Vomitorium Watch … Alas …

"Image of a CG Vomitorium. Image created ...
Image via Wikipedia

Hot on the heels of someone actually using the word ‘vomitorium‘ correctly, we lapse into our old sin … and it’s kind of surprising who is doing it. Here’s the incipit from the Times:

He owes his success to history, but the author Terry Deary has described historians as “seedy and devious”.

The bestselling writer of the Horrible Histories series added that all historians were out to “make a name for themselves”, denied that his books were history books at all and even started a spat with Niall Ferguson, one of Britain’s best-known historians.

“Historians are nearly as seedy and devious as politicians,” Deary, 64, said. “They pick on a particular angle and select the facts to prove their case and make a name for themselves … They don’t write objective history.”

Deary — whose books have sold more than 20 million copies — does not like any historians. “Eventually you can see through them all,” he said. “They all come with a twist.” However, he reserved his greatest ire for Ferguson, the former Oxford historian who now lectures at Harvard University.

… then further below, where we get some details of the Horrible History, we read:

During Roman feasts, guests could eat so much that they had to be sick, and a special room was set aside for them called a vomitorium. They would then go back into the dining room to continue eating.

… arrgh. The item concludes:

Meanwhile, Catharine Edwards, Professor of Ancient History at Birkbeck, University of London, said that children “absolutely loved” the books. “If it takes toilets to get them interested in history, that’s fine. It’s the most gruesome side of things which attracts the young.”

Deary admitted that he was disappointed to be so closely linked to the Horrible Histories series, because he does not own the brand. He is also keen to turn his back on children’s books and move on to adult fiction. “It’s time for a new career direction,” he said.

via Historians are seedy and horrible, says Terry Deary, children’s author – Times Online.

I’ve got no problem with using disgusting items to get kids interested in history … but let’s make sure it’s accurate, no? Yes, it’s time for a new direction …

Branding the Colosseum?

Another item which was making the rounds this week related to the ‘basement’ of the Colosseum being opened up to visitors, e.g., in the Guardian:

Tourists in Rome will soon be able to visit the underground of the Colosseum, where gladiators once prepared for fights and lions and tigers were caged before entertaining a bloodthirsty public.

The city’s culture officials said today that, after several months of work to make the area safe for visits, the public will be allowed to add the underground section to tours of the arena starting in late summer. No exact date has been set.

Architect Barbara Nazzaro said tourists will be able to see the spaces where lions, tigers and bulls were kept in cages before they were hoisted on elevators to ground level for entertainment in the ancient arena.

Elephants were too heavy for the rope-hoisted elevators. They made their grand entrance into the Colosseum through main gates.

The ingenious system of lifts allowing the animals to suddenly pop up at ground level would have made for an awesome sight, she said.

The animal show was just one part of a day’s entertainment at the arena. First the audience watched a hunting spectacle, then came executions, and finally the gladiators squared off, said Nazzaro, who worked on the project to open the space to the public.

A piece of mortar recently broke off from a part of the Colosseum during closing hours, but caused no injuries. Officials say the monument is in need of constant monitoring and maintenance, but its overall stability is not at risk.

via: Rome tourists to get new lowdown on Colosseum

… but the AFP coverage included a different spin, inter alia:

However, Piero Meogrossi also said it was indispensable to put in place a more ambitious project encompassing restoration, maintenance, surveillance, the creation of a museum, and pursuit of scientific research.

A 23-million-euro plan (28 million dollars) supported by Rome’s mayor, would include cleaning the facade damaged by pollution from an estimated 2,000 cars passing the monument each hour, but it still needs sponsors.

“More than sponsors, we prefer to talk of partners, because we would like them to get involved along with us,” Meogrossi said.

Pointing out that the number of visitors to the Colosseum per year has grown from one to six million in a decade, Meogrossi deplored the lack of funds and staff at the Roman monument.

“We have a budget of between 400,000 and 500,000 euros a year for basic maintenance… there are checks, but not in a systematic way,” Meogrossi said, whose passion for the Colosseum goes back twenty years.

The monument, Meogrossi argues, is too narrowly associated with gladiatorial combat and the idea of the Colosseum as a “sacred place where Romans celebrated the past so as to better project themselves in the future,” should be restored.

via: Revamped Rome Colosseum still needs sponsors | AFP via Google

… and coincidentally, Network World was pondering — with a slideshow — what would happen if tech companies owned the Wonders of the World. We won’t rag on them for not, apparently, knowing what the Wonders are/were, but will note this interesting bit of speculation in the context of branding the Colosseum:

… which would probably be somewhat appropriate, given the fact that pieces seem to be falling off the Colosseum and keys are always falling off my Dell laptops.  For those interested, there’s also  Windows-branded Parthenon in Network World’s slideshow (although I always figured he Parthenon for Apple)

This Week in Cleopatra News

Most of the press coverage this week comprised of variations on an AP piece on Franck Goddio’s explorations of the underwater ruins of Alexandria, with a special focus on Cleopatra’s palace (to coincide with the exhibition in Philadelphia). Here’s the incipit of a representative item:

Plunging into the waters off Alexandria Tuesday, divers explored the submerged ruins of a palace and temple complex from which Cleopatra ruled, swimming over heaps of limestone blocks hammered into the sea by earthquakes and tsunamis more than 1,600 years ago.

The international team is painstakingly excavating one of the richest underwater archaeological sites in the world and retrieving stunning artifacts from the last dynasty to rule over ancient Egypt before the Roman Empire annexed it in 30 B.C.

Using advanced technology, the team is surveying ancient Alexandria’s Royal Quarters, encased deep below the harbor sediment, and confirming the accuracy of descriptions of the city left by Greek geographers and historians more than 2,000 years ago.

Since the early 1990s, the topographical surveys have allowed the team, led by French underwater archaeologist Franck Goddio, to conquer the harbor’s extremely poor visibility and excavate below the seabed. They are discovering everything from coins and everyday objects to colossal granite statues of Egypt’s rulers and sunken temples dedicated to their gods.

“It’s a unique site in the world,” said Goddio, who has spent two decades searching for shipwrecks and lost cities below the seas.

The finds from along the Egyptian coast will go on display at Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute from June 5 to Jan. 2 in an exhibition titled “Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt.” The exhibition will tour several other North American cities.

Many archaeological sites have been destroyed by man, with statues cut or smashed to pieces. Alexandria’s Royal Quarters — ports, a cape and islands full of temples, palaces and military outposts — simply slid into the sea after cataclysmic earthquakes in the fourth and eighth centuries. Goddio’s team found it in 1996. Many of its treasures are completely intact, wrapped in sediment protecting them from the saltwater.

“It’s as it was when it sank,” said Ashraf Abdel-Raouf of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, who is part of the team.

Tuesday’s dive explored the sprawling palace and temple complex where Cleopatra, the last of Egypt’s Greek-speaking Ptolemaic rulers, seduced the Roman general Mark Antony before they committed suicide upon their defeat by Octavian, the future Roman Emperor Augustus. [...]

via: Divers explore sunken ruins of Cleopatra’s palace | AP via Google

A few more examples (the Daily Mail has very nice photos of some of the finds; the Yahoo link is also  slideshow):

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Inquirer was hyping the exhibition with a piece that mentioned the above briefly, but then went on about Taposiris Magna, and included some more from Dr. Hawass, inter alia:

Outside the temple, a large Ptolemaic cemetery was unearthed. Some of its many mummies were gilded, and all their heads were turned toward the temple, which Hawass said could mean an important person, or persons, were buried inside.

He didn’t venture to estimate when the team might discover the tomb itself, but said the excavation project itself was significant: While many have searched for the tomb of Alexander the Great in Alexandria and Siwa, no one has looked for the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony.

“We know that Cleopatra built a palace and tomb . . . but both of these are now underwater in the harbor of Alexandria,” he said. “We know from ancient writers that Cleopatra was never buried in her tomb. This is why we have turned our focus to the Isis temple . . .. If they were buried inside the temple, they would be symbolic of the husband and wife, Isis and Osiris, buried together.”

Hawass’ favorite piece, which he found inside the temple, is an alabaster head of Cleopatra. “When I held the head in my hand,” he said, “I felt the magic of the queen, and I imagined what it would feel like if we found the tomb of Cleopatra and Mark Antony.” [...]

via: The Last Queen of Egypt | Inquirer

I guess we have to keep in mind the item I mentioned the other day as needing to be filed away for future reference, but we are now forced to ask in which ancient source we might read that Cleopatra was never buried in her tomb. Is any reader of rogueclassicism aware of such? Otherwise, we might want to ponder which cognitive bias we’re being presented with by Dr. Hawass …

Non-Destructive Analysis of Coinage

Interesting …

Demonstrating that chemistry sometimes can inform history, researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Colorado College and Mount Saint Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Md., have shown that sensitive nondestructive evaluation (NDE) techniques can be used to determine the elemental composition of ancient coins, even coins that generally have been considered too corroded for such methods*. Along the way, the researchers’ analysis of coins minted in ancient Judea has raised new questions about who ruled the area while giving insight into trading patterns and industry in the region.

Elemental and isotope analysis of the metals in ancient artifacts sometimes can pinpoint the places where the metal was mined, because ores in a given region often have a unique composition. This can be combined with historical records of when mines in the area were operating to determine when the coin was likely struck. The results not only help date the coin, but also offer insight into trade and power relationships in the region.

To compare the effectiveness of various nondestructive analytical methods with destructive methods often used to determine the age and origin of ancient coins, the group studied coins minted by Kings Herod Agrippa I and Agrippa II in what is modern day Palestine and Israel, a biblically and historically significant period.

The vast numbers of a particular coin, a prutah, found in the archaeological record has led scholars to disagree about when they were struck and by whom. The provenance of the coin is important because it is used to establish dates for places and events in the early years of Christianity and the onset of the Jewish War (66-70 CE) against the Romans and the Diaspora that followed.

To better establish whether the coins were minted by Agrippa I (41-45 CE) or Agrippa II (after 61 CE), the team performed X-ray fluorescence and lead isotope analysis to fingerprint the ores used in the production of the coins. These NDE methods are not commonly used on corroded coins because the corrosion can affect the results—in some cases making it difficult to get a result at all. The team showed that these problems could be overcome using polarizing optics and powerful new software for X-ray fluorescence analysis, combined with careful calibration of the mass spectrometer using Standard Reference Materials from NIST**.

The lead isotope analysis, performed at NIST, showed that the coins that had been attributed to Agrippa I were indeed from that era. More interestingly, however, the group found that the copper from which the coins were made most likely came from mines that scholars thought hadn’t been opened until a century later.

“All the archaeological evidence has thus far suggested that the Romans had moved into Arabia in the 2nd century CE,” says Nathan Bower of Colorado College. “What this analysis shows is that the Romans may have reached the region earlier or found that these mines had already been opened. Either way, our findings suggest that the Romans had a much closer relationship with this particular region than scholars had previously thought.”

To follow up on their research, the group is planning to perform more tests to determine if the mines in question may have been operating even earlier than their recent findings suggest.

via NDE methods for evaluating ancient coins could be worth their weight in gold | Eurekalert.

Vomitorium … Someone Gets it Right!

Kudos accrues to Ian Shuttleworth in the Financial Times!

The Old Market is not as accommodating a theatre space as it appears: playing on three sides like this puts the performers some distance away from the main bank of audience. However, director Jo McInnes counteracts this by smart use of vomitorium aisles for entrances, exits and backing vocals during musical numbers, adding a surround-sound feel to Thor McIntyre-Burnie’s wonderfully discreet ambient sound design.

via Brighton Festival: Marine Parade, Old Market; Best Before, Sallis Benney Theatre | FT.

Heavy Rain Uncovers an Iberian Necropolis

Some problems in translation, alas:

These works have recovered more than twenty burials, mostly groups, which are dated the first century BC and show clear Iberian cremation rites.

Iberian necropolis dated 100 BC in Arjona (Jaén) Heavy rain in Arjona uncovers the further remains

The accidental finding in Arjona (Jaén) was discovered in the remains of an Iberian necropolis of the first century BC, some of the archaeological work is to be presented in June at an international meeting.

The box, cube-shaped and made of sandstone, has, on its four sides, relief’s of different scenes of mourning, with fights between two warriors, both on horseback or on foot. The stone box has a cover and inside were the ashes of two people, according to a coroner at the Complutense University of Madrid who have analyzed the remains belonging to a man and a woman, burned less than 800 degrees, as evidenced some pieces of bones from the hand and foot. The discovery was made incidentally during the rains last year near Arjona.

As the winter rains threatened to damage the site, Arturo Ruiz and Manuel Molinos, director and deputy director of the Andalusian Center of Iberian Archaeology (IAAC), respectively, promoted an emergency archaeological intervention, conducted between February and May.

via Iberian necropolis dated 100 BC in Arjona (Jaén) Heavy rain in Arjona uncovers the further remains | Barcelona Reporter .

Latest Italian Bust

Italian police in the Sicilian capital Palermo have seized ancient artefacts after several raids which uncovered an alleged operation that used the Internet for selling the finds. Since the beginning of the year Operation Archeweb has found 69 suspicious pieces in the hands of alleged traffickers.

Police specialising in protecting cultural patrimony have seized small Greek, Roman statues, coins, vases and other pieces since the beginning of the year, the police said on Thursday.

The archeological pieces have been handed over to authorities in the Italian culture ministry.

Seven suspects may be charged with receiving stolen goods from illegal archeological digs.

Italy’s rich archeological heritage spans the entire peninsula, including Etruscan tombs and Roman villas. Ancient artefacts found in Italy are considered state property.

via Italy: Police seize archeological artefacts in raids | Adnkronos.

What To Do With A Classics Degree

Interesting job/life:

Liana Lupas stands out in New York, even by the standards of a city that defines itself with superlatives and seems to have world-class specialists in every conceivable discipline. She calls herself “the only librarian in the world who takes care of one book.”

Of course, that book is “the” Book, the Bible. And in two decades with the American Bible Society and the Museum of Biblical Art, Lupas has been responsible for a collection that includes more than 45,000 books of Scripture printed in more than 2,000 languages during six centuries.

“Each and every one is important to me, whether it was a pamphlet printed last month or a first edition printed before 1500. They are part of the same story and should be treated with respect,” Lupas said.

Lupas trained as a classicist in her native Romania, where she earned her doctorate in Greek and Latin. She worked at the University of Bucharest for 21 years before joining her husband in New York in 1984.

“I came as a refugee from the communists,” Lupas told Catholic News Service. Her husband spent many years in labor camps in Romania and the Soviet Union, and the couple was determined to live in freedom with their young daughter, she said.

With a small child at home, Lupas took a job as a library assistant, shelving books at the New York University law library and studied for her master’s in library science at Columbia University. A research project for her studies brought her to the American Bible Society, a venerable 193-year-old institution dedicated to making the Bible available to every person in a language and format each can understand and afford.

“I had seen the place as a tourist and knew they had an extraordinary collection,” Lupas said. “I was also conscious of my accent and figured that ABS was a Christian organization and they might be polite, even kind, to me.”

As it turned out, she had a great experience with the head of the American Bible Society archive and earned an “A” in the course she took. Two years after she completed her master’s degree, she became a cataloger at the society. Within a year, she was the curator.

The society’s Scripture collection is immense and some of the holdings are more rare than others. Lupas said most of its acquisitions are new translations, given by publishers to the organization that serves as a depository library. She is able to buy rare books for the collection with donations from a Friends of the Library organization.

She said that Bibles considered rare might include anything printed before 1700, the earliest translation in a language or geographic area, regardless of age, and Bibles belonging to historic figures, among other criteria.

In 2005, the Museum of Biblical Art opened in the Manhattan building that houses the American Bible Society. Its two galleries and learning center draw tourists, scholars and church-sponsored field trips, according to Lupas. In January, the society loaned 2,200 of its rare volumes to the museum for public exhibits over a 10-year period. Lupas was included in the loan and is now curator of the museum’s rare Bible collection.

About 4,400 people visited the inaugural exhibit, entitled “Pearl of Great Price,” for which Lupas chose 20 items she said “suggest the breadth and depth of the collection.” She included significant translations in English, Japanese and Bengali; Bibles with prominent publishers; those with unique marketing campaigns; and several with famous owners, such as Helen Keller, or intended readers, including Pony Express riders and World War II sailors and airmen.

The latter were New Testaments supplied by the American Bible Society, wrapped in waterproof covers and placed in survival kits on ships and planes. Frank H. Mann, the organization’s general secretary, said in 1943 that it was the first time in the group’s history that it was distributing Scripture he hoped no one would read.

Lupas said she does not have a personal collection of Bibles, because she has unlimited access to the books she calls her friends. But if she could own any one of the rare volumes she curates, Lupas said it would be the Complutensian Polyglot, a Spanish Bible printed in 1514 in Hebrew, Latin, Greek and Aramaic. “It’s an extraordinary book, the pinnacle of Catholic biblical scholarship,” Lupas said. She called it the first great polyglot Bible, or Bible printed in more than one language.

Raised Greek Orthodox, Lupas said she fulfilled a long-held dream to become a Catholic after she settled in New York. She belongs to Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Parish in Ridgewood in the Queens borough of New York.

Lupas’ daughter, Maria Cristina, has followed somewhat in her mother’s footsteps. She majored in classics at Georgetown University, graduating with honors in 2000. Her faith journey led to Notre Dame de Vie, a French Carmelite secular institute, which has members in Washington. On Aug. 14 in France, Maria Cristina will profess final vows as a lay Carmelite. Her mother will be at her side.

Librarian oversees rare collection of Bibles from past six centuries | Catholic News Service.

The Latest Bulgarian Bust …

The Bulgarian police have busted a 41-year-old priest, who organized illegal antiques’ sale over the internet.

The priest, identified at D.I., employed by the Vratsa Eparchy, managed to conduct over 1 000 illegal deals in the course of just several months, the Interior informs. He was arrested and pre-trail proceedings were launched.

The police have raided four locations in the capital Sofia, the northern city of Vratsa and the town of Oryahovo, and located 53 Thracian, Rome and Byzantine coins, jewelry and antique vessels along with a bust of Heracles and a marble head of Venus. The authorities have also confiscated an illegally owned rifle, metal detectors, and computer software.

The priest in question is from Vratsa, but since 2002 had worked at the Oryahovo Church.

via Bulgarian Police Bust Priest for Illegal Antique Trading: Bulgarian Police Bust Priest for Illegal Antiques Trading | Sofia News Agency.

Herculaneum Papyri and the EDUCE Project: Update

University of Kentucky Logo
Image via Wikipedia

I think the last time we heard of this was back in July of last year; seems they’re having some difficulties:

Some 2,000-year-old Roman scrolls are stubbornly hanging onto their ancient secrets, defying the best efforts of computer scientists at the University of Kentucky to unlock them.

The researchers have learned much about the scrolls, which were reduced to lumps of carbon in the heat of an eruption by Italy’s Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. But they can’t read what’s written on them.

“What we’ve found is that the problem is even more challenging than we thought going in,” said Brent Seales, Gill professor of engineering in UK’s computer science department and leader of the team working on the scrolls.

The UK team spent a month last summer making numerous X-ray scans of two of the scrolls that are stored at the French National Academy in Paris. They hoped that computer processing would convert the scans into digital images showing the interiors of the scrolls and revealing the ancient writing. The main fear, however, was that the Roman writers might have used carbon-based inks, which would be essentially invisible to the scans.

That fear has turned out to be fact.

“We hoped that we could look for calcium or other trace compounds in the ink that might help us tease out the writing,” Seales said. “But that hasn’t worked.”

Seales says he now hopes that re-scanning the scrolls with more powerful X-ray equipment will reveal the text, which scholars are anxious to read.

The effort is part of UK’s EDUCE project — Enhanced Digital Unwrapping for Conservation and Exploration — which has drawn international attention for using computer technology to peek inside fragile and faded books and manuscripts from antiquity, and produce exact digital copies for study. EDUCE, which Seales launched several years ago, is best known for producing stunning digital images of the oldest known copy of Homer’s Iliad, which is stored in Venice.

The Roman scrolls, however, have been a harder nut to crack.

Hundreds of the scrolls were stored in a Roman villa that was buried under tons of hot ash when Mount Vesuvius destroyed the Roman towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum in one of history’s most famous volcanic eruptions. The scrolls lay hidden for 1,600 years, until excavators stumbled upon them at Herculaneum in 1709.

What they found was a mystery. Volcanic heat had carbonized the scrolls — they resemble lumps of charcoal ready for a barbecue grill — which crumbled when anyone tried to unroll them. Scholars think the scrolls contain writings in Latin by the Roman philosopher Philodemus. But that’s only a guess until someone figures out how to read the scrolls without destroying them.

The UK team hoped to do that with computer magic last year.

Seales says that, in addition to the carbon-ink problem, the sheer volume of computer data produced from the X-ray scans overwhelmed UK’s interactive software. That slowed the system to the point that technicians were typing in commands and waiting half an hour or more for a response, he said.

“We’re not ready to say yet that we’re definitely not going to see the ink,” Seales said. “But we haven’t found a way yet to get at what we want.”

According to Seales, UK is looking at possibly rescanning the scrolls, in partnership with a group in Belgium that built the X-ray scanner used last year. A meeting with the group had to be canceled in April when the eruption of a volcano in Iceland interrupted flights to Europe.

“We’ve been talking with the engineers over there on how we could go back and scan the scrolls again, knowing what we know now, and do a better job of capturing the data we need,” Seales said. He has said that it ultimately might take the creation of new computer technology to unlock the scrolls.

“Of course, we want to be the ones to do that,” he said. “We’ve solved every other part of the problem. This is the missing link.”

UK’s computer imaging has confirmed that the rolled up papyrus scrolls are 30 to 40 feet long, which seems to suggest writing must be present. Why store a 40-foot scroll with no writing on it?

“The scholars are really excited by that,” Seales said. “If the scrolls are that large, think how much text there could be.”

Another item on the project mentions a couple more Homer manuscripts on the ‘scanning list':


Medusa from Clash of the Titans.
Image via Wikipedia

The incipit of an item in the Vancouver Sun:

Two Canadian scientists have announced the discovery of a new species of horned dinosaur — a seven-metre-long, magnificently adorned predecessor of the famed Triceratops — that gobbled plants near the present-day Montana-Alberta border nearly 80 million years ago.

The stunning new species has been identified as Medusaceratops lokii, a nod to two freakish mythological beings that inspired Michael Ryan — the dinosaur’s Ottawa-born co-discoverer– when it came time to assign a name to the creature.

“Medusa” — from the mythic Greek monster whose serpentine hairdo could turn her victims into stone — describes the distinctive “snakelike hooks” found on the ornamental frill at the back of the dinosaur’s skull.

And “Loki” pays homage to the Norse god of mischief, a reference to how tricky it was for Ryan and his research partner — University of Calgary biologist Anthony Russell — to nail down the identity of the big-horned reptile.

“One of the things I have a problem with as a paleontologist is how some of my colleagues come up with terribly unpronounceable names,” said Ryan, a Carleton University graduate who is now an adjunct professor there as well as the head of vertebrate paleontology at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

“I like to give my dinosaurs names that roll off the tongue and actually evoke an image,” he told Canwest News Service on Friday.

Mission accomplished.

Thanks to Ryan’s childhood memories of the 1981 fantasy-film classic Clash of the Titans (which featured a memorable animated Medusa) and his nerdy appetite for Marvel comics (which portray Loki as a terrifying, horned villain), the name of the world’s newest dinosaur is an unforgettably vivid blend of classic scientific nomenclature and pop-culture kitsch.


via Medusaceratops’ name blends mythology, pop culture.

The Dire State of Ancient History in the UK

Constantina Katsari at the Love of History Blog (tip o’ the pileus to Terrence Lockyer) in the wake of the Baynes Meeting … inter alia:

The quality of the hotel matched the depressing atmosphere of the Meeting. It became obvious from the very beginning that most of my colleagues were concerned with the situation in Higher Education. The impeding cuts at the University of Leeds and King’s College London hit a nerve earlier this year. Everyone agreed that this is the beginning of a long freeze in recruitment and possibly also payments. It is expected that the majority of the universities in the UK will not hire any ancient historians in the next five years. This could only mean that fresh PhD and Postdoctoral researchers will not be able to find permanent or even three year posts. Instead, they may have to seek alternative means of survival, until the crisis is over and departments manage to balance their budgets. In subsequent posts this week I intend to give more specific information about individual universities and their current state of affairs.

ED: Summer Vergil Course

Seen on Classics (please send any responses to the people/institution mentioned in the post, not to rogueclassicism!)

Dear List-Members,

I would like to announce the following Latin course to be held at Montclair State University in Summer 2010:

The Epic and Vergil (July 12-Aug.5, 3 credits)

In this four-week intensive course, students will read in Latin selections from Vergil’s Aeneid. We will also read and discuss the entire poem in English. This course is recommended for students who have had between 3-5 semesters of college Latin, and it can also be taken for graduate credit. Montclair State University also has a program for high-achieving high school students that allows them to register for college classes. We will meet Mon.-Thurs. from 10:30am-1:00pm.

For further information about this course, please contact Dr. Mary C. English at englishm AT mail.montclair.edu. Registration information can be found at www.montclair.edu.

CFP: Athenian Hegemonic Techniques

Seen on Classicists (please send any responses to the people/institution mentioned in the post, not to rogueclassicism!)

Papers are invited for a panel entitled ‘Athenian Hegemonic Techniques’ which will be held at The Sixth Celtic Conference in Classics (University of Edinburgh, July 28-31, 2010) and chaired by Thomas Figueira. Although a major theme will be the fiscal aspects of Attic imperialism, papers are welcomed on any aspect of Athenian control over allies in the Delian League, Athenian Empire and Second Confederacy. Senior scholar participants include Christophe Pébarthe, Loren Samons, and Thomas Figueira. A group of rising scholars will be participating and the organizers encourage submissions from junior scholars. Forty minutes will be allotted for each paper.

Those interested may contact T.J. Figueira (figueira AT rci.rutgers.edu) or Sean Jensen (srjensen AT eden.rutgers.edu).
For the Celtic Conference, please contact Anton Powell at powellanton AT btopenworld.com or see the website at http://www.shca.ed.ac.uk/conferences/ccc/ where information about other panels may also be found.

CONF: Aratus Day at St Andrews

Seen on Classicists (please send any responses to the people/institution mentioned in the post, not to rogueclassicism!)

Please note that a one-day conference on ‘Aratus and the Astronomical Tradition’ will be held on Friday 18th June 2010, in the School of Classics, University of St Andrews. All those interested in attending should contact Emma Gee, ergg. General outline below; further details to follow.


A study-day in the School of Classics at the University of St Andrews

18 June 2010

The School of Classics in St Andrews is holding a study-day on this most influential of ancient didactic texts. This will be a day-workshop and discussion covering many aspects of Aratus and his reception, from literary influences to the wider cultural significance of astronomy and didactic. Speakers will include:

Richard Hunter (Cambridge)
Katharina Volk (Columbia)
Joseph Farrell (UPenn)
Stephen Green (Leeds)
Helen van Noorden (Cambridge)
Emma Gee (St Andrews)
Caroline Bishop (UPenn)

There will also be a round-table session open to all those attending. This day will present a significant opportunity to discuss Aratus and his influences: all are very welcome.

Ancient Greek in the Park

coming to a park near you!

Educational charity The Iris Project will be starting up a new series of free lessons for adults and families this spring and summer across parks in Oxford and London, introducing the fascinating language of the ancient Greeks.

These sessions will be starting in London’s Hyde Park on 10th June and running weekly. A parallel series will be starting on 12th June in East Oxford’s South Park and will run every Saturday for ten weeks. Sessions will also be held in parks across London this summer. As with the ‘Latin in the Park’ series, Ancient Greek in the Parkwill involve a series of free hour-long weekly sessions introducing the ancient Greek language to adults and families in local communities.

Latin in the park was set up to help promote access to Classics amongst adults in local communities, and has been running since April 2008. Classics is often viewed as an elite area of study only accessible to the very educated, and this can be daunting or off-putting, so the intention is to encourage people from all walks of life and backgrounds in these communities to have a go at picking up a bit of Latin and now ancient Greek over lunch in a relaxed setting.

The Iris Project promotes access to Classics in state schools and urban areas and its patrons include Boris Johnson, Mayor of London and Baroness Warnock, amongst others.

For more information, please contact us through our website at www.irismagazine.org