Article in the Bonn Rundschau about the discovery of a late second/early third century AD brewery in Bonn - at Adenauerallee 206. Around 200 amphorae pieces have been found. This makes it Germany's oldest brewery.
Premiere in der Geschichte der Archäologie in Bonn: Bei der Ausgrabung zweier Handwerkerhäuser aus römischer Zeit entdeckten Archäologen unter der Leitung von Dr. Jennifer Morscheiser an der heutigen Adenauerallee 206 zwei gut erhaltene Keller. Im Hinterhof eines Hauses befand sich eine so genannte Darre, in der Getreide oder Obst getrocknet werden konnte. Diese Darre und die Scherben von etwa 200 Flachboden-Amphoren lassen die Vermutung zu, dass hier Ende des 2. und Anfang des 3. Jahrhunderts Malz hergestellt und nicht nur Bier gebraut, sondern auch ausgeschenkt wurde. Der zweite Keller gehörte offenbar zu einem metallverarbeitenden Betrieb.
From Britain you get a slightly skewed perspective on heritage cuts. Scotland, disaster, England, not much better... but thank heavens you are neither Greece nor Italy. Depressing to get news therefore of budgetary problems even in Germany. A long piece in the Osnabrücker Zeitung about possible EUR100,000 cuts at the museum next year. A little shortsighted, especially given the news at the weekend that the story of Arminius is likely to become a 20th Century Fox film.
„Eine Kürzung des Zuschusses würde bedeuten, dass wir Angebotskürzungen prüfen müssen“, so Rottmann weiter. Großveranstaltungen wie die Römer- und Germanentage oder das Oster-Leuchten seien dann möglicherweise nicht mehr möglich. Ebenso sei fraglich, ob dann die Öffnungszeiten wie bisher oder die Angebote für die Schulen entsprechend aufrechterhalten werden könnten. „Im Ergebnis bekommen wir einen Ausgleich nur dann hin, wenn wir Angebote herunterfahren.“ Insofern könne er nur an den Kreistag appellieren, vor einer Entscheidung die Aspekte genau abzuwägen, zumal das Gutachten ja auch belege, dass auf der Einnahmenseite bereits überdurchschnittlich hohe Mittel eingeworben worden seien.
Full story here. There is also a good video interview:
Caligula: 1400 Days of Terror premiered in the US on October 9. Those in Germany and Austria can see it dubbed into German as Caligula: 1400 Tage Terrorherrschaft. It is on n-tv today at 1505 CET and on Monday at 1605 CET. Blurb about it from Die Welt:
Kaiser Gaius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, postum bekannt als Caligula, war von 37 bis zu seiner Ermordung im Jahre 41 durch die Prätorianergarde römischer Kaiser. Bis heute ranken sich unzählige Geschichten über ihn sowie seine vielen grausamen Taten und Skandale: So soll er sich nach einem hoffnungsvollen Regierungsbeginn mehr und mehr zu einem autokratischen Monarch entwickelt und infolgedessen viele Menschen das Leben gekostet haben. Allerdings stammen all diese vermeintlichen Informationen über ihn lediglich aus zwei Quellen, die beide in punkto Glaubwürdigkeit in der Forschung als zweifelhaft gelten. War er also wirklich der einhellig als Gewaltherrscher beschriebene Diktator? Oder gehören einige der über ihn verbreiteten Geschichten ins Reich der Mythen? Diese zweiteilige Dokumentation unternimmt eine Reise zurück in die Vergangenheit und geht dem Leben und Wirken des römischen Eroberers Caligula einmal genauer auf den Grund...
This news is just breaking and few details have emerged so far. Deadline got the story - 20th Century Fox has optioned Arminius, a feature script by Frank Moll about the Battle of Teutoburg Forest in AD9. Wolfgang Petersen and Julie Yorn are down to produce.
Script tells the fact-based story of Arminius, a German who was trained as a Roman warrior, but who switched allegiance when the Romans tried to take over Germania. At 25, he would eventually unite disparate Germanic tribes and rally them to victory against the Roman Army in the bloody Battle of the Teutoburg Forest. The defeat had ramifications that would end with Arminius losing his life, but it halted the Roman Empire’s expansion North, and became the worst loss suffered by the Romans under the reign of Augustus Caesar.
A long op-ed piece in today's Herald about the Romans in Scotland, taking the BBC's new show, presented by Fraser Hunter and out tonight, called Scotland - Rome's Final Frontier as its jumping off point.
History isn't written by the victors. It's written by the literate. In this case, too, it was written by the victor's faither-in-law. Tacitus says the Caledonians were at first "too terrified" to molest Agricola's army. This was during their first incursions, three years before the battle in 84AD, and refers to armies marching unexpectedly into settlements.
However, a few pages on, he's berating those Roman "cowards", who "pleaded for a 'strategic retreat' behind the Forth, maintaining that 'evacuation was preferable to expulsion'." Who was "terrified" noo, then? Presumably, the Caledonians had organised.
As for Mons Graupius, no-one to this day has a clue where it is. Apparently, it featured 30,000 Caledonians – no, it didn't – and 11,000 Romans. According to Tacitus, the Caledonians lost 10,000 men, the Romans 360, probably quite coincidentally from natural causes.
These figures are bilge. Unless one side was unarmed, and the other had a neutron bomb, even the most Scotophobic booby couldn't make them add up. I've no doubt we got gubbed. Perhaps comprehensively.
A must read! Another shameless plug (part of the occasional family series) my cousin Bronwen Everill's first book, Abolition and Empire in Sierra Leone and Liberia, part of the Cambridge Imperial and Post-Colonial Studies Series - more on the series here.
Anti-slavery colonies – settlements for freed slaves that were intended to prevent the slave trade in West Africa – were established by both American and British societies. Although they occasionally attempted to work together in support of these settlements and their anti-slave trade goals, the societies were more frequently in conflict. Looking for the origin of this Anglo-American rivalry, this book applies a comparative approach to freed slave settlers in Sierra Leone and Liberia. It examines the foundations of these societies, their contribution to the development of 'Civilization, Commerce, and Christianity' as a practical approach to anti-slavery interventions in West Africa, and the points of conflict between them that fed rivalries in America and Britain.
It is very good and she is very smart. Please buy it.
There is a distressing phenomenon in archaeology. It is best seen whenever the statue of a man is found in France. Immediately it is identified as Julius Caesar. The same can be said about the head of any young man found in Asia - it is always Alexander the Great. And the less said about archaeology in Israel the better.
For the past few days there has been a huge amount of trumpeting in the Scottish press about the discovery of the first tartan. "First tartan" on Roman statue, says the BBC. "First tartan" discovered on statue of Roman emperor, says the Herald and, pretty much reprinting the same press release (though without those pesky inverted commas), Earliest depiction of Scottish tartan discovered on Roman statue, in the Scotsman. This is how the Scotsman ledes the story:
A fragment of bronze that once formed part of a Roman statue is believed to be the earliest depiction of tartan, it emerged yesterday.
The bronze statue once stood on top of a giant triumphal arch in the ancient Moroccan city of Volubilis, in the southwest corner of the Roman Empire, 1,500 miles from Scotland.
It depicted the Emperor Caracalla - self-styled conqueror of the Caledonians - riding a six horse chariot.
The statue, erected 1,800 years ago, was destroyed centuries ago, and only a three-foot-longbronze fragment of the emperor’s cape remains in a museum in Rabat.
On the cape is a depiction of a Caledonian warrior wearing a pair of tartan trousers.
Unfortunately it is nonsense. The Volubilis statue shows patterned trousers, not tartan - a word that with its cultural and politial connotations is less than helpful. This is how Diodorus describes Celtic dress (5.30.1) - with the cloaks as patterened:
The clothing they wear is striking — shirts which have been dyed and embroidered in varied colours, and breeches, which they call in their tongue bracae; and they wear striped cloaks, fastened by a buckle on the shoulder, heavy for winter wear and light for summer, in which are set checks, close together and of varied hues.
Nor is this fashion unique to Scotland. Indeed there is evidence all over the Celtic world. Fabrics found from (obviously) much later Viking sites in Scandinavia do suggest patterned trousers. Much more realistically, as has been pointed out:
Unfortunately portrayal of a 'Celt', sometime means that every item of clothing is checked or striped in some way, often with the same pattern, and you turn yourself into something from the Clan McCar-Rug. While it's certainly possible, it is more likely that clothing was as often as not of a single colour or left in its natural shade.
I linked to this ages ago, but technology conspired to delete it. I see that Gramophone has now put it on line. Reposting it as few articles have been such fun to write. It is the story of the premier of Bruckner's Third Symphony:
Public ridicule, heckling and cat-calling. Not even the most avant-garde of contemporary composers playing to a jaded and obstreperous audience today would expect such a reaction. But that was the reception given on Sunday, December 16, 1877, to one of the 19th century's greatest composers. The premiere of Anton Bruckner's Third Symphony in D minor – the 53-yearold Austrian's first mature and monumental symphony – under the direction of the composer himself was an unmitigated disaster and was to prove to be the worst fiasco of his life.
In retrospect, this should have surprised few. Bruckner's first concert in four years was a comedy of errors from the outset. The writing itself had been difficult. Bruckner had started what he called his Wagner Symphony in autumn 1872 and worked on it until the end of December 1873. In Bayreuth in September that year he had doorstepped his hero Richard Wagner, then preoccupied with The Ring, to get him to look through his unfinished Third Symphony and his Second Symphony in C minor. Although Wagner had liked the work (fondly nicknaming Bruckner 'The Trumpet' because of its brassy opening) in the beer-induced revelry that followed that evening, when Bruckner woke up the next morning he could not remember which symphony Wagner had agreed to have dedicated to him. He had to drop 'The Master' a note to confirm that it was indeed the Third.
Full article here.