Investigating a Chalcolithic dwelling at Isaiia, Iași County, Romania

The detailed investigation of dwelling no. 14 (Precucuteni II phase) from the Isaiia site brings interesting and, in some instances, novel data concerning the building system and the internal architecture of the Early Chalcolithic housing. Also, the artefacts from inside the dwelling and from the surrounding features bear witness about prehistoric crafts like pottery manufacture, stone knapping and polishing, animal hard tissue working, about the relations with neighbouring cultural areas, and, last but not least, about the ritual behaviour of the Precucuteni communities.

From antiquities to memorabilia: a standardised terminology for ancestral artefacts according to manufacture date

An ancestral artefact can be defined as any object of natural raw material made by a people following a lifestyle based on foraging and/or basic agriculture or pastoralism. A problem when cataloguing or reporting a research focused on an ancestral artefact is the absence of a fixed chronological terminology encompassing any age. The issue of terminology of age of objects is especially relevant when a researcher wants to study museum collections. Consequently, putting into practice a standardised terminology for ancestral artefacts according to manufacture date is required to avoid misinterpretations, which can even jeopardise legal actions. In this paper, a standardised terminology is presented for such kinds of original artefacts, from prehistory to the present. Subsidiarily, ancestral peoples have been arranged in concordance with the terminology for ancestral artefacts. While this terminology is centred on ancestral artefacts and is primarily addressed to people engaged in museum specimens―from curators to researchers―it is applicable to other collectable objects and, accordingly, also relevant to tribal-art dealers, antiquarians, and cultural heritage legislators.

Diagenetic analysis and historical interpretations. Case studies from eastern Romania

Interdisciplinary investigations of the human osteological remains help us to understand the genetic diversity, the mobility or the paleodiet of the past communities and offer us insights on the diagenetic processes. The present study aims to assess the results of chemical, mineralogical and microscopic analyses performed on different human osteological remains selected from archaeological sites situated in Eastern Romania in order to understand the diagenetic transformations involved in the site formation processes and to estimate their influence on the historical interpretation.

The mysterious expedition of Thrasybulus of Miletus

A cursory mention of a mysterious expedition against Sicyon, mounted by Thrasybulus, the tyrant of Miletus, can be found in Frontinus’ “Strategemata”. The author of the present article is of the opinion that in this way Thrasybulus was helping his ally Periander, the tyrant of Corinth. The probable aim of Periander’s military campaign was to reinstate the exiled Isodemus as tyrant of Sicyon and to include the Sicyonians’ territory in Corinth’ sphere of influence.

Chasing Hygassos (Anatolia): Settlement under epigraphic evidence

Although the epigraphic records do not attest an exact toponomy to confirm where exactly Hygassos is but rather announce an ethnic, this paper aims to suggest further by chasing the
inter-relatability of some selected inscriptions. The supplementary data is also presented to find out and assess the question of settlement and chronology in a variety of contexts. The data repository attained from the close catchment of the Acropolis (in Kızılköy) give a lucid picture of a densely occupied “urban” zone and represents a flashback to the Hellenistic links of the deme, however it is quite a painful job to trace the earlier features that are highly disturbed or misrepresented in the khorai. Even though land use seems to be quite determined by the interplay of environmental and habitational dynamics (the settlement patterns hardly appear to be forcefully driven) in both, the inland deme of Hygassos and coastal/quasi-coastal Phoinix were the two diverse implantations in the Rhodian Peraia, in respect of attraction in the Hellenistic period. Changes within the spatio-temporal context are not that easy to explore, however, when architectural data and micro-plans are reviewed, mobility and/or seasonality could have been there, beyond the smooth layouts, particularly near the coastal hilly terrains of Hygassos. Still, crumbles of ceramic evidence which hint at Hygassos’ potential to offer links with the late Bronze Age and; cultic figures or linguistic rules that manifest her tendency toward a stronger Anatolian, hence Karian character in the Peraia, make her a lot more distinguished than the neighbouring demoi.

The Greek culture of dialogue and of political decision-making process at Hellenistic Kings’ court

The article deals with the problem of the political decision-making process at the court of the Hellenistic Kings. The Hellenistic Kings possessed a strong power and vast material and human resources. They took the administrative, legislative, juridical, military and other branches of power in their hands. Nevertheless in many cases when we have the possibility to follow the decision–making process one can notice that many kings preferred the collective forms of searching for the best solution of the state problems. The Hellenistic Kings involved courtiers who were their advisers and consultants in the decision-making process and in many cases were open for dialogue and for free discussions, for the alternative opinions of the advisers. The phenomenon of collective discussion could be easily explained as a political pragmatism, when dialogue, discussion or a brain-storm give much better result to find the right solution and to avoid mistakes. At the same time dialogue and discussion were the immanence of the Greek culture, the Greek cultural “code”. The culture of dialogue and discussion was highly developed in a Greek world. It influenced the education, the cultural and political life, etc. The Hellenistic Kings were educated according to the Greek tradition and they transferred the culture of dialogue and discussion into the political life of the state. Thus political pragmatism was combined with the features of Greek culture.

Cicero on the gods and Roman religious practices

The article analyses Cicero’s attitude to gods, religion, divination, and superstition. Cicero follows tradition in acknowledging the existence of the gods, considering them immortal, blissful, animate, and anthropomorphic. He is ambivalent about the interaction between the gods and people. Cicero considers religion important for the Roman people because this was the popular belief — it was not his own viewpoint. Cicero thinks that people obtain divination from the gods. According to Cicero, there are two types of divination: artificial (auspices, haruspices, divination by lightning, stars, and other signs of nature) and natural (predictions in a dream, in a state of ecstasy, before death). In relation to divination, we see how multi-dimensional Cicero’s beliefs were: as a philosopher, he can accept or deny divination; as a Roman politician, he regards divination as an important instrument of the Roman religious rituals. Cicero opposes superstition to religion in his theological works, but in his secular works, he uses superstition and religion as synonyms.

Jewish society and family tradition in funerary inscriptions

The aim of this article is to present the Jewish social and family values in Antiquity, as they can be perceived mostly through a reading of the funerary inscriptions. Details regarding the care and feelings towards the deceased, as well as wishes for the potential violators of the tombs are also envisaged. The content of the epitaphs also provides precious information on the names, titles and the age of the deceased, on the causes of death, and the epithets denoting close relationships between the members of the family.

La population dans les villages situés entre Sacidava et Axiopolis

The author presents the epigraphic record of the countryside in the region Sacidava–Axiopolis (Lower Moesia). The population is not attested as living in organized structure like uici. However, the presence of military forces indicates a civilian population living in the proximity of military camps. The mention of Thracians recruited in the Roman army demonstrates that there was an indigenous organization before the Roman conquest. The veterans are also installed in the region, like Roman citizens inhabitants of Durostorum and Tomis, who had bought rural properties. Axiopolis was a harbour, and the existence of an association of nautae implies a quite cosmopolite population in the rural milieu of this town.

Neoplatonic Asclepius: Science and religion at the crossroads of Aristotelian biology, Hippocratic medicine and Platonic theurgy

In the first part of the paper, I will briefly discuss certain peculiarities of the medical profession in antiquity. In his Philosophical History (fr. 80–84 Athanassiadi) Damascius narrates about a philosopher, named Asclepiodotus, whose interests ranged from Platonic philosophy to Aristotelian natural sciences. Asclepiodotus’ instructor in medical matters, a son of a doctor from the island of Rhodos, Iacobus, is pictured by Damascius as an exemplary figure (fr. 84), who, unlike many of his contemporaries, always tested the opinions of others and gained a reputation of an extremely successful physician, although the methods of treatment, ascribed to him by Damascius, are highly reminiscent of those presented as the Pythagorean by Iamblichus (On the Pythagorean way of life 244). In this respect both Iacobus and Asclepiodotus are conformed to the best standards of medical ethics, and pass the test set by Galen in his “On examination by which the best physicians are recognized”, except perhaps by the fact that they preferred to base their activities on such authorities as Aristotle and the Methodist Soranus rather than on a list of the “dogmatists” proposed by Galen. In the second part of the paper, dedicated to the cult of Asclepius in Late Antiquity, I will look at various kinds of evidence taken from the Neoplatonic philosophers. Having discussed first the principal philosophical interpretations of Asclepius found in Apuleius, Aelianus, Macrobius, Julian, Porphyry, Iamblichus, Proclus, Damascius, etc., we turn to Proclus’ attitude to Athena and Asclepius as reflected in Marinus’ Vita Procli and finally discuss the cult of Eshmun as found in Damascius. The textual data are supported by archaeological evidence from the “House of Proclus” in Athens.

A new exploratory project: The ethnoarchaeology of salt in the Inner Carpathian area of Romania

This new ethnoarchaeological research project focuses on the inner-Carpathian area of Romania. The archaeological and ethnographic vestiges of salt exploitation in this area are among the most consistent in Europe. They are closely interconnected and reveal the continuity of salt exploitation in the same locations from prehistory to the present. From the methodological point of view, the project avail itself of the experience gained and validated by the projects carried out under the aegis of the “Al. I. Cuza” University of Iași and of the National Museum of the Eastern Carpathians in collaboration with prominent research centres from France, UK, US, and Germany. The new project will tackle a number of new issues, including the reconstruction of the prehistoric salt-exploitation techniques that employed wooden installations such as those unearthed in a number of archaeological sites from northern Transylvania and Maramureș, the transport of salt along streams with limited discharges, and others. New research methods will also be tested, such as the virtual simulation of certain salt-exploitation technological processes.