Pretty as a Pictor: Painters in the Roman Mediterranean

Σαβεῖνοςζωγράφος ἐτῶνκϛʹ.εὐψύχως Sabinus, a painter, 26 years old, good luck! Fayoum 1:40=PHI 215881, Aueris (Hawāra) — Rom. Imp. period — SB 1.682. On a red marble epitaph from Hawara now in the Cairo Museum is the commemoration of a young painter living in Roman Egypt named Sabinus. We have a number of epitaphs and mentionsContinue reading “Pretty as a Pictor: Painters in the Roman Mediterranean”

Fasti-dious: Gnaeus Flavius and the Power of the Calendar

A certain scribe was then discovered, Gnaeus Flavius, who pierced the eyes of crows [i.e. outwitted those in the know] and published the calendar of court days to the people and in this way stole the knowledge of the legal calendar from the astute legal experts.[i] Cicero, In Defense of Murena, 25. A former scribaContinue reading “Fasti-dious: Gnaeus Flavius and the Power of the Calendar”

On Auctoritas and Antiquity

Post id tempus auctoritate omnibus praestiti, potestatis autem nihilo amplius habui quam ceteri qui mihi quoque in magistratu conlegae fuerunt. After that time, I exceeded all persons in auctoritas; however, I had no greater potestas than the others who were colleagues with me in each magistracy. Res Gestae 34.10-12. In his Res Gestae, Augustus noted that afterContinue reading “On Auctoritas and Antiquity”

Introducing Pasts Imperfect: New Spaces for Public Scholarship

Pasts Imperfect is a weekly newsletter amplifying and supporting public writing focused on a global antiquity. Subscribe here: https://pastsimperfect.substack.com/ For our first newsletter, we wanted to signal boost the creation of a number of new spaces welcoming public writing focused on ancient pasts from a global perspective. These spaces underscore scholarship from diverse scholars as wellContinue reading “Introducing Pasts Imperfect: New Spaces for Public Scholarship”

Curious about the Beginning and End of the Olympics?

By Sarah E. Bond and Joel Christensen This post is cross-posted with Sententiae Antiquae. The 2020 Olympics, postponed because of COVID19, are due to start this week in Japan. They might be cancelled again, but the athletes have been training hard and Sarah E. Bond and I talked about the beginning, the end, and the tender partsContinue reading “Curious about the Beginning and End of the Olympics?”

Following the Stylus Manual: Roman everyday writing equipment

‘I have come from the City. I bring you a welcome gift
with a sharp point that you may remember me.
I ask, if fortune allowed, that I might be able (to give)
as generously as the way is long (and) as my purse is empty.’
(trans. Tomlin 2019)

Nefertiti and Digital Colonialism: A Short Bibliography

I am not an Egyptologist. My specialities are digital humanities, epigraphy, and the laws of the late Roman Empire. The beauty of academia and of journalism is that far more brilliant people than you can allow exploration of intellectual terrain through their research, writing, and excavation. This is certainly the case for my new articleContinue reading “Nefertiti and Digital Colonialism: A Short Bibliography”

A Red Letter Way: Color, Writing, and Reading in Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Within most medieval books of hours, there were ecclesiastical calendars that had important holy days printed in red. This was a type of textual highlighting used to call attention to important festivals; a visual language that had long indicated significant textual features, paragraph organization, and wordplay (e.g. acrostics). The Latin word for red ochre and red coloring in general was rubrīca. As such, making a text red is called “rubrication” and influenced the original use for the word “rubric.” The practice of coloring significant dates in red is perhaps best known through the English idiom of a “red letter day.”

At the Copa: Women, Clothing, and Color Codes in Roman Taverns

On February 3, 326 CE, Constantine issued a legal clarification for Augustus’ Lex Julia de adulteriis, ruling that the wives of tavern owners (here labeled an uxor tabernarii) could be brought up on charges of adultery, but that the the barmaids working within the tavern could not be. Their lowly status as an ancilla orContinue reading “At the Copa: Women, Clothing, and Color Codes in Roman Taverns”

Ancient 3D Models Before Digital Modeling

Last week, my interview with Abydos Archaeology’s Matthew Douglas Adams was published at Hyperallergic. The article focused on the discovery of an industrial royal brewery dating to 3100-2900 BCE at the Egyptian site of Abydos, where Adams co-directs the excavation with Deborah Vischak, as part of fieldwork supported by New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts and Princeton University. InContinue reading “Ancient 3D Models Before Digital Modeling”