Who says only modern-day pro wrestling is fake?
Researchers have deciphered a Greek document that shows an ancient wrestling match was fixed. The document, which has a date on it that corresponds to the year A.D. 267, is a contract between two teenagers who had reached the final bout of a prestigious series of games in Egypt.
This is the first time that a written contract between two athletes to fix a match has been found from the ancient world.
In the contract, the father of a wrestler named Nicantinous agrees to pay a bribe to the guarantors (likely the trainers) of another wrestler named Demetrius. Both wrestlers were set to compete in the final wrestling match of the 138th Great Antinoeia, an important series of regional games held along with a religious festival in Antinopolis, in Egypt. They were in the boys’ division, which was generally reserved for teenagers. Read more.
An ancient labor contract by a guard hired to protect a vineyard in ancient Egypt has been deciphered. Scrawled in Greek on a piece of dark brown papyrus, the document dates back to the 4th century A.D., a new research paper claims.
Guarding vineyards in Egypt more than 1,600 years ago was no easy task. Other ancient sources describe grape-seeking thieves who violently beat watchmen in pursuit of the fruits ripe for winemaking. Crime could be especially high from July to September, the time of the harvest, writes Kyle Helms, a classics doctoral student at the University of Cincinnati.
Grape thefts even found their way into poetry. A verse by the Roman poet Catullus says a married woman “must be watched more carefully than the darkest grapes.” Read more.
Emotional expressions on Greek tombstones from the Hellenistic period (323-31 B.C.) help increase our understanding of social communication and cultural values. This is the conclusion of a doctoral thesis in Classical Archaeology and Ancient History from the University of Gothenburg.
Doctoral student Sandra Karlsson has studied ancient grave reliefs from the Greek city-states Smyrna and Kyzikos in present Turkey. The reliefs display both figurative motifs and inscriptions.
'This source material provides important information about funerary rituals, demographics, family structures and ideas about life after death,' says Karlsson, who chose to focus on expressions of emotions, but also conceptions of death. Read more.
A newly deciphered letter home dating back around 1,800 years reveals the pleas of a young Egyptian soldier named Aurelius Polion who was serving, probably as a volunteer, in a Roman legion in Europe.
In the letter, written mainly in Greek, Polion tells his family that he is desperate to hear from them and that he is going to request leave to make the long journey home to see them.
Addressed to his mother (a bread seller), sister and brother, part of it reads: “I pray that you are in good health night and day, and I always make obeisance before all the gods on your behalf. I do not cease writing to you, but you do not have me in mind,” it reads. Read more.
Archaeologists working in the western desert of Egypt have discovered a school dating back about 1,700 years that contains ancient Greek writings on its walls, including a text about ancient drug use that references Homer’s “The Odyssey.”
The school — which contains benches that students could sit on to read, or stand on and write on the walls — dates back to a time when the Roman Empire controlled Egypt, and Greek was widely spoken.
In use for less than 20 years, the school structure eventually became part of a large house that contained colorful art, including images of the Olympian gods, the researchers said. Read more.
An ancient site in eastern Crete may now be providing some answers to the questions of how and why the earliest Archaic city-states on this important Greek island of the Aegean developed and emerged more than 2,500 years ago.
Led by Project Director and archaeologist Donald Haggis of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Field Director Margaret Mook of Iowa State University, a research and excavation team will return to the location of Azoria, an archaeological site situated on a hill overlooking the Gulf of Mirabello in northeastern Crete. Initially explored by the American archaeologist Harriet Boyd-Hawes in 1900, the site has since yielded evidence of human occupation from Final Neolithic times until shortly after 200 B.C.E. Read more.
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.