Seen on Classicists … this looks fun (please send any responses to the folks mentioned in the quoted text, not to rogueclassicism!):
*At Home with Ovid: A Study Tour*
The most scandalous of Roman poets, Ovid was born in Sulmo, modern Sulmona, in 43 BC and died in exile on the Black Sea in 17 AD, banished by the Emperor Augustus for an unknown crime.
As well as his famous Metamorphoses he produced a large body of elegiac love poetry, which we will study in the perfect setting, the historic village of Pacentro, overlooking Sulmona and the mountain streams of Ovid’s birthplace. In this week-long course, we will read (in translation) across the range of Ovid’s poetry, examining his politics, poetics and erotics. The course is designed for anyone with a passion for the classics, whether or not you have read any Ovid before.
Full details at http://homepage.ntlworld.com/mary.zajicek/Ovid.html or contact Mary Zajicek at mzajicek AT brookes.ac.uk
Seen on Classicists (please send any responses to the folks mentioned in the quoted text, not to rogueclassicism!):
«Ancient Greek Drama: contemporary approaches & education»
Athens, 26-30 March 2010
Hellenic Theatre/Drama & Education Network, in collaboration with the
European Network of Research and Documentation of Performances of Ancient
Greek Drama (Arc-Net), Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, Goethe Institute in
Athens, Swedish Institute in Athens, The Embassy of Sweden, Department of
Early Childhood Education-National & Kapodistrian University of Athens, the
Embassy of Cyprus, the Dutch Institute in Athens, the Hellenic Centre of the
International Theatre Institute, the Educational Television, the British
Council in Greece, and other arts and educational organizations organizes
international symposium entitled
«Ancient Greek Drama: contemporary approaches & education»
on the 26th-30th of March 2010 in Athens.
A number of prominent international researchers and theatre practitioners
are taking part with lectures, discussions, practical workshops, and master
classes. These include
• Tasos Apostolidis, comics script writer, mathematician, director of the
Secondary Program of the American Farm School of Thessaloniki, Greece
• Dr Anastasia Bakogianni, Post-doctoral research associate in classical
studies, The Open University, U.K.
• George Biniaris, actor-director, Greece
• Dr Chronopoulou Giouli, Classics teacher, Educational Television, Greece
• Antigone Gyra, choreographer – artistic director of Kinitiras Dance
Spectacle and Kinitiras studio Artistic Residency Centre, Greece
• Lorna Hardwick, Professor, Dept. of Classics, The Open University, U.K.
• Hans Günther Heyme, art director, Theater im Pfalzbau, Ludwigshafen am
• Damianos Konstantinides, theatre director, theatrologist, Assistant
Professor, Theatre Studies Dept., Aristotle University of Thessaloniki,
• Dimitris Lignadis, actor, theatre director, Greece
• Matina Lyssikatou, theatrologist, Educational Television, Greece
• Margarita Mandaka, choreographer, performer, Greece
• Michael Marmarinos, theatre director, Hellenic Centre of the International
Theatre Institute, Greece
• Platon Mavromoustakos, Professor, Theatre Studies Dept., National &
Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece
• Michael Meschke, Emeritus Professor in Puppet Theatre, Stockholm, Sweden
• Helen Nicholson, Professor, Dept. of Drama and Theatre, Royal Holloway
University of London, U.K.
• Eleni Papazoglou, Assistant Professor, Aristotle University of
• Tina Parali, sculptor, scenery maker, Greece
• Dr Ioanna Remediaki, philologist, director, Athens, Greece
• Henri Schoenmakers, Professor, Theatre & Media Studies, Roosevelt Academy,
International Honors College of Utrecht University, Holland
• Dmitry Trubotchkin, Professor, Department of Theatre Studies, Russian
Academy of Theatre Arts GITIS, theatre director, State Institute for Art
Studies, Moscow, Russia
• Stavros Tsakiris, theatre director, Greece
• Philippos Tsalahouris, composer, music teacher at the Drama School of
Athens Odeon, Greece
• David Wiles, Professor, Dept. of Drama and Theatre, Royal Holloway
University of London, U.K.
• Giorgos Zamboulakis, theatre director, Greece
• Dr Maria Zannetou-Papacosta, drama/theatre educator, Primary School
The aim of the Symposium is to accommodate and foster dialogue concerning
contemporary research and professional practice related to ancient drama and
education (formal and non-formal).
It can be attended by teachers, artists, theatrologists, students of theatre
and of education, and anyone who is interested in ancient Greek drama and
Symposium languages: Greek & English
Submission of applications begins: 1st of February 2010
Places are limited. (Strict) order of priority will be observed
POST SYMPOSIUM MASTER CLASSES
On Tuesday, 30 March 2010, two master classes will take place in Athens.
1. Michael Meschke, Emeritus Professor in Puppet Theatre, Stockholm,
2. Dr Maria Zannetou-Papacosta,drama/theatre educator, Primary School
More information soon at www.Theatroedu.gr
Seen on Classicists (please send any responses to the folks mentioned in the quoted text, not to rogueclassicism!):
Classics and the Classical in the Eighteenth Century.
A Conference at King¹s College London
15-16 July 2010, The Conference Room, King¹s College London, The Strand.
Convenor: William Fitzgerald (William.fitzgerald AT kcl.ac.uk)
Presentations will include:
Michael Silk (King¹s College London) ³Classical, Neo-classical and Romantic:
The Point of No Return².
Paul Davis (University College London) ³Volcanic Classicism²
Jonathan Sacks (Concordia, Canada), ³The Time of Decline²
Joshua Billings (Oxford) ‘²Sophocles and the German Spirit’².
Katherine Harloe (Reading) ³Winckelmann¹s Early Reception and the Invention
Matthew Bell (KCL) ³Goethe and the Classics²
Sebastian Matzner (KCL) ³The Collapse of a Classical Tradition? An
Archaeological Investigation into OThe End of Rhetoric¹ around 1800:
Gottsched, Kant, Schlegel².
Crystal Bennes (KCL) ³Lucan and Problems of Genre in 18th Century France².
Michael Hardy (KCL) and Katherine East (Royal Holloway) ³Ciceronian Rhetoric
in Georgian England²
Matthew Hiscock (UCL) ³Classics for the Radical Fringe: Republicans and
Dissenters at the end of the 18th century²
Suzanne Aspden (Oxford) Making Musical Classics in Eighteenth-Century London
Ismene Lada-Richards (KCL). ³Thinking with Ancient Pantomime in 18th century
England and France².
To register, please contact William Fitzgerald
(william.fitzgerald AT kcl.ac.uk)
I think we mentioned this recently, but this Stanford press release on the Ancient Rome and America exhibition includes a nice little Youtube video featuring Caroline Winterer talking about such things:
Not sure we’ll see an obituary, so here’s the (updated) Wikipedia article.
Been sitting on this one for a while … some remains of Imperial-era Roman walls from Ostia; not much more:
Nel corso delle indagini archeologiche preventive, effettuate a gennaio sotto la direzione scientifica della Soprintendenza speciale per i Beni archeologici di Roma per la costruzione da parte del Comune di Roma di una scuola materna in via Pericle Ducati ad Ostia Antica, sono state rinvenute consistenti strutture murarie di epoca romana”. Lo fa sapere, in una nota, la Soprintendenza speciale per i Beni archeologici di Roma. “Durante gli scavi realizzati dalla cooperativa archeologica ‘Parsifal’- si legge ancora nel comunicato- sono state individuate una serie di strutture murarie con orientamenti diversi. Alcuni di questi tratti murari sono in opera reticolata ed altri in opera mista. In un caso e’ venuto in luce anche un resto di muro in blocchi di tufo quadrangolari, di cui e’ ancora da comprendere la connessione con le altre strutture. I muri individuati sono in gran parte coperti dal loro crollo, che non appare essere stato intaccato dalle arature o da altri interventi di utilizzo del suolo, se non per alcune buche di non grande estensione realizzate in epoca relativamente recente, in parte forse a scopo agricolo. Ad una preliminare analisi i resti archeologici rinvenuti appaiono appartenere ad epoca pieno imperiale, anche se con cronologie diverse fra loro”. Le evidenze archeologiche, conclude il comunicato, “sembrerebbero riferibili ad ambito residenziale o commerciale, vista anche l’estrema vicinanza all’antica ansa del Tevere, poi obliterata dopo la piena del 1557. Le indagini archeologiche sono ancora nelle fasi iniziali e soltanto con il prosieguo dei lavori potra’ comprendersi l’effettivo utilizzo in antico di tali strutture”.
Another interesting find in Jerusalem:
A well-built aqueduct from time of King Herod was unearthed last week near the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem during work on infrastructure in the area.
The site of the discovery is not far from the place where a Byzantine street was recently unearthed.
Israel Antiquities Authority archaeologists say they found about 40 meters of the ancient waterway, which was part of the sophisticated aqueduct that brought water to Jerusalem from springs in the Hebron hills to the south to the Mamilla pool, which still exists today, and from there through the aqueduct to Hezekiah’s Pool within the walled city.
Archaeologists say the aqueduct was first built in the first century BCE, and was in use in the second century. Within it were discovered roof tiles from the Roman Tenth Legion, which controlled the city at that time.
The aqueduct, which is 1.5 meters high and 60 centimeters wide, was built of large, flat stones. Every 15 meters a shaft connected the aqueduct to the road above it. According to the dig director, Dr. Ofer Sion, the shafts were used in maintenance work on the water system.
The 40-meter stretch ends just before the aqueduct reaches the Old City, where it is blocked, apparently by a collapsed shaft.
Scholars have known of the existence of an aqueduct here for about a century, thanks to a map by the German architect and archaeologist Conrad Schick, who unearthed a few meters of it. It was never excavated because this area is one of the city’s busiest intersections.
The recently discovered Byzantine street has already been covered as infrastructure work continues. The fate of the aqueduct has not yet been decided. Israel Antiquities Authority personnel say they believe an entrance to the aqueduct could remain, so that perhaps one day it could be opened to the public.
We’ll deal with the Byzantine street elsewhere …
Other coverage (I’m sure there will be more):
Clipped this from the Latinteach list a while back and forgot to post it (I think SK posted it):
Seen on various lists (please send any responses to the folks mentioned in the quoted text, not to rogueclassicism!):
UGA CLASSICS SUMMER INSTITUTE
Each year the Institute offers a variety of undergraduate and graduate Latin and Classics courses, including, in odd-numbered years, Intensive Beginning Greek and, in even-numbered years, Intensive Beginning Latin. The Institute curriculum is supplemented by workshops and guest lectures by visiting master teachers and other scholars. The program is designed especially for Latin teachers who wish to continue their education or earn a Master’s degree in Latin on a summers-only basis. The faculty
of the Department of Classics share in a tradition of cooperation with high school teachers and their programs that culminates each summer in an exciting and challenging curriculum. Here are the offerings for the summer of 2010:
First Short Session – June 14 – July 2, exam on July 6
LATN 2050 – Intensive Latin, I 12:30 – 3:15 pm, Park Hall 225, Dr. Christine Albright
CLAS 8020 – Archaeology of Carthage, 9:00 – 11:45 am, Park Hall 228, Dr. Naomi J. Norman
Second Short Session – July 7 – July 27, exam on July 28
LATN 2060 – Intensive Latin II, 12:30 – 3:15 pm, Park Hall 225, Mr. Randy Fields
LATN 4/6020 – Roman Epic(non-Aeneid selections), 9:00 – 11:45 am, Park Hall 228, Dr. T. Keith Dix
Through Session – June 14 – July 26, exam on July 27
CLAS 8000 – Proseminar, 2:14 – 4:05 pm • Mondays Only, Park Hall 222, Staff
LATN 6030 – Caesar, 12:45 – 2:00 pm, Park Hall 115, Dr. John Nicholson
For the most up-to-date information about available University Housing, please visit: http://www.uga.edu/housing/rates/nextyearsrates.html. Please note that you must be an enrolled student (are registered for summer semester) to qualify for University Housing. Off-campus housing is also available. UGA meal plans are offered at low student rates.
Tuition rates for summer 2009 were $229 per credit hour plus $356 in fees for in-state students and $830 per credit hour for out-of state students (2010 rates will be available in early 2010 – please check the Bursar’s Offi ce for the most updated information).Latin teachers from outside Georgia receive, upon application, a tuition waiver to reduce tuition to the in-state level. Modest scholarships are also available from the Department (application forms are available in the on-line application packet). Scholarships are also offered by organizations such as the American Classical League (ACL), the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS), and the Horace Mann Companies; contact these organizations directly for information.
All participants in the Institute must be admitted to the University of Georgia, either as Degree or Non-Degree students. Please consult the Graduate School for application information and forms, or you may apply electronically through the Graduate School website. For admission to the Summer Institute, complete the on-line application packet; or print off the forms and mail them to Summer Institute, Department of Classics, Park Hall, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602–6203.
Application and supporting documents must be received no later than April 1st for domestic applicants, six weeks earlier for international applicants. For more information, please contact Kay Stanton at gradinq AT uga.edu or Dr. Naomi Norman at nnorman AT uga.edu, or call 706-542-9264.
Department of Classics • University of Georgia •
221 Park Hall • Athens, GA 30602
Seen on Classics (please send any responses to the folks mentioned in the quoted text, not to rogueclassicism!):
Northwestern University’s Classical Traditions Initiative and the Department
of Classics present an Andrew W. Mellon Sawyer Seminar series event in the
2009-2010 series, ‘Out of Europe: Greek Drama in America’:
‘Greek Drama in African-American Theatre’
A two-day conference on Friday 12 and Saturday 13 March 2010 to be held in
the John Evans Alumni Center, 1800 Sheridan Road, Northwestern University,
Speakers include: Daniel Banks (New York University), Justine McConnell
(Royal Holloway, University of London, and Northwestern University), Peter
Meineck (New York University),
Melinda Powers (John Jay College, City University of New York), Nancy
Rabinowitz (Hamilton College), Patrice Rankine (Purdue University), Sandra
Richards (Northwestern University), Kevin J. Wetmore (Loyola Marymount
University). There will also be readings from Sophocles’ Ajax by John
The schedule for the two days can be seen at
conference poster is available for downloaded as a PDF from the foot of the
All are most welcome to attend.
The next event in the Mellon-Sawyer Seminar series, 2009-2010 is the
‘Classicizing Chicago’ conference and exhibition, 20-22 May 2010.
For more information please see www.sawyerseminar.northwestern.edu or
contact Dr Kathryn Bosher, Assistant Professor of Classics, Northwestern
University (k-bosher AT northwestern.edu) or Dr Amanda Wrigley, Mellon-Sawyer
Postdoctoral Fellow in Classics, Northwestern University
(a-wrigley AT northwestern.edu).
Seen on Aegeanet (please send any responses to the folks mentioned in the quoted text, not to rogueclassicism!):
Seduction and Power
IMAGINES II – Antiquity in the Visual and Performing Arts
Bristol, 22-25 September 2010
University of Bristol
Institute of Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition
University of Wales – Lampeter
Seduction and Power (IMAGINES II) is the second in a series of major
international and interdisciplinary conferences focusing on the
reception of antiquity in the performing and visual arts. It explores
the impact in post-classical imagery of the tensions and relations of
gender, sexuality, eroticism and power attributed to historical or
legendary characters and events of the Ancient World.
IMAGINES is an interdisciplinary project addressing Classical reception
in e.g. film, theatre, dance, opera, sculpture, architecture, painting,
comic, design and photography. It establishes networks across boundaries
in reception studies and goes beyond the treatment of reception in
individual genres and periods, taking specific genres as starting point
and going on to highlight their interconnections. IMAGINES demonstrates
the influence of the reception of antiquity on a specific manifestation
of culture and shows how it shapes culture as such, ranging from
post-classical traditional art disciplines to contemporary popular
For the main outlines of the IMAGINES project and past and future
conferences see website: www.imagines-project.org
Seduction and Power
22 September 2010
17:00 Public lecture
Prof Martin Winkler (George Mason University): Three Queens: Helen,
Penelope, and Dido in Franco Rossi’s Odissea and Eneide.
18:30 Public event
Pantelis Michelakis, Marta Garcia, Irene Berti. Screening of silent
films centring on antiquity.
23 September 2010
9:30 day registration
Dr Silke Knippschild (University of Bristol): Woman on Top? Semiramide
and the Power of the ‘Oriental Woman’.
Dr Michael Seymour (British Museum): Power, Sin and Seduction in
Babylon: the Case of Verdi’s Nabucco.
Prof Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones (University of Edinburgh):
‘Jewel-in-the-belly-button’ Orientalism in Oliver Stone’s Alexander: The
Fantasy of the Harem and Hollywood’s Ancient World.
Dr Martina Treu (IULM University, Milan): Dark Ladies, Bad Girls, Demon
Queens. Female Power and Seduction from Greek Tragedy to Pop Culture.
Dr Pantelis Michelakis (University of Bristol): Film Genres in Cinematic
Adaptations of Greek Tragedy.
Dr Irene Berti (Universität Heidelberg): Circe in Literature and Art of
Dr Maite Clavo (Universitat de Barcelona): The Erotics of Power in Jordi
Coca’s Ifigènia (2009).
Dr Maddalena Giovannelli and Dr Andrea Capra (Università Statale di
Milano): ‘Prince of Painters’, the Grimacing Mask of Power and Seduction
in Aristophanes’ Assemblywomen.
Prof Montserrat Reig (Universitat de Barcelona) and Dr Jesús Carruesco
(ICAC, Tarragona): Myth and Tragedy in Opera Staging in the 21st Century.
Dr Nicoletta Momigliano (University of Bristol): Isadora Duncan, Russian
Ballet, and the Seduction of Minoan Crete.
Prof James Lesher (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill): Greek
Elements in T. S. Eliot’s The Cocktail Party.
24 September 2010
9:15 day registration
Dr Constantina Katsari (University of Leicester): Nelly’s Nudes on the
Dr Charlotte Ribeyrol (Université de Paris-Sorbonne): The Lure of the
Hermaphrodite in the Poetry and Painting of the English Aesthetes.
Dr Pepa Castillo (Universidad de la Rioja): Claudia Quinta and Publius
Cornelius Scipio: exempla virtutis in Vienna under Leopold I (1640-1705).
Dr Oscar Lapeña (Universidad de Cádiz): The Stolen Seduction: ‘Spartaco
Gladiatore della Tracia’ (Riccardo Freda, Italia 1953).
Prof Francisco Pina Polo (Universidad de Zaragoza): The Great Seducer:
Cleopatra, Queen and Sex-Symbol.
Dr Marta García Morcillo (University of Wales, Lampeter): Seduced,
Defeated and Forever Damned: Marc Antony in Post-Classical Imagery.
Dr Martin Lindner (Universität Oldenburg): Power beyond Measure –
Caligula in Pop Culture.
Dr Mary R. McHugh (Gustavus Adolphus College): Constantia memoriae – the
Reputation of Agrippina the Younger.
Dr Charo Rovira (British Museum): Hadrian and Antinous: The Power of
Dr Filippo Carlà (Universität Heidelberg): Saint or Prostitute? The
Reception of Empress Theodora in the Performing and Visual Arts.
Prof Antonio Duplá (The University of the Basque Country, Vitoria):
History, Moral and Power: The Ancient World in 19th Century Spanish
Dr Erika Notti (IULM University, Milan): Presentation of the project
Digital and Iconographic Theatre-Antiquity Lexicon (DigITAL).
25 September 2010
Venue: The Bristol Gallery, Building 2, Unit 8, Millennium Promenade,
Harbourside, Bristol BS1 5TY
Eric Shanower (San Diego, California): Exhibition of original artwork
and public talk: Trojan Lovers and Warriors – The Power of Seduction in
Age of Bronze.
Exhibition of AGE OF BRONZE artwork by graphic novelist Eric Shanower
(San Diego, California) at The Bristol Gallery (21-25 September 2010).
Monday to Friday: 9 am to 6 pm
Saturday and Sunday: 10 am to 5 pm
Late night Thursday: until 8 pm
Contact and information
Dr Silke Knippschild: clzsk AT bristol.ac.uk
Department of Classics and Ancient History
11 Woodland Road
Bristol BS8 2NG
Dr Marta García Morcillo: m.morcillo AT lamp.ac.uk
Department of Classics University of Wales, Lampeter Lampeter SA48 7ED Wales
Full article from Archaeology now online:
Brenda Longfellow, an assistant professor at the University of Iowa’s School of Art and Art History, will present the next archaeology lecture at Monmouth College on Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. in the Morgan Room in Poling Hall.
Titled “Myth and Memory in Ancient Roman Fountains” the talk is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the MC Classics Department, in cooperation with the Western Illinois Society of the Archaeological Institute of America (AIA).
Jennifer Wegner, Penn professor and curator of the Egyptian section of the museum, spoke at last night’s Valentine’s Day lecture, “Cougars, Playas and Baby Mama Drama in the Ancient World.”
Interesting review of an exhibition entitled Ancient Rome & America:
From the Telegraph … I may have things to add later when I have time to look into this more detail:
In Roman mythology, the bough was a tree branch with golden leaves that enabled the Trojan hero Aeneas to travel through the underworld safely.
They discovered the remains while excavating religious sanctuary built in honour of the goddess Diana near an ancient volcanic lake in the Alban Hills, 20 miles south of Rome.
They believe the enclosure protected a huge Cypress or oak tree which was sacred to the Latins, a powerful tribe which ruled the region before the rise of the Roman Empire.
The tree was central to the myth of Aeneas, who was told by a spirit to pluck a branch bearing golden leaves to protect himself when he ventured into Hades to seek counsel from his dead father.
In a second, more historically credible legend, the Latins believed it symbolised the power of their priest-king.
Anyone who broke off a branch, even a fugitive slave, could then challenge the king in a fight to the death. If the king was killed in the battle, the challenger assumed his position as the tribe’s leader.
The discovery was made near the town of Nemi by a team led by Filippo Coarelli, a recently retired professor of archaeology at Perugia University.
After months of excavations in the volcanic soil, they unearthed the remains of a stone enclosure.
Shards of pottery surrounding the site date it to the mid to late Bronze Age, between the 12th and 13th centuries BC.
“We found many, many pottery pieces of a votive or ritual nature,” said Prof Coarelli. “The location also tells us that it must have been a sacred structure. We spent months excavating, during which we had to cut into enormous blocks of lava.”
The stone enclosure is in the middle of an area which contains the ruins of an immense sanctuary dedicated to Diana, the goddess of hunting, along with the remains of terracing, fountains, cisterns and a nymphaeum.
“It’s an intriguing discovery and adds evidence to the fact that this was an extraordinarily important sanctuary,” said Prof Christopher Smith, the head of the British School at Rome, an archaeological institute.
“We know that trees were grown in containers at temple sites. The Latins gathered here to worship right up until the founding of the Roman republic in 509BC.”
The story about the golden bough and Aeneas, who is said to have journeyed from Troy to Italy to found the city of Rome, was documented by Virgil in his epic, the Aeneid.
“Virgil tells us that the sibyls told Aeneas to go to the underworld to take advice from his father but he had to take a branch of gold as a sort of key to allow him access,” said Prof Smith.
The legend inspired JMW Turner to paint a grand canvas entitled ‘Lake Avernus – The Fates and the Golden Bough’, now held by the Tate Collection.
Addenda: There’s a bit more detail in the La Repubblica coverage: In questo vaso cresceva l’ albero con il ramo d’ oro. However, I’m curious on what basis they think this enclosure housed a tree. It’s certainly very interesting that this pushes the age of the sanctuary back to the Bronze Age …
Tip o’ the pileus to Barbara Saylor Rodgers for sending this along (VDH is Victor Davis Hanson, of course)
Given the fairly regular busts which seem to be going on in Italy and the Getty’s ‘reputation’ (for want of a better word), I can’t decide if this is good/bad for the Getty/Sicily or what:
The J. Paul Getty Museum said Wednesday that it is expanding its partnerships with various regions of Italy by embarking on a long-term cultural collaboration with Sicily.
The joint project will involve object conservation, earthquake protection of collections, exhibitions and more. The Getty said it will be working with the Sicilian Ministry of Culture and Sicilian Identity.
Currently, the Getty has partnerships with the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Florence and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples.
The collaborations are the result of a 2007 agreement between the Getty and the Italian Ministry of Culture. As part of that accord, the Getty agreed to transfer 40 objects to Italy in order to help bring to a close the protracted legal battle over disputed works of art.
Italy and the Getty also agreed at the time to a “broad cultural collaboration” that would include loans of significant art works, joint exhibitions and other endeavors.
Among the projects slated for the Sicily project is a new exhibition to be undertaken by the Getty that will explore Sicily during the Classical and Hellenistic periods — or roughly between the 5th and 3rd centuries BC.
The Getty said the exhibition, which is provisionally titled “Between Greece and Rome: Sicily in the Classical and Hellenistic Period,” will open at the Getty Villa in Malibu in 2013 and will borrow from a number of Sicilian museums and other international institutions.
Another planned exhibition will involve the exploration of Selinunte (Selinos), a Greek colonial settlement in southwestern Sicily that has a number of ancient Greek temples. The Getty will partner with various organizations on the show, whose opening day has yet to be announced.
The Getty said it will borrow several objects from the Museo Archeologico di Aidone that relate to the worship of the goddesses Demeter and Persephone. The objects will be loaned for display in the “Gods and Goddesses” gallery at the Getty Villa for one year.
In addition, the Getty said that it will bring select artwork in need of conservation to the Getty Villa. Among the pieces scheduled for travel are the statue known as the Marble Youth from Agrigento and a vase by the artist known as the Niobid Painter.
Wednesday’s news was co-announced by David Bomford, the acting director of the Getty Museum. Bomford took over the role of director after Michael Brand, the Getty’s former director, stepped down in January.
Okay … so over the course of the day I’m idly checking my Twitter feed and I notice a pile of folks tweeting an article in Science Daily with the headline screaming Study Debunks Millennia-Old Claims of Systematic Infant Sacrifice in Ancient Carthage. Later, when I get home, I see an item from Eurekalert with the same headline. Before reading the articles, and while pondering whether ‘systematic’ is a word that is normally used in this context, I start to wonder if someone has managed to prove a negative somehow. Of course not.
Both articles are verbatim accounts of a press release from the University of Pittsburgh. Here’s what it says:
A study led by University of Pittsburgh researchers could finally lay to rest the millennia-old conjecture that the ancient empire of Carthage regularly sacrificed its youngest citizens. An examination of the remains of Carthaginian children revealed that most infants perished prenatally or very shortly after birth and were unlikely to have lived long enough to be sacrificed, according to a Feb. 17 report in “Proceedings of the Library of Science (PLoS) ONE.”
The findings-based on the first published analysis of the skeletal remains found in Carthaginian burial urns-refute claims from as early as the 3rd century BCE of systematic infant sacrifice at Carthage that remain a subject of debate among biblical scholars and archaeologists, said lead researcher Jeffrey H. Schwartz, a professor of anthropology and history and philosophy of science in Pitt’s School of Arts and Sciences and president of the World Academy of Art and Science. Schwartz and his colleagues present the more benign interpretation that very young Punic children were cremated and interred in burial urns regardless of how they died.
“Our study emphasizes that historical scientists must consider all evidence when deciphering ancient societal behavior,” Schwartz said. “The idea of regular infant sacrifice in Carthage is not based on a study of the cremated remains, but on instances of human sacrifice reported by a few ancient chroniclers, inferred from ambiguous Carthaginian inscriptions, and referenced in the Old Testament. Our results show that some children were sacrificed, but they contradict the conclusion that Carthaginians were a brutal bunch who regularly sacrificed their own children.”
Schwartz worked with Frank Houghton of the Veterans Research Foundation of Pittsburgh, Roberto Macchiarelli of the National Museum of Natural History in Paris, and Luca Bondioli of the National Museum of Prehistory and Ethnography in Rome to inspect the remains of children found in Tophets, burial sites peripheral to conventional Carthaginian cemeteries for older children and adults. Tophets housed urns containing the cremated remains of young children and animals, which led to the theory that they were reserved for victims of sacrifice.
Schwartz and his coauthors tested the all-sacrifice claim by examining the skeletal remains from 348 urns for developmental markers that would determine the children’s age at death. Schwartz and Houghton recorded skull, hip, long bone, and tooth measurements that indicated most of the children died in their first year with a sizeable number aged only two to five months, and that at least 20 percent of the sample was prenatal.
Schwartz and Houghton then selected teeth from 50 individuals they concluded had died before or shortly after birth and sent them to Macchiarelli and Bondioli, who examined the samples for a neonatal line. This opaque band forms in human teeth between the interruption of enamel production at birth and its resumption within two weeks of life. Identification of this line is commonly used to determine an infant’s age at death. Macchiarelli and Bondioli found a neonatal line in the teeth of 24 individuals, meaning that the remaining 26 individuals died prenatally or within two weeks of birth, the researchers reported.
The contents of the urns also dispel the possibility of mass infant sacrifice, Schwartz and Houghton noted. No urn contained enough skeletal material to suggest the presence of more than two complete individuals. Although many urns contained some superfluous fragments belonging to additional children, the researchers concluded that these bones remained from previous cremations and may have inadvertently been mixed with the ashes of subsequent cremations.
The team’s report also disputes the contention that Carthaginians specifically sacrificed first-born males. Schwartz and Houghton determined sex by measuring the sciatic notch-a crevice at the rear of the pelvis that’s wider in females-of 70 hipbones. They discovered that 38 pelvises came from females and 26 from males. Two others were likely female, one likely male, and three undetermined.
Schwartz and his colleagues conclude that the high incidence of prenate and infant mortality are consistent with modern data on stillbirths, miscarriages, and infant death. They write that if conditions in other ancient cities held in Carthage, young and unborn children could have easily succumbed to the diseases and sanitary shortcomings found in such cities as Rome and Pompeii.
So to summarize the press release:
- there’s a millennia-old “conjecture” that Carthaginians “regularly” or “systematically” sacrificed their children
- evidence for same is not based on examination of cremated remains, but on literary sources from various periods
- the existence of ‘Tophet’ has led to a theory that they were the places reserved for the young victims of such sacrifices
- examination of the remains in a fairly large number of Tophet burials suggests that there were some sacrifices, but that a much larger number of the burials were of children who died natural deaths (but that number seems to be small compared to a claimed one-instance sacrifice mentioned by Diodorus Siculus, below)
Okay, so let’s first see what Diodorus Siculus says (20.14 via Lacus Curtius) when Agathocles was beseiging Carthage:
Therefore the Carthaginians, believing that the misfortune had come to them from the gods, betook themselves to every manner of supplication of the divine powers; and, because they believed that Heracles, who was worshipped in their mother city, was exceedingly angry with them, they sent a large sum of money and many of the most expensive offerings to Tyre. Since they had come as colonists from that city, it had been their custom in the earlier period to send to the god a tenth of all that was paid into the public revenue; but later, when they had acquired great wealth and were receiving more considerable revenues, they sent very little indeed, holding the divinity of little account. But turning to repentance because of this misfortune, they bethought them of all the gods of Tyre. They even sent from their temples in supplication the golden shrines with their images, believing that they would better appease the wrath of the god if the offerings were sent for the sake of winning forgiveness. They also alleged that Cronus had turned against them inasmuch as in former times they had been accustomed to sacrifice to this god the noblest of their sons, but more recently, secretly buying and nurturing children, they had sent these to the sacrifice; and when an investigation was made, some of those who had been sacrificed were discovered to have been supposititious. When they had given thought to these things and saw their enemy encamped before their walls, they were filled with superstitious dread, for they believed that they had neglected the honours of the gods that had been established by their fathers. In their zeal to make amends for their omission, they selected two hundred of the noblest children and sacrificed them publicly; and others who were under suspicion sacrificed themselves voluntarily, in number not less than three hundred. There was in their city a bronze image of Cronus, extending its hands, palms up and sloping toward the ground, so that each of the children when placed thereon rolled down and fell into a sort of gaping pit filled with fire.
I don’t have a Greek text handy, but this literary account seems enough to take away my doubts about use of the words ‘regular’ and ‘systemic’. However, what I do not understand is why these burials from Carthage are identified as ‘Tophet’ burials (Tophet is a Biblical term, relating to this sort of sacrifice among the Canaanites … see the Wikipedia article if you’d like to track down references.). If they are ‘Tophet’ in the Biblical sense, the lack of large-scale sacrificial remains would suggest they aren’t ‘Tophet’, no? There’s some straw man/circularity lurking in here. Or perhaps there is a technical definition being applied to something more general. Whatever the case, near as I can tell, what has been proven is not the ‘non-existence’ of regular child sacrifice, but rather that these particular burials outside Carthage aren’t ‘Tophet’ in the Biblical sense.
Interestingly, the University of Pittsburgh press release links to the PLoS One article, which includes this abstract:
Two types of cemeteries occur at Punic Carthage and other Carthaginian settlements: one centrally situated housing the remains of older children through adults, and another at the periphery of the settlement (the “Tophet”) yielding small urns containing the cremated skeletal remains of very young animals and humans, sometimes comingled. Although the absence of the youngest humans at the primary cemeteries is unusual and worthy of discussion, debate has focused on the significance of Tophets, especially at Carthage, as burial grounds for the young. One interpretation, based on two supposed eye-witness reports of large-scale Carthaginian infant sacrifice [Kleitarchos (3rd c. BCE) and Diodorus Siculus (1st c. BCE)], a particular translation of inscriptions on some burial monuments, and the argument that if the animals had been sacrificed so too were the humans, is that Tophets represent burial grounds reserved for sacrificial victims. An alternative hypothesis acknowledges that while the Carthaginians may have occasionally sacrificed humans, as did their contemporaries, the extreme youth of Tophet individuals suggests these cemeteries were not only for the sacrificed, but also for the very young, however they died. Here we present the first rigorous analysis of the largest sample of cremated human skeletal remains (348 burial urns, N = 540 individuals) from the Carthaginian Tophet based on tooth formation, enamel histology, cranial and postcranial metrics, and the potential effects of heat-induced bone shrinkage. Most of the sample fell within the period prenatal to 5-to-6 postnatal months, with a significant presence of prenates. Rather than indicating sacrifice as the agent of death, this age distribution is consistent with modern-day data on perinatal mortality, which at Carthage would also have been exacerbated by numerous diseases common in other major cities, such as Rome and Pompeii. Our diverse approaches to analyzing the cremated human remains from Carthage strongly support the conclusion that Tophets were cemeteries for those who died shortly before or after birth, regardless of the cause.
Sounds like an interesting study, but it’s EXTREMELY interesting that the focus does not appear to be conclusions about the scale of child sacrifice at Carthage, but rather, who were buried in the ‘Tophet’. One might also wonder whether children who died ‘natural’ births might have been seen by the Carthaginians as ‘sacrificed’/taken by the god(s) even if they didn’t roll out of the hands of Moloch. In any event, in the coverage hitting the newspapers, it seems like someone along the line here is engaging in a bit of revisionary sensationalism …
Addenda: if you’re wondering about the dates of the ‘Tophet’ at Carthage, see: The Tophet of Carthage | Suite101 Archaeology
Addenda II: a conversation on the Classics list reminded me that we’ve dealt with this ‘child sacrifice’ downplaying before: Child Sacrifice in Carthage (2005) (see especially the link to the ‘online debate’)
- Pitt-led Study Debunks Millennia-old Claims of Systematic Infant Sacrifice in Ancient Carthage | University of Pittsburgh
- Study Debunks Millennia-Old Claims of Systematic Infant Sacrifice in Ancient Carthage | Science Daily
- Pitt-led study debunks millennia-old claims of systematic infant sacrifice in ancient Carthage | Eurekalert
- Skeletal Remains from Punic Carthage Do Not Support Systematic Sacrifice of Infants | PLoS ONE 5(2) (Abstract)
- Study Debunks Millennia-old Claims of Systematic Infant Sacrifice in Ancient Carthage | Physorg
- Parentalia (Day 5) — the period for appeasing the dead continued
- Quirinalia — festival honouring the namesake of the Quirinal hill, the Sabine divinity Quirinus, who was later identified with Romulus. Little else is known about the festival.
- 304 A.D. — martyrdom of Donatus and 80+ others near Venice
- 1776 — Edward Gibbon publishes the first volume of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
The conclusion of a piece on of Deliverance, Zardoz, Point Blank (et alia) fame:
As the new decade kicks off, Boorman seems to have his hands full. He has been working on an animated version of The Wizard of Oz for several years. A film based on the Emperor Hadrian is still under development. And he seems confident that he will soon get to shoot a script he wrote with Neil Jordan a quarter of a century ago. Perhaps it’s a bit early for a lifetime achievement award.
Charlotte Higgins’ latest:
I may have to look into this:
… but Loren Coleman at Cryptomundo seems to have nailed it …