Whither the Rubicon?

… apparently there’s going to be a mock trial do decide which of the potamonial (if that isn’t a word, it should be) claimants’ cases hold water. Excerpts from the Guardian’s hype:


On Saturday, in the usually peaceful town of San Mauro Pascoli, near Rimini, the centuries-old debate will be reopened in a mock trial that aims to deliver a verdict, once and for all, on the identity of the real Rubicon. It is a battle that pitches neighbouring towns against each other and divides impassioned locals into three equally zealous camps – one for each river in question.

Fierce as Caesar’s battle with Pompey was, it may have nothing on this. The judge, however, is expected to draw the line at severed heads.

In 1933, a time when Benito Mussolini was fully versed in the rehabilitation of Rome’s ancient glory for contemporary political purposes, he decided the debate over the Rubicon had gone on long enough. The fascist dictator renamed the little Fiumicino river in his native Emilia Romagna the Rubicone, and decreed that the town through which it ran should also henceforth be known as Savignano sul Rubicone.

But the official ruling did nothing to deter those who believed that their river – either the Uso or the Pisciatello – was the genuine article. “There was no definitive proof. The debate, which had been going on for centuries, was still open,” said Paolo Turroni, a teacher and journalist from Cesena who will present the case for the Pisciatello on Saturday. “In reality, Mussolini had political reasons for doing what he did. At that time the podestà [mayor] of Savignano was an important figure in the Fascist party.”
Rubicon locator

Over time, however, the Fiumicino’s credentials have convinced many that it is indeed the right choice. Giancarlo Mazzuca, a newspaper editor, writer and former MP for Silvio Berlusconi’s centre-right People of Freedom party, will argue at the mock trial that the Fiumicino deserves to keep its title due, among other things, to the Tabula Peutingeriana, a medieval copy of a Roman road map, which places the Rubicon 12 miles from Rimini on the Via Aemilia. The river also, he notes, has a bridge built in Roman times.

“This history is often overlooked due to the fact that the person who gave this order was Benito Mussolini. On the other hand, the foreign press, including the Times of London, had already said in 1932 … that the real Rubicon of Julius Caesar is indeed that of Savignano,” he wrote in notes for the Sammauroindustria cultural association, which is organising the event.

For others, though, this is a historical injustice. Turroni says he will use various pieces of evidence including Vatican maps, ancient parchments and even Giovanni Boccaccio, author of The Decameron, to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Pisciatello is the closest thing to the ancient Rubicon as is possible given the huge territorial changes that have taken place since 49BC. He and his fellow believers say they have evidence identifying their river as the Rubicon dating as far back as the 10th century, and claim that its colloquial name – the Urgòn – could easily have evolved from Rubicon.

Meanwhile, archaeologist Cristina Ravara Montebelli will fight the case for the Uso, which she says has long been regarded by historians and writers from Rimini as the original river. Her argument will hinge, among other points, on the existence of Roman-era ruins in the area. Even in 1750, she says, the spot had come to be considered by some to mark the ancient border with Cisalpine Gaul – in other words, the Rubicon.

The mock trial on Saturday will not be the first set up by the Sammauroindustria, whose president, Gianfranco Miro Gori, came up with the idea as a means of exploring history in an inventive and exciting way. Past years have put on trial issues surrounding characters such as unification hero Giuseppe Garibaldi and Mussolini himself. “The Rubicon is very local in one way, but has international dimensions,” he said.

Turroni said the Rubicon issue had regained its prominence over the past 20 years. Locals, he added, were proud of their river’s origins. But, despite the rivalry, “it’s always in good cheer and never anger,” he added.

… hopefully we’ll get some followup coverage …

Catching Up With Bryn Mawr Classical Review

I think I missed all of July … I’ll catch up with August in a day or so:

  • 2013.07.02:  Bernd Steinmann, Die Waffengräber der ägäischen Bronzezeit: Waffenbeigaben, soziale Selbstdarstellung und Adelsethos in der minoisch-mykenischen Kultur. Philippika, 52​. bmcr2
  • 2013.07.03:  Stella Georgoudi, Renée Koch Piettre, Francis Schmidt, La raison des signes: présages, rites, destin dans les sociétés de la méditerranée ancienne. Religions in the Graeco-Roman world, 174.
  • 2013.07.04:  A. M. Devine, Laurence D. Stephens, Semantics for Latin: An Introduction.
  • 2013.07.05:  Arthur M. Eckstein, Rome Enters the Greek East: From Anarchy to Hierarchy in the Hellenistic Mediterranean, 230-170 BC.
  • 2013.07.06:  Frank L. Holt, Lost World of the Golden King: In Search of Ancient Afghanistan. Hellenistic culture and society, 53.
  • 2013.07.07:  Naftali S. Cohn, The Memory of the Temple and the Making of the Rabbis. Divinations: rereading late ancient religion.
  • 2013.07.08:  Philip P. Betancourt, The Dams and Water Management Systems of Minoan Pseira.
  • 2013.07.09:  Christopher A. Beeley, The Unity of Christ: Continuity and Conflict in Patristic Tradition.
  • 2013.07.10:  Jörg Rüpke, Wolfgang Spickermann, Reflections on Religious Individuality: Greco-Roman and Judaeo-Christian Texts and Practices. Religionsgeschichtliche Versuche und Vorarbeiten, Band 62.
  • 2013.07.11:  Kathleen Coleman, Jocelyne Nelis-Clément, L’organisation des spectacles dans le monde romain. Entretiens sur l’Antiquité classique, 58.
  • 2013.07.12:  Niketas Siniossoglou, Radical Platonism in Byzantium: Illumination and Utopia in Gemistos Plethon. Cambridge classical studies.
  • 2013.07.13:  Susan C. Shelmerdine, Introduction to Latin. Second edition.
  • 2013.07.14:  Patrick Sänger, Veteranen unter den Severern und frühen Soldatenkaisern: die Dokumentensammlungen der Veteranen Aelius Sarapammon und Aelius Syrion. Heidelberger Althistorische Beiträge und Epigraphische Studien (HABES), Bd 48.
  • 2013.07.15:  Marietta Horster, Anja Klöckner, Civic Priests: Cult Personnel in Athens from the Hellenistic Period to Late Antiquity. Religionsgeschichtliche Versuche und Vorarbeiten, Bd 58. Berlin;
  • 2013.07.16:  Fiona Leigh, The ‘Eudemian Ethics’ on the Voluntary, Friendship, and Luck: The Sixth S.V. Keeling Colloquium in Ancient Philosophy. Philosophia Antiqua, 132.
  • 2013.07.17:  Sergio Audano, Classici lettori di classici. Da Virgilio a Marguerite Yourcenar. Echo, 8.
  • 2013.07.18:  Edith Foster, Donald Lateiner, Thucydides and Herodotus.
  • 2013.07.19:  Cassandra Borges, C. Michael Sampson, New Literary Papyri from the Michigan Collection: Mythographic Lyric and a Catalogue of Poetic First Lines. New Texts from Ancient Cultures.
  • 2013.07.20:  Stephen Halliwell, Between Ecstasy and Truth. Interpretations of Greek Poetics from Homer to Longinus..
  • 2013.07.21:  P. A. Brunt, Studies in Stoicism.
  • 2013.07.22:  Jason König​, Saints and Symposiasts: The Literature of Food and the Symposium in Greco-Roman and Early Christian Culture. Greek culture in the Roman world.
  • 2013.07.23:  Giuseppina Azzarello, Il dossier della ‘domus divina’ in Egitto. Archiv für Papyrusforschung und verwandte Gebiete, Beiheft 32.
  • 2013.07.24:  Daniel L. Schwartz, Paideia and Cult: Christian Initiation in Theodore of Mopsuestia. Hellenic Studies, 57.
  • 2013.07.25:  Angela Bellia, Strumenti musicali e oggetti sonori nell’Italia meridionale e in Sicilia (VI-III sec. a.C.): funzioni rituali e contesti. Aglaia 4.
  • 2013.07.26:  Matthew Wright, The Comedian as Critic: Greek Old Comedy and Poetics.
  • 2013.07.27:  Anne Rolet, Allégorie et symbole: voies de dissidence? de l’Antiquité à la Renaissance. Interférences.
  • 2013.07.28:  Andrea Celestino Montanaro, Ambre figurate. Amuleti e ornamenti dalla Puglia preromana. Studia archaeologica 184.
  • 2013.07.29:  Scott Fitzgerald Johnson, The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity.
  • 2013.07.30:  Angelo Mercado, Italic Verse: A Study of the Poetic Remains of Old Latin, Faliscan, and Sabellic. Innsbrucker Beiträge zur Sprachwissenschaft, Bd 145.
  • 2013.07.31:  Antonio Catalfamo, Cesare Pavese, un greco del nostro tempo: dodicesima rassegna di saggi internazionali di critica pavesiana. Supplemento a Le Colline di Pavese, 134.
  • 2013.07.32:  Maijastina Kahlos, The Faces of the Other: Religious Rivalry and Ethnic Encounters in the Later Roman World. Cursor mundi, 10.
  • 2013.07.33:  Richard Patterson, Vassilis Karasmanis, Arnold Hermann, Presocratics and Plato: A Festschrift at Delphi in Honor of Charles Kahn. Papers presented at the festschrift symposium in honor of Charles Kahn organized by the Hyele Institute for Comparative Studies European Cultural Center of Delphi, June 3rd-7th, 2009, Delphi, Greece.
  • 2013.07.34:  Kenneth A. Kitchen, Paul L. N. Lawrence, Treaty, Law and Covenant in the Ancient Near East.
  • 2013.07.35:  Paula Fredriksen, Sin: The Early History of an Idea.
  • 2013.07.36:  Carlos Steel, Aristotle’s Metaphysics Alpha (with an edition of the Greek text by Oliver Primavesi). Symposium Aristotelicum.
  • 2013.07.37:  Rachana Kamtekar, Virtue and Happiness: Essays in Honour of Julia Annas. Oxford studies in ancient philosophy. Supplementary volume, 2012.
  • 2013.07.38:  Renate Schlesier, A Different God? Dionysos and Ancient Polytheism.
  • 2013.07.39:  Catherine Freis, Richard Freis, Greg Miller, George Herbert: Memoriae matris sacrum = To the Memory of my Mother: A Consecrated Gift. A Critical Text, Translation, and Commentary. George Herbert Journal special studies and monographs.
  • 2013.07.40:  Ido Israelowich, Society, Medicine and Religion in the Sacred Tales of Aelius Aristides. Mnemosyne supplements. Monographs on Greek and Latin Language and Literature, 341
  • 2013.07.41:  Helena Dettmer, LeaAnn A. Osburn, Latin for the New Millennium: Student Text, Level 3.
  • 2013.07.42:  John J. Collins, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A Biography. Lives of great religious books.
  • 2013.07.43:  Kathryn Welch, Magnus Pius: Sextus Pompeius and the Transformation of the Roman Republic. Roman culture in an age of civil war.
  • 2013.07.44:  Michaela Konrad, Christian Witschel, Römische Legionslager in den Rhein- und Donauprovinzen – Nuclei spätantik-frühmittelalterlichen Lebens? Abhandlungen der Philosophisch-historische Klasse. Neue Folge, 138.
  • 2013.07.45:  Darel Tai Engen, Honor and Profit: Athenian Trade Policy and the Economy and Society of Greece, 415-307 B.C.E.
  • 2013.07.46:  Charikleia Armoni, Studien zur Verwaltung des Ptolemäischen Ägypten: Das Amt des Basilikos Grammateus. Abhandlungen der Nordrhein-Westfälischen Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Künste. Sonderreihe Papyrologica Coloniensia, 36.
  • 2013.07.47:  Daniel L. Selden, Hieroglyphic Egyptian: An Introduction to the Language and Literature of the Middle Kingdom.
  • 2013.07.48:  Fiona Hobden, Christopher Tuplin, Xenophon: Ethical Principles and Historical Enquiry. Mnemosyne supplements. History and archaeology of classical antiquity, 348.
  • 2013.07.49:  Sergio Audano, Giovanni Cipriani, Aspetti della Fortuna dell’Antico nella Cultura Europea : atti della Nona Giornata di Studi, Sestri Levante, 16 marzo 2012. Echo, 9.
  • 2013.07.50:  Christos Theodoridis, Photii Patriarchae Lexicon. Volumen III, N–Φ.
  • 2013.07.51:  Georges Rougemont, Inscriptions grecques d’Iran et d’Asie centrale. Corpus inscriptionum Iranicarum, Part II: Inscriptions of the Seleucid and Parthian periods of eastern Iran and central Asia. Vol. I: Inscriptions in non-Iranian languages, 1. London: 2012. Pp. 326; 82 p. of plates.
  • 2013.07.52:  James Romm, Plutarch: Lives that Made Greek History.
  • 2013.07.53:  Jerry Toner, Homer’s Turk: How Classics Shaped Ideas of the East.