Saturday, December 28, 2013

N. Mureddu (2013) ‘‘Ad omnia quae uelit incredibilis’: An Overview of Ancient Magic from the Roman Context to its Late Antique Perspective and Models’

Hematite magic scarab gem with a
"uroborus" serpent. Protective gem.
(1st century CE, Roman Egypt)
Today we delve into the world of magic! Nicola Mureddu discusses first Roman and then early Christian perceptions of magic in this article, and delves into the key powers, beliefs, and figures in both systems. Of special concern is Simon Magus--Simon the Magician--a first century CE convert to Christianity who engaged in magic and made many claims as to his own powers before being ultimately defeated by St. Peter. The article provides a basic understanding of some key ideas and sources in respect to ancient magic in the early empire into the fourth century CE.

PDF of the Article: Here. 

Journal Issue: Here. 

Feedburner Link: Here.

iTunes Page: Here. 

For a broader overview of magic and its criminalization in the Roman empire [in text form], I would suggest James Rives' wonderful article on "Magic in Roman Law."

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Simona Minozzi, et al., Gout and Dwarfism: Two Bioarchaeological Articles on Imperial Romans

In this episode, Sarah reads two open-access palaeopathology articles.

Simona Minozzi, Federica Bianchi, Walter Pantano, Paola Catalano, Davide Caramella and Gino Fornaciari, (2013) "A Case of Gout from Imperial Rome (1st-2nd century AD)." J Clin Res Bioeth 4:4.

Abstract: The study of pathological alterations in ancient skeletal remains may contribute to the
reconstruction of the history of diseases and health conditions of ancient populations. Therefore, in recent research palaeopathology provides an important point of view in bioarchaeology and medicine. This work describes the bone alterations observed in the skeleton of an adult woman found during archaeological excavations in the greatest necropolis of the Imperial Age in Rome. The skeletal remains showed some pathological anomalies and the most evident alterations consisted of multiple osteolytic lesions involving mainly the small bones of the feet, which presented round cavitations and scarce signs of bone repair. Differential diagnosis suggests that this individual was affected by gout, probably associated with hypothyroidism that determined her short stature. 

Article Link.

S. Minozzi, A. Lunardini, P. Catalano, D. Caramella, G. Fornaciari, (2013) "Dwarfism in Imperial Rome: A Case of Skeletal Evidence." J Clin Res Bioeth 4:154.

[No Published Abstract]

This article explores a skeleton that shows signs of dwarfism excavated from the Collatina necropolis in eastern Rome. Skeletal evidence for dwarfism in this time period is extremely rare, and this find allows a bioarchaeological window into an occurrence largely known in antiquity from literature and art. Perhaps what was most interesting to me was the discussion toward the end of the article to do with the shift from acceptance to rejection of dwarfs between the Roman and Christian periods.

Article Link. 

Subscribe to the Podcast: Here. 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Elton Barker, et al. "Mapping an ancient historian in a digital age: the Herodotus Encoded Space-Text-Image Archive (HESTIA)"

This podcast ventures into the exciting realm of digital humanities by taking a look at the aims and methods of the HESTIA Project! We will read Elton Barker (Principal Investigator), Stefan Bouzarovski (Co-Investigator), Chris Pelling (Co-Investigator) and Leif Isaksen (ICT Consultant)'s 2010 article, "Mapping an ancient historian in a digital age: the Herodotus Encoded Space-Text-Image Archive (HESTIA)."

ABSTRACT: "HESTIA (the Herodotus Encoded Space-Text-Imaging Archive) employs the latest digital technology to develop an innovative methodology to the study of spatial data in Herodotus’ Histories. Using a digital text of Herodotus, freely available from the Perseus on-line library, to capture all the place-names mentioned in the narrative, we construct a database to house that information and represent it in a series of mapping applications, such as GIS, 

GoogleEarth and GoogleMap Timeline. As a collaboration of academics from the disciplines of Classics, Geography, and Archaeological Computing, HESTIA has the twin aim of investigating the ways geography is represented in the Histories and of bringing Herodotus’ world into people’s homes."

The Article Itself. 

Link to the Leeds International Classical Studies Journal

Podcast Link. 

Links to Some Other Projects Mentioned in the Article:

1. Perseus Project
2. PostgreSQL
3. PostGIS
4. TimeMap
5. Nick Rabinowitz's Blog

Thursday, December 5, 2013

David Rohrbacher, "The Sources of the Historia Augusta Reexamined"

David Rohrbacher (NCF) is a prominent scholar of late antique historiography. In this important article, he weighs in on the sources of the (in)famous Historia Augusta. If you like this article, I would try his excellent book, Historians of Late Antiquity. 

"Abstract: The first step toward unravelling the mysteries of the late Roman biographical collection called the Historia Augusta is to separate out the authentic historical material from the fictions which the author offers in abundance. This article presents a careful re- examination of the evidence for the sources of each section of the work, concluding that the author draws upon Enmann’s Kaisergeschichte and its progeny, Marius Maximus, Herodian, Dexippus, and, for the last Lives, a Greek source, perhaps Eunapius."

Link to Histos Table of Contents.

Link to the Article PDF.

Link to the Podcast. You can also find us on iTunes