Saturday, March 11, 2023

The Coins of Carthage from the Second Punic War

NUMISMATICS: The Coins of Carthage During Hannibal’s War With Rome (Mike Markowitz, CoinWeek). With rampaging elephants! And maybe with Hannibal's portrait, sort of.

For many PaleoJudaica posts on Hannibal Barca and the Second Punic War, see here and links.

Cross-file under Punic Watch.

This seems like a good time to link to this post, which explains why PaleoJudaica pays attention to the Phoenicians, the Phoenician language, the Carthaginians, and Punic and Neo-Punic

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Review of The Routledge handbook of the senses in the ancient Near East

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: The Routledge handbook of the senses in the ancient Near East.
Kiersten Neumann, Allison Thomason, The Routledge handbook of the senses in the ancient Near East. Routledge handbooks. Abingdon; New York: Routledge, 2022. Pp. xxix, 739. ISBN 9780367235284

Review by
Nassos Papalexandrou, University of Texas. papalex@austin.utexas.edu (with Amir Abou-Jaoude and Marina Schneider)

The volume gives some attention to the Hebrew Bible and ancient Judaism.

I noted its publication here.

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Friday, March 10, 2023

Does Hebrew have a "reduced alphabet?"

COMPARATIVE SEMITICS: Hebrew Has a ‘Reduced Alphabet’ (Mitchell First, Jewish Link).

It's true! This is a good, accessible (if you know some Hebrew) account of comparative Semitic phonology in relation to biblical Hebrew. It solves a good many mysteries.

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A Persian-era city in Nahariya?

ARCHAEOLOGY: Israel unveils 2,500-year-old Mediterranean Persian city.
JERUSALEM, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Israeli archaeologists uncovered an ancient Persian city from 2,500 years ago, the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said Thursday.

The ruins, situated in today's Mediterranean city of Nahariya in northern Israel, include residential areas with buildings and streets, a commercial and industrial area, worship buildings, and a large storage area, said the IAA.

[...]

I can't find the IAA announcement anywhere, but Xinhua sometimes does come up with the first English annoucement about archaeology stories in Israel.

For another ancient city recently unveiled by archaeologists (this one in Egypt), see here.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Career retrospective: Sidnie White Crawford

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Retrospective | My Journey with the Dead Sea Scrolls (Sidnie White Crawford).
I have always acknowledged that the Dead Sea Scrolls have been very good to me. I was very fortunate, as a young graduate student, to have the opportunity to work on the Scrolls at the moment when scrolls scholarship was breaking open. I was also fortunate to work with a close circle of fine colleagues, who freely shared ideas and supported each other’s work.[14] The Dead Sea Scrolls captured my intellectual interest very early in my development as a scholar, and they have held it ever since.
Professor Crawford and I were PhD students of Frank Moore Cross at the same time in the 1980s.

I noted a review of her 2019 book, Scribes and Scrolls at Qumran, here. Last year she published another book, The Text of the Pentateuch, with De Gruyter, noted here.

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Milan Fashion Week meets 3 Enoch

INSTALLATION ART: Tod's sensual elegance on show amidst The Seven Heavenly Palaces (Elena Passeri, translated by Nicola Mira, Fashion Network). The location:
Pirelli HangarBicocca is a not-for-profit foundation set up in Milan in 2004, when a disused industrial plant was converted into the home of an organisation that produces and promotes contemporary art. Kiefer’s ‘The Seven Heavenly Palaces’ installation was conceived and presented for the opening of the Pirelli Hangar. It owes its name to the palaces described in the ancient Hebrew treatise ‘Sefer Hekhalot’ (the book of palaces), dating back to the 4th-5th century AD. The installation’s seven towers are made of reinforced concrete. Each weighs 90 tons, and they vary in height from 14 to 18 metres.
I have noted Kiefer's hekhalot installation previously here and his earlier, apparently related, painting here. See those posts for commentary on Sefer Hekhalot (3 Enoch).

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Tuesday, March 07, 2023

Lioness carving found in the Golan

LAPIDARY ART: College Students Find Ancient Stone Lioness During Field Trip in Northern Israel. Israel is littered with archaeological finds and antiquities, but finding not one but two lioness statues by accident is quite the achievement (Ruth Schuster, Haaretz).
Such is Israel. Take a walk, find a lioness, or at least an ancient statue of one. Discovered by chance at Ein Nashut in the Golan Heights, the lady lion was depicted nursing cubs. The artifact is quite weathered after almost 2,000 years of exposure to the elements and much is missing but the identification is unmistakable, says Prof. Mordechai Aviam of Kinneret College on the Sea of Galilee.

[...]

Does this object count as a provenanced or unprovenanced artifact? Interesting question. It was not scientifically excavated. It was found by a group of archaeology students on the surface. It may already have been moved before they found it.

It would be nice to hear more about the object's relationship to the synagogue. Evidently both were made of the same material. Are there other artistic representations in the ruins of the synagogue? Can we tell if the object was made with the same workmanship?

No one seems to doubt that it is an ancient artifact originating from the site. I am not suggesting otherwise. But surface surveys raise their own questions and we should still be asking them.

I noted the discovery of the other lioness statue at el-Araj in 2017 here.

Cross-file under Numismatics, with reference to the coin of the Roman Emperor Gallienus found by the same student group at Khirbet Majdukiya.

This seems to be lion statue week. Archaeologists have also excavated a Sphinx-like statue, perhaps representing the Emperor Claudius, in southern Egypt.

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Monday, March 06, 2023

Purim 2023

HAPPY PURIM to all those celebrating! The festival begins tonight night at sundown.

Last year's Purim post is here, with links. Another recent (indirectly) Purim-related post is here. The latter is now debunked.

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More on the fake Darius inscription

THE DARIUS OSTRACON INSCRIPTION, which reportedly turned out to be a modern pedagogical exercise that went awry, is receiving a good bit of media attention. I have followed the story with my own comments here and here.

Here are some follow-up articles:

Analysis | The Darius Artifact: How Did We Get From Discovery of the Decade to Disgrace? An inscription mentioning the Persian invader found in the city of Lachish, which had a strong Persian presence, correctly written in the language of the time. What could go wrong? (Ruth Schuster, Haaretz)

Israel Antiquities Authority must rein in enthusiasm before its next find - editorial The Israel Antiquities Authority must curb its enthusiasm and double and triple check its archaeological findings before publication (Jerusalem Post)

The Darius Ostracon: From Real to Fake. How experts authenticated a modern forgery (Nathan Steinmeyer, Bible History Daily)

[Christopher Rollston] added that this lack of scrutiny could have had real implications for our understanding of the ancient past. “What if the archaeologist who made this piece had not come forward?” asked Rollston. “We could end up writing histories and citing inscriptions in those histories, and in part basing some of what we say on something that is a modern forgery.”
It is possible that we already are. I flagged concerns about this almost twenty years ago .

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Sunday, March 05, 2023

Review of Greek and Egyptian magical formularies, vol. I

BRYN MAYR CLASSICAL REVIEW: Greek and Egyptian magical formularies, vol. I: text and translation.
Christopher A. Faraone, Sofia Torallas Tovar, Greek and Egyptian magical formularies, vol. I: text and translation. California classical studies, 9. Berkeley: California Classical Studies, 2022. Pp. xxviii, 531. ISBN 9781939926166

Review by
Sofia Bianchi Mancini, Max-Weber-Kolleg (Universit├Ąt Erfurt). sofia.bianchi_mancini@uni-erfurt.de

... After Karl Preisendanz’s influential first edition of the magical papyri––Papyri Graecae Magicae (PGM), completed between 1928 and 1931, and revised in 1974 by Albert Henrichs––and Hans Dieter Betz’s 1986 English translation of the Greek and Demotic magical papyri, Faraone and Torallas Tovar have created in Greek and Egyptian magical formularies (GEMF) an invaluable and much needed corpus. ...

The book is open access.

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Photos of the Book of the Dead scroll from Saqqara

PHOTO ESSAY: See photos of stunningly preserved 52-foot-long Book of the Dead papyrus from ancient Egypt. Egypt has released photos of a newly discovered Book of the Dead from more than 2,000 years ago (Owen Jarus, Live Science).
Egyptian officials have released photos of an ancient scroll, the 52-foot-long (16 meters) Book of the Dead papyrus recently discovered in Saqqara. The 10 images show ancient illustrations of gods and scenes from the afterlife, as well as text on the document, which is more than 2,000 years old.

[...]

I made a big deal of the discovery of this scroll and its implications here. Now you can see more of it.

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