Town Planning at Pisidian Antioch

From Hurriyet:

Archaeologists digging up the past in the southern province of Isparta are slowly revealing an ancient city whose well-developed sense of urban planning seems to have served as a model for subsequent conurbations.

“The ancient city [of Pisidia Antiocheia] is positioned on two main rectangular streets that cut each other vertically, which is called Hippodamic town planning,” the head of the excavations at the ancient city and the head of the Archaeology Department of Süleyman Demirel University, Mehmet Özhanlı, recently told Anatolia news agency, adding that it was positioned on a slope overlooking the west.

“Aqueducts were also established in the city to meet water needs. The city was established on seven hills just like Istanbul. The temple of the city’s greatest god was built on the highest hill. The main streets of the city intersect on a north-south, east-west basis. Public buildings were built at certain points on these streets,” he said.

Hippodamic town planning was subsequently deployed in the construction of cities in Europe and the Americas.
Özhanlı said Pisidia Antiocheia was one of the largest cities in the era and added that it had been constructed with regards to the origin of possible enemy attacks, agricultural and stock breeding areas, water resources and wind direction.

The professor also said they had discovered two-meter-deep sewage system under all the streets in the city.

Sewage system
“This sewage system network exists in all the main streets and side streets. When it rains, your shoes do not get wet because the ground of all streets is covered with 1.5-meter-high stones. There were also sidewalks. None of the buildings blocked the light of any other building. All shops in the city were the same size,” he said, hailing what he called “perfect town planning.” Özhanlı also said the inhabitants of the ancient city had enjoyed “full democracy.”

Pisidia Antiocheia also featured a stadium with a capacity of 15,000, as well as a temple, an assembly building and other public buildings. “All these are necessary for a place to be recognized as a city in the ancient era. We have so far unearthed them, even though we have excavated only 5 percent of the city,” he said.

“We believe that our excavations will make great contributions to Turkey’s cultural and structural value in the next 10 years,” the professor said.

… didn’t know that ‘seven hills’ detail …

A Roman Facial Reconstruction

Haven’t had one of these in ages … from the BBC:

The face of a wealthy Roman citizen who lived in south Wales has been revealed nearly two millennia after he died.

Using the latest technology, experts have produced a portrait of the man whose skeleton was uncovered 18 years ago in Caerleon, near Newport.

Archaeologists are trying to fill in more details using forensic techniques employed by police.

The image of the man was unveiled at the National Roman Legion Museum in Caerleon on Thursday.

The remains from around AD200 were uncovered by builders who were working on the nearby Newport university campus in November 1995.

Analysis showed the skeleton was that of a well-preserved man of about 40.

Since it was put on display in 2002, the skeleton has become one of the museum’s most popular exhibits, so staff decided to find out more about the man and create a portrait to honour him.

Efforts to build a picture of how the man may have looked began three years ago.

First, scientists carried out isotype analysis on the enamel of one of the skeleton’s teeth. That revealed the man in the coffin had spent his childhood years, between the age of five and eight, in the Newport area and that he was probably a local boy.

Curatorial officer Dr Mark Lewis said the man was living at a time when the Caerleon Roman fortress was at its height, having been established for 125 years. It would have been supplying the legion, serving up to 6,000 soldiers.

“The fact that the man had been buried rather than cremated as most of the people were at that time was a clue to the fact he was probably well off,” he said.
Bath stone coffin containing the skeleton of the Roman man

“What we can learn from the latest evidence is that he may have been a very wealthy merchant who may have been supplying the fortress.

“He may have been high up in the administration of the fortress. He may have even served in the army and come home to Wales for retirement.”

The fact that the research has shown that the man was a native of the local area was also important, said Dr Lewis.

“Maybe his mother or grandmother married a Roman soldier, perhaps his father was a soldier and he followed him into the army.”

Dr Lewis said in future they make take their research into the man’s origins further through DNA testing.

As well as the scientific analysis, the museum commissioned a reconstruction of the man’s face using forensic techniques.

The skull was scanned to create a 3D digital model and two scientists worked in succession on digitally reconstructing the missing areas of the the skull and creating a facial reconstruction.

Because the museum wanted to hang a portrait of the Roman in its gallery, National Museum Wales conservator and artist Penny Hill then got involved.

Ms Hill employed materials and artistic conventions known to have been used in Roman paintings or ancient literary sources.

She said it was a challenging piece of experimental archaeology using a process called “encaustic” which involved creating the painting in wax.

… of course, a photo of the reconstruction accompanies the original article. I guess because it’s a digital reconstruction rather than one of those dramatic forensic type things, we don’t read of this being associated with a documentary …

Some other reconstructions of note:

CJ Online Review: Eidinow, Luck, Fate and Fortune

posted with permission:

Luck, Fate and Fortune: Antiquity and its Legacy. By Esther Eidinow. Ancients and Moderns. London: I. B. Tauris; New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. Pp. viii + 213. Paper, £12.99/$24.95. ISBN 978-1-84511-843-3 (Tauris); 978-0-19-538079-8 (Oxford).

Reviewed by Vasiliki Giannopoulou, University of Oxford

This is an insightful study examining μοῖρα (fate), τύχη (luck, fortune) and related ancient Greek concepts (discussed in Chapter 2) as cultural models, “which explore how we make meaning out of our experiences, and communicate that meaning to each other” (9). Eidinow is very good at discussing both modern and ancient ideas on the question of human responsibility (Chapters 1 and 8), at explaining the analytical tools of cognitive anthropology (Chapter 4), and at using cultural models to explore luck, fate and fortune in Solon and Theognis (Chapter 5). She is aware that she tends towards “generalisations about ancient society” (8) and states that her case studies “are not intended to provide a comprehensive overview of either ancient literature or ancient attitudes” (75). However, organizing her discussion of Thucydides under titles such as “Luck and the Author” (131) or “Luck ‘Happens’” (133), but without considering corresponding phenomena in her discussions of Herodotus and Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus, seems to undercut the validity of some of her generalizations.

In Chapter 3 Eidinow explores the different ways in which μοῖρα, τύχη, and δαίμων (god, gods, supernatural entities, fate) are presented in Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus and does this well. However, the reviewer has encountered here some imprecision or lack of clarity. For example, Eidinow describes lines 1297–1302 as introducing “a whole retinue of misfortune-makers all working together” (56) when the Chorus wonders only about two powers: what madness (μανία) has come upon the now blind Oedipus and who is the god (δαίμων) that has sprung upon his miserable fate (δυσδαίμονι μοίρᾳ); μοῖρα here is not an active agent. That “the precise relationship of each of these supernatural entities to the other is never explicitly described” (60) is true, but the weakness of this chapter is that authorial choices are not discussed; this would have been consonant with Eidinow’s concern with cultural models elsewhere in the book and is necessary if we are to get an idea about the patterns of thought and behavior promoted by the author as well as their relation to similar ideas in Herodotus and Thucydides.

The reviewer thinks that the multivalence of τύχη and τυχ-stem words (good fortune, success, hitting the mark, fortune, happenstance, chance, misfortune) is employed by Sophocles to show how Oedipus sees himself (successful and fortunate: 998, 1080; an unexpected chance/happenstance sprang upon him: 776–7; subject to chance and circumstance: 1025; cf. 1036), how Oedipus sees the misfortune of others without realizing that the misfortune is actually his own (tragic irony: 102, 263) and how the prophet Teiresias sees Oedipus (reading the riddle was a fortunate accident that has turned out to be his ruin: 442; lucky: 423, but with horrible consequences: 415–25). Multivalent and ambivalent terms (such as τύχη and δαίμων) are chosen to construct the archetype of king Oedipus and of the tragic reversal of his life (from seeming happiness to decline: 1189–92; 1206); what is created in effect is the mental image of the reversal of fortune that epitomizes the frailty, misfortune, and suffering of the whole human race (1186–1206). Since archetypes or prototypes are related to cultural models, as Eidinow shows (68–9), it would be fruitful to discuss how the archetype promoted by Sophocles relates to Herodotus and Thucydides.

In Chapter 6 Eidinow’s analysis of patterns of fate in Herodotus’ Histories is in general carefully nuanced, although the relation of τύχη with the “reversal model” and “the model of inevitable fate” (115–6) is not adequately explained. Similarly, Eidinow never explains how “Lady Luck’s Lighter Touch” (the title of her section on τύχη: p. 105) can be squared with “the tragic irony of misunderstood tuche” (109).

In Chapter 7 Eidinow rightly says that Thucydides’ presentation of τύχη “evokes the unpredictability and randomness of lived experience” (131) and that his use of the verb τυγχάνω expresses unpredictability and coincidence (133–5). But with no discussion of similar usages in Herodotus, Sophocles and Euripides (that is, of similar modes of thought being formed in the same culture), Eidinow ends up overstating what distinguishes Thucydides from Herodotus (140–2).

The reviewer has not noticed any typographical errors but has encountered some imprecision in the footnotes (e.g. n. 11, p. 186 does not make sense and n. 65, p. 195 should be “Solon, fr. 13.65–70”).

The reviewer’s overall opinion is that Eidinow succeeds in establishing a close link between the question of responsibility and the language of fate and fortune in Greek texts of political and rhetorical discourse (Solon: Chapter 5 and Demosthenes: Chapter 8), although how “Herodotus’ search of causes” or “Thucydides’ careful account of the sequence of events” (154) is linked with mortal responsibility is not clearly spelled out. Similarly, what some readers may miss is a discussion of Greek popular beliefs arising from popular texts such as proverbs and fables (masterfully done by Teresa Morgan in Popular Morality in the Early Roman Empire (Cambridge, 2007)), especially since Eidinow gives examples from modern popular culture and her intention is to explore “the perceived role” of fate and fortune “across various aspects” of Greek “daily life” (153).

Classical Words of the Day