Putin ‘Fesses Up

This is sort of interesting in a ‘closure of the story’ sort of way but also in a ‘never thought we’d hear him admit it’ sort of way too. Various versions of this one … we’re excerpting the Indian Express:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has admitted to staging some of his most famous stunts, including meeting endangered big cats and the “discovery” of ancient Greek amphorae in the Black sea, a Russian journalist has claimed.

However, Putin complained that while he was ridiculed for his stage-managed photo opportunities, they at least raised awareness and encouraged people to “start reading” about history and environmental issues.

His comments came during a bizarre 20-minute conversation in the Kremlin with an opposition journalist, who claims to have recently lost her job over refusing to cover his most recent stunt, The Telegraph reports.

In an article published in Moscow”s Big City Journal, she said the Russian president unexpectedly rang her soon after she lost her job to express his regret at “inadvertently becoming the cause” of her sacking, and invited her to the Kremlin, where in an unexpected frank admission, he acknowledged that many of his stunts are stage-managed.

“Well, there was overexposure, and I was to blame for that,” he had allegedly said. […]



You can follow the ‘thread’ back in this sordid tale here: Putin, Phangoria, Fake? Well duh …


Nice Mosaic from Antiochia ad Cragum

Tip o’ the pileus to Lyndsay Powell for alerting us to this one from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln:

A University of Nebraska-Lincoln archeological team, led by Hixson-Lied Professor of Art History Michael Hoff, has uncovered a massive Roman mosaic in southern Turkey – a meticulously crafted, 1,600-square-foot work of decorative handiwork built during the region’s imperial zenith.

It’s believed to be the biggest mosaic of its type and demonstrates the reach and cultural influence of the Roman Empire in the area in the third and fourth centuries A.D., said Hoff, the director of the excavation.

“This is very possibly the largest Roman mosaic found in the region,” Hoff said. “And its large size also signals, in no small part, that the outward signs of the Roman Empire were, in fact, very strong in this far-flung area of the Empire.”

The discovery will aid researchers studying the region. Since 2005, Hoff’s team has been excavating the remains of the ancient city of Antiochia ad Cragum on the southern Turkish coast. Antiochus of Commagene, a client-king of Rome, founded the ancient city in the middle of the first century.

“The mosaic is a quintessential Roman artistic element. This hammers home how Roman this city truly is,” Hoff said. “We always thought this was a peripheral Roman city, but it’s becoming more and more clear that it’s weighted more on the Roman side than the native side. The mosaic really emphasizes the pure Roman nature of this city and should answer a lot of questions regarding the interaction between the indigenous locals and the Roman Empire.”

Antiochia ad Cragum was a modest city by Roman standards and outfitted with many of the typical trappings one would expect from a Roman provincial city – temples, baths, markets and colonnaded streets, said Hoff. The city thrived during the Empire from an economy that focused on agricultural products, especially wine and lumber.

Excavation work has focused on a third-century temple dedicated to the Roman imperial cult, and also a colonnaded street lined with commercial shops. In July, the team began to explore the mosaic, which was part of a Roman Bath. The decoration consists of large squares, each filled with different colored geometric designs and ornamentation.

“This would have been a very formal associated pavement attached to the bath,” Hoff said. “This is a gorgeous mosaic, and the size of it is unprecedented” – so large, in fact, that work crews have uncovered only an estimated 40 percent of its total area.

Hoff said it appears the mosaic served as a forecourt for the adjacent large bath, and that at least on one side, evidence shows there was a roof covering the geometric squares that would have been supported by piers. Those piers’ remains are preserved, he said.

Meanwhile, the middle of the mosaic was outfitted with a marble-lined, 25-foot-long pool, which would have been uncovered and open to the sun. The other half of the mosaic, adjacent to the bath, has yet to be revealed but is expected to contain the same type of decoration, Hoff said. Crews expect to unearth the entire work next summer.

“It should be pretty extraordinary,” Hoff said.

Team members first noticed the mosaic in 2001, when Nicholas Rauh of Purdue University, the director of a large archaeological survey project that included Hoff, noticed plowing by a local farmer had brought up pieces of a mosaic in a field next to a still-standing bath structure. The find was brought to the attention of the archeological museum in Alanya, who two years later made a minor investigation that revealed a small portion of the mosaic.

Last year, the museum invited Hoff to clear the entire mosaic and to preserve it for tourists to view and scholars to study.

Hoff’s 60-person team also included Birol Can, assistant professor of archaeology at Atatürk University in Ezrurum, Turkey, a sister university to the University of Nebraska; students from UNL; other students from Turkey and the United States; and workers from a nearby village. About 35 students participated in the project as part of a summer field school Hoff runs.

Phalin Strong, a sophomore art major from Lincoln, said the work was difficult but satisfying.

“It is strange to realize that you are the first person to see this for centuries – a feeling that also made me think about impermanence and what importance my actions have on humanity and history,” Strong said.

Ben Kreimer, a senior journalism major, agreed: “(Working on) the mosaic was great because the more soil you removed, the more mosaic there was,” he said. “Visually, it was also stunning, especially once it got cleaned off. It wasn’t very deep under the surface of the soil, either, so … we had to be careful not to swing the handpick too hard so as not to damage the priceless mosaic that lay just inches beneath us.”

Hoff said the significance of this summer’s discovery has him eager to return to the site and see what the rest of the excavation uncovers.

“As an archaeologist, I am always excited to make new discoveries. The fact that this discovery is so large and also not completely uncovered makes it doubly exciting,” he said. “I am already looking forward to next year, though I just returned from Turkey.”

… a photo accompanies the original article; it seems to have a nice mix of geometric styles if you want to give your mosaics class a little quiz.

CJ Online Review: Cawkwell, Cyrene to Chaeronea

posted with permission:

Cyrene to Chaeronea: Selected Essays on Ancient Greek History. By George Cawkwell. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Pp. xi + 485. Hardcover, £80.00/$150.00. ISBN 978-0-19-959328-6.

Reviewed by Jeremy Trevett, York University, Toronto

George Cawkwell is by any reckoning a major historian of classical Greece. From the early 1960s to the 1980s he produced a series of penetrating articles, most of which are included here, in which he put forward a distinctive and compelling view of fourth-century history in the years down to the triumph of Philip. The chapters covering this period (IX–XIX) constitute the core of the book. Four more recent chapters on Archaic Greece (I–IV), and a further four on fifth-century topics (V–VIII) precede them. It should be said at the outset that the quality and interest of the individual chapters are uniformly high, and that the book as a whole represents a master class in a particular, distinctly traditional, kind of Greek history. Insofar as the publication of a scholar’s kleine Schriften is a tribute to the importance of his or her work, the appearance of this book is not only well deserved but also, since the latest article was published in 1997, more than a little belated.

Space precludes detailed discussion of the individual chapters, but some general observations can be made. First, the book is almost exclusively concerned with political, diplomatic and military history (the first chapter on archaic colonization is an exception). Thucydides, Xenophon and Demosthenes all feature very prominently, and indeed Cawkwell, in these papers and elsewhere, has made an important contribution to our understanding of each of these authors. Second, the articles included here are almost all on ‘core’ topics. Taken together, chapters IX–XIX constitute a pretty thorough survey of the main issues of fourth-century Greek history. Third, as Simon Hornblower notes in his introduction, many of the chapters are framed as challenges to commonly held views, such as that overpopulation was the main cause of Greek colonization (I), or that early Greek tyrants rose to power through the support of the people (II), or that hoplite battles involved pushing and shoving analogous to scrimmaging in rugby (XVIII). Whether or not one is always persuaded by his arguments, Cawkwell’s advocacy is highly effective. Finally, Cawkwell shows a strong interest in military matters, both tactics (XVIII on hoplite battles) and strategy (most explicitly in VII and XVI), and sees military superiority as a decisive factor in shaping the history of the fourth century. Thus Spartan power collapsed, in his view, not because of demographic problems or the belligerent policies of Agesilaus, but because the Spartans had the misfortune to come up against a “military genius” in Epaminondas (XII–XIV). Similarly, Demosthenes was misguided to advocate war with Philip, since the latter’s wealth and power made such a war unwinnable by the Athenians (XVI). In all this there is a hardheaded realism that is almost Thucydidean in character.

The principle of selection employed in compiling this volume is somewhat obliquely discussed in the preface, where Cawkwell justifies the omission of articles “primarily concerned with Peace of Philocrates” on the ground that the evidence of Demosthenes and Aeschines is too slippery to allow firm conclusions to be reached. More generally, he has chosen to include only “a small number of Demosthenica, mainly concerned to explore his strategic judgement” (viii). Connoisseurs of the age of Demosthenes, a period that Cawkwell has made his own, may feel a little short-changed. Several major articles are included, but not the long piece on “Demosthenes’ Policy after the Peace of Philocrates,” an important discussion of relations between Philip and the Greeks in the second half of the 340s. Clearly it was decided to include only longer pieces of more general interest; I wish nevertheless that space could have been found for the short article on “The Power of Persia” that appeared in 1968 in a now-defunct Oxford student journal. As for the chapters dealing with the fifth century and earlier, Cawkwell writes that these have been included “partly out of Tarn-like defiance” (the allusion escapes me) “partly to draw the fire of critics and partly to encourage readers to read” (x). This should be taken with a substantial pinch of salt: these are all important contributions to scholarship.

Some minor corrections have been made, but the chapters are otherwise unaltered from their original publication, except that in the citing of inscriptions references have been added to the collections of Rhodes and Osborne, Fornara, and Harding. The volume is attractively produced, but the re-setting of the articles has introduced some errors. Most will cause no trouble, but on p. 240 n. 61 the obviously wrong “([Dem.] 16” should read “[Dem.] l 6” (i.e. pseudo-Demosthenes speech 50, section 6), and at p. 323 n. 86 the deletion of the word “the” from “He then goes on to attach the special significance … of meaning …” renders the sentence unintelligible.

In short, the articles collected in this volume are all fine examples of scholarship, and the book as a whole represents a formidable body of work. Any Greek historian will learn a lot from reading it. My only reservation arises not from the book’s content, but from the fact that the original articles are almost all easily accessible electronically. Of the nineteen chapters in Cyrene to Chaeronea, no fewer than fifteen were originally published in either JHS or CQ, whilst two others appeared in Mnemosyne and Phoenix, all journals that are available through JSTOR. In the absence of much by way of “added value,” I hope it is not churlish to raise the question whether such collections of previously published material are as valuable now as they undoubtedly once were. That apart, this is a splendid book.

JOB: Greek Language and Lit. @ UMelbourne

seen on the Classicists list:

The discipline of Classics, part of the Classics and Archaeology program, in the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies, seeks to appoint a Lecturer in the field of Classics, with a specialisation in ancient Greek language and literature of the pre-Classical or Classical periods. This is a readvertisement of the position advertised earlier this year.

Applicants should have an established research specialisation as above, and demonstrate potential to achieve a high level of research performance through the steady production of refereed publications and success in obtaining research grants, as well as the demonstrated potential to attain academic promotion.

The successful candidate will also bring a demonstrated expertise in teaching ancient Greek and Latin. The appointee must be able to teach (a) ancient Greek and Latin languages at the beginners, intermediate and advanced levels; (b) mythology of the pre-Classical or Classical periods.

Application Close date: 3 November 2012

A full position description, along with information about online application, is available at: http://jobs.unimelb.edu.au/jobDetails.asp?sJobIDs=833356&lCategoryID=&lWorkTypeID=&lLocationID=&lPayScaleID=&stp=AW&sLanguage=en

JOB: Ancient History @ Durham

seeen on the Classicists list:

The Department of Classics and Ancient History is seeking to appoint a
suitably qualified candidate to a non-fixed-term Lectureship in Classics and
Ancient History. The successful applicant will be expected to enhance
Durham’s international reputation as a centre for the study of the ancient

The successful applicant will be someone producing publications of
international significance in a field of classical studies which will
complement the Department’s current strengths in Ancient History, Greek and
Roman literature (especially ancient epic), Ancient Philosophy, the Study of
the Classical Tradition, and encounters between the ancient Mediterranean
and the Near East. Expertise in ancient history, especially Roman history,
will be especially welcome.

The successful candidate will contribute to research-led teaching at all
levels, and will be expected to make a contribution to the teaching of Latin
and ancient Greek. They will, likewise, be expected to enhance the research
environment at large, through contributions to seminars, collaborative work
with other colleagues as appropriate, and by preparing and assisting with
applications for external research funding.
Finally, they will be required to act as examiner at all levels, play an
active role in the day-to-day running of the Department, and undertake such
administrative duties in the Department as will be assigned to them from
time to time.

Person Specification
Essential qualifications for all candidates are:

* a good first and / or Master’s degree
* a PhD in a relevant subject
* the ability to teach ancient Greek and Latin at all levels.

Essential experience includes:

* clear evidence of research activity or potential at an internationally
excellent level as defined by REF, particularly with regard to publication;
* a record of teaching at University level

Essential skills for all candidates are:
* excellent communication skills in English
* the ability to work in collaboration with colleagues within and outside
the Department

Desirable qualifications include:
* research expertise in Ancient History, especially Roman History

Closing Date: 6 October 2012
Ref: 1981
For further details and to apply, please visit http://www.dur.ac.uk/jobs/
Straight link:


For informal enquiries about this position, please contact Professor
Johannes Haubold at j.h.haubold AT durham.ac.uk