Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

Tom Elliott (

This feed aggregator is part of the Planet Atlantides constellation. Its current content is available in multiple webfeed formats, including Atom, RSS/RDF and RSS 1.0. The subscription list is also available in OPML and as a FOAF Roll. All content is assumed to be the intellectual property of the originators unless they indicate otherwise.

July 05, 2015

Projekt Dyabola Blog


Please be informed that Dyabola- server is currently undergoing maintenance as part of an ongoing series of upgrades and improvements. The server shall be back at 18:00 (Central European time). We apologise sincerely for the disruption, and we thank our clients and users for their patience while we carry out the necessary work to improve the servers’ Performance.

Filed under: Archäologische Bibliographie, Projekt Dyabola, Usability

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Stakeholders "Unwelcome"

Over on a coiney blog, the tiresome discussion is still dragging  on about whether Paul Barford is "qualified" to make any observations on the collecting of portable antiquities in the eyes of an engineer-turned coin dealer who seems not really to have grasped the concept of what the social media are. He claims the right to demand that because I blog, I should submit to him and his readers details of how I earn my living and organize my time "because" (of course a Two Wrongs argument is now coming up):
you have yourself intruded in a most unwelcome manner into many areas in the realm of collecting, metal detecting and the numismatic trade that are none of your business according to the perspective of those assailed in your blog utterances. One glaring example of this is your attempt to portray the confidentiality maintained by dealers regarding their sources as reprehensible. It is in fact required by the longstanding and traditional ethics of the trade.
It used to be the traditional ethics of the cotton and tobacco industry in the South to exploit black slaves, Judge Roger Brooke Taney infamously declaring that persons of African descent  "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit". Things have, more or less, changed in the US since 1857 in that respect, but not - it seems - in the coin trade. The point is that in both cases, that "tradition" no longer stands the test of time. As a matter of record, the requirement to maintain secrecy about the sources of the items sold by a responsible dealer is not stipulated by the ACCG code, or that of the ANA. (Where is it "required" Mr Welsh?)

Another ACCG blogger posted a rather silly text filled with dot distribution maps of coin finds. Silly, because in his eagerness to prove one point (that Professor Nathan Elkins is not as good a numismatist as he), he missed another. Coineywise, his intellectual honesty was not up to posting and reacting to the comment I sent his blog (so I posted it here). The same point is made by the Portable Antiquities Scheme database, when we abandon this stupid "tradition" of not saying where individual things are found, we suddenly get huge amounts of information which were unavailable to no-questions-asked numismatists. Phippa Walton has shown what can be done with these data, and that work is now expanding. This is all because records are made of precisely the information that ACCG dealers - who acquire and then sell coins on without that information - are ignoring. Mr Sayles of course will not be answering that.

The problem is that this "tradition" means that illicit goods can be passed off by middlemen as "old collections going cheap [nudge-nudge, wink-wink]", and the coin dealer who buys them and brushes the loose earth off can pretend they did not understand the allusion.  As Sam Hardy observes: "By not keeping any records, dealers make it easier for buyers to convince themselves there is no evidence of any wrongdoing” ("they-can't-touch-you-for-it-legality"). The ease with which dodgy items can be slipped onto the market at any stage of the chain of ownership is the very reason why observers say we need responsbble dealers to do away with this "traditional" business model. I leave it up to the reader to decide for themselves whether they believe the excuses offered and what they think the main reason is for the dealers to wanting to hang onto their "traditional" lack of transparency and accountability and why they are fighting it tooth and nail. 

Whatever the individuals whose activities in full public view (public domain material) are the main subject of case studies used in my blog to illustrate a point may think, and however 'unwelcome' they think having somebody look over their shoulder is, it is not true that these are private matters. First of all as I say what I write about are things people have themselves published on forums, blogs, internet sales pages etc. They should not assume that they are immune to criticism just because what they write and do is in full public view. Secondly, it is generally accepted that the heritage does not belong exclusively to one interest group. That is the whole rationale behind artefact collecting and its uneasy relationships to archaeology and heritage management. The notion of a "World heritage" ("heritage of all humanity") is the very justification of US (Swiss, German and all the rest) dealers and collectors claiming "collectors' rights" over stuff dug up in far off countries like Egypt and Iraq, and denying the citizens of those countries the same rights to access the material they want to possess for themselves.

Yet that sword has a double edge because it means that we are all stakeholders in that past. I am as much a stakeholder in the case of a Syrian coin in Mr Welsh's stockroom as the schoolteacher Hamid in Damascus and Mr Welsh himself.  Mr Welsh and his collecting friends deny others the right to express interest and concern about what they are doing. "It is none of your business [what we are doing with these bits of everybody's heritage]" they say. Well, actually it is. Very much so. That is especially the case when we are already concerned about illicit digging, smuggling, illegal transfer of ownership - and then we find the dealers at the other end of these ownership chains claiming all the stuff they have is "of licit origins, it's just I cannot show you the paperwork, someone seems to have lost it - Ooops". Neither can they show us what happened to the illicit stuff they "did not buy". I think we all can see that there is a case here to be answered. It's either we believe in the coin fairies and coin elves model they are trying to foist on us, or we begin to suspect that we are not being presented with the full picture. "Go away, it's not your business" is not the answer that is likely to convince anyone that some "intrusion" by stakeholders is not justified.

The archaeological heritage belongs to us all, and we should all be able to have a say in how it is used, and that applies in particular to those who want to use it for their own selfish needs to the detriment of others. They should be persuaded to exploit it in a way that the interests of others in the same material and information are damaged as little as possible. It's what we call 'best practice' and it is the aim of public discussions (among which is this blog) to establish what we mean and expect from 'best practice' in responsible antiquities dealing. If that is "unwelcome" to dealers, then that in itself says a lot about them.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

City walls, gardens in Turkey’s Diyarbakır added to UNESCO World Heritage list

The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO has added cultural sites in Diyarbakır, southeastern Turkey,...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Jesus in Indiana

Jesus pizza Indiana

I felt like I should make some memes specifically for the new Facebook page I created, Progressive Christians of Indiana. And so here is my first.

It hopefully works on its own, but since it tries to allude to a lot of things in a short space, let me comment on it at least a little.

The background is the instance of a pizzeria in Indiana saying it would not serve gay people, and then president Obama making a joke about it, saying that he and Joe Biden are so close that in some places in Indiana, they won’t serve them pizza.

And so I thought that this meme might serve to make a joke about that, while also making some serious points.

In refusing to serve gays and lesbians, those who do so are being unchristlike themselves, and are also, in turning away the marginalized, turning away Jesus.

By making the meme on behalf of Christians in Indiana, hopefully it also conveys that not all Christians and not all Hoosiers are like that.

What do you think? Does it make the various points I hoped it would?


Jim Davila (

Dissertation on Rabbinic agricultural spaces by John Mandsager

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Dissertation Spotlight: John Mandsager.
Mandsager, John. To Stake a Claim: The Making of Rabbinic Agricultural Spaces in the Roman Countryside. Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University, 2014.
This dissertation spotlight column in AJR is a great idea. I hope we'll see more of them.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

"The colonial powers should have plundered more antiquities"

In an article that will no doubt be being extensively referenced by the antiquities dealers' trollbots, Israeli author and journalist Benny Ziffer controversially argues that "Entrusting the treasures of Middle Eastern civilization to the Arab people is turning out to have been a criminal mistake" ("The colonial powers should have plundered more antiquities" Haaretz Jul. 5, 2015). Ziffer is the author of 'Not recognizing the Armenian genocide is a triumph for common sense' and this text is of the same rank. His piece is presented as reflections on the recent death of collector Shlomo Moussaieff. Ziffer reckons that "all those self-righteous types who demand the return of the Parthenon sculptures from the British Museum to Greece, and of the Luxor Obelisk from the Place de la Concorde to Egypt" are "eating their hats".
Today everyone with eyes in his head sees – across the whole region that’s considered the cradle of world civilization, namely the Fertile Crescent, from Iraq to Syria – that it’s unfortunate that more wasn’t stolen. In short, that the colonial powers did not plunder additional antiquities and bring them to Europe.
But isn't Greece, from which the knocked-off Parthenon Marbles were taken, part of Europe?  Anyway, while Europe is relatively stable at the moment, so were Tunesia, Egypt, Libya, Iraq and Syria until a few years ago. The fate of those countries show how easily that can change. Europe cannot be assumed to be a safe haven for ever. We should also look carefully at what has just happened in Crimea (antiquities involved there too) and especially the collapse of security in the Donbass region. Artefacts from Tel Halaf in Berlin's Pergamon Museum were nearly lost to a 1943 bombing raid (Stephen Evans, 'Berlin's Pergamon Museum exhibits Tell Halaf statues', BBC News 29 January 2011). No doubt many antiques and antiquities were lost in the Jugoslavian war (that "Kaloterna collection" which has never been seen by anyone maybe). Mr Ziffer does not see it that way:  
Entrusting the treasures of Middle Eastern civilization to the Arab people is turning out to have been a criminal mistake. It worked for a few years, by dint of force. Now, with the removal of the tyrants who concentrated the powers of the state in their hands, including the preservation of antiquities, we are witnessing the daily savaging of world heritage sites. These acts appear to be carried out by Islamic State, or ISIS – but they are not the only perpetrators. In the civil war raging in Syria, none of the warring parties spared the Old City of Aleppo, which, according to reports, was completely destroyed. What was Aleppo’s sin? And what was the sin of other sites, such as Palmyra, also in Syria, or the palaces of the Assyrian kings in Iraq?
First of all, the monuments and objects survived among the "Arab peoples" for millennia. The question is whether it is the removal of the regimes that created (by force certainly) stability, or the inability of those who brought down those regimes to replace it with anything else which is to blame. Or maybe we are seeing (or failing to see) other processes at work? Is the problem as the Jewish writer suggests "the Arab people? (Have not the Israelis not destroyed anything at all in their near vicinity in the past few years?) Once again however we see the notion dear to antiquities dealers and collectors that the destruction of sites 'justifies' the appropriations of portable objects. This is skewed logic. European museums are full of big sculptures from Nimrud, that does not in any way compensate for the loss of the remains of the site they came from - parts of which were excavatred in the nineteenth century by the methods of the time. Ziffer continues:
It seems to me that their [sites'] malicious or incidental destruction shows utter contempt for what’s known as world civilization. It’s the same contempt that occasionally rears its head in different parts of the world, such as in China during the Cultural Revolution, Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge and so forth. And worst of all is the fact that these acts of destruction get a wink of approval from people in the West, who look on in amazement at the barbarism. They supposedly understand the volcanic rage and tacitly agree that this is the price to be paid for shedding years of colonial oppression. This forgiving attitude vis-a-vis barbarism is the most depressing outcome of the present situation.
I do not know whether in Israel they are "winking with approval" about the destruction of ANYTHING by the warring parties in Syria and Iraq. Certainly over here, it is only antiquities dealers that present it fatalistically as an inevitable feature of the situation in those oh-so-very-Oriental areas, justifying them making off with ("saving for the rest of humanity") whatever can be carried away. Basically it is knowledge that in various foreign circles these monuments are seen as 'our culture' is precisely the reason ISIL is targeting some of them - it is our valuing of them as such which is the reason why they are now in danger. 

Of course iconoclasm and wiping-the-cultural-slate clean are well-known phenomena throughout human history. In ancient Egypt, rulers scraped out the inscriptions of previous ones, and replaced them with their own, the Post-Amarna iconoclasm is a well-known example, but there are others. In Byzantium there was image smashing in the eighth and ninth centuries. In Reformation Europe, the survival of Medieval art was threatened by several waves of iconoclasm, stripping religious buildings of almost all of their fittings and decoration. That was not so many generations ago at the beginning of Modern times.

In Central Europe just a few decades ago, territorial shifts led to the wholescale removal of monuments, replacement of commemorative street names, destruction of prominent cultural landmarks (the whole of Warsaw in 1944 for example - but only after the earlier stage of blowing up historical buildings, burning entire libraries and emptying the miuseums by the Nazis). Then the Red Army came through the eastern, northern and western regions of what is now Poland and flattened almost every single historic town centre with any buildings that looked 'German' (Gothic onwards), just to root out any latent Germaness. The idea of 'a nation without a culture ceases to be a nation' [I forget the exact quote] is an European invention (ascribed to Hitler, but its roots go back earlier to the partitions of the 18th century). In occupied Cyprus, during the Kosovo war we saw the same. We Europeans are no better than the people the Jewish writer criticises.
Also depressing and worrying is the dogmatism that prevents the West from grasping that we must welcome the fact that the museums in its capitals are filled with objects that were stolen from the Middle East. And, as in the case of raising children, in which the good parent is the one who cultivates the child and not necessarily the person who gave birth to him biologically – so too in the field known as the “antiquities theft.” Those who appreciate and love the objects that constitute the world cultural heritage deserve to be called their parent, not those in whose country the objects happen to be found.
So, like the forced relocation of Aborigine children in Australia, North America or Nazi Germany he means?  Because these artefacts have been taken by force, whether direct or 'soft power'. "Must" we welcome the retaining of these objects in our museums? Human remains too? That merely implies that we are the ones that can be properly trusted with their care, while the brown-skinned Orientals cannot. That is an incredibly arrogant attitude - especially when there are good grounds to believe that a lot of the instability of the Middle East and the manner in which it is manifested is to some degree (or perhaps to a large degree) the fault of the rich countries around. Zimmer concludes his text by offering a prayer:
for the souls of the colonialists who unfortunately did not steal more and plunder more and empty out the Middle East of its treasures, because the people who are considered the lawful inheritors of those treasures are not worthy of being their owners.

Jim Davila (

Review of Seland (ed.), Reading Philo

Torrey Seland (ed.), Reading Philo: A Handbook to Philo of Alexandria. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2014. Pp. xvi, 345. ISBN 9780802870698. $45.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Sami Yli-Karjanmaa, University of Helsinki (


“I’m afraid of him.” This comment about Philo by an established biblical scholar which I once heard in an international gathering is, I think, reflective of the reasons why Philo is still used so little in both biblical and classical studies. The “fear of getting him wrong,” so the scholar specified, is understandable given the large size of his corpus, the complexity of his allegories and the (largely unfounded) reputation of inconsistency. Given this state of affairs, every opportunity should be seized to make the Alexandrian exegete more accessible. My perception of this need informs this review: seasoned scholars who have yet to embark on the study of Philo differ little in this respect from the M.A. and Ph.D. students at whom Reading Philo is aimed. There are not too many handbooks on Philo, and additions are warmly welcome. They should have clarity, consistency and comprehensiveness as their aims.

There's more on the book here and here.


TRAVEL: Axum: Chronicles of Ethiopia’s long history (Adie Vanessa Offiong, Daily Trust). A nice, brief overview of the history of Axum (Aksum), which came up most recently in the story of the Ethiopian Sleeping Beauty, but has also featured in PaleoJudaica posts dealing with the Queen of Sheba, legends about the Ark of the Covenant, and other stories. Follow the latter link for specifics.

Review of Müller, Pakkala, and Romeny, Evidence of Editing and Pakkala, God’s Word Omitted

MARGINALIA REVIEW OF BOOKS: Signs of a New Age in the Study of the Formation of Biblical and Other Ancient Texts – By David M. Carr. David M. Carr on Reinhard Müller, Juha Pakkala, and Bas ter Haar Romeny’s Evidence of Editing and Juha Pakkala’s God’s Word Omitted.
Study of actual evidence of editing, then, may contribute to convergence between the different cultures of biblical scholarship in Europe and North America. Though Pakkala and (in Evidence of Editing) Müller and Romeny inveigh against North American colleagues for their skepticism about exact reconstruction of editorial layers, Pakkala himself uses documented examples of editing to argue for more such skepticism in God’s Word Omitted. Pakkala and colleagues remain more confident about literary reconstruction than most North American colleagues, including myself. Moreover, their assumptions about Israelite history remain quite different from scholars like myself, whose conclusions (my own characterized in some American discussions as “European”) Pakkala deems “rather conservative.” Nevertheless, a review of these two works shows both the importance of scholarly audience in framing an academic message, and the possibility that a body of data — in this case documented cases of literary growth — might undermine divides between scholarly cultures on what is methodologically possible and necessary.

Ahmadi, The Daēva cult in the Gāthās

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Ideological archaeology of Zoroastrianism. A note on a new book: Ahmadi, Amir. 2015. The Daēva cult in the Gāthās: An ideological archaeology of Zoroastrianism (Iranian Studies 24). New York, NY: Routledge. It addresses the origins of Zoroastrianism.

Per Lineam Valli

97. Who devised the Wall Mile numbering system?

The philosopher and Wall scholar R. G. Collingwood began the scheme of numbering the milecastles from east to west, with MC1 some 1.15km (0.78 Roman miles) south-west of Wallsend fort (and thereby begging the question of whether there had been a MC0 south-east of the fort). Milecastles first gained their name in 1708, courtesy of Robert Smith, whilst turrets had to wait until 1726/7 for Alexander Gordon to coin the term.

Further reading: Birley 1961

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Collector Shlomo Moussaieff Dies

Quoting from Benny Ziffer' (5th July 2015) opinion piece 'The colonial powers should have plundered more antiquities':
Shlomo Moussaieff, a Jerusalem-born magnate and a Jew with deep national feelings, died on Monday night. Moussaieff devoted all his energies to collecting objects relating to the archaeology of the ancient Near East and the Land of Israel. Even though he did not have a university education, he had an intuitive feeling for archaeology. Once in his possession, every find, be it a Jewish clay oil lamp from Israel, or part of the wall of an Assyrian palace that was smuggled out of Iraq, became like a lost child who returned home. To visit his homes in London and in Herzliya was to step into a time machine. And, contrary to the myths about collectors, he did not want to freeze the items in a glass case; just the opposite: He encouraged scholars to publish articles about them and thereby relocate them within history. Because of the laws that prohibit or at least limit commerce in antiquities, and certainly their theft, the higher-education establishment treated him with a mixture of suspicion and admiration. In at least one case he got into trouble when he tried to import part of a wall from a palace of the Assyrian kings that had been acquired by theft in Iraq. He wanted that particular item to be in Israel, but on that occasion he failed. In general, Moussaieff scoffed at convention. He was the friend of extreme right-wingers, and of former criminals. In his living room, one encountered the last people in the world that an average person would expect to find in the home of a person of his standing. And he had strong views – always right-wing – about what this country should look like in terms of Palestinians.
Another, less contentious, obituary: Ronen Shnidman, 'Shlomo Moussaieff Jeweler to Royalty Dies at 92' Diamonds net Jul 2, 2015, and this from Robert Deutsch, "The Death of Shlomo Moussaieff" Zwinglius Redivivus  June 29, 2015. See also: Sara Leibovich-Dar A man of good fortune' (Haaretz Oct. 10, 2001), and others...

Looted Statue Received in Return for Continued Anonymity

As part of 'Operation Hidden Idol',  'ICE HSI partners with major art collector to recover stolen idol from India' 1st July 2015.
An anonymous collector of Asian antiquities voluntarily surrendered a stolen 11-12th century Chola bronze statue representing Saint Manikkavichavakar [...] the object had been looted from the Sivan Temple in Sripuranthan Village in Ariyalur District, Tamil Nadu in India.  [...] when the artifact was purchased in 2006, a false provenance was provided with the piece that had been manufactured to pre-date the idol’s theft.
The collector seems to have been in the New York area, and ICE is treating him or her as "a victim of fraud" because they'd "paid somewhere between $650,000-$750,000 for the statue in 2006, on the basis of a false provenance provided with the piece in a fraudulent attempt to pre-date the idol’s theft". But there is no excuse for the buyer not exercising due diligence to firmly verify that collecting history.

Do UK Coin Dealers Read the Guardian?

An Archaeologist Patrols the Market, 2 comments:

John H said (July 4, 2015 at 12:06 PM) ...
Ah Peter: The Guardian is not a tabloid, rather a Lefty broadsheet rag...say no more, eh?
Regards John Howland England

Cultural Property Observer said (July 4, 2015 at 12:15 PM) ...
Thank you. A distinction without a difference then.

I guess that means Mr Tompa is under the impression that every single member of the IAPN which he represents, even the European ones, is as far on the political right as he seems to be. Are they? Are none of the British ones Guardian readers?

UK "Financing Syrian Terror"

The media in Syria are reporting the UK's role in financing conflict in their country: 'Antiquities looted from Syria and Iraq sold in European markets, American archeologist says'. They point out that there had been similar alegations in March, but nothing was done:

The near-east specialist from the UCL Institute of Archaeology, Mark al-Taweel, said that the antiquities looted by terrorist organizations [,,,] are being sold in the markets of Britain and other European states. Al-Taweel added in a report issued by the British Newspaper of The Guardian that terrorists work through systematic networks on looting these antiquities and smuggling them to Europe without any questioning or punishment. Tracking the movement of the Syrian antiquities shows that they reach the shops and antiquity auctions directly in London and other capitals, al-Taweel said [...]. He pointed out that the European antique dealers avoid giving clear answers on the sources of the antiquities they sell and they do not have legal documents on how they get them.

Glasgow Scholar: "No Proof ISIL Sells in UK"

Dr Donna Yates reckons:
Seriously, y’all, no matter what a salacious Guardian headline says, linking antiquities on the UK market to IS at the moment is impossible.
well, I reckon that if these dealers have licit stuff from the area that they bought after ascertaining that they were not, they'd say so. The fact they don't can be interpreted two ways, either the stuff is, or they don't give a tinkers whether it is or is not - which is tantamount to the same thing. Let's have a responsible antiquities trade seen to be being responsible (I do not think 'salacious' is the word Dr Yates meant to use).

Vignette: Salacious guardian

Dienekes' Anthropology Blog

Γιατί πρέπει να ψηφίσουμε ΝΑΙ στις 5 Ιουλίου

Απευθύνω το παρόν σε όσους ειλικρινά πιστεύουν πως βοηθούν την Ελλάδα ψηφίζοντας Όχι στο δημοψήφισμα της 5 Ιουλίου.

Υπάρχουν φυσικά και οι άλλοι, οι οποίοι υστερόβουλα θέλουν να επικρατήσει το Όχι: είτε γιατί έχουν διαφυλάξει τα χρήματα τους σε θυρίδες ή το εξωτερικό και προσδοκούν να κερδίσουν από τη δραχμή, είτε γιατί προσβλέπουν σε μια καταστροφική προεπαναστατική κατάσταση που θα τους βοηθήσει να αδράξουν την εξουσία.

Υπάρχουν όμως και ορισμένοι που ειλικρινά πιστεύουν πως το Όχι θα βοηθήσει την πατρίδα. Σ'αυτούς λοιπόν απευθύνομαι. Είτε πιστεύετε πως με το Όχι θα επιτευχθεί μια καλύτερη συμφωνία για την Ελλάδα, είτε θεωρείτε πως το Όχι είναι ζήτημα εθνικής ανεξαρτησίας και περηφάνιας και νομίζετε πως μετά από τόσο χρόνια κηδεμονίας από την Τρόικα ήρθε ο καιρός να ανακτήσουμε τις τύχες της χώρας μας.

Αν πιστεύετε πως το Όχι θα οδηγήσει σε μια καλύτερη συμφωνία, αναρωτηθείτε πώς θα το εκλάβουν στο εξωτερικό, αφού με τους ξένους πιστωτές θα πρέπει τελικά να συνενοηθούμε.

Οι μεν, που θέλουν την Ελλάδα εκτός Ευρωζώνης, θα εκλάβουν φυσικά το Όχι ως εκδήλωση της βούλησης του Ελληνικού λαού να απορρίψει τα προγράμματα βοήθειας που επιτρέπουν την συνεχιζόμενη παραμονή της χώρας στη νομισματική ένωση.

Οι δε, που επιθυμούν ακόμα την παραμονή της Ελλάδας στην Ευρωζώνη, δεν μπορούν να προσφέρουν κάτι καλύτερο, γιατί από τη μια θα κατηγορηθούν πως ενέδωσαν στον εκβιασμό της Ελλάδας και θα γίνουν ευάλωτοι σε ανάλογους εκβιασμούς από άλλες χώρες με δημοσιονομικό πρόβλημα.

Επιπλέον, η δημοσιονομική επιδείνωση εξαιτίας του κλεισίματος των τραπεζών οδηγεί σε μεγαλύτερη ύφεση την οικονομία και αυξάνει την ανάγκη προσαρμογής. Απορρίπτοντας την συμφωνία, ο Ελληνικός λαός δεν θα πάρει μια καλύτερη συμφωνία -αν πάρει καν μια συμφωνία- αλλά μια χειρότερη, αφού, προφανώς, η υπάρχουσα πρόταση -πέρα από το ότι δεν υπάρχει επισήμως πλέον στο τραπέζι- θα έχει απορριφθεί συνάμα και από τον Ελληνικό λαό.

Αλλά κι ακόμα κι αν οι έξω θελήσουν να επιτύχουν συμφωνία μετά το Όχι, τί σας κάνει να πιστεύετε πως οι έσω θα την επιτύχουν; Επί πέντε μήνες προσπαθούσαν τάχα να κάνουν συμφωνία, οδηγώντας την πραγματική οικονομία σε ολοένα και χειρότερη κατάσταση. Όταν κάποιος που δεν κατόρθωσε να φέρει συμφωνία σε πέντε μήνες υποστηρίζει πως θα την επιτύχει σε μια ώρα (Βαρουφάκης) ή 48 ώρες (Τσίπρας), λογικό είναι να δυσπιστούμε στην έπαρση τους.

Αλλά κι αν νομίζετε πως πράγματι δεν θα υπάρχει καλύτερη συμφωνία και η Ελλάδα θα οδηγηθεί στη Δραχμή, αναλογιστείτε τις συνέπειες σε ανθρώπινη δυστυχία που θα σημάνει μια τέτοια προοπτική σε μια χώρα εξαρτημένη από τις εισαγωγές για βασικά αγαθά όπως τα τρόφιμα, φάρμακα, και καύσιμα. Κι ακόμα -αν υποτεθεί- πως η περίοδος προσαρμογής είναι βραχύβια και η οικονομία αρχίσει πάλι να αναπτύσσεται, νομίζετε πραγματικά πως αυτό θα ωφελήσει την πατρίδα; Άλλωστε ο υπερδανεισμός, η αποσάρθρωση της παραγωγής, το πελατειακό κράτος και όλα όσα οδήγησαν την Ελλάδα στην καταστροφή γεννήθηκαν και άνθισαν και επί δραχμής. Δεν είναι το νόμισμα που οδηγεί μια κοινωνία στην ευμάρεια αλλά η συνετή ή μη χρήση της νομισματικής πολιτικής.

Αν πάλι νομίζετε πως το Όχι είναι ζήτημα αξιοπρέπειας και εθνικής περηφάνιας, σκεφτείτε πως η πραγματική περηφάνια δεν προέρχεται από το να έχεις τη δυνατότητα να κάνεις αυτό που θες εσύ, αλλά από το να κάνεις σε κάθε περίσταση αυτό που είναι χρήσιμο και σωστό, είτε το έχεις σκεφτεί μόνος του (όπως θα έπρεπε) είτε κατ' ανάγκη επειδή αυτό επιβάλλεται από κάποιον άλλο.

Τόσα χρόνια, οι ψηφισμένες Ελληνικές κυβερνήσεις έκαναν αυτό που ήθελαν, χωρίς να ρωτάνε κανένα ξένο πιστωτή, εφόσον μπορούσαν ακόμα να δανείζονται από τις αγορές. Ήταν πραγματικά περήφανες και αξιοπρεπείς ή έσκαβαν, με τη διόγκωση του χρέους, το λάκο στον οποίο στη συνέχεια έπεσε ολόκληρη η χώρα;

Ή ήταν αναξιοπρεπές πως χάρη στους ξένους πιστωτές και τις προσταγές τους άνοιξε η συζήτηση για κάποιες προφανείς αδυναμίες του Ελληνικού Δημοσίου όπως το πελατειακό κράτος με τους υπεράριθμους δημόσιους υπαλλήλους, τα μαϊμού επιδόματα, η συνταξιοδότηση ανθρώπων στο άνθος της παραγωγικής τους ηλικίας, τα ρετιρέ του Δημοσίου, και μια σειρά από άλλες ατέλειες της οργάνωσης της Ελληνικής πολιτείας που -εξαιτίας της χρηματοδοτικής ασφυξίας- αναγκαζόμαστε να αντιμετωπίσουμε.

Όλα αυτά φυσικά δεν ήταν άγνωστα στην Ελληνική κοινωνία στην προ-Μνημονιακή εποχή. Λίγο πολύ όλοι τα γνωρίζαμε αλλά οι περισσότεροι τα θεωρούσαν ήσσονος σημασίας και αδιαφορούσαν να περικόψουν τα μικροπρονόμια της τάδε ή δείνα οικονομικής ομάδας αφού φαινόντουσαν πως λίγο επηρέαζαν την δική τους ζωή. Η εποχή του Δε Βαριέσαι έληξε όταν συνειδητοποιήσαμε πως όλα αυτά τα οποία δηκτικά σχολιάζαμε αλλά στην πράξη επιτρέπαμε έχουν συνέπειες οι οποίες τελικά μας αφορούν και τους ίδιους.

Η πτώση του βιοτικού επιπέδου δεν είναι αποτέλεσμα των Μνημονίων, αλλά της χρεωκοπίας του Δημοσίου, το οποίο δεν μπορούσε πλέον να δανείζεται και να μοιράζει λεφτά. Αντιθέτως, χάρη στα Μνημόνια, το Ελληνικό κράτος (το οποίο μόλις το 2014 κατόρθωσε να αποκτήσει ένα μικρό πρωτογενές πλεόνασμα) μπόρεσε να μαλακώσει την ανάγκη προσαρμογής: χωρίς τα προγράμματα, η εξίσωση πρωτογενών δαπανών-εξόδων θα έπρεπε να είχε γίνει κατευθείαν και απότομα από το 2010.

Την Κυριακή, λοιπόν, σκεφτόμαστε το συμφέρον μας και επιλέγουμε τον δύσκολο δρόμο των μεταρρυθμίσεων μέσα στην Ευρώπη και όχι τις ψευδαισθήσεις όσων νομίζουν πως υπάρχει εναλλακτική οδός. Τα αγαθά, άλλωστε, κόποις κτώνται.

Adam C. McCollum (hmmlorientalia)

Old Georgian phrases and sentences 59: Fingernails and claws in three texts

The content of this post stems from a chance sighting of a word in the Altgeorgisch-Deutsches Wörterbuch of Sarjveldze and Fähnrich: მოფრჩხენა “kratzen, zerkratzen” (794b). The lexicographers cite there the manuscript Jer.-149 (saints’ lives, 11th cent.), 144r, lines 14-16:

ფრჩხილითა თუისითა მოჰფრჩხენდა პირსა მისსა

Mit seiner Fingernägeln zerkratzte er ihm sein Gesicht.

  • ფრჩხილი (also ფრცხილი) fingernail, claw
  • თუისითა = თჳსითა
  • მო-ჰ-ფრჩხენ-დ-ა impf 3sg მოფრჩხენა to scratch, claw

He was scratching his face with his fingernails.

This reference to fingernails or claws brought to my mind Dan 4:33 (Theodotion):

αὐτῇ τῇ ὥρᾳ ὁ λόγος συνετλέσθη ἐπὶ Ναβουχοδονοσορ, καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων ἐξεδιώχθη καὶ χόρτον ὡς βοῦς ἤσθιεν, καὶ ἀπὸ τῆς δρόσου τοῦ οὐρανοῦ τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ ἐβάφη, ἕως οὗ αἱ τρίχες αὐτοῦ ὡς λεόντων ἐμεγαλύνθησαν καὶ οἱ ὄνυχες αὐτοῦ ὡς ὀρνέων.

At the same time, the sentence was completed against Nabouchodonosor, and he was driven away from humans and ate grass like an ox, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven until his hair lengthened like that of lions and his nails like those of birds. (NETS)

In Georgian (Oshki/Jer), Dan 4:30 (= Theod) is as follows:

მასვე ჟამსა შინა აღესრულა ნაბუქოდონოსორის ზედა, და კაცთაგან განიდევნა, და თივასა ვითარცა ზროხაჲ ჭამდა, და ცუარისაგან ცისა ჴორცნი მისნი შეიღებნეს, ვიდრემდე თმანი მისნი ვითარცა ლომისანი იქმნნეს, და ფრცხილნი მისნი ვითარცა მფრინველისანი.

  • აღ-ე-სრულ-ა aor 3sg აღსრულება to complete, fulfill, end (also kill)
  • გან-ი-დევნ-ა aor pass 3sg განდევნა to drive out, chase away
  • თივაჲ grass, hay
  • ზროხაჲ cow
  • ჭამ-დ-ა impf 3sg ჭამა to eat
  • ცუარი dew
  • შე-ი-ღებ-ნ-ეს aor pass 3pl შეღებვა to dip, wet
  • თმაჲ hair
  • ლომი lion
  • ი-ქმნ-ნ-ეს aor pass 3pl ქმნა to make
  • ფრცხილი fingernail, claw (ფრჩხილი above)
  • მფრინველი bird

Finally, one more verse with nails/claws came to mind: Lev 11:4.

πλὴν ἀπὸ τούτων οὐ φάγεσθε· ἀπὸ τῶν ἀναγόντων μηρυκισμὸν καὶ ἀπὸ τῶν διχηλούντων τὰς ὁπλὰς καὶ ὀνυχιζόντων ὀνυχιστῆρας· τὸν κάμηλον, ὅτι ἀνάγει μηρυκισμὸν τοῦτο, ὁπλὴν δὲ οὐ διχηλεῖ, ἀκάθαρτον τοῦτο ὑμῖν·

ხოლო მათგანი არა შჭამოთ, რომელნი აღმოიცოხნიან და რომელთაჲ არა განყოფილ არს ჭლაკი და რომელნი ფრცხენენ ფრცხილითა: აქლემი, რამეთუ აღმოიცოხნის და ჭლაკი მისი არა განპებულ არს, არაწმიდა არს ესე თქუენდა

  • შ-ჭამ-ო-თ aor conj 2pl ჭამა to eat [with სჭ > შჭ]
  • აღმო-ი-ცოხნ-ი-ან pres 3pl აღმოცოხნა to ruminate, chew the cud
  • განყოფილი divided, split
  • ჭლაკი hoof
  • ფრცხენ-ენ pres 3pl ფრცხენა (as with the noun, also ფრჩხენა) to scratch
  • აქლემი camel
  • აღმო-ი-ცოხნ-ი-ს pres 3sg აღმოცოხნა to ruminate, chew the cud
  • განპებული split, torn (განპება to split, tear) [NB a different word than that above, even though referring to the same thing; cf. the Greek]
  • არაწმიდაჲ impure

So we have three texts, one a manuscript citation of an unpublished text (at least as far as I know) in a lexicon, and two from the Bible, all stemming from one word: ფრცხილი and its variant ფრჩხილი. I hope it’s obvious that these lexical and textual chains can be instructive for language-learners and philologists generally.

July 04, 2015

Ancient Art

The first ones lived,those of long ago.They were the...

The first ones lived,

those of long ago.

They were the Wandjinas

like this one here, Namaaraalee.

The first ones, those days,

shifted from place to place…

-Sam Woolagoodja 1975, cited in Akerman 2015.

The shown image shows Aboriginal rock art from the Kimberley, Australia, and is thought to be at least 4,000 years old. Wanjinas, as depicted here and throughout the Kimberley region, are cosmological Beings. Kim Akerman wrote an excellent essay on these Beings and the rock art of this region, which can be read here for those interested in learning more on the matter (via the Kimberley Foundation). Photo taken by Devar.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Daniel A Foxvog publications on Sumerian

Daniel A Foxvog
       Chief Figures of the Mesopotamian Pantheon
  The Sumerian Ventive. Doctoral Dissertation, Univ. of California, June 1974
   "Assyrian Texts 1," Assur I/4 (Malibu, 1974)
   "Astral Dumuzi," in M.E. Cohen et al., The Tablet and the Scroll. Near Eastern Studies
         in Honor of William W. Hallo (Bethesda, 1993) 103-108
   "Sumerian Brands and Branding Irons," Zeitschrift für Assyriologie 85 (1995) 1-7
   "Ur III Economic Texts at Berkeley," Acta Sumerologica 18 (1996) 47-92
  "Abgal's and Carp Actors," NABU 2007/4, 80-81 (No. 67)
   "Aspects of Name-Giving in Presargonic Lagash," in W. Heimpel & G. Frantz-Szabo,
         Strings and Threads. A Celebration of the Work of Anne Draffkorn Kilmer
         (Winona Lake, IN, 2011) 59-97

   "The Late Bilingual Exaltation of Ishtar (Inannas Erhöhung)." Self-published (, 2014)
        Self-published (, 2014)
   "Ellipsis in Sumerian," in N. Koslova et al., Studies in Sumerian Language and Literature.
        Festschrift Joachim Krecher. Babel und Bibel 8 (Winona Lake, 2014) 209-248

Andrew West (Babelstone)

Ode to the Tangut Tripitaka : Part 1

Acknowledgements This two-part post is based on a presentation I gave for the Tangut workshop at Cambridge University in September 2014. I would like to express my gratitude to Imre Galambos for organizing the event, and for the helpful comments and suggestions made by Imre, Nathan Hill, Guillaume Jacques and the other participants that enabled me to develop the talk into its current form. I

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Blogwarts: the fantasy world of blogging in California

David Knell ('Blogwarts: the fantasy world of blogging in California', Ancient heritage Thursday, 2 July 2015) takes a welcome cold hard look at the recent pomposity of the Classical Coins blog, run by Dave Welsh, "an engineer who lives in California and deals in coins - the same ACCG member who in all seriousness refuses to accept that the looting of antiquities is primarily driven by those who pay for them". 
He, backed by a coin-collecting lawyer and a metal detectorist, insists that anyone who presumes to oppose his views about ancient artefacts must be able to prove they are nothing less than a qualified archaeologist with a plethora of diplomas before they are even allowed to speak. [...] Welsh regards his blog not as a mere digital platform for his opinions but as some kind of august institution where he reigns as provost [...]After a personal attack on the credentials of Paul Barford (déjà vu?), he graciously granted him permission to enter the institution briefly and reply as a "guest". Welsh posted a special notice - grandly entitled "Comments Policy Exception" - in what to mere mortals like you or me would be just a blog comment. Under the title, in characteristically sententious and laboured prose reminiscent of a 19th-century schoolmarm, he solemnly announced to the gathered assembly: "I have decided to permit Mr. Barford's comments to be published here even though I consider them to contravene the policy of this blog that comments must shed more light, not more heat, upon the subject of the discussion [...] This is a one-time exception and it is not likely that I will extend it to other subjects Mr. Barford may be interested in commenting upon".
Knell goes on to say: "Ah, and there was innocent 21st-century me, naively thinking a blog was just a blog. I feel truly humbled". He stresses:
I am avidly in favour of an intelligent and thoughtful approach to collecting antiquities and thus protect its future. Do these people really think that posing as some pompous institution and fatuously inviting ridicule is the best way to promote its image?
I imagine my readers can guess pretty easily my own answer to that. People like Welsh, Tompa and Sayles are irresponsibly destroying collecting by their activities, and Mr Knell is right to criticise them for it.

The Essence of Numismatics

Student Conference programme
Q "At which numismatic conferences have you delivered papers?"
A "None. Numismatic conventions normally do not include presentation of formal papers. [...]  This question, I will add, reveals much regarding Mr. Barford's ignorance of numismatics.
I rather feel it shows more that thise self-styled "professional numismatist" from the US has never been to a proper conference at which real professional numismatists present the results of their research. We have them pretty frequently here in the Academy of Sciences in Warsaw, and in Cracow, Poznan, Wrocław etc etc... our numismatists hold a lot of such conferences.

UPDATE 2nd July 2015
Mr Welsh, in defence of his notion that a self-taught shopkeeper is somehow a "professional numismatist"  complains:
"There are very few academically oriented numismatic conferences held in the USA [...] . It would of course be very desirable to have more such conferences.
Yes, if this is true, it would eventually bring North American numismatics up to the same level as its European antecedent. He blames it of course on "the archaeologists" but I do not see why an alleged 50000 ancient coin collectors cannot organize themselves to put on an academic conference somewhere.

I think the problem is the definition of the words used, the confused shopkeeper plaintively enquires:
How many of those who attend or present papers at [these] conference[s] derive their livings primarily from their involvement in numismatics?
Actually if they are working in institutions, museums, education, research etc. as numismatists, I'd say they all do. They are professionally engaged in the methodological study of numismatic evidence. But they do not then sell the physical subject of their research.

In any case a self-professed polymathic polyglot like Mr Welsh does not have to restrict his attendance of numismatic conferences to a single continent. Why not engage in those person-to-person contacts coineys claim their collecting promotes and share those "professional experiences" with those working in the field abroad? 

US Dealers and Collectors Finance Assad in Syria

In a recent long post, archaeoblogger Sam Hardy has examined the involvement of the Assad regime in looting at Palmyra before the site fell into ISIS' hands.  Dealers and collectors have evidently been collaborating for many years with corrupt members of this regime and bolstered its finances by buying looted artefacts such as coins (looted for example from Apamea) and busts from Palmyra. Who has been buying these things, and where did they go? How much money has the Assad regime and its officials made from foreign collectors, and how much of it was spent on barrel bombs, and does a single collector in the western world give a tinkers?

Buyers are not getting the message that the purchase of such antiquities is enabling war and terror in the Middle East
Indeed, this is why the dealers associations pay huge sums of money to "web brigades" of  Internet trollbots who constantly work to organize disinformation operations primarily by deflecting any discussions on the issues raised by the trade in illicit artefacts onto different tracks. We see the effects all the time on the websites of dealers, their lobbyists and supporters, as well as slack-jaw collectors unthinkingly following their lead.

What the International Antiquities Trade Does not Want You to Know....

“The industry runs on trust,” says Hardy. “By not
keeping any records, dealers make it easier for buyers
to convince themselves there is no evidence of any wrongdoing.”
That, in turn, makes it harder to enforce laws
 relating to the trade in stolen antiquities.

Here's an interesting piece of the sort of journalism we need more of. Actually going to some London dealers. Look what they found.
When Mark Altaweel agreed to hunt for ‘blood antiquities’ in London dealerships, he was expecting more of a challenge. But as the archaeologist discovered, relics from the ruins of Palmyra and Nimrud are now on display in British shops – and so far no-one has worked out how to stop it. Mark Altaweel is surprised at how easy it is. A few hours into a hunt around London, the near-east specialist from the UCL Institute of Archaeology has uncovered objects that, he says, are “very likely to be coming from conflict regions” in Iraq and Syria. The items – pieces of early glass; a tiny statue; some fragments of bone inlay – range from the second to fourth centuries BC. Altaweel says they are so distinctive that they could only have come from a particular part of the region: the part now controlled by the so-called Islamic State. That we were able to find such items openly sold in London “tells you the scale – we’re just seeing the tail end of it,” he says. [...] 
Interestingly that eBay coin appears again, with a subtly changed caption. Could it be that the Guardian is actually goading that dealer (we all know who you are) to take THEM to court? That would be a very informative case. Go on Mr Bierman, go for it!

Rachel Shabi, ' Looted in Syria – and sold in London: the British antiques shops dealing in artefacts smuggled by Isis', the Guardian Friday 3 July 2015.

Syria: Behind the Times

"Palmyra: Isis pictured launching new assault on artefacts in ancient ruins" alarms the Independent, oblivious to the fact that by the time this was published, it was clear that this is not what happened. But still those same four elements in varied configuration.

Then there is this... "Video: Islamic State conducts mass execution in Palmyra" Reuters 4th July 2015.
Islamic State militants conducted a mass execution in Palmyra's ancient amphitheatre, according to the video uploaded on Saturday (July 4). Video uploaded to social media purports to show Islamic States militants leading a group of what is said to be Assad soldiers. The video shows the militants leaving notorious Palmyra prison, where the soldiers were said to be held before the execution. 
Not a mention here of the fact that this execution took place soon after the fall of Palmyra (before 28th May) and the prison was shortly after blown up. The Mirror and Mail (with that "baying crowd" again) have the same thing. The Telegraph more honestly says it had taken place earlier..

It seems to me that the newspapers are going for anti-ISIL sensationalism, rather than providing any reliable news about what is actually happening. Turning one showcase execution in Roman ruins into two is simple deception. In whose interests is it that we receive  false information about ISIL?

Tom Matrullo (Classics in Sarasota)

Addressing Ulysses: The perfect contrapasso

Virgil in Inferno 26 tells Dante not to speak to Ulysses - he'll speak for him, because, he says, "They were Greeks, perhaps they'd disdain your words."

Words, language, are the substance of rhetoric -- the very sound of words plays a part in whether the one addressed deigns to respond. So too with spelling. Consider how differently you regard a message seeking your input, or your money, when the message itself lacks orthography, syntax, the basics of civilized discourse.

Virgil fears Dante's address would "lack address," in the secondary sense of adroitness of delivery, the manner of coming at someone:
1 dutiful and courteous attention especially in courtship —usually used in plural 
2 a: readiness and capability for dealing (as with a person or problem) skillfully and smoothly : adroitness 
b obsolete: a making ready; also : a state of preparedness

3 a: manner of bearing oneself  
b: manner of speaking or singing: delivery
Turning to the Greeks, the Roman poet employs a full-bore captatio benevolentiae -- working on his audience by alluding to his own alti versi, the lofty lines of his epic (lines that in fact do nothing to enhance Ulysses' reputation):
"If I deserved of you while I lived . . . if I deserved of you much or little when in the world I wrote the lofty lines, do not move on, but let the one of you tell where, being lost, he went to die."
The ploy works; Ulysses begins a speech that manages to contain a full life's quest within a few lines.

I want to look at the first thing he says, simply because in the large commentary devoted to this canto, these lines might receive short shrift. Ulysses begins:
When I parted from Circe, who held me more than a year near Gaeta before Aeneas so named it . . .
The parallel is clear: Ulysses was "held" -- the verb sottrarre can carry the suggestion of something taken fraudulently -- by Circe, the witch who turned his men into animals. Aeneas, coming to the same place, chooses to name it for his beloved wetnurse, and it bears that name today: Gaeta.

The contrast is between the wily Greek who, though escaping bestial enchantment, nonetheless is caught in the charms of Circe for "more than a year," and the Roman leader who, seeking a new land, names a beautiful portion of it for the nurse who nurtured him (and his son, some say), and who died at that point in their journey.

Throughout the Aeneid the Romans show themselves often nobler, more generous, and more rooted in the realm of the heart than the Greeks. In bestowing the humble nurse's name upon the isle of Circe, Aeneas moves toward the obliteration of the memory of Ulysses' experience there. Ulysses is being written out of epic memory on the Roman peninsula.

For Dante and his world, many of the names they use derive from the exploits, stories, the emperors and poets of Rome. The world was a palimpsest; one could dig down and find Greek predecessors, but they have been overwritten -- put into Italic form, or completely replaced by names that bring in indigenous Roman stories and achievements. Romans accepted the fact that they came after the brilliant world of Greece, but they push back, asserting different values and priorities. Allusively the point is made: Ulysses and the Greeks might have mapped out the world, explored it, given us knowledge, but the romance of the Roman people, their quest and glory, has remapped it with its own aura and meanings.

If Ulysses's language is usurped in this way, it points to another, larger eclipse further on in his journey. To know things is to name them, and Ulysses is rather meticulous in giving his auditors the names of places he and his men took in on their last voyage:
fin nel Morrocco, e l'isola de' Sardi . . . 
. . . Sibilla . . .
 . . . Setta.
Passing the pillars of Heracles they sail five months into the blank oceanic void beyond. A mountain appears, and with it the storm that takes them under. Ulysses has no name for the mountain, of course (see previous post). He has no idea what it is, that it's made of earth that fled the body of Satan as he plummeted down and reamed out the core of the planet.* Ulysses lacks all sense of this, and, of course, he had no one to whom to tell his tale. So neither a name, nor a memory of the exploit, lives on -- other than in the Commedia. 

The world's most accomplished traveler, this former hero of the nostos, not only doesn't return, but also leaves no tale of his final destination, no trace. This silence, this aphasia, is the antithesis of kleos for the Greeks. Only a judicial imagination of genius could have produced what happens here: a contrapasso loaded with irony potent enough to punish Ulysses.

For the Greek teller of tales knows that this, his greatest exploit, was swallowed up with his drowning, and this will help us understand why Ulysses is Dante's uncannily nightmarish doppelganger. To have seen what he saw but cannot name or chart, and then to drown, puts his staggering final tale out of reach of knowledge, fame, earshot, of language itself. For this Homeric hero, no greater punishment is conceivable than to have been graced with achieving one incomparable feat, only to lie beneath the sea in eternal silence in the absolute certitude (he will never know otherwise) that no one will ever hear the greatest story he or his odyssey ever could have told. In this certitude, the hero encounters a judge who knew precisely how he deserved to be addressed.

*Lucifer, in falling, excavated the earth that creates the empty cone of hell, carved into the northern hemisphere; the displaced earth fled from Lucifer and then became Mount Purgatory, a cone of earth that rises up in the middle of the southern hemisphere.
Columbia University, Digital Dante.

Calliope and the magpies: Purgatorio 1

As we've noted, the invocations in Dante's Commedia progress. The invocation of Purgatorio 1 goes into greater detail in addressing the Muse than we saw in the first canto of the Inferno.

Dante's choice of theme -- the rise, or renaissance, or resurrection of poetry -- and specific figural language -- the mythic contest of the Muses with the Pierides -- sets up a complex constellation of relationships involving love, death, rebirth, and the nature and quality of poetic inspiration.

A few notes about the scene in Ovid to which Dante points us are below, and they are far from comprehensive -- there's much more to think about with regard to Ovid's tale, and Calliope's tale within the tale, which makes for a rich poetic relationship between Dante's launch of the Purgatorio and his source. The whole of Metamorphoses 5 is suggestive in this regard.

Ma qui la morta poesì resurga,
o sante Muse, poi che vostro sono;
e qui Calïopè alquanto surga,  
seguitando il mio canto con quel suono
di cui le Piche misere sentiro
lo colpo tal, che disperar perdono.

But let dead Poesy here rise again,
O holy Muses, since that I am yours,
And here Calliope somewhat ascend, 
My song accompanying with that sound,
Of which the miserable magpies felt
The blow so great, that they despaired of pardon.

The setting of the contest is, as always in Ovid, complex. Athena is visiting Helicon; she encounters the Muses and, suddenly, hears magpies. The Muses explain how they were challenged by the daughters of Pierus. Athena asks them to relate the whole story:

The Muse was speaking: wings sounded in the air, and voices in greeting came out of the high branches. The daughter of Jupiter looked up, and questioned where the sound came from, that was so much like mouths speaking, and thought it human, though it was birdsong.

Nine of them, magpies, that imitate everything, had settled in the branches, bemoaning their fate. While she wondered, the other began speaking, goddess to goddess, ‘Defeated in a contest, they have been added only recently to the flocks of birds.

Pierus of Pella, rich in fields, was their father, and Paeonian Euippe was their mother. Nine times, while giving birth, she called, nine times, to powerful Lucina. Swollen with pride in their numbers, this crowd of foolish sisters came here, to us, through the many cities of Achaia and Haemonia, and challenged us to a singing competition, saying “Stop cheating the untutored masses with your empty sweetness. If you have faith in yourselves, contend with us, you goddesses of Thespiae. We cannot be outdone in voice or art, and we are your equals in numbers."
After the daughters of Pierus sing their song, Calliope takes up the challenge, and sings a long tale that is primarily but not entirely about the rape of Proserpina and Ceres' search for her. When she finishes, the nymphs who are judging award the prize to the Muses, who are immediately mocked by Pierus's daughters. The contest ends with the Pierides metamorphosing into magpies:
as they tried to speak, and, attack us with insolent hands, making a great clamour, they saw feathers spring from under their nails, and plumage cover their arms. Each one saw the next one’s mouth harden to a solid beak, and a new bird enter the trees. When they wanted to beat their breasts in sorrow, they hung in the air, lifted by the movement of their arms, magpies now, the slanderers of the woods. Even now, as birds, their former eloquence remains, their raucous garrulity, and their monstrous capacity for chatter.’ 
Well worth pondering why, at the beginning of his second Canticle, Dante invokes this Ovidian context.

David Meadows (rogueclassicism)


Originally posted on Classics for All Reviews:

by Peter Salway

OUP (2nd edn, 2015) p/b 122pp £7.99 (ISBN 9780198712169)

This book is a concise, clear and readable history of Roman Britain across four centuries. It is ideal for the general reader, including one who comes to the subject with no previous knowledge.

The book is divided into four chapters. Chapter 1 (‘The beginnings of British history’) covers the Iron Age and Caesar’s invasions. Chapter 2 (‘The Roman conquest’) takes the reader from Claudius’ invasion in AD 43 through to the late third century. This is the longest chapter. It includes Boudicca’s revolt; the subsequent reconstruction of the province; the Hadrianic revival; the construction of the Antonine Wall followed by the retreat from Scotland; the reign of Severus and the division of Britain into separate provinces by his successors; the curious saga of the Gallic Empire. The chapter also covers social issues, such as urban development, life…

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Originally posted on Classics for All Reviews:

By Thomas Van Nortwick
Michigan (2015) h/b 160pp £56.95 (ISBN 9780472119561)

Written in Sophocles’ ninth decade (V.N. places Electra close to 410 BC), Electra, Philoctetes and Oedipus at Colonus are far from being the mellow reflections of old age. Instead, they are contentious and innovative, redefining the rules of Greek tragedy, reimagining the role of the tragic hero and even re-evaluating the place of drama within Athenian society.

This short, clear and elegantly-written study considers how ‘the Sophoclean tragic hero—lonely, defiant, and self-destructive—undergoes a crucial transformation in the last three plays’. Assuming little technical knowledge, V.N. devotes a chapter to each play, outlining how the tragedy unfolds, developing cogent arguments illustrated with quotations in his own English translations (where appropriate including the original Greek, transliterated and in parentheses), and always taking care to set the drama firmly within the context of late-5th C BC society and beliefs.


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OVID: THE OFFENSE OF LOVE Ars Amatoria, Remedia Amoris, and Tristia 2

Originally posted on Classics for All Reviews:

By Julia Dyson Hejduk

Wisconsin (2014) p/b 268pp £15.95 (ISBN 9780299302047)

H.’s translation with commentary, which is the first to include both the cause of Ovid’s ‘offence’ and his ‘defence’ of his writings, is aimed at readers who have no classical knowledge. As a result, a detailed introduction is included, covering aspects such as metre, scansion and literature in the ancient world. It also includes an exploration of Ovid’s use of metaphor, e.g. the attention a lover must pay to their appearance as a metaphor for the attention an author must pay to their work of art; and of analogy, e.g. comparing the pursuit of love to chariot-racing or warfare. A list of examples of Ovid’s use of the art of love to resemble that of war, agriculture, sailing, hunting, sports, religion etc. is included.

The reasons behind Ovid’s exile are explored along with the possible role of Tiberius in…

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Originally posted on Classics for All Reviews:

By Walter Watson

Chicago (2015) p/b 304pp £29 (ISBN 9780226875088)

This very engaging work sets out to save a whole treasure chest of priceless gems from an eternity in scholarly limbo, the chest being the lost second book of Aristotle’s Poetics. For some time now scholars have argued that a tenth century manuscript known as Tractatus Coislinianus summarizes this lost book, but up to now they have failed to establish the point conclusively. W. now hopes to succeed where philology on its own had not by making a philosophical case. His aim is to convince people that they will only fully appreciate the Poetics by accepting all of the Tractatus material as genuine Aristotle rather than, as one sceptic put it, no small amount of silly and extraneous material jumbled together with what is truly Aristotelian.

There is a deliberate intention to engage the general reader as much as…

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Originally posted on Classics for All Reviews:

by Renato Oniga, ed. and trans. by Norma Schifano

OUP (2014) 345pp £24.99 (ISBN 9780198702863)

How to bring together Chomsky and Latin? The concept of this book (a translation, incorporating minor changes, by Norma Schifano of Renato Oniga’s Il Latino: Breve introduzione linguistica [Milano: FrancoAngeli, 2004]) is an ambitious and laudable one: to bring modern linguistic theory to bear on Latin, and to do so in a way that is accessible to students brought up on traditional grammars and unfamiliar with twentieth- and twenty-first-century approaches to linguistic analysis, especially the generative tradition of which Chomsky has been the most notable proponent.

In three sections, this book considers the phonology (chapters 2 to 5), morphology (chapters 6 to 16, covering both inflection and derivation), and syntax of Latin (chapters 17 to 28), intentionally taking its order of treatment and scope from that of traditional grammars but describing them by means of modern…

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Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Tabloid Accusations and the Dealers' Troll Stables

Mark Altaweel, a near-east specialist from the UCL Institute of Archaeology ('Looted in Syria – and sold in London: the British antiques shops dealing in artefacts smuggled by Isis'), is already being accused by dealers' associations spokesmen of making it up and being involved in "tabloid journalism". This is for the benefit of the slack-jaw hangers-on who buy antiquities. The rest of us can see through their pretended indignation and childish posturing. Frankly when somebody who has spent their professional life studying precisely this sort of stuff that in London dealer he found on open sale "objects that, he says, are very likely to be coming from conflict regions in Iraq and Syria" and "are so distinctive that they could only have come from a particular part of the region: the part now controlled by the so-called Islamic State", I think we may take his opinion as vastly more reliable than a trade lobbyist with no real qualifications in the field and their pathetic protests.
Every time Altaweel zones in on something that seems likely to be from an area now controlled by Isis, the dealer we’re talking to grows vague about the item’s origin. One seller says that some objects, almost certainly Syrian and from the area that Isis declared as its caliphate, were brought in a few months ago, by a private seller who said the goods had come from a family collection. Another suggests that a small statue – for which Altaweel says every type site is either in Iraq or Syria – was bought at an auction. There is never any paperwork. One dealer, an amiable man in a quiet, small store filled with near-eastern objects, told us that he’d acquired some glass fragments very recently, and that they "had likely come out of Jordan". Later, Altaweel tells me: “It’s obviously not Jordanian, so my suspicion is that it’s coming out of Syria.” The piece he shows us – a fragment of a cup or glass container, selling for £250 – is, he adds, highly distinctive of the area. “It’s very early glass and is concentrated in very few areas,” he says.
and the "oops-I-lost-the-paperwork" dealer is supplying a false provenance (either deliberately or is too ignorant to spot that the glass could not have come from where his supplier asserts it did). The end of the article is significant:
Meanwhile, buyers are not getting the message that the purchase of such antiquities is enabling war and terror in the Middle East. 
Indeed, this is why the dealers associations pay huge sums of money to "web brigades" of  Internet trollbots who constantly work to organize disinformation operations primarily by deflecting any discussions on the issues raised by the trade in illicit artefacts onto different tracks. We see the effects all the time on the websites of dealers, their lobbyists and supporters, as well as slack-jaw collectors unthinkingly following their lead.

Thibaud Fournet et al. (Balneorient)

Exposition “Regards posés. Hammams de la médina de Tunis”


Depuis 2013, l’association L’Mdina Wel Rabtine – Actions citoyennes en Médina a initié un projet de revalorisation des hammams historiques de la médina de Tunis. Un fonds photographique inédit, constitué dans le cadre du projet Regards posés, a mobilisé 19 photographes tunisiens et étrangers. Il est actuellement en cours de traitement en vue de l’édition d’un ouvrage rassemblant l’ensemble des résultats de recherche et des propositions concrètes de sauvetage des hammams en péril. Une sélection de 114 tirages avait été présentée au Musée de la Ville de Tunis – Palais Kheireddine de juillet à octobre 2014.

Pour cette nouvelle exposition en partenariat avec l’Institut Français de Tunisie, Regards Posés s’enrichit de courts métrages produits par les étudiants de l’Ecole Nationale d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme de Tunis. Pendant 4 mois, 65 étudiants se sont attelés à réaliser des relevés détaillés de 16 hammams, des images de synthèse restituant leurs volumétries et architectures, mais aussi des fictions mises en scène dans les hammams et des entretiens avec les usagers, le personnel… Leurs travaux illustrent l’ancrage profond des hammams dans le tissu social de la médina et reflètent, en filigrane, les défis et la passion de la dernière génération de propriétaires. Sur 50 hammams historiques inventoriés depuis le XIXème siècle et cartographiés par l’association, seuls 26 demeurent encore en activité aujourd’hui et sont menacés de disparition si aucune requalification stratégique n’est initiée, privant ainsi le cœur historique de la capitale d’un patrimoine fascinant.

Fondée en janvier 2012, l’association L’Mdina Wel Rabtine réunit habitants, commerçants et amis de la Médina de Tunis autour d’une vision partagée de gouvernance démocratique et participative du patrimoine. Elle se mobilise pour renforcer la participation des citoyens dans la définition des priorités, des enjeux et des moyens de sauvegarde en Médina, domaine jusque-là longtemps réservé aux seuls spécialistes et aux professionnels. Les projets de l’association se veulent multidisciplinaires et tentent d’expérimenter des approches créatives de valorisation durable du patrimoine.

L’association remercie les photographes ainsi que les étudiants de l’Ecole Nationale d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme et leur encadreur, Monsieur Ali BOUZOUITA, pour leur disponibilité et leur implication dans le projet.

Exposition menée en partenariat avec la Maison de l’Image, avec le soutien précieux de l’Institut Français de Tunisie et l’Ambassade de Suisse en Tunisie et en coopération avec l’Ecole Nationale d’Architecture et d’Urbanisme.

Commissaire de l’exposition : Olfa FEKI

Photographie de l’affiche : Yassine HAKIMI

En savoir plus :

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Tabloid Journalism Alert: An Archaeologist Patrols the Market

The Guardian Newspaper reports on what an UCL archaeologist saw when he walked around antiquities stores in London.  And what did he find?  Well, the same kinds of small antiquities from the Middle East that have been sold there for generations.

Yet, now in some academic circles they are called "blood antiquities."  This, of course, provides the perfect excuse for the usual suspects to declaim on the supposed evils of the antiquities trade and try to justify a major change in our great Anglo-American legal traditions that presumes innocence rather than guilt-- something to think about on this Independence Day.

There is even an image of that that infamous coin struck in Apamea millenia ago.   Though the Guardian quoted archaeo-blogger Sam Hardy, it evidently did not bother to check Hardy's blog that raised serious questions about whether the coin is as advertised out of a war zone.

More tabloid journalism at its worst.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Jubilee Capitalism


PZ Myers shared the cartoon above. It struck me as reflecting on it that there is an interesting convergence between the radical egalitarian meritocracy talked about in the comic, and the vision of the Jubilee law in the Bible. The Jubilee law required that once a generation, land would revert to its original owner. The possibility of accumulating wealth infinitely and indefinitely was eliminated, and the recuperation of land meant that the children or grandchildren those who had fallen into poverty had another chance to start with a clean slate.

It is just as noteworthy that conservative voices in our time do not call for the application of Biblical economic models such as the Jubilee law, any more than they desire to really have an economy which genuinely reflects the conviction that no one should have what they did not earn, and that if people start on a level playing field of genuinely equal opportunity, then their success or failure will be what they deserve.

Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

Second Week of 2015 Excavations at Stensö Castle

Balancing available labour and a pre-decided excavation agenda against each other is not easy, particularly when you’re doing investigative peek-hole fieldwork on a site whose depth and complexity of stratification you don’t know much about. At Stensö we had two of three trenches and all five test pits backfilled in time for Wednesday lunch’s on-site hot dog barbecue. Ethan Aines, Terese Liberg and three students stayed on to finish trench F, while myself, Mats Eriksson and six students moved to our new base at Landsjö Manor.

Trenches D and E and the test pits produced no big news after my last report. Trench F inside the tower yielded a neat midden of bones and abundant large potsherds just below the stairwell. Ethan suggests that there may have been a few wooden steps here, providing a convenient spot under them to sweep trash. I’m itching to get the pottery cleaned, classified and dated. In fact, I’m itching to learn Medieval pottery in more detail. We also got a funny domed sheet copper lid that looks like it might belong to a pitcher or beer stein. It was partly encased in stalagmite, so we can’t see all of it yet.

Domed sheet copper lid, inside view, Stensö Castle

Domed sheet copper lid, inside view, Stensö Castle

I think I’ve finally figured out where the west reach of Stensö’s perimeter wall is, and why we found it in trench A but not in trenches B or E. Now that I’ve seen it I don’t know how I missed it. There’s a low but very wide strip of rubble all around the NW, W and SW sides of the southern tower, clearly separate from the tower and at such a distance (5-10 m) that the rubble can’t have originated with the tower itself. In parts this rubble strip has quite a high and steep outer face. I’m pretty sure this is the robbed-out remains of the perimeter wall. I’ve planned it now but I didn’t have the foresight to apply for a permit to section it.

On Thursday the Trench F Five worked two hours’ overtime backfilling while getting fried by the sun inside the roofless tower. They must have been exhausted. I told them by phone to hit the pizza place afterwards, have a sleep-in and get their stuff packed up in a leisurely good time. When they arrived at Landsjö on Friday afternoon they were in good shape. By this time we had also been joined again by our excellent friend from the Kimstad Historical Society, Curt Andersson. On Monday I expect another friend to join, so there will be fifteen of us.

We need another boat! Because that’s how Landsjö Castle on its semi-landlocked islet is most conveniently reached. We’re digging three trenches at Landsjö: trench F inside the NW tower, trench G across the assumed line of the missing SE reach of perimeter wall (I have a new-found appreciation for why Victorian antiquarians always had their workmen follow walls around), and trench H on the odd rubble mound separated from the castle by a dry moat. Superficially it shows a quarry pit and the remains of a big badger sett, but I reckon there’s probably a gate tower under there as well.

Misty summer evening lit by the full moon at our lodgings at Smedstorp

Misty summer evening lit by the full moon at our lodgings at Smedstorp

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Roger Pearse (Thoughts on Antiquity, Patristics, putting things online, and more)

Some notes on the commentary on the psalms by Asterius the Sophist

This morning a Greek text of the remains of Asterius the Sophist’s Commentary on the Psalms came into my hands.[1]  The editor’s preface is quite interesting on this obscure writer, and I thought that I would transcribe a few remarks from it.

But who was this fellow?  Asterius was a pupil of Lucian of Antioch, but during the Great Persecution, led by Maximinus Daia, Lucian was martyred, and Asterius agreed to sacrifice to the pagan gods.  He was never ordained, in consequence, but after the Council of Nicaea, he seems to have come to support the Arian party.[2]  In consequence he wrote a booklet, the Syntagmation, promoting Arian ideas and circulated it industriously.[3]  He also wrote a now-lost refutation of Marcellus of Ancyra, who defended the Nicene definition ineptly, plus some commentaries, of which only material on the Psalms has been recovered.   He died around 341 AD.

Jerome thought him important enough to be listed in his De viris illustribus as follows:

He wrote during the reign of Constantius commentaries on the Epistle to the Romans, on the Gospels and on the Psalms and also many other works which are diligently read by those of his party

In Letter 112:20 Jerome adds that Asterius of the Sophist was one of the writers known to him who had written a commentary on all of the psalms.

Marcel Richard discovered that there are considerable remains of this commentary in the catena of type VI on Psalms 1-50.  This catena was composed in Palestine in the 6th century, and the selections from Asterius cover various verses of Ps. 1, 4-7, 10, 14-20, 34, 36 and 38.

In addition, in many of the manuscripts which transmit to us the homilies of John Chrysostom on the psalms, there is also a collection – in whole or in part – of 31 homilies on the psalms which are clearly not by Chrysostom.  Excerpts from some of these homilies also appear in the catena type VI, and are there labelled as being by Asterius the Arian.  There seems no pressing reason to reject the identification made by the catenist to seven of these homilies.  The homilies show no sign of Arian ideas, and doubtless belong to the ante-Nicene phase of Asterius’ life.  Other homilies in the same collection fit less well with Asterius, but Richard thought it best to edit the whole collection, plus the catena fragments, and let others decide which homilies were authentic.  In his edition, which follows the order of the manuscripts, homilies 4 and 5 (on Ps.4), homily 6 (on Ps.5), homily 12 (on Ps. 6), homily 13 (on Ps. 7), homily 19 (on Ps. 10), and homily 29 (on Ps.18) are definitely authentic.  Richard suggested that homily 10 may be by Origen; while homily 22 perhaps from an Apollinarist writer, while he notes that 26 actually attacks Arius and Eunomius; but his co-worker made a case that all the homilies are Asterian, and the attack is merely an ancient interpolation.

A number of the homilies are plainly intended for delivery as panegyrics on the eight days of Easter.  These are homilies 8, 9, 11, 14-16, 22, 30, and 31.

Asterius was an orator, and his style is “very exuberant”.  Richard suggests that, among the uncounted mass of pseudo-Chrysostomica, there are probably further examples of his style, perhaps in material on Romans, or on the Gospels.

The manuscripts of the collection mentioned by Richard are as follows:

A = Athos Magna Laura Θ 210, 17th century (Richard thinks 14-15), paper.  Complete, but missing homilies 1-2 and first part of 3.  The only witness to homilies 30 and 31, and the last few folios of 31 are lost because of damage to the manuscript.  The ms. has suffered from damp at the top, affecting the first 3 lines of the text.  The text contained in it is of good quality.

B = Paris suppl. gr. 266, f. 93-155v, 17-18th century.  The Greek text is followed by a Latin version of homilies 4-18, and 20:7-23:5.  Referred to by Montfaucon as “my manuscript, copied at the Escorial”.  It seems to be a copy of a manuscript with Latin material, made by a certain Fr Gabriel of St Jerome, which itself was copied from ms. Scorialensis I.Δ.11 (previously II.K.13), destroyed in the fire of 1671.  The Escorial ms. contained homilies of Chrysostom, and homilies 1-29 of this collection, and was “very ancient” according to surviving descriptions.

This Fr. Gabriel belonged to the monastery of the Escorial.  He intended to publish an edition of unpublished works of Chrysostom preserved in the mss of the Escorial, and submitted his work to the printer Cotelier.  The submitted text was in two parts; the first containing 23 homilies on the psalms, while the other contained the remaining 4 homilies, plus a commentary on Daniel.  However Cotelier was interested only in the second part, which he had purchased by Colbert, and published in 1661.  The manuscript of Fr Gabriel’s second part passed into the Bibliotheque Nationale, where it is today Ms. Paris gr. 659.  None of this material is related to our collection.

The manuscript of the first part contained 23 of the 27 homilies from Scorialensis I.Δ.11.  The Escorial ms. in fact contained still more homilies; but Fr Gabriel was naturally interested only in material which was unpublished.  Consequently he omitted the authentic homilies of Chrysostom on Ps.4-12, and also the Asterian homilies 1-3 and 25-27, because these 6 homilies were translated into Latin and printed in that form by G. Hervet, in 1549, and so were frequently reprinted with other translations of Chrysostom.

The manuscript of Fr. Gabriel’s edition ended up in Rome, where Montfaucon saw it, and made a copy.  Richard was unable to locate Fr. Gabriel’s manuscript in Rome, but Montfaucon’s copy was found at the BNF by R.P.A. Wenger, and Richard inspected it the very next morning!  The ms. is unbound, and has lost folios from the front.  But the text in it is important.

P = Paris gr. 654, a luxury manuscript from the second half of the 10th century.  It contains the end of homily 1 and homilies 2-18.  A couple of folios were lost from the front before the 13th century. The current first folio is a 13th century leaf, a palimpsest, which contains the whole of homily 1, but copied from another manuscript.  This leaf is labelled Q.

V = Vatican gr. 524, 11th century.  It only contains homilies 12-22, 25, 26-27, and 28.

C = Caesenatensis Malatestianus Plut. D XXVIII, 2.  Copied by a monk named Leo who finished on 4 September 1027.  Parchment.  Homilies 1-3, 25-27.

The 5 other manuscripts listed by Richard only contain selected homilies.  Interestingly, some of these come via copies of a manuscript once annotated by Photius.  There are also 4 mss which are only copies of other manuscripts, and 1 which is a copy of the text in Savile’s edition.  Richard also discusses the catena fragments.

The early editions naturally reflect the manuscripts.  I will only give selected details here, but Richard details the lot.

G. Hervet, D. Ioannis Chrysostomi vere aureae in psalmos homiliae…, Venice, 1549, prints a Latin translation of homilies 1-3 and 25-27, made from Ms. Vat. Ottob. 95, itself a copy of C.  This was reprinted at Anvers in 1552 and 1582, and then in all the general Latin editions Chrysostom from that of Venice, 1549, until that of Anvers in 1614.

Henry Savile’s 1612 edition of Chrysostom also included the first Greek edition of homilies 3 and 5 (in vol. 8, 1, and vol. 7, 431).  These he based on various late copies.

Homilies 6-13 were first printed with a Latin translation by J.B. Cotelier in Ecclesiae Graecae Monumenta, vol. 2, Paris, 1681, p.1-81.

Montfaucon’s edition of Chrysostom includes 3, 5 and 25, based on preceding editions, somewhat corrected.

The Patrologia Graeca reprinted Cotelier as vol. 40, col. 389-477, and Montfaucon in vol. 55, col. 35-39 (hom. 3), 539-544 (hom. 5), and 549-558 (hom. 25).

There was then no interest until Richard and Skard started work in 1949.  Richard also lists editions of the catena fragments, and a mess they are too.

My own interest in all this is concerned with homily 21, and its mention of Matt.27:25.  Sadly it looks as if it is neither Asterian, nor published other than by Richard in Greek (without a translation of any sort!)

  1. [1] Asterii Sophistae.  Commentariorum in Psalmos quae supersunt. Accedunt aliquot homiliae anonymae. Ed. Marcel Richard. In: Symbolae Osloenses fasc. suppl. 16, Oslo: Brogger, 1956. P.3-245.
  2. [2] Indications to this effect may be found in Philostorgius, HE, book 2, 15; and book 4, 4; so Richard, p.iii.
  3. [3] Athanasius, De synodis 18, and De decret. 8.

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Turkey Blamed for Syrian Antiquities Drain

Moscow's "Sputnik" is reporting "Turkey Not Cooperating With Syria on Returning Smuggled Artefacts" which will no doubt please the lobbyists for the international cabal of antiquity dealers who do not want to see items repatriated to Syria while there is a civil war going on.
Ankara [has] refused to cooperate with Damascus on returning of ancient artifacts smuggled by the Islamic State (IS) militant group from Syria through Turkey, the head of Syria's Directorate-General for Antiquities and Museums (DGAM) told Sputnik on Friday. According to Maamun Abdel Karim, statues, paintings, artifacts and ancient mosaics stolen from Syria have repeatedly been found on sale on the open market in the Turkish city of Gaziantep since the way for stolen in northern Syria ancient values lies through uncontrolled border with Turkey.
The official called on the international community to help Syria in returning the objects that had already been smuggled to Europe, North America and the Gulf states. So far the dealers are resisting, basically by pretending the problem does not exist, and if it does, it is not their fault ("It wasn't me miss"), and if forced to go dangerously close to admitting it is, to trot out a Two Wrongs argument ("but Bazza does it too miss, but you don't tell him off").

Kate Cooper (kateantiquity)


I have had the good fortune to travel back and forth across the American South more than once over the past few months, at a time when painful conversations have been taking place about racism and the legacy of American slavery, from the 50th anniversary of the Selma Marches in March, to  the tragedy at Charleston on 17 June. I have been away for some time – living abroad for two decades – and it has been strangely reassuring to be part of the flesh-and-blood conversation taking place in Louisiana and Georgia, Virginia and South Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama during this challenging time.

When I heard the news from Charleston, I found myself hoping, after the first reaction of pain and anger, that this time would be different. That the world had changed, that people of all races and faiths would rise up and refuse to accept a crime of this kind. And in a modest way, I do see signs that things have changed. Not enough, and anyone in their right mind must feel impatient, but there is a mood of openness in the soul-searching that I do not remember from twenty years ago. Trying to sum up his own feeling of self-reflection, the Alabama political reporter Kyle Whitmire put it this way: ‘Hate is seductive, and it’s hardest to recognize in ourselves.’

RISD St Andrew

Claude VIgnon (1593-1670), The Martyrdom of St Andrew, Collection of the Rhode Island School of Design (source:

People from all walks of life seem to be looking for ways to express their solidarity, from the vigils that have been held in Charleston and elsewhere, to the President’s moving eulogy for Senator Clementa Pinckney, to the widespread enthusiasm, much of it coming from individuals identifying themselves as white Southerners, for finally abandoning the painful legacy of the so-called Confederate flag.

Most striking to my eye have been the actions of two women: South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley’s call for the flag to be removed from the South Carolina Statehouse on 24 June and Bree Newsome’s widely publicised Confederate Flag Pole Climb at the South Carolina State House four days later, which has been celebrated by the national media as a ‘significant piece of socially engaged performance art’.

Like many Southerners, I was surprised to discover, in the brou-ha-ha about that flag, that the flag we know as the ‘Confederate flag’ was not actually the flag of the Confederacy 150 years ago. It is a rectangular variant of the Southern Cross, a battle flag used by a single army (that of Northern Virginia) during the Civil War. It became popular in the 1930s as as a knock-on effect of publicity for the 1939 film Gone With the Wind, which seems to have chosen it for its graphic qualities and used it to great visual effect. After 1948, the flag came into widespread use in the context of Southern politics, both by politicians themselves and by terror groups such as the Ku Klux Klan. It is deeply distressing that a small and determined group of people has tried to resurrect this legacy, and the reign of white terror that accompanied it, by burning Black churches in recent weeks, and one can only hope that their cause will fail miserably.

It is worth stopping to think for a moment about the cross on that flag. It is the Saltire or St Andrews Cross,  borrowed from the flag of Scotland – a martyr’s cross. According to an early medieval legend, the apostle Andrew – who later became the patron saint of Scotland – was martyred on an X-shaped cross. The St Andrews Cross first saw use in Scotland in the 13th century, and like many flags which trace their roots back to the medieval period, it represents an army’s claim to fight not only on the side of God, but on behalf of a martyr. Outrage at what the martyr suffered is meant to inspire the army’s blood-lust.

You can see where I am going with this. Our age has its own martyrs: the men and women who died in Charleston, and the countless others who have suffered at the hands of madmen and extremists during the last 150 years – and not only in the South.

Those of us who were raised on stories of great-grandfathers and great uncles who died for the Confederacy wrestle with a strange mix of loyalty and humiliation. We know that the only thing the rest of the world remembers about them is their failure to end slavery in an orderly way all those years ago – along with the nightmare legacy that has resulted from that failure. And frankly, when we are being honest, we blame them for that failure ourselves, and forgive them if we can.

I can’t exactly explain why I find the idea that the Southern Cross is not what I was led to believe it was so reassuring, or why I find it helpful to discover a deeper, sadder message in it by seeing the cross of a Christian martyr – a vestige of the long history of the suffering of the righteous – winking through behind the stars and colors. I suppose it is the satisfaction of dismantling the emotional power of a  symbol that was used, in the twentieth century if not the nineteenth, to convey a message of hate, and discovering instead a hidden history of human endurance, a history that can never be silenced.

For a remarkable 2007 podcast (with transcript) of the distinguished theologian James Cone speaking about the link between the Cross and the Lynching Tree, click here.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Happy Independence Day!

For this 4th of July, I thought I would repost something I wrote on this occasion in 2008:

It is the 4th of July, and in the United States, we often find people mixing Christianity and nationalism in ways that are at best ironic, and at times downright contradictory. The 4th of July is thus an appropriate day for reflection on Christianity, nationalism, and what might have been different had the colonies in the New World not fought for their independence.

First, we should remember the ways that Jesus challenged the nationalism of his time. There has been some interesting discussion of Bible translation in the blogospherelately. If we’re going to translate so as to make the meaning intelligible to any reader in a language today, then we have to effectively translate the impact of the story or saying, and the shock it would have caused to its original hearers.

I wonder how many American Christians would value their Bibles as highly as they do now in theory, if they contained such dynamically equivalent translations, and said things like “Many will come from Iraq and Afghanistan and take their place in the kingdom of God, while many Americans will be cast out.” Ouch!

We also need to remember that today we celebrate our declaring our independence from a “Christian empire”, and our independence surely contributed to the weakening and downfall of that empire. With the wealth and potential for expansion that ended up in the hands of the United States rather than Britain, presumably England’s empire would have remained powerful for much longer. Its holdings also included the Middle East, and so all those lines that the British drew when they withdrew, creating nation-states that separated people who wanted to be together and lumped together people who wanted to be separate, would perhaps not be there even today.

Where would the Baptists and others who valued religious freedom have fled to?

Without this loss of prominence and dominance, would the Church of England have become such a broad tradition with such a progressive outlook in at least some quarters, ordaining women and eventually even homosexuals?

If the “United States” had remained part of this “Christian empire”, then rather than celebrating our independence today, there might be many groups, including Christian groups, hoping and praying and perhaps even fighting for their independence from us.

Think about it… and remember, if we don’t use our independence wisely, Alan Baxter, John Cleese and/or the Queen might still revoke it

Have a happy 4th of July!

Roger Pearse (Thoughts on Antiquity, Patristics, putting things online, and more)

From my diary

I am still collecting references to Matthew 27:25 in the fathers, and still encountering interesting and unusual texts that are unfamiliar to me.  The major chunk of material still in my hands is a bunch of references in the commentaries of St Jerome, and a library visit is going to be necessary to finish them up.

Another project of mine has sprung back into life this week.  I’ve wanted to do something about Methodius of Olympus for a while.  I was resigned to paying for translations from Russian; but I was never very happy about that.  Rather to my surprise, a kindly colleague has found for me a gentleman who knows Old Slavonic!

Today I have agreed with him to translate into English some of the works of Methodius of Olympus, found only in that language.  Thankfully there are a couple of manuscripts online, and he is able to work from these.  For the text itself has never been published.  The text is rather corrupt, apparently, but probably as a result of some earlier accident.

The sample of the first page of one of them arrived today, and looks excellent.  Unless there are any mishaps, I am confident that we’ll get at least one work of Methodius online from this.

Working with anyone that you haven’t worked with before always involves a settling-in period.  He doesn’t know my quirks, copious as they are, and I don’t know his.  But it usually works out OK with goodwill on both sides.

Mind you, I still cherish the memory of one chap who withdrew in a fit of political correctness almost before we started.  I had explained to him that I’d want to see a sample page of translation without obligation, because of a bad experience in the past with some Lebanese translators.  They’d produced gibberish, which I felt obliged to pay for, but was unusable.   This apparently was a major solecism.  He informed me that I shouldn’t have said that they were Lebanese – he didn’t say why – and he threw all his toys out of the cot, refused to proceed, and never corresponded with me again.  That the project was of benefit to the world was of less importance than ideology, I fear.

I tend to look for a couple of things in every translation that I’m involved with.

Firstly, the result must always mean something in English.  There should never be any doubt, in my opinion, what the translator thought the author was saying, and that something should be in the translation.  This principle protects one against producing gibberish, which is always a risk when a translation becomes too literal.  I feel that one should never shy away from paraphrasing when the alternative is unintelligible, but always include a footnote.  The footnote preserves us both from the carping reviewer, of course.

Secondly, I think we ought to remember that, in these days of the internet, material in English may be read by those for whom it is a second language, or indeed only barely so.  There’s several billion people out there, who might potentially wish to read what the author had to say.  Let them do so!  But we can effectually stop this, if we use obscure or archaic language.  In particular the “language of Zion” is a chancy business: in some ways, it can be a universal language.  In other times, it can be a complete barrier.

The influence of the Authorised Version of the Bible lives on.  Most of us at some time have struggled with some translation of a patristic author, and found ourselves mentally retranslating each sentence out of stilted wording into the English we would actually use, simply so that we can work out what is being said.

I’m not intending to commission any other projects at the moment, as my industry is in the doldrums right now.  But I still have various Greek and Latin texts that I want to do.  There are still more texts about Nicholas of Myra to attack.  I’d like to get a work against the Jews by Maximinus the Arian into English.  But for now, let’s concentrate on Methodius.

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Benedict Arnold Plaque, London

It's become a family tradition to take visiting relatives to the Benedict Arnold plaque, and snap a photo of them in front of it ...

62 Gloucester Place, London W1U 8HW  - map

I want to know more ... -»

Jim Davila (

Review of Zellentin, The Qur’an’s Legal Culture

MARGINALIA REVIEW OF BOOKS: The Ancient Origins of Qur’anic Laws – By Emran El-Badawi.
Are the origins of the Qur’an’s laws and rituals traceable to a single ancient community of Jewish-Christians? Although long debated, this controversial yet hugely important question receives the expert analysis of Holger Zellentin, The Qur’an’s Legal Culture: The Didascalia Apostolorum as a Point of Departure.
The review concludes:
The Qur’an’s Legal Culture is an elegant and exciting read on an otherwise dense and highly complex subject. Zellentin ties in qur’anic laws with Jewish customs and Christian texts. In doing so, he allows the reader to understand the Qur’an in textual rather than political terms, and to locate the text at the very center rather than the periphery of western civilization.

Antiquity Now

AntiquityNOW Wishes You a Happy and Safe Fourth of July!

Planning on enjoying fireworks? Read our blog post, “The History of Fireworks: Celebrating Life’s Moments in Color, Light and Sound,” to learn more about the history of fireworks! Or, if you have kids or students, check out our annotated Kids’ Blog, “Boom! … Continue reading

Jim Davila (

Have the Essenes been marginalized?

On Jesus, the Essenes, and the Anxiety of Influence

By Simon J. Joseph
California Lutheran University
June 2015
A brief and evidently programmatic essay. Regarding this:
Although the work of The Enoch Seminar challenges and expands the definition of the “Essenic/Enochic” movement, it seems that today, with few notable exceptions, the “Essenes” continue to be marginalized in biblical scholarship – often demoted from being a powerful socio-political force within first-century Judaism to being the isolated, misanthropic, and ultra-legalistic recluses of “the Qumran community” or the literary-ideological fantasies of Josephus, Philo, and Pliny.
I am always pleased to see the Enoch Seminar getting good press, but I would like to see Professor Joseph's characterization of current Qumran scholarship, as well as his arguments for the positive case he assumes about the Essenes, argued in greater detail. It would have been helpful also if he had named some names and specific works. But presumably he does this in some of his own published work, which he highlights in the first paragraph of the essay.

Nordic PhD trip to Rome

LIV INGEBORG LIED: NNJCI excursion to Rome. A travel seminar on "Judaism and Christianity in Rome in the first millennium" for PhD students, organized by the Nordic PhD network NNJCI in October. Looks like fun.

Review of McKenzie et al., The Nabataean Temple at Khirbet et-Tannur, Jordan, vol. 1

Judith S. McKenzie et al. , The Nabataean Temple at Khirbet et-Tannur, Jordan. Volume 1: Architecture and Religion. Volume 2: Cultic Offerings, Vessels, and Other Specialist Reports. Final Report on Nelson Glueck's 1937 Excavation. Annual of the American Schools of Oriental Research, 67-68. Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research, in collaboration with Manar al-Athar, University of Oxford, 2013. Pp. xxvii, 340; xx, 329 . ISBN 9780897570350; 9780897570367. $89.95; $89.95.

Reviewed by Laïla Nehmé, CNRS–UMR8167, Paris (

These two volumes form the long-awaited publication of the excavations undertaken at Khirbet et-Tannur, in southern Jordan, in 1937 by Nelson Glueck, then the director of the American School of Oriental Research in Jerusalem, supported by a team of archaeologists, architects, draftsmen and photographers. These excavations were never fully published because of the delay imposed by World War II and due to Glueck’s busy career, particularly, from 1947 onwards, as president of the Cincinnati Hebrew Union College.

Cross-file under Nabatean (Nabataean) Watch.

Per Lineam Valli

96. How much did Hadrian’s Wall weigh?

This is a fairly meaningless question, except as an indication of how much material the Roman army would have had to acquire, move, and assemble. Assuming a volume of 10m³ for a metre of curtain wall (including parapet and consisting of dressed sandstone facing, rubble core, and lime mortar), and a mass of 20 tonnes for the requisite amount of stone and mortar, the curtain wall alone would have weighed in the order of 2.4 million tonnes over its 119km. With turrets, milecastles, and forts added in, this would probably come closer to 3 million tonnes.

Further reading: Hill 2006

Jim Davila (

July 4th, 2015

HAPPY AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE DAY to all those celebrating!

Tangentially related: Hebrew word of the week: Artsot ha-brit (The United States) (Yona Sabar).

Dorothy King (PhDiva)

Happy 4th of July!

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Antiquities Dealers' Lobbying

From correspondence: 
"They are not paying him for accuracy,  just overall disruptive effect".
Guess the context of this discussion of a timewaster. 

Friday retrospect: Four Years of Aggro for Asking "Where Are these Artefacts Now?"

Veteran metal detectorist Dick Stout expresses his 'anger' on Peter Tompa's blog that, four years ago, I asked a question about a photo from the end of the 1970s early 1980s which I found on his blog. The photo shows coin folders full of artefacts, a heap of loose artefacts on the living room floor. Since he objects to my using it here, even for legitmate comment, review and criticism, I'll just use an artist's impression. The original is here.

A metal detectorist and his private cache of historical artefacts heaped loose on the floor.

The question is a simple one, what happens to these heaps of loose artefacts when a collector passes away or loses interest in them? Mr Stout was so "insulted" by this question that he has conducted a vendetta against me and my blog and associates for the past four years, with hardly a week going by without some insulting post or other.  The question however remains. What are the net gains and losses to the finite historical record represented by this heap of artefacts with very little evidence that they can be associated with any findspot? Multiply that by ten thousand detectorists in a region and draw your own conclusions why there is concern about the effects of this hobby. Here is the original post that the over-sensitive (methinks) Mr Stout claims he found so "insulting". Maybe when the metal detectorist  grows up he'll take another look and begin to reflect on the implications himself:

Monday, 16 January 2012

Focus on Metal Detecting: Where are these Artefacts Now?

Recently posted on the Stout Standards anti-preservationist metal detecting blog of US metal detectorist Dick Stout there is a photo of somewhat dated living room decor and heaps of metal detected artefacts from the "late 70's, early 80's". It shows US metal detectorist Archie Ray "with a few of his finds". The photo was captioned "Back then you had to have a photo like that taken. We all did". It shows Mr Ray crouching on the floor in front of several piles of corroded metal artefacts, to the left are some projectiles dug up on some historic battlefield no doubt, right across the foreground is a row of shallow display cases and folders of coin sheets, on the right of the photo  is another row of display cases chock-full of artefacts. That single photograph shows several thousand artefacts dug up by Mr Ray in the course of the (first part of) his detecting 'career'. One wonders just what the point was of digging that many artefacts out of the historic record, what that collector did with them all except heap them as trophies on his living room carpet?

So if every metal detectorist in the late 1970s and 1980s had a comparable collection, and tens of thousands of metal detectorists since then have each been accumulating collections of similar sized for the last three decades, then it may be imagined the scale and rate at which the historical record is being eroded wherever this damaging hobby is practised. As the older generation of artefact hunters pass away, where do all those finds end up? On ebay, in museums, or in a skip? Oddly enough I cannot see the big pile of notebooks or index cards or whatever Mr Ray would have needed to document the findspot of all those artefacts. Perhaps they are behind the photographer. The historical resource is a finite resource, the more and more past and current generations of self-centres collectors take away, the less there is left for future generations to enjoy.

Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog)

Special Edition: July 4

For today's special edition, I decided to select some Latin sayings about liberty, along with some cats who know the value of being free, not slaves.

Libertas optima rerum.
Freedom is the best thing.

Sine iustitia nulla libertas.
Without justice there is no freedom.

Fac sapias et liber eris.
Get wise and you will be free.

In libertate labor.
In freedom, there is work.

Nemo nisi sapiens liber est.
No one, unless he is wise, is free.

Vigilia pretium libertatis.
Vigilance is the price of freedom.

Nemo liber est qui corpori servit.
No one is free who is a slave to the body.

O nomen dulce libertatis!
O sweet name of liberty!

Ubi libertas, ibi patria.
Where I am free, there is my homeland.

Quam dulcis libertas!
How sweet freedom is!

In libris libertas.
In books there is freedom.

Nolite fieri servi hominum.
Become not servants of men.

July 03, 2015

Ancient Art

The Temple of Bacchus at Baalbek, Lebanon, ca. 150 AD. This...

The Temple of Bacchus at Baalbek, Lebanon, ca. 150 AD. This stunning Roman temple, still very well preserved, is actually larger than the Parthenon of Athens.

Photos courtesy of Varun Shiv Kapur.

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Monuments of Syria أوابد سورية: A Window on Syria's Past by Ross Burns

[First posted in AWOL 14 October 2012, updated 3 July 2015]
Monuments of Syria أوابد سورية: A Window on Syria's Past by Ross Burns
This website was initiated in mid-2011, shortly after Syria entered into one of the most tragic and agonising series of events in its long history. I wanted to find some way of keeping alive the memory of Syria’s extraordinarily diverse past while it remained largely closed to visitors due to the violence that has prevailed in much of the country. It remains to be seen what will emerge from these events but I hope that the memories outsiders have of its extraordinary people and their respect for and appreciation of their past, will strengthen as a result of this terrible experience.

And see also:

Monuments of Syria Photostream 
This Flickr site brings together a large number of photographs of archaeological sites in both Syria and Southeast Turkey. The site gives a sample of the archive of 70,000 photos taken over the last 40 years which [the author] hopes to make available to a wider audience. In case of further inquiries, a mailbox is available either through Flickr or here.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Hundreds of Answers and Eighty-One Questions

Kevin DeYoung posted 40 questions on the Gospel Coalition website, aimed at Christians who support marriage equality. They are all the sort of thing you would expect from a conservative Christian website like The Gospel Coalition – and thus are things which most Christians who’ve thought about this issue will have already considered. A lot of people have responded. Here is a round-up of the ones I am aware of:

Susan Cottrell

Buzz Dixon

Kimberly Knight

Ben Irwin

R. L. Stollar

Aaron Porteous

Theology is Poetry

John Shore addressed some questions to DeYoung. Many of them are excellent:

What Bible verses led you to override your own innate moral sense?

Why do you think it’s okay to quote from the Bible without any reference to the context of that quote? (asked several times)

Do you think there’s anything unhealthy about the amount of time and energy you spend thinking and worrying about the “sexual sins” of others?

Each is a response to one of DeYoung’s questions – and so see DeYoung’s questions in bold here with Shore’s corresponding questions:

Do you think close family members should be allowed to get married? Do you think you should be a guest on The Jerry Springer Show?

Should marriage be limited to only two people? Should you replace Jerry on The Jerry Springer Show?

Does equality entail that anyone wanting to be married should be able to have any meaningful relationship defined as marriage? Do you think it’s acceptable to foster the persecution of an innocent sub-population by posing inflammatory and irrelevant questions as if those questions were thoughtful, legitimate, and pertinent?

Shore’s questions range from the serious to the sarcastic, but he adds some additional serious commentary, including the following:

DeYoung’s core premise informing every one of his questions is the same: Any Christian who affirms LGBT equality is sinning against God and destined for hell.

And this is exactly why DeYoung’s faux-humble questions are so loathsome: He’s flat-out (if ever-so-subtly) bullying Christians who have changed their minds, or are considering changing their minds, on the issue homosexuality. He knows his audience; he knows who reads The Gospel Coalition, where he blogs. He knows that many of his readers are right now questioning the idea that homosexuality is a sin. And he knows how emotionally vulnerable that kind of questioning can make people who were raised amidst the same brand of toxic Christianity that he makes his living selling.

Matthew Vines likewise responded with 40 questions of his own, highlighting how it is often presumed that only those whose viewpoint is not traditional need to defend their stance. Alise at Knitting Soul only had one question – but with some commentary that is worth quoting:

But here’s the question I’ve been afraid to ask of the people who claim to speak for God for a long time.

When are you going to listen to the answers to your questions?

It takes a lot of arrogance to ask people who have been marginalized for much of history to prove that they don’t deserve that marginalization.

It takes a lot of arrogance to require people in loving, consensual relationships to prove that they aren’t like people who prey on the weak and abused.

It takes a lot of arrogance to assume that people who have waited centuries to enjoy the same protections under the law need to “slow down and think about the flag (they’re) flying.”

It takes a lot of arrogance to ask people who live every day with fear of losing their jobs, losing their families, losing their churches to promise that they won’t be mad at people who support laws and practices that encourage those things.

It takes a lot of arrogance to set yourself up as a martyr when your words have caused parents to turn their children out on the street, when your words have driven people to suicide.

My friends don’t have to answer your questions. I don’t have to answer your questions. They’ve been answered, over and over and over again.

If you don’t want to listen to why we’re waving the flag, that’s your business. But until you’re willing to answer why you won’t listen, I’m done answering your questions.

With all that, I’m not sure that there is any point in writing my own answers – especially since I don’t share the assumption of the Gospel Coalition that “verses” and “passages” are the definitive way that matters ought to get settled.

Have I missed any other blog posts or articles which answer the questions?




Kristina Killgrove (Powered by Osteons)

Roman Bioarchaeology Carnival LXXIII

There was a lot going on in the month of June, but with surprisingly few pictures, so here is a quick summary:

New Finds
The grave in Ethiopia where the woman dubbed
‘Sleeping Beauty’ was discovered.
Photograph: Graeme Laidlaw

  • 11 June - "Sarcophagus found in sand pit," in Turkey, via Hurriyet Daily News. Seems to date to the 2nd-3rd century AD and includes two people, a male and a female. (Of course the report claims they're spouses.)
  • 22 June - "Ancient Greeks were afraid of zombies," via Discovery News. A 5th-3rd c BC site in Sicily has two odd tombs out of about 3,000. I don't know the context at all, but the description of the tombs (with heavy things placed on the bodies) doesn't seem all that exciting. But there's a "revenant" article I keep meaning to read and write about... 
  • June - "Osmanskata Mogila Tumulus." Publication of a very brief abstract of finds from 2010 of six cremation pyres from the 3rd-4th centuries AD in Bulgaria. via FASTI Online.

Other Interesting Stuff

  • 17 June - "Did ebola strike ancient Athens?" via LiveScience.  I wrote a tl;dr "No" post on this, though I will admit I did no research.  When a new harebrained theory doesn't even bother to mention an ancient DNA study claiming it was typhoid fever, I'm probably going to dismiss the new theory. (Also, I emailed the article author, whose answer for excluding the DNA study was "I couldn't cite everything."  Mm hm.)

Archaeological News on Tumblr

ISIL Takfiris destroy iconic statue outside Palmyra museum

Members of the ISIL Takfiri militant group have destroyed a renowned statue of a lion outside the...

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Numismatology or "numismatics"?

sorting, sorting...
David Welsh, an engineer turned coin dealer, reckons he is by that dint a "professional numismatist". He presumes imperiously to demand that  others provide him and his guffawing collecting mates with their "curriculum vitae or resume [...] regarding his education, professional experience, political philosophy and motives". This they say is "essential" for ethical use of social media. When I questioned this notion, he protests: " Mr. Barford confuses "academically qualified" with "professional". On the other hand, is not demanding to know details of somebody's "education" in the case of an archaeologist really is tantamount to determining whether they are academically qualified to do the job? He then switches the question to how one "makes a living", whereby proving one is "professional" to the satisfaction of Mr Welsh, means providing a financial statement of earnings from various activities, which seems to me to be going much too far. What is the matter with these people? 

Anyway, just what do we mean by "numismatist/numismatics"? The context of this rather pointless exchange  - which he initiated - between me and a US shopkeeper is the (weak, IMO) "justification" offered for the Black Hat Militants of the collecting world opposing the implementation by the US of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property in the case of dugup ancient coins. That is presented primarily in terms of the suggestion (never documented) that to prevent illicitly exported coins entering the US would hit the ability of hundreds of amateur numismatists to use them as a source of evidence in their study of the past. A catchy slogan, maybe, but what is behind it?

The problem is that there seem to be two meanings to the word numismatics, which leads to imprecision in formulation of what it is we are discussing. To me, if we are to treat "numismatics" as a discipline which leads to understanding the past, it has to be treated as a discipline with a methodology which allows that and any interpretations based on it to be interrogated in the normal manner. And that is how I know it at first hand, from my own university studies (a course and seminar series as well as other reading and teaching and practice) and later collaboration professionally with numismatists in the Academy here in Poland.

The problem is that elsewhere, and in the US particularly (but not exclusively) mere coin collecting is also called "numismatics". Dealer Dave Welsh wants coin selling to also be called "numismatics". I suppose a parallel would be stamp collecting which its practitioners call "philately". But just using a catalogue to put rectangles of paper with colourful pictures of butterflies (or round pieces of metal with blurred pictures of Roman emperors) in order in an album/coin folder or tray is not really any kind of "study" and any "methodology" of this kind of ordering is the most primitive. This is why I have many times requested that these "heap-of-loose-coins-on-a-table-numismatists" who want to claim privileges from the US State Department and the indulge of the rest of us stakeholders, demonstrate the nature of this form of 'study of the past' by detailing (or even outlining) the methodology of their discipline - apparently to the great annoyance of those who consider themselves such "numismatists", but have no answer to even such a basic question.

Let's have a look at some of the claims made for coin collecting as such a form of study and a few other easily accessible definitions:
"import restrictions will certainly impact the American public’s ability to study and preserve historical coins" (here too).

"import restrictions may destroy the traditional freedom Americans have always enjoyed in being able to import and collect historical coins, damaging the study and appreciation of these fascinating coins [...] collecting helps preserve the past and encourages the appreciation of other cultures".

 "Jared Clark wrote [...] These restrictions will negatively impact my studies as a student",

 Witschonke: "Historically, there was often a close cooperation among dealers, collectors, and scholars who wished to study ancient coins to advance numismatic knowledge" (making clear that dealers are not themselves scholars who advance numismatic knowledge, they are just suppliers).

Tompa: "Such a sea change in coin collecting would be devastating not only for most collectors and dealers, but to numismatics itself. Access to coins is essential for numismatics to thrive" (again the notion that a discipline "numismatics' exists independedntly of mere collecting and commerce).

ACCG: "a few dedicated archaeologist-numismatists do care about coins and have used them to make important contributions to the study of numismatics," (numismatics as a discipline)

“the longstanding interests of collectors in the preservation, study, display and enjoyment of cultural artifacts against an ‘archaeology over all’ perspective.”

Susan Headley, "Numismatics is the scientific analysis and study of money and the uses to which people have put money throughout history".

ANS: "Numismatics is the study of coins and money, of coins and coin-like objects. The value of coins as historical evidence was understood even in antiquity, but the systematic development of the study of coins as a proper discipline, with a methodology of its own, began only in the late eighteenth century with the work of Joseph Hilarius Eckhel, an Austrian priest whose Doctrina Numorum Veterum (Vienna, 1793-1799)

Numismatology[...] " n. 1. The science which treats of coins and medals, in their relation to history; numismatics".

Coiney Favourite Wikipedia: "Die Numismatik [...] ist die wissenschaftliche Beschäftigung mit Geld und seiner Geschichte [...] eine hochspezialisierte historische und archäologische Teildisziplin".

Wikipedia: "eine eigentliche Fundmünzennumismatik herausgebildet, die heute den dynamischsten und methodisch innovativsten Teil des Fachs bildet",

Wisconsin GOP: "WHEREAS, we believe along with Ronald Reagan, “that coin collecting has educational and cultural value, promotes greater understanding of our history and heritage, and is enjoyed by millions of Americans,”  [...] we oppose the claims of those who say: [...] (c) only foreign states and their favored academics should have the right to preserve, protect and study the past" (in other words they promote US public participation in this study).
So, what is it to be? Only the most crass philistines among the Black Hat guys of the coin dealing world would deny that the removal of ancient coins from their context and throwing away the information about that context ('oops I lost all the papers/) destroys the ability to use them as a source of information by those disciplines in which that context is paramount (archaeology, contextual numismatics/ Fundmünzennumismatik). Is 'heap-of-coin-on-a-table' numismatics always the socially useful (in some way) methodological means to study material evidence to obtain a picture of the past, or is it just the collection of a lot of loose pretty objects like so many stamps depicting butterflies as the inspiration of the emotions and imagination? If it is the former, then obviously we discuss it (and the numismatic trade) in different terms than the latter.

Mr Welsh provides his definition of the discipline:
A professional numismatist is one who is qualified by knowledge and experience to earn his living in the field of numismatics, either by dealing in coins or by writing about them.
That I guess is the same as saying that a professional electronic engineer is the guy in a radio shack shop who can correctly sort a pile of C23E-5W and C23E-12W connectors that have come to him mixed and put them in the correct drawers. Selling electronic components is not the same as the intellectual process of designing them and creating their technical specifications. A coinshop owner is not the same as a Professor Suchodolski, Kiersnowski, Gumowski, Burche, Reece or any others. It is presumptuous of Welsh to claim equivalence.

Who's Pulling the Journalists' Strings?

I spent several hours today sorting out what should have been a simple story. The first breaking news reports suggested that ISIL militants were just smashing some Palmyran busts for the hell of it - probably as propaganda suggesting they were steadfastly keeping to the paths of Koranic righteousness. Then the element appeared that this was "outside Palmyra Museum", and mentions were made of the Al-Alat lion being smashed a few days earlier. Most accounts in the media had the same erroneous information on this, accompanied by a quote from Maamoun Abdelkarim, Syrian antiquities minister. They were invariably also linked to comments from UNESCO's Bokova. Then one mentioned that "also on Thursday" ISIL had stopped a smuggler and tried him and destroyed his contraband. I began to have doubts about what the photos previously said to be taken in Palmyra showed. Then an additional version appeared when this was a failed 'monuments man' story (and a "baying crowd"). All the time though that lion was in it. I am beginning to suspect that behind all of these stories was a single badly-prepared press brief and that journalists had to improvise and that's why we get a whole range of different versions. What actually happened (or whether anything happened at all) will perhaps become clear later. At least one of the statues shown was [I think] a fake, which suggests rather that this involved smuggling rather than an artefact-rescuer. Who was behind this story appearing in the forms it did? Why were the faces blurred out?

Vignette: Manipulation of the press

Archaeology Magazine

Kamikaze ShipwreckMATSURRA, JAPAN—The Asahi Shimbun reports that underwater archaeologists surveying the waters off the island of Takashima have located the remains a second shipwreck that was part of one of the two 13th-century Mongol invasions that were destroyed by the “divine wind” (Kamikaze) typhoons. Artifacts from the second invasion, in 1281, have been found around Takashima Island, and a vessel from that fleet was discovered in 2011. The recently discovered ship is estimated to have been 65 feet long and around 20 feet wide and was carrying 13th-century Chinese ceramics, as well as ironware that positively identified it as a ship belonging to one of the two doomed Mongol fleets. “We have successfully confirmed the two ships from the Mongolian invasion, and further research on them is expected to lead to the discovery of even more sunken Mongolian ships,” said University of the Ryukyus archaeologist Yoshifumi Ikeda. To read more about some of the most important underwater discoveries made by archaeologists, go to "History's 10 Greatest Wrecks."

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

Archaeo-Blogger Acknowledges Assad Regime Involvement

In a long post, archaeo-blogger Sam Hardy has examined the involvement of the Assad regime in looting at Palmyra before the site fell into ISIS' hands.  He deserves kudos for doing so now given the unexplained relucatance of the archaeological lobby to criticize the Assad regime in the past.   Still, as always, caution is warranted given the untrustworthy nature of most media sources in the region upon which Hardy has relied for this and other blog posts he has made in the past.

Archaeology Magazine

Bobkitten Burial NecklaceSPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS—In the 1980s, archaeologists excavating a Hopewell Culture (ca. 100 B.C.–A.D. 400) burial mound 50 miles north of St. Louis found the remains of 22 adults buried in a ring around an infant. They also discovered the skeleton of a small animal, which they assumed was a puppy, buried with a necklace made of marine shells and bear teeth. The Hopewell people were known to bury dogs in village sites, so the discovery did not strike the team as unusual. But more recently, Max Planck Institute zooarchaeologist Angela Perri, a specialist in canine burials, examined the remains and made a startling discovery. "As soon as I saw the skull, I knew it was definitely not a puppy,” Perri told Science. “It was a cat of some kind.” She determined the remains belonged to a bobcat that was no more than seven months old when it died and found no marks on the bones that would suggest it had been sacrificed. “It shocked me to my toes,” says the Illinois State Archaeological Survey's Kenneth Farnsworth. “I’ve never seen anything like it in almost 70 excavated mounds. Somebody important must have convinced other members of the society that it must be done. I’d give anything to know why.” To read more about this period, go to "Who Were the Hopewell?"

Archaeological News on Tumblr

13th century Mongolian ship Kublai Khan sent to invade Japan found

Archaeologists have discovered the wreck of a Mongolian ship that was part of a fleet dispatched by...

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

No Adam, No Christ?

I was asked a question on Facebook, and thought I would share the answer I gave. Here’s the question:

I was hoping for a little clarification on how one might reconcile a non literal first Adam with Paul’s gospel. 

In Paul’s mind Christ is the “second Adam,” having succeeded where the “first Adam” failed. According to Paul, it is precisely because of the failure of the first that the second was required.

Can anyone point me in the right direction to help me resolve these complex theological challenges?

Here is what I wrote in response:

This is a great question. What I would note is that, if Adam in Genesis 2-3 is simply a symbolic depiction of what is typical of humanity in general, then the comparison still works just fine: Jesus succeeded where human beings in general failed, not just where one failed.
The contrast seems to me to be between two ways of being human, and just as being in Christ is not about being descended from Jesus, there is no obvious reason why being descended from Adam is crucial to the comparison.
I would also note that Paul plays fast and loose with the details in Genesis in order to make the contrast he does. If he were a literalist, he would have said “just as through two human beings sin entered the world…” The story as read literally is about a man and a woman who eat what they are not supposed to. Clearly Paul’s aim is not to stick to the details of Genesis as literal fact not to be tampered with, but to say something about Jesus.

See also a couple of older posts of mine on this topic - why Jesus and Paul were not literalists, and Genesis 2 is not literal (the Bible tells me so) - as well as one by Pete Enns.

Origen on Adam

Adam C. McCollum (hmmlorientalia)

Rabbula Gospels online!

I learned earlier this week from a tweet by Matthew Crawford (@mattrcrawford) that the Rabbula Gospels are freely available to view online in fairly high-quality images. This sixth-century manuscript (Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 1.56) is famous especially for its artwork at the beginning of the codex before, surrounding, and following the Eusebian canon tables, including both figures from biblical history and animals: prophets, Mary, Jesus, scenes from the Gospels (Judas is hanging from a tree on f. 12r), the evangelists, birds, deer, rabbits, &c. Beginning on f. 13r, the folios are strictly pictures, the canon tables having been completed. These paintings are very pleasing, but lovers of Syriac script have plenty to feast on, too. The main text itself is written in large Estrangela, with the colophon (f. 291v-292v) also in Estrangela but mostly of a much smaller size. Small notes about particular lections are often in small Serto. The manuscript also has several notes in Syriac, Arabic, and Garšūnī in various hands (see articles by Borbone and Mengozzi in the bibliography below). From f. 15v to f. 19r is an index lectionum in East Syriac script. The Gospel text itself begins on f. 20r with Mt 1:23 (that is, the very beginning of the Gospel is missing).

The images are found here. (The viewer is identical to the one that uses.)

Rabbula Gospels, f. 231r, from the story of Jesus' turning the water into wine, Jn 2.

Rabbula Gospels, f. 231r, from the story of Jesus’ turning the water into wine, Jn 2.

Rabbula Gospels, f. 5r. The servants filling the jugs with the water that will become wine.

Rabbula Gospels, f. 5r. The servants filling the jugs with the water that will become wine.

For those interested in studying this important manuscript beyond examining these now accessible images, here are a few resources:

Bernabò, Massimò, ed. Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula: Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, Plut. 1.56. L’illustrazione del Nuovo Testamento nella Siria del VI secolo. Folia picta 1. Rome, 2008. A review here.

Bernabò, Massimò, “Miniature e decorazione,” pp. 79-112 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula.

Bernabò, Massimò, “The Miniatures in the Rabbula Gospels: Postscripta to a Recent Book,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 68 (2014): 343-358. Available here.

Borbone, Pier Giorgio, “Codicologia, paleografia, aspetti storici,” pp. 23-58 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula. Available here.

Borbone, Pier Giorgio, “Il Codice di Rabbula e i suoi compagni. Su alcuni manoscritti siriaci della Biblioteca medicea laurenziana (Mss. Pluteo 1.12; Pluteo 1.40; Pluteo 1.58),” Egitto e Vicino Oriente 32 (2009): 245-253. Available here.

Borbone, Pier Giorgio, “L’itinéraire du “Codex de Rabbula” selon ses notes marginales,” pp. 169-180 in F. Briquel-Chatonnet and M. Debié, eds., Sur les pas des Araméens chrétiens. Mélanges offerts à Alain Desreumaux. Paris, 2010. Available here.

Botte, Bernard, “Note sur l’Évangéliaire de Rabbula,” Revue des sciences religieuses 36 (1962): 13-26.

Cecchelli, Carlo, Giuseppe Furlani, and Mario Salmi, eds. The Rabbula Gospels: Facsimile Edition of the Miniatures of the Syriac Manuscript Plut. I, 56 in the Medicaean-Laurentian Library. Monumenta occidentis 1. Olten and Lausanne, 1959.

Leroy, Jules, “L’auteur des miniatures du manuscrit syriaque de Florence, Plut. I, 56, Codex Rabulensis,” Comptes-rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, Paris 98 (1954): 278-283.

Leroy, Jules, Les manuscrits syriaques à peintures, conservés dans les bibliothèques d’Europe et d’Orient. Contribution à l’étude de l’iconographie des églises de langue syriaque. Paris, 1964.

Macchiarella, Gianclaudio, “Ricerche sulla miniatura siriaca del VI sec. 1. Il codice. c.d. di Rabula,” Commentari NS 22 (1971): 107-123.

Mango, Marlia Mundell, “Where Was Beth Zagba?,” Harvard Ukrainian Studies 7 (1983): 405-430.

Mango, Marlia Mundell, “The Rabbula Gospels and Other Manuscripts Produced in the Late Antique Levant,” pp. 113-126 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula.

Mengozzi, Alessandro, “Le annotazioni in lingua araba sul codice di Rabbula,” pp. 59-66 in Il Tetravangelo di Rabbula.

Mengozzi, Alessandro, “The History of Garshuni as a Writing System: Evidence from the Rabbula Codex,” pp. 297-304 in F. M. Fales & G. F. Grassi, eds., CAMSEMUD 2007. Proceedings of the 13th Italian Meeting of Afro-Asiatic Linguistics, held in Udine, May 21st-24th, 2007. Padua, 2010.Available here.

Paykova, Aza Vladimirovna, “Четвероевангелие Раввулы (VI в.) как источник по истории раннехристианского искусства,” (The Rabbula Gospels (6th cent.) as a Source for the History of Early Christian Art) Палестинский сборник 29 [92] (1987): 118-127.

Rouwhorst, Gerard A.M., “The Liturgical Background of the Crucifixion and Resurrection Scene of the Syriac Gospel Codex of Rabbula: An Example of the Relatedness between Liturgy and Iconography,” pp. 225-238 in Steven Hawkes-Teeples, Bert Groen, and Stefanos Alexopoulos, eds., Studies on the Liturgies of the Christian East: Selected Papers of the Third International Congress of the Society of Oriental Liturgy Volos, May 26-30, 2010. Eastern Christian Studies 18. Leuven / Paris / Walpole, MA, 2013.

Sörries, Reiner, Christlich-antike Buchmalerei im Überblick. Wiesbaden, 1993.

van Rompay, Lucas, “‘Une faucille volante': la représentation du prophète Zacharie dans le codex de Rabbula et la tradition syriaque,” pp. 343-354 in Kristoffel Demoen and Jeannine Vereecken, eds., La spiritualité de l’univers byzantin dans le verbe et l’image. Hommages offerts à Edmond Voordeckers à l’occasion de son éméritat. Instrumenta Patristica 30. Steenbrugis and Turnhout, 1997.

Wright, David H., “The Date and Arrangement of the Illustrations in the Rabbula Gospels,” Dumbarton Oaks Papers 27 (1973): 199-208.

Peter Konieczny and Sandra Sadowski (History of the Ancient World)

30 Greek Ideas that Changed the World

30 Greek Ideas that Changed the World

Created by The Power of Music Art

Greeks have greatly influenced and contributed to culture, arts, exploration, literature, philosophy, politics, architecture, music, mathematics, science and technology, business, cuisine, and sports, both historically and contemporarily.

Greek culture has evolved over thousands of years, with its beginning in the Mycenaean civilization, continuing through the Classical period, the Roman and Eastern Roman periods and was profoundly affected by Christianity, which it in turn influenced and shaped. The Greeks of the Classical era also made several notable contributions to science and helped lay the foundations of several western scientific traditions, like philosophy, historiography and mathematics.

Here are the 30 ideas:

1. Democracy
2. Medicine
3. History
4. Philosophy
5. Theater
6. Geometry
7. Discoveries in Modern Science
8. Epic and Lyric Poetry
9. Logic
10. Forms of Art and Architecure
11. Rhetoric
12. Olympic Games
13. The Hippocratic Oath
14. Syllogism
15. Marathon
16. Cartography
17. Coin Money
18. Thermometer
19. Early form of the calendar
20. Anchor
21. Central Heating
22. Levers
23. Crane
24. Fundamental Steam Engine
25. Water mill
26. Pizza
27. Wheelbarrow
28. Catapult
29. Feta
30. Alarm Clock

30 Greek Ideas that Changed the World

The post 30 Greek Ideas that Changed the World appeared first on History of the Ancient World.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Confusion over new photos of ISIL Destroying Palmyra statues

Here's an interesting one [Louisa Loveluck, 'Islamic State takes sledge hammer to 'irreplaceable' ancient Palmyra ruins', Telegraph 02 Jul 2015 (mirrored here anonymously: 'IS destroys statues outside Syria's Palmyra museum')] :
Also on Thursday, the group released photos showing its members in Aleppo destroying several statues from Palmyra that were being smuggled through the northern province. "An IS checkpoint in Wilyat (region of) Aleppo arrested a person transporting several statues from Palmyra," the group said in an online statement. "The guilty party was taken to an Islamic court in the town of Minbej, where it was decided that the trafficker would be punished and the statues destroyed".
Now, if ISIL is behind the smuggling of antiquities out of Syria, the only reason why they'd stop and punish this trafficker was if he was trying to avoid paying the organization protection money. Or is there another explanation? The byline to Loveluck's article says "isil militants have released images showing a civilian being forced to destroy priceless artefacts from the Roman city of Palmyra " but then the caption says the photo shows " ISIS militants use heavy duty sledgehammers to destroy the historic statues in front of a large crowd, Palmyra".  In fact what does the photo of the blokes with the sledge hammer show? Were the photos taken in Palmyra, Manbidz (Minbej) or Aleppo?

 Is this Palmyra, Aleppo or Manbidz? Who is this man in blue stripey shirt? (note
the brown leather jacket behind). Right,  the same guy unblurred on another shot

Another man in brown leather jacket carrying the
pieces, note the bearded man in the background.
A completely different story emerges from a Mail article: Tom Wyke, 'Activists caught smuggling Palmyra statues to safety are lashed - then forced to destroy priceless antiquities in front of a baying crowd', MailOnline, 2 July 2015
An activist had been attempting to smuggle the statues out of Palmyra only for the statues to be uncovered when he was caught by the militant group. As punishment for his crime, pictures show the activist being publicly flogged after being forced to use a hammer to destroy the statues he had been trying to save from ISIS. [...] After carrying out the humiliating destruction of the statues, the activist was publicly flogged [...] According to the ISIS statement which accompanied the pictures, the historical statues are described as 'contraband'. It claims that activists had been trying to smuggle out the statues, fearing their destruction at the hands of ISIS. [...] According to the captions, the statues were cleared for destruction after being passed through an Islamic Court. The shocking photos go on to show the activist being force to help an ISIS militant smash the seven statues into pieces.[...]

"With his bulging black suicide vest strapped tightly to his waist,
an ISIS militant reads out the crime"(Mail).
See the bearded guy on the right.
 The article contains three closeups of the six statues shown on the carpet in other photos. Looking at one of them, one wonders what in fact has been destroyed here:

A fake, I think
Unfortunately, when you see the general photo of the six, this one (on the right) stands out in colour and sharpness from the other five, but that does not mean that the other five are authentic.

Smuggler or activist? It seems a bit strange to me that the route the "activist" chose to take the busts to "safety" was northeast, up towards the Turkish border, rather than the southwest to the government held regions where, presumably the others evacuated objects from Palmyra are. It is interesting to speculate in whose interests it is to represent the individuals involved as "activists getting  flogged' rather than "smugglers caught and intimidated".

With reference to the Mail coverage, it should be pointed out that the photos do not show a "baying" crowd as the article discusses them, the crowd (all of them men or small boys) watches on rather solemnly - so the Mail  seems to have got that wrong too.

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ancient granaries found in Denizli

Structures from 1,900 years ago have been unearthed during archaeological excavations in the ancient...

The Archaeology News Network

Second 13th century Mongolian shipwreck found off Japan

A shipwreck found here is the second confirmed vessel from a 13th century Mongolian fleet that foundered in a typhoon in a failed attempt to invade Japan, researchers said July 2. The bow of a ship believed to be from a 13th century Mongolian invasion attempt,  off Matsuura, Nagasaki Prefecture [Credit: University of the Ryukyus]Archaeologists from the University of the Ryukyus and the Matsuura city board of education determined...

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Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

Moveglass: gli occhiali per visitare Viterbo in realtà aumentata

Move Glass sono i nuovi occhiali in realtà aumentata che presto permetteranno a chiunque di visitare la città di Viterbo in maniera innovativa.

Blogging Pompeii

Out now: Oebalus 9

Oebalus. Studi sulla Campania nell'Antichita, vol. 9, 2015 (ISBN: 9788866870876), € 75,00


ELIODORO SAVINO, Caligola e il ponte di barche tra Baia e Puteoli: una reinterpretazione

PORFIRIO MONDA, Una nuova antefissa arcaica da Fratte

MARIO NOTOMISTA, Breve nota sulle trasformazioni architettoniche della Villa di Diomede a Pompei

HEIKKI SOLIN E PAOLA CARUSO, Dai nomi alle aree sepolcrali. Memorie beneventane da epigrafi note ed inedite

ALFREDO DE LUCA, Proposta di identificazione per il cosiddetto busto di Livia da Stabiae

MARIA AMODIO, Materiali per lo studio delle catacombe napoletane di S. Severo alla Sanità

CARLO DE SIMONE, Varia etrusca. 1) Ancora la ‘mozione’. 2) Sul pertinentivo. 3) Il gentilizio latino-etrusco Vederna

GIUSEPPE CAMODECA, Iscrizioni latine inedite di Nola e Abella

ANTONIA SERRITELLA, Caselle in Pittari: un sito lucano nell’entroterra del golfo di Policastro

HELGA DI GIUSEPPE, Pasti per una divinità presso il trivio della Porta Mugonia a Roma

UMBERTO SOLDOVIERI, Una nuova dedica all’imperatore Caro da Cosilinum (rilettura di I.It., III, 1, 221)

Recensioni, M. Amodio, Le sepolture a Neapolis dall’età imperiale al tardo- antico. Scelte insediative, tipologie sepolcrali e usi funerari tra III e VI secolo (ARMANDO CRISTILLI)

Kristina Killgrove (Forbes)

What Cloudsdale And Pegasi In 'My Little Pony' Teach Kids About Classical Greece And Rome

What exactly is My Little Pony teaching your kids about the ancient Greeks and Romans?


Notes on Rhodian inscriptions

Buck, no. 100 (= DGE 272: Anne Jeffery's notes), set up by one of two bearers of the name Idameneus (both 6th c. BCE Rhodians).

DGE 274 (Anne Jeffery's notes): an amphora of one (the only) Kosmias with a delivery directive.

An aryballos of one Astyochidas (Anne Jeffery's notes).

A kulixs of one Philto [LPGN I s.v. 3] (= CEG 460 (!): Anne Jeffery's notes).

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

Online Course: Superpowers of the Ancient World: the Near East

Superpowers of the Ancient World: the Near East 
Experience the world’s first international age, 3,500 years ago in the ancient Near East, with this free online course.
Over four weeks, this free online course explores four ancient Near-Eastern cultures and how they interacted with each other 3,500 years ago.

Tracking the Egyptian, Mitannian and Hittite superpowers

Travel, diplomacy, trade and warfare feature, as we track the ancient Egyptian, Mitannian and Hittite superpowers. We will see how they came into contact with each other in their efforts to extend their influence into the ever-contested Syria-Palestine lands.
We will examine objects from the University of Liverpool’s Garstang Museum of Archaeology - one of the most important collections of artefacts in the UK - enabling you to learn not only about the history of this period, but also how experts use artefacts to reconstruct the past.

Using the present to illuminate the past

The archaeological evidence that we will consult is often disparate and fragmentary, so in order to understand it better, we will look into current approaches to international relations and discuss modern parallels with an expert from our Department of Politics.

Accessing ancient landscapes

Our experts will familiarise you with the ancient Near-Eastern landscapes and introduce you to key objects that featured in diplomacy and warfare at this time in the distant past.
You will also consider the bigger picture, as empires prospered and floundered in the struggle to become the main superpower of the ancient Near East.


This course is for anyone interested in archaeology and ancient history. Previous study in archaeology is not necessary, as this course serves as an introduction to the study of the history of the ancient Near East.

Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu)

Notes de numismatique et de toreutique du Musée archéologique d’Odessa

Brujako, I.V. (2014) : Записки отдела нумизматики и торевтики Одесского археологического музея. Вып. II /  Zapiski otdela numizmatiki i torevtiki Odesskogo arheologicheskogo muzeja. Vyp. II, Odessa, [Notes de numismatique et de toreutique du Musée archéologique d’Odessa. Vol. II]

Ce recueil d’articles regroupe pour moitié des contributions sur la numismatique et la toreutique antiques concernant le nord de la mer Noire.

Le sommaire :

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Syria - Palmyra: The Mother of All Blog Posts

I thought some of my blog posts were long, but.... Sam Hardy has outdone me for length this time! The mega-post 'Palmyra: looting under the rebels, the Assad regime and the Islamic State?' went up today. It's a cracker, a must-read. That is except for antiquities trade lobbyists whose attention span will obviously not be up to it, and will probably stop at the bit, if I know them, where he says "But, for one reason or another, more and more false information is entering the public record; and it is being used more and more actively".

Sam has obviously put in a lot of hard work on critically comparing the various available sources and finding material that many of us passed over. He points out the problem of a routine uncritical churning out of near-duplicate texts by journalists which seems to be "an increasingly pervasive problem in reporting of illicit trade and political violence in Syria and Iraq". He uses the term "churnalism" for this problem that has plagued any attempt to try and work out what is happening in the middle East. Texts on Palmyra are a very indicative example of the process.

Sam approaches in a very systematic and objective manner the problem of looting under the (US-supported) FSA and then what happened when the Syrian military gained control of the site.
Illicit extraction of cultural assets may not have been (visibly) intensive (though that may be because the construction of the tombs covered the evidence from satellite view), but it was extensive, after the Free Syrian Army had been driven out, yet before the Islamic State had taken over.
Quite clearly the Syrian military was in some way involved in looting this site in 2012 onwards. The city fell to ISIL on May 21st. Sam adduces evidence to show that the Palmyra museum in fact had not been effectively evacuated before 17th May, even though local officials were stating that it had. There was a last-minute evacuation of statues by the Syrian authorities which Hardy suggests was a
grand act of propaganda, ironically to make the regime appear civilised, a cultured alternative to the barbaric Islamic State. That, and the wider media campaign about protecting cultural property by a regime that has militarised archaeological sites and is barrel-bombing historic cities, demonstrate that information about trafficking and policing, too, will be an instrument of propaganda.
Which is going to make our work harder. Sam then goes on to the Thursday "Flogging propaganda" of ISIL, citing my texts on the material.
Could looters have stolen this material from the museum or one of the antiquities service’s safe houses, when the Islamic State certainly has control of the museum and probably has control of the safe houses? [...] Could the Islamic State have uncovered the unevacuated objects and destroyed a few (and scapegoated someone) for show, but preserved a lot for sale?
This would make sense if they are planning to flog off the rest to raise cash. By putting out widely-discussed material about "How ISIL is stopping smuggling artefacts to foreign markets" which will no doubt very soon be picked up gratefully by the lobbyists, the group could be hoping we lower our guard. That's what the dealers want too.

Scapegoating, or an outright fraud? How realistic
is this flogging scene? Note position of victim's hands, the
effete way the whip is held and at what distance from the
victim. Now look at the faces of the crowd.

Société Internationale des Amis de Cicéron (Tulliana News)

SIAC Newsletter 86 (14/2015)


Les noms des membres de la SIAC sont en gras. – I nomi dei membri della SIAC sono in grassetto. – Names of SIAC members are written with bold characters.


Spinelli, Emidio, Sesto Empirico: contro il corpo, contro l’anima. L’uomo non può essere criterio, “Syzetesis”, 2, 1, 2015. LINK


XIV Congreso de Estudios Clásicos, 13-18/07/2015, Barcelona. Invitado especial: Carlos Lévy. LINK

– International conference Horace and Seneca. Interactions, Intertexts, Interpretations, Heidelberg, 27-29 July 2015. Francesca Romana Berno (Roma, Sapienza), Nurses’ Wishes, Philosophical “otium”, and Fat Pigs: Seneca Epist. 60,1 and Horace Epist. 1,4; Barbara Del Giovane (Firenze), “Dressing” Philosophy with “sal niger”. A re-consideration of Horace’s role in Seneca’s approach to diatribic tradition. LINK



– Dreßler, Jan, Zivilisation, Recht und Gewalt in Ciceros Pro Sestio, “Gymnasium”, 122, 2, 2015, 109-132. LINK

– Dyck, Andrew R., rev. of Celia E. Schultz, A Commentary on Cicero, De divinatione I, Ann Arbor, University of Michigan Press, 2014, “Bryn Mawr Classical Review”, 2015.06.05. LINK

– Gorostidi Pi, Diana, Rescatando a Baiter: A propósito de la origo de Marco Celio Rufo (Cic. Cael. 5), “Anuari de Filologia. Antiqua et Mediaeualia”, 4, 2014, 45-54. LINK

– Kapust, Daniel J., Rethinking Rousseau’s Tyranny of Orators: Cicero’s On Duties and the Beauty of True Glory, in James Farr and David Lay Williams (eds.), The General Will: The Evolution of a Concept, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2015, 175-196. LINK

– Kontonasios, Panagiotes, Cicero’s Brutus: A History of Rhetoric or a History of Politics?, “ETC: A Review of General Semantics”, 71, 3, 2014. LINK

– López Barja de Quiroga, Pedro, rec. di F. Fontanella, Politica e diritto naturale nel De legibus di Cicerone, “Athenaeum”, 103, 1, 2015, 273-275. LINK


– Spettacolo teatrale Le Filippiche. Cicerone oratore, interpretato e diretto da Piero Nuti, a cura di Pierpaolo Fornaro da M.T. Cicerone, 10 luglio 2015, Bene Vagienna (CN). LINK

– XXVIth International Colloquium Studienkreis ‘Geschichte der Sprachwissenschaft’ (SgdS), Reflexions on Language and Linguistic Theories: Concepts and Controversies from Antiquity to Present Times, Berlin, 16-18 July 2015. Thorsten Fögen (Durham University, UK & Humboldt-Universität Berlin), Cicero und Sueton zur Herausbildung der römischen Rhetorik. LINK

[Last updated on July 3rd, 2015.]

Filed under: Newsletter

Blogging Pompeii

News: Pompei. Comitato UNESCO soddisfatto dei progressi

From ECampania:
Pompei. Comitato UNESCO soddisfatto dei progressi
Osanna:”Positivo il riconoscimento del lavoro svolto”

di Giuseppe Scarica

Rispetto alla continuità concessa al Grande Progetto Pompei intervengono il Soprintendente Massimo Osanna e il Generale Giovanni Nistri, direttore del progetto.

“Il positivo riconoscimento dell’Unesco per le attività condotte nel sito archeologico di Pompei è prova che il costante impegno che la Direzione Generale e la Soprintendenza hanno messo in campo per il sito attraverso il Grande Progetto, sta dando risultati che ci vengono riconosciuti e che sono in assoluto tangibili – dichiara il Soprintendente Massimo Osanna -. Basta farsi una passeggiata negli scavi per rendersi conto che ormai Pompei è un grande cantiere, che vede in corso d’opera attività di restauro e messa in sicurezza. Tra questi ultimi in particolare è previsto un grande intervento sui fronti di scavo per la mitigazione del rischio idrogeologico in aree in gran parte ancora non scavate, fondamentale a contrastare e arginare le situazioni di crollo e la sicurezza generale di Pompei. E ancora mi preme mettere in evidenza le numerose attività di valorizzazione: dalla grande Mostra “Pompei e l’Europa”, alla ricca stagione di eventi serali con spettacoli al Teatro grande e passeggiate notturne, alla realizzazione dei percorsi per disabili appena avviata, all’ampliamento dell’offerta turistica con l’apertura di nuove Domus, alla progettazione e a breve alla realizzazione della segnaletica di servizi e della nuova identità visiva. E inoltre il progetto di valorizzazione del Laboratorio di Ricerche Applicate della Soprintendenza, che conserva reperti unici organici ritrovati nel sito e che sarà adeguatamente riorganizzato e reso visitabile al pubblico.
Read the full article here.


ArcheoNet BE

Inventaris archeologische zones gelanceerd

Vandaag lanceerde het agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed de inventaris van archeologische zones. In deze inventaris worden zones opgenomen waarvan op basis van waarnemingen en wetenschappelijke argumenten aangenomen kan worden dat ze hoogstwaarschijnlijk archeologische waarde hebben. In eerste instantie werden 58 historische stadskernen opgenomen in de inventaris.

Meer informatie vind je op

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

The Right Thing To Do

Christians should support same-sex marriage - Chuck Queen quote

Christians should support same-sex marriage regardless of what one personally believes about marriage because treating same-sex couples with dignity and respecting their rights to have equal protection under the law is the right thing to do.

- Chuck Queen

The quote comes from an article in Baptist News on “Why Christians can and should support the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality.”

Jim Davila (

More destruction of Palmyra's antiquities? Plus Hatra news.

PALMYRA WATCH: Disturbing stories about a "smuggler" who was caught trying to make off with some Palmyrene statues. He was sentenced to whipping and the statues were destroyed. It is unclear whether they were ancient artifacts or replicas.

Islamic State militants hammer Roman-era statues to pieces. Images show militants publicly destroying ancient effigies in Syrian city of Palmyra as punishment for attempted smuggling (AFP).

A specific case: Effigy of Zenobia, ancient queen, among statues destroyed by IS (Times of Israel). More on Queen Zenobia here and links.

Also, Maamoun Abdelkarim, the Syrian antiquities director, appears to have confirmed a story I noted at the end of May: IS destroys iconic lion statue at Syria’s Palmyra museum. Irreplaceable Lion of al-Lat was 2,000 years old; brutal terror group also smashes other artifacts from Palmyra (AFP).

Related: UNESCO Head Warns Against 'Culture Cleansing' of Jihadists. UNESCO chief Irina Bokova calls for a campaign against ISIS "culture cleansing" (Arutz Sheva).
"I think the growing awareness that hard power will not be enough to defeat violent extremism is gaining ground. We need also soft power," Bokova said on Wednesday.

"Culture should be part of our response to violent extremism," she added.
I don't know what that means, but I hope it does some good. In any case, kudos to her for speaking out. And some related good news on Hatra: The Iraqi site of Hatra added to the List of World Heritage in Danger (UNESCO World Heritage Centre).

Background on Palmyra and ISIS's takeover of it, as well as their sustained assault on the past in the Middle East, is here and links. See also here and links. And more on Hatra is here and links.

ANE languages quiz

ASOR BLOG: Can you identify these Near Eastern languages? I got a perfect score, including the bonus question. But any other result would have been embarrassing.

More on Sacred Imaginations

ARAMAIC AND SYRIAC WATCH: Reimagining sacred music (Alison Hird, RFI).
As Christians come under attack in some parts of the Arab world, British musicians Sam Mills and Susheela Raman have pulled off an ambitious and important musical project Sacred Imaginations: new and ancient music from the near east. The performance is a reminder of how much religion owes to music and sends out a strong message of artistic unity beyond religious dogma.
This article has some new details about the program, plus this good news:
After three concerts in London, Paris and Berlin, [guitarist Sam] Mills says some of the music that's been created will now be recorded. “It's too strong for us to let go of it now."
Background here.

Blogging Pompeii

News: Pompei. Domeniche gratuite a fasce orarie

From ECampania:
Pompei. Domeniche gratuite a fasce orarie
Regolamentato il flusso di visitatori per tutelare la sicurezza del sito
Read the full article here.


News: Un museo del cibo negli Scavi di Pompei. E spunta un bando da 20 milioni per la sicurezza

From Metropolis Web:

Un museo del cibo negli Scavi di Pompei. E spunta un bando da 20 milioni per la sicurezza 
''Entro il 2016, un nuovo Museo del cibo nell'area archeologica di Pompei''. Lo annuncia il soprintendente speciale di Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia Massimo Osanna, oggi a margine della presentazione della mostra ''Nutrire l'Impero. Storie di alimentazione da Roma e Pompei'', in programma al Museo dell'Ara Pacis di Roma fino al 15 novembre con anche alcuni reperti mai esposti in arrivo dal sito. ''L'idea - racconta Osanna - è quella di raccogliere il complesso dei preziosi reperti organici ritrovati a Pompei. Non si tratta solo di cibo, ma anche, ad esempio, di reperti lignei che stiamo restaurando da Moregine, appartenenti ai preziosi paraventi che venivano utilizzati nei triclini. 
Read the full article here.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Real Numismatists, Tell it Like it is

In a February 7th update to his post postulating that it is in some way unethical for social media to be used by people who do not first present their 'qualifications' to do so in the form of a curriculum vitae or resume (which rather seems to undermine the concept of social media), Dealer Dave reckons that what I say about the nature of the discipline of numismatics is in some way controversial:
I can only observe that a great many real numismatists will regard these remarks as an almost incredible intersection of arrogance and ignorance.

Mr Welsh claims that he is the professional numismatist and I am the ignorant one. That however is after admitting he'd not done any formal learning of the subject (but unlike him, I attended a full course of seminars by Reece in London and one by Suchodolski in Warsaw as part of my course), he's not attended any academic conferences on the subject (I have been to quite a few) and not having written all that much (while I was on the editorial team of a numismatic publication for a number of years here).  I rather think Welsh is stepping out onto thin ice accusing me of knowing nothing of the subject of what real numismatics is and should be.

Anyway, if I am wrong in going public with my ideas, I am sure there are lots of academically-primed  shopkeepers who will be only too glad to discuss it and then show me wrong, no? I look forward to at last seeing a presentation of the methodology of  heap-of-loose-coins-on-a-table and how all those no-questions-asked coin SELLERS are contributing to our "knowledge of the past" in an academically meaningful way. With bibliography.

Blogging Pompeii

News: Scavi di Pompei, domani sentenza per l’Antiquarium

The following article is from Lo Strillone. It will be great if the Antiquarium could be put back into use!
Scavi di Pompei, domani sentenza per l’Antiquarium

Nei prossimi giorni, inoltre, un bando da 20 milioni di euro per la sicurezza del fronte di scavo
“Domani il Consiglio di Stato si pronuncerà sulla sentenza per l'Antiquarium di Pompei. La Soprintendenza dovrebbe così rientrare in possesso dell'edificio e di uno spazio espositivo fondamentale per l'area archeologica”. A dirlo, il soprintendente speciale Massimo Osanna, oggi a margine della presentazione della mostra ‘Nutrire l'Impero. Storie di alimentazione da Roma e Pompei’, in programma al Museo dell'Ara Pacis di Roma fino al 15 novembre.

Scavi di Pompei, domani sentenza per l’Antiquarium

Blogging Pompeii

Exhibition: Nutrire l'Impero.

From Gambero Rosso:
Nutrire l'Impero. Cosa mangiavano gli antichi Romani? La mostra dell'Ara Pacis di Roma tra plastici e cibo carbonizzato  
La mostra in scena fino al 15 novembre indaga la storia dell'alimentazione ai tempi dell'impero, muovendosi tra Roma e Pompei e tracciando le coordinate della prima globalizzazione dei consumi nella storia della civiltà.
Read the full article here.

News: Torre A., sos Scavi. Alla Villa di Poppea mancano pure gli opuscoli.

From Lo Strillone:

Torre A., sos Scavi. Alla Villa di Poppea mancano pure gli opuscoli. La Pro Loco denuncia: “Volevamo stamparli gratis, la Soprintendenza non ci autorizza”

Fax inviato ad aprile, ma Osanna non risponde. E’ anche così che la burocrazia ‘frena’ Oplonti

- See more at:

Torre A., sos Scavi. Alla Villa di Poppea mancano pure gli opuscoli. La Pro Loco denuncia: “Volevamo stamparli gratis, la Soprintendenza non ci autorizza”

Fax inviato ad aprile, ma Osanna non risponde. E’ anche così che la burocrazia ‘frena’ Oplonti

- See more at:

Torre A., sos Scavi. Alla Villa di Poppea mancano pure gli opuscoli. La Pro Loco denuncia: “Volevamo stamparli gratis, la Soprintendenza non ci autorizza”

Fax inviato ad aprile, ma Osanna non risponde. E’ anche così che la burocrazia ‘frena’ Oplonti

- See more at:
Torre A., sos Scavi. Alla Villa di Poppea mancano pure gli opuscoli. La Pro Loco denuncia: “Volevamo stamparli gratis, la Soprintendenza non ci autorizza”

Fax inviato ad aprile, ma Osanna non risponde. E’ anche così che la burocrazia ‘frena’ Oplonti

Torre Annunziata “Questa Pro Loco, con sede in via Sepolcri, intende realizzare una guida/mappa della villa A, con testi e immagini degli ambienti. La guida sarà redatta in italiano e in inglese e distribuita in modo gratuito ai turisti. Se ne chiede l’autorizzazione alla produzione, restando in attesa di riscontro”. Così scriveva, alla Soprintendenza Speciale Beni Archeologici per Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia, il presidente della ‘Pro Loco Oplonti Marina del Sole’ Ciro Maresca. Era l’8 aprile 2015, quasi tre mesi fa, e dal Soprintendente Massimo Osanna, ancora oggi, nessuna risposta. 
Read the full article here.

Torre Annunziata “Questa Pro Loco, con sede in via Sepolcri, intende realizzare una guida/mappa della villa A, con testi e immagini degli ambienti. La guida sarà redatta in italiano e in inglese e distribuita in modo gratuito ai turisti. Se ne chiede l’autorizzazione alla produzione, restando in attesa di riscontro”. Così scriveva, alla Soprintendenza Speciale Beni Archeologici per Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia, il presidente della ‘Pro Loco Oplonti Marina del Sole’ Ciro Maresca. Era l’8 aprile 2015, quasi tre mesi fa, e dal Soprintendente Massimo Osanna, ancora oggi, nessuna risposta. - See more at:
Torre Annunziata “Questa Pro Loco, con sede in via Sepolcri, intende realizzare una guida/mappa della villa A, con testi e immagini degli ambienti. La guida sarà redatta in italiano e in inglese e distribuita in modo gratuito ai turisti. Se ne chiede l’autorizzazione alla produzione, restando in attesa di riscontro”. Così scriveva, alla Soprintendenza Speciale Beni Archeologici per Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia, il presidente della ‘Pro Loco Oplonti Marina del Sole’ Ciro Maresca. Era l’8 aprile 2015, quasi tre mesi fa, e dal Soprintendente Massimo Osanna, ancora oggi, nessuna risposta. - See more at:

News: Mare e storia. Scopri i gioielli di Baia

Mare e storia. Scopri i gioielli di Baia
Campania. Alla scoperta della gemma archeologica a sud di Pozzuoli, una delle prime grande attrazioni turistiche di sempre, costruita com'era per affascinare e spaventare gli stessi Romani. Tra scogliere, templi e statue antiche, una destinazione a pochi passi dalla metropoli, eppure sorprendentemente slow
Quando, settant'anni fa, Amedeo Maiuri cominciò a bucherellare la collina soprastante l'abitato di Bacoli e il porto di Baia, i boati degli antichi ambienti termali, liberati da secoli di vapori, rimbombavano in tutto il golfo di Pozzuoli. Assai prima delle pale e dei picconi del grande archeologo qui, nella penisola flegrea appena a nord di Napoli, erano arrivate le penne di Boccaccio, Petrarca, Goethe, Dumas e dei viaggiatori del Grand Tour a raccontar meraviglie dei tesori flegrei fino ad allora conosciuti ed esplorati: la Piscina Mirabile, cisterna di rifornimento per la flotta romana di Capo Miseno, possente come una basilica pagana; le cupole delle grandi terme, sfuggite all'interramento e svettanti come templi; il labirinto enigmatico dei cunicoli sotterranei delle Cento Camerelle. Perfino Leopold Mozart - lo documenta una lettera alla moglie datata 16 giugno 1770 - li aveva visitati assieme ad un Wolfgang Amadeus allora quattordicenne. 
Read the full article here

Jim Davila (

Tunisia's tourism under threat

PUNIC WATCH: Tunisia's growing tourist trade could suffer with terror attacks (Bart Jansen, USA Today). Most recently, the ghastly attack on tourists on a Tunisian beach. This is a good time to be reminded of the ancient treasures in Tunisia:
It is home to Carthage, a military and trade rival to ancient Rome, which ultimately salted its fields in punishment. Amid the series of Punic wars, Hannibal's army memorably rode elephants across the Alps to challenge Rome with battles up and down the

A statue underground, outside the Saint Louis Cathedral. (Photo: Sarah Lynch)
Roman ruins at Carthage include an amphitheater, remains of houses, columns and the Antonine Baths, a World Heritage Site of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

Another Punic remnant is the city of Kerkouane, once a thriving metropolis known for its dyes and figurines, according to the country's tourism office. Artifacts at this other World Heritage Site include flasks, bones, jewelry and the sarcophagus of a female identified as the goddess Asarte.
Background on the situation in Tunisia is here and links.

Conference on the Psalms of Solomon

I am pleased to announced the second international meeting on the Psalms of Salomon.

the meeting will be held at the Centre Sevres, Paris, from 7th to 9th of July, 2015.

organizer: Patrick Pouchelle (

The program will be as follows:

Tuesday, July 7 3 pm to 5.30 pm

Mikael Winninge – (Umeå universitet, Sweden) “Critical Issues when Commenting on the Psalms of Solomon: Diachronic and Synchronic Reflections”

Rodney Werline – (Barton College, USA) “Applying Social Memory Theory to the Psalms of Solomon”

Angela Kim Harkins – (Marie Curie International Incoming Fellow, European Commission, University of Birmingham, UK) “The Instrumental Role of Emotion in the Reading and the Affective Reenactment of PsSol 8”

Wednesday, July 8, 10 am to noon

Eberhard Bons – (Université de Strasbourg, France) “PsSol 16:10 and its biblical and Hellenistic backgrounds”

Jan Joosten – (Oxford University, UK) “The textual basis of scriptural references in the Psalms of Solomon”

4 pm to 6 pm

Shani Tzoref – (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany, Israel Antiquities Authority, Israel), “The use of Scripture in the Psalms of Solomon”

Johanna Erzberger – (Institut catholique de Paris, France) “Changing contexts: PsSal 11 in the PsSal and its parallel in Bar 4:5-5:9”

Thursday, July 9, 10am to 12.15 am

G. Anthony Keddie – (The University of Texas at Austin, USA) “Poverty and Exploitation in the Psalms of Solomon and the Literature of Their Time”

Patrick Pouchelle – (Centre Sèvres, France) “The Psalms of Solomon and the Testament of Moses: may the latter shed light on the context of the former?”

Kenneth Atkinson – (University of Northern Iowa, USA) “Understanding the History, Theology, and Community of the Psalms of Solomon in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls”

2 pm to 3 pm


With all best wishes

Patrick Pouchelle

Centre Sevres

The Book of Tobit

OLD TESTAMENT APOCRYPHA WATCH: VALERIE SCHULTZ: Lesser-known Book of Tobit still delivers a powerful message. A Catholic Bakersfield columnist notices the Book of Tobit.
The book of Tobit is worth reading for the adventure, as well as for the incarnational foreshadowing of God moving among us and guiding us in our lives. It can also make a claim to fame in popular culture in that the book of Tobit contains the only scriptural reference to the angel Raphael by name. Raphael is now considered a patron of travelers and healers because of his holy intercession in Tobit’s saga.

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

ANS Identifies ISIL Book

While the "seller-numismatists" exhibited zero intellectual curiosity and refused to co-operate, Ute Wartenberg Kagan  ('ISIS, Numismatics, and Conflict Antiquities' ANS blog 2nd July, posted by Matthew Wittmann) has managed to identify the book spotted amongst an ISIL fighter's possessions. The photo showed the volume open at the article of Maurice Sartre, ”La Syrie sous la domination achéménide” published in the 1989 volume  Archéologie et Histoire de la Syrie II , edited by Winfried Orthmann and Jean-Marie Dentzer. The author says:
how this very scholarly book on archaeology of Syria ends up in the hands of ISIS fighters is an interesting question. I, for one, have never underestimated the often erudite knowledge people who are involved in looting ancient sites in the Mediterranean. For people interested in a general overview of coins from Syria, this book is indeed helpful. [...]  So this is an extremely unlikely find—a scholarly, not exactly inexpensive, and heavy—book on the archaeology of Syria in the hands of ISIS fighters. If anyone doubts the multifaceted connections between looted antiquities and war in Syria, this discovery has to make one wonder.

Bryn Mawr Classical Review

2015.07.05: Two Oxen Ahead: Pre-Mechanized Farming in the Mediterranean

Review of Paul Halstead, Two Oxen Ahead: Pre-Mechanized Farming in the Mediterranean. Malden, MA; Oxford; Chichester: 2014. Pp. xi, 372. $99.95. ISBN 9781405192835.

2015.07.04: Gymnasiarchika: recueil et analyse des inscriptions de l'époque hellénistique en l'honneur des gymnasiarques. De l'archéologie à l'histoire, 64

Review of Olivier Curty, Gymnasiarchika: recueil et analyse des inscriptions de l'époque hellénistique en l'honneur des gymnasiarques. De l'archéologie à l'histoire, 64. Paris: 2015. Pp. xiv, 386. €59.00 (pb). ISBN 9782701803616.

2015.07.03: The Chora of Metaponto 3: Archaeological Field Survey - Bradano to Basento (4 vols.)

Review of Joseph Coleman Carter, Alberto Prieto, The Chora of Metaponto 3: Archaeological Field Survey - Bradano to Basento (4 vols.). Austin: 2011. Pp. 1,648. $200.00. ISBN 9780292726789.

2015.07.02: Fish & Ships: Production and Commerce of 'salsamenta' during Antiquity. Production et commerce des 'salsamenta' durant l'Antiquité. Actes de l'atelier doctoral, Rome 18-22 juin 2012

Review of Emmanuel Botte, Victoria Leitch, Fish & Ships: Production and Commerce of 'salsamenta' during Antiquity. Production et commerce des 'salsamenta' durant l'Antiquité. Actes de l'atelier doctoral, Rome 18-22 juin 2012​. Arles; Aix-en-Provence: 2014. Pp. 239. €39.00 (pb). ISBN 9782877725798.

Archeomatica: Tecnologie per i Beni Culturali

All'Università di Bologna una Summer school in Modellazione 3D per i Beni Culturali

La modellazione 3D si è affermata come strumento efficace per la visualizzazione e la comunicazione dei risultati di una ricerca, la validazione o la confutazione di ipotesi di lavoro anche nell’ambito degli studi sul patrimonio culturale.

Per Lineam Valli

95. How much would it cost to build Hadrian’s Wall now?

Collingwood Bruce was the first to play the game of guessing the cost of building a present-day Wall. He came up with a total of £1,079,446 for curtain wall, ditch, and Vallum, allowing for the use of dressed stone. At present-day values, that would be between £80m (US$130m) and £770m (US$1.25bn), depending upon the method used to calculate inflation. A later estimate, this time for a concrete wall, was obtained from Laings by Hunter Davies (£80m in 1974, which would be between £620m (US$1.01bn) and £990m (US$1.61bn)).

Further reading: Bruce 1853; Davies 1974

Insula: Le blog de la Bibliothèque des Sciences de l'Antiquité (Lille 3)

L’Iliade et l’Odyssée de Soledad Bravi, d’après Homère

Les éditions « Rue de Sèvres » viennent de publier l’adaptation dessinée de l’Iliade et de l’Odyssée par Soledad Bravi. Une version décalée à lire pour (re)découvrir Homère.

« Hélène suit Pâris à Troie. Son mari Ménélas, roi Grec, aime moyen. La guerre de Troie dure dix ans. » [résumé de l’Iliade par Soledad Bravi]

bravi-01Ce n’est pas la première fois que Soledad Bravi s’intéresse aux épopées homériques. On lui doit déjà quelques albums cartonnés pour les tout-petits (de 2 à 5 ans) parus dans la collection « Loulou & Cie » à l’École des loisirs, parfois réalisés sur un scénario de la Lilloise Nathalie Laurent : Le cheval de Troie (d’après triphiodore) ; Le Cyclope ; Éole, Circé et les Sirènes ; La ruse d’Ulysse. Le blog Insula avait consacré un billet à cette série en 2012, soulignant que ces petits volumes possédaient « un véritable souffle épique qui emporte l’imaginaire, tout en gardant une distance salvatrice ».

Cette fois, avec L’Iliade et l’Odyssée d’après Homère, Soledad Bravi s’adresse aux plus grands, mais le livre devrait également ravir les plus jeunes (ou vice-versa). L’ouvrage est issu des dessins publiés dans le magazine Elle durant les étés 2013 et 2014.

bravi-02La lecture du récit homérique revu par Soledad Bravi est rapide comme le vent. On peut saluer la concision de l’auteure : les 27.000 vers qui composent l’Iliade et l’Odyssée sont exprimés ici par 338 dessins, qui sont presque des miniatures (170 dessins pour narrer l’Iliade, 168 pour l’Odyssée). Dans cette vaste épopée, Soledad Bravi a évidemment fait des choix, ignorant maints épisodes, s’attachant à relater les histoires et les personnages les plus emblématiques.

Les dessins ont un trait minimal, constitués d’ingénieux raccourcis (l’assemblée des rois résumée à des couronnes). Quant aux textes, c’est peu dire qu’ils s’éloignent (avec bonheur) des épithètes homériques. Ainsi, Hélène devient une « bombasse » qui tombe « grave in love devant le beau Pâris ». Et quand les Troyens font entrer le cheval de bois dans leur cité, pour leur plus grand malheur, ils crient des « On a gagné, les doigts dans le nez », avant que les Grecs ne les tuent et puissent chanter à tue-tête des « On est les champions » crâneurs.

Avec son Iliade et Odyssée, Soledad Bravi réussit à être impertinente sans être irrévérencieuse, elle qui avoue avoir découvert Homère très jeune, comme d’autres aujourd’hui, sans doute, grâce à elle.

bravi-03Page 1 de l’Iliade et l’Odyssée d’après Homère, de Soledad Bravi Rue de Sèvres 2015

Références du livre

Soledad Bravi
L’Iliade et l’Odyssée d’après Homère
Rue de Sèvres, 2015
96 pages, 15,2×21,5 cm, ISBN 978-2-36981-225-8

Crédits et remerciements

Nous remercions les éditions Rue de Sèvres de nous avoir aimablement autorisé à reproduire les illustrations présentes dans ce billet.

All Mesopotamia

mirekulous: Tablet Inscribed in Akkadian with a Fragment of the...


Tablet Inscribed in Akkadian with a Fragment of the Babylonian Flood Story of Epic of Athrasis
Mesopotamia, First Dynasty of Babylon, reign of King Ammi-saduqa (ca. 1646–1626 B.C.); clay

The precious fragment is the earliest known Akkadian version of the familiar Noaj motif. The epic begins witht the creation of man when “great indeed was the drudgery of God.” So the godscreated man but soon tired of him and decided to destroy all of mankind. The god Enki(Ea) tells Atrahasis of the impending flood and instructs him to build an ark. With over 1,200 lines, the story filled three tablets. The Morgan fragment, from the second tablet, or chapter, preserves a unique colophon, stating the work’s title—"When Gods Were Men"—as well as the name of the scribe and the place and date upon which he copied it.

(The god) Enki made his voice heard…
Dismantle the house, build a boat
Reject possessions, and save living things.
The boat that you build…
Make upper and lower decks.
The tackle must be very strong,
The bitumen strong, to give it strength
I will make rain fall on you here.
The Flood roared like a bull,
Like a wild ass screaming the winds
The darkness was total, there was no sun…
For seven days and seven nights
The torrent, storm and flood came on…

Samuel Hardy (Conflict Antiquities)

Palmyra: looting under the rebels, the Assad regime and the Islamic State?

As I’ve worked and reworked this, I’ve found (and removed) half-finished sentences from previous edits, and I’m posting it now because of the latest developments, but if I rediscover forgotten information, I will add it. It is too long to read, and it is a bit rat-a-tat-tat (in jumping from section to section), but you […]

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Palmyra Busts: The Lack-Logic Lobbyist Interpretation

'ISIS Sledgehammers Palmyrene Busts' alarms a lack-logic pro-market activist, labelling it "poor stewardship" and claiming that "the destruction of portable statuary of the sort that ISIS is supposedly selling undercuts the claim that ISIS' professed iconoclasm is just a cover for looting". No, of course it does not because if the reason is these men had been arrested because they were smugglers trying to get objects on the foreign markets without ISIS authorization, the conclusion is quite the opposite. This would emphasise how strongly the trade in antiquities from the region is associated with the group and its fundraising activities, and the blurring of the faces of the three men suggests that having exercised discipline (warning what will happen if ISIL does not get its cut) it is intended that these smugglers will continue to work with their foreign contacts and put money in the pockets of ISIL.

Palmyra Busts go Under the Hammer

Al-lat lion
Readers will remember that a month ago ISIL released this information to the world's media: ISIS 'will not destroy' Palmyra ruins, only statues. A few weeks ago they demolished the 1,900-year-old Lion of Al-Lat statue  dedicated to an ancient goddess (John Hall, 'ISIS 'destroys' famous lion god statue in captured Syrian city of Palmyra... just days after promising locals they would not obliterate ancient monuments' Daily Mail 28th May 2015 [with distortion of information about the prison demolition represented as an attack on the ruins]).  The limestone statue was discovered in 1977 by a Polish archeological mission at the temple of Al-Lat, a pre-Islamic Arabian goddess, and dated back to the 1st century BC. [UPDATE What I do not understand is that several ostensibly reputable newspapers are reporting  that the lion was destroyed just a few days ago, while there were clear reports that the destruction had happened at the end of May, just a week after the taking of the town. This discrepancy is hard to explain].

Now photos are appearing online which show some Palmyrene busts being theatrically smashed apparently in a public square in the town while onlookers observe impassively: Avi Lewis, 'Islamic State destroys historical statues in Palmyra' (Times of Israel, July 2, 2015): "The Islamic State has begun defacing and destroying ancient historical artefacts in the city of Palmyra, according to unverified reports on social media. In the images, operatives armed with sledgehammers can be seen shattering a row of stone sculptures". In another photo six (the same ?) pieces can be lying on a carpeted floor (perhaps a museum office). Sadly these do not look like plaster casts, but two at least do not seem high quality pieces. Most of the pieces in the city's museum were evacuated by antiquities staff before IS arrived, though the group has blown up several historic Muslim graves in recent weeks.

It is interesting to note that in some of the photos, the face of two of the men involved (one taking a piece of stonework from a truck, the other wielding a hammer) have been blurred out. Who did this and why when others have their face shown in plain view? Could it be that ISIL do not want outsiders who've met these guys in another context being recognized? For example, antiquities dealers? I imagine the sight of these six busts left back in Syria being pulverised has foreign dealers and collectors reaching for their chequebooks to 'save' the ones that they will be very soon be being offered by shady gentlemen with a furtive look.

UPDATE 2nd July 2015, 20:55 PM
As more details emerge, I am less sure what these photos actually show (leading to a comma removed in the heading), watch this space. Sam Hardy is also working on this evening too. It is worth noting that the blurred out faces in the photos affect the two men taking stones from a truck (their truck?) and the third in the stone-smashing scenes seems to be the same man who is shown in another photo which surfaced later being flogged.

July 02, 2015

Ancient Art

Buddhist votive stele. Chinese, 550-75 AD (Northern Qi dynasty),...

Buddhist votive stele. Chinese, 550-75 AD (Northern Qi dynasty), made of grey limestone. 

Buddhists in China adopted the traditional Chinese practice of using rectangular stone slabs for commemorative purposes. Such stones were erected by donors at sites important to the Buddhist church, particularly temples. This stele includes a narrative scene in its main zone. The story is of the Buddha in a previous incarnation, as a king. In order to test the king’s piety, an ascetic demanded his head. The king acquiesced but, afraid that he would show fear, he tied his hair to a tree to steady himself; this act is depicted on the stele. In most versions of the story, the life of the king is spared, his selflessness proven. 

Above the narrative scene is the Buddha of the Future, Maitreya, seated with legs hanging downward; below is the historical Buddha Sakyamuni, who preaches while seated with legs crossed. The other side of the stele shows a debate between Manjusri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, and Vimalakirti, a layman. That a layman could debate a bodhisattva appealed to educated Chinese, and this story was thus frequently represented as a means of propagating the faith. (Yale)

Courtesy of the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, USA. Via their online collections1929.45.

Peter Tompa (Cultural Property Observer)

ISIS Sledgehammers Palmyrene Busts

It is being reported that ISIS has confiscated Palmyrene statuary from locals who were then forced to smash the statues before being flogged.  This report suggests the locals were activists trying to save them.  Other reports suggest those arrested may have instead been looters acting without ISIS authorization.  Whatever the truth, the destruction of portable statuary of the sort that ISIS is supposedly selling undercuts the claim that ISIS' professed iconoclasm is just a cover for looting.  Perhaps, instead they actually believe what they say, which, of course, does not bode well for this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

American Philological Association

Doctoral Scholarship at Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies

The Graduate School Scholarship Program (GSSP) of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) offers one doctoral scholarship to research and complete a doctorate in the “Ancient Languages and Texts” program at the Berlin Graduate School of Ancient Studies (BerGSAS). We welcome applications from highly qualified graduates from the fields of Greek and Latin philology, Jewish and Hebrew studies, history, theology, religious studies and philosophy.

Candidates must hold a Master's degree, or equivalent degree, in one of the aforementioned subjects or be very close to completion. The scholarship is available from October 2016 for three or four years (subject to a satisfactory annual progress review).  The call is open only to applicants who are not German citizens and who have not resided in Germany continuously for longer than 12 months as of the application deadline.

Details of the scholarship and instructions for submitting applications can be found at this web site.  Applications are due by October 1, 2015.

The Berlin Prize Call for Applications 2016-2017

The American Academy in Berlin invites applications for its residential fellowships for the academic year 2016/2017. The deadline is Wednesday, September 30, 2015 (12 noon EST or 6 pm CET). Applications may be submitted online or mailed to the Berlin office. The Academy welcomes applications from emerging and established scholars, writers, and professionals who wish to engage in independent study in Berlin. Approximately 20 Berlin Prizes are conferred annually. Past recipients have included historians, economists, poets and novelists, journalists, legal scholars, anthropologists, musicologists, and public policy experts, among others.
Fellowships are typically awarded for an academic semester or, on occasion, for an entire academic year. Bosch Fellowships in Public Policy may be awarded for shorter stays of six to eight weeks. Benefits include round-trip airfare, partial board, a $5,000 monthly stipend, and accommodations at the Academy’s lakeside Hans Arnhold Center in the Berlin-Wannsee district.

CFP: The Modern Prometheus; or, Frankenstein

This conference will take place April 8-9, 2016, at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY.  In July of 1816, that famous European 'year without a summer,' a young British woman vacationing with friends—including Lord Byron, Polidori, and Percy Shelley—wrote a 'ghost story' that would go on to become one of the most important and influential novels of our time. The young woman was Mary Shelley, and the novel of course is Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. To celebrate the bicentennial of the ghost story challenge that conceived that "hideous progeny," scholars, students, and other readers are invited to a conference on The Modern Prometheus; or, Frankenstein, 8-9 April 2016 at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, USA.

Call for Monographs: Book Series on East‐West Cultural Encounters in Literature & Cultural Studies

This Series seeks scholarly works  on  intercultural encounters in literature,  particularly  East‐West precolonial, colonial, or postcolonial contacts that expose, problematize, or re‐create the sense of locality, historicity, and subjectivity. The Series especially welcomes monographs written in English or other languages translated into English. Conference volumes or edited volumes by multiple authors will not be considered at this time. Volumes of essays with a thematic focus written by a single author, however, are welcome. We also encourage the submission of revised doctoral dissertations which employ innovative concepts related to our topics. Suggested topics include but are not limited to the following:

National Humanities Center Residential Fellowships for 2016-17

The National Humanities Center invites applications for academic-year or one-semester residencies. Fellowship applicants must have a PhD or equivalent scholarly credentials. Mid-career as well as senior scholars from all areas of the humanities are welcome; emerging scholars with a strong record of peer-reviewed work are also encouraged to apply. Located in the progressive Triangle region of North Carolina, the Center affords access to the rich cultural and intellectual communities supported by the area’s research institutes and universities. Fellows have private studies; the library service delivers all research materials. Scholars from all parts of the globe are eligible; travel expenses in addition to a stipend are provided. The deadline for applications is October 15, 2015. For more information, follow this link:


CFP: Kings and Queens 5: Dynastic Loyalties

This conference will take place on April 8-9, 2016, at Clemson University in Greenville, SC.  It seeks to connect scholars whose research focuses on monarchy, whether investigating specific rulers, specific dynasties, dynastic transitions, or political theories of royal governance and allegiance.  In particular, we are interested in the theme of “Dynastic Loyalty” and we invite papers from all academic disciplines from diverse chronological eras and geographic regions.

Potential topics for papers or sessions may include, but are not limited to:

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Amazing Grace (RIP Chris Squire)

Click here to view the embedded video.

A tribute to Chris Squire, the bassist of Yes, a founding member and the only persistent member throughout the band’s history, who passed away recently. The video begins with the song Whitefish and then transitions at the end into Jon Anderson singing Amazing Grace. It seems like such a fitting tribute.

The solo Whitefish is one that Squire often performed on tour, and it appears on the album 9012 Live, which I owned as a teenager.

Archaeology Magazine

 Angkor Wat ResidencePHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA—A team led by University of Sydney archaeologist Alison Carter is excavating the site of an ordinary house at Ankor Wat. Until now, researchers have concentrated their efforts on the more spectacular remains of the capital of the Khmer Empire, which flourished between the ninth and fifteenth centuries A.D. “We’ve spent a lot of time focusing on the temples and inscriptions and the elite members of the society, but there’s still so much that can be learned about the regular people who were contributing to the Angkorian empire," Carter told the Phnom Penh Post "I hope that this project can spark some interest in those regular people.” So far, the team has unearthed a number of ceramics related to cooking. They hope to find evidence that will give scholars a clearer picture of diet and agricultural practices of the time. To read more about work at Angkor, go to "Remapping the Khmer Empire." 

American Philological Association

Addressing Matters in Context: The Art of Persuasion across Genres and Times

This meeting will take place at the University of Cyprus, 27-29 August 2015.

Most people think of persuasion in antiquity only in the context of the law-court, where two litigants present their arguments in an attempt to persuade the judges. In reality, however, persuasion was employed in antiquity across many genres and this very generic flexibility makes the forms of persuasion an inherently interesting subject for inquiry for scholars of ancient literature. Since antiquity the art of rhetorical persuasion has also been employed in public speaking. Rhetoric is central to political processes and outcomes: it gives the speakers the power to influence their audience to achieve their political aims. Although what we know today as the art of public speaking has undergone continuous change since the days of Pericles, Demosthenes, Cicero, and Quintilian, nevertheless, it has been suggested that Greco-Roman rhetoric has influenced how contemporary politics is articulated.

CFP: Second Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Hellenic Heritage of Southern Italy

This conference will take place in Syracuse, Sicily on May 30-June 2, 2016.  It will have a special emphasis on Politics and Performance in Western Greece. 

The cultural and intellectual legacy of Western Greece—the coastal areas of Southern Italy and Sicily settled by Hellenes in the 8th and 7th centuries BCE—is often overlooked in academic studies.  Yet evidence suggests that poets, playwrights, philosophers, and other maverick intellectuals found fertile ground here for the growth of their ideas and the harvesting of their work.  The goal of the Fonte Aretusa organization is to revive the inspirational link between the new and old worlds of Greece and to explore its intellectual wealth from a variety of disciplinary perspectives including archaeology, art history, classical literature, history, and philosophy.

CFP: Images: Signs and Phenomena of Time

This is a trans- and interdisciplinary conference at the University of Hamburg, 12–14 November 2015.  The capacity to distinguish between past, present, and future plays an important role in the formation of (self-)consciousness. Time is an essential criterion to order the flow of contingent events and experiences and to build up coherence and meaning. In turn, the narratives emerging from such temporal ordering are crucial for the development of identities. However, theoretical concepts of time in philosophy, physics, biology, sociology, or cultural studies are numerous and often opposing. It only remains obvious that humans have the ability to make some sort of experience of time.

AIA Fieldnotes

GAO Annual Conference

Event Type (you may select more than one): 
Start Date: 
Saturday, March 12, 2016 to Sunday, March 13, 2016

Graduate Archaeology at Oxford is welcoming submissions for papers to be presented at the annual conference in Oxford. The conference will focus on the multidimensional ways in which humans have interacted with their natural environment in prehistoric and historic times. Read more »


Julia Binnberg
Call for Papers: 
CFP Deadline: 
November 27, 2015

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

New Online from the IFAO: Kurzbibliographie zu den übersetzten Tempeltexten der griechisch-römischen Zeit, 6e éd.

Kurzbibliographie zu den übersetzten Tempeltexten der griechisch-römischen Zeit, 6e éd.
Christian Leitz
 Ce livre fait suite à l’ouvrage de Jean-Claude Grenier : Temples ptolémaïques et romains. Répertoire bibliographique (index des citations 1955-1974, incluant l’index des citations de 1939 à 1954 réunies par N. Sauneron), BiEtud 75, Le Caire, 1979. Afin d’offrir au chercheur un outil d’actualité, il sera dorénavant disponible sur le serveur de l’Ifao ( et régulièrement mis à jour sous la responsabilité de Christian Leitz.
IF1112, ISBN 978-2-7247-0667-3
Collection: BiEtud 165
1 vol., 264 p., gratuit - free of charge
• Lire en ligne

American Philological Association

CFP: XI Symposium Platonicum: Plato’s Phaedo

The International Plato Society is pleased to announce the XI Symposium Platonicum: Plato's Phaedo, to be held July 4-8, 2016 at the University of Brasilia (Federal District, Brazil). Every three years this event brings together leading scholars working on Plato and Platonism from all over the world. For the first time, this conference will take place in the South. Confirmed Keynote speakers are Monique Dixsaut, David Sedley and Alberto Bernabé.

The online system will accept submissions until September 2, 2015.  For any further information please visit

Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online)

American Philological Association

CFP: Plotinus and the Moving Image: Neoplatonism and Film Theory

The “Philosophy in Film” series published by Brill is currently accepting paper submissions concerning the Neoplatonic philosophy in film studies. Can Neoplatonic philosophy be used for film studies? Given the often-stated parallels between Plotinus’ and Bergson’s philosophies, it is surprising that Neoplatonism has provided relatively little input on philosophy of film. Curtis Hancock writes that the effects of Bergsonism are evident in pragmatism, psychology, and theology and that the decedents of Bergson have created a vestige of Neoplatonism that perdures into the late twentieth century. This vestige must also exist in film studies. Today, with the newly emerging observative “Cinema of Contemplation,” this Neoplatonic vestige is worth exploring. Read more here:!plotinus-and-film/c17gb  

Deadline for abstracts submission is Sept. 30, 2015. Abstracts should be sent to and

American Philological Association

CFP: Religious Convergence in the Ancient Mediterranean


The Whitaker Foundation and Society for Ancient Medisterranean Religions is sponsoring this conference to be held on June 23-26, 2016, at the Villa Whitaker in Palermo, Sicily.

Historical and cultural studies over the last two decades have embraced a range of models and foci for exploring distinct communities at points of cultural and geographic convergence, including network models, complexity studies, colonial encounters, middle ground, frontiers, ethnicity studies, center–periphery, empire theory, and the articulation of “alien” identity within a complex urban setting. Geographic and cultural points of convergence offer exceptional insight not only into ritual studies and the exploration of ritual as mediating and adaptive space, but also for identity construction and the connectivity that enables economic and political advantage. This international conference brings together scholars in religion, archaeology, philology, and history to explore case studies and theoretical models of converging religions.

III International Congress of Greek Philosophy in Portugal

The Sociedade Ibérica de Filosofia Grega is seeking abstracts for the III International Congress of Greek Philosophy on April 20-22, 2016.

This event will take place in the Faculty of Letters of The University of Lisbon in collaboration with The University’s Department of Philosophy, The Group of History in Philosophy of the Centre of Philosophy, and The Project of the Annotated Translation of the Complete Works of Aristotle. Themes of proposed abstracts should concern ancient philosophy of one of one of the following topics: Pre-Socratic thought; Plato; Aristotle; Hellenistic Philosophy; and Neo-Platonism; or projection, influence and receptions of ancient philosophy. Presentations should be no more than 20 minutes and can be delivered in any Iberian language or French, Italian, English, or German. 

Abstracts of approximately 500 words should be sent to by November 30, 2015. More information is available at

Archaeology Magazine

villa roman villa costa concordia giglio italy tuscany150701GIANUTTRI, ITALY—An impressive ancient Roman villa that has been closed to the public for more than a decade has reopened for visitors, according to Discovery News. The so-called “Villa Domitia,” named after the family of the Domitii Ahenobarbi who likely owned it, the sprawling seaside property located on a tiny island in Tuscany near the island of Giglio, the location of the Costa Concordia shipwreck three and a half years ago. Because there was no fresh water or raw materials on the island, according to Paola Rendini, the archaeological superintendent of Tuscany, it was a “huge task” for the Romans to bring the luxuries of a sprawling seaside villa to this harsh location. To read about the re-opening of one of Pompeii’s most famous houses, go to “House of the Chaste Lovers.”

Indian-Statue-RecoveredNEW YORK CITY—The Wall Street Journal reports that a looted sacred Indian statue has been recovered by federal customs agents. The two-foot-tall bronze statue depicts the Tamil poet and saint Manikkavichavakar and dates to the 11th century. It's thought that the statue was taken from a village temple in southeastern India about a decade ago. It was voluntarily surrendered to officials by a collector who purchased it from a dealer who allegedly smuggled it into the U.S. and sold it using a false ownership history. The federal government intends to repatriate the object to India, along with a number of other artifacts the dealer is said to have illegally brought into the country. To read more about threats to medieval heritage in India, go to "Letter from India: Heritage at Risk." 

Wellington Historical FindsWELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND—Construction work in downtown Wellington has revealed four 19th-century wells containing artifacts, including several porcelain dolls heads and a china elephant depicted with a small girl riding it. Several schools existed in the area beginning around 1850. “These school buildings could explain the collection of little china dolls’ heads that were found,” said Clough and Associates archaeologist Sarah Phear said in a Wellington City Council press release. “Though we think the larger head might once have been attached to the top of a tea cosy and others are likely to have been from ornaments or figurines, so they could also have been discarded items from people’s homes.” Other artifacts recovered from the wells included a glass inkwell and an early bottle of ginger beer. To read more about historical archaeology in the Pacific, go to "Letter From the Marshall Islands."

The Archaeology News Network

ISIS smashes priceless Palmyra artefacts

The Islamic State released photos showing the destruction of six priceless artifacts from the ancient city of Palmyra. The photos show jihadis taking a sledgehammer and smashing the historic treasures, including one dating from the second century. Jihadis took sledgehammers to the relics, smashed them to pieces  and then lashed the man who allegedly smuggled the artifacts in a  public square full of onlookers, the Islamic...

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Archaeological News on Tumblr

Islamic State looting Syrian, Iraqi sites on industrial scale

Islamic State militants are looting ancient sites across Iraq and Syria on an industrial scale and...

Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

US Visitors Ignorant about Slavery in their Country's Past

Slave ships
For more than six years, Margaret Biser gave educational tours and presentations at an historical site in the South of the USA which included an old house and a nearby plantation (I used to lead tours at a plantation. You won’t believe the questions I got about slavery. by Margaret Biser June 29, 2015 ).

Blogging Pompeii

Conference in Pompeii and Naples - July 1, 2, 3 2015

Talks in Pompeii and Naples connected with the joint MANN-POMPEII exhibition "Pompei e l'Europa. 1748-1943" The first two days were in the auditorium of Pompeii. The last day will be in Naples. For the progam click here

Archaeological News on Tumblr

Ancient bobcat buried like a human being

About 2000 years ago in what is today western Illinois, a group of Native Americans buried something...

Archaeology of Portus: Exploring the Lost Harbour of Ancient Rome

Summary of week three in Italian

Grandi Magazzini Di Settimio SeveroGrandi Magazzini Di Settimio Severo

On the Italian version of this blog Eleonora has now added a summary of the week three topics.

The Archaeology News Network

Amphitheatre in northern Turkey to be excavated

The last amphitheater of the northern Anatolian region will be unearthed in an excavation in Turkey’s province of Tokat. The amphitheater is located just east of the historic castle of Zile, a city with a long Roman history and battle that prompted Roman Emperor Julius Caesar’s famous phrase, “veni, vidi, vici” (I came, I saw, I conquered). The remains of the Graeco-Roman amphitheatre  at Zile in Tokast [Credit: AA]Zile Mayor...

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Archaeological News on Tumblr

‘Golden’ ending: How one man discovered his war hero grandfather’s long lost grave

Clay Bonnyman Evans was 5,000 miles from home, deep in a pit on the Pacific island of Betio, when he...

ArcheoNet BE

Fysisch antropologe Marit Van Cant genomineerd voor prijs wetenschapscommunicatie

De KVAB en de Jonge Academie reiken jaarlijks onderscheidingen uit aan wetenschappers die erin slagen hun onderzoek en kennis naar het brede publiek te vertalen. Dit jaar is ook fysisch antropologe Marit Van Cant genomineerd, meer bepaald “voor het coördineren van de reiniging van historisch menselijk botmateriaal door vrijwilligers en het participatief en wetenschappelijk geïnformeerd betrekken van het publiek bij het archeologisch onderzoek.” Meer achtergrond hierover vind je in het artikel ‘Eten, werken en sterven. Botten uit Deinze’, dat verscheen in Ex situ.

Tot 15 september kan je op stemmen voor je persoonlijke favoriet.

The Archaeology News Network

Artefacts unearthed in central city of Da Nang, Vietnam

More than 4,500 items including ceramics, stone axes, coins, mollusc shells dating back to the 3,000-year-old Sa Huynh Culture, were found during a two-month excavation in the garden of the Khue Bac Communal House in Da Nang, reports Vietnam News Agency (VNA). The foundation of a main Cham tower unearthed in Phong Le Village  in the central city of Da Nang in 2011 [Credit: Nguyen Tu]The city's Heritage Management Centre in...

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Archaeological Institute of America blogs

A Baltic Cruise

AIA President Andrew Moore recently led an AIA Tour through the Baltic, a cruise that interspersed tours of world-renowned museums with trips to towns like Roskilde and Sigtuna for a unique look at the architecture of the Middle Ages.

James F. McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix)

Progressive Christians of Indiana

I had someone ask me if there was an organization of progressive and liberal Christians in Indiana. There didn’t seem to be. And so I have set up a Facebook page, “Progressive Christians of Indiana.”

If you are in that category, please do like the page on Facebook!

Hopefully it will prove to be a useful place for people to connect with one another.


This Christian Serves Everyone