Categories
Interviews

INTERVIEW: The Zamani Project and Dr. Heinz Rüther

The Zamani Project attempts to record the “spatial” domain of African patrimony by recording its physical, architectural, and natural dimensions. The documentation project was initiated to increase international awareness of African heritage and provide material for research while, concurrently, creating a permanent and accurate record of important sites for restoration and conservation purposes. The spatial data acquired by The Zamani Project is made available worldwide and augmented with contextual non-spatial data by ALUKA.

The Zamani Project was an initiative of the Geomatics Division of the University of Cape Town and is currently supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The endeavor, founded as “The African Cultural Heritage Sites and Landscapes Project,” developed out of years of heritage documentation activities by the projects Principal Investigator, Professor Heinz Rüther.

In this exclusive interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks with Professor Heinz Rüther about the project, ancient Africa, and the need for the conservation of Africa’s patrimony.

Categories
Interviews

Interview: From Bactria to Taxila–New e-Resource on Ancient Central Asia

Central Asia can be thought of as the “core region” of the Eurasian continent, stretching from the Caspian Sea to western China, the rugged mountains of Pakistan to the extensive steppes of southern Russia. Misunderstood, understudied, and oftentimes a front line between empires and geopolitical rivals, ancient Central Asia rarely receives the attention afforded to neighboring India, China, and Persia.

Sensing the need for a composite resource focused solely on this compelling part of the world, Antoine Simonin, a long time contributor to the Ancient History Encyclopedia, built From Bactria to Taxila to fill this glaring void on the web. In this interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia, speaks to Antoine about the launch of his new e-resource webpage and why Central Asia is “off the radar” for most ancient historians and specialists.

Categories
Interviews

Campaigning Across the Ages: An Interview with Professor Philip Freeman

How to Win an Election: An Ancient Guide for Modern Politicians is the latest publication by Professor Philip Freeman, the Orlando W. Qualley Chair of Classical Languages at Luther College, in Decorah, Iowa. In 64 BCE, Marcus Cicero (106-43 BCE) ran for consul and faced the challenge of a lifetime: winning the highest office in the Republic. Fortunately, his younger brother, Quintus Cicero (102 – 43 BCE), was able to impart advice on managing a successful political campaign: The Commentariolum Petitionis. Although the Cicero brothers lived an age in which politics was localized and intensely personal, Quintus’ short maxims to his brother delineate many political truths still valid in modern times. Accessible and entertaining, Freeman translates an “unashamedly pragmatic primer.”

Categories
Interviews

Uncovering Athens’ Ancient Harbour: The Zea Harbour Project Interview

The Zea Harbour Project (ZHP) is a combined land and underwater archaeological investigation of the ancient harbours of Zea and Mounichia in the Piraeus (Athens’ harbour city) in Greece. Launched in 2002 under the auspices of the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, the 26th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities (until 2009) and the Danish Institute at Athens, ZHP’s mission is to survey, excavate, and publish the archaeological remains of the ancient naval bases of the Piraeus. The Carlsberg Foundation has funded the project since 2004.

In this interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks with Dr. Bjørn Lovén, Associate Fellow in Maritime Archaeology at the University of Southern Denmark, and director of the ZHP.

Categories
Interviews

An Old Song with a New Melody: An Interview with Madeline Miller

Madeline Miller by Nina Subin
Madeline Miller

As a young girl growing up in New York City, Madeline Miller felt a strong attachment to the literature and culture of Greco-Roman civilization. Mesmerized by the heroic exploits of Hercules, Achilles, and Aeneas, Miller pursued her passion at Brown University, where she received a BA and MA in Latin and Ancient Greek. Miller also studied in the Dramaturgy department at Yale University’s School of Drama, where she learned the art of adapting classical texts to modern tastes.

In Miller’s debut novel, The Song of Achilles, the timeless tale of Homer’s Iliad is given new form and direction via the perspective of Achilles’ beloved companion, Patroclus. The heart of the novel is tale of friendship and love between two men, with interlocking fates. Seamlessly blending Homeric convention with modern diction, Miller’s novel is an absorbing and enchanting read. In this interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia took the time to speak with Miller about her new novel and what inspired her to write about the ancient world.

Categories
Interviews

Interview: Linking Ancient Rome and Ireland

Jacqueline Cahill WilsonThe Discovery Programme is an Irish public institution for advanced research in Irish archaeology. Its sole activity is to engage in full-time archaeological and related research, in order to enhance our understanding of Ireland’s complex past. Recently, the Discovery Programme has initiated a project of geophysical investigations as part of the Late Iron Age and Roman Ireland (LIARI) Project.

In this interview, James Blake Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia speaks with Dr. Jacqueline Cahill-Wilson, Principal Investigator for the LIARI Project. This project seeks, amongst other things, to shed light on settlement and society in Ireland during the first five centuries CE, and will involve a critical reappraisal of the nature and impact of interaction with the Roman world.

Categories
Interviews

Interview: The Glittering World of the Sasanians

The Sasanians of Iran have long played a historical “second fiddle” to their Romano-Byzantine, Indian, and Chinese neighbors. The last of the ancient Persian dynasties and perhaps the most culturally sophisticated of all Persian polities, the Sasanians were a dynamic and commanding force in the world of Late Antiquity. In this interview, James Wiener of the Ancient History Encyclopedia took the opportunity to speak with Professor Touraj Daryaee, an expert on Sasanian culture and politics.

Categories
Interviews Uncategorized

Interview with historical fiction writer Gordon Doherty

I had the pleasure of interviewing Gordon Doherty, a Scottish writer of historical fiction, about his book Legionary (set in the Migration Age Byzantine Empire) and his latest book Strategos (set in the Medieval Byzantine Empire). In this interview, he talks about his interpretation of Byzantium and why it’s a great setting for historical fiction. Click on the title to read the full interview.

Categories
Interviews Uncategorized

Life in Year One Interview

In his new Book Life in Year One Scott Korb examines what life was like when Jesus was born: What did people eat, how did they live, how did they dress, and what was flirting like? Using archaeological data, ancient texts, and modern historical research, he paints a clear picture Jewish life under Roman rule. National Public Radio has interviewed Korb about his new book.