Thelxinoe ~ Classics News for March 1, 2023

Hodie est Kal. Mart. 2776 AUC ~ 9 Anthesterion in the second year of the 700th Olympiad

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Central Asian tin in a Late Bronze Age shipwreck at the bottom of Mediterranean raises questions like, “who brought the tin thousands of kilometers west from what’s now Uzbekistan,” and “who’s tin was it when the boat sank.” Ok, they’re not questions like, “what is best in life” or “are you going to eat that sandwich” but they’re what we’ve got.

Salt! Homer, Plato, Plutarch, Pliny and Livy all wrote about it in various forms. Life saving, literally we can’t survive without salt our bodies won’t function. Preserving in more than one ways, giving us the chance to have food in the lean harsh winters… Delicious in so many ways. And yet not known too well, commonly misunderstood, and with many myths attached to it. Let’s explore the deep, ancient and fascinating history of salt!

Matt Lewis continues his Mystery Month on Gone Medieval with another tantalising enigma of the Middle Ages – possibly the most mysterious manuscript that exists anywhere in the world. Carbon-dated to the early 15th century, the Voynich manuscript is hand-written in an unknown script, embellished with illustrations and diagrams, showing people, fantastical plants and astrological symbols. Yet the origins, authorship, and purpose of the manuscript continue to baffle experts, which have even included British codebreakers from both World War I and World War II. Matt finds out more from Raymond Clemens, Curator of Early Books and Manuscripts at Yale University.

This week, Amber is recovering from a nasty cold that has left her normally dulcet tones extremely froggy. So we’ve made lemons out of that germy lemonade (ew, sorry). It’s an episode about the archaeology, prehistory, and history of the common cold! Learn how to tell if a skeleton had the sniffles, figure out if there are ghosts in your colon, uncover the great Vitamin C scam, and more!

Roel Konijnendijk joins us to talk all things Ancient Greek, but more specifically the battle of Plataea during the second Persian war.

On the 1st March 2013, something momentous happened. We published our first episode of the Partial Historians podcast! Clearly, this is an event akin to Hannibal crossing the Alps or the expulsion of the kings. Well, perhaps not quite. But it certainly changed our lives forever in ways that we could not imagine. Therefore, we decided to mark the occasion by getting together and discussing our Top Ten Moments from the Roman Republic thus far. We hope you enjoy our chat about the Republic as much as we have enjoyed making this show for the past ten years….

Birgül explains about her work using microscopic plant remains to understand life in ancient western Asia. What are phytoliths and how do we find them? How can such microscopic evidence tell us about building use, for example? And where do they sit in the archaeological toolkit?

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‘Sorting’ Out Your Day:

Today on the Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar:

If it thunders today, it portends a year of strife and arguing.

… adapted from the text and translation of:

Jean MacIntosh Turfa, The Etruscan Brontoscopic Calendar, in Nancy Thomson de Grummond and Erika Simon (eds.), The Religion of the Etruscans. University of Texas Press, 2006. (Kindle edition)