New Issue of CANE Newsletter

Ed DeHoratius posted this on the Latinteach list:

Just wanted to let you know that the new issue of CANE’s newsletter is
available via download from the CANE website (which, if you haven’t seen it
yet, has been beautifully redesigned by Roger Travis of UConn: There is a very amusing article on a classicist
running the Athens marathon on the 2500th anniversary of the battle as well
as an innovative (and successful) JCL fundraiser, among others. Enjoy.

Here’s a direct link to the pdf version of the newsletter

Pondering the Xlendi Shipwreck

From the Independent (Malta):

Outside Xlendi Bay, near the fort, is a spit of land with some salt pans at its tip. The cliff face right outside that promontory descends from just a few metres under sea level to an awesome 60 metres and there, right under the cliff, lies the remains of a Roman vessel that was shipwrecked there around the time of the Punic Wars.

Last Wednesday, an extremely interested audience at Palazzo Santa Sofia in Mdina listened to a graphic account of an expedition conducted on the remains 50 years ago.

The speaker was Professor John Woods. Known internationally due to his expertise in oceanography, for which he has held the professorial chairs in Southampton, Kiel and London, he is the founder of the UK National Oceanographic Centre at Southampton. His research has focused on the physics of the upper ocean and on theoretical plankton ecology. He is emeritus professor of Oceanography and Complex Systems at Imperial College London.

Prof. Woods has had a key role in establishing the contribution that the ocean makes to climate change and has promoted these ideas through membership of international committees such as the World Climate Research Programme, the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (which he co-chaired) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (for which he shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for Climate change).

Fifty years ago, he led the project to survey the Xlendi Roman wreck. He had a blue chip team of advisers, including the world-renowned marine archaeologist Joan du Plat Taylor, director of archaeology at the Malta National Museum at that time, David Trump, and Capt. Olof Frederick Gollcher.

Those were early days for marine archaeology, certainly at those depths, and Prof. Woods’ team experimented with some rudimentary yet effective help from the RAF, as well as from Martini Rossi, which sponsored the dive.

Interestingly, the dive site was (or perhaps is, for the remains are still there) blocked by rock falls from the cliff, maybe due to the 1693 earthquake.

Underneath the boulders, the team found and rescued a number of amphorae which it examined with a view to obtaining some information about the vessel. In those times, amphorae were never mass produced. On the contrary, each one shows the vineyard, or producer, from which it came.

The amphorae on the vessel are all different. This puzzled the team for quite some time, until they surmised that the amphorae were all second-hand and had been filled with victuals. From this, the team came up with the hypothesis that the vessel was a supply ship, manned by around five seamen, sent to replenish the Roman garrison with much-needed supplies.

The 1961 survey was the first to scientifically survey the scene. Prof. Woods appeared to believe that no one had studied the remains that were brought to the surface by his team, but his listeners helped put him right, and Professor Anthony Bonanno informed him that a number of theses have been written on the subject.

The 1961 expedition left no detailed record of the dive, apart from a short report, and some notes on the expedition seem to have been lost over the years. And there were people in Prof. Woods’ audience who disagreed that it was a Roman vessel, because transport around the Mediterranean was normally undertaken by non-Roman vessels.

Greek Paleography Threatened at the University of Pisa

Seen on the Classicists list:

Greek Paleography has a longstanding tradition of studies at the University of Pisa, where courses held at the Department of Classics have traditionally catered also for students of the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa. Its teaching will be cancelled from next Academic Year. Please consider signing the petition to save the program:

CONF: Andreas Alfoeldi in the Twenty-First Century

Seen on the Classicists list:

Andreas Alföldi in the Twenty-First Century

University of Wales Trinity Saint David

31 August – 2September, 2011

Professor Andreas Alföldi (1895-1981) was an eminent ancient historian, numismatist, archaeologist and epigraphist. His scholarly output was not only immense, it was also extremely diverse, covering archaic Rome, late Republican Rome, the provinces of the Roman Empire (especially the Danube region) and late antiquity. His work was marked by extraordinary erudition, an ability to draw upon all manner of evidence no matter how disparate, and also by great fertility and originality.

Alföldi’s successful academic career took him from Budapest to Debrecen, and then back to Budapest, where he taught until 1947. He subsequently went into exile on account of the political situation in Hungary. He first moved to Switzerland, where he held professorships at Berne and Basle; then, in 1956, he moved to the Institute of Advanced Study at Princeton, where he worked until his death. He maintained an impressive level of scholarly productivity until his final days, despite the trauma of exile and various health problems.

Alföldi died in 1981. 2011 seems the perfect year in which to revisit and reconsider the rich and diverse output of this extraordinary scholar, and also to consider the impact that his own times had on that output. Almost all of the most prominent ancient historians of the twentieth century have received comprehensive scholarly attention. Numerous conferences and publications have already engaged with the careers of other illustrious scholars, such as K. Beloch, A. Momigliano, E. Pais and R. Syme, and the work of G. De Sanctis and M. Rostovtzeff has almost become the object of a sub-discipline within the history of classical studies. While a few important works have appeared over the years (such as K. Christ, Neue Profile der Alten Geschichte, 1990, 8-62 and L. Borhy (ed.), “Von der Entstehung Roms bis zur Auflösung des Römerreiches”: Konferenz zum Gedenken des hundertsten Geburtstages von Andreas Alföldi (1895-1981), 1999), it remains fair to say that comparatively little attention, and almost none in the English-speaking world, has been paid to the no less important scholarship of Alföldi.

This conference aims to address this imbalance, to draw renewed attention to the importance of Alföldi’s work, to discuss the areas in which it made an impact and those in which it is now superseded, and to explore how the historical context in which any scholar works can sometimes be just as important as the historical context of the evidence with which s/he works. One of the main purposes of the conference is also to revisit some of the central problems with which Alföldi’s work engaged. While some of his conclusions may not have stood the test of time, his pioneering approach of drawing not only on the literary evidence, but also the archaeological and iconographic, has remained fundamental to subsequent scholarship.

List of confirmed speakers and provisional titles of papers:

· Géza Alföldy, University of Heidelberg: ‘Andreas Alföldi and the Crisis of the Third Century AD’.

· Lucretiu Birliba, University of Iasi: ‘Andreas Alföldi and the Dacians’.

· Anthony Birley, University of Düsseldorf and University of Newcastle: ‘Andreas Alföldi and the Historia Augusta’.

· Dominique Briquel, University of Paris-Sorbonne: ‘The origins of Lavinium before Aeneas’.

· Tim Cornell, University of Manchester: ‘Alföldi, Early Latium and the Latin League’.

· Attila Ferenczi, Eötvös Loránd University: ‘Andreas Alföldi in the history of classical scholarship in Hungary’.

· Peter Forisek, University of Debrecen: ‘Alföldi at the University of Debrecen’.

· Peter Franz Mittag, University of Cologne: ‘Andreas Alföldi and the Contorniates’.

· Mark Humphries, Swansea University: ‘Andreas Alföldi and Late Antiquity’.

· Frederic Hurlet, University of Nantes: ‘Andreas Alföldi et Auguste : une contribution à l’étude de la naissance du pouvoir impérial et de sa representation’.

· Frank Kolb, University of Tubingen: ‘Alföldi, Caesar und die Tradition der deutschen Caesar-Forschung’.

· Arnaldo Marcone, University of Rome III: ‘Alföldi and Rostovzeff’.

· Arpad Nagy, Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest and University of Pécs: ‘“Der iranische Weltriese”: Alföldi’s interpretation sixty years later’.

· James Richardson, University of Wales Trinity Saint David: ‘Andreas Alföldi and the adventure(s) of the Vibenna Brothers’.

· Federico Santangelo, University of Newcastle: ‘Saturnia regna revisited’.

· Peter Wiseman, University of Exeter: Title TBC.

The conference will take place on the Lampeter campus of the University of Wales Trinity Saint David. For information on how to reach Lampeter, please visit:

A registration form will be available shortly. In the meantime, please direct any questions to the conference organisers:

James Richardson (University of Wales Trinity Saint David): j.richardson AT

Federico Santangelo (University of Newcastle): f.santangelo AT