Articles on this Page
- 12/21/18--03:01: _Oldest Aramaic inca...
- 12/21/18--03:18: _The NYT on Alter's ...
- 12/21/18--05:20: _The Haloa, it makes...
- 12/21/18--05:34: _Friday Varia and Qu...
- 12/21/18--05:49: _Newly Open Access J...
- 12/21/18--06:42: _Why Medieval Europe...
- 12/21/18--09:52: _Dubious claims: Pop...
- 12/21/18--19:11: _Byzantine Churches ...
- 12/21/18--19:25: _New Technique May D...
- 12/21/18--12:08: _Recent titles on an...
- 12/21/18--12:35: _Open Access Journal...
- 12/21/18--13:32: _Open Access Journal...
- 12/21/18--14:31: _Scholars in Press: ...
- 12/21/18--15:27: _The search for “Joh...
- 12/21/18--19:30: _Scholars in Press: ...
- 12/21/18--19:52: _Ape-Like and Human-...
- 12/21/18--20:45: _The "Syrian Nationa...
- 12/21/18--23:17: _The background to C...
- 12/21/18--23:19: _L. Ceccarelli, Cont...
- 12/22/18--01:43: _Review of Hendel an...
- 12/21/18--03:01: Oldest Aramaic incantation found?
- 12/21/18--03:18: The NYT on Alter's translation of the HB
- 12/21/18--05:20: The Haloa, it makes Boxing Day seem civilised.
- 12/21/18--05:34: Friday Varia and Quick Hits
- Judith Binder’s magnum opus: The Monuments and Sites of Athens: A Sourcebook.
- Archaeogaming Zine.
- Ottoman Greeks of the U.S. Project.
- 10 + 1 Questions & Answers on the Macedonian Question: Investigating and explaining the roots of Greek nationalism around the Macedonia question.
- History’s Attack Dog on Twitter.
- Christos Tsiolkas on Patrick White.
- Carbonate: Vollman on Climate Change.
- Paywall: The Business of Scholarship.
- Friendship with Charles Barkley.
- Glory in Academia.
- What I’m reading: Kim Stanley Robinson, Red Moon (2018).
- What I’m listening to: Delicate Steve, Christmas Album.
- 12/21/18--05:49: Newly Open Access Journal: Annals of the Náprstek Museum
- 12/21/18--06:42: Why Medieval Europeans Drank Fossil Squid-Butt Cocktails
- Juvenal of Jerusalem held the see from 422-458; Julius I held his see from 337-352. So clearly Juvenal wrote no letter to Rome.
- Cyril of Jerusalem held his see from 350, but the letter states that a later Cyril is involved. Julius died in 352.
- The DCB tells us that in Palestine the practice of combining the celebration of Christmas and the baptism of Christ continued well after these times. (p.359 n.c). The PG introduction informs us that Chrysostom’s homily on the nativity says the same, but this I have not checked. It also says that Basil of Seleucia (ca. 448) states in the Laudatio S. Stephani that the innovation of celebrating the nativity separately began with that Juvenal.
- Josephus does not specify the date of the birth of Christ in any extant work. But it seems questionable whether any such Jewish archives really existed, or at least, not by the middle of the 4th century; and how would a medieval figure know of this, other than through apocryphal works like the “letter of Pilate” cycle?
- Glen L. Thompson, The correspondence of Pope Julius I, CUA (2015). The important pages are p.xlii, 200-201. Google Books Preview here.↩
- DCB says published by Combefis, Haeresis Monothelit., p.298 ff.↩
- According to the DCB it was printed by Cotelier, Patres Apostolici, i.316 (1724).↩
- 12/21/18--19:11: Byzantine Churches Uncovered in Cyprus
- 12/21/18--19:25: New Technique May Determine Sex From Just a Tooth
- 12/21/18--12:08: Recent titles on antiquity in Leiden Open Dissertations
- 12/21/18--12:35: Open Access Journal: Rivista del Museo Egizio
Two Titles for the Book of the Dead (P. Turin Cat. 1828/1–2)Articoli - 20 dicembre 2018
P. Turin Provv. 3581: An Eighteenth Dynasty Letter from the Valley of the Queens in ContextArticoli - 20 dicembre 2018
Two Ancient Egyptian Models in the Historical Photographic Archive of the Museo Egizio, TurinArticoli - 20 dicembre 2018
The Turin Papyrus Online Platform (TPOP): An IntroductionRapporti di ricerca - 20 dicembre 2018
“Tracking Papyrus and Parchment Paths”: A New International Project on Coptic LiteratureRapporti di ricerca - 22 dicembre 2017
Rediscovering Sculptures from Tebtynis at the Museo Egizio in TurinArticoli - 22 dicembre 2017
Un oursin pour le dieu. L’oursin de Tjanefer (Turin Suppl. 2761)Articoli - 22 dicembre 2017
A Shabti-Box of Djehutyhotep (Turin Cat. 2443)Articoli - 22 dicembre 2017
Die Mumienbinde des Monthemhat (Turin Cat. 1873.2) – Ein weiterer Beleg für die Zusatzkapitel 173 und 174Articoli - 22 dicembre 2017
- 12/21/18--14:31: Scholars in Press: An interview with Bob Bascom
- Edition: “Vahanay Nikiay episkoposi bank” (“Discourses of Vahan the Bishop of Nicaea”), ed. N. Akinean, in: Handes Amsorya 82 (1968) 257-280↩
- Photios, Ep. 284 (III 4 Laourdas-Westerink).↩
- 12/21/18--19:30: Scholars in Press: An interview with James Tucker
- 12/21/18--19:52: Ape-Like and Human-Like Features Found in Hominin Brain
- 12/21/18--20:45: The "Syrian National Coalition"
- 12/21/18--23:17: The background to Citizen Para-archaeology's Atlantis Fantasy
- 12/21/18--23:19: L. Ceccarelli, Contributions to the History of Latin Elegiac Distich
- 12/22/18--01:43: Review of Hendel and Joosten, How Old Is the Hebrew Bible?
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Ok, we always hear about the Saturnalia around the Festive period, but what about the Haloa? This was an ancient Greek Festival which involved highly suggestive food, drunken shenanigans and bad language. Listen to me discuss what happened and why.
Music by Brakhage (Le Vrai Instrumental)
The gorgeous hoar frost again this morning in North Dakotaland seems to be nature’s way of decorating the landscape for the holidays especially as it glittered behind dancing snow squalls on my way to campus. As the long weekend approaches and the last of the holiday shoppers make this purchases from The Digital Press (or order subscriptions from North Dakota Quarterly), I feel more ready than ever to take a few days away from the ole laptop and maybe even read a novel.
Before I go, however, I feel like I should offer a little gaggle of quick hits and varia.
Annals of the Náprstek Museum
Online ISSN: 2533-5685
Volume: 38 (2017)
Volume: 37 (2016)
The discovery of dozens of fossils at an archaeological site in Poland suggests Medieval people were putting them in elixirs.
Christmas comes round every year, and every year somebody will tell us that Pope Julius I (337-352 AD) in 350, or 352, or 320 – the supposed date varies – decided that Jesus was born on 25 December. Julius lived under the Arian emperor Constantius II, and was an ally of Athanasius, but is otherwise obscure.
I don’t want to enter into the larger question of why we celebrate Christmas on 25 December. But the association with Pope Julius I seems worth probing.
Here are some samples of the claims made:
In 350 AD Pope Julius I declared December 25 the official date and in 529 AD Emperor Justinian declared Christmas a civic holiday.
By the fourth century, however, many Christian groups had begun to observe Christ’s birthday, though the day chosen for the celebration differed from place to place. Christians in the East generally celebrated on January 6; those in the West on December 25. Others set dates in March, April, or May. About 350 AD, Pope Julius set December 25 as the date of Jesus’ birth. This corresponded with the Roman feast of Saturnalia, the festival of the Unconquered Sun.
In the late 330s AD, Pope Julius 1 declared: “December 25th, Christ born in Bethlehem, Judea.” … 
Pretty confident sounding! But … no references in any case.
But it doesn’t sound right anyway. This is the 4th century. A Pope doesn’t have the authority to set anything for the whole of Christendom. He’s just one of the patriarchs. He can make a decision for his area of the world, but why would that be definitive? How could be it “the official date”?
A more significant problem is the lack of reference. We only know about what people in the ancient world did if they left behind some document which was copied down the years; or else an inscription, or something. But I was quite unable to locate any reference to such an item.
Fortunately in 2015 Glen L. Thompson edited and translated the correspondence of Pope Julius I. This consists of 2 letters from Pope Julius I, and 4 letters to him. None have any mention of the birthday of Christ. They are all concerned with the Arian dispute.
But I learn from Dr T.’s introduction that there are a further 26 (!) pieces that have the name of Pope Julius I on them, and every one of them wrongly. In fact, in almost every case, the name is attached fraudulently! This is unusual in antiquity. Some were Apollinarist works, from the late 4th century, which being banned, were circulated under other names. Some are from the medieval period, the Forged Decretals. 25 of them do not mention the birthday of Christ.
The 26th item (given the letter Z by Dr T.) is different – it does! It’s a letter, supposedly from Cyril of Jerusalem to Pope Julius I, and quoted in two versions, the first by an obscure medieval bishop, John of Nicaea; and the other anonymous, but probably of the same era or later.
In the letter, Cyril tells us that his clergy celebrate the birthday of Christ and the baptism of Christ together, on 6th January. But, he adds, they find this a pain, because they have to start in Bethlehem, do the service for the birth, and then travel down to the Jordan to do the baptism service. This, he says, they found burdensome, and they had to rush the services. So he is writing to Pope Julius to ask if the Pope would consult the archives of the Jewish church in Jerusalem. These, he says, were seized by the Romans under Titus when the city fell in 70 AD and transported to Rome. Underneath the letter, the 9th century author then adds that the pope did so, and identified 25 December as the birthday of Jesus.
The item in question is listed in the Clavis Patrum Graecorum under the spuria of Cyril of Jerusalem as CPG 3598. The text can be found in Greek with modern Latin translation in the Patrologia Graeca vol. 33 columns 1208-9, together with a page of introduction (online here). There is also a discussion of it in the old Dictionary of Christian Antiquitieshere.
Let’s see what it says.
There are in fact two versions given in the PG. (I’m not going to type up the Greek, but I find that Abbyy Finereader 12 reads the Latin side very well, so I append it).
The first item is by John of Nicaea, from a letter to Zacharias, Catholicos of Greater Armenia, titled De Christi Nativitate. (I’m not sure who John of Nicaea is, but the PG says 11-12th c.; Thompson says 9th). The works of John of Nicaea as a whole are in the PG 96, and our letter is col. 1441f. Here is the excerpt as given in the PG 33, however.
Once upon a time, Cyril – [not he] who sent a letter to Constantine, but he who succeeded him in his see – wrote to Julius, bishop of Rome, in these words: “Great labour and expense is caused at great and solemn festivals which are celebrated together on one day. For the readings and order of service of both festivities end up incomplete, such that the nativity and the baptism of Christ cannot be celebrated [together]. So, seeing that we cannot on one day be both [in Bethlehem, and] in the place of the baptizism, (for Bethlehem is three miles south of Jerusalem, and the Jordan is fifteen miles to the east), may we appoint your sanctity to search out all the commentaries (συγγράμματα, i.e. writings) of the Jews, which Titus Caesar looted and carried off to Rome from Jerusalem. Possibly you will discover for a fact the day of the nativity of Christ and our God.”
Then Julius the Roman carefully enquired into this question. When he had collected all the writings of the Jews, which were captured and taken to Rome, he discovered a certain commentary of the time of the historian Josephus, written by himself: in which he considered that, in the seventh month, on the feast of Scenopegia [or Tabernacles], on the day of expiation, the angel of the Lord appeared, and the dumb priest was restored, who had remained without voice until that time when his wife Elizabeth in old age gave birth.
Scripsit aliquando Cyrillus[non is],qui epistolam ad Constantinum [leg. Constantium] dedit sed is qui post ipsum in ejus sede successit, ad Julium Romanum episcopum in haec verba: «Magnus labor ac dispendium magnis ac solemnibus festivitatibus contingit, quod una die celebrantur. Nam ambarum festivitatum lectiones et ordo [officii] imperfecta manent, eo quod nativitas et baptisma Christi [simul] celebrari nequeant. Quoniam itaque non possumus in una die [in Bethlehem, et] in locum baptismatis occurrere (nam Bethlehem tribus millibus ad meridiem ab Hierusalem distat, et Jordanis quindecim millibus ad orientem), jubeat sanctitas tua omnia Judaeorum commentaria investigari, quae praedatus Caesar Titus Romam Hierosolymis advexit. Fortassis certo reperies diem nativitatis Christi et Dei nostri. »
Tunc Julius Romanus studiose de hac rogatione quaesivit. Cumque omnia Judaeorum scripta, quae capta et Romam deportata fuerant, collegisset, quoddam Josephi temporum historici commentarium deprehendit ab ipso conscriptum: in quo habebatur, quod mense septimo, in festo Scenopegiae [seu Tabernaculorum]. Expiationis die, Dei angelus apparuit, sacerdosque mutus redditus, sine voce mansit ad illud usque tempus, quo Elisabet uxor ejus in senectute peperit.
That is not all that helpful, really. Cyril of Jerusalem wrote to Constantine about a fiery cross that appeared over Jerusalem; but this is a later Cyril, mentioned by Epiphanius (Panarion 66.20).
But a second version of the story exists, in which the letter is attributed not to Cyril but to Juvenalis, under the title A)nagkai/a dih/ghsij. This is in the BNF in Paris; the old royal library shelfmark was Bibi. Reg. Cod. 2428, fol. 120. Here it is:
However Juvenalis, patriarch of Jerusalem, wrote to Julius, patriarch of Rome, this about the matter: “On one day I cannot be both at Bethlehem and at the Jordan. In fact the Jordan is 25 miles east of Jerusalem, while holy Bethlehem is 6 miles to the south of the city; nor can I in one day complete both celebrations. So I ask your sanctity, Father, that you would scrutinise the commentaries, and give us, from an accurate examination, information on this matter, written by yourself, venerable one: on what day Christ the Lord was born, and on what day baptised. For we understand correctly that books of commentaries from the early days were transferred from Jerusalem to Rome by Titus and Vespasian.”
Having received these letters, Julius patriarch of Rome investigated the commentaries, and he found that our Lord Jesus Christ was born on 25 December, and after 30 years from his nativity was baptised by John in the river Jordan, on the 6th January. Well, when the fathers were dividing up the festival based on this investigation, among many a murmuring arose… etc.
Scripsit autem patriarcha Hierosolymitanus Juvenalis ad patriarcham Romanum Julium ea de re: « Non possum una die conferre me ad Bethlehem et ad Jordanem. Etenim Jordanis distat ab urbe Hierusalem ad orientem milliaribus 25, sancta vero Bethlehem ad austrum civitatis milliaribus sex; nec possum una die ambo festa peragere. Rogo itaque sanctitatem tuam, Pater, ut scruteris commentaria, et des nobis ex accurata disquisitione, per tuum scriptum, venerande, ejus rei notitiam: qua die natus sit Christus Dominus, et qua die baptizatus. Probe enim scimus commentarios ab initio libros e Hierosolymis Romam delatos fuisse per Titum et Vespasianum.»
His litteris acceptis Julius Romae patriarcha investigavit commentarios, invenitque quod 25 Decembris natus est Dominus noster Jesus Christus, et post annos 30 a nativitate sua baptizatus est a Joanne in Jordane fluvio, sexta mensis Januarii. Secundum ergo hanc investigationem cum Patres festum divisissent, inter multos ortum est murmur. Etc.
That’s clear enough. It’s the same story, with different details. But there are obvious difficulties.
To conclude, this is a letter with no claim to authenticity. This leaves us where we started; there is no evidence that Pope Julius I ever set the nativity of Christ to 25 December.
AKROTIRI, CYPRUS—According to Greek Reporter, a mosaic featuring an inscription written in Greek has been discovered at a Christian site in southern Cyprus. The inscription reads, “Lord, help those who fear Thy Name.” The mosaics are located on the floors of a highly decorated complex of temples and atria dating to the reign of Emperor Heraclius, who ruled from A.D. 610 to 641. One of the temples was a basilica with three aisles. Dimitris Triantafyllopoulos of the University of Cyprus said the complex was devoted to martyrs who were buried there. To read about another mosaic discovered in Cyprus, go to “And They’re Off!”
DAVIS, CALIFORNIA—The Boston Globe reports that researchers from the University of California, Davis, have developed a technique to determine the sex of skeletal remains based on amino acid sequences in tooth enamel proteins. The enamel is dissolved in acid, heated, ground, and treated with an enzyme before it is examined with a mass spectrometer. Glendon Parker of the university’s department of environmental toxicology explained that the test works because a protein found in tooth enamel comes from a sex-specific gene. Anthropologist Jelmer Eerkens added that determining the sex of a person's remains can be key to learning about the social role they may have played. “In both ancient and modern societies around the world, sex is often a strong determinant of your identity within a society,” Eerkens said. “It determines things like whether you can inherit land, when you get married, and whether you need to move to your new spouse’s village.” To read in-depth about how dental plaque is being used to study the past, go to “Worlds Within Us.”
Recent titles on antiquity in Leiden Open Dissertations
Spatial patterns in landscape archaeology : a GIS procedure to study settlement organization in early Roman colonial territories(2018-09-18)Molluscs in the Levantine Upper Palaeolithic: implications for modern human diets and subsistence behaviour(2018-05-03)(2018-02-14)(2018-01-24)(2017-12-21)Reconstructing the settled landscape of the Cyclades : the islands of Paros and Naxos during the late antique and early Byzantine centuries(Leiden University Press, Leiden, 2017-10-12)(2017-09-26)The Roman world of work : social structures and the urban labour market of Roman Italy in the first three centuries AD(2017-05-24)(2017-03-16)Thy Name is Deer, Animal names in Semitic onomastics and name-giving traditions : evidence from Akkadian, Northwest Semitic, and Arabic(2017-02-14)
Rivista del Museo Egizio
La Rivista del Museo Egizio promuove, raccoglie e diffonde le ricerche su tutti gli aspetti della collezione del Museo Egizio di Torino e sui siti archeologici da esso indagati oggi e in passato, nonché studi su argomenti aventi una rilevanza indiretta per la collezione.
Invito a pubblicareLa rivista sta raccogliendo i contributi per il secondo numero (2018). Per le modalità di presentazione e le linee guida, vedi la sezione Pubblica con noi.
RiME 2 (2018)
RiME 1 (2017)
[First posted in AWOL 26 August 2013, updated 21 December 2018]
Σχολή. Философское антиковедение и классическая традиция: Журнал Центра изучения древней философии и классической традиции -- Ancient Philosophy and the Classical Tradition : A Journal of the Centre for Ancient Philosophy and the Classical Tradition
ISSN: 1995-4336 (Online)
ISSN: 1995-4328 (Print)
Volume XII (2018)The Peripatetic TraditionSchool TraditionsVolume XI (2017)Volume X (2016)Volume IX (2015)The Natural and Human Sciences in AntiquityFrom the analytical point of view: Law and philosophyVolume VIII (2014)The Platonic TraditionChoice. Law. Power. ArgumentVolume VII (2013)Kosmos and PsycheVolume VI (2012)Issue 1Ancient MusicAncient PsychologyVolume V (2011)Cosmology and AstronomyVolume IV (2010)History and Philosophy of LawIamblichus of ChalcisVolume III (2009)The NeopythagoreansVolume II (2008)Volume I (2007)This work is licensed under aThe Journal is available atIndexed byRussian Index of Scientific Quotations (from 2007)Philosopher's Index (from 2008)SCOPUS (from 2011)Directory of Open Access Journals, DOAJ (from 2015)ERIH Plus (from 2017)Web of Science (from 2018)Printed copies can be ordered from the editor Том XII (2018)Перипатетическая традицияШкольные традицииТом XI (2017)Том X (2016)Том IX (2015)Науки о природе и человеке в античностиС аналитической точки зрения: право и философияТом VIII (2014)Платоническая традицияВыбор. Право. Власть. АргументТом VII (2013)Космос и душаТом VI (2012)Выпуск 1Античная музыкаАнтичная психологияТом V (2011)Космология и астрономияТом IV (2010)История и философия праваЯмвлих ХалкидскийТом III (2009)НеопифагорейцыТом II (2008)Том I (2007) Лицензия:
Editor’s note: this interview was originally published March 30th, 2015.
John of Nicaea is not known to the World-Wide Web. A search for this author, whom I mentioned in my last post, was quite futile. So I began to think about how I might find someone from the 9th or 11-12th century, potentially. The CPG ends around the time of John Damascene, so is useless here. But then I wondered whether “prosopography” might help; handbooks of people known from the period.
A search for “Byzantine prosopography” pointed me to two websites.
The first of these was hosted at Kings College London, so looked hopeful – the Prosopography of the Byzantine World. But on my Android mobile it refused to work at all, kicking me back to the home page (itself useless). On my PC, it worked but gave me nothing. Entering “Ioannes” gave me too much, either in Free Text or in Name; entering Ioannes Nicaea gave me nothing in either. No doubt there is some incantation that will produce results, but it defeated me.
I was more fortunate with Prosopographie der mittelbyzantinischen Zeit Online, although I was initially baffled at how to use it. The entry page tells you nothing useful, and I clicked around for some time. Eventually I downloaded a user guide in PPT format, which did not reflect the current site but allowed me to guess.
The actual answer is to use what looks like a general site search, but is not. I have highlighted it in the screen shot below (click to enlarge):
All the rest is irrelevant. But if you type “ioannes” in that box, you get stuff; and you also get a search that you can actually use (again I have highlighted this):
You can add a row, and suddenly you are looking at real options:
Click on the entry, and you get full details (in German; but if you use Chrome, you can right-click on the page and select “Translate”). You can even download them as a PDF, which is helpful.
* * * *
Reading this entry made much clear.
“John of Nicaea” was actually an Armenian named Vahan, graecised as John, and was archbishop of Nike (ἀρχιεπίσκοπος Νίκης) in Thrace, not Nicaea in Bithynia. About 861-2 he was the ambassador from Photius, the patriarch, to Zacharias, the catholicos of Greater Armenia. He was the Byzantine representative at the Council of Širakawan in 862/63. The opening speech of this council is preserved in Armenian (unpublished, in manuscript) and attributed to him; but in reality must be by an Armenian, perhaps Zacharias. He was also the author of a tract on the Nativity of Christ (De nativitate Domini, PG 96, 1435-1450). This work is mentioned in a letter of Photius written in 878-9, addressed to the Armenian ruler Ašot I. Bagratuni.
The article gives a very useful bibliography, which is mainly about Armenian affairs, so perhaps of limited interest here. All the same; nice to know who he is, when he lived; and even more to know how to find these things.
UPDATE: A look at the Pinakes database of Greek manuscripts shows that John of Nicaea, or Johannes Nikenus, or Iohannes Nicaenus mtr., is listed, as author 1501. These synonyms help somewhat in doing Google searches. I learn from the 1838 index volume of Fabricius’ Bibliotheca Graeca, p.55– which gives a huge list of “Johns” – that Ioannes, Nicaenus Archiepiscopus is to be found in volume X, p.238. So this is another way to locate obscure authors called “John”. Being unfamiliar with Fabricius’ work, however, I have not been able to locate the entry, and suspect that it is wrong. A list of volumes of Fabricius is at Links Galore here.
Editor’s note: this interview was originally published March 23rd, 2015.
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA—Live Sciencereports that paleontologist Amélie Beaudet of the University of the Witwatersrand and her colleagues used micro-computed tomography to make an endocast of the interior of the skull of “Little Foot,” a 3.67-million-year-old Australopithecus individual discovered in South Africa’s Sterkfontein Caves. “I was expecting something quite similar to the other endocasts we knew from Australopithecus, but Little Foot turned out to be a bit different, in accordance with its great age,” Beaudet said. Little Foot’s brain was asymmetrical, suggesting that the two sides of the brain performed different functions, just as the brains of modern humans and apes do. Little Foot’s visual cortex, however, takes up a greater portion of the brain than it does in later Australopithecus specimens. Beaudet thinks Little Foot’s ape-like brain could resemble that of a common ancestor to chimpanzees and humans. The differences its brain and later Australopithecus brains may also show that brain evolution occurred in fits and starts, she said. For more, go to “Cosmic Rays and Australopithecines.”
I thought I'd just put this here, grouping together some of the texts where on this blog I refer to the "Syrian National Coalition"
Monday, 14 July 2014: Syrian Heritage Task Force on the Antiquities Trade
Monday, 14 July 2014: Syrian Heritage Task Force on the Antiquities Trade
Thursday, 17 July 2014: Truth and Lies in the Media: Getting Messed-around by the "News"
Wednesday, 3 September 2014: ISIL Looting: In war, the first casualty...?
Thursday, 7 April 2016: Two Palmyra Busts Traded by ISIL? (UPDATE)
An interesting comment by an archaeologist on the background to some current some pop-culture fantasy (David Anderson, 'Aquaman's Atlantis - Truth, Fiction, Or Something In Between?' Forbes Dec 21, 2018)
Attempts to find physical evidence of Atlantis also began in the 19th-century. The public’s interest in the ancient Greek culture had been peaked [sic - piqued] in the 1870s when German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann claimed his excavations at the site of Hisarlik, Turkey, had confirmed that the site was the legendary city of Troy. Schliemann’s claims are controversial, but as far as the public was concerned, if one legendary ancient Greek city could be found why not another? In 1882, the book Atlantis: The Antedilluvian World by Ignatius Donnelly was released to great success, once again reshaping the public’s vision of Atlantis. Donnelly claimed that while he could not find the actual city of Atlantis, he could use archaeological evidence to prove it once existed. Employing an extreme form of diffusionism, Donnelley argued that the ancient temples and pyramids of the Egyptians and the Maya were so similar that they had to originate from one source, Atlantis. To find these similarities, however, Donnelley had to ignore countless differences in chronology, culture history and tradition. On occasion he would even stretch his evidence to fit. For example, while his claim that both ancient cultures had glyphic writing systems is true, it ignored the fact that these writing systems were fundamentally different in the structure of their characters, the uses to which they were put and in the languages they represented. Despite the deep problems with Donnelly’s argument, he helped to build a wave of Atlantis popularity as well as a century-long tradition among ‘alternative history’ authors whereby superficial similarities among ancient cultures are used as shocking evidence of cultural contacts. Donnelly’s legacy lives on with each new ‘discovery’ of Atlantis, but the reality is there are no historical or archaeological data that support the claim that Atlantis was ever a real place. Plato’s story was always intended as a moral parable, not a tale of human history.To be honest, I'd not thought about the connection between Schliemann and Donnelly before.
Lucio Ceccarelli, Contributions to the History of Latin Elegiac Distich, Turnhout, 2018.
Éditeur : Brepols
Collection : Studi e testi tardoantichi 15
ISBN : 978-2-503-57459-2
The life of the Latin elegiac distich spans over a very long period of time, from its importation into Rome in the second century B.C. to late antiquity, the Middle Ages and beyond. This study is based on almost all the available data from Latin elegiac poetry from Catullus to Venantius Fortunatus and offers a new reconstruction of the main lines of the evolution of the Latin elegiac distich in the first eight centuries of its history.
The volume is divided in two parts. The analysis, carried out with the help of statistical tools, is each time based on the whole of the works of the poets taken into account.
In the first part the data related to the classical distich (Catullus, Propertius, Tibullus, Ovidius, Lygdamus, Consolatio ad Liviam, Martialis) are presented and discussed. The analysis of the material shows how the form of the distich evolves from Catullus' to Ovidius' model. Catullus' distich is deeply modified, particularly due to Tibullus' work, to reach Ovidius' distich, which is the end point of the evolution of the Latin elegiac distich. Therefore particular attention is devoted to the way in which Tibullus in particular innovates the distich in comparison to Catullus' starting point and in which Ovidius, who now accepts Tibullus' proposals, now reseets them, now submits his own novelties and carries out the evolution of the distich. As for the classical authors following Ovid (the author of the Consolatio ad Liviam, Martialis and, probably, Lygdamus), it is analysed how they confront themselves with Ovidius' model.
The second part takes into account the late latin poets (Avianus, Ausonius, Paulinus of Nola, Prudentius, Claudian, Rutilius Namatianus, Prosper of Aquitaine, Orientius, Sidonius Apollinaris, Dracontius, Luxorius, Maximianus, Venantius Fortunatus, the authors of De Providentia and of the Carmen in Laudem Sanctae Mariae). Also in this case, the key issue is how these poets position themselves towards the Ovidian model (Knowledge of both Catullus and Tibullus is very limited in late antiquity and therefore they do not come in consideration as possible models). The conclusion of the analysis, not predictable a priori, is that the influence of Ovid's metrical technique in late antiquity is by far less strong than it could be expected.
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