Weekly Roundup of Archaeology and History October 21-27

Here are a couple posts I enjoyed this week:

An elaborate mosaic formed of green and red porphyry, serpentine and molded glass, taken from one of Caligula’s pleasure boats, has returned to Italy after many years hiding out in New York as a coffee table. Caligula ordered huge pleasure boats constructed on Lake Nemi as a private retreat. When he was assassinated, they were sunk. Mussolini drained the lake and dragged the boats out, creating a museum for their display. The museum was torched my partisans during the war. Sometime before the burning, part of the mosaic slipped out, method and person unknown. It ended up being by bought by a journalist and his antiquities collecting wife. Lately, by the way, there’s been new archaeology done in the vicinity of the sunken ships. So the story of Caligula’s giant retreats on a lake is not finished. But certainly both Caligula’s part and Mussolini’s tells us a lot about men, giant egos, power, extravagance, and propaganda.

Click here for The New York Times “A Remnant From Caligula’s Ship, Once a Coffee Table, Heads Home”


Antikythera Device, photo by Marsyas on Wikimedia

Antikythera Device, photo by Marsyas on Wikimedia

A cool article on the Antikythera Device, a working model of the cosmos as the ancient Greeks understood it. A complicated mechanical device with gearwork and writing on this astronomical machine. Click here for the ASOR blog “The Antikythera Device – A Working Model of the Cosmos”


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