More Classical Beers for that Conference

As I notice an emperor (whose birthday was yesterday) pining on twitter (and I sort of feel responsible ):

Allow me to draw folks’ attention to the efforts of the fine folks at the Milton Brewery … first, they have an Imperator Collection:

… there are a few more in this category as well … the idea of a Julio-Claudian evening is kind of interesting though. They also feature a Classic Range (with assorted divinities/myths) and a Seven Wonders Range … a couple in the Ancient Cities range are within our purview as are several in the Specials range (more mythical types). Check them out at their website

 

 

Interesting Item Coming to Christie’s

One of the things that annoys me regularly when trying to cover auction things is that I can never seem to find the original press release when announcements are made of items which aren’t available in a calendar yet. A case in point is the coverage of the following item, which is coming to auction at Christie’s in December. It is mentioned both by Art Daily and Gallerist:

Christie’s via Art Daily

Here’s an excerpt of the description from Art Daily:

Christie’s announced the sale of a set of two important Roman bronze genre statues on December 5, circa late 1st century B.C.- early 1st century A.D. (estimate: $3,000,000-5,000,000). Both approximately twenty inches in length, the sculptures each depict a young girl pursuing a partridge. The toddlers are positioned similarly, sitting on the base, leaning forward with open arms and splayed fingers, stretching toward a bird that is just out of reach. The features are exquisitely detailed, with the eyes inlaid with white stone, one preserving further metal inlays. The lashes are of trimmed sheet bronze and their hair is delicately curled and formed in to a loose top-knot. The partridges are equally impressive, with the plumage naturalistically represented as they turn their head back to glance at their pursuer. The bronzes come to Christie’s from a private collection, the owner’s family having acquired them from renowned Swiss collector Giovanni Züst in the 1960s, whose collection formed the nucleus of Basel’s famed Antikensammlung.

see also:

… what a great little pair of bronzes!

More Classical Gore Vidal

Scoop has an interesting reprise of an interview with Gore Vidal by our long-time correspondent (in the ‘original’ sense that we have corresponded by email, not that she works for us) Susan Mazur … here’s the part that pertains to us:

[...] My chat with Gore Vidal follows:

Suzan Mazur: Did you eventually see the film Caligula?

Gore Vidal: I have never seen the film. I had no connection with the film that was made. I did read the dubbing script and that is all I have to say about the movie. Period.

Suzan Mazur: A good bit of the film was supposedly historically accurate.

Gore Vidal: You must discuss that with the people who made it. I didn’t.

Suzan Mazur: One subject that was not discussed were the years in exile of Caligula’s family — many of whom were sent to the Pontine Islands off the coast of Rome. Do you know what those islands were like then other than that they were probably very barren in 25 BC?

Gore Vidal: They’re still very barren. Capri’s marvelous. Capri had the villas of the Emperor Augustus, the villas that had been added to by Tiberius, who moved the government there pretty much during his last years. It was all very much built up.

Suzan Mazur: What about Ponza, Ventotene? You’ve been to these islands in recent years?

Gore Vidal: Rather barren. Was on a boat offshore once.

Suzan Mazur: The women of Caligula’s family seem to have gotten the short end of the stick. Scribonia, wife of Augustus, on down the Julio-Claudian tree to Nero’s first wife, Octavia, were exiled on Ventotene and Ponza. Why were the women always being sent into exile? Nero was born on Ponza These islands were where the imperial women were banished.

Gore Vidal: My period is 4th century AD. I wrote a book called Julian and of the 5th century BC, a book called Creation. The rest you can get from Suetonius and Tacitus, the only authorities we have on this period.

Suzan Mazur: But in researching the script for Caligula. .

Gore Vidal: Suetonius and Tacitus will tell you all you need to know. I’ve not read either book in quite some time. This movie was a mild footnote to my life and the period is not mine.

Suzan Mazur: Can you remember anything about Julia, daughter of Augustus? Her years of exile on the island of Pandataria, now called Ventotene?

Gore Vidal: I’ve read about it and forgotten it.

Suzan Mazur: Julia brought the cult of Venus-Isis to the island.

Gore Vidal: I would doubt that very much. The cult of Isis arrived in Rome about the 3rd century BC — long before she was born.

Suzan Mazur: Julia called it Venus-Isis, an adaptation.

Gore Vidal: Well Isis-Cibele was the one that came in the 3rd century BC. The temple can still be seen on Palatine Hill. This was perhaps a variation of it. I don’t know.

Suzan Mazur: Do you know what went on in these cults?

Gore Vidal: Mystery cults. We don’t know.

Suzan Mazur: Julia, who acquired a reputation as an adulteress, seems to have been a victim. Her first two husbands died. She then married Tiberius who was extremely cold to her and moved himself into his splended villa on Capri to get away from her, joined by scholars, slaves, etc. Julia was abandoned in Rome, then imprisoned on Ventotene. Do you have any thoughts about this?

Gore Vidal: Imperial women ladies had actually never read Betty Freidan or Gloria Steinem or Masters & Phillips or whatever they’re called. The world was a very different place. They got married for entirely political reasons because of who they were born. To expect them to have a happy, warm, mature relationship is, I think, too much to demand — nor do I think they would have demanded it. It was quite a different world and you have to think your way into it.

To apply any of today’s standards of — Was this a happy marriage or an unhappy marriage? — would never have crossed their minds. Is this a great marriage? — is what they would be thinking about.

Suzan Mazur: Do you recall Agrippina the elder, mother of Caligula? Was she too powerful for Tiberius? Is that basically why she was banished to Ventotene?

Gore Vidal: Suetonius. What little we know he will tell us.

Suzan Mazur: There were a series of exiles — Caligula even sent his sisters away — and there were many other banishments and deaths by starvation in the family. [...]

… see the original for the context (Vidal seems to have had a late night previously) …
… if you missed yesterday’s post: ‘Classical’ Gore Vidal

Celtic, Greek, and Roman Finds from Romania

This one is from Romania Business Insider and is kind of short on specifics, but we should probably get it ‘on record':

Several metal archeological objects and over 280 silver coins were discovered by archeologists on the track of the future Sibiu – Nadlac highway in Romania. One of the discoveries, a small iron replica of a chariot was deemed unique in the region. The objects discovered in the nine archeological sites, dating from the early Neolithic to the Medieval Ages, will most likely be restored within a year. A first exhibition including some of the objects will be open in May 2013.

A team of 40 Romanian and foreign archeologists searched around 40 kilometers on the future highway track in three counties, Sibiu, Alba and Hunedoara. This was one of the biggest archeological digs ever undertaken in Romania, according to Sabin Luca, director of the Brukenthal National Museum.

Researchers discovered a Bronze age settlement and “the first level of colonization which could be connected to our ancestors dates from the Celtic era, in the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC,” according to Sabin Luca. The small iron chariot discovered will most likely be unique, he went on to say. In Celtic areas, the iron chariot is usually buried with the full size chariot, but in this case it was buried separately. The piece was in 80 pieces and its restoration took three weeks.

The archeologists found weapons, tools, weapon tips, heels and a stash of 280 silver coins, including Ancient Greek and Roman examples. “There are hundreds of this kind of silver hoard from that period, but they are rarely found in archeological sites by researchers. Discoveries are usually accidental,” the Brukenthal museum director explained.

… the only photo that accompanies this one is of construction equipment. This Romanian coverage appears to include a photo of the reconstructed iron ‘chariot’, but I can’t be sure of that:

… especially since the photo accompanying this one seems to suggest the piece is about the size of a projector:

… this one has a grotty looking pot; not sure if the coins were in this one:

This appears to be a Romanian piece published when the dig commenced:

This Day in Ancient History: ante diem iv nonas sextilias

ante diem iv nonas sextilias

  • 338 B.C. — Death of Archidamus III (King of Sparta)
  • 216 B.C. — Hannibal inflicts a massive defeat on Roman forces at Cannae (possible date)
  • 86 B.C. — Sulla defeats Mithridates at Chaeronea (possible date)
  • 49 B.C. — Julius Caesar defeats Afranius and Petreius (legates of Pompey) at Ilerda
  • 47 B.C. — Julius Caesar defeats Pharnaces II at Zela (and would later proclaim his victory with the famous “Veni, vidi, vici” )
  • 9 A.D. — death of Quintilius Varus (not sure about this one)