because they thought they could beat the Athenians easily and quickly. They voted in 432 for an all-out war (or rather, they shouted for it, because that was how voting was normally conducted in the Spartan assembly). But contrary to expectation, the war that began in 431 with a Spartan invasion of Athens's home territory did not end soon, and victory came anything but easily or predictably only some 27 years later.
That was the international background against which Cynisca was born, grew up and attained her middle years. But Cynisca was no ordinary Spartan girl. She was a royal princess. And, if Thucydides's remarkable account of the proceedings in the Spartan assembly in 432 is to be believed, there had been at least one powerful voice raised against the notion of going to war with Athens. That voice belonged to Cynisca's father, king Archidamus II (r. 469-427). Nevertheless, according to the Spartan rules, it fell to him as the senior of the two kings to lead the allied expeditionary force against Athens, which he did until his death in 427. He was succeeded by his older son, Agis II, born to his first wife (who was also his aunt...). But Cynisca was probably a child of his second marriage and so the full sister of the man who was to succeed his half-brother Agis as King Agesilaos II in around 400.
Spartan royal marital relations were complex, not surprisingly, since economic and above all political considerations were involved, as happens in all dynastic regimes. But by general Greek standards all Spartan marital arrangements were simply extraordinary, if not unbelievable. For a start, Spartan girls married significantly later than their sisters elsewhere, in their late teens rather than at puberty (12-14). This was supposedly for eugenic reasons, to enable the young mothers to withstand better the pangs of childbirth; and there is something in that idea. But the delay also had the effect of narrowing the gap both physical and emotional between them and their husbands, who would typically (as elsewhere in Greece) be in their mid- to late twenties.
This relative equality between the sexes in marriage was prepared for and reinforced by giving the Spartan girls something like an equivalent of the physical part of the Spartan boys' compulsory, state-run upbringing. Some very fine bronze figurines made in Sparta showing adolescent girls or young women in athletic - and literally gymnastic (i.e., naked) - poses powerfully illustrate this social phenomenon, unique in Greece. There is even evidence that there was a female counterpart to the system of male pederastic pairing relationships that was a required component of the educational curriculum once a boy attained his teens - round about the time of the outbreak of the Peloponnesian War, for example, Cynisca's brother Agesilaus became the younger beloved of Lysander, the man who led the Spartans to eventual victory over Athens in 404.
Marriage, however, did not rule out officially approved extra-marital heterosexual relations, for both partners. This again shocked most other Greeks, who insulted Spartan girls as 'thigh-showers' (because they wore revealing mini-tunics) and considered all Spartan women little better than hussies. But defenders of Sparta, like Xenophon (who lived in Sparta for a while as an exile from Athens and at his patron Agesilaus's suggestion put his two sons through the official Spartan education), looked for sociological reasons to account for what anthropologists have called the plural marriage system of Sparta, and one powerful reason could well have been eugenic in the sense of a concern to keep up the numbers of legitimate, especially male, Spartan births. This concern is well attested in a number of contexts and can be explained by the Spartans' need for constant vigilance not only against their foreign enemies but also against their 'enemy within': the serf-like population of Helots who were many times more numerous than they.
Some of the Helots were perfectly accommodated to their lot; those, for example, who acted as Cynisca_s household servants and no doubt confidantes, who did the food - and clothes - preparation that in other Greek cities would have been done by citizen wives and daughters. But there were significant numbers of disaffected Helots, especially those in the geographical region of Messenia to the west of the 2400-metre high Taygetus mountain range. These longed for their national independence from Sparta and had indeed risen in revolt more than once to try to get it. Their constant threat was one reason for the prudent caution of men like King Archidamus in not wanting to involve Sparta in unpredictable overseas adventures. The Helot threat also accounts significantly for the Spartan educational regime and for the fact that Spartan communal life resembled a soldier's life in barracks more than the normal civilian life lived in other Greek cities.
A Spartan citizen's life was not all fighting or play-fighting, however. Religion was of paramount importance to the Spartans, and line-dancing was a useful way of both honouring the gods and enhancing the communal rhythm and cohesion needed by hoplites fighting in the phalanx formation. As for the girls, they danced not only in Sparta but in a number of other towns in the vicinity. For the Hyacinthia festival, for example, held in honour of Apollo at Amyclae a few kilometres south of Sparta, girls were taken by chariot, and a passage in Xenophon_s biography of Agesilaus tells how even the king's daughter travelled down to Amyclae in the ordinary public chariot just like any other Spartan girl. Her aunt Cynisca presumably had not received any special treatment from her father Archidamus either.
Another form of religious celebration that appealed especially to the competitive and martial spirit of the Spartans was athletics (our word comes from the Greek for prizes. Traditionally, the first panhellenic (all-Greek and only-Greek) athletics festival was the Olympics, established - according to the traditional chronology - in 776 BC. Possibly that date should be lowered somewhat, and in any case 'games' is a rather grand term for what was for a long time just a single running race, the equivalent of our 200 metres sprint. But over the years other events were added, and competitors were divided into Men and Boys age categories, so that by 472, when the administration of the games was overhauled by the nearby city of Elis that always staged them, the Olympic festival lasted five days.
The religious dimension remained central. The fundamental religious ritual at Olympia was a procession followed by the sacrifice of cattle to the festival_s patron god, Zeus of Mt Olympus. But the contests themselves were not conducted in what we would consider a particularly religious spirit. Eric Liddell (of Chariots of Fire fame) would have been appalled by the Greeks' ungodly determination to win at all costs and by (almost) any means. Deaths were not uncommon in the combat sports, and the competitive atmosphere of the whole thing was more like a sort of paramilitary exercise, war minus the shooting, than a communal act of ritual religious worship. One reason for this was that athletics, like so many other fundamental aspects of Greek culture, was radically gendered, and Greek men were very macho (or liked to think so).
So masculine were the Olympics that not only could women not compete directly but - apart perhaps from an official priestess - they were not even allowed to watch the men compete. A story, possibly apocryphal, had it that a woman from the island of Rhodes, whose father was an Olympic victor and whose son was competing, disguised herself as a man in her eagerness to get into the Olympic stadium to watch him - but fell over and so revealed her true sex. Greek notions of masculinity were appropriately tested at Olympia, especially in the fearsome pankration, a combination of judo and all-in wrestling, and in the nearly bare-knuckle boxing contests. But the premier event, partly because it was the oldest, was the 200 metre sprint, known as the stadion (whence our word stadium). Technically, though, his prize, like that of all other Olympic victors, was just a symbolic token - a wreath made of olive leaves from the sacred Altis grove. But that of course was the point: an Olympic victory was in itself sufficient reward, since it was paid in the most valuable currency of all - fame. All Olympic victors were revered, after their death as well as during their lifetimes, and this is where, surprising as it may seem, our Cynisca comes in.
Apart from the running events and the combat events, which took place on or around the main stadium at Olympia, there were also equestrian events which were held in a separate hippodrome (literally, a course for horses, its location recently identified by infrared photography). The chief of these was the superelite four-horse chariot race. In these events alone could women enter - though by proxy only, as owners of the chariots and teams of horses, not as the drivers (who were always men or boys). And so in 396 Cynisca entered her four-horse chariot-team - and won. And she did so again in 392 - and won again.
We happen to know quite a lot about these two victories of hers because they caught the imagination of a much later traveller, Pausanias from Magnesia in Asia Minor, who visited Olympia about the middle of the second century CE. Still visible and legible then (as it is today in the marvellous Olympia Museum) was the inscription chiselled into the black-stone base of the monument that Cynisca had had erected to commemorate her first, unprecedented success, and this is what it said:
My fathers and brothers were Spartan kings, I won with a team of fast-footed horses, and put up this monument: I am Cynisca: I say I am the only woman in all Greece to have won this wreath.
Not backward in coming forward then, our Cynisca. Or so we would have thought, had we not also possessed Xenophon_s biography of her brother, written no doubt with Agesilaus's full knowledge and approval as a work of propaganda for publication immdiately after the king's death (in 359). In this we are told that it was not his sister's own original idea that she should breed chariot racehorses and compete at Olympia with them, but ... Agesilaus's, and that his point was to demonstrate that victories like that were won merely by wealth, unlike victories in other events and spheres (above all battle) where it was manly virtue that counted decisively. For what man would want to chase after a prize that (even) a woman could win?
In trying to diminish his sister's pioneering achievement and conspicuously panhellenic glory Agesilaus was presumably hoping to exploit not only a general Greek male chauvinism but also a longstanding strain in Greek thinking that jeered at mere athletic or hippic accomplishments (accessible only to an especially gifted or wealthy few) and praised the more widely and communally available skills and virtues.
But lots of Greek men, including Spartans, failed to see eye-to-eye with Agesilaus on this one, and for very long periods Spartan men were the single most successful national group of Greek competitive racehorse breeders at Olympia and other festival games.
Besides, after Cynisca_s death, she was awarded a heroine's shrine in Sparta, and the official and unofficial religious veneration that that elevated status entailed. Many Greek men would have given their eye teeth for that.
Priceless artıfacts in the antique city have been left unprotected, with local environmentalists protesting the annual closure, saying it would only encourage historical artifact smugglers.
The ancient city of Knidos has previously suffered from smuggling. The statues of “The Lion of Knidos” and “Demeter of Knidos,” were smuggled from Turkey and put on display at the British Museum, after English archaeological diggings in 1749. The Ministry of Culture and Tourism is still working for their return.
With the end of the tourism season, the number of clerks at the Marmaris Museum decreased from four to two and soldiers of the Tekir temporary gendarmerie station vacated their posts. The city, 35 kilometers from Datça, is now protected only by a military police station in a village eight kilometers away.
Şanver Gür, member of Datça Environment Community, said this annual closure was encouraging smugglers, an entirely inconsistent approach to the issue given the ongoing fight to retrieve the already smuggled artifacts from Britain. Gül recalled the events of winter 1999, when an altar stone, weighing half a ton, was stolen from the city only to be found later in an open field in Marmaris.
Gür said when this occurred in 1999 the gendarmerie force had patrols in the area but still could not prevent the theft or find those responsible, indicating patrols are not the answer to the problem. “The two clerks leave at 5:30 p.m. when their shift is over. At the moment it would be possible to empty Knidos by bringing a boat to the pier,” Gür said, adding, security measures at Knidos should be immediately increased so as not to encourage thieves.
‘Let the clerks protect it’
Mustafa Kaya, a Datça local administrator, said that Knidos has not been left defenseless. “Even if the station is vacant, we have patrols in the area by car and on foot. The gendarmerie forces patrol the area a few times each day.” Kaya said it was not possible to keep the station open all year and was especially problematic during winter. “Employees of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism are there. While they are present, they are responsible for the protection of the site,” said Kaya.
... considering that digging was recently 'officially' halted at the site
-- and back in the 1970s things were similarly halted
with foreboding results -- this strikes me as verrrrrrrrrrrrrrrry suspicious ...
Byvanck Professorship in Ancient Greek Art (part-time)
The Faculty of Archaeology announces the creation of a Chair in Ancient Greek Art, supported
by the Byvanck Fund, part of the Leiden University Fund (LUF). The successful applicant will
provide lecture-courses and advanced seminars in all aspects of Greek art, from the Archaic to the
Hellenistic eras, in the context of modern, theoretical and comparative perspective, paying special
attention to ancient sculpture.
The Classical Archaeology department within the Archaeology Faculty has an established
reputation in Roman art. A notable lacuna in the current Department profile is a specialist in
Greek art, particularly sculpture, where also the Netherlands as a whole lacks a resident
The Archaeology Faculty invites applicants for this (part-time) Chair from established lecturers
with a high international profile and a proven teaching and research expertise in the arts of
Ancient Greece and an interest in the social context of cultural products. Candidates should
possess an impressive series of relevant publications in article and monograph form and extensive
experience in teaching students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level. Since all Leiden
Master programmes are given in English, applicants must be fluent lecturers in that language. The
undergraduate courses may be given in English or Dutch. The successful candidate will offer
courses at advanced BA (years 2-3) and Masters’ levels, as well as occasional postgraduate
seminars and workshops where PhD students will be present. The candidate will also create and
supervise PhD projects.
The Byvanck Professorship is intended for a period of five years in the first instance, with the
possibility of renewal. The appointment is envisaged for a maximum of 0,4 fte. The appointee is
expected to commence teaching in the academic year 2009-10. The Chair will be based in the
Archaeology Faculty under the overall supervision of the Dean, Prof. W. Willems and in close
collaboration with the established Chair in Classical Archaeology, Prof. J. Bintliff, but the Chair
is also a shared appointment with the Faculty of Humanities.
For more information on this position, please contact:
Prof. Dr. J.L. Bintliff, phone +31.71.527.2428.
e-mail: j.l.bintliff AT arch.leidenuniv.nl
General information about the research of the Faculty of Archaeology can be found at:
Applications should include curriculum vitae, a letter of application outlining the suitability for
the post and two letters of recommendation from established senior scholars. Applications should
be submitted before December 15th 2008 to:
The Faculty of Archaeology Leiden University
Mrs. C.M. Regoor, Executive Secretary
Box 9515, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
e-mail: c.m.regoor AT arch.leidenuniv.nl
Classical Association of Scotland
CALL FOR PAPERS: THE END OF ANCIENT EMPIRES
University of Edinburgh, 19-20 June 2009
The Classical Association of Scotland (founded 1902) invites offers of papers on any aspect of the above theme for its first annual conference in a new format, to be held in Edinburgh, 19-20 June 2009.
We envisage a primary focus on the fall (or otherwise) of Rome, but welcome contributions, from both experienced and younger scholars, on the decline, fall, or transformation of other ancient empires or hegemonies. The keynote speaker will be Professor T. D. Barnes (Toronto/Edinburgh).
Papers should be 20 minutes long, and will be followed by 10 minutes of discussion.
Please send abstracts (500 words or less) by e-mail attachment to the Secretary, Dr Costas Panayotakis (C.Panayotakis AT classics.arts.gla.ac.uk) by 28 November 2008. Please address all enquiries also to Dr Panayotakis.
Artemidoros and the new papyrus
The papyrus containing what purport to be fragments of the geography of
Artemidorus is one of the most exciting and controversial recent
publications in the field of papyrology. The ICS will host a half-day
seminar devoted to the papyrus on
Wednesday 11 February 2009
2.00 Welcome and Introduction - Chris Carey
2.05 A papyrological view - Nick Gonis (UCL) and Peter Parsons
2.45 The text in contexts - Stephen Colvin (UCL) and Nicholas Purcell
4.30 The drawings - Peter Stewart (Courtauld Institute) and John Gash
6.00 Concluding remarks - Simon Hornblower (UCL)
6.15 drinks reception
There is no fee for attendance; but places are limited and anyone wishing
to attend is encouraged to contact The Secretary of the Institute of
Classical Studies at admin.icls AT sas.ac.uk
ante diem iii idus novembres
ludi Plebeii (day 8) -- the Jupiterfest continues
109 A.D. -- the emperor Trajan
stages a naumachia
304 A.D. -- martyrdom of Athenodorus
I’ve watched the Seasons passing slow, so slow,
In the fields between La Bassée and Bethune;
Primroses and the first warm day of Spring,
Red poppy floods of June,
August, and yellowing Autumn, so
To Winter nights knee-deep in mud or snow,
And you’ve been everything.
Dear, you’ve been everything that I most lack
In these soul-deadening trenches—pictures, books,
Music, the quiet of an English wood,
The narrow, bouldered mountain-track,
The broad, full-bosomed ocean, green and black,
And Peace, and all that’s good.
To mark Remembrance Day and the 90th anniversary of the end of the 'War to end all wars', it seems appropriate to have something by a Classicist -- Robert Graves
, of course -- who served in the War and wrote of his experiences in Goodbye to All That
. More of Graves' poetry is available online here
ante diem iv idus novembres
ludi Plebeii (day 7) -- the festival in honour of Jupiter continues
251 A.D. -- martyrdom of Trypho
(maybe ... maybe not)
303 A.D. -- martyrdom of Tiberius
1870 -- birth 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)
From the Lawrentian
Associate Professor of Classics Randall McNeill was recently awarded a $75,000 grant from the Arete Initiative at the University of Chicago for the Defining Wisdom Project.
McNeill is one of 23 scholars from the United States and Europe who were selected for a grant from a pool of 600-plus applicants in disciplines ranging from philosophy to environmental science.
According to the Wisdom Project website, "Participants were chosen because each showed the promise of a distinctive contribution to wisdom research and the potential to help establish a new and rigorous field of research on the topic of wisdom." Other grant recipients will become members of the Wisdom Research Network, a website which aims to increase collaboration between scientists and scholars, thus enabling the interdisciplinary investigations on the subject of wisdom.
The project itself was launched earlier this year as a $2 million research program on the nature and benefits of wisdom. The two-year grant produced will support the research which McNeill is currently conducting for his book project, entitled "The Price of Wisdom: Community and the Individual in Greek and Roman Poetry."
As a specialist in Latin poetry and Greek and Roman history, McNeill will explore ancient Greek and Roman conceptions of "civic wisdom" through investigating four specific characters from classical poetry: Achilles in "The Iliad" by Homer, Oedipus in Sophocles' "Oedipus Rex," Roman poet Catullus' self portrayals and Aeneas in Virgil's "The Aeneid." Each of the characters that McNeill will study is a written representation of individuals who face the challenge of finding a balance between social duty and personal identity.
The research will shed new light on ancient Greek and Roman perspectives on the relationship between the individuals and society -- a topic every Lawrence student has learned of through "The Republic" by Plato in Freshmen Studies. As McNeill said in a recent press release, "We may gain valuable perspective on what could be required of each of us as we move forward in the 21st century." Thus, the kind of research that McNeill is conducting may have an impact on us not only academically, but also in real life.
Nice touristy thing from the Sydney Morning Herald
In a city as old as Rome, it is hard to imagine finding anything new amid the rubble. But this city not only celebrates its ancient history, it unearths new fragments of its past every other day and creates innovative ways to show the discoveries to the public. There always seems to be something new to see.
This year, four rooms in Emperor Augustus's 2000-year-old home were opened to the public, while remnants from the forums of three emperors are on show inside a dynamic new museum encompassing Emperor Trajan's Markets, dating from the second century AD.
Archaeologists are surprised by what they come across. A fragment of an ancient equestrian statue that once adorned the Colosseum caused a sensation when it was uncovered in April. Just a few weeks ago, archaeologists were shocked to find the tomb of a Roman general whom they believe may have inspired the character played by Russell Crowe in the Oscar-winning film Gladiator.
Meantime, long queues stand outside the frescoed rooms of Rome's first emperor, Augustus, on the Palatine Hill just above the Forum. Only a handful of people are allowed at a time, in a bid to protect the fragile frescoes.
Italian experts believe the four rooms, uncovered 50 years ago below the ruins of Augustus's sprawling imperial palace, were part of a smaller house he lived in when he was still simply Julius Caesar's adoptive son, Octavian.
Fragments of finely etched frescos, considered to be some of the finest examples of Roman wall paintings, have been restored in a dining room, bedroom, study and entrance hall. One large room has a theatrical theme and features a comic mask, while another has an elegant garden vista.
While little remains of the palaces that once covered the Palatine - the sacred hill where Rome is said to have been founded by Romulus in 754BC - the exquisitely decorated rooms tell you something about one of the most ambitious leaders of the ancient world.
Rome's newest museum is the Trajan's Markets-Imperial Forums Museum. Covering more than 2000 square metres, it is built inside the remains of the once-thriving forum and marketplace built by Emperor Trajan between AD106 and AD112. The museum cleverly combines some of the city's oldest assets with latest technology and includes pieces from the nearby forums constructed by Trajan's predecessors, Julius Caesar and Augustus.
Trajan's Forum was a vast complex of buildings, including an archive and two libraries. Adjoining the forum were the markets, a multi-storeyed commercial complex, perhaps the forerunner to the modern shopping mall.
While the museum contains only 172 original marble fragments, they are complemented by explanations and video graphics that give visitors an instant snapshot of where they were found and how they were used.
Too often, the city's relics are shoved in a room with little information (in Italian or English) and you wonder whether you should have saved your money. Not here. You'll see a bronze foot of a winged figure from the second century AD and Emperor Constantine's head (part of a statue toppled during a revolt in AD326 and later found in a sewer).
From the great hall you enter the ruins of the markets. At the centre is a dramatic, semi-circular brick building that housed three levels of shops, taverns and warehouses. Walking along the restored road, Via Biberatica, it's easy to imagine the late-night revelry in the taverns. The market stalls sold wine, oils, clothing - even live fish.
The Roman port of Ostia is just 25 kilometres from the capital and can be reached by car, train or boat. While not as famous as Pompeii, this port town is an archaeological treat and gives visitors an insight into life 2000 years ago.Visitors tramp its original roads to see the amphitheatre, pagan temples and baths.
Four elegant homes from the era of Emperor Hadrian (he ruled from AD117 to AD138) have been opened recently. Under a simple modern roof is the Casa Luccia Primitiva. The rooms include an entrance, salon and bedrooms. Black-and-white marble floors have been carefully restored in the geometric patterns of the time, while the walls are covered with delicate figures and scenes of hunting and fishing. At the nearby Insula delle Muse (House of the Muse), Apollo and nine sisters are depicted on a wall. At the Insula delle Volte Dipinte (House of the Painted Vault), a remarkable hunting scene is depicted on a rare vaulted ceiling and the tile floor is inlaid with black hearts.
My favourite place was the Insula delle Pareti Gialle (House of the Yellow Walls). This home was probably built during Hadrian's rule but a range of decorating styles suggests more work was done later. As the name suggests, the walls are covered in vibrant yellow and feature goddesses, nymphs and warriors.
The homes are open to the public for short periods - on Wednesday and Saturday from 10.30am to noon. That may change but, for now, officials are restricting access to allow for further restoration.
After centuries of neglect, it may seem odd that Romans have become obsessed about preserving heritage but it's long overdue and gives travellers plenty of reasons to return.
More linky goodness from my email box this week:
The Greek Ministry of Culture has put together a nice site on the Olympic Games
The election of Barack Obama sparked talk of the possibility of an African pope ... Richard Owen pointed out there already have been a few
... other folks were comparing Obama to Socrates
There have been a pile of updates at the North Carolina Classical Association
site (what? no link to rc?) ...
François Queyrel sent in news of a new book about the Parthenon
which he has written ...
Theatre (p)reviews: Troy: Before and After
(Princeton) ... The Greeks
(UW) ... Oedipus Cycle
Martin Conde updated his Flickr news-photo set
Interesting item on Roman masks and actresses
Ralph Luker of HNN and Cliopatria fame writes in:
I'd appreciate it if you would post a notice that nominations are now open for the Cliopatria Awards, 2008. I want to be sure that bloggers in Ancient History are aware of that and Rogue Classicism is probably the best place to make it known to them.
More info here
Harry Eyres writes in FT
An oxymoron, the unexpected yoking together of contradictory words, is not a nonsense phrase, but carries a meaning beyond the bounds of obvious logic. Nowadays often relegated to the sphere of lame humour (“military intelligence”, “jumbo shrimp”) oxymoron, properly used, has from the earliest times been a distinguishing mark of poets. One of the first and greatest was Sappho, who described the pangs of love as bitter-sweet (or more literally, sweet-bitter), in an oxymoron that has never been bettered. It may even have been the original one.
The Roman poet Horace saw it as his task to bring the metres and music of Greek lyric poetry into the Latin language, a task he accomplished with awesome technical dexterity. He too was a master of oxymoron: he called wine “dulce periclum”, the sweet danger, and somehow that oxymoron also attaches itself to wine’s partners in Johann Strauss’s most hackneyed waltz, entitled Wein, Weib und Gesang (Wine, Women and Song). In one of his worldlywise, slightly cynical poems about love, Horace remembers being infatuated by low-born, tempestuous Myrtale, held fast by what he calls “sweet fetters”.
9th International Conference on Greek Linguistics
**Call for Papers**
Deadline for Abstracts: 15-Feb-2009
9th International Conference on Greek Linguistics (ICGL 9)
29 October 2009 - 31 October 2009
Chicago, Illinois, USA
ICGL is a biennial meeting, held every two years since 1993, that
focuses on all aspects of the linguistic study and analysis of Greek,
from Ancient up through Modern Greek, though with greater emphasis on
the later stages of the language.
We invite abstracts for 30-minute papers (typically: 20 minutes for
the presentation and 10 minutes for discussion) on any topic relevant
to Greek linguistics, broadly construed, thus covering any subfield
within Linguistics applied linguistics, computational linguistics,
conversational analysis, corpus linguistics, dialectology, discourse
analysis, historical linguistics, language description, morphology,
neurolinguistics, phonetics, phonology, pragmatics, psycholinguistics,
semantics, sociolinguistics, and syntax, among others) and any period
in the history of the language (though with an emphasis on the latter
stages). We are especially interested in papers with an empirical
orientation and which illuminate some aspect of linguistic theory with
data from Greek. In addition, we invite papers for the following
- computational modeling and/or manipulation of Greek data
- psycholinguistic approaches to the analysis of Greek
- teaching Greek in bilingual settings
- computer-mediated-communication and online discourse
Anyone interested in proposing a panel should contact the Organizing
Committee for details.
Submission of abstracts will be done via the ''Easy Abstracts''
function on LinguistList; interested participants should thus send a
one-page abstract (maximum 500 words), to
http://linguistlist.org/confcustom/icgl2009 by February 15, 2009.
''Easy Abstracts'' accommodates a variety of formats (.pdf. ,doc, etc.
- see the site itself for submission details). Decisions on submitted
abstracts will be announced by March 31, 2009.
Individuals may submit no more than one singly-authored abstract and
one co-authored abstract, or two co-authored abstracts.
The invited speakers for the conference will be:
Artemis Alexiadou (University of Stuttgart)
Paul Kiparsky (Stanford University)
Melita Stavrou (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)
A fourth may be added in the coming months.
Information on travel and lodging and other logistical matters will be
provided in early 2009.
Organizing Committee: Anastasia Giannakidou (U of Chicago), Brian
Joseph (Ohio State U), Jason Merchant (U of Chicago), and Marina
Terkourafi (U of Illinois), under the auspices of the International
Society for Greek Linguistics and the Midwest Committee for Modern
Conference sponsors include: The University of Chicago, the Modern
Greek Studies Program at The Ohio State University, the Modern Greek
Studies program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the
European Union Center at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign, the Center for East European and Russian/Eurasian
Studies at University of Chicago, and The Kenneth E. Naylor
Professorship in South Slavic Linguistics of The Ohio State University.
For further information and for answers to relevant questions, please
contact the Organizing Committee at icgl2009 AT ling.osu.edu.
From the Times
A €10 million (£8 million) "virtual reality" show featuring 3D gladiators and wild animals is to open this month next to the Colosseum in what Gianni Alemanno, the centre-right Mayor of Rome, described as a "dress rehearsal" for a Disney-style Ancient Rome theme park.
The show, Rewind Rome, is housed in the Teatro Colosseo, a disused theatre. It opens its doors on November 20 with an "experience" designed to transport visitors to 4th-century Rome in groups of 70 at a time, at a cost of €10 per head.
Visitors are given an audio guide in eight languages. They then walk down a frescoed corridor into a mock-up of the Colosseum arena, where using 3D goggles they watch a gladiator contest while tigers appear to spring at them.
Alberto Francescani, the creator of Rewind Rome, said that it was an "authentic reconstruction of Imperial Rome combining archeological research with up-to-date technology". He said that it would be popular above all with "families and children".
The show is set in the Colosseum at the time of the Emperor Maxentius, who features in it. Maxentius was defeated in 312 at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge by his rival Constantine, who later converted the Roman Empire to Christianity and established its eastern capital at Constantinople (now Istanbul).
The show is narrated by Carlo Verdone, the actor and film director, who said he hoped that it would be "not only entertaining but instructive". He said that it would give visitors an impression of "daily street life in ancient Rome", including not only gladiators, vestal virgins and disputes in the Senate but also graffiti on the walls, "which shows some things have not changed".
In August Mauro Cutrufo, Mr Alemanno's deputy, announced plans to build a "family friendly" Ancient Rome theme park on a 500 hectare site just outside the city, which he said could be up and running "within three to four years".
He said that the model would be Disneyland Paris. The project was opposed by the centre Left, which said that it amounted to the Americanisation of Ancient Rome. However the Roman traders' association, said that it would revive tourism to Rome, which had fallen in 2008 because of the global credit crunch.
Instead of Pirates of the Caribbean, visitors will be offered rides through a replica of the Colosseum. Unlike Rewind Rome however, the theme park is intended to show life under both the Roman Republic — ending with the murder of Julius Caesar and civil war — and the Roman Empire that followed.
Mr Cutrufo said that he was looking for private investment in the theme park, and calculated that it would bring an extra three million people a year to the Eternal City.
From the Sun
Switzerland will return 4,400 Roman artifacts to Italy which were seized from a Basel art dealer and were probably stolen from illegal digs, the SDA news agency reported on Thursday.
The objects include vases, statues, mosaics and bronze items from pre-Christian times which were found in the Basel warehouse of an Italian art dealer as part of an investigation launched in 2001 on Italy's request.
"We felt like we had been transported back to ancient Rome," the SDA agency quoted investigator Mario Plachesi as saying.
After 80 officers worked for months to catalogue the items - most of which are likely from Apulia in southern Italy - the Swiss authorities are now handing them back. A further 1,400 artifacts, probably from Greece, were also found in the warehouse but will stay in Basel.
Relativity Media is negotiating with Henry Cavill ("The Tudors") to star as Theseus in the Tarsem Singh-directed "War of the Gods."
At the same time, Warner Bros. is in talks with Sam Worthington to play the role of Perseus in the Louis Leterrier-directed "Clash of the Titans."
Deals for both actors are expected to be worked out, keeping the Greek mythology-themed projects on a parallel track. Both films are expected to begin production by late winter or early spring.
The projects have different plots, but each film will be made for under $100 million because the visual effects will be accomplished using the greenscreen techniques that made "300" so visually arresting.
Relativity got in the Greek game last summer when it bought the Charley and Vlas Parlapanides-scripted "War of the Gods" (Daily Variety, June 26).
Hollywood Gang's Gianni Nunnari and Canton Prods.' Mark Canton are producing with Ryan Kavanaugh.
At the same time, "The Incredible Hulk" helmer Leterrier committed to WB's "Clash of the Titans," a remake of the 1981 film that tells the story of Zeus son Perseus' journey and battles against Medusa. Scripted by Lawrence Kasdan, the WB film is a co-production with Legendary Pictures, produced by Basil Iwanyk of Thunder Road and Kevin De La Noy.
Cavill is best known for his work on Showtime's "The Tudors" but was also on the shortlist to play the Man of Steel in "Superman Returns."
Worthington, one of the finalists for the James Bond role that went to Daniel Craig, is starring for director James Cameron in "Avatar" and plays a pivotal role in the McG-directed "Terminator Salvation."
Not in my blogroll, so here's the Argyle Sweater
... you have to look around for the Classical connection:
Joseph Lauer alerts us (thanks!) to this discussion of the Latin
ante diem viii idus novembres
ludi Plebeii (day 3) -- the major festival in honour of Jupiter continues
63 B.C. -- Lucius Sergius Catilina
and his co-conspirators meet, with nefarious plans for the morrow
15 (or 16) A.D. -- birth of Julia Agrippina
("the younger"), daughter of Germanicus
, sister to the emperor Gaius
(Caligula), mother of the emperor Nero
, wife of the emperor Claudius
... a very powerful woman
From the Turkish Daily News
comes this tantalizingly vague item:
The remains of an ancient port appeared on a shore in the Aegean town of Burhaniye when the seawater withdrew due to seasonal tides.
The 2,500-year-old port remains are part of the ancient city of Adramytteion, experts said. Hasan Sezer, a local of Burhaniye, said the remains appear at the same time each year. "When you row around, you feel like a part of history," said Sezer. "We must preserve our historical heritage."
Excavation work has been ongoing in the ancient city of Adramytteion for 20 years. The work focuses on a big change, which dates back to 500 B.C., and the necropolis that belongs to it.
Among the important findings so far are pieces of frescos, and a mosaic of a peacock on a wall. Most findings are exhibited at the Ören Open Air Museum.
... I'd love to hear/read more about this; all I previously knew about Adramytteion was that they minted coins
(including at least one coin with the face of Zeus in 3/4 view, which strikes me as not very common)...
A village established in the Bronze Age has been recently discovered near Zalau town, northwestern Romania, the official Agerpres news agency reported on Wednesday.
The discovery was made following an archeological discharge relating to 2 square kilometers in Recea, close to Zalau.
"It is for the fist time in Transylvania, central-western region of Romania, when a village dating back to the Bronze Age iscompletely examined," said Ioan Bejinariu, the archeologist of the History and Art Museum in Zalau.
"Only by conducting digging works on large areas of land can one have an overview of a location," said Bejinariu who is in charge of this site. "The village consists of eight houses built in the upper region of a hill on two almost parallel rows. Pits were found near the houses used for supplies' storage," he added.
As many as 124 archeological sites were found, including houses, graves, supplies' pits or ovens, as well as two human skeletons dating back to several historical periods starting with 1500-1300 B.C. and up to the 3rd and 4th C A.D., Bejinariu informed.
In addition to the location originating in the Bronze Age, a well-preserved pottery kiln was discovered on the Sulduba valley, dating back to the 3rd and 4th C A.D. According to Ioan Bejinariu, the oven confirms the region used to be populated by sedentary people in that period.
From the Star Tribune
The ancient marble head of a youth was fitted into place Wednesday at a museum in Athens in a deal that Greek officials hope will serve as a model for returning other treasures.
The one-year loan from the Vatican's Museo Gregoriano Etrusco could be used as a way to regain other iconic Parthenon sculptures that have been systematically removed from Greece in the past. Several European museums — especially the British Museum in London — hold Parthenon artifacts and Greece has long campaigned for their return.
"This gesture sets an example for others," Greek Culture Minister Michalis Liapis said.
The Parthenon was built 2,500 years ago on the Acropolis in honor of Athena, goddess of wisdom and patron of ancient Athens. It survived virtually intact until 1687, when a Venetian army besieging the Acropolis blew it up with cannon fire during the Ottoman occupation of Greece.
More than a century after the blast, Britain's Lord Elgin removed large sections of the temple's sculptural decoration with Ottoman permission. He eventually sold the works to the British Museum.
Greece has long campaigned for the return of the so-called Elgin Marbles. However, the British Museum has refused, arguing that the works were legally acquired and are accessible free of charge to millions of visitors.
The museum said Wednesday its position on the Elgin Marbles was unchanged by the return of the youth's head.
"We don't think it increases pressure on the British Museum," spokeswoman Hannah Boulton said, adding the Vatican's return was "just a loan."
About half the Parthenon frieze is at the British Museum. A handful of other museums, including the Louvre, own small pieces of it as well, while the remaining fragments are in a new museum under the Acropolis.
The sculpture returned Wednesday was made between 445-438 B.C.. It was part of a 520-foot (160-meter) series of panels — known as a frieze — depicting a religious procession, which circled the outer walls of the Parthenon.
The head, measuring nine by 10 inches (24 by 25 centimeters), is attached to a youth carrying a tray of sweets as an offering to Athena.
Giandomenico Spinola, the head of the Vatican museum's classical antiquities department, said the loan of the sculpture "might" be renewed. He said the museum might also lend Greece another two small bits of the Parthenon sculptures it owns.
"The pieces are the property of the pope, and it is his decision," he said. Pope Benedict XVI discussed the works' return with the visiting Church of Greece leader in 2006.
A similar deal allowed the return in September of another small piece of the Parthenon frieze from a museum in Palermo, Sicily, and the University of Heidelberg in Germany sent back a third piece two years ago.
The Museo Gregoriano Etrusco is the largest museum so far to comply with the Greek request.
The move to regain the works has gained new momentum in recent years because of the construction of the New Acropolis Museum, which is expected to open by next March.
ludi Plebeii (day 2) -- the major festival in honour of Jupiter continues
Plenty of chatter all over the interweb and blogosphere on this one from the Telegraph
Local authorities have ordered employees to stop using the words and phrases on documents and when communicating with members of the public and to rely on wordier alternatives instead.
The ban has infuriated classical scholars who say it is diluting the world's richest language and is the "linguistic equivalent of ethnic cleansing".
Bournemouth Council, which has the Latin motto Pulchritudo et Salubritas, meaning beauty and health, has listed 19 terms it no longer considers acceptable for use.
This includes bona fide, eg (exempli gratia), prima facie, ad lib or ad libitum, etc or et cetera, ie or id est, inter alia, NB or nota bene, per, per se, pro rata, quid pro quo, vis-a-vis, vice versa and even via.
Its list of more verbose alternatives, includes "for this special purpose", in place of ad hoc and "existing condition" or "state of things", instead of status quo.
In instructions to staff, the council said: "Not everyone knows Latin. Many readers do not have English as their first language so using Latin can be particularly difficult."
The details of banned words have emerged in documents obtained from councils by the Sunday Telegraph under The Freedom of Information Act.
Of other local authorities to prohibit the use of Latin, Salisbury Council has asked staff to avoid the phrases ad hoc, ergo and QED (quod erat demonstrandum), while Fife Council has also banned ad hoc as well as ex officio.
Professor Mary Beard, a professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge said: "This is absolute bonkers and the linguistic equivalent of ethnic cleansing. English is and always has been a language full of foreign words. It has never been an ethnically pure language."
Dr Peter Jones, co-founder of the charity Friends of Classics said "This sort of thing sends out the message that language is about nothing more than the communication of very basic information in the manner of a railway timetable.
"But it is about much more than that. The great strength of English is that it has a massive infusion of Latin. We have a very rich lexicon with almost two sets of words for everything.
"To try and wipe out the richness does a great disservice to the language. It demeans it. I am all for immigrants raising their sights not lowering them. Plain English and Latin phrasing are not diametrically opposed concepts."
Henry Mount the author of the bestselling book Amo, Amos, Amat and All That, a lighthearted guide to the language, said: "Latin words and phrases can often sum up thoughts and ideas more often that the alternatives which are put forward. They are tremendously useful, quicker and nicer sounding.
"They are also English words. You will find etc or et cetera in an English dictionary complete with its explanation."
However, the Plain English Campaign has congratulated the councils for introducing the bans.
Marie Clair, its spokesman, said: "If you look at the diversity of all our communities you have got people for whom English is a second language. They might mistake eg for egg and little things like that can confuse people.
"At the same time it is important to remember that the national literacy level is about 12 years old and the vast majority of people hardly ever use these terms.
"It is far better to use words people understand. Often people in power are using the words because they want to feel self important. It is not right that voters should suffer because of some official's ego."
Several councils, including Aberdeenshire, and Blackburn and Darwen, have also prohibited the use of the French phrase in lieu, while many local authorities have drawn up lists of English words, which cannot be used as they are considered politically incorrect.
Amber Valley Council, in Derbyshire, has told staff it is no longer acceptable to use language "that portrays once sex as subordinate to the other".
Staff have been instructed to say "synthetic" rather than "man made", "lay person" instead of "lay man", "people in general" in place of "man in the street", "one person show" rather than "one man show" and "ancestors" instead of "forefathers".
Broadland Council, in Norfolk, has banned "housewife" and replaced it with "homemaker" and asked staff to refer to "staffing" rather than "manning" levels.
Several councils including Blyth Valley and Weymouth have banned the phrase disabled toilet and disabled parking because they imply that the facilities themselves are disabled. They have renamed them accessible.
FWIW, I think the Classicists are being hypersensitive here. Whether some town council labels 19 words as 'elitist' really isn't going to have any effect on what we do at the end of the day. What one should wonder about is civic officials who seem (to judge by this reaction) to be using Latin to further obfuscate whatever forms/discussions/whatever they're having with the people they should be making things easier for. I'm a big fan of any attempt to get rid of 'jargon' use by officials in any context where language can be abused as a sort of 'power' (try working for a school board, where the jargon consists of a pile of abbreviations ... SERT, SPTL, OCA, OWA, ONAP, FOS, etc. (he he)) ...
The Departments of Art History and Classics at New York University seek
an historian of Roman art and architecture for a full-time, tenure-track
assistant professorship, beginning September 1, 2009. Candidates must
have completed the Ph.D. by September 1, 2009. Candidates should have
teaching experience and a record of scholarly production, with promise
of continued research and publication. In addition to their specialty
candidates should be able to teach an introductory course in the History
of Western Art from antiquity to the Renaissance; an ability to teach
classical architecture would be an advantage. Please send a detailed
letter of application, CV, three letters of recommendation, and a
writing sample (ca. 20 pages) by November 30, 2008 to Professor Joan
Breton Connelly, Chair of the Search Committee, Dept. of Classics, New
York University, 100 Washington Square East, Room 503, New York, NY
10003, by November 30, 2008. Professor Connelly is also happy to answer
inquiries about this position by e-mail (joan.connelly AT nyu.edu
). Please note that we will be
interviewing candidates at the AIA Meeting in Philadelphia from January
8-11, 2009. NYU is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
International candidates will be considered. Contact Info for Joan
Breton Connelly (phone) 212-998-8194 (fax) 212-995-4209
joan.connelly AT nyu.edu
The Department of Classical Studies at the University of Michigan is seeking to appoint an Assistant or Associate Professor in Latin. The person appointed will be an active contributor to interdepartmental graduate programs in Greek and Roman History and in Classical Art and Archaeology. We are looking for candidates with research interests in historiography, history, religion, or rhetoric, especially of the Republic. We welcome both traditional and innovative approaches to Latin prose and its contexts, but since we have recently hired faculty in Latin poetry, we are not seeking applicants in that area. Teaching responsibilities will include classical civilization and Greek courses as well as Latin literature and Roman culture at all levels. Please see http://www.umich.edu/~classics/news.html for a fuller description of the position.
PhD must be completed by August 2009. Please send a dossier including a letter of application, at least three letters of recommendation, current CV, evidence of teaching experience, statement of current and future research plans, statement of teaching goals and experience, and a writing sample to the Latin Search Committee, Department of Classical Studies, University of Michigan, 2160 Angell Hall, 435 S. State St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1003, or as pdf to lsa-classics-search AT umich.edu by November 15, 2008. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply. The University of Michigan is an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action employer.
ante diem iii nonas novembresHilaria of Isis
39 A.D. -- birth of the poet Lucan
(Marcus Annaeus Lucanus)
250 A.D. -- martyrdom of Germanus
(et al) at Caesarea
jubilee @ OED
pace @ Wordsmith
(not the horse kind)
aquiline @ Dictionary.com
A bit of info in this item from the Jerusalem Post
The Justice Ministry has been given six months to decide how to proceed in the trial of an antiquities dealer suspected of forging a purported reference to Jesus on an ancient burial box and a stone tablet with biblical passages.
Both items were hailed as major archaeological finds but subsequently deemed clever forgeries.
The ministry has been forced to reevaluate the case after the Jerusalem District Court judge in the case advised the prosecution to reassess its position in the three-year-old trial because it failed to prove that the key suspect, Tel Aviv antiquities collector Oded Golan, had indeed faked the biblical-era artifacts.
The Justice Ministry would not say whether it plans to drop or amend the charge sheet against Golan and another suspect.
"We will state our position - whatever it will be - in court as is the accepted practice," a ministry spokeswoman said Sunday in a statement.
Golan, owner of the James ossuary and the Yoash tablet, was arrested by Jerusalem police in 2003 following a two-year probe after an elaborate forgery lab was discovered at his home.
He was charged the following year along with three others on 18 counts of forgery, fraud and damaging archeological artifacts. Charges against two of the men were subsequently dropped, while a third pleaded guilty to a minor charge.
The burial box, or ossuary, bears the inscription, "James, son of Joseph brother of Jesus," leading some scholars to believe it was used to store the remains of James, the brother of Jesus of Nazareth. The 15-line inscription on the tablet was thought to have described First Temple "house repairs."
In concluding both inscriptions were forged, a team of experts from the Antiquities Authority said in 2003 that the inscription on the ossuary cut through the ancient limestone box's patina, a thin coating acquired with age, proving the writing was not ancient.
The officials also found that the writing on the black sandstone tablet was carried out by someone thinking in modern Hebrew.
Even though the committee's unanimous findings were released five years ago, Golan has continued to insist that the inscription on the ossuary was genuine and that he is innocent of any wrongdoing.
When news of the ossuary first emerged, Golan said publicly that he bought it in the mid-1970s from an antiquities dealer in Jerusalem's Old City for about $200, though he could not remember the dealer's name.
The earlier piece from the Chronicle (below) gives the impression that even the notion that the box is a forgery has not been accepted ... this one seems a bit more 'conservative' in that regard.
From the Independent
Are you woman enough to wear a peplum? Peplum – who he, anyone under the age of, say, 30 might not unreasonably wonder.
For those not well-versed in fashion history, then – and indeed so firmly entrenched in the contemporary wardrobe of skinny jeans and even skinnier T-shirt, all of which hide the feminine form rather than emphasise it – a peplum is a time-honoured dressmaker's device designed to exaggerate the curve of the hips rather than to mask it. A tiny, full skirt, sprouting from the hem of a jacket that falls just to the waist is the most usual incarnation of the beast. It's been an haute couture staple for decades, now. In fact, the Ancient Greeks were rather partial to a peplum. Back then, women were women, after all. Big hips were considered an asset in just the same way as big biceps were for any Greek God worth his divine credentials.
Enough fashion history. This season, peplums have found their way into the ready-to-wear collections of everyone up to and including Miuccia Prada, who used them in her much-feted homage to lace – think 1950s Italian starlet (below), primly twisted the way only this designer knows how. The iconic black dresses that opened Nicolas Ghesquière's collection for Balenciaga were also in possession of small but perfectly formed peplums. At Bottega Veneta, curvy leather jackets have peplums blossoming over the hips of impeccable, tapered trousers, and over at Burberry, more fitted jackets have moulded hips that, while far from frilly, are certainly peplum-esque in their curvaceous effect. Chanel's peplums are hidden, a froth of silk tulle puffing up the skirts of the perfect black jacket. Dior's kimono-style coats, meanwhile, are so tightly belted over tulip skirts that a peplum effect is duly achieved. Finally, Louis Vuitton's peplums are cut square over full, New-Look line skirts.
The end result, in fact, suggests nothing more radical than the return of an hour-glass silhouette to fashion, although given that dressing like a boy is by now so integral a part of metropolitan life, that in itself is remarkable.
On a street level, while the powers that be at Topshop are unlikely to be rustling up a silk jacquard peplum any time soon, a new celebration of the feminine form can be seen in the return – only whisper it – of the boot-cut jean. Although its been buried at the back of the wardrobe for so long, along with the much-maligned kitten heel, this silhouette is ubiquitous once more and the look is positively voluptuous. More LA circa 1970 than Shoreditch on a grey, snake-hipped day.
From the Indiana Statesman
Students wore togas to celebrate Latin Fest Friday in the Cunningham Memorial Library Events Area.
Students presented fact-filled presentations about the history and culture of Rome, including pictures of Roman ruins, wildlife and artwork.
The students have been working for months on these projects and some have previously visited Rome.
Marilyn Bisch, a Latin classics and ancient Greek instructor, said, "It's a chance for all of my students to come together and celebrate classes and an opportunity for alumni to talk about their experience and see what the students have been doing."
"It always feels good to come back and keep up with things," said Don Shorter, a high school Latin English teacher of 42 years and 1967 graduate of ISU who was also wearing the traditional Roman clothing style.
In addition to the slideshow presentations, students from Bisch's Language, Literature and Linguistics 250: Literature Life and Love class hung hand-made posters with Greek poetry analyses.
Students ate cookies and popcorn while celebrating Roman culture.
"I feel really comfortable," said Andrew Borden, a junior history and political science major. "I think we should bring back the Roman style."
Some students said the trip to Rome was a great source for their presentations.
"It was awesome," said Kyle Hughes, a senior English and psychology major who did his presentation on the Great Sewer and visited Rome last spring. "I learned a lot more than I would have in a traditional class."
This was the sixth year for Latin Fest.
"It was our first time hosting this event, and the costumes were very interesting," said Carol Jinbo, the Public Relations Representative for Cunningham Library.
This week's collection of little things that are best aggregated into one post:
The folks at Rosetta Stone are working on a Latin project and are looking for speakers of Latin who live in the U.S. ... contact Jennifer Tuccio (tuccio AT rosettastone.com) if you fit the description and want to get involved ...
One of Turner's many nice Greek Temple paintings -- specifically, the Temple of Jupiter Panellenios -- is coming to auction
(the picture with the article makes very nice wallpaper) ...
About.com's Military History guide had a feature on the Battle of Zama
Interesting update on the Clash of the Titans remake
An OpEd piece from the Philippines seems to be promoting ostracism
for political types ...
Latest video on the Archaeology Channel is about the Antikythera Mechanism
Some theatre reviews: Antigone
(Manchester) ... Thyestes' Feast
(LA) ... Penelope
(Princeton) ... Women of Troy
Semi-related: the Stratford (the one down the road from me) production of Caesar and Cleopatra
will be hitting the big screen ...
The BBC has a very nice slideshow
on the Herculaneum exhibition in Naples ...
Archaeology has a nice abstract on the Gladiator Diet
An essay on Herodotus and Thucydides
which profs and TAs might want to familiarize themselves with ...
If you were looking for reactions to Maureen Dowd's latinesque column a few weeks ago, here's one
Not sure if I mentioned this Digital Archimedes Palimpsest
project yet ...
Some audio files of Vergil's Eclogues
A piece on a dig at Tyre mentions tantalizing in passing the discovery of a Roman amphitheatre
A tour of Cyprus with an Aphroditic focus
An interview with John Heath and Victor Davis Hanson on various topics
(not all Classical) ...
From an AP story making the rounds:
For thousands of years the Acropolis has withstood earthquakes, weathered storms and endured temperature extremes, from scorching summers to winter snow.
Now scientists are drawing on the latest technology to install a system that will record just how much nature is affecting the 2,500-year-old site. They hope their findings will help identify areas that could be vulnerable, allowing them to target restoration and maintenance.
Scientists are installing a network of fiber optic sensors and accelerographs — instruments that measure how much movement is generated during a quake.
"The greatest danger for our monuments at the moment is earthquakes," Dimitrios Egglezos, chief civil engineer in charge of the Acropolis' defensive circuit wall, told The Associated Press. So understanding how the structures react to the earth's movement is paramount.
Egglezos said six accelerographs are to be installed starting next week at various parts of the Acropolis: at the base of the hill, part of the way up where the geology changes, and on the Parthenon, the Acropolis' most famous monument, built between 447 and 432 B.C. in honor of the goddess Athena.
"The measurement of earthquakes and their consequences on the monuments is essential," said Maria Ioannidou, who supervises restoration work on the Acropolis.
The fiber optics are installed on parts of the wall to measure subtle changes caused by changing weather conditions or earthquakes, while the accelerographs can help determine how the earth's movement affects the monuments.
"This is the first system that we've installed to record the (natural) activity that affects our monuments," Egglezos said.
They don't look like much: a nondescript small metal box at the foot of a column, barely visible wires snaking across outer walls. But the insight they could give into potential problem areas is invaluable.
The first accelerograph was placed on the hill about two years ago as a pilot program. Another two were installed in late September on the Parthenon, one at its base and one on the top of the columns on the architrave, as part of a study by Japan's Mie University and the National Technical University of Athens.
Greece is one of the most seismically active countries in the world, and while most of its earthquakes are relatively small and cause little or no damage, some have been fatal. In June, a 6.5 magnitude quake in western Greece killed two people and injured more than 200, while a 5.9 magnitude quake near Athens in 1999 killed 143 people.
Neither seriously damaged the Acropolis.
Indeed, some parts of the ancient citadel have weathered the forces of nature remarkably well. The Parthenon survived virtually intact until the late 17th century, when an Ottoman garrison used it as a gunpowder store; it was targeted by Venetian cannon fire and exploded, damaging parts of the temple.
The accelerographs could also give experts more insight into how the Parthenon has withstood earthquakes so well, Egglezos said.
"The earthquakes that don't cause damage are very useful because we have a natural ... experiment which doesn't destroy the monument but gives us valuable information about how these structures behave."
The two accelerographs funded by Mie University will be in place for three years, while the other seven will remain on the Acropolis permanently, Ioannidou and Egglezos said.
The fiber optic sensors, meanwhile, can detect even minor changes in the structure: slight expansion during hot weather, contraction in the cold of winter, the buildup of pressure from a particularly heavy rainfall. And, of course, shifts caused by earthquakes.
They have been installed on two outer parts of the perimeter wall: the southeast which is the highest and most vulnerable point, and on the north wall which shows evidence of damage, probably from an 18th Century quake.
Egglezos said the experts need about one or two years' worth of data from the fiber optics before they can draw any concrete conclusions.
The Color of Things. Debating the Role of Color in Archaeology
An international workshop
Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference
Stanford, Archaeology Center, 1st ? 3rd May 2009
According to David Batchelor?s "Chromophobia" color, though bound up with the fate of culture has been systematically marginalized and degraded in academic studies. Color would not easily fit into current intellectual debates on social constructs, has become increasingly anti-disciplinary. On the other hand, anthropologists, archaeologists, conservation specialists and philosophers have increasingly realized that pigments and dyes constitute an integral part of the environment of both, early and modern societies (e.g. G. Jones and A. MacGregor, "Colouring the Past: the Significance of Colour in Archaeological Research". Oxford 2001).
The workshop and subsequent edited volume will gather scholars from various academic disciplines in order to discuss the need for theoretical frameworks when integrating color in material culture studies. How does our current thinking about color reflect and prejudice our understanding of the past and present? Is color a useful tool to reconstruct patterns of identity, interaction and influence? How is color detectable in the material record and how far do colors and colored artifacts materialize voices? The workshop seeks to explore a wide range of current approaches to color, and demonstrate how results achieved through interdisciplinary research can form an integrative part of general science. Papers (c. 20 mins) illustrating research methodologies and considering the role of color in material culture are very welcome and are not limited to period or region. Please send a title and abstracts (max. 400 words) by November 14th 2008 to Alexander Nagel, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor - aleos AT umich.edu.