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A Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire

A Digital Atlas of the Roman Empire is an OpenLayers map that uses a new geographical dataset constructed from the award-winning Barrington Atlas of the Greek and Roman World (previously), along with several other sources. You can search for sites by place name or zoom in and click sites to get more information about them. It includes tagged data from virtually every known location in the ancient world, and was implemented in 2012 by Johan Åhlfeldt. The geographical dataset can also be used as a background layer with other maps - for example, here is a basic Google Maps version. Åhlfeldt has made the data freely available under the CC-BY license.
posted by koeselitz on Aug 1, 2014 - 10 comments

"How can I stay silent, how can I be still!"

Lessons From A Demigod
The Epic of Gilgamesh has been read in the modern world for a little longer than a century, and, in that time, this oldest of stories has become a classic college text. In my own courses on ancient literature and mythology, it is the book I always begin with. But why should a tale whose origins stretch back more than four thousand years draw such attention in an age of genetic engineering and text messaging? The answer I have given to hundreds of students is that almost every joy and sorrow they will face in life was revealed in Gilgamesh millennia before they were born. Reading Gilgamesh will not only teach them to face the challenges that lie ahead, but also give them an appreciation for the idea that no matter how much our modern world might seem different from earlier times, the essence of the human experience remains the same.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 23, 2014 - 36 comments

Competing Constructions of Masculinity in Ancient Greece

Scholars often speak of ancient Greek masculinity and manhood as if there was a single, monolithic, simple conception. I will show that the ancient Greeks, like us today, had competing models or constructions of gender and that what it meant to be a man was different in different contexts. I will focus on three constructions of the masculine gender in ancient (classical and post-classical) Greece: the Athenian civic model, the Spartan martial model, and the Stoic philosophical model. I will focus on how these share certain commonalities, how they differ in significant ways, how each makes sense in terms of larger ideological contexts and needs, and, finally how constructions of masculinities today draw from all three. (10 page PDF) [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Jan 31, 2014 - 12 comments

Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

Classical Roman Cooking

Pass the Garum is a cooking blog focused on the recipes and cuisine of ancient Rome. [more inside]
posted by jedicus on Oct 4, 2013 - 57 comments

America's Oldest Known Petroglyphs

Ancient North Americans gouged elaborate rock art into a heap of big boulders northeast of Reno, Nev., more than 10,000 years ago and perhaps 15,000 years ago. That makes the carvings the oldest known petroglyphs on the continent, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science.
posted by 445supermag on Aug 16, 2013 - 9 comments

Watch Modern Artists Use Ancient Techniques

For the past three months, the Art Institute of Chicago has been putting their Launchpad videos, designed to provide more context of museum-goers at the Institutes, on YouTube. The short videos include modern artists recreating art using ancient, medieval, and newer techniques in mosaics, glassblowing, pottery, painting, silversmithing, marquetry, and coin production plus conservation of art. There are also a few videos focusing on individual pieces in the collection.
posted by julen on May 20, 2013 - 7 comments

Calvus is 99% of real Roman life.

Who is Calvus? I see him as the embodiment of the average Roman. He doesn't wage war on distant peoples, he doesn't work as a gladiator...he can't even afford a slave.
posted by h00py on May 9, 2013 - 24 comments

Looking Good, Ancient Rome

Amateur archaeologist and "forensic hairdresser" Janet Stephens has discovered how to recreate the Seni Crines, the elaborately braided hairstyle worn by the vestal virgins. Don't miss Stephens' other classical hairstyle videos.
posted by Miko on Jan 9, 2013 - 35 comments

For everyone interested in art history who has asked, WTF?

If you’ve spent much time in museums—or even leafing through art books—you’ve probably come across something that leaves you scratching your head. You’re not alone. The very funny, if occasionally puerile blog WTF Art History was created, according to the anonymous art historian who writes it, for “everyone who loves art history but has a sense of humor to know that even great masters create things that leave us asking, WTF?” [via] [prev]
posted by netbros on Feb 21, 2012 - 24 comments

Neolithic Grog!

The Beer Archaeologist. "Biomolecular archaeologist" Dr. Patrick McGovern has unearthed millennia-old alcohol recipes and ancient medicinals, "by analyzing residues in ancient pottery. Now he's working with brewer Sam Calagione, (of Discovery Channel's Brew Masters, (autoplaying video)) whose pub Dogfish Head serves up beers based on recipes that are thousands of years old." (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 26, 2011 - 45 comments

Don't wait for Arbor Day!

Cloning trees to stop global warming! Archangel Ancient Tree Archive is a non profit organization that creates clones of ancient trees and uses them for the purpose of functional forestation. They are doing their part to stop deforestation and fight global warming by planting these cloned trees in different area across the planet. They are also preserve some of the oldest living things on the planet for future generations as well!
posted by Mastercheddaar on Mar 14, 2011 - 63 comments

On discovering "the latter in particular"...

"Abwärts is a West German post-punk group from Hamburg. Members Mark Chung and FM Einheit would leave the group in the early 1980s to join the Berlin-based band Einstürzende Neubauten. Their best-known recordings include the single "Computerstaat" ("Computer State") (1980) and the LP's Amok Koma (1981) and Der Westen ist einsam ("The West Is Lonely," 1982), the latter in particular being regarded as a classic of West German postpunk."
posted by electricsandwich138 on Aug 4, 2010 - 13 comments

I am immortal, I have inside me five thousand rings

It sprang to life sometime in the 3rd millennium, outliviving the kingdoms of ancient Egypt, it survived six of the seven wonders of the ancient world, and it's older than Judaism. It survived 5,000 years (give or take a few hundred), and was cut down in 1964 by Donald Currey, a graduate student in geography. He was studying the Little Ice Age (prev), and he was looking for an old Bristlecone pine in the White-Inyo mountain range of California (prev), as a record for climatic conditions from that period. As that tree, nicknamed Prometheus, is no longer living, the record for oldest tree goes to a tree from the same stand, Methuselah. If trees aren't your thing, there are quite a few long-living organisms of other sorts. For more fun and photos, join Rachel Sussman on her journey to photograph them. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 4, 2010 - 43 comments

What have the Romans ever done for us?

Hundreds of volunteers are needed to help create a line of light along the length of Hadrian's Wall to mark the purported 1600th anniversary of the departure from Britain of Roman legions under Constantine III. Organisers are looking for 500 people to help create the spectacle on 13 March, which will light up the wall from one end to the other. Each of the volunteer "illuminators" will be responsible for one of the 500 individual points of light that will be placed at 820ft (250m) intervals along the route of the 84-mile (135km) Hadrian's Wall Path National Trail. There is something gloriously pointless about this, although it will undoubtedly be a spectacle. One has to ask though - apart from building a fucking big wall to keep the Jocks out, what have the Romans ever done for us……?
posted by MajorDundee on Mar 11, 2010 - 16 comments

Ancient Greece

Explore the History of the Ancient Greek World from the Neolithic to the Classical Period. Covering important topics, such as Art and Architecture, Mythology, Wars, Culture and Society, Poetry, Olympics, History Periods, Philosophy, Playwrights, Kings and Rulers of Ancient Greece.
posted by netbros on Feb 21, 2009 - 3 comments

Crocodile sandwich

I'll have a crocodile sandwich please, and make it snappy.
posted by cranberrymonger on Feb 4, 2009 - 54 comments

A three-thousand-year-old ruin with its own web site

Archaeologists find a pottery fragment with the oldest known example of written Hebrew at the Elah Fortress(YT) in Israel - or maybe not [more inside]
posted by XMLicious on Oct 31, 2008 - 8 comments

Great Civilizations of Ancient Worlds

The ancient web is an online resource for students, teachers, and anyone interested in the cultures of the ancient world. With the Olympics fast approaching, here is an opportunity to learn more about the past 4500 years of Chinese civilization. Or how the Celtiberians would get drunk and eat raw meat before going to war. 24 ancient civilizations in all.
posted by netbros on Jul 16, 2008 - 9 comments

Art Image Bank

Art Images for College Teaching is a searchable, browsable collection of 2,027, well, art images for college teaching, and appears to be mainly the personal collection of Art Historian Allan Kohl (previously on MeFi), and thus represents his interests and specialities, not to mention the variable quality of his photographic skills. Rather strong in Ancient and Medieval, especially architecture, but tapers off as you become more distant from Europe or closer to the 20th century. Nice sets include the Lion Hunt from Ashurbanipal, Iraq; the exterior sculpture of Chartres; and grave stele.
posted by Rumple on Feb 1, 2008 - 4 comments

Online archaeology and anthropology exhibits

The Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology has a nice collection of online exhibits, including ones on Roman glassmaking, the ancient history of wine, and a history of body modification. (Other exhibits have appeared on Mefi previously.)
posted by Upton O'Good on Jan 13, 2008 - 3 comments

Of Beer And Chocolate

Chocolate and the Beer of the Ancients. New archaeological evidence suggests that primitive beer brewers were the first to discover the goodness of chocolate.
posted by amyms on Nov 20, 2007 - 21 comments

How many existentialists does it take to change a lightbulb?

The Philosophy Research Base features thousands of annotated links and text resources for philosophy research on the Internet. Categorized by history, subject and author, this meta-index serves as both a study guide and a platform for a wide variety of community services for students and teachers in philosophy and related subjects.
posted by netbros on Aug 26, 2007 - 5 comments

Romanes Eunt Domus

For the ancient pedants amongst you: Roman Trivia. Part of an excellent website on Roman history.
posted by Eekacat on Jul 18, 2007 - 12 comments

The Iliad... in 3D!

WIREDfilter: After a thousand years stuck on a dusty library shelf, the oldest copy of Homer's Iliad is about to go into digital circulation.
"Sing, goddess, the rage of Achilles the son of Peleus, the destructive rage that sent countless pains on the Achaeans..."

posted by chuckdarwin on Jun 5, 2007 - 54 comments

Ancient Chinese Wall Inscriptions

Written Chinese may be older than we thought. Chinese archaeologists think that anicent cliff wall carvings may may take the history of Chinese characters back to 7,000 to 8,000 years ago.
posted by Karmakaze on May 18, 2007 - 32 comments

Turn it up!

New voice for the oldest song ever. "The Prayer of an Infertile Woman," (video embedded within article text) is a 3200 year old song that was recently reconstructed and performed by Leiden University Assyriology professor Dr. Theo J. H. Krispijn at the Chicago Oriental Institute.
posted by The Straightener on Apr 4, 2007 - 19 comments

CRAYON!

Before RSS and personalized aggregators such as Personalized Google and NetVibes, there was CRAYON, a service that allowed you to "CReAte Your Own Newspaper" by providing a page with links to chosen sources. [mi]
posted by divabat on Mar 28, 2007 - 11 comments

Lost Cities

Lost Cities.
posted by Wolfdog on Feb 26, 2007 - 27 comments

...or a lover's lute.

The first coin? The Lydian Lion, the Athenian Owl, and other intriguing numismatic articles with a particular eye toward the ancient.
posted by Wolfdog on Jan 6, 2007 - 10 comments

Samarra, Iraq

Samarra is in the news. The modern city is small, but built on the colossal ruins of the capital of the Abbasid Caliphate. Google Earth reveals amazing details of the ancient city, one of the largest archaeological sites in the world.
posted by grahamwell on Feb 24, 2006 - 16 comments

well, they were a big hit at Plato's Laugh Shack

A man, just back from a trip abroad, went to an incompetent fortune-teller. He asked about his family, and the fortune-teller replied: "Everyone is fine, especially your father." When the man objected that his father had been dead for ten years, the reply came: "You have no clue who your real father is."--that's one of the jokes from The Laughter Lover (Philogelos), an ancient Greek joke book published in the 4th or 5th century AD. The New Yorker commented on it, and other old jokes here, stating about one of the possible authors: ... there is some scholarly speculation that the Hierocles in question was a fifth-century Alexandrian philosopher of that name who was once publicly flogged in Constantinople for paganism, which, as one classicist has observed, “might have given him a taste for mordant wit.”
posted by amberglow on Jul 10, 2004 - 12 comments

100 Wonders of the World

The 100 Wonders of the World. A list, which includes both photos and a short description of all the wonders. The list may not be complete, but it's an interesting list for those of us, who love to travel. Italy seems to be a nice place to start, with 12 of the 100 wonders (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12).
posted by einarorn on Jul 5, 2004 - 26 comments

Plain of Jars

What is the Plain of Jars, what does it look like, and where is it?
posted by moonbird on Jun 12, 2004 - 14 comments

protecting ancient sites in Iraq

Protecting the Cradle Kirkuk Air Base -- US Army Colonel works with Iraqi archaeological officials to protect nearby ancient sites.

Meanwhile at more secluded mounds, looters continue to plunder the sites and to erase the tangible record of the world's earliest civilizations. "When you come here at night, it looks like a city, there are so many lights," [Archaeological official Abdul-Amir] Hamdani said, looking out over the arid scrubland where thieves swarm after dark.
posted by mcgraw on May 25, 2004 - 6 comments

Tunnel Under Stonehenge?

Archaeologists are denouncing plans for a tunnel under Stonehenge. It's not the idea of the tunnel itself that is drawing fire, so much as the execution. The govt seems to be doing it on the cheap, in a way that won't solve the problem of the modern world intruding on the prehistoric megalith.
posted by Slagman on Mar 21, 2004 - 8 comments

Rauschpfeife!

Musica Antiqua: A Guide to Medieval and Renaissance Instruments. Complete with both .wav and .mp3 samples.
posted by Ufez Jones on Mar 12, 2004 - 9 comments

Rongorongo!

Rongorongo! Say it twice -- don't it feel nice? Most people think of the enigmatic maoi when they think of Easter Island but an equally vexing mystery is found in twenty-six wooden objects which contain pictographic symbols comprising...what? A language? A mnemomic system for recording stories now long forgotten? A resource for modern primitives' tribal tatoos? We could ask, but the authors are long-gone -- the victims of hard times -- leaving only a few tablets and a bunch of carved stone to puzzle over.
posted by Ogre Lawless on Jan 19, 2004 - 5 comments

Godess: ancient Greek couture

Goddess : The Classical Mode, at the Met. Ancient Greek fashion and haute couture interpretations. (via fashioNroll)
posted by taz on Sep 17, 2003 - 4 comments

Even I don't wake up looking like Cindy Crawford. - Cindy Crawford

Roman Cosmetics Found at Temple Dig: Stunningly well preservered, the cream still bears the fingerprints of whoever used it last, almost 2,000 years ago.
posted by Irontom on Jul 30, 2003 - 14 comments

The Prehistoric art of Znedek Burian amidst a motherlode of large scans of Czech art and photography

Chasmosaurus, Giant Stag and Dire Wolf, Diatryma, Albertosaurus and an early Portuguese blogger--allow me to get a little Mesozoic, Creataceous and Pleistocene upon your ass with this cool archive of vintage Czechoslovakian prehistoric art: I found 11 pages of thumbnails for 258 large scan jpegs of Znedek Burian's work on the websites of the Petrs Hejna of Prague, the Czech Republic. Znedek Burian, as you will remember from my previous Vintage Dinosaur Art Archives thread, was state of the art in the 1950s. 258 scans of Znedek Burian is find enough to merit a post--But Wait! There's More! → → →
posted by y2karl on Feb 9, 2003 - 13 comments

Archaeoastronomy

Archaeoastronomy examines how ancient cultures studied and worshipped the heavens. From the arrangement of the Stonehenge stelae to the Mayan reverence for the planet Venus, this science has resulted in some fascinating and often beautiful discoveries, including star charts found in tombs in Ireland and Japan, the Lascaux caves in France, and rock paintings of a supernova in 1054 that resulted in the Crab Nebula. My personal favorite is the “Sun Dagger” in Chaco Canyon, New Mexico (scroll down for photos).
posted by gottabefunky on Aug 19, 2002 - 11 comments

Nearly everyone is familiar with the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Now Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber wants us to think about the new seven wonders - the wonders of the modern world. His website, new7wonders.org, allows you to peruse a list of around two dozen "modern wonders" ("modern" being a relative term - most date back hundreds or thousands of years) and vote on your seven favorites. Even if you don't vote, this is a great way to learn about astonishing places (like the old city of Sana'a in Yemen or Machu Picchu in Peru) that you might not have otherwise heard of.
Note: I found this site via a recent New York Times article about the efforts to rebuild and restore Taliban-destroyed cultural artifacts in Afghanistan. Apparently Mr Weber is also backing a plan to rebuild the Bamiyan Buddhas.
posted by anastasiav on Apr 15, 2002 - 20 comments

Ancient Werewolves

Ancient Werewolves - 'These composite beings ... are a common theme from the beginning of painting.' (link via Weblogging Considered Harmful)
posted by Irontom on Nov 29, 2001 - 8 comments

Those French have been at it for a very long time.

Those French have been at it for a very long time.
posted by lagado on Jul 5, 2001 - 9 comments

New Ancient Civilization found

New Ancient Civilization found compareable to the Indus Valley and Mesopotamia civilizations. By Crom!
posted by stbalbach on May 6, 2001 - 31 comments

Farewell, Thomas Crapper, we hardly knew ye

Farewell, Thomas Crapper, we hardly knew ye - Turns out the Chinese invented the toilet too! Next thing we'll find out they invented spaghetti, or toilet paper, or whatever.
posted by chicobangs on Jul 26, 2000 - 8 comments

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