A Scholarly Slap on the Wrist?

Excerpts from an interesting piece at the New York Times’ Paper Cuts Blog:

There’s a scene in David Malouf’s “Ransom” — a novel based mainly on Homer’s “Iliad” — in which King Priam of Troy is slaughtered by Neoptolemus, the son of the Greek hero Achilles. That episode, which is not described in the “Iliad,” ultimately derives from a lost archaic Greek epic, the “Iliou Persis,” or “Sack of Troy.” But the best-known surviving version of the death of Priam appears in the second book of Virgil’s “Aeneid,” and Latinists took me to task for not mentioning it in my review of “Ransom” published in the Book Review last month.

In recompense, here are two translations of the passage in Virgil to compare, the first by Sarah Ruden. In The New York Review of Books, Garry Wills said her 2008 “Aeneid” “has soared over the bar” set high by Robert Fagles in 2006. His translation follows hers. (Neoptolemus is here called Pyrrhus; the narrator is Aeneas, at the court of Queen Dido of Carthage.)


Some other notes:

— The fantastic vase painting of the killing of Priam is from an Attic black-figure amphora of the late sixth century B.C., now in the Louvre. Like many ancient illustrations of the Trojan War, it depicts the conquest of Troy as a savage and merciless slaughter of innocents; here Neoptolemus bludgeons Priam with the body of a Trojan child.

— Virgil’s references to the rule of Asia and a headless trunk on the shore would have been immediately understood by Romans of the early Augustan age as a reference to Pompey the Great, the Roman conqueror of the East treacherously assassinated and beheaded on the shores of Egypt.

— The title of Malouf’s novel, “Ransom,” is a translation of the Greek term for the Iliadic episode in which Priam ransoms the body of his son Hector from Achilles. It’s just one of the many ways in which Malouf shows his thorough engagement with the “Iliad.”

— No matter how skillful these translations, Virgil’s Latin suffers far more in translation than does Homeric Greek. It’s worth learning Latin just to read the “Aeneid.”

via Virgil Strikes Back – Paper Cuts Blog – NYTimes.com.

The Priestess of Boscoreale Returns

The skinny: a Roman second style painting of a priestess which was stolen from the villa of Asellius at Pompeii (some time prior to 1997) turned up at Christie’s in New York. Here’s the incipit:

Tornerà a Pompei l’affresco con la sacerdotessa, recuperato a New York, presso la casa d’aste Christie’s, dai Carabinieri del Reparto Operativo Tutela Patrimonio Culturale affiancati dagli agenti dell’Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), l’autorità doganale USA, a cui erano stati forniti tutti gli elementi comprovanti la illecita provenienza dall’Italia e la legittima appartenenza all’eredità culturale italiana. Il quadretto è un affresco, eseguito in secondo stile pompeiano, databile al I secolo d.C., raffigurante una “ministra sacrificante”, delle dimensioni dicm80 x 60.

Era stato trafugato in data sconosciuta dai depositi degli scavi di Pompei e solo nel 1997 era stata fatta comunicazione della sua sparizione. Il reperto, ritrovato in ottimostato di conservazione, era stato acquistato nel 1957 dall’allora Soprintendenza di Napoli e Pompei e assieme ad altri dipinti proveniva dallo scavo della villa detta di Asellius. L’edificio, che si trovava sotterrato nel fondo agricolo di Giuseppe De Martino, venne indagato tra il 1903 e il 1904 dall’avvocato Vincenzo De Prisco, che nel proprio terreno, nel 1895, aveva riportato alla luce la villa detta della “Pisanella” e scoperto il tesoro di argenterie, oggi al Louvre. La villa, a pianta quadrata, viene detta di Asellius da un sigillo di bronzo con soprasegnato quel nome e ritenuto appartenente al proprietario dell’edificio o al suo procuratore.

L’affresco con sovradipinto la figura di una sacerdotessa, noto anche come l’affresco della “Ministra”, propone, come riporta Matteo della Corte in “Notizie Scavi” del 1921 « una sacerdotessa in camice giallo dalle maniche verdi, incedente di fronte, e recante nella destra una patera con oggetti indistinti, e con la sinistra, stesa lungo il lato corrispondente del corpo, un praefericulum (si tratta di un vaso da cui gli auguri versavano liquido durante le cerimonie)».

via Ritrovata la sacerdotessa di Boscoreale | In Somma.

(there’s a tiny photo accompanying the original article, but it’s too small to be useful)

Citanda: Another Hercules Comic

In medias res:

At the end of Hercules: The Thracian Wars, our hero and his band of adventurers (or mercenaries, if you’re feeling uncharitable) were off to Egypt to seek more fortune. That’s where this mini-series begins, on a slow boat to the Delta. Moore uses Iolaus the charioteer as his narrator, which is a fine choice. Iolaus is the most sympathetic of the band, and he’s the most “like us.” AutolyIn cus is a sneaky bastard, Meleager is a lovestruck whiner, and Atalanta is haughty. Hercules, as a demi-god, isn’t a good choice either – he’s not given to introspection, so his narration wouldn’t be terribly interesting. These people are interesting to read about, and Iolaus is a good person to narrate their adventures. They are beset immediately by pirates, leading to them arriving in Egypt in somewhat worse shape than they thought they would. They rescue one of the pharoah’s wives from bandits, which gets them an audience with the pharoah and a job as bodyguards for his wife. The pharoah, however, is embroiled in a civil war with his half-brother, and he wants Hercules and his group to spy on those in Memphis who might be working for the other side. And so we’re off!

via Hey, look! It’s a comic starring Hercules!| Comic Book Resources.

With Vulcan Presiding

Interesting story:

The Roman god of the forge presided over plenty of “I Do’s” on Valentine’s Day.

Seven weddings were held before the 50-ton Vulcan statue in suburban Birmingham on Sunday.

Spokeswoman Audra Bean says the couples wed as part of Vulcan Park’s “I Do With A View” event.

This is the first time the park has offered couples weddings packages.

For $300 the couples got an officiated ceremony with professional photos and a champagne toast with cake among other wedding staples.

They also got one impressive witness. The Vulcan statue has been perched atop Red Mountain since 1939.

… of course, given the status of Vulcan’s marriage to Venus, I’m not sure he’d be the best ‘overseer’ …

via 7 couples wed in front of Vulcan statue – WRCB Channel 3 Chattanooga News, Weather |.

see also: Vulcan Park and Museum

Bust in Syracuse

They were selling the stuff on the Internet …

Monete di diverse epoche e altri reperti archeologici, tutti frutto di scavi clandestini, erano messi in vendita sul web. A scoprire il traffico di reperti su internet sono stati i carabinieri del nucleo tutela patrimonio culturale di Siracusa che hanno effettuato quattro perquisizioni domiciliari, denunciando altrettante persone per impossessamento illecito di beni culturali appartenenti allo Stato. Sono state sequestrate 576 monete antiche, in bronzo e argento, riconducibili a zecche greche, romane, bizantine e arabo-normanne, decine di altri reperti fittili e in metallo e metal detector. Tutti i reperti recuperati saranno consegnati alla Soprintendenza di Siracusa.

via Monete e reperti in vendita su internet: denunce a Siracusa< … Giornale di Sicilia.

CFP: Digital Classicist 2010 Seminars

Seen on Classicists:

Call for Presentations

The Digital Classicist will once more be running a series of seminars
at the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London, with
support from the British Library, in Summer 2010 on the subject of
research into the ancient world that has an innovative digital
component. We are especially interested in work that demonstrates
interdisciplinarity or work on the intersections between Ancient
History, Classics or Archaeology and a digital, technical or
practice-based discipline.

The Digital Classicist seminars run on Friday afternoons from June to
August in Senate House, London. In previous years collected papers
from the DC WiP seminars have been published* in a special issue of an
online journal (2006), edited as a printed volume (2007), and released
as audio podcasts (2008-9); we anticipate similar publication
opportunities for future series. A small budget is available to help
with travel costs.

Please send a 300-500 word abstract to <gabriel.bodard AT kcl.ac.uk> by
March 31st 2010. We shall announce the full programme in April.

CONF: Newcastle University Classics Research Seminars

Seen on Classicists:

Newcastle University
Classics Research Seminar, 2009-2010 Semester 2

All seminars take place in the Shefton Room, Armstrong Building, 1st floor, Newcastle University, beginning at 5pm. All are welcome.

Wednesday 17 February 2010
THILO RISING, Newcastle University
A Storm in a Teacup: Senatorial Opposition to Pompey’s Eastern Settlement

Wednesday 3 March 2010
DR PENELOPE GOODMAN, University of Leeds
Urbis et Orbis: The Boundaries of the City of Rome

Wednesday 28 April 2010
DR STEPHANO MAGNANI, University of Udine
New Evidence from the Province of Syria

Wednesday 5 May 2010
PROF CATHERINE STEEL, University of Glasgow
Political Cultures and Written Records: Cicero after his Exile

A map of Newcastle University can be found here:

CONF: AIA Lectures

An excerpt from the latest AIA Update of interest:

The AIA’s Spring 2010 Lecture Season has begun, featuring free public lectures by scholars at locations throughout the United States and Canada. Offerings include current research in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Korea; Kublai Khan’s lost fleet; the mosaics of Tunisia; how coins portray the Imperial family drama of Flavian Rome; relations between Native Americans and Spanish colonists; and more. Find a Lecture Program near you. Our Spring Season runs to the end of April. We hope you’ll join us!
Look for a lecture near you at www.archaeological.org/lectures.

CONF: The Alexander Romance in the East

Seen on Classicists:

The Alexander Romance in the East
A Conference at the University of Exeter, July 26-29, 2010

The organisers announce the draft programme for this international conference, which sets out to explore issues and growth points in the study of the Greek Alexander Romance and its transformations in the Persian and Arab traditions, as well as aspects of the Hebrew tradition as it impinges on the Muslim world. Sessions will be held in the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies, one of the University’s architectural gems with up-to-date facilities and a beautiful outlook. Accommodation has been reserved in the nearby Holland Hall and Mardon Hall.

Draft Conference Programme

Monday 26 July 2010

2.00-5.00 pm Arrival and registration; tea
6.00 Reception
7.00 Dinner
8.00 Richard Stoneman: Introduction and Opening paper
Persian Aspects of the Romance Tradition

Tuesday 27 July 2010

1115-1300 Dan Selden, Circulation of Texts in late antiquity
Sulochana Asirvatham, Alexander the Philosopher in Greek,
Persian and Arabic Traditions
1045-1115 Coffee
Corinne Jouanno, The Persians in the late Byzantine Alexander Romances: a portrayal under Turkish influences
Hendrik Boeschoten, Adventures of Alexander in medieval Turkish
1245-1415 Lunch
1415-1545 Michael Axworthy, Nadir Shah and Alexander
Warwick Ball, Alexander in Central Asia
1545-1615 Tea
1615-1730 Daniel Ogden, Sikandar Dragon-Slayer
Sabine Muller, Stories of the Persian Bride: Alexander and Roxane
1845 Dinner

Wednesday 28 July 2010

900-1100 Haila Manteghi, Candace and Qaidafa
Mario Casari, The King Explorer: a cosmographic approach to the Persian Alexander
Graham Anderson, Alexander and Arthur
1100-1120 Coffee
1120-1300 Z.David Zuwiyya, ‘Umara’s Arabic Alexander Romance
Faustina Doufikar-Aerts, Arabic Alexander
El-Sayed Gad, Al-Tabari’s Tales of Alexander: History and Romance
1300-1330 Lunch
1330-1600 Free time
1600-1800 Firuza Abdullaeva, Alexander’s Flying Machine
Alexandra Szalc, The Water of Life
Alexandra Kleczar, Kingship in the Jewish versions
1900 Party

Thursday 29 July 2010

915-1045 Olga Palagia, Macedonian Aspects of the Art of Central Asia
Emily Cottrell and Kyle Erickson, Did the Arabic Alexander Novel rely on Seleucid Sources?
1045-1115 Coffee
1115-1245 Ory Amitay, Paradise and the Gymnosophists in the Talmud
Yuriko Yamanaka, The Islamized Alexander in Chinese Geographies and Encyclopaedias
1245 Close. Lunch available

Booking Information

For further information, including accommodation and conference booking, please see our website, http://huss.exeter.ac.uk/classics/conferences. The University of Exeter is just over two hours by train from London and is located on a beautiful campus (with an important collection of rare trees!). The department of Classics and Ancient History has been rated third in the UK for research in 2008, while the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies is host also to a new Centre for Persian Studies.

Booking closes on June 30th 2010, but reserved accommodation is limited, so book early to be sure of a place in one of the halls of residence overlooking the Exe Valley.

In case of difficulty contact

Richard Stoneman
c/o Dept of Classics and Ancient History
University of Exeter
Amory Building
Rennes Drive
Exeter EX4 4RJ

richard14stoneman AT btinternet.com