Alexander the Great Inscription?

As often with items from Bulgaria, something seems to have been lost in translation. An initial report from the Focus news agency suggested:

Unique marble slab with the image of Alexander the Great and a passage of an inscription was discovered in archaeological excavations in the ancient Baktriya, Baktriya Press Agency informed.
The slab represents an ancient king on a horse heading Macedonian cavalry and Macedonian phalanx at the background.
An inscription written in an ancient language different from ancient Greek or ancient Egyptian languages, on which were written a large part of the stone inscriptions at the time of Alexander is placed from the right of the military arena. According to other assumptions the words of Alexander of Macedonia are written in baktriyan language protolanguage of today’s Bulgarians.
According to archaeologists from the museum in the town of Balh – the baktriyan language is a language, which had been spoken by the soldiers of Alexander of Macedonia, which had unified languages and dialects in his multinational army. Found fragments of ancient Greek inscription at the same site, suggest a possible parallel text.

An hour after that was posted, the same agency posted:

Inscriptions found in Baktria confirmed all my theses that I put in the book Alexander of Macedonia and the Bulgarians. Colleagues were able to assemble the parts of the inscription and read it. Director of the National History Museum Prof. Bozhidar Dimitrov told FOCUS News Agency.
Prof. Dimitrov told that the inscription really say that Alexander of Macedonia has failed to win Baktrian army and therefore his soldiers were married 10 thousand Baktrian girls thus the Bulgarian people had been formed. “In the Greek text soldiers who opposed the Alexander hadn’t been called Baktrian and have been called Bulgaro. The ancient Macedonians whatever they had been, had mixed with ancient Baktrians and so the Bulgarian people had been formed”, Professor Dimitrov announced.

Surely we’ll hear more of this if there’s an actual image of Alexander …

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Pella Workshop

A brief item from ANA which will hopefully spark some longer articles with more detail:

A recently excavated ceramics workshop has yielded a plethora of information concerning the economic activities of Hellenistic-era Pella, one of the most significant sites in the ancient kingdom of Macedon, according to archaeologists in Thessaloniki on Monday, who spoke during a presentation of artifacts and findings.

The workshop, unearthed by archaeologists of the culture ministry’s 17th directorate of prehistoric and classical studies, was discovered north of the new entrance of the Pella archaeological site. It is believed to have been in operation between the final quarter of the 4th century BC and 200 BC.

A plumbing system used to clean the potter’s clay is among the most notable findings, while a furnace and storage areas were also uncovered.

Movable artifacts include pottery casts, vessels, fragments of statuettes and silver and bronze coins.

Clash of the Titans Update

A few details are starting to leak out … the incipit of a piece from Reuters:

Mads Mikkelsen, Gemma Arterton and Alexa Davalos are joining the cast of “Clash of the Titans,” the Greek-god epic being directed by Louis Leterrier.

Sam Worthington stars as Perseus, who embarks on a quest to save a princess and defeat Hades, the god of hell. Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay wrote the script.

Mikkelsen is playing Draco, a skilled fighter and leader of the Praetorian Guard that accompanies Perseus.

Screenrant adds:

Arterton’s character will be “lo” a demi-goddess who Perseus falls for (although I’m guessing the romance doesn’t work out). The character is a new addition to the story and did not appear in the original film – which is a good sign (IMHO) that the filmmakers are really trying to re-imagine the entire concept of Clash of The Titans, rather than trying to re-hash the original. We’ll see how it turns out.

Personally, I think they should get rid of the Kraken … there are enough monsters in Greek mythology they could use …

April Fool’s Origins

Well, you know that if there’s a holiday of sorts, there will be some attempt by some journalist to tie it to the ancient Romans or Greeks, and of course, April Fool’s Day is no exception. An item at MSNBC, e.g., claims, inter alia:

Some trace April Fools’ Day back to Roman mythology, particularly the story of Ceres, goddess of the harvest, and her daughter, Proserpina.

Pluto, god of the dead, abducted Proserpina and took her to live with him in the underworld. The girl called out to her mother, but Ceres could only hear the echo of her daughter’s voice and searched for her in vain.

Such “fool’s errands,” or wild goose chases, became a popular practical joke in Europe in later centuries.

Okay … this isn’t even close to anything remotely resembling April Fool’s Day (someone seems to be conflating the start of Spring or something with April Fool’s). An item in the Seattle Examiner is a bit more ‘honest’ (for want of a better word), again, inter alia:

Other theories suggest biblical and mythological origins, most associated with various legendary “fool’s errands.” April Fool’s Day also bears a striking resemblance to many old festivals, including the ancient Roman celebrations of Hilaria (late March) and Saturnalia (late December), both of which involved playacting, costumes, and a great deal of hilarity. Various other festivals from different periods in history have also been proposed as forerunners to April Fool’s Day.

We can focus on Hilaria, which was generally held on March 25th. The details of what went on at Hiliaria come primarily from Herodian:

Every year, on a set day at the beginning of spring, the Romans celebrate a festival in honor of the mother of the gods [Cybele]. All the valuable trappings of each deity, the imperial treasures, and marvelous objects of all kinds, both natural and man-made, are carried in procession before this goddess. Free license for every kind of revelry is granted, and each man assumes the disguise of his choice. No office is so important or so sacrosanct that permission is refused anyone to put on its distinctive uniform and join in the revelry, concealing his true identity; consequently, it is not easy to distinguish the true from the false. [via Livius]

Okay … so there’s dress up involved … can we equate that with what goes on on April Fool’s Day? I might have said no until I got a Facebook notification today that Barack Obama had confirmed me to be his cousin. Hmmm … I think I’ll say maybe on this one …