Latest Development (?) in the Search for Cleopatra’s Tomb

As often, it seems, the only news we get on this is from Dominican Today:

Egypt’s new military authorities have reissued the license to Dominican archaeologist Kathleen Martinez to resume the excavations in the historic search for the tomb of Cleopatra, an investigation that has piqued the interest and obtained the support of the leaders of the United Arab Emirates.

Martinez made the announcement Friday, but also revealed the theft of many of the artifacts she had already unearthed and the “disappearance” of the excavation equipment during the year-long turmoil in Egypt.

She said the process to recover her excavation license has already passed through several departments, “so we are ready to return and resume the investigation.”

Martinez said the she was invited to a private audience by the sheiks of the United Arab Emirates, where its royal facility discussed the project with her.

The attorney turned tomb hunter said on expressing her concerns over the protection of her archaeological finds, the UAE leaders encouraged her to continue her search, “and let the world worry about protecting your discoveries.”

“They invited me and honored me with encouragement to continue with my search,” she said, interviewed by Huchi Lora on Channel 11.

Close to Cleopatra

Explaining the progress in her quest, Martinez was upbeat despite the year-long hiatus forced by the revolt in Egypt. “We found the plaque of the tomb of Isis, this confirms my theory of Cleopatra’s burial site.”

The last we heard on this was a list of assorted folks who are backing the quest now that Zahi Hawass is out of the picture (Latest in the Search for Cleo’s Tomb (Sept 2011) … about a month prior to that, we heard of possible robotic involvement (Cleopatra’s Tomb Update (of sorts) (August 2011)). I’m not sure what this ‘plaque’ is she’s talking about …

Podcast: For All Us Poorly-Regarded Classicists

Haven’t had time to listen to this one from KUT, but the description is worth reading alone:

First off, we’ve got an episode of ThoughtCast for you. It’s full of smart folks talking about thoughtful things, so we think you’re gonna like it. You like thinking, right? Then you’ll like ThoughtCast, trust us. And whose thoughts will ThoughtCast be casting at you today? How about author Tom Perrotta, poetry critic Helen Vendler and esteemed classicist Gregory Nagy? That do it for it? Of course it does. Also, on a sidenote, can we mention that we love that Gregory Nagy is listed as an “esteemed classicist,” because that opens up the possibility that some of the classicists out there aren’t so esteemed. We want to know who those poorly-regarded classicists are so we can make fun of them at parties.

A Robert Graves Tidbit

The Independent has an article on folks who turned down Royal honours, among whom was Robert Graves:

War poet and classicist Robert Graves rejected a CBE in 1957, and would go on to reject the Companion of Honour in 1984. He told an interviewer: “I don’t want any honours but I wouldn’t so much mind being honoured for writing novels which sell abroad and earn money for England.” The author of I, Claudius continued: “Writing poems is different. To get a CBE for being a poet would be absurd. But the government always tries to coax well-known writers into the Establishment; it makes them feel educated.”

d.m. Helen North

From the Inquirer:

Helen F. North, 90, professor emerita of classics at Swarthmore College, died Saturday, Jan. 21, at Crozer-Chester Medical Center.

In a tribute to Dr. North, Swarthmore College president Rebecca Chopp said: “The college has lost not just a brilliant scholar who was instrumental in building one of the most influential classics departments at a liberal-arts college, but also, as one who taught and cultivated relationships among generations of Swarthmore students for more than 60 years, a complete embodiment of the teacher-scholar.”

A native of Utica, N.Y., Dr. North earned a bachelor’s degree in 1942, a master’s in 1943, and a doctorate in the classics in 1945 from Cornell University.

She taught at Rosary College in Illinois before joining the Swarthmore faculty in 1948.

An avid equestrienne, she told an interviewer for Swarthmore’s alumni magazine that then-president John Nason informed her she was the only job candidate who ever insisted on seeing the school’s stables.

As a young faculty member, Dr. North, a devout Catholic, helped establish – over Nason’s objections – a Newman Club for Catholic students at Swarthmore.

Dr. North held several visiting-teaching appointments, including at Columbia University, Vassar College, and Cornell. She was a classicist in residence at the American Academy in Rome and held teaching and research posts at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens.

She was the recipient of National Endowment for the Humanities, Fulbright, and Ford Foundation fellowships and two fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation.

Dr. North wrote numerous articles for academic publications, published two books on Greek literature, and was editor and translator of several classical volumes and college texts.

She was a member of the American Philosophical Society; past president of the American Philological Association; and chairwoman, for eight years, of the search committee for the Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar Program. From 1973 to 2003, she served on the board of La Salle University.

Her many honors include a Harbison Prize, for outstanding accomplishments in college teaching. In 1989, she was named a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania.

Chopp said in her tribute, “Although she retired from teaching at Swarthmore in 1991, Helen remained thoroughly engaged with the college community. Until recently, she continued to meet weekly with her colleagues in classics to read, translate, and discuss Greek poetry. She also regularly attended Alumni Weekend and the annual lectureship in classics established in her name in 1996.”

For years, Dr. North led Alumni College Abroad trips. Travelers would marvel, Chopp said, at her “near-encyclopedic knowledge of even the tiniest details of Christian as well as classical symbolism.”

In the alumni magazine interview, Dr. North said her idea of earthly happiness was the life she had. “When I walk across campus and stop in the rose garden or at the weeping cherry trees, I have a feeling it’s all kept up just for me.”

Dr. North and her sister, Mary, lived in a house Mary North designed in Swarthmore. They traveled annually in Ireland, the home of their ancestors, and wrote two guidebooks on Ireland’s earliest art and archaeology.

Mary North died in 2001. Dr. North has no survivors.

A Funeral Mass will be said at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 28, at Notre Dame de Lourdes Roman Catholic Church, 950 Michigan Ave., Swarthmore. A reception will be in the church school. Burial will be in SS. Peter and Paul Cemetery, Marple Township.

A memorial gathering will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 21, at the Friends Meeting House on the Swarthmore College campus, 12 Whittier Place, Swarthmore.

Donations may be made to Notre Dame de Lourdes School, 1000 Fairview Rd., Swarthmore, Pa. 19081.

Reviews from BMCR

  • 2012.01.44:  Laurianne Martinez-Sève, Atlas du monde hellénistique (336-31 av. J.-C.): pouvoirs et territoires après Alexandre le Grand. Atlas. Mémoires.
  • 2012.01.43:  Marie-Joséphine Werlings, Le dèmos avant la démocratie: mots, concepts, réalités historiques.
  • 2012.01.42:  S. L. McGowen, Sacred and Civic Stone Monuments of the Northwest Roman Provinces. BAR international series 2109.
  • 2012.01.41:  Louise H. Pratt, Eros at the Banquet: Reviewing Greek with Plato’s Symposium. Oklahoma Series in Classical Culture, 40.
  • 2012.01.40:  Eugenio Amato, Xenophontis imitator fidelissimus: studi su tradizione e fortuna erudite di Dione Crisostomo tra XVI e XIX secolo. Hellenica, 40.
  • 2012.01.39:  Roy K. Gibson, Ruth Morello, Pliny the Elder: Themes and Contexts. Mnemosyne supplements. Monographs on Greek and Roman Language and Literature, 329.