Villa Romana del Casale, Sicily (June, 2013)

January 8, 2014

The remains of this 4th century CE villa near Piazza Armerina are one of the great treasures of Sicily and indeed the world.

The famous 'bikini girls' mosaic

The famous ‘bikini girls’ mosaic

The decision to replace the villa’s old see-through roofs with opaque ones was an excellent one. It is now much easier to see (and photograph) the mosaics.

The Palestrite mosaic before the roof replacement

The Palestrite mosaic before the roof replacement (2005)

Detail of Palestrite mosaic after roof replacement

Detail of Palestrite mosaic after roof replacement

The whole room

The whole room

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Morgantina and Aidone, Sicily (June, 2013)

January 4, 2014

On this very cold weekend in the Midwest I thought I’d post some photos from the hottest place I visited in Sicily last spring (Morgantina) and the delightful little town (Aidone) whose archaeological museum houses some of its remains.

Morgantina is southeast of Enna and a short drive from the Villa Romana del Casale near Piazza Armerina (I’ll post some photos of its fantastic mosaics soon). Although this time the site felt like the inside of an oven, on cooler days it’s well worth a visit. (But bring water just in case.) The city dates back to the late Bronze Age but moved to its current location in the 5th century BCE. Changing hands several times in the many wars of the following centuries, the town lasted until the first century CE. Excavations have been going on for quite a while now so there’s plenty to see.

Morgantina (061913)

Morgantina with Etna barely visible in the distance.

The North Baths at Morgantina

The North Baths at Morgantina

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CfP: Early Christianity and the Ancient Economy (SBL Annual Meeting)

December 13, 2013

Call for Papers for the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in San Diego (November 22-25, 2014). The Early Christianity and Ancient Economy program unit sponsors three projects: The first project involves a study of all the major aspects of the economy in the ancient world, especially the Roman Empire. The second project examines first-century early Christianity both in relationship to the ancient economy and in regard to its own economic aspects. The third project does the same for Christianity in the second to the fifth centuries. Both synchronic and diachronic studies are encouraged, as are contributions focused on specific issues (such as money, texts, authors, themes, and events). Paper proposals for all three projects are welcomed, especially those that make use of papyri, inscriptions, and other realia. At least two sessions are planned for the meeting in San Diego. Those submitting a proposal should designate in the Abstract the project for which the paper should be considered. For more information, contact David Hollander, Program Unit Chair (dbh8@iastate.edu).

 


Vatican Museums (June 2013)

September 28, 2013

I saw more than ever before on this latest trip to the Vatican Museums…

Vatican Museums wall view

Assorted sculptures

Clio, Vatican Museums (060413)

Clio

Vatican Museums interior courtyard (060413)

Interior courtyard

View of Rome from Vatican Museums (060413)

View of Rome from the Vatican Museums

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Oplontis (June, 2013)

September 6, 2013

The Villa of Poppaea at Oplontis is not nearly as well known as the sites of Pompeii and Herculaneum but it should be. Buried in the same 79 CE eruption of Vesuvius, this villa has amazing frescoes, plenty of rooms to explore, and is easily accessible via the Circumvesuviana. Also, it’s never been the slightest bit crowded when I’ve visited.

Oplontis (060313)

The view from street level.

Bird fresco, Oplontis (060313)

Birds are a popular fresco subject…

Fresco, Oplontis (060313)

Not sure what this is… Anyone know?

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Pompeii or Locked Out (June, 2013)

August 29, 2013

I enjoyed my visit to Pompeii. I really did! But in the last twenty years I have never seen so many locked houses and inaccessible areas. However, Pompeii being such a gigantic site, I still saw some great things I’d never seen before…

Locked out, Pompeii (060313)

At least you can see some of the mosaics and frescoes here…

Vietato l'accesso sign, Pompeii (060313)

Keep out!

 

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Herculaneum (June, 2013)

August 21, 2013

Many people prefer Herculaneum to Pompeii. Perhaps this is because it is smaller and more manageable? There are some nice new facilities since last I visited but it seemed like fewer buildings were open than usual… Still, there was plenty to see.

Herculaneum (070213)

Mosaic of Neptune and Amphitrite

Herculaneum (070213)

Seat of the Augustales

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