On far-away shores, but a mini-conference of great interest at Macquarie University: Societies in Transition: Ancient and Modern Perspectives. Contributors will consider, in particular, the importance of networks in enabling resilience in ancient societies, with a keynote address – ‘Promised lands: Greek and Hebrew colonization’ – by Prof. Irad Malkin.
Date: Wed. 2nd September 2015 (9.00-13.00)
It took a bit of digging (appropriately enough), but we found this BBC page that reviews work by Prof. David Soren (University of Arizona). Assessing remarkable remains from the large children’s cemetery found at Lugnano, Soren considers the impact a deadly epidemic might have had on the Eternal city as the empire declined.
We should note that the theories presented here are far from universally accepted; for example, see W.V. Harris’ review of the book that resulted from this research project and his argument that the evidence for an epidemic of malaria is entirely indirect and its impact on Rome overstated.
Posted in The Magpie's Nest
Tagged Ancient History, Ancient World, Antiquities, City, Cultural Heritage, Culture, Fall of Rome, History, Post-crisis, Resilient Cities, Rome, Sack of Rome
Straying slightly from our main theme, but perhaps it is appropriate to include a review of ‘ground-breaking’ archaeology stories that made the news in 2014. The story of cholera-plagued vampires is one highlight.
More on the difficulty of balancing ancient and modern – in Rome and beyond. A piece in The Independent prompted by recent complaints from Tommaso Pincio in/on the Eternal City.
It also brought this story from 2010 to mind – ‘commercialising the Colosseum‘.
The ‘truly ancient’ Phoenician city of Byblos (noted briefly in an earlier post). An excellent piece on piece on life in this beautiful Lebanese site – the challenges of living in an ‘age-old and modern’ city, 7,000 years old!
Although this site is an ‘academic’ exercise, we must always remember the human stories behind the examples of endurance we note. Think of others and the hard lives so many lead – even still – as depicted in this piece from The Guardian’s ‘Resilient Cities‘ page (devoted to discussion around how cities can futureproof themselves against catastrophic events of all kinds).
Athens and Delphi are not quite ‘lost’ cities, but Ben Lerwill (in a piece from the National Geographic) offers some reflections on modern life – and the achievements of the ancients – as he weaves his way around these legendary Greek sites.
Posted in The Magpie's Nest
Tagged ancient Athens, Ancient Greece, Ancient History, Ancient World, Antiquities, Athens, Cultural Heritage, Culture, Delphi, History, History of Athens, History of Greece, Resilient Cities, Theatre
Well worth checking out UNESCO’s Culture Under Attack photo exhibition (May 12-June 15), which “shows the effects of war and armed conflict on cultural heritage”, but also highlights “the reconstruction efforts and the resilience of the people involved in saving damaged heritage.”
Among the provocative images selected was Tammam Azzam’s ‘Freedom Graffiti’, which superimposed Klimt’s ‘The Kiss’ onto the walls of a war-torn building, symbolising the spirit and fortitude of the Syrian people. For a little more on Azzam’s ‘golden ghost’ see the piece by Jonathan Jones in The Guardian last year.