The Classical World

A place to relax and enjoy all things ancient Greek and Roman, presided over by an enthusiast of the Classics.

medievalistsnet:

The healing hand: the role of women in Graeco-Roman medicine
FP Retief and L Cilliers
Acta Theologica: Supplementum 7 (2005)
Abstract
In contrast with the struggle of 19th and 20th century women all over the world to be admitted to medical schools, women in ancient Greece and Rome were apparently increasingly at liberty to practise medicine from the 4th century BC onwards. The available evidence offers conclusive proof of this more tolerant attitude. The sources are few in number, but fragmentary information can be gleaned from medical writers, passing remarks in Greek and Latin authors, and funerary inscriptions. These sources emphasise the professions of midwife and female doctor. Although there is some overlap between their duties, we find that in Greece a distinction was drawn between maia and iatrikê as early as the 4th century BC, while in Rome the two professions of obstetrix and medica or iatrina were well established by the 1st century BC…

medievalistsnet:

The healing hand: the role of women in Graeco-Roman medicine

FP Retief and L Cilliers

Acta Theologica: Supplementum 7 (2005)

Abstract

In contrast with the struggle of 19th and 20th century women all over the world to be admitted to medical schools, women in ancient Greece and Rome were apparently increasingly at liberty to practise medicine from the 4th century BC onwards. The available evidence offers conclusive proof of this more tolerant attitude. The sources are few in number, but fragmentary information can be gleaned from medical writers, passing remarks in Greek and Latin authors, and funerary inscriptions. These sources emphasise the professions of midwife and female doctor. Although there is some overlap between their duties, we find that in Greece a distinction was drawn between maia and iatrikê as early as the 4th century BC, while in Rome the two professions of obstetrix and medica or iatrina were well established by the 1st century BC…

aithalia:

→ Poppea’s Villa, Oplontis/Torre Annunziata, Italy

The so-called Villa Poppaea is an ancient Roman seaside villa (villa maritima) situated between Naples and Sorrento, in southern Italy. It is also referred to as the Villa Oplontis, or more precisely as Villa A by modern archaeologists. The villa itself is a large structure situated in the ancient Roman town of Oplontis (the modern Torre Annunziata), about ten meters below the modern ground level. Evidence suggests that it was owned by the Emperor Nero, and believed to have been used by his second and rather notorious wife, Poppaea Sabina, as her main residence when she was not in Rome. [x]

Two Museums Worth a Visit While in Greece

welltemperedklavier:

Thebes Archaeological Museum, Boeotia

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As the picture indicates, the Thebes Archaeological Museum isn’t exactly a breathtaking sight; the present-day city of Thebes is somewhat impoverished, and there’s not a lot of money available for the care of antiquities.  (When I was there, the Mycenaean palace of ancient Thebes, which had recently been dug out in a rescue excavation, was being used by passers-by as a garbage dump.  Mind you, this was before the current Greek economic crisis.)  But if you step inside, you’ll encounter what are, to my mind, among the most astonishing works of art to survive from classical antiquity: finely incised grave stelae of the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, depicting Boeotian warriors in full hoplite panoply.  I don’t have a suitable picture to show, and indeed no picture could really do them justice, as the relief carving is so low that the images are well-nigh invisible unless the light hits them just right.  I was so entranced by them that my group leader nearly had to physically drag me back to the bus.  The people of Boeotia were often stigmatized by their fellow Greeks, especially the Athenians, as uncultured hillbillies (not helped by the fact that Boeotia means “Cattle-Land”); if the literary genius of Pindar, Corinna and Plutarch isn’t enough to convince you of that reputation’s injustice, these reliefs should do the trick.

Piraeus Archaeological Museum, Attica

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Piraeus was Athens’ chief port from the early fifth century BCE until the end of antiquity (and, indeed, remains a thriving port today); this museum bears witness to the truth of Pericles’ boast that Athens’ naval might made it the emporion, or trading-market, of all the inhabited world.  The star attractions here are two fine bronze statues, the Piraeus Apollo and Piraeus Athena, but being the ancient military history buff that I am, I’ll always remember the trireme “beak”, used for ramming enemy vessels amidships and holding them in a death grip, that’s on display. 

his-name-was-writ-in-water:

A Roman collar. Could either have belonged to a dog, or a slave. Fastened to the ring of iron is a metal disc bearing a Latin inscription:

fugi tene me

cvm revoco 

v eris me dm. zonino accipis solidvm

Which translates to “I have escaped - my master, Zonius, will give you a gold coin on my return.”

We can’t be certain if it belonged to a slave or a dog, as I said, but that alone tells us a lot about Roman slavery.

archaicwonder:

Caesar’s Comet (The Julian Star) 
Caesar’s Comet  appeared in the sky at this time over 2000 years ago during the Ludi Victoriae Caesaris, also known as the funeral games for Julius Caesar on July 20th-28th in 44 BC. The seven-day visitation of the comet was taken by Romans as a sign of the deification or apotheosis of the recently deceased Julius Caesar ( July 100 BC - March 15, 44 BC). It was perhaps the most famous comet of antiquity.
The reverse of this silver denarius coin references Caesar’s Comet with eight rays with a tail pointing upward. The front shows the laureate head of Augustus. It was minted during the reign of Augustus (c. 19-18 BC) at the Caesaraugusta* mint.
The Comet became a powerful symbol in the political propaganda, including Roman coinage, that launched the career of Caesar’s great-nephew (and adoptive son) Augustus.Throughout antiquity, rulers from pharaohs to kings have always tried to associate themselves with divinity to assert their right to reign supreme. The appearance of this comet gave Augustus a perfect opportunity to follow suit. He built the Temple of Divus Iulius (Temple of the Deified Julius) in 42 BC for purposes of fostering a “cult of the comet”. At the back of the temple, a huge image of Caesar was erected and, according to Ovid, a flaming comet was affixed to its forehead:
To make that soul a star that burns foreverAbove the Forum and the gates of Rome.
Ovid makes the final assertion of the comet’s role in Julius Caesar’s apotheosis as he describes the deification of Caesar in Metamorphoses (8 AD):
Then Jupiter, the Father, spoke…”Take up Caesar’s spirit from his murdered corpse, and change it into a star, so that the deified Julius may always look down from his high temple on our Capitol and forum.” He had barely finished, when gentle Venus stood in the midst of the Senate, seen by no one, and took up the newly freed spirit of her Caesar from his body, and preventing it from vanishing into the air, carried it towards the glorious stars. As she carried it, she felt it glow and take fire, and loosed it from her breast: it climbed higher than the moon, and drawing behind it a fiery tail, shone as a star.
Caesar’s Comet was one of only five comets known to have had a negative absolute magnitude and was possibly the brightest daylight comet in recorded history. It was not periodic and may have disintegrated.
*Caesaraugusta (modern Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain) was founded by Augustus c. 25 BC to settle army veterans from the Cantabrian wars.

archaicwonder:

Caesar’s Comet (The Julian Star)

Caesar’s Comet  appeared in the sky at this time over 2000 years ago during the Ludi Victoriae Caesaris, also known as the funeral games for Julius Caesar on July 20th-28th in 44 BC. The seven-day visitation of the comet was taken by Romans as a sign of the deification or apotheosis of the recently deceased Julius Caesar ( July 100 BC - March 15, 44 BC). It was perhaps the most famous comet of antiquity.

The reverse of this silver denarius coin references Caesar’s Comet with eight rays with a tail pointing upward. The front shows the laureate head of Augustus. It was minted during the reign of Augustus (c. 19-18 BC) at the Caesaraugusta* mint.

The Comet became a powerful symbol in the political propaganda, including Roman coinage, that launched the career of Caesar’s great-nephew (and adoptive son) Augustus.Throughout antiquity, rulers from pharaohs to kings have always tried to associate themselves with divinity to assert their right to reign supreme. The appearance of this comet gave Augustus a perfect opportunity to follow suit. He built the Temple of Divus Iulius (Temple of the Deified Julius) in 42 BC for purposes of fostering a “cult of the comet”. At the back of the temple, a huge image of Caesar was erected and, according to Ovid, a flaming comet was affixed to its forehead:

To make that soul a star that burns forever
Above the Forum and the gates of Rome.

Ovid makes the final assertion of the comet’s role in Julius Caesar’s apotheosis as he describes the deification of Caesar in Metamorphoses (8 AD):

Then Jupiter, the Father, spoke…”Take up Caesar’s spirit from his murdered corpse, and change it into a star, so that the deified Julius may always look down from his high temple on our Capitol and forum.” He had barely finished, when gentle Venus stood in the midst of the Senate, seen by no one, and took up the newly freed spirit of her Caesar from his body, and preventing it from vanishing into the air, carried it towards the glorious stars. As she carried it, she felt it glow and take fire, and loosed it from her breast: it climbed higher than the moon, and drawing behind it a fiery tail, shone as a star.

Caesar’s Comet was one of only five comets known to have had a negative absolute magnitude and was possibly the brightest daylight comet in recorded history. It was not periodic and may have disintegrated.

*Caesaraugusta (modern Zaragoza, Aragon, Spain) was founded by Augustus c. 25 BC to settle army veterans from the Cantabrian wars.

Archaeologists find baths of “sociable” Romans and early evidence of Christianity in Durham

archaeologicalnews:

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Excavating two large trenches near Bishop Auckland, experts say a silver ring from the site evidences Christianity in Roman Britain.

The walls of the bath, where features such as a bread oven nod to an important social as well as recreational space, would once have been covered with brightly-coloured paint designs, with the original floor, doorways, window openings and an inscribed altar dedicated to the Roman Goddess, Fortune the Home-bringer, also surfacing.

“The form of the ring and the shape of the stone seem to indicate a 3rd century date,” says Dr David Petts, who is coordinating a project which has entered a fifth week in its sixth year of investigations. Read more.