An item up at Fortean Times about Ernst Chladni caught my eye a couple of days ago because it included this paragraph:
In fairness to the Age of Reason’s meteorite debunkers, an awful lot of superstition and folk tales fell from the sky. The large meteor that came down on Ensisheim, Alsace, in 1492 was housed in the local church as an example of the “wrath of God”, while practically any stones that looked odd – from fossil shark’s teeth to prehistoric flint tools – were touted as “thunderstones” that had fallen during thunderstorms. The statue of the goddess Diana at Ephesus (probably carved from a meteorite) “fell from the sky”, as did the Nemean Lion, which Hercules had to defeat as the first of his 12 Labours (an association preserved in the constellation of Leo and the Leonid meteor shower). The Council of Claremont in France, which proclaimed the First Crusade in 1095, was preceded by portents including an ominous shower of meteors.
We should point out that the claim about the image of Diana ‘falling from the sky’ only appears in the Acts of the Apostles (19.35), as far as I’m aware, and otherwise I think the image most of us associate with Ephesus was originally made of wood. The second assertion made above — about the Nemean Lion somehow being associated with a meteor shower — is a new one to me, although one can follow a line of thinking which would go something like: Constellation Leo (which the Greeks associated with the Nemean Lion) -> Leonid meteor shower -> Nemean Lion as meteorite. Fred Schaff’s The Starry Room mentions in passing:
Gertrude and James Jobes mention a version of the tale of Hercules in which his foe the Nemean Lion is said to have fallen from the moon (“in the form of a meteor”, the Jobeses write).
This is presumably from the Jobes’ Outer Space: Myths, Names, Meanings, Calendars, which I do not have access to. Has anyone read of a version of the Nemean Lion tale which does make this lion-meteorite connection?
ANA-MPA just set the record, I think, for vagueness in archaeological reporting:
A clay vessel and a large fragment of pottery were located at the bottom of the sea by two foreign nationals on board the French flag leisure boat “ISALIO” that had anchored at Garitsa Bay off the Ionian Sea island of Corfu.
The findings were brought to the surface on Tuesday after the local Coast Guard was informed of the discovery and will be handed over to the responsible authorities.
via Foreign tourists discovered antiquities in the sea region of Corfu.
We’ve heard of assorted beauty secrets from the Egyptian queen before, but this one is — as far as I can tell — absolutely new:
The cosmetics industry is always creating rejuvenation and beauty products. Historical beauty icons often provide inspiration for new formulas to be created. Such is the case of gold lifting, a treatment inspired in one of the rituals of Egyptian queen Cleopatra. “Some historical records show that she used to sleep wearing a gold mask to prevent aging,” says cosmetologist Jana?na Lacava, who is in charge of development and treatment at the Deep Laser advanced aesthetics centre, in the city of Sao Paulo.
… and absolute B.S..
As Fair As Cleopatra.
I don’t think we mentioned that, subsequent to all the news coverage about the possible poisoning of Alexander, Adrienne Mayor’s ‘working paper’ on the subject became available at the Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics site:
Here’s the abstract:
Plutarch, Arrian, Diodorus, Justin, and other ancient historians report that rumors of
poisoning arose after the death of Alexander in Babylon in 323 BC. Alexander’s close
friends suspected a legendary poison gathered from the River Styx in Arcadia, so
corrosive that only the hoof of a horse could contain it. It’s impossible to know the real
cause of Alexander’s death, but a recent toxicological discovery may help explain why
some ancient observers believed that Alexander was murdered with Styx poison. We
propose that the river harbored a killer bacterium that can occur on limestone rock
deposits. This paper elaborates on our Poster presentation, Toxicological History Room,
XII International Congress of Toxicology, Barcelona, 19-23 July 2010, and Society of
Toxicology Annual Meeting, Washington DC, March 2011.
Seen on Classicists (please send any responses to the people/institution mentioned in the post, not to rogueclassicism!)
In the week of its official DVD release, the Classics Department at the University of Leeds is pleased to ‘Release the Kraken’ with a half-day colloquium on Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans on Friday, 29 October 2010.
Schedule and details of speakers are given below:
12.00 – 12.30 p.m.: Coffee in Staff Common Room (Parkinson 119)
12.30 – 12.40 p.m.: Welcome (Steve Green)
12.45 – 1.30 p.m.: Steven Green ( Leeds)
Between Heaven and Earth: Perseus and the Triumph of Humanity
1.45 – 2.30 p.m.: Gideon Nisbet (Birmingham)
God Mode: Unlocking Clash of the Titans with Sony’s God of War
2.45 – 3.30 p.m.: Dunstan Lowe (Reading)
"What do we need the gods for?" Olympian Mythology in 21st century
3.45 – 4.30 p.m.: Concluding Discussion and Future Developments
4.30 – 6.30 p.m.: Drinks and Early Dinner
There is no fee for attendance, but those interested in attending should notify Steven Green (s.j.green) so that I can ensure adequate seating/ coffee provision.