Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bust of Caesar?

You may have seen reports (e.g. here, here, here or here) that a bust of Julius Caesar has been found, that dates to the last five years of his life. Mary Beard fairly comprehensively demolishes most of the claims made for it; in short, there's no evidence that it's Caesar (though it might be, with the eye of faith), none that it dates to the early 40s BC, and none that it was thrown in the river in the aftermath of Caesar's assassination (which is intrinsically unlikely). The best we can say for sure is that it's Roman.

It all reminds me of an edition of Hidden Treasure, BBC's rather breathless archaeology programme of a few years back, when they talked about the quality of the torc from the Winchester hoard, and concluded that it was 'very likely' a gift from Julius Caesar to a British chieftain, on the flimsiest of evidence.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Science Fiction as a Literary Genre

I went to a one-day symposium on this on Thursday. But rather than write it up, I'll point you towards this report.