Protaras Tomb Addendum

We mentioned the burials from Protaras a few days ago … the Reuters coverage on same provides a very interesting contrast with reports of digs going on in other parts of the Mediterranean … a couple of excerpts:

Locals say it could be the final resting place of Ajax’s niece, contain a golden chariot and will unleash a horrible curse.

But whether a tomb recently uncovered on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus contains the bones and booty of a close relative of a Trojan war hero straight from the pages of Homer or will just yield better evidence for understanding the rituals and lives of ancient Greeks is yet to be revealed.


Local press on the east Mediterranean island have carried wild claims that the tomb belongs to an ancient princess, the daughter of King Teukros of Salamis. Salamis was once the capital of Cyprus’s ten city kingdoms.

Legend has it that the king — whose brother was Ajax and uncle was the Trojan King Priam — ordered that his daughter be buried along with her golden throne and chariot at the point where the sun meets the sea.

But Cypriot experts do not share the local speculation on the tomb’s relationship with the figures of Greek mythology.

“It is impossible to connect the content of this tomb with ancient sources,” Hadjicosti said.

According to Evangelou, it is likely that this is not the only burial site in the area.

via Untouched tomb to unravel secrets of Cyprus’s past | Lifestyle | Reuters.

I’m assuming Teukros is Teucer … I’m not familiar with this golden throne and chariot story …

Roman Altar from Ashkelon

Readers of my Explorator newsletter will be familiar with the ongoing dispute in Ashkelon, where hospital expansion has uncovered a number of burials. The Israel Antiquities Authority has said for quite a while that it was a ‘pagan’ cemetery, and a recently-discovered altar seems to back up the claim. Here’s the IAA link (tip o’ the pileus to Joseph Lauer):

The development work for the construction of a fortified emergency room at Barzilai Hospital, which is being conducted by a contractor carefully supervised by the Israel Antiquities Authority, has unearthed a new and impressive find: a magnificent pagan altar dating to the Roman period (first-second centuries CE) made of granite and adorned with bulls’ heads and a laurel wreaths. The altar stood in the middle of the ancient burial field.

According to Dr. Yigal Israel, Ashkelon District Archaeologist of the Israel Antiquities Authority, “The discovery further corroborates the assertion that we are dealing with a pagan cemetery. It is an impressive find that has survived 2,000 years. The altar is c. 60 centimeters tall and it is decorated with bulls’ heads, from which dangle laurels wreaths. There is a strap in the middle of each floral wreath and bull’s head. The laurel wreaths are decorated with grape clusters and leaves. This kind of altar is known as an “incense altar”. Such altars usually stood in Roman temples and visitors to the temple used to burn incense in them, particularly myrrh and frankincense, while praying to their idols. We can still see the burnt marks on the altar that remain from the fire. The altar was probably donated by one of the families who brought it to the cemetery from the city of Ashkelon”.

Dr. Israel adds that during the archaeological supervision of the development work burial structures were discovered, which served as family tombs, and cist tombs that were used for interring individuals. In addition a large limestone sarcophagus (stone coffin) with a decorated lid was also found. The sarcophagus stands 80 centimeters high is 60 centimeters wide and is 2 meters long. Part of the stone in the sarcophagus was left rather high in the spot where the head of the deceased was placed and resembles a kind of pillow.

via Pagan Altar was Exposed while the IAA was Overseeing Development Work at the Barzilai Hospital. [article will move in the near future]

Here’s an image of the altar itself (provided by the IAA:

Israel Antiquities Authority

Interesting that it’s round … I’ve never seen a round Roman altar before; Ferrell’s Travel Blog provides some comparanda:

Useful comments on the dispute at Jim West’s blog:

Citanda: Spartacus: Blood and Sand and Quibbles

Intertitle from the television program Spartac...
Image via Wikipedia

Tip o’ the pileus to Lyndsay Powell for this one (via Twitter) … an appropriate excerpt on the Spartacus: Blood and Sand series … should tide y’all over until I can write my own review(s) thereof (numerous ‘marathons’ are planned for the summer):

Classical scholars and internet anoraks doubtless will find many quibbles, but the historical background of Spartacus is actually plausible. The geopolitics is good. It is sometime before 73BC. Barbarian tribes, here the Getae, threaten in the Balkans, and the enemy in the east is King Mithridates of Pontus. The dilemmas of a Roman general are deftly drawn; duty to the Res publica (the state) or personal glory, his family pressing for the latter. At home politicians have to weigh up the different demands of the Senate and the plebs.

For most in the modern world, Spartacus is Kirk Douglas in the 1960 film; all muscles and dimpled decency, an iconic swords-and-sandals action hero. The real Spartacus of history led a breakout from the gladiatorial school in Capua. Slaves and the oppressed rural poor flocked to his standards. For three years his rebellion raged across Italy, defeating Roman army after army. At last, in 71BC, he was defeated by the future Triumvir Crassus. Spartacus’s body was never found.

via Spartacus: swords, sandals and illicit sex – Telegraph.

Ancient Roman Football/Soccer

We’ve dealt with claims of ‘ancient soccer’ before, but his one is new to me:

Ancient Roman football games with players kitted out in authentic period costume have been organised for 29 May Trilj, inland Dalmatia as part of celebrations for the 800th anniversary of the town.

Delmati and Romans will battle it out on the pitch as referees – the emperor Diocletian and his wife Prisca – preside and Roman centurions provide security.

The traditional games organised by the sport association GAZ, have been going on since 2005.

In 1968 in a small village near Gardun Trilj, a Roman tomb with a picture of a boy holding a ball was discovered. The International Football Association FIFA acknowledged this to be the first artifact of the game in the world.

via Trilj hosts Ancient Rome football games – Panorama News – Croatian Times Online News – English Newspaper.

Can’t find an image, alas … or any other reference to this on the web in English, but perhaps folks have seen this one (which is apparently in the National Museum in Athens):

… that and more useful images from the Roman Ball Games page. Outside of that, with the goings-on in South Africa looming, teachers might want some Soccer/Football vocabulary … the Vatican Dictionary had pilae coriaceae lusor added to it a while ago … perhaps folks will add others in the comments.

Performance: Cambridge Greek Play 2010: AGAMEMNON

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

The fortieth triennial Cambridge Greek Play will be staged this autumn at the Cambridge Arts Theatre. Directed by Helen Eastman and with an original score by Alex Silverman, this is a rare opportunity to see Aeschylus’ Agamemnon fully staged in the original Greek. The play runs for eight performances from 13 to 16 October 2010; booking is now open at For more information about the production please visit

CONF: Laughter in the Library

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

A reminder about the upcoming colloquium (details below) with news that Prof. Ian Storey of Trent

University, Canada has been added to our list of speakers, and a programme for the day, with
timings and full titles for all papers.

Laughter in the Library: a colloquium on Old Comedy for Penny Bulloch

Ioannou Classics Centre, Oxford
Saturday 5th June 2010
10.30 a.m. – 5.30 p.m.

To mark the retirement of Penny Bulloch and her contribution as Fellow Librarian at Balliol College,
Oxford, and earlier in Cambridge, and as a mainstay of all things Aristophanic and Old Comic in
the Classics Faculty of Oxford University, there will be a day of papers on Old Comedy in her
honour by friends, colleagues, and former students.

All are welcome and there will be no fee for attendance, though for the purposes of planning it
would be very much appreciated if you could let the organizers know that you plan to come by
Friday 21st May. Tea and coffee will be served, and a small reception held afterwards. There will
also be an optional buffet lunch at a cost of £6. Please let the organizers know if you would like
lunch, by the same date, and make cheques payable to Dr. R.W. Cowan.

Any enquiries may be addresses to Bob Cowan (bob.cowan AT or Adrian Kelly
(adrian.kelly AT

Edith Hall (RHUL):
Angus Bowie (Queen’s, Oxford)
Matthew Wright (Exeter University)
Peter Brown (Trinity, Oxford)
Ian Storey (Trent, Canada)
Matthew Leigh (St Anne’s, Oxford)


10.30-11.30 SESSION 1:
Angus Bowie (Queen’s, Oxford): ‘“I’ve no idea where we are now”: labile space in Aristophanes”

11.30 a.m. -12 noon COFFEE

12 noon -1.00 pm SESSION 2:
Matthew Wright (Exeter University): “Pea Soup and Old Jokes”

1.00-2.00 pm LUNCH

2.00-3.30 pm SESSION 3:
Ian Storey (Trent, Canada): "Comedy and the Crises"
Peter Brown (Trinity, Oxford): “Two Operatic Versions of Birds: Walter Braunfels (1920) and Ed
Hughes (2005)”

3.30-4.00 pm COFFEE

4.00-5.30 pm SESSION 4
Matthew Leigh (St Anne’s, Oxford): “Comedy and Tragedy: Constructions of Genre”
Edith Hall (RHUL): “The Aesopic in Old Comedy”

CONF: Colloquium on Cultural Memory and Religion in the Ancient City

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

The University of Birmingham is delighted to announce an international

colloquium on Cultural Memory and Religion in the Ancient City, to be held
at the University of Birmingham, 5-6 July 2010.

The programme for the colloquium is as follows:
‘Myth and Symbol’
‘Romulus’ memorial trees: planting out Rome’s religious history’ Ailsa
McDermid (Queens’ College, University of Cambridge)
‘Roman temples as symbols of emotional memory’ Phoebe Roy (University of
‘Memory shift: reinventing the mythology, 100 BC – AD 100’ Professor Ken
Dowden (University of Birmingham)
‘Greek and Roman Identity’
‘Religious speech, sea power and institutional change; Athenian idenity
foundation and cultural memory in the Ephebic Naumachia at Piraeus’
Guiseppina Paula Viscardi (University of Naples)
‘Cultural memory and Roman identity in the hymns of Prudentius’ Professor
Dr Peter Kuhlmann (Universität Göttingen)
‘Saints and Goddesses’ ‘Moneta: sacred memory in mid-Republican Rome’
Daniele Miano (University of Manchester)
‘Cultural memory and Isis in the Greco-Roman world’ Dr Juliette Harrisson
(University of Birmingham)
‘Saints in the Caesareum: remembering temple-conversion in Late Antique
Egypt’ Jennifer Westerfeld (University of Chicago)

Private View of "Sacred and Profane: Treasures from Ancient Egypt" at the
Barber Institute of Fine Arts

Evening Lecture: ‘‘The Iseum Campense as a lieu de mémoire’ Dr Martin
Bommas (University of Birmingham)

‘Tombs and Landscapes’
‘A monumental memory: the Great Tumulus at Vergina’ Hallie Franks (New
York University)
‘Landscaping memory: radical transformations on the Capitoline Hill and
the Palatine Hill in the Augustan and early Imperial period’ Lily
Withycombe-Taperell (Royal Holloway, University of London)
‘The Roman necropolis as a focus and show-case of cultural and social
memory’ Dr Maureen Carroll (University of Sheffield)
‘Silver Latin Literature’
‘Nights of Egeria: Juvenal’s search for Rome’ Professor David Larmour
(Texas Tech University)
‘Tradition, religion and Nero’s Great Fire in Tacitus Annals 15.41-7’
Kelly Shannon (Corpus Christi College, University of Oxford)
‘Kings and Emperors’ ‘Marduk’s return: cultural memory and imperial
legitimization at Babylon in 668 BC’ John P. Nielsen (Loyola University of
New Orleans)
‘Remembering our Divine Caesar: religion and power in the Res Gestae Divi
Augusti’ Mark Thorne (Wheaton College, Illinois)

If you would like to attend please copy and paste the booking form below
and return it to us by post by 19th June 2010. There is no conference fee,
but we are asking for a small charge of £10 to contribute to catering
costs. If you have any further questions, please e-mail me:
J.G.Harrisson AT

ED: Bologna University Greek and Latin Summer School

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

Bologna University Greek and Latin Summer School (28th June – 16th July

The Department of Classics ( ) of Bologna
University is pleased to announce that it is still possible to register to
its Greek and Latin Summer School.

The teaching will be focused both on language and on literature; further
classes will touch on moments of classical history and history of art,
supplemented by visits to museums and archaeological sites (in Bologna and

The course will be held in Bologna from 28th June to 16th July 2009 for a
total of 60 hours.
The Greek course will be for beginners only, whereas classes of different
levels (at least beginners and intermediate) are scheduled for Latin.
Participants must be aged 18 or over.

All tuition will be in English.

For further information and to register, please visit:
E-mail: diri_school.latin AT