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Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs -

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    A team of scientists led by Mohamed Sahnouni, archaeologist at the Centro Nacional de Investigación sobre la Evolución Humana (CENIEH), has just published a paper in the journal Science which breaks with the paradigm that the cradle of Humankind lies in East Africa, based on the archaeological remains found at sites in the region of Ain Hanech (Algeria), the oldest currently known in the north of Africa. Archaeological excavation at...

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    The bicommunal Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage completed the restoration of two more monuments, located in the old city of Turkish-occupied Famagusta, the Church of Saint Anne and Tanner’s mosque. A ceremony will be held on December 7, to mark the completion of the two projects. The small and well-proportioned Church of St Anne presents a number of distinct Gothic elements. It closely resembles  the Carmelite church in...

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    The meal – or, more likely, the dish, one element of a more varied repast – was simple, but...

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    A 14th century 'murder map' reveals trends in interpersonal violence in early London.

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    A sarcophagus belonging to the Late Roman period was found after a flood in what is today Turkey's Bodrum district of Muğla. Credit: AAExperts from the Museums Directorate and the municipality have started working in the area to date the sarcophagus and gather more details. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); The sarcophagus and its contents were taken under protection by the Directorate of Museum Directors. Credit:...

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    Database of Classical Scholars


    With the cooperation and support of 

    The Database of Classical Scholars is a multi-faceted database that aims to provide biographical and bibliographical information on classical scholars from the period associated with classical scholarship as currently understood, from the end of the eighteenth century and the publication of F.A. Wolf's Prolegomena zu Homer (1795) to the current day. Each entry is accompanied by an appreciation of the scholar's career by an expert and where possible, a portrait. This is a work of international cooperation with an advisory committee composed of experts in the history of classical scholarship not only in North America, but in the United Kingdom, Germany, and Italy.

    The Editorial Committee consists of :

    • Ward Briggs, Columbia, South Carolina
    • Corey Brennan, New Brunswick, NJ
    • Serena Connolly, New Brunswick, NJ
    • Lee Pearcy, Philadelphia, PA
    • Michele Ronnick, Detroit, MI
    • Christopher Stray, Swansea, Wales
    • Graham Whitaker, Glasgow
    There have been several attempts to provide a comprehensive history of Classical Scholarship. They range from the lists of classicists compiled by W. Pökel for his Philologisches Schriftstellerlexikon (Leipzig 1882) to Sir J.E. Sandys' monumental three-volume History of Classical Scholarship (Cambridge, 1903-8) to Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf's Geschichte der Philologie (Leipzig, 1921) to Alfred Gudeman's Outlines of the History of Classical Scholarship (3rd ed., Boston, 1897). In late years Briggs's A Biographical Dictionary of North American Classicists (1994) was the first attempt to bring together biographical data on a significant number of classicists from Canada and the United States.
    The database is fully searchable on all fields: Name, Birth, Marriage, Education, Professional Experience, Death, Dissertation Title, Publications, Festschriften, Kleine Schriften, Biographical Sources, and the Author of the appreciation. One can readily find all classicists in the database who received degrees at the University of Chicago or taught at the University of Virginia, or were born on November 26. Software has been developed by USC's Center for Digital Humanities and will be continually refined at the new home of the Database, Rutgers University.

    In its initial stages, the Database has drawn or will draw on five ready resources of data.

    Stage 1:

    The importation of data for the 600 classicists cataloged in Ward Briggs's Biographical Dictionary of North American Classicists (1994). The book has been optically scanned and the entries arranged in a common format. Moreover, entries for many dozens of classicists who have died since the publication of the BDNAC are included, drawing from memorial notices in bulletins of the APA, CAAS and CAMWS. Portraits of a large number of the subjects (not a feature of the original publication) have been added.

    Stage 2:

    Video clips provided to the SCS by the Classics Conclave have been mounted on our site and links posted on the SCS website. These interviews, conducted in 2012 with distinguished classicists from North America and the United Kingdom form the germ of what is hoped to be a succession of oral histories with distinguished members of the profession. A new series of interviews commenced in January 2018.

    Stage 3:

    The introduction of a Wiki database for living classicists. The last work that contained significant biographical information, as well as areas of scholarly interest, was the fourth edition of The Directory of College and University Classicists in the United States and Canada edited by Lawrence E. Gaichas for the Classical Association of the Atlantic States in 1996. This was an invaluable source for looking up addresses, specialties, and credentials of living classicists and it is our aim to provide something like this with our Wiki database which will have the advantage of being as fully searchable as the data on deceased classicists. We have created a template in Microsoft Word that can easily be filled out with the same kinds of information we present for deceased classicists. We aim to send these templates to every member of the SCS and make the template downloadable on the SCS website so that members and non-members can list themselves in this section of the database.

    Stage 4:

    The library at Columbia University is home to the archive of Alfred Gudeman, born in Atlanta in 1862, a graduate of Columbia and the first American to receive a Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Berlin, he taught at Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University before emigrating to Germany in 1904. Gudeman was an energetic proponent of German scholarship and wrote A Manual of the History of Classical Philology that ran to eight editions in two different languages. Gudeman's most pertinent work for our purposes is his Imagines Philologorum (1911), a quarto-sized volume containing portraits and biographical information of 160 classical scholars beginning with Erasmus and running through the late nineteenth century. Gudeman continued to amass portraits and data on the scholars until the Nazis forced him and his family to be shipped to the Theresienstadt camp where he died in 1942. Before departing Berlin he entrusted his materials to his attorney with instructions to send them to the Columbia Library should anything happen to him. The materials, comprising six large envelopes of illustrative material (photographs, etchings and various types of reproductions) and biographical data for 560 classical scholars arrived at Columbia in 1952 where they remained unexamined until 1990 (Donna W. Hurley, "Alfred Gudeman, Atlanta, Georgia, 1862-Theresienstadt, 1942,"TAPhA 120 (1990) 355-81 and Donna W. Hurley, "Alfred Gudeman in Berlin 1935-1942," Latein und Griechisch in Berlin 35 (1991) 121-7) . We hope to employ graduate students to go through the archive and put the biographical data and portraits from both the Imagines material and the final, 497-page unpublished manuscript of his Manual into the form that will be usable by our database.

    Stage 5:

    The Catalogus Philologorum Classicorum is superintended by Prof. Franco Montanari at the University of Genoa. Initiated at a CNR conference in 1984 the project collects biographical data and to this point has chiefly been useful in gathering the names of nearly 9000 classicists worldwide. It has been online since 2003 within the website Aristarchus. To date, while the project has identified 8831 classicists and posted "cards" with name, date of birth and date of death for most of them on their website (, only 889 have any further information, usually necrologies from journals or newspapers posted as unsearchable PDF files. The accessible files are of no consistent format and cannot be searched against all the entries. Professor Montanari has agreed to be an advisory editor and to share his data with our project. We would thus need clerks to enter data from the accessible cards on the CPC website onto our template and add them to our database.

    Stage 6:

    Robert B. Todd's three-volume Dictionary of British Classicists (Bristol: Thoemmes Continuum, 2004) is a British counterpart to BDNAC: It contains biographies with publication information for approximately 700 British classicists from 1500 to 1960 CE. The work contains a great deal of data that would be useful for our project, but unlike the BDNAC, all the entries are written in continuous prose. We, therefore, need clerks to extract the information required by our template and enter it into our database. As with the BDNAC, there are no portraits of the subjects.

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    Germany Mesolithic cookingDRESDEN, GERMANY—According to a report in Cosmos, a team of scientists led by Anna Shevchenko of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology has analyzed food residues in pots unearthed at the Mesolithic site of Friesack 4, which is located in northeastern Germany. Shevchenko and her team explained that protein analysis allows scientists to distinguish between ancient substances and recent contaminants, and may even identify ingredients from specific animals and plants. Changes in the properties of the proteins can also point to cooking methods, they said. In one of the 6,000-year-old pots, they found traces of poached freshwater carp eggs. A crust on the rim of the pot, spotted with electron microscopy, suggests it was probably covered with a cap of leaves. The scientists were not able to determine the species of the leaves, and they are not sure whether they were used to flavor the roe as it cooked, or just keep the heat of the fire in the pot. Analysis of another dish from the site detected a meal made of pork cooked with bones, sinews, or skin. To read about the use of proteins and DNA to study ancient manuscripts, go to “The Hidden Stories of the York Gospel.”

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    Saudi Arabia AcheuleanJENA, GERMANY—Live Science reports that stone hand axes similar to those made by human ancestors some 1.5 million years ago in Africa have been recovered in Saudi Arabia and dated to as recently as 190,000 years ago. It is unclear who made the tools at the site, which is known as Saffaqah. “However, hominins that have been found with Acheulean tools include Homo erectus, who was probably a direct ancestor of humans,” explained Eleanor Scerri of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History. The study suggests the hominins who crafted the tools, and traveled throughout the region on its waterways, may have encountered modern humans, who are thought to have entered the Arabian Peninsula at about that time. “Although the site of Saffaqah was not a desert when these Acheulean hominins were there, it was probably still quite an arid environment,” Scerri added. For more on early stone tools, go to “The First Spears.”

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    Poland bird skullsWARSAW, POLAND—According to a Science in Poland report, researchers led by Małgorzata Kot of the University of Warsaw's Institute of Archaeology are investigating the burial of a child whose remains were discovered 50 years ago in a shallow grave in a cave in south-central Poland’s Sąspowska Valley. Some of the child’s bones were found in university storage boxes, but the location of the skull, which was sent out for study shortly after the original excavation, is currently unknown. Radiocarbon dating of the bones revealed the child, who died at about the age of ten, lived in the second half of the eighteenth century or the turn of the nineteenth century, at a time when most people were buried in cemeteries, making the cave burial unusual. A photograph of the excavation, published in the 1980s, shows that the child was buried with the skull of one chaffinch in his or her mouth, and another near his or her cheek. The birds’ skulls were recently reexamined, but no clues to their significance in the grave were detected. “We only know that these were the remains of adult birds,” Kot said. To read about bird remains discovered in New Mexico, go to “Early Parrots in the Southwest.”

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  • 11/28/18--05:20: Job Advertisement
  • on the ERC LatinNow project

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  • 11/30/18--05:57: Epigraphica
  • Dear members of A.I.E.G.L.,

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    December 01, 2018 18.00 - COLLOQUIUM

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    Few today will have heard the name of Earl Doherty.  But in the late 90s and early 2000s, if you were one of those posting online in the religion groups in Usenet news, you would inevitably encounter some atheist gleefully parotting his theories.

    Doherty was a Canadian atheist, who used the nascent internet to push the claim that Jesus never existed.  Doubtless he found this in long-forgotten intellectually disreputable atheist literature.  But the popularity of the claim among online teenage atheists is entirely his work.  Others would come later, but he was the first.

    Doherty has faded from the internet in the last decade.  His Wikipedia page gives his date of birth as 1941, which would make him very elderly now.  So my own memories of his activity are therefore historical data now.

    He started with a website,  This contained his theory, in the form of a series of pages or essays, all of them written with the utmost certainty.  The original versions could be pretty crude.  The Christian apologist J.P.Holding attacked them fiercely.  His essay on Minucius Felix, reflecting very outdated views on his priority to Tertullian, came to my notice through postings on usenet.  I felt obliged to add a page to my site debunking them.

    Doherty’s response to these attacks was always the same.  He would use the material supplied by his critics to improve his material.  He never changed his mind, or withdrew his claim, but instead he would edit or reword parts of the essay to blunt the criticism or make the objection irrelevant.  In the meantime he would trade angry responses with critics in the online forums, often resorting to ad hominem arguments or insults.

    I remember watching this process in progress.  It came to me then that, rather than achieving anything, J.P. Holding was effectively acting as an editor, helping Doherty make his book more convincing.  I had no desire to do the same, so I did not engage much with Doherty.

    At the end of this, he worked up his material into a book, The Jesus Puzzle: Challenging the existence of an historical Jesus.  This has a copyright of 1999, and doubtless appeared at that time.

    The book was very well received by those at whom it was aimed.  The prose was immensely convincing.  I remember reading it, and I had to step back in one passage, put the claim made into my own words – rhetoric is a means of persuasion, I was reminded – and sanity-check it.  The song of the words lulled and convinced many.

    Doherty continued to work.  But somehow he became less important.  Newer peddlars of the same idea such as Acharya S gained notoriety, and publicised themselves.  The claim itself was nonsense, but it enjoyed quite a vogue.  Doherty published a revised version of his book in the mid-2000s, but nobody noticed.  Other publications likewise failed to attract attention.  He was, by this time, yesterday’s man.  His task was done. I believe he last published in 2009.  I have not seen him online since before that.

    He did some real harm.  Online atheists were always noxious, but few believed that Jesus never existed until he came along.  He helped to add nonsense and misinformation to the internet.

    His influence on history online, insofar as lay with him, was entirely baleful.  The book’s influence on the lives of others was also pernicious.  Even atheists such as Richard Carrier, who held an ancient history degree, might have remained sane longer were this theory not around to lead them into nonsense.  I would imagine that a few teenagers were induced to abandon a good upbringing and indulge in the horrid vices of our period under the influence of his claims.

    On the positive side, the whole school of “Jesus myth” that he founded doubtless stirred many of us to look at the data, and think out clearly how we know what we know about antiquity.

    The school seems to be  fading in influence now; searches on Twitter for atheism show a raggle-taggle lot.  No doubt some other craze will arise.

    Yesterday I found a copy of his book on my shelves.  I bought it for reference on the 16th May 2002, from a bookseller in this country.  Atheists like Doherty or Acharya S often cynically responded to critics with “you haven’t read my book”.  In those days there no PDFs around, so I thought that it would be useful to have on-hand.  But, unknown to me, it was already fading in influence.  I don’t think that I ever used it.  So for 16 years it has occupied space in my house.  No longer: I converted it to a PDF last night.

    Sic transit gloria mundi.  So too passes every nonsense of fashion, to become dust, merely material for the musings of antiquarians.

        *    *    *    *

    Let us also remember this man in his old age, forgotten as he now is.  His life work was nothing or worse.  In the end he was only a tool for the enemy of all mankind.  May he find God, and find mercy.  Amen.

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    Review of Tino Shahin, Fragmente der Historiker: Nikolaos von Damaskus. Bibliothek der Griechischen Literatur 84. Stuttgart: 2018. Pp. 127. €158.00. ISBN 9783777218045.

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    Review of Lisa Irene Hau, Alexander Meeus, Brian Sheridan, Diodoros of Sicily: Historiographical Theory and Practice in the «Bibliotheke». Studia Hellenistica, 58. Leuven: 2018. Pp. x, 612. €115,00. ISBN 9789042934986.

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    Review of Tim Whitmarsh, Dirty Love: The Genealogy of the Ancient Greek Novel. Oxford; New York: 2018. Pp. xviii, 201. $45.00. ISBN 9780199742653.

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    Review of Antonio La Penna, Ovidio: relativismo dei valori e innovazione delle forme. Bibliotheca, 16. Pisa: 2018. Pp. xi, 432. €40,00 (pb). ISBN 9788876426261.

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  • 12/01/18--02:19: Huqoq fellowship report
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