Itinerarium Romanum Serbiae

This is an interesting bit of tourist promotion … first we read at Earth Times:

The mention of Serbia usually brings to mind the bloody break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, but rarely ever the Roman Empire – despite the fact that 18 Roman rulers, one fifth of all emperors, were born on its territory.

With that in mind, archaeologist Miomir Korac has launched The Road of Roman Emperors in Serbia (Itinerarium Romanum Serbiae) – a project meant to combine dozens of antique places across the country into a 600-kilometre-long tourist itinerary.

“This is perhaps the most important project in Serbia because it is a chance to show the country’s pretty face and earn money,” Korac, the head of the Viminacium archaeological site, told the German Press Agency dpa.

Emperors originating from Serbia represented the largest number of Roman monarchs born outside of Italy. Among them were Constantine the Great and Justinian I.

Remnants of imperial cities, residences, villas and forts also remain part of Serbia’s Roman legacy.

Viminacium, which used to be the capital of the Roman province of Upper Moesia, is set on thousands of acres of land, some 60 kilometres east of Belgrade.

It is the best preserved and managed antique site in the country, a model for other Roman locations and two Serbian prehistoric spots – Vinca and Lepenski Vir. Both will also be included on the tourist route, because they “are important for the world heritage,” Korac said.

The circuit will go from the north-western city of Sremska Mitrovica (Sirmium) along the Danube to Belgrade (Singidunum), Vinca and Kostolac (Viminacium), before heading to the southern city of Nis (Naissus), the birth place of emperor Constantine.

“These sites represent enormous heritage from antiquity, not only for Serbia but for the world as well,” Korac said.

The idea of the project is to combine science and culture with tourism, also generating new bicycle roads, inns and infrastructure, bringing money to the impoverished provinces, Korac said.

“We will build some 100 boarding houses – replicas of Roman villas – every 5 to 10 kilometres, so that the route can be traveled either by foot or on bike or by car or all of the above,” Korac said. “That would initially cost around 39 million euros (52.6 million dollars), but would generate 300 million euros and 300,000 visitors each year.”

The inns, set in authentic surroundings – forests, fields and river banks – are to be family run, with elderly relatives managing the business, women cooking and youngsters helping out with modern aspects such as the internet.

“Serbia has nothing to show. A street in Florence has more beautiful houses than entire Belgrade. Our spas may have a 100-year- long tradition, but are old, outdated and devastated,” Korac said. “We can not offer them that, but we can sell the energy of the local surroundings.”

Several Serbian ministries have recognized the potential of the project and contributed money for investments in Viminacium, Sirmium and Gamzigrad.

The construction of some inns has already begun, but the process is painfully slow, as the country struggles with the recession and the fact that many ordinary citizens do not know of Serbia’s rich heritage.

“I know that Constantine was born in Nis, but I had no idea that there were so many of them,” pensioner Milka Petrovic told dpa.

The project might get a further boost next year when Nis will host a celebration to mark the anniversary of the Edict of Milan, which was signed by Constantine in 313 and proclaimed religious toleration in the Roman Empire.

via Serbia to boast heritage as birthplace of 18 Roman emperors | Earth Times

Then there’s a Youtube video which seems to highlight some of the places connected with the Roman emperors from the territory now comprised by Serbia:

It being Easter Monday and I’m killing time while waiting to see what Tiger Woods will have to say today, so I had to see if there’s a list of these 18 ‘Serbian-derived’ emperors. As it turns out, on the interwebs there seems to be a bit of a discrepancy in regards to how many emperors can be included — it seems to range from 16 to 18. A list from deletionpedia (things deleted from Wikipedia for various reasons) is ironically a good starting place, although the specifics seem a bit ambitious at times. Boiling things from that list down (I’ve put alternate birth locations in brackets; my source is the excellent de Imperatoribus Romanis site, to which I’ve also linked to in regards to individual biographies):

  • Some emperors with semi-vague birth details which are included: Vetranio (from Moesia … central Serbia), Herennius Etruscus (from Pannonia … apparently near Sirmium), Severus II (from Illyricum) [3]

… that’s 18, and likely the 18 being cited from the Serbian tourist types; seems to me there’s a large ‘iffiness’ about all this. Now to ponder how many emperors came from Spain …

Friends of Classics Survey Results

Posted with permission from Peter Jones (I’m hoping to find time to blog a bit more on related matters later; I’m a bit late with this):

You may have seen references in the press to a Friends of Classics survey on teaching classics in schools in the UK, in association with Mayor Boris Johnson’s ‘Latin in London’ initiative. I append here the main findings – the full low-down runs to 145 pages – reported by our market researcher (Classics, ChCh Oxford in the 50s) Colin McDonald.

*_Classics teaching in schools survey: the research report_*

*_by Colin McDonald MA FMRS_*

_ _

This postal survey was conducted amongst schools teaching classics, both independent and in the state sector, with the aim of discovering what values they attached to classics teaching and what problems they faced in doing so.

Letters with questionnaires were sent to all UK schools known to teach Latin held on the database at the Cambridge School Classics Project (this database was compiled following a telephone survey of all schools carried out by CSCP in 2007). The letters were addressed to the appropriate heads of department and were timed to arrive during the 2009 autumn term (avoiding holidays and half-term). Reminder letters with questionnaires were sent to non-respondents after an appropriate interval.

Completed questionnaires were returned from 491 out of the 1103 schools contacted, a response rate of 45%. The returns included nearly equal numbers of independent (256) and state (234) schools. This equates to a slight bias in returns in favour of the independents; the response rate from independent schools contacted was 56% and from state schools 36%. Because of this small bias, results below are quoted separately for independent and state schools.

_Key results_

_Latin and Greek languages_

95% of the independents and 78% of the state schools currently teach Latin. 77% (independent) and 33% (state) teach it to A-level or equivalent standard.

Teaching of Greek is much lower: 59% (independents) and 15% (state) teach any Greek; 41% (independents) and 8% (state) teach it to A level standard.

There is a difference in who gets taught these languages: of those who teach them, 93% of independents but only 65% of state schools say they are open to anyone (as opposed to being restricted to top-stream or ‘gifted and talented’ children). Three quarters of the state school teachers said that, if they had more resources, they would like to increase the numbers taking Latin or Greek. State schools have more difficulty fitting Latin/Greek onto the timetable: only 67% of those who teach Latin in state schools do so on timetable as opposed to virtually all the independents, and only 7% can teach Greek on timetable (cf. 40% of the independents).

Both types of schools agree closely in what they see as the main benefits of Latin and Greek. Mental training (intellectual rigour, developing logical and analytical skills) are regarded as more important than more ‘practical’ aims (clarity of expression, improving English or helping to learn modern languages), although this rank order covers a wide range of opinions.

Both types of school claim a high degree of parental support for Latin/Greek: 91% independent, 71% state. In both cases parental opposition is almost non-existent. Both also claim support from teachers in other departments (75% independent, 58% state) the remainder being mostly indifferent; there is very little opposition from other departments in either type of school.

The main problems faced in teaching classical languages are timetabling and finding or training the staff required. These problems are somewhat worse in the state sector, where 53% say timetabling is a serious problem and 40% staff (equivalent figures for independents are 18% and 20%). A lesser problem is that pupils tend to give up too early (14% state, 18% independent). In open questioning, several respondents expressed a wish that the National Curriculum should give more acceptance to Latin/Greek (23% independents, 28% of state schools).

_Ancient history and classical civilisation_

72% of independents but only 38% of the state schools teach ‘classical civilisation’. Ancient history is taught by much fewer: only 10% of independents and 6% of the state schools. More than half (58% independents, 53% state) would like to increase these numbers if they had more resources.

The most important benefits of studying these subjects were felt to be ‘ability to understand different points of view’, developing skills of persuasion and argument, and ‘intellectual balance and objectivity’. These were given somewhat more importance than ‘wider understanding of one’s own history/civilisation’ or ‘skill in handling and presenting information’, although there is again a wide range of opinion around these averages and all do have importance. The pattern here was very similar between independent and state schools.

Support for these subjects is again high among both parents and teachers, with almost no opposition. Problems are similar to language teaching, with timetable and lack of staff the most serious (but pupils are less likely to give up these subjects too early). These answers are very similar for both independent and state schools.

McDonald Research (

CONF: Cicero Awayday

Seen on Classicists (please send any responses to the folks mentioned in the quoted text, not to rogueclassicism!):

Cicero Awayday VI

Monday 17 May 2010

Newcastle University,
Research Beehive, room 2.20

The Cicero Awaydays offer an informal forum for presenting papers (whether
full-fledged ones or work in progress) on any aspect of Cicero’s life and
works. The first five editions were held, at two-year intervals, in
Scottish universities; this year the day is hosted by Classics at
Newcastle University.

Everyone with an interest in matters Ciceronian is very welcome to attend.
There is no conference fee, but in view of making arrangements, it would
be helpful if anyone planning, or possibly planning, to attend could let
me know by 1 May (at jakob.wisse AT

Maps of Newcastle and of our campus are available at:


10.45-11.15 Coffee

11.15-1.15 Session 1

11.15-11.20 Welcome

11.20-12.00 Henriette van der Blom (Oxford): ‘Cicero on Caesar’s oratory’

12.00-12.35 Gesine Manuwald (University College London): ‘Cicero’s
Catilinarian orations: the function of the speeches before the People in
this corpus’

12.35-1.15 Maggie Robb (King’s College London): ‘“Popularis” ideology in
Republican senatorial oratory’

1.15-2.00 Lunch

2.00-3.50 Session 2

2.00-2.35 Federico Santangelo (Newcastle): ‘Cicero and divination by lot’

2.35-3.10 Lucy Jones (King’s College London): ‘Nostra Memoria: Social
Memory in Cicero’s Rome’

3.10-3.50 Andrew Lintott (Oxford): ‘The comparison between the orators in
Plutarch’s Lives of Demosthenes and Cicero’

3.50-4.10 Tea

4.10-5.25 Session 3

4.10-4.45 Hannah Swithinbank (St Andrews): ‘Driving out the enemy:
Cicero’s Philippics and the danger of exclusionary rhetoric’

4.45-5.25 Dominic Berry (Edinburgh): ‘Cicero and Greek art’

5.25-… Closure, drinks, closing discussion

CONF: Religion and Identity in the Ancient World

Seen on Classicists (please send any responses to the folks mentioned in the quoted text, not to rogueclassicism!):

Please find below an outline of the programme for the forthcoming
postgraduate workshop “Religion and Identity in the Ancient World” to take
place at Durham University on 22nd and 23rd April. Organised under the
auspices of Durham University’s Centre for the Study of the Ancient
Mediterranean and the Near East (CAMNE), this is an interdisciplinary
workshop and will be of particular interest to students of Archaeology,
Classics and Theology. For more information, including links to the full
programme and a list of speakers’ abstracts, please visit:

All are welcome and there is no registration fee. However, to help us with
planning if you would like to attend please register your interest in
advance with Ed Kaneen by sending an email to e.n.kaneen AT

Peter Alpass, Ed Kaneen, Donald Murray
(the organisers)


Thursday 22nd April

Saskia Peels (Universiteit Utrecht): Being hosios participating in hosia

Kimberley Slack (University of Manchester): ‘Entering the Aeon’ or ‘Raised
with Christ’?: Language and Terminology as an Identity Marker in the
Gospel of Philip

Ben Johnson (Durham University): Mistaken Identity: Metaphorical Ambiguity
in the Story of the Vineyard (Isa. 5:1-7, 27:2-6 and the Parable of the
Wicked Tenants)

Jenn Strawbridge (University of Oxford): Nomina Sacra and Pedagogy

Gwen Jennes (Katholieke Universiteit Leuven):Creating Identities in Graeco-
Roman Egypt: Theophoric Names

Ed Kaneen (Durham University): Slavery, Story, and the Shaping of
Identity: The Exodus and the Expression of Identity in the Debt-Slavery
Legislation of Ancient Israel

Kevin Tyson (Durham University): Identifying the David-Jonathan

Allen Jones (University of St Andrews): A Refugee By Any Other Name…Can
Still Go Home?: A Social Scientific Look at Ancient Judah’s Exile, Return,
and Ensuing Search for Identity

Hannah Pethen (Museum of London Archaeology / University of Liverpool):
Personal Religion, Identity and the Mythology of Mineral Extraction at
Gebel el-Asr, Lower Nubia

Youssri Abdelwahed (Durham University): Architecture, Space, Rituals, and
Egyptian Religious Identity in the Roman Period

Friday 23rd April

Lieve Donnellan (Universiteit Gent): Apollo Mediating Identity Between
Naxos, Leontini and Katane

Ben Edsall (University of Oxford): The Rhetoric Of Polity: Jewish And
Pauline Community Formation

Donald Murray (Durham University): Ahuramazda, God of the Aryans: Towards
an Understanding of a Persian Religious Identity

Francesca Mazzilli (Durham University): Beyond Religion: a Light on
Cultural Identities of Hauran

Cristina Acqua (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster/Università Ca’
Foscari di Venezia): Emperors and Gods in Provincia Arabia

Duncan MacRae (Harvard University): The Secret Name of Rome: Ritual,
Antiquarianism and Roman Religious Identity

Stephen Louy (University of Edinburgh): A Persecuted People: Persecution
as Part of Christian Identity in the First Century

Eline Scheerlinck (Universiteit Gent): Orientalising Rome? The Influence
of the ‘Eastern religions’ on Imperial Roman Identity

This workshop is generously supported by the Durham University Graduate
School, the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and the Near
East, and the Department of Theology and Religious Studies.

Pompeii Casts on Display

Nice little video from the BBC:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Pompeii Casts“, posted with vodpod

From the accompanying text (with a somewhat unfortunate headline, as FT noted on twitter last night):

They are the skeletal remains of the victims that have been preserved under a thin veneer of plaster, to give them their life form.

“Until now, these figures have been dispersed around Pompeii itself, or to other museums around the world,” says Grete Stefani, the organiser of the exhibition at the nearby Antiquarium de Boscoreale, a five-minute drive from Pompeii.

“They’ve never been seen together.” […]

via: Pompeii’s frozen victims on display | BBC

UPDATE (a few hours later): Francesca Tronchin has made a couple of good comments on this, including a link to a very interesting article by Eugene Dwyer, From Fragments to Icons: Stages in the Making and Exhibiting of the Casts of Pompeian Victims, 1863-1888 (just in case you don’t see the comments).