ED: Palaeography Summer School

Seen on the Classicists list:

Third International Summer School in Greek Palaeography, August 16-22, Oxford

The Third Lincoln College International Summer School in Greek Palaeography will take place in August 2010. Further information can be found on www-gpss.linc.ox.ac.uk.

The programme consists of more than 25 hours of teaching in the form of lectures, seminars, reading classes, special subject classes and tutorials. Participants will have the opportunity to see original manuscripts in the Bodleian Library and have a tutorial on manuscripts relevant to their research.

The Summer School addresses advanced undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as early post-docs working in subject areas such as classics (Greek language and literature), medieval and early modern Greek philolFroogy, patristics, theology, art history and archaeology, and late antique, medieval, and Byzantine literary and cultural history. Application deadline is the 23rd December 2009.

For queries contact Maria Konstantinidou (maria.konstantinidou AT classics.ox.ac.uk).

Fetchez la vache ….

Yet another misuse of vomitorium:

Rome was a custom-borrowing society, and elite Romans happily scooped up Greek food culture. But what we remember most about Rome, food-wise, is the period of its decadence, symbolized by disgustingly overwrought banquets and the vomitorium. We haven’t gone so far as to install vomitoria in the bathrooms of fast food restaurants (perhaps an idea whose time has come back?), but in many respects our society’s enslavement to the hyperpalatibility of junk food recalls the excesses of Rome in its self-destructive decline.

Once again we are forced to mercilessly deride journalists for not even bothering to check Wikipedia on the meaning … Your mother was a hamster and your father smelled of elderberries and all that …

Happy Cyrus the Great Day!

Tip o’ the pileus to Eleanor Jefferson for passing along that today is apparently “Cyrus the Great Day” according to the International Committee to Save the Archeological Sites of Pasargad. According to the website:

Twenty five centuries ago, when savagery was the dominant factor in human societies, a civilized and compassionate declaration was written on clay and issued to the “four corners of the world” that dealt with important issues relevant to the rights of humans, the same issues that not only in those days but even today can inspire those who believe in human dignity and rights.

This document, known as “The Declaration of Cyrus the Great,” emphasized on the removal of all racial, national discrimination and slavery, bestowing to the people, freedom to choose their places of residence, faith and religion and giving prominence to the perpetual peace amongst the nations. This Declaration could actually be considered as a present from the Iranian people, expressed through the words of Cyrus, their political leader and the founder of the first empire in the world, to the whole humanity. In 1971, the general assembly of the United Nations recognized it as the first Declaration of Human Rights, thus, registering such an honor to the name of Iran as the cradle of this first historical attempt to establish the recognition of human rights.

Followers of Explorator will know that Iran and the British Museum are currently in the midst of a brouhaha/potential saga over a loan of the Cyrus Cylinder, which is what is being referred to above. Here’s the most recent coverage from the BBC on same to bring you up to speed:

The Cyrus Cylinder is being held by the museum because of Iran’s “post-election situation”, an Iranian official told the country’s Fars news agency.

Hamid Baqaie said the museum’s pledge to send the Babylonian artefact at another date was “just an excuse”.

The British Museum said its trustees “reaffirmed their intention to lend the Cylinder to Iran”.

Their statement added: “There are a number of issues and practicalities to be resolved, but the intention is to send it as agreed.”

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper recently, the British Museum’s head of press Hannah Boulton said: “When lending any material you have to check that it is an appropriate moment.

“We hope to be able to honour that commitment, we can’t say when that will be. At the moment we are monitoring the situation in Iran,” she added.

Mr Baqaie said Iran’s Cultural Heritage Organisation would consider severing ties with the British Museum if the piece was not loaned to them within two months.

He added that it was due to have been lent last month.

The object, which is around 2,500 years old, was ordered to be made by Persian king Cyrus following the conquest of Babylon.

It is said to represent the first bill of rights and encapsulate religious toleration.

While I won’t comment on that dispute directly, I do find it odd (perhaps) that there is such emphasis on getting the Cyrus Cylinder back in Iran but for the past couple of years, the threat to/ongoing destruction of one of Cyrus’ early palaces on the Borazjan Plain seems to not even make the news outside of the Iranian Press … most recently:

Some sections of Cyrus the Greats’ palace known as Charkhab (čarxāb) located in the Borazjan Plain, in the Persian Gulf’s Bushehr Province has been completely destroyed and the remaining of the edifice is on the verge of total destruction if no action is taken soon, reported the Persian service of CHN.

According to the report, two years ago archaeologists left the site for no apparent reason and the unique early Achaemenid edifice has been left to be destroyed. The director of the team has continuously requested the recommence of some archaeological research but this has been rejected and permit denied.

“This site is important evidence for the Iranian nation and their rule over the waters of the Persian Gulf. I have asked number of times from the Bushehr Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organisation [BCHTO] to restart the [archaeological] excavations, but it seems the organisation tries to repel me from this task,” said Aliakbar Sarfaraz, the former director of archaeological team at Charkhab Palace.

Archaeological excavations conducted in past have shown it was built by the order of Cyrus the Great the founder of second Iranian dynasty, the Achaemenids (550-330 BCE) and left incomplete.

While regretting the lack of protection for this unique ancient edifice, Sarafraz said Charkhab Palace is as important as Persepolis and Pasargadae palaces in terms of its compliance with architectural regulations.

Borazjan Plain, due to its closeness to the Persian Gulf, was considered an important area during the Achaemenid dynasty, especially as one of the imperial naval forces was stationed there. The naval base served as the base for transferring the imperial troops to the satrapies in North Africa in case of emergency, as well as controlling the waters of the Persian Gulf.

Beyond that, we’ve had reports in the past of threats to Cyrus’ Tomb as well … FWIW …

Say What?

Headline and first paragraph of an item in the Appeal Democrat:

Ancient Greeks considered chocolate the ‘food of the gods’

Chocolate is made from the seeds of the tropical cacao tree. In the Mayan language, it is pronounced “kakaw,” and in Greek, it is called “Theobroma,” which means “food of the gods.”

The lack of a sense of anachronism is mind boggling …

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem vi kalendas novembres

ante diem vi kalendas novembres

  • ludi Victoriae Sullanae (day 2) — games held in honour of Victoria commemorating Sulla’s defeat of the Samnites in 82 B.C.
  • 43 B.C. — Marcus Junius Brutus commits suicide in the wake of the defeat at Philippi (by one reckoning)
  • 113 A.D. — the emperor Trajan departs from Rome for his war against the Parthians
  • 251 A.D. — the future emperor Valerian is elected by the senate to the recently-revived office of censor
  • 1469 — birth of Erasmus