APA Panel: Military History of the Greek, Roman, and Late Roman Worlds

Some (all?) of the papers from this panel have been made available at the APA site:

Man it would be nice if every panel did this sort of thing … or at least had podcasts of the presentations … whatever the case, perhaps this is a hint (finally) that publication on the web is considered ‘legitimate’?

On the Interweb

  • If you haven’t visited Laura Gibbs’ Latin via Fables blog yet, you really should as she’s past the ‘fifty fable’ mark … Latin teachers especially will find this ‘slideshow approach’ to learning the language (as opposed to the words) a useful addition to their arsenal …
  • William Annis’ Scholiastae.org wiki is just getting under way, and scholars are encouraged to become scholiasts and comment on various texts (this is what the wiki format is perfect for!) …
  • Pre-university teachers might be interested in the etclassics group which has just started at Yahoo … the official description:

The ETC: Classics in Middle and Elementary group is dedicated to exploring methodologies, activities, and theories that can be applied to Classics-related courses at the middle school and elementary levels. Our goal is a collective of individuals who are interested in providing the best classes and education possible to their students, as well as spreading the teaching of Latin, Greek, and Classical Studies to students of all ages.

… it currently seems to still be in the ‘getting to know everybody’ stage … (not sure if messages are visible to non members)

Breviaria Latina 03/07/09

A smattering of items on the ongoing vivacity of Latin:

A general piece on assorted Latin words and phrases still in use:

On the resurgence of Latin in Athens, Georgia:

And a tip o’ the pileus to Francesca Tronchin for Retweeting these online Latin flashcards:

Breviaria Archaeologica 03/07/09

Some brief items which passed ‘neath my caerulean brow this past week or so:

They’re starting to ponder proposals for a ‘facelift’ for Housesteads Roman Fort:

Construction workers in Highworth dug up a Roman ‘pot’ (actually, a 2nd century or so cremation vessel):

… with more details of its impending auction:

They think they’re going to find more of Gloucester’s Roman wall:

Vague concerns being expressed for “ancient sites” in Bath:

A metal detectorist has found a Roman coin hoard in Devon:

Wanna buy a Roman Circus?:

Not sure whether this Roman bath find in Canterbury is new or not:

Quite a few news outlets are picking up the story about the threat to underwater sites off Greece from scuba divers:

Strikes Galore

One of the reason I have been skeptical of efforts to return assorted items to Greece is the fact that access to such items always seems to be affected by strikes (heck, on our honeymoon, a trip to Corinth was bypassed because of a ferry strike) … this week, e.g., folks couldn’t visit the Acropolis:

… and it’s not just in Greece; Italian archaeologists shut down assorted monuments in their own ongoing protest:

Classicists in the News 03/07/09

I’m trying out some new ‘organizational principles’ for certain types of post … one category will be devoted to items where a particular Classicist and/or their work is the focus, to wit:

Paul Cartledge:

Robert Graves:

Lorna Robinson (Iris Project):

Andrew Wilson (Oxford):

Monica Cyrino (UNew Mexico):

Jinyu Liu and Ellen Muehlberger (DePauw):

Ray Van Dam (UMichigan):

Steven Fineberg (Knox College):

How W. Royal Stokes is spending retirement:

… and of course, we can’t ignore the coverage of Gail Trimble’s success on the UK University Challenge:

Caesar Zambonicus

A piece from the L.A. Times features an interviewish thing with soon-to-retire NHL referee Ron Schick … inter alia:

Among his fondest memories, he said, is working the outdoor game between the Kings and New York Rangers in 1991 in the parking lot outside Casears Palace in Las Vegas.

“Kelly Hrudey wore the Hrudey-cam, Caesar drove the Zamboni and Cleopatra sang the national anthem,” Shick said. “I remember Wayne Gretzky saying, ‘Shicker, I’ve seen a lot of things in my day but I’ve never seen anything like this.'”

Wow … I’ve never ever heard of this before … pity I can’t find a photo of it anywhere …

Gladiators Gladiating Again

The incipit of a piece in the Los Angeles Times:

The gladiators charge each other with a great clashing and crashing of arms and armor. It’s hard to say who looks more fearsome: Atropo or Taurus.

Atropo, the towering Germanic barbarian, wears a mask of black war paint, a headband over her blond hair and a brown tunic and leggings. She wields a trident in one hand and whirls a net in the other.

Taurus, the compact Roman, is a tattooed mass of muscle beneath a battered metal helmet that covers all but his eyes. He circles behind his shield, lunging with the short sword known as the gladio.

The combat rages until Atropo snares the sword with her net, twists Taurus off balance and batters him to his knees. She whips a dagger from her boot and applies it to his jugular.

“Hah!” she snarls. “Now comes the moment when I cut your throat.”

In her conquering gaze, you can almost see a crowded amphitheater roaring in expectation, an emperor rising from his throne to proffer the gesture — thumbs up? thumbs down? — that will decide the fallen fighter’s fate.

Instead, a spatter of applause echoes in a workout room at the Sport and Fitness gym (English names are trendy here) in Ardeatina, an outlying neighborhood of Rome where middle-class Italians and concrete apartment blocks are more common than tourists and ruins.

Atropo helps Taurus pull off his helmet, and the two become 21st century Romans again: Giulia Mazzoli, a mosaic artist, and Michele D’Orazio, a construction worker.

Some people play Dungeons & Dragons in their spare time; some reenact battles; some learn martial arts. Mazzoli and D’Orazio have a pastime that combines elements of all three — and a powerful dose of local pride.

Etruscan Vase Moon

Richard Griffiths sent this one in (tip o’ the pileus!) — I think for my Explorator newsletter, but it seems better here. It’s a nice Picture of the Day from NASA of a phenomenon of the moon being distorted by the Earth’s atmosphere and the image dubbed (by Jules Verne, no less) an Etruscan Vase Moon:

Etruscan Vase Moon - NASA APOD

Etruscan Vase Moon - NASA APOD

Latin: Secret Code of Western Civilization

The incipit of a piece in the Melrose Free Press:

The Latin word duco means “to lead” and according to Dr. Laurence Kepple, Latin teacher at Melrose High School, Latin can lead students to the best possible college — and better financial aid offers.

Take for instance “duco,” one of many Latin words used everyday, unbeknownst to its speakers and writers. It can be seen in words such as “induction,” Kepple said, which essentially means to “lead in,” as in an induction ceremony when new members are introduced to a group.

Even a first-year Latin student can learn similar simple building blocks that are used repeatedly in everyday language, using the composition of the word to deduce its meaning, rather than having to memorize a dictionary definition, Kepple said.

“Just a few Latin roots give you the ability to decode hundreds and hundreds of complicated words, whether on the SATS or in more advanced science and technology courses,” he said. “That’s why I call Latin ‘the secret code of western civilization.’ Everything was written in it and the language we use today has tremendous borrowing from Latin.”

There’s more good stuff like this … definitely worth the read.

Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius in Storage

From Hurriyet:

The statues of Roman emperors Hadrian and Marcus Aurelius are being kept in a depot at the Burdur Archaeology Museum due to a lack of exhibition space.

The statues stirred up international excitement when they were unearthed.

Hadrian’s giant statue, found in 2007 during the now 17-year-old excavation at Sagalassos, was on exhibition from July 24 to Oct. 26, 2008, at the British Museum in London. The statue was returned to Burdur Archaeology Museum on Nov. 7, 2008, where it was put in storage due to the lack of exhibition space.

The statue of Aurelius was found during an excavation in 2008. Archaeology, a well-known American magazine, put the find on its list of “Top 10 archaeological events of 2008.”

Hacı Ali Ekinci, manager at the Burdur Archaeology Museum, said they were looking for exhibition space for the artifacts and were waiting for the planned new site being built near the museum to get underway. Ekinci said when the site is completed the statues of the emperors will be on exhibit alongside other stored artifacts.

See also:

Riace Bronzes to Sardinia?

Another one I misfiled, then found a pile of others on the same subject (this is what happens with sausage fingers on an iPod Touch) … Assorted media outlets are reporting that Silvio Berlusconi is trying to move the Riace Bronzes to Sardinia for the July G8 Summit, and as might be expected, there is a great hue and cry over the plans. FWIW, there are a number of Facebook groups on the subject, of which two seem to have some backing (in terms of members):

According to the Facebook pages, Berlusconi tried to do a similar thing when the G8 was held in Genoa (without success). Here’s some of the press coverage (interestingly, it doesn’t seem to have hit the U.S. Press yet):

Tombaroli in Decline?

As I try to cleanup the backlog caused by assorted technical things over the past couple of weeks, I have come across an item I misfiled which I find to be very interesting. The Sunday Herald (February 27, 2009) reports on the ‘sudden’ (for want of a better term) decline in tombaroli. It begins thusly:

ITALIAN POLICE announced on Friday they had recovered a haul of antiquities looted from tombs in the east-central Marche region. The booty, some 1500 objects in all, had been dug up by a team of “tombaroli”, Italy’s tomb raiders, and covered a period stretching from 8th century BC to 5th century AD. Among the most prized items were Hellenistic vases, drinking cups and a bronze statuette of the goddess Minerva.

Some further excerpts:

Pietro Casasanta, a retired tombarolo who lives in the countryside north of Rome, registered the change last week in a disconsolate interview with the Associated Press.

In the past, he worked during the day with a bulldozer, deliberately using the same hours as construction crews to become one of Italy’s most successful plunderers of archaeological treasures.

When he wasn’t in prison, the convicted looter operated for decades in the countryside area outside Rome.

Now, he says, it is becoming more difficult to dig and to sell. “The whole network of merchants has disappeared,” he complained.


“If the American museums are not buying any more it’s obvious that the market will dry up,” said Maria Bonmassar, a spokeswoman for the Italian culture ministry.

She noted that the psychological climate had changed and Italians now prized their artistic heritage. The people of Morgantina in Sicily, for example, have campaigned actively for the return of a headless statue of Venus stolen from their area that is still in the hands of the Getty Museum.

Bonmassar said: “In the past, if people found antiquities while digging the foundations of a house they would try to conceal them. Now, there is an awareness that this is a part of our cultural patrimony.”

Elsewhere in the article comes the claim:

Last year, the carabinieri art squad discovered just 37 illegal digs, a tiny figure compared with the 1000 or so regularly found in the 1990s.

Okay … this was beginning to sound vaguely familiar, so I poked around my archives and found an item we had mentioned from the International Herald Tribune, in which this same tombarolo is saying pretty much the same things; problem is, the article is from 2007. In that same article, we are told of 40 illegal digs being found in 2007. I can’t find anything else about this bust at Marche, so I’m not sure at all how much of the current item is actually new …