Tuesday, 29 June 2021

Pandora's box

Pandora's box is connected with the myth of Pandora in Hesiod's 'Works and Days'. The container in the original story was a large storage jar but the word was later mistranslated as "box". When Prometheus stole fire from heaven, Zeus took vengeance by presenting Pandora to Prometheus' brother Epimetheus. Pandora opened a jar left in his care containing sickness, death and other evils which were released into the world.
Though Pandora tried to close the jar, only one thing was left behind – usually translated as Hope.

From this story has grown the idiom "to open a Pandora's box", meaning to do some small act that will cause great and unforeseen harm.

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Spectacular Ancient Bronze

Dated to 330 BC, the Boxer at Rest is a sculpture of a sitting nude boxer at rest, still wearing his caestus, a type of leather hand-wrap, in the National Museum of Rome.
The Boxer was discovered in 1885, possibly from the remains of the Baths of Constantine.
“Portrait of Seuthes III” (310-300 B.C.), Greek. Bronze, copper, calcite, alabaster, and glass. Seuthes III was a ruler of the Odrysian kingdom of Thrace from 331 BC to ca. 300 BC. This bronze was found in his tomb.

“The Medici Riccardi Horse” About 350 B.C. Italian Bronze and gold.
The bronze "Chimera of Arezzo" is one of the best known examples of the art of the Etruscans. It was found in Arezzo, an ancient Etruscan and Roman city in Tuscany, in 1553. Inscribed on its right foreleg is an inscription, TINSCVIL, showing that the bronze was a votive object dedicated to the supreme Etruscan god of day, Tin or Tinia. The statue is thought to have been made around 400 BC.
The over-lifesize "Dancing Satyr" of Mazara del Vallo is a Greek bronze statue recovered from the sea floor at a depth of 500m (1600 ft.) off the southwestern coast of Sicily in 1998.

The satyr is depicted in mid-leap, head thrown back ecstatically and back arched, his hair swinging with the movement of his head. The figure is highly refined; the whites of his eyes are inlays of white alabaster.
Artemis and the Stag is an early Roman Imperial or Hellenistic bronze sculpture of the ancient Greek goddess Artemis. In June 2007 the statue fetched $28.6 million at auction, the highest sale price of any sculpture at the time.

The statue depicts Artemis, the Greek goddess of hunting and wild animals. She stands in a pose that suggests she has just released an arrow from her bow. At some point in its history, the bow was separated from the sculpture and was lost.
Alexander the Great on Horseback, 100-1 B.C., bronze and silver.

Victorious Athlete, "The Getty Bronze" 300-100 B.C.
Statue of Athene (“The Peiraeus Athena”). Bronze. 340—330 BCE
The Artemesium Zeus
The horses of St Mark's Basilica. 2nd or 3rd century AD.
The Riace Bronzes (The Riace Warriors) Around 460 BC.

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

"Painters of Pompeii" opens

"The Painters of Pompeii" opens in Oklahoma City and highlights Roman wall painting, which was common in ancient Rome. The interiors of Roman buildings were decorated with bold colors and designs that ranged from mythology to landscapes to still lifes to architecture.

Often paintings covered the entire wall, from floor to ceiling.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

17 decapitated skeletons found at ancient Roman cemetery in UK

Seventeen decapitated skeletons dating back about 1,700 years have been discovered in three Roman cemeteries at Knobb's Farm in Cambridgeshire, in the U.K. Archaeologists who excavated the site think that the people were executed for violating Roman laws. The cemeteries hold the burials of 52 people, and the 17 decapitated bodies include those of nine men and eight women and all over 25 years of age at time of death.
The number of capital crimes in Roman law increased dramatically during the third and fourth centuries, around the time these skeletons were buried. Death offenses grew from 14 at the start of the third century to around 60 by the death of Constantine in A.D. 337. Evidence suggests that the Roman military used Knobb's farm as a supply center, and would have dealt harshly with any infractions.

Monday, 21 June 2021

Kent detectorists strike gold three times

Two rare gold tremissis from the Merovingian dynasty - the ruling family of the Franks from the middle of the 5th century until 751 were found. Only 115 such coins have been recorded in Britain. How the tremissis turned up in the UK will never be known exactly but they originate from a time of social turmoil across Europe, in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire. It was a time in Britain when no coins were being minted by the tribes left free of Roman rule.
A Gallo-Belgic gold stater isn't as rare as the tremissis, it's older, from around 150BC - and has its origins in another time of turmoil. They was minted to pay mercenaries fighting in the Gaul war against Julius Caesar. It could have been bought over by a mercenary from the continent. They were only struck on one side and were produced hastily.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

The Jerusalem National Park Hoard - Givati hoard

In January 2009 a hoard of gold coins was found in Jerusalem. The excavations were in the Giv‘ati car park in the City of David, in the walls around Jerusalem National Park. A large building was uncovered that dated to about the seventh century. The hoard of 264 gold coins was discovered among the ruins of the building.
There were 264 gold solidi with the portrait of Heraclius in the Givati hoard. Heraclius ruled the East Roman Empire from 610 to 641 CE. None of the coins are clipped, carry graffiti, or have any other significant signs of use. The coins all appear to be from the early Heraclius solidi series struck from 610 through 613. In fact, however, they are more likely part of an emergency issue struck at a Jerusalem mint as they were all struck from the same die.
Different coins were minted during this emperor’s reign; however, all of the coins that were discovered in the City of David in Jerusalem belong to one well-known type in which the likeness of the emperor wearing military garb and holding a cross in his right hand is depicted on the obverse, while the sign of the cross is on the reverse. The coins were minted shortly before the Persians conquered Byzantine Jerusalem (614 CE).

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

“Echenique Disc” returned to Peru

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian returned a pre-Incan gold ornament from its collection to Peru. The repatriated item, an “Echenique Disc,” is recognized as the symbol of the city of Cusco in Peru, once the capital of the Inca Empire. The object is a circular thin sheet of metal measuring 5.3 inches in diameter. It’s made of 90% gold, 5% silver, and 5% copper, and crafted with techniques commonly used in ancient Andean metal work. Experts have dated the item to the pre-Inca Early Horizon Period (800 BCE to 1 CE).

Wednesday, 9 June 2021


Lampsakos was founded by Greek colonists in the 6th century B.C. It became main competitor of Miletus, controlling the trade routes in the Dardanelles. During the 6th and 5th centuries B.C., Lampsacus was successively dominated by Lydia, Persia, Athens, and Sparta.

LAMPSAKOS, Stater c. 360–340, Persic standard, AV 8.47 g. Obv. Laureate and bearded head of Zeus left, lotus-tipped sceptre on right shoulder. Rev. Pegasus flying right
Lampsakos was the first ancient Greek city state to see its gold coinage reach broad acceptance for international trade, a testament to its prosperity and influence. The stater of Lampsakos became very popular, circulating from Sicily to the Black Sea.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Spectacular 'Leda and the Swan' found in Pompeii

In 2019 archaeologists found a watercolor fresco depicting 'Leda and the Swan' in Pompeii. Amazingly preserved it has brilliant detail and color despite being buried for nearly 2,000 years.
The Orto dei fuggiaschi (The garden of the Fugitives)
'Leda and the Swan' is a common theme. The swan is an embodiment of the Roman god Zeus, who is impregnating Leda.