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Bill Thayer

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A Selection of Articles
from Various Journals
in the Fields of Classics, History, and Archaeology

This site collects a few articles that either captured my fancy, or, more often, were referred to elsewhere onsite — so that it finally seemed a bit unfair not to provide the text of them onsite as well. I'll be adding to the collection from time to time. Most of the papers deal with ancient Rome, but not all.

At the time I input these articles, some of them were not online anywhere; others were available in partial, garbled, or otherwise inferior versions, or only as raw scans; many were online, yet not available to the general public, but with access restricted in various ways.

All journal articles onsite are in the public domain, of course.

In the case of articles originally published in the United States, the copyright of those of 1922 and earlier has lapsed; of those from 1923 to 1963 inclusive, they are in the public domain if the publisher failed to renew, which I have verified in each instance. (Details here on the copyright law involved.)

The copyright status of articles originally published outside the United States follows different rules; generally, they enter the public domain a certain number of years (often 70) after the death of their authors. I've checked the dates in each case, and where that information governs the copyright status of the article, you will find it in the public domain notice in the page's header bar.

You may be coming here from my Readings in Egyptian History page; articles more particularly relevant to that field are marked on this page with an  (that's a searchable character, by the way, that you can copy and paste in your browser window's "find on page" box).

Similarly, articles relevant to Catholic History are marked , also a searchable character.

These characters may show up as a plain box in some browsers, even if you have a supporting font: you can still select them, copy them, and paste in your find box, where they may magically appear, or not: but at any rate you will be able to search for them on the page.

 American Catholic Quarterly Review

Anne Stuart Bailey: A Daughter of the Doges

A slight piece on the 17c Venetian polymath Elena Cornaro, rather more hagiography than facts; with corrections and additions of my own.


Darley Dale: Agnellus of Ravenna

Focusing somewhat more on the author of the Liber Pontificalis Ecclesiae Ravennatis than on the text itself, the paper is useful because it presented an abridged paraphrase of the work when no actual English translation of it existed. Even today, the only English translation was published in 2004 and is therefore unlikely to be put online for many years.


American Historical Review

R. V. D. Magoffin: review of R. A. L. Fell's Etruria and Rome

Fell has written a good summary of his topic.

Jan. 1925

American Journal of Archaeology

Frank G. Moore: The Gilt-Bronze Tiles of the Pantheon

A lesson in the propagation of error: the tiles were carried off by the Arabs not to Constantinople, but to Alexandria.


Anna Spalding Jenkins: The "Trajan-Reliefs" in the Roman Forum

A description of the Anaglypha Traiani and a survey of various historical and topographical theories about them.


W. N. Bates: Etruscan Horseshoes from Corneto

Four metal objects found in an Etruscan tomb: unique examples of Etruscan horseshoes (probably).


William Warner Bishop: Roman Church Mosaics of the First Nine Centuries

 A straightforward survey of the mosaics in about twenty churches in the city of Rome, with the beginnings of a typology. These mosaics even today are difficult to photograph: the nine well-taken photos, though black & white, are thus still of some value, at least on the Web.


George N. Olcott: Unpublished Latin Inscriptions

Thirteen of them, mostly from the northern edges of Rome; but one from Praeneste; includes the titulus on the funerary amphora of some very poor people.


J. B. Carter: Roma Quadrata and the Septimontium

Demythologizing the earliest days of ancient Rome: there was no "Roma Quadrata", and the Septimontium was not an early form of the city, but a rural religious federation.


Christian Hülsen: The Burning of Rome under Nero

Probably an accident: it was an awfully bright moonlight night to be attempting something secretive.


J. B. Carter: Trajan's Balustrades

The majority opinion, that the Anaglypha Traiani represented a panorama including both the Basilica Julia and the Basilica Aemilia, is wrong: the latter is not figured on them.


H. H. Armstrong: Privernum (Part I)

A careful on-the‑site look at the pre-Roman town, with photos and a map.


H. H. Armstrong: Privernum (Part II)

The Roman town, with photos and a plan of the remaining vestiges.


H. H. Armstrong: Privernum (Part III)

And finally, Roman ruins around Privernum: villas, tombs, reservoirs, with photos and a map.


Tenney Frank: Notes on the Servian Wall

A gateway in the Forum Boarium — The arches in the Wall — Repairs during the civil wars — On the source of building materials.


C. G. Harcum: Roman Cooking Utensils in the Royal Ontario Museum of Archaeology

Publicity for a young museum in the New World — but with good pictures and some curious details about pots, ladles, frying pans.


John R. Crawford: A Child Portrait of Drusus Junior on the Ara Pacis

You'd think the VIP's portrayed on the Ara Pacis would be easy to identify, and that everybody would agree on them. Not on your life: the article presents one of the many possibilities.


E. B. Van Deman: The Neronian Sacra Via

A detailed survey of the Sacra Via and the nearby Nova Via and fronting structures covers levels, materials, construction history. Photographs, plan, cross-sections.


P. B. Whitehead: The Church of SS. Cosma e Damiano in Rome

A most misleading title; the article is about ancient Roman topography, and the identification of the ancient building out of the débris of which that church was carved. The author doesn't know what it is, but he says none of the common names for it are right, and it wasn't a temple; he believes it to have been part of the enclosure of the Temple of the Penates.


G. M. A. Richter: Silk in Greece

It is usually stated that Aristotle was the first Greek to mention silk. The author's investigations suggest otherwise, and solve a long-standing mystery as well.


Emerson H. Swift: Byzantine Gold Mosaic

A closer look at the dome of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople and the technique by which it was made to appear to be completely of gold.


W. B. Dinsmoor: Repair of the Athena Parthenos

Archaeological investigations show that the Parthenon may have suffered a fire in the late 3c B.C. and been repaired at some point after that; the author also takes a look at what may be gleaned from various sources as to the appearance of the statue of Athena.


Paola Zancani and Umberto Zanotti-Bianco: The Discovery of the Heraion of Lucania

Ancient writers had spoken of a great temple of Hera somewhere in Lucania, which many modern scholars had long thought to be mythical. The authors of the paper found it, including hundreds of ex‑votos from its favissa.


Paola Zancani Montuoro and Umberto Zanotti-Bianco: Excavations at the Heraeum of Lucania

Continuing their work at the site they discovered, the excavators hit the jackpot: more good sculpture, and the ex‑votos now run to several thousand.


American Journal of Archaeology and of the History of the Fine Arts

William Mercer: Monte­falco in Umbria

A summary of the works of art in town, and their condition; with special attention to Monte­falco's native painter Francesco Melanzio.


American Journal of Philology

R. C. Seaton: The Symplegades and the Planctae

The Symplegades, "Clashing Rocks" between which the Argonauts made their way. No, the Planctae are different islets altogether.


Edwin Post: Pollice Verso

Everyone knows that a fallen gladiator was doomed by a "thumbs-down" gesture from the spectators; alas, about the only certain thing that can be said is that we have no idea what that gesture was. An inconclusive and confusing attempt to sort out something for which we have very little evidence in any direction.


Kirby F. Smith: On a Legend of the Alban Lake Told by Dionysius of Halicarnassus

An attempt at tracing the original form and purpose of the story.


B. L. Gildersleeve: Review of The Ancient Boeotians by Rhys Roberts

The reviewer finds that the author did well to correct the Athenian propaganda: Boeotians weren't the oafs they are usually made out to be.


S. B. Platner: The Tabula Valeria

A place in the Roman Forum where you didn't want to be taken: but why exactly, and where was it?


Samuel Ball Platner: The Pomerium and Roma Quadrata

The article uses the ancient references to Roma quadrata to clarify the location of the pomerium.


Tenney Frank: Classical Scholarship in Medieval Iceland

Grammars, epitomizing, translations and adaptations of Roman history to the native form of Icelandic saga.


A. L. Frothingham: GraboviusGradivus, Plan and Pomerium of Iguvium

A mysterious epithet applied to Umbrian divinities in the Iguvine Tables may shed light on the pomerium question, and vice-versa.


J. C. Rolfe: The So‑Called Callium Provincia

A shadowy Roman administrative department: the author believes it to have been headed by proconsuls.


Eugene S. McCartney: Sex Determination and Control in Antiquity

A partial survey of magical and divinatory practices surrounding the gender of unborn offspring, whether human, animal, or plant.


W. F. Albright: The Origin of the Name Cilicia

Brief article offers a chance to brush up on your Babylonian, Assyrian, Cappadocian, and Aramaic.


Tenney Frank: The Letters on the Blocks of the Servian Wall

A large number of signs carved on blocks of the Servian Wall may not be masons' marks after all, but Etruscan as first thought.


J. C. Rolfe: Marks of Quantity in the Monumentum Antiochenum

Jots and tittles revisited (for the first instalment, see below): comparing apices on the Monumentum Antiochenum with those on the Monumentum Ancyranum.


Tenney Frank: The Sacred Treasure and the Rate of Manumission

Detective work reveals an unrecorded despoiling of the aerarium sanctius, and provides an insight on how much was paid for the manumission of a slave.

Oct. 1932

J. C. Rolfe: On Suetonius, Nero, 33.1

An opportunity to get a clearer understanding of Roman burial practices, and in particular of the nature of a bustum.

Oct. 1933

D. M. Robathan: The Basilica Argentaria

A place not for banking, but for selling of metalware.

Jan. 1934

N. W. DeWitt: Tenney Frank

Detailed obituary of the journal's editor, with a bibliography of his works.

Jul. 1939

C. U. Clark: Rolfe's Ammianus Marcellinus

A sympathetic review of Vols. II and III.

Oct. 1940

Harry L. Levy: Catullus, 5, 7‑11 and the Abacus

A thousand kisses, then a hundred, then a thousand . . . then we'll shake 'em all up — not disorderly conduct, but a lesson in Roman arithmetic.


Meriwether Stuart: Pliny, Historia Naturalis, XXXI, 41

According to the manuscripts of Pliny, the Aqua Marcia was once called the Aqua Aufeia. The author emends this to Aqua Aemilia Fulvia.


J. H. Oliver: Gordon's "Quintus Veranius consul A.D. 49"

The funerary inscription of Q. Veranius: an alternate reading to that by Gordon.


American Journal of Theology

4:152 and
1900, 1901

American School of Classical Studies in Rome, Supplementary Papers

Thomas Ashby, Jr. and George J. Pfeiffer: La Civita near Artena in the Province of Rome

A photoillustrated site reconnaissance of Roman remains in and near a town in the Lazio.


George J. Pfeiffer and Thomas Ashby, Jr.: Carsioli

A detailed site reconnaissance, with photos and maps, of the ruins of a town in the Abruzzo that had barely been visited since the end of Roman times.


Archaeologia Aeliana

Thomas Hodgkin: The Caervoran Inscription

A 3c inscription found at Caervoran (Magna) along Hadrian's Wall; appearing at first sight to sing the praise of a Syrian divinity.


The Art Bulletin

P. W. Lehmann: Theodosius or Justinian? A Renaissance Drawing of a Byzantine Rider

A curious 15c drawing, often taken to represent an equestrian statue of Justinian, in fact depicts a lost medallion of Theodosius I.


 The Ave Maria

W. H. Kent: St. Nerses the Armenian and Our Lady

Marian devotion in Armenia, in particular some beautiful hymns by St. Nerses the Graceful (12c).

35/1:1‑5 and 35/2:35‑38
Jul. 1892

Burlington Magazine for Connoisseurs

J. Tavernor Perry: The Marble and Ceramic Decorations of the Roman Campanili

A survey of the belfries so characteristic of the older churches in the city of Rome.

Jul. 1907

Milton Garver: Symbolic Animals of Perugia and Spoleto

The Romanesque carving of the façades of two churches: S. Costanzo in Perugia not so symbolic; the bulk of the article is about S. Pietro in Spoleto. Photos.

Apr. 1918

Thomas Ashby: The Vasari Society

Brief note on certain drawings of the Mausoleum of Augustus.

Feb. 1923

Celtic Review

Dominick Daly: The Legend of St. Brendan

A summary of the medieval tale of the 6c Irish navigator saint who is reported to have crossed the Atlantic; concluding tentatively that there might be a kernel of truth to it, and in particular that underlying it may be the actual experience of someone who sailed from Europe to the West Indies.


Classical Journal

J. C. Rolfe: On "Falces Praeacutae", Caes. B. G. III.14.5

praeacutus sometimes means "very sharp" — something that Lewis & Short doesn't tell you.

Dec. 1910

H. V. Canter: The Chronology of Sallust's Jugurtha

In his account of the war with Jugurtha, Sallust telescopes a year. The answer to where the year went has evaded several scholars; this is another attempt at solving the matter.

Apr. 1911

George H. Chase: Archaeology in 1913 (I)

Macedonia; Cyrene; Sardis: temple, necropolis, an important Sidamara sarcophagus; Ephesus; Miletus; Didyma; Phocaea; temple of Apollo of Clarus; Aphrodisias; Chios; Crete: Knossos, Kames Cave, Tylissos.

Dec. 1914

George H. Chase: Archaeology in 1913 (II)

Crete: Gortyn; Delos; Athens: the Street of Tombs; Sunium; shrine of Amphiaraus near Oropus; Delphi; prehistoric remains near Chaeronea; Tiryns; Orchomenos; Corfu; Rome: the Palatine; Pompeii; Ostia; Veii.

Jan. 1915

Donald McFayden: The Date of the Arch of Titus

It is commonly accepted that the Arch was built by Domitian immediately after the death of Titus: the author argues that this is impossible, and that the Arch was built after Domitian died.

Dec. 1915

George H. Chase: Archaeology in 1914

Sardis, especially the Lydian tombs; Pergamum; Phocaea; Thasos; Delos; Crete: Minoan cemetery at Pachys Ammos; Corinth; Athens: the Erechtheum, possible site of the Odeum, the Street of Tombs; Halae; Delphi; Tiryns; Elis; Corfu; Libarna; Rome: the Palatine, the mithraeum under S. Clemente; Tivoli: Hadrian's Villa; Ostia: Piazzale delle Corporazioni; Pompeii: Via dell' Abbondanza.

Jan. 1916

Fairfax Harrison: The Crooked Plow

Plowing in Antiquity: debunking the idea that we do it better today; translated selections from Book II of Columella's de Re Rustica.

Mar. 1916

George H. Chase: Archaeology in 1915

The war mobilization of scholars; Gallipoli; North Africa; Cyrene; Aegean islands; Corinth; Athens: the Ceramicus; Nicopolis; the state of the foreign schools in Athens; Rome; Pompeii; Ostia: thermopolium, Edificio delle Pistrine; Syracuse; Arezzo; Como; Pozzuoli.

Dec. 1916

John A. Scott: Homeric Heroes and Fish

It has been commented on since Plato: the Homeric heroes don't eat fish. Scott's solution is that Homer was from Smyrna, and fish around Smyrna are not fit to eat. (See also below.)

Feb. 1917

George H. Chase: Archaeology in 1916

Because of the war, very little news from Greece. Salamis; Tiryns: an important Mycenaean treasure; Gonnoi in Thessaly; Nicopolis; around Corinth: prehistoric sites, especially Koráko; Delos; Rome: activity of the foreign schools much curtailed because of the war; Pompeii: Via dell' Abbondanza, Oscan inscriptions; Ostia; Volubilis; Bulla Regia.

Dec. 1917

George H. Chase: Archaeology in 1917

Even less news from Greece. Athens: the American School works on Koráko, the Erechtheum and the Propylaea. New details about older discoveries at Salonika; Rome: the hypogeum near Porta Maggiore, a major discovery; Via Appia: excavations under S. Sebastiano; Pompeii; Ostia: the area north of the Via Decumana, the Casa di Diana; Veii; Fabriano: find of an archaic war chariot; Cyrene.

Jan. 1919

George H. Chase: Archaeology in 1918

Athens: the Propylaea unscaffolded, excavations outside the Dipylon gate; Tiryns; Salonica; Skyros; Delos; Rome: discovery of a statue interpreted by some as a Victory, Flavian foundations near the Clivus Sacer, horrea near the Marmorata, the hypogeum near the Porta Maggiore; some scant information on the rest of Italy and the Italian excavations in Libya.

Feb. 1920

Mary Grant: The Location of a Shrine of Vacuna

The author tentatively places the shrine of this obscure Sabine goddess in Piediluco, on philological grounds. Includes a summary map.

Jan. 1923
Jan. 1923

Eva Matthews Sanford: De Loquela Digitorum

A quick look at how the Romans expressed numbers by means of finger signs: Alcuin's riddle, St. Jerome, Bede, Ermoldus Nigellus, Isidore, and Giraldus Cambrensis.

May 1928

D. B. Kaufman: Horseshoes in Antiquity

A brief survey of the literary evidence for Greek and Roman horseshoes, with some basic remarks.

May 1931

H. V. Canter: Conflagrations in Ancient Rome

A simple, readable account of fires in the City: how many, when, where, what, why; how they were fought, how Rome was rebuilt after them.

Jan. 1932

H. V. Canter: The Roman Horseshoe

The Greeks and Romans did sometimes use nailed horseshoes, and some few are extant. (A rebuttal to a previous article in the journal.)

Jan. 1932

Hattie L. Gordon: The Eternal Triangle, First Century B.C.

Cato lent his wife to friend Hortensius; when the latter died, he took her back.

May 1933

Oliver L. Spaulding, Jr.: The Ancient Military Writers

A straightforward basic survey of Greek and Roman writers on military matters, by a U. S. Army expert: an excellent starting-point for the investigation of ancient military theory.

Jun. 1933

William E. Gwatkin, Jr.: Roman Trier

A visit to the town; a good survey of the principal monuments of the Roman Augusta Treverorum. Photos.

Oct. 1933

Recent Light on the Roman Horseshoe

Archaeological finds of Roman horseshoes in undoubted Roman strata (continuing the author's rebuttal to a previous article in the journal).

Jun. 1934

John N. Hough: Caesar's Camp on the Aisne

Stoffel's excavations at Mauchamp were taken by Rutherford to have revealed Caesar's camp of B. G. II.8.3‑5, and Holmes disagreed, favoring Chaudardes; this paper supports the former. Maps.

Mar. 1941

Dorothy Kent Hill: "The Temple above Pompey's Theater"

It is usually stated that Pompey put a temple in his theatre as a mere device to make the latter acceptable: the author disagrees.

Mar. 1944

Mary Francis Gyles: "Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned"

Not really topnotch, and in spots a mere paraphrase of a few dictionaries; still, a fun article that traces just how the idea spread that Nero played a fiddle — and just what that fiddle was.

Jan. 1947
Mar. 1948

Francis D. Lazenby: "Greek and Roman Household Pets"

A survey of many animals, including lampreys and lap-dogs, lions and lizards, leopards and lagalopexes.

44:245‑252, 299‑307
Jan.‑Feb. 1949

J. Hilton Turner: Roman Elementary Mathematics

How the Romans performed basic arithmetic: arithmetic tables; written calculation; finger signs and computation; the abacus and its use, with detailed examples; literary evidence in Catullus, Martial and Symphosius. Sources and references.

47:63‑74 and 106‑108
Dec. 1951

E. Echols: Military Dust

Summary survey of the effects and use of dust in ancient military tactics.

Apr. 1952

B. L. Ullman: Cleopatra's Pearls

After a dinner fit for a queen, maybe a pearl or two is exactly what the doctor ordered.

Feb. 1957

Classical Philology

S. B. Platner: The Septimontium and the Seven Hills

The history of the "Seven Hills", a defense of Wissowa's theory: and in particular, why there are eight of them, including the Subura, which is a valley (or at least it is now).

Jan. 1906

W. S. Ferguson: The Premature Deification of Eumenes II

Why would a dedication inscription to King Eumenes call him a god when he was alive — yet Pergamene custom only deified dead rulers?

Jul. 1906

F. B. Tarbell: The Form of the Chlamys

You'd think we'd know the shape of one of the commonest of Greek garments, depicted on countless ancient monuments and vases; but things are never quite so simple. Its shape can be deduced, however, from such things as the shapes of the inhabited world according to Strabo, or of the city of Alexandria.

Jul. 1906

S. B. Platner: Mons and Collis

Of the hills of Rome, traditionally the Aventine, the Caelian, the Capitoline, the Esquiline and the Palatine were montes (mountains); others, and in particular the Quirinal and the Viminal, were colles (hills). There are, however, always exceptions. . . .

Oct. 1907

S. B. Platner: The Ara Martis

How many shrines of Mars were in the campus Martius (other than that of Callaicus)? Though Hülsen thinks there were two, Platner believes there was only one, just east of the Pantheon.

Jan. 1908

C. J. O'Connor: The Tabula Valeria and the Tabula Sestia

These were neither paintings nor bankers' offices: rather, legal registries.

Jul. 1908

Edward A. Bechtel: Finger-counting among the Romans in the Fourth Century

. . . especially in the sermons of St. Augustine, which seem an unlikely source for the topic.

Jan. 1909

Tenney Frank: Some Classical Quotations from the Middle Ages

A previous compiler didn't look at those found in Scandinavian writers; the author repairs that.

Jan. 1909

E. T. Merrill: The City of Servius and the Pomerium

The pomerium was the entire city of Rome within the ritual furrow, which was outside the wall.

Oct. 1909

Tenney Frank: The Import of the Fetial Institution

In the early days at least, the fetial law really was the idealistic institution it appears to be.

Jul. 1912

Max Radix: The Wife of Caius Gracchus and Her Dowry

Someone took Licinia's dowry. Was it really the Roman Senate? How much of it did she get back, and how?

Jul. 1913

Tracy Peck: The Argiletum and the Roman Book-Trade

Rebuts the commonly received notion that the Argiletum was the center of the book business in Rome; puts the booksellers just round the corner, though.

Jan. 1914

S. B. Platner: Varia Topographica

Basilica Opimia (much visited but not magnificent), Elephas herbarius (it eats grass but is not near an herb market), Thermae hiemales (winter baths, not cold baths), Porta Romana (still a mystery).

Apr. 1917

Tenney Frank: The Columna Rostrata of C. Duilius

Or more precisely, the controversially dated inscription. The author believes it to be the result of an early original and two restorations, one around 150 B.C., the other in the early Empire.

Jan. 1919

Tenney Frank: On the Stele of the Forum

Brief note on the Lapis Niger: petrographic analysis suggests that the stele dates to the period of the Etruscan occupation, before 509 B.C.

Jan. 1919

Edwin W. Fay: The Elogium Duilianum

The author believes there was sufficient knowledge in the time of Tiberius to forge such an inscription, and therefore the inscription is a forgery.

Apr. 1920

Tenney Frank: Notes on Latin Inscriptions

(a) an inscription in the Museo Torlonia, very likely a Renaissance fake; (b) the inscription on the Tomb of Bibulus.

Jan. 1924

Monroe E. Deutsch: Pompey's Three Triumphs

People said Pompey had celebrated three triumphs. Brief and otherwise pointless article collects the citations.

Mar. 1924

William T. M. Forbes: The Silkworm of Aristotle

The author, an entomologist, attempts to identify the specific insect(s) written of by Aristotle with modern species.

Jan. 1930

William M. Green: The Lupercalia in the Fifth Century

The Lupercalia holiday is one of those things that people just like to lie about; incredible amount of garbage about it on the Web. To counteract that a bit, here's one scholar's conclusions as to just what the Christian Church's involvement was with the pagan festival.

Jan. 1931

David B. Kaufman: Poisons and Poisoning among the Romans

A survey of the principal primary sources in Latin (plus Plutarch).

Apr. 1932

J. V. A. Fine: A Note on the Compitalia

It is usually stated that Julius Caesar suppressed this festival. Not so: the author found some inscriptions proving that people were still running them; the hardest part of the question is dating the inscriptions so as to clinch his argument.

Jul. 1932

C. M. Bowra: Simonides on the Fallen of Thermopylae

The dirge written by Simonides, of which Diodorus gives us a fragment, was written for performance at a heroön in Sparta.

Oct. 1933

Whitney J. Oates: The Population of Rome

The author puts it at 1,250,000 in the time of Augustus; on grounds no less tenuous than those of the scholars with whom he disagrees.

Apr. 1934

A. T. Olmstead: Cuneiform Texts and Hellenistic Chronology

The author sorts out some errors in chronology made by others who, though consulting Babylonian astronomical texts, failed to distinguish between actual contemporary records and calculations made much later.

Jan. 1937

Philip W. Harsh: Angiportum, Platea, and Vicus

Diffuse and poorly organized, but everything you wanted to know about the nomenclature of Roman streets; sort of.

Jan. 1937

C. U. Clark: Rolfe's Ammianus Marcellinus

A sympathetic review of Vol. I.

Jan. 1938

Classical Quarterly

T. Rice Holmes: The Battle-Field of Old Pharsalus

A serried critique of Leake, Mommsen, Heuzey, Stoffel, Kromayer and others who place the battle south of the Enipeus River: 13 reasons why only the north bank will do.

Oct. 1908

A. E. Housman: Manilius, Augustus, Tiberius, Capricornus, and Libra

An exploration of the horoscopes of Augustus and Tiberius; its effects on the dating of Book IV of Manilius. The problematic Capricorn-sign of Augustus is resolved not as the sign under which he was conceived, but his moon sign.

Apr. 1913

J. A. R. Munro: Thucydides on the Third of August, 431 B.C.

The eclipse that occurred in the first year of the Peloponnesian War occurred in 431, and the Greek historian, because he wasn't at Athens but in or near Thrace, where it was much more nearly total, did see the stars.

Jul.‑Oct. 1919

Classical Review

Sir William Ridgeway: Contributions to Strabo's Biography

A brief note on Strabo's historical works, and on Strabo's place of death.


J. P. Postgate: Review of La Patria di Properzio by Giulio Urbini

A savage little review: first a sneer, then a guffaw, and ends in a sniff. Unfortunately, the reviewer was completely off the mark.


W. Y. Sellar: The Birth-Place of Propertius

A review of Urbini by another name; less savage, and possibly correct as to where Propertius was born — but the author/reviewer tries to evaporate a large lake by sleight-of‑hand. . . .


Arthur Tilley: Ludus Latrunculorum

Some ideas as to the details of the game of latrunculi, based in part on then recent archaeological finds.


H. F. Pelham: Claudius and the Quaestura Gallica

A brief note: maybe the quaestura of Cisalpine Gaul, superseded when the province became part of Italy.


Bernard Henderson: The Use of Place-Names in History

Toponymy is a minefield, to be used very carefully. As an example, the erroneous conclusions we might be led to by relying on toponymy to locate the battle of the Metaurus.


John E. B. Mayor: King James I on the Reasoning Faculty in Dogs

The King attended a debate at Cambridge, during which only one really interesting question was raised: do Dogs reason? From personal experience, he sided with the professor who took the view that Dogs are capable of syllogistic thinking. A few classical loci are adduced.


F. J. Haverfield: The 'Bridge' at Aricia

Juvenal made it famous: but was the highway ramp of the Via Appia a real bridge?


T. Ashby: Recent Excavations in Rome

Inscription of Naevius Surdinus; the Rostra; the base of Trajan's Column; projects to continue the Via Cavour.


F. J. Haverfield: Three Notes on Roman Britain

Rutupinus a metonymic term for "British"; legio not always a legion (it matters in the chronology of the Roman withdrawal from Britain); decurio may be a member of a cantonal senate, as in the case of St. Patrick's father.


T. Rice Holmes: Last Words on Portus Itius

Much too sanguine a title; the paper kicked off an exchange of half a dozen more. [Not all appeared in the CR: for convenience, I've collated them on their own page.]


T. Rice Holmes: An Explanation

Portus Itius. . . .


F. J. Haverfield: Portus Itius

Wissant provides neither harbor, nor camping-ground for all those men, nor water.


T. Rice Holmes: F. H. on Portus Itius

Plenty of water (from local sources); in the Middle Ages armies regularly used Wissant as a port.


F. J. Haverfield: Portus Itius

Those medieval armies were small, and there still isn't enough water.


T. Rice Holmes: Portus Itius

The mechanics of just how those ships would have staged their departure, and exactly how much water was available for men and beasts. Wissant may not be the place, but should be considered: Boulogne is not the certain site.


Warde Fowler: An Attack on the Hellespont in 84 B.C.

Identifying a military manoeuvre in the Hellespont referred to in the Rhetorica ad Herennium may help to date that work a bit more precisely.


E. E. Genner: Portus Itius

A brief note showing from a modern parallel how it might not be so implausible to apply the name Portus Itius to a place that already had a name.


George Jennison: Polar Bears at Rome

A brief note calling attention to a passage in Calpurnius Siculus.


Ernest Harrison: ΠΑΝ, ΠΑΝΕΙΟΝ, ΠΑΝΙΚΟΝ

How panic fear came to be associated with the god Pan.


Classical Weekly

Eugene Tavenner: Notes on the Development of Early Roman Religion

Religion was still partly magic, although often the Romans themselves didn't realize it. Part of the essay deals with whether the Romans worshipped diseases.

Jan. 1918

E. E. Burriss: The Use and Worship of Fire among the Romans

A (pretty slight) survey of magical and religious uses of fire in cathartic and apotropaic rites.

Nov. 1930

F. G. Allinson: The Original 'Marathon Runner'

Plutarch and Lucian are our only sources for the story of Pheidippides the runner of Marathon, but — to the author if not to the rest of us — it's obvious the story is true.

Mar. 1931

Alfred C. Andrews: The Roman Craze for Surmullets

Romans occasionally paid a thousand dollars for a fish. Which fish, why, and when.

Mar. 1949

English Historical Review

E. A. Freeman: The Tyrants of Britain, Gaul, and Spain

A narrative, collated all in one place from the various sources, of the confusing rivalries between emperors and pretenders, A.D. 406‑411.


J. B. Bury: A Note on the Emperor Olybrius

The historian John Malalas (9c, in Bury's view) brings his over­looked piece to the puzzle of how Olybrius came to be emperor in the West.


T. Hodgkin: The Roman Province of Dacia

Roman Dacia is usually said to be a much larger tract of land than the author believes it was.


J. Bryce and C. Jireček: Life of Justinian by Theophilus

No, Justinian's name was never "Uprauda" (or "Vpravda"), and his mother was not "Bigleniza", either. An imposture that stood for over 250 years, debunked; whose, is not absolutely certain — but it's hanky-panky in the Balkans, designed to give them a pedigree.


J. R. Macpherson: The Church of the Resurrection, or of the Holy Sepulchre

The Jerusalem church and its buildings, from 330 A.D. to modern times, seen thru the principal source texts; including details about its destruction by Moslems in 614 and again in 1010.

7:417‑436, 669‑684

J. Bryce: Edward Augustus Freeman

A biographical sketch of the English historian, on the occasion of his death.


F. J. Haverfield: English Topographical Notes

On some Latin names of English towns in Bede; and on Bannavem Taberniae.


F. J. Haverfield: Early British Christianity

 A survey of the evidence on which our knowledge of it is based. There is surprisingly little of it.


B. W. Henderson: The Campaign of the Metaurus

The author examines in great detail the three sites most commonly held for the battle; rejecting the left bank site of S. Silvestro, but coming to no conclusion between the left bank site of La Lucrezia and the right bank site of S. Angelo. Maps.

13:417‑438, 625‑642

F. J. Haverfield: Two Reviews

— of Caesar's Conquest of Gaul by T. Rice Holmes, and Vercingétorix by Camille Jullian.


F. J. Haverfield: The Last Days of Silchester

Not conquered, sacked and burned by the English; but abandoned.


F. J. Haverfield: Ancient Rome and Ireland

A survey of the few Roman finds, almost all coins, in Ireland; with a map.


J. B. Bury: The Date of the Notitia of Constantinople

Mention of the city wall as "double" dates the Notitia to 447‑450.


Geographical Review

St. Brendan's Explorations and Islands

A brief survey of the traces of the Brendan Legend in medieval maps; the author suggests that the saint might have visited the Canaries or Madeira.

Jul. 1919

Greece & Rome

Dogs in Ancient Warfare

A lightly commented collection of ancient literary sources on the use of dogs specifically in warfare.

May 1941

Gentleman's Magazine

Acoustic Pottery

The Abbé Cochet's initial report of acoustic vessels in the walls of Norman churches, following Roman practice.

Nov. 1863

Acoustic Pottery

Other writers report on acoustic vessels: this time in the walls of English churches.

Dec. 1863

Harvard Studies in Classical Philology

A. E. R. Boak: Late Imperial Coronation Ceremonies

A summary of the coronations of Leo I, Anastasius, Justin I, Leo II, and Justinian; some general conclusions as to the constitutional position of the Roman Emperor in that period.



Florian Cajori: History of Determinations of the Heights of Mountains

How do we know how high mountains are? How did we gradually learn to find out? An excellent piece traces our progress in an area that isn't half as obvious as you'd think: from the ancient Greeks to the U. S. Army and the Coast & Geodetic Survey in the 19c.


Aubrey Diller: A Review of Stevenson's Ptolemy

The review is not savage, but depressing: Edward Stevenson perpetrated one of the worst "scholar­ly" editions I've ever seen. Prof. Diller's review, to which I thoroughly subscribe to the extent of my own expertise as a professional translator, is a matter of personal vindication to me: in my misguided enthusiasm when I first went on the Web in the mid‑1990s, Stevenson's Ptolemy cost me many hours of unproductive work before I realized it was not worth putting online.


David Pingree: Astronomy and Astrology in India and Iran

Highly technical paper tracing the development of Indian astronomy and astrology with a view to showing that their descent from the Babylonian sciences was not mediated by Persia but by Greece.


Jewish Quarterly Review

D. S. Margoliouth: The Legend of the Apostasy of Maimonides

Maimonides is said by some to have been a crypto-Moslem. The author makes a technical argument against it on chronological grounds.


Journal of the American Oriental Society

W. H. Schoff: Some Aspects of the Overland Oriental Trade at the Christian Era

The geopolitical wrangling over Asian trade routes: Rome, Parthia, Nabataea, India, China, but also Kushan, at least for a while.


W. H. Schoff: The Eastern Iron Trade of the Roman Empire

Iron or steel often thought to have been imported by the Romans from China was in fact from India. Wide-ranging paper which I found particularly interesting.


W. H. Schoff: Navigation to the Far East under the Roman Empire

A survey of what little is known of the subject from Graeco-Roman, Indian, and Chinese sources.


James Henry Breasted, 1865‑1935

A good biographical sketch printed as an obituary the year after his death.


The Egyptian Origin of Some English Personal Names

Very few modern English names ultimately derive from ancient Egyptian: Susan and Phineas for sure, maybe Moses, Mary. Humphrey does not, although the Italian Onofrio does.


Journal of Egyptian Archaeology

D. G. Hogarth: Alexander in Egypt and Some Consequences

Why exactly did Alexander the Great head off to Egypt at the beginning of his soldier's career when one might have expected him to go straight for the Persian jugular? And, yes, a look at the long-lasting consequences of the expedition.


Jean Capart: The Name of the Scribe of the Louvre

"We can henceforward call the Scribe of the Louvre The Administrator Kai, son of the Royal Relative, Meseḥet. Let us hope that this will explode the legend of the 'little employee ready to resume his master's dictation.' "


J. Grafton Milne: Aemilianus the "Tyrant"

Why does the Historia Augusta list Aemilianus as a pretender-emperor in 260‑261? He supported the legitimate ruler Gallienus; beyond that we have no evidence.


Journal of Hellenic Studies

L. W. King: The Origin of the Province of Kommagene

Not quite where it had been thought to be; an Aryan enclave in a Semitic Near East.


Journal of Near Eastern Studies

G. F. Hourani: Did Roman Commercial Competition Ruin South Arabia?

The evidence is against it, and seems to suggest the decline in South Arabian trade was caused by political instability and ensuing bad economic conditions in the Mediterranean in the 3c A.D., but there's not enough information.


Journal of Roman Studies

W. Warde Fowler: Mundus Patet

A simple explanation of the dates on which the mundus was opened: August 24, October 5, November 8.


J. S. Reid: Human Sacrifices at Rome and Other Notes on Roman Religion

Half of the paper is about human sacrifices, supporting the view that there were none, other than one exceptional one in some undetermined distant past.


Commendatore Boni: Recent Discoveries on the Palatine Hill, Rome

Various levels of the Domus Flaviorum, and 36 meters of a vertical shaft for hydraulic works, including some of the metal apparatus.


F. J. Haverfield: Roman Silver in Northumberland

An 18c find of Roman silver plate not far from Hadrian's Wall, including the famous Corbridge Lanx; includes the history of the find and the legal wrangling over possession of the pieces. Illustrated.


F. J. Haverfield: The Name Augustus

Why did Octavian pick that particular name rather than some other august appellation?


J. S. Reid: Roman Ideas of Deity

Miscellaneous critiques of Warde Fowler; and views on the Roman triumph.


J. B. Bury: Justa Grata Honoria

Or: What a Difference an Indiction Makes! Sowing havoc in the empire, it was not a rebellious young girl, but an ambitious grown woman who reached out to Attila.


J. B. Bury: Tacitus, Agricola, C. 24

A particularly convincing emendation making Tacitus make succinct Tacitean sense instead of wasting a word.


Tenney Frank: On Augustus and the Aerarium

Forensic accounting: Augustus really did spend 'his own' money rather than the government's.


Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society

T. J. Newbold: Ancient Sepulchres of Pánduvaram Déwal

An amateur archaeologist, a captain in the British army, describes his sketchy digs of an ancient cemetery in southern India; his tentative conclusions. Four small sketches.


James Kennedy: The Indians in Armenia

Known to us thru the account of Zenob of Glak, an early‑4c bishop.

Apr. 1904

Robert Sewell: Roman Coins Found in India

A fair number of Roman coins have been found in India, at least back to the 18c. This pioneering paper, now a classic, tracks down the finds and suggests how they might have come to be where they were.

Oct. 1904

Sir George Grierson: Modern Hinduism and its Debt to the Nestorians

Although bhakti is an old Indian concept, in modern Hinduism it has come to be strongly influenced by Christianity, which the author maintains is due to the Nestorians.

Apr. 1907

Sten Konow: Goths in Ancient India

Two ancient Indian inscriptions names two persons, active in India, as being gatas among the yavanas; on philological grounds, the author is of the opinion they were Goths.

Apr. 1912


Tenney Frank: On Rome's Conquest of Sabinum, Picenum and Etruria

The author argues that, contrary to the common opinion in his time, the Roman assimilation of those conquered regions was achieved with very little forced expropriation of the native inhabitants.

Oct. 1911

LacusCurtius (i.e., first published on this site)

Ilia Rushkin: Note on Water Measurements by Frontinus

Fluid dynamics meets ancient Rome, or, why Frontinus' measurements are off base.

Sep. 2014

Preston J. Boyles: Grain Storage in Iron Age Britain

Modern archaeology confirms and explains passages of Diodorus Siculus and Varro.

Apr. 2023


J. J. Hartman: de porticu Claudia

An emendation to Martial II.9‑10.


Notes & Queries

R. T. Hampson: Periplus of Hanno the Carthaginian

More accurately, about the gorillas mentioned in it.


G. C. Lewis: Ancient Names of the Cat

Cats and weasels, more or less tame, as confused by the Greeks and Romans under several names.


C. R. Ramage: Birthplace of Plautus, Temple of Jupiter Apenninus

Speculations on the author's tour of central Italy; rather severely annotated by yours truly.


The Observatory

The Eclipse of Pericles

An exchange of correspondence between W. T. Lynn and S. J. Johnson, the latter arguing for March 30, 433 B.C. and the former upholding the more usually accepted date of August 3, 431.

Vol. 7, passim


Rutilius Claudius Namatianus

A graceful critique of the de Reditu suo.

1 Suppl.:36‑41

Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society

J. C. Rolfe: The Use of Devices for Indicating Vowel Length in Latin

Jots and tittles: on apices and the long I's found in some of the more carefully cut Roman inscriptions, an exhaustive look at the Monumentum Ancyranum and the speech of Claudius at Lugdunum. (I was very gratified to discover that top-level scholars are just about as mystified as I am.)



Margaret Schlauch: The Palace of Hugon of Constantinople

In the medieval Pèlerinage de Charlemagne a magical palace is set in Constantinople. An approach to sorting out what may be loosely based on fact, and what may be due to the influence of Latin, Byzantine, French, and Irish poetry.


Ralph W. V. Elliott: Runes, Yews, and Magic

An attempt to trace the connections among them, concluding, if tentatively, that yews owe their magic and their connection with runes to Celtic influences in England.



Frédéric Macler : L'architecture arménienne dans ses rapports avec l'art syrien

A survey of the earliest Armenian architecture extant (after clearing some underbrush as to the mythical age of a few monuments); it derives from Syrian models. (In French)


Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association

Alfred Gudeman: Literary Frauds among the Romans

Entertaining essay surveys a great number of them — but fails to catch the biggest and most egregious one of them all.


Morris Hicky Morgan: Remarks on the Water Supply of Ancient Rome

We often read that Rome was better supplied with water than modern cities. The author tracks down the source of the statement to an early‑19c estimate; examining the water supply question afresh, he finds the opposite is true.


Gordon J. Laing: Roman Milestones and the Capita Viarum

A survey of how the Romans numbered their milestones thruout the empire, with special reference to the starting points of the distances.


William A. Oldfather: Livy I.26 and the Supplicium de More Maiorum

The ancient Roman capital punishment: not hanging, not crucifixion, but tying you to a tree and beating you to death. A grueling, exhaustive, convincing survey of the question; impalement and decimation thrown in for good measure.


Walton Brooks McDaniel: The Ferentinum of Horace

The overwhelming majority of scholars believed that Horace's mention of Ferentinum referred to the southern Etruscan town; the author argues, very convincingly to my mind, that a hamlet near Lake Nemi is meant.


Roland G. Kent: The Etymological Meaning of Pomerium

It is commonly stated, based on certain ancient authors, that pomerium stands for *postmoerium. The author argues with other ancient authors, that it stands for *promurum.


John C. Rolfe: Notes on Suetonius

On the Regia, Aug. 31.5 and 76.2; on "Hoc age", Cal. 58.2; Gal. 20.1; on the posture of Tiberius, Tib. 68.3.


Eugene Tavenner: The Roman Farmer and the Moon

A sourcebook: Pliny, Columella, Varro, and others on the agricultural properties of the moon: waxing, waning, or invisible.


Eugene S. McCartney: Spontaneous Generation and Kindred Notions in Antiquity

Eels from dew, scorpions from crocodiles, mice from licking salt, and mares born of the wind: even Aristotle couldn't fight it all. An exhaustive survey, in the animal kingdom at least.


Homer Franklin Rebert: The Velia: a Study in Historical Topography

The Velia was not the hypothetical, now vanished hill that the handbooks say it was; and, like everything else, the question is much more complicated than it seems at first glance.


Arthur Stanley Pease: Notes on Ancient Grafting

Everyone knows that the Romans practised exotic multiple grafting, of such things as papayas and tomatoes on avocado trees. It's of course not quite that simple. . . .


H. J. Leon: Morituri Te Salutamus

Countless books and movies have shown it to us: the gladiators standing before Caesar, raising their arms and saluting him — "Hail Caesar! Those who are about to die salute you!" Alas, not one bit of it is true.


Lionel Casson: Speed Under Sail of Ancient Ships

Classicists may not care whether the wind blows one way or the other, but sailors do: a marine history expert throws out a lot of irrelevant calculations, to arrive at more likely figures.


United States Service Magazine

Edward C. Boynton: Greek Fire and Other Inflammables

An artillery officer and amateur historian, later a chemistry professor, attempts to clear the underbrush of error and confusion surrounding the ancient incendiary substance.


Technical Details

Printed Source

I am transcribing my selection from original exemplars of the journals, and only of course those now in the public domain: details here on the copyright law involved. Unless otherwise stated, any illustrations are those accompanying the original article in the journal.


As almost always, I retype texts by hand rather than scanning them — not only to minimize errors prior to proofreading, but as an opportunity for me to become intimately familiar with them, an exercise which I heartily recommend: Qui scribit, bis legit. (Well-meaning attempts to get me to scan text, if success­ful, would merely turn me into some kind of machine: gambit declined.)

These transcriptions have been minutely proofread. In the table of contents above, the articles are shown on blue backgrounds, indicating that I believe the text of them to be completely errorfree; red backgrounds would indicate they had not been proofread. As elsewhere onsite, the header bar at the top of each chapter's webpage will remind you with the same color scheme.

Very occasionally the proofreaders of the original articles nodded off, and I've therefore had the opportunity to make a few corrections, marking the correction each time with a bullet like this:º as elsewhere on my site, glide your cursor over the bullet to read the variant. Similarly, bullets before measurements provide conversions to metric, e.g., 10 miles.

Most of these typos were of a minor and obvious kind; but I've marked them nonetheless, as a reminder that there must surely be quite a few other errors that I could not catch: numbers, proper nouns.

Where an error is manifest, but for some reason I couldn't fix it, or where it is uncertain whether it is poor proofreading of the translated text or it might just have been made in the original documents (which I usually have not seen), or again where there might otherwise be some latitude, I marked it º. Inconsistencies in punctuation have been corrected to the text's usual style, in a slightly different color — barely noticeable on the page, but it shows up in the sourcecode as <SPAN CLASS="emend">. Finally, a number of odd spellings, curious turns of phrase, etc. have been marked <!‑‑ sic  in the sourcecode, just to confirm that they were checked.

Any over­looked mistakes, please drop me a line, of course: especially if you have a copy of the printed book in front of you.

Pagination and Local Links

For citation and indexing purposes, the pagination is shown in the right margin of the text at the page turns (like at the end of this line); p57  these are also local anchors. Sticklers for total accuracy will of course find the anchor at its exact place in the sourcecode.

In addition, I've inserted a number of other local anchors: whatever links might be required to accommodate the author's own cross-references, as well as a few others for my own purposes. If in turn you have a website and would like to target a link to some specific passage of the text, please let me know: I'll be glad to insert a local anchor there as well.

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The icon I use to indicate this subsite is a colorized version of a drawing that seemed appropriate to me; I found it in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities, on p978, s.v. Pyxis.

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