Pass the Fig Leaf

The incipit of an AFP item (via Google):

Greece has pulled two ancient statues from an ongoing Olympic Games exhibition in Qatar in a dispute over nudity, a culture ministry source said on Tuesday.

“The statues have already returned to Greece,” a culture ministry source told AFP, adding: “Organisers in Qatar wanted to cover up the statues’ members with black cloth. So they were never put on display, they went back into storage and returned on April 19.”

The statues — an archaic-era Greek youth and a Roman-era copy of a Classical athlete — are both nude, the manner in which Olympic athletes competed in antiquity.

Greece’s junior minister for culture Costas Tzavaras had travelled to the Qatari capital of Doha for the opening of the exhibit on March 27, saying it opened a “bridge of friendship” between the two countries.

According to the culture ministry, Greece has contributed nearly 600 exhibits from the National Archaeological Museum, the Numismatic Museum and the Museum of Olympia, birthplace of the Games.

The Doha exhibit runs to June 30.

A similar exhibit had previously been hosted in Berlin.[…]

… and just for comparanda: It Doesn’t Play in San Antonio Redux (October, 2012).

Africans in Roman Britain

Saw this in something called The Voice:

AN INTERACTIVE website for children highlighting the diversity of Roman Britain will be launched tomorrow in a bid to challenge lessons on the current history curriculum.

The Romans Revealed project – a collaboration between race equality think tank the Runnymede Trust and archaeologists from the University of Reading – will be officially launched at the Museum of London on April 25.

It will act as a learning resource for teachers and parents to show children about a lesser-known side of the historical period.

The interactive website allows children to ‘dig up’ graves and read stories by children’s author Caroline Lawrence told from the perspective of four people living in Roman Britain.

It follows a research project from the university, A Long Way Home: Diaspora Communities in Roman Britain, which examined over 150 skeletons to find out about patterns of migration.

Dr Hella Eckardt, senior lecturer in Roman Archaeology at the University of Reading, said: “Our analysis of excavated skeletal remains of people living in Roman Britain such as the ‘Ivory Bangle Lady’ and others like her show that multicultural Britain is not just a phenomenon of more modern times.”

By analysing skeletons facial features, skull measurements, the chemical signature of food and drink and burial goods, archaeologists were able to learn more about Roman times and migrants of African descent who came to Britain.

The ‘Ivory Bangle Lady’ was a high status young woman of North African descent who remains were buried in Roman York (Sycamore Terrace).

Dated to the second half of the 4th Century, her grave contained jet and elephant ivory bracelets, earrings, pendants, beads, a blue glass jug and a glass mirror.

Dr Debbie Weekes-Bernard, who is leading the Romans Revealed outreach project, said: “The University of Reading research results showed that people came to Britain from many different parts of the Roman Empire, including North Africa. In some of the larger towns like York and Winchester, up to 20 per cent of the Roman Britain population may be classed as ‘non-local’ or ‘incomers’.

“This research is really important, providing evidence to challenge the current curriculum as taught in schools and highlighting the diversity of Roman Britain.”

According to the National Archives, the official archive for the UK Government, people of African descent have had a presence in Britain for the past 2,000 years.

In Roman times, black troops were sent to the ‘remote and barbaric’ province of Britannia – the ancient term for Great Britain – with many settling permanently even after the Roman legions left.

via: Children’s website tells stories of Roman Britain’s Africans (The Voice)

… you can check out the Romans Revealed website here … if you’re interested in some of the finds which probably contributed to this project:

I know there was something (at rogueclassicism) involving a burial of an African woman in Britain that was also connected with Caroline Lawrence (i.e. she wrote about it too), but my search engine divinities appear to have gone to visit the blameless Ethiopians or something …

Latin Gets Things Done!

Interesting item from the Art Newspaper … some clipping along the way:

In 1937, the Warburg Institute, recently arrived in London from Hamburg, found itself homeless. Permission was given for it to move into the Imperial Institute, but there was no shelving, which made the library unusable. Month after month, the director Fritz Saxl sent letters to the senior civil servant at the Office of Works, Frederic Raby, asking him for shelves to be provided.

Now Raby was also a considerable scholar of Latin poetry of the Middle Ages; finally, Saxl asked Ernst Gombrich to write Raby a request in Latin poetry in case that might move him to action. Here is that poem, in the style of the “Wandering Scholars”.

The effect was instantaneous: Raby sent back a poem in the same rhyme-scheme saying that they could have their shelves. As Sir Ernst said in sending these opuscula to The Art Newspaper, “The whole stands as a nostalgic tribute to a vanished tradition of the Civil Service”.

The Gombrich Plea

Stella desperantium, miserorum lumen
Rerum primum mobile, nobis quasi numen
Audias propitie supplicantem sonum
De profundis clamitat studii patronum
Otium molestum est, et periculosum
Menses sine linea vexant studiosum.
Statum hunc chaoticum noli prolongare
Animam et domum nos fac aedificare
Libros nostros libera turri de seclusa
Quibus mus nunc fruitur gaudeat et Musa.
O, duc nos ad gratiae sempiternum fontem
Unde tibi lauri frons coronabit frontem.
Qui in Bibliotheca Warburgiana
studiis se dedere ardent
—Frederico Jacobo Edwardo Rabio


Raby’s reply (addressed to Fritz Saxl)

Doctor disertissime, rector venerande,
Omnibus amabilis semper et amande,
Congemiscens audio verba deprecantum
Imo corde vocibus tactus eiulantum.
Set nunc tibi nuncio gaudium suave,
Te et tuos liberans studiosos a ve.
EANT LIBRI LIBERE. Deus sit tutamen
Libris et legentibus in eternum. Amen.

… the original article includes translations … Both verses almost sound ‘Carmina Buranaish’ …

Classical Words of the Day


This Day in Ancient History: ante diem vii kalendas maias

ante diem vii kalendas maias