This Day in Ancient History: ante diem ix kalendas junias

Bust of Germanicus. Marble, copy of the archet...

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ante diem ix kalendas junias

  • Quando Rex Comitavit Fas — the rex sacrorum had to perform some sort of ceremony before the day’s legal business could be conducted (possibly connected to the idea of Regifugium)
  • 15 B.C. — birth of the emperor-to-be-who-never-was Germanicus (brother of the emperor Claudius)
  • 299 A.D. — martyrdom of Donatian and Rogatian

Ancient Hairdressing

Sarah Bond (via Twitter) just made a remark in passing that reminded me that I had come across an interesting set of Youtube videos which show you how to copy hairstyles on assorted Roman statuary. We’ve blogged about the Caryatid Hairstyling Project in the past, so this post can add to your coiffing repertoire:

… and just for good measure:

Also Seen: Latin Exams

From an opinion piece in the Evening Standard:

My grandfather, who tutored classics to secondary school pupils after he retired, was horrified to discover that at a top boys’ school, GCSE Latin candidates were advised to learn an English translation of their set texts off by heart, rather than translate the passage from the Latin on the day. What a way to squeeze all the joy out of Pliny and Ovid in favour of a mere test of short-term memory. At my girls’ school, minimal attention was given to debate or deeper learning; we stuck rigidly to a narrow curriculum – if it wasn’t going to come up, we didn’t need to know it. At times, I felt like a Haribo-fuelled drone whose sole purpose was to pass exams.

To be well-examined is not the same as to be well-educated. Come August, rather than whingeing that exams “ain’t what they used to be”, we should instead ask how they came to be quite so important.

Also Seen: The Decline in Translation

An excerpt from a review-article in the New Criterion of D.S.. Carne-Ross, Classics and Translation:

That revolution in our notion of a translator’s work has altered both the course of English literature and the place of the Classics in our culture. I can point to two concrete effects. First, readers are now far less critical in their engagement with translations from the Classics. Translators, publishers, and reviewers alike, in making claims for a translator’s accuracy or transparency, have led us to assume that we are “getting,” say, Homer. But we’re not. We’re getting (say) Richmond Lattimore or Robert Fitzgerald or Robert Fagles, Americans writing a book in English, and each writer very different from the others. Readers of Classical translation today most often lack what Keats had: an awareness of the particular qualities of a translation itself, of whatever (good or bad) the translator adds to whatever of Homer has managed to come through.

A second effect has been a diminishment in the ambition of translations. The new expectation that the job of a translator is to adhere to scholarly accuracy, to become invisible to his readers, has stunted the growth of one of our literature’s fruitful boughs. The market—and it is now, as we will presently see, largely a classroom-driven market—demands a narrow sort of fidelity that would be hostile to a Chapman or a Pope. If Homer (to stick with that example) is to have a living place in the literature of the English-speaking world, as opposed to merely in the academy, he must have translators of superior original gifts, poets who can give us versions capable of inspiring readers, including poets, as Chapman had inspired Keats. But translators of the Classics now rarely speak out loud and strong.

I have been leading to this point: that for the sake of English literature and for the future of the Classics in our culture, we need critics who will attend closely to the literary character of translations from the Classics. Fortunately there has been such a critic, and a great one.

The whole thing is definitely worth reading …

Also Seen: Who was Enid?

From a piece in the Toronto Star, occasioned by the closure of some libraries:

Another autodidact remembers playing sports in a freezing rainstorm and being shouted at by his Latin teacher, “Never give up! Stop looking so miserable! Remember the Aeneid!”

Who was “Enid,” he wondered. And of course he reads Virgil’s Aeneid now and “keeps his anguish buried deep in his heart,” as Virgil put it in 19 BCE, though the emotional comfort books offer is not part of this column’s remit. Does anyone else now read Virgil? Self-taught people do.

But where do they turn now that harried teachers don’t force you to read and aren’t allowed to teach grammar because it’s too “eat your vegetables,” now that students are “customers” and learning is “fun?” Very little about the coming century will be fun for young people coated with lies that big.

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem x kalendas junias

ante diem x kalendas junias

  • Tubilustrium — a purification of the battle trumpets which, like the one which occurred in March, was designed to prepare the troops for war (perhaps … this tubilustrium is somehow connected with the following)
  • Festival of Vulcan
  • 1270 B.C. — Pierre Henri-Archer suggests this day for the fall of Troy
  • 63 B.C. — Pompey takes Jerusalem (by one reckoning)
  • 37 B.C. — Herod takes control of Jerusalem
  • ca. 303 A.D. — martyrs of Cappadocia
  • 1617 — birth of Elias Ashmole

On the Utility of Twitter

Twitter logo initial

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As many of my readers know, I am very active on Twitter and Facebook; Facebook doesn’t seem to get a reaction from people any more, but people often wonder what the point of Twitter is. When I do tell people I’m on Twitter, the “I really don’t care what you had for breakfast” reaction is pretty common. Twitter still suffers from a bit of an image problem, but there is quite a large number of Classicists — professional, rogue, amateur, and lapsed — and plenty of folks in related disciplines on Twitter who are sharing some incredible things. Over the past couple of days, e.g., a group (who have all given me permission to post this) has been engaged in a rather interesting discussion which can serve to highlight why more folks might find Twitter to be useful for their purposes.

For background, Dr Penny Goodman was giving a talk at the British Museum as part of a program Lead the Way: Teaching Classics Through Material Culture. After giving her talk, she was tweeting about the other talks which were going on, in particular, one by Ray Laurence about Children in the Roman City. Here’s what spun out of that over the past couple of days (most of these are in order; some seem out of order temporally, but they don’t really offend the flow of the conversation):

… the conversation will likely continue a bit, but hopefully one can see the potential utility of Twitter in a scholarly situation. Here we witness an excellent use of Twitter in ‘real time’ to discuss/clarify what might be a minor point in the grand scheme of things but is the sort of thing one might definitely want to file away/make note of for later. Some might suggest this is the same sort of thing one might get on, say, the Classics list, and to an extent that is true. But Twitter offers features which one tends not to find in more formal situations like the Classics list. First and foremost is the immediacy — where people might check their email a few times a day, folks seem to be on Twitter almost constantly. This is likely because Twitter is much more convenient to use on handheld devices which are pretty much omnipresent these days (yes, I know you can do email on your Blackberry, but it’s a bit of a pain). A spinoff of this is that queries tend to be answered within hours (if not minutes)  because folks don’t need to wait to ‘get back to the office’ to respond. I’m not sure if it’s a general statement, but people also seem much less likely to be a ‘lurker’ in a Twitter conversation if they ‘know something’ than they might be on a list (i.e. Twitter is less ‘intimidating’). Also worth mentioning is the fact that Twitter limits the length of replies to 140 characters also tends to keep everyone ‘on topic’.

One disadvantage which emerged as I was doing this post is the fact that Twitter doesn’t thread conversations like your email program or even Usenet might. If the conversation is short — say, four or five replies — it’s not a big deal, as Twitter seems to keep that many together in ‘conversation view’. But once it gets beyond five or so, it seems to have problems and one has to dig, which can be a problem depending on how many people one is following. Of course, that’s only a problem with longer conversations such as this one, and really should not detract from the obvious utility of using Twitter as yet another scholarly tool. Again, I (probably naively) foresee a day when folks not attending a conference (such as the APA or CAC) can get a feel for what’s going on because others are sharing via Twitter.

UPDATE (the next day): The conversation did continue a bit … I’ve added a few Tweets to give it ‘closure’ … Liz Gloyn has also written her view of the conversation

UPDATE (later the next day): see now also H. Niyazi (a.k.a. 3pipenet): From Pompeii to Cyberspace – Transcending barriers with Twitter

Nero Exhibition Catalog/Guide

Bust of Nero at the Capitoline Museum, Rome

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Not sure how many folks have seen the scattered mentions of the Nero exhibition at the Colosseum that have popped up in various RSS and Twitter feeds, but Martin Conde has a link to the exhibition catalog (as a pdf) as part of his flickr photostream (look for the pdf link about half way down, just above “Comments and Faves”.

Hang Loose Romani!

The other day we mentioned that Sotheby’s catalog for their upcoming antiquities auction is up and, as might be expected, so is Christie’s. Christie’s, though, has a few items which catch my eye (although all are interesting — whenever these things come out, I am always amazed at how much ‘stuff’ we actually do have from the ancient world).  Topping the list is the item which prompted our headline:

Christie's Photo

This bronze hand dates to the second or third century A.D. according to the official description, and clearly proves the Romans invented the ‘hang loose’ gesture long before the Hawaiians (not really, but I’m sure someone will claim that).

Next comes this nice little figural askos:

We’ve blogged about sirens before, and about the perpetual confusion between them and mermaids. As this item shows, of course, they did have wings and really weren’t modified fish. According to this one’s official description, this item hails from late-fifth century B.C. Sicily. Not sure why an askos (for small quantities of oil) would be a siren-shaped vessel …

Last, but certainly not least of the items which caught my eye, is this Phrygian-style helmet:

The official description has this being a Hellenistic (3rd century B.C. or so) Phrygian Style helmet. What I find very interesting is the obviously modelled moustache on the cheekplates, which is something I haven’t seen before — actually, I can’t recall ever seeing a Phrygian helmet with cheekplates, although I’m sure they exist. It’s difficult to tell whether the somewhat similar item on this page has a moustache or not …

There are plenty of other interesting items, of course … check out the online catalog here

Tim Ferriss the Stoic

Plenty o’ ClassCon in an interview at BoingBoing with productivity/lifestyle guru Tim Ferriss, e.g.:

I came to Seneca by looking at military strategies. A lot of military writing is based on stoic philosophical principles. The three cited sources are Marcus Aurelius and his book Meditations, which was effectively a war campaign journal. The second is Epictetus and his handbook Enchiridion, which I find difficult to read. The last is Seneca and, because Seneca was translated from Latin to English as opposed to from Greek to English and also because he was a very accomplished writer and a playwright, I find his readings to be more memorable and actionable.

So, it came to me through a number of different vehicles, the study of war and war strategy. Second was through philosophers like Thoreau and Emerson who were also fans of Seneca. Thirdly, was when I was really embracing minimalism and trying to eliminate the trivial many, both materially and otherwise. From a business standpoint, Seneca is constantly cited by people in the “less is more” camp of philosophical thought. I basically came to Seneca through several different directions.

The other was – and part of what appealed to me about Seneca – was the similarity I found between his brand of stoic thought and the brands of Buddhism and Zen Buddhism that were practiced by people like Musashi Miyamoto. He wrote The Book of Five Rings and is also the most famous Japanese swordsman in history. [...]

Socrates Retried Redux

T’other day we mentioned an item wherein some folks got together in New York and retried Socrates … Time Magazine actually devotes quite a bit of space to the trial itself … here’s what you didn’t see in our previous piece; this actually looks like fun (Bogdanos! Wolfe! Celebulawyers!):

[...] So the case went back to trial, to be heard by three steely New York judges who would evaluate the evidence with a modern perspective, at a hearing that fused historical discussion with sometimes comical theatrics. (The trial was presented by the Onassis Foundation, who will distribute a DVD of the event to schools and cultural institutions.) Yet no one knew how the proceedings would unfold — after all, how easy can it be to rehash a trial with only circumstantial evidence, produced decades after the fact by Socrates’ admirers Plato and Xenophon? Would Socrates be sentenced to death again or would he be acquitted, albeit a few millennia too late?

5:26 p.m. “I plan on being a little bit over the top,” announces Colonel Matthew Bogdanos, part of the prosecution team. The Assistant District Attorney of Manhattan — who joined a counterterrorism operation in Afghanistan after 9/11 and later served three tours in Iraq — is a force to be reckoned with.

5:33 p.m. “Welcome to Athens!” Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs proclaims. He explains the charges against Socrates from a legal perspective. In ancient Athens, turns out there’s no presumption of innocence.

5:43 p.m. Anthony Papadimitriou (president of the Onassis Foundation) heads off the case for the prosecution. He’s Greek. And his accent is really Greek. It adds a new level of credibility to his testimony. (See Plato’s Apology as part of the top 10 apologies.)

5:45 p.m. Celebrity diversion! Tom Wolfe strolls into the courtroom, fashionably late and definitely fashionable, in one of his classic white suits. (He’s friends with Socrates’ counsel Eddie Hayes; Bonfire of the Vanities is dedicated to Hayes.)

5:48 p.m. Papadimitriou is getting heated. His historical memory is stunning, and he’s slamming the philosopher hard, calling him a “liar,” a “rebel,” and accusing him of converting his students to “lovers of Sparta, the enemy.” Corruption charge? Check.

5:55 p.m. Loretta Preska, Chief Judge of the Southern District of New York, counters the prosecution: “Athens embraced free speech as one of its most important traditions. Wasn’t Socrates just speaking his opinion?” Papadimitriou responds with some legalese, explaining that the question of free speech doesn’t relate to the charges of impiety and corruption. Indeed, speaking one’s mind is a right; it doesn’t prove that the philosopher has done anything wrong.

6:01 p.m. Col. Bogdanos, the second prosecutor, takes the stand. The history lesson is over; let the show begin! He proclaims that this trial is about the survival of democracy, which has come under fire in Athens after two government coups in the past decade. And who are the men behind these overthrows? Students of Socrates. “Let no golden-tongued orators with honey-sweet words tell you this trial is about anything else” but Socrates’ attempt to destroy democracy, Bogdanos booms. Worse, Socrates was influential yet passive: standing in the agora all day, he took no part in city affairs, making him “good for nothing.”

Watch the 1937 Supreme Court in action.

6:21 p.m. Judge Jacobs picks at Bogdanos’ argument with a quip: “You assume that students who are taught eventually learn.” Did Socrates’ seditious students learn to rebel from him? Or were they rebelling against his teachings? Bogdanos: “The man who holds the ladder is just as guilty as the thief.” Laughter all around. The prosecution goes out on a high note.

6:28 p.m. The defense team takes the floor, headed off by criminal defense attorney Eddie Hayes, who pronounces ancient names such as Meletus and Alcibiades with a thick Queens accent. Why would they indict Socrates, Hayes asks? “I think it’s for having a big mouth! … If they want to kill him for having a big mouth, what about my brother too?” He says we shouldn’t stop anyone from speaking, because we then stop even more people from listening. A timeless lesson. (See photos of the long, painful history of the First Amendment.)

6:35 p.m. Hayes makes it clear he doesn’t care much for Socrates, but he’s doing his damndest to keep him from drinking the hemlock. In fact, his insults turn to vanity: “It looks like they took a stone chisel to his face!” But Hayes argues that despite the philosopher’s arrogance, what Socrates preaches about the glory of virtue and building a community could help rescue Athens from its constant overthrows. Maybe Athens’ heyday will come from actually listening to Socrates?

6:46 p.m. Fortuitously, we can indeed listen to Socrates, as he is channeled by Benjamin Brafman, the attorney who successfully defended Sean Combs against gun and bribery charges stemming from a nightclub melée in 1999. As there was no written record of what Socrates said, Brafman is taking some creative license as he proclaims Socrates’ harmlessness. In advising hundreds of students over 50 years, Socrates claims, only two have turned rogue. Brafman’s larger-than-life rendition has the gallery in stitches. “I’m a 70-year-old man walking in a sheet, naked,” he says. “I’m not a threat!”

7:00 p.m. Socrates/Brafman appeals directly to us, trying to guilt us into letting him go free. “How would you feel if you put me to death?” He’s running a few minutes over his allotted time, but no one seems to mind, even the judges — who’ve been sticklers for the clock up to this point. (See the Supreme Court’s free-speech struggle.)

7:04 p.m. Chief Judge Preska takes the opportunity to slam Socrates in the flesh, equating his pompousness in the courtroom with the impiety charge levied against him. She has a point: he who loves himself the most likely holds no God. With that, the judges are off to deliberate.

7:32 p.m. The judges emerge from their chamber and Chief Judge Jacobs hands down their decision to acquit on both charges: “The prosecution didn’t prove that Socrates’ personal God was not a not-approved God.” Chief Judge Carol Amon dissented, calling Socrates a “dangerous subversive.” But Chief Judge Preska felt that, as Socrates reflected no “clear and present danger,” and his impiety seemed more a factor of disinterest than disrespect, the court could not find him guilty.

While the charges levied against the philosopher may not stand in a current court of law, did the trial truly exonerate Socrates? Does the circumstantial evidence still cast a shadow over his historical memory? If Socrates had shared an attorney with P. Diddy, would he have had to drink the hemlock? In the words of Socrates himself: “All I know is that I know nothing.”

Journalists Just Aren’t Trying Any More

In various posts in the past — usually ones associated with reportage about spurious claims — I have often pointed out that the folks involved have titles (usually something like “historian” or “archaeologist” or whatever) which they really have no legitimate claim to have (although one might cynically observe no one claims to be a dilettante). What makes things worse, though, is that the various journalists reporting on such events either merely parrot the claimed title or worse, they’re the ones who come up with the title to begin with. A glaring case in point of this sort of thing can be seen with an antiquities smuggling case that is currently filling my box. The gist is some American who took a bunch of folks to Egypt and Israel has been charged with illegally selling/smuggling antiquties. We’ll just compare how this American is described:

Art Daily‘s initial paragraph:

The suspect, a retired university lecturer with a Ph. D in history from the United States, sold among other things, silver coins from the Second Temple period and 1,500 year old clay oil lamps. He planned on leaving the country with a handful of checks and cash totaling more than $20,000.

People’s Daily (second paragraph):

The suspect, an expert in Egyptian history and culture who worked as a tour guide, received the items from robbers who plundered archaeological sites across Israel, and then allegedly sold the antiquities to American tourists while guiding them through the country.

Jerusalem Post:

A retired university lecturer from the US was held for questioning this week after allegedly selling and trying to smuggle abroad hundreds of valuable archeological artifacts.

The suspect, a former history lecturer specializing in Ancient Egypt, is alleged to have sold ancient coins and other historical relics to some 20 tourists he was guiding in Israel, and to have tried to leave the country with cash and checks totaling over $20,000.

Media Line:

An American history professor has been arrested by Israeli authorities at the country’s main airport as he attempted to slip out of the country with items allegedly obtained from illegal grave robberies.


A retired lecturer from the United States is being held on suspicion of illegal trafficking in antiquities, the Israel Antiquities Authority said Tuesday.

John Lund, 70, a tour guide from Utah, is suspected of having sold stolen artifacts to tour groups he led in Israel, according to the authority. Lund was reportedly detained at Ben-Gurion International Airport on Monday, as he was about to leave the country, officials said.


Israeli authorities arrested a retired American university lecturer this week on suspicion of selling ancient artifacts illegally to U.S. tourists, they said Wednesday.

The suspect, a tour guide, is accused of selling ancient coins and 1,500-year-old clay lamps, and pocketing the equivalent of $20,000.

I could go on and on. Whatever the case, depending on who you ‘talk to’ we have a suspect who is either a “history professor”, a “tour guide”, a “retired lecturer”. an “expert in Egyptology”, an “Egyptologist”, or various combinations of these. Now, in my world, a “professor” is someone who has achieved an academic rank in a university (the top rank), after having completed numerous levels of university education (usually, in North America, B.A./B.Sc., M.A., Ph.D.). A “history professor” has degrees in history and formal training with historical sources, research, etc.. An “Egyptologist” is a further specialization involving formal training in the history and archaeology of ancient Egypt. A “lecturer” is someone who probably does not have the complete qualifications to claim the title of “professor”, but who teaches courses at a university in the subject of their degrees something different entirely depending on what country you happen to be in.

Now the John Lund in question has a webpage with an ‘About’ page, of course … here’s some info from that:

In 1972 Brigham Young University awarded him the degree of Doctor of Education. Because of his emphasis in research, he completed the equivalent of a Doctoral Minor in Statistics.

Dr. Lund’s work has taken him on a thirty year journey where he has taught as adjunct faculty at major universities throughout Washington, Idaho, California and Utah.

Elsewhere, we find he works for a group called Fun For Less Tours … at that website, there is a page of articles written by various tour leaders and Lund appears to have penned a couple of historical interest. That doesn’t make him an historian. That doesn’t make him an Egyptologist. There is no indication that any of his ‘lecturing’ had anything to do with things pertaining to the ancient world. If I were to take a bunch of wood and build a nice little shed out back, could I claim to be an engineer? If I went to my neighbour’s house and pushed their little shed over and I was arrested, would the press even think of giving a headline like “Engineer destroys neighbour’s building?”. So why is it that in the fields of archaeology and/or history, that anyone who audited a course in college or watched a tv documentary is given leave to claim to be an archaeologist, or historian, or some other “professional” designation? Granted, there is a ‘grey area’ of sorts … there are professional historians out there who do write scholar-level books (Stacey Schiff, e.g.) but they do have genuine historical background and skills. But it seems to be an increasing problem amongst journalists in giving undeserved and unearned professional titles to folks who are little more than dilettantes and in so doing, give those people much greater auctoritas in the eyes of the public than they really should have. As can be seen, it really isn’t that difficult to find the background of these people, so why aren’t journalists putting in the effort?

UPDATE (an hour or so later) … I note that Jim Davila blogs in a similar vein today: “EGYPTOLOGIST” ACCUSED OF ANTIQUITIES SMUGGLING:

UPDATE II (the next day) … Dr Lund’s side of the story: Utah historian accused of smuggling antiquities out of Israel

Help the Ancient World Open Bibliographies Project

I’m sure regular readers of rogueclassicism are familiar with the Ancient World Open Bibliographies Project … we regularly post links to bibliographies which are part of that (see the next post, e.g.). I know you all find such things useful and there are perhaps some of you who are thinking, “Hey, rogueclassicist, I’d love to get in on this bibliography action. How can I contribute?” Well, as luck would have it, Charles Jones et al. just sent out a flier on that very subject! Ecce:

Ancient World Open Bibliographies Project

 Our Goal: To provide an online destination for students and scholars seeking bibliographies about the ancient world.  In the modern academy, sometimes too much information is as thorny a problem as too little. The Ancient World Open Bibliographies seeks to provide annotated bibliographies on specific subjects that serve as an introduction to students or to scholars exploring a new area of research.  We will also link to existing open-access bibliographical resources online.

Open Access: The project is currently hosted at a dedicated wiki ( ), with duplication using the (free) bibliographic citation management software Zotero (see our group library here: ).  It is open access and covered by a Creative Commons license.

Scope: Geographically, we cover Europe, Asia, and Africa. Temporally, we cover prehistory through ca. 700 CE. Right now the project is richest in Classical, Near Eastern, and Egyptian Studies, but we welcome broader contributions within our scope.

 How Can You Help? 

  1. Create an annotated bibliography on a topic of your expertise.
  2. Contribute an existing bibliography you have assembled on a topic – perhaps one you use for your own work, or distribute to students.
  3. Add a link to an existing online bibliography you use.
  4. Encourage your colleagues and students to participate by creating and sharing their own bibliographies; for example, consider whether the creation of an collaborative annotated bibliography would work as a class assignment.

Bibliographies or links can be emailed (see contact info below) or feel free to edit the wiki, adding a link or a new page (see details on how to do the latter at ). Emailed bibliographies in most formats will work: .doc, .pdf, .ris or other export from EndNote/Refworks/Zotero/etc.

 Questions, or Want to Contribute?  Visit the wiki or blog or contact Phoebe Acheson (University of Georgia Libraries, ) or Chuck Jones (Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU, cejo TA ).

Sotheby’s Upcoming Antiquities Auction

I know I’m going to be swamped for the next while and probably won’t get a chance to comment on any of the items in Sotheby’s upcoming antiquities auction (June 11), so you might want to peruse the online catalogue for yourself. There are a handful of red figure items, a few heads, a few headless torsos … there’s an interesting statue of Melpomene holding (presumably) a tragic mask, but I can’t figure out whether the head belongs on the statue or not (strange description) … also noteworthy is the so-called ‘Stowe Sarcophagus’ with its nice sacrifice scene …

Another Temple of Demeter

… but this time in Bulgaria … from Novinite:

A temple of Ancient Greek goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone has been discovered by a team of Bulgarian archaeologists near the town of Sozopol on the Black Sea.

The archaeological team of Prof. Krastina Panayotova found the Ancient Greek temple Tuesday during excavations on the Skamniy Cape where the archaeologists are exploring a fortress wall and a church that were part of a Byzantine imperial monastery.

Panayotova explained that the figurines and ceramics found in a concentrated spot are clear evidence of the cult for Demeter and Persephone.

“We have come across pieces before but this time the finding is concentrated in one location, in the wall of the tower that was built above it. It is connected with the cult for Demeter and Persephone. As there is a church here, we naturally expected a sanctuary from the Antiquity period,” the archaeologist explained as cited by Focus.

The sanctuary is near the monastery complex “St. Apostles and 20 000 Martyrs” built in the first half of the 14th century by Anastasios Palaiologos, brother of the Byzantine Emperor.

Sozopol, whose name as an Ancient Greek colony was Apollonia, was a traditional Byzantine stronghold during the Middle Ages even though its hinterland was in Bulgarian hands. The town itself was conquered by the First Bulgarian Empire under Khan Krum in 812 AD but was later recaptured by Byzantium.

Sozopol was conquered by the Ottoman Turkish Empire only in 1459, six years after the fall of Constantinople; Bulgarian archaeologists have found evidence that the monastery “St. Apostles and 20 000 Martyrs” was set on fire and the town was ravaged during the invasion.

Sozopol appears to be one of the earliest centers of Christianity as in 2010 Bulgarian archaeologist Kazimir Popkonstantinov found relics of St. John the Baptist on the St. Ivan island near the town.

… just a few days ago, we were hearing of a semi-similar find in Russia: Temple of Demeter from Russia

Socrates Found Not Guilty … a bit late

Somewhat strange item from the Greek Reporter:

The Federal Court of New York has acquitted Socrates after 2,410 years. During a historic trial, with ancient Greek characteristics and contemporary views, presented from their legal and humoristic side at the same time, hundreds of people had the chance to experience a wonderful “performance” of the truth, the law and the Greek heritage. Alexander S. Onassis Foundation was in charge of the transfer of Socrates’ trial to one of the most representative court rooms of American Justice, succeeding in ensuring the participation of top judges and acclaimed lawyers of New York’s legal elite. During this Manhattan trial, which was not actually a representation but a new version, all charges against Socrates were examined. The case dated back to 399 BC, when Athenians had to decide if Socrates was “guilty” or “not guilty”, concerning charges for “impiety against Gods” and “corruption of young people’.

Archbishop Demetrios of America stated: “The presentation of Socrates’ trial was very interesting as far as defence, advocacy and accusation are concerned. Important views were presented, with elements of intelligent speech and clever references. The Onassis Foundation will release a DVD of the trial, which will also be published on the internet”.