Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Herod's Villa to Become Museum

Ekathimrini" Herod's villa that Thodoros Spyropopoulos began excavating in the early 1990s covers 20,000 square meters. It contains remarkable collections that reveal the history of Herod himself, who dreamed of a happy home filled with original works of ancient Greek art and Roman copies of ancient works. But he succumbed to depression when his wife Rigilla died, children and pupils died, and turned the luxurious villa into a museum and site for the mystical worship of his dead.

"Throughout the villa he put up funeral stelae, scenes of funeral feasts from classical cemeteries and heroes' monuments in Attica, and above the famous stelae of the Marathon warriors, a supreme monument to the heroized dead," said Giorgos Spyropoulos, curator and co-excavator with his father of Eva, Kynouria, who compared Herod's villa with the Vatican Museum.

The sculptures that decorated Herod's villa (stelae and statues of athletes) expressed "his deep concern with Greek educational values and Greek virtue, and referred to the sports practiced by him and by his father, who had led a chorus of ephebes in Sparta that revived the Lycurgan institutions and the team games of children and ephebes," said the curator.

The construction of the villa resembles that of Hadrian's villa at Tivoli. As the curator explained: "Hadrian was a friend and protector of Herod and he visited Mantineia, Tega and possibly Eva in 131-132 AD. The capitals of the peristyle in the garden, which are from Hadrian's era, like those in the Olympeion in Athens, indicate that the villa was completed in Hadrian's time, around 117-138 AD.

The hundreds of finds are evidence of Herod's desire to collect original works. Among the most important finds are the Orchoumenous Lakaines, statues of dancing Laconian women made by Callimachus (420 BC), which were in a stoa opposite the Caryatid Amazons."

Frontiers of the Roman Empire considered for multinational heritage site

"THE FRONTIERS of the Roman empire could be resurrected under plans to join Hadrian?s Wall with the chain of forts and walls across Europe in one World Heritage Site.

Such a move could create a European rival to the Great Wall of China and a major boost to tourism in Cumbria.

An Anglo-German bid will be considered by the World Heritage Committee in July to create a new heritage site called Frontiers of the Roman Empire.

Hadrian?s Wall already has world heritage status but has no links to the thousands of miles of ancient Roman boundary sites in countries like Austria, Slovakia and the Limes defences in Germany including 300 miles of forts and ditches."

Friday, March 04, 2005

Roman oven discovered in Manchester

Manchester Online: "A ROMAN oven and pieces of pottery have been uncovered beneath the site of a new shopping arcade. In addition to the Roman oven and pottery, remains of Westerwold German stoneware have been uncovered.

Wigan was the site of a Roman fort known as Coccium, which was in existence in the second century AD.

Three Roman roads have been traced in the Wigan area and researched by the Wigan Archaeological Society.

Other Roman finds in the area include hordes of coins, cremation urns and a headless statue of the Persian god Cautopates."