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

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):

They’ve buried Allianoi:\

More opeddish things about Pompeii (these vary):\

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

From the Italian press:\

Concerns after a storm damages Caesarea:\

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

A Roman-era farm site from Lowestoft:

Paul Cartledge and James Romm discuss Alexander the Great:\

On the origins of the word ‘comet':\

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

What Stephen V. Tracy is up to:

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

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

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

This week’s Schiff reviews:\

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

More on that purported gladiator in the trash:

Latest daVinci ‘code’ has secrets hidden in the Mona Lisa’s eyes:

National Geographic’s top ten archaeological stories:\

Archaeology Magazine’s top ten:

Some new-fashioned Pythagoras/Euclid bashing:

A woman among the Magi?:\

Elaine Fantham on assorted ancient holiday traditions:\

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

Review of Jonathan Galassi (tr), *Canti*:
A somewhat minor bust (it seems) in Sparta:

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

I think we mentioned this Lava Treasure thing a few months ago:
An auction of a bust of Caracalla (maybe … possibly not as old as it
appears) fetched a higher price than expected:

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

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)