Not sure how many folks are aware that the BBC has created a series based in Atlantis with all sorts of ancient Greek ‘goodness’ … you can check out a bunch of trailers here and decide whether this is something Classicists should watch:
AFP via Art Daily:
The Louvre museum will launch an appeal for one million euros in donations to restore The Winged Victory of Samothrace, a second-century BC marble statue of the Greek goddess Nike and one of the world’s most famous sculptures. The appeal will be launched by the famed Paris museum on Tuesday, the day the statue will be removed from its normal site at the top of an imposing staircase. The Winged Victory is one of the Louvre’s main attractions along with the Mona Lisa and a statue of Venus de Milo. Sculpted in white and grey marble, the Winged Victory portrays the goddess standing on the prow of a ship. The headless figure was discovered in Samothrace in 1863. The Daru staircase which houses the Samothrace statue will also be renovated “without shutting off this major access which is used by seven million visitors every year,” museum official Ludovic Laugier told AFP. The cost of the renovation will amount to four million euros both for the staircase and the statue. The museum has already raised three million euros ($3.9 million) in donations from Nippon Television Holdings, Fimalac and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
- via: Louvre appeals for funds to restore iconic statue (Art Daily)
The coverage in the Greek Reporter adds some interesting details:
[...] The new campaign is called Everybody Can Be Maecenas and will begin Sept. 3 when the famed sculpture will be removed from viewing from one of the most advantageous spots in the museum and not returned until the summer of 2014.
Winged Victory suffered the same fate as the Parthenon Marbles that were stolen from the Acropolis by Lord Elgin and now reside in the British Museum. Victory was discovered in April 1863 by the French consul and amateur archaeologist Charles Champoiseau, who stole it and sent it to Paris. [...]
- via: Louvre Asks Donations For Nike Repair (Greek Reporter)
The two websites mentioned above, by the way, are identical … and it appears they have no donations as of this writing (but they have just gone online, of course). I strongly suspect I’m not the only one who sees a major marketing opportunity for a certain footwear company to bring this to fruition rather more quickly … I’ve never quite understood why they haven’t played up this association in the past …
posted with permission:
Geography in Classical Antiquity. By Daniela Dueck with a chapter by Kai Brodersen. Key Themes in Ancient History. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. xvi + 142. Paper, $29.99. ISBN 978-0-521-12025-8.
Reviewed by Brian Turner, Portland State University
Pliny the Elder (NH 3.1.1-2) long ago bemoaned the near impossible task of writing about geography, an assignment which was, he wrote, “not easily handled without any criticism.” Recognizing the difficulty of encapsulating so much of human knowledge in a single volume, he claimed that he would neither “blame nor refute” any of his sources. Alas, Pliny did not have to write book reviews. It is, then, a relief to recommend Dueck’s brief but effective primer on the topic of geography in the Greek and Roman world. The pace and breadth of the text will require an active and prepared instructor (not to mention an array of supplementary readings) to help guide students through topics that are often only introduced and then overwhelmed by new concepts, developments, and items of evidence. But the topic of geography in antiquity relies on so much and so varied evidence-even (as I note below) more than the text emphasizes-that the authors can hardly be faulted for brevity in such a concise and necessary introduction.
The book consists of five chapters. A bibliography and index are by no means exhaustive but should at least offer students a starting point for the pursuit of further study. There is also a chronological table listing authors, texts, and principal events. Polybius might have preferred to be included in the 2nd rather than 3rd century bce (xi), and certainly Ammianus Marcellinus, since he is discussed in the text itself (50), deserves inclusion. But such quibbles aside, the table will helpfully introduce new students to the large number of texts available for the study of ancient geography.
The bulk of the volume is organized according to groups of sources rather than chronological development, so that the three main chapters deal with as many different approaches to the study of geography in antiquity. Chapter 2, “Descriptive Geography,” explores the presentation of geographic material in poetry, prose, and even travelogues including periploi, itineraria,and other more detailed travel narratives. The next chapter, “Mathematical Geography,” examines how ancient scientists “used numbers and calculations” (69) along with theoretical approaches regarding form and symmetry to determine the shape and size of the world as well as the nature of the peoples who inhabited it.
A description of how geographic coordinates, principally longitude and latitude, were calculated or estimated closes the discussion and offers a neat transition to the next chapter on the practice (or lack) of cartography in classical antiquity. Kai Brodersen (who wrote the chapter) warns readers of the dangers of applying a modern worldview that is too map-centric onto the ancients, and quite rightly concludes that the “pre-modern Greco-Roman world generally managed without maps” (109). The argument against the use of maps for practical purposes (e.g. for travel or military plans), however correct, tends to overpower the fact that cartographic depictions did exist in antiquity, even if only for the illustration of power and might. Even discounting the difficult problem of the form of Agrippa’s famous depiction of the orbis terrarum, there is more than enough evidence to illustrate mapping on a grand scale, especially during the Roman imperial period (for which see Richard Talbert’s chapter in Ancient Perspectives: Maps and Their Place in Mesopotamia, Egypt, Greece, and Rome (Chicago 2012)). Although the precise form of such maps is beyond reconstruction, their existence and value should not be doubted.
Three principal themes, outlined in the first (“Introduction”) and final (“Geography in Practice”) chapters, underpin the entire work. Two of the themes are specifically introduced as such in the introduction (5). The first notes the reciprocal relationship between expansion, whatever its principal motives, and geographic knowledge. The second focuses on the comparison between Greek and Roman geographic knowledge, its development and its practical uses.
The third theme is not specifically introduced like the others, but it nevertheless dominates the volume and illustrates a fundamental element of modern discussions about the nature of ancient geography. With minor exceptions, the volume emphasizes text as the dominant medium through which geographic knowledge was created and transmitted. Though such a view appears throughout, it is, perhaps, best summed up in the volume’s final line: “All these [the motives, methods, and tools of geography] enabled these pre-modern societies to break new ground and to record their experience and thoughts in writing” (121). Brodersen’s warning (100) that pre-modern societies lacked the ability to copy and transmit illustrations such as maps should be taken as a warning against such textual emphasis and should offer a reason why we ought to expand and emphasize that non-literary evidence which does exist. As it stands, discussions of artistic creations do appear in the volume, but only fleetingly. The geographic and ethnographic information presented on the Sebasteion in Aphrodisias, for example, makes only a brief appearance at the beginning and end of the work (9 and 121) and is overwhelmed by the text’s conclusion that “geography” is predominantly understood as the “writing” about the earth.
In the end, this little book successfully enhances the curiosity of the reader. Even though it is meant to be a basic introduction, the book sparks debate. It is, therefore, a reflection of the difficulty and the potential of the topic, and is a most welcome addition to the ongoing discussion.
©2013 by The Classical Association of the Middle West and South. All rights reserved.
seen on the Classicists list:
CALL FOR PAPERS: deadline for abstracts Monday 16th September 2013
Senses of the Empire: multisensory approaches to Roman culture
A conference to be held at The Open University, Hawley Crescent, Camden, London, 30th November 2013
Organised by: Dr Eleanor Betts and Dr Emma-Jayne Graham
By collecting the senses together in the interdisciplinary and multi-period volume Empire of the Senses David Howes led ‘a revolution in the representation and analysis of culture’ (2005, p.14). This one-day conference aims to bring that revolution on apace, by exploring the application of a multisensory approach to current research on the archaeological spaces and places of the Roman world. Some aspects of this thriving field of research have already been tied directly into a sensory agenda, whilst others are linked to broader debates, particularly those concerned with the body as the locus of identity, experience and memory, and the meaning of space and place, including movement.
This conference aims to bring these perspectives together in order to explore the value of applying a sensory approach to the archaeology of the ancient world. It will ask how we should use sensory perception and experience to increase our understanding of how people identified and interacted with distinctive Roman environments such as the sounds of the arena, the aromas and tastes of the markets, or the physical sensations of a visit to the baths. In so doing it will bring together scholars working on a wide range of aspects of ancient Rome and its associated territories.
In particular, the conference will ask how we might develop and apply methodologies for recreating experiences of Roman urban and rural landscapes, as well as the activities, behaviours and meanings associated with them, with a focus on how empirical sensory data may combine, or at times conflict, with that of ancient sources. The underlying theme of the day will therefore be an exploration of the perceptions and experiences of those who lived in the Roman world and how an attempt to reconstruct these sensory experiences extends, creates, or alters our perceptions of the past and the lives and identities of its inhabitants.
We invite papers which address these issues from the standpoint of archaeology and ancient history and welcome contributions focused upon any area and time period of the Roman world.
Interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged and preference will be given to papers which draw upon innovative theoretical approaches and methodologies. Contributors are encouraged to consider at least one sense beyond sight, but there is no compulsion to include all senses.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
- What is sensory archaeology? What is the value of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of past senses? Developing methodologies for reconstructing sensory experience of space and place; issues of approaching the past from a multisensory perspective, methodological problems, and their solutions.
- How might new, or existing, sensory approaches be applied to discrete monuments, buildings, locales and landscapes in the Roman world?
- The extent to which the senses played a central role within distinctive socio-cultural activities or locales, such as the domestic, public, political, religious, funerary or leisure spheres of the ancient world. Were sensory experiences instrumental in reinforcing the meaning of particular cultural activities or might they even serve to undermine traditional expectations?
- The senses and the self: the role of sensory perception in the construction or maintenance of personal or communal identities, or in processes connected with memory and the perpetuation of cultural ideologies.
- Senses and the life-course: the dynamic body as a location for sensory experience and the translation of its meaning; the importance of sensory experiences for age or gender.
Prof Ray Laurence (University of Kent)
Dr Valerie Hope (The Open University)
Dr Jane Draycott (University of Wales, Trinity Saint David, Lampeter)
Papers should be of 20 minutes’ length, and should not have been previously published or delivered at a major conference. Abstracts of approximately 250 words should be submitted by Monday 16th September 2013.
Successful contributions may be considered for publication in a peer-reviewed conference volume.
For further information please do not hesitate to contact us.
Eleanor Betts (e.m.betts
open.ac.uk)E-J Graham (emma-jayne.graham
Obama, Cicero, and Sallust VS. Manning, Snowden, and Catiline
- via Eris Quod Sum.
The Top Ten Scandalous Women in Ancient Rome:Finale
- via Latin Language Blog.
A Roman Coin Portraying a Soldier Shielding His Comrade
More on Roman Chainmail Found on the Harzhorn
- via Bread and Circuses.
Sanctuary of Apollo Hylates