Saturday, January 12, 2008

Tria Corda goes (officially) Open Access

Sebastian Heath gave a quick run-down on Open Access licenses among the ancient blogging community over at the AWBG. His guess that "some bloggers haven't given this issue much thought" was spot on for me. Tria Corda has followed a wandering developmental road since its inception back on August 12, 2005. "Sporadic Italic blogging is all that can be expected," I said then, and it has indeed been sporadic -- nothing between January and December of 2006! I think I've also been charged with being "chatty" in the past, to which I can only plead guilty. With the spur from the AWBG, I've determined to focus more on Tria Corda, which includes giving issues more thought. As a result, I'm now publishing it with a Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution Unported license, which you'll see over in the right hand column o' stuff. This means (as per the license) you are free to 1. Share — to copy, distribute and transmit (the contents of the blog); 2. Remix — to adapt (the contents of the blog); but on the condition that you must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).

I note also that Chuck Jones has since CC'd the PFAP blog and is presumably responsible for AWBG itself.

AIA/APA Chicago Report no. 3

On Saturday I attended the excellent session on Magna Graecia (AIA 4D, January 5, 1:30-4:30 PM).

Opening up,
Johanna Hobratschk put "Apulian Vase-painting in Context: A Reconsideration of Dramatic Scenes." Past scholarship (e.g. Trendall and Webster) has seen a direct representation of South Italian theater on Apulian volute-kraters. Hobratschk argues for the development of architecture in dramatic scenes on vases from naiskoi in funerary contexts. The Iliupersis Painter was the first to paint naiskoi in funerary scenes, and the first to make major use of the volute krater, with some fourteen attributed vases. The buildings in his later dramatic scenes show clear similarities with his earlier funerary naiskoi. By contrast, in Campanian fabric where funerary scenes are very uncommon, the conventions for representing dramatic architecture are different.

Camilla R. Norman presented "The Myth of the Ransom of Hector on the Daunian Stelai." These enigmatic objects (late 7th-mid 5th centuries BCE) were almost single-handedly saved -- and interpreted -- by Silvio Ferri during the 1950's and 60's, coinicident with the introduction of the deep plow in Apulian agriculture. Ferri's Classical training led him to describe many of the figural scenes as illustrations of Greek myths or Homeric episodes rather than on their own terms. His interpretation of a recurring scene as the "Ransom of Hector," based on the identification of the central object as the Lyre of Achilles, required him to assert that the actual body of Hector was implied but not depicted, and that Achilles was painted in, rather than engraved like the rest of the figures! Achilles' lyre is not even described in connection with Priam's recovery of his son's body. Norman posits instead that the scene shows some aspect of women's life, perhaps connected with the production of textiles. The "lyre of Achilles" may in fact be a hand loom, a wool basket, or a hanging cloth, among other possibilities.

Unfortunately, Gianfranco Carollo was not present to give an update on "Burials and Reconstruction of Social and Cultural Contexts. The Unpublished Necropolis of Ripacandida (Potenza, Italy)," a particular shame since, as noted, the material is still unpublished.

After a break, Dante Bartoli read "
Archaeology and Environment in the Sila Mountains (Calabria, Italy). Analysis of the Prehistoric Settlements" for Domenico Marino and Annalisa Zarattini. A lush prehistoric forest stretched across Calabria and there is evidence for occupation by both Homo erectus and Neandertal man. During the Neolithic, new areas were settled in the Sila mountains, based on short-distance transhumance and fishing, and the local obsidian quarries were first used at this time. Excavations between 2005 and 2007 have revealed Neolithic settlements submerged in the Lago di Cecita, dated 3800-3350 BCE, with subsistence based on agriculture, gathering, cattle and fish. Between the Neolithic and Bronze age there was a progressive exapansion of settlements in the hills as termini of transhumance. At Timpone del Gigante there are an Iron Age settlement, Hellenistic defensive walls, and a Roman quarry.

Finally, Sandra Lucore, director of the excavation of the North Baths at Morgantina, shared her thoughts on "
Tradition and Innovation in Western Greek Baths." Despite the lack of full publication of any baths in the Western Greek world, Lucore identifies a clear typology of baths based on heated communal immersion bathing. The earliest evidence of such bathing in Sicily is at late 4th century Gela, including the individual bathing tubs and slightly later tholos-room which both remain standard features of western baths. The typical thermal complex including a double room and tholos adjoined by a hypocaust, as found at Syracuse, Morgantina, and Megara Hyblaea. The dome over the tholos and barrel-vaulted rooms at Morgantina were constructed with interlocking hollow terracotta tubes, which were then covered with a rough mortar compound. These tubular vaults are the earliest known, and the technique betrays a practical knowledge of statics, which may be connected with the work of Archimedes at Syracuse.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

AIA/APA Chicago Report no. 2

Continuing with AIA Session 2E: Etruria and Samnium...

Elizabeth C. Robinson
re-examined "Rural Settlement Patterns and Sanctuaries in the Middle Volturno Valley (Campania)" between the Archaic period and the 1st cent. BCE. The area has been discussed twice in recent memory, by P. Carafa in his 1997 dissertation "I Culti in Campania" (published in 2006) and by S.P. Oakley in his 1996 The Hill-Forts of the Samnites, but neither treatment is completely satisfactory. Robinson finds no evidence for city-state organization or border sanctuaries in the region, and Oakley's work (not surprisingly) focuses mostly on clearly identifiable fortified sites. Robinson reclassified the 16 identified sites into new categories: large oppida with a fortified acropolis and 1 or more wall circuits; small oppida with no separate acropolis, no more than one circuit, enclosing an area of less than 0.16m2; rural cult sites and necropoleis.

For instance, the site of La Rocca, with its three terraces and two circuits of polygonal masonry, becomes a large oppidum, which Carafa had identified as a boundary sanctuary purely on the basis of four terracotta heads, which may be antefixes. One of the difficulties that emerged from discussion was the lack of a real survey of the area, as well as the small quantities of material used to define a site -- do two bronze statuettes make Zappini a rural cult site? As some conclusions, the sanctuaries show little evidence of monumental architecture, the settlement pattern is very unlike that of poleis, and we should abandon the idea of boundary sanctuaries for Samnium.

Next, Rachel Van Dusen gave us "Saving Face: Samnite Elites in the Aftermath of the Samnite Wars." The families of Samnite generals identified in Livy's account of the Samnite Wars (Papius Brutulus, Statius Gellius, Gellius Egnatius, Min. Staius Minatius) continue to be attested as meddices tutici for several hundred years. For instance, the Staii produced at least 12 meddices for the period 296 - 90 BCE. The monumentalization of sanctuaries in Samnium, which coincides with a reduction in wealth of grave goods, provides further evidence for the continuing control of these families through inscriptional evidence. Four of the six Papii known as meddices tutici are attested in inscriptions from sanctuaries, e.g. G. Papius with the smaller temple at Schiavi D'Abruzzo, ca. 100-90 BCE. Likewise, two of three Statii, including G. Statius Clarus with Temple B at Pietrabbondante; one of three Egnatii, and a wopping 10 of 12 Staii, including six at Pietrabbondante, one at Campochiaro, plus an otherwise unattested Staius known from a bronze tablet at Vastogirardi. These families were clearly able to maintain their status despite a shift from positions of military power to civil posts.

Finally, Tesse Stek read a paper on
"Sanctuaries and Society in Central-Southern Italy in the Republican Period." Stek investigated the sanctuaries' function in society; the oft-cited commercial profits made by Italic merchants of the period are not a sufficient reason in and of themselves, only a condition. None of the three commonly proposed explanations (transhumance road shrines, territorial markers, constituents of the Italic pattern of settlement) for sanctuary development are satisfactory. If they were road-shrines connected with transhumance, then why are so many perched on mountain tops unsuited for flocks or large markets? The idea of the of the border sanctuary originated with Polignac's work in Greece, but the Greek system does not map neatly onto the Italic world. This is not a polis-system, and the ethnic groups represented may not have been so rigidly territorially defined. Finally, the oft-discussed pagus-vicus system is based on problematic and disparate literary references, rather than on archaeology, although it wins points for its attempt at a purely Italic model.

Stek finds a problem in that the spatial context of most Samnite sanctuaries is largely unknown. He took as a test case the sanctuary at S. Giovanni in Galdo, loc. Colle Rimontato, based on 2004-2005 Leiden surveys and unpublished finds from the 1970's. They surveyed the 7km
2 directly around the sanctuary with theoretical 20% coverage; concentrations of >5 artifacts/m2 were labeled as sites and resurveyed. For the Archaic Period Stek found a nucleated settlement around a spring, with cemetery some 500m north of the sanctuary. The Hellenistic Period saw a dispersion of smaller sites, nine contemporary with the sanctuary, while the prior nucleated settlement was extended into a hamlet of 8 ha. For the Roman Period, the total number of sites remained the same, but their locations changed, though the hamlet continued to be occupied as did a number of farmsteads. The sanctuary shows evidence of use into the late Imperial period.

Stek hypothesizes the sanctuary as perhaps a pole of attraction for the surrounding communities, or possibly vice versa, being constructed in a (relatively) densely-populated area. He finds no evidence for territorial marking or for a connection with transhumance, although neither possibility can be ruled out at this stage.

Thus concludes the session on Etruria and Samnium. Tune in next time for coverage of Magna Graecia; I have some reviews of a couple of new books on ancient Italy in the works as well.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

AIA/APA Chicago Report no. 1

This will be the first in a planned series of posts summarizing some of the papers I heard at the Joint Annual Meeting in Chicago, though I certainly didn't make it to all that I would have liked to!

On Friday, I attended AIA Session 2E: Etruria and Samnium.

To kick it off, David Soren of the University of Arizona read "Horace's Healing Spring at Chianciano, Tuscany: The Final Report" on the U. of A.'s excavations at the Etrusco-Roman thermal complex at Chianciano in Tuscany. The site is identified as the ancient Fontes Clusinii, renowned especially in the early Principate for its healing waters, a reputation that endures to this day. The Emperor Augustus, by command of his physician, sought (and found) relief from his stomach ailments there. The site seems to have been maintained deliberately rustic and unembellished, despited repeated additions and repairs from the 2nd century BCE to the 5th century CE. This suggests to Professor Soren that the complex was run by a community of ascetics. Analysis of water from the still-bubbling spring revealed concentrations of calcium carbonate which, ingested in small quantities, would have flushed the digestive system.

Next, Walter McCall of UNC-Chapel Hill presented "The Falerii Novi Project 2004-2006: Our Preliminary Conclusions." Ground survey revealed several previously-unknown gates in the Roman wall circuit, immediately south of the theater as well as near the northeast corner of the city. McCall suggests that the Roman grid of 80-90 m x 60 m insulae was designed to take into account a previously existing Faliscan settlement or path system, as evidenced by the non-rectilinear path of the pomerium road. Additionally, the southern entrance of the Via Amerina was shifted eastward to enter directly into the theater complex after the construction of that edifice -- maybe, I wonder, to move dispersing crowds quickly out of the city?

I missed the beginning of Hilary Becker's paper on
"Family identity and heraldic signs in Etruria;" I came in as Ms. Becker was discussing the Tagliatella oinochoe, which depicts a line of warriors with shields all bearing identical wild-boar devices, headed by a man identified by inscription as "Mamerce." Becker contrasted the unity of devices on this Etruscan vase with contemporary images such as the Chigi Vase, which show lines of hoplites each having unique shield-devices.
On the walls of the 4th cent. BCE "Giglioli Tomb" at Tarquinia are three painted shields, bearing the devices of a wild boar, an amphora and an 'A'. These emblems are also found on contemporary coins from Tarquinia and nearby areas, probably issued by local noble families. The images may therefore be emblems of particular families, employed heraldically on both coins and on shields. Such devices could also be punning; there is a shield painted with a half-moon on the wall of the Tius ("Moon") family of Chiusi.
Family-specific devices may have been warranted by a clan's independent military actions. Of such bella privata, the best known is the attack on Veii in 477 BCE by the 306 members of the Roman gens Fabia (Livy 2.48-50). Though none of these private wars is recorded as contemporary for the tombs discussed, they may have gone unrecorded. The votive deposit at Vetulonia of 125 bronze helmets, of which nineteen were inscribed with the name of a prominent family, "Haspnas," may be indicative of clan-based warfare.

Lastly before the break, in
"Imported Bucchero from Poggio Civitate: Socio-Political Exchange," Jason P. Bauer found that of the thousands of bucchero fragments from the area of the Orientalizing builidng at Poggio Civitate (constructed ca. 650 BCE, with a burn layer ca. 620-600), only some 53 were imported. In contrast to the coarse local production, the imported bucchero is probably to be connected with a system of trade and contact between elites.

That's it for today; I'll cover the last three papers from this panel on Samnium in a future post, along with some from other sessions.

New Journal: Rasenna

The good folks over at the Center for Etruscan Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst recently launched a new project, namely, Rasenna: Journal of the Center for Etruscan Studies. According to the website,
"The primary function of Rasenna is to publish peer reviewed articles and book reviews, but we expect to take advantage of the speed and flexibility of digital publication to provide timely information on excavation opportunities in the region, announcements and reviews of museum shows, and other similar kinds of information. On‑line publication is the norm in the physical sciences and we hope that this journal will help speed its acceptance in the humanities as well. To our knowledge, there is no other on‑line academic resource in Etruscan Studies for the publication of scholarly research. We are delighted to be the first, but we certainly hope to be one of many in the coming years."
Editors Rex Wallace and Anthony Tuck are to be congratulated for continuing to advance the study of Ancient Italy through the timely and appropriate use of digital technology. Rasenna follows in the footsteps of their earlier (and vibrantly continuing) projects, the Etruscan Texts Project (with Michael Shamgochian and James Patterson) and the Poggio Civitate Archive.

Volume I, Issue 1 is now available with an article from Carlo de Simone, on "Alcuni termini chiave della Tabula Cortonensis." The digital format of the journal means that articles will be accepted on a rolling basis and published as soon as they clear the review and editorial process; each issue will consist of all the articles published in a given year.