Nuntii Latini Graecique 10/31/11

Nuntii Latini:

Akropolis World News:

Circumundique ~ 10/30/11

… still kind of quiet:

Benghazi Treasure Looted from Libya!!!!

I’ve been sitting on a pile of items on the state of antiquities in Libya of late, but this item from the Daily Mail which just came in easilty eclipses them all, despite the source:

A gang of Libyan looters have raided a priceless collection of gold and silver coins that are believed to date back to the time of Alexander the Great.

The thieves carried off with the pieces, known as The Treasure of Benghazi, having drilled through a concrete ceiling at the National Commercial Bank of Benghazi.

An expert has described the raid as ‘one of the greatest thefts in archeological history.’

Whilst the break-in was initially believed to have been part of the uprising against Muammar Gadaffi, Hafed Walada, a Libyan archeologist working at King’s College London told The Sunday Times; ‘It may have been an inside job.

‘It appears to have been carried out by people who knew what they were looking for.’

Alongside the coins, several artefacts, including monuments and figurines of bronze, glass and ivory, as well as jewellery, bracelets and medallions, are also believed to have been seized by the thieves.

Early leads had initially pointed to neighbouring Egypt, where a farmer had attempted to smuggle 503 gold coins and a golden statue through the port city of Alexandria, however attempts to locate him have thus far failed.

Most of the Benghazi treasures had been on Libyan soil following a mass recovery of the collection between 1917 and 1922 from the temple of Artemis, in Cyrene – an ancient Roman city, now Libyan territory and otherwise known as Shahat.

During the Second World War, much of the treasure was on display at the Museum of Italian Africa in Rome, but eventually returned to Libyan soil in 1961 and was kept at the bank.

Italian archeologist, Serenella Ensoli, from the Second University of Naples insisted the treasure was priceless given its historical value.

‘The collection is not well studied and is a huge loss for Libyan heritage.’

… doesn’t bode well at all, obviously …

Circumundique ~ 10/27-28/11

Kind of quiet these past few days:

Recent Book Reviews ~ 10/30/11

From BMCR:

From the popular press (via our #classicalbook Twitter hashtag):

Commodus’ Supernova?

The Telegraph has an item which opens thusly:

The Chinese were baffled by what they described as a “guest star”, which appeared in the night sky in 185AD and lingered for 8 months.

Similarly, the Guardian piece on the same subject opens:

A puzzle that has baffled astronomers for centuries has been solved – almost 2,000 years after the first supernova was documented by the ancient Chinese.

I’m not sure why the press is missing out on this one, but this same supernova of 185 A.D. appears to have been mentioned by a couple of sources closer to our hearts in relation to the time of Commodus. As Paul and Lesley Murdin mention in their Supernovae, Herodian and the Historia Augusta both seem to be referring to this event. First, the HA from the life of Commodus (16 via Lacus Curtius’ translation):

Before the war of the deserters the heavens were ablaze.

As Bill Thayer mentions in a note, the ‘war of the deserters’ happened in early 186. Herodian mentions a similar sort of omen about the same time (i.14 via Terullian.org):

Stars remained visible during the day; other stars, extending to an enormous length, seemed to be hanging in the middle of the sky.

… nothing in Dio, alas. Whatever the case, I’m often struck how celestial events recorded by Chinese astronomers seem to show up as portents in our various ancient historians. I’m sure someone has already done a thesis on this …

Protecting the Riace Bronzes from Earthquakes

This one’s been lurking in my mailbox for a few months, but the recent seismic activity in Turkey reminded me of it. Hopefully all museums are taking the possibility of earthquakes into account when they’re constructing displays …. the following is all in Italian, but it’s not difficult to figure out what’s going on if you’re Italianless:

In a Nutshell

One of the more frequent things my spiders drag back to me are references to Pliny the Elder as a source for some strange fact in some newspaper article. Most of the time, they don’t come with a reference, of course, and a lot of times it seems like the press is just dropping the name of Pliny to give their article that air of authenticity, so usually I’m immediately skeptical. One such item was related to the phrase “In a nutshell”, which was mentioned in a couple of reviews of a book called The Etymologicon:

According to the book (via the Sun):

In a nutshell: Another one from ancient times. Roman writer Pliny claimed to have seen a copy of the poem The Iliad that was so small it could fit in a walnut shell.

… I’d never heard of this before (but I suspect many of my readers have), but after some poking, ecce, there it is (NH 7.21 via Lacus Curtius):

Oculorum acies vel maxime fidem excedentia invenit exempla. in nuce inclusam Iliadem Homeri carmen in membrana scriptum tradit Cicero.

Even more interesting, is that someone in the 19th century no less, actually proved it could be done:

The Iliad in a nutshell. Pliny tells us that Cicero asserts that the whole Iliad was written on a piece of parchment which might be put into a nutshell. Lalanne describes, in his Curiosités Bibliographiques, an edition of Rochefoucault’s Maxims, published by Didot in 1829, on pages one inch square, each page containing 26 lines, and each line 44 letters. Charles Toppan, of New York, engraved on a plate one-eighth of an inch square 12,000 letters. The Iliad contains 501,930 letters, and would therefore occupy 42 such plates engraved on both sides. Huet has proved by experiment that a parchment 27 by 21 centimètres would contain the entire Iliad, and such a parchment would go into a common-sized nut; but Mr. Toppan’s engraving would get the whole Iliad into half that size. George P. Marsh says, in his Lectures, he has seen the entire Arabic Koran in a parchment roll four inches wide and half an inch in diameter.

… then again, if Austin Powers could fit in a nutshell, the Iliad would be easy:

Birthplace of Augustus Found?

Another one which we hope will make it to the English presses, but this is one I just can’t sit on any longer. Tip o’ the pileus to Martin Conde for alerting us to Clementina Panella et al’s find of what is believed to be the house where Augustus was born. The identification is based on the find of a house which belonged to Octavius (i.e. Augustus’ father) near the curia veteres (within the Palatine pomerium), where, we are told, Augustus was born (see the entry from Platner at Lacus Curtius). Here’s the coverage from la Repubblica:

Lungo le pendici nord orientali del Palatino, quasi ad affacciarsi sulla via Sacra, a ridosso dell’Arco di Tito, gli archeologi hanno riportato alla luce la casa natale di Augusto, la dimora del padre Ottavio dove nel 63 a. C. nacque il futuro primo imperatore di Roma. Si è conclusa l’undicesima campagna di scavo archeologico dell’università La Sapienza diretta dalla professoressa Clementina Panella e le ipotesi solo avanzate attraverso le indagini di tre anni fa, sembrano oggi trovare la conferma: “Quest’anno abbiamo trovato almeno otto vani di questa splendida domus di età repubblicana che si affaccia sulla valle del Foro romano racconta Panella È la prima dimora aristocratica di qualità, testimoniata da un mosaico eccezionale, con tessere bianche e nere abbinate ad un tappeto policromo disegnato a triangoli”.

Il dettaglio cruciale è la vicinanza ad un’area sacra. “È la prima residenza che troviamo sul Palatino dopo un santuario, che abbiamo identificato con le cosiddette Curiae Veteres, luogo sacro che la tradizione ricollega a Romolo, quale punto che delimitava il terzo vertice del leggendario pomerio disegnato da Romolo nella fondazione della città”.

Le fonti antiche offrono la conferma: “Sappiamo che Augusto nacque in Curis Veteribus, ossia nelle Curie vecchie avverte Panella e la scoperta della casa natale di Augusto sembra giustificata dal fatto che questa è la prima domus che s’incontra dopo il santuario delle Curiae salendo verso il Palatino”. Qui Augusto avrebbe vissuto i primi tre anni della sua vita, per poi cambiare domicilio: “Le fonti dicono che tre anni dopo la nascita, la famiglia si trasferisce alle Carine, la zona dell’antica Velia ai confini dell’Esquilino dice Panella Poi a diciotto anni Augusto compra una casa alle Scalae anularie nei pressi del Foro romano, quindi a trentasei anni acquisterà la famosa e meglio conosciuta residenza sul Palatino”.

Ma la Casa natale di Augusto è solo un tassello svelato nella storia archeologica di questo sito che sarà illustrato venerdì prossimo alla stampa con un sopralluogo cui parteciperà anche il rettore Luigi Frati. Sulla domus di Augusto, infatti, si innesta l’impianto di un horreum (magazzino) d’età adrianea, che è andato bruciato nel 193 d. C. e ricostruito per essere trasformato nel IV secolo in un’area di piacere: “L’edificio si arricchisce incredibilmente di fontane, portici, ninfei, sale con tavola da banchetto racconta Panella La tradizione topografica lo associava alle Terme di Elagabalo, ma ora possiamo identificarlo nella sede di un alto funzionario dell’imperatore Massenzio”.

Dall’Arco di Tito alla valle del Colosseo, con uno scarto di svariati secoli, le pendici del Palatino restituiscono anche un insediamento abitativo dell’età del Ferro: “Si tratta di capanne della fine del IX secolo inizio VIII secolo a. C., una propaggine dell’abitato che precede la fondazione di Roma avvenuta nel 753 a. C. racconta Panella Si tratta di una scoperta eccezionale perché non si avevano notizie di insediamenti capannicoli verso la valle del Colosseo”. A riemergere perfettamente i fori dei pali con tracce di legno e pareti di fango e argilla. Gli scavi hanno documentato anche le fasi storiche del Santuario delle Curiae Veteres, distrutto dall’incendio del 64 d. C. (tanto da lasciare tracce di bruciato sul pavimento), di cui sono state riconosciuti nuovi ambienti datati all’età GiulioClaudia. E in questo angolo di Palatino si legge anche la fine dell’antica città, tra tombe del VI secolo, una calcara di X e un pozzo medievale del XII secolo.

Repubblica also has a slideshow of the dig site with some of the mosaics and a bit of a fresco … see Martin Conde’s flickr photostream for ongoing coverage from the Italian press.

Sarcophagus of the Moment

Speaking of the Met (see next post), one of the things my spiders regularly drag back from the interwebs is a sarcophagus photo of some sort, usually from the Met, but sometimes from the Walters. I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with these (since they are usually quite interesting) and so I’ll see if a ‘Sarcophagus of the Moment’ feature is sustainable. Here’s the first entry (from the Met):

This is the one that got me thinking about having such a feature since it is so darned interesting. There is absolutely no concept of scale here … the focus is, supposedly, Theseus and Ariadne, but what really catches your eye are the giant erotes hauling whatever it is that frames the comparatively tiny scenes from the myth. Even more interesting is the upper register with the chariot-driving erotes … one pulled by dogs, one by lions, one by bulls, and one by boars (all, ostensibly, the same scale!).

… there’s a larger view at the Met’s page, of course, and a couple of photos of the ‘ends’ … not sure what’s on the other side, if anything.

Also Seen: 1930s Society Women Dressed as Mythological Figures

I thought I’d mentioned this a few months ago when it first appeared in the Guardian (but maybe I just mentioned it on facebook or twitter) … whatever the case, Flavorwire has reprised (sort of) the Guardian‘s bit, but includes a slideshow of all the photos … not sure any of them really ‘catch my eye’, however (can’t decide if it’s the photography or the ‘interpretation’ or what) …

Major Roman Military Camp on the Lippe

This is one I’ve been sitting on waiting for some coverage in English to share …  Adrian Murdoch (via his blog) and Lindsay Powell (via facebook)  first made us aware of German coverage of what is surely a spectacular find that will keep archaeologists busy for years … this a.m. we are getting some brief coverage from the Telegraph, but the coverage from the Local has more detail:

Archaeologists are celebrating the find of a Roman military camp which was a crucial link in Emperor Augustus’ conquest of Germany – after more than a century of looking for it.

The find, near the small town of Olfen not far from Münster near the Ruhr Valley, has already produced a collection of artefacts, not only pottery but also coins and clothing fasteners. These enabled researchers at the Westphalia-Lippe Municipal Association (LWL) to confirm what they had hoped.

“It’s a sensational discovery for Roman research in Westphalia,” LWL-director Wolfgang Kirsch said in a statement.

He said the newly-discovered Roman camp marks the end of a hunt that started more than 100 years ago to find the “missing link” in the chain of Roman camps on the Lippe River.

“Olfen was strategically very important for the legionaries during the Drusus campaigns in Germania,” LWL’s chief archaeologist Michael Rind said in a statement.

Roman soldiers used the camp from 11 to 7 B.C. as a base to control the river crossing – which makes the find one of the most important logistical landmarks of the Roman conquerors, he said.

Finding the camp – and its bits of buried treasure – was akin to a scavenger hunt, with clues unearthed slowly over the last century.

In 1890, archaeologists discovered a bronze military helmet near Olfen, leading archaeologists to the area. But it was not until earlier this year that volunteers discovered Roman pottery shards, which sparked action by the LWL. Aerial photography was used to try to identify potential remains of building works, while archaeologists and volunteers searched the area for artefacts which could confirm where the camp was.

They found enough to be sure – and also traced a moat surrounding the camp as well as evidence of a wooden wall that could have protected 1,000 legionaries from attack within an area equalling seven football fields.

The camp’s size – relatively small in comparison to other Roman military establishments in the area – along with the construction of its wood and earthen wall and location on the Lippe River, suggest it functioned as a supply depot, according to researchers.

Although the LWL is responsible for five other Roman military ruins along the Lippe, with discovery of some sites dating back to the 1800s, the new Olfen find will likely remain untouched for awhile.

“The monument has up to this point been allowed to lie in the ground widely undisturbed for over 2,000 years – an absolute rarity, and from an archaeological point of view, absolutely ideal.

“Our primary concern is to protect and preserve this monument for the future – and not, to completely excavate it as soon as possible,” Rind said in a statement. “The exploration of the camp will probably take several decades to complete.”

Discoveries from the association’s latest find will be on display from Saturday, October 29, at the LWL Roman Museum in Haltern. The pottery, coins and garment clips will be shown through the end of the year, along with the bronze helmet, the original discovery.

The Local also has a slideshow of some of the finds, including some very interesting Roman coins (but you have to turn your head to see them properly) … I’m sure we’ll get some more extensive coverage in the coming days. Adrian Murdoch has also updated his list of German sources in a followup blog post …

Ancient History Alive and Well Down Under

… or again, Up Over … from the Sydney Morning Herald:

THE world of a young person increasingly consists of the right here and the right now but their studies tell a different story.

A record number of high school students sat the ancient history HSC exam yesterday, now one of the most popular subjects among year 12 students.

The study of the antiquated world from Spartan society to Julius Caesar and the ancient city of Pompeii is attracting more students than modern history, which takes in topics such as World War I, the Northern Ireland conflict and Trotsky.
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”We know so much about modern history events from everything around us. It’s nice to learn about something completely out of our zone,” said Nicholas Saady, a student at Marcellin College in Randwick, where ancient history has become one of the most successful subjects. ”It’s like a completely different world,” said another student, Jack Watts.

More than 12,000 students sat the ancient history exam yesterday, making it the eighth most popular subject for year 12. Meanwhile, modern history has continued to slide down the ranks after being eclipsed by its ancient counterpart in 2004.

”It’s a matter of what currently interests students, a bit like fashion,” said Catherine Harnack, a history teacher from John Paul College in Coffs Harbour. ”I think the modern course is great and it is just being overshadowed because the current fascination with the very ancient past not only in Europe but also now in the Americas in films.”

She said the modern course was more politically oriented while ancient history blended political and social history. There is a perception that ancient is easier too, said Toni Hurley, who has taught the subject for 30 years.

”It’s accessible to a greater range of students and has the advantage of archaeology, which kids seem to adore,” she said.

Just last week we were reading: Classical Languages Doing Well Down Under … they seem to be doing something right down there.

Circumundique ~ 10/27/11

I always feel like something is missing here for some reason:

Primus a Boris

A Pindaric Ode for the Olympics … from the Oxford Student:

An Oxford Classics tutor has spoken of his delight at being commissioned to write a Pindaric Ode to the London Olympics by the city’s mayor, Boris Johnson.

Dr Armand D’Angour revealed he was asked last year to write the poem “since as a Classicist [Johnson] knew and had enjoyed” the Ode he had written for the 2004 Athens Games.

Although the poem is under embargo, D’Angour confirmed it was complete and said: “It is written in an authentic metre and dialect of ancient Greek, is translated into rhyming couplets, and contains a number of puns on people’s names including that of the Mayor.”

D’Angour, described how despite wanting to write in Latin, to distinguish it from his previous Greek Ode, Johnson “wrote to me that he was still ‘a bit in love with the idea of a Greek Ode’, and added that he had in mind a pun on the Greek word for ‘(Usain) Bolt’”.

“I had previously had in mind some Latin puns such as the words ‘Britannis / primus ab oris (‘first from Britain’s shores’, but the Latin letters can be read as saying ‘primus a Boris’ – ‘ah Boris is first’).”

“I even tried to think of ways in which it could be performed to music and marching (though my wife put me off the idea, saying that it would be reminiscent of Fascist celebrations).”

“The initial composition took me around a fortnight to complete, and I then spent a few months refining and correcting it. I have a small group of fellow classicists who subjected it to informal scrutiny and made some suggestions, but in essence it has not changed since the original composition.”

“I would say it was a challenge, but I was sufficiently on a roll for it not to seem at all arduous, just good fun – which is what I hope its effect on the audience will be. All that remains to say is – Boris for Mayor in 2012!!”

Boris Johnson, elected Mayor in 2008 and up for re-election in 2012, studied Classics at Balliol and has become famous for his love of ancient references and, like Dr D’Angour, was an alumnus of Eton College. Bijan Omrani, a Classics tutor at Westminster, has already had one Ode to the London Olympics published on the Mayor’s website.

If you’d like to see Dr D’Angour’s Ode for the Athens Olympics: Pindar and the Athens Olympics 2004 (in both English and Greek). Bijan Omrani’s (Latin) ode is here: Ode for the London Olympics by Bijan Omrani.

CFP: A theatre of Justice: aspects of performance in Greco-Roman oratory and rhetoric

CALL FOR PAPERS
A theatre of Justice:
Aspects of performance in Greco-Roman oratory and rhetoric

19-20 April 2012, University College London, London

The notion of “performance” has recently attracted considerable scholarly attention both in literary criticism and in cultural history. In fundamentally “performative” societies, such as the Greek and Roman, a “performance” approach seems to be a sine qua non for the understanding of the nature of several genres. Oratory is, certainly, among them: for the Greeks and Romans, oratory was not primarily something they wrote or read, but something they performed before the audience. Despite the significant scholarly advances that have been made on the area of oratory in/as performance, there is still a lot more to be explored, further questions need to be asked and answered.

For example:

What is performance? Suggested definitions of performance based on information offered by Greek and Roman rhetorical texts.
Performance and text: can we reconstruct something as elusive and fleeting as performance from the extant written copies of oratorical speeches?
Why performance matters? What difference does it make in our understanding of the oratorical texts that they were performed?
“Imagine that you are not in a court, but in a theater” (Aeschines 3.153): what is the relation of oratorical performance with theatre?
Features of the “performative” infrastructure of certain oratorical speeches.
Hypocrisis-actio-delivery.
Ethopoiia as an aspect of performance.

Our postgraduate conference aims at bringing together not only classicists, but also students from other fields of study such as law, reception and theatrical studies, in order to present their on-going research work in this fertile area.

Keynote speaker: TBA

Interested postgraduate students are warmly invited to submit titles and abstracts of no more than 300 words for a 20-minute research paper by Sunday, 18 December 2011 at the latest. Please send your abstracts or enquiries, to both conference organisers:

Andreas Serafim (andreas.serafim.10 AT ucl.ac.uk)
Beatrice Da Vela (beatrice.vela.10 AT ucl.ac.uk)

Boozy Roman Soldier’s Find?

From the Shields Gazette:

THE “spectacular” discovery of ancient pottery has revealed how the Romans wined and dined here in South Tyneside almost 2,000 years ago.

And far from sampling the delights of our local brews, it seems they still preferred to ship wines from the Mediterranean to their northern outpost.

Several pieces of a 3ft-tall wine jug have been found during an excavation just outside Arbeia Roman Fort.

The pottery will be stuck together to recreate the metre-high jug, which would have contained numerous litres of wine when it was imported to the fort between AD 250 and AD 350.

The find has been described as “spectacular and significant” by archaeologist Nick Hodgson.

Mr Hodgson is project manager for Tyne and Wear Archives and Museums, which conducted the dig at Arbeia with a team of volunteers, from June to September.

He said: “What is special about this is it can be stuck together to see what it originally looked like.

“Containers like this were used for bulk transportation. This is very significant because it is of a rather unusual late Roman type, which only started being imported from AD 250.

“It shows that the Romans still had a taste for Mediterranean wine at that period – they had not gone native and adapted to local beer or wine.

“They were still importing it to South Shields. It’s a spectacular and significant find.”

The container is made of clay, and includes volcanic rock, and is believed to have been imported on a ship from Campania in Italy.

The jug was found in a roadside gully during the excavations, on the corner of Baring Street and Fort Street, South Shields. Smaller pieces of other similar jugs were also found.

A stone building was also discovered, which suggests there was still occupation and activity in the area in about AD 260, when most civilian settlements outside forts in the north of England had been abandoned.

More than 70 volunteers worked on the 2011 excavation from the UK and abroad, thanks to the Earthwatch Institute, a national environmental charity which supports conservation projects.

It is hoped a community archeology project next year will encourage more local people to get involved with excavations at Roman forts, including Arbeia.

Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums is hoping to secure £410,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for the initiative, which would include excavations, events and research into the eastern section of the wall from its starting point at Wallsend in North Tyneside, to Hexham in Northumberland.

As regular readers of rogueclassicism are no doubt recognizing, this is yet another example of the assumption — which was challenged in a major way a week or so ago (see: Some Potential Amphora Use Revisionism) — that amphorae always carried wine. Then again, it probably wouldn’t be headline-worthy to suggest the soldiers were sitting around spitting the pits out of olives vel simm..

On Shakespeare’s ‘Small Latin …’

Interesting bit (in the context of a film review) in the Telegraph … here’s the incipit:

What do Shakespeare, Keats and Dickens have in common, apart from being great writers, and masters of the English language? The answer is pretty obvious. None of them went to university: to some extent, all three were self-educated. Ben Jonson said that Shakespeare had “small Latin and less Greek”, and likewise I don’t think Dickens and Keats, despite the latter’s Ode to a Grecian Urn, had much of either.

Who is the odd one out, then? Just as easy? Nobody, I think, has ever suggested Keats didn’t write that ode and others, or that Dickens wasn’t the author of Bleak House and Great Expectations. But Shakespeare – ah, Shakespeare – . So here we go again, with a movie from Roland Emmerich, director of Godzilla, called , opening on Friday. The “Shakespearean thriller” hands the authorship to Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, whom the movie, incredibly, has as the love-child and incestuous lover of Queen Elizabeth.

Never mind that Oxford died in 1604, some years before Shakespeare’s last plays were written and produced. Such considerations are a mere bagatelle when conspiracies are being revealed. Never mind that nobody at the time attributed the authorship to anyone but the man from Stratford. Evidently, they were all fooled, even Ben Jonson, a fellow playwright who knew William Shakespeare and was not devoid of jealousy.

It is not hard to guess at the director’s interest in the authorial conspiracy. But what of those not thinking of box office returns? Snobbery is the reason for their nonsense. The “uneducated” Shakespeare, an actor and theatre manager, who attended neither Oxford nor Cambridge, could not – could he? – have had all the knowledge of Greece and Rome and Italy etc displayed in the plays.

This argument falls flat for three reasons. First, the knowledge isn’t that great. Almost all the stuff in the Roman plays is taken – cribbed, if you like – from North’s translation of Plutarch’s Lives. Indeed, some of the great speeches in Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra are no more than versifications of North’s prose. There are many lines in the plays which suggest that the author had read Ovid’s works, but this required no knowledge of Latin. Arthur Golding’s marvellous translation of the Metamorphoses was available to him. However, Shakespeare did make mistakes which a better-educated and well-travelled man such as Oxford might not have made. His knowledge of Italian geography is patchy, and he thought Bohemia had a sea-coast. [...]

via: Only foolish snobs don’t believe in William Shakespeare (Telegraph)

… it goes on, but not much more is Classics-oriented. One might cynically observe that there seem to be an awful lot of folks who do seem to thing Julius Caesar, e.g., is ‘historically accurate’ in regards to dialog between ancient dead guys.

Ancient Studies Week at UMaryland

Nice bit of outreach reported on in the Retriever:

Last week the Ancient Studies Department hosted its annual “Ancient Studies Week.” This event held a number of events designed not only to display the wide range of fascinating topics that the department of Ancient Studies explores, but also to give students and faculty who may have not otherwise had the opportunity to become involved in the study of ancient artifacts, literature and art.

There were many interesting events offered to students between October 17 and October 21. Among these was an illustrated lecture by Esther Reed on “Excavating Baltimore Synagogues”; a lecture by Professor Helene Foley from Barnard College on “Medea as American Other”; a presentation by UMBC students on their excavations titled, “Ancient Studies Students Excavate”; and a free trip to the Walters museum.

Professor Foley’s lecture on “Medea as American Other,” like many of the other events, offered students insight into one of the most prominent aspects of ancient culture, and in this case, of Greek Tragedy.

“I discovered the Medea is the most popular Greek tragedy in the United States,” said Professor Foley.

In her lecture, she went on to describe why it has become so popular, in terms of the many relatable contexts that different modernized productions of the play have offered. She showed clips, photos and dialogues from productions where the character Medea represented different cultures, including African American versions and Japanese kabuki.

“I thought it was very interesting how they look at this ancient Greek play and used different American contexts,” said freshman Dominick DiMercurio II, a Biology major.

It is clear based on this lecture and the other events offered to students this week that the field of Ancient studies, which is sometimes overlooked for more current topics, has a lot to offer students and faculty, even if they are studying in another discipline.

The many applications and contexts that can be derived from these ancient texts and artifacts are notably valuable.

“I think that our society today is intensely preoccupied with the present and that it is very important for us to learn about the past and about our history…there is enormous wisdom in the tradition of Ancient Studies,” said Dr. Ellen Spitz, Honors College Professor.

The overwhelming response and attendance at all of these events highlighted the week’s enormous success. To everyone who participated in running or attending the events throughout Ancient Studies week, there seemed to be a universal feeling of connection to and reverence for the ancient traditions that helped to shape many of our own cultural constructs.