Friday, 26 February 2016
Ancient History Magazine 3, 26 February 2016
The museum piece: René van Beek, "Ancient objects and ancient sources - glass"
Most glass known from Antiquity is Roman ‘household’ ware and has come to the museums without archaeological context. That makes it difficult to offer an interpretation. Our knowledge of ancient glass is to a large extent based on ancient texts, but their interpretation can rarely be explained in museum contexts.
Special: Chris Bond, "Growing an ancient sedge - The papyrus"
For centuries, papyrus was among the most important ancient writing materials. It was made from the stem of an unusual but easy to grow plant, the Cyperus papyrus, also known as bulrush, paper sedge, paper reed, and Nile grass.
Special: Dirk-Jan de Vink, "Cash in the first century AD - Money talks"
The Roman Empire owed a great deal of its success to coins. Vast quantities of them circulated in a single economic space, which stretched from the Iberian Peninsula to the Black Sea. This is the story of extreme wealth and bitter poverty.
Theme: Manolis Peponas, "Hellenism's forgotten civilization - Pergamon"
Although tourists know how to find Pergamon, few of them know its history and almost nobody knows about the Attalid dynasty. Only those interested in Hellenistic history seem to care about it. However, Pergamon was one of the main cultural centers of Greek civilization.
Theme: Cristian Violatti, "The city Pergamon - The Attalid jewel"
How can a small hilltop fortress become the heart of a kingdom and later a Roman capital? What does it take for an ancient city to challenge the cultural hegemony of Alexandria, one of the most emblematic centres of culture and learning of our past? What kind of city decides to act as the guardian of Classical culture while Athens was in decline? The city of Pergamon can answer these questions.
Theme: Marc G. DeSantis, "The libraries of Alexandria and Pergamon - A bookish rivalry"
Just like medieval cities, which were competing to have the tallest bell tower, ancient cities could be rivals. Alexandria and Pergamon both tried to be the world’s foremost center of learning and built large libraries.
Theme: Tanya Sieiro van der Beek, "The great altar of Pergamon - Pergamene puzzle"
The great altar of Pergamon, dated to 200-160 BC, is arguably one of the most fascinating architectural structures of the ancient world. In spite of its fame, the monument presents us with several questions. Was it actually an altar?
Theme: Pieter W. van der Horst, "Five ways to read four ancient words - "The throne of Satan""
In the Biblical Book of Revelation, the Pergamenes are said to live near the throne of Satan. There has been quite some speculation about the meaning of this expr ession.
Theme: Christian Koepfer, "A procurator's offering - Imperial gladiators"
Although it contains just eighteen Latin words, an inscription from the Asclepium offers information about an imperial visit to Pergamon, about the bureaucracy and organization of games, and the understanding of the Latin language in a Greek-speaking part of the Roman Empires.
Special: Daan Nijssen, "How the Persians reinvented their past - Kayanian history"
The Achaemenids, who unified Iran, are one of the most important dynasties of Antiquity. One would therefore expect them to have left their traces in Iran’s historiographical traditions. However, they are virtually absent from the historiographical works of Late Antiquity. Instead, a legendary dynasty, the Kayanians, has taken their place as the primordial Persian dynasty. Why were the Achaemenids forgotten?
Special: Holger Michiels, "A blind spot in the history of technology - Roman segmental arch bridges"
Although there are countless books on Roman architecture, its variety is still underappreciated. Until recently, the mere existence of Roman segmental arch bridges was virtually unknown. However, there is clear evidence that the Romans knew how to construct this type of bridge.
Special: Duncan B. Campbell, "A desert city long ago abandoned - Enigmatic Hatra"
The ruined city of Hatra has intrigued generations of scholars since its rediscovery 180 years ago. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, archaeologists from various nations slowly, painstakingly, began to tease out the secrets of this remarkable city’s mysterious past.
Philosophy: Kees Alders, "The philosophical system of the Hedonists - Lust for life"
The conquests of Alexander the Great profoundly changed the Greek world. The old dichotomy between the independent Greek city-states and the eastern world empires ceased to be relevant. Persian, Babylonian, and Egyptian officials proved that the distinction between Greeks and barbarians was obsolete as well. The common world view changed, and hence philosophy, as we see in our series on Hellenistic philosophy. In this issue: Radical Hedonism.
How do we know: Richard Kroes, "How do we know - The age of organic material"
Radiocarbon dating is the most important advance in the study of the ancient world in the twentieth century: it taught us that the Near East and Greece were not the only centers of cultural innovation. But how do scientists apply this famous method?
Ancient History Magazine