Friday, August 04, 2006

Imperial Rome new exhibit to open September 23 at the Fernbank Museum

The Weekly Online!: "Fernbank Museum of Natural History presents 350 years of illustrious world history with the world-premiere of a special exhibition that explores the legacy of the Roman Empire. Featuring 450 artifacts that range from small coins to larger-than-life statues, Imperial Rome showcases the brilliance of ancient Roman society during its glory days. The exhibition will open on the 2069th birthday of Caesar Augustus, Rome?s first emperor, and will be on view from September 23, 2006-January 3, 2007.

Created through a collaboration between Italy?s Contemporanea Progetti, Florence, and Atlanta?s Fernbank Museum of Natural History, the exhibition examines life during the era of Imperial Rome through a series of galleries showcasing the legendary emperors, gods, households, lifestyles, and peace, or Pax Romana, established by the powerful military. "

Teaching Company offers new course on Roman Archaeology

I see that The Teaching Company is offering a new course on Greek and Roman Archaeology.

" In these 36 half-hour lectures, archaeologist John R. Hale of the University of Louisville guides you through dozens of ancient sites with the skill of a born storyteller. Dr. Hale mixes the exotic adventures, unexpected insights, and abiding mysteries of archaeology's fabled history with anecdotes of his own extensive field experience to create an extremely fast-paced narrative that unfolds like a series of detective stories.

The detective metaphor is particularly apt because archaeologists approach their work like sleuths at a crime scene, using a range of tools, techniques, and technologies to piece together clues that paint a vivid portrait of life during the formative era of Western civilization.

For example, in Lecture 18, Dr. Hale recounts his own search with geologist Jelle de Boer for the secret behind the ecstatic trances of the Oracle of Delphi?a project celebrated in the recent book The Oracle: The Lost Secrets and Hidden Message of Ancient Delphi by Pulitzer Prize?winning reporter William J. Broad of The New York Times. Dr. Hale and Dr. de Boer used traditional archaeological techniques, combined with geological mapping and chemical analysis of rock and water samples, to solve the mystery of the priestess's famous altered states.

Dr. Hale's other research includes a long-running position as field director for the University of Louisville's excavations at Torre de Palma, and he is a participant in the search for sunken ships from the armada that attacked Greece during the Persian Wars, as recounted by the ancient Greek historian Herodotus. The winner of many classroom teaching awards, Dr. Hale has also lectured widely beyond the university, bringing archaeological discoveries to the general public."

It sounds really interesting so I have ordered my copy!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Early "anti-tank" vehicles used at the battle of Asculum

In Dr. Gerald Fagan's lecture series, "Great Battles of the Ancient World", he mentioned that at the battle of Asculum where the Romans squared off against the Epirotes under King Pyrrhus, the Romans introduced a new weapon to counteract the use of war elephants. Dr. Fagan describes these vehicles as anti-elephant wagons. They apparently were enclosed vehicles bristling with spears that contained javelineers.

Wikipedia describes them as "these were ox-led chariots, equipped with long spikes to wound the elephants, pots of fire to scare them, and screening troops who would hurl javelins at the elephants to drive them back."

Dr. Fagan pointed out that they may have been effective if they had been deployed properly. Apparently the Roman commander deployed them on the Roman left so Pyrrhus simply moved his war elephants to the other end of the line.

Since I had never heard of these early "anti-tank" vehicles, I found it all very interesting.