d.m. Trevor Hodge

The Ottawa Citizen does it properly:

Studying ancient Greece and Rome took Trevor Hodge far beyond verbs and nouns. He found himself doing thesis work at the top of the Parthenon.

His thesis at Cambridge University was on the wooden pieces of Greek roofs — long vanished, but identifiable by the cuts in stone where beams had once fitted.

Nervous about heights, he learned to gauge whether the wind was too strong for climbing by first ascending a nearby minaret left by Turkish occupiers. But he still spent a lot of time looking down from an uncomfortable height.

The lessons stuck. Hodge used that grounding to build a career as a professor of classics at Carleton University, specializing in the architecture and technology of the ancient Mediterranean world.

His name also appeared frequently in this newspaper, where he wrote many columns and some letters, often with a humorous twist. When people complained that modern Olympics don’t match the purity of the ancient Greek games, he set them straight on what the ancients were really like.

He was also prominent on radio, especially as a writer and interviewer of CBC’s Ideas series.

Hodge died in Ottawa on Feb. 16 at the age of 81. His funeral was Feb. 22 in Ottawa.

The professor was a mechanic’s son from Northern Ireland, raised and educated in Belfast and then, thanks to a scholarship, at Cambridge. He also studied at the British School of Archaeology in Athens (in 1952) and British School at Rome in the two years after that.

After graduating from Cambridge in 1956, he pursued one of his lifelong passions. Trevor Hodge loved railroads, and worked for three months in a signal box. “He was one of those British railways buffs,” said his wife, Colette. (Later in Canada he found there weren’t enough railways. He used to read the bus timetables as a poor substitute.)

His first jobs were all temporary contracts teaching in the United States, at Stanford and Cornell Universities and the University of Pennsylvania.

Then Carleton called. It had recently established a permanent campus and was setting up a classics department. The staff so far was one person. Hodge took the offer, doubling the department’s size.

In the early years he intended to return to Britain, but kept going at Carleton. “He was always a very happy Canadian,” Colette Hodge said.

Engineers who had to take one arts course flocked to his courses on ancient science and technology. Their essays were a little rough, but they got to build things with a professor who knew how workers with hand tools made buildings that are still standing after 2,000 years.

“They were asked to build models of an ancient piece of machinery, which were very, very fascinating,” his wife recalls. Many built catapults. And the professor took no half-measures; he sometimes assigned them to extract the metal from ore, getting a taste of what ancient engineers had to know.

He was also a skilled draftsman.

In a eulogy, his friend and colleague Terry Robinson remarked that Hodge studied “the phantom factor. Trevor loved to dabble with topics for which the evidence was … no longer present.” The wooden beams from roofs rotted long ago; the aqueducts have mostly gone dry.

But his scholarship brought them back. His books included The Woodwork of Greek Roofs; Roman Aqueducts and Water Supply; and Ancient Greek France, which deal with Greek colonies that predated the Roman Empire.

The aqueduct book examines how Roman waterworks operated, how the aqueducts were planned and built both above and below ground, and where the water travelled after it left the main duct. He dealt with aqueducts in France (the Roman Pont du Gard is the illustration on the cover, drawn by Hodge himself), Italy, Germany, Spain, North Africa, Turkey and Israel.

In retirement, he sometimes took jobs lecturing on cruise ships.

“He was a bit of an actor,” his wife says. If he needed to climb up on a desk and show the students what a Greek statue looked like, he would happily strike the pose.

And he had 120 published columns and letters in the Citizen. His final letter, in October, poked some fun at competing theories of where the Mona Lisa was painted, based on the background hills: “If this is open season on the Mona Lisa may I put forward my own conviction, based on my research, that the background of the Mona Lisa can only be the Gatineau Hills as viewed looking east from Highway 366 between Perkins and Val-des-Monts. The Mona Lisa is thus plainly a Québécoise and I feel sure that her famously enigmatic smile must come from her reflecting on Quebec sovereignty.”

“He delighted in the introduction of unexpected or surprising insights arising out of his own wide-ranging research,” said Terry Robinson. “He loved the dramatic element: in a public lecture on the famous question of the shield signal at the Battle of Marathon (a theory that someone sent a signal by reflecting sunlight), he had the auditorium darkened and then proved scientifically that the generally accepted tradition of a flashing shield signal was optically impossible.”

He leaves his wife; daughters Anne, Christine and Claire; and three grandchildren.

The original article includes a nice photo of ATH posing with a catapult.

Olympia Theft Followup III

Mentioned almost in passing in the incipit of a brief item at Athens News:

Pavlos Yeroulanos will stay on as minister of culture and tourism, despite offering his resignation in the wake of last week museum robbery at Ancient Olympia.

Prime Minister Lucas Papademos met with Yeroulanos on Wednesday to discuss the armed robbery and said that he had rejected the resignation offer. [...]

Classical Combine

For those of you with an NFL obsession like our house has, there might be some interest in the upcoming Combine (when prospects show off their skills for pro scouts and coaches prior to the draft). CBS News has a brief feature which begins:

You can tell a lot about an NFL prospect based on how they were raised.

For offensive tackles Jonathan Martin and Matt Kalil, All-Pac-12 counterparts fighting to be the top offensive lineman drafted in April, background is at the forefront at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Stanford’s Martin majored in Classics — Greek and Roman history — with plans to eventually attend law school. He was recruited by Harvard, his father is a criminal justice professor and his mother is legal counsel for an auto company. At 6-5, 312 pounds with 34-inch arm length, he has the size advantage over Southern Cal’s Kalil. [...]

An Arrest in the Olympia Theft

This just in from eKathimerini:

Police have detained a suspect in connection with the recent robbery at the Ancient Olympia museum.

Officers said they have detained a foreign national who they suspect was part of a group that raided jewellery shops in the area. Police believe this gang may have been involved in the museum heist as well.

The guard on duty at the museum at the time of the raid is due to inform police whether she recognizes the suspect.

Police studied seven minutes of CCTV footage before bringing the suspect in for questioning.

The thieves stole between 60 and 70 items from the museum.

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem vi kalendas martias

ante diem vi kalendas martias

  • Regifugium — a festival which didn’t really happen on “February 24″ but actually six days before the kalends of March, which was usually during a period of intercalation. Roman writers suggested this festival was a celebration of the expulsion of the Tarquins, although modern scholars have their doubts. Whatever the case, on this day the Rex Sacrorum would offer some sort of sacrifice in the Comitium and then run away as fast as he could …
  • 259 A.D. — martyrdom of Montanus and several companions at Carthage
  • 303 A.D. — edict of Galerius officially promoting the persecution of Christians (?)
  • 304 A.D. — martyrdom of Sergius in Cappadocia
  • 1463 — birth of Giovanni Pico della Mirandola (usually described as a “Neoplatonist”)
  • 1999 — death of David Daube (author of Civil Disobedience in Antiquity, among numerous other works)

The Search for Romans in Ireland

Interesting item from the Irish Times:

FIRST CENTURY AD. The Roman General Agricola reportedly says he can take and hold Ireland with a single legion. Some archaeologists have claimed the Romans did campaign in Ireland, but most see no evidence for an invasion. Imperial Rome and this island on its far western perimeter did share interesting links, however.

The Discovery Programme, a Dublin-based public institution for advanced research in archaeology, is to investigate Ireland’s interactions with the empire and with Roman Britain, aiming to fill gaps in the story of the Irish iron age, the first 500 years after the birth of Christ.

The project, Late Iron Age and Roman Ireland (Liari) could uncover a surprising role for Roman culture, predicts Dr Jacqueline Cahill Wilson, project leader. It offers “a new narrative for this formative period of early Irish history”.

Science is going to drive the project, and the interpretation presented by the researchers will be based on science as much as the archaeology, Cahill Wilson explains.

Roman artifacts including coins, glass beads and brooches turn up in many Irish counties, especially in the east.

Cahill Wilson investigated human remains from iron age burial sites in Meath for her doctoral research at the University of Bristol. She learned much about these people by using strontium and isotope analysis and carbon dating.

Remarkably, this allowed her say where they most likely spent their childhood. One burial site on a low ridge overlooking the sea in Bettystown, Co Meath, was dated to the 5th/6th century AD using radiocarbon dating. Most of the people were newcomers to the area, Cahill Wilson concluded.

The clue was in their teeth. Enamel, one of the toughest substances in our body, completely mineralises around the age of 12 and its composition remains unaltered to the grave and beyond. It is “a snapshot of where you lived up to the age of 12”, Wilson explains.

The element strontium (Sr), which is in everything we eat and drink, exists in a number of chemical forms, or isotopes. The ratio of two of these isotopes (87Sr and 86Sr) varies, shifting with the underlying geology, and this too can indicate where the owner of the tooth grew up.

Similarly, the ratio of oxygen isotopes varies with factors such as latitude, topography and hydrological conditions.

“Enough comparative data is available now that we can start to plot and map the ratios to see where people are likely to be from,” Cahill Wilson explains. Paired analysis of strontium and oxygen in tooth enamel from a burial in Bettystown revealed that one interred individual grew up in North Africa.

Eamonn Kelly, keeper of Irish Antiquities at the National Museum of Ireland, distinctly remembers the Bettystown excavation, which he directed in the 1970s. “One particular burial stood out as being very unusual,” he says. The body lay in a crouched position and seemed to have been treated in a different manner to the rest of the burials. This male could have been a slave, but Kelly thinks he was most likely a trader, possibly from the Roman world.

Roman material has been found at Tara and Newgrange, and Roman pottery has been dredged from the River Boyne. A large coastal promontory fort in north Dublin also turned up Roman objects, and Kilkenny hosts a Roman burial site.

Kelly believes the Romans never invaded because the countryside was unsuited to their villa system: the economic cost-benefits failed to stack up, he says. “These guys could get what they wanted without being physically present. I think what they were interested in from Ireland was agricultural produce, probably butter, cattle and cattle hide, as well as slaves and mercenaries.”

The Liari project will deploy advanced survey techniques in Dublin, Westmeath and Kilkenny to seek evidence for Roman sites. Robert Shaw, senior surveyor for the programme, describes aerial laser scanning, or Lidar, as one of the most important developments in archaeology over the last 10 years.

This models the landscape surface in exquisite detail. The ground-based techniques rely on measurements of magnetic and electrical resistance anomalies of the earth, so no destructive digging is required.

Surveys are not expected to uncover the Roman’s distinctive linear roads or their large rectangular forts, but what did it mean to be “Roman” in Ireland?

The warring centurians and toga-wearing politicians made popular in film comprised less than two per cent of Roman Britain.

“The rest of the people engaged with the new Roman administration in a variety of ways,” says Cahill Wilson, and “there were different ways to be a Roman within the provinces”.

The project will use the latest scientific methods, such as geochemistry, to explore population migration, X-ray fluorescence and isotope analysis to trace the origin of metals and minerals, and pollen analysis to resurrect past environments.

“We need to be a bit more systematic and scientific in terms of what we are doing,” says Cahill Wilson, but these tools are additions to traditional archaeology’s kit.

Kelly says it is not surprising Roman material turns up, especially on the coast facing Roman Britain. We know Niall of the Nine Hostages had a British mother, he says. “These guys were marrying women from the other side of the Irish Sea. There would have been dynastical alliances across the sea.

“Ireland was in immediate proximity to the world superpower,” he adds. “Ireland was becoming heavily influenced from the 1st century AD by Rome. The introduction of Christianity in the 5th century is just part of that process.

“We took on a great swathe of Roman cultural influence, including the Roman religion, and all without a Roman legion landing and telling us how to do our business.”

The whole Romans-in-Ireland thing seems to be one of those controversies that keeps popping up. There was an article on a purported discovery related to same in Archaeology Magazine years ago (see: Romans in Ireland?) and British Archaeology had a couple of items on the same claim as well (see: Yes, the Romans did invade Ireland)

Mind the GAP? Not at all …

Interesting news out of Southampton:

A University of Southampton led project, exploring how people of antiquity viewed the geography of the ancient world, has been backed by $50,000 of funding from Google, Inc. via its Digital Humanities Awards Program.

Google Ancient Places (GAP) is developing a Web application which allows users to choose a classical text or book (500BC – 500AD) and then search for references to ancient places within it, presenting the results in a user-friendly interface.

GAP uses specialist software to identify where and how often places are mentioned within a text, displaying references to the locations and plotting results on a map using an independent digital gazetteer (Pleiades).

Project leader, and Southampton Digital Humanities specialist, Dr Leif Isaksen explains, “A GAP user can not only see how an author’s narrative moves from place-to-place, but also how a town or city’s relative importance varies throughout a historical text.

“We hope it will interest scholars and users with a general interest in antiquity alike.”

GAP is an international collaborative research project between the University of Southampton (Dr Leif Isaksen), The Open University (Dr Elton Barker), the University of Edinburgh (Dr Kate Byrne), University of California, Berkeley (Dr Eric Kansa) and independent developer Nick Rabinowitz. This Digital Humanities Research Grant is the second round of funding GAP has received from the Google Research Awards Program, and will allow the team to expand their project to a wider variety of books and texts.

Dr Isaksen comments, “We intend to expand the scope of the material we are working with, increasing the volume of and variety of the texts, so not just factual texts but also poetry and fiction.”

In addition, GAP is part of a larger network of open data on antiquity called Pelagios, which is made up of several similar online projects. By integrating GAP with this network, the researchers hope to give users access to more varied types of data, such as archaeological artefacts or historical documents.

Open University classicist, Dr Elton Barker says, “Previous projects have tended to be closed silos of information and that has reinforced barriers between disciplines. By linking our data to other archaeological and classical resources it becomes possible to navigate directly between them, making it easier to look at ancient texts and artefacts in their spatial, cultural and literary context.”

To explore Google Ancient Places, please visit: http://googleancientplaces.wordpress.com/gapvis/ version of your browser.

Catching Up With Didaskalia

I continue to be confused about how Didaskalia is published, but I’m beginning to suspect it’s now an annual thing with pieces posted from time to time. So … first we’ll catch up with volume 8:

Interview: Satyrs in L.A. [PDF]
Mary Hart

KOSKY – The Women of Troy: Barrie Kosky, The Sydney Theatre Company, and Classical Theatre in Australia [PDF]
Elizabeth Hale, guest editor

KOSKY – Delivering the Message in Kosky’s The Women of Troy [PDF]
Helen Slaney

KOSKY – The Women of Troy: Barrie Kosky’s “operatic” version of Euripides [PDF]
Michael Halliwell

KOSKY – The Women of Troy—New and Old [PDF]
Michael Ewans

KOSKY – “Toothless intellectuals,” “the misery of the poor,” “poetry after Auschwitz,” and the White, Middle-class Audience: the Moral Perils of Kosky and Wright’s The Women of Troy (or, how do we regard the pain of others?) [PDF]
Marguerite Johnson

Masks in the Oxford Greek Play 2008: Theory and Practice [PDF]
Claire Catenaccio

The Masked Chorus in Action—Staging Euripides’ Bacchae [PDF]
Chris Vervain

Review: Orestes Terrorist at the University of California, Santa Cruz [PDF]
Fiona Macintosh

Review: 47th Season of Classical Plays at the Greek Theatre in Syracuse [PDF]
Caterina Barone

Review: Medea at the Long Beach Opera [PDF]
Yoko Kurahashi

Interview: Theater of War [PDF]
Amy R. Cohen and Brett M. Rogers

Storm in a Teacup: an Exercise in Performance Reception in Twenty-First-Century Israel [PDF]
Lisa Maurice

Review: Seneca’s Oedipus at the Stanford Summer Theater [PDF]
David J. Jacobson

Review: Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses at the Chopin Theater [PDF]
Teresa M. Danze Lemieux

ADIP I – Ancient Drama in Performance: Theory and Practice [PDF]
Amy R. Cohen

ADIP I – Play in the Sunshine [PDF]
Jennifer S. Starkey

ADIP I – Adapting Hecuba: Where Do Problems Begin? [PDF]
Nancy Nanney

ADIP I – The Twice Born and One More: Portraying Dionysus in the Bacchae [PDF]
Jaclyn Dudek

ADIP I – A Gestural Phallacy [PDF]
David J. Jacobson

ADIP I – Double the Message [PDF]
Diane J. Rayor

ADIP I – Performing the “Unperformable” Extispicy Scene in Seneca’s Oedipus Rex [PDF]
Eric Dodson-Robinson

ADIP I – Compassion in Chorus and Audience [PDF]
Paul Woodruff

ADIP I – Staging the Reconciliation Scene of Aristophanes’ Lysistrata [PDF]
John Given

ADIP I – The Delayed Feast: the Festival Context of Plautus’ Pseudolus [PDF]
Laura Banducci

ADIP I – Euripides’ Hecuba: the Text and the Event [PDF]
Kenneth Reckford

ADIP I – Hecuba in a New Translation [PDF]
Jay Kardan and Laura-Gray Street

ADIP I – Talkback: Hecuba [PDF]
Mary-Kay Gamel

… and from Volume 9:

9.02Review: Lysistrata Jones
John Given

Risk-taking and Transgression: Aristophanes’ Lysistrata Today
Michael Ewans and Robert Phiddian

d.m. Brian Shefton

From the Guardian:

My friend and colleague Brian Shefton, who has died aged 92, was a distinguished scholar of Greek and Etruscan archaeology. One of his most significant achievements was a collection of Greek and Etruscan artefacts which he established in 1956 when he was given a grant of £25 to purchase three Greek pots. The collection expanded to include nearly 1,000 objects, many of which can now be seen at the Great North Museum: Hancock, in Newcastle upon Tyne. Brian also built up an important collection of books on Greek and Etruscan archaeology, which make up the Shefton collection in the library at Newcastle University.

Brian was born in Cologne, the son of Isidor Scheftelowitz, professor of Sanskrit at Cologne University, and his wife, Frieda. In 1933 the family moved to Britain to escape Nazi oppression. Brian thrived in Britain and, after military service during which he changed his name to Shefton, he graduated from Oriel College, Oxford, in 1947. He then spent three years travelling in Greece before taking up a lectureship at Exeter University.

In 1955 he arrived at King’s College in Durham (now Newcastle University) as a lecturer in Greek archaeology and ancient history. He remained there for the rest of his career, becoming professor of Greek art and archaeology in 1979. To Brian, the archaeology collection and library holdings at Newcastle were his greatest achievements.

His scholarship was truly international. He was an enthusiastic traveller with an extensive network of colleagues and friends. He attended international conferences frequently, and also received prestigious fellowships and honours, including an honorary doctorate from Cologne University and the British Academy’s Kenyon medal.

His enthusiasm for his discipline stayed with him until the end. He spoke at a conference in Basle, Switzerland, on Etruscan archaeology in October 2011 and continued to work on research projects. He was an incredibly generous scholar who always had time for others. His irrepressible energy and curiosity were an inspiration to all those who knew him.

Brian is survived by his wife, Jutta, whom he married in 1960, and his daughter, Penny.

Academia Homerica

Seen on the Classicists list (this sounds awesome!!!)



6-15/16 July 2012

The 15th Academia Homerica will take place 6-15 July 2012, in Athens and on the island of Chios.

The student programme will include:

· In Athens on 7 July a visit to the Acropolis, the new Acropolis Museum, and the National Archaeological Museum

· On Chios, 8-15 July, sessions most days on the Greek text of Iliad 6 and a programme of lectures on Homer, Mycenaean archaeology, and Troy. All sessions will be in English

· Visits on the island of Chios, including the Chios Archaeological Museum, the Mycenaean and Iron Age site of Emporios, the medieval monastery of Nea Moni, and the island of Oinousses.


Please register your application before May 10, 2012 on the following website:www.euroclassica.eu > (Activities) > Academiae > Academia Homerica > Registration.


The cost of the conference is 500 EUROS (this covers full board in Athens and Chios in mostly double rooms, ferry tickets, and all excursions). Flight tickets to and from Athens are not included.

Students should have their University or school identity card for free entrance to the museums, the Acropolis and the Archaeological sites.

All participants should also have valid travel and health insurance for their stay in Greece.

Final information about the programme, bus, metros and the hotel in Athens will be sent to participants in June.

Director of the Conference: Dr Maria-Eleftheria Giatrakou

Director of the Student Programme: Prof John Thorley, assisted by Dr Antony Makrinos

For further information, please contact Prof John Thorley on jt275 AT etherway.net

Another Chunk Falls at Pompeii

I saw this earlier in an Italian piece and wasn’t sure if I was reading it right … alas, I was … via ANSA we learn that a chunk from the Temple of Jupiter:

A yard-long piece of plaster fell off the ancient Temple of Jupiter in Pompeii on Wednesday, the archaeological superintendency said. The portion broke off from the external face of the east wall of the cell of the temple in an area without frescoes.

Supervisors at the site said they had already collected the fragments and would reattach them on site. In late December a pillar collapsed in the garden of the House of Loreius Tiburtinus, famous for its extensive gardens and outdoor ornamentation, in particular its Euripi, fountains that feature many frescoes and statuettes.

At the end of November the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO and the Italian government agreed to join forces to restore rain-damaged Pompeii after several recent collapses.

UNESCO said it would work with Italy over a nine-month period to rebuild villas and other parts of the famed Roman site that have collapsed over the last year.

Under the deal, UNESCO said it would provide expert advice to the Italian government on how to upgrade conservation.

In November 2010 there was a collapse in the House of the Gladiators which drew criticism from UNESCO and the European Union.

It was followed soon after by a collapse at the famed House of the Moralist, spurring further criticism from international conservation groups.

In October there were another three minor cave-ins, including one at the House of Diomedes, after a fresh bout of heavy rain and an outcry when an eight-square metre section of a wall fell near the Nola Gate. [...]

cf: Pompei, si sgretola il tempio di Giove(Corriere del Mezzogiorno)

Reviews from BMCR

  • 2012.02.43:  Vishwa Adluri, Parmenides, Plato, and Mortal Philosophy: Return from Transcendence. Continuum studies in ancient philosophy.
  • 2012.02.42:  Mark Woolmer, Ancient Phoenicia: An Introduction. Classical world series.
  • 2012.02.41:  Anna Maria Wasyl, Genres Rediscovered: Studies in Latin Miniature Epic, Love Elegy, and Epigram of the Romano-Barbaric Age.
  • 2012.02.40:  W. V. Harris, Rome’s Imperial Economy: Twelve Essays. Oxford; New York: 2011. Pp. xiv, 370. $150.00. ISBN 9780199595167.
    Reviewed by Miko Flohr.
  • 2012.02.39:  Kristi Upson-Saia, Early Christian Dress: Gender, Virtue, and Authority. Routledge Studies in Ancient History, 3.
  • 2012.02.38:  Madeline Miller, The Song of Achilles.