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Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs -
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  • 04/18/18--08:42: Ardahan Fortress
  • Ardahan Fortress rises over the northern bank of the Kura River, flowing slowly to the east. The hill where the fortress was erected has gentle slopes and an almost flat top. It dominates the fertile plain where the small town of Ardahan has developed. The valley has had strategic importance since the times unknown, as all the major transportation routes of the region pass through it. On the other hand, not much is known about the prehistory and ancient history of Ardahan, and the information available is a mixture of facts and myths. Sami Patacı from the University of Ardahan lamented: "[The Ardahan Province is] a relatively neglected area of archaeological research in northeastern Turkey. The dynamics of cultural development in this region at the northern frontier of the Near Eastern archaeology are still problematic, as its archaeology has so far received very limited attention, especially when compared with other borderlands in eastern Turkey and Transcaucasia."

    Ardahan Fortress - Main Gate

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    De Onderzoekseenheid Archeologie van de KU Leuven organiseert op donderdag 15 februari het tweede ‘Leuven Archaeological Research Seminar’ (LARS) van het tweede semester. Erwin Meylemans zal spreken over ‘Man-environment interactions in the Lower Scheldt valley in the early and middle Holocene’. De lezing vindt plaats om 16u in lokaal 01.16 van het Monseigneur Sencie Instituut (Erasmusplein, Leuven). Alle geïnteresseerden zijn van harte welkom.

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    Op 13 juni organiseren het agentschap Onroerend Erfgoed en de Universiteit Gent in Brussel een studiedag over de rol van geofysische prospectie in het archeologisch onderzoeksproces. Het programma van deze studiedag, die plaatsvindt in het Herman Teirlinckgebouw in Brussel, werd deze week bekendgemaakt. Deelname aan deze studiedag is gratis maar inschrijven is verplicht. Je vindt het volledige programma en alle praktische informatie op

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    In the early spring of 118 AD, Hadrian reached the Danubian province of Lower Moesia (present-day Dobrudja in Romania). This territory, located between the lower Danube river and the Black Sea, was established as the province of Moesia in the last years of Augustus’ reign and later separated into two parts (Upper and Lower Moesia) in… Continue reading Early spring 118 AD – Hadrian conducts negotiations with the king of the Roxolani in Moesia Inferior (#Hadrian1900)

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    GODOT: Graph of Dated Objects and Texts

    The aim of this graph database system is to create and maintain a gazetteer of calendar dates in different calendar systems used in the Greek and Roman antiquity all across the mediterranean sea. Like geographical gazetteers this authority list can be used to provide stable, unique identifiers (URIs) for each date in any of the calendar systems that has been used to refer to an astronomical day in any ancient source, be it papyri, ostraca or inscriptions. It will serve as a means to search and browse ancient texts by their precise temporal footprint using these URIs in digital editions and database or TEI/EpiDoc XML driven projects. 
    Where a clear system of conversions between different calendar systems has been established, dates will be converted algorithmically into (proleptic) Julian calendar and Julian Day Numbers. As more and more dates from antiquity are linked to the GODOT infrastructure, a complex knowledge graph of ancient dated objects and texts evolves. More...

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    Projet HospitAm

    The “Projet HospitAm” (Hospitalités dans l'Antiquité méditerranéenne : sources, enjeux, pratiques, discours), emerging project of the École normale supérieure de Lyon co-organized by Claire Fauchon-Claudon (ENS de Lyon – UMR 5189 Hisoma) and Marie-Adeline Le Guennec (EFR), aims to explore the concept of hospitality in the Ancient Mediterranean.

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    England Cornish barrowCORNWALL, ENGLAND—BBC News reports that an intact collared urn, flint tools, and additional pieces of pottery were found under just ten inches of dirt in a Bronze Age burial mound overlooking the English Channel in southwestern England. The urn stands about 12 inches tall, and may contain cremains. “It’s almost a miracle that a plow has never hit it,” said archaeologist Catherine Frieman of Australian National University. Frieman’s team discovered the burial mound during a geophysical survey of farmland in the coastal area, which she suggests was important for the trade of metals such as Cornish tin during the Bronze Age. The surface of the mound is dotted with several features that look like pits, and is surrounded by a circular ditch with a single entrance. It had been previously thought that barrows in Cornwall had been constructed without ditches. To read more about this period in the British Isles, go to "Bronze Age Ireland's Taste in Gold." 

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    Papyrus Biblical Sacrifice


    OXFORD, ENGLAND—Live Science reports that Michael Zellmann-Rohrer of Oxford University has translated a 1,500-year-old papyrus discovered near the pyramid of Pharaoh Senwosret I in 1934 by researchers from New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Zellmann-Rohrer said the “magical papyrus” describes the biblical story of the binding of Isaac, in which God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac on Mount Moriah. As the story is told in the biblical book of Genesis, God stopped Abraham from completing the sacrifice, but Zellmann-Rohrer said that in this text, written in Coptic, an Egyptian language that uses the Greek alphabet, the sacrifice was completed. Other known texts from antiquity relate the story in this way, Zellmann-Rohrer said. He also explained that the story had been copied onto the papyrus by multiple writers who were not likely to have been professional scribes. To read about early medieval Christian manuscripts in Egypt, go to "Recovering Hidden Texts."   

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    NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA—The Maya site of La Corona in Guatemala was part of a Classic-era kingdom ranging from southern Mexico to Central America, according to a Science News report. Marcello Canuto of Tulane University and Tomás Barrientos of the University of the Valley of Guatemala reviewed Lidar mapping of the Guatemalan lowlands, excavation data, and studies of Maya hieroglyphics, and found that the remote city of La Corona was ruled by the Kaanul rulers, or Snake Kings, who were based in Mexico at the city of Calakmul. La Corona may have served as a relay center for precious goods traveling in and out of the Kaanul capital to sites further south. “Our work supports the idea that the ancient Maya formed interconnected political systems, not largely separate city-states as traditionally thought,” Canuto said. To read about a pioneering Lidar study of a major Maya site, go to "Lasers in the Jungle."

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    OFFRE DE POSTE ARCHÉOLOGUE-RESPONSABLE D’OPÉRATIONS SPÉCIALISTE DES ÂGES DES MÉTAUX H/F Ref : 2018/EG/592 Direction : Direction générale de l’éducation et de la culture Filière : Culturelle Cadre d’emplois : Attaché de conservation du patrimoine Catégorie : A Localisation : Conseil départemental – Hôtel du Département – 2 rue St...

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    Knowledge and Power in the Neo-Assyrian Empire includes a collection of teaching resources.  Among these are:

    The identification of ancient places with modern sites is not always certain. We have followed the certainty codes 1-4 in Parpola and Porter, Helsinki atlas (2001), and coloured the pins in the Google Earth (KMZ) files accordingly:
    1. Yellow: definitely known location (no "probably/perhaps/possibly" in People, Gods, and Places)
    2. Green: "probably" known to be a modern location
    3. Aqua: "perhaps" known to be a modern location
    4. White: "possibly" known to be a modern location

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    Publisher: UCOPress. Cordoba University Press (UCOPress Editorial Universidad de Córdoba) ISSN: 2445-2378

    Mediterranea is an international journal focusing on various areas of knowledge transfer from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern period, covering the Middle East and the Mediterranean basin, and paying special attention to philological, philosophical, scientific, cultural and religious fields of research. Mediterranea publishes original papers relating to all aspects of the knowledge transfer from Late Antiquity to the Early Modern period. All submissions from Arts and Humanities, Cultural Heritage, Social Sciences and Experimental Sciences are welcome.


    Alphabetical List of Open Access Journals in Middle Eastern Studies

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    Sandra Blakely (éd.), Gods, Objects, and Ritual Practice, Atlanta, 2017.

    Éditeur : Lockwood Press
    Collection : Studies in Ancient Mediterranean Religions, 1
    350 pages
    ISBN : 9781937040796


    Conversations about materiality have helped forge a common meeting ground for scholars seeking to integrate images, sites, texts and implements in their approach to religion in the ancient Mediterranean. The thirteen chapters in this volume explore the productivity of these approaches, with case studies from Israel, Athens, Rome, Sicily and North Africa. The results foreground the capacity of material approaches to cast light on the cultural creation of the sacred through the integration of rhetorical, material, and iconographic means. They open more nuanced pathways to the uses of text in the study of material evidence. They highlight the potential for material objects to bring political and ethnic boundaries into the sacred realm. And they emphasize the role of ongoing interpretation, debate, and multiple readings in the creation of the sacred, in both ancient contexts and scholarly discussion.

    Lire la suite...

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    (Post by A.D. Riddle)

    Yesterday, the BiblePlaces newsletter went out with a big announcement about our newest Photo Companion. If you did not receive the newsletter (or if you did not take a moment to read it yet), you can check it out here.

    The Photo Companion to the Bible launched last year with the release of The Gospels. Now, we are pleased to announce the latest volume in the series, the book of Ruth.
    Ruth is chock-full of cultural and geographic scenes which the BiblePlaces team has illustrated with 350 modern and historic photographs. The photographs are arranged chapter-by-chapter and verse-by-verse in PowerPoint files, accompanied by descriptions, notes, Bible citations, and labels.

    Whether you are a student, a teacher, a pastor, or a lay person who studies the Bible, we believe you will truly appreciate this carefully selected assortment of photographs.

    To mark the release of this new volume, Ruth is on sale this week for only $20. The price includes free shipping (in the U.S.) and immediate download. Visit this page for further details and to order.

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    April 26, 2018 - 9:55 AM - LECTURE Ροζαλία Χρηστίδου (CNRS/UMR 5133 -Archéorient, research associate)

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    Review of Paul C. Dilley, Monasteries and the Care of Souls in Late Antique Christianity: Cognition and Discipline. Cambridge: 2017. Pp. xii, 350. $120.00. ISBN 9781107184015.

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    Review of Joseph R. Dodson, David E. Briones, Paul and Seneca in Dialogue. Ancient Philosophy & Religion, 2. Leiden; Boston: 2017. Pp. xviii, 340. $159.00. ISBN 9789004341357.

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    Review of Cristina Rosillo-López, Political Communication in the Roman World. Impact of Empire, 27. Leiden; Boston: 2017. Pp. 284. $133.00. ISBN 9789004350847.

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    caput porci(num) (n. pl. capita porcorum)

    Literally ‘pig’s head’, an informal term referring to the battlefield tactic known as the cuneus. Veg., DRM 3.19; Amm. 17.13.9. [Cowan 2007]

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    carcer (m. pl. carceres)

    Prison. O. Bu NjemAE 1990, 896. [Johnson 1983]

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    carcerarius (m. pl. carcerarii)

    Prison-keeper. CIL III, 10493k; AE 1978, 730. [Goldsworthy 2003]

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    Vandaag werden de vijf laureaten van de Eos Pipet 2018 bekendgemaakt. Met die prijs bekronen Eos Wetenschap en de Jonge Academie de meest beloftevolle jonge onderzoeker van het afgelopen jaar. Archeologe Barbora Wouters (FWO-VUB) is een van de vijf genomineerden. Zij reconstrueert in haar onderzoek het vroegmiddeleeuwse stadsleven. Op het Wetenschapsfestival Sound of Science op zondag 27 mei wordt de winnaar bekendgemaakt. Tot die tijd kan iedereen online stemmen voor de publieksprijs via Je leest meer over het onderzoek van Barbora in het artikel ‘Stad onder de microscoop’.

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    Dans le cadre du séminaire de Protohistoire celtique organisé par Katherine Gruel , Michel Dabas et  Thierry Lejars (AOrOc-CNRS-ENS), nouvelle séance : L’impact des nouvelles technologies sur la recherche archéologique récente. Application à l’ensemble protohistorique d’Ullastret. Interventions : Ferran CODINA Gabriel de PRADO Museu d’Arqueologia de Catalunya-Ullastret Vendredi 4 mai...

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    <img src="" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

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    On behalf of Camilla Campedelli, AIEGL Secretary General

    AIEGL will award two Géza Alföldy stipends in 2018: a Research Grant (€ 1,500) to support early career scholars in conducting epigraphic research abroad, and a Publication Grant (up to € 1,500) to provide financial assistance with the publication of a monograph on an epigraphic subject.

    Géza Alföldy – Research Grant

    AIEGL is pleased to announce the annual award of a Géza Alföldy Grant in the amount of EUR 1,500. The Grant is intended to support early career scholars in conducting epigraphic research abroad (including e.g. field study of inscriptions) for a period of one to two months.


    • Applicants must be AIEGL members under 40 years of age.
    • The closing date for applications is 15 May each year; AIEGL will notify the winner of the Grant within 30 days after the closing date.
    • Applications will be evaluated by a panel of 3 IIIhomines praemiis dandis, who are appointed by the AIEGL Bureau from among the members of the Association.
    • The successful applicant will be required to send a report (max 300 words) to the AIEGL Bureau within 30 days after the end of their stay abroad.

    Applications should be submitted via email to the Secretary General, Dr. Camilla Campedelli (, and include the following:

    • CV (max 1 page)
    • Project description, including details of the host institution (max 3 pages)
    • Acceptance letter from the host institution OR official permit to conduct fieldwork (study of ancient inscriptions on site, epigraphical survey, etc.)
    • Information on other bursaries received or applied for

    Géza Alföldy – Publication Grant

    AIEGL is pleased to announce the annual award of a Géza Alföldy Grant in the amount up to EUR 1,500. The Grant is intended to provide financial assistance with the publication of a monograph on an epigraphic subject (e.g. a revised PhD dissertation). The manuscript must have already been accepted by a publisher at the time of the application.


    • Applicants must be AIEGL members under 40 years of age.
    • The closing date for applications is 15 May each year; AIEGL will notify the winner of the Grant within 30 days after the closing date.
    • Applications will be evaluated by a panel of 3 IIIhomines praemiis dandis, who are appointed by the AIEGL Bureau from among the members of the Association.

    Applications should be submitted via email to the Secretary General, Dr. Camilla Campedelli (, and include the following:

    • CV (max 1 page)
    • Book abstract
    • PDF file(s) of the manuscript submitted to the publisher
    • Acceptance letter from the publisher (including publication costs)
    • Information on other grants for publication received or applied for

    The AIEGL Bureau
    Camilla Campedelli
    Secretary General

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    Footprints left in wet clay around 13,000 years ago by two barefoot adults and a child were recently unearthed by anthropologists on Calvert Island in British Columbia, Canada - the...

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    April 25, 2018 - 2:18 PM - ΣΥΝΕΔΡΙΟ

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  • 04/19/18--04:16: Onze tips voor Erfgoeddag
  • Nu zondag, op 22 april, vindt de 18de editie van de Erfgoeddag plaats, met dit jaar als centraal thema ‘Kiezen’. 500 erfgoedorganisaties in Vlaanderen en Brussel nemen deel, goed voor zowat 700 activiteiten waarbij roerend en/of immaterieel erfgoed centraal staat. Musea, archieven en heemkringen zetten hun deuren open om de bevolking met erfgoed te laten kennismaken. Te veel activiteiten om op te noemen, en daarom zetten we hier enkele aanraders op een rijtje…


    In Meeuwen-Gruirode neemt Arne de archeoloog je mee op pad in het archeologisch park de Rieten, waar grafheuvels en bijzondere voorwerpen uit de ijzertijd werden gevonden. Onderweg zoek je naar schatten, kraak je codes en los je raadsels op. Stap mee met de gids, of maak je eigen wapenschild of kralenjuweel. In Hasselt kan je graven in het verleden van Domein Kiewit. Zou het kunnen dat er nog resten van een oude beeldentuin te vinden zijn? Of zoek je liever met een metaaldetector naar knepkes (oude munten) in het Engels park? In het Gallo-Romeins Museum in Tongeren kan je zelf je eigen gids kiezen en in Borgloon toont een expo de vondsten van metaaldetectoristen uit de Haspengouwse bodem.


    Het pam Velzeke krijgen bezoekers toegang tot het depot, de werkruimtes en het conservatieatelier. Vondsten, schenkingen, verzamelingen en uitzonderlijke aankopen vormen samen de collectie van het Archeocentrum. Welke keuzes werden en zullen er worden gemaakt bij bewaring, selectie, en waardering? In Temse geeft zooarcheologe Kim Aluwé een lezing over haar passie en haar onderzoek naar onder meer de Romeinse en middeleeuwse vondsten op het Blauwhof in Steendorp. In het kader van de kick-off van de expo ‘Hammam. Steaming Stories’ gaan experts in het STAM in Gent in gesprek over het geheim van deze eeuwenoude traditie en hoe die in Vlaanderen vandaag opduikt. In Ename zijn de kinderen koning. Ze kunnen er klimmen als een monumentenwachter, graven als een archeoloog of zeilen als een molenaar en nog veel meer.


    In de pastorie van Wakkerzeel organiseert HAGOK een boekenbeurs rond archeologie, heemkunde, erfgoed of kunst.


    Het stadsarchief van Diksmuide duikt onder de klinkers van de Grote Markt. De heraanleg in 2018 was een unieke kans om archeologische opgravingen uit te voeren in het hart van de stad. De recente vondsten geven ons een nieuwe kijk op het middeleeuwse stadsleven. In Meulebeke wordt gefocust op de resultaten van het archeologisch onderzoek op het bedrijventerrein Haandeput. Via een lezing, expo, Keltische re-enacters en rondrit worden de archeologische schatten verkend. In Roeselare focust een tentoonstelling op de kiezen van vee die werden gevonden onder huize Duyvewaardt. Samen met ander archeologisch materiaal geven de kiezen een boeiende inkijk in het dagelijkse leven in Roeselare vanaf de middeleeuwen. In Zedelgem wordt de grootste archeologische vondst van de gemeente verkoezen, en in Ieper toont de expo ‘Sporen van oorlog’ voor het eerst de resultaten van meer dan 150 recente opgravingen in de frontregio.

    Meer info: deze lijst is uiteraard slechts een (subjectieve) selectie uit de honderden activiteiten tijdens de Erfgoeddag op 22 april. Veel meer activiteiten en alle praktische informatie vind je op

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  • 04/19/18--04:33: Unwell Student
  • It has been a while since I’ve made a parody song, but recently I found inspiration to make the above song – a parody of the hit song “Unwell” by Matchbox 20 – in a Faculty and Staff Learning Community that I’ve been facilitating this academic year. Our focus has been on wellness and metacognition. […]

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    This semester, I’ve been working with a remarkable group of students on the Wesley College Documentation Project. The goal of this project is to document the four buildings on campus associated with Wesley College, a unique co-institutional college that worked alongside UND to provide music, religious education, and housing for students enrolled in both UND and Wesley College. As part of that project, I’ve spent a good bit of time with the Wesley College papers and have become transfixed by the work and personality of the College’s first president, Edward P. Robertson. I thought I might share some of his personality with a wider audience by putting together a dossier of his letters from 1935, five years after he had retired as president of Wesley College. The letters were written during the Great Depression when the fate of Wesley College was anything but certain. Robertson’s dedication, persistence, and charm comes through in these letters composed during these difficult times. 

    Here’s the link. This is just a first draft of this work. Here’s my temporary cover with the preface below: 

    LettersRobertsonCover6 01

    The Letters of Edward Robertson, President Emeritus, Wesley College, from 1935


    This collection of letters by Dr. Edward P. Robertson is the first draft of a hazy idea that I’ll attempt to explain in this short preface.

    Dr. Edward Peter Robertson was the first president of Wesley College in Grand Forks, North Dakota. He was hired by the board of trustees of Red River Valley University in Whapeton, North Dakota in 1899. After a few years in Whapeton, he and the board decided that Grand Forks, North Dakota offered better opportunities for an institution of higher learning, and he successfully oversaw the moving of Red River Valley University from Whapeton to Grand Forks, where he rechristened it, Wesley College, in 1905. The reasons for this move are both complex and simple. Robertson felt that there was a better chance for the college to attract students and raise the necessary funds to operate if it were closer to the center of the state’s population which was largely concentrated in the Red River valley. From early on, Roberston recognized the importance of raising money from donors for Wesley College to succeed, and this understanding would shape his presidency and legacy.

    This is not to suggest that he neglected the intellectual and spiritual aspects of running a Methodist College. In fact, the other reason that he founded Wesley College in Grand Forks was because of a remarkable arrangement he struck with the President of the University of North Dakota, Webster Merrifield. Merrifield and Robertson agreed that Wesley College would offer housing and courses for University of North Dakota students in religion, music, and elocution and expression and that these courses would count for credit at UND.

    In 1908, 1909, and 1910, the first of three buildings at Wesley College opened, Sayre Hall, Larimore Hall, and Corwin Hall. The first two were men’s and women’s dormitories respectively and the third offered space for the music program and university offices. It is no exaggeration to say that in its first two decades, Wesley College moved from strength to strength with programs regularly enrolling as many as 400 students at various levels. They also maintained the attention of loyal and generous donors who ensured that the College had more than tuition and housing fees alone could provide.

    The 1920s and early-1930s, however, were more difficult times. The agricultural crisis of the 1920s was bad for North Dakota, Wesley College students, and local donors. This did not discourage Robertson from securing funding from John Milton Hancock for the construction of what would become Robertson Hall which opened in 1930 and which completed a plan for the Wesley College first conceived in 1905.

    The same year also saw Robertson’s retirement from the office of President of Wesley College, but the onset of the Great Depression and the worsening of the College’s financial situation, meant that his services were more needed than ever. Almost as soon as he had retired, the 70-year-old Robertson began to canvass his long-time donors for the increasingly urgent needs of the College. Unfortunately, many of these families suffered from the same economic woes as so many Americans and could no longer afford the same generosity that they had shown in the past. More troubling still is that some of the long-time supporters of the College had begun to question whether this undertaking would survive.

    Frank Lynch, one of the more devoted supporters of Wesley College, withdrew his support and then agreed to donate more only if Wesley College could raise some funds first. Unfortunately, the details of this agreement remain a bit obscure (although some or another document may well emerge from the archives illuminating the agreement in detail). It appears as though Lynch offered Wesley College $150,000 in his will for an endowment in addition to $25,000 which he would make available immediately if College’s could manage to raise the necessary funds to pay its debt of $60,000 and to cover operating expenses. Using this offer, Robertson began a letter writing campaign to raise the needed funds.

    The letters published here come from the Wesley College Papers (UA63, Box 1) currently housed in UND’s Chester Fritz Library’s Department of Special Collection’s University Archives. They all date from the year 1935 and document Robertson’s efforts to raise money on the basis of the Frank Lynch offers and to manage or eliminate the College’s debt. They reflect both Roberston’s determination and passion for Wesley College as well as a kind of congenial and person style of writing. The letters reveal the economic challenges of the time, extraordinary acts of generosity and compassion, and even some of the mundane obstacles that face anyone attempting to do good. They also lay bare Robertson’s occasional frustrations, disappointments, and genuine concern surrounding the fate of the institution to which he devoted his life.

    More than that, they’re touching to read.

    This publication is part of the Wesley College Documentation Project which is a multidisciplinary project to celebrate both the history of Wesley College and its unique place in the history of the University of North Dakota. In June of this year, the four major buildings of Wesley College are slated for demolition, but it is our hope that documenting these buildings and the Wesley College story will keep the College’s memory alive.

    As I noted in the onset of this document, this is a draft publication which will hopefully develop over time and be joined by other works that tell the story of Wesley College. We hope the story of this college and the characters who shared its vision offers enduring perspectives that continue to have meaning today.  

    Special thanks goes to the ten students who have worked with me on this project and the staff of UND’s Special Collections and UND’s Facilities Department who have facilitated our research throughout.

    William Caraher

    Associate Professor
    Department of History
    University of North Dakota
    Grand Forks, North Dakota

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    Some more Corinthian clickbait hit us last week in a series of news articles about a coin hoard from Lechaion. We have heard quite a bit in the past about the Lechaion Harbor Project (LHP), a Danish and Greek operation to document the underwater remains at Lechaion since 2013. Their press releases, which come at the end of each calendar year, find their way into media outlets around the world just in time for Christmas and New Year’s Eve. We covered the work of the 2014 and 2015 seasons herehere, and here (2015), and press releases of their work in 2016 and 2017 can be found here and here.

    The coin hoard, however, was found by the other Lechaion Project. Yes, that’s right, the other project. There are two separate, ongoing archaeological projects at Lechaion these days. While the Danish-Greek project has been investigating the underwater remains since 2013 and has received global coverage, the American-Greek Lechaion Harbor and Settlement Land Project (LHSLP) has been studying all the remains on land since 2014 and only begun excavation more recently. The results of their work are just beginning to circulate in archaeological conferences. It was this project that discovered the coin hoard.

    Now, coins and coin hoards are always exciting to discover in an excavation, but they are not particularly mysterious, even (especially?) when discovered beneath the floors of collapsed buildings. LiveScience and Newsweek headlines suggest otherwise:   “1,500-Year-Old Coin Stash Leaves Archaeologists with Mystery”  and “RARE DISCOVERY OF 1,500-YEAR-OLD BRONZE COINS IN GREEK HARBOR PUZZLES SCIENTISTS”.  Archaeology magazine and Neos Kosmos toned down mystery and exception with more descriptive titles  “1,500-year-old bronze coins found at Greek harbour” (Neos Kosmos) and “Coin Hoard Unearthed Near Corinth’s Harbor” (Archaeology). According to these reports, the hoard includes coins from as early as the reign of Constantine century and as late as the reign of Anastasius, so it is interesting to think about the curation of coins and the longevity of circulation over nearly two centuries–and another reason for a little skepticism about dating excavation contexts from coins alone.

    But there should be some bigger and more interesting stories to come out of the work of the LHSP, especially if results are coordinated with those of the LHP. As the LiveScience article reported, based on recent talks at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America and interviews with Paul Scotton and Michael Lerardi, the hoards were found in a putative work yard, which includes slag, iron, a basin, and animal bones. The Neos Kosmos  piece reports the discovery of “two large Roman civic basilicas….Believed to have been government buildings, one dates to all the way back to the end of the 1st century, meaning they are likely from the early Roman colony founded by Julius Caesar.” The work of the LHSLP, which includes survey, excavation, remote sensing, and geophysics, could contribute eventually to outstanding debates about Lechaion and, indeed, about Corinth herself, including: the origins of the harbor and the history of the visible works; the growing importance of Lechaion during the century-long interim period following Rome’s devastation of Corinth in 146 BC; the patterns of land division documented by David Romano dating to the third quarter of the first century AD that point to planned neighborhoods; the role of the harbor and its refurbishment during the visit of the emperor Nero and the reign of Vespasian; the relationship between Corinth and Lechaion in the Roman era; the environment of the famous Lechaion basilica church, an early Christian church excavated long ago by Dimitrios Pallas; and the “abandonment” of the harbor in the Byzantine period (there is an ongoing debate, after all, among geomorphologists and geologists about whether Lechaion was destroyed by tsunami or not, but that’s another story). And I will also note that in a region characterized by archaeological fiefdoms–where individuals, institutions, and ambitions lay claim to particular buildings, sites, and classes of material–it would be a great (touching even) human story if these projects found a way to share their data and build a complementary study of the harbor over the period of a millennium.

    So, we can celebrate the finds that make clickbait, but hold out for a better story or two. Not any time soon, mind you, as archaeological study takes years, even decades, and the real significance and results of programs of fieldwork are even then not always obvious.

    For more information on the work of the Lechaion Harbor and Settlement Land Project:

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    Ars Amatoria is sure to be a distinct pivot away from Dante's Paradiso, where the Sarasota classics group has been lingering, or loitering, for the past two and a half years.

    Ovid's poem, completed around 2 A.D., was a sort of instructional manual to the realm of relations between the sexes.
    the word ars in the title is not to be translated coldly as 'technique', or as 'art' in the sense of civilized refinement, but as "textbook", the literal and antique definition of the word. (Ars Amatoria)
    The text is available in various formats online and in print -- see below. If anyone knows of another that should be added to the list, please let me know, or leave the info in a comment.

    Ars Amatoria Online

    A.S. Kline

    Sacred Texts

    J. Lewis May (Wikisource)

    Riley - prose translation with notes (Gutenberg)

    Perseus - Dual Language
    Hyperlinked Latin, English, and notes


    James Mitchie Dual language, no notes

    Applebaum - Dover edition, English only, no notes

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  • 04/19/18--06:42: Herculaneum in Pictures
  • Herculaneum in Pictures

    Jackie and Bob are pleased to announce the launch of HerculaneuminPictures as a companion site to our PompeiiinPictures offering.
    We would like to thank Michael Binns and Buzz Ferebee for their many photographs that have helped fill the gaps we had with our own.
    We would also like to thank Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill for allowing us to use material from his book Herculaneum Past and Future (Wallace-Hadrill, A. 2011. Herculaneum, Past and Future. London, Frances Lincoln.)
    So many houses in Herculaneum are closed and under restoration which means that our coverage is limited in places.
    This is our first offering and we look forward to expanding the coverage wherever the Parco Archeologico Ercolano allows access.

    Our Pompeii sites and will continue to be available separately but the Herculaneum and Pompeii web sites will be linked so you can move between them, whenever you wish.

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    Check out this new journal from Southeast Asian Art Academic Programme at SOAS. The journal is calling for papers for the inaugural 2019 issue, see here. Journal of Buddhist and Hindu Art, Architecture and Archaeology of Ancient to Premodern Southeast Asia Pratu: Journal of Buddhist and Hindu Art, Architecture and Archaeology of Ancient to Premodern … Continue reading"New Journal: Pratu – Journal of Buddhist and Hindu Art, Architecture and Archaeology of Ancient to Premodern Southeast Asia"

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    April 27, 2018 - 5:13 PM - LECTURE Lindy Crewe (Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute)

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    Humans have been performing brain surgery—or at least drilling holes in one others’ skulls—for...

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    Two quick references to supplement our reading of Paradiso 33:

    In "Paradiso 33: Invisible Ink", Teodolinda Barolini brilliantly outlines the architecture of the canto as well as a lively sense of how the final 100 lines present
    three circular waves of discourse (like the rippling motion of water in a round vase that is compared to waves of spoken speech at the beginning of Paradiso 14): three circulate melodie, three “jumps” by which the poet zeroes in on his poem’s climax. He approaches and backs off, approaches and backs off again, and finally arrives.
    And for the sonority of the language, see Vittorio Gassman's impassioned recitation. He introduces the reading for four minutes, then begins. This link begins with the actual recitation.

    The intro and index to Barolini's blog are here, entitled Commento Baroliniano.

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    M. A. K. Halliday passed away this past week, April 15th, 2018. There’s an excellent obituary on the front page of the Australian Systemic Functional Linguistics Association Website, as well as at the University of Sidney: Obituary for Michael Halliday. In the New Testament world, Stanley E. Porter and David I. Yoon have written a... Continue Reading →

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    Nazi U boatTHYBORØN, DENMARK—CBS News reports that researchers from the Sea War Museum Jutland have found the wreckage of U-3523, a Nazi submarine sunk by a British aerial assault on May 6, 1945, the day after Nazi forces surrendered in Denmark. The extremely quiet Type XXI vessel was said to have been capable of travel from Europe to South America without surfacing. Historic records indicate the U-3523 had been carrying a crew of 58, but its mission is unknown. The submarine was found in the North Sea, about nine miles from the site where the British navy reported the hit, partially buried in the sea bed on a diagonal. The researchers have documented more than 450 wrecks while scanning the areas of the North Sea and the Skagerrak strait, which flows between Denmark and Norway. Nine of those wrecks have been identified as German submarines. To read more, go to "The Archaeology of World War II." 

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    Scotland distance stoneGLASGOW, SCOTLAND—The Scotsman reports that traces of red and yellow pigments have been detected on the Antonine Wall’s distance stones with x-ray fluorescence and Raman spectroscopy technology. Built on a stone foundation in the second century A.D., the turf wall sat about 99 miles to the north of Hadrian’s Wall, and stretched about 37 miles from the Firth of Forth to the Firth of Clyde. Louisa Campbell of Glasgow University said the bright colors on the engraved stones in the wall would have enhanced the impact of Roman propaganda on the local population. Red was used to paint images of Roman officers’ cloaks, and drops of blood on their captives. Ochre was used to give color to skin tones in the pictures. “The local population might not have been able to read the Latin inscriptions on the stone but they would certainly have been able to understand the sculptures and the context behind them,” Campbell said.  To read in-depth about Hadrian's Wall, go to "The Wall at the End of the Empire." 

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    Neolithic cow trepanationPARIS, FRANCE—Paleontologists Alain Froment and Fernando Ramirez Rozzi of the French National Center for Scientific Research suggest a hole in a cow skull uncovered at the Neolithic site of Champ-Durand in southwestern France could be evidence of a surgical procedure. According to a Gizmodo report, their analysis of the hole found no trace of fracturing or splintering, indicating it was not caused by goring from another cow, or a puncture from a powerful blow with a stone tool. The wound does, however, resemble holes found in human skulls attributed to the practice of trepanation. The hole in the cow skull shows no signs of healing, so either the animal did not survive the procedure, or it was already dead when the procedure was performed. Froment and Rozzi note that cows were common during the Neolithic period, so it was unlikely the surgeon needed to save the life of a food animal. They think the operation may have been practice for trepanation on humans. To read more about Neolithic technology, go to "The Neolithic Toolkit." 

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    Romania Dacian Artifacts ReturnedBUCHAREST, ROMANIA—Romania Insider reports that Austria has repatriated a collection of first-century A.D. Dacian coins and bracelets to Romania. The gold and silver artifacts, including more than 450 coins and 18 bracelets, are thought to have been plundered from western Romania’s Orastie Mountains between 2000 and 2001. They were discovered in Austria in 2015. A joint investigation resulted in the convictions of 21 people for the theft. To read about archaeology in the Balkans, go to "Thracian Treasure Chest." 

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    MUNICH, GERMANY—For as long as there has been civilization, there have been mind-altering drugs....

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  • 04/19/18--12:41: End of Term, Continued
  • The term may be over, but the deadlines remain.  Besides the pile of marking that awaits, I have a conference paper to write, two book chapters to finish/tweak, a pile of research grants to review, a volume's worth of Phoenix articles to read, and a webinar to think about.  And all of this is due by the 10th of May. 

    All that being said, and perhaps not surprisingly, I want to start with Netflix.  I waited with eager anticipation for the arrival of the new Troy show.  The first episode left me wanting, though I was surprised by how varied the quantity of myths connected to Troy they included (death of Menelaus' father, Paris' first love as a shepherd, the Odysseus' madness and his son story).  Because I wasn't enamoured, and all I really want to do is travel the stars, Lost in Space stole me away a little into episode two of Troy.  I'm more than halfway through, and am thoroughly enjoying it.  Admittedly, I tend to like shows like this more for how they stir my imagination (what would it be like to travel the stars) than anything else. 

    Anyway, I did manage to go back to Troy, and I think the second episode was thoroughly enjoyable, at least what I've seen so far.  Although Agamemnon was underwhelming at first, once the issue with the winds cropped up, and the decision was made to sacrifice his daughter, I was impressed with how they presented it.  I wondered too, like the fate of the Trojans as a whole, if it was somehow more emotional (for me the viewer) because I knew what was going to happen.  To have to meet Iphigenia, and see how she reacted to her father's confession - and his anguish, Clytemnesra's pain, Odysseus' subterfuge:  that scene to my mind was something else.  Suffice to say, I'm now hooked, even if I've always wished the Trojans had won.  They may have left out ole smelly-foot's abandoning (Philoctetes), or the thrilling landing on the shore at Troy, but I'm looking forward to what comes next.  It's definitely something I'll be using in myth class next year - and Troy as a whole will be getting much more attention. 

    Over the next few days, I need to do some thinking about Procopius, as I'll be participating in the Virtual Centre for Late Antiquity's first webinar on Monday (10:30...or 10am CST) on said historian.  We have a few bigger themes that we're going to discuss, and I guess I should get a better handle on where I land on all of them, or even if there is somewhere I land.  I don't want to give the game away - is it possible to build up suspense for a webinar on Procopius - but they're big issues, some I've been thinking about for the purposes of this SSHRC grant that is getting closer to its end.  Along those lines, rather than spilling the beans, I'd like to highlight a question I asked an undergraduate student (Dan Russell) who defended his honour's thesis just a few days ago:  how would you approach the subject if you didn't have Procopius?  Because the central item (Procopius book one sequel) that will emerge from the grant deals with him, I've started wondering that myself.  How would a monograph-length account of military matters in the sixth century East Roman Empire look if you didn't have Procopius?  To some degree, I'll be answering this in my follow-up, which will focus more specifically on limitanei (think all these trips to Jordan).  But it's easier to do in that case as you have inscriptions, papyri, and the physical remains of fortifications, some of which have been fully excavated.  What do you do if you want to focus on matters that pertain to war and that have a direct impact on the heart of the state, and the central activities that an army is engaged in?  Battle would be difficult, though not impossible, without Procopius:  you'd still have Maurice, Pseudo-Joshua, and Agathias for instance.  You could even cover aspects of Justinian's reconquest thanks to authors like Malalas, Corippus, and the author/s of the lives of the Popes.  It would be easier still if you used Theophanes, though given he both quoted and paraphrased Procopius it would seem a bit like cheating.  This (leaving out Procopius) is an easier question to ask/issue to tackle if you're not interested in war.  It's much more difficult if you are.  Would anyone read/accept an article on the things Procopius covers that doesn't include Procopius? Maybe I'll do a post on this over the weekend to get me thinking about the webinar.

    I'm going to stop there.  For all the challenges I faced with my Roman army (and myth) class this year, the former's essays were just about the best, collectively, I've ever read.  I'm not sure if this is because I've gone soft, I've forgotten past years, they're cheating (some), or the abstract/outline assignment actually worked, but I'm pleasantly surprised.  And with that, I'm going to do some Procopius reading/thinking, at least when I'm not thinking about the Jets' playoff run - one more tangent.  I seem to have reached a stage in my sports-fan life when there are very few teams that I really care about (i.e. there used to be so many more):  number one the Sens (Ottawa Senators), two the Jets (Winnipeg Jets), and three the Jays (Toronto Blue Jays).  I used to be much more into certain national team things, and random teams from other sports, but really it's Sens, Jets, and then Jays.  Who was I kidding?

    Till next time...

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    via NoliSoli, 12 april 2018: Part of Tuklas’ efforts for heritage literacy include simulation workshops where even non-professionals can try their hand at archaeological digs. Source: You can be an archaeologist for a day thanks to this org – NOLISOLI

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    It's pretty hard to escape the pull of the Procopius-black hole when it comes to the sixth-century East Roman Empire, at least if you're interested in military and political issues.  That's part of the reason why scholars like Roger Scott have devoted so much attention to the other historians like Malalas.  Scott's four pillars of the age of Justinian are:  the construction of Hagia Sophia, the codification of Roman law, the closing of Plato's Academy in Athens, and Justinian's reconquest of the west.  Although Procopius does devote considerable attention to Hagia Sophia in the Buildings, it's the reconquest that garners so much attention in the Wars.  There's no doubt that this presents a skewed view of Justinian's world.  In this post, however, I'd like to flip things around.  To what degree does Procopius' interests in war obscure other pertinent matters, and in turn cause most of us to overlook other important pieces of evidence?  Bearing all this in mind, I want to discuss six aspects of Procopius' military history:  his classicizing vocabulary, his descriptions of combat, his interest in the conquest of Africa and Italy, and his focus on Belisarius in the Wars, his account of the fortifications of the northeast frontier in the Buildings, and his account of the malaise of the empire's soldiers in the Secret History.

    Let's begin with the latter, and proceed in reverse order, finishing with Belisarius.  In the Secret History Procopius' emphasizes the suffering of most of the empire's inhabitants, and the soldiers are no exception.  One particular group that Procopius complains suffered a great deal are the border troops, who got into such a sorry state that they effectively stopped being soldiers.  If we forget about Procopius' comments here, and in the other two texts for that matter, in which frontier troops feature hardly at all, and instead look at the surviving evidence we get quite a different picture, at least potentially.  We have plenty of documentary evidence for frontier soldiers in Egypt and Israel/Palestine, and to a lesser degree Jordan.  That material points to thriving frontier communities full of soldiers, who identify as such.  Most seem fully integrated into local life, and if anything the abundance of property documents, not to mention marriage certificates, point to some degree of wealth and prosperity amongst those very soldiers.  So where are they getting their money?  Have they managed to supplement their income through other means, as some has suggested was the case with the soldier from Aphrodito who also served as a boatmen?  Or is their income derived primarily if not entirely from their state income?  If we didn't have Procopius' comments, I suspect the argument would be that the frontier soldiers were flourishing, at least in the sixth-century southeast.  The legal evidence, which is full of material concerned specifically with soldiers, would reinforce these sorts of arguments.

    Next we move to the forts of the northeast.  Procopius' love-in for Justinians' building programme has led to a great debate:  just how many of the fortification work we read about is really attributable to him?  Many have highlighted the work of Anastasius, for instance, though in other cases the jury is still out.  What if all we had were the surviving fortifications and a few incidental anecdotes?  Justinian's efforts would certainly be diminished, but then so too might Anastasius'.  There are plenty of forts still standing in Syria (or there were until recently), and plenty more in Jordan.  The date of some of those Jordanian forts are ambiguous, while others are more obviously fourth century in date.  Some seem to have been occupied regularly, though only some have been privy to detailed excavations.  If all we had to go on was these Jordanian (and the neighbouring Israeli/Palestinian forts) forts, we wouldn't see Justinian's reign as an age of considerable frontier work in this part of the frontier, though the comparative epigraphic and papyrological evidence would imply that many if not most of the fortifications continued to the sites of a good deal of activity. 

    Procopius tends to use archaic vocabulary, vocabulary better suited to the world of Thucydides, or so goes the usual complaints.  This applies to military matters too, and we get hints of this in the words he uses for divisions within the military.  Much of his terminology is vague:  the men with general X, the infantry, the horsemen, etc.  In other cases, his diction has occluded more than it has illuminated.  He likes to use the word katalologos, for instance, a word rarely used by classical or even classicizing historians, when describing groups of soldiers (units or even regiments).  Quite a few have taken this to mean that the term had a more technical meaning, and more specifically that it denoted the army's field units.  It's not an unreasonable assumption if we assume that Procopius is mostly concerned with the field unit soldiers (at the expense of frontier soldiers).  That it features in virtually no other military source for the sixth century should give us pause, however, and A H M Jones is one of the only ones to have done so.  If we didn't have Procopius' Wars narrative where he used words like  katalogos we'd probably devote more attention to the words we do occasionally find in the inscriptions and papyri.  The newly published inscription form Perge would receive a great deal of attention - and scholars would likely be obsessed with how we get from the regiments of the eastern section of the Notitia Dignitatum to the units of Maurice, with no unnecessary - even unhelpful - pauses to consider Procopius.  To some degree this might still happen, though maybe it should happen sooner.  Is it not, for example, interesting that Theophylact can talk of legions on the eastern frontier around the same time that we find the word "legion" in Egyptian papyri - and just a few decades after that Anastasian inscription detailing the structure (it seems) of a legion? 

    Turning to combat, Maurice's Strategikon might give the impression that cavalry played a major role in combat at the end of the sixth century.  But it wouldn't explain quite which proportions of the military dominated decades earlier.  Our material evidence is limited, while the other evidence is ambiguous.  If we had to rely on Pseudo-Joshua, we wouldn't get too far.  Corippus' Iohannis, though quite detailed, is a panegyrical epic, and his combat scenes are vaguely Homeric:  they involve single combats, and the dashing to and fro of soldiers into and out of battle.  Agathias, on the other hand, does go to some lengths to describe the experience of combat even if he spends only a little on the finer details. In his most detailed battle, the Battle of Casilinum, there's little in his account that betrays a clear emphasis on either cavalry or infantry.  That might help provide context for the anonymous treatise of political science which includes that fictional debate between Menas and Thomas on the relative merits of the two solitudes to borrow a Canadian literary-cum-historical phrase.  But whether cavalry had supplanted infantry would not yet be clear.

    Moving on to the conquest, we would suspect that the campaign in Italy had the smallest of impacts on matters in the capital, which would be in line with some of Scott's arguments.  Even the more local evidence, the Lives of the Popes, devotes only a little bit of attention to the war, with the siege of Rome, such a central feature of Procopius' account, restricted to a few lines.  North Africa, on the other hand, is something else.  Later writers, like Photius and Theophanes, who had read all of part of Procopius, either paraphrase or quote Procopius' narrative of the Vandal Wars.  The aforementioned epic of Corippus also gives the impression that a significant conflict had taken place in the region.  In fact, we could even look to another of the four pillars, Roman law, for yet more evidence of the war's impact.  Besides the overt propaganda at the opening of the Codex of Justinian, there are specific laws that point the acquisition of significant territory in North Africa, and the efforts of the state to administer the new lands.  What this evidence might imply was that a long and significant war had taken place in North Africa, which resulted in a lasting Roman victory. 

    That North African success brings us to the last point, the reputation of Belisarius.  It seems to me, and many others besides, that his reputation rests largely on the literary efforts of Procopius.  A closer look at the epigraphy, on the other hand, might bring greater attention to Solomon, who published his successes in North Africa quite widely.  Belisarius features in maybe a dozen Latin inscriptions, and a handful of Greek ones.  Solomon, however, features in nearly three times as many Latin inscriptions from North Africa.  On this limited evidence the impression might be that Solomon was the great general of the age, or at least the campaign.  Thanks to Agathias, Narses' reputation might rise too, and though the historian is not unflattering towards Belisarius, his account gives only the vaguest impression of the man's military accomplishments.  Indeed, if all we had to go on was the many later references to Procopius' works, we'd be left wondering what the scope of Belisarius' accomplishment truly was, and perhaps a little baffled the comments of authors like the one who wrote the entry on Procopius in the Suda, or the later Byzantine historian Manasses.

    All this is to suggest that the survival of Procopius' long works has not only obfuscated our understanding of the wider world of sixth-century Byzantium, but also more specifically Byzantine military affairs.  While his work has undoubtedly shed a great deal of light on matters like combat, in other instances, such as the careers of "lesser" generals like Solomon or the hardships of the frontier soldiers, what he has provided has obscured other important aspects of the empire's military history.  A greater focus on these other kinds of evidence for sixth-century military affairs might bring a much more about this period to light.

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    Vinogradov, Ju. A. (2017) : Древности Боспора Киммерийского в рисунках К.Р Бегичева и Ф.И. Гросса (по материалам Научного архива ИИИМК РАН), Боспорские Исследования – Supplementum 17/ Drevnosti Bospora Kimmerijskogo v risunkakh K.R Begicheva i F.I. Grossa (po materialam Nauchnogo arkhiva IIIMK … Lire la suite