Colchester Roman Circus Saved?

The campaigners have reached their goal … does this mean that the Circus is saved or are there other hurdles?

Campaigners in Colchester hit their target yesterday of raising £200,000 towards saving the only Roman chariot-racing circus ever found in Britain. Nothing remains above ground except a few stones, but the campaigners aim to buy a Victorian garden which covers a crucial part of the track: the starting gates from which the chariots, pulled by four horses, would have raced past raked seating for 15,000 spectators – more than twice the population when Colchester was a Roman town.Most of the money came in small donations from local people. They organised events including a chariot and two horses hurtling around the car park before Colchester United’s match against Oldham on February 20.The campaigners hope that local community groups, including the Colchester Archaeological Trust, which discovered the circus, will buy a listed but derelict sergeant’s mess which adjoins the garden to build a visitor centre.

via Campaigners hit £200,000 target to save Colchester’s Roman circus | Guardian .

Another Bust in Thessaloniki

The Thessaloniki Police Antiquities Smuggling department on Sunday announced that it had successfully busted a ring of illegal antiquities traders, who were negotiating with antiquities-trading circuits for the sale of important archaeological finds for very large sums of money.

Police said that an investigation lasting several months had culminated last Friday with the arrest of two Greeks aged 48 and 51 at the Kavala junction of the Egnatia Highway. In a spot search of their car, police found and confiscated a bronze statue dated to the 4th century B.C.

Further searches in the homes of the two suspects in Drama yielded more important archaeological artifacts that were in their possession, including the bronze head of a boy dated to the Roman era, a stone relief of a woman, two bronze coins, 11 gold coins, one silver coin and the bronze head of a youth.

Archaeologists examining the objects confiscated have confirmed that these fall under the statutes of the ‘Protection of Antiquities and Cultural Heritage’ act, while the bronze statue and head of a boy, in particular, are believed to be objects of unique archaeological, historic and commercial value. The two men were apparently negotiating the sale of the statue for seven million euros.

via Major finds recovered in illegal antiquities bust | ANA.

Sword and Sandal Flicks

The Independent has a feature on sword and sandal flicks with a handy list at the end of just-released and to-be-released films of the genre. Here are a few to keep your eyes open for:

The Eagle of the Ninth

In Britain, this time in AD140, but with the Ninth Legion again as a young soldier attempts to find its lost emblem. Released in September.

Clash of the Titans

Remake of 1981 classic. Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes battle gods in a tale based on the myth of Perseus and the Medusa. March release.

The Resurrection of Christ

Cashing in on the success of Mel Gibson’s 2004 The Passion of the Christ, but with added “Gladiator dimension” and first-century political intrigue. Starts shooting in July.

Ben Hur

Ray Winstone stars as the Roman general Quintus Arrius and Joseph Morgan plays the chariot-racing champ Judah Ben Hur in a television remake of the 1959 classic story set in the early days of Christianity. To be screened later this year.

The Argonauts

Jason is off to find the Golden Fleece once again in this remake of the 1963 classic, left, – noted for its special effects by Ray Harryhausen – scheduled for release next year, exactly a century after the first Argonauts film.


Ray Winstone (again) in Steven Soderbergh’s 1920s musical version of Antony and Cleopatra’s story. Elizabeth Taylor starred in the 1963 original.

Hercules: The Thracian Wars

The son of Zeus is to be given the 300 treatment in this film based on the bloodthirsty US comic book in which Hercules loses his family and finds solace in battle. The film is being developed by Universal Pictures to be released next year.


The film of Shakespeare’s play about a banished hero avenging himself on Rome will be directed by Ralph Fiennes and is about to start shooting.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief

Greek gods make mischief in modern-day New York as they race to find Zeus’s missing bolt of lightning. In cinemas now.

Dawn of War

This time it’s the story of Theseus which will be given the full cinematographic visual trickery, as the hero of Athens takes on the Minotaur – half-bull, half-man – among other monsters. Starts shooting next month.


Dominic West and Michael Fassbender star as Roman soldiers on the march with the legendary Ninth Legion in Britain in AD117. Released in April.

via Swords and sandals: A bid for box-office glory | The Independent.