Latinitas Latine – Brian R. Bishop

December 22, 2016 by

O lector amabilis!

Haec pagina pro lectoribus omnium nationum qui linguam latinam colent ex toto latine scripta est ne lingua alia potestatem supremam habere videatur.   Nihilominus, non necesse est linguae latinae peritissimus esse, quia singula in tabulae forma facile intelleguntur.

Pagina originalis edita est anno 2009 ex scripto meo anni 2007;  quamobrem necesse est nunc permulta emendare, quod  pededemptim faciam.   Si interea aliquis nuntios recentissimos accipere aut hos nuntios augere aut corrigere aut nomina percontatorum dare velit, fac me certiorem et gratias maximas agam.   Inscriptio electronica mea est   brennuslt@legranus.me.uk

Lege, disce, gaude.

Dabo Legrae Anglorum mense decembris anno 2016

ANGLICE

Dear Reader!

This page, for readers of all countries who like Latin;   it is written in Latin lest the supremacy of any other language be intimated.   Nonetheless, it is not necessary to be highly skilled in Latin, as, being a table, it can be easily understood.

The original page was published in 2009 from my draft of 2007;  hence there is a lot to be amended here, which I shall do bit by bit.   If meanwhile anyone wishes to receive the most up-to-date information or add to or make corrections or tell me the names of those interested in the page, please advise me.   My e-mail address is brennuslt@legranus.me.uk .

Read, learn, have fun.

Sent from Leigh-on-Sea, England, December 2016

ESPERANTICE

Estimata leganto,

Ĉi tiu paĝo emas legantojn, kiuj amas la latinan el ĉiu landoj;  tial ĝi estas verkita latine, prefere al iu alia lingvo.   Tamen ne necesas esti tre lerta en la latina, ĉar la informoj en la tabelo facile kompreniĝas.

La originala paĝo estis publikita en 2009 el mia malneto de 2007;  tial estas multe por korekti ĉi tie, kion mi faros iom post iom.   Se intertempe iu volas ricevi la lastan informojn aŭ aldoni aŭ korekti ion aŭ informi min pri nove interesitoj, diru tuj, mi petas.   Mia retadreso estas brennuslt@legranus.me.uk .

Legu, aprenu, ĝoju.

Sendite de Leigh-on-Sea, Anglujo, decembro 2016.

HISPANICE

Estimado lector:

Esta página se destina a los lectores que estiman el latín y que viven en todos países;  se escribe en el latín por que ninguna otra lengua parece tener la hegemonía.   Sin embargo, no es necesario tener gran destreza en el latín, porque en forma de tabla fácilmente se entiende.

La página original se publicó en 2009 del borrador de fecha 2007;  por eso hay mucho por corregir, lo que haré poco a poco.   Si en el entretanto alguien desee recibir informaciones más al día, o añadir o corregir algo o darme detalles de interesados, ruego me haga saber.   Mi dirección  mail es brennuslt@legranus.me.uk .

¡Lee, aprende, te diviertas!

Enviado de Leigh-on-Sea, Inglaterra, diciembre de 2016

GALLICE

Cher lecteur,

Cette page est destinée aux lecteurs qui aiment le latin et qui viennent de tous les pays;   pourtant elle est écrite en latin de façon que nulle autre langue semble avoir la hégémonie.   Cependant, ce n’est pas nécessaire être expert dans le latin, parce que l’information en forme de table se comprend très facilement.

La page originale est publiée en 2009 d’un brouillon de 2007 ;  ainsi il y a beaucoup à corriger, ce que je ferai peu à peu.   Si en attendant quelqu’un veuille recevoir des informations plu récentes, ou ajouter ou corriger quelque chose ou m’envoyer détails des intéressés, je serais très reconnaissant.   Mon adresse sur la toile est brennuslt@legranus.me.uk .

Lis, apprend, en profite !

Envoyé de Leigh-on-Sea, Angleterre, décembre 2016.

 

VOLAPYKICE

O reidan digik!

Pad at diseinon reidanis, kelis pliton latin, e kels lödons in läns valik;  löfiko pepenon medü latin, sodas pük nonik votik jinon pluön.   Too no zesüdos, das binoy vemo skilik demü pük at, bi valikos fomü taib fasiliko pasuemon.

Pad rigik päpübon tü yel 2009 se penäd fa ob tü yel 2007;  kodü atos zesüdos das nu verätükob mödikosi – kelosi pianiko odunob.   If bütimo ek vipon getön nunis lätikün, u lüükön u koräkön bosi, u nunön obe dö nulälikans nulik, penolös sunädo, begö!   Ladet bevüresodik oba binon

Reidolös, lärnolös, juitolös!

Pad pepenöl tü yanul yela 2017

 

LATINITAS LATINE

1. De aliis nuntiis

2.Commentarii et societates

3.Seminaria latina

4.Circuli

5.Undae radiophonicae

6.Commercium epistolarum

7.Editores et Libri

8.Enchyridia, lexica et cantica

9.Res audiendae et videndae

10. Res computatrales

11.Scholae et universitates

12.Liturgia latina

1. De aliis nuntiis

2.1 Meis

Vide quoque, si tibi momenti est, tabulam meam de operibus postclassicis, Quid est ‘Nova Latinitas‘, Quare oporteat Latine discere et loqui, De Latinitatis exitio impediendo.  [DE HIS OPERIBUS, ALIBI TRACTABO — UBI TEMPUS MIHI ADSIT]

http://www.bolchazy.com/Recitation-of-Latin-Prose-and-Verse-P3686.aspx

2.2 Ab aliis

Aliter multa similia – et meliora – videbis, exempli gratia in paginis interretialibus sicut http://www.latinitatis.com

https://la.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vicipaedia:Pagina_prima

et in paginis nonnullarum singularum societatum latinarum.

 

2. Commentarii et Societates 

N.B. 1. Valde commendo commentarios q.t. ‘Melissa’ et ‘Vox latina’.

N.B. 2. Sunt alii commentarii, qui jam non eduntur, e.g. ‘Memento audere semper’ (Geneviève Immè, 1981-2011),  ‘Rumor varius’ (Helvetia), ‘Vita latina’ (?1957-?1994), ‘Vita latina’ (1989-2014, http://www.persee.fr/collection/vita , anglice et gallice, quamquam non latine), ‘Hermes americanus’ (Alvin Philip Dobsevage, 1983-1990).

‘Aduléscens’ —  commentariolus nubeculatus Latine sine societate latina– pete exempla gratis. European Language Institute, C.P.6, 62019, Recanati, Italia tel. (071)976465-75071; fax (071)97785 (L.it. 21.000/21.500 p.a.)  http://www.elionline.com/eng/search-results?other-languages/lingua-latina/all/all/all/all

OpusLatinitatis Vivae Provehendae Associatio, http://www.lvpa.de/

Fundatio Melissa, http://www.fundatiomelissa.org/fundatiomelissa/Salvete.html .   Commentarius c.t. ‘Melissa’  Guy Licoppe, 76Tervurenlaan, B-1040,Brussels, Belgia.e-cursus: g.licoppe@skynet.be

Fundatum Latinitas,I-00120, Città del Vaticano, Italia   http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/institutions_connected/latinitas/documents/index_lt.htm

 

‘Vox latina’ — 4 p.a.; de multis rebus; Euro 20 + expensae missionis Euro 5 p.a.
Dr. Sigridis Albert, Sedes Studiorum Neolatinorum, Arbeitstelle, für Neulatein, Universität des Saarlandes, Fachrichtung 6.3, D-66041, Saabrücken 11, Germania.  http://www.uni-sb.de/philfak/fb6/stockmann.voxlatina, mailto: s.albert@rz.uni-sb.de

Sine commentario:  Associations Régionales des Enseignants de Langues Anciennes: Dominique Lardet, 1, rue docteur Salvet, F-69007, Lyon, Gallia.

Sine commentario:  Septentrionale Americanum Latinitatis Vivae Institutum [SALVI/NIALLS]:  c/o Nancy E. Llewellyn, Praeses, Dep’t of Classics, Univ. of California, P.O. Box 951417, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1417, Civitates Foederatae   Tel/Fax (310)827-2685;  e-cursus  mailto: nel@latin.org, Pagina http://www.latin.org

3. Coetus et Seminaria Latineloquentium (ultima nota) (vide quoque  http://www.pagina.de/lvpa/ + “annus latinus”)

Quotannis habentur in America Septentrionali iam quattuor “conventicula Latina” quae dicimus.
Primum mense semper Iunio exeunte in civitate (non urbe)Vasintoniensi:  http://www.wenval.cc/boreoccidentales/boreo_latin/
Secundum mense Iulio Lexintoniae in civitate Kentuckiensi:  http://www.uky.edu/AS/Classics/aestivumlat.html mailto: clatot@pop.uky.edu
Tertium mense Augusto Petalumae (prope Franciscipolim) in civitate Californiensi:
http://ancienthistory.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?site=http%3A%2F%2
Quartum dicitur etiam esse conventum Floridanum in quo praesertim de rebus Catholicis et religiosis sermocinantur:  parum autem de illo grege scio.

Anno bismillesimo nono
2.6-25.7.2009    Roma, Italia, Civitas Vaticana

Aestiva Romae Latinitatis (8 septimanae):   In monte Janiculo, Romae, prope San Pancrazio, mod. Reginaldus Foster, Piazza san Pancrazio, 5A, I-00152, Roma, Italia; tel 00390-6/58 54 02 06 Fax. 00390-6/58 54 03 00.

18-21.6.2009 St. Ottilien Germania
Latinitatis Vivae Seminarium Extraordinarium in honorem et memoriam D-ris P-ris Caelestis Eichenseer, Exerzitenyas der Erzabtei, D-86941, St Ottilien   Seminarium Societas Latinae  Dr. Sigridis Albert, Societas Latina, Univ., FR 5.2, PF 171150, D-66041, Saarbrücken, tele 0681/302-3192 e-cursus  mailto: s.albert@mx.uni-sb.de

6-14.7.2009 Lexington Civitates Foederatae
Colloquia Latina Lexintoniensia Colloquiorum participes quaedam opuscula palmaria legent, deque operibus lectis Latine disputabunt atque scribent. Quicumcumque his sessionibus interesse voluerint ad Terentium Tunberg litteras electronicas mittant hac inscriptione: mailto: terence.tunberg@gmail.comhttp://www.uky.edu/AS/Classics/latinitas.htmlhttp://www.uky.edu/AS/Classics/aestivumeng.htm

12-18.7.2009 Fort Royal Virginia Civitates Foederatae
Latin immersion Summer program, Christendom College, 134 Christendom Dr., Front Royal, VA 22630   Lingua latina loquenda pro studentibus minus 18 annos natis.

16-23.7.2009 Frigolet Gallia
Feriae Ferigoletenses habebuntur in Abbatia Sancti Michaelis Ferigoletensi, Tarasconem,F-13150.  Scribe ad Mariam Antoninam Avich, 21b, rue Sainte Anne de Baraban, F-969003, Lyon.
mailto: marie-antoinette.avich.@wanadoo.fr, mailto: Feriae@frigolet.com

19-25.7.2009 Fort Royal Virginia Civitates Foederatae
Latin immersion Summer program, Christendom College, 134 Christendom Dr., Front Royal, VA 22630   Lingua latina loquenda pro studentibus minus 18 annos natis.

20-26.7.2009 (West Virginia) Virginia occidentalis Civitate Foederatae
Rusticatio Virginiana — Primus coetus ex toto pro tironibus ad linguam latinam loquendam.   Claymont Mansion, Claymont Society for Continuous Education, Charles Town, West Virginia (Washington urbs major, D.C.):
http://www.cavclassics.org/rusticatiovirginia2009.pdf

25.7-1.8.2009    Amoeneburg, Germania

Septimana Latina Europaea XXII: (<>)     Thomas Gölzhäuser, Chattenhöhe 5, D-35630, Ehringshausen, Germania; tel: (0049)6449-921919  mailto: septlat@maierphil.de, mailto: goelzhaeuserpost@hotmail.comhttp://www.septimanalatina.org

1-9.8.2009 Boston Civitates Foederatae

Conventiculum Bostoniense. Tam tirones quam peritiores invitantur ut Latine nobiscum de multis rebus iuxta mare iuncunde commorantes loquantur. Quicumcumque his sessionibus interesse voluerint aut ad Iacobam Carlon epistulas mittant electronicas hisce inscriptionibus: mailto: Jacqueline.Carlon@umb.edu, mailto: terence.tunberg@gmail.comhttp://www.conventiculum.org or contact Emily McDermott at UMass Boston: mailto: emily.mcdermott@umb.edu or 617-287-6124.

2-8.8.2009 Vindobonae/ Vienna Austria
L.V.P.A.e Seminarium XV Vindobonae (III) fiet medio in urbe, professore Smolak adjuvante.   Erunt gradus docendi duo:  tirones et perite loquentibus.   Scribite de conclavi in Academiahotel praenotando ad Barbaram Dowlasz,  mailto: contracta@poczta.fm et ad mailto: inga_pg@gms.de

2-8.8.2009Morschach, Helvetia

Morsacense Seminarium  Societatis Latinae Helveticum:    Deversorio “Bellevue”, Morsaci.   Singula a Societate Latina, Universität des Saarlandes, FR6.3, PF151150, D-6604, Saarbrücken, Germania. tel: 0681/302-3192; e-cursus  mailto: s.albert@mx.uni-sb.de

2-16.8.2008 Patrai Graecia

GRAECE LOQUENTIBUS     Dialogoi Hellenikoi (Colloquia attica in Patrai, Graecia):   Hellenikon Idyllion,  Helmut Quack, Eritstr. 23, D-25813, Husum, Germania tel:04841/5429 mailto: helquack@freenet.de Andreas Drekis, GR-25100, Selianitika/Egion, Graecia; tel: 0030-26910/72488 Telecopium 0030-26910-72791 e-mail  mailto: hellenikon@idyllion.gr; http://www.idyllion.gr

commentarioli nova editio http://urlaubingriechenland.gmxhome.de
qui graece scribere volunt sequantur Iocratis scripta. http://urlaubingriechenland.gmxhome.de/Isoc.html

Argumentum:  quid Platonis ejusque successorum philosphia nostris temporibus afferat.

16-22.8.2009 Augustae Treverorum (vulgo Trier) Germania

Seminarium Societas Latinae 88:  Dr. Sigridis Albert, Societas Latina, Univ., FR 5.2, PF 171150, D-66041, Saarbrücken, tele 0681/302-3192 e-cursus  mailto: s.albert@mx.uni-sb.de

22-29.8.2009 Halicarnassi &c. Turquia

Quartum Melissae iter latinum, iter in Turquia

http://web.me.com/fundatiomelissa/Site/Iter_Latinum.html mailto: g.licoppe@skynet.be

15-19.8.2009 Ratisbonae (vulgo Regensburg) Germania

Conventus XII-us Academiae Latinitati Fovendae;  Argumentum:  «Ad fines Imperii Romani – annus bismillesimus cladis varianae»

http://academialatina.org/;  org. mailto: sallmann.k@t-online.de;  mailto: jan.back:sprachlit.uni-regensburg.de

4. Circuli Latine loquentium

Anglia

Circuli Londinienses.     Secundo die domenico et tertio die Mercurii omnis mensis. http://members.lycos.co.uk/avitus2002/CLL.html mailto: evanmillner@gmail.com

http://schola.ning.com (hic necesse est diligenter quaerere in signo ‘Foedus Latinum Londinium’ prope paginae finem et subnotari.

Austria

Circulus Latine Loquentium Vindobonenis — secundo die Mercurii uniuscuiusque mensis in caupona Graf vocata (1190 Wien, Billrothstrasse 19:  mailto: simone.karlhuber@liwest.at

Belgica

Circulus Bruxellensis – Domus Latina, av. Albert-Elisabeth 64b, 1200 Bruxellis
– Dr. Licoppe, av. de Tervueren 76, B-1040 Bruxellis tele 0032-2/735-0408

Catalaunia

Circulus Latinus in urbe Barcinone: http://barcino.latinitatis.com/

Civitates Foederatae, –Arlington, Virginia — Semel in mense cenamus ut loquamur latine et  amicitiam colamus. Christopher Gerard Brown  mailto: badius@uky.edu tele: 703 685 0830

—Augusta County Institute for Classical Studies, College Station Unit 5171, P.O. Box 8793, Williamsburg, Virginia 23186-5171, U.S.A. VOX: (757) 221-4218 – una classis de collocutione latina —  mailto: mdweb@wam.umd.edu http://acics.cjb.net

—New Orleans (Novae Aureliae) – 4/1/03 9 p.m. – mediano 4-0 Hilton Riverside – conventus latine loquentium auspiciis Septentrionalis Americae Latinitatis Vivae Instituti  mailto: andreas@latin.org

—California Borealis: Cena Latina — ultimo die Saturni omnis mensis (mailto: cenauiri@hypalonia.com)

et secundo die Saturni omnis mensis Angelopolii (“Tresviri Cenis Faciundis” mailto: RogerWhite@aol.com)

—Conventus Annuus S.A.L.V.I., http://www.wenval.cc/boreoccidentales/boreo_latin/vitacirculilatini.asp

Eveniunt fere ter in anno, semel in quoque “semestri”, i.e. semel vere, semel aestate, semel autumno vel hieme.

— Colloquia Philadelphiae,  mailto: gmalsbary@msn.com vel 315  South Monroe St. Media,  PA 19063    USA, (610) 785 – 6547, Vide imagines ipsius “Domus ederae”, et nuntium de cursu nostro aestivali: http://www.iiculture.org

Croatia

Circulus Latinus Zagrebiensis – in Foro bani Jelacic in taberna deversorii Dubrovnik Ragusa omni quarta septimana die Saturni..   Moderatrix Angela Rozic: http://www.gospar.com/hdkf/;  mailto: nenad.rozic@zg.hinet.hr

Colombia

Circulus Latinus Bogotensis: http://albinus.chez.tiscali.fr/bogota/index.htm

Gallia:

—Parisii:  Scribe ad :  mailto: lutetiensis@yahoo.fr

—Circulum Latinum Perpiniani in Francogallia meridionali: http://perpignan.latinitatis.com

—Lutetiae circulus graecus, sive “kyklos hellenikos”, quo periti locutores et tirones linguam graecam antiquam colere poterunt. Curabitur a Carolo Delattre.  http://www.u-paris10.fr/10198554/0/fiche___pagelibre/

Germania

De multis conventibus in Germani, vide  http://www.lvpa.de

—Sessiones vespertinae Circuli L.V.P.A.e Verinae aut Monasterii:  Latinitati Vivae Provehendae Associatio, Inga Pessarra-Grimm, Nordstrasse, 39, D-59174, Kamen, Germania  http://pagina.de/lvpa/

—Duisberg-Huckingen – Circulus Duisbergemsis, caupona ‘Balkanhof’, Düsseldorfer Landstr. (B8);  Rochus Habitszky ab hora 19 – ultimis diebus Veneris:     0049-2273/592742.

—Frankfurt – Colloquia Latina Francofurtensia, caupona ‘Pizzeria Franziska’, Franz-Rücker-Allée, 43, 60487, Frankfurt-Bockenheim, semel in mense, tele 069/531 405 vel 069/514 659 vel /531 405

—Hammonae – Circulus Litterarius – Rainhildis Aschoff  tel 02381/86560

—Oberhausen — : Kath. Bildungswerk, Elsa-Brändströmstr, 11, 46045, Oberhausen, Dr. W. Czapiewski, Rübekampstr. 48, D-46117, Oberhausen, Germania t:0208/891676

Hispania (vide quoque sub ‘Catalaunia’)

—Cádiz — Circulus Latinus Gaditanus — Gadibus sex Linguae Latinae professores singulis Martis diebus per horam unam et dimidiam Latinum colloquium habemus.   Joaquín PASCUAL BAREA, > Dpto. Filología Clásica (LATIN), Universidad de Cádiz, Avda. Gómez Ulla s/n E-11003 (Cádiz) TLF: 956 01 5542  mailto: pascualbarea@yahoo.com : http://gades.latinitatis.com/

–Madrid –Circulus Latinus Matritensis, Facultas Juris, Universitatis sancti Pauli(CEV), Avda.del Valle,21, Madrid: http://augustinus.eresmas.net/circulus.htm, http://circuluslatinusmatritensis.blogspot.com/

—Valladolid — http://www.vallisoletum.org

— Zaragoza – Caesaraugustae Circulus Latinus – extra solstitia –  mailto: abrotano@terra.es

Italia –

—Milano — secundo(?) Veneri die uno quoque mense, horis 1900-2030, aedes Sodalitatis Latinae Mediolensis (Circolo Filologico Milanese); aedium indicium: Via Clerici, 10 – Mediolani (http://www.filologico.it).

—Catania — Circulus Latinus Catinensis. http://xoomer.alice.it/cir_lat_cat/ mailto: clc_moderator@virgilio.it

Polonia –

–Warsaw — Bibliotheca Instituti Philologiae Classicae Universitatis Studiorum Varsoviensis, via Krakowskie, Przedmiescie, 1, tabulata 2-a – unoquoque die Saturni, hora 11 a.m. –  mailto: stanislaw.tekieli@osw.waw.pl

— Circulus Latinus Varsoviensis http://albinus.chez.tiscali.fr/varsovia/index.htm

— Circulus Latinus Posnanensis  http://poznan.latinitatis.com

Tasmania — Societas Latinitatis Recentioris, conclave seniorum, Aula Johannae Franklin
(John Franklin Hall), Collegium Universitatis Tasmaniensis, Hobart, Tasmania – comproba apud http://www.informalmusic.com/latinsoc/#lat02

Tsechia — Circuli Latini Prageni, http://circulus.xf.cz/www/

5. Latinitas per undas radiophonicas

—Bohemia — Radiophonia Bohemica:  http://vltava.rozhlas.cz — auscultanda et legenda

—Finnia — Radiophonica Finnica Generalis, Y L E, P.O. Box 99, 00024 Yleisra, Helsinki.
e-cursus:  mailto: nuntii@yle.fi ; TTT:   http://www.yle.fi/fbc/latini.html

Diebus Saturni et Domini  10.53 UT/GMT 558kHz/538m, 20.53 UT/GMT 15440kHz/19m, 9855kHz/31m, 963kHz/312m, 558kHz/538m.

Volumina I-III transcriptionum: singula $30 (chartulae creditae)

—Germania – Radio Bremen:  http://www.radiobremen.de/online/latein/index.html mailto: andreas.heib@radiobremen.de

—Vaticana Civitas — Radio Vaticana, I-00120. tel: 06/6988.3045-3463; fax 06/6988.4565; e-cursus  mailto: Sedoc@Vatiradio.va ; Missa Latina; 06.30 UTC93.3-105MHz, 527-1530kHz, 4005kHz quotidie; http://www.wrn.org/vatican-radio /  http://www.vatican.va, http://www.radiovaticana.org/tedesco/nuntii_latini.htm

— Sicilia – Nuntii latini — http://www.radiozmmu.it

6. Commercium epistularum

—Domina Genovefa Immè:‘Memento audere semper’ Madame Geneviève Immè, 21, bd. recteur Sarailh, F-64000, Pau, Gallia.

—Júvenis: European Language Institute, C.P.6, 62019, Recanati, Italia mailto: info@elionline.com http://www.elionline.com

—Grex Latine Loquentium — vide infra de rebus interretialibus

—Wolfram Bohmhammel, Klever Str. 9, D-13357, Berlin, Germania tele 030/4941727 http://www.maierphil.de/SeptLat ; http://www.septimanalatina.org/CommEpis/ ;    mailto: WBohmhammel@web.de

—  http://www.bingo-ev.de/~rw937/rostra/forum.php mailto: lauanger@sbo.hampton.k12.va.us

http://schola.ning.com

7. Editores et Libri

N.B. 1. Akihiko Watanabe, <akihikow@yahoo.com.> (vide sub Retiarius, §1 supra) tabulam 5 paginarum habet, ‘Libri latini post Secundum Bellum Universali conscripti’.

N.B. 2. vide quoque inter alia §2 Sedes Studiorum Neolatinorum

7.1 Editores et venditores:

** Domus Editoriae Societatis Latinae, Universität – FR 6.3, D-66041, Saarbrücken, Germania — libri, phonocasetae, phonidisci compacti.

** American Classical League, Teaching Materials and Resource Center, Miami Univerity, Oxford, Ohio, 45056, Civitates Foed.  http://www.aclclassics.org mailto: info@aclclassics.org

** Bolchazy-Carducci Publishers, Libri et bullae   100, Brown Street, Unit 101, Waudonda, Illinois, 60084, U.S.A. http://www.bolchazy.com

** Fundatio Melissa — libri, graphia, codicilli, pittaciae, fibiculae
Fundatio Melissa, Guy Licoppe, 76, Tervurenlaan, B-1040,Brussels, Belgia.
tel: 0032-2/7350408 e-cursus: mailto: guy.licoppe@pophost.eunet.be

** Maierphil:  Loqui Latine: http://www.maierphil.de/PiperSal/ ;  Romane coquere: http://www.maierphil.de/Apicius/ ;  Alii libri Latini: http://www.maierphil.de/books/

7.2 Libri (electio fortuita post 1990)

** ‘Alix’ – edidit Casterman, Rue Royale 132, btew, 1000, Bruxelles – singula desunt

** Angelino, Guido – Varia latinitas – Edizione Pergamina – 1992 – pp.334 – l.it 25.000

** Bartl, Manfred – Rätseln mit Spass – arsEdition, München – 1996 – pp.64 – ISBN 3-7607-4657-8 (nodi per verba Latina)

** Beard, Henry – Latin for all occasions – HarperCollins – 1992 – pp.xiii+92 – ISBN 0-207 17125-4 – £7-99.   — Latin for even more occasions – HarperCollins – 1992 – pp.xiii+96 – ISBN 0-00-255134-9 — £7-99.

** Burnell, Dick – Vesuvius and other Latin plays – Cambridge Univ. Press – ’91 – pp.84 – ISBN 0-521-40959-4 – £3-95

** Capellanus, Georg – vert. Peter Needham – Latin can be fun [Facetiae latinae] – Souvenir Press – 1997 – pp.160 – ISBN 0-285-63394-5 – £7-99

** Diggle, James – Cambridge orations 1982-1993: a selection – Cam. Univ. Press – 1994 – pp.xxi+108 – ISBN 0-521-46618-0 – £8-95.

** Ehrlich, Eugene – Nil desperandum – BCA – 1992.

Veni, vidi, vici – HarperPerennial – 1995 – pp.xx+297 – ISBN 0-06-273365-6

** Eichenseer, Caelestis – De itinere Palaestinensi sive Israheliano – 1992 – Melissa

** Giraldi, Johannes – Musis amicus – Ed. Pergamena – pp.136 – 1997.

** Helen, T., & Ketola, K. – Latin lives! in Finland and beyond – Helsinki – 1998 – 182 pp. – Edita P.O. Box 800, Helsinki, FIN-00043 http://www.edita.fi (Latina pro hominibus negotiorum).

** Immè, Geneviève – Novae fabulae – Italibri, 2001 – ISBN 88-87738-07-6 – €2,58

Linguae Latinae schola — Italibri 2003 — ISBN 88-87738–09-2

** Licoppe, Guy & Flour A. – Ambulatio latina secundum litus belgicum – Melissa

** Meissner, C. – Latin phrase book – Duckworth – 1894 & 1982 – pp.338 – ISBN 0-7156-1470-3 – £8-95.

** Milne, A.A. – Brian Staples (vert.) – Domus anguli Puensis – Methuen – 1992 – pp.160 – ISBN 0-416-88550-0 – £9-99

Alexander Lenard (vert.) – Winnie ille Pu – Methuen – 1994 – pp.121 – ISBN 0-416-64170-9 – £9-99.

** Pekkanen, Tuomo (tran.) – Kalevala latina – Societas Litterarum Finnicarum – 1996 – pp.364 – ISBN 951-711-901-4.

** Rowling, J.K. – Harrius Potter et philosophi lapis (trans. Peter Needham)  – Bloomsbury – 2003, ISBN 0-7475-6196-6, £12-99.

** Rubricastellanus – multos Asterigis libros vertit – Delta, Stuttgart, & Hodder & Stoughton – c.£7-99.

** Seuss, Dr. – Quomodo invidiosulus nomine Grinchus Christi natalem abrogaverit – Guenevera Tunberg (vert.) – Bolchazy-Carducci (v. §8) – 1998, 63 pp.

** Šimko, Dorothée et Meier, Rolf – in Latinum Häuptli, Bruno W. – Turbida tempora Augustae Rauricae (ISBN 3-7151-1015-5, Augster Museumshefte 15) et Augusti Raurica deleta (ISBN 3-715-1020-1, Augster Museumshefte 75) – Römermuseum, CH4302, Augst, BSB Buch Service Rittergasse 20, CH 4051, Basel.

** Tingay, Graham – Qui erant Romani? – Usborne Bilingual Reader – 1995 – pp.32 – ISBN 0-7460-2371-5 – £4-99

** ‘Tintin’ – edidit Casterman, Rue Royale 132, bte, 1000, Bruxelles – singula desunt

** Treloar, Dr. Alan – Lyra – National Library of Australia – 1994 – pp. vi+35 – ISBN 0 646 22541 3

** Vandersteen, Willy – in Latinum Dehamers, R. – Lucius et Lucia: De larva hispana [Bob et Bobette] – pp.70 — edidit Standard, Belgiëlei 147a, 2018, Antwerpen

8. Enchyridia, lexica et cantica

8.1 Lingua Latina loquenda

** Ælfric’s Colloquy – ed. G.N. Garmonsway – Univ. of Exeter Press – in primis saeculi XI et 1991 – pp.ix+64

** Desessard, C. – Le Latin sans peine [Lingua latina sine molestia], Methodus Assimil – ISBN 2-7005-0021-0 (cum disculis audendis)

** Fritsch, Prof. Andreas — Auxilia:  Lateinsprechen im Unterricht — C.C. Buchners Verlag, Bamberg, Germania — 1990 — ISBN 3-7661-5422-2.

** Maier, Robert et al. – Piper Salve, cursus vivae Latinitatis pp. 180 et Vocabularium germanicum pp. 46 – Septimanae Latinae Europaeae, E.L.I. Recanati – ISBN 3-12-614500-0

** Ørberg, Hans H. – Lingua Latina per se illustrata – Museum Tusculanums Forlag, Njalsgade 94, DK-2300, København S, Danmark. – ISBN 87-997016-5-0; …-8-5;  87-90696-02-6; … 05-0;   997016-6-9

** Der altsprachliche Unterricht 5/94 (Latein sprechen), Freidrich Verlag GmbH & Co.K.G., Postfach 10 01 50, 30917 Seelze, Germania.

** Traupman, J.C. — Conversational latin for oral proficiency.

8.2 Lexica

** Lempertz (ed.) — Neues Latein Lexicon – 1998 — ISBN 3-933070-01-5

** Deraedt, Françoise & Licoppe Guy – Calepinus novus: vocabulaire latin d’aujourd’hui – 2002 2 vol. pp.102+104 – ISBN 2-87290-018-7 – Fundatio Melissa euros 25.

8.3 Lingua Latina cantanda

** Association for Latin Teaching (Britannia) – Carmina Arelatum – pp.28. (quoque in situ societatis interretiali)

** Novák, Jan – Cantica latina:  poetarum veterum novorumque carmina ad cantum cum clavibus, – Artemis Verlag, München & Zürich – ISBN 3-7608-1895-1

** Schlosser, F. – Cantate latine – Reclam 8802 – ’92 – pp.102 – ISBN 315008802-X – 4DM.

Schlosser, Franz, _Latine Cantemus: Carmina Popularia Latine Reddita_ (with Popular Latin Songs, Christmas Songs in Latin, and Gregorian Chants),Bolchazy-Carducci 1996, 135pp. ISBN 0-86516-315-4

** Schola Gregoriana Cantabrigiensis – Carmina incunabulorum – ’99 – pp.16 – £5

9. Res audiendae et videndae

9.1 Peliculae

** Sebastiane – pellicula, Derek Jarman – edidit Disctac – 1976 – versio Latina a Jack Welch.

9.2.Videocasetae

** Julia in urbe Pompeiis – video (Latine cum subtitulis Latinis, Latine sine subtitulis, Anglice cum subtitulis Latinis, c.15 mins. cuique) – Channel 4 Schools, P.O. Box 100, Warwick, CV34 6TZ – 1998 – ref. 237411 – £14-99 inc. p.& p. & VAT – tel: 01 926 436 446;  fax: …. 4;  E-cursus:  mailto: sales@schools.channel4.co.uk

9.3.Audiocasetae

** Aesopia – audiocaseta, Jan Novak – Consonance & Sodalitas Ludis Latinis Faciundis – Prof. W. Stroh, Institut für klassische Philologie, Geschwister-Scholl-Platz, 1, D-8000, Monacii, Germania.

** Ammondt, Dr. Jukka – Tango triste finnicum (1993), The legend lives for ever (Elvis Presley) (1995), Rocking in Latin — veneunt apud Finnish Radio (q.v. supra)

** KlGr [nGross@Leolatinus.com] Leo Latinus: En inspicite sedem nostram interretialem:  tollite legite audite!

1). DE TEXTORE VERSUTO. FABELLA PALAOINDICA (liber audibilis)

2). ANECDOTA REI PROXIMO BELLO BORUSSICO FACTAE (liber audibilis)

3). SOMNIUM SCIPIONIS A CICERONE SCRIPTUM (liber audibilis)

4). MEMENTO MORI (fabula criminalis, liber audibilis)

5). WERTHER IUVENIS QUAE PASSUS SIT (discus textualis)

10. Res computatrales

Internet — Sunt multa foris semper nova per Interrete – societates, textus veteres et novi, &c   Ecce nonnulla graviora:

**Sodalitas ad Latine per Skypen interrete loquendum  —  http://web.ukonline.co.uk/caractacus.bears/CLI/index.html

**Grex Latine Loquentium (subnotationes mittendae ad  mailto: listserv@man.torun.pl verbis paucis SUBSCRIBE GREX .   Commercium epistularum omnium generum omnino Latine scripta.   Multa quoque opera hodierna et aetatis Litterarum Renatarum Latine scripta inveniri possunt.

**  http://patriot.net/~lillard/chp/neo.html = pagina domestica classica literaturae recenter Latine compositae

**  http://www.latein.de/forum

= Retiarius — commentarii periodici latini novis scriptis; mailto: clatot@pop.uky.edu

**Circulus Latinus Matritensis  http://www.servicom.es/latine/circulus.html

**Forum Romanum scripts –commoediae parvae et faciles – http://acs.rhodes.edu

**Bibliotheca Augustana –  http://www.fh-augsburg.de

**Tempestas cujusvis nationis vel continentis:  http://latin.wunderground.com

**Garrulitas latina:   http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LatinChat-L

http://www.geocities.com/CollegePark/Den/3581/

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/latine

**Pagina latina —  http://home.eduhi.at/member/heme/latine/default.htm

**Meetup – colloquia latina — http://latin.meetup.com/

** Ministratio colloquialis latina —   Radiophonia Finnica Generalis omnibus Latinistis forum colloquiale Latinum, in paginis interretialibus Radiophoniae. Quicumque gregibus Latine scribentium interesse vult, aut suum colloquendi thema ceteris proponere aut colloquio iam incepto se inserere potest. In hoc epistularum commercio participibus aut suo vero nomine aut aliquo pseudonymo uti licet. Inscriptio huius areae colloquialis est haec:  http://www.yleradio1.fi/nuntii exempli gratia: http://chat.yle.fi/yleradio1/latini/viewtopic.php?t=127

**Emissiones – semel in mense interretialiter, quae de variis thamtis vitae cottidianae fiunt —   una cum serie discorum compactorum inde ab anno 2001 a  Societate Latina Saarbrücken  http://www.voxlatina.uni-saarland.de

**Colloquia Latina ordinatralibus http://www.cirlapa.org/index_2.htm
recto itinere : http://www.cirlapa.org/locutorium.htm\
**Nuntius Leoninus:  http://www.leolatinus.com/1011_nuntiusleoninus.pdf
**fora aperta ubi epistulae libere legi possunt ab omnibus (non solum a 200 vel 300 membris subnotatis qui jam fautores sunt Latinitati vivae). Talia fora extant in rete, sicut: http://alcuinus.net/albinus/forum3/listemessages.php

quod invenitur in http://www.latinitatis.com/ et forum Nuntiorum Latinorum Finnicorum:

http://chat.yle.fi/yleradio1/latini/index.php

Et nonnulla alia extant inter quae mentionem facere velim de hoc:

http://www.bingo-ev.de/~rw937/rostra/

Hoc optimum forum abhinc fere quattuor annos creatum est a quodam juvene Germano et neglegentia quasi unanima omnium “fautores” Latinitatis vivae acceptum est, quo postea, ab omnibus desertum, quasi mortuum est.

**Acta diurnal  http://ephemeris.alcuinus.net/forum.php

** GRAECE loquentibus: http://urlaubingriechenland.gmxhome.de

** NUNTII LATINI ITALICI, quorum auctores sunt Franciscus Carciotto, Carmelus Consoli et Iosephus Marcellinus: http://xoomer.alice.it/cir_lat_cat

**  HYPERLINK “http://philia.xf.cz/www/&#8221; http://philia.xf.cz/www/

**Circulus Latinus Interretialis –Sodalitas ad Latine per Skype interrete loquendum http://www.circuluslatinusinterretialis.co.uk

**  http://schola.ning.com In foro LATINO estis. Ergo LATINE modo licet scribere

**John Whelpton — res diversae – http://del.icio.us/Velptonius

11. Scholae et universitates ubi cursus Latini vel non Latini Latine habentur

—Schola nova, a.s.b.l., 100, chausée de Namur, B-1315, Glimes-Incourt, Belgica.

(Cursus historiae mediaevalis — quoque linguae graeca et hebraica)

—Institut Saints Pierre-et-Paul, chaussée de Wavre, 457, 1040, Bruxelles, Belgica.

—Studiorum Universitas Kentukiana — Institutum Studiis Latinis Provehendis:  biennium curriculum academicum

mailto: scaife@pop.uky.edu, http://www.uky.edu.AS/Classics/institute.html

— Collegio Sancti Michaelis in oppido Brasschaat belgarum –  http://www.sintmichiel-braasschaat.be/secundair/project/levlat/levlat1.htm

–Certamen Iulianum, Liceo “Giulio Cesare”, Corso Trieste n° 48 I  00198 ROMA.

Scripta praemiis et publica laude ornata edentur.   Si quis plura scis cupiat:

http://www.liceogiuliocesare.it < http://www.liceogiuliocesare.it

mailto: liceogiuliocesare@tin.it

Lingua latina in Ecclesia

—The Latin Mass Society, 11-13, Macklin Street, Londinii, WC2B 5NH, Anglia, tel.: 1071 404 7284, fax: 0171 831 5585, e-cursus  mailto: lms@credo.sonnet.co.uk TTT  http://www.latin-masss-society.org (Ritus tralaticius 1962)

—The Association for the Latin Liturgy.Mr. C.M. Francis, 16 Bream Down Avenue, Bristol  BS9 4JF (Ritus novus)

Una Voce America: http://www.unavoce.org ‘Viva Voce’ ad quos auscultandos opus est habere RealPlayer. http://www.fshcm.com

[Gratias maximas agem propter alios nuntios similes]

Loeb Digital Library MMXVI

October 12, 2016 by

We were shocked and dismayed by the offering of only 166 Loeb volumes, many still in copyright, as digital files. The “Loeb Classical Library Builder” is offered for sale by Noet Scholarly Books for $704.99. The company claims this is a sale price, reflecting a 40% discount, making Noet’s retail price $1,000!

All these and 297 more Loebs are readily available as by torrent for free, as the Loeb Classical Library IV. The torrent offers 465 of 523 Loeb volumes. However, this collection holds few of the newer revised translations since Loeb itself went digital in 2014.

However, we were pleased to discover recently an offline version of the entire 523 modern volumes of the Loeb Digital Library offered completely for free.

Until now, the digital library had only been available locked behind Loeb Classics’ paywall using a rather expensive subscription model. In addition, the classics may only be accessed online, making using the Loebs quite inconvenient.

The zipped folder is 3.61GB. When unpacked, the entire collection totals 13.18GB. We’ll let the NFO file speak for itself.

loeb-classical-library-red-sidebar

Welcome to the Loeb Digital Library

Imagine the convenience of being able to immerse yourself in the Loeb Digital Library anywhere, anytime!

The pleasure of our classical heritage can now be yours with no subscription, no WiFi, no Internet. (You do still need a computer!) Works well on tablet and smartphone, too, so you can carry the classics with you.

The entire Loeb Digital Library, all 523 books, green for Greek, red for Latin, is now in your hands.

Now you can…

FREE THE LOEBS!

This collection is humbly dedicated to Alcides Guajardo.

PLEASE SHARE SO OTHERS MAY ENJOY!

A torrent for LDL MMXVI has been posted here: https://thepiratebay.org/torrent/16013213. The torrent’s info hash is: A7CD26773552BB0D315C790F70C14804638C96DB.

However, the file also appears to be hosted at the following cloud hosting sites: https://mega.nz/#!W8IyUbIL!gI_G2ucD0gohWcZ0wzzdIdVndtfzpZZKlPvUxdbEFEw and https://www.mediafire.com/?8ub77b47q9l4bkb. Enjoy!

Jesus and the missus – The Atlantic

August 1, 2016 by

 

The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus’s Wife

Ariel Sabar

The Atlantic: July/August 2016

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2016/07/the-unbelievable-tale-of-jesus-wife/485573/

 

Untitled

A hotly contested, supposedly ancient manuscript suggests Christ was married. But believing its origin story—a real-life Da Vinci Code, involving a Harvard professor, a onetime Florida pornographer, and an escape from East Germany—requires a big leap of faith.

On a humid afternoon this past November, I pulled off Interstate 75 into a stretch of Florida pine forest tangled with runaway vines. My GPS was homing in on the house of a man I thought might hold the master key to one of the strangest scholarly mysteries in recent decades: a 1,300-year-old scrap of papyrus that bore the phrase “Jesus said to them, My wife.” The fragment, written in the ancient language of Coptic, had set off shock waves when an eminent Harvard historian of early Christianity, Karen L. King, presented it in September 2012 at a conference in Rome.

Never before had an ancient manuscript alluded to Jesus’s being married. The papyrus’s lines were incomplete, but they seemed to describe a dialogue between Jesus and the apostles over whether his “wife”—possibly Mary Magdalene—was “worthy” of discipleship. Its main point, King argued, was that “women who are wives and mothers can be Jesus’s disciples.” She thought the passage likely figured into ancient debates over whether “marriage or celibacy [was] the ideal mode of Christian life” and, ultimately, whether a person could be both sexual and holy.

Karen King Responds to ‘The Unbelievable Tale of Jesus’s Wife’

King called the business-card-size papyrus “The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife.” But even without that provocative title, it would have shaken the world of biblical scholarship. Centuries of Christian tradition are bound up in whether the scrap is authentic or, as a growing group of scholars contends, an outrageous modern fake: Jesus’s bachelorhood helps form the basis for priestly celibacy, and his all-male cast of apostles has long been cited to justify limits on women’s religious leadership. In the Roman Catholic Church in particular, the New Testament is seen as divine revelation handed down through a long line of men—Jesus, the 12 apostles, the Church fathers, the popes, and finally the priests who bring God’s word to the parish pews today.

King showed the papyrus to a small group of media outlets in the weeks before her announcement—The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and both Smithsonian magazine and the Smithsonian Channel—on the condition that no stories run before her presentation in Rome. Smithsonian assigned me a long feature, sending me to see King at Harvard and then to follow her to Rome. I was the only reporter in the room when she revealed her find to colleagues, who reacted with equal parts fascination and disbelief.

Untitled

 

“The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” papyrus  (Karen L. King / Harvard / AP)

Within days, doubts mounted. The Vatican newspaper labeled the papyrus “an inept forgery.” Scholars took to their blogs to point out apparent errors in Coptic grammar as well as phrases that seemed to have been lifted from the Gospel of Thomas. Others deemed the text suspiciously in step with the zeitgeist of growing religious egalitarianism and of intrigue around the idea, popularized by The Da Vinci Code, of a married Jesus. The controversy made news around the world, including an article in these pages.

A year and a half later, however, Harvard announced the results of carbon-dating tests, multispectral imaging, and other lab analyses: The papyrus appeared to be of ancient origin, and the ink had no obviously modern ingredients. This didn’t rule out fraud. A determined forger could obtain a blank scrap of centuries-old papyrus (perhaps even on eBay, where old papyri are routinely auctioned), mix ink from ancient recipes, and fashion passable Coptic script, particularly if he or she had some scholarly training. But the scientific findings complicated the case for forgery. The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife had undergone—and passed—more state-of-the-art lab tests, inch for inch, than almost any other papyrus in history.

But skeptics had identified other problems. Among the most damning was an odd typographical error that appears in both the Jesus’s-wife fragment and an edition of the Gospel of Thomas that was posted online in 2002, suggesting an easily available source for a modern forger’s cut-and-paste job.

With King and her critics at loggerheads, each insisting on the primacy of their evidence, I wondered why no one had conducted a different sort of test: a thorough vetting of the papyrus’s chain of ownership.

King has steadfastly honored the current owner’s request for anonymity. But in 2012, she sent me the text of e-mails she’d exchanged with him, after removing his name and identifying details. His account of how he’d come to possess the fragment, I noticed, contained a series of small inconsistencies. At the time, I wasn’t sure what to make of them. But years later, they still gnawed at me.

The American Association of Museums’ Guide to Provenance Research warns that an investigation of an object’s origins “is not unlike detective work”: “One may spend hours, days, or weeks following a trail that leads nowhere.” When I started to dig, however, I uncovered more than I’d ever expected—a warren of secrets and lies that spanned from the industrial districts of Berlin to the swingers scene of southwest Florida, and from the halls of Harvard and the Vatican to the headquarters of the East German Stasi.

the owner of the Jesus’s-wife fragment, whoever he was, had told King a story about where, when, and how he’d acquired it. But the closest thing he had to corroboration was a photocopy of a signed sales contract. The contract recorded his purchase of six Coptic papyri, in November 1999, from a man named Hans-Ulrich Laukamp. The contract said that Laukamp had himself acquired the papyri in Potsdam, in Communist East Germany, in 1963.

The owner also gave King a scan of a photocopy—that is, a copy of a copy—of a 1982 letter to Laukamp from Peter Munro, an Egyptologist at Berlin’s Free University. Munro wrote that a colleague had looked at the papyri and thought one of them bore text from the Gospel of John.

The only written reference to the Jesus’s-wife papyrus appeared in yet another scan—of an unsigned, undated, handwritten note. It said that Munro’s colleague believed that “the small fragment … is the sole example of a text in which Jesus uses direct speech with reference to having a wife,” which “could be evidence for a possible marriage.”

Perhaps conveniently, every player in this story was dead. Peter Munro died in 2009, the colleague he had supposedly consulted about the papyri died in 2006, and Hans-Ulrich Laukamp died in 2002. King thus declared the scrap’s history all but unknowable. “The lack of information regarding the provenance of the discovery is unfortunate,” she wrote in 2014, in an article about the papyrus in the Harvard Theological Review, “since, when known, such information is extremely pertinent.”

But was there a lack of information? Or just a lack of investigation? The owner, for one, was still alive and had known Laukamp personally, King told me in 2012. In one e-mail to King, the owner wrote that Laukamp had “brought [his papyri] over when he immigrated to the USA.” That suggested that Laukamp had sold them while living in America.

Untitled

 

The owner of the papyrus claimed to have bought it from an auto-parts executive named Hans-Ulrich Laukamp (top left), who had gone into business with his friend Axel Herzsprung (top right). Laukamp had supposedly shown several papyri to an Egyptologist named Peter Munro (bottom) in 1982. (Clockwise: Walter Fritz; Ariel Sabar; Christian E. Loeben )

I searched public documents and found just one American city that had ever been home to a Hans-Ulrich Laukamp. In 1997, a German couple named Hans-Ulrich and Helga Laukamp had built a single-story stucco house with a swimming pool in the Gulf Coast city of Venice, Florida.

I tracked down people who had known the Laukamps, and they told me that the couple were chain smokers with almost no grasp of English; they were loners in a middle-income enclave of bike-riding “active seniors.” Helga had worked in a laundry, and Hans-Ulrich was a toolmaker who had never finished high school—not the background I was expecting for a manuscript collector.

The Laukamps might never have left their small Berlin apartment were it not for a late-in-life reversal of fortune. In 1995, Laukamp and his friend Axel Herzsprung, a fellow toolmaker, went into business together. The company, ACMB Metallbearbeitung GmbH, or ACMB Metalworking, won a lucrative contract to make brake components for BMW and was soon drawing profits of about $250,000 a year.

Laukamp, then in his mid-50s, bought a Pontiac Firebird and nudged Herzsprung and his wife to build a vacation home next to his in Florida, where the Laukamps hoped to one day retire. But those dreams evaporated almost as soon as they landed in the Sunshine State. Helga was diagnosed with lung cancer, and Hans-Ulrich took her back to Germany, where she died in December 1999 at the age of 56. The company filed for bankruptcy in August 2002, and Hans-Ulrich died four months later, at 59, after lung cancer metastasized to his brain.

Looking over his company’s public records, I spotted a peculiar detail. Four days after Laukamp’s wife died in a Berlin hospital, his auto-parts company incorporated an American branch, using the address of an office building in Venice, Florida. What’s more, Laukamp and Herzsprung weren’t the American business’s only officers. There was a third man, someone named Walter Fritz, who’d come to Florida from Germany at least four years before the other two and who would soon strike both men from the corporate documents, leaving him as the sole director of the American branch.

Walter Fritz still lived in Florida, and on paper he looked like an unremarkable local: 50 years old, married, with a single-story house in North Port, 30 minutes east of Venice. If Fritz stood out for anything, it was his civic ardor. He wrote eloquent letters to the editor of the North Port Sun. He led neighbors in a successful protest against overhead power lines. He was a regular at the 7:15 breakfasts of the North Port Early Bird Kiwanis Club. And when city commissioners gathered to hash out North Port’s annual budget, Fritz—a tall, lean man with chiseled features and dark hair, to judge by a video of the meeting—sat through hours of tedious discussion for a chance to harangue the elected leaders about a proposed recession-year tax hike.

When I ran Fritz’s name through a database of Florida incorporations, I found that the auto-parts firm wasn’t the only business he had ties to. In 1995, Fritz had founded a company called Nefer Art. Nefer is the Egyptian word for “beauty.” If someone close to Laukamp had an affinity for Egyptian art, that person was worth talking to: Coptic was an Egyptian language, and nearly all ancient papyri come from Egypt.

I ran Walter Fritz and Egypt through some search engines, and one hit caught my eye: In 1991, someone named Walter Fritz had published an article in a prestigious German-language journal, Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur, or Studies in Ancient Egyptian Culture. He had used infrared photography to decode textual minutiae on a 3,400-year-old Egyptian tablet. The journal listed his affiliation as the Egyptology institute at Berlin’s Free University—the very place that had also employed Peter Munro and his colleague who had supposedly examined Hans-Ulrich Laukamp’s papyri in 1982.

I wondered whether the author of the article and the Florida auto-parts executive could possibly be the same man. I called several prominent Egyptologists, who told me that the article—which had reoriented a debate over whether Akhenaten and his father served alone as pharaohs or together as co-regents—remained influential. But none of them—not even the journal’s former editors—could recall who Walter Fritz was or what had become of him.

i flew to florida in November to learn more about Laukamp, but Fritz had come to seem almost as interesting. I planned to knock on his door with some questions. But when I pulled up to Fritz’s three-acre lot, my heart sank: The property had no bell or intercom, just a forbidding gate at the end of a driveway that snaked behind a curtain of muscadine vine and Virginia creeper. A twitchy brown dog watched me from beneath a no trespassing sign. I idled my rental car outside the gate, considered my options, and then drove back to my hotel.

I called Fritz the next morning and told him I was in town working on a story about Laukamp and the Jesus’s-wife papyrus. I asked to meet him. He abruptly declined, grew agitated, and made clear he wanted to get off the phone.

He had never studied Egyptology at the Free University, he said. He had never written an article for a German journal. Though the Web site for Laukamp and Herzsprung’s business had listed Fritz as the president of its U.S. branch, he told me he was in fact just a consultant who had helped get the company incorporated. He couldn’t even recall how he’d met Laukamp.

But when I asked whether Laukamp had been interested in antiquities, Fritz bristled. “He was interested in a lot of things,” he said.

Like what?, I asked.

“I know he had a beer-mug collection.”

He then alluded, somewhat cryptically, to the question of the papyrus’s authenticity. “There will always be people who say yes and people who say no,” he told me. “Everybody is up in arms and has an opinion.”

I asked him what his opinion was.

“I don’t want to comment.”

Are you the owner?, I asked.

“No,” he said. “Who said that?”

No one, I answered, but since he was one of Laukamp’s few American acquaintances, I wanted to be sure.

He wasn’t the owner, Fritz insisted. He had no idea who was.

karen king is the first woman to hold Harvard’s 295-year-old Hollis Professorship of Divinity, one of the country’s loftiest perches in religious studies. The daughter of a pharmacist and a schoolteacher from a Montana cattle town, King enrolled at the University of Montana, where a course on marginalized Christian texts spoke to her in almost personal terms. “I already had this sense of not fitting in,” King told me in 2012. “From grade school on, I was the kid who was picked on,” she said. “I thought if I could figure out [these texts], then I could figure out what was wrong with me.”

She earned a doctorate in the history of religions from Brown in 1984 and by 1991 had become the chair of both religious studies and women’s studies at Occidental College. Harvard Divinity School hired her in 1997.

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Before Karen King went public, an anonymous peer reviewer delivered a punishing critique. (The Boston Globe / Getty)

The Jesus’s-wife fragment fit neatly with what has become her life’s work: resurrecting the diversity of voices in Christianity’s formative years. Early Christians were a disputatious bunch, with often conflicting views on the meaning of Jesus’s life and teachings. But after Constantine converted the Roman empire to Christianity in the fourth century and Church leaders began canonizing the small selection of texts that form the New Testament, Christians with other views were branded heretics.

King has been particularly interested in noncanonical, or Gnostic, texts that assign Mary Magdalene a prominent role as Jesus’s confidante and disciple. Proof that some early Christians also saw Mary Magdalene as Jesus’s wife would be a rebuke to Church patriarchs who had discounted her and conflated her, falsely, with two other women mentioned in the Gospels: an unnamed adulteress in John and an unnamed woman—thought to be a prostitute—in Luke.

From the beginning, King was up front about the puzzles the Jesus’s-wife scrap posed. Its text spans 14 lines on the front and back, forming incomplete phrases presumably snipped from a larger manuscript. “Jesus said to them, My wife” is the most arresting line, but others are also striking: “She is able to be my disciple”; “I dwell with her.”

In our interviews late in the summer of 2012, King said she expected a vigorous debate over the papyrus’s meaning. She stressed that the fragment was all but worthless as biography: It was composed centuries after Jesus’s death. It showed merely that one group of ancient Christians believed Jesus had been married.

Before going public, King asked some of the world’s leading experts in papyrology and the Coptic language for their take on the fragment: Roger Bagnall, a distinguished papyrologist who directs the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University; AnneMarie Luijendijk, an authority on Coptic handwriting at Princeton who obtained her doctorate under King at Harvard; and Ariel Shisha-Halevy, a Coptic linguist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. All three thought the papyrus looked authentic.

Some of the world’s most prestigious institutions had been hoodwinked by forgers. King didn’t want Harvard added to the list.

But others weren’t convinced. In the summer of 2012, the Harvard Theological Review sent King’s draft to peer reviewers. One was supportive, but another delivered a punishing critique of the papyrus’s grammatical irregularities and handwriting.

I happened to arrive in Cambridge, to interview King, on the afternoon she received word of the unfavorable review. “There was a crisis,” she said, apologizing for arriving a little late to our first meeting.

“My first response was shock,” she told me over dinner that night. “My second reaction was ‘Well, let’s get this settled.’ ” She said that if her own panel of experts agreed with the skeptical reviewer, she would abandon her plans to announce the find in Rome. She knew how high the stakes were, for both history and her own reputation. Some of the world’s most prestigious institutions—the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Louvre—had been hoodwinked by forgers, and she didn’t want Harvard added to the list. “If it’s a forgery,” she told The Boston Globe, “it’s a career breaker.”

I was interviewing King in her office the next day when an e-mail from Roger Bagnall popped into her inbox. She lifted her glasses and leaned into the computer screen. Bagnall suggested that she revise her article to address a few of the reviewer’s concerns, but he was otherwise unpersuaded.

“Yeah, okay!” King said, clearly buoyed. “Go, Roger!”

It was one of the assurances she needed to move forward.

The case for forgery, at first confined to lively posts on academic blogs, took a more formal turn last summer, when New Testament Studies, a peer-reviewed journal published by the University of Cambridge, devoted an entire issue to the fragment’s detractors. In one of the articles, Christopher Jones, a Harvard classicist, noted that a forger may have identified King as a “mark” because of her feminist scholarship. “Either he intended to find a sympathetic person or institution to whom to sell his wares,” Jones wrote, “or more diabolically intended his fraud as a bomb, primed to blow up and to discredit such scholarship (or perhaps the institution) when it was exposed.”

King never ruled out the possibility of forgery, but she continued to warn against a rush to judgment. More scientific tests were under way, and the similarities with the Gospel of Thomas were hardly incriminating. Ancient scribes often borrowed language from other texts, King wrote in the Harvard Theological Review; the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke—with their overlapping yet “theologically distinctive” narratives—were a case in point.

On a more practical level, she couldn’t see how a con artist cunning enough to produce a scientifically undetectable forgery could at the same time be so clumsy with Coptic handwriting and grammar. “In my judgment,” she wrote, “such a combination of bumbling and sophistication seems extremely unlikely.” The crude writing, she argued, could simply indicate that the ancient scribe was a novice.

Yet “a combination of bumbling and sophistication” could well be the epitaph of many of history’s most infamous forgers, their painstaking precision undone by a few careless oversights.

In the mid-1980s, a master forger from Utah named Mark Hofmann duped experts with manuscripts he claimed to have found that would have upended the official history of the Mormon Church. He used antique paper; made ink from historic recipes; and artificially aged his manuscripts with gelatin, chemical solutions, and a vacuum cleaner. But Hofmann was unmasked after a pipe bomb—which police believe was intended for someone he feared might expose him—blew up in his own car.

“One day [Walter Fritz] just disappeared,” one woman wrote. “Is he still alive?”

Before he was caught, Hofmann made an estimated $2 million selling his bogus manuscripts. Young, shy, and self-effacing—The New York Times called him a “scholarly country bumpkin”—he targeted buyers predisposed, by ideological bent or professional interest, to believe his documents were real. He often expressed doubts about his finds, making experts feel they were discovering signs of authenticity that he himself had somehow missed. “Usually he just leaned back quietly and let his delighted victim do the authentication, adding now and then a quiet, ‘Do you really think it’s genuine?,’ ” Charles Hamilton, once the country’s leading forgery examiner, and one of the many people Hofmann fooled, recalled in a 1996 book.

Reading about Hofmann called to mind the curious e‑mails the owner of the Jesus’s-wife papyrus had sent to King. In some messages, the owner comes across as a hapless layman, addressing King as “Mrs.” rather than “Dr.” or “Professor” and claiming that he didn’t read Coptic and was “completely clueless.” In other messages, however, he is far more knowing. He sends King a translation of the Coptic that he says “seems to make sense.” He specifies its dialect (Sahidic) and likely vintage (third to fifth century a.d.), and asks that any carbon dating use “a few fibers only,” to avoid damaging the papyrus. Also strange is that he tells King he acquired the Jesus’s-wife fragment in 1997, then gives her a sales contract dated two years later.

When I called Joe Barabe, a renowned microscopist who has helped expose several infamous fakes, he told me that most forgers try to unload their creations on the unwitting; scholars are usually the last people they want eyeballing their handiwork. So what kind of forger, I asked, might seek approval from one of the world’s leading historians of early Christianity?

“A pretty gutsy one,” Barabe told me. “You’d have to have a sense of Can I get away with this?

After Walter Fritz rebuffed my request to meet in Florida, I called the North Port Sun and asked whether its staff had ever photographed him. A friendly reporter e‑mailed me an image of Fritz surveying a mulch pile—the paper had covered his long-running crusade against a wood-chipping plant he felt was blighting the neighborhood.

I e‑mailed Karl Jansen-Winkeln, a longtime Egyptologist at Berlin’s Free University. Did he by chance know the Walter Fritz who’d written a 1991 article in Studien zur Altägyptischen Kultur?

Jansen-Winkeln replied that he did: Fritz had been a master’s student from about 1988 until about the time the article was published. “He left the university without a final examination,” Jansen-Winkeln wrote. “I have never seen him again after 1992 or 1993.”

That night, I e-mailed Jansen-Winkeln the North Port Sun photo. Did this man look anything like the student he’d known two decades earlier?

Jansen-Winkeln’s reply was waiting in my inbox the next morning: “The man looks indeed like Walter Fritz.”

It was the first sign that Fritz might have lied during our phone call. I wondered why a promising student, a young man who’d landed an article in a premier journal early in his studies, would suddenly drop out of his master’s program. I tracked down several people who’d known Fritz at the Free University, but no one had any idea.

“One day he just disappeared,” one woman wrote, in a typical reply. “Is he still alive?”

Judging from public records, Fritz arrived in Florida no later than 1993. In 1995, he incorporated Nefer Art. The company’s Web site advertised a peculiar miscellany of services: wedding photography, “erotic portrait photography,” and “documenting, photographing, publishing, and selling your valuable art collection.”

A page of uncaptioned photographs, titled “Gallery Art,” included a relief of Pharaoh Akhenaten and a pietà, a sculpture of the Virgin Mary cradling the crucified Jesus. Also featured were fragments of two seemingly ancient manuscripts—one in Arabic and another in Greek.

I e-mailed the images of these manuscripts to a few scholars, who found them almost comical. The Greek one, which bore a drawing of a nude woman, superficially resembled texts from Greco-Roman-era Egypt known as “magical papyri.” But the Greek words made little sense, the scholars said, and the script was more or less modern print. “Perhaps not in Times New Roman,” Sofía Torallas Tovar, a papyrologist at the University of Chicago, observed drily, “but in a modern typography.” The drawing of the female figure, meanwhile, was “in a style unparalleled to my knowledge in an ancient document, but easily found in modern school notebooks.”

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Walter Fritz (standing left, second from the top) in 1989 with fellow students on the steps of the Free University’s Egyptology institute (Courtesy of Christian E. Loeben)

Two experts in ancient Arabic manuscripts told me that the script on the other fragment was backwards, as if someone had photographed it in a mirror.

What happened next felt almost too easy. I dropped Fritz’s name and e‑mail address into Google, and up came a link to a site that tracks the history of domain-name registrations. On August 26, 2012—more than three weeks before King announced her discovery to the world, when only her inner circle knew of the papyrus and her name for it—Walter Fritz registered the domain name www.gospelofjesuswife.com.

It was my first piece of hard evidence linking Fritz to the papyrus. In January, I flew to Germany to search for more.

the taxi ride from Tegel Airport into the heart of Berlin was a blind slog through labyrinths of graffiti-clad apartment blocks, in fog and light snow.

On a cold Sunday afternoon, my interpreter and I showed up unannounced at the apartment of René Ernest, Hans-Ulrich Laukamp’s stepson and closest living relative. Ernest and his wife, Gabriele, led us into their small living room and said they were mystified by what they’d heard about Laukamp’s supposed ownership of the papyrus.

Laukamp had lived in Potsdam, in Soviet-occupied East Germany, as a child. As a young man, he fled to West Berlin by swimming across the Griebnitzsee, a lake on the border. The Ernests didn’t know the exact date of the swim, but Laukamp’s immigration papers suggest that it was in October 1961, two months after the Berlin Wall went up, when he was 18 years old. A friend of Laukamp’s said he arrived in West Berlin with nothing more than his swimsuit.

The story of Laukamp acquiring six Coptic papyri in Potsdam in 1963 thus seemed to hinge on a dubious scenario: that not long after his illegal escape, he slipped back into East Germany, got the papyri, and then risked his freedom—and possibly his life—in a second illicit crossing to the West.

Another problem was that until Laukamp went into the auto-parts business with Axel Herzsprung in the mid-1990s, he’d been a humble toolmaker who didn’t collect anything—not even beer mugs, the Ernests said, though they acknowledged his fondness for drinking. “If he had ever owned or bought this thing, after his third beer at the pub he would have told everybody about his great coup,” Gabriele Ernest told me. “And if I knew my father-in-law, he would have immediately tried to make money from it.”

I told the Ernests about the 1982 letter that the fragment’s owner had given Karen King—the one in which Peter Munro tells Laukamp that one of his papyri might be a fragment from the Gospel of John. Could they picture Laukamp seeking a consultation with a university Egyptologist?

The Ernests gave each other a look, then burst out laughing. Laukamp had the minimum schooling required by German law, they said—the equivalent of eighth grade. His milieu was the bar on his street that served as his “second living room,” not the college campus across town.

(When I reached Peter Munro’s ex-wife by phone a couple of days later, she found the story just as preposterous. In 1982, Irmtraut Munro had been learning Coptic and studying papyri while working toward a doctorate in Egyptology. If her then-husband had come across an interesting Coptic papyrus, she said, “he would have told me about it.”)

I asked the Ernests how Laukamp’s signature might have wound up on the sales contract for the papyri. “He was a person who very easily believed things he was told,” Gabriele told me. He was good-hearted, she said, recalling how he brought breakfast to a homeless man in a park where he walked his dog. But he was “simple” and “weak,” a man who was easily misled.

When I mentioned the name Walter Fritz, she stiffened. “I can easily imagine Walter Fritz saying, ‘I need your signature for the company,’ ” she said. Laukamp “would have signed that without reading everything.”

As I spoke with people around Berlin, a picture of Fritz began to take shape.

When I entered a metal-machining workshop on the outskirts of Berlin one drizzly afternoon, the owner, Peter Biberger, who’d done business with Laukamp’s company, answered wordlessly when I asked his opinion of Walter Fritz: He moved his forearm in a slither, like a creature swimming through murk. “He was an eel,” Biberger explained. “You couldn’t hold him. He slipped through your fingers.”

When Fritz turned up at the Free University around 1988, it was in the guise of a man who already had it made. On a campus where student fashions ran to grungy jeans and T‑shirts, he often wore elegant dress shirts and blazers. He owned two cars, both Mercedeses.

Fritz’s zeal for Egyptology was just as conspicuous. He got a job as a tour guide at Berlin’s Egyptian Museum. He backpacked around Egypt; took a class with Munro, the resident expert on Egyptian art; and joked, one classmate recalled, that the randomly assigned letters on his license plate—which mirrored the academic shorthand for a group of Egyptian funerary spells—foretold an illustrious future in the field.

His superiors, however, told me his enthusiasm wasn’t always matched by hard work. “Fritz was quite eager and interested in Egyptology, but he was the type who was reluctant to take much effort,” Karl Jansen-Winkeln, the professor who identified Fritz in the North Port Sun photograph, said when we met for coffee near campus. Jansen-Winkeln, who taught a class that Fritz attended, recalled his Coptic as “not very good.”

“He appeared to me like a person who wants to sell you something and not like a person who’s really interested in research.”

“He paid a lot of attention—how would I say this?—to what other people thought of him,” Christian E. Loeben, an Egyptologist who had worked for Munro and considered Fritz a friend, recalled when I visited his office at the August Kestner Museum, in Hannover. “He would wait to see what his counterpart expected,” and then turn himself into that person’s “little darling.”

The arrival of a new department chair in 1989 may have sealed Fritz’s fate. Jürgen Osing was a respected scholar of Egyptian languages but a harsh and exacting teacher. In the whole of Osing’s career, I’d heard, just three students managed to complete a doctorate under him.

Fritz’s 1991 article might have been his ticket to a promising future in Egyptology. He had gotten one of the Amarna letters—clay tablets of correspondence to Egyptian pharaohs from rulers in the Near East—shuttled from a museum of Near Eastern history in the former East Berlin to the Egyptian Museum, which had the facilities for a more sophisticated photographic study of its partly legible text.

“There was a little problem,” Jansen-Winkeln told me: The article angered Osing. “Fritz went to the museum to copy the Amarna letter and make a photograph, but many of the conclusions he reached in the paper were what he had heard in Osing’s Egyptian-history class.” Fritz did thank Osing in the article’s first footnote, and cited him twice more. But Jansen-Winkeln says the article’s key findings “were not [Fritz’s] ideas.”

Reached by phone in December, Osing recalled almost nothing about Fritz or his article. What he and everyone else agreed on, however, was that soon after Fritz’s paper was published, he vanished from campus. None of them ever heard from him again.

my trail might have gone cold there if not for a hazy memory: Two of Fritz’s acquaintances recalled him materializing briefly in the early 1990s as the head of some new museum of East German history. This rumor had always baffled them—Fritz had no training in the subject. When I pressed for details, a former classmate recalled that a blurb about Fritz’s appointment had appeared in Stern, a major German magazine.

After I returned from Berlin to my home in Washington, D.C., I asked the Library of Congress to pull every issue of Stern from 1991 to 1994. After an hour of page-flipping, I found it. In the February 27, 1992, issue, sandwiched between notices about celebrities like Glenn Close and La Toya Jackson, was a photo of Fritz, in a tie and three-button blazer, standing beside a painting of Erich Mielke, the dreaded chief of the Stasi, the East German secret police.

“Walter Fritz, 27, antiquities scholar, is the successor of Erich Mielke—at his desk in the former East Berlin Stasi headquarters,” the notice began. He wasn’t Mielke’s actual successor, the article made clear, but the head of a new museum in the former Stasi headquarters.

When my interpreter called Jörg Drieselmann, the longtime director of the Stasi Museum, he remembered Fritz well. In 1990, soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall, East German activists had seized the Stasi compound, to prevent former Stasi officials from destroying their intelligence files. The activists wanted the building preserved as a research center, museum, and memorial.

Fritz applied for the job of museum director. “Nobody from the group knew him,” Drieselmann, who was a co-leader of the activists, said. But Fritz made a convincing case: “He had come from the Egyptian Museum in West Berlin, so he was experienced in museum work.”

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In 1992, Stern, a German magazine, covered Fritz’s appointment as the director of a new museum in the former Stasi headquarters in Berlin. (Library of Congress)

When asked whether the activists had known that Fritz’s museum experience consisted of giving tours, Drieselmann said they may not have probed that deeply. The mere fact that he was a “Wessi”—a West German—made him a “fascination” to the East Berliners who hired him in October 1991.

Drieselmann said that Fritz excelled at self-promotion but was less impressive as an administrator. In March 1992, five months into the job, the museum’s board members ordered him to shape up. They were concerned, among other things, about valuables—paintings, Nazi military medals, Stasi memorabilia—that had gone missing from the building’s storage during Fritz’s tenure. Drieselmann confronted him about his job performance in the spring of 1992. Not long after, Fritz disappeared, leaving behind a resignation letter.

“I don’t want to raise allegations, but it is possible that a West German knew much better than us inexperienced East Germans that these [objects] were easy to sell—and worthwhile selling,” said Drieselmann, who replaced Fritz in 1992 and has led the museum ever since. He said that there was never an investigation into whether Fritz misappropriated anything, and that none of his suspicions were ever proved.

fritz’s career change from Egyptology student to Stasi Museum chief was unusual. But his reappearance as an auto-parts executive a few years later was stranger still.

During my trip to Germany in January, my interpreter and I rode the subway to Haselhorst, a drab industrial quarter on Berlin’s western border. We entered Herzsprung Drehteile GmbH, a metal-parts factory, and knocked on the door of the chief executive, Axel Herzsprung—the toolmaker who’d been Laukamp’s friend and business partner. A potbellied man with a wry air, Herzsprung seemed unruffled by our unannounced visit.

In my brief phone chat with Fritz, he’d said he couldn’t recall how he and Laukamp had met. Herzsprung’s memory was clearer. “They met in a sauna,” he said. Sometime between 1992 and 1995, he said, Fritz had struck up a conversation with Laukamp, who was 22 years his senior, in the steam room of a Berlin fitness center they both frequented.

How did a stranger in a sauna become a top executive of their auto-parts company?, I asked. “He snuck in,” Herzsprung said, bitterness edging his voice. “He was very eloquent. Laukamp was easily influenced—he didn’t have a very high IQ—and Fritz was successful in talking his way in.”

Herzsprung made no effort to hide his hatred of Fritz. “I was so angry at him that I thought it was better we never meet in the dark somewhere,” he told me. Each blames the other for the company’s 2002 bankruptcy: During my phone call with Fritz, he accused Herzsprung of embezzlement; Herzsprung, meanwhile, accused Fritz of a Machiavellian plot to take over the business by driving a wedge between Herzsprung and Laukamp. As the company imploded, Fritz—who split his time between Florida and Germany—persuaded BMW to let him take its contract to a different business in Berlin, APG Automotive Parts.

When I found APG’s owner at home one evening in a working-class fringe of Berlin, he told me that the business had thrived for a few years. It drew annual profits of some $250,000, thanks in part to Fritz’s sales talent and the BMW work he’d brought with him. But APG began dissolution proceedings in February 2008, after a former employee broke into its warehouse, the owner said, and destroyed the main machine that made brake parts.

Two months later, Fritz tried to sell his North Port house, to no avail. In February 2010, he listed it again, lowering the asking price by more than a third, from $349,000 to $229,900. On July 8, 2010, the house still unsold, Fritz had an angry letter published in the North Port Sun, demanding layoffs and 35 percent salary reductions for highly paid city staffers—it was the right thing to do, he argued, given the pay cuts and joblessness people in the business world were facing.

The next day, Karen King received her first e-mail from a man claiming to have an interesting set of Coptic papyrus fragments.

By every indication, Fritz had the skills and knowledge to forge the Jesus’s-wife papyrus. He was the missing link between all the players in the provenance story. He’d proved adept at deciphering enigmatic Egyptian text. He had a salesman’s silver tongue, which kept Laukamp and possibly others in his thrall. Perhaps most important, he’d studied Coptic but had never been very good at it—which could explain the “combination of bumbling and sophistication” that King had deemed “extremely unlikely” in a forger.

But if Fritz did do it, what was his motive?

Money drives many forgers, and by 2010 Fritz’s assets certainly appear to have taken a beating. The owner of the papyrus agreed to loan it to Harvard for 10 years, but that’s hardly exculpatory: An Ivy League imprimatur could produce a kind of halo effect, giving a forger cover to sell other fakes with less scrutiny.

But there was another possibility. If Fritz had seen his Egyptology dreams thwarted, maybe he nursed a grudge against the elite scholars who had failed to appreciate his intellectual gifts—who had told him he was mediocre at Coptic and short on original ideas. Not a few forgers over the decades have been driven by a desire to show up the experts.

Or maybe even this theory was too simple. Curious whether Fritz owned any domain names besides gospelofjesuswife.com, I ran a search of Web registrations. When the results came back, I felt as if I’d fallen down a rabbit hole.

Beginning in 2003, Fritz had launched a series of pornographic sites that showcased his wife having sex with other men—often more than one at a time. One home page billed her as “America’s #1 Slut Wife.” The couple advertised the dates and locations of “gangbangs” and asked interested men to e‑mail “Walt” a photo and phone number, so he could clear them to attend. There was no charge, but the men had to agree to Walt’s filming.

“I just wanted to thank you for a wonderful time during the gangbang on Friday,” someone named Doug was quoted as saying on the fan-mail page of one of the sites. “Don’t get me wrong Walt you are a great guy, but [your wife] … Wow!!!”

Fritz’s Web sites belonged to a fetish genre built around fantasies of cuckolded husbands powerless to stop their wives’ lust.

All of the sites seem to have been taken down in late 2014 and early 2015. But archived pages and free images and videos were easy to find online. In an interview on a German-language Web site, Fritz’s wife, under her porn name, described herself as the daughter of a U.S. military officer who had been stationed in Berlin when she was a teenager. She and Fritz met in Florida in the 1990s, and he encouraged her to act out their shared fantasies of her having sex with other men.

Fritz appears in a few videos, but he is more often behind the camera. He included a bio on one site, under his occasional porn name, Wolf: “I am a 45 year old executive, living in S. Florida. Stats: 6’2”, 185 lbs., brown hair, slim, no belly, clean cut, and well endowed.” Then he went on to list his academic credentials, as if for a LinkedIn profile: “I am college-educated with a technical MA-degree form [sic] a major university, and an associate degree in arts. I speak three languages fluently and read two old languages.”

This juxtaposition of lewd and learned appears in still sharper relief on one of his wife’s sites, where passages from Goethe, Proust, and Edna St. Vincent Millay are interspersed with philosophical musings on Jesus’s teachings, the slippery nature of reality, and “the Perfection of Sluthood.”

After trawling regions of the Web I hadn’t even known existed, I discovered that Fritz’s wife, under her porn name, enjoyed a measure of fame. Before Yahoo shut it down in 2004, she boasted online, her “Femalebarebackgangbangextreme” discussion group had nearly 50,000 members. The couple’s work belonged to a fetish genre built around fantasies of cuckolded husbands powerless to stop their wives’ lust for other men. The genre is called “hotwife.”

when i mentioned these findings to my own wife, she told me to read The Da Vinci Code. Studied closely, she said, the book could be a Rosetta stone for Fritz’s motives.

Dan Brown’s best seller is fiction, of course, but it draws on the work of feminist religious scholars like King. Its premise is that conservative forces in the Roman Catholic Church silenced early Christians who saw sex as holy and women as the equals—or even the saviors—of men. Threatened by these vestiges of pagan goddess worship, Church fathers defamed Mary Magdalene and enshrined the all-male priesthood to keep women out.

Brown’s chief point of departure from scholars like King is his made-for-Hollywood plot, which turns on a Catholic conspiracy to destroy evidence of Jesus’s marriage to—and child with—Mary Magdalene. A clandestine society whose past members include Leonardo da Vinci and Sir Isaac Newton has resolved to keep alive the secret of Jesus’s marriage, along with an ancient practice that celebrated the sanctity of sexual intercourse. In a pivotal scene, members of the society take part in a ritualistic orgy.

“For the early Church, mankind’s use of sex to commune directly with God posed a serious threat to the Catholic power base,” the book’s protagonist, Robert Langdon, explains. “For obvious reasons, they worked hard to demonize sex and recast it as a disgusting and sinful act.”

I wondered whether Fritz and his wife had seen in the book a way to sanctify their adventurous sex life, to cloak it in the garb of faith. The couple launched their first porn site in April 2003, a month after The Da Vinci Code was published. Perhaps they had spun a fantasy of Fritz—whose birthday happens to be Christmas—as a kind of Jesus figure, and his wife as a latter-day Mary Magdalene.

In 2015, Fritz’s wife self-published a book of “universal truths” that she claims is a product of divinely inspired “automatic writing.” God and the archangel Michael, she says, speak through her. The dates on its diarylike entries overlap with the papyrus owner’s e-mail courtship of King. “Knowledge as you know, is what brings forth the fortune,” she wrote in the penultimate entry, dated August 29, 2012, less than three weeks before King’s announcement in Rome. “For all the Bibles and all the churches in the entire world, cannot give you what you can give to yourself.”

Could Fritz and his wife have convinced themselves that a higher being was guiding his hands, too? To turn a Da Vinci Code fantasy into reality, all you needed was material proof of Jesus’s marriage, and a real-life Robert Langdon. In the book, Langdon—a Harvard professor of “religious symbology”—finds the modern descendants of Jesus and Mary Magdalene’s daughter thanks to a cryptic message on a scrap of papyrus. Perhaps Fritz and his wife had found their Langdon in Karen King.

nearly four months had passed since I’d first spoken with Walter Fritz. The time had come to call him again.

When he answered, on a Monday morning in March, I laid out what I’d discovered: his training in Egyptology, his ties to the Free University, the fact that he’d registered gospelofjesuswife.com weeks before King’s announcement.

“So what is it you want to know?” he asked.

The truth about the papyrus, I said. All the evidence pointed to him as the owner.

“Maybe I know the person who owns it,” he said. He claimed the papyrus’s owner was a friend whose identity he was not at liberty to disclose. When I asked him whether he’d had any contact with Karen King, he said he had never met her but had talked with her briefly “just to clarify something.”

I mentioned the allegations of forgery.

“No owner has ever claimed this is real,” he said of the papyrus. He was right: In the e-mails to King, the owner never said he had an authentic piece of antiquity. He wanted King’s opinion about that very question, and in the end she and the experts she consulted could find no signs of fabrication.

Fritz also confirmed something else people I’d met in Germany had told me: that he had obtained a technical degree in architecture in Berlin and kept a drawing board in his apartment. That is, he not only had studied Egyptology, but could draw—a skill that might help someone convincingly mimic ancient script. With that background, I said, he must have expected questions about his role in a possible forgery, whether he was the owner or not.

“Let’s be the devil’s advocate and say either Mr. Laukamp or I conspired to forge a papyrus to make a statement,” he said when we spoke again later that week. “Well, there is still no scientific evidence at this point that we did it.”

But could he have pulled off a near-perfect forgery if he’d wanted to?

“Well, to a certain degree, probably,” he said. “But to a degree that it is absolutely undetectable to the newest scientific methods, I don’t know.”

I didn’t understand these hedges, so I asked point-blank whether he had forged the Gospel of Jesus’s Wife. His response was unequivocal: “No.”

Fritz denied having money problems at the time he contacted Karen King. He also disputed the idea that he’d had trouble at the Free University or the Stasi Museum. Though he acknowledged that some items had gone missing from the museum during his tenure, he said so many people had had access to the building that he had been powerless to intervene. He said he’d resigned because he’d realized that an East German would be better suited for the job. He e-mailed me a photo of a short but adulatory 1992 reference letter from Jörg Drieselmann. (Drieselmann couldn’t recall writing the letter but said it was possible he had.)

As for the Free University’s Egyptology program, Fritz told me he’d quit because fields like real estate and business offered better job prospects. All the same, memories of his university years clearly rankled. He denied ever butting heads with Osing, but called him an “asshole” who seemed to take a perverse pleasure in humiliating students. He described the department as rife with backstabbers, and dismissed the entire field of Egyptology as a “pseudoscience.”

He had even more scorn for critics of the Jesus’s-wife papyrus, deriding them as “county level” scholars from the “University of Eastern Pee-Pee Land” who think their nitpicking of Coptic phrases can compete with scientific tests at places like Columbia University and MIT that have yielded no physical proof of forgery.

Fritz told me to call again in two weeks, and when I did, he said to check my inbox for an e-mailed statement. It read:

Dear Mr. Sabar:

I, Walter Fritz, herewith certify that I am the sole owner of a papyrus fragment … which was named “Gospel of Jesus’s Wife” …

I warrant that neither I, nor any third parties have forged, altered, or manipulated the fragment and/or its inscription in any way since it was acquired by me. The previous owner gave no indications that the fragment was tampered with either.

Over the next four and a half hours, Fritz told me the following story: He had first met Hans-Ulrich Laukamp in Berlin in the early 1990s, at a talk by the best-selling Swiss author Erich von Däniken, who’d become famous in the late 1960s for his theory that space aliens—or “ancient astronauts”—helped build the pyramids, Stonehenge, and other landmarks that seemed beyond the capacities of “primitive” man. Fritz said he struck up a conversation with Laukamp afterward—Laukamp bought von Däniken’s theories; Fritz didn’t—and continued it over beers at a pub across the street. He said Laukamp liked to sit in on classes at the Free University, and they had lunch together there. They did occasionally go to a sauna, he said, but that was after the von Däniken talk.

Fritz said Laukamp first told him about his papyrus collection in Berlin in the mid-1990s. Then, in Florida, in November 1999, Laukamp sold him the half-dozen fragments, for $1,500. Fritz photographed the papyri, conserved them between plexiglass, and placed them in a safe-deposit box, where they remained untouched for a decade.

In 2009, Fritz said, he was in London on a business trip when he stopped by the shop of an art dealer he knew. Fritz told the dealer he had some papyri to sell, and the dealer invited him to e-mail photos.

abe62f020.jpg

Walter Fritz in Sarasota, Florida, this spring (Lisette Poole)

Fritz said he would have been happy to get about $5,000 for the Jesus’s-wife fragment, but three months later, the dealer called and offered him some $50,000. Fritz e-mailed King, whose books and articles he had read: He wanted her to give him a sense of why a dealer would offer so much. But when the dealer heard that Fritz had approached an expert, he angrily cut off negotiations. In December 2011, Fritz traveled to Harvard to deliver the papyrus to King.

The story had an airtight logic. But it was nearly impervious to verification. In his original e-mails to King, Fritz had claimed that “someone in Germany” had translated the Jesus’s-wife fragment in the 1980s, and that a Coptic priest had “recently” translated another of Laukamp’s papyri. I would have liked to speak with either of them, but when I asked who they were, Fritz confessed that he’d in fact translated the fragments himself, using a Coptic dictionary and grammar book from his university days. He lied to King about it, he said, because he didn’t want to be “embarrassed” if his Coptic skills had grown rusty.

I asked Fritz whether there was anyone alive who could vouch for any part of the provenance story—the London art dealer, someone who had known Laukamp to collect papyri, or anyone who had seen Fritz with Laukamp at the von Däniken talk or at the Free University.

Did he have a single corroborating source to whom he could refer me?

“I don’t,” he said. “It’s very unfortunate.”

I called Karen King later that day to ask whether we could meet. I wanted her perspective on what I’d found and was curious about how much she already knew. I wondered, too, whether any of it would color her view of the papyrus’s authenticity.

But King wasn’t interested in talking. “I haven’t engaged the provenance questions at all,” she said. What she did know, she’d already reported in her 2014 Harvard Theological Review article. “It’s all out there,” she said. “I don’t see the point of a conversation.”

I told her I’d spent months reporting in Germany and the United States. Didn’t she want to know what I’d found?

“Not particularly,” she said. She would read my piece once it was published. What interested her more were the results of new ink tests being done at Columbia.

Fritz told me he’d mentioned to King that we’d spoken. Before she cut short our call, I asked her why he’d never provided originals of his provenance papers—the 1982 Munro letter, the 1999 sales contract, the unsigned note that seemed to refer to the Jesus’s-wife papyrus. “You’re in contact with Walt Fritz,” she said. “Why not ask him?”

All right, I thought.

But why hadn’t she at least released her copies of Fritz’s papers, as many scholars had requested?, I asked.

“I don’t think they’re good data,” she said. Nothing useful could be gleaned from a scan of a photocopy, which was, after all, just “an image of an image.”

I wasn’t so sure.

Forensic specialists had told me early on that anyone with the technical skill to fake an ancient Coptic papyrus would have no trouble concocting modern-day provenance papers. But after reading a short history of manuscript forgery by Christopher Jones, the Harvard classicist, in last July’s New Testament Studies, I wondered whether they’d gotten it backwards. “Perhaps the hardest thing of all to forge is provenance,” Jones wrote. A manuscript is a physical object; to convincingly fake one, all you need are the right tools and materials. Provenance, however, is historical fact: a trail of dates, places, buyers, sellers. To convincingly fake provenance, you need to rewrite history—often recent history.

Fritz’s contract for the purchase of Laukamp’s papyri was dated November 12, 1999. When I asked Fritz where the sale had taken place, he said it was in the kitchen of Laukamp’s home in Florida. But Helga Laukamp’s son and daughter-in-law, the Ernests, had told me that Laukamp was at his dying wife’s bedside at that time. He had brought Helga back to Germany no later than October 1999, the Ernests said, after a Florida doctor diagnosed her terminal lung cancer. She died there two months later, in December, and Laukamp hadn’t left her side, much less Europe. Laukamp “spent every day at her hospital bed” at the Heckeshorn Lung Clinic, in Berlin, Gabriele Ernest told me.

Later, at my request, Fritz e-mailed me a photo of his copy of Peter Munro’s 1982 letter, about Laukamp’s Gospel of John fragment. When I forwarded it to a close colleague of Munro’s, he wrote back that the signature and stationery looked “100% authentic.”

But later, I noticed two errors in the street address for Laukamp’s Berlin apartment. Not only are the building number and postal code incorrect, but no such address existed. The letter, it seemed, warranted a closer look.

On the advice of a forensic document examiner, I sought as many of Munro’s letters from the early 1980s through the mid-1990s as I could. Soon, scans were arriving by e-mail from a former doctoral student; a Dutch Egyptologist who has custody of Munro’s archives; a Free University professor; and the same Munro colleague who initially thought the letter looked genuine—a position he quickly backed away from after seeing other Munro letters.

The problems were endemic. A word that should have been typed with a special German character—a so-called sharp S, which Munro used in typewritten correspondence throughout the ’80s and early ’90s—was instead rendered with two ordinary S’s, a sign that the letter may have been composed on a non-German typewriter or after Germany’s 1996 spelling reform, or both.

In fact, all the available evidence suggests that the 1982 letter isn’t from the 1980s. Its Courier typeface does not appear in the other Munro correspondence I gathered until the early ’90s—Fritz’s final years at the university. The same is true of the letterhead. The school’s Egyptology institute began using it only around April 1990.

As a student of Munro’s, Fritz may well have received correspondence from the professor—a letter of recommendation, for example, or a note certifying that he’d completed a course. It would not be difficult, the forensic examiner told me, to take an authentic letter, lay a sheet of new typewritten text across its middle, and make a photocopy. This might explain why Munro’s typewritten name at the bottom of the letter is parallel with the stationery’s design elements, while the rest of the text sits slightly askew. It might also explain why no original exists.

“The angels asked me to,” Fritz’s wife said of her decision to publish a book.

When I asked Fritz for explanations, he did some hemming and hawing but never sounded rattled. As for the date on the sales contract, he said Laukamp had returned to America—perhaps twice—after taking his terminally ill wife back to Germany. “She wasn’t dying quite at that moment,” he said, explaining why a man he’d previously described as devastated by his wife’s diagnosis might have abandoned her on her deathbed. Fritz said he sometimes handled travel arrangements for Laukamp, and might even have records to send me as proof. I never received any.

When I brought up the 1982 Munro letter, Fritz cut me off. “I can’t comment on any issues you have with that letter.” He said he did not alter it in any way. “I received a photocopy from somebody, and that’s the end of the story.”

I persisted, going over the evidence point by point. Fritz told me that if the Munro letter was indeed a fake, the forger would have had “no clue” as to what he was doing. He emphatically excluded himself from the clueless category: “I’ve always known where he lived,” he said of Laukamp. But he hadn’t noticed any of the problems, including the mistakes in Laukamp’s address, before I pointed them out.

I met Walter Fritz in person for the first time on a sunny, windswept Saturday in April, in Sarasota, Florida. After several days of long phone interviews, he’d agreed to have lunch and then be photographed for this magazine. He recommended we meet in St. Armands Circle, a shopping and dining hub popular with tourists, a 45-minute drive from his home.

I was looking over a restaurant’s outdoor menu board when Fritz broke through a swarm of tank-topped beachgoers. He had tightly cropped dark hair and wore a beige linen suit with a pocket square, tan wing tips, and aviator sunglasses. Fritz’s usual ride is a black Harley-Davidson Road King, he told me. But today he’d come in his Dodge Ram pickup, not wanting to muss his clothes for the camera.

Over lunch, he said he admired King’s tenacity: She had held her ground in the face of relentless hostility and skepticism about the papyrus, at no small risk to her reputation. But he felt she’d made a cascade of strategic blunders that had exposed his papyrus to undue scrutiny and animus. Among those missteps, he said, was her sensational title for it; her decision to announce it just steps from the Vatican; and her mention, in her Harvard Theological Review article, of the 1982 Munro letter, which—if found “fishy”—could be used to tarnish the papyrus.

“If you know you are going into a confrontation, you just don’t provide ammunition to the other side,” he explained of his preference for less disclosure. Though King’s approach was perhaps “the most honest thing to do, it just wasn’t very smart.”

Smart for whom?, I wondered. And why was honest the enemy of smart?

As for the porn, Fritz told me that he and his wife (whom he asked me not to name in this article) had at one point drawn about a third of their income from the $24.99 monthly memberships to their Web sites. But they took the sites down a couple of years ago in part because the business had started to take the fun out of the sex. He’d seen the movie adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, he said, but there were no links between their “hotwife” fetish, his wife’s automatic writing, and the papyrus. “Probably highly coincidental,” he said.

Later, his wife told me on the phone that she was clairvoyant and had channeled the voices of angels since she was 17. But she felt no kinship with the Jesus’s-wife papyrus or The Da Vinci Code’s story, and there was no special reason for the timing of the entries in her book of “universal truths.”

“The angels asked me to,” she said of her decision to publish it. “I’m here to do God’s service. If he wants me to write a book, then I’ll write a book.”

At one point, Fritz said he needed to disclose something: When he was a 9-year-old boy being raised by a single mother in a small town in southern Germany, a Catholic priest had gotten him drunk on sacramental wine and raped him in a room next to the altar. In April 2010, he wrote a letter about the episode to Pope Benedict XVI, a fellow southern German, whom Fritz felt was doing too little to address the legacy of sexual abuse by members of the clergy. Fritz sent me digital images of consoling letters he said he’d received from three Catholic officials—replies that left him unsatisfied.

Fritz leaned across the table. He had a proposition for me.

Fritz described the effects of the abuse as less spiritual than psychological: his struggles with anger, his combativeness, his contempt for people he saw as intellectually inferior. He said he feared that if he didn’t tell me about his letter, someone, perhaps at the Vatican, would leak word of it to insinuate yet another motive for forgery. He insisted that the abuse and the timing of his letter to Benedict—a few months before he contacted King—were unconnected to the papyrus.

I hated to question anyone’s account of sexual abuse, but after everything I’d learned about Fritz, I didn’t know whether to believe him. A few years earlier, I’d written a long profile of a man who’d been molested by a priest in a small Italian town and later became a hero to the community of abuse survivors. I wondered whether Fritz had read the article and seen an opening to my sympathies—or even to public sympathy. But I discovered that he’d reported the incident long before we met. A Vatican official confirmed that a high-level prelate had written to Fritz “on behalf of the Holy Father,” responding to his “sad story.” Church officials in southern Germany said they had a record of Fritz’s allegations but knew of no other complaints against the priest, who died in 1980.

One thing did become clear, though. When we first started talking, Fritz had claimed that he had no stake in the papyrus’s message. But I began to see that he in fact cared deeply. As a teenager he wanted to become a priest, he said, but he later came to believe that much of Catholic teaching was “bullcrap.” Particularly flawed was the Church’s claim that the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were truer accounts of Jesus’s life than the Gnostic Gospels.

He pointed to the fact that almost no papyri bearing the canonical Gospels have been carbon-dated, because such testing would cause physical damage to the New Testament’s seminal manuscripts—damage that institutions like the Vatican Library would never countenance. But with the new ink tests at Columbia—the ones King had told me about—scientists can date papyri without damaging them. Fritz said these tests could well show that most of the Gnostic Gospels were written before the canonical Gospels, making them better witnesses to the historical Jesus—a view that virtually no serious scholars share.

“All that discussion that the canonical Gospels were way before anything else—that’s utter bullshit,” Fritz told me. “The Gnostic texts that allow women a discipleship and see Jesus more as a spiritual person and not as a demigod—these texts are probably the more relevant ones.”

Fritz had also told me at first that he didn’t believe in his wife’s spiritual channeling, but later he described her as strangely prophetic about everything from people’s motivations to imminent traffic accidents. She’s normally a terrible speller, he said, but her automatic writing is almost letter-perfect: “Something must be going on.” He said his wife sometimes lapsed, unaccountably, into a language he suspected was Aramaic, the tongue of Jesus. “We tried to record it. It goes on for 20 or 30 seconds.”

I asked when he had first heard her speak in this mysterious language.

“During sex,” he said.

After the waitress cleared our lunch plates, Fritz leaned across the table and told me to shut off my tape recorder. I obliged, but continued taking notes. He wanted to keep this next part between the two of us, but I didn’t agree, and he went on anyway.

He had a proposition. He had no talent for storytelling, he said, but he possessed the erudition to produce hundreds of pages of background material for a book—a thriller—that he wanted me to write. Instead of doing my own research, which could take years, I should rely on his. “I’d do all the legwork for you, and I wouldn’t want anything in return.”

The book’s subject, he said, would be “the Mary Magdalene story,” the “suppression of the female element” in the Church, and the primacy of the Gnostic Gospels, “maybe accumulating to a thriller story in the present.”

It sounded an awful lot like The Da Vinci Code.

“People don’t want to read Karen King’s book” on Gnosticism, or the books of other academics, because they’re too dense, he said. “People want something they can take to bed. The facts alone, they don’t really matter. What matters is entertainment.”

The book, he assured me, would be a runaway best seller: “A million copies in the first month or so.” Our collaboration, he said, “could really make a big difference.” But he insisted on the need for fabrication. “You have to make a lot of stuff up,” he said. “You cannot just present facts.”

“The truth is not absolute,” he explained. “The truth depends on perspectives, surroundings.”

I let him go on for a while, but I was stupefied. I was reporting a story about a possible forgery, and the man at its center was asking me to “make a lot of stuff up” for a new project in which he’d be my eager partner. It was a proposal so tone-deaf that either he was clueless, incorrigible—or up to something I couldn’t quite yet discern.

I reminded him that I was a journalist; I wrote fact, not fiction. Nor could I accept favors from the subject of a story. But I was curious: What role would the Walter Fritz character play in this hypothetical book, whose underlying ideas, after all, would be entirely his? He gave me a quizzical look. “I wouldn’t have a role in it,” he said.

He wanted, that is, to be the invisible hand.

As I walked back to my car, I realized with something like a shudder that Fritz had hoped to lure me into a trap from which my reputation might never recover. I knew enough about his dealings with King and Laukamp to recognize all the signs: the request for secrecy, the strategic self-effacement, the use of other people for his own enigmatic ends.

Fame and fortune would rain down on me, he’d promised. All I had to do was lower my guard and trust him with all the important details.

2,000-year-old Ancient Greek computer – The Register

August 1, 2016 by

Boffins decipher manual for 2,000-year-old Ancient Greek computer

Antikythera Mechanism inscriptions suggest eclipse, weather prediction and… RTFM

Simon Sharwood

The Register: June 15, 2016

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/06/15/antikythera_mechanism_inscriptions_deciphered/

Untitled

The Antikythera Mechanism

Scientists have examined hitherto-obscure inscriptions on the Antikythera Mechanism, a first century BC apparatus comprised of interlocking gears, and now believe the device could predict eclipses and the motion of the planets.

The Antikythera Mechanism is a scientific and archaeological marvel, because nothing else like it has ever been found. A few classical sources mention geared devices, but the Mechanism is the only one to survive from antiquity.

“Survive” may be too strong a word: the device was found on the sea bed near the Greek island of Antikythera after spending almost two millennia under water before its re-discovery in the year 1900. The machine has become crushed, its gears mashed together and some parts are missing.

In 1900 archaeologists saw the gears and obvious inscriptions and guessed the device was a mechanical calendar of some sorts. In recent years non-invasive imaging techniques have made it possible to peer inside the bronze artefact’s innards, resulting in reconstructions that hinted the device was also a navigational tool.

Now boffins have given the device the most comprehensive going-over ever, imaging its surface and interior inscriptions with computed tomography (aka CT scans) and polynomial textual mapping (a technique HP Inc uses to peer inside objects).

The journal Almagest has now published an issue reporting those analyses. Among their findings is an interpretation of the text found on the Mechanism’s cover, which is now felt to be “a systematic description of the dials, pointers, and other external features of the Mechanism, beginning with the front face and continuing with the rear face.”

“The best preserved passages include descriptions of features on lost parts of the Mechanism: a display of pointers bearing small spheres representing the Sun and planets on the front dial, and a dial on the upper back face representing a 76-year ‘Kallippic’ calendrical cycle.

In other words, a user manual.

Other findings include:

  • Text called “the Parapegma Inscription” recorded “an alphabetically indexed list of annually repeating astronomical events relating to the Sun and to fixed stars;”
  • The Mechanism included several calendars, to calculate the time until the next occurrence of sacred games and other festivals;
  • The Mechanism could predict solar and lunar eclipses and attendant inscriptions “may imply a meteorological aspect by referring to predictions of winds attending the eclipses;”
  • The device’s front cover is now felt to record “data on synodic cycles for the five planets” and “strongly support the idea that planetary motions were displayed on the front face of the Mechanism using simple epicyclic or eccentric models. Previously unattested long and accurate period relations are given for Venus and Saturn, which are favourable for geared representation and probably of Greek, rather than Babylonian, origin.

The Mechanism’s examiners are also now more confident that the device was built in Greece, rather than imported from Babylon, as analysis of the newly revealed texts suggests the machine’s creators were familiar with Greek astronomy.

Because the Antikythera Mechanism is unique, efforts to find similar objects are ongoing. Last year we profiled submersible robot-wrangler Christian Lees, who worked on expeditions that visited the site where the Mechanism was found to search for similar devices. Similar efforts continue.

100 Silver Pieces Found in Roman-Era ‘Hoard’ in Scotland – LiveScience

August 1, 2016 by

Laura Geggel

LiveScience: June 13, 2016

http://www.livescience.com/55058-gaulcross-hoard-scotland.html

Untitled

 

The entire silver hoard (except for the three pieces discovered in 1838) on display. [National Museums Scotland]

More than 170 years ago, Scottish laborers clearing a rocky field with dynamite discovered three beautiful silver artifacts: a hand pin, a chain and a spiral bangle. But instead of looking for more treasures, they followed orders to turn the field into farmland, squashing hopes of archaeologists for years to come.

Recently, however, archaeologists surveyed the field and uncovered a hoard of 100 silver items, including coins, and pieces of brooches and bracelets, all dating to late Roman times, during the fourth or fifth centuries AD, according to a new report of the find, which is now called the Gaulcross hoard. (In archaeology, a “hoard” is a group of valuable objects that is sometimes purposely buried underground.)

“We set out, not really thinking we would find more silver,” said study co-lead researcher Gordon Noble, head of archaeology at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland. “We just wanted to learn more about the context” of the original find, he said. [See Photos of the Silver from Gaulcross Hoard]

Originally, in the same field where the silver treasures were found, there were also two man-made stone circles, one dating to the Neolithic and the other the Bronze Age (B.C. 1670 to B.C. 1500), the researchers wrote in the report.

The three silver pieces were given to Banff Museum in Aberdeenshire, and are now on loan and display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh, the researchers said.

Metal detection

In 2013, two groups of researchers studied the field in northeastern Scotland, with the help of metal detectors.

On their second day of fieldwork, they uncovered three late-Roman-era silver “siliquae,” or coins, that dated to the fourth or fifth centuries AD. They also found a silver strap-end, part of a silver bracelet, and several pieces of folded hacksilver (pieces of cut or bent silver), the researchers wrote in the report.

Gaulcross-hoard-1-map.jpg

Archaeologists found the Gaulcross hoard in northeastern Scotland. ]Antiquity Publications]

Encouraged by the finds, they ploughed on, excavating and examining the field over the next 18 months and eventually finding the 100 pieces of silver.

The new findings help shed light on the date of the Gaulcross hoard, suggesting it dates to the fifth or sixth centuries AD, the researchers said. Some of the Roman-era items in the Gaulcross hoard include hacked silver dish fragments, spoon handles and a belt fitting. The researchers also found a crescent-shaped pendant with double loops. [Photos: Rubbish Piles & Roman Mosaics Unearthed in Historical English City]

“Some of the objects in the Gaulcross hoard were themselves almost certainly connected to elites,” the researchers wrote in the study. The silver hand pins and bracelets are uncommon finds, and were “clearly high-status objects that would have belonged to some of the most powerful members of post-Roman society,” they said.

Silver was not mined in Scotland during the Roman period, and instead came from the Roman world, the researchers said.

“Late Roman silver was recycled and recast into high-status objects that underpinned the development of elite society in the post-Roman period,” they wrote in the study. It’s likely that non-Romans — such as the Pict people, who lived in Scotland before, during and after the Roman era — got the silver from looting, trade, bribes or military pay, they added.

Some of these silver pieces, such as the chunks of silver called ingots, may have served as currency, much as a gold bar did in more modern times, Noble said.

“It’s a real melting pot of different objects and different cultural origins,” Noble said. “It’s a really fascinating hoard.”

The study was published in the June issue of the journal Antiquity

Loeb Classical Library IV (463/523 – Still incomplete] Son of Loeb IV torrent

June 15, 2016 by

Loeb IV – Son of Loeb IV torrent

You know you want them!

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TAGS: Loeb,classics,classical,Latin,Greek,Rome,Athens

 

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00e Old Loebs

Loeb Classical Library IV (463/523 – Still incomplete]

Son of Loeb IV torrent

Several readers pointed out that PDF file sizes in our Loeb III torrent had grown much too big with no appreciable increase in scan quality. Although we added more than 200 Loeb titles, we way more than doubled the torrent size, from 5.79GB to 35GB. Some individual book sizes were 2-3GB!

These filesizes are completely unacceptable for books with no illustrations. Accordingly, we had a rethink of this problem and were able to find many of the Loeb III titles in smaller filesizes and replaced the ridiculously huge ones.

Son of Loeb is the reduced-fat version at 18GB, including supplementary texts. Some wanted us to make a separate torrent for the supplement but we prefer an all-in-one package. Next Loeb torrent is up to you!

If any reader has the expertise to slim the size of the Loeb scans further, we’ll be your best friend! Extraneous pages need deleting, retaining Greek/Latin on verso page, English on recto, sticking to at least the original filesize or smaller.

The complete Loeb titles are here in XML format: https://www.loebclassics.com/volumes. I have also added their individual URLS to the “01 LOEB CLASSICAL LIBRARY IV – SON OF LOEB (IV) TORRENT DESCRIPTIVE CONTENTS” and “06 MISSING LOEBS UPDATE” documents.

Although LCL doesn’t permit it, we hope some techie can find a workaround to download these XML files. Thanks in advance!

My apologies for your inconvenience and confusion. Thanks to all Loeb readers for their patience in this process.

Please be sure to point out any errors (in pagination, Latin or Greek on verso (left) pages, English on recto (right) pages) [couldn’t fix L067], numeration, or poor scan quality [couldn’t find better scans for L236, L248, L252].

The original inspiration to catalogue Loebs online came from another classical Greek, my nephew, Justin Devris, who studied classics at Blair Academy, Hobart College and the University of Maryland. Loebs were far too expensive for a student to buy and often unavailable from any other source. He is currently (2015) pursuing doctoral classics at the University of California Santa Barbara. Exultations of larks are also deserved for ZL (Europe), Solon (Brazil), Andrew (America) for their contributions.

As you enjoy these from the multiversal data explosion known as the Internet where five exabytes (five quintillion bytes) of content is created every day, take a moment for perspective. The entire sum of our classical heritage preserved fits into just over 523 volumes, just 15GB of data.

Maybe a few more texts will be discovered but, really, that’s all we have from the ancient world, 500 texts, 15GB by classical poets, playwrights, philosophers, religionists, geographers, travelers, historians, theologians medical doctors, architects, statesmen, military strategists, biographers, epistolians, and a few saints. 109 men (where are the women?) who have been remembered and taught for 2,000 years. Not for themselves who ate and shat and fucked like all the rest of us but for their thought. Many are only known by fragments from their texts. How much deep thinking have you done today about the universe around you? A complete list of Loeb authors may be found here: https://www.loebclassics.com/authors.

Two million books are published every year in the United States alone, more than 2,000 every day. If humanity survives another two millennia, what texts and what names of ours will be remembered at the turn of the 24th century? While a few classical authors are known by multiple texts, think of the output of modern writers like  James Patterson at 147 books. Will his name or works endure?

Indeed, consider the total number of man-hours invested in pondering the philosophies of Plato and Socrates. What if there were even more erudite philosophers than these whose texts did not survive the millennia.

A reader has suggested that you, Dear Reader, provide these Loebs to your local public, corporate, or institutional library so this fount of classical knowledge can be shared by many. Here’s the inspiration: http://thispageisaboutwords.org/10-libraries-that-will-renew-your-love-affair-with-books.  

Son of Loeb is affectionately dedicated to Justin Devris.

More Loebs, please! We’re still not satisfied!

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The rebellious dead – Tia Ghose

May 21, 2016 by

Shackled Skeletons Could Be Ancient Greek Rebels

Tia Ghose

LiveScience: April 15, 2016

http://www.livescience.com/54432-mass-grave-unearthed-in-greece.html

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A mass grave found outside of Athens may contain the burial of followers of Cylon, a tyrant who sought to take over the Acropolis in 632 B.C. [Greek Ministry of Culture]

A trove of shackled skeletons unearthed in a mass grave near Athens may have once belonged to the followers of a tyrant who sought to overthrow the leader of ancient Greece.

“These might be the remains of people who were part of this coup in Athens in 632 [B.C.], the Coup of Cylon,” said Kristina Killgrove, a bioarchaeologist at the University of West Florida, in Pensacola, who was not involved in the current study.

Ancient burial complex

The mass grave was uncovered as archaeologists were excavating a huge cemetery in the ancient port city of Phaleron, just 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) from Athens. Over the last several years, archaeologists led by Stella Chrysoulaki, of Greece’s Department of Antiquities of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, have unearthed a huge complex filled with ancient skeletons dating to between the eighth and fifth centuries B.C.

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A new excavation just outside of Athens has revealed a mass grave full of shackled prisoners. [Greek Ministry of Culture]

“For the most part they are anomalous burials — the shackled people and people buried facedown, but also a lot of kids and a lot of nonelite individuals,” Killgrove said.

Some of the graves at Phaleron, including those of shackled individuals, have been known for about a century, but in the last four years, newer excavations have uncovered a huge trove of additional bodies. All told, the burial site is about 1 acre (4,046 square meters) in area and holds at least 1,500 skeletons.

“This is just a massive number of burials, which is absolutely fantastic,” Killgrove told Live Science.

Doomed to die

Among the skeletons found were a group of about 80 people who were lined up in the mass grave, with 36 whose hands were bound with iron shackles, according to the Greek Ministry of Culture.

A few pieces of pottery found near the skeletons suggest that these ancient prisoners died between 650 B.C. and 625 B.C., the Greek Ministry of Culture said in a statement.

That date could tie the prisoners to an ancient coup. In 632 B.C., the former Olympic champion Cylon tried to take over the Acropolis in Athens. His revolt was put down, and though Cylon may have escaped, his followers were put to death, after an initial promise to let them live was broken, according to “The Date of Cylon: A Study in Early Athenian History” (Harvard University Press, 1982).

However, it’s not certain these ancient prisoners are in any way connected to Cylon, Killgrove said.

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A new excavation at Phaleron, a mass cemetery just outside Athens, has revealed a mass of shackled prisoners. One of the graves includes an equine burial. [Greek Ministry of Culture]

“One of the problems is that historical records are really spotty for that century, so we really have no history and so it might be a stretch for them to connect these shackled skeletons with this coup,” Killgrove said.

Other skeletons at the site were buried in jars, in open pits, or in funeral pyres. The site even contains a horse burial, the researchers said.

While the backstory of these doomed prisoners is fascinating, the site is also unique because of what it may reveal about the lives of the average Joe (or “Ioseph”?) in the centuries before the golden age of the Greek city-states, between the fifth and the third centuries B.C., Killgrove said.

“We don’t have information about people who aren’t in historical records,” Killgrove said. “Learning more about the lower social classes in Athens tells us a lot about the rise of the city-state in Athens.”

Banksy in Pompeii – Adirenne Lafrance

May 21, 2016 by

Pompeii’s Graffiti and the Ancient Origins of Social Media

From Roman walls to Twitter, humans have a long-standing obsession with leaving their mark.

Adrienne Lafrance

The Atlantic: March 29, 2016

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/03/adrienne-was-here/475719/

The oldest known graffiti at Pompeii also happens to be among the simplest: Gaius was here. Or, more precisely, “Gaius Pumidius Diphilus was here,” along with a time stamp, which historians have dated to October 3, 78 B.C.

It’s a classic. Literally—as in, it is an artifact from classical antiquity—but it’s also a classic in the larger category of Things People Write on Walls. So-and-so was here (see also: Kilroy) has been one of the messages humans have scrawled, etched, and eventually Sharpied and spray painted onto public spaces for millennia.

Much of the graffiti at Pompeii seems surprisingly modern this way. Ancient inscriptions include declarations of love (“Health to you, Victoria, and wherever you are may you sneeze sweetly.”); insults (“Sanius to Cornelius: Go hang yourself!”); and remembrances (“Pyrrhus to his chum Chias: I’m sorry to hear you are dead, and so, goodbye!”). There are also billboard-esque painted inscriptions that included political campaign messages, advertisements for Gladiatorial games, and other public notices—like the equivalent of a giant flyer for a lost horse. The commonplace nature of these inscriptions is part of what makes them so historically valuable.

“It recreates the life of the town,” said Rebecca Benefiel, a professor of classics at Washington and Lee University. “It’s the voices of the people who were standing there, and thinking this, and writing it. That’s why the graffiti are just so special and so enthralling.”

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Ancient graffiti in Pompeii, in the style typical for a political campaign.

The fact that we can read the original inscriptions at all today is part-tragedy, part-miracle. Like most of what scholars know of Pompeii, the city’s extensive graffiti is so well preserved because it spent nearly 1,500 years entombed in ash after the catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. People have been fixated on the ancient etchings since Pompeii was rediscovered centuries ago. “Though nearly 20 centuries old, the thoughtless school-boy’s scrawls, the love-sick gallant’s doggerel, or the caricature of some friend, foe, or popular favorite, are still as clear as though executed by an idler yesterday,” The New York Times wrote in 1881.

But despite all this appreciation, Pompeii’s graffiti hasn’t been easy for most people to access. Even in the Internet age, a time when there’s a vague expectation that all of human knowledge has somehow coalesced online (it hasn’t), the inscriptions haven’t been comprehensively digitized. Scholars have to either piece together disparate texts found only in research libraries, or visit Pompeii in-person. But much of the graffiti—indeed, much of Pompeii’s history—has been looted, defaced, or destroyed over time. Ironically, some of that vandalism has come at the hands of people who’ve etched their own graffiti over the originals.

“Overall, people want to write on things to be known. To be everywhere at once yet nowhere at all.”

All this is why Benefiel is leading an effort to map the graffiti of Pompeii and Herculaneum, a nearby town that was also buried by the 79 A.D. eruption. With a grant from a National Endowment for the Humanities, she and other scholars are building a suite of tools to digitally catalogue, contextualize, and analyze these ancient inscriptions.

“I’m really interested in trying to look at the whole of what we have from these cities, and thinking a bit more broadly about how we can identify who’s writing messages and where they’re writing them,” Benefiel said. “Right now, that’s really hard to do just because of how they’ve been published, and how the map has completely changed because excavations got much more expansive.”

Digitizing what’s known about the graffiti at Pompeii—and making a searchable database that’s rich with metadata like height, writing style, language, and other details—is also a way of teasing out connections between inscriptions that aren’t otherwise apparent. Perhaps, for example, scholars will be able to identify common authorship among a variety of geographically disperse messages. Or maybe they’ll be able to understand what kinds of establishments are adorned with certain graffiti, based on the nature of the messages written there.

Scholars can tell, for instance, that a tavern was once beyond the wall where a welcoming greeting—“Sodales, avete,”—can still be read. Some graffiti describes how many tunics were sent to be laundered, while other inscriptions mark the birth of a donkey and a litter of piglets. People scribbled details of various transactions onto the walls of Pompeii, including the selling of slaves. They also shared snippets of literature (lines from The Aeneid were popular) and succinct maxims like, “The smallest evil, if neglected, will reach the greatest proportions.”

And then there was the trash talk.

“One speaks of ‘sheep-faced Lygnus, strutting about like a peacock and giving himself airs on the strength of his good looks,’” the London-based magazine Chambers’s Journal wrote, in 1901, of Pompeii’s well-preserved insults. “Another exclaims: ‘Epaphra glaber es,’ (Oh, Epaphras, thou art bald;) Rusticus est Cordyon, (Corydon is a clown or country bumpkin;) Epaphra, Pilicrepus non es, (Oh, Epaphras, thou art no tennis-player.)”

All of which is somewhat sophomoric, but certainly isn’t outdated per se. The social nature of ancient graffiti, including walls where there were clusters of inscriptions featuring people writing back and forth to one another, evokes social communication of the modern era: Facebook and Twitter, for instance. “I will say that the graffiti at Pompeii are nicer than the types of things we write today, though,” Benefiel told me.

That may be because many of the tropes associated with writing in public are by now so familiar that simply declaring “Claudius was here,” isn’t enough—in the digital space, anyway—to achieve what many people are aiming for. “Overall, people want to write on things to be known,” Roger Gastman, the author of The History of American Graffiti, told me in an email. “To be everywhere at once yet nowhere at all.”

But the wall-politicking that takes place on Facebook may be inherently different from graffiti in the physical world—even if it stems from the same basic human inclinations. “Writing your name on a [physical] wall is both a way of getting noticed but it’s also somewhat transgressive,” said Judith Donath, the author of The Social Machine: Designs for Living Online. But in order to get noticed online, where everyone can and is supposed to write on walls, you have to do more than mark down your own name and the date. The pressure, then, is to be more provocative, Donath told me. And an arms race for provocation in a world where there are more than 7,000 tweets published every second tends to debase civility pretty quickly.

“Especially Twitter,” Donath said. “If you’re not saying something, it’s like you’re not there at all; you don’t exist. You have to maintain your presence there. It’s more of a temporal issue, whereas in a city it’s more spatial.”

The ancient graffiti of Pompeii brings together these two domains, the spatial and the temporal, anchoring the ideas of a group of people in time to the physical space they occupy. Few artifacts are able to do this. Books and stone tablets, for example, aren’t typically preserved in situ. Which means the preservation of the convergence in Pompeii is remarkably rare, and made all the more astonishing for the fact that much of the graffiti there dates to sometime in the twilight decades of the city’s existence.

“You can walk through the entire town. You can peek into each house. You can get a sense that, wow, this is a space where people lived surrounded by color and imagery and decoration,” Benefiel said. “But I think what all of those elements give you is the space of the town. Then we have many inscriptions that are people’s names. We have hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of inscriptions that are friends writing greetings to each other. The graffiti immediately brings you to the people of the town.The graffiti really evoke the people who lived there.”

Size Matters! – Kali Holloway

May 21, 2016 by

Why do classical sculptures have such small penises?

Kali Holloway, Alternet

Raw Story: May 16, 2016

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/05/why-do-classical-sculptures-have-such-small-pnises/

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Statue of David by Michelangelo

There was a time when smaller was considered better

Although recent studies have shown the average penis size doesn’t measure up to popular notions, and that women care less about length than other aesthetic attributes, the idea that penis size matters is everywhere. Marketers capitalize on penis size anxiety by convincing men to shell out for everything from pills to enlargement surgery, which runs between $4,000 to $17,000. (In case you’re curious, Germans opt for the surgery more than anyone else in the world. The U.S. came in way down in ninth place.)

But there was a time when smaller was considered better, and the testament to that sentiment can be viewed in some of the world’s greatest museums. If you’ve ever wondered why classical statues—meaning those of the Greek and Roman varieties—are so modestly endowed, the answer lies in societal views on penis size in those eras. The Greeks believed small penises were a sign of intelligence and cultural distinction. Big penises, conversely, were regarded with disdain, a signifier of a lusty, bestial, lowly sex-ogre with animalistic cravings.

Ellen Oredsson, an art historian and head curator at Bangkok’s Rock Around Asia gallery, explains the role Grecian beauty standards played in the small penises attached to some of the world’s most famous classical sculptures:

Today, big penises are seen as valuable and manly, but back then, most evidence points to the fact that small penises were considered better than big ones. One of the reasons historians, such as Kenneth Dover in his landmark book Greek Homosexuality, have suggested that small penises were more culturally valued is that large penises were associated with very specific characteristics: foolishness, lust and ugliness… Meanwhile, the ideal Greek man was rational, intellectual and authoritative. He may still have had a lot of sex, but this was unrelated to his penis size, and his small penis allowed him to remain coolly logical….The ancient Romans might have been more positive towards large penises, but their sculptures continue the trend of small penises. Later, in Renaissance art, sculptors were very specifically influenced by ancient Greek art and their small penis size.

Hence the smaller size phallus on Michelangelo’s Renaissance sculpture David (take a closer look), and Greek sculptures Victorious Youth and early classical period Kritios Boy.

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The Art & Popular Culture wiki noted that “[l]ong, thick penises were considered—at least in the highbrow view—grotesque, comic, or both and were usually found on fertility gods, half-animal critters such as satyrs, ugly old men, and barbarians. A circumcised penis was particularly gross.”

Art historian Oredsson offers examples of this, with images of large-penised figures:

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That’s a satyr above, and the figure depicted just below it is Priapus (that name should sound vaguely familiar to anyone who’s overdone it with the Viagra), a Greek god of fertility. Oredsson notes Priapus was “cursed with a permanent erection, impotence, ugliness and foul-mindedness by Hera” and was “actually so despised by the other gods that he was thrown off Mount Olympus.”

Revisiting the smaller penises of many Greek statues, it’s worth noting that they’re flaccid, which probably accounts for at least some of the smallness. A 2013 Athens University study also pointed out that “many of these images belong to athletes during or immediately after hard exercise with the penis shrunk.”

Lawrence Barraclough, who made an entire documentary about living with a small penis, visited with Emma Stafford, senior lecturer in classics at Leeds University in the UK. Presented with a cast of Barraclough’s penis, Stafford responded that the Greeks would consider him “the ideal man.”

Charon’s Obols – Ancient Origins

May 21, 2016 by

Exposing the Shady Secrets of Charon’s Obols: Spirit Coins of Ancient Greece

Ancient Origins: May 11, 2016

http://www.ancient-origins.net/history-ancient-traditions/exposing-shady-secrets-charons-obols-spirit-coins-ancient-greece-005867?nopaging=1

Charons-Obols

Charon and Psyche (1883), a pre-Raphaelite interpretation of the myth

by John Roddam Spencer Stanhope.

Charon’s obols were coins supposedly used by the ancient Greeks for funerary purposes. More precisely, the belief is that these coins were used by the shades (roughly equivalent to the concept of ‘spirit’ or ‘ghost’) of the dead to pay for their journey across the River Styx or Acheron into the Underworld. In Greek mythology, the ferryman of the dead is a figure called Charon, who was the son of Nyx and Erebos. Thus, according to literary sources, if a dead person was to be buried, a coin would be placed in his / her mouth prior to the burial. Nevertheless, the archaeological evidence seems to paint a different picture compared to the written sources.

The Ferryman of Hades

In Greek mythology, the realm of the living is separated from the Underworld by the River Styx and Acheron. In order for the shades of the dead to enter into the Underworld, they were required to cross either one of these rivers. It seems that the only way of doing so was to get onto the boat that was operated by Charon, the ferryman of Hades.

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A 19th-century interpretation of Charon’s crossing by Alexander Litovchenko.

The concept of Charon as a ferryman was a later addition to Greek mythology, as this character does not appear in any works of the early Greek poets. For example, in Hesiod’s Theogony, which is about the birth of the gods, there is no mention whatsoever of Charon.

Nevertheless, the idea that there was a ferryman plying the waters of the Styx and / or Acheron seems to have caught on. Numerous references to this figure can be found in later literary works, including those of Aeschylus, Aristophanes, Ovid, and Virgil.

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Crossing the Styx, illustration by Gustave Doré, 1861.

Obols or the Earthly Plane

Charon has also been portrayed in Greek vase paintings. In this medium, he is commonly depicted as “an ugly, bearded man with a crooked nose, wearing a conical hat and tunic”. In addition, he is often shown standing in his boat holding an oar, and waiting to receive the shades of the newly dead.

Charon does not ferry his passengers for free, and they are, according to Greek belief, required to pay him an obol for his service. In order to have this amount of money in the afterlife, the dead needed to be buried with this coin in their mouths. Some sources mention that if a shade was not able to pay the ferryman, he / she would need to wander on the earthly side of the river for a hundred years before being allowed to cross it.

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Charon as depicted by Michelangelo in his fresco ‘The Last Judgment’ in the Sistine Chapel.

The Greek word ‘obol’ originally meant ‘roasting spit’, as bundles of iron roasting spits once served as a type of currency before coins were minted. When coins came into use, the obol was the name given to the small silver coins that were valued at one sixth of a drachma. Later on, i.e. after the conquest of Greece by the Romans, the obol was used to describe any low value bronze coin.

Literary and Archaeological Evidence for Obols

Whilst the literary sources mention specifically that the obol was placed in the mouth of the deceased, archaeological evidence seems to tell a different story. Only a small proportion of burials found in ancient Greek cemeteries contain any coins at all. In other words, this practice seems to have not been as wide-spread as the literary sources suggest. In many of these burials, it has been found the dead were buried with more than a single coin. Additionally, these coins were not always of low value, and were placed on various parts of the body, not just in the mouth.

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Roman skull with an obol (an Antoninus Pius dupondius) in the mouth.

This suggests that the literary sources only recorded one of the funerary customs practiced by the ancient Greeks. Apart from the placement of obols in the mouths of the dead, it is likely that there were other practices as well, though these were not given much attention, if at all. On top of that, it is also possible that the reasons for placing coins with the dead had other purposes that paying for a boat ride across the River Styx or Acheron.

References

Alchin, L., 2015. Charon. [Online]

Available at: http://www.talesbeyondbelief.com/greek-gods-mythology/charon.htm

Atsma, A. J., 2015. Kharon. [Online]

Available at: http://www.theoi.com/Khthonios/Kharon.html

Crawford, B., 2016. Religious Death Rituals & Burial Customs of Ancient Greece. [Online]

Available at: http://people.opposingviews.com/religious-death-rituals-burial-customs-ancient-greece-1565.html

Gill, N., 2016. Charon. [Online]

Available at: http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/cgodsandgoddesses/g/101609Charon.htm

Griffith, R., 2016. Obol. [Online]

Available at: https://brown.edu/Departments/Joukowsky_Institute/courses/greekpast/4792.html

Markowitz, M., 2016. Ancient Coins – Charon’s Obol Coins for the Dead. [Online]

Available at: http://www.coinweek.com/ancient-coins/ancient-charons-obol-coins-dead/

Stevens, S. T., 1991. Charon’s Obol and Other Coins in Ancient Funerary Practice. Phoenix, 45(3), pp. 215-229.