25 August AD 117– The announcement of Hadrian’s accession in Alexandria (#Hadrian1900)

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Republication from  followinghadrian.com,


One thousand nine hundred years ago on this day, only two weeks after Hadrian’s proclamation in Antioch, the new prefect of Egypt (Praefectus Aegypi), Quintus Rammius Martialis, addressed a circular letter to the strategoi of the Egyptian districts (nomes) announcing the imperial accession of Hadrian and instructing them to declare festivities for ten days.

The document, written in Greek, has been preserved on papyrus (POxy 55.3781). It comes from the Oxyrhynchus Papyri Collection which comprises the papyrus texts excavated by two young Oxford scholars, Bernard Grenfell and Arthur Hunt, in the rubbish dumps outside the Graeco-Egyptian town of Oxyrhynchus in central Egypt in the late 19th and early 20th century. The manuscripts, dating from the 3rd century BC to the 7th century AD, include texts with information about the daily life and the economic affairs of the town as well as a large collection of literary works in Greek and a few in Latin. They were then brought to England and deposited in Oxford. The Egypt Exploration Society owns more than 500,000 papyrus fragments from this site which are now housed in the Sackler Library in Oxford. It is the biggest hoard of classical manuscripts in the world. After more than 100 years since their discovery, the Oxyrhynchus Papyri continue to be reconstructed from fragments and translated at Oxford University.

 Location of Oxyrhynchos in Egypt.
By NordNordWest (Oxyrhynchos map.gif by Yomangani) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons



Palintonon (ballista) heavy catapult

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Detailed diagrams of a gigantic palintonon (παλίντονον), around 334 BC (siege of Halicarnassos), probably by E.W. Marsden. The palintonon was a Hellenic heavy catapult, mostly stone-throwing, which was constructed in various scales (from just heavy to enormous). It was invented and intensively used by the Greeks in the early or mid-4th century BCE but it was soon adopted by the Carthaginians, the Romans and other ancient states. It became a ‘beloved’ weapon for the Republican and Imperial Romans: they called it ‘ballista’, but the correct initial version was ‘ballistra’ (βαλλίστρα), also a Greek term from the verb ‘βάλλω’ that is “to shoot”.


Exploring Hadrian’s Athens

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Republication from Following hadrian


Hadrian was a dedicated philhellene who admired Greek culture and did his best to be accepted and admired by the Greeks. He visited Greece three times when he was emperor (AD 124/5, 128/9 and 131/2) and he was especially fond of Athens. Pausanias writes that “the Emperor Hadrian generosity to his subjects was bestowed most of all on Athens” whilst Cassius Dio tells about Hadrian’s generosity in a passage referring to his stay: “He granted the Athenians large sums of money, an annual dole of grain, and the whole of Cephallenia”. The philhellenic emperor did all he could to raise Athens to a special position in the Roman Empire and hoped to restore the city to the greatness of its distant past.


Long-lost sanctuary of Artemis Amarynthia discovered in Euboea

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Republication from The history blog

New findings confirm temple of Artemis site

The long-lost sanctuary of Artemis Amarynthia was discovered in 2017 after more than a century of searching and ten consecutive years of excavations by the Swiss School of Archaeology in Greece. This season’s findings confirm that the archaeological remains discovered last year are indeed part of the important ancient temple complex located about six miles from the prosperous town of Eretria on the island of Euboea in central Greece.

The previously excavated buildings are two galleries that define the temple from the east and north, as well as a sacred fountain. […]




vase painti
A  vase  painting  depicting  a  hoplite,  5th  century  BC.  He  is  armed  with  a  bronze  cuirass,  a  hoplite  sword  and  a  hoplite  shield  of  the  Argive  type.  In  the  interior  of  the  hoplite  shield, you  can  see  the  “antilave” («αντιλαβή»,  handle/handgrip),  the  “porpax” («πόρπαξ»,  fastener  for  the  elbow)  and  the  “telamons” («τελαμώνες»,  shoulder  belts)/ (Paris,  Louvre  Museum)

By  Periklis    Deligiannis

The  Geometric  Period  (11th-8th  centuries  BC)  preceded  the  invention  of  the  hoplite  warfare  and  the  hoplite  phalanx (about  700  BC).  The  shields  of  the  Geometric  period  belonged  to  two  main  types:  the  “Dipylon” type  shield  and  the  “Herzsprung”  type.  The  Dipylon  shield  is  named  after  the  Athenian  Dipylon  gate,  where  a  number  of  pottery  with  depictions  of  that  type  of  shield,  was  discovered.  It  was  a  large  and  long  shield,  covering  the  warrior  from  chin  to  knees.  It  was  made  of  wicker  and  leather,  without  excluding  further  strengthening  of  wooden  parts.  Despite  its  size,  the  Dipylon  shield  was  light  due  to  its  materials.  It  had  a  curved  form  in  order  to  embrace  the  warrior’s  body.  In  the  middle  of  its  surface,  the  Dipylon  shield  had  two  semicircular  notches  for  the  easier  handling  of  the  offensive  weapons (spear  or  sword).  Notches  also  facilitated  the  hanging (suspension)  of  the  Dipylon  shield  on  the  warrior’s  back,  in  order  not  to  restrict  his  elbows  when  he  walked.  The  shield  had  at  least  one  central  handle  for  its  holding  by  the  warrior  in  battle,  and  one  or  more  shoulder  belts,  in  order  to  hang  it  on  his  back  when  not  used.  These  belts  were  called  “telamones” (τελαμώνες).  The  shape  of  the  Dipylon  shield  denotes  its  origins  from  the  famous  Minoan  and  Mycenaean  eight-shaped  shield.  During  the  Greek  Archaic  Era (7th cent – 479  BC),  the  Dipylon  shield  was  made  mostly  of  bronze  and  had  a  smaller  size:  that  is  the  “Boeotian”  type  of  shield,  named  after  Boeotia,  where  it  was  popular.

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Russian scientists use mass spectrometry to ‘look inside’ an ancient Greek amphora

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Republished from MIPT


Russian scientists have identified the components of the oldest bitumen sample to be found in an ancient vase and made an accurate estimate of its age. In their article in the Journal of Mass Spectrometry, the researchers from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology (Skoltech), the Institute for the History of Material Culture, the Talrose Institute for Energy Problems of Chemical Physics, and the Emanuel Institute of Biochemical Physics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IBCP RAS) propose a new and more effective approach to organic compound analysis and introduce specially designed software.

Bitumen is a form of petroleum found in natural deposits. Its use dates back to the Stone Age. The word ‘mummy’, for example, derives from the Persian ‘mūm’, or ‘bitumen’, because this substance was used in embalming. The Greeks used bitumen in construction, medicine, and warfare—it is possible that the legendary ‘Greek fire’ was based on bitumen. The oldest amphora filled with bitumen (5ᵗʰ century BCE) was discovered by Russian archaeologists on the Taman Peninsula, a highly volcanically active region (numerous petroleum seeps are located there) and a possible source of the bitumen imported by the Greeks.


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