Some Sort of Series

I’ve been trying to avoid wholesale quoting of articles (other than obituaries), but it’s necessary for this item lest I be accused of taking something out of context and making it incomprehensible:

KINEAS and his Greek cavalry are dismissed from the all-conquering army of Alexander the Great and take up employment as mercenaries in the distant city of Olbia on the edges of the great grasslands of the steppes.

He is there to train the local citizens and turn them into a military force and immediately runs into political and deadly intrigue. Then comes the news that one of Alexander’s generals is to invade. Should the city state offer surrender or offer resistance? Their only hope is in an alliance with the wild Sakje tribesmen of the steppes.

Can Kineas and his men create a new army in time? Will an alliance with the Sakje last?

This is the first of a planned series set in the ancient world of fourth century BC. A wealth of wonderful characters including the warrior princess Srayanka and the Spartan Philokles fill the pages, along with battles, politics and even a love story. A terrific epic. Bring on volume two.

… not sure if this is a TV series, a comic book series, chapter books, trading cards, postage stamp or what.

What To Do With A Classics Degree (sort of)

Well, not really … the Canadian Opera Company has a new musical director and the Star has an interviewish/background thing on him. Inter alia:

What would you be if you weren’t a performer?

I’d be an unhappy person. To be serious: I might have become a professor/teacher for classics. I was quite deep into ancient Greek when I was in school. Unfortunately, I’ve almost lost everything I learned, besides reading it. Walking around Greektown in Toronto, I was pleased to read some of the street signs written in Greek.

Breviaria 01/17/09

More cleaning of the inbox:

There’s a new issue of Iris Magazine out (I love this cover).

The recent AIA-APA shindig included a session on Podcasting and the Classics, which, of course, has a podcast presence on the web … personally, (rant) I think EVERY session should be thus covered as should every conference, ‘seminar’, etc. and folks should be taking advantage of places like Blogger to extend the discussion of papers beyond the conference room (/rant).

Caroline Bishop informs us (gratias tibi ago!) of a series of interesting posts by Don Ringe at Language Log on assorted IE linguistics things which should be of interest (the link takes you to the most recent; the previous ones are linked therein).

Biblical Archaeology Review has a nice online feature on Medicine in the Ancient World.


A couple more MPs are jumping on the repatriation of the Elgin/Parthenon marbles bandwagon:

This is a very old story on Alexander the Great which seems to be making a comeback; we note it here again just in case:

Albert Uderzo’s daughter isn’t a happy heiress:

Wonder Woman has some new boots:

Touristy thing on Palmyra:

Latest on the ‘Macedonia’ dispute:

A theatre item of potential interest:


I’m hoping to find a more substantial obituary for Vivian Swan:

Some inspiration/ideas for the teachers among us:

The ASCSA announces a new publication:

CONF: The Ancient World in Silent Cinema

[This looks severely interesting]:

UCL Department of Greek & Latin

an afternoon & evening of silent film screenings with piano accompaniment and related talks on
Wednesday 28 January 2009,
at UCL Bloomsbury Theatre, 15 Gordon Street, London, WC1H 0AH

The event is open to the public and admission is free.

This is a remarkable opportunity. Almost all of the films to be screened
are not available for purchase in video or DVD format, and are rarely
shown in cinemas. They survive as viewing copies in film archives. Further
details about the films and our event can be found at


2-4pm Screenings of silent films set in ancient Greece
Amour d’esclave (Fr 1907) 7 mins
La Morte di Socrate (IT 1909) 5mins
Elettra (IT 1909) 6 mins
La Légende de Midas (Fr 1910) 8 mins
La Caduta di Troia (IT 1910) 19 mins
L’Odissea (IT 1911) 29 mins
The Private Life of Helen of Troy (US 1927)

4-4.30 pm Tea/Coffee break

4.30-5.45pm Speakers
Pantelis Michelakis (Department of Classics & Ancient History, University
of Bristol) and Ian Christie (School of History of Art, Film and Visual
Media, Birkbeck, University of London)

7.15-7.45pm Speaker
Maria Wyke (Department of Greek & Latin, University College London)

8pm-10pm Screenings of silent films set in ancient Rome
Julius Caesar (US 1908 ) 9 mins
Giulio Cesare (IT 1909) 7 mins
Cléopatre (Fr 1910) 9 mins
Lo Schiavo di Cartagine (IT 1910) 8 mins
Dall’amore al martirio (IT 1910) 11 mins
Patrizia e Schiava  (IT 1919) 11 mins
A Roman Scandal (US 1924) 6 mins
Jone O Gli Ultimi Giorni di Pompei (IT 1913) 43 mins

A second afternoon & evening of silent film screenings with piano
accompaniment and related talks will be held on Monday 22 June 2009, from
2-6 and 7-10 pm at the Bloomsbury Theatre. On that occasion the films will
have settings in Biblical or Near Eastern Antiquity.
details tba

Maria Wyke (Department of Greek and Latin, UCL)
Pantelis Michelakis (Department of Classics, University of Bristol)

These two events are linked to the launch of an international,
collaborative research project on antiquity in silent cinema, which Maria
Wyke and Pantelis Michelakis are planning. If you have any queries about
the research project or about these events please contact  Maria Wyke
(m.wyke AT
We are deeply indebted to the BFI National Archive and its staff for their
investigations on our behalf, and for the loan of these precious films
from their collection.

Supported by UCL Futures
– Encouraging Innovation & Opportunities

CONF: Short Notices

Some upcoming calls for papers/conferences with a web presence:

CFP: Irony and the Ironic in Classical Literature

A conference at the University of Exeter, 1st-4th September 2009

Call for Papers

What precisely do we mean when we talk about ‘irony’?

The term ‘irony’ is often bandied about – as a glance at the Index of any commentary or literary-critical monograph will attest. Both ‘irony’ and the adjective ‘ironic’ are frequently (perhaps too frequently?) used as catch-all terms to describe a variety of effects within literary works, including unusual shifts of tone, slippage between overt and implied meanings, transparently deceptive or disingenuous narrative strategies and other self-conscious collusions with an implied reader or audience. But what sort of a phenomenon are we actually dealing with? Is irony (as many have thought) by its very nature too subtle, subjective or elusive a concept to be theorized? And what are its broader implications, once it has been identified?

These questions stimulate cross-cultural analysis, as irony may be understood differently in ancient and modern cultures. Although ironical effects, such as those outlined above, are found in abundance in ancient Greek and Roman literature, they were not theorized as such in antiquity. Instead, eiro-neia and related words were used to denote a more specific and limited mode of behaviour than we associate with irony in modern thought. Indeed, given that it has been thought that an ‘ironical’ outlook is a peculiarly modern concept, is our application of this outlook to ancient texts fundamentally anachronistic? What is the value of the concepts of irony and the ironic from the historicist perspective?

This conference is designed to open up the debate about this challenging concept, and to stimulate discussion from a diversity of perspectives. It is anticipated that proceedings of the conference will be published in book form. We invite papers dealing with irony in Greek and Latin literature, and we welcome also theoretical and comparative approaches to the concepts of irony and the ironic. Topics for consideration may include:

* frameworks for understanding ‘the ironic’, especially ancient conceptualizations of ‘the ironic’
* patterns of irony and the ironic
* irony and other strategies of collusion (e.g. parody, allusion, innuendo)
* the dynamics of irony – how is it effected?
* irony and intentionality – embedded or imported meanings?
* irony and the reader/reading-cultures in antiquity
* irony as a political, rhetorical or pedagogical strategy
* the politics of irony: exclusivity and esotericism – who’s ‘in’, who’s ‘out’?

Please send abstracts of ca. 300 words to one of the conference-organisers (below) by 28th February.

Matthew Wright (M.Wright AT

Karen Ní Mheallaigh (K.Ni-Mheallaigh AT

ED: Conventiculum Bostoniense

The Classics Department of UMass Boston offers:
Conventiculum Bostoniense, Latin by the Sea
(held on the campus of UMass Dartmouth)
August 1 – August 9, 2009

Vocamus vos, o magistri, ut linguam Latinam nobiscum in ora maritima colatis!

The Conventiculum Bostoniense is a full-immersion residential experience, specifically designed for teachers in schools and universities, who want to gain some ability to communicate ex-tempore in correct Latin on a wide range of subjects.   Two different graduate level courses are offered during the Conventiculum, one for first time attendees and one for returning participants as described below. Days are filled with instructional activities, opportunities for social interaction and excursions to the beach and local attractions.

Latin 570 – Active Learning Methodologies for Teachers of Latin (3 graduate credits)
Designed as the first-year experience at the Conventiculum Bostoniense, this course introduces teachers of Latin to theories of second language acquisition and engages them intensively in speaking and writing Latin.

Latin 575 – Living Text: Vergil’s Ecologues (3 graduate credits)
Designed for repeat attendees of the Conventiculum Bostoniense or other spoken Latin programs, this course engages the participants in intensive study of Vergil’s Eclogues.

Audit Option
This option is designed for international attendees, school teachers over the age of 60 or college faculty who would like to attend the Conventiculum but who do not need graduate credit for their participation.

Costs for 2009 are TBA.  2008 fees were $1500 for credit/$800 for auditors, which includes room, materials, all entrance fees and several meals.

For further information and application see: or contact Emily McDermott at UMass Boston: emily.mcdermott AT or 617-287-6124.

From the Italian Press

First order of the day is catching up with a pile of Italian items which may or may not make it to the English press … as always, in no particular order:

A brief item on the discovery of a ‘warrior burial’ dating from the 4th century B.C. at San Severo:

A 4th/5th century mosaic from Reggio:

A 4th century sarcophagus of a (high rank?) child from Bari:

Remains of a couple of ‘Roman’ houses from the 3rd/2nd century B.C. at San Donaci (not sure if you can call things in this part of Puglia from this time ‘Roman’):

Plans are afoot to extend the digging area around the Roman Villa at Mantua:

A while back we were told of the sanitation crisis at the site of Pompeii … it appears not much has improved (and emergency services aren’t great either, as a British tourist had a fatal heart attack there):

In the wake of all those ‘theme park’ stories, Ostia feels it should be getting more financial/political attention:

There’s a new ‘infopoint’ (presumably an information centre) at Herculaneum:

The archaeological museum at Milan has reopened its Greek section with a new exhibition:

I’m surprised I haven’t seen anything about this in the English press yet … the recovery of some 573 items dated to the 4th/5th centuries B.C. (mostly coins) from auctions on eBay from someone in Palermo:

A brief (and vague) item on the recovery of antiquities from a couple of guys in Torino:

Italy returned a pile of items purloined from Bulgaria (the numbers vary):