Lost City of Altinum Found

Excerpts from a piece in the Times of London:

The bustling harbour of Altinum near Venice was one of the richest cities of the Roman empire. But terrified by the impending invasion of the fearsome Germanic Emperor Attila the Hun, its inhabitants cut their losses and fled in AD452, leaving behind a ghost town of theatres, temples and basilicas.

Altinum was never reoccupied and gradually sunk into the ground. The city lived on in Venetian folk tales and historical artefacts but its exact position, size and wealth gradually faded into obscurity.


The team behind the study located the ancient city by studying hundreds of aerial photographs of the region, mostly taken by private companies for cartography purposes.

In July 2007, during a particularly dry summer, crops were suffering from drought and were highly sensitive to the subsurface presence of stones, bricks or compacted soil. On the image taken by the mapping company Telespazio, the lighter crops indicated stonework, while the darker patches revealed depressed features such as pits and canals.

The team, reconstructing the town using the aerial images and knowledge of Roman architecture, was able to identify temples, theatres, a basilica, the marketplace and city walls as well as hundreds of smaller structures. Also visible is a large canal, which would have been used for the transportation of oils, wines and foreign luxuries inland to the Roman capital of Milan and other powerful cities such as Verona.


The team behind the study hopes to carry out carefully planned excavations in the future, but is first collecting more aerial images. It is taking pictures every ten days, as different conditions will show up different features more clearly. By the end of 2009 the experts aim to have compiled all the data and produced an even more detailed map of Altinum.

Some comments from team leader Paolo Mozzi (as told to ANSA):

”Until now we only knew that Altinum was there, we didn’t know what it was like … ‘In size it’s comparable to Pompeii, and Altinum is the only large Roman city in northern Italy and one of the few in Europe that wasn’t buried by modern and medieval cities that rose up later. That’s the reason we can see the Roman age structures of the city so well … These results show that the Romans successfully managed to exploit the watery environment many centuries before the city of Venice began to emerge on the archipelago in the middle of the lagoon … ‘We see a walled city, a theatre, an amphitheatre outside the walls, the basilica, the forum with its market, then a principle road connected to the Via Annia (the Roman road through northern Italy) … ‘You can also see a canal that divides the city in two and heads towards the lagoon. Considering the sea level in Roman times, that canal must have been connected to the lagoon as well as with nearby rivers”

The BBC coverage below includes an animated flyover (without sound) of the site; the Science magazine coverage has some more photos.

Additional coverage (later):

Statue of Marsyas found at the Villa Vignacce

La Repubblica has a nice photo:

la Repubblica

la Repubblica

According to the brief  (Italian) report, it’s about 150 cm in height and is missing the pedestal, which archaeologists are hoping might show up in the next few days. The commune superintendant — Umberto Broccoli — suggests this piece is the ‘little brother’ to one from the Campidoglio, which I think is this one. It also (to me, especially in the treatment of the moustache) seems to have affinities with a Marsyas in the Istanbul Archaeological Museum:

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Of course, Marsyas was punished for challenging Apollo and/or stealing his aulos … in art he is often displayed in this ‘bound’ position, but his ultimate punishment was to be flayed …

Silla Armour Musings

One of the things mentioned in my Explorator newsletter this past while was the discovery of some Silla armour. Here’s the incipit of an item in JoonAng Daily for some background:

The warrior’s body and bones are long gone, decayed into the soil. But the armor that once protected him from enemy swords and arrows has survived the passage of time and has been revealed for the first time in 1,600 years.

The armor of the heavily protected cavalrymen of the Silla Dynasty (57 B.C. – A.D. 935) – proof of which has previously existed only in paintings – was discovered in the ancient tombs of the Jjoksaem District of Hwango-dong, Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang. The Jjoksaem District has the largest concentration of ancient Silla Dynasty tombs in Korea.

Here’s a photo:

JoongAng Daily

JoongAng Daily

What I find interesting is how close this ‘scale armour’ appears to be to what it is believed that the Sarmatians wore:

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

from an armchairgeneral.com forum

from an armchairgeneral.com forum

Compare too some Koguryo armour (not sure of the date):

from a Chinahistoryforum post

from a Chinahistoryforum post

I’m not suggesting that the Silla and the Sarmatians are the same, but it’s interesting how this rather intricate bit of technology seems to have spread (at least influence-wise) across Asia.

Bulgaria Update

A couple of brief items from the Bulgarian press:

Digging has resumed at Nikopolis ad Istrum:

… where archaeologists have discovered a Nymphaeum they weren’t expecting:

… there were actually a few more, but I’ve never managed to connect to them for some reason … ymmv:

A Museum at Troy?

Item from Today’s Zaman:

Dr. Ernst Pernicka, a German archeologist who is leading the excavation of Troy, has stated that establishing a Trojan museum is a priority on both his and Turkey’s agenda.

Pernicka noted that the establishment of such a museum requires the support of politicians and their advocacy for the return of Priam’s Treasures and other pieces from the site currently on display in museums in other countries, according to the Anatolia news agency.

Pernicka stated that recent decisions by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism regarding the potential Trojan museum are very positive developments both for him and for fans of Troy worldwide.

Pernicka, underlining the steps put forward toward the opening of an international architectural contest this summer, continued: “Of course, after the creation of a Trojan museum, we will have hope in terms of bringing the Trojan treasure and Trojan pieces from other places around the world back to Turkey. However, we are not the authority in this. The deal, as a whole, depends on the decisions of politicians. Of course, everyone’s goal is the creation of the museum and the exhibition of these pieces.”

The head of Troy’s excavation team pointed out that Troy is important for the world for several reasons.

The German archeologist, recalling that Troy is the setting of one of the earliest masterpieces of European literature, noted: “This is the place where the events in ‘The Iliad’ happened. Moreover, the start of archaeology and the point where it turned into a science emerged here. The evolution of Troy started here. The exit point of Aegean archaeology together with the digs performed here is again Troy. This land has several peculiarities. We can multiply these through exploration, but Troy captures one of the most important places in the world’s cultural heritage.” Pernicka pointed out that as the Trojan horse has been famous for 2,500 years and since the site was valued as a holy place during antiquity, tourism in Troy started eons ago and still continues today.

Recent Finds in Jerusalem

From the Jerusalem Post:

A unique Aramaic inscription on a stone cup commonly used for ritual purity during the first century has been uncovered in a dig on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, an archeologist said Wednesday.

The six-week excavation is being carried out within the Gan Sobev Homot Yerushalayim national park, close to the Zion Gate of the Old City.

The 10-line Aramaic script, which is clear but cryptic, is being deciphered by a team of epigraphic experts in an effort to determine the meaning of the text, said Prof. Shimon Gibson, of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, who is co-directing the excavation.

“This is a difficult script, not one that is worn or graded, which demands research,” Gibson said.

He estimated that it would take a couple of months to determine what the inscription says.

“It is like digging out grandparents’ hand-written letters,” he quipped.

Gibson said the find uncovered two weeks ago was rare because few inscriptions from the Second Temple Period had been discovered in Jerusalem.

The dig also uncovered a sequence of building dating from the First and Second Temple periods through to the Byzantine and Early Islamic eras.

The additional finds include a house complex with a mikve ritual bath featuring a remarkably well preserved vaulted ceiling.

Three bread ovens – dated to 70 CE, when Titus and the Roman army stormed the city – were also found in the house.

Archeologists believe that this area of Jerusalem’s Upper City was the priestly quarter during Second Temple times.

A large arched building with a mosaic floor from the Byzantine period preserved to a height of 3 meters was also uncovered. It may be part of a building complex or street associated with the nearby Church of St. Mary.

Spartacus: Blood and Sand Gossip

TV Squad is looking at some up-and-coming shows and the Spartacus series is one of them. Here’s some info on Lucy Lawless’ role:

During the Spartacus panel, Lawless was asked if she’s going to be naked during the first season, as the show involves a lot of sex scenes. “I’m afraid so,” she said. She plays Lucretia, a “proprietor of a camp for gladiators.” She takes up with a gladiator in the hope of having a baby. It’s tough for her to do those scenes because, while she tries to keep in fantastic shape, “when you get on set, you get the ‘freshman 15′,” she told the scrum afterwords.

Near the end of the scrum, I asked her if she thought a certain fanboy segment (coughXenacough) will be happy to see her nude. Her response included her experience seeing Caligula when she was a teenager. Say one thing for Lucy; she’s not the demure type.

In the “more than we need to know” department, apparently the show utilizes a prosthetic for when the various gladiators appear nude. Yes, that kind of prosthetic. “We had to create the ‘Kirk Douglas’, as it’s aptly named, so people had a prosthetic they could wear,” said EP Rob Tappert. Lawless said they hang it up in the prop truck “next to all the merkins.” Must be a fun set.

… there’s an audio clip at TV Squad (with Lawless) with a few more details … clearly this ain’t yo daddy’s Spartacus …

Antikythera Mechanism Older than Previously Thought?

Jo Marchant (Decoding the Heavens) writes, inter alia, in a post at New Scientist:

I gave a talk on the device at London’s Royal Institution last night. One new clue I mentioned to the origin of the mechanism comes from the Olympiad dial – there are six sets of games named on the dial, five of which have been deciphered so far. Four of them, including the Olympics, were major games known across the Greek world. But the fifth, Naa, was much smaller, and would only have been of local interest.

The Naa games were held in Dodona in northwestern Greece, so Alexander Jones of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World in New York has suggested that the mechanism must have been made by or for someone from that area.

Intriguingly, this could mean the device is even older than thought. The inscriptions have been dated to around 100 BC, but according to Jones the device may have been made at latest in the early second century BC, because after that the Romans devastated or took over the Greek colonies in the region, so it’s unlikely that people would still have been using the Greek calendar there.

That festival should be called “Naia”, I think, in honour of Zeus Naios. Whatever the case, I’m not sure one can infer that with Aemilius Paulus’ destructive foray into the area around Dodona that a calendar would cease to be used, especially in a religious context — Dodona presumably would be using the calendar of Epirus, about which I don’t think we know very much.

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem iii kalendas sextilias

ante diem iii kalendas sextilias

  • ludi Victoriae Caesaris (day 11)
  • after 101 B.C. — dedication of the Temple to “The Fortune of  this Day”  (Fortuna Huiusce Diei) and subsequent rites thereafter; presumably this is one of the temples vowed prior to the Battle of Vercellae
  • 69 A.D. — destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem (Av 9)

Marathon Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

A piece in the Scotsman on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder includes this tidbit:

The modern understanding of PTSD dates from the 1970s, largely as a result of the problems that were still being experienced by US military veterans of the war in Vietnam.

One of the first descriptions of PTSD was made by the Greek historian Herodotus. In 490 BCE he described, during the Battle of Marathon, an Athenian soldier who suffered no injury but became blind after witnessing the death of a fellow soldier.

I couldn’t recall this one, so I tracked down what Herodotus said (6.117 – Rawlinson translation):

There fell in this battle of Marathon, on the side of the barbarians,
about six thousand and four hundred men; on that of the Athenians,
one hundred and ninety-two. Such was the number of the slain on the
one side and the other. A strange prodigy likewise happened at this
fight. Epizelus, the son of Cuphagoras, an Athenian, was in the thick
of the fray, and behaving himself as a brave man should, when suddenly
he was stricken with blindness, without blow of sword or dart; and
this blindness continued thenceforth during the whole of his after
life. The following is the account which he himself, as I have heard,
gave of the matter: he said that a gigantic warrior, with a huge beard,
which shaded all his shield, stood over against him; but the ghostly
semblance passed him by, and slew the man at his side. Such, as I
understand, was the tale which Epizelus told.

Pseudo Plutarch tells the same story in passing, but gives a different (but similar name … Babbitt translation):

Datis, the Persian satrap, came to Marathon, a plain of Attica, with an army of three hundred thousand, encamped there, and declared war on the inhabitants of the country. The Athenians, however, contemning the barbarian host, sent out nine thousand men, and appointed as generals Cynegeirus, Polyzelus, Callimachus, and Miltiades. When this force had engaged the enemy, Polyzelus, having seen a supernatural vision, lost his sight, and became blind.

The Cambridge Companion to Herodotus (p. 214-15) labels this as a case of “hysterical blindness” … not sure that’s the current term for it. Of course, the locus modernicus for all this PSTD in the ancient world is Jonathan Shay’s Achilles in Vietnam … I couldn’t find a reference to this case therein; not sure if it’s included in Odysseus in America (on my ‘to buy’ list) …

Remains of the Mauseoleum?

The Times of Malta had this a little while ago:

The murky water in Dock No.1 in Cospicua has witnessed much history over the years. Nobody ever imagined, however, that lying underneath could be the remains of an ancient Turkish wonder – the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus.

No one, that is, but oncologist Stephen Brincat, who came across this precious piece of information while reading an article about the excavations of the site by the British in the 19th century in the Turkish magazine Cornucopia.

“There was one sentence which said that the wall of the mausoleum was dismantled to build a dock in Malta,” Dr Brincat said.

Blocks of marble that made up a wall of the mausoleum, built more than 300 years BC, are believed to be submerged in the dock, which is expected to be soon embellished in a €10 to €12 million project.

Armed with this piece of information, Dr Brincat, a history lover, started studying local archives to find out more. He struck gold when he found that what is today known as Dock No. 1 was built at the time when British archaeologist Charles Newton excavated the site in Bodrum, Turkey, and shipped crates of sculptures and other antiquities to London’s British Museum, which had commissioned the excavations.

According to Dr Brincat’s research, the Royal Navy ship HMS Supply, laden with crates of antique treasures, entered Grand Harbour in 1858, a year after the foundation stone of the dock was laid.

Mr Newton had justified the dismantling of the mausoleum wall by saying that it would have been broken up and used by natives of Bodrum anyway. He therefore removed it to be used in a “public object”, which Dr Brincat traced as being the Cospicua dock that had taken some six years to build.

When contacted, Prof. Anthony Bonanno, the head of University’s Department of Classics and Archaeology, was unaware of Dr Brincat’s lead but said he was “not terribly surprised”.

Prof. Bonanno said Malta had been used in the past for the loading and unloading of antiquities. In fact, the Elgin Marbles, a collection of classical Greek marble sculptures found at the British Museum, had passed through Malta, lying in the docks for several years on the way from Greece to England.

Emmanuel Magro Conti, senior curator at Heritage Malta’s Maritime and Military Collections, was also unaware of the use of the antique blocks in the building of the Cospicua dock.

“The plans of the dock show building blocks, but do not mention details of what materials were used or from where the blocks originated,” he said.

The mystery remains hidden under water which is so murky that it is impossible to see the bottom.

Dr Brincat had to paddle in a canoe to get to the area and admits that there is probably little to see.

After all, they are nothing more than blocks of stone. The only difference is that centuries ago, they were part of one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World.

Interesting suggestion, but I’m not sure why Newton would bother to ship antiquities that far, just to dump them in the water. The ‘public object’ intended surely wasn’t in Malta …

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem iv kalendas sextilias

ante diem iv kalendas sextilias

  • ludi Victoriae Caesaris (day 10)
  • 67 A.D./C.E. — fighting in Jerusalem between pro-surrender-to-the-Romans groups and their counterparts; the former set fire to some food supplies which apparently contributed to the fall of the city three years later (!) (need to track this one down)
  • ca. 260 — martyrdom of Lucilla and companions

JOB: Generalist @ Wayne State (one year)

Seen on the Classics list …

We finally have full approval to fill a one-year position at Wayne State in Detroit. The official posting follows; please note the very short deadline for applications.

The Department of Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures of Wayne State University seeks a classicist for a one-year lectureship beginning August 2009. This is a full-time, non tenure-track position with benefits. We specifically seek a candidate who can teach Classical Civilization, Greek Mythology, and/or Etymology. The teaching load is three courses each semester. Preference will be given to candidates with independent undergraduate teaching experience and a Ph.D. in Classics or a related field; candidates must have at least the M.A. Salary, to be determined, will depend on qualifications and experience.

The application consists of a letter of interest and a C.V., both to be posted online at https://jobs.wayne.edu under position number 036389. Applications will be reviewed starting August 1st. Please arrange for three letters of reference to be sent to Dr. Margaret E. Winters, Chair, mewinters AT wayne.edu, (CMLLC, 487 Manoogian, Wayne State University, Detroit MI 48202.) Questions should be addressed to Dr. Winters.

Wayne State University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Employment
Opportunity employer, which complies with all applicable federal and
state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action. Wayne
State University is committed to a policy of nondiscrimination and equal
opportunity for all persons regardless of race, sex, color, religion,
national origin, age, disability or veteran status, or any other
characteristic protected by applicable law.

Cleopatra Tomb Update

There’s a lengthy Global Arab Network (and other sites) story kicking around about the dig at Tabusiris Magna … nothing really new other than we get the name of the site director: Dr Said Altalhawy. Perhaps more importantly, we also get (in the concluding paragraph) this:

The site is now closed for the summer, and the team will have to wait until at least January before they can continue the search for the resting place of Alexandria’s most venerated daughter.

… hmmm … that seems inordinately long, no?

Ulus Theatre to be Restored

From Balkan Travellers:

The remains of an ancient Roman theatre, which are partly buried underneath a building, will be unearthed in Turkey’s capital to become a spot for cultural events.

As a result of the initiative of Turkey’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism, a building constructed 15 years ago atop the remains of the Roman theatre will be torn down, the television channel CNN Türk reported today.

The ancient remains were discovered in 1982 in the Ulus quarter of the capital, which used to be the heart of old Ankara.

Half of the theatre’s remains were unearthed during archaeological excavations, while the other half remained underneath the building, the media reported. With the ministry’s decision, the modern building will be torn down and the ancient site will be restored.

After restoration, the theatre will serve a similar purpose to the one it had in Antiquity – it will house cultural festivals and events.

CONF: ‘The gods of SMALL THINGS’

Seen on the Classicists list:

21-22 September 2009 the Ure Museum, Department of Classics,
University of Reading, will be hosting an interdisciplinary conference
entitled ‘The gods of SMALL THINGS’. This two-day interdisciplinary
conference, which seeks to investigate the cumulative value of non-
prestige ex votos, will include a public lecture by Jean-Marc Luce
(Toulouse), "From miniature objects to giant ones: the process of
defunctionalisation in sanctuaries and graves in Iron Age Greece".
Full details of the conference, including programme, abstracts, and
booking forms, as well as our poster, may be obtained from the
conference website, http://www.reading.ac.uk/ure/godsofsmallthings/

To register to attend the conference, preferably before 15 August,
please send the booking form to Nina Aitken
<n.l.aitken AT reading.ac.uk>. The booking form is available at

Thanks to generous funding from the Classical Association and the
Hellenic Society we are able to provide grants to assist eligible
students who wish to attend this conference. Interested students
should contact Marianne Bergeron <m.e.bergeron AT reading.ac.uk> no later
than 15 August.

We would be grateful if you could print out and post the conference
poster, which is available at

Any further enquiries may be addressed to one of the conference

Katerina Volioti <k.volioti AT reading.ac.uk>
Amy C. Smith <a.c.smith AT reading.ac.uk>
Marianne Bergeron <m.e.bergeron AT reading.ac.uk>

Roman Hospital from South Moravia?

The incipit of an item from Ceske Noviny:

Czech archaeologists are excavating the foundations of an ancient Roman lazaretto (hospital) in Pasohlavky, which is the largest facility of its kind from this period preserved north of the Danube River, archaeologist Balazs Komoroczy told CTK today.

The hospital was part of an extensive fortified complex that the 10th Roman legion built on Hradisko hill at the Amber Road in the 2nd century AD, under the reign of Emperor Marcus Aurelius.

Hradisko was the northernmost outpost of the Roman Empire in Central Europe under Marcus Aurelius. The 10th legion was stationed there to take Germanic tribes in control.

Only foundation remains are preserved from the original hospital today because of the construction works 30 years ago when the huge Nove Mlyny dam was built at the site.

The 60-metre-long and 45-metre-wide hospital served for the treatment and relaxation of hundreds of Romans.

Archaeologists have known about its existence for years. However, they started excavating it only recently in connection with the planned construction of a thermal spa in Pasohlavky near Brno.

Not sure lazaretto is the right word — that usually refers to a quarantine station, no? Whatever the case, how does one identify an ancient building attached to a fort as a medical facility? As to the other finds in the area, this is all I could find: A Roman Camp in Musov (you’ll have to scroll down a bit)

New Voices in Classical Reception Studies – Issue 4, 2009

seen on the Classicists list a while ago …

We are pleased to announce that Issue 4 of the online journal NewVoices in Classical Reception Studies is now available at: http://www2.open.ac.uk/newvoices
Issue 4, 2009
Editor: Prof. Lorna Hardwick,
Associate Editors: Dr. Anastasia Bakogianni, Dr. Shelley Hales
Recent Theatrical and Musical Adaptations of Apuleius’ Metamorphoses
Hendrik Müller-Reineke, University of Göttingen
Saying ‘Shazam': The Magic of Antiquity in Superhero Comics
Luke V. Pitcher, Durham University
Liminal’s Kosky’s Hughes’s Artaud’s Seneca’s Oedipus
Helen Slaney, Monash University
Identity, Dignity And Memory: Performing/ Re- Writing Antigone in Post-1976 Argentina
M. Florencia Nelli, Oxford University / U.N.L.P.-CONICET Argentina
Aristophanes and the Suburbs of the World: The Game of Wealth and Poverty
Martina Treu, IULM University
Koffi Kwahulé’s Bintou and Sophocles’ Antigone : The Silent Form of Adaptation
Chris Love, University of Michigan
The Queen Ancient And Modern: Aeschylus’ Clytemnestra
Sanna-Ilaria Kittelä, University of Helsinki
Submissionsfor the next edition, Issue 5 (2010), are welcome. Details of how to submit an article for consideration are available at http://www2.open.ac.uk/newvoices Closing date 31st October.


The News-Journal actually has a feature on chiasmus: When chiasmus is outlawed, only outlaws will use chiasmus!

What do the following expressions have in common? “Who sheds the blood of a man, by man shall his blood be shed.” “But many that are first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” “I wasted time, and now doth time waste me.” “Life imitates art more than art imitates life.” “Well, it’s not the men in your life that counts, it’s the life in your men.” “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”

The answer is that they all are examples of an old rhetorical strategy called chiasmus. A chiasmus is an inversion of two balanced clauses in a sentence, in the form of A B B A. There are several types of chiasmus, but they all involve this kind of inversion. We encounter chiasmus in the works of great writers and speakers in their most memorable formulations.

Effective language is no accident, and its study is ancient. Our brains are sensitive to patterns of language, and we find patterned language especially memorable. The classical Greeks loved to talk and to argue, to speak and to listen, and being an effective citizen meant being able to persuade one’s neighbors of the rightness of one’s cause. (That was true of most Greeks, except for the Spartans, who were laconic, made their money out of iron, were fearless in battle but highly superstitious and timid in religion.) Greek linguistic virtuosity impressed the conquering Romans so much that elite Roman families employed Greek tutor slaves to teach rhetoric to their sons. The Greeks developed the art of rhetoric, the Romans applied this knowledge to their own language, and Latin influenced the literatures of Western Europe until the 18th century. It turns out many rhetorical devices identified by the Greeks are equally effective in English, and for that matter, in other languages as well.

One of the problems with studying rhetoric is the terms are all, well, so very Greek. Terms like “antimetabole” or “asyndeton” don’t exactly lend themselves to easy understanding or roll off the tongue. “Chiasmus” is an odd word, too, but it’s such a distinctive rhetorical device I find it easy to remember.

The first example I gave is from the book of Genesis and was composed in Hebrew. The Psalms in particular often show patterns of repetition and inversion. The second example is Jesus from the Gospel of Matthew, which was written in Greek. The third example is Shakespeare, next comes Oscar Wilde, then the indomitable Mae West, and finally, a chiasmus all Americans should know, from John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, actually written by speechwriter Theodore Sorenson, who used chiasmus frequently in Kennedy’s speeches.

Winston Churchill employed chiasmus effectively as he rallied Britain against the fascist threat in Europe during the Second World War. After the battle of Alamein in North Africa, he addressed his people, saying: “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” Frederick Douglass proudly declared, “You have seen how a man was made a slave; you shall see how a slave was made a man.” Mardy Grothe gives sound advice saying, “Don’t let a kiss fool you, or a fool kiss you.” Ralph Waldo Emerson sagely noted that, “Speech is better than silence; silence is better than speech,” which is both a chiasmus and a paradox.

And, perhaps, a good way to end today’s column.

Classical folks look at chiasmus in a bit more painful detail (which might be why there was some confusion a while ago with results from AP exams). Fellow-long-time-blogger Michael Gilleland blogged on chiasmus in general a year or so ago, with some examples from English and Greek (mostly Plato):

… he went on to display some more (Greek) examples of the sort which don’t usually come up in English class:

On the Latin side, check out Laura Gibb’s massive collection of examples at her Latin via Proverbs page:

CFP: Girls in Antiquity

seen on the Classicists list …

"Girls in Antiquity"

Interdisciplinary Conference at the DAI Berlin
8th – 10th October 2010

This conference is about girls, from early Neolithic times to Late Antiquity, within the geographical limits of Europe, Egypt, and the Ancient Near East.

The following range of topics will be adressed:

Definition. "Girls" are female children and teenagers, who have not yet received the status of an adult woman. In contemporary German society this status is legally achieved by the age of 18, socially by economic independence (with a proper job) or by biological reproduction (own children). But which were the specific cultural rites de passages for the transition of female children to adulthood in antiquity? Was it the wedding as a rule, as is suggested by literary sources both from Greece and Rome? For prehistoric societies, however, an institution like marriage can only to be postulated.

Birth-/Family planning. "Lost girls" are a phenomenon peculiar to contemporary society, most notably in Asian countries: female fetuses are aborted because of their sex, female newborns are killed or so badly cared for, that they do not survive. Was there anything comparable in ancient cultures? And if so, what kind of sources can account for such a practice? What do we know at all about mortality of female children and the handling of the deceased?

Development of gender identity. Were children introduced to social roles early on according to their biological sex? Classical Athenian art for example represents children shortly after crawling age in a gender specific way. Are there any cultures that classified children as asexual creatures at an early age? And if so, until what age was is customary to do so?

Material culture and social practice. What kind of clothing, hairdo, jewelry, or make-up was characteristic for girls in specific cultures? What kinds of objects did they handle and which social practices did they perform? In which social spaces were they supposed to stay? What can we deduce from the evidence with regard to the scopes of girls in different cultures or to their own thoughts, wishes and beliefs?

Discourse. Which discourses about girls can be conceived on the basis of literary and archaeological sources? In our society infant girls are much more sexualized than boys of the same age (e.g. by clothing, which emphasizes female attraction or on the contrary explicitly veils it, such as the scarf). Does this already apply to antiquity and how can we prove it? A further modern phenomenon is the devaluation of girls’ culture to that of boys, resulting from general gender hierarchy. (A girl playing football may be something special in the positive sense – but a boy dreaming of pink dresses, is probably embarrasing for his parents.) How was this issue perceived in ancient cultures?

Research and media. At first sight, girls seem to be the big invisibles in research, twice marginalized because of their sex and their age, their status of »not yet«. Is that true? And what about the presence and depiction of (pre)historic girls in popular media, such as schoolbooks or movies?

We are looking for papers from ancient historians, philologists and archaeologists, and explicitly also from young scholars. Contributions from other disciplines such as social or educational sciences or ethnology are very welcome, provided they contribute to a better understanding of concepts of girlhood in antiquity.

Papers presentations are limited to 30 minutes followed by a discussion of 15 minutes.
Conference languages are German and English.
Proposals with working title, an abstract of maximum 250 words as well as address and a short academic CV should be sent via email by 31th October 2009 to the organizers:

Dr. Susanne Moraw
Deutsches Archäologisches Institut
Podbielskiallee 69-71
14195 Berlin
smo AT dainst.de

Anna Kieburg, M.A.
Institut für Kunstgeschichte und Archäologie der Universität Bonn
Am Hofgarten 21
53113 Bonn
a.kieburg AT web.de

The conference will be organized by »FemArc. Network of women in archaeology« (www.femarc.de) and is taking place 8th – 10th October 2010 at the German Archaeological Institute (DAI) in Berlin.

Subject to our funding expenses for travel and accommodation might be refundable.
Further information concerning the program will be provided by the end of 2009.
Publication of the conference is planned in the series »Frauen – Forschung – Archäologie«