Herodotus Returns

Israeli exhibition about theft of antiquities is robbed
January 24, 2010, 6:56 pm
Filed under: Alexander the Great, Israel | Tags: , ,

The gods of archaeology are smirking. The ‘Antiquities Theft of Israel’ exhibit in Israel has been robbed. Among other things, thieves made off with a silver ring belonging to Alexander the Great.

Organisers of the “Antiquities Theft in Israel” in Jerusalem could not have chosen a more fitting name for their exhibition.

On Wednesday burglars broke into the a museum in Ashdod where hundreds of artefacts recovered from the black market were on show and snatched several valuable items, including a silver ring belonging to Alexander the Great.

The newspaper Haaretz said the robbers also took ancient silver coins and other items from archaeological digs including a bronze spear, two gold earrings, some pottery and coins from the Hellenistic period.

The exhibit at the Korin Maman Museum in the coastal city of Ashdod was set up to educate the Israeli public about efforts to tackle antiquities theft.

More on the robbery.


Alexander the Great’s kevlar armor
January 12, 2010, 8:56 am
Filed under: Alexander the Great, Armor | Tags: ,

A recent study suggests that Alexander the Great wore kevlar-like armor during his mission to conquer the world.

A Kevlar-like armor might have helped Alexander the Great (356–323 B.C.) conquer nearly the entirety of the known world in little more than two decades, according to new reconstructive archaeology research.

Presented at the annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in Anaheim, Calif., the study suggests that Alexander and his soldiers protected themselves with linothorax, a type of body armor made by laminating together layers of linen.

“While we know quite a lot about ancient armor made from metal, linothorax remains something of a mystery since no examples have survived, due to the perishable nature of the material,” Gregory Aldrete, professor of history and humanistic studies at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, told Discovery News.

“Nevertheless, we have managed to show that this linen armor thrived as a form of body protection for nearly 1,000 years, and was used by a wide variety of ancient Mediterranean civilizations,” Aldrete said.

More on Alexander’s armor here.

How the Alexander mosaic was viewed by Romans at Pompeii
January 11, 2010, 8:31 am
Filed under: Alexander the Great, Pompeii | Tags: , ,

A recent study examines patterns of wear on the famous Alexander mosaic recovered from Pompeii to determine how the ancient Romans viewed the piece.

Once the visitors had entered the room — we might imagine a group of dinner-guests led by their host — the tour would begin with Darius and his Persians.

The host would have stood above Darius’ horses (1), explained why the great king was fleeing, and pointed out the artistic novelties in the lower portion of the mosaic.

The guests would have milled about at the foot of the mosaic, taking in the overall scene, and then briefly concentrated themselves around the figures of the two doomed Persians (a – b).

Then the host moved to the left and stationed himself in the area above the figure pair composed of Alexander and the unfortunate Persian he is spearing (2).

The guests marched right onto the mosaic and crowded around the image of the Macedonian king, standing right on top of his body (c ), being careful however not to step on his head or that of his horse.

The guests arranged themselves in a semicircle, so as to leave a line of sight open between them and their host, who was also able to see Alexander’s head from his vantage point above.

More on the study.