Aegean Archaeology Vol. 8

Seen on AegeaNet:

The editors of Aegean Archaeology are pleased to announce that vol. 8 (2005-2006) is out. For contents, please see below.

For any further details (abstracts of articles, contents of previous volumes, PDFs of selected articles, ordering info) please consult our website at

Contents of Vol 8:

M. Georgiadis, The Prehistoric Finds from the Halasarna Survey Project 2003-2006, Kos: A Preliminary Report, p. 7-19;

M.G. Clinton, S.. Martino, G.H. Myer, D.O. Terry, Jr., and P.P. Betancourt, Rapid Cooling Effects in Early Bronze Age Copper Smelting Slags from Chrysokamino, p.. 21-30;

E. Miller Bonney, A Reconsideration of Depositional Practices in Early Bronze Age Crete, p. 31-50;

L. Tyree, F.W. McCoy, A. Kanta, D. Sphakianakis, A. Stamos, K. Aretaki, and E. Kamilaki, Inferences for Use of Skotino Cave During the Bronze Age and Later Based on a Speleological and Environmental Study at Skotino Cave, Crete, p. 51-63;

M. Devolder, From the Ground Up: Earth in Minoan Construction. The Case of Building 5 at Palaikastro, p. 65-80;

E. Drakaki, The Ownership of Hard Stone Seals with the motif of a Pair of Recumbent Bovines from the Late Bronze Age Greek Mainland: A Contextual Approach, p. 81-93;

R.A.K. Smith, E. Pappi, M.K. Dabney, S. Triantaphyllou, and J.C. Wright, 2006–2007 Excavations of the Mycenaean Cemetery at Ayia Sotira, Ancient Nemea, p. 95-109;

R. Jung and M. Mehofer, A sword of Naue II type from Ugarit and the Historical Significance of Italian-type Weaponry in the Eastern Mediterranean, p. 111-135

Paul Faure 1916 – 2007 (Florence Driessen-Gaignerot), p. 137-139;

R. Koehl, Aegean Bronze Age Rhyta (Carl Knappett), p. 141-144;

C. Davaras and Ph.P. Betancourt, Hagia Photia Cemetery I: The Tomb Groups and Architecture (Krzysztof Nowicki), p. 144-146.

CONF: Fines imperii, imperium sine fine? Osnabrueck 14-18.9.09

seen on the Classicists list:

International Congress, Osnabrueck, 14th-18th September 2009:
Fines imperii, imperium sine fine?
Rome – Empire between resistance and integration

In celebration of the 2000th anniversary of the Varus battle of A.D. 9, University and City of Osnabrück, in corporation with the Academy of Sciences in Göttingen, are organising an international five-day congress to discuss questions on the interaction between Romans and natives in the frontier regions of the Roman empire in the early Empire.
Based on our archaeological, epigraphic and literary sources it is the aim to analyse both the diverse Roman policies aimed at controlling, pacifying and ‘civilising’ frontier regions as well as the various indigenous strategies to adapt to or resist Roman imperialism. Besides Roman military occupation and demonstrations of Rome’s power, we want to focus on civic aspects, such as the integration of indigenous elites in the socioeconomic structures of the Roman empire, the developments in rural and urban areas, aspects of ethnogenesis and the consequences of cultural interactions and core-periphery relationships. It is the aim of the conference to explore parallels and discrepant experiences in the various frontier regions of the Roman Empire.
There are three thematic sections: (1) Roman and indigenous strategies to consolidate power and secure peace. (2) Pax Romana – Development of civic structures. (3) Instruments to consolidate Roman dominance: military and ideology.

Speakers include: Kurt Raaflaub (Brown University), David Mattingly (Leicester), Michek Reddé (Paris), Angel Morillo Cerdan (Madrid), Moshe Fischer (Tel Aviv), Martina Minas-Nerpel (Swansea), Simon James (Leicester), Helmut Halfmann (Hamburg), William Van Andringa (Lille), Maaike Groot (Amsterdam), Hartmut Wolff (Passau), Francois Favory (Besancon), Ariel Lewin (Potenza), Sandrine Agusta-Boularot (Aix-en-Provence), Miroslava Mirkovic (Beograd), Marjeta Sasel Kos (Ljubliana), Stefanie Martin-Kilcher (Bern), Peter Herz (Regensburg), Ulrike Ehmig (Mainz/Klagenfurt), Günther Schörner (Jena), Yann Le Bohec (Paris), G.A. Lehmann (Göttingen), R. Wolters (Tübingen), and Siegmar von Schurbein (Frankfurt).

Conference fee: 40 euros including excursions to Kalkriese (site of the ‘Varus battle’), Haltern and Detmold
For further information and booking see or contact ralph.haussler AT

This Day in Ancient History: pridie kalendas septembres

pridie kalendas septembres

12 A.D. — birth of the future emperor Gaius (Caligula) at Antium

40 A.D. — Gaius (Caligula) celebrates an ovatio after his attempted military campaigns in Gaul and Britain

161 A.D. — birth of the future emperor Commodus (and his twin, Titus Aurelius Fulvus Antoninus)

Holy Anachronism Batman!

The incipit of a piece in the apparently indicatively-named LocalIQ:

Have you ever imagined Cleopatra, in 26 BC, staring up at the sky at Polaris — the North Star and bright and pointy handle of the constellation called The Little Dipper — and wondered how different it looked to her than it does to you now?

… talk about your captatio malevolentiae

Burial in the Aigai Agora?

Excerpt from an interesting item about a burial from Aigai in the Associated Press:

The find in the ruins of Aigai came a few meters (yards) from last year’s remarkable discovery of what could be the bones of Alexander the Great’s murdered teenage son, according to one expert.

Archaeologists are puzzled because both sets of remains were buried under very unusual circumstances: Although cemeteries existed near the site, the bones were taken from an unknown first resting place and re-interred, against all ancient convention, in the heart of the city.

Excavator Chrysoula Saatsoglou-Paliadeli said in an interview that the bones found this week were inside one of two large silver vessels unearthed in the ancient city’s marketplace, close to the theater where Alexander’s father, King Philip II, was murdered in 336 B.C.

She said they arguably belonged to a Macedonian royal and were buried at the end of the 4th century B.C.

But it is too early to speculate on the dead person’s identity, pending tests to determine the bones’ sex and age, said Saatsoglou-Paliadeli, a professor of classical archaeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki.

She said one of the silver vessels is “very, very similar” to another found decades ago at a nearby royal tumulus, where one grave has been identified as belonging to Philip II.

Alexander was one of the most successful generals of all times. In a series of battles against the Persian Empire, he conquered much of the known world, reaching as far as India.

After his death in 323 B.C., at the age of 32, Alexander’s empire broke up in a series of wars by his successors that saw the murder of his mother, half brother, wife and both sons.

Archaeologist Stella Drougou said the new find is “very important, as it follows up on last year’s.”

“It makes things very complex,” she said. “Even small details in the ancient texts can help us solve this riddle. We (now) have more information, but we lack a name.”

Drougou told The Associated Press that the fact the funerary urns were not placed in a proper grave “either indicates some form of punishment, or an illegal act.”

“Either way, it was an exceptional event, and we know the history of the Macedonian kings is full of acts of revenge and violent succession.”

A couple of photos in a slideshow accompany the article.

We should point out that last year at this time — almost to the day — we were reporting on a similar find involving a copper vessel and archaeologists were similarly mystified. Again, I’ll openly speculate whether we’re dealing with some sort of heroon …

Lapsus Calami?

Alas, this sort of thing is all too common … from a piece by Harry Mount on student howlers:

In 19th-century Oxford, Gladstone may have been studying algebra, hydrostatics and Herodotus but he had some pretty dim contemporaries; like the classicist who’d miscopied a friend’s essay on Greek tragedy.

“Who’s this Bophocles you keep referring to?” said his tutor. “Surely you mean Sophocles?”

“Well, it says Bophocles here,” said the student, pointing at the essay.

A lot of the modern mistakes are, like the Bophocles incident, just slips of the pen.

Equestrian Statue of Augustus — Followup

This just in … the Local seems to be the first off the mark with reports of the news conference mentioned in our previous post on this:

Hessian Science Minister Eva Kühne-Hörmann on Thursday presented fragments of a 2,000-year-old bronze equestrian statue of Roman Emperor Augustus found recently in a stream near Giessen.

“The find has meaning beyond Hesse and the north Alpine region due to its quality and provenance,” Kühne-Hörmann said during the presentation with state archaeologist Dr. Egon Schallmayer and Director of the Roman-German Commission Dr. Friedrich Lüth.

“We’ve rediscovered the remnants of early European history. The unique horse head is a witness to the broken dream of the Romans to create a united Europe under their rule,” she added.

On August 12, archaeologists pulled the gold-gilded, life-sized head of a horse and a shoe of the emperor – who ruled the Roman Empire between 23 BC and 14 AD – from a stream in what was once the Roman outpost Germania Magna. Experts there have uncovered several bits – including a horse hoof and a decorated chest strap – from the statue among some 20,000 artefacts uncovered at the site in recent years.

Scientists from the University of Jena believe it may have been destroyed by Roman soldiers retreating after the legendary Varusschlacht, or the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD, when Germanic tribes ambushed and wiped out three Roman legions. As the remaining Roman troops retreated after the devastating defeat, they destroyed most of what they could not take with them.

The horse’s bridle is embellished with images of the Roman god of war Mars and the goddess Victoria, who personified victory.

Restoration and examination of more than 100 statue fragments is underway in Hessen’s state archaeology workshop.

There’s a nice photo accompanying the article:

The Local

The Local

There’s a little slideshow as well, but it is mostly images of this horse’s head from various angles (there is a photo of the hoof too) …

The photos from the various German-language sources are pretty much the same and as far as I can tell, all are repeating the line mentioned previously that the scholars believe Roman soldiers dumped this in the stream while retreating vel simm.. I continue to see a problem with that — it seems to make more sense to suggest that the victorious Germani dumped it in the river. I also continue to wonder why they are connecting this statue specifically with Augustus … it does make sense, given the apparent date and the like, but I see nothing from these pieces that suggests a positive Augustus connection. Why not Tiberius? Or maybe even Drusus?

From the German-language press:

Epigraphic Evidence from Perperikon

Interesting item from Radio Bulgaria, which seems to have lost a thing here and there in translation:

In the summer the ancient shrine of Perperikon in Southeastern Bulgaria is the source of hot archeological news. During this year’s digs the team of Prof. Nickolay Ovcharov has come across the first epigraphic (written) evidence about Perperikon. Evidence was found on two monuments with Latin inscriptions as well as on a lead stamp. Archeologists have also dug out a Roman road in Perperikon’s southern section, Prof. Ovcharov told a press conference.

“In early August local people told us about a fragment they had seen on the road. We checked into the case and found out that that this is the road from Roman times that connected Perperikon with the branch of the main road East-West-Europe-Asia, the famous Via Egnatia. Five kilometers from Perperikon it branches to reach the stone city. This branch was made especially to serve the city. We found a 30 m fragment from the road into the woods. There we also found an ancient smithy. Coins that we unearthed have been dated to the end 4, early 5 c. AD, the heyday of Perperikon. During digs on the road we were happy to find the first fragment from an inscription, and soon we found two other such fragments. Obviously, they come from different eras. The letters used are either Latin or ancient Greek.”

For deciphering the texts Nickolay Ovcharov referred to Prof. Vasilka Gerasimova, researcher from the National Museum of History and professor at New Bulgarian University, Bulgaria’s best expert in Latin epigraphy. She has dated the epigraphic monuments. The oldest one among them originated in 4-5 c. and the most recent one – in 16-17 c.

Dr. Zdravko Dimitrov, specialist in Antiquity archeology, confirmed this evidence and said: “These are the first pieces of epigraphic evidence in Perperikon. The first one is from a gravestone with a name of Syrian origin written on it. The deciphering of the name suggests that the Perperikon population included immigrants from Syria and Asia Minor. They were rich people and focused mostly on trade and crafts. The second inscription has a very low relief and is difficult to read.”

The last inscription found away from the Roman road in Perperikon has puzzled the team of Prof. Ovcharov. “The letters could be interpreted as recent, written by shepherds in 1950s, for instance”, Prof. Ovcharov explains.

“Later however the inscription was dated to 16-17 c. and for sure one of the names on it is the Christian name Cosmas. It is not clear whether it is Bulgarian or Greek, because in both cases the spelling would be the same”, Prof. Ovcharov added. The most recent find in Perperikon is a lead stamp from 11 c. On one side it depicts Virgin Mary with the Holy Infant and on the other side the name Museli Bakuriani is written.

The Radio Bulgaria piece includes several photos, including one which presumably are the inscriptions:

Radio Bulgaria Photo

Radio Bulgaria Photo

I’ve fiddled with the image in Photoshop but can’t really get a handle on the inscriptions; I think the top one is the one which mentions the ‘Christian’ name Kosmas, but that’s not at all certain. Whatever the case, are there really no Greek or Latin inscriptions from Peperikon (e.g. in IGBulg?)??

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem vi kalendas septembres

ante diem vi kalendas septembres

  • Volturnalia — rites in honour of a divinity associated with fountains/waters
  • 479 B.C. — Greek forces defeat Persian forces under Mardonius at Plataea (according to one reckoning)
  • 413 B.C. — lunar eclipse which caused hesitation amongst  Athenian forces under Nikias in Sicily; the subsequent delay  ultimately led to their destruction

Greek Necropolis at Gela?

Another one which probably won’t go much beyond the Italian press (where it is getting rather brief attention, actually) … Archaeologists working in downtown Gela have come across remains of a 7th to 5th century B.C. (Greek) necropolis. So far, four tombs have been found of the enchytrismos alla cappuccina variety and it is believed they may be part of a much larger necropolis identified by Paolo Orsi at the turn of the (20th) century. Here’s the coverage from Il Giornale:

Una necropoli arcaica è stata scoperta a Gela. Sono stati alcuni operai, al lavoro per posare i tubi dell’acquedotto in una zona centrale della città, ad aver trovato i resti. Si tratta di quattro tombe e di un piccolo sarcofago litico. Sono stati inoltre rinvenuti corredi ceramici di tipo corinzio, attico e ionico. Le tombe sarebbero state realizzate fra il quinto e il settimo secolo avanti Cristo, in età greca: il ritrovamento è davvero molto importante. Per questo i lavori di scavo per la condotta idrica sono stati immediatamente interrotti e la zona è ora presidiata 24 ore su 24 ore per impedire ai tombaroli di profanare quel che è affiorato. L’area potrebbe far parte di una più ampia necropoli già individuata ai primi del Novecento dall’archeologo Paolo Orsi durante una campagna di scavi nel vicino quartiere Borgo. Ora si andrà avanti ad esplorare il sottosuolo, con la regia della Sovrintendenza ai Beni culturali di Caltanissetta. E si spera, naturalmente, di trovare, con un briciolo di fortuna, altre testimonianze del passato glorioso di Gela. Le tombe venute alla luce sono del tipo enchytrismos alla cappuccina.

Fires in Greece

This NASA photo seems to be making the rounds of various lists:

NASA photo

NASA photo

Thankfully, the fires seem to have been brought under control. It is possibly worth pointing out that two years ago — almost to the day — we were breathing a similar sigh of relief in regards to Olympia and highlighting this photo from Spiegel:



… we’ll continue to wonder if lessons have been learned …

CONF: Third International Colloquium: ‘Ptolemaic Waterways and Power

Seen on the Classicists list:

This is to notify colleagues of the Third International Ptolemaic Colloquium to be held in Piraeus/Greece on 18-20.09.2009. All welcome (no conference fee). For further information please contact

Ptolemaic Waterways and Power

Third International Ptolemaic Colloquium (18-20/9/09)
dedicated to the memory of Frank W. Walbank,
sponsored and hosted by the Laskaridis Library (Piraeus/Greece)


17/9/09: Arrival of participants and accommodation (17, 18 and 19/9) in the hotel Grande Bretagne (Syntagma Square, Athens).

18/9/09 (Friday: Laskaridis Library, Praxitelous 169-Piraeus). Transfer of speakers with hired coach from the hotel (coach departure: 8.15)

Welcome of participants-Addresses-Introduction: 9.00-10.00

First Session, 10.00-11.30 (3 papers)

1. An. Meadows, “The Ptolemaic League of the Islanders”

2. H. Hauben, “Callicrates of Samos and Patroclus of Macedon, Champions of Ptolemaic Thalassocracy”

3. V. Gabrielsen, "The waterways connecting Rhodes and the Ptolemaic Kingdom".

Discussion, 11.30-12.00

Break, 12.00-12.15

Second Session, 12.15-13.15 (2 papers)

4. A. Erskine, “Polybius and Ptolemaic Seapower”

5. K. Buraselis, “Ptolemaic grain, seaways, and power”

Discussion, 13.15-13.30

Buffet lunch for the speakers, 13.30-14.30

Free time/rest, 14.30-16.00

Third Session, 16.00-17.00 (2 papers)

6. Maria Stefanou, “The solution of emigration: Ptolemaic cleruchs of foreign origin”

7. P. McKechnie, “Our Academic Visitor is Missing: Posidippus 89 (A-B) and seaborne transfer of intellectual capital”

Discussion, 17.00-17.15

Break, 17.15-17.30

Fourth session, 17.30-18.30 (2 papers)

8. Eir. Peppa, “Clay figurines and vases between Ptolemaic Egypt and the Aegean”

9. Olga Palagia, “Ptolemaic seaways and the diffusion of royal portraiture”

Discussion, 18.30-18.45

Supper for the speakers (Hotel Grande Bretagne), 19.30-20.30

19/9/09 (Saturday: Second day of the colloquium, Laskaridis Library)

First Session, 9.00-10.30 (3 papers)

10. Lila Marangou, “Amorgos and the Ptolemies. Old and new evidence”

11. L. Criscuolo, “Ptolemies and Piracy”

12. D. J. Thompson, “The barge she sat in, like a burnish’d throne …’ (Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra, Act 2, scene 2). The role of Hellenistic royal barges”

Discussion, 10.30-11.00

Break, 11.00-11.15

Second Session, 11.15-12.15 (2 papers)

13. An. Helmis, “Policing the Nile: measures against deserters of the Ptolemaic fleet”

14. Th. Kruse, “The Nile police in the Ptolemaic period”

Discussion, 12.15-12.30

Buffet lunch for speakers, 12.30-13.30

Free time/rest, 13.30-14.30

Third Session, 14.30-16.00 (2 papers)

15. St. Burstein, “Ptolemy I and the Beginning of Ptolemaic Activity in Nubia and the Red Sea Basin” (to be read)

16. Chr. Habicht, “Eudoxos of Kyzikos and the Ptolemaic exploration of the sea route to India”

17. F. Prontera, „Timosthenes and Eratosthenes: sea routes and hellenistic geography“

Discussion, 16.00-16.15

Break, 16.15-16.30

Fourth session, 16.30-17.30 (2 papers)

18. P. Nadig, "Ptolemaic elephant hunts“

19. Klaus Geus, “Roads or waterways? Ptolemaios’ description of Africa reexamined”

Discussion, 17.30-18.00

Visit at the Archaeological Museum of Piraeus, 18.15-19.30

Supper for speakers (Hotel Grande Bretagne), 20.00-21.00

20/9/09 (Sunday: Third and last day of the colloquium)

Excursion to Methana/Arsinoe – Return to Athens (Hotel ”Grande Bretagne”) in the late afternoon – Farewell and departure of participants (if any wish to stay further in Athens please contact us).

Please note that the Syntagma Square is within easy reach from the Eleutherios Venizelos Airport of Athens by (a) bus (just outside the Arrivals gate at the Airport, bus X95, ticket price 3.20 euros); (b) metro network (station directly next to the airport, ticket price: 6 euros); (c) taxi (fare to Syntagma: ca 25 €)

Not Sure What to Make of This One …

I’ve got a large file of ‘claims’ associated with the ancient world which I try to track down every now and then, but this one arrived today and I can’t wrap my head around it at all … from one of those press release things:

The more she listened to this music, the better she felt. She wondered, why? She found that music had been used for healing since the beginning of time and that only in the last few hundred years had it evolved into being used primarily for entertainment. Euclid used the monochord, a single-stringed instrument, for healing in 300 BC. In the third century B.C., Socrates was said to have healed hundreds by playing water-filled glasses..

… so … anyone know of Euclid or Socrates ‘healing’?

Alexander Gemstone!

The spectacular finds continue to pour in! This time, it’s the discovery of what should probably be called an intaglio depicting Alexander the Great … from Tel Dor! Here’s the Arutz Sheva coverage:

Excavations in Tel Dor have turned up a rare and unexpected work of Hellenistic art: a precious stone bearing the miniature carved likeness of Alexander the Great. Archaeologists are calling it an important find, indicating the great skill of the artist.

The Tel Dor dig, under the guidance and direction of Dr. Ayelet Gilboa of Haifa University and Dr. Ilan Sharon of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University, has just ended its summer excavation season. For more than 30 years, scientists have been excavating in Tel Dor, identified as the site of the Biblical town of Dor. The town’s location, on Israel’s Mediterranean Sea coast some 30 kilometers south of Haifa, made it an important international port in ancient times.

“Despite the tiny proportions – the length of the gemstone (gemma) is less than a centimeter and its width less than half a centimeter – the artist was able to carve the image of Alexander of Macedon with all of his features,” Dr. Gilboa said. “The king appears as young and energetic, with a sharp chin and straight nose, and with long, curly hair held in a crown.”

According to the archaeologists involved in the Tel Dor excavations, the discovery of the miniature Alexander gemstone carving in Israel is fairly surprising. The Land of Israel was not, for the Greek Empire, a central or major holding.

“It has been accepted to assume that first-rate artists – and whoever carved the image of Alexander in this gemstone was certainly one of them – were primarily active under the patronage of the large royal courts in Greece itself or in major capitals,” the scientists explained. “It turns out that local elites in secondary centers such as Dor could allow themselves – and knew to appreciate – superior artwork.”

Additionally, the new find is important for the study of the historical Alexander the Great. The gemstone was found in the remains of a large public building from the Hellenistic period in the southern area of the tel. Unlike most of the portraits of Alexander in museums throughout the world, with unknown origins, the Tel Dor carving was found and classified within its archaeological context. The face was definitively identified as that of Alexander the Great by Dr. Jessica Nitschke of Georgetown University and Professor Andrew Stewart of UC Berkeley.

Historically, Alexander himself passed through Dor in 332 BCE, during his voyage to Egypt. It appears that the city fell to him without resistance. Since that time until its conquest by the Hasmonean Jewish King Alexander Yannai around 100 BCE, Dor served as a stronghold of non-Jewish Hellenists in the Land of Israel.

Here’s the best photo of the find (tip o’ the pileus to Joseph Lauer, who passed on a number of Hebrew-language items):



The identification of Alexander seems reasonable (based on the nose and chin) and the detail is amazing for the size of the object. It’s interesting that it seems to depict a pre-Zeus Ammon Alexander …

Mithridates’ Palace at Phangoria

I’ve been sitting on this one for a while too … mostly because of disorganization. In any event, from IC Russia:

Ruins of the burnt down palace of the ancient king Mithradates VI Eupator have been discovered in Taman Peninsula, on the place of the old city of Phanagoria.

On the site of fire archeologists also found purses with coins, and broken but otherwise well-preserved earthenware.

“The found coins are not a hoard: they were abandoned by the king”s family and courtiers trying to escape from the fire and violence” – the head of the Taman expedition Vladimir Kuznetsov says.

He reminded that Phanagoria, once a Greek colonial settlement, was for several centuries the capital of the Asian part of the Bosporus state. As for Mithradates VI, he lived there about the year 63 BC. Historians assume that a rebellion broke up in the city, and the residents captured the king”s daughter and four sons, and set on fire the centre of the city, including the palace, where the king”s family lived.

The account of the destruction of the palace is in Appian 108 (courtesy of

When he had recovered from his illness and his army was collected (it consisted of sixty picked cohorts of 6,000 men each and a great multitude of other troops, besides ships and strongholds that had been captured by his generals while he was sick) he sent a part of it across the strait to Phanagoria, another trading place at the mouth of the sea, in order to possess himself of the passage on either side while Pompey was still in Syria.

Castor of Phanagoria, who had once been maltreated by Trypho, the king’s eunuch, fell upon the latter as he was entering the town, killed him, and summoned the citizens to revolt. Although the citadel was already held by Artaphernes and other sons of Mithridates, the inhabitants piled wood around it and set it on fire, in consequence of which Artaphernes, Darius, Xerxes, and Oxathres, sons, and Eupatra, a daughter, of Mithridates, in fear of the fire, surrendered themselves and were led into captivity. Of these Artaphernes alone was about forty years of age; the others were handsome children.

Tip o’ the pileus to Adrienne Mayor who pointed me in the direction of a photo of one of the coins:

from Veste

from Veste

… Clearly a coin of Mithridates VI Eupator … There’s also a news video (in Russian) here (and some more photos if you can figure out the tabs) …

Statue of Augustus

I’m pretty sure we’ll hear more about this in the coming days, but just in case we don’t … from the Local:

Archaeologists in have discovered fragments of a 2,000-year-old bronze Roman equestrian statue of Emperor Augustus in a stream near Giessen, the Hessian state science ministry has announced.

“There has never been a find of such quality and preservation in Germany,” a statement from the ministry said, adding that it was a “sensational” discovery.

On August 12, archaeologists pulled the gold-gilded, life-sized head of a horse and a shoe of the emperor – who ruled the Roman Empire between 23 BC and 14 AD – from a stream in what was once the Roman outpost Germania Magna. Experts there have uncovered several bits of the statue among some 20,000 artefacts uncovered at the site in recent years.

Scientists from the University of Jena believe it may have been destroyed by Roman soldiers retreating after the legendary Varusschlacht, or the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD, when Germanic tribes ambushed and wiped out three Roman legions. As the remaining Roman troops retreated after the devastating defeat, they destroyed most of what they could not take with them.

“Due to the location of the find, there is a unique possibility to date the statue to a few exact years and establish a connection to the events surrounding the Varusschlacht 2,000 years ago,” the statement said.

The ministry plans to make an official presentation of the find on August 27.

I’m not sure if the gilded hoof shown on this page is from this find or not …

UPDATE (08/26/09): I’ve had this nagging question for the past few hours … why is this connected with the Varus thing? Are we to believe that Roman armies marched around with large equestrian statues while on campaign? Or am I missing something?

UPDATE II (a few minutes later): The Wikipedia article on Waldgrimes suggests an incipient major settlement had started there and never finished (photos at; presumably because of Varus. I wonder if this statue might not have been tossed in the river by the victorious Germans rather than retreating Roman armies …

Colossal Statue of Apollo from Hierapolis!

Corriere della Sera photo

Corriere della Sera photo

I’ve been sitting on this one all day waiting for some English source to pick it up, but none seems to be forthcoming (Today’s Zaman … where are you?) … the Italian press is reporting the discovery of fragments of what appears to be a statue of Apollo which would make a statue some four metres high! All of the reports are very brief, e.g., this concluding bit from Corriere della Sera (click the reference link for more photos):

I due frammenti permettono di ricostruire una statua colossale in marmo di più di 4 metri di altezza. La figura è seduta su un trono e indossa una tunica mirabilmente drappeggiata con un effetto di trasparenza che lascia intravedere la possente muscolatura. La statua colossale di Hierapolis – spiega D’Andria – rappresenta con grande probabilità Apollo, seduto in trono, che regge con il braccio sinistro la cetra e si può riferire al culto reso al dio nel vicino tempio costruito sotto l’imperatore Tiberio. Il ritrovamento – sottolinea l’esperto – assume un valore eccezionale per la qualità stilistica, per la particolarità dell’immagine di culto e per la rarità di queste opere – meno di una decina – in Asia Minore».

Periodico Italiano draws parallels with a similar statue from Claros:

“Le statue colossali erano diffuse nell’antichità – spiega d’Andria – le più famose tra quelle conservate sono state ritrovate nel Santuario di Claros, uno dei più famosi oracoli del mondo antico. Alte più di 7 metri, rappresentano Apollo seduto in trono, affiancato dalla sorella Artemide e dalla madre Latona, mentre una replica della stessa statua di Apollo, alta 3 metri, è stata ritrovata di recente a Sagalassos, non lontano da Antalya.”

As mentioned above, Claros was a major oracular centre in antiquity …

CONF: Lucretius in the European Enlightenment

Seen on the Classicists list:

Lucretius in the European Enlightenment
A Conference hosted by the School of History, Classics, and Archaeology
The University of Edinburgh

3 – 4 September 2009
For more information, see


Thursday 3 September

Venue: Old High School, Infirmary Street

9:00 Registration

9:20 Opening: Thomas Ahnert, Hannah Dawson, Michael Lurie

Chair: Dr Michael Lurie

9:40 Mr. David Butterfield (Cambridge):

‘Lucretius’ De rerum natura and classical scholarship in the eighteenth century’

10:40 Tea and Coffee

Chair: Dr Thomas Ahnert

11:10 Prof. Gianni Paganini (Università del Piemonte Orientale):

‘Pierre Bayle’s Lucretius’

Chair: Dr Hannah Dawson

12:10 Dr James Harris (St. Andrews):

‘Of shipwrecks and sympathy: Lucretius, Hume, and the pleasures of tragedy’

1:10 Lunch

Chair: Dr Tim Hochstrasser

2:30 Prof. Ann Thomson (Université Paris 8 Vincennes-St. Denis):

‘Lucretius and la Mettrie’

Chair: Dr Thomas Ahnert

3:30 Dr Tim Hochstrasser (London School of Economics and Political Science):

‘The role of Lucretius in Diderot’s later political thought’

4:30 Tea and Coffee

Chair: Prof. Ernst A. Schmidt

5:00 Prof. Alan Charles Kors (University of Pennsylvania):

‘Lucretius and d’Holbach’

6:00 Reception

8:00 Dinner at La Garrigue, 31 Jeffrey Street

Friday 4 September

Venue: Old High School, Infirmary Street

Chair: Prof. Gianni Paganini

9:30 Prof. Piet H. Schrijvers (Leiden):

‘Lucretius in the Dutch Enlightenment’

10:30 Tea and Coffee

Chair: Dr John Robertson

11:00 Prof. Andrew Laird (Warwick):

‘Lucretius and Spanish Jesuit culture after the Bourbon Reforms: Diego José Abad and Rafael Landívar in Italy’

Chair: Prof. Alan Charles Kors

12:00 Prof. Wolfgang Pross (Berne):

‘»Atheorum antistes et oraculum«: Enemies of Lucretius in the European Enlightenment’

1:00 Lunch

Chair: Dr Hannah Dawson

2:30 Dr Avi Lifshitz (University College London):

‘Lucretius and German debates over the origins of language, c. 1750’

Chair: Dr Avi Lifshitz

3:30 Dr Mario Marino (Jena):

‘Herder and Lucretius’

4:30 Tea and Coffee

Chair: Dr Michael Lurie

5:00 Prof. Ernst A. Schmidt (Tübingen):

‘Wieland and Lucretius’

Chairs: Thomas Ahnert, Hannah Dawson, Michael Lurie

6:00 Final Discussion

8:00 Dinner at The Home Bistro, 41 West Nicolson Street

Dr Michael Lurie
School of History, Classics and Archaeology
The University of Edinburgh
David Hume Tower
George Square
Edinburgh EH8 9JX
Office: +44 (0)131 650 35 88
Fax: +44 (0)131 651 17 83
Email: michael.lurie AT

CFP: Sparta Journal of Ancient Spartan and Greek History Vol. 5 no. 2

Seen on various lists:

Call For Papers on behalf of Robert Montgomerie, Managing Editor of Sparta:

Journal of Ancient and Greek History, (ISSN 1751-0007) Nottingham, UK.

For the next issue of Σparta we would like to call for papers directed at
ideas around the archaeology of Spartan religiosity and Spartan Law. Papers
on architecture, temples, artefacts, ritual, divine justice etc. will be

Deadline: November 11th, 2009
Forthcoming Issue: Volume 5 no. 2 (January, 2010)
Max. number of words: 3,000 – bibliography is required

Please send your article with an email covering note to:
sparta AT

The articles will be peer-reviewed and the editorial may ask for further

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem viii kalendas septembres

ante diem viii kalendas septembres

  • Opiconsivia — rites in honour of Ops, an old Italian earth deity and usually considered the spouse of Consus
  • 79 A.D. — death of Pliny the Elder in the wake of the eruption at Pompeii
  • 325 A.D. — Council of Nicaea comes to an end, having come up with the Nicene Creed, the ‘Twenty Canons’, etc..

What To Do With A Classics Degree … Daniel Levin

We can add the author of the recently-released The Last Ember to the list … from the Courier-Journal:

New York author Daniel Levin has garnered rave reviews for his debut suspense novel, “The Last Ember” — a fictional thriller set in Rome and the Middle East.

Jonathan Marcus, the book’s protagonist, and Dr. Emili Travia, an Italian U.N. preservationist, become the targets of murderous historical revisionists as they race from the labyrinth beneath the Roman Coliseum to the biblical-era tunnels of Jerusalem in search of Jerusalem’s most precious artifact, the Tabernacle Menorah.

Levin, who will meet the public and talk about “The Last Ember” (Riverhead Books, $25.95) at 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Jewish Community Center, acknowledged a fascination with ancient espionage of the Roman world while a student at the University of Michigan where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Roman and Greek civilizations.

“Here’s a thriller set in Jerusalem where archaeology is politics and history is more fragile than you think. While the novel is fiction, the illegal archaeological excavations beneath the Temple Mount are not,” Levin said.


See also his biography at his home page. We’ll add this to our ever-growing collection of delicious tags to bios etc. of folks in the ‘real world’ with Classics-related degrees.

d.m. Elizabeth Lyding Will

Seen on various lists (from the Daily Hampshire Gazette):

Elizabeth Lyding Will, Emeritus Professor of Classics at the
University of Massachusetts and Amherst College, died peacefully on
Aug. 19, 2009, at the Center for Extended Care in Amherst. She was 85
years old.
Considered the world authority on the ancient Roman shipping
containers called amphoras, Professor Will had a long and
distinguished academic career and was working up to the end of her
life on several forthcoming volumes of scholarship. She received a
bachelor’s degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a
master’s and doctoral degree from Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pa.
After completing her dissertation on “Homeric Enjambement” in 1949,
Professor Will spent a year as the Thomas Day Seymour Fellow at the
American School of Classical Studies at Athens, Greece. It was there
where she discovered the work that would consume her for the rest of
her life.
Basing her research on the precisely dated collection of Roman
amphoras at the Athenian Agora, Professor Will came to see the
shipping containers as essential sources of knowledge about the
economic and social history of the Roman World. Her studies were used
by many scholars to help date and interpret Roman shipwrecks, from
which amphoras remain the most numerous finds. In addition to the
Agora collection, she also studied a variety of amphora collections in
Greece, Egypt, Italy, England, France, Spain, Germany, Croatia,
Turkey, the Canary Islands, and India. Among her many publications
were two co-authored books, “L’Ilot de la Maison des Comediens,” and
“The Roman Port and Fishery of Cosa.” Professor Will also joined the
governing board of the Archaeological Association of America, as well
as the local branch of the Association in Western Massachusetts, for
which she was president for many years. She also played an active role
in other local organizations, including as president of the Pioneer
Valley Classical Association and as president and trustee of the
Amherst Academy.
Alongside her scholarly achievements, Professor Will was a much
beloved teacher to her students around the world, who revered her for
her intelligence, sense of humor, and elegance. Kind and gracious, she
encouraged and supported many students to pursue careers in teaching
and scholarship. She was a tireless advocate for women’s education and
for the professional advancement of women. At home, she enjoyed above
all being surrounded by family, friends, and her favorite dogs, Gossie
and Brigitte.
She is survived by her loving children, Alex and his wife Judy and
Barbara and her husband Michael; a grandson, William; a step-
granddaughter, Megan; and step-great-grandson, Owen.
A memorial service will be held in Amherst Oct. 11 at the Amherst
Women’s Club. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Dakin
Animal Shelter, 163 Montague Road, Leverett, MA 01054.

Greek Fire Update – Marathon Safe

Sigh of relief after reading this item from Bloomberg:

A significant archaeological site in Greece escaped damage during weekend fires and is deemed safe, a Culture Ministry spokesman said.

The site at Ramnounta, which is believed to be one of Greece’s first municipalities from antiquity, isn’t threatened by the fires, the country’s worst since 2007, Ministry of Culture spokesman George Mouroutis said in a phone interview.

“There is no danger currently and it doesn’t seem there will be further danger,” Mouroutis said. There was water on the site and the brush had been cleared, which helped avoid damage, he added. Flames fanned by strong winds came as close as 1 kilometer from the site.

The two sites that the inferno neared are about 50 kilometers (31 miles) north of Athens, the country’s capital: the Marathon Archaeological Museum and the site of Ramnous in the prefecture of Ramnounta, the spokesman said.

The museum houses 2,500-year-old artifacts found in tombs from the Battle of Marathon as well as sections of the trophy erected after the Greeks defeated the Persians, according to information posted on the town’s Web site. Ramnounta is the site of the 6th century B.C. Temple of Nemesis.