Etruscan Trident

ETRURIA, Vetulonia. Circa 215-211 BC. Æ Uncia (4.99 gm). Head of Nethuns right, wearing ketos (sea monster) headdress / Tripod between two dolphins. Vecchi V 25; cf. SNG France 58 (sextans); cf. SNG ANS 100 (sextans); HN Italy 204.

That’s no tripod its a trident.


Lewis’ Speech to the Yankton Sioux (30 Aug 1804)

This important document has disappear from the National Park Service website.  This is the broken link.   I was able to retrieve it using the Wayback Machine on  It was available as recently as May 2017.

Just so it stays hosted the web, I’m archiving on my site.  Copy of Speech. (pdf format)

If you are interested in this speech you may also be interested in the journals from the same time.

To Review or Not Review…

I got recommended to write a book review for something thru …… . Does it make sense to do it or do publications like that not matter?

-a former mentee on Twitter, now PhD Candidate

I hate writing book reviews.  I still do them occasionally.   Some professionals love them, some see them as necessary public service.

Today I write them for a very limited number of reasons:

  • I want to develop my relationship with the individual who asks and that journal.
  • I want to mark out territory in which I am an expert, or rising expert.
  • I can’t afford the book otherwise.
  • I want to tell the world how awesome some research is that might otherwise get ignored.

None of these are reasons I wrote my first book reviews.  Those reviews were gifts.  They came from my own mentors as feasible first publication tasks.  I got to see my name in print and know that I could see it there over and over.  Psychologically, that was really important to me.  I learned a great deal and gained confidence, and my CV looked just a little fuller, at least to my own eyes.   I like to think it suggests someone who can meet deadlines, follow through, and write in an articulate fashion.  Stuff that shows the potential for future peer-review publications.

My worst experiences with book reviews have been when I did not like the book and could not afford to say so in print.  Early in my tenure track appointment a major journal asked me to review a new book by a major scholar, whom I liked and respected.  I didn’t respect the book.  I never submitted anything and feel terrible about it.   I decided being delinquent was better than lying or saying publicly truths that would harm my career.

I also once had a fight about a review in which the editor said I was not critical enough.  The book was fine, not great.  Again, I wasn’t going to lie or do harm.   A bit more experienced, I fought with the editor and they published it as is.

The other worst was a journal that doesn’t believe in giving deadlines.  I learned I need a deadline.  They still haven’t gotten their review either.

Long story short.  To start, review only if it will feel good to you personally, you can be positive in the review (check out the book thoroughly before you agree!), and it will not be a dreadful time suck that reduces the quality of your other work.


An enigmatic smile


“SELEUKID EMPIRE. Kleopatra Thea. As wife of Alexander I Balas, 152-145 BC. AV Stater (18.5mm, 8.54 g, 1h). Ptolemaïs (Ake) mint. Special marriage issue, 150 BC. Diademed and veiled bust right, wearing stephanos and single-pendant earring / BAΣIΛIΣΣHΣ KΛEOΠATPAΣ, filleted double cornucopia. SC 1840 (this coin referenced and illustrated); HGC 9, 871 (this coin illustrated); Athena Fund 69 = CSE 408 = A. Houghton, “The Double Portrait Coins of Alexander I Balas and Cleopatra Thea” in SNR 72 (1988), 1 (this coin). VF, a couple light marks, slightly flat at high point of reverse. Extremely rare, one of two published (SC one in Aleppo).  From the collection of Dr. Lawrence A. Adams. Ex Athena Fund (Part 1, Sotheby’s Zurich, 26 October 1993), lot 69; Numismatic Fine Arts XXVII (4 December 1991), lot 74; Arthur Houghton Collection (Numismatic Fine Arts XVIII, 31 March 1987), lot 355.”

I hate rare coins.  They make such troubling historical evidence.  Anyway.  No other portrait of Kleopatra Thea that I’ve seen really looks a thing like this one.  BUT that smile can help but make me think of the enigmatic Venus on that odd Sullan issue:


RRC 375

I got here because of intaglio with double cornucopiae and I wanted to assure myself of the strong Ptolemaic link to the type and think a little about its Roman use.

I wish I had any explanation for it on the uncia in Herennius’ series from c. 108 or 104 BCE (RRC 308).

C. Considius Paetus’ issue surely refers to Caesar’s recent African/Ptolemaic adventures/conquest and how that ties to his claim to universal dominion (RRC 465/8).

Crawford thinks Paetus is not otherwise known, but there is an old suggestion that he is the same as the Considius pardoned at Thapsus, based on Hirt. B. Afr. 89.




Tatius of the Sabines


There is clearly a strong connection between these gems and the republican coins series as Tassie himself acknowledges.


The coins are RRC 344/1-3 and RRC 404/1.

But I just don’t feel the execution is ancient.  I wish I could articulate this sense better.  Something about it is too perfect.  Especially the lettering.  The cameo might be late antique (cf. the Constantine-esque bulging eyes with upward glance), but the other three seem really geared toward the tastes of grand tourists and renaissance audiences…