Iron Age Hoard

This one received quite a bit of press attention … a metal detectorist has come across a hoard of some 824 gold staters, dating from 40 B.C. to 15 A.D. (and so, of course, popularly connected to “Boudicca’s predecessors”) in a field near Wickham Market. It’s apparently the largest hoard found in the UK since 1849.

Jude Plouviez (Suffolk County Council Archaeological Service) dixit:

“It’s a good, exciting find. It gives us a lot of new information about the late Iron Age, and particularly East Anglia in the late Iron Age.

“The discovery is important because it highlights the probable political, economic and religious importance of an area.

“It certainly suggests there was a significant settlement nearby.  As far as we understand, it was occupied by wealthy tribes or subtribes.

“We haven’t seen anything as big as this, the last find of Iceni coins was about 90 coins. The discovery tells us about the later iron age in Suffolk, there was a lot of wealth around and perhaps the hoard was in a disputed area.”

She added:

“We don’t know how much they will be worth but it will be less than they were at the time,” said Ms Plouviez.

“After the treasure trove inquest, they will be offered to museums at their current value.”

Bars and Brothels

I could have sworn I had mentioned this one before, but I guess not … in any event, there are episodes of both the Simpsons and Family Guy wherein the main characters find themselves excluded from their favourite watering hole for various reasons and so decide to open up a bar in their garage/basement (respectively). According to Clare Kelley Bazeby Dr. Clare Kelly Blazeby, there is material evidence that the Ancient Greeks may have been opening up bars and brothels in their private residences to supplement their income. She looked at items  dating from the period 475 B.C. down to 323 B.C. from sites as diverse as the Villa of Good Fortune at Olynthus to Building Z in Athens. Blazeby dixit:

“This has a real impact on how we view the economy in classical Greece … A lot of trade and industry was based within the home.”

“If you look at the remains coming from ancient Greek homes, it seems very clear to me that these buildings had another function, that some areas were used for commercial purposes … It’s amazing how entrenched people in the field are. We are trying to change archaeologists’ minds by pointing out that houses could be used economically as well being residences.”

“There was nothing to stop part of a house being utilized for commercial gain by using a room fronting onto the street as a shop, or indeed from using the household courtyard for business transactions,”

“My research shows that a lot of trade was embedded within the domestic walls. It also changes our perception of who was drinking wine, and where they were doing it. Women, slaves and foreigners as well as ordinary Greeks, would all have enjoyed time and wine in a classical tavern …”

Added Allison Glazebrook:

“There is no evidence of any purpose-built brothels for ancient Greece. We should not expect brothel spaces to look that different from houses in the material record because girls lived in brothels in which they worked.”

The two scholars presented their research at the recent AIA shindig …

I Can’t Get No … Satis Latin

A bunch of Latin news this a.m., the most interesting/surprising being that Mick Jagger is apparently a fan of the ancient language we hold so dear. According to a brief item in the Telegraph:

Sir Mick was looking around Latymer Upper School recently with Gabriel, his 11-year son by Jerry Hall, when he was shown into a classroom where a Latin lesson was taking place. The singer looked at the words on the board and found to his delight that he could understand them.

Then there was this interesting item from the Beaufort Gazette … here’s the incipit:

Brittle pages fell out as I opened the binder. One of the firmest sheets read, “A Collection of Latin Maxims and Phrases Literally Translated and Explained by John M. Cottrell, Intended for the use of Students for all Legal Examinations. Washington, D.C., John Byrne and Company, Law Book Publishers, 1897.”

An old book, ancient thoughts. But its scattered leaves hid a stern op-ed article for today’s economy. What was needed was a librarian to string it all together (English follows Latin in each sentence):

Quod ab initio non valet, in tractu temporis non convalescit (That which was void from its commencement does not improve by lapse of time). Quod turpi ex causa promissum est, non valet (An immoral consideration will not support a promise). [it continues]

Fulfilling the scholastic rule of three, we’ll simply point you to an opinion piece in the Columbia Spectator suggesting the need for a Classical Language requirement:

Breviaria 01/25/09

An ironically-titled very long post as I try to get my email filing system back in order:

A Roman brooch find by a metal detectorist:

Latest from Macedonia/FYROM:

A nice intro to Herodotus and Thucydides:

Somewhat peripheral for us, but interesting:

With the Super Bowl on the way, we get the first of the annual Roman Numeral posts:

Laura Fulkerson has been honoured by the APA:

David Konstan’s latest work has won the Goodwin Award of Merit:

No relation (alas):

Some inspiration for our grade-school colleagues:

The headline says it all:

This one keeps popping up:

Elsewhere:
The APA’s December 2008 Newsletter is available …

The APA has also extended the license/distribution of Greekkeys …

A review of the (comic) Age of Bronze, vol. I

Arethusa Volume 42, Number 1, Winter 2009

ROME – CENTRAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL AREA: Prof. Rodolfo Lanciani, [Map] Romae – F.U.R (1893-1901) & Rome (GOOGLE EARTH 2007). Comparative side-by-side view. (Martin Conde)

… and last, and certainly least, Ms. Spears plans to major in Greek History (not):

Coffee and Classics

June Lemen reminisces in the Nashua Telegraph, inter alia:

It was time for a change, and to paraphrase our new president, it was a change we needed. Second semester, I took totally different courses, just to see what I liked. I fell in love with classics and philosophy, and I decided to double major in them. (Oh, the innocence of youth.)

This would have been a glorious plan, except that I overlooked one small detail: ancient languages.

Foreign language and I were not on speaking terms. I passed French in high school but never enjoyed it. (C’est la vie.) Two years were required for the college prep track, and I heaved a huge sigh of relief when it was over. At Wheaton, they explained to me that I would need to have a minimum of two years of Ancient Greek and three of Latin to be considered even a beginning classicist. So I bravely plunged in sophomore year and got on with Latin.

I had a stellar academic year, mostly because I was taking lots of stuff that I loved, courses in philosophy and classical civilization. Clearly, this was the route for me. And coffee was an absolute necessity, particularly in memorizing vocabulary.

Then came junior year. And Ancient Greek.

Ancient Greek class started at 8 a.m. every day. Technically, only Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes were required, but for those of us who were struggling, Tuesday and Thursdays sessions with the teaching assistant were more than suggested. I, who could barely get myself dressed and to class by 8 a.m. three days a week, laughed at the idea of spreading the pain over five days.

Our text was called Thrasymachus, and besides being used at Wheaton, it was a text commonly used to teach Greek to English schoolboys. It was filled with descriptions of sword fights and cutting off various body parts. The only way I could get through translation was with an IV drip of coffee. And, to make matters worse, I was also taking Latin II.

Latin had the advantage of using the same alphabet we do, which is probably why I passed it. I flunked Greek, which astonished my poor parents, who watched me go from dean’s list to academic probation in one semester. Plus, I was experiencing the shakes when I was away from java for more than an hour.

I gave up ancient languages and coffee at the same time, and I started drinking tea. Constant Comment was my favorite, and to this day, whenever I smell it, I think of that heavenly semester when I had given up trying to be a classicist and merely had to raise my grades enough to get off double secret probation.

Now I’m back to drinking more coffee than tea, but I’m not studying any foreign languages.

Clearly June wasn’t drinking the right kind of coffee; Classical languages requires something strong and exotic … preferably something from Africa.

Pizza Origins Again

We often see pizza being ascribed to the Romans, or to the Romans via the Greeks, but the Daily Pilot adds a twist I haven’t seen before:

Ever had a pizza? I have. Do you know what “pizza” means in Italian? I do. Nothing.

It’s from the Latin word “picea”… what the Romans called a round of dough that was blackened in a clay oven to make a pie shell. Isn’t that interesting? OK, maybe not. But this is more interesting.

Picea is, of course, a Latin word meaning “pitch black”; assorted websites with this origin, however, seem to date the word (and pizza itself) from the Middle Ages. Certainly the ‘c’ wouldn’t have been on its way to a ‘zz’ type pronunciation until that time (in the period of our purview, it would have been a hard ‘c’). Anyhow, we seem to have another example of ‘if it’s Latin, it must be Roman’.