New issue of Pomerium!

Seen on Ostia-l (please send any responses to the folks mentioned in the quoted text, not to rogueclassicism!):

salve ,

ti informiamo che è on-line il nuovo numero di Pomerivm, il notiziario trimestrale dell’Associazione culturale Pomerium.

Lo trovi all’indirizzo Internet http://www.pomerium.org/download.asp?file=POMERIVM_Gennaio2010.zip

In questo numero:

- Roma, “la pittura di un impero” alle scuderie del Quirinale

Riflessioni intorno alla straordinaria eredità della pittura antica, di Anna Maria Cavanna

- La medicina a Roma di Marco Colombelli

- Medea greca VS Medea romana

Variazioni sul finale, di Carolina Patierno

… e, come sempre, rubriche, calendario delle mostre, news, ecc.

Buona lettura!

Associazione Pomerium

Medusa from Caesarea

A unique archaeological exhibition has opened in Caesarea harbor: for the first time the general public can see an extraordinary 1,700 year old sarcophagus cover that is one of the most impressive ever discovered in Caesarea.

The cover, which weighs more than 4 tons, is decorated with snake-haired medusa heads and joyful and sad-faced masks. These were taken from the world of the ancient theater where two kinds of plays were customarily presented: comedy and tragedy. The meaning of the Greek word medusa is “guard or sentry”; whoever looked directly at the mythological medusa would be turned to stone immediately. In antiquity they used to produce medusa reliefs on, among other things, tombs and various shields, in the hope that this would ward off the threat.

Interment in large stone coffins (sarcophagi) was widespread in the Mediterranean basin in the second to fifth centuries CE. This funerary custom was first practiced among pagans and was later also adopted by Jews, Christians and Samaritans. The word sarcophagus is Greek in origin, meaning “flesh-eating”. The sarcophagus has two parts: a rectangular chest-like receptacle in which the deceased was placed and a lid. The sarcophagi were interred inside burial structures (mausoleum; pl. mausolea) or in rock-hewn burial caves. The residents of ancient Caesarea were buried in cemeteries that were located in regions outside the built-up area of the city.

The impressive sarcophagus cover, which was probably used in the burial of one of Caesarea’s wealthiest denizens in the Roman period, is one of an assortment of unique stone items that were exposed in archaeological excavations and by other means in Caesarea. The items constitute living and tangible evidence of the lives of the rich in Caesarea, at a time when the city was a vibrant Roman provincial capital.

More:  Medusas in Caesarea Harbor. (likely won’t last long; some photos in a zip file available there too)

A Roman Burial From Weston

From the BBC … I don’t think we mentioned its original discovery:

A Roman skeleton, which was found in Weston-super-Mare last autumn, has been dated by archaeological experts.

The find at Weston College is described as an adult male of slender build, aged between 36 and 45 and of “smaller stature than the Roman average”.

It was also revealed that the skeleton was complete and well-preserved for a set of 1,800-year-old bones.

Results also indicate the life of this particular Roman inhabitant of Weston was defined by disease and hard labour.

Dr Malin Holst who conducted the analysis said: “The skeleton showed evidence of a wide range of diseases and pathological conditions, some of which are rarely observed in archaeological skeletons.

“There were congenital anomalies relating to early foetal development including an additional vertebra, unusually shaped vertebrae, additional ribs and shortened femoral necks.

“Findings also confirmed the man also suffered from ill health during later adulthood – ailments included gallstones, chronic sinusitis, dental decay and severe abscesses and periodontal disease.”

‘Tough life’

The man clearly had a very tough life of hard labour with the analysis also revealing degeneration of the spinal and hips joints, osteoarthritis, spinal lesions and inflammation of the shins amongst others.

In addition to the skeleton, pottery, animal bone, shellfish, coins and metal objects were also found last September.

Analysis of these confirm that the building was used as a dwelling and occupied for a considerable period of time between the 2nd to 4th Centuries AD.

All of the objects were unearthed at the site of the proposed extension to the college’s Hans Price building during an archaeological dig by the Avon Archaeological Unit.

A full publication of the excavation results is expected in 2011.

via Weston skeleton gives up secrets | BBC.

… accounts of the original discovery:

Denise McCoskey (UMiami) Wins APA Teaching Aware

Denise McCoskey, associate professor of classics at Miami University, has won the American Philological Association 2009 Award for Excellence in Teaching at the College Level.

“I find it nearly impossible to write about Denise without resorting to a list of superlatives, but she really is extraordinary,” one nominator wrote.

McCoskey joined Miami’s faculty in 1995. She received her bachelor’s degree in classics and archaeology from Cornell University in 1990 and her doctorate in classical studies from Duke University in 1995.

She teaches a range of courses, including Classical Mythology, Women in Antiquity, Greek and Roman Tragedy and Lyric Poetry. She also has initiated several specialized courses and is affiliated with the Jewish studies and black world studies programs.

McCoskey’s classes foster student involvement in learning and a diverse curriculum and disrupt student expectations. Her teaching style utilizes participation and discussion.

An observer remarked, “Her classes are noisy, wonderfully noisy, with lively discussion and much excited argument. ”

McCoskey is the second member of Miami’s classics department to receive this award in the last five years.

Judith de Luce, professor of classics, won it in 2005.

via Miami professor wins national teaching award | Oxford Press.

What Eric Rebillard is Up To

Classics professor Eric Rebillard has been awarded a $45,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support his research on funerary behaviors among the common people of the Roman Empire.

“Knowledge about Roman funerary rituals and burial practices is largely limited to a few texts and a few monuments, both products of the cultural and social elite of the Roman Empire,” said Rebillard. “I believe that burials allow us to go far beyond the limits of our other evidence in the study of the non-elites and that the study of funerary rituals can thus extend considerably our understanding of Roman culture.”

Rebillard’s project applies statistical analysis to a database of excavated tombs in Italy during the first three centuries of the Roman Empire to analyze the layout and contents of the graves and treatment of the bodies.

The project is unique, says Rebillard, because previously funerary monuments and grave goods have been studied mainly as indicators of social status. Rebillard’s approach is to emphasize funerary ritual itself and to study funerary behaviors.

The Mellon Foundation previously awarded Rebillard a New Directions fellowship to support his research.

via Cornell Chronicle: Grant funds classics research.