2012 Bloggery in review (Rogueclassicism-related, not news-related)

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 350,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 6 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

European Review Freebies on Ancient Medicine

This is another Cambridge Journals thing … the European Review has an issue on ancient medicine and the following are free (all the papers are pdf):

  • Heikki Solin, Was there a Medical School at Salerno in Roman Times?
  • Vivian Nutton, Galen and Roman Medicine: or can a Greek become a Latin?
  • Lola Ferre, The Jewish Contribution to the Transmission of the Classical Legacy
  • Gotthard Strohmaier, Arabic Medicine: Continuation of Greek Tradition and Innovation

… it seems easiest to access them here

Yet Another Retrial of Socrates

From Business Insider:

Despite the recent spate of gun violence to grip the city, some of Chicago’s top attorneys plan to spend their time arguing a 2,400-year-old free speech case.

Dan Webb of Winston and Strawn and Robert Clifford, the former chair of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation will represent Socrates Jan. 31 in the Windy City while former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald will represent the city of Athens, Greece, The ABA Journal reported Wednesday.

The Chicago lawyers are taking a stab at the trial and re-trying the case as part of a fundraiser for the National Hellenic Museum.

Socrates, a famed philosopher, was tried and executed in Athens in 399 B.C.E. after city leaders became upset with his teachings and the effect they were having on society, according to the University of Missouri Kansas City.

Officially, Socrates was charged with refusing to recognize the gods, introducing new divinities, and corrupting the youth.

Back in 2009, Cambridge University Professor Paul Cartledge decided the trial was legally justified and Socrates was guilty of the charges, The Telegraph reported at the time.

Judge Richard Posner, most famous for his ongoing criticism of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, will preside over the trial, according to the Chicago Reader.

If you want to attend: Trial of Socrates

As can be seen in the article, this sort of thing has been done before. Here’s our previous coverage of such events:


Antikythera Shipwreck AIA Tease

USA Today has some hype for Brendan Foley’s AIA paper today, including this tantalizing paragraph:

[…] Along with vase-like amphora vessels, pottery shards and roof tiles, Foley says, the wreck also appears to have “dozens” of calcified objects resembling compacted boulders made out of hardened sand resting atop the amphorae on the sea bottom. Those boulders resemble the Antikythera mechanism before its recovery and restoration. In 2006, an X-ray tomography team reported that the mechanism contained at least 30 hand-cut bronze gears re-creating astronomical cycles useful in horoscopes and timing of the Olympic Games in the ancient world, the most elaborate mechanical device known from antiquity until the Middle Ages. “The (objects) may just be collections of bronze nails, but we won’t know until someone takes a look at them,” Foley says. […]

… would be nice if some of the twitterati gave this some coverage …

Artemis (maybe) from Alabanda

From Hurriyet:

English: Aydın location Çine. Türkçe: Aydın Çi...

English: Aydın location Çine. Türkçe: Aydın Çine ilçesinin konumu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A marble sculpture head of Artemis from the fourth century BC has been uncovered in the ancient city of Alabanda as the archeological excavations there come to a close. In some of the excavations made at the site, the doors of the ancient city were uncovered, the head of the excavation team, Aydın Adnan Menderes University Archeology department academic Suat Ateşlier said. The walls from the Byzantine era were also found, he added.

These walls and the road were uncovered near the Temple of Apollo, said Ateşlier. “We have also found a very valuable sculpture head in the same area. The quality of the sculpture is very good, and it is in very good condition. This is a goddess sculpture.” He added that experts believed it was of the goddess Artemis, the sister of Apollo.

Ateşlier said they had started in July and this season many newly excavated artifacts has been uncovered at the site. The team closed the excavations on Dec. 20.

This year also geophysical analysis was done in the area and another goddess’ temple was found, added Ateşlier.

The location of the temple was determined, and next year the excavations will be done in that area, he said.

The site is located in Çine, in the Aegean province of Aydın.

The original article has a nice photo of the head in situ … I suspect the identification is made based on the apparent fillet in the hair (which rules out Aphrodite, perhaps); not sure if I detect an earring there or not which might suggest this is an empress of some sort. Even if there is no earring, compare the hairstyle, e.g., to this image of Sabina  (Hadrian’s wife)… Alabanda, by the way, was the ancient Antiochia of the Chrysaorians

Terrace Farming at Petra!

From a University of Cincinnati press release:University_of_Cincinnati

A team of international archaeologists including Christian Cloke of the University of Cincinnati is providing new insights into successful and extensive water management and agricultural production in and around the ancient desert city of Petra, located in present-day Jordan. Ongoing investigations, of which Cloke is a part, are led by Professor Susan Alcock of the Brown University Petra Archaeological Project (BUPAP).

Using a variety of tools and techniques, including high-resolution satellite imagery and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dating of soils, Cloke, a doctoral student in the Department of Classics at UC, and Cecelia Feldman, classics lecturer at UMass-Amherst, have suggested that extensive terrace farming and dam construction in the region north of the city began around the first century, some 2,000 years ago, not during the Iron Age (c. 1200-300 BC) as had been previously hypothesized. This striking development, it seems, was due to the ingenuity and enterprise of the ancient Nabataeans, whose prosperous kingdom had its capital at Petra until the beginning of the second century.

The successful terrace farming of wheat, grapes and possibly olives, resulted in a vast, green, agricultural “suburb” to Petra in an otherwise inhospitable, arid landscape. This terrace farming remained extensive and robust through the third century. Based on surface finds and comparative data collected by other researchers in the area, however, it is clear that this type of farming continued to some extent for many centuries, until the end of the first millennium (between A.D. 800 and 1000). That ancient Petra was under extensive cultivation is a testament to past strategies of land management, and is all the more striking in light of the area’s dry and dusty environment today.

Cloke and Feldman will present their findings Jan. 4 at the Archaeological Institute of America Annual Meeting in Seattle, in a paper titled “On the Rocks: Landscape Modification and Archaeological Features in Petra’s Hinterland.” Their research efforts are contributing to a growing understanding of the city, its road networks, and life in the surrounding area.

Dating the start of extensive terrace farming at Petra to the beginning of the common era has important historical implications, according to Cloke, because this date coincides closely with the Roman annexation of the Nabataean Kingdom in A.D. 106.

He explained, “No doubt the explosion of agricultural activity in the first century and the increased wealth that resulted from the wine and oil production made Petra an exceptionally attractive prize for Rome. The region around Petra not only grew enough food to meet its own needs, but also would have been able to provide olives, olive oil, grapes and wine for trade. This robust agricultural production would have made the region a valuable asset for supplying Roman forces on the empire’s eastern frontier.”

In other words, said Feldman, successful terrace farming and water management when Petra was at its zenith as a trading center added not only to the city’s economic importance but to its strategic military value as well, because there were limited options in the region for supplying troops with essential supplies.

On large stretches of land north of Petra, inhabitants built complex and extensive systems to dam wadis (riverbeds) and redirect winter rainwater to hillside terraces used for farming.

Rainfall in the region occurs only between October and March, often in brief, torrential downpours, so it was important for Petra’s inhabitants to capture and store all available water for later use during the dry season. Over the centuries, the Nabataeans of Petra became experts at doing so. The broad watershed of sandstone hills naturally directed water flow to the city center, and a complex system of pipes and channels directed it to underground cisterns where it was stored for later use.

“Perhaps most significantly,” said Cloke, “it’s clear that they had considerable knowledge of their surrounding topography and climate. The Nabataeans differentiated watersheds and the zones of use for water: water collected and stored in the city itself was not cannibalized for agricultural uses. The city’s administrators clearly distinguished water serving the city’s needs from water to be redirected and accumulated for nurturing crops. Thus, extensive farming activity was almost entirely outside the bounds of the city’s natural catchment area and utilized separate watersheds and systems of runoff.”

These initial conclusions from the first three seasons of BUPAP fieldwork promise more exciting discoveries about how the inhabitants of Petra cultivated the outlying landscape and supported the city’s population. The presence of highly developed systems of landscape modification and water management at Petra take on broader significance as they offer insight into geopolitical changes and Roman imperialism.

Financial support for this research was provided by the Curtiss T. and Mary G. Brennan Foundation, the Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World at Brown University, and the Weidenfeld Research Fellowship. Research support in Jordan came from the Jordanian Department of Antiquities and the American Center of Oriental Research. UC’s Louise Taft Semple Fund provided additional support for Christian Cloke’s research.

… people who read our Review: Rome’s Lost Empire piece will, no doubt, wonder why this bit of research wasn’t incorporated into the Petra segment to provide evidence of ‘abundance’ during Roman times. I suspect it didn’t spin sexily enough for ‘space archaeology’ purposes …

Cambridge Classical Journals Freebies

From the mailbag:

We are pleased to announce that the 2012 volume of The Cambridge Classical Journal (http://journals.cambridge.org/ccj ) is now online with Cambridge Journals. To celebrate we are pleased to offer complimentary access to three key papers from the new volume. Simply click on the links below to enjoy access to these articles until 31st January 2013.

Horace, Odes 3.27: A New World For Galatea
Elizabeth Mitchell

The ‘Phoenician Letters’ of Dictys of Crete and Dionysus Scytobrachion
Karen Ní Mheallaigh

Tragedy and the Seductions of Philosophy
Miriam Leonard

Classical Words of the Day