Three great luminaries… (or, ‘how I wrote the book’), Part IV

VarroVerse, the third publication: Varro, and the Red Queen problem... (2010-2015) ‘Urban flux: Varro’s Rome-in-progress’, in The Moving City: Processions, Passages and Promenades in Ancient Rome. In Östenberg, I., Malmberg, S., and Bjørnebye, J. 2015 (eds.). London: Bloomsbury, pp. 99-110. Background In 2010 I received an intriguingly well-timed invitation from Ida Östenberg, Simon Malmberg, and … Continue reading Three great luminaries… (or, ‘how I wrote the book’), Part IV

Three great luminaries… (or, ‘how I wrote the book’), Part III

VarroVerse, the second publication: Rome, movement, language, and Varro (2008-2011) ‘Movement and the Linguistic Turn: Reading Varro’s de Lingua Latina’. In Laurence, R. and Newsome, D. J. 2011 (eds.) Rome, Ostia, Pompeii: Movement and Space. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 57-80. Background Some might argue that I’ve written these blog posts out of sequence. I say, stories … Continue reading Three great luminaries… (or, ‘how I wrote the book’), Part III

Three great luminaries… (or, ‘how I wrote the book’), Part II

VarroVerse, the first publication: Cultural Memory and Varro (2009-2011) ‘“῾Ρωμαίζω… ergo sum”: becoming Roman in Varro’s de Lingua Latina’. In Bommas, M. (ed.) Cultural Memory and Identity in Ancient Societies. London: Continuum, pp. 43-60. Background In 2009, the Department took cultural memory* as a research theme, and I was invited to give a paper as part … Continue reading Three great luminaries… (or, ‘how I wrote the book’), Part II

Three great luminaries…(or, ‘how I wrote the book’), Part I

[M. Terentius Varro] Any discussion of the Roman Republic will sooner or later turn to figures such as Cicero and Julius Caesar, but this was an era of complex characters well equipped with great ambitions. It was also a time of intense creativity, and its volatile politics reflected a cultural upheaval that was as exciting … Continue reading Three great luminaries…(or, ‘how I wrote the book’), Part I

Diversitas et Multiculturalismus

Because this extensive and thoughtful piece says everything I’d say, but better.

Sphinx

This isn’t the Summer of Love; it may be the Summer of Bad-Tempered Arguments About Classics and Racism. Over in the US, Sarah Bond‘s articles on the ‘white-washing’ of classical statues – that is, why do we think of them in terms of gleaming white marble when they were actually painted? – have provoked a furious backlash from the far right, including death threats.* In the UK, an alt-right blogger objected to the fact that a BBC educational cartoon on life in Roman Britain included black people – “I mean, who cares about historical accuracy, right?” – and was carefully schooled by @MikeStuchbery_, Matthew Nicholls from Reading, Mary Beard and others – with the result that Mary, at least, now seems to be spending six hours a day responding to people on Twitter about this.

What is surprising about these two arguments is that the substantive issues – ancient…

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Shepherding thought (and a coda from Varro)

I love the frisson of terror that live theatre produces. For me, in the audience, it's as thrilling as a high-wire act to see people transformed by stepping into performance space, becoming something entirely other to their everyday selves. Will that transformation stick? Will I suspend or wallow in my disbelief? Will some element of the … Continue reading Shepherding thought (and a coda from Varro)

Ovid’s Garden: Digging!

Miriam’s amazing “Ovid’s Garden” project, located at Winterbourne House & Gardens (University of Birmingham) represents a laboratory space for her PhD on Classical echoes in Italian Renaissance gardens, and also an imaginative way for enthusiasts to help shape a cutting-edge research project here in Brum.

Brava, Miriam!

naso's song

On a cold and wet day in November, a group of volunteers from the Classics & Ancient History department at the University of Birmingham and staff from Winterbourne House & Gardens braved the elements to begin work on Ovid’s Garden! We had the muddy task of lifting the turf from the site and digging the main path in front of the garden to make way for the hard landscaping elements.Blog MontageFuelled by some excellent cake and brownies, we lifted all the turf by midday and by the afternoon the site was completely cleared. Whilst digging the main path, we even unearthed some exciting finds, excavating clay pipes and pieces of pottery, identified by our resident archaeologist Meagan Mangum, which will be displayed at Winterbourne for visitors to see!ExcavatingNow the turf and the main pathway have been dug, the beds have been marked out and the remaining paths around these will need to be dug out as well. After this, edging…

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