In Explorator 13.38

Some gleanings from today’s newsletter … as always, some repeats, some alternate versions, some things I hope I’ll get to blog:
Finds from various periods at Medinet al-Far (Syria):\

All sorts of translation/transcription problems with this Byzantine (?)
mosaic (?) find from
Kfamboda, Hama (Syria):\

Marble ‘pillars’ from Gaza:
Brief item on some Roman and Byzantine tombs being found at Sweida (Syria):\

Evidence of a Roman legionary settlement of some sort from Balaklava:\

An update of sorts from one of the digs in Paphos:\

Possible Roman burial from Epsom:

A large complex from the Roman period found during excavations at Vlou

Feature on the Villa dei Quintili:

The Romeyka dialect seems to be a survival of Pontic Greek:\

Identifying the owner of a New Testament papyrus that dates to the time of

Reviewing the year in archaeology in Bulgaria:

Claims of finding Alexander’s tomb … in Illinois (really is Elmer

… and claims about Achilles’ grave are likely in the same category:\

Interesting theory that the vallum that runs along Hadrian’s Wall was
originally intended
to be a road:\


Nice hype for Kathryn Gutzwiller’s mosaic paper at the APA:

… and Kathleen Lynch’s sympotic evolution paper at the AIA:\

Ross Kilpatrick sees some Horace (and Petrarch) allusions in the Mona Lisa:\

What Umit Dhuga is up to:

Cartledge and Romm continue to talk about Alexander:\

A new ‘preservation plan’ for Rome:

Some Cleopatra movie gossip/observations:\

An interview with Stephen Dando-Collins about his *Legions of Rome*:

… and one with Philip Matyszak about his *Legionary: The Roman Soldier’s
(Unofficial) Manual*:\

The Antikythera Mechanism is the APOD:

A Sri Lankan Classicist is also a national hero:

Folks might be interested in checking out Adrian Murdoch’s podcasts on Roman
emperors which will be appearing every Monday:\

Marion True talks about her trial:\

… while Paolo Ferri talks about the problems of making a case when it
involves clandestine

A huge hoard of coins (actually two of them) from the excavations at
‘Pistillus’ workshop’ in Autun:
Andrew Berube:

Past issues of Explorator are available on the web via our
Yahoo site:

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

CFP: Electra e-journal

Seen on the Classicists list (please direct any queries to the folks mentioned in the item and not to rogueclassicism):

Dear all,
A new e-journal called "Electra" is about to be launched by the Centre for
the Study of Myth and Religion in Greek and Roman Antiquity, founded by
the Department of Philology of the University of Patras, Greece.
In general, Electra shall welcome articles focusing on Ancient Greek and
Roman Mythology and Religion from a philological, historical,
anthropological, archaeological, linguistic or philosophical point of view.
Particularly, for the first issue (to be published online by the end of
spring 2011) we are looking for papers focusing specifically on the
Atreids myth (approached from any aspect).
Anyone interested should submit their papers until 30th April 2011.

CFP: The Playful Plutarch (Oxford, July, 2011)

Seen on the Classicists list (please direct any queries to the folks mentioned in the item and not to rogueclassicism):


Irony and Humour as Imperial Greek Literary Strategies: The Playful Plutarch


(UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD ,12-13 July 2011)

Plutarch of Chaeronea is always taken very seriously. The old image of a sober moralist, whose words should be taken at face value and whose ethical judgements are clear and simple, still dominates research. Even readers who are willing to grant him a sense of humour are seldom prepared to see this as anything more than a flash in the pan.

Yet Plutarch often employs irony; almost no other ancient author is more receptive to the different intellectual and cultural uses of humour. From the Table Talk’s concern with identifying appropriate uses of jesting at the symposium, to the Political Precepts’ admonition to make measured use of witticism in political discourse; or from the lively interest exhibited by the Lives in joking as evidence of good or bad character, to the various effects that irony achieves in the Moralia, Plutarch’s corpus consistently testifies to the importance of humour as a means of intellectual engagement and communication in the period of the high Roman Empire.

This conference aims to examine the centrality of humour in Plutarch’s works, both as a literary device and as a topic in its own right. By ‘humour’, we wish to encompass a broad spectrum of discursive and intellectual practices, literary devices and manifestations of psychological processes: laughter, wit, anecdote, ridicule, joking and jesting, mockery, derision, satire and the satirical, parody and irony.

We welcome papers exploring specific passages in Plutarch’s writings where humour features, as well as papers tracing his views and works to broader cultural practices of playful engagement in public festivals or elite symposia. In particular, we suggest the following key topics for investigation:

Announcing Iota Magazine

Seen on the Classicists list (please direct any queries to the folks mentioned in the item and not to rogueclassicism):

This is to let you know that Iota, a new magazine for primary school children, will be out this month and you can now purchase a copy or subscription online in advance on our website at

Iota is a Classics magazine produced by The Iris Project ( for younger children. It introduces Classics and Latin in a fun, informative and engaging way, and its content is designed and written to fit in with the key stage two material on the ancient Greeks and Romans.

There will be three editions published per year – one for each school term – and every issue will be themed around a different Classical myth. Through five exciting, fact-filled and vibrant sections, children can find clues about the story while learning about how the Romans and Greeks lived, as well as being introduced to the Latin language through activities and games.

Please get in touch if you have any questions, and best wishes for 2011!


CFP: Approaches to Ancient Medicine

Seen on the Classicists list (please direct any queries to the folks mentioned in the item and not to rogueclassicism):


Continuing the annual series held at Newcastle, Reading and Cardiff since 2000, the 2011 "Approaches to Ancient Medicine" conference will be held at the University of Exeter on Monday and Tuesday 22-23 August 2011, hosted jointly by the Centre for Medical History and the Department of Classics and Ancient History.

If you are interested in giving a paper at the conference, please send an abstract of up to 200 words to Robert Leigh ral212 AT by 28 February 2011 at the latest. Papers should be of 20 minutes duration. In addition to papers relating to the classical Greek and Roman period we welcome proposals relating to medicine in late antiquity, to the transmission of classical medicine including via the Syriac/Arabic traditions and to its reception at all periods up to the early modern.

It is hoped that the programme will be finalised in late March 2011.

Please direct any enquiries to Robert Leigh (ral212 AT

CONF: APGRD Lectures

Seen on the Classicists list (please direct any queries to the folks mentioned in the item and not to rogueclassicism):

The Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama (APGRD) would like to invite you to two upcoming events in the Lecture Theatre, Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3LU.

Martin Crimp (Playwright) will give a lecture at 2.15 pm, Monday 7 February, on:

‘Sophocles at the Tennis Court: On writing Cruel and Tender, a version of Sophocles’ Women of Trachis’.

Professor Christian Biet (Paris X-Nanterre) will give a lecture at 2.15 pm Monday 7 March on:

‘"Senecan" theatrical cruelty in England and France in the late 16th and early 17th centuries: audience, citizens and chorus’.

The events are free and everyone is welcome to attend.

Achilles’ Grave Found?

Another tenuous claim … this time from Today’s Zaman:

Achilles, the mythological warrior in Homer’s “Iliad,” will reunite with his wooden horse 5,000 years after he used it to capture Troy.

Claims that the grave of Achilles, the son of sea goddess Thetis, may be located in the Osmancık district of Çorum have aroused researchers’ interest in the district. The Municipality of Osmancık has proposed a TL 1 million project to develop the district’s tourism potential. The project has been submitted to the Central Black Sea Development Agency (OKA), and if it is approved, a miniature version of the Trojan Horse will be erected next to the alleged grave of Achilles in Adatepe.

The tomb of the legendary warrior Achilles is located in the Osmancık district of Çorum, claims Cevdet Seraçer, an author and researcher from Osmancık who quit his career as a lawyer to dedicate his life and energy to this study. Seraçer translated Homer’s “Iliad” into Turkish and spent many years trying to locate the grave of Achilles. In his book titled “Tarihsel Doku İçinde Unutulan Kent Osmancık” (A City Forgotten in Historical Texture: Osmancık), which he wrote using Cevat Şakir Kabaağaçlı’s works, he claims that Achilles’ grave is located in Adatepe in the heart of the district. “Hermes, the helper, led them down the dank ways. Past the streams of Oceanus and the White Rock, past the gates of the Sun they sped and the land of dreams, and soon they came to the mead of asphodel, where dwell the souls, the phantoms of men outworn. There they found the soul of Achilles son of Peleus, and the souls of Patroclus, and of noble Antilochus, and of Aias, who in face and form was goodliest of all the Danaans after the noble son of Peleus,” he quotes from Homer to prove his claim. He says that the mead of asphodel refers to Osmancık and the White Rock is a mountain rich in marble near Adatepe.

Without any major objection, this claim has found a sizable number of followers in Osmancık, and a small-scale tourism sector has developed in the district. To boost this potential using certain landscaping and cultural elements and promote the district’s tourism potential, the district’s municipality is now planning to build a Trojan Horse near Achilles’ grave. The municipality has already submitted a TL 1 million project to OKA, and if approved, renovation of the hill will start and a miniature version of the Trojan Horse will be built next to the grave. Part of the hill will be used as a popular excursion spot using the wooded area. Moreover, the roads to the hill will also be renovated.

Osmancık Mayor Bekir Yazıcı stated that they have prepared a very comprehensive project. “We have considered our options as to what we can do with Achilles’ grave in our district. We seek to make our district more attractive by landscaping this touristic and historical site,” he said.

Now I won’t poopoo the idea that someone might find something which might appear to be Achilles’ tomb — clearly there was some sort of touristy type thing in antiquity which was visited by various folks (e.g. Alexander). But we also know that there was a hero cult for Achilles in the Black Sea area (see, e.g., Guy Hedreen, “The Cult of Achilles in the Euxine” Hesperia 60, 313–330 … there’s a good summary in the relevant section of Wikipedia), which presumably would be associated with a tomb of some sort. Outside of that, it seems somewhat anachronistic to associate the Trojan Horse with Achilles at all, doesn’t it? (or am I wrong in thinking the Horse came after Achilles’ death?)