Video: Brian Rose on the ‘Warts and All’ Thing

And we might as well include official descriptions of these UPenn videos too:

When one visualizes the Roman Republic, the first image that usually comes to mind is that of a male aristocrat whose portrait bears the signs of advanced age: incised lines on or around the forehead, eyes, and mouth, and short, closely cropped hair that is often receding. On occasion there is no hair at all, and the irregularly shaped heads frequently feature large ears, thick lips, and sharply aquiline noses. Why did the Romans choose such an unusual type, and how long did it remain in vogue? In this lecture, Dr. C. Brian Rose, Curator-in-Charge, Mediterranean Section, answers these and other questions about Roman portraits, and presents new archaeological evidence from the northern Galilee that bears on the date of the type’s creation.

Classics Confidential: Daniela Manetti on Ancient Medicine

I think I’ll include the original description with these Classics Confidential posts …

This week’s interview features Professor Daniela Manetti from the University of Florence, who at the time of filming was visiting the Humboldt University in Berlin as part of the research programme ‘Medicine of the Mind, Philosophy of the Body: Discourses of Health and Well-Being in the Ancient World’. Professor Manetti has published on a wide variety of ancient medical texts, but in this conversation she focuses on the intriguing papyrus fragment known to us as the Anonymus Londinensis, which was found in Egypt and bought by the British Library in 1889. This text, which discusses the multiple causes of illness, is a treasure trove for ancient medical historians, but it also gives us a unique and precious insight into the processes of ancient textual composition.

Corruption Scandal at Pompeii!

This one’s snaking through the various British papers … the Guardian seems to have the most details:

Italian police have arrested a former restorer of Pompeii on corruption charges and are investigating five others, including the former commissioner appointed to deal with the increasing degradation of the historic site.

Italy declared a state of emergency in 2008 at Pompeii after archaeologists and art historians complained about the poor upkeep of the crumbling site, pointing to mismanagement and lack of investment. A special commissioner, Marcello Fiori, was also appointed for the Unesco world heritage site, an ancient Roman city which was buried by an eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79.

But investigators say Fiori and the director of restoration at the time, Luigi D’Amora, awarded irregular contracts to the restoration services company Caccavo and paid inflated prices for its work. Collapsed walls and columns since 2008 have renewed concerns about the condition of the site.

Prosecutors say the officials broke the terms of the state of emergency, overspent on various restoration projects and agreed to non-essential work on Pompeii, one of Italy’s most popular attractions, visited by 2.5 million tourists each year. They have accused Fiori of abuse of office while D’Amora is being investigated for fraud.

Police have put Annamaria Caccavo under house arrest and are investigating her for aiding abuse of office, corrupting a public official and fraud.

The company has been banned from doing business with public administration and police have ordered the seizure of €810,788 worth of its assets. Three engineers are also being investigated for fraud and corruption.

The accused parties were not immediately available for comment.

… sadly, whenever we read about funding for Pompeii, I’ve always had this incident from five or six years ago lurking in the back of my head: Pompeii Vandalism

H-Net Review: Atkinson, Queen Salome: Jerusalem’s Warrior Monarch of the First Century B.C.E.

Kenneth Atkinson. Queen Salome: Jerusalem’s Warrior Monarch of the
First Century B.C.E. Jefferson McFarland and Company, 2012. 296
pp. $45.00 (paper), ISBN 978-0-7864-7002-0.

Reviewed by Karl C. Randall
Published on H-War (February, 2013)
Commissioned by Margaret Sankey

Queen Salome is an interesting but long-overlooked figure in ancient
history. Kenneth Atkinson has finally redressed this oversight in his
work _Queen Salome__._ Atkinson has taken great pains to gather every
source of information on Salome Alexandra, making it the only
comprehensive work about her life. The author’s evaluation and
collation of sources relating the same event are both careful and
clear. Some materials, such as Josephus, are stripped of their bias
while others, such as sections of the _Gemara_, which are often
discounted as non-contemporary, have been included–but only after
proving that they are either clearly based on or match earlier works.
In short, Atkinson has done a masterful job of gathering and vetting
his source material.

Given the topic of the book and the fact that a number of the primary
sources take a strongly patriarchal slant, it is only natural that
_Queen Salome_ includes a fair amount of information regarding the
life and lot of females during the first century BCE and female
rulers in particular to provide contextual balance not shown in
source material. Atkinson skillfully teases out the truth hidden
behind the almost complete purge of Queen Salome’s accomplishments
that has occurred with the passage of time. At times, however,
Atkinson pushes the issue somewhat harder than necessary and his tone
occasionally takes on a decidedly feminist slant.

The sum total of information directly mentioning or alluding to Queen
Salome, however, remains woefully small, a fact that will remain
unchanged unless new sources come to light. To compensate for such a
narrow array of sources, Atkinson wisely chose to expand his focus to
include Queen Salome’s immediate family, ancestors and descendants,
and other female rulers of her time. While this expansion is well
done and natural given the dearth of source material, the finished
work is somewhat less of a biography of a single person than a
history of Hasmonean-ruled Judea. That being said, Atkinson’s work
remains the first and only unified work on Queen Salome and as such
it is worthy of praise.

The book provides sufficient amount of background information on
early Jewish beliefs that adds a layer of depth and understanding to
not only the Jewish religion and its early beliefs, but also to how
those beliefs affected the relationship of first-century Judea with
foreign influences and foreign nationals and others in the region.
The inclusion of this background information is vital to anyone not
conversant with Jewish customs and traditions of the period, making
it a boon to both laymen and professional historians not specialized
in biblical or Judean studies.

_Queen Salome_ does have its flaws though. Atkinson’s prose
occasionally becomes slightly repetitive, and transitions are choppy
early on–most particularly in the preface. This flaw largely
subsides as the work progresses, as the author becomes more
comfortable with his task. The book also contains upward of a dozen
typographical errors. While none of the errors are critical, the
combination of these two problems gives the impression that _Queen
Salome_ could have benefited from a slightly more stringent editorial
process prior to release.

It is my sincere hope that the lack of polish does not deter
prospective readers, for Atkinson has managed to create a volume that
is both comprehensive and original in focus, a rare accomplishment
indeed. For anyone wishing to learn more about Queen Salome’s
remarkable life and accomplishments, Atkinson’s volume is the first
and only source on the subject. Of interest for anyone in gender
studies, or classical or biblical history, it manages to be of use to
both the layman and the serious scholar alike.

Citation: Karl C. Randall. Review of Atkinson, Kenneth, _Queen
Salome: Jerusalem’s Warrior Monarch of the First Century B.C.E._.
H-War, H-Net Reviews. February, 2013.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons
Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States

Moving Mithras Update

The incipit of a piece in the Londonist:

British archaeology has enjoyed a surge of interest of late, with the recent unearthing of Richard III in a certain Leicester car park. However, one London archaeological site remains in limbo: the Temple of Mithras is still waiting for its new home, as one of the City’s biggest ever digs continues.

The temple, dating from 240AD, has been dismantled and is currently in storage with the Museum of London. It’s awaiting a permanent home in the rebuilt Bucklersbury House on Queen Victoria Street, which is set to be the European headquarters of media giant Bloomberg LP.

Bloomberg was granted planning permission in 2010 to uproot the temple’s remains and incorporate them into its new corporate base. However, work on the £300m project, designed by Foster + Partners, hasn’t yet begun. The site, occupying a huge city block, is still a big hole in the ground. Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA), which is leading the project to move the temple, says it will be “a matter of years” before it is once again visible to the public.

Part of the delay has to do with ongoing excavation work on the Queen Victoria Street site, which has evolved into the Walbrook Discovery Programme, one of the largest digs undertaken in the City of London, according to MOLA, with more than 50 archaeologists combing through the mud of the Roman River Walbrook.

“The ground conditions are perfect for preserving organic remains and hundreds of metal, wood, bone and leather artefacts and wooden structures are being recovered and recorded,” MOLA says. “These finds will contribute to our understanding of life in this part of Roman London and will help to tell the story of the development of the Mithras site.”

The dig has uncovered the original foundations of the Temple of Mithras, which will inform a more accurate reconstruction. “Bloomberg LP will restore the temple to its original Roman location and in a more historically accurate guise,” says MOLA. “Upon completion of Bloomberg’s new development, the new reconstruction of the Temple of Mithras will be housed in a purpose-built and publicly accessible interpretation space within their new building.”

There’s still no word on what that space will look like, or whether it will take any cues from a similar space designed to display the nearby London Stone, which is also awaiting removal to new premises in a corporate building. The City of London Corporation did tell us, however, that the temple will be in a new display area at ground and basement level with a separate entrance as part of the new building. […]

… this is a rather long delay, see, e.g. Temple of Mithras to be restored to its original location (Past Horizons) … not sure if we covered it previously