Monday, January 07, 2013

Nuntius 2013-01-07

Here are the roman news we found today:

Porta Nigra (Black Gate) in Trier, Germany, be...
Porta Nigra (Black Gate) in Trier, Germany
Salvete amici, it's me, Aelius Rufus. Yes, it is quite some time you last saw me, and I had to have a word with Gabriele about the lack of Roman posts. She's always traveling to those barbarian places, first the Mare Suebicum and then into the lands of the Hermunduri and other, more obscure tribes. Really, no sane Roman goes there. And those posts about old rocks - not even the Greek philosophers believe the world is that old. And when she's not traveling, she's writing. Fiction, of all things, and not even trying to disguise it as a true account. ;-) But well, I got her to transfer what I told her about the Porta Nigra in Augusta Treverorum into this funny thing with the screen which everyone everywhere can read, she says. Oh, and she also tells me she has not many pictures this time, because it was the first time she used that little picture box and didn't take as many magic drawings as she does now.

Gergovie, une hypothèse surprenante !

Une liste de noms insignifiants pour une grande majorité d’entre nous. Pourtant sans eux, notre connaissance de l’histoire n’en serait pas au point où elle en est aujourd’hui. En effet, ce sont respectivement les inventeurs des grottes de Lascaux en Dordogne, Chauvet en Ardèche et Cosquer à Cassis.
Ils ont deux points communs: avoir fait des découvertes archéologiques impressionnantes et surtout, ce ne sont pas des chercheurs professionnels. Avec beaucoup plus de modestie, c’est un peu pour Jean Paul Jouen et moi-même Baptiste Granjon, l’histoire que nous avons l’impression de vivre avec une hypothèse surprenante sur Gergovie. En effet, depuis que les chercheurs de Napoléon III ont validé le site de Gergovie à Merdogne, il est universellement contesté. En 150 ans, il s’est promené une vingtaine de fois sur les oppida autour de Clermont Ferrand et dans la plaine de la Limagne.

Remains of a huge, 2,000-year-old Roman theatre, thought to be the first of its kind in Britain, have been discovered in Kent. Paul Wilkinson, director of the nearby Kent Archaeological Field School, and his team uncovered the remains of a cockpit-style outdoor auditorium built into a hillside in Faversham. Around 150 such theatres have been discovered across northern Europe, according to Wilkinson, but the remains are the first to be found in the UK. In addition to the orchestra pit – in which choruses would have performed – the ruins also include a narrow stage, featuring holes that are thought to have allowed flooding for aquatic displays.

Happy New Year!  2013 has already started to ring in fierce! With forty-eight hours left in our Kickstarter campaign “Digging History”, we are proud to share the news that we have 63 backers and have surpassed our target goal.  In fact, we are more than pleased (does “jumping up and down” give you a good idea?) with the amount of support we have had over the past four weeks- donations from every level and inspiring group of people spreading the word about our Kickstarter campaign on the streets and through the airwaves.  Reaching our goal of $10,000 in three weeks, and then surpassing it (we have now raised over $12,000), is a wonderful feeling!  Our feeling is that making history happens by the community, and as we move forward to outlining and organizing the production of Digging History, we look forward to acknowledging you- our supporters and donors.

Afin d’encourager les échanges entre doctorants des différentes disciplines s’intéressant à la civilisation byzantine (histoire, histoire de l’art, archéologie, philologie, etc.), nous nous proposons d’organiser, les vendredi 4 et samedi 5 octobre 2013 à l’INHA, deux journées de rencontres consacrées à la présentation des travaux des doctorants. Pour la cinquième année consécutive, les doctorants pourront s’exprimer sur une problématique de leur choix, en lien avec le monde byzantin, durant une vingtaine de minutes. À cette occasion, un point d’honneur devra être mis sur les aspects méthodologiques et pluridisciplinaires de la recherche.

In a claim certain to prick the interest of followers of archaeology and mythology everywhere, the head of Bulgaria’s National History Museum has said that an ancient temple to the Greek god Priapus has been found in the Black Sea town of Sozopol. National History Museum chief Bozhidar Dimitrov, who hails from Sozopol, said that archaeologists had found a clay phallus inscribed “to Priapus” during a dig in the Black Sea town, which in the past 24 months has boasted everything from the finding of the purported hand bones of Christian saint John the Baptist to a temple to Poseidon. Dimitrov reminded local media of the legend of Priapus and a donkey having disputed who was the better-endowed, with the donkey losing the dispute and its life into the bargain, ending as a sacrifice to the god. The cult of Priapus, Dimitrov said, was believed to have originated along the coast of Asia Minor. In Hellenistic and Roman times, Priapus became associated with sensual pleasure. Votives were made to Priapus, he said, from men who had genital diseases or otherwise had problems with erectile dysfunction or potency.

A dive to the undersea cliff where a famous Roman shipwreck rests has turned up either evidence that the wreck is enormous — or a suggestion that, not one, but two sunken ships are resting off the Greek island of Antikythera. "Either way, it's an exciting result," said study researcher Brendan Foley, an archaeologist at Woods Hold Oceanographic Institution who presented the findings Jan. 4 at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Seattle.

So, it’s been a while but I recently got a few pieces of kit from Armamentaria which is a UK based site for Roman military kit (and celtic too; well worth checking out!). It’s excellent quality and they were very helpful. They have also just started a very interesting group focusing on Batavian auxiliary - again, check it out!

There's one thing we know about King Arthur - he was English, right? Okay, maybe he was Welsh...and then there's a chance he was Romano-Briton fighting against the Saxon invasion. Or perhaps he was a native Briton who fought against the Roman invasion. Frankly, no one can really nail him down, because he's a mythical construct handed down through the ages. He might be one man, he might be a thousand. And by the time the 12th-century French writer Chretien de Troyes added the romantic elements of Lancelot and the Holy Grail to the tale, the traditional origins of the story were at least seven hundred years old...or perhaps even much older. How much older? Well, when Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote his King Arthur story in 1136, the king was a native Briton who fended off the Roman invasions of the Emperor Claudius in 43AD...and his name was Arviragus. Now one handy thing about Arviragus, unlike the traditional King Arthur, his name actually comes to us through Roman sources...Juvenal refers to him in a satirical poem - "you will capture some king or Arviragus will fall from his British Chariot-pole" - which also dates the name to the late 1st-century AD. Of course this doesn't prove Arviragus existed, but it does mean Juvenal had heard the name.

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