David Cameron and the Elgin/Parthenon Marbles

I was wondering if this was going to be brought up, given the current situation in Greece … from the Guardian:

David Cameron has rejected a call for Britain to “put right a wrong” that dates back just short of two centuries by returning the Parthenon marbles to Greece.

Andrew George, the Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives, reopened the issue of the marble sculptures, currently in the British Museum, when he incorporated the Greek financial crisis in a Commons question.

George told Cameron at prime minister’s questions that Britain could do its bit to help Greece by returning the sculptures to Athens.

He made the suggestion after the prime minister reiterated his belief that the European financial mechanism should be used to bail Greece out of its financial problems.

George told Cameron: “Whilst of course we should not be making a unilateral contribution to the Greek bailout, does the prime minister not agree that we have something which would help regenerate the Greek economy and put right a 200-year wrong – and that is to give the marbles back”.

Cameron said he had no intention of allowing Britain to “lose its marbles”. He told MPs: “I’m afraid I don’t agree … the short answer is that we’re not going to lose them.”

Of course, at this point in time, even if the marbles were to be returned, they’d probably not have enough staff to allow anyone to see them properly …


Also Seen: Alexander of Abonoteichus

Nice feature in Fortean Times … here’s the incipit:

Alexander of Abonoteichus may not be one of the most famous figures of the second century AD… in fact, with a mouthful of a name like that it’s surprising anyone remembers him at all. But a Roman emperor threw lions into the Danube on the advice of Alexander’s talking snake, so he obviously made, well, a bit of a splash…

Alexander was born at the beginning of the second century and lived until the 170s. According to his own publicity, he was the prophet of a new god, Glycon, a purveyor of oracles and a healer; to his opponents, he was a charlatan and a conman. But the cult he started appealed to all classes of society and spread throughout the Roman Empire, surviving his own death by perhaps another century, which isn’t bad going if he was nothing but a trickster. […]

… speaking of Fortean Times, one of my summer goals is to resume Barry Baldwin’s columns therefrom … stay tuned on that score.

ClassCon in ‘Snow White and the Huntsman’

From the Hollywood Reporter comes word of some Classical connections in an upcoming movie called Snow White and the Huntsman … inter alia:

In the script, the dwarfs are named after Roman emperors with McShane playing the group’s leader, Caesar, Jones as a timid dwarf named Claudius and Izzard playing Tiberius, described as the biggest and burliest of the crew. Hoskins will play Constantine, a blind dwarf, Graham an angry-looking dwarf named Nero.

Winstone is playing Trajan, the twin brother of Hadrian (Marsan).

Not sure why they’re named after Roman emperors … did they have names in Grimm?

Roman “Palace” from Upper Egypt

Something clearly lost in translation in this one from Al-Masry Al-Youm:

A huge palace from the Roman ages (31-395 BC) has been discovered in the New Valley Governorate in Upper Egypt, the Ministry of Antiquities announced Monday.

An US expedition in the Amhada region, 500km south of Cairo, unearthed a palace belonging to a person named Sornius, according to a statement by the ministry.

The ministry said the palace cannot be opened to the public due to erosion, but it said a copy will be constructed for visitors.

It added that the US team was able to translate the inscriptions found in the palace, which helped elucidate ancient cultural and educational activities in the region.

The team’s findings suggested that ancient Egyptian farmers might have worked in the region of the oases before coming to the Nile Valley.

I doubt the photo accompanying the article has anything to do with this find; I strongly suspect palace=villa … I can’t find where the “Ministry of Antiquities” announced this, if it made it to the web, so we’ll have to wait for mre details I guess …

Latest (Intact) Tomb from Bulgaria

From Novinite:

An intact Ancient Thracian tomb which has not been destroyed by treasure hunters has been discovered by a team of Bulgarian archaeologists near the town of Opaka in northeast Bulgaria.

The tomb of a Thracian dignitary is dated to the 2nd century BC, and was discovered by the team of archaeologist Nikola Rusev from the History Museum in the town of Popovo, Targovishte District.

The tomb is part of a complex of several Ancient Thracian mounds. According to historians, the discovery is one of the latest burials in Ancient Thrace. Two settlements in Ancient Thrace are believed to have picked the spot for their ritual funerals.

One of the most startling discoveries in the newly-found Thracian tomb are six leafs made of gold, part of a golden wreath, together with other golden and bronze decorations, pottery, and glass and bronze cosmetic vessels. Another unique find is a human-shaped balsamarium, small container for incense or perfume often made in the form of a grotesque figure.

“These items were most likely produced outside of the territory of today’s Bulgaria and were then imported. It is safe to say that they were luxury products,” said archaeologist Nikola Rusev, as cited by bTV.

Newly-uncovered Thracian tombs in Bulgaria are becoming increasingly rare as many of them have been damaged by treasure hunters even before archaeologists can reach them.

Latest Lysistrata Comparanda


Image by kiki via Flickr

The incipit of an item from Wire Update (tip o’ the pileus to @pourmecoffee on Twitter) …

Almost 300 hundred women in southwest Colombia vowed to withhold sex from their husbands until the government paves the connecting road into their village, Colombia Reports said on Friday.

Dubbed the “strike of crossed legs,” the women in the town of Barbacoas near the Pacific coast are trying to persuade their husbands to pressure local authorities to properly maintain the main road out of their village which stretches some 35 miles 56 kilometers before reaching the nearest town. Many husbands of the women on strike, however, said that they would prefer that their wives engage in a hunger strike instead.

It currently takes about 12 to 14 hours to reach the nearest hospital. More than a dozen medical patients have died on the road before reaching the hospital.

Colombia has a recent history of sex-strikes. In 1997, Colombia’s military chief Manuel Bonnet called for a sex-strike among the wives of paramilitaries, guerillas, and drug lords to promote peace. In 2006, wives and girlfriends of gang members also went on a sex strike in central Colombia after their city suffered a period of violence that left 480 people dead.

If you need to catch up on previous sex strikes: Latest Lysistratidai