Friday 24 April 2020

Silius Hilarius Pompeius

If you are of a certain age you might remember being forbidden to watch this on TV.
Farce at its best with Frankie Howerd at his peak.

The one with the Ludus Pororum Club (and Roman submarine). Click pic for link.
John Junkin as a Jewish brothel keeper and the usual double entendres. Great fun!


The Egadi rams have received most attention in recent years due to their spectacular number and direct association with the battle of the Aegetes Islands which effectively ended the First Punic War.

But in September 2008 another ram was found off Sicily but near Messina. This is the Aqualadrone Ram, which has languished in that familiar state of being written-up for publication. 12 years later I cannot find so much to write about..... I have personal reasons for wanting this ram published but ..maybe next year ?
Aqualadrone ram :cleaned-up

The ram was found in very shallow water - just 6 metres deep - and just 200m offshore !! In an area of low erosion so it was preserved by lucky conditions. Like the Athlit ram its supporting timbers were preserved from rotting sealed inside the bronze ram.
ram supports - 2300 years old!
The ram was recovered by Italian Navy diversand preserved by desalination and in a constant stream of deionised water in a plastic box.
More fotos HERE
There was plenty of wood for C-14 dating and this revealed a date of 277BC +/- 83. Which ties in nicely with the early days of the First Punic War. The battles of Mylae and Tyndaris were fought not far away and the ship could have sunk running for Messina harbour or in a combat during flight from either battle.

Problems of preservation continue because the wood includes much sulphur from the anaeobic conditions of preservation which now threatens to convert to sulphuric acid in aerobic conditions and attack the wood and the ram.

The ram has the same ornament modelled into the casting as the other trident rams found to date. The side of the cowl is modelled as a trident - the weapon of Poseidon -  with the three blades arising from a socket/handle at the rear.

 For details of inscriptions or any other ornament we must wait for publication. The Athlit ram took 11 years to emerge in print...

Some physical and chemical analysis has been carried out on the bronze and the wooden core remains. The supporting timbers appear to have the same arrangement as the Athlit ram.

the monster from Athlit
Analysis shows the wood to be pine but the exact type could not be determined.Pine was a preferred wood for warships where fir was unobtainable. The keel was made of oak for strength and wearing but it was not found here.

The presence of pine pitch was confirmed which was probably used as a preservative on the wood.

Luvlyjubly - can smell it now! Years of tar on a viking ship's planking

From lead isotope analysis the bronze originated in Spain or Cyprus.
Analysis paper HERE

The ram's dimensions are only estimated here:

WEIGHT 200Kg     LENGTH 100CM estimated    HEIGHT 80cm estimated.

The ram is nowhere near as large as the Athlit ram and is similar to Egadi 1 or 2. This makes it more likely to belong to a smaller ship. A 3 or pentekonter.