Roman Sarcophagus in a Dorset Garden

Haven’t had this sort of story in a while, and this one is very interesting … from the Daily Mail:

An eagle-eyed antiques expert spotted a corner of what looked like a trough when he visited a property to look at some art indoors.

However, the expert spotted something in the garden – and fought through the undergrowth to reveal a 1,900-year-old marble sarcophagus.

Guy Schwinge, from Duke’s auction house in Dorchester, Dorset, also discovered a further treasure inside the house.

After rummaging around he happened upon an old auction catalogue from Duke’s – and it showed his saleroom had sold the ancient coffin in 1913.

It had remained at the Dorset house ever since, but the family had come to lose the knowledge of what it was.

Now this important lost treasure that has been dated to the second century AD is to go under the hammer again.

The 7ft long sarcophagus was made in Italy for a high ranking official, contemporaneous with Emperor Hadrian.

The decoration is centred by a pedimented entrance flanked by ionic columns, with the door slightly ajar. Further decoration includes laurel tied with a ribbon.

It is unclear when it was brought to the UK and its provenance goes back 100 years to when it was last sold.

The sarcophagus was part of the collection of Sir John Robinson from Newton Manor in Swanage, Dorset, which Duke’s sold.

In 1913 the object was bought by the family that owns the house on the Dorset coast where it was recently found, but it is unknown what it sold for.

Robinson was one of the greatest art experts and connoisseurs of the 19th century.

He was the first superintendent of the South Kensington Museum – now better known as the Victoria and Albert Museum.

He was also appointed as Queen Victoria’s Surveyor of Pictures and was largely responsible for building the collections of ancient and renaissance art at the museum.

He also amassed a large private collection of which this sarcophagus was a part. It’s possible that Robinson bought the sarcophagus on his travels to Italy.

Mr Schwinge said: ‘When I pulled up at the property I spotted what looked like a large garden trough peeping out from under some bushes.

‘I thought it looked interesting and when I commented the owner invited me to take a closer look.

‘As I drew closer I realised I was looking at a Roman sarcophagus in a remarkably good state of preservation, despite having been in the garden for 100 years.

‘After I went into the house to look at some other items, the client and I managed to find an old auction catalogue from 1913.

‘When I saw the name ‘Duke’s’ on the front I couldn’t believe it.

‘It turned out that we were the last firm to handle the sale in 1913 when we sold the collection of Sir John Charles Robinson at Newton Manor in Swanage.’

Art expert Laurence Keen OBE said: ‘This is a very important item. It is, to my mind, late 2nd or early 3rd century AD with carving of the highest quality.

‘The undecorated back probably suggests that it came from a private mausoleum of a high status individual where the tomb was placed against a wall.’

Another art expert said: ‘It is quite exceptional for a piece of Roman imperial art of this importance turn up in a garden.

‘It would be fascinating to find out where Robinson acquired it, but my view is that he probably purchased it on his travels in Italy.

‘It is much too fine to be Romano British.

‘There is always the chance, of course, that it came to this country in the 18th century and was originally part of one of the important Grand Tour collections of the Age of Enlightenment.’

The sale is on September 28.

The original article includes some photos (both now and ‘then’) … it’s a very interesting piece … not sure I’ve ever seen a temple depicted with the door slightly ajar (did this ‘house’ a former priest of some sort?).

CONF: University of Nottingham Department of Classics, Research Workshops 2012-13

Seen on the Classicists list:

University of Nottingham, Department of Classics
Research Workshops 2012-13, Semester 1

Tuesday, 2nd October (in association with the Centre for Ancient Drama and its Reception, University of Nottingham):
Matthew Wright (Exeter)—‘Greek Tragedy and Quotation Culture’

Tuesday, 9th October (in association with the Centre for Spartan and Peloponnesian Studies, University of Nottingham):
Dr Jim Roy (Nottingham)—’Around Mount Lykaion from the Bronze Age to the Roman Empire’

Tuesday, 16th October (in association with the Institute for the Study of Slavery, University of Nottingham):
Robin Osborne (Cambridge)—‘The History of Slavery Written on the Body’

*Tuesday, 23rd October, 5.30pm (a meeting of the Classical Association Nottingham Branch):
Peter Toth (Warburg Institute, London) ‘The Hidden History of Classical Drama Between Greco-Roman Theatre and Medieval Stage’

Tuesday, 30th October (in association with the Centre for Ancient Drama and its Reception, University of Nottingham):
Sarah Miles (Durham)—‘Comic Drama and the Popularising of Attic Tragedy: a Case for Attic Pop. Culture?’

Tuesday, 13th November:
Kostas Vlassopoulos (Nottingham)–‘The Barbarian Repertoire in Greek Culture’

Tuesday, 20th November:
Alex Mullen (Oxford)—‘Languages in Roman Britain’

Tuesday, 27th November (in association with the Centre for Ancient Drama and its Reception, University of Nottingham):
Lucy Jackson (Oxford)—‘Plato’s Other Choruses: beyond the Timaeus, Phaedrus and ἀπαίδευτος ἀχόρευτος’

Tuesday, 4th December:
Emily Kneebone (Cambridge)—’Generic Ventriloquism in Later Greek Epic’

Tuesday, 11th December (in association with the Centre for Late Antique and Byzantine Studies, University of Nottingham):
Shaun Tougher (Cardiff)—‘Eunuchs as Generals in the Later Roman Empire: the Case of Narses’

* Please note the slightly later start time of this meeting.

Papers are followed by discussion. All are welcome. Workshops take place on Tuesdays starting at 5p.m., in the Humanities Building, Room A3. Please note that the Classical Association meeting (Tuesday, 23rd October) begins at 5.30pm.

Enquiries should be directed to: Esther Eidinow, School of Humanities, University of Nottingham University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD. Tel.: 0115 951 4810; e-mail: esther.eidinow AT uk. For details about the Classical Association Nottingham Branch, please contact Nikolai Lipatov, n.lipatov AT

Albert Lord Centennial

The Center for Hellenic Studies is marking the centennial of Albert Lord’s birth with a collection of online resources related to his work. Here’s the introductory blurb from Gregory Nagy:

As one of Albert Lord’s former students, it gives me great pleasure to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth on Sept. 15, 1912. As a pioneering scholar in the study of oral traditions, Lord had a profound impact on our understanding of oral epic traditions, including the tradition represented by the Iliad and Odyssey. His book The Singer of Tales introduced thousands of readers to the richness of the oral poet’s art. As a teacher, he inspired generations of students to continue the line of inquiry begun by his own teacher, Milman Parry. The Center for Hellenic Studies proudly commemorates the birth of this path-finding scholar.

Check it out on the CHS main page

JOB: Ancient World History

Seen on the Classicists list:

Ancient World

The Department of History at Baruch College of the City University of New
York invites applicants for a tenure-track assistant professorship in the
history of the ancient world to begin August 2013. Specialization is open,
but preference will be given to candidates whose research focuses on
trans-regional connections, the Mediterranean world, and/or Indian Ocean
networks. Teaching duties include a global history survey and upper level
undergraduate electives, especially ones with a global focus. Ph.D. required
at the time of appointment. Please send a letter of application addressing
research and teaching interests and experience, curriculum vitae, three
letters of recommendation, sample syllabus and/or teaching evaluations if
available, and an article length writing sample to: Tansen Sen (Ancient
World Search Committee Chair), Department of History B5/200, Baruch College,
1 Bernard Baruch Way, New York, NY 10010. Deadline: November 15. Initial
interviews will likely take place at the AHA. Baruch College is committed to
enhancing our diverse academic community by actively encouraging people with
disabilities, minorities, veterans, and women to apply. Baruch is an
Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer. Tansen.Sen AT

Edinburgh Classics Research Seminars 2012-2013

seen on the Classicists list:

Classics Research Seminar, and other classical seminar events
School of History, Classics, and Archaeology, University of Edinburgh

SEMESTER 1, 2012-13

Unless otherwise indicated, seminars begin at 5.10 on Wednesdays in the Meadows Lecture Theatre, William Robertson Wing, Teviot Place, and are followed by drinks in the McMillan Room. All are welcome!

Wednesday 19 September, 6 pm:
Meeting of the Classical Association of Scotland, Edinburgh and South East Centre
Professor Judith Barringer (University of Edinburgh)
The Changing Image of Zeus at Olympia

Wednesday 26 September
Professor Jon Solomon (University of Illinois)
Greco-Roman Music in the 1890s: From Excavation to the Olympic Congress to Broadway Spectacular

Thursday 27 September, 1-2 pm, G.16 William Robertson Wing: Informal Talk
Professor Joseph Day (Wabash College)
Informal talk on Greek Epigram

Thursday 27 September, G.16, William Robertson Wing:
Archaeology Research Seminar
Professor Leslie Preston Day (Wabash College)
From Palace to Polis on Crete: The Evidence from Kavousi

Wednesday 3 October
Professor Roland Mayer (King?s College London)
Roman Ruin-mindedness

Wednesday 10 October
Dr Diana Rodríguez Pérez (University of Edinburgh)
Eagle and Snake in the Ancient Greek World: Similes and Warnings

Thursday 11 October at 5 pm in the Sydney Smith Lecture Theatre, Teviot Place:
Meeting of the Gender History Network Work-in-Progress Seminar
Dr Glenys Davies (University of Edinburgh)
Body Language, the Romans and Gender
Dr Lloyd Llewellyn-Jones (University of Edinburgh)
?Salome, Nice Girl?: Rita Hayworth?s Biblical Vamp

Wednesday 17 October
Dr Beth Munro (University of Edinburgh)
Social Perceptions of Recycling in the Roman World

Wednesday 24 October
Dr Benjamin Gray (University of Edinburgh)
Exile and the Fault Lines of Greek Citizenship

Wednesday 31 October
Professor Tim Whitmarsh (Corpus Christi College, Oxford)
Adventures of the Solymoi: Homeric Jews

Wednesday 7 November
Dr Myles Lavan (University of St Andrews)
Manumission, Enfranchisement, and the Claudian Census Figure

Tuesday 13 November, 6 pm, Teviot Lecture Theatre, Teviot Place:
Memorandum of Understanding Special Seminar in History, Classics and Archaeology
Professor Makoto Anzai (Hokkaido University)
An Epic Hero Performing a Heroic Epic: Iliad 9.182-195

Wednesday 14 November
Dr Peter Thonemann (Wadham College, Oxford)
Phrygia: An Anarchist History

Wednesday 21 November
Dr Susan Walker (Ashmolean Museum, Oxford)
Saints and Salvation: Late Roman Gold-Glass in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford

Wednesday 28 November, 6 pm: Meeting of the Classical Association of Scotland
Dr Sarah Miles (Durham University)
Comic Drama and the Popularising of Attic Tragedy: A Case for Attic Pop. Culture?

Wednesday 5 December in Teviot Lecture Theatre, Teviot Place
Professor Tony Woodman (University of Virginia)
Fragments from the Past: Some Early Roman Historians