via Twitter: Ehud Netzer Collection @ BAR

Can’t figure out why Biblical Archaeology Society tweets don’t work like other tweets … in any event, a couple of Ehud Netzer items of interest there (and apologies to those who dealt with previous versions of this post that didn’t work:

New Year’s Eve Kissing Origins: Don’t Eat That Elmer

“This one isn’t even worth commenting on, other than to point out it is possibly the weakest attempt to link some modern practice to ancient Rome that I’ve seen in ages …

The custom of kissing can be traced back to the Ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia, which took place near the end of the year.

Germanicia Found?

Very interesting news item from Hurriyet:

Mosaics found during an illegal excavation in the southeastern province of Kahramanmaraş have led to the unearthing of an ancient city called Germenicia, which remained underground for 1,500 years. The mosaics, found under a house in the Dulkadiroğulları neighborhood, are expected to shed light on the history of the city.

The Roman-era city of Germenicia was unearthed by chance during an illegal excavation in the basement of a house. Preliminary examinations showed that the mosaics were high-quality contemporaries of those unearthed in the ancient cities of Zeugma and Yamaçevler. The first steps have been taken to completely unearth Germenicia and its mosaics, with houses in the area expropriated by the Culture Ministry.

Speaking to Anatolia news agency, Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Seydi Küçükdağlı said the location of Germenicia was shown as Kahramanmaraş on ancient maps, but archaeologists had been unable to determine its exact location because no architectural remnants of the city had been found.

He said the accidentally found mosaics, first stumbled upon during the illegal excavation in 2007, were the reason for finding the 1,500-year-old city. “Although the city was very important and magnificent – it even printed its own money at the time – it remained underground as a result of invasions and fires,” he said.

Küçükdağlı said excavations were initiated under the coordination of the Kahramanmaraş Museum Directorate at the end of November. “After the first mosaic was found, we examined the region and registered 19 parcels of land that could be important. We have expropriated five parcels and excavations have started on three. The houses where the mosaics were found have been torn down and a protective cover installed at the site.”

Open-air museum

Küçükdağlı said excavations would continue, and when completed the area would become an open-air museum to be visited by tourists.

He said seven archaeologists were participating in the excavation. “The mosaics have changed the future of the buried city. They are on the ground level of two-story magnificent villas built in the late-Roman period around 400 A.D. and will give us clues about the daily social life at the time.”

Küçükdağlı said the Culture Ministry also decided to carry out academic excavations in the region, adding that they sent invitations to 44 universities with archaeology departments and expected their response.

He said the fifth International Mosaics Corpus would be held in June in Kahramanmaraş and that the symposium would provide information about the history of the mosaics.

Ancient city of Germenicia

Archaeologists believe there are more remnants of the ancient city of Germenicia, which is named after the father of Roman Emperor Caligula, in the Namık Kemal neighborhood in the foothills of Ahir Mountain. They believe the city was buried by landslides and avalanches caused by a severe earthquake.

Research has shown the region likely featured as many as 100 villas with 15-20 rooms each. Excavation work on the newly unearthed mosaics so far has suggested they were likely floor decorations in one of those villas.

via: Mosaics found in SE Turkey lead to unearthing of ancient Roman city – Hurriyet Daily News and Economic Review.

The photo accompanying the item:

via Hurriyet

via Hurriyet

 

Of course, the city is more properly called Germanicia (after Germanicus) … according to the Wikipedia article, it was originally a Hittite settlement and then refounded by various conquerors/occupiers. I’m assuming the Germanicia name change came during Germanicus’ conquests of Cappadocia and Commagene, but I can’t find an ancient reference to it … was it pre- or post-assassination? And if pre, was it an action which someone like Piso and his allies might consider ‘threatening’? I haven’t seen this ‘side’ of Germanicus before …

ClassiCarnival 12-20-10

Sorry … meant to include this list of highlights from the Classical blogosphere yesterday but didn’t quite get rountoit … in no particular order:

Apollo Saettante at the Getty

Today I was sent a Getty Press Release of interest:

After eighteen months of analysis, conservation, and re-stabilization, the bronze statue of Apollo Saettante (Apollo as an Archer) from Pompeii will go on view at the Getty Villa from March 2 to September 12, 2011 in the exhibition Apollo from Pompeii: Investigating an Ancient Bronze. Providing a behind-the-scenes look at this rare treasure, the special six-month exhibition presents the results of the first full study of this ancient sculpture.

Originally located in the Temple of Apollo in Pompeii, the Apollo Saettante was discovered in fragments centuries after it was buried by the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in AD 79. The bulk of the figure was unearthed in June 1817 just north of the Forum. A year later, in October 1818, veteran soldiers hunting a fox near the ancient city walls stumbled across some of the statue’s still-missing parts. The Apollo was one of the first major bronzes to be found at Pompeii, and was subsequently reassembled and displayed in the Real Museo Borbonico in Naples.

The conservation of the Apollo Saettante at the Getty Villa is the result of an important collaboration between the J. Paul Getty Museum and the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, as part of a broad cultural exchange agreement made in 2007 between the Italian Ministry of Culture and the Getty Museum. This exhibition marks the Apollo Saettante’s first showing in the United States, and complements the Villa’s collection of ancient works from Greece, Rome, and Etruria. Following its exhibition in Los Angeles, the statue will be returned to Naples, where the Getty’s conservation efforts will ensure its stability for generations.

The Apollo Saettante arrived in Los Angeles on loan for study and conservation treatment in 2009, together with the Statue of an Ephebe (Youth) as a Lampbearer, which is currently on view in the Basilica at the Getty Villa.

“This project has provided us an unprecedented opportunity,” said Erik Risser, an assistant conservator of antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum and co-curator of the exhibition. “Large bronzes rarely survive from antiquity, and the chance to conduct a thorough investigation into the Apollo Saettante has brought to light its rich and complex history.”

A variety of approaches, including archival research, X-radiography, ultra-violet photography, and endoscopic examination, have provided important new information regarding both the techniques used to make the statue in antiquity, and also the methods used to restore it in the nineteenth century. The investigations extended to analyses of the metal alloy composition, the pigments on the surface, and even of the types of bolts used in the re-assembly, all to answer questions about previous restoration efforts.

Apollo from Pompeii: Investigating an Ancient Bronze presents the results of these investigations, displaying art-historical, technical, and scientific evidence side by side in order to demonstrate the range of methods used during the study of the statue at the Getty Villa. Special features include the discovery of a large void in the statue’s back, which indicates that the method of its ancient manufacture was highly unusual, and the identification of two different phases of restoration. An interactive touch-screen display in the exhibition will provide visitors with the opportunity to explore the statue. This interactive feature will also be available on the Web at http://www.getty.edu.

Alongside select examples of ancient bronze sculpture from the Getty Museum’s Antiquities collection and a series of archival drawings and documents from the Getty Research Institute, the exhibition will also feature a bronze statue of Artemis, the sister piece to the Apollo Saettante. The two faced one another in the Temple of Apollo at Pompeii, and the inclusion of the Artemis, also on loan from the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, will provide a unique opportunity to develop and extend the discoveries that have been made in examining the Apollo.

This exhibition follows a series of Getty Villa exhibitions devoted to restoration and conservation, including The Hope Hygeia: Restoring a Statue’s History (2008), Fragment to Vase: Approaches to Ceramic Restoration (2008-2009), and Reconstructing Identity: A Statue of a God from Dresden (2009-2010), as well as early excavations in the Bay of Naples (The Herculaneum Women and the Origins of Archeology, 2007).

The exhibition is also one in a series of Italian collaborations that have brought important works of art to the Getty Museum, beginning in June 2009 with the display of the Chimaera of Arezzo in partnership with the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Florence. The Getty also has long-term agreements with the Museo Archeologico Nazionale in Naples, and the Sicilian Ministry of Culture and Sicilian Identity, for exhibitions over the coming years.

Apollo from Pompeii: Investigating an Ancient Bronze is presented in collaboration with the Museo Archeologico Nazionale, Naples. It is curated by the Getty Museum’s Erik Risser, assistant conservator of antiquities, and David Saunders, assistant curator of antiquities. This exhibition runs concurrently with In Search of Biblical Lands: From Jerusalem to Jordan in Nineteenth-century Photography, March 2—September 12, 2011 at the Getty Villa.

Here are a couple of photos of interest:

Apollo as an Archer (The Apollo Saettante), Roman, 100 BC- AD79. Courtesy of the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei.

The xray version is really neat:

2009 X-ray of Apollo as an Archer (The Apollo Saettante), Roman, 100 BC- AD79. Courtesy of the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Napoli e Pompei.

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem xiii kalendas januarias

019 Vitellius
Image via Wikipedia
ante diem xiii kalendas januarias

  • Saturnalia continues (day 4) – major, popular festival in honour of Saturn with banquets, the wearing of soft caps (pilei), and general good cheer. Shops and schools were closed, gambling was legally permitted, gifts were exchanged and masters might even wait on their servants. Obviously this festival is often seen as a precursor to our modern-day Christmas celebrations.
  • 69 A.D. — supporters of the Flavians capture Rome; murder of the emperor-for-a-little-while Vitellius

d.m. Jacqueline de Romilly

From Le Monde (tip o’ the pileus to Dorothy King):

L’académicienne Jacqueline de Romilly, spécialiste de la civilisation et de la langue grecques, est morte samedi à l’âge de 97 ans, indique, dimanche, son éditeur Bernard de Fallois. Née le 26 mars 1913 à Chartres (Eure-et-Loir) d’un père professeur de philosophie et d’une mère romancière, Jacqueline David a très vite été première : deux fois lauréate du Concours général, ouvert pour la première fois aux femmes en 1930, elle sera la première femme reçue à l’Ecole normale supérieure en 1933, puis à l’agrégation de lettres en 1936.

Professeur de lycée à partir de 1939, elle est nommée maître de conférences (1949), puis professeur titulaire (1951) à la faculté des lettres de Lille, avant d’être professeur de langue et littérature grecques à la faculté des lettres de Paris (1957-1973).

Elle a été la première femme professeur au Collège de France pour chaire “La Grèce et la formation de la pensée morale et politique” (1973-1984) puis la première femme élue à l’Académie des inscriptions et belles lettres (1975). Spécialiste de la civilisation et de la langue grecques, elle est l’auteur de très nombreux ouvrages sur cette période, notamment sur l’historien Thucydide, le théâtre d’Eschyle et d’Euripide et la guerre du Péloponnèse.

Jacqueline de Romilly, qui incarnait l’enseignement des études grecques classiques en France ainsi qu’une conception exigeante et humaniste de la culture, a écrit, en plus de 60 ans, de très nombreux ouvrages. En 1988, elle était devenue la deuxième femme élue à l’Académie française, après Marguerite Yourcenar. Elle en était la doyenne depuis la mort de Claude Lévi-Strauss en 2009. Membre correspondant étranger de l’Académie d’Athènes, elle avait obtenu la nationalité grecque en 1995 et avait été nommée ambassadrice de l’hellénisme en 2000.

“C’est une perte pour notre pays”, a réagi sur France Info Hélène Carrère d’Encausse, secrétaire perpétuel de l’Académie Française. “C’est une femme qui a porté toute sa vie la langue et la culture grecques parce qu’elle considérait (…) que c’était une éducation (…) à la compréhension de la liberté de l’individu, de l’attachement à la démocratie”, a-t-elle souligné.

“Elle a souffert énormément depuis quelques dizaines d’années de voir l’étude de cette langue décliner, et cela a été pour elle un immense chagrin”, a-t-elle ajouté, jugeant que le meilleur hommage à lui rendre “serait d’attacher plus d’importance désormais à la langue grecque dont elle a été le plus grand défenseur dans notre pays”.

In the Latest Explorator

Selections from my weekly newsletter … some I’ve blogged, some have many additional links, some I hope to get to eventually (and blog about):

================================================================
ANCIENT GREECE AND ROME (AND CLASSICS)
================================================================
They’ve buried Allianoi:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=allianoi-completely-burried-in-sand-201\
0-12-13

More opeddish things about Pompeii (these vary):

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/jonathanjonesblog/2010/dec/13/ovid-roman-\
sex-pompeii

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/14/arts/design/14pompeii.html
http://www.stuff.co.nz/travel/international/4466245/Crumbling-Pompeii-needs-urge\
nt-attention

http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1965417/pompeii_collapses_spark_criticism/i\
ndex.html?source=r_science

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hLZVR4IQeaIpn07gPCzjecQ-RjqA?\
docId=CNG.d17e4b4251cf887af9f26758f0b95e46.131

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6BC1NT20101213?feedType=RSS&feedName=scien\
ceNews

http://news.brisbanetimes.com.au/breaking-news-world/pompeii-collapse-forces-ita\
ly-into-heritage-debate-20101213-18v11.html

… and nine people are under investigation in regards to recent collapses:

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/entertainment/a/-/entertainment/8526010/nine-in\
vestigated-over-pompeii-collapses/

http://www.adnkronos.com/IGN/Aki/English/CultureAndMedia/Italy-Nine-people-under\
-investigation-for-Pompeii-collapses_311414199688.html

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5hbXPD3PpX_gDEG71vrcAPFKuTW-w?\
docId=CNG.fe1d0589886b23ad62bffe61357001df.571

From the Italian press:

http://napoli.repubblica.it/cronaca/2010/12/16/news/nove_avvisi_di_garanzia_per_\
i_crolli_di_pompei-10268764/?ref=HREC1-10

http://napoli.repubblica.it/cronaca/2010/11/06/foto/pompei_crolla_la_domus_dei_g\
ladiatori-8816475/1/

Concerns after a storm damages Caesarea:

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/israel-antiquities-chief-caeserea-storm-dam\
age-a-national-disaster-1.330789

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3998013,00.html
http://www.theage.com.au/world/storm-batters-antiquities-20101216-18zk0.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/8204323/Ruins-of-Cae\
sarea-in-danger-of-falling-into-the-sea.html

… and that big storm seems to be the same one which exposed a Roman statue
in Ashkelon:

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/roman-statue-discovered-in-ashkelon-after-s\
torm-damage-1.330629

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1339051/The-sea-gave-Wonder-Israel-ancie\
nt-Roman-statue-buried-thousands-years-uncovered-storm.html

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_id=10&categ_id=4&article_id=1225\
72

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10694576&ref=rs\
s

http://news.yahoo.com/s/artinfo/20101215/en_artinfo/freed_by_a_storm_an_ancient_\
roman_maiden_appears_on_an_israeli_beach_1

http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE6BD3CW20101214
http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/12/14/israel.storm.statue/index.html?section\
=cnn_latest

http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/12/14/5648784-violent-storm-reveals-an\
cient-art-on-the-coast-of-israel-

http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90854/7232331.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/12/15/ancient-roman-statue-unco_n_797110.html
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/11999231
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11995443
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/14/AR2010121404646.\
html

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/14/world/main7149503.shtml
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/141159
http://photoblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/12/14/5648784-violent-storm-reveals-an\
cient-art-on-the-coast-of-israel-?chromedomain=cosmiclog

http://www.haaretz.com/news/national/roman-statue-discovered-in-ashkelon-after-s\
torm-damage-1.330629

http://www.jpost.com/Headlines/Article.aspx?id=199422
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6BD3CW20101214
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11995443
http://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKTRE6BD3CW20101214

A Roman-era farm site from Lowestoft:

http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/roman_link_to_lowestoft_high_school_1_754632

Paul Cartledge and James Romm discuss Alexander the Great:

http://blogs.forbes.com/booked/2010/12/12/two-great-historians-on-alexander-the-\
great-part-one/

http://blogs.forbes.com/booked/2010/12/17/two-great-historians-on-alexander-the-\
great-part-two/

On the origins of the word ‘comet’:

http://www.npr.org/2010/12/17/132141801/science-diction-the-origin-of-the-word-c\
omet

Reviewish/hypish sorts of things for Mary Beard’s Pompeii documentary
thingy:

http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-life-death-sex-sewage-roman.html
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/8199687/Pompeii-Life-and-Death-in-\
a-Roman-Town.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/tv-and-radio/2010/dec/14/pompeii-life-and-death
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/world-europe-11957923
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11952322
http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/rss/int/news/-/news/world-europe-11952322

What Stephen V. Tracy is up to:

http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20101215/NEWS01/12150314/1002/rss

Jeffrey Schwarz’ work on infant sacrifice in Carthage is one of Archaeology
Magazine’s
top ten stories of the year:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-12/uop-ppc121510.php
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/pittsburgh/s_714150.html

Review of Sarah Ruden, *Paul Among the People*:

http://www.jsonline.com/entertainment/arts/112086879.html

Review of Caroline Alexander, *The War the Killed Achilles*:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/dec/18/war-killed-achilles-alexander-review

This week’s Schiff reviews:

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/Imagining+unknowable+epic+life/3999990/story\
.html

Some rather late repeat coverage of the most recent collapses at Pompeii:

http://www.artdaily.com/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=43054

More on that purported gladiator in the trash:

http://news.discovery.com/archaeology/gladiator-stabbed-tossed-as-trash.html

================================================================
OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST
================================================================
Latest daVinci ‘code’ has secrets hidden in the Mona Lisa’s eyes:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2010/dec/12/mona-lisa-eyes-model-identity

National Geographic’s top ten archaeological stories:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2010/12/photogalleries/101214-best-of-20\
10-science-archaeology/

Archaeology Magazine’s top ten:

http://www.archaeology.org/1101/topten/

Some new-fashioned Pythagoras/Euclid bashing:

http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/12/17/old.babylonian.math/index.html

A woman among the Magi?:

http://www.stlbeacon.org/arts-life/books/106897-viviano-writes-about-a-woman-mag\
i

Elaine Fantham on assorted ancient holiday traditions:

http://www.npr.org/2010/12/18/132162107/Boars-Heads-And-Even-More-Ancient-Holida\
y-Fun

Review of Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis, *Representing Justice*:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/16/books/16justice.html

Review of Jonathan Galassi (tr), *Canti*:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/19/books/review/Campion-t.html
================================================================
CRIME BEAT
================================================================
A somewhat minor bust (it seems) in Sparta:

http://www.ana-mpa.gr/anaweb/user/showplain?maindoc=9408405&service=142

Vandals have hit some more petroglyphs … this time at Agua Fria National
Monument:

http://www.azcentral.com/travel/articles/2010/12/17/20101217agua-fria-petroglyph\
-panels-vandalized.html

================================================================
NUMISMATICA
================================================================
I think we mentioned this Lava Treasure thing a few months ago:

http://www.numismaster.com/ta/numis/Article.jsp?ad=article&ArticleId=16391
================================================================
EXHIBITIONS, AUCTIONS, AND MUSEUM-RELATED
================================================================
An auction of a bust of Caracalla (maybe … possibly not as old as it
appears) fetched a higher price than expected:

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/7341445.html

cf: the impact of the Unidroit convention on auction prices:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/18/arts/18iht-melik18.html

UK Site With a Link to Claudius???

From EDP24 … an incredibly tenuous link:

An archaeological dig in Lowestoft may have revealed tantalising evidence of a Roman farm which could be linked to Emperor Claudius.

Archaeologists from Suffolk County Council believe they have found the remains of a Roman farm on land earmarked to become the new Pakefield High School.

A team of about half a dozen relic hunters have been working on the site by Pakefield Middle School since October and finished their extensive excavations on Friday.

Although the team are now compiling their results they believe some post holes may be evidence of a farm outbuilding such as a sheep shed dating from the Roman occupation.

And the archaeologists also found evidence of a clay quarry, which could have been used by the Romans to make pottery.

The Romans would have settled in the area after the conquest of Britain by the Emperor Claudius, who was famous for his stutter, and four legions of fearsome Roman soldiers in 43AD.

Simon Cass from the archaeological service field team who led the dig, said: “We appear to have some kind of evidence of a Roman field system.

“We are not talking about a swanky Roman villa here but more likely a small farm hold where a family of about half a dozen may have lived.”

Mr Cass and his team may have sympathised with the Roman farmer’s dislike of the British weather as the team of archaeologists had to dig in “Somme” like conditions during the excavation.

The evidence of a clay quarry may date from Roman up to medieval times.

To help prove the Roman theory, the team have sent clay and soil samples and seed remains off for testing. [...]

Not sure how archaeologists might like being called “relic hunters” … I strongly suspect the “link” to Claudius that seems to be the “focus” of the article is pretty much entirely the journalist’s manufacture … it’s a Roman (maybe) farm; no need to sensationalize it.

 

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem xvi kalendas januarias

ante diem xvi kalendas januarias

  • Saturnalia (day 1) — major, popular festival in honour of Saturn with banquets, the wearing of soft caps (pilei), and general good cheer. Shops and schools were closed, gambling was legally permitted, gifts were exchanged and masters might even wait on their servants. Obviously this festival is often seen as a precursor to our modern-day Christmas celebrations …
  • 246 B.C.E. — the Torah is translated into Greek (obviously not in one day)

Pompeii Plot Thickens …

Interesting … AFP via the West Australian:

Nine people are under investigation for two collapses in the famous ancient Roman city of Pompeii that shocked the culture world last month, judicial sources said on Thursday.An ancient training centre for gladiators collapsed into rubble in Pompeii on November 6 and a wall protecting a home known as the House of the Moralist fell down on November 30, causing widespread international outrage.Among the people under investigation by prosecutors in nearby Torre Annunziata are the former director of the site and the current head of excavations, ANSA news agency reported. The two declined to comment.Pompeii was entombed by the massive eruption of the nearby Mount Vesuvius volcano in AD 79, but was partly excavated and attracts thousands of visitors every year to one of the best-preserved ancient sites in the world.But the UNESCO World Heritage site has fallen into serious disrepair in recent years. In 2008, Italy declared a “state of emergency” for Pompeii.

via Nine investigated over Pompeii collapses | West Australian.

 

 

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem xviii kalendas januarias

Portrait of Lucius Verus, co-Emperor with Marc...
Image via Wikipedia

ante diem xviii kalendas januarias

  • Consualia — a festival in honour of Consus which likely involved a similar celebration held on August 21 (i.e. horse races, chariot races, and garlanding of the steeds)
  • 337 B.C. — death of Timoleon (according to one reckoning)
  • 215 B.C. — assassination of Hieronymus, one of the tyrants of Syracuse (by one reckoning)
  • 19 B.C. — dedication of the Ara Fortunae Reducis
  • 37 A.D. — birth of the future emperor Nero
  • 130 A.D. — birth of the future co-emperor Lucius Verus

Classics and Wikileaks III

Marble relief of a poet, maybe Sophocles, Hell...
Image via Wikipedia

Interesting how Assange’s Classical background (apparently) is slowly leaking out … today’s excerpt comes from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer:

She said that, influenced by his mother, Assange came to love the Greek classics, including Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles, and that he read them to his own son, Daniel, who now works in software development.

Assange “found the writing very powerful. He knew that the literature of the ancient world provided a moral lens through which to view society, and a way to explore these issues with children while also entertaining them,” Dreyfus said.

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This Day in Ancient History: idus decembres

A portrait of Samuel Johnson by Joshua Reynold...

Image via Wikipedia

idus decembres

  • Rites in honour of Tellus, the earth goddess which perhaps included a lectisternium (a ‘dinner party’ at which images of the god(s) would ‘dine’ with participants) in honour of Ceres.
  • 405 B.C. — battle of Aegospotami (by one reckoning)
  • 304 A.D. — martyrdom of Lucy of Syracuse
  • 1783 — Death of Samuel Johnson

We might also note here something mentioned in Josephus (Ant. 14.8), which he places in the year 46 (I believe):

When Antipater had made this speech, Caesar appointed Hyrcanus to be high priest, and gave Antipater what principality he himself should choose, leaving the determination to himself; so he made him procurator of Judea. He also gave Hyrcanus leave to raise up the walls of his own city, upon his asking that favor of him, for they had been demolished by Pompey. And this grant he sent to the consuls to Rome, to be engraven in the capitol. The decree of the senate was this that follows: (13) “Lucius Valerius, the son of Lucius the praetor, referred this to the senate, upon the Ides of December, in the temple of Concord. There were present at the writing of this decree Lucius Coponius, the son of Lucius of the Colline tribe, and Papirius of the Quirine tribe, concerning the affairs which Alexander, the son of Jason, and Numenius, the son of Antiochus, and Alexander, the son of Dositheus, ambassadors of the Jews, good and worthy men, proposed, who came to renew that league of goodwill and friendship with the Romans which was in being before. They also brought a shield of gold, as a mark of confederacy, valued at fifty thousand pieces of gold; and desired that letters might be given them, directed both to the free cities and to the kings, that their country and their havens might be at peace, and that no one among them might receive any injury. It therefore pleased [the senate] to make a league of friendship and good-will with them, and to bestow on them whatsoever they stood in need of, and to accept of the shield which was brought by them. This was done in the ninth year of Hyrcanus the high priest and ethnarch, in the month Panemus.”

That little 13 there refers to a note in the Whiston edition of Josephus at the CCEL … here’s the skinny:

Take Dr. Hudson’s note upon this place, which I suppose to be the truth: “Here is some mistake in Josephus; for when he had promised us a decree for the restoration of Jerusalem he brings in a decree of far greater antiquity, and that a league of friendship and union only. One may easily believe that Josephus gave order for one thing, and his amanuensis performed another, by transposing decrees that concerned the Hyrcani, and as deluded by the sameness of their names; for that belongs to the first high priest of this name, [John Hyrcanus,] which Josephus here ascribes to one that lived later [Hyrcanus, the son of Alexander Janneus]. However, the decree which he proposes to set down follows a little lower, in the collection of Raman decrees that concerned the Jews and is that dated when Caesar was consul the fifth time.” See ch. 10. sect. 5.

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ClassiCarnival 12-12-10

Another item on my list of good-things-I-used-to-do-but-stopped-for-some-reason-and-should-resume is a weekly overview of what’s going on in the Classical blogosphere. In this case, I think I stopped because I found a way to efficiently share items from my google reader subscriptions (as you can see over in the sidebar), but after a while, I suspect folks tune that part of rogueclassicism out. And so I decided to revive this feature, but just focus on a handful of the items which have probably scrolled past by now. Ecce:

2011 Ostia Marina Summer Field School

Can You See Yourself Saving Rome?

The American Institute for Roman Culture

2011 Ostia Marina Summer Archaeology Field School

Rome, Italy

Program Dates: June 20 through July 31, 2011

Contact hours: 220

Program Co-directors: Prof. Massimiliano David (University of Bologna), Dr. Angelo Pellegrino (Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma, Ostia Antica office), Dr. Darius Arya (AIRC), and Dr. Alberto Prieto (AIRC)

Location: Ostia Antica, Rome, Italy

Program Details:

The American Institute for Roman Culture’s Summer Archaeology Field School is a six-week intensive learning opportunity in Roman archaeology. The program will be held from June 20 through July 31, 2011 and offers students a unique combination of 5 weeks of on-site field work and one week of specialized academic instruction by expert archaeologists and AIRC professors. As the program is centered in Rome, there will also be visits to major Roman museums and open-air sites to augment field studies and provide participants with a broader context of what life was like in ancient Rome.

Participants in the field school will be given the opportunity to develop their archaeological expertise in the third season of excavation outside the Porta Marina in Ostia Antica, the port city of ancient Rome. The Ostia Marina project, operating under the auspices of the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Roma (Ostia Antica office) and the University of Bologna (Department of Archaeology, with the collaboration of the Faculty of Preservation of Cultural Heritage), is a multi-year re-evaluation of the suburban neighborhood that lay on the ancient seashore immediately outside of the city walls at the Porta Marina (Sea Gate). The area is populated by private homes, funeral monuments, religious sanctuaries, and large public structures, including several bath complexes, dating between the Late Republican and Late Antique periods. It is best known for a luxurious late-4th century AD seafront residence that yielded one of the most complete and lavish examples of wall and floor decoration made of precisely cut and arranged colored marble fragments (opus sectile) from anywhere in the Roman world.

The excavation site is a large (80 x 80 m) complex lying between the opus sectile building and the Marciana/Porta Marina Baths started by the emperor Trajan. Geophysical prospection (magnetometry and GPR) indicates a large open area in the northwest that may be a palaestra, which in turn suggests that the structure is also a bath complex. It is the first entirely unexplored building to be excavated at Ostia in 50 years, and it is particularly important because it preserves intact the Late Antique-Early Medieval (ca. AD 300-800) layers and features that were elsewhere destroyed with little or no documentation in the clearance excavations of 1938-1942.

The 2011 season will concentrate on the exploration and documentation of several rooms in the complex. Materials recovered so far include marble decorative slabs, marble columns and capitals, mosaic flooring, painted wall fresco (some of very high quality), ceramic and glass vessels, and assorted minor artifacts such as bone utensils and coins. These materials are evidence of a prestigious function, possibly public or imperial.

The archaeological training is provided on-site, using the extraordinary setting of Ostia Antica as a living laboratory, by a staff of professionals in archaeology and related disciplines: Ostia Marina project director Prof. Massimiliano David (University of Bologna), Professor of Topography Dario Giorgetti (University of Bologna), Field Director Marcello Turci (University of Rome), Alberto Prieto (Associate Director of Archaeology, AIRC), and others. In addition to the principles of stratigraphic excavation, the participants are given expert instruction in analysis and classification of materials (pottery, marble, glass, coins, etc.), archaeological drawing, Roman building materials and techniques, and digital modeling using a total data station.

The program aims to supply participants with both a synchronic and diachronic approach to the study of Roman culture. Through this dual approach, those involved in the program will gain a more comprehensive historical and cultural overview of Rome and Roman civilization, from its rise to power to its decline, understanding how it set a standard of cultural values that continues to exert influence over the entire Western world to this day.

The 2010 summer field school involved 34 participants representing colleges and universities across the United States at both the undergraduate and graduate level, with a wide range of majors, including Brown University, the University of Southern California, Harvard University, Carthage College, Columbia University, the University of New Mexico, Bucknell University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of California at Berkeley, San Francisco State University, Pepperdine University, St. Olaf College, Connecticut College, Bard College, Stanford University, Seton Hall University, Ohio State University, the University of Cincinnati, California Polytechnic, the University of West Florida, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Mary Washington. They were joined by a postgraduate student from the University of New South Wales in Australia.

Program Bibliography

Scavi di Ostia I. Topografia generale. Rome 1953.

Scavi di Ostia III. Le necropoli: Le tombe di eta repubblicana ed augustea. Rome 1958.

Becatti, G., ed. Scavi di Ostia VI. Edificio con opus sectile fuori Porta Marina. Rome 1969.

Bruun, Ch., and A. Gallina Zevi, eds. 2002. Ostia e Portus nelle loro relazioni con Roma (Acta Instituti Romani Finlandiae 27). Rome 2002.

Calza, G. 1942. “Il tempio della Bona Dea.” Notizie degli scavi 1942: 152-163.

Descoeudres, J.-P., ed. 2001. Ostia, port et porte de la Rome antique. Geneva 2001.

Calvesi, M., E. Guidoni, and S. Lux, eds. 1987 E42: utopia e scenario del regime II. Urbanistica, architettura, arte e decorazione (catalogo della mostra: Roma 1987). Venice 1987.

Floriani Squarciapino, M. 1961. “La sinagoga di Ostia.” Bollettino di Archeologia 46: 326ff.

Mannucci, V. 1995. Atlante di Ostia antica. Venice 1995.

Mannucci, V. 1980. “Restauro di un complesso archeologico: le terme di Porta Marina ad Ostia.” Archeologia laziale 3: 129ff.

Marini Recchia, F., D. Pacchiani, and F. Panico. 2002. “Scavi ad Ostia nell’Ottocento.” In Bruun and Gallina Zevi (2002), 247-270.

Meiggs, R. 1973. Roman Ostia. Oxford 1973.

Olivanti, P. 2001. “Les fouilles d’Ostie de Vaglieri à nos jours.” In Descoeudres (2001), 56-65.

Pavolini, C. 2006. Ostia (Guide archeologiche Laterza). Rome-Bari 2006.

Pavolini, C. 1981. “Ostia. Saggi lungo la via Severiana.” Notizie degli scavi 1981: 115-143.

Pavolini, C. 1980. “Saggi di scavo lungo la via Severiana ad Ostia.” Archeologia laziale 3: 113ff.

Poccardi, G. 2006. “Les bains de la ville d’Ostie a l’epoque tardo-antique (fin IIIe – debut VIe siecle).” In Les cites de l’Italie tardo-antique (IVe – VIe siecle). Rome. 167-186.

Valeri, V. 2001. “Brevi note sulle Terme a Porta Marina ad Ostia.” Archeologia Classica 52: 306-322.

Van der Meer, L.B. 2005. “Domus Fulminata, The House of the Thunderbolt at Ostia (III, VII, 3-5).” Bulletin Antieke Beschaving 80: 91-111.

Course Text

None. Printed course notes and a custom manual will be provided.

Suggested Readings

Coarelli, F. Rome and Environs: An Archaeological Guide. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. Chapter on Ostia, pp. 451-476.

Stambaugh, J. E. The Ancient Roman City. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1988. Chapter 18, “Ostia,” pp. 268-274.

Help Us Save Rome:

Application Deadline and Program Costs

Price: $4300* includes tuition, housing within the city of Rome in shared apartments with other excavation participants, some weekday lunches while working on the excavation site, and entry fees for national museums during class days.

The field study will be assessed by the following:

• Attendance

• Participation

• Exam

• Excavation Journal

Selection Criteria

No experience of archaeology or knowledge of Italian is expected, –only a desire to dig and to learn more about Roman civilization. That said, while experience isn’t a necessary, it is encouraged and previous experience/background in the field is preferred. NOTE: This program is physically rigorous and requires long hours in conditions that can make the experience challenging, both physically and mentally.

Educational Requirements

There are no academic pre-requisites for this program. Whether you are a graduate or undergraduate Archaeology or Anthropology student or simply someone interested in learning more about the field of archaeology, this program will provide an exciting and unique opportunity for a first-hand look at archaeological fieldwork.

How to Apply

Applications due: March 30, 2011. After April 15th a late fee ($100) will be assessed. The last date for accepting late applications is May 01, 2011. Students should plan to apply early, as space is limited and students are accepted based on screening criteria as applications are received.

Application materials consist of:

· a one-page 600-800 word essay describing your interest in Rome, why you would like to participate in the AIRC excavation and what strengths you would bring to this project;

· a letter of recommendation from one professor,

· a copy of your curriculum vitae.

· Phone interview with AIRC project staff.

For more information about this and other AIRC academic programs please visit our website at: www.saverome.org

Inquiries and Application Documents should be submitted to:

studyabroad AT romanculture.org

* Tentative 2011 Price subject to change based upon Dollar/Euro stability and will be locked on or before application deadline.

From Explorator 13.34

Excerpts from my weekly newsletter … some of which I’ve blogged already, some of which I hope to blog today, and some of which I’ll probably forget to blog:

================================================================
================================================================
Thanks to Arthur Shippee, Dave Sowdon, David Critchley,
Diana Wright, Donna Hurst, Edward Rockstein, Rick Heli,
Hernan Astudillo, John Hall, Kurt Theis, John McMahon, Barnea Selavan,
Joseph Lauer, Trevor Ogden, Mike Ruggeri, Richard Campbell,
and Ross W. Sargent for headses upses this week (as always
hoping I have left no one out).
================================================================
ANCIENT NEAR EAST AND EGYPT
================================================================
A temple of Ptolemy Philadelphus at Thmuis:

http://www.unreportedheritagenews.com/2010/12/2300-year-old-temple-discovered-at\
.html

A sealed jar from Qumran:

http://www.unreportedheritagenews.com/2010/12/whats-inside-sealed-jar-discovered\
-at.html

================================================================
ANCIENT GREECE AND ROME (AND CLASSICS)
================================================================
Another purported Gladiator ‘burial’ from York … not sure about this one:

http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/Gladiator-clue-to-city39s-Roman.6656316.jp
http://www.yorkpress.co.uk/news/8729001.York_gladiator_skeleton_find_points_to_R\
oman_amphitheatre_site/

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/top-stories/2010/12/11/russell-crowe-meets-his-matc\
h-with-the-york-gladiator-115875-22775477/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1337555/Workmen-discover-body-huge-gladi\
ator-stabbed-times-thrown-rubbish.html

http://www.culture24.org.uk/art314353

Rethinking Naukratis:

http://www.aftau.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=13429
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101206101252.htm
http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2010-12/afot-wgf120610.php
http://www.redorbit.com/news/science/1961357/warring_greeks_find_peace_in_ancien\
t_egypt/index.html?source=r_science

http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-warring-greeks-peace-ancient-egypt.html

Another opinion piece (sort of) on Pompeii:

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/europe/12/10/pompeii.left.to.crumble/index.htm\
l

Some interesting artifacts now on display from a Roman Villa near
Aberystwyth:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/midwales/hi/people_and_places/newsid_9268000/9268853\
.stm

A Roman burial ground from Jesser al-Shohor (Syria):

http://www.sana.sy/eng/35/2010/12/08/322828.htm

Some engineer with time on his hands has recreated the Antikythera Mechanism
with
Lego:

http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/nstv/2010/12/worlds-oldest-computer-recreated-\
in-lego.html
(video)
http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/apple_engineer_recreates_antikythera_mech\
anism_with_legos/

http://blogs.nature.com/news/thegreatbeyond/2010/12/ancient_greek_computer_rebui\
lt.html

http://www.livescience.com/history/etc/101210-lego-antikythera-mechanism-mind-bl\
owing.html

http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=antikythera-mechanism-an-ecli\
pse-pr-2010-12-09

http://www.pcworld.com/article/213249/ancient_greek_computer_gets_rebuilt_using_\
lego.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501465_162-20025268-501465.html
http://www.engadget.com/2010/12/10/apple-engineer-uses-lego-to-rebuild-ancient-g\
reek-mechanism-wil/?icid=engadget-iphone-url

http://www.tuaw.com/2010/12/10/apple-engineer-re-creates-greek-computer-with-leg\
os/

http://www.slashgear.com/engineer-builds-working-reproduction-of-greek-antikythe\
ra-mechanism-from-lego-10118776/

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/12/09/how-the-antikythera.html
http://www.wired.com/geekdad/2010/12/lego-antikythera-mechanism/
http://news.cnet.com/8301-17852_3-20025264-71.html

cf: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kSzQ9H6kwCM
http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/nstv/2010/12/worlds-oldest-computer-recreated-\
in-lego.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/punctuated-equilibrium/2010/dec/10/1
http://twistedphysics.typepad.com/cocktail_party_physics/2010/12/the-unbearable-\
lightness-of-lego.html

http://blog.smallmammal.com/post/2156532687/behind-the-scenes-lego-antikythera-m\
echanism

There’s a new Institute of Hellenistic Studies at UWaterloo:

http://news.therecord.com/News/Local/article/828241

Nice feature on Archimedes:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=archimedes-coins-eureka

There’s only two high schools left in Iowas where you can learn Latin,
apparently:

http://thegazette.com/2010/12/08/xavier-high-school-one-of-two-iowa-schools-stil\
l-teaching-latin/

A Classicist nominated to be on the National Council on the Humanities:

http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2010/dec/08/city-college-chancellor-gets-pres\
idential/

Nice curse tablet from Lebanon:

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20101209a7.html

There was a story early in the week that Greece was willing to give up
claims to ownership of the
Elgin/Parthenon Marbles:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-12-06/greece-offers-to-forgo-elgin-marbles-ow\
nership-claim-times-says.html

… but it turned out not to be true:

http://www.ana-mpa.gr/anaweb/user/showplain?maindoc=9378685&maindocimg=7689690&s\
ervice=10

http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_politics_100018_07/12/2010_121676

Nice photos of the Temple of Venus and Rome reopening:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/11/temple-of-venus-and-rome-_n_782491.html\
#s180650

Classics on the rise in UK schools:

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/906272e6-fe60-11df-845b-00144feab49a.html#axzz17dO3gdZ\
J

Feature on the Seven Wonders:

http://abcnews.go.com/International/original-wonders-world/story?id=12368219

Review of Schiff’s and Goldsworthy’s Cleopatra books:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/reviews/cleopatra-a-life-b\
y-stacy-schiffbr-antony-and-cleopatra-by-adrian-goldsworthy-2155416.html

… and just Schiff:

http://www.cbc.ca/books/2010/12/cleopatra-the-woman-behind-the-myth.html
http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/chapter-and-verse/2010/1207/Cleopatra-the-true-st\
ory

http://arts.nationalpost.com/2010/12/10/book-review-cleopatra/
http://www.canada.com/just+another+pretty+face/3958375/story.html
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/books/cleopatra-skilled-political-opera\
tor-not-sex-goddess/article1833266/

Review of Bettany Hughes, *The Hemlock Cup*:

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/weekend/2010/1211/1224285240338.html

… and you can listen to an interviewish thing with her on the BBC for the
next few days:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00wh306

Horses supposedly used by Roman emperors are being recognized as a distinct
breed:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/equestrianism/8168647/Roman-emperor\
s-horses-to-be-recognised-as-distinct-breed.html

cf:

http://rogueclassicism.com/2010/12/04/roman-imperial-horses/

Latest reviews from Scholia:

http://www.classics.ukzn.ac.za/reviews/

Latest reviews from BMCR:

http://bmcr.brynmawr.edu/recent.html
================================================================
OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST
================================================================
Interesting item on Jesus’ great-grandmother:

http://news.discovery.com/history/jesus-great-grandmother.html
================================================================
TOURISTY THINGS
================================================================
Split:

http://www.news-herald.com/articles/2010/12/10/life/nh3354503.txt
================================================================
CRIME BEAT
================================================================
Italy is trying to get a stolen Pylos helmet back from Germany:

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/news/357152,greek-helmet-german-court.html
http://www.monstersandcritics.com/news/europe/news/article_1604619.php/German-co\
urt-rejects-Rome-s-demand-for-stolen-Greek-helmet

http://www.tagesspiegel.de/berlin/helm-des-anstosses/3589164.html

A major smuggling ring was busted in Spain:

http://www.laht.com/article.asp?ArticleId=381239&CategoryId=12395
http://www.edmontonjournal.com/Spanish+smash+gang+that+looted+antiquities/396295\
0/story.html

http://www.lepoint.fr/culture/espagne-un-reseau-de-pilleurs-de-sites-archeologiq\
ues-demantele-10-12-2010-1273898_3.php

Another bust in Bulgaria:

http://www.novinite.com/newsletter/print.php?id=122882

A major ancient coin theft from a museum in Germany:

http://www.coinsweekly.com/en/page/4?&id=348
================================================================
NUMISMATICA
================================================================
Analyzing ancient coins to retrace trade routes and the like:

http://www.canada.com/life/Canadian+scientists+using+ancient+coins+trading+route\
s/3941054/story.html

http://www.timescolonist.com/news/canada/Canadian+scientists+using+ancient+coins\
+trading+routes/3941054/story.html

http://www.thespec.com/news/local/article/282454–ancient-coins-buy-mcmaster-res\
earchers-a-look-at-the-past

http://www.montrealgazette.com/Canadian+scientists+using+ancient+coins+trading+r\
outes/3941054/story.html

http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-12-ancient-coins-modern-society.html
http://www.ctv.ca/CTVNews/SciTech/20101210/researchers-coins-historic-connection\
s-101212/

Trying to figure out what the purpose of the Frome Hoard was:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2010/dec/12/roman-coins-frome-metal-detector
===============================================================
EXHIBITIONS, AUCTIONS, AND MUSEUM-RELATED
================================================================
The Getty is sending the Morgantina Aphrodite back to Sicily:

http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=43175
http://www.austin360.com/watercooler/getty-museums-statue-transfer-ends-italy-di\
spute-1102941.html

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h5PatnPko88FVS6NyPvh3nLeuIXg?d\
ocId=14d963aacc854b138b54cba4a6f40527

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/wireStory?id=12326210
http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/la-et-getty-sicily-20101207,0,4289829.\
story

… and the Morgantina silver hoard is back home too:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/06/arts/design/06silver.html

Johns Hopkins has a new museum for its archaeological collection:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-gilman-museum-opens-20101205,0,3\
4594.story

Big bucks for a bust of Antinous at Sotheby’s this week:

http://www.artdaily.org/index.asp?int_sec=2&int_new=43216
http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/12/08/new.york.bust.auction/
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B70V120101208
================================================================
Useful Addresses
================================================================
Past issues of Explorator are available on the web via our
Yahoo site:

http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Explorator/

To subscribe to Explorator, send a blank email message to:

Explorator-subscribe@yahoogroups.com
================================================================

Romans in Sri Lanka?

Tantalizingly vague item from Daily News (Sri Lanka):

Remains of harbours used by ancient Chinese and Roman ships have been discovered in excavations carried out in the North and the East by the Archaeological Department National Heritage Minister Jagath Balasuriya said.

He was addressing officials of the five Departments under him and media at the Ministry Tuesday.

Archaeological, Archives, Museum, Galle Heritage and Janakala Centre departments come under the National Heritage Ministry.

He said kovils like Thiruketheeshwaran in Mannar and Koneshwaran in Trincomalee were identified as multi religious institutes. Steps were being taken to name them as World Heritage sites.

The Minster said funds had to be canvassed from foreign countries as well as donors for conservation work.

Poking around a bit, I did find a Roman-Sri Lankan connection mentioned in Cosmas Indicopleustes, who mentions the Greeks called the place Taprobanê. In book 11.338 he relates an interesting anecdote (this would be the time of Justinian, of course; the numbers in the quotation refer to notes in the online text put up by Roger Pearse):

[338] Now I must here relate what happened to one of our countrymen, a merchant called Sopatrus, who used to go thither on business, but who to our knowledge has now been dead these five and thirty years past. Once on a time he came to this island of Taprobane on business, and as it chanced a vessel from Persia put into port at the same time with himself. So the men from Adulé with whom Sopatrus was, went ashore, as did likewise the people of Persia, with whom came a person of venerable age and appearance.46 Then, as the way there was, the chief men of the place and the custom-house officers received them and brought them to the king. The king having admitted them to an audience and received their salutations, requested them to be seated. Then he asked them: In what state are your countries, and how go things with them? To this they replied, they go well. Afterwards, as the conversation proceeded, the king inquired Which of your kings is the greater and the more powerful? The elderly Persian snatching the word answered: Our king is both the more powerful and the greater and richer, and indeed is King of Kings, and whatsoever he |369 desires, that he is able to do. Sopatrus on the other hand sat mute. So the king asked: Have you, Roman,47 nothing to say? What have I to say, he rejoined, when he there has said such things? but if you wish to learn the truth you have the two kings here present. Examine each and you will see which of them is the grander and the more powerful. The king on hearing this was amazed at his words and asked, How say you that I have both the kings here? You have, replied Sopatrus, the money 48 of both —- the nomisma 49 of the one, and the drachma, that is, the miliarision 50 of the other. Examine the image of each, and you will see the truth. The king thought well of the suggestion, and, nodding his consent, ordered both the coins to be produced. Now the Roman coin had a right good ring, was of bright metal and finely shaped, for pieces of this kind are picked for export to the island. But the miliarision, to say it in one word, was of silver, and not to be compared with the gold coin. So the king after he had turned them this way and that, and had attentively examined both, highly commended the nomisma, saying that the Romans were certainly a splendid, powerful, and |370 sagacious people.51 So he ordered great honour to be paid to Sopatrus, causing him to be mounted on an elephant, and conducted round the city with drums beating and high state. These circumstances were told us by Sopatrus himself and his companions, who had accompanied him to that island from Adule; and as they told the story, the Persian was deeply chagrined at what had occurred.

There’s also a bit on Taprobane in Strabo 15.14 ff … here’s the incipit of that via Lacus Curtius:

14 As for Taprobanê,15 it is said to be an island situated in the high sea within a seven days’ sail towards the south from the most southerly parts of India, the land of the Coniaci; that it extends in length about eight thousand stadia16 in the direction of Aethiopia, and that it also has elephants. Such are the statements of Eratosthenes; but my own description will be specially characterised by the addition of the statements of the other writers, wherever they add any accurate information.

15 Onesicritus, for example, says of Taprobanê that it is “five thousand stadia in size,” without distinguishing its length or breadth; and that it is a twenty days’ voyage distant from the mainland, but p23that it is a difficult voyage for ships that are poorly furnished with sails and are constructed without belly-ribs on both sides;17 and that there are also other islands between Taprobanê and India, though Taprobanê is farthest south; and that amphibious monsters are to be found round it, some of which are like kine, others like horses, and others like other land-animals.

A book on the subject might be worth tracking down … here’s the publisher’s description of D.P.M. Weerakkody, Taprobanê: Ancient Sri Lanka as Known by Greeks and Romans:

The author brings together the references to Sri Lanka (the island of Taprobanê in Greek and Latin texts) for the purpose of examining their value as sources for the study of ancient Sri Lanka. One of the main reasons for Sri Lanka to maintain political, religious and commercial relationships with the external world was its role as a great emporium in the long distance maritime trade, a result of its central position in the Indian Ocean, its numerous bays and harbours facilitating both sea-borne and inland trade and its holdings of high export value goods such as precious stones, textiles and spices. Any study of this commerce has to be based on literary and epigraphical sources on the one hand and archaeological evidence on the other. The range of the volume is vast and includes not only a critical assessment of all the notices by classical writers on Taprobanê (the author provides an up to date analysis), but also a chapter on Roman coins found in Sri Lanka and a chapter on alleged classical references in the interlinear inscriptions from Sri Lanka, which questions their genuineness. Through this book we have a recourse to a work of reference for any study on ancient Sri Lanka and its important position in the world of the Indian Ocean.

Also seen: Austrian-German media manager plundered UNESCO world heritage site of Palmyra

I’ll point directly to ArchNews’ post on this since all of the source material (including some reactions from archaeologists) is in German and they provide a useful summary … I wonder if Nemesis is stretching her wings: