Maia Atlantis: Ancient World Blogs

10 hours 14 min ago Art and Antiquities Sellers Should be Subject to Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Terrorist Financing Laws << Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

Cultural Heritage Lawyer Rick St. Hilaire comments on the video of the USHR hearing on 'The Exploitation of Cultural Property: Examining Illicit Activity in the Antiquities and Art Trade':
In light of the subcommittee's important discussion, Congress should revisit the question: Shouldn't Art and Antiquities Sellers be Subject to Anti-Money Laundering/Counter-Terrorist Financing Laws? The answer, of course, is yes.
I suspect that the dealers and their lobbyists would give another answer - but I'll wager they cannot actually provide substabntive arguments why not.

10 hours 39 min ago Those 'Old-Collection coins' << Paul Barford (Portable Antiquity Collecting and Heritage Issues)

SNG Copenhagen ONLINE!!« on: August 27, 2004, 05:59:28 am »

Automan Procurator Monetae Caesar Offline Posts: 532 Silver and Gold? -Yuck!  
Here's a link to SNG Cop online that I found when searching the web for coins of Tyra. Alas, only coins of the Black Sea region are listed. Nonetheless, this is an important site for finding specimens for comparison, references etc.

Jerome HoldermanCaesar  Offline Posts: 1668 My name is Jerome, and I am a coinaholic! 
Reply #1 on: August 27, 2004, 06:18:02 am » AWESOME!! Considering all the coins I get from one supplier are all from this region!!

And how were they reaching Mr Holderman and where from? And what will happen to the coins from the Holdermamn collection and their documentation when he passes on?

13 hours 31 min ago Face of 500-Year-Old Dublin Man Reconstructed << Archaeology Magazine

Dublin facial reconstruction DUBLIN, IRELAND—Archaeologists have used the remarkably well-preserved skull of a young Dubliner, who died during the Tudor period (1485-1603), to reconstruct the man's face using 3-D digital technology. The Irish Times reports that the man's skeleton, which was found in 2014 during construction to extend Dublin's light rail system, indicates that he was in his late 20s or early 30s at the time of death and likely spent his whole life in Dublin under conditions of poverty and hard labor. According to Rónán Swan, an architect with Transportation Infrastructure Ireland, the remains of approximately 5,000 individuals have turned up during road and rail excavations in Ireland, but few have been intact enough to allow for reconstruction. To read more about facial reconstruction, go to "Neolithic FaceTime." 

14 hours 8 min ago Latin Proverbs and Fables Round-Up: June 27 << Laura Gibbs (Bestiaria Latina Blog) Here is a round-up of today's proverbs and fables - and for previous posts, check out the Bestiaria Latina Blog archives. My schedule is kind of erratic this summer, but I'll try to post at least once a week. :-)

You can keep up with the latest posts by using the RSS feed, or you might prefer to subscribe by email.

HODIE (Roman Calendar): ante diem quintum Kalendas Iulias.

MYTHS and LEGENDS: The art image for today's legend shows Pentheus, and there are more images here.


TINY MOTTOES: Today's tiny motto is: Semper pertinax (English: Always persevering).

3-WORD PROVERBS: Today's 3-word verb-less proverb is Dura usu molliora (English: Hard things become softer with use)

AUDIO PROVERBS: Today's audio Latin proverb is Omnis est rex in domo sua (English: Each man is king in his own home). To read a brief essay about this proverb and to listen to the audio, visit the Latin Via Proverbs blog.

ERASMUS' ANIMALS: Today's animal proverb from Erasmus is Mus non ingrediens antrum, cucurbitam ferebat (English: The mouse couldn't get into its hole because it was carrying a pumpkin; from Adagia 3.3.79).

BREVISSIMA: The distich poster for today is Non Vivo ut Edam. Click here for a full-sized view.

And here are today's proverbial LOLcats:

Spes alit et fallit.
Hope feeds and misleads.

Longae regum manus.
Long are the hands of kings.


FABULAE FACILES: The fable from the Fabulae Faciles widget is Mors et Senex, in which Death catches a man unawares (this fable has a vocabulary list).

MILLE FABULAE: The fable from the Mille Fabulae et Una widget is Vitis et Hircus, which features a talking vine, with English versions here from my summer Aesop project.

Words from Mythology. For more about the Greek character Mentor and modern mentoring, see this blog post.

14 hours 20 min ago DNA Suggests Medieval Mediterranean Diversity << Archaeology Magazine

Greece Santorini DNABOLOGNA, ITALY—A study of populations from around the Mediterranean that combines ancient DNA (aDNA) and genomic analysis of modern people evidences a divison between Greeks hailing from the country's mainland and those from its islands. According to a report in Haaretz, an Italian team from the University of Bologna looked at 23 populations from around the region in order to map their genetic relationship and found that modern continental Greeks, especially in the north, show more genetic similarity with Albanians and other Slavic peoples, while Greek islanders show more affinity with southern Italians and Sicilians. Because all of the populations tested shared a genetic inheritance from Neolithic farming populations, the team believes it will be possible to point to historic migrations documented in the written record to determine when genetic shifts such as the one in Greece began to occur. To read more about ancient DNA, go to "Worlds Within Us."  

15 hours 27 min ago AGSL Digital Photo Archive - Asia and Middle East << Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online) AGSL Digital Photo Archive - Asia and Middle East
AGSL Digital Photo Archive - Asia and Middle East presents over 20,000 images from the holdings of the American Geographical Society (AGS) Library. The selection focuses on the countries of Asia and the Middle East. The images come from the collections acquired over many decades by the AGS Library including an extensive photographic print collection. The digital collection is under continuing development. Read more about the collection.
15 hours 32 min ago ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives Monthly Report (April 2017) << ASOR Syrian Heritage Initiative

ASOR Cultural Heritage Initiatives (CHI)
Safeguarding the Heritage of the Near East Initiative

April 2017 Monthly Report

By Michael D. Danti, Marina Gabriel, Susan Penacho, William Raynolds, Allison Cuneo, Kyra Kaercher, Darren Ashby

* This report is based on research conducted by the “Safeguarding the Heritage of the Near East Initiative.” Monthly reports reflect reporting from a variety of sources and may contain unverified material. As such, they should be treated as preliminary and subject to change.

Executive Summary

During the April reporting period, anti-ISIL operations continued around the group’s two remaining urban strongholds of Raqqa and Mosul. Near Raqqa, US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) continued to encircle Raqqa to prepare for the city’s recapture. US-led Coalition aerial bombardment increased over surrounding towns and villages, as well as over Raqqa itself. Raqqa contains many significant cultural heritage sites, most notably the archaeological mounds of Tell Bi’a and Tell Zeidan, the Raqqa Museum, and standing architecture of the Abbasid Caliphate. Most of Raqqa’s heritage sites have suffered severe damage during the conflict, largely as a result of ISIL intentional destructions, military repurposing, and looting. The SDF pressed into the strategic ISIL-held city of Tabqa (al-Thawrah) recapturing several neighborhoods. The area is significant for its nearby hydroelectric dam (Tabqa Dam), forming the impound lake (Lake Assad) on the Euphrates — an area rich in archaeological sites. ISIL consolidated territory in Deir ez-Zor Governorate, where US-backed Syrian opposition forces and pro-regime forces prepared for a new offensive. At least two heritage sites in ISIL-held Syria were damaged or destroyed during the reporting period.

SARG forces continue to advance against opposition-held territory in Rif Dimashq Governorate, where Russian and SARG aerial bombardment was continuous. Evacuation of opposition forces, pro-regime forces, and civilians between four towns in Rif Dimashq and Idlib Governorates was completed despite several delays. Aerial bombardment over major opposition-held areas in Syria continued with almost daily instances of SARG and Russian airstrikes and barrel bombings. At least 15 cultural sites in opposition-held areas were damaged or destroyed as a result.

In Mosul, Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) continued to advance into the final remaining ISIL-held neighborhoods. Clearing operations continued in recently recaptured neighborhoods, paving the way for displaced Mosul residents to return despite poor infrastructure. ISIL militants still held the historically significant Old City, site of al-Nuri al-Kabir Mosque, where ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared the creation of his “caliphate” in 2014. South of Mosul, Shia Iraqi forces of the Popular Mobilization Front (PMF) recaptured the ancient site of Hatra from ISIL. Footage from the recaptured area shows Hatra to be less damaged than some observers had anticipated based on propaganda videos shared by ISIL showing acts of intentional destruction. Portions of the ancient city appear to have been militarized for the militant’s use.

Key Points

  • New reporting reveals scope of damage to Omar Ibn al-Khattab Mosque in al-Jeineh, Aleppo Governorate. ASOR CHI Incident Report SHI 17-0038 UPDATE
  • Reported Russian airstrikes damage an Ottoman-era hammam (bathhouse) in Sarmin, Idlib Governorate. ASOR CHI Incident Report SHI 17-0072
  • New video footage provides more information on ISIL looting of the ancient site of Nineveh. ASOR CHI Incident Report IHI 15-0097 UPDATE
  • Popular Mobilization Front (PMF) captures the ancient site of Hatra from ISIL. ASOR CHI Incident Report IHI 17-0024
  • New photographs show the dismantling of a historic house in the Old City of Derna in Libya. ASOR CHI Incident Report LHI 17-0001


In Syria’s Idlib Governorate, aerial bombardment was seemingly intensified following an April 4 chemical weapons attack that killed at least 90 people in the town of Khan Sheikhoun. ASOR CHI recorded damage to four mosques, an Ottoman-era Hammam (bathhouse), and a Roman-era bridge across Idlib Governorate as a result of the ongoing SARG and Russian bombardment (see SHI 17-0066, SHI 17-0067, SHI 17-0068, SHI 17-0069, SHI 17-0070, SHI 17-0071, and SHI 17-0072 in Appendix pp. 59–76). Civilian casualties were reported in at least one of the strikes.

Syrian opposition forces, including factions of Islamist opposition forces, continue to hold territory in Rif Dimashq Governorate and have come under increasing aerial bombardment by the Syrian regime and Russian forces. ASOR CHI recorded damage to three mosques, including one mosque dated to the 11th Century CE, in opposition-held areas (see SHI 17-0055, SHI 17-0056, and SHI 17-0057 in Appendix pp. 29–38). All three of the mosques reportedly took direct fire in the forms of missiles and shells. At least two of the mosques had previously been damaged during the conflict.

As US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces advanced toward the ISIL-held stronghold of Raqqa, US-led Coalition airstrikes increased over neighboring towns and villages. Local reporting groups documented an increase in damage to cultural sites, including a mosque and a cultural center in Raqqa Governorate (see SHI 17-0064 and SHI 17-0065 in Appendix pp. 56–58). ISIL has often attempted to use such incidents for its anti-Coalition rhetoric and propaganda.

In addition, a March 2017 US-led Coalition airstrike that destroyed a mosque in Aleppo Governorate remains under investigation. Two new reports by Human Rights Watch and Forensic Architecture detail the extent of damage, and raise concerns regarding the accuracy of the information that led to the airstrike, reportedly authorized to target al-Qaeda affiliates in Syria (see SHI 17-0038 UPDATE in Appendix pp. 9–13).

Reduced combat kinetics in Aleppo has provided activists and others with opportunities to visit long-neglected heritage sites and initiate emergency response projects. ASOR CHI noted three cleanup and reconstruction efforts in the Old City of Aleppo (see SHI 17-0050, SHI 17-0051, SHI 17-0052 in Appendix p. 18–24). Often local residents (some with guidance from Syrian experts) have spearheaded these projects. These site visits and preservation efforts are uncovering new evidence of conflict-related cultural heritage incidents, such as thefts, that occurred during armed conflict between the Syrian regime and opposition forces in the Old City.

Other cleanup and reconstruction efforts are underway in al-Bab City, where at least four mosques were heavily damaged by clashes between ISIL and Turkish-backed Syrian opposition forces (see SHI 17-0058, SHI 17-0059, SHI 17-0060, in Appendix p. 39–47). According to interviews with local residents, including a local imam, militants co-opted one of the mosques for use as an ISIL headquarters with the basement serving as a makeshift prison. Another mosque, now significantly damaged and undergoing cleanup efforts, was featured in an earlier ISIL recruitment video. DigitalGlobe satellite imagery shows additional detail of damage to mosques in al-Bab, likely as a result of US-led Coalition and Turkish airstrikes.


With the advance of Iraqi Security Forces in Mosul, the extent of damage wrought by ISIL is becoming clearer. Recent video footage details the construction of a road through the ancient site of Nineveh, allegedly built and used by ISIL militants to facilitate the looting and selling of antiquities (see IHI 15-0097 UPDATE in Appendix p. 86–89). Local residents recall ISIL using the road to traffic out antiquities, threatening local Mosul residents with amputations if they attempted to enter the site. Although Nineveh is now under the control of Iraqi Security Forces, ASOR CHI remains concerned as to the security of the ancient site of Nineveh as it is unclear what measures, if any, have been taken to reduce the risk of continuing looting or vandalism.

ISIL militants in Mosul continue to target Iraqi civilians as they attempt to escape from areas of the city that remain under the group’s control. ISIL militants have reportedly stationed themselves inside civilian sites ranging from mosques to residential buildings in order to maximize civilian casualties in the event of an airstrike by the US-led Coalition. The Old City of Mosul will be a major flashpoint in the upcoming battles for control of ISIL-held neighborhoods. ASOR CHI remains extremely concerned for the fate of civilians and the cultural heritage sites that are densely packed in this neighborhood, including al-Nuri al-Kabir Mosque, where ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the creation of his ‘caliphate’ in 2014. The mosque has already sustained heavy damage to the dome (see IHI 17-0023 in Appendix p. 98–99).

On April 26, 2017 the Popular Mobilization Front (PMF) captured the ancient site of Hatra from ISIL (see IHI 17-0024 in Appendix p. 100–120). New photographs and video footage showed less damage to the site than previously feared. The site appears to have been used by the group for military training; items such as a climbing rope and a shooting range are apparent in several recent photographs of the site. ASOR CHI remains concerned as to the security of the ancient site of Hatra given its remote desert location. Following the recapture of the site, the current security situation remains unclear, and we are currently unable to verify whether Iraqi officials have implemented security measures to protect the site from further damage or looting. Other ancient sites in Iraq, including the recently recaptured site of Nimrud, lack security and remain vulnerable to looting and vandalism.

Across the Nineveh Plains, local residents from majority-Christian and Yezidi towns and villages have participated in cleanup and reconstruction efforts. Infrastructure in the area remains poor, with limited access to clean water and electricity, limiting the ability of displaced residents to return. Easter masses were celebrated in at least one village, despite the poor conditions of the churches in the area. New information is also arising as to how ISIL used the churches and other religious sites in the Nineveh villages and towns. Many churches and monasteries were used as weapons caches, military training sites, and bed-down sites. The same sites were destroyed as Peshmerga and Iraqi Christian militias advanced against ISIL. Cemeteries of all faiths were also targeted for vandalism and looting (see IHI 16-0042 Update in Appendix p. 90–94).


In Libya, heavy clashes occurred between the Operations Room of the Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Libyan National Army (LNA) forces commanded by Khalifa Haftar around the Tamanhint Airbase outside of the southern city of Sebha. LNA airstrikes targeted Dernah and several neighborhoods in Benghazi. This ongoing violence does not appear to have damaged cultural heritage sites. Generally, violent skirmishes decreased, allowing the Turkish Embassy to reopen its consular affairs section in Tripoli and oil production to resume in Libya’s largest oil field, al Sharara. In Dernah, which celebrated one year of liberation from ISIL forces this month, a period of relative stability has allowed for redevelopment efforts to occur. These efforts, unfortunately, have encroached on key cultural heritage sites. ASOR CHI has documented one Ottoman-era house that is in the process of being dismantled (see LHI 17-0001 in Appendix p. 121–123). ASOR CHI remains concerned as to this trend, especially as it relates to standing cultural heritage sites as well as development encroachment over unexcavated archaeological sites. ASOR CHI will be expanding its coverage of Libya in the coming months with a focus on risk to cultural heritage sites.

15 hours 41 min ago Internetplattform für die Wissenschaft von den hieratischen Handschriften des Alten Ägypten << Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online) [First posted in AWOL 2 November 2014, updated 27 June 2017]

Internetplattform für die Wissenschaft von den hieratischen Handschriften des Alten Ägypten
"Hieratistik" bezeichnet die Wissenschaft von der so genannten hieratischen Schrift der Alten Ägypter.
Erforscht werden die Funktionen und Besonderheiten dieser eigentlichen und alltäglichen Schrift der Alten Ägypter.
Wichtiges Hilfsmittel sind Paläographien, die auf möglichst umfassenden Zusammenstellungen einzelner Schriftzeichen basieren, aus deren Vergleich und Analyse Schreiberindividuen, Schulen, Entwicklungslinien und ggf. auch Datierungen von Schriftquellen abgeleitet werden können. 
      15 hours 45 min ago Digital Athenaeus << Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online) [First posted in AWOL 11 April 2016, updated 27 June 2017]

      Digital Athenaeus
      The Digital Athenaeus is a project directed by Monica Berti at the Alexander von Humboldt Chair of Digital Humanities at the University of Leipzig for producing a digital edition of the Deipnosophists of Athenaeus of Naucratis.
      The work is focused on annotating quotations and text reuses in the Deipnosophists in order to accomplish two main results:
      1. Provide an inventory of authors and works cited by Athenaeus.
      2. Implement a data model for identifying, analyzing, and citing uniquely instances of text reuse in the Deipnosophists.
      The project provides users with tools for consulting the text of the Deipnosophists and getting information about authors and works reused by Athenaeus.
      The Digital Athenaeus is also implementing a system for involving scholars and students in improving and disambiguating data pertaining to the work of the Naucratites.
      • M. Berti et al. “Documenting Homeric Text-Reuse in the Deipnosophistae of Athenaeus of Naucratis”. In Digital Approaches and the Ancient World. Ed. by G. Bodard, Y. Broux, and S. Tarte. BICS Themed Issue 59(2), 2016, 121-139 (link)
      • M. Berti et al. “Modelling Taxonomies of Text Reuse in the Deipnosophists of Athenaeus of Naucratis: Declarative Digital Scholarship”. In Digital Humanities 2016: Conference Abstracts. Jagiellonian University & Pedagogical University, Kraków, pp. 135-137 (link)
      • M. Berti et al. “The Leipzig Open Fragmentary Texts Series (LOFTS)”. In Digital Methods and Classical Studies. Ed. N.W. Bernstein and N. Coffee. DHQ Themed Issue 10(2), 2016 (link)
      16 hours 1 min ago Early Church Uncovered on Holy Island of Lindisfarne << Archaeology Magazine

      Lindisfarne Church Foundations


      NEWCASTLE, ENGLAND—The remains of what may be among the oldest Saxon churches in Northumbria have been discovered on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne, according to a report from Chronicle Live. An excavation led by Richard Carlton of Newcastle University has uncovered sandstone blocks that are around three feet long, foundations that measure more than three feet wide, what appears to be an altar base, and the division between the church’s nave and chancel. The church was located on the Heugh, a ridge on the island offering a vantage on Bamburgh, where the Northumbrians had their royal capital. The church is thought to date to between A.D. 630 and 1050, most likely on the earlier end of the span, and may have been built on the same site where St. Aidan raised a wooden church in A.D. 635. “There are not many churches of potentially the Seventh or Eighth Centuries known in medieval Northumbria, which stretched from the Humber to the Forth,” said Carlton. “It adds another chapter to the history of Holy Island.” To read in-depth about the Northumbrians’ royal seat at Bamburgh, go to “Letter from England: Stronghold of the Kings in the North.”

      16 hours 13 min ago Ancient Fish Trap Discovered in Alaska << Archaeology Magazine

      Alaska Fish TrapKODIAK ISLAND, ALASKA—A prehistoric stone fish trap has been found on northern Kodiak Island, reports Alaska Native News. Alutiiq Museum archaeologist Patrick Saltonstall identified the rare trap, known as a corrall, at the mouth of a stream. At high tide, salmon would swim above the corrall, but at low tide the fish would be trapped within its stone walls. “The fish trap took a lot of work to build and maintain. I imagine that it was reused year after year and that it was owned by a community or an extended family,” says Saltonstall. “Many lines of archaeological evidence indicate that Alutiiq ancestors developed tools to efficiently harvest large quantities of fish. A fish trap is another great example.” Next to the trap Saltonstall also discovered previously unidentified petroglyphs. To read in-depth about the archaeology of native Alaskan peoples, go to “Cultural Revival.”

      17 hours 54 min ago To The Black Sea And Back: The Late Antique Dura-Europos ‘Shield’ Map << Sarah E. Bond


      Dura-Europos as visualized on the Pelagios Project’s Peripleo map.

      Dura-Europos is an ancient site on the Euphrates river in modern-day Syria. The objects excavated at the site by Yale University (later famously led by Mikhail Rostovtzeff), and the French Academy of Inscriptions and Letters during the 1920s and 1930s provide some of the most vivid wall paintings, mosaics, and material culture from the ancient world that we have today. One of the most stunning finds is a parchment shield cover that dates to around 260 CE, which has a map of the Black Sea on it. There is debate over whether it was on the inside of a shield used by a soldier or was a dedicatory object; however, the map provides a rare glimpse into how geography was visualized.

      doura-europosmap_origSurviving parchment fragment of the Black Sea ‘Shield Map’ from Dura Europos dated to before 260 CE. It depicts staging posts along the Black Sea (Bibliotheque Nationale Gr. Suppl. 1354, no. 5). Images via Cumont (see citation below) with added scale and color enhancement.  Hand drawing of the map via Wikimedia (D. Herdemerten Hannibal21, CC BY-SA 3.0).

      The parchment contains a number of place names in Greek, but is interestingly mixed with the distances in Roman miles. Here is the transcription as provided by

      [Π]αν[υσὸς ποτ(αμὸς) μί(λια)   ̣  ̣]
      Ὀδεσ[σὸς μί(λια)   ̣  ̣]
      Βυβόνα [μί(λια)   ̣  ̣]
      Κάλ[λ]ατις μί(λια)   ̣  ̣
      5Τομέα μί(λια) λγ
      Ἴ[σ]τρος ποτ(αμὸς) μί(λια) μ
      Δάνουβις ποτ(αμὸς) [μί(λια)   ̣  ̣]
      Τύρα μί(λια) πδ
      Βορ[υ]σ[θέν]ης [μί(λια)   ̣  ̣]
      10Χερ[σ]όν[ησος -ca.?- ]
      Τραπε[ζοῦς -ca.?- ]
      Ἀρτα[ξάτα μί(λια)   ̣  ̣]

      The map is oriented west-southwest and thus is a reminder that most maps did not consistently orient north until the early modern period. The stations on the shield maps are listed in Greek with vivid white, while the ships are manned by small sailors. It is a two-dimensional visualization of a Euxine route that shows the mix of languages and peoples in the late antique Eastern Mediterranean. In particular, it visualizes the Roman relationship with places in modern Armenia. An interesting mention of Ἀρτα[ξάτα] (Artaxata=Artashat) hints at the Roman connection to this busy commercial center. 

      Although the map was likely on a round shield, the only surviving scutum from antiquity is from Dura-Europos. It too dates to the 3rd c. CE. It is now at the Yale Art Gallery. Image is in the Public Domain.

      As historian Dragoş Hălmagi puts it, “The surviving sequence runs clockwise along the shores of Black Sea, from Odessos in Thrace to the Cimmerian Bosporus, and indicates a symmetric original design, consisting of a circular coast surrounding the Black Sea and perhaps parts of the Mediterranean, as well.” About a century earlier, the historian and governor Arrian had written a work in the form of a letter to the emperor Hadrian (131/2 CE) called Περίπλους τοῦ Εὐξείνου Πόντου (The Periplus of the Euxine Sea) while in Cappadocia. Arrian demonstrates the beginnings of the late antique fascination with the geography of this area that would continue into the third and fourth centuries CE when the rise of the Sassanids would be a point of major contention.   

      The circumnavigation of the Black Sea as recounted by Arrian, Periplus Maris Euxini, in a firsthand report (1–11) and a secondhand description (12–25). Adapted by Erenow from A. Liddle, ed. and trans., Arrian, Periplus Ponti Euxini (London: Bristol Classical Press, 2003), 136–39, maps 1–2.

      As we know from the Antonine Itinerary and many other itinerary inscriptions, the listing of locations and the miles between was quite common for itineraria, but this is our earliest surviving example of a route map from antiquity. Today this rather small piece of parchment lives in Paris, in the Bibliothèque nationale de France (ms. Suppl. gr. 1354 V, nr. 5), but seeing as I had never viewed a color version of it before, I thought it might be nice to get a glimpse at that technicolor world of the Romans I am always talking so much about. 

      Attempted restoration of the entirety of the shield as drawn in Figure 1 in Arnaud (1989).


      Monsieur Pascal Arnaud, ‘Une deuxième lecture du “bouclier” de Doura-Europos,’ Comptes rendus des séances de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 133e année, N. 2, (1989): 373- 389.

      Franz Cumont, ‘Fragment de bouclier portant une liste d’étapes,’ Année 6.1 (1925 ): 1-15. 

      Leif Isaksen, “The application of network analysis to ancient transport geography: A case study of Roman Baetica,” Digital Medievalist. 4. DOI:

      Dragoş Hălmagi, “Notes on the Dura Europos map,”  CICSA Journal, New Series 1 (2015): 41-51.


      19 hours 47 min ago The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 7 – part 5 << Roger Pearse (Thoughts on Antiquity, Patristics, putting things online, and more)

      We continue the reign of Alexander the Great.  Eutychius believes that Cassander poisoned him.  It is interesting that the evil reputation of Cassander (not named here) persisted after 13 centuries.

      16. Alexander won many victories, and among the Greeks, thirteen kings obeyed him.  He founded thirteen cities, some in the west and others in the east.  He waged so many wars and gained so many victories that no king was greater than him.  He founded a city and called it by his name, Alexandria.  He then moved the government from the city of Makidūniya to the city of Alexandria.  He raised the lighthouse of Alexandria and made it a guide for all those who sailed by sea to lead them to the route that went to Alexandria.  After the king had conquered and obtained the empire of the world, he went to Bābil where he was poisoned and died.  This is because Alūmafidā[1], his mother, had written a letter in which she complained about his lieutenant, who commanded Makidūniyah, and as Alexander was angry at him, he had thought of killing him.  But getting wind of this, he sent his son to Alexander with many gifts and presents and with deadly poison, advising him to conduct himself with every kind of gentle wisdom in order to poison Alexander.  The young man came to Alexander, bearing all the gifts he had with him.  He came across, among others, the cupbearer of Alexander, with whom the latter had previously clashed and beaten up.  So, nourishing a great grudge against Alexander, the cupbearer assisted the young man in his intentions. Then one of Alexander’s followers joined them, in their conspiracy.  Now it happened that Alexander gave a banquet to his friends, where everyone ate and drank. Alexander was sitting with his followers and his close friends, cheerful and happy among the diners.  When he asked for a drink, the cupbearer poured the poison into the king’s cup and handed it to him.  Drinking it, the king immediately knew that he would die, and he called a scribe and dictated a letter to his mother in these terms:

      “From the servant of God, Alexander, conqueror and lord of the land of the earth yesterday and today his pledge,[2] to his affectionate and merciful mother Alūmafīdā whose nearness he is unable to enjoy. Sincere and great peace to you.  The road that I am now travelling, O my mother, is the same as those have travelled who have fallen asleep before me, and that you and those who survive me will travel.  In this world we are just like the day that chases away the day that came before it.  Do not regret this world for the fact that it deceives its creatures.  You have an example of what you know about King Philip who could not stay with you nor survive.  Arm yourself, then, with sound endurance and remove your anguish and look for solitude.  Order that none should come to you unless they have not seen misfortune, so that you may know better what it is and know better about your condition and you can better care for your own. What I go to is a better and more restful condition than the one in which I lived.  Do good by me and accept this in resignation and endurance so that sorrow does not overcome you.  This letter I send to you on the last day of this life and on the first of the other, with the hope that it will console you and be a source of blessing to  you.  Do not disappoint me and do not sadden my spirit. Peace to you”.

      He then commanded his seal put to the letter and for it to be sent secretly to his mother.  He then ordered his minister Fīlīmūn to keep his death secret and to go immediately to Alexandria.  Then he died.  It is said that when Alexander came to Qūmus, he became seriously ill and that his illness grew worse and worse every day.  His mother had told him that a diviner had predicted, when he was born, that he would die in a place whose sky was golden and whose earth was iron.  As ill as he was, Alexander came to Shahrazūr. His illness had become more acute during the journey. Then he stopped, and they put under him two boards with a coating of iron, and he sat down, while a man gave him shade with a shield inlaid with gold.  On seeing this, Alexander remembered the words of his mother, called his minister, dictated a letter to his mother and died.  When his mother received the letter, she ordered a banquet, inviting people to join.  However, she placed custodians at the door, with the order that nobody should enter except those who had not been hit by some misfortune.  The gatekeepers therefore questioned those who came and if they were struck by a disaster they would not let him in.  By doing so they excluded everyone and there was no one who could take part in the banquet.  On seeing this, [Alūmafīdā] accepted her fate in good faith, became strong and was convinced that this was the common fate of the mortals. The minister Fīlīmūn laid the body of Alexander in a golden coffin as an honour. In another text it is said: “He filled it with honey and kept the death secret.” He then led the soldiers to Alexandria, carrying behind the coffin of the [king], and as soon as the death of Alexander was made public in front of the people,  he showed them the coffin and placed it in the centre of the court.  Then the minister Filīmūn ordered the wise men to keep up a funeral elegy, which was a comfort for the friends of the followers, and an education for all the people.



      1. [1]I.e. Olympias.
      2. [2]I really didn’t understand this: “Dal servo di Dio, Alessandro, conquistatore e signore dei paesi della terra ieri ed oggi suo pegno“.
      21 hours 57 min ago In progress: an online translation of Gelasius of Cyzicus! << Roger Pearse (Thoughts on Antiquity, Patristics, putting things online, and more)

      A correspondent writes to tell me of a wonderful thing!  A chap named Nathanael J. Jensen is translating the History of the Council of Nicaea by in 3 books by ps.Gelasius of Cyzicus!  (CPG 6034). Better yet, the results are appearing online!

      This work was composed around 475, and contains chunks from earlier, now lost, histories.  Portions of it seem fictional, but it is one of the main untranslated ecclesiastical histories.

      The translation is being posted at the Fourth Century website.  Book 1 is already done, book 2 is begun.

      You can find what exists so far via here.

      I wish we had more of this kind of thing.  Well done, Fourth Century, and Dr J!

      22 hours 50 min ago Supreme Court Takes Up Dispute Over Iran Antiquities in Terror Case << Persepolis Fortification Archive Project Supreme Court Takes Up Dispute Over Iran Antiquities in Terror Case
      By Pete Williams
      JUN 27 2017, 11:30 AM ET
      The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to take up a long running legal battle over a claim by victims of terrorism to Iranian antiquities held in a Chicago museum.

      Nine U.S. citizens sued Iran after a 1997 suicide bombing in Israel. The Islamic Resistance Movement, better known as Hamas, took responsibility for the attack, which killed five Israelis and injured others, including Americans who were in Ben Yehuda as tourists. Iran was sued as a sponsor of Hamas.

      Although foreign countries are generally immune from U.S. lawsuits, the law makes exceptions for acts of terrorism. A federal judge eventually awarded the Americans $71.5 million. But because Iran has few assets frozen in the US — the usual source for satisfying such court judgments — lawyers for the Americans had to come up with other assets to seize.

      The Supreme Court case involved thousands of small clay tablets from Persepolis, the ancient capital of Persia, on long-term loan by Iran to the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute for study. The tablets contain some of the oldest known human writing, records of daily transactions from 2,500 years ago.

      In 2016, a federal appeals court ruled that the antiquities could not be used to help satisfy the court judgment, because Iran was not using them for commercial purposes.

      The federal government has generally sided with Iran during the years of litigation. "Although the United States sympathizes with petitioners and other victims of terrorism, the seizure of a foreign sovereign's property via attachment or execution can affect the United States' foreign relations," said Jeffrey Wall, the Trump administration's acting solicitor general.
      22 hours 53 min ago Gallisch Feest: een dagje IJzertijd! << ArcheoNet BE

      Op zondag 2 juli organiseert de vzw Gallische Hoeve in Destelbergen opnieuw een heus Gallisch Feest. Beleef de wereld van meer dan 2000 jaar geleden in zijn volle glorie, tussen brandende ovens, vechtende krijgers en nog veel meer. Ook dit jaar zijn er weer verkoopstandjes en artisanale demonstraties. De Gallische krijgers geven je graag uitleg. Maar pas op voor Romeinen!

      Meer info op

      23 hours 14 min ago Erfgoed Noorderkempen zoekt jobstudenten voor depotwerking << ArcheoNet BE

      De IOED Erfgoed Noorderkempen is op zoek naar drie jobstudenten (m/v) voor het herverpakken en inventariseren van de collecties van de Archeologische dienst Antwerpse Kempen (AdAK, voorloper van de IOED) in het kader van een toekomstige verhuis. Kandidaten zijn studenten archeologie. Materiaalkennis en ervaring met depotwerking is een pluspunt maar niet vereist. De studentenjob loopt van 28 augustus tot en met 22 september in Turnhout.

      Alle informatie over deze vacature vind je in deze bijlage (pdf).

      23 hours 29 min ago NMBS verkoopt beschermd stationsgebouw van Herne << ArcheoNet BE

      De NMBS is momenteel op zoek naar een koper voor het beschermde stationsgebouw van Herne (Vlaams-Brabant). Het station uit 1871 is een typologisch uitzonderlijk goed bewaard voorbeeld van een landelijk station uit de 19de eeuw. Het oorspronkelijke interieur en de glazen luifel bleven bewaard. In 1997 werd het station beschermd als monument. Geïnteresseerden kunnen nog tot 22 september een bod uitbrengen. De instelprijs is vastgelegd op 235.000 euro.

      Meer info op

      1 day 2 hours ago Ancient Samurai Scroll Describes Blinding Powders, Moonless Battles << Archaeological News on Tumblr An enigmatic samurai text known as the “Sword Scroll” has been translated into English...
      1 day 2 hours ago Numismatic Treasury of Batumi Archaeological Museum, << Thibaut Castelli (Spartokos a Lu) Varshalomidze, I. (2016) : Numismatic Treasury of Batumi Archaeological Museum, Batumi. Le musée de Batum vient de publier un superbe catalogue de sa collection de monnaies antiques et médiévales. Sur les 110 monnaies présentées, près de la moitié sont antiques. … Lire la suite
      1 day 2 hours ago New Zealand's Long-Lost Pink and White Terraces May Have Been Found << Archaeological News on Tumblr The location of a long-lost natural wonder in New Zealand has been identified, thanks to an...
      1 day 3 hours ago Academic Recruitment in Sweden is a Mess << Martin Rundkvist (Aardvarchaeology)

      Academic recruitment procedures in Sweden are a mess. There are at least four strong contradictory forces that impact them.

      • Meritocracy. As Head of Department you are legally obliged to find and employ the most qualified person on the job market, even if it’s just for six months. This is after all the public sector.
      • Labour laws. As Head of Department you are legally obliged to give a steady job to anyone who has worked at your uni for a total of four semesters in the past five years, regardless of their qualifications.
      • Funding. As Head of Department you cannot give anyone a steady job unless you know how to pay them long-term. Else you will have to fire someone soon, which will get you into big trouble both with the Dean and with the labour union.
      • Nepotism. As Head of Department you want to employ your buddy Bengt. He can be a recent home-grown PhD whom you want to give a break. Or he can be an old stalwart that you’d be ashamed to meet in the departmental coffee room if you didn’t help him.

      This is coming to a head in a big way. Five years ago it became mandatory to advertise even the shortest academic jobs, the ones that were typically quietly given to Bengt before. At least one Swedish university largely ignored this and has now endured official censure and much bad press. Academic leaders currently don’t seem to know what’s best practice. I’ve asked around with just one of the questions involved, and nobody in charge seems to know quite what the answer is.

      Remember, as Head of Department, because of funding constraints you generally cannot allow anyone to pass the labour law’s four-semesters-in-five-years threshold and get automatic steady employment. But when you advertise a short contract, chances are high that the most qualified applicant will be so near the limit that the short contract would effectively mean automatic steady employment. How do you deal with this situation, even ignoring any impact of nepotism?

      So far I’ve never seen any department say plainly that “We realise that Berit has by far the strongest qualifications, but because of the labour laws we will instead employ Nisse, despite his weak CV”. I have however seen a case where the department suddenly discovered and described many flaws in Berit that made her an unattractive candidate, despite the fact that they had happily employed her on a series of short contracts up until the day when the labour law’s limit came into sight.

      1 day 3 hours ago Meet a Member: John Oakley << American School of Classical Studies in Athens: News Meet John Oakley, the Chancellor Professor and Forrest D. Murden, Jr. Professor at The College of William and Mary in Virginia. Oakley is a classical archaeologist whose main interests are Greek vase painting, iconography and Roman sarcophagi.
      1 day 3 hours ago Sound-reflecting shelters inspired ancient rock artists << Archaeological News on Tumblr Ancient rock artists were drawn to echo chambers. Members of early farming communities in Europe...
      1 day 3 hours ago Alphabetical List of Open Access Monograph Series in Ancient Studies << Charles Ellwood Jones (AWOL: The Ancient World Online) This page includes links to digitized or born-digital open access monograph series. It includes 170 titles at the moment (27 June 2017).

      I'll be grateful for reminders and information on Series not yet listed.