Thursday, 13 November 2008

The BSA and the Ben Nevis Observatory

The £500 Government Grant to the BSA accounted for more than a quarter of the School's income for the period 1894-1918. However it did not meet with approval in a letter to The Scotsman (5 October 1904). The correspondent was making a complaint to MPs from Scotland over the lack for funding for the Ben Nevis Observatory.

Interestingly the BSA funding was on a par (in 1904) with the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Zoological Society of Ireland. The Scottish Meteorological Society was awarded ('a miserable') £100, and the correspondent added:
Even the British School at Athens has a grant of £500 per annum, but a similar sum could not be spared for the Ben Nevis Observatory!
However by this period several students from Scotland had been admitted as Students.

The letter closed with this parting shot:
It is evident that for Government grants only English and Irish need apply.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

We Will Remember Them

It is the 90th anniversary of the end of the First World War. Seven former students of the BSA were killed: two at Gallipoli and five on the Western Front.

Stanley Casson served on the Western Front in the East Lancashire Regiment; he was wounded in May 1915. In 1916 he joined the General Staff in Salonica and served on the Allied Control Commission in Thessaly (1917). At the end of the war he served in Constantinople and Turkestan until he was demobilised in 1919. He was Assistant Director of the BSA under Alan Wace (1920-22), and Reader in Classical Archaeology at Oxford. He re-enlisted in the Intelligence Corps at the outbreak of the Second World War and served in Holland and Greece rising to the rank of Lt.-Colonel. He was killed on active service in a flying accident on 17 April 1944 and was buried in Newquay.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

The Temple of Aphaia: revised date

Twenty years ago I suggested in the Annual of the British School at Athens that the Temple of Aphaia on Aegina should be dated to the 470s. I based this proposal on the pottery found in the terrace system of the temple.

Now Andrew Stewart has revisited the evidence in "The Persian and Carthaginian Invasions of 480 B.C.E. and the Beginning of the Classical Style: Part 2, The Finds from Other Sites in Athens, Attica, Elsewhere in Greece, and on Sicily; Part 3, The Severe Style: Motivations and Meaning", AJA 112, 4 (2008) 581-615 [online]. In his discussion of the temple of Aphaia (pp. 593-97) Stewart concludes, "The conclusion is inevitable—however unpalatable to some: the new Aphaia temple surely postdated the Persian Wars in its entirety."

  • "The Temple of Aphaia on Aegina: the date of the reconstruction", BSA 83 (1988) 169-77
  • "The Temple of Aphaia on Aegina: further thoughts on the date of the reconstruction", BSA 88 (1993) 173-85

© David Gill, 2008