New blog on later Neoplatonism – the Unhistorize blog

Thanks to a link-back, I came across the Unhistorize blog. This seems to have started this summer.

The blog has posts about What Orphica did the late Neoplatonists read? and Proclus on Atlas and the Pleiades (and the Muses) etc.  There is also Attis-related material, curse-tablets, and excerpts from Sallustius.

The author has made the first English translation of the anonymous On Herbs: An Anonymous Greek Poem, the first English translation of the so-called Carmen de herbis, of which he she posts some extracts here.

All very useful, and very welcome.  I hope the author persists!


Blog recommendation: Papyrus Stories, by Jenny Cromwell

It’s been a while since I saw a blog that I wanted to add to the sidebar, but this evening I found one.  It’s called Papyrus Stories, and it may be found here:

There is also a linked Twitter account, @Papyrus_Stories.

The desert climate of Egypt has preserved enormous quantities of “waste paper”.  The rubbish dump of the Greek city of Oxyrhynchus in particular yielded so many in the excavations before 1914 that they are still being published a century later.

Most of these papyrus documents are things like personal letters, tax receipts, and the like.  So they shine a light into the lives of all sorts of people.

The blog posts consist of taking one such document, and telling the story that is found in it.  They are really very interesting and charming.



Investigating “quotations” online – another blog

Regular readers will know that I sometimes investigate supposed quotations from the ancients which I have found online.  Often they prove to be bogus.

I came across a blog which does nothing but check quotations.  I’d never heard of it, and it deserves wider notice:



Welcome to Christophe Guignard’s “Marginalia” blog

The excellent Christophe Guignard has started his own blog (in French), on details of ancient Christian literature and its Graeco-Roman context.  It’s called Marginalia.

He’s just done a post in both English and French on a “new” uncial fragment of John’s Gospel (0323).

He’s also interested in Syriac mss. at Sinai.

I think I shall add it to my RSS feed.


Piecing together Diogenes of Oinoanda

A new blog from the author of Antiochepedia:

Diogenes was an Epicurean Greek from the 2nd century AD who carved a summary of the philosophy of Epicurus onto a portico wall in the ancient city of Oenoanda in Lycia. The surviving fragments of the wall, which originally extended about 80 meters, 25,000 words long and filled 260 square meters of wall space. Less than a third of it has been recovered.

It sounds like a useful project:

The purpose of this blog is to gather together the disparate representations on the great inscription at Oinoanda so it will be accessible to the general public.


Egyptological taken offline by ‘hackers’

Via News from the Valley of the Kings, I learn that an online Egyptology magazine, Egyptological, has been attacked:

Kate and Andrea are very sad to announce that Egyptological will be unavailable for the forseeable future.  It has been targeted by a professional hacking group as part of an onslaught on Egypt-related web sites during the current unrest in Egypt.

Although we have been in negotiations with the hackers, which seemed to be going well, they have now announced their intention of resuming hostilities against us.  They apparently see Egyptology sites such as ours as representing a form of political threat.

Until we have been able to assess the level of damage inflicted upon our backup solution, and have been able to devise a new strategy for the future security of Egyptological, our site will remain unavailable.  We do not expect it to be recovered until the end of January.

This sort of thing is why we will end up with a heavily-policed and locked-down internet.  We shall all be poorer, because the criminal element will not behave decently unless restrained by fear of punishment.  I fear that the old days of the internet are truly dead.


A series of posts on Cyril of Alexandria at “All along the watchtower”

An incoming link draws my attention to a blog previously unknown to me, All along the watchtower.  The blog has begun a series of posts by “Chalcedon451” on Cyril of Alexandria.

It is certainly the case that few of the Fathers enjoy a lower reputation in the English-speaking world than Cyril.  “Chalcedon451” suggests that we have Gibbon to blame for this.

He’s probably right.  Few other than specialists had any access to the Fathers, and the impact of Decline and Fall on the literate world was immense.  His slurs on Eusebius are still repeated; his negative opinion of Cyril was likewise definitive. 

It is telling that the 19th century American pirate edition of the Fathers, the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers series, while it reprinted the translations of Augustine and Chrysostom, left sternly to one side the translations of Cyril of Alexandria in the same series.

I have always felt that Cyril suffers from his association with the Nestorian dispute.  That was a matter of high politics, in which he is unlikely to appear very pleasing to our eyes.  It would be much, much better if we could start with something we DO sympathise with, the Contra Julianum.  One of the last apologetic works of antiquity, the arguments of Cyril would at least be directed against the anti-Christianity of Julian the Apostate, rather than Nestorius, with whom many of us feel some sympathy.  A translation of this work is in progress; but it seems unlikely that it will be accessible to non-specialists.

It will be interesting to see what is said in the blog series, all the same.