The Terracotta Warriors, along with other life-size sculptures built for the First Emperor of China, were inspired by Greek art, new research indicates.
About 8,000 Terracotta Warriors, which are life-size statues of infantryman, cavalry, archers, charioteers and generals, were buried in three pits less than a mile to the northeast of the mausoleum of Qin Shi Huangdi, the first emperor. He unified the country through conquest more than 2,200 years ago. Pits containing sculptures of acrobats, strongmen, dancers and civil servants have also been found near the mausoleum.
Now, new research points to ancient Greek sculpture as the inspiration for the emperor’s afterlife army. Read more.
When a brand-new subway system hits an ancient road, surely something has to give. But in one northern Greek city, archaeologists are fighting to combine the two, against government plans to remove and display elsewhere a large section of an ancient Roman thoroughfare found on a planned subway station.
Some 200 people, including many state-employed archaeologists, on Monday formed a chain round the central Thessaloniki site, beating drums and holding a banner reading “Culture is not business.”
The protest was organized by the Association of Greek Archaeologists, which wants the metro station re-designed to incorporate the ancient remains and has raised more than 12,000 signatures in an online petition to preserve the road. Read more.
The ancient city of Perge in the southern province of Antalya will finally open to visitors by the end of summer following excavations that have revealed a façade, according to a written statement made by the Culture and Tourism Ministry.
Thirty-nine workers, seven archaeologists and three restoration experts are working in Perge, which was an ancient Greek city in Anatolia and the capital of Pamphylia. Archaeological work in the ancient city has been continuing for 65 years, and many columns along the city’s streets have been successfully restored during this process.
The Perge excavations are the longest-running in Turkey. Over 65 years, archaeologists have unearthed 20 to 25 percent of the ancient city. Read more.
Keros Island. It is known for the famous assemblage of fragmentary Cycladic marble figurines popularly known as the “Keros Hoard”, a collection of artifacts purportedly found by looters at the site of Kavos on the west coast of this now uninhabited Greek island in the Cyclades, southeast of Naxos in the Mediterranean. Many of the figurines, traded on the antiquities market, ended up in the Erlenmeyer Collection in Basel, Switzerland, with the rest dispersed among various museums and private collections. The figurines were said to have inspired the work of Pablo Picasso and Henry Moore.
Now, archaeologists will be returning to the island to conduct a survey that will, they hope, shed additional light on the settlement and civilization that constituted the famous hoard’s context, with an eye toward further targeted excavations. Read more.
Archaeological sites and museums across Greece have shut down for 24 hours due to a strike by Culture Ministry employees protesting planned reforms that aim to streamline the ministry’s operations.
Tourists arriving at the country’s most famous monument, the Acropolis, on Friday morning found the gates padlocked and a sign saying the site would be closed for the day.
Workers are objecting to organizational reforms that they say could endanger some jobs and “constitute a tombstone for the Culture Ministry.”
Gripped by a severe financial crisis since late 2009, Greece has been dependent on billions of euros in international rescue loans to remain solvent. In return, it has imposed structural reforms, deep spending cuts and tax hikes that have seen incomes slashed and unemployment spiraling to above 26 percent. (source)
A Greek court has imposed life sentences on two men convicted of dealing in ancient treasure worth an estimated €12 million ($15.85 million), which had been illegally excavated from a cemetery in northern Greece.
The court in the northern city of Thessaloniki jailed two more men for 20 and 16 years, respectively, after finding them guilty of digging up and transporting the antiquities.
The severity of Friday’s sentences was due to the high market value of the loot — more than 70 artifacts from the 6th century B.C.
These included gold masks, four helmets, a glass perfume bottle, small clay statues, part of a gold diadem and parts of an iron sword decorated with gold leaf.
Archaeologists are currently excavating an ancient cemetery near Thessaloniki where the finds came from. (source)
The Oracle at Delphi is referenced throughout Greek myths and history. Supposedly she was rendered psychic by Apollo. Realistically, she was off her skull on gas that seeped out of the fissures of the temple in which she lived. Here is the scientific explanation for what caused this woman to utter her confused prophecies.
Even during the Oracle at Delphi’s time, it was widely known that the Oracle’s visions had a practical cause. Gas seeped out of the cracks in the cave where she sat, causing her to talk nonsense. This nonsense would then be interpreted by priests around her. Some of the predictions were surprisingly accurate, according to legend. Croesus, the richest man of his time, performed a kind of scientific test on oracles, when he had messengers go out to all of them and ask what he would be doing on a certain date. Read more.
Turns out the early Romans were wild about orchids. A careful study of ancient artifacts in Italy has pushed back the earliest documented appearance of the showy and highly symbolic flowers in Western art from Renaissance to Roman times. In fact, the researchers say, the orchid’s popularity in public art appeared to wilt with the arrival of Christianity, perhaps because of its associations with sexuality.
The fanciful shapes and bright colors of orchids have long made them popular with flower fanciers, and today they support a multibillion-dollar global trade. The flowers also have a symbolic value that spans many cultures due to their resemblance to both male and female sexual organs; the flower’s scientific name—Orchis—derives from a Greek word for testicles. But while the biology and ecology of orchids has gotten plenty of attention from researchers, there are few studies of its “phytoiconography,” or how the flower has been used symbolically in art. Read more.