CONF: Communicating With the Dead in the Ancient Mediterranean World

… seen on the Classicists list:

International Conference Announcement
“Communicating with the Dead in the Ancient Mediterranean World”
Volos, 19-21 June 2009
University of Thessaly
Department of History, Archaeology and Social Anthropology


Friday, 19/6/2009


Reception and coffee

(University of Thessaly)

Addressing and honouring heroes and distinguished dead in Geometric Greece  

(University of Thessaly)

Images of ghosts in the visual arts of the archaic and classical periods

(University of Thessaloniki)

Encountering death, before and after: The Bacchic-Orrphic incised lamellae  


Saturday, 20/6/2009


(University of Edinburgh)

Encounters between the living and the dead in the ancient world: Semitic evidence  

Panagiotis KOUSOULIS:
(University of the Aegean)

The demonic identity of the dead and its ritual manipulation in the Egyptian underworld: The evidence from the New Kingdom and the Third Intermediate Period  


(University of Illinois at Chicago)

The Stone in the Soul  

Spyros RANGOS:
(University of Patras)

Rebirth and liberation across philosophy and religious imagery until Plato  



(University of Montreal)

Neither stone-dead nor stone-deaf  

(University of Thessaly)

Encounters with the dead in magic: Resurrection of the body?  


(University of Groningen)


Dimitris KYRTATAS:
(University of Thessaly)

Communications with the living-dead in Christian Egypt 


Sunday, 21/6/2009


Suzanne LYE:
(University of California – Los Angeles)

Conversations between the living and the dead in late antiquity, with a focus on the ancient novel

Matthew DICKIE:
(University of Illinois at Chicago)

Eustratius, presbyter Constantinopolitanus, De statu animarum post mortem  

(University of Bergen)

Intercession and the special dead  



ED: Summer School in Latin Language – Bologna 29.06-17.07.2009 (extended deadline)

… seen on the Classicists list:

Bologna University Summer School in Latin Language and Classical Culture (29th June – 17th July 2009)

The Department of Classics ( of Bologna University is pleased to announce that it is still possible to enrol to the second Summer School in Latin Language and Classical Culture.

The teaching will be focused both on language and on literature; further classes will touch on moments of Roman history and history of art, supplemented by visits to museums and archaeological sites (in Bologna and Rome).

The course will be held in Bologna from 29th June to 17th July 2009 for a total of 60 hours. On the basis of their previous knowledge of Latin, the participants will be divided into classes of different levels (beginners and intermediate). Students must be aged 18 or over.

All tuition will be in English.


For further information and to enrol, please visit:

E-mail: diri_school.latin AT

Recreating the Lituus

Although the BBC article only mentions Rome in passing, some folks have done the computer thang and have recreated what the Lituus might have sounded like, at least in the context of one of the last pieces written (by Bach) for the instrument which fell into desuetude a few centuries ago. Listen to it here (perhaps to recover from the Death Metal mentioned below …).

UPDATE (a little later): make sure you read Ajax’ comment …

Classical Effects

The incipit of a piece by Jonathan Tepperman in Newsweek:

In 1942, a little-known Michigan-born journalist living in Europe decided to write a cookbook of sorts. Her name was M.F.K. Fisher, and the result, How to Cook a Wolf, was less a collection of recipes than a guide to, and a fierce defense of, eating well when the world was at war, food was scarce and the proverbial wolf was “snuffling at the door.” Fisher was adamant that, whatever the circumstances, one must try to exist as richly as possible. As she later told an interviewer, “One has to live, you know. You can’t just die from grief or anything. You don’t die. You might as well eat well, have a good glass of wine, a good tomato.”

I’ve been thinking about Fisher a lot lately. While the wolf has not yet reached the threshold again, she’s been sighted in the neighborhood and can be heard baying up the empty canyons of Wall Street. Which makes advice like Fisher’s as important now as it was 60 years ago. For her point was not just that we should struggle to live well for the sake of the struggle. It was that, when conditions are rough, finding comfort—whether in a tomato or a lovingly prepared meal—is especially important, both to salve our wounds and to remind ourselves of our humanity.

It’s a lesson I first learned about a decade ago. The circumstances were far less astringent and romantic than occupied France, but the grub was almost as bad. I was a student living on a narrow budget in England, before Cool Brittania made the U.K. part of Europe again, bringing cappuccino and tapenade even to remote academia. Back then the dorms were cold, the plumbing erratic and the dining-hall food comically bad, either gray or beige and fat or starch. Albion was still the land of dishwater coffee, the chip butty (a french-fry sandwich) and bacon dinners. I’d come to study law and was overwhelmed by the course load and losing weight so rapidly I was eating two chocolate bars a day to keep my pants up. And then I fell in love, and everything changed.

She studied Latin poetry and was strong-willed, beautiful and brilliant—and a maniacal cook, who fed me candied ginger the first time we had tea (who knew there was such a thing?) and soon started serving me elaborate, exquisite meals. Then the rules shifted and I soon found myself drafted into twice-weekly shopping trips and nightly kitchen duty. At first, panicked at the library hours I was losing, I resented this drudgery deeply; not helping never seemed an option. But it wasn’t long before I realized, over a forkful of wild Scottish trout, a plate of orrechiette with rapini and sausage or a post-dinner glass of vin santo, that this extraordinary food and the time spent preparing it wasn’t undermining my work—it was enabling it. Left to my own devices and an institutional menu of mushy peas, I wouldn’t have lasted a full term. The classicist showed me how to slow down and live better. I succumbed to it and Oxford’s other eccentric charms—like inkwells in the libraries, the white-tie ensemble we wore for exams or the bicycles we rode everywhere (often while wearing white tie). I made room and time for the Good Life, and the Good Life saved me.

The classicist is long gone, despite my obedient kitchen servitude and the stock-pot I bought her for Valentine’s Day (which she took with her). But her lesson sticks with me. [...]

Sound like a Classicist I know, but then again, what do I know …

Ex Deo: Romulus

Even if you’re not a fan of Death Metal, classicist types should find the imagery of the title track of Ex Deo’s latest Roman-themed project of interest:

Exclaim (to whom I tip my pileus) also includes a list of tracks on the album (do they call them albums any more?):

1. “Romulus”
2. “Storm the Gates of Alesia”
3. “Cry Havoc”
4. “In Her Dark Embrace”
5. “Invictus”
6. “The Final War (Battle of Actium)”
7. “Legio XIII”
8. “Blood, Courage and the God’s That Walk the Earth”
9. “Cruor Nostri Abbas”
10. “Surrender The Sun”
11. “The Pantheon (Jupiter’s Reign)”

Seasick Seneca

Not sure why this is in the Guardian‘s weather pages, actually … perhaps it’s a sidebar to something:

Lucius Annaeus Seneca, mentor to the boy emperor Nero, had let himself be persuaded to travel by sea. "The sea was quite calm when we set off. The sky was certainly heavily overcast, with the kind of dark clouds that generally break into a squall or downpour," he writes in Letters from a Stoic (Penguin Classics 1969).

"I thought it would be perfectly feasible to make it across the few miles from your Parthenope to Puteoli. And so, with the object of getting the crossing over quicker, I headed straight for Nesis over the open water to cut out all the intervening curves of coastline. Now when I had got so far across that it made no odds whether I went on or turned back, first of all the smoothness which had tempted me to my undoing disappeared. There was no storm as yet, but a heavy swell was running by then and the waves were steadily getting rougher. I began asking the helmsman to put me ashore somewhere. He kept saying the coast was a rugged one without a haven anywhere and that there was nothing he feared quite so much in a storm as a lee shore. I was in far too bad a way, though, for any thought of possible danger to enter my head, as I was suffering the torments of that sluggish brand of seasickness that will not bring one relief, the kind that upsets the stomach without clearing it." The great Stoic settled his queasiness by diving overboard and swimming across the squally waters to the shore.

The letter is Epistulae Morales 6.53, for those of you scoring at home. It actually goes beyond what is quoted above and includes some snippets from the Aeneid

CFP: Journal of Hellenic Religion vol. 3

The Journal of Hellenic Religion’s (JfHR) will proceed shortly to produce the third volume of the Journal, which will be forthcoming in the mid 2010.
The JfHR is a peer-reviewed annual periodical. It has as a main theme the original interdisciplinary study of ancient Greek Religion and Theology (i.e. history, philosophy, politics-sociology and archaeology-anthropology).

The theme / subject of the forthcoming Volume 3 will focus on the ancient Greek beliefs of afterlife and death, their mourning, lamentation and funeral practices.

The articles should include full bibliography and endnotes.

The editorial panel may request editions and small alterations and a summary of the peer-reviewed process will be send after the author’s request. The authors hold their article’s copyright. The contributors will be requested to sign the ‘Licence To Publish’ based on the JISC and Surf Foundation guidelines.

Please view (URL: the Contribution Guideline for more information of the word limitation.
Submission of any material must be on electronic form (doc, rtf), accompanied with the legal name and a current email and postal address of the author and emailed it to the Editor (see contact details below)

Thank you in advance of your contributions.

Nikolaos Markoulakis
Nottingham Trent University
Maudslay Building
Burton Street, NG1 4BU
Phone: +44 (0) 115 848 4354
fax: +44 (0) 115 848 4612
Email: n.markoulakis AT
Visit the website at

CONF: Digital Classicist seminar series

… seen on the Classicists list:

We have had to make a small change to the Digital Classicist/ICS Work-in-Progress seminar series.  The updated programme is copied here.

*Digital Classicist/ICS Work in Progress Seminar, Summer 2009*

Fridays at 16:30 in STB3/6 (Stewart House), Senate House, Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU

(NB: July 17th seminar in British Library, 96 Euston Rd, NW1 2DW)

*June 5:* Bart Van Beek (Leuven)
‘Onomastics and Name-extraction in Graeco-Egyptian Papyri’

*June 12:* Philip Murgatroyd (Birmingham)
‘Starting out on the Journey to Manzikert: Agent-based modelling and
Mediaeval warfare logistics’

*June 19:* Mark Hedges & Tobias Blanke (King’s College London)
‘Linking and Querying Ancient Texts: A multi-database case study with epigraphic corpora”

*June 26:* Marco Büchler & Annette Loos (Leipzig)
‘Textual Re-use of Ancient Greek Texts: A case study on Plato’s works’

*July 3:* Roger Boyle & Nia Ng (Leeds)
‘Extracting the Hidden: Paper Watermark Location and Identification’

*July 10:* Cristina Vertan (Hamburg)
‘Teuchos: An Online Knowledge-based Platform for Classical Philology’

*July 17:* Christine Pappelau (Berlin) **NB: in British Library**
‘Roman Spolia in 3D: High Resolution Leica 3D Laser-scanner meets
ancient building structures’

*July 24:* Elton Barker (Oxford)
‘Herodotos Encoded Space-Text-Imaging Archive’

*July 31:* Leif Isaksen (Southampton)
‘Linking Archaeological Data’

*August 7:* Alexandra Trachsel (Hamburg)
‘An Online Edition of the Fragments of Demetrios of Skepsis’


We are inviting both students and established researchers involved in the application of the digital humanities to the study of the ancient world to come and introduce their work. The focus of this seminar series is the interdisciplinary and collaborative work that results at the interface of expertise in Classics or Archaeology and computer Science.

The seminars will be followed by wine and refreshments.

For more information please contact any of the following:
Gabriel.Bodard AT
Stuart.Dunn AT
Juan.Garce AT
Simon.Mahony AT
or see the seminar website at

JOB: Generalist @ UArizona (one year)

… seen on the Classics List:

The Department of Classics at the  University of Arizona in Tucson seeks a highly qualified candidate for a full-time, benefits-eligible, one-year position as Visiting Assistant Professor beginning August, 2009.  We are seeking a broadly trained classicist who will teach six courses,  including one each in elementary and intermediate Greek, one in the
classical tradition, and two other large enrollment courses depending upon the candidate’s areas of expertise.

To apply, please follow the link to the University’s Human Resources site and search for job #43091.

Inquiries may be directed to:
Pamela J. Goldsmith
Senior Business Manager
Department of Classics
LSB 203
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ  85721
goldsmip AT

ED: EpiDoc Training Sessions

… from the Digitalclassicist list:

*EpiDoc Training Sessions 2009*
London 20-24 July
Rome 21-25 September

The EpiDoc community has been developing protocols for the publication
of inscriptions, papyri, and other documentary Classical texts in
TEI-compliant XML: for details see the community website at (*Note:* the new Duke Databank of Documentary
Papyri at is encoded in EpiDoc XML.)

Over the last few years there has been increasing demand for training by
scholars wishing to use EpiDoc. We are delighted to be able to announce
two training workshops, which will be offered in 2009. Both will be led
by Dr Gabriel Bodard. These sessions will benefit scholars working on
Greek or Latin documents with an interest in developing skills in the
markup, encoding, and exploitation of digital editions. Competence in
Greek and/or Latin, and knowledge of the Leiden Conventions will be
assumed; no particular computer skills are required.

*London session,* 20-24 July 2009. This will take place at the Centre
for Computing in the Humanities, King’s College London, 26-29 Drury
Lane. The cost of tuition will be £50 for students; £100 for employees
of universities or other non-profit institutions; £200 for employees of
commercial institutions. Those interested in enrolling should apply to
Dr Bodard, gabriel.bodard AT by 20 June 2009.

We hope to be able to offer some follow-up internships after the
session, to enable participants to consolidate their experience under
supervision; please let us know if that would be of interest to you.

*Rome session,* 21-25 September 2009. This will take place at the
British School at Rome. Thanks to the generous support of the
International Association of Greek and Latin Epigraphy, the British
School and Terra Italia Onlus, tuition will be free.

Those interested in enrolling should apply to Dr Silvia Orlandi,
silvia.orlandi AT by 30 June 2009.

*Practical matters*
Both courses will run from Monday to Friday starting at 10:00 am and
ending at 16:00 each day.

Participants should bring a wireless-enabled laptop. You should acquire
and install a copy of the Oxygen XML Editor
( *and* either
an educational licence ($48) or a 30-day trial licence (free). Don’t
worry if you don’t know how to use it!

CONF: Pacific Rim Roman Literature Seminar 2009 at UCL

… seen on the Classicists list:

*Pacific Rim Roman Literature Seminar 2009
University College London, 7-9 July (Archaeology Lecture Theatre)
Utopia and Dystopia in Roman Literature*


Tuesday, 7 July 2009

from 9.30 registration

10.00 Welcome
10.15–11.00 NIALL W. SLATER (Emory University)
"Seneca’s Apocolocyntosis as Dystopic Prelude to a Neronian Golden Age"

11.30–12.15 PAUL BURTON (Australian National University)
"Cicero’s Utopian Amicitia:
Some Epistemological Problems with the ‘Friendship of Virtue’"
12.15–13.00 KATHRYN TEMPEST (Roehampton University)
"Cicero and the Rhetoric of Utopia: The Pro Marcello"

14.30–15.15 ANDREW TURNER (University of Melbourne)
"The reception of Greek New Comedy in Latin literature and scholarship:
new evidence from the Terence scholia"
15.15–16.00 EMMA GEE (University of St Andrews)
"A Smattering of Science"

16.30–17.15 BARBARA WEINLICH (Texas Tech University)
"The Dimension(s) of Utopia in Moralistic Discourse:
Mythic Past and Contemporary Rome in Propertius 3.13"
17.15–18.00 RHIANNON EVANS (University of Melbourne)
"Noble savages? Utopian others in Roman ethnography"

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

9.30–10.15 DOROTA DUTSCH (University of California, Santa Barbara)
"The Dynamics of Utopia in Vergil’s Eclogues"
10.15–11.00 ROBIN BOND (University of Canterbury)
"Vergil, Horace and Juvenal: Utopia/Dystopia"

11.30–12.15 SJARLENE THOM (University of Stellenbosch)
"The lyric utopia: taking a stand for lyric in Horace Odes 3.7–12"
12.15–13.00 JOHN GARTHWAITE (University of Otago)
"Utopia Regained in Calpurnius’ Eclogues?

Thursday, 9 July 2009

9.30–10.15 JESSICA DIETRICH (Australian National University)
"The Ideal of Virtuous Female Suicide in Flavian Literature
10.15–11.00 PETER DAVIS (University of Tasmania)
"Journey to a better world?: Argo’s Voyage in Seneca’s Medea and Valerius

11.30–12.15 JOHN PENWILL (La Trobe University)
"Roman Dystopia and the Battle of Cannae in Punica 8–10"
12.15–13.00 FRANCES LEE MILLS (La Trobe University)
"Between Dreams and Realities: The Interpretation of Omens in Silius Italicus’

14.30–15.15 WILLIAM J. DOMINIK (University of Otago)
"The reception of Silius Italicus in modern scholarship"
15.15–16.00 JEAN-MICHEL HULLS (Downside School)
"No place like Rome? Modelling utopia and dystopia onto Statius’ Silvan city"

16.30–17.15 JACQUELINE CLARKE (University of Adelaide)
"Utopias and Dystopias of the Body in Prudentius’ Hymn of Fasting (Cath. VII)"
17.15–18.00 STEPHEN HARRISON (Corpus Christi College Oxford)
"Utopian Palaces in Apuleius and La Fontaine"

All welcome!

If you would like to attend, please register by sending an email to the conference organizer Gesine Manuwald at g.manuwald AT by 15 June 2009.

Conference fee (to cover refreshments and lunches): £20 full conference, £7 day rate (payable in cash upon arrival).

For further information please contact the conference organizer.

JOB: PhD position (Heroic space in Attic drama) Universiteit van Amsterdam

… seen on the Classicists list

PhD position (m/f)
Noord-Holland), 38 hours per week
University of Amsterdam

For the offical announcement see

Job description
The Institute of Culture and History (ICG) of the UvA has a vacant PhD
position (Heroic space in Attic drama) per 1 September 2009, as part of the
NWO funded project Space in Ancient Greek Literature.

The candidate is expected to research and complete a PhD dissertation within  a period of three years and three months, and to participate in the graduate curriculum of the national research school of classics OIKOS.

MA in Classics, obtained no longer than five years ago. An MA in a research  Master and/ or an MSt, MPhil or some other form of postdoctoral research training is a definite pre. The Master thesis preferably deals with a topic from Greek literature.

Additional information about the job:

Project desciption: The project here advertised, Heroic space in Attic
drama, forms part of a larger NWO program Space in Ancient Greek Literature,  which in its turn forms part of a larger project, a multi-volume
narratological history of Classical Greek literature. So far two volumes
have appeared: I.J.F. de Jong, R. Nünlist, A. Bowie (eds.) Narrators,
Narratees, and Narratives in Ancient Greek Literature, Studies in Ancient
Greek Narrative 1, Leiden, Brill 2004; I.J.F. de Jong, R. Nünlist, (eds.)
Time in Ancient Greek Literature, Studies in Ancient Greek Narrative 2,
Leiden, Brill 2007.

The third volume will deal with space, discussing issues such as the amount  of attention paid to space, the distribution of the space descriptions over  the text; the presentation of space (is the information provided by the narrator, representing his own focalization or that of an anonymous viewer, or is it one of the characters who is focalizing or speaking?), its thematic  function (when it becomes a factor of importance in the plot, e.g. when its central hero is traveling), symbolic function (e.g. city versus country, inside versus outside, public versus private, etc.), or characterizing function (when the description of objects or housing tells us something about a character).

By way of elaboration on the chapters on drama, the PhD project Heroic space  in Attic drama will discuss in detail aspects of space in one or more plays of Aeschylus, Sophocles, or Euripides, taking its cue from studies such as  Issacharoff 1981, Kuntz 1993, and Rehm 2002. It will deal with the setting and the relationship between the onstage space and the offstage space. But  the main aspect to be discussed concerns the fact that ancient drama while treating contemporary issues always is situated in the heroic past: how is the physical outlook of this heroic past (re)constructed? In view of the paramount importance of the Homeric epics in fifth century Athens the heroic  space of drama is likely to have been modeled after that of epic, but as some – small scale – investigations of anachronism in tragedy have shown, the contemporary world may intrude; see Easterling 1985 and Dunn 2006. While  the seventh century Homeric (re)construction of the heroic world is a matter  of intense discussion and debate since more than a century, the (re)construction of the heroic world in fifth century Athens so far is still largely to be explored.

University of Amsterdam
The University of Amsterdam (UvA) is a university with an internationally
acclaimed profile, located at the heart of the Dutch capital. As well as a
world center for business and research, Amsterdam is a hub of cultural and
media activities. The University of Amsterdam is a member of the League of
European Research Universities.

The Faculty of Humanities undertakes teaching and research with a strong
international orientation in a large number of disciplines within the field
of language and culture. The faculty is situated in the center of Amsterdam
and maintains close contacts with many cultural institutions in the city. It
employs almost a thousand staff members and its courses are attended by
approximately 6,500 students.

Conditions of employment
Duration of the contract: 3 years and 3 months
Maximum hours per week: 38

Additional conditions of employment:
The PhD candidate will be appointed for a period of three years and three
months, starting from September 2009 or later (but not after 31 December
2009) at the Faculty of Humanities of the UvA under the terms of employment
currently valid for the Faculty. A contract will be given in the first
instance for one year, with an extension for the following three years on
the basis of an evaluation of, amongst other things, a written piece of
work. The salary (on a full time base) will be Euro 2.042 during the first
year(gross per month) and will reach EUro 2.612 during the fourth year, in
accordance with the CAO for Dutch universities.

Additional Information

Or additional information can be obtained through one of the following links.

   * About the organization
   * About the department
   * About the function

A full text of the NWO program of which this PhD project forms a part can be
found in the attachment below or required from drs. Paul Koopman
(icg-fgw AT Further information can be obtained from Professor Irene
J.F. de Jong (i.j.f.dejong AT or 0031-20-5252559).

You can apply for this job before 02-06-2009 by sending your application to:

Spuistraat 134
1012 VB Amsterdam

E-mail address: icg-fgw AT
Applications for this position, preferably in pdf format, should be sent to
drs. P.J. Koopman, Instituut voor Cultuur en Geschiedenis, Spuistraat 134,
1012 VB Amsterdam (icg-fgw AT They should consist of 1) a letter of
application; 2) a copy of recent work, preferably a MA thesis; 3) a sketch
(1500-2000 words) of how the applicant intends to fill in the rough project
proposal summarized above and described in more detail in the NWO program ‘Space in Ancient Greek Literature’. The deadline for submission is 1 June 2009 at the latest. Please state the vacancy number. Applications received after this date or those that are incomplete will not be taken into consideration.

When applying for this job always mention the vacancy number AT 09-3018.

The short URL code for this job opening is: 00361-1811.
You can use this as a direct link to the job by adding the code to the URL

Temple of Isis Found at Florence?

Brief item from ANSA:

Workmen inside Florence’s courthouse have stumbled across a spiral column and hundreds of multicoloured fragments that experts believe may have belonged to a Roman temple dedicated to the Egyptian goddess Isis.

Dating to the second century AD, the remains were discovered as the men dug a five by three metre hole, barely four metres deep, for a new water cistern for the courthouse’s anti-incendiary system.

”These finds are of extraordinary importance,” said Alessandro Palchetti, the archaeologist charged with overseeing the works in the courthouse by Florence’s archaeology superintendency, who suspected something interesting might be uncovered because of the area’s historic relevance.

Palchetti said the remains were ”comparable” to others found over the last three centuries in the immediate area that have also been attributed to the temple of Isis, the Egyptian goddess of motherhood and fertility who was later adopted by the Greeks and Romans.

The location of the temple is unknown, Palchetti said, but it is believed to have been built just outside the Roman part of the city, near the current courthouse building.

Meanwhile, Florence’s Culture Councillor Eugenio Giani said ongoing excavations of an ancient Roman theatre under the city’s Palazzo Vecchio will mean members of the public will be able to visit the site in two years’ time.

Archaeologists have already uncovered the area where spectators sat and a portion of the orchestra as well as revealed the story of the theatre and its fall into disuse.

Constructed at the end of the first century AD, it was in use until the end of the fourth century before remaining structures were used as a burial place, stalls for animals and a prison during Medieval times.

”We’ll continue to work on the central corridor which will give us a direct link with the Cortile della Dogana of Palazzo Vecchio from where people will be able to make the descent,” said Giani.

… I see more of this sort of thing in the Italian press; I might have more this weekend.

LIMC ‘Complete’

From a UBristol press release:

A scholarly project to document and analyse all known images of mythology from the Greek, Roman and Etruscan civilisations, has reached it culmination with the appearance of the last two volumes of the 20-volume series. The project, known as LIMC (Lexicon Iconographicum Mythologiae Classicae), was begun in the early 1970s.

The two volumes (‘Supplementum 2009’) picture many new and hitherto-unpublished representations of myths, and bring up to date the entire forty-year project – which has been described as the boldest venture in classical scholarship in the past 70 years.  The non-profit-making LIMC Foundation is based in Basel, with branches in Athens, Heidelberg, Paris and Würzburg; the Council which administers it is drawn from more than 30 countries in five continents.  At the head of LIMC is Richard Buxton, Professor of Greek Language and Literature at Bristol who has been one of the editors of LIMC since 2003, and since 2006, its President. 

The work of the LIMC Foundation is far from over.  It has two major ongoing projects.  The first, ‘ThesCRA’ (‘Thesaurus Cultus et Rituum Antiquorum’), documents ancient cults and rites; five volumes are out so far (published by the J. Paul Getty Museum), with more on the way.  The second project involves digitizing the whole LIMC archive, so as to put it online – and free to the user.

“This can’t be done overnight,” explains Professor Buxton, “because before putting the images on the web we need to gain the explicit permission of the hundreds of museums and private collections which house the objects illustrated.”

In spite of this, and in spite of the increasingly challenging task of raising funds, Professor Buxton estimates that both ThesCRA and the digitization will be completed within three years.

All this proves, if proof were needed, that classical myths are alive and well, and as meaningful and vibrant now as at any time in their rich and complex history.

… interesting; I was just mentioning LIMC on Facebook t’other day. Of course, a work like this really isn’t ever complete. I’m sure we’ll have another supplement in a decade or so …

Financial Scandals at Vindolanda? Probably Not …

The News Post Journal provides a fine example of journalists trying to make extremely tenuous connections to modern political events, in this case, the assorted financial adventures of assorted Members of Parliament. The item is brief, so:

ANCIENT Roman writing tablets found near Hadrian’s Wall, suggest public officials were on the take 1,900 years ago.

No floating duck ponds, second homes allowances or bath plugs in sight -but sinew, ears of grain, high priced leatherware and lavish entertainment.

Writing tablets, dating from the Second Century, uncovered at Vindolanda – the Roman encampment
near Hadrian’s Wall – detail hundreds of expenses claims and receipts concerning the soldiers stationed there and lavish parties thrown by their Commanding Officer.

Five of the tablets – translated by Professor Tony Birley – contain 111 lines detailing entertainment claims at the camp.

Among the items detailed are a hundred pounds of sinew, hobnails for boots, bread, cereals, hides, and pigs.

One official or merchant makes an urgent plea for funds: "As to the 100 pounds of sinew from Marinus-I will settle up. From when you wrote about this he has not even mentioned it to me.

"I have written to you several times that I have bought ears of grain, about 5,000 modii, on account of which I need denarii-unless you send me something, at least 500 denarii, I will lose what I have given as a down payment, about 300 denarii, and will be embarrassed, so I ask you: send me some denarii as soon as possible."

More than 400 tablets were discovered at the site and are the earliest example of the written word in Britain.

The implication of this seems to be that this sinew etc. was to be used in some "lavish party", but that seems to be quite a stretch. The letter in question is Vindolanda Tablet 343 and is readily available — with commentary — online. Here’s an excerpt thereof (go to the page for more):

The whole letter is replete with signs of entrepreneurial initiative. The sums of money and goods involved are very considerable: Candidus is asked for 500 denarii and Octavius has laid out 300 (a year’s pay for a miles gregariusmodii of cereal and hides numbering in the hundreds can hardly be intended for any other market. Octavius (wherever he was) presumably purchased the cereal from local sources. The hides will have come from the military sector since it is surely inconceivable that tanneries operating on this scale can have existed outside it. The reference to the presence of hides at Cataractonium (Catterick, lines ii.15-6) is of great interest and well fits the archaeological evidence for a large tannery there in the period between c. AD 85 and 120 (see Butler (1971), 170, Burnham and Wacher (1990), 111-7). The reference to credit arrangements with a certain Tertius, albeit for a small sum, is also of interest. The evidence for the operation of a cash economy on this scale and for the sophistication of the financial dealings in this region is in general supported by the evidence of the accounts from Vindolanda. in this period). The natural conclusion is that Octavius and Candidus are involved in the supply of goods in a military context on a large scale.

How one can leap from that sort of thing to a headline screaming "Ancient Roman "MPs" were first for expenses scandal" is beyond me.

From the Mailbag: New Classics Blog – Pop Classics

Juliette Harrisson — a PhD candidate at UBirmingham — scripsit:

I’m e-mailing to inform you of a new Classics blog which I have just started. It is called Pop Classics and posts informal reviews of Classics in popular culture; everything from The Life of Brian to a brief mention of The Aeneid in Red Dwarf. The url is

… looks interesting so far. We’ll be adding it to our blogosphere …

CONF: The Erotics of Narrative

seen on the Classicists list:

The Erotics of Narrative’

An international KYKNOS conference

KYKNOS, the Swansea and Lampeter Centre for Research on the Narrative Literatures of the Ancient World


15-17 July, Gregynog Hall


For booking information see:


Conference organisers: John.Morgan AT

m.plantinga AT; I.Repath AT




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, considering such aspects as: pleasure and pain, erotic impetus and delay, frustration and satisfaction, and disappointment and fulfilment, and generally how the processes and rhythms of reading/listening relate to sexual desire, pleasure, and so on.




Wednesday 15 July                 

3.00 – 3.15        Introduction      

3.15 – 4.15        Dimos Spatharas ‘Kinky stories from the rostrum’

4.15 – 4.45        Tea      

4.45 – 5.45        Andrea Capra    ‘Erotic scenes, erratic narratives, ironic distances: Plato and Xenophon’s Antithetic Symposia’

5.45 – 6.45        Liz Pender         ‘From seduction meadow to marriage bed: reading Plato’s Phaedrus’                    



Thursday 16 July                     

9.00 – 10.00      Glenn Lacki       ‘Sex and sea: the temptations of narration (Ov. Her. 18-19)

10.00 – 11.00    Alison Sharrock ‘The erotics of delay in Ovidian narrative’

11.00 – 11.30    Coffee  

11.30 – 12.30    Anne Cotton      ‘Reading, learning and desire: narrative, frustration, and philosophical progress in Plato’s Phaedrus’

12.30 – 2.00      Lunch  

2.00 – 3.00        Tim Whitmarsh  ‘The erotics of disappointment: Chariton’s Dionysiaka’

3.00 – 4.00        Kathryn Chew    ‘Erotikoi logoi and sophrosune: [self-] control in Achilles Tatius, Longus, and Heliodorus’

4.00 – 4.30        Tea      

4.30 – 5.30        Steve Nimis       ‘Eros the novelist’

5.30 – 6.30        Froma Zeitlin     ‘The Circulation of Erotic Energy in Achilles Tatius: Narrative Strategies of Deflection, Projection, and Sublimation’                       



Friday 17 July             

9.00 – 9.30        Daniel King        ‘A survivor’s story: narrating painful experiences in a pleasing way’

9.30 – 10.00      Emilio Capettini ‘Ethiopian Andromache: philandria and eros’

10.00 – 11.00    Stelios Panayotakis       ‘Desire and Storytelling in Apollonius of Tyre’

11.00 – 11.30    Coffee  

11.30 – 12.30    Ruth Webb        ‘Adultery, mime, and the novel: performance and metafiction in Apuleius and Achilles Tatius’

12.30 – 2.00      Lunch  

2.00 – 3.00        Jane McLarty     ‘Misplaced jealousy and the privileged reader: a Christian reading of a romantic motif’


(re)Building Hadrian’s Wall?

Interesting item in the North West Evening Mail on how much it would cost if they were to build Hadrian’s Wall today … here’s the incipit:

Carillion, which is working on the Waterfront business park on Barrow Island, which includes some traditional stone walls, calculated that it would take around 1,500 construction workers about two-and-a-half years to build a modern version of Hadrian’s Wall, Europe’s longest historic monument, at a cost of £400m.

Seems rather cheap, although those aren’t dollars …