DEPARTMENT OF CLASSICS
UNIVERSITY OF READING
Mary Beard (Cambridge)
“Laughing with (or at?) the Romans”
Room: HumSS 175
14 May 2009, Thursday, 4 p.m.
Robert Parker (Oxford)
“Sacrifice: The Big Issues”
Room: HumSS 175
20 May 2009, Wednesday, 4 p.m.
Terence Irwin (Oxford)
“Beauty and Morality in Aristotle”
Room: HumSS 175
27 May 2009, Wednesday, 4 p.m.
Philomen Probert (Oxford)
“Relative Clauses in Mycenaean Greek”
Room: HumSS 175
3 June 2009, Wednesday, 4 p.m.
For directions to the University of Reading, please see:
For further information, please contact Phiroze Vasunia at p.vasunia AT reading.ac.uk
The Annual Meeting of Postgraduates in Ancient Literature 2009 will be held at the University of Birmingham on 14-15 November 2009.
AMPAL is a conference for postgraduates studying ancient literature which is now in its fifth year. It allows students to present their research, to take part in discussion and exchange of ideas, and to meet and network with other graduate students.
AMPAL 2009 will feature a research poster competition for the first time and there will also be the opportunity for speakers to publish their papers in the journal Rosetta (ISSN 1752-1580) in a special ‘Proceedings of AMPAL 2009′ edition. Peer review will be offered to all speakers and chairs.
The conference will be held at the University of Birmingham’s Conference Centre, with all meals and accommodation provided on site.
CALL FOR PAPERS, PANELS AND POSTERS
The theme for AMPAL 2009 is ‘Crossing Boundaries’
Symbolised by the Rosetta Stone which allowed translators to cross from one language to another, this theme can interpreted in many different ways. To suggest only a few readings:
* language boundaries, translation and linguistics
* country and national borders, frontiers, immigration and emigration
* journeys, quests, ancient tourism and travel writing
* liminality, transgression, metamorphosis and rites of passage
* the ‘Other’: gender boundaries, racial boundaries, cultural boundaries, religious boundaries, age boundaries, the boundaries of the body
* the contrast between the centre and the periphery, the city and the country, the home and the outside world
* the boundary between the living and the dead, the conscious and the unconscious, actuality and the imagination, performance and reality
* the difference between received history and actual events, the actor and the audience, the writer and the reader
* interdisciplinary boundaries
* intertextuality and intratextuality
* reception studies and the boundaries between today and the past
Postgraduates (and those recently qualified) working on any aspect of ancient literature are invited to submit abstracts related to ‘Crossing Boundaries’ in any of the following categories:
* 250 word abstract for a 20-minute paper
* 250 word description of a co-ordinated panel, along with the 250 word abstracts of each of the proposed papers (3 or 4 papers)
* 200 word abstract for a research poster (which may include a low-res sketch)
Please email your abstracts to [ ampal AT contacts.bham.ac.uk ] by May 31st 2009, along with your name, institution, and level of study.
10TH UNISA CLASSICS COLLOQUIUM in cooperation with the Department of New
Testament and Early Christian Studies
University of South Africa, Pretoria
Date: October 15 – 17, 2009
‘Family as Strategy in the Roman Empire’
Papers are hereby invited on any aspect of the family in Greco-Roman
antiquity and early Christianity that may be seen to further illuminate
the conference topic. The interdisciplinary link is deliberate and aligns
with the historical emergence of early Christianity as part and parcel of
the Roman Empire.
The approach of this conference seeks to emphasize that family, house and
household were contextualised within the social and power relations of the
time. Apart from literary investigations, we would like to encourage
contributions with an historical or archaeological concern. Enquiries
regarding theoretical and methodological issues, such as the interaction
between literary and material evidence, the design of interpretive
strategies and the fabrication of a socio-historiography are also welcomed.
The last few decades have witnessed an explosion of studies on a multitude
of aspects concerning the family in Greco-Roman antiquity. This conference
wishes to contribute to the ongoing debate by exploring the specific ways
in which the family was used as a strategy for a variety of social
purposes. On the one hand, the family was generated by political,
economic, cultural and moral forces. On the other hand, it functioned
reciprocally to cultivate, reinforce and sustain the very practices from
which it emerged.
The family may be interrogated in terms of its various dimensions; for
instance, as a social site occupying space. It may be asked how the
individual’s place was determined in interaction with his or her family?
How was the family, in terms of cultural discourses, strategically
utilised as microcosm within a particular macrocosm? Exactly what was
public and what was private in the workings of the Graeco-Roman family and
how rigid was this distinction? How was the family determined by and—in
its turn—fashioned material sites and cultural products: household
architecture, art, decoration, utensils, and the like? The family may also
be investigated in terms of its temporal dimension, such as its legacies
from pre-colonial times, its role in Romanization and the ideal of
Romanitas, as a nucleus of identity, cooption, and resistance.
Furthermore, Early Christianity emerged as part and parcel of this complex
discursive world and structured itself in continuity (e.g. patriarchy),
but also deviated from the model in significant ways, for instance in how
desire and gender was regulated within the structures of family life, and
in its cultivation of movements such as asceticism and monasticism. How
was the dominant family discourse appropriated by early Christianity and
to what extent did the family as a form of strategy cooperate in the
Christianization of the Roman Empire?
Finally, papers concerned with appeals to either the continuity or
discontinuity of the family formed in the Roman Empire will also be
Papers are limited to 45 minutes. Please submit abstracts of appr. 200
words via e-mail attachment to the organizing committee by 15 July 2009 at
either bosmapr AT unisa.ac.za or Olympus At yebo.co.za.
This conference is a joint project of the Unisa Departments of Classics &
World Languages and New Testament & Early Christian Studies.
Classical Reception in English Literature, 1660-1790
An international Workshop in connection with The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature (published by Oxford University Press)
27-28 June 2009, University of Bristol
The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature is a new, five-volume publication, offering a comprehensive survey and investigation of the reception of Greek and Roman literature by English writers from the Middle Ages to the present day. In the course of the History’s preparation, individual volume editors will be holding various kinds of conference and workshop to allow contributors to the history to meet and exchange ideas and their work-in-progress.
The Bristol workshop, to be held on 27-28 June, will focus on Volume 3: 1660-1790, for which first-draft contributions are due to be submitted at the end of 2009.
Though the workshop is primarily intended for the contributors’ benefit, it is open to other scholars working in the field, who are warmly welcomed to attend and to participate.
Please inform birtha-igrct AT bristol.ac.uk if you would like to attend.
Defining citizenship in archaic Greece
Thursday 7th May 2009
10.00 – 11.00: Registration in the Department of Classics
(1st Floor, Parkinson Building, University of Leeds)
11.00 onwards: Papers in the Beechgrove Room, University House
11.00 – 11.15: Introduction: Alain Duplouy (Paris)
11.15 – 11.45: John Davies (Liverpool) ‘The emergence and consolidation of the polis- state’.
11.45 – 12.15: Josine Blok (Utrecht) ‘Retracing steps: finding ways into archaic Greek citizenship.’
12.15 – 12.45: Discussion
12.45 – 14.00: Lunch
14.00 – 14.30: Paulin Ismard (Paris) ‘Archaic Associations and Citizenship in Athens.’
14.30 – 15.00: James Whitley (Cardiff) ‘Citizenship and commensality in Archaic Crete: Searching for the Andreion.’
15.00 – 15.30: Discussion
15.30 – 16.00: Tea
16.00 – 16.30: Paul Cartledge (Cambridge) ‘The Spartan contribution to Greek citizenship theory.’
16.30 – 17.00: Alain Duplouy (Paris) ‘Mass and elite: Civic versus aristocratic strategies?’
17.00 – 18.00: Discussion
The colloquium is open to all academic participants; postgraduate and undergraduate students are especially welcome. The conference fee, which includes tea/coffee and a buffet lunch, is £10, payable on the day. Directions to the University of Leeds and campus maps may be found at the following address: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/visitors/getting_here.htm. For any queries, please contact Roger Brock (r.w.brock AT leeds.ac.uk; 0113 343 6785).
ante diem iii kalendas maias
- ludi Florales … a.k.a. Floralia (day 3) — a festival originally ordered in response to an interpretation of the Sybilline books in 238 B.C., it fell into desuetude only to be revived in 173 B.C.; it was a general festival of drinking and other merriment in honour of Flora, who presided over (of course) flowers and their blossoms
- ca 65 A.D. — martyrdom of Torpes of Pisa
- 259 A.D. — martyrdom of Agapius at Citra (along with quite a few others)
RESEARCH INSTITUTE OF CLASSICS
RESEARCH SEMINAR PROGRAMME EASTER TERM
With the exception of KYKNOS papers which start at 6.00pm (www.kyknos.org.uk), all papers start at 5.00pm. All seminars are held in the Roderick Bowen Research Centre. For more information please contact Mirjam Plantinga (m.plantinga AT lamp.ac.uk) or Owen Hodkinson (o.hodkinson AT lamp.ac.uk). All very welcome.
Thursday 23 April: Dr. Tina Chronopoulos (KCL), ‘A reading of an Horatian Ode with a 12th-cent. medieval Latin commentary in hand’, 5.00pm.
Thursday 30 April: Dr. Angelo Giavatto (Cologne), ‘How to write to yourself: structure and argumentation in the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius’, 5.00pm.
Thursday 7 May: Dr. Lindsay Allen (KCL), ‘At home in Persepolis’, 5.00pm.
Thursday 14 May (KYKNOS paper): Nora Goldschmidt (Magdalen College, Oxford), ‘Virgil, Ennius, and the Site of Rome’, 6.00pm.
Thursday 28 May (KYKNOS paper): Dr. Johanna Akkurjarvi (Lund), ‘Narrating Athens. Genres in Pausanias’ Attika’, 6.00pm.
Thursday 4 June (KYKNOS paper): Dr. Koen de Temmerman (Ghent), ‘Less than ideal paradigms in the ancient Greek novel’, 6.00pm.
COMMUNITIES AND NETWORKS IN THE ANCIENT GREEK WORLD
DEPARTMENT OF CLASSICS, TRINITY COLLEGE DUBLIN
6-9 JULY 2009
Organisers: Dr Claire Taylor, Trinity College Dublin
Dr Kostas Vlassopoulos, University of Nottingham
This conference will examine the networks of interaction within and between
different groups in the classical and early hellenistic periods. Questions for
• What constituted a ‘community’ within the Greek world?
• What networks did people create, belong to, and destroy?
• How were different groups of people interconnected, and how did they
negotiate the ‘boundaries’ between them?
• How did communities change in response to social, political, economic
• How can we use network theory to access the lives and activities of people
for whom little traditional evidence survives?
Paulin Ismard (Université Paris Est Marne la Vallée; Equipe Phéacie): Networks
of communities in classical and hellenistic Athens: cultural aspects.
Claire Taylor (Trinity College, Dublin): Social networks and social hierarchies:
towards a model of social mobility in Athens.
Ben Gray (All Souls, Oxford): Exile communities and the citizen ideal in the
later classical and hellenistic Greek world.
Kostas Vlassopoulos (University of Nottingham): Free spaces: contexts of
interaction between citizens, metics and slaves in classical Athens.
Ben Akrigg (University of Toronto): The metic population in Athens.
Peter Hunt (University of Colorado, Boulder): Ethnic identity among slaves at
Barbara Kowalzig (Royal Holloway, London): Trading gods and trading networks:
economies of trust in ancient Greece.
Vincent Gabrielsen (University of Copenhagen): Naval and grain networks at
Christy Constantakopoulou (Birkbeck, London): Beyond the polis: island koina and
other non-polis entities in the Aegean.
Esther Eidinow (Newman College, Birmingham): Networks, narrative and
negotiation: magical practices and polis religion.
If you would like to attend, or require further information, please contact Dr
Claire Taylor (email@example.com), Dr Kostas Vlassopoulos
(konstantinos.vlassopoulos AT nottingham.ac.uk), or see the website:
Graduate student bursaries are available to cover the cost of campus
accommodation: please contact Dr Claire Taylor (claire.taylor AT tcd.ie) if you
wish to apply, or download the form from the website:
THE CLASSICAL ASSOCIATION OF SCOTLAND ANNUAL CONFERENCE
‘THE END OF ANCIENT EMPIRES’
University of Edinburgh, 19-21 June 2009
The Classical Association of Scotland (founded 1902) is proud to present its first annual conference in a new format. Papers will be 20 minutes long, and will be followed by 10 minutes of discussion. All sessions will take place in the Archaeology Lecture Theatre, School of History, Classics, and Archaeology, High School Yards, Infirmary Street, Edinburgh.
Full programme, abstracts, directions, and booking forms for registration and accommodation are available at: http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~mg/conferences/programme.shtml
Please address booking enquiries to Dr Gavin Kelly (Gavin.Kelly AT ed.ac.uk) and all other enquires to Dr Costas Panayotakis (C.Panayotakis AT classics.arts.gla.ac.uk).
Keynote address: Professor T. D. Barnes (Toronto/Edinburgh).
G. Longley (Oxford), The Causes of Imperial Decline in Ancient Authors from Herodotus to Polybius.
C. A. Farrell (KCL), The Afterbirth of the Seleucid Empire? Re-examining Imperial Ideology and Stateless Monarchs
E. Almagor (Jerusalem), The Decline and Fall of the Persian Empire in Plutarch’s Writings
A. Nagel/R. Sheikoleslamy (Ann Arbor/Tehran), Eternal Flames or The End of Antiquity’s Largest Empire – New Evidence from the Hall of Hundred Columns in Persepolis, Iran
L. Gregoratti (Udine), Vologeses’ “New Deal” and the transformation of the Parthian Empire
A. Collar (Exeter/Ankara), Understanding Fracture in the Roman Empire through Cult: Jupiter Dolichenus and the Power – and Fragility– of Military Networks
K. Petrovicová/J. Bednarikova (Brno), Martianus Capella’s questionable relation to the Vandals
G. Kelly (Edinburgh), tba
H. Ziche (Antilles and Guyane), Decoupling Economic and Institutional Development in the Fifth-century Roman Empire
F. Haarer (KCL), Cities in Transition: Change and Continuity in the Late Roman World
M. S. Bjornlie (Claremont McKenna), Assessing Decline and Fall in Ostrogothic Italy: The Fiscal Profile from Cassiodorus’ Variae
P. Wynn, Where are the Barbarians? Reframing the ‘Enemy’ after the Empire’s Fall in the Vita Germani
A. Roberts (KCL), George Grote, the Destruction of Ancient Empires, and British imperialism
R. Bryant Davies (Cambridge), Marius amidst the Ruins of Carthage: a Nineteenth-Century Understanding of Empire
D. Engels (Brussels), “Ist nicht mit Actium und der pax Romana die antike Geschichte zu Ende?” Oswald Spengler on the Transformation and Fall of the Roman Empire.
ante diem iv kalendas maias
- ludi Florales … a.k.a. Floralia (day 2) — a festival originally ordered in response to an interpretation of the Sybilline books in 238 B.C., it fell into desuetude only to be revived in 173 B.C.; it was a general festival of drinking and other merriment in honour of Flora, who presided over (of course) flowers and their blossoms
- 12 B.C. — consecration of the signum et ara Vestae on the Palatine; it was a shrine built by Augustus as pontifex maximus to house the palladium (maybe) which Aeneas brought from Troy
- 32 A.D. — birth of the future emperor-for-a-little-while Otho
- 1st century — martyrdom of Aphrodisius and companions in what would become Languedoc
- 304 A.D. — martyrdom of Pollio in Pannonia
- Floralia update: yesterday I was wondering about the connection to Chloris … an rc reader (Elspeth) emailed me via the forum (thanks!) to say: In his “Fasti”, Ovid tells the story (through an interview of Flora) of how she was once a nymph called Chloris who was loved by Zephyr, the west wind, who gave her power over flowers. Her name became Flora in Latin. I think this is in book five of the Fasti …
Dance of the Muses: Choral Theory and Ancient Greek Poetics is a very interesting website designed to accompany A.P. David’s book of the same name. Additional content at the website includes audio of Homer’s poetry being recited according to the book’s theory, videos of Homeric dance and other items of interest. Worth checking out!
Writings of Early Scholars in the Ancient Near East, Egypt and Greece:
Zur Übersetzbarkeit von Wissenschaftssprachen des Altertums
Interdisciplinary and international conference,
Johannes Gutenberg University, 27-29 July 2009
The historiography of the sciences in antiquity (including Egyptian
and Mesopotamian cultures) has changed fundamentally during the past
40 years. Changing methodologies and aims have led to a focus on
recognition and reconstruction of ancient scientific concepts, which
can differ significantly from “similar” modern concepts. As a way of
bringing these changes to light in a useful way, the conference will
focus on the problem of translations.
Translations are directly affected by respective cultural beliefs of
the translator. How then can ancient concepts that differ from our
modern ones be expressed in modern languages? And how can these
differences be understood by a modern reader?
Currently, some translations which are likely to mislead a historian
of science, a scientist or a mathematician may still be accepted as
correct by the philologists of the individual cultures.
The conference aims to explore problems involved in translating
ancient scientific texts and to create a methodological framework to
improve the quality of future translations. To achieve this goal, we
aim to bring together leading representatives and junior researchers
with a philological background or a background in history of science
(Egyptology, Assyriology, Classics, editors of ancient scientific
texts and scholars using them).
After an attempt to determine characteristic features of individual
sciences in antiquity, and how they can be distinguished from
non-scientific texts, specific examples will be used to enable
interdisciplinary and intercultural discussion.
The preliminary programme can be found at
We invite interested participants to join the conference and
contribute to the discussions.
Please register by 31 May 2009 at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The conference fee of 15 € to compensate for expenses is to be paid in
Prof. Dr. Annette Imhausen (am Historischen Seminar der Universität Frankfurt)
Dr. Tanja Pommerening (am Institut für Ägyptologie und
Altorientalistik der Universität Mainz)
Funded by the Thyssen Foundation and the ZIS (Center for Intercultural
Studies) of Mainz university.
Classical Association Annual Conference 2010
Cardiff University, Wednesday 7th April – Saturday 10th April 2010.
Call for papers
The Classical Association Annual Conference 2010 is to be hosted by Cardiff University. Panels and plenary lectures will be held in the Cathays Park campus of the University. The President’s address and conference dinner will take place in the National Museum and the City Hall in Cardiff’s civic centre.
We welcome proposals for papers (20 minutes long followed by discussion) and coordinated panels (comprising either 3 or 4 papers) from academic staff, graduate students, and school teachers on the topics suggested below, or on any aspect of the classical world. We are keen to encourage papers from a broad range of classical, historical, and archaeological perspectives.
Suggested topics: ancient warfare; family life and the built environment; western Greek historians; early Rome; ancient and modern contexts of Greek and Roman drama; currency; time and calendars; ancient skies; nostalgia and ancient attitudes towards the past; electronic publishing; epigraphy, literacy and society; mobility and connectivity in the Mediterranean; frontiers and boundaries; mosaics and visual culture; art and imperialism; religion and society in late antiquity; classical heritage in Wales; literary and cinematic historical fiction.
Title and an abstract (no more than 300 words), and any enquiries should be sent to the address below (preferably by email) not later than 31 August 2009:
Dr Guy Bradley, CA 2010,
School of History and Archaeology,
Humanities Building, Cardiff University,
Cardiff CF10 3EU,
Email: ca2010 AT cf.ac.uk
Tel. +44 (0)29 2087 4821
ante diem v kalendas maias
- ludi Florales … a.k.a. Floralia (day 1) — a festival originally ordered in response to an interpretation of the Sybilline books in 238 B.C., it fell into desuetude only to be revived in 173 B.C.; it was a general festival of drinking and other merriment in honour of Flora, who presided over (of course) flowers and their blossoms (Chloris is also mentioned … I’m still trying to figure that one out).
- 4977 B.C. — birth of the universe, according to the calculations of Johannes Kepler
- 1737 — Birth of Edward Gibbon (he wrote some sort of book apparently)
There was quite a bit of movie gossip this past week … First, from the Hollywood Reporter (and other sources) we hear of a movie-to-be called Odysseus … inter alia:
Warners is going back to ancient Greece, winning a major spec script bidding war to pick up “Odysseus,” written by Ann Peacock, with Jonathan Liebesman attached to direct. Gianni Nunnari is producing via his Hollywood Gang Prods.
The story centers on the legendary hero Odysseus, famed king of Ithaca, who returns to his island after 20 years of fighting the Trojan Wars, only to find his kingdom under the brutal occupation of an invading force. Odysseus single-handedly defeats every last man and takes back his wife, his son and his kingdom.
- Warners wins epic ‘Odysseus’ bidding war (Hollywood Reporter)
- Warner Bros. pencils in ‘Odysseus’ (Variety)
- Odysseus film is ’300 meets Taken’ in tale of bloody revenge (Coventry Telegraph)
Centurion (based on Eagle of the Ninth) is being touted as a sort of allegory … The incipit of a brief item in the Telegraph:
Both are intended as allegories of recent American experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Kevin Macdonald, the director of The Last King of Scotland and State of Play, is directing the adaptation of Rosemary Sutcliffe’s 1954 novel The Eagle of the Ninth.
It tells of a disillusioned young Roman soldier who travels to Scotland to find out what happened to his father who fought there.
The Romans will be made to resemble American GIs in the film in a clear attempt to draw parallels between past and present, said Macdonald.
“In a way it is an Iraq or Afghanistan war film taking place in the second century,” he told The Times.
The second film to explore the same theme is Centurion, directed by Neil Marshall, who helped make the horror movie Dog Soldiers. It will look at the Roman army’s apparent defeat directly, rather than through the lens of the next generation.
… and last, but not least, Clash of the Titans has begun filming:
- Clash of the Titans Begins Filming (About.com)
The Iris Festival for inner London schools
17-19th June, 2009
The Scoop at More London
The Iris Festival is a free three-day festival of Classics, run by educational charity The Iris Project (www.irismagazine.org), including plays and performances of Greek drama by London state schools from London’s most deprived boroughs, as well as activities, workshops and talks on Latin and ancient Greek.
Hundreds of pupils from London state schools will be acting on stage. The festival is a culmination of a year’s work with schools, introducing Greek and Roman civilisation and culture in the form of classes and workshops that aim both to teach about ancient languages and culture as well as working into the school’s social curriculum: Greek drama is inextricably linked with themes such as civic and social responsibility. These themes will be brought out both in the plays and in the workshops through discussion and role play.
The festival is an opportunity for children of all ages in inner London state schools to perform in public to a wide audience in an exciting professional venue and a chance for members of the public and schools to enjoy a three-day festival of Classics and Classical drama.
For more information, please contact us using the details below.
Dr Lorna Robinson
Director, The Iris Project
Registered Charity No. 1121868
8 Pond Close
tel: (01865) 308698
mob: 07988 819158
In light of all the Cleo hype (about which I’ll probably have more to add later), it’s interesting perhaps to direct the readers of rogueclassicism to an interesting section of Lanciani in which he describes an amazing discovery in Rome from 1485 (hat tip to Man of Roma for this) … here’s a useful excerpt (via Lacus Curtius):
There have been so many accounts published by modern writersin reference to this extraordinary event that it may interest my readers to learn the truth by reviewing the evidence as it stands in its original simplicity. I shall only quote such authorities as enable us to ascertain what really took place on that memorable day. The case is in itself so unique that it does not need amplification or the addition of imaginary details. Let us first consult the diary of Antonio di Vaseli:—
(f. 48.) “To‑day, April 19, 1485, the news came into Rome, that a body buried a thousand years ago had been found in a farm of Santa Maria Nova, in the Campagna, near the Casale Rotondo. . . . (f. 49.) The Conservatori of Rome despatched a coffin to Santa Maria Nova elaborately made, and a company of men for the transportation of the body into the city. The body has been placed for exhibition in the Conservatori palace, and large crown of citizens and noblemen have gone to see it. The body seems to be covered with a glutinous substance, a mixture of myrrh and other precious ointments, which attract swarms of bees. The said body is intact. The hair is long and thick; the eyelashes, eyes, nose, and ears are spotless, as well as the nails. It appears to be the body of a woman, of good size; and her head is covered with a light cap of woven gold thread, very beautiful. The teeth are white and perfect; the flesh and the tongue retain their natural color; but if the glutinous substance is washed off, the flesh blackens in less than an hour. Much care has been taken in searching the tomb in which the corpse was found, in the hope of discovering the epitaph, with her name; it must be an illustrious one, because none but a noble and wealthy person could afford to be buried in such a costly sarcophagus thus filled with precious ointments.”
Translation of a letter of messer Daniele da San Sebastiano, dated MCCCCLXXXV
“In the course of excavations which were made on the Appian Way, to find stones and marbles, three marble tombs have been discovered during these last days, sunk twelve feet below ground. One was of Terentia Tulliola, daughter of Cicero; the other had no epitaph. One of them contained a young girl, intact in all her members, covered from head to foot with a coating of aromatic paste, one inch thick. On the removal of this coating, which we believe to be composed of myrrh, frankincense, aloe, and other priceless drugs, a face appeared, so lovely, so pleasing, so attractive, that, although the girl had certainly been dead fifteen hundred years, she appeared to have been laid to rest that very day. The thick masses of hair, collected on the top of the head in the old style, seemed to have been combed then and there. The eyelids could be opened and shut; the ears and the nose were so well preserved that, after being bent to one side or the other, they instantly resumed their original shape. By pressing the flesh of cheeks the color would disappear as in a living body. The tongue could be seen through the pink lips; the articulation of the hands and feet still retained their elasticity. The whole of Rome, men and women, to the number of twenty thousand, visited the marvel of Santa Maria Nova that day. I hasten to inform you of this event, because I want you to understand how the ancients took care to prepare not only their souls but also their bodies for immortality. I am sure that if you had the privilege of beholding that lovely young face, your pleasure would have equalled your astonishment.”
In about 1540, during the Papacy of Paul III a burning lamp was found in a tomb on the Appian Way at Rome. The tomb was believed to belong to Tulliola, the daughter of Cicero. She died in 44 B.C. The lamp that had burned in the sealed vault for 1,550 years was extinguished when exposed to the air. Interesting about this particular discovery is also the unknown transparent liquid in which the deceased was floating. By putting the body in this liquid, the ancients managed to preserve the corpse in such a good condition that it appeared as if death had occurred only a few days ago.
By an interesting bit of synchonicity, t’other day I also came across a suitable skeptical article on these ‘perpetual’ lamps in an issue of Saturday Magazine from 1842 … the ‘tomb of Tulliola’ is al mentioned in a couple of clippings:
I’m sure I could crawl the web and find zillions of other examples; the sad thing to note, though, is that despite skepticism in regards to identities of folks in tombs and the like, and despite obvious chronological difficulties with discovery of evidence and the like, folks will still believe occupants are whoever they want them to be … alas.
A review of Iphigenia and Other Daughters in the Columbia City Paper suggests, inter alia:
Classicists hate to admit it, but Homer and all who proceeded him in the tradition of ancient Greek theater (Euripides, Sophocles, Aeschylus, etc.) were of a mind to entertain just as much to educate and elucidate.
… er, no … it’s probably the other way around if anything. Actually, it doesn’t really reflect what Classicists think at all …
David Bromwich in the Huffington Post writing about US torture etc. mentions, inter alia:
Romans of the imperial age practiced torture against enemy combatants on an imposing scale of unrestraint. The gloves were really off. Any viewer of the final montage of Kubrick’s film of Spartacus will remember the captives of the slave rebellion nailed on their crosses like trees of that peculiar climate. The Christian religion was founded against the empire that did such things. It incorporated into its central symbol the purest revulsion from torture.
Okay … let’s distinguish between ‘torture for information’ and ‘torture as part of the execution process … do we have evidence of the Romans ‘torturing for information’ in a military context?
Haven’t seen any more coverage of this other than from the Ma’an News Agency:
Roman-era catacombs were unearthed in Bethlehem Saturday during construction in an empty lot beside Bethlehem University.
The small underground cave system opens facing north, and held four stone coffins with engravings on each, housed in two separate dug out burial areas.
Head of Antiquates department in Jericho Wael Hamamrah estimated the artifacts, complete with skeletal remains and some pottery are between 1,800 and 1,900 years old.
Construction workers preparing to lay pipe in the yard called Palestinian tourism and antiquates police when they went to investigate the sudden collapse of earth in an area they had been digging in that morning.
The underground hall leads to two rooms, one 70×28 centimeters and the other 40×24 centimeters,
Head engineer at the site Mohammad Al-Quraji said the crew was very surprised when the earth collapsed, and stunned when they peered into the underground tombs. They left the scene untouched until antiquities experts arrived, and helped remove debris as experts investigated the site.
A not-very-useful photo accompanies the original article …
A ‘busy girl’ sent this one in (gratias tibi ago!):
… or so it seemed when I read this headline a bit too quickly:
… could the wily translator match up to the inquisitive Egyptian beastie? The followup tells the tale:
… and in case you were wondering, Alexander enneagrammatically KOed Jesus in the ninth round …
Getting a smattering of coverage this past week was the announcement that the Cleveland Museum of Art would be returning 14 items (13 from the period within our purview) to Italy which were considered to be of dubious origin. In return, the CMoA will be receiving a loan of items of similar value. There don’t seem to be many photos of the items, but this red figure askos is one of my faves:
An excerpt from the coverage in the Plain Dealer:
Italian authorities used evidence collected in a police raid in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1995, which exposed a network of “tombaroli,” or tomb robbers, who passed the works to middlemen who sold them to museums.
Among the most significant objects being returned to Italy from Cleveland is a fourth-century B.C. Apulian red-figured volute krater — a large wine vessel — by the Dorias painter, which stands roughly 4 feet high.
Other works include Etruscan silver bracelets; a Neolithic bronze warrior from Sardinia; an Attic rhyton, or drinking vessel, in the shape of a mule; and a large, Corinthian-column krater.
Rub said the condition of the objects was inspected both by Italian and museum officials Tuesday before they were crated and sealed for transfer today.
The museum turned down requests from The Plain Dealer to observe and photograph the packing of the artworks, in part out of concern for security and in part because museum views the transfer as less important than the agreement reached with Italy last fall.
“I look upon this as a kind of mechanical thing,” Rub said. “The big news for me was the signing of the agreement.”
Of equal (or perhaps greater) interest is a little excerpt tucked into a sidebar photo:
The Cleveland Museum ofArt and Italy have created a joint committee to examine the museum’s “Victory with Cornucopia (Chariot Attachment),” purchased in 1984, plus a large bronze statue of Apollo Sauroktonos, or “Lizard Slayer,” to determine whether the works were looted in violation of modern laws.
I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about that.
As always in such things, David Gill’s blogposts should be consulted:
- Cleveland Museum of Art will return tainted antiquities to Italy Wednesday (ditto … in another place)