Another year of blogging is almost in the proverbial books and I must say that while 2016 was a wretched year socio-politically, it was professionally quite satisfying. My first book, Trade and Taboo was published and I even began writing for Forbes regularly. There is no doubt that I have much to be thankful for as I sit here sipping coffee at my home in snowy Iowa City. In the midst of all the self reflection that accompanies the end of the year, I began mulling over the use of toasts as oral rites of passage in our lives. They are oft- overlooked rituals used to help us to move forward, even if they memorialize the past. Greeks and Romans frequently raised a glass to the Gods, to their health or to a handsome lover, and their exclamations can tell us a great deal about the things they held dear in life–just as our own toasts at 11:59 pm likely reveal our own personal anxieties or the people we cherish. As I wrote about a few years ago on this blog, epigraphic texts on ancient cups, bowls and drinking vessels often enshrine such ephemeral exclamations for posterity, so try out a few of these as you raise your glass tonight.
“Dignitas Amicorum Pie Zeses Vivas!” (“Worthy among your friends! Drink that you may live. May you live!”) A toast to a fruitful 2017, amici, and please feel free to leave comments below concerning what you want to hear about on the blog or perhaps how you will be toasting tonight.