Video Lecture: From Actium to an Asp

Here’s the tease:

In the years following the death of Julius Caesar in 44 BCE, internal Roman power struggles—combined with the increasingly negative response to Cleopatra VII and Marc Antony’s romantic partnership—led to the deterioration of the relationship between Egypt and Rome. The conflict ultimately came to a head with the Battle of Actium in September of 31 BCE, in which the Egyptian forces were decimated at sea by the Romans—with Cleopatra and Marc Antony barely escaping with their lives. The aftermath of this battle set the course for the final desperate year of Cleopatra’s life. Dr. Jennifer Wegner, Associate Curator, Egyptian Section, speaks at this “Great Battles: Moments in Time that Changed History” series lecture program.

… and here’s the video from UPenn Museum:

Bryn Mawr Classical Reviews

 

  • 2013.02.29:  Sarah Nooter, When Heroes Sing: Sophocles and the Shifting Soundscape of Tragedy. bmcr2
  • 2013.02.28:  Maurizio Bettini, The Ears of Hermes: Communication, Images, and Identity in the Classical World.
  • 2013.02.27:  Tyler Jo Smith, Dimitris Plantzos, A Companion to Greek Art (2 vols.). Blackwell companions to the ancient world. Literature and culture.
  • 2013.02.26:  Francesco de Angelis, Spaces of Justice in the Roman World. Columbia studies in the classical tradition 35.
  • 2013.02.25:  Søren Dietz, Maria Stavropoulou-Gatsi, Kalydon in Aitolia: Danish/Greek field work 2001-2005 (2 vols.). Monographs of the Danish Institute at Athens, 12.1-2.
  • 2013.02.24:  Sara Forsdyke, Slaves Tell Tales: and Other Episodes in the Politics of Popular Culture in Ancient Greece.
  • 2013.02.23:  R. V. Young, Justus Lipsius’ Concerning Constancy. Medieval and Renaissance texts and studies 389.
  • 2013.02.22:  Martijn Icks, The Crimes of Elagabalus: the Life and Legacy of Rome’s Decadent Boy Emperor.
  • 2013.02.21:  Heinz Barta, Graeca non leguntur? Zu den Ursprüngen des europäischen Rechts im antiken Griechenland. Band II/2: Archaische Grundlagen Teil 2.
    Heinz Barta, Graeca non leguntur? Zu den Ursprüngen des europäischen Rechts im antiken Griechenland. Band II/1: Archaische Grundlagen Teil 1.

Greco-Roman Tombs From Alexandria

… all empty, alas … Here’s the story from Al Ahram:

During routine archaeological survey at an area known as the “27 Bridge” in Al-Qabari district, one of Alexandria’s most densely populated slum areas, archaeologists stumbled upon a collection of Graeco-Roman tombs.

Each tomb is a two-storey building with a burial chamber on its first floor. The tombs are semi-immersed in subterranean water but are well preserved and still bear engravings.

Mohamed Abdel Meguid, head of Alexandria’s Antiquities Department, explained that the tombs are part of a larger cemetery known as the “Necropolis” (or City of the Dead) as described by Greek historian Strabo when he visited Egypt in 30BC. According to Strabo, the cemetery included a network of tombs containing more than 80 inscriptions, while each tomb yielded information about burial rituals of the Hellenic period.

The newly discovered collection of tombs, Abdel Meguid pointed out, is a part of the western side of the cemetery that was dedicated to the public and not to royals or nobles. The tombs are empty of funerary collections or mummies, corpses, skeletons or even pottery.

“This is a very important discovery that adds more to the archaeological map of Alexandria,” Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim said, adding that the discovery would allow scientists to decipher more about the history of ancient Alexandria and would also add another tourist destination to the city.

Ibrahim said that this and similar excavations were conducted as part of archaeological inspections routinely carried out at the request of constructors who purchased the land. According to Egyptian law, every piece of land should be subject to archaeological inspection before it can be claimed as a free zone for construction.

The area was previously subject to archaeological survey in 1998 when Alexandria governorate decided to build Al-Qabari Bridge over Abdel-Qader Hamza Street in the district.

Excavation at the time uncovered more than 37 tombs, among which a very distinguished tomb bearing a coffin in the shape of a bed, commonly known as the wedding bed. On top of it was a red sheet and two pillows.

… a photo of the tombs (such as they are) accompanies the original article. I can’t help but mention here the minister of state’s comments when some Byzantine-era tombs were found in Alexandria back in April:

“It is a very important discovery that adds more detail to the archaeological map of Alexandria,” Ibrahim told Ahram Online.

… I guess even archaeological discoveries have their predigested soundbite variations …

Odyssey Mosaics Stolen!!!

Just this a.m. in our Explorator newsletter we were mentioning how looting of antiquities was funding the revolution in Syria … and now my spiders bring in some horrible news from AFP via  the Global Post:

At least 18 ancient mosaics depicting scenes from Homer’s “The Odyssey” have been stolen in northern Syria, the culture minister was quoted as saying on Sunday.

“These mosaics were stolen during illegal excavations” on archaeological sites in the war-torn country’s northeast, Lubana Mushaweh said in an interview published on Sunday by the government daily Tishreen.

“We have been informed that these mosaics are now on the Syrian-Lebanese border,” she said without elaborating.

As the nearly two-year Syrian revolt has morphed into an armed insurgency, experts say fierce fighting and deteriorating security have left the country’s extraordinary archaeological heritage susceptible to damage and prey to a rising number of looters.

The minister said that an Aramaic gold-plated bronze statue was stolen from the Hama museum, a raging front in the war between loyalist troops and rebels.

Mushaweh admitted that her ministry faced great difficulties in “safeguarding 10,000 historical sites scattered around Syria,” cautioning against illegal excavations “which could damage some sites and buried cities.”

But she insisted that museums across the country were “well guarded” and “their prized possessions for all humanity have been archived and placed in very secure locations”.
[...]

… I can’t track down from what museum or site these were stolen from (“illegal excavations”) and if they were already known or not … the only photos that seem to accompany articles are some rebels sitting under a Roman mosaic that I don’t think (or hope) is related …