I’m somewhat skeptical about this one as it is being reported … from the Greek Reporter:
A submerged underwater archaeological site with extensive sunken architectural remains was found by the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities team at a depth of 200 to 600 m. off the Alikanas beach on northeast Zakynthos, the Ionian Sea Island, as archaiologia.gr revealed.
The team has begun exploring around the area since May 13, 2013, after an invitation made by the Municipality of Zakynthos.
The large site covers about 30,000 sq. m., something that reflects the existence of a significant ancient settlement in the Alikanas area. It contains a visible courtyard, ancient building material and at least 20 circular column bases, with a 34 cm hollow in the center where a wooden column may have been inserted.
Initial assessment leads to the result that the remains belong to a large ancient public building, which is probably related to the ancient city’s port. However, due to the absence of pottery from the surface, it is still not that easy to date the find.
The Municipality of Zakynthos along with the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities will proceed to more extensive research and mapping of the site as soon as possible, so as new evidence will be found of the history and topography of ancient Zakynthos.
- via: Impressive Antiquities Revealed Off Zakynthos Coast (Greek Reporter)
The original article includes a photo of what might be one of the column bases. Even so — and acknowledging that the area around Zakynthos is earthquake prone — we’re talking a very large site which is supposedly 200m to 600m below the surface of the sea. That’s pretty deep for a major site to sink and no one to mention it. I’m very curious how this was explored (divers? submarine? robot?) and whether it might not make more sense to see this as one or more shipwrecks full of building materials … we definitely need more details on this one.
Not really sure if I (personally) would call these pretentious, but your mileage may vary (insert smiley here):
Over at the Dickinson College Commentaries site (which has become a goldmine of good stuff of late) Christopher Francese has put up a modified version of the paper he presented at the recent APA event:
More from the AIA shindig (and Stephanie Pappas, who clearly is making a name for herself in terms of coverage of archaeology of late):
A mysterious “snake goddess” painted on terracotta and discovered in Athens may actually be Demeter, the Greek goddess of the harvest.
Once linked to the worship of the dead, the goddess is flanked by two snakes on a slab of terracotta about the size of a piece of notebook paper. She has her hands up above her head, which has given her the nickname “the touchdown goddess” thanks to the resemblance of the pose to a referee’s signal. The goddess is painted in red, yellow and blue-green on a tile, with only her head molded outward in three dimensions. This unusual piece of art was found amid a jumble of gravel and other terracotta fragments in 1932 in what was once the Athenian agora, or public square.
The catch, however, is that the snake goddess isn’t originally from the agora. The gravel and figurine fragments were fill material, brought in from an unknown second location to build a path or road in the seventh century B.C.
“Not only is our snake goddess unidentified, but she’s homeless,” said study researcher Michael Laughy of Washington and Lee University in Virginia. “She got mixed up in that road gravel, presumably obtained near the site of her original shrine.” [...]
More Likely, according to Laughy’s analysis, the snake-flanked woman is both a representation of and an offering to a goddess. Votive deposits from the shrines of goddesses include pottery disks, terracotta horses, plaques and shields, as well as female figurines. These votives match the finds uncovered in Athens.
In particular, shrines devoted to Demeter and Athena, the goddess of wisdom and war, show the closest matches to the types of figurines found, Laughy said.
Demeter is a strong candidate, as there was a shrine built in her name in the seventh century mere minutes-long walk from the Athens agora, he said. It’s the only sanctuary where ancient Greeks are known to have left loom weights and spindle whorls, which are disks that weigh down spindles used for spinning thread and which are found in the Athens fill debris. What’s more, Laughy said, the spot was graded in the seventh century, which could have produced a debris pile that was then carted away to make paths in the agora.
Finally, the goddess’ serpentine companions also point to Demeter, who was particularly associated with snake iconography, Laughy said.
“Snakes and Demeter are happy together in imagery in the seventh century,” he said.
Laughy warned that the evidence linking the snake goddess and Demeter is circumstantial. However, he said, the evidence is strong that the woman is not a figure associated with death, but a goddess. If she were Demeter, the snake goddess plaque would be one of the oldest images ever found of that particular deity. [...]
…and I suspect I’m not the only one thinking about Minoan snake goddesses right now as well … and I’m now really starting to be bugged by the lack of abstracts the AIA put up for the meeting
Some noggin fodder stemming from Wilfrid Major’s recent Classical Outlook article at Dickinson College Commentaries:
Tip o’ the pileus to Graham Shipley, who mentioned this study on the Classicists list … here’s the abstract of an article by Kate Chanock:
This paper recounts the process by which a severely reading-disabled adult student taught himself to read and write Ancient Greek, and in so doing, improved his ability to read and write in English. Initially, Keith’s reading and writing were slow, difficult and inaccurate, accompanied by visual disturbance. However, motivated by a strong interest in Ancient Greek literature and philosophical ideas, Keith enlisted me (his Faculty’s academic skills adviser) to help him learn the language. Working on transliteration focused Keith’s attention on the alphabetic principle separately from meaning, while practising translation focused on the formal markers of meaning. Relieved of the stress of performing under pressures of time and others’ expectations, Keith made good progress with Greek and, after 6 months, found himself reading more fluently in English, without visual disturbance. This paper seeks to contribute to our knowledge of how adults learn to read, looking at the interplay of motivation, phonological awareness, knowledge of how form conveys meaning, and the learning environment. It both draws upon, and raises questions for, the neuroscientific study of dyslexia.
- via: Help for a dyslexic learner from an unlikely source: the study of Ancient Greek (Literacy, Oct. 2006)
Not just classical, but early Christian and Byzantine Greek are immensely alive and productive fields in the modern academic world. This program is specially designed to open possibilities for you in all these areas. With dedication, you can follow these avenues as far as you like in almost any period and style of Greek, Classical or Christian, at an undergraduate and eventually professional level.
- More details: Baylor Intensive Greek 2013
Some nice hype from UCincy on Susan Prince’s work with Antisthenes:
Are cynics and happiness mutually exclusive? For modern cynics, perhaps. But for the ancient Cynics, not necessarily.
Research by the University of Cincinnati’s Susan Prince shows that despite the historical perception of the ancient Cynics as harsh, street-corner prophets relentlessly condemning all passersby and decrying society’s lack of virtue, these Greek philosophers, indirectly descended from Socratic teaching, weren’t all doom and gloom. They actually might have espoused a shortcut to happiness.
“We don’t have good scholarship on the Cynics. They’re seen as misanthropes and as sloppy and dirty people who want to cut down the elite,” says Prince, UC assistant professor of classics, adding, “But there’s a positive strand that needs to be recovered, and I’m really going to punch that hard with my research.”
Prince was invited to present her new research paper, “Antisthenes and the Short Route to Happiness,” during the 13th annual Unisa Classics Colloquium hosted by the University of South Africa’s Department of Classics and World Languages from Oct. 25-27 in Pretoria. More than a dozen presentations from international scholars will address the conference theme of “Ancient Routes to Happiness.”
Much of Prince’s work focuses on the individual believed to be the primary influence on the Cynic movement, Antisthenes.
Antisthenes was a pupil of Socrates and occasional rival of Plato. In fact, while history occasionally paints Plato as a philosopher of unequaled wisdom, UC’s Prince says that through study of his texts, it’s more plausible that he developed his ideas through tight intellectual debates with his contemporaries, and Antisthenes was among them.
ANCIENT CYNICS’ RECIPE FOR HAPPINESS: AVOID AN EMPHASIS ON MATERIAL GOODS
Plato and Antisthenes shared many beliefs in common with all philosophers – rejection of wealth and luxury, and embracing the pursuit of wisdom and virtue. But Antisthenes’ methods set him apart from Plato. Whereas Plato founded his Academy for philosophical teaching and lengthy study, Antisthenes advocated a short but rigorous path toward virtue and happiness.
Antisthenes’ way was short in that he endorsed an abbreviated curriculum when compared to those of other schools of philosophy, which contended that the quick route was a road to nowhere. Antisthenes’ teachings skipped over the technical aspects of logic in order to concentrate on ethical literature, such as reading Homer.
And Antisthenes’ way was rigorous in that it required a drastic attitude change. To follow the path of the Cynic was to abandon many societal conventions and to live in accord with nature – no more fancy clothes, no more exquisite feasts and even no more roof over your head.
ANCIENT CYNICS’ LACK OF EMPHASIS ON MATERIAL GOODS LED TO MORE LEISURE TIME
Through this shortcut, Prince says Cynics were able to gain leisure time which could be put toward living the good life or what Antisthenes called “seeing the things worth seeing and hearing the things worth hearing.” And that’s how an ancient Cynic could exist in ethical bliss until the end of his days.
“You get to your happiness quickly and then you practice your happiness for the rest of your life,” Prince says.
In a modern context, there’s some irony in the notion of a cynic devoted to the pursuit of happiness, and Prince hopes her research can clear the air on Antisthenes, et al. In addition to her paper for the Unisa conference, she has a 600-page manuscript on Antisthenes scheduled to be published through the University of Michigan Press in 2013 or 2014. She wants to show that the negative connotation associated with “cynic” might be historically inaccurate and to provide a little redemption for centuries of misjudgment.
“I’m resisting the modern sense of ‘cynic,’” Prince says. “That just hits the mission on the head: To recover the ancient Cynics and show that you can’t just project straight backward. There’s a whole history there that has led us to our modern sense of the term ‘cynic,’ and that comes from the negative tradition.”
MORE BACKGROUND ON ANTISTHENES AND ANCIENT CYNICS
“Plato didn’t become great by himself,” says UC’s Prince. “Antisthenes was very important as one of the interlocutors who wasn’t always Plato’s enemy. Their relationship was more like a sibling rivalry.”
Rivalry or not, when looking into history’s rearview it seems as if Plato’s shadow has grown larger than it appeared, diminishing the contributions of others. Peter van Minnen, head of the Department of Classics in UC’s McMicken College of Arts & Sciences, thinks the Cynics have been under represented in the scope of Greek philosophers.
“Susan’s revised Greek text is explained in more detail than ever before,” van Minnen says. “Once it is published, all classicists will turn to it for Antisthenes. The Cynics are kind of neglected but ‘good to think with’ so we don’t take Plato and Aristotle as the only gospel in Greek philosophy.”
From Greek Reporter:
One of the rarest sundials dating from the Greco-Roman period was found in Polichrono in Chalkidiki.This sundial is not a usual one as it shows the correct time at any given place.
It is noteworthy that in the Ancient Greek world, sundials consisted of a gnomon (indicator in Ancient Greek) in the form of a vertical post or peg set in a flat surface, upon which the shadow of the gnomon served to indicate the time.
This sundial has a surface which is separated in 12 parts representing 12 hours of the day. More particularly, the sundial consists of a hyperbola tracing the shadow’s path at the winter solstice, a second one for the summer solstice, and a straight east-west line in between marking the equinoctial shadows.
A line from the base of the gnomon to the south of the dial running due north denotes noontime. The hyperbola is centered on this noon line. The winter hyperbola opens to the north, the summer hyperbola to the south. In addition to the center noon line, additional oblique lines are added on either side to denote the hours of daylight before and after noon.
Archaeologist of the 16th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, Betina Tsigarida, specialist in the area of Chalkidiki, was the one to find the sundial and was given it as a reward for her work.
via: Old Sundial Found in Chalkidiki (Greek Reporter)
Some excerpts from the Sydney Morning Herald:
LATIN is up. So is legal studies. Visual arts and studies of religion have dropped slightly in the rankings but remain in the top 15 most popular courses for students undertaking this year’s Higher School Certificate, with exams to begin on Monday.
Latin is slightly up on last year with 173 students enrolled in the continuers course, making it the 14th most popular language course. Classical Greek has nine enrolments in continuers and six in extension despite being taught in only five high schools in the state. Classical Hebrew has experienced something of a revival this year, with 37 students enrolled in continuers, up on 28 last year.
”Classical languages are alive and well in NSW which is not necessarily the case in other places,” Ms Taylor said. ”There is always a small but significant number of students who see value in classical study. They are a very passionate group of students and teachers, I can tell you.”
The head of classics at Pymble Ladies’ College and president of the Classical Languages Teachers Association, Emily Matters, said reports of the demise of dead languages have been grossly exaggerated. ”People sometimes express surprise that they are still being taught but it hasn’t stopped. The one thing I regret is that more children aren’t given access.”
Dr Matters has adapted the 2nd-century story Cupid and Psyche for the stage in a production in Latin and Classical Greek. More than 60 students from 10 schools are involved in the production.
Grant Kynaston, a Sydney Grammar School student who plays Cupid, is studying Latin and Classical Greek and believes the ancient languages are coming back into vogue. ”They are hipster subjects,” he said. ”But seriously, it’s interesting to be able to read things which have maintained their relevance for two or three thousand years.”
Emily Baird, from Sydney Girls High School, who plays Psyche, was drawn to Latin for its meditative qualities. ”It’s quite therapeutic – that’s my inner-nerd coming out,” she said. ”I find it quite calming to go to Latin after doing English.”
… checking out the original article is a good thing: there’s a brief newsish video about the Cupid and Psyche production mentioned above …
This is yet another one which I could have sworn I had posted, but which I can’t find when I look for it. A very interesting article by Adrienne Mayor (and several others … it’s a pdf):
- Making Sense of “Nonsense” Inscriptions: Non-Greek Words Associated with Amazons and Scythians on Ancient Greek Vases
… to which we can add some commentary by languagehat:
Folks might be aware that one of Archaeology Magazine’s ‘Interactive Digs’ is a Minoan site at Zominthos … they’ve been digging there for seven or eight years and have just started putting up the ‘field notes’ for this year’s installment. Most of the brief notes so far have a (raw) video clip accompanying them:
We don’t often see newspaper articles acknowledge the contribution of ancient Greek to the English language — especially in a Canadian newspaper … a taste in medias res of an item in the Globe and Mail:
[...] In the unlikely event that you are asked to strip naked in a gym by a philologist, don’t freak out. The word “gymnastics” descends from its Greek parent gumnazo, which means “train naked” and comes from the word gumnós – “naked.” In ancient Greece, exercises were often performed in the nude, and at one time Olympic track meets were run in the buff because it was believed that the sun was soothing to the nerves of the back. While in practice sessions, the modern gymnast performs calisthenics, vigorous exercises to improve muscle tone and fitness. This term blends the Greek stem kalli, which means “beauty,” with the Greek word for strength, sthenos.
The Greek word for contest is athlon, and this has bequeathed to us four Olympic sports: the decathlon (10 events), the heptathlon (seven events), the pentathlon (five events) and the triathlon (three events). The pentathlon, in which contestants compete in shooting, fencing, swimming, riding and cross-country running, has an interesting history. The choice of these sports was based on the legend of a warrior who, having to convey a message to the rear of the fighting forces, had to battle on horseback with his pistol and sword. However, because his horse was killed in the struggle, he had to swim and run to complete his mission. [...]
… we appear to have been given license to tell people to strip naked; use it responsibly!
- The Greek language deserves a medal (Globe and Mail)
Interesting news item from Rome Reports:
… I did some poking around, and this seems to be the institution(s) involved (in case you’re looking to do this next year) …