- 215 B.C. — dedication of the Temple of Mens (and associated rites thereafter)
- 17 B.C.. — ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 4)
- 65 A.D./C.E. — Jewish rebels capture the Antonia in Jerusalem (not sure about this one)
- 68 A.D. — recognition of Galba as emperor in Rome (?)
- 86 A.D. — ludi Capitolini (day 3)
- 204 A.D. — ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 5) [I need more info on this one]
- 218 A.D. — the Legio III Gallica, who had declared their loyalty for Bassianus (the future emperor Elagabalus) defeats the emperor Macrinus near Antioch; Macrinus fled
- 1768 — death of Johann Winckelmann
- the ‘inner sanctum’ of the Temple of Vesta was opened to the (female) public
- ludi piscatorii (?) — a private festival celebrated by fishermen
- 17 B.C.. — ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 3)
- 20 A.D. — Nero Julius Caesar, son of the emperor-in-waiting Germanicus, dons his toga virilis; a congiarium is given to the people as well
- 86 A.D. — ludi Capitolini — a festival involving poetic contests, inaugurated by Domitian based on something done by Nero (day 2)
- 204 A.D. — ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 4)
- 356 B.C. — birth of Alexander the Great (according to one reckoning)
- 17 B.C.. — ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 1)
- 86 A.D. ludi Capitolini (day 1)
- 204 A.D. — ludi Latini et Graeci honorarii (day 3)
Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: June 4
LAWDI and Mortuary Archaeology
- via Bones Don’t Lie.
Quote of the week – Inscription on The Temple of Asclepius in Epidaurus
Portable Antiquity | Dozens of Antiquities lack dated pre-1970 provenance at Christie’s and Sotheby’s June 2013 sales
Dozens of Antiquities lack dated pre-1970 provenance at Christie’s and Sotheby’s June 2013 sales
In the fourth interview recorded during this year’s Classical Association CC’s Anastasia Bakogianni talks with Dr Amy Smith, a member of the Classics Department at the University of Reading which hosted this year’s meeting. This interview and the one with Dr Sonya Nevin that follows were recorded on the premises of the Ure Museum, with Amy’s kind permission in her capacity as the Museum’s curator. CC gratefully acknowledges its debt to Dr Smith and the Classics Department at the University of Reading for allowing us to film on location!
In this interview Amy talks about the Ure Museum’s long history, its early days and the excavation work of Percy Neville Ure, the University’s first Professor of Classics, and the museum’s development over the years. She also speaks about some of the current collaborations that the Ure is involved in with local schools in Reading and the British Museum.
In the second part of the interview Amy talks about her love for the iconography of the classical world and her engagement with digital classics. Lastly Amy tells us about a recent volume she co-edited with Sadie Pickup: Brill’s Companion to Aphrodite. The idea for the book arose when a headless statue of Aphrodite was chosen as the item on loan from the British Museum that would be displayed in the Ure Museum; thus we return full circle back to the museum at the heart of the Classics Department at Reading.
Hot on the heels of the Odysseus in America post comes this item from Anesthesiology News:
Sing, O Muse, of the rage of Achilles, of Peleus’ son, murderous, man-killer, fated to die of massive hemorrhage secondary to an acute laceration of the calcaneal tendon, indicating the likely presence of an inherited coagulopathy such as hemophilia or von Willebrand disease. (Note: The patient’s parentage—half mortal, half immortal—could have predisposed him to yet-undescribed clotting disorders.)
Classicists who devote their lives to the analysis of ancient texts such as Homer’s Iliad tend to be skeptical of physician historians who examine these literary works for insight into ancient medical practices—and who, in the process, come up with post hoc diagnoses such as the mockery above. And they’re evidently right to be wary.
An anesthesiologist and a pair of classicists have identified numerous errors in the methods and conclusions drawn by several medical researchers about medicine during the time of The Iliad. The researchers, from Wake Forest University, in Winston-Salem, N.C., and Temple University, in Philadelphia, presented their findings at the 2012 annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (abstract 1320).
Lead author and anesthesiologist Raymond C. Roy, MD, PhD, said that five of the six articles published from 2000 to 2010 discussing medical care in The Iliad fell into common traps. Mistakes included incorrect assumptions that Homer was an eyewitness reporter of actual events and real injuries, that accurate comparisons could be made to modern-day medical care based on limited descriptions, that there was a one-to-one relationship between ancient Greek and modern English medical terms, that medical care was organized then as it is now, and that physicians provided care to wounded heroes during the Trojan War.
Dr. Roy said his interest in the subject was stimulated by his daughter and her husband, both classicists at Temple University in Philadelphia. “We have engaged in some very interesting discussions over the coffee and drinks regarding ancient Greek medicine and current perceptions of it,” he said. “It has been fun to have this project with my children and to be ‘forced’ to read The Iliad … and a monograph by Salazar. Our thesis was that physicians who ‘dabble’ in history, like myself, frequently fall into traps that lead classicists to be critical of our conclusions.”
The epic poem about gods, heroes and heroic wounding and death near the end of the war stems from an oral tradition. Estimates of when it was composed (1184-675 B.C.) and first recorded (800-675 B.C.) range widely, and there are multiple versions of the work.
All accounts of Homer’s life place him centuries after the Trojan War. However, physician researchers have written: “We are amazed by Homer’s meticulous account of the wounds inflicted to combatants” and “it may therefore be inferred that Homer was a witness of the war and that he even participated in it: he may have been one of the people appointed to nurse wounds of the injured warriors.”
Other comments revealed a lack of knowledge about the practice of medicine in the period. Those included a reference to the likelihood that anesthetic procedure was already present in ancient Greece as well as the statement: “Numerous findings indicate that Greek physicians were present on the battlefield.”
Dr. Roy and his team point out that there were no field hospitals, and surgical instruments were rarely found at archeological digs of Bronze Age battles. With regard to anesthetics, salves were applied after, not during, an arrowhead extraction. Disease was left untreated because it was believed to be inflicted by the gods, and healing temples appeared after Homer. Healers took orders from heroes and could only treat non-heroes—only heroes had the status to treat other heroes. In fact, the primary function of the healers was to fight.
Medical terms that appear in modern translations present added red herrings, Dr. Roy said, “Classics like The Iliad are constantly evolving as each translator chooses more modern words, terms and concepts based on knowledge acquired since the previous translations, and this evolution has the effect of attributing more understanding by the ancients than they actually had.” For example, sinews, tendons, nerves, arteries and veins have all been used in place of the ancient term neuron, he said.
The authors conclude that for reasons ranging from national pride to the projecting of modern beliefs and knowledge onto the past, physicians who otherwise are rigorous in their scientific and medical endeavors tend to be naively positive in their analysis of the quality and efficacy of ancient treatments as encountered in classics. Although medical training can aid in the analysis of ancient healing practices, Dr. Roy warned, “Physicians writing historical articles about medicine in ancient times need to collaborate with classicists, archeologists and full-time historians to avoid drawing conclusions that are at odds with facts.”
That final paragraph should become some sort of mantra … you can substitute the non-classics profession of your choice for “Physician” as you desire …
We’ve had this nuttiness before and once again, it comes from the Greek Reporter:
Dr. Enrico Mattievich, a retired Professor of Physics from the UFRJ, Brazil, suggested in 2011 that Odysseus’s journey to the Underworld took actually place in South America. The river Acheron was the Amazon, after a long voyage upstream Odysseus met the spirits of the dead at the confluence of the Rio Santiago and Rio Marañon.
In his book, Journey to the Mythological Inferno, which is a historical non-Fiction winners’ book, Mattievich exposes his thesis on ancient contacts between the Old World and America, based on Greek and Roman classical texts, leading to new ideas about America that many historians and geographers have been reluctant to consider until now.
Some time ago, the writer and archaeologist Henriette Mertz suggested that the legendary voyage of Odysseus and his ship’s crew, after the Trojan War – narrated in Homer’s Odyssey – would be a trip across the Atlantic, from the Gibraltar Straits to North America. She also suggested that the Argonauts could have navigated down to the South Atlantic Ocean, passed the mouth of the Amazon River to Rio de la Plata, and, following it upstream, reached Bolivian Altiplano and Thiaguanaco. Dr. Christine Pellech also suggested that Odyssey’s voyage to the Kingdom of the Dead was a real trip to America.
The thesis presented in the Journey to the Mythological Inferno claims that Greek and Roman myths related to the Underworld, the House of Hades, the Kingdom of the Dead or the Inferno, originated in South America, specifically in the Andean region of Peru, where the ruins of the Palace of Hades and Persephone, mentioned in Hesiod’s Theogony – written around 700 B.C. – still stand, known as Chavín de Huántar. This theory took form after Mattievich’s first visit to the archaeological site of Chavín de Huántar, in 1981.
In his book, Mattievich presents classical literature texts, such as Ovid’s Metamorphosis, that relate to the knowledge of America. The Cadmus myth, written by Ovid, for example, is estimated to be a myth immortalizing the heroic feat of the discovery and conquest of the Amazon River by the Phoenicians. The prehistoric presence of Phoenician navigators along the coast and rivers of Brazil, could be confirmed by hundreds of engraved inscriptions on rocks– called itacoatiaras – by natives of Brazil, where it’s often possible to recognize archaic Semitic and proto-Greek characters. The same name Brazil, according to Professor Cyrus Gordon, comes from the vocable brzl, used by Canaanites to denote iron.
- via: Did Ancient Greeks Discover America? (Greek Reporter)
… back in November, they gave the same basic story: Odysseus in America? … it’s genuinely difficult to take this news source seriously at times. And once again I marvel how an outsider (retired physics guy) seems to be taken seriously in a matter clearly outside his purview. Maybe I should write how I proved string theory or something …
Assorted versions of this kicking around … here’s the BBC‘s version:
Evidence of the earliest winemaking in France has been described – and indicates an Italian origin.
Shaped vessels called amphoras, known to have been imported from the Etruscan people of Italy around 500 BC, have shown chemical evidence of wine.
A wine press identified in the same region shows that the beverage quickly gained favour and launched a local industry that would conquer the world.
The study appears in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
There is also evidence that the wines contained herbal and pine resins, which may have helped preserve them for shipping.
The history of wine development is a patchy one, principally because wine leaves behind few chemical markers that archaeologists today can ascribe definitively to wine, rather than other agricultural products.
The earliest known examples of wine-making as we know it are in the regions of modern-day Iran, Georgia, and Armenia – and that modern winemaking slowly spread westward to Europe.
In 2004, Patrick McGovern of the University of Pennsylvania Museum led a team whose findings suggested that wine based on rice may have been developed in China at the same time or even before efforts in the Middle East.
But details for many parts of the spread from the Middle East, including into France, remained unclear.
Dr McGovern and colleagues have now pinned down another part of the story in the new study.
“You could argue that it comes [into France from] farther north on the continent,” he told BBC News.
“You could have it spreading across Germany, say, from Romania – but this really provides a definite set of evidence that it came from Italy.”
The team was examining what are called amphoras, vessels designed for carrying both liquids and solids and for neat packing into a boat’s hull.
The Etruscans, a pre-Roman civilisation in Italy, are thought to have gained wine culture from the Phoenicians – who spread throughout the Mediterranean from the early Iron Age onward – because they used similarly shaped amphoras.
Further, it is known that the Etruscans shipped goods to southern France in these amphoras – but until now it remained unclear if they held wine or other goods.
Wine pressing platforms were usually found outside of towns, nearer the vineyards themselves Wine pressing platforms were usually found outside of towns, nearer the vineyards themselves
Dr McGovern’s team focused on the coastal site of Lattara, near the town of Lattes south of Montpellier, where the importation of amphoras continued up until the period 525-475 BC.
They used a high-precision analytical tool called gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, which provides a list of the molecules absorbed into the pottery of the amphoras. The results showed that they did once contain wine – as well as pine resin and herbal components.
But more surprising was the find of a wine-pressing platform, where grapes were ground and liquid drained off.
“In a walled town like this, it is unusual to find a wine press from an early period,” Dr McGovern said. “Finding the chemical evidence for the press, that was a surprise.”
The find is consistent with a pattern seen elsewhere – that wine is introduced from abroad, but a local culture eventually seeks to transplant the grapes and grow their own, local wine industry.
“From there, [winemaking] spread up the Rhone River, the domesticated vine gets transplanted, it crosses with the wild grapes and all sorts of interesting cultivars develop – those are the ones that spread around the world.
“Most of the wine we have today is from French cultivars, which ultimately derive from the Near-East cultivar via the Etruscans,” he explained.
“There’s still a lot of blanks to fill in, but I find it very exciting.”
- via: French wine ‘has Italian origins’ (BBC)
The abstract of the PNAS article:
Chemical analyses of ancient organic compounds absorbed into the pottery fabrics of imported Etruscan amphoras (ca. 500–475 B.C.) and into a limestone pressing platform (ca. 425–400 B.C.) at the ancient coastal port site of Lattara in southern France provide the earliest biomolecular archaeological evidence for grape wine and viniculture from this country, which is crucial to the later history of wine in Europe and the rest of the world. The data support the hypothesis that export of wine by ship from Etruria in central Italy to southern Mediterranean France fueled an ever-growing market and interest in wine there, which, in turn, as evidenced by the winepress, led to transplantation of the Eurasian grapevine and the beginning of a Celtic industry in France. Herbal and pine resin additives to the Etruscan wine point to the medicinal role of wine in antiquity, as well as a means of preserving it during marine transport.
- via: Beginning of viniculture in France (PNAS)
… of course, you can download the pdf of the article there for a high price. If you’re keeping score at home, Dr McGovern is the guy the Wine Spectator talked to about Falernian a month or so ago (On Falernian). It’s also worth noting that this technique seems to complement (if it isn’t actually more useful than) the DNA techniques used by Brendan Foley et al to determine what was actually in some amphoras which we learned about last fall (see Some Potential Amphora Use Revisionism and Amphora Revisionism Followup
posted with permission:
Community Identity and Archaeology: Dynamic Communities in Aphrodisias and Beycesultan. By Naoíse MacSweeney. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2011. Pp. viii + 266. Hardcover, $75.00. ISBN 978-0-472-02765-1.
Reviewed by Christoph Bachhuber, The Free University of Berlin
There has been a welcome trend in the archaeology of Anatolia to synthesize material from previously published excavations. Much of this is being done by Anglophone archaeologists with interpretive frameworks developed in Anglophone archaeology. The book under review is such a study. More specifically it is an engagement with M. A. Canuto and J. Yaeger’s edited volume, The Archaeology of Communities: A New World Perspective (London, 2000).
The book is divided into three parts: 1) theoretical development of the concept of community in archaeology; 2) the Late Bronze Age (LBA) and Iron Age (IA) at Beycesultan in southwestern Turkey; and 3) the LBA and IA at nearby Aprhodisias. The structure of the volume reveals its origins as an Anglophone PhD dissertation in archaeology: theory, followed by case studies where theory is applied.
The first part of the book (Chapters 1–5) was a pleasure to read and a useful overview of the concept of “community,” as a potentially ambiguous term in the social sciences, and archaeology in particular. It succeeds in explaining how “communities” have been studied in the historical development of Anglophone archaeology through its culture historical, processual, and post-processual phases. For MacSweeney, recent theoretical developments offer an opportunity to study communities in the late prehistoric/early historic periods in western Anatolia, in particular the relationship between material culture and the self-conscious creation of identities.
The book hinges on the creation of one kind of community identity in particular: a spatially focused “geographic community” defined by a shared identification with places and territories. MacSweeney suggests convincingly: “It is the spatial and emplaced nature of the geographical community that makes it particularly appropriate for study in archaeology.” The concept of the geographic community allows MacSweeney to divide all relevant material culture from Beycesultan and Aphrodisias into two categories: 1) material culture which is used to create a sense of “Us”; and 2) material culture which is used to create oppositions between “Us” and “Them.”
As regards the former, community identities are strongest when material culture is used to foster cohesion and downplay social differentiation. As regards the latter, oppositions between “Us” and “Them” can also strengthen community identities in situations when a social group defines itself in opposition to “the external Other.” The external Other is a non-local social entity that can be represented in the presence of non-local material culture. Alternatively, “Us”-versus-“Them” oppositions can weaken community identities, in particular when material culture is used to emphasize differences in rank/status or affinity within a given settlement.
Chapter 6 introduces the broader archaeological and historical context of western Anatolia during the LBA and IA. This is a thoughtful discussion of how western Anatolia has existed in a geographical margin between two regions that have enjoyed more academic attention: the (Classical) Aegean and the Anatolian Plateau (of the Hittite kingdom and empire). Consequently, most previous research in western Anatolia has been framed by questions that ask to what extent the societies of this region have been influenced by the Aegean or the Anatolian Plateau. As such, societies in western Anatolia have become passive responders to “historical” forces emanating out of the west and the east. MacSweeney acknowledges the salience of distant influences on material culture and societies, but asks how and why social groups in western Anatolia chose to embrace, modify or reject material culture from distant origins. These choices relate directly to the creation, strengthening or dissolution of community identities/bonds in western Anatolia.
Chapter 7 is a case study based on the LBA and IA material culture of Beycesultan, when the settlement likely existed as a regional center. Two broad trends were reconstructed: 1) towards greater community identity during periods of external threat (from the LBA Hittites) or during periods of regional instability (Early IA). This is manifest in more homogenous, more local and less stratified material culture, and in evidence for socially integrative activities like feasting; and 2) towards a weakening of community identity, in periods of relative stability and prosperity that benefitted emergent local elites, who strove self-consciously to differentiate themselves from non-elites in the same settlement.
Chapter 8 is a case study based on the LBA and IA material culture of Aphrodisias. Compared with Beycesultan, Aphrodisias was more like a village during these periods. Similar criteria were used to distinguish phases of more community or less community, though the settlement of Aphrodisias responded to the historical circumstances of the LBA and IA in different ways to Beycesultan (indeed in opposite ways). MacSweeney attributes this to the relative size and geo-political importance of Beycesultan vs. Aphrodisias.
Reading Chapter 7 and Chapter 8, I was left wondering how much community (or lack of community) can be reconstructed from the limited horizontal extent of excavation from the two sites. At Beycesultan, excavation trenches on the LBA and IA uncovered at most three buildings from one level in a single trench. At Aphrodisias, only fragments of a single building were uncovered from each level. There is never enough data in archaeology, but this narrow data set appears to have been too easily inserted into MacSweeney’s interpretive framework. Long passages/discussions with minimal or no citation in Chapters 7–8, and redundancy in argumentation were two manifestations of this.
The volume will be valued for its thoughtful treatment of communities in archaeology (alongside Canuto and Yaeger’s Archaeology of Communities), but less so for insights into the LBA and IA settlements of Beycesultan and Aphrodisias.
Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: June 2
Antiochia ad Cragum: Archaeology Blog 2013
- via GraecoMuse.
Children in Pompeii & Herculaneum
Distribution of Militaria at Kalkriese
- via Bread and Circuses.
An East Greek Bronze Warrior from the Medici Dossier
- via Looting Matters
Sustainability at Any Price is not Sustainable: Open Access and Archaeology
- via The ASOR Blog.