Eating Nocturnal Fruits: A Round-Up Of My Favorite Ancient and Medieval Posts of 2017

One of my favorite reflections on the act of writing was written by a late Roman historian, poet, and rhetorician from modern-day Bordeaux named Decimius Magnus Ausonius. Among many other works, he penned a treatise called the Fasti. In a note to his son, the author reflected on the act of picking and choosing historical events, and then putting them in order for a reader (15.1.5-8; trans. H.E.G. White):

sit tuus hic fructus, vigilatas accipe noctes:
obsequitur studio nostra lucerna tuo.
tu quoque venturos per longum consere Ianos,
ut mea digessit pagina praeteritos.

Be yours this fruit, take the produce of my night-watches:
my midnight oil burns in the service of your delight.
Do you, too, through a long life link together New Years yet to come,
as my page has set in order those gone by.

Those who know me know that I don’t sleep a lot and am often up early writing–but I am also busy reading and harvesting the work of others. In fact, I spend most mornings just picking fruit. This year, I probably lost more sleep than in years past, but at least I had some fabulous academic writing to consume. Here are just a few posts and their accompanying websites–i.e. some nocturnal fruits–which remain fresh in my mind. They also go a long way towards proving that some of the best and most relevant academic writing isn’t happening in books or journals. It is happening on blogs.

Late antique Roman mosaic with an asarotos oikos “unswept floor” now on display in Switzerland at the Chateau de Boudry.

Ancient Blogs and Posts: 

Mary Beard, “Gays in Pompeii, ” The Times Literary Supplement (April 9, 2017).

Kathleen Coleman, “Nondum Arabes Seresque Rogant: Classics Looks East,” Society for Classical Studies (October 16, 2016*).

Rebecca Futo Kennedy, “Why I Teach About Race and Ethnicity in the Classical World,” Eidolon (September 11, 2017).

Caitlin Green, “Were there camels in Roman Britain? A brief note on the nature and context of the London camel remains,Dr. Caitlin R. Green (November 8, 2017).

Kyle Harper, “How climate change and disease helped the fall of Rome,” Aeon (December 15, 2017).

Kristina Killgrove, “Is That Skeleton Gay? The Problem With Projecting Modern Ideas Onto The Past,” (April 8, 2017).

Candida Moss and Joel Baden, “Bible Nation: The United States of Hobby Lobby,” Princeton University Press Blog (November 17,. 2017).

Dan-el Padilla Peralta, “The Colorblind Bard: An exchange,” The New Criterion (August 31, 2017).

Michael Satlow, “Digital Preservation,” Michael Satlow: Then and Now (January 26, 2017).

Donna Zuckerberg, “Don’t Quote Me On That,” Eidolon (March 30, 2017).

Just Follow Everything:

Ancient Jew Review

Eidolon [Donate via Patreon]

Neville Morley, Sphinx: Exploring Antiquity and Modernity with Neville Morley. 

Flickr Follows:

Dan Diffendale 

Carole Raddato

Caption and Picture via Carole Raddato: “Mosaic from the House of Poseidon and Amphitrite, Herculaneum: Poseidon (Roman Neptune), holding a trident, stands beside his queen Amphitrite. She holds a royal staff and rests her elbow on a plinth.” (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Medieval Blogs and Posts: 

Malisha Dewalt, “Resources,” People of Color in European Art History  [Donate]

Matthew Gabriele, “Islamophobes want to recreate the Crusades. But they don’t understand them at all,” The Washington Post (June 6, 2017).

Monica Green, “‘Medieval’Madagascar: Plague and Inequality,” How Did We Get Into This Mess? David M. Perry On Language And Power (October 26, 2017).

Jonathan Hsy, “The Monk’s Tale: Ability/Disability,” Open Access Companion to “The Canterbury Tales (rev. September 2017).

Dorothy Kim, “Teaching Medieval Studies in a Time of White Supremacy” In the Middle: Peace, love & the middle ages (August 28, 2017).

Allison Meier, “Four Centuries of Mapping the Subterranean World,”
Hyperallergic (November 21, 2017).

David M. Perry, “What Google Bros Have in Common with Medieval Beer Bros,” Pacific Standard (August 22, 2017).

Yvonne Seale, “The White Nuns? Cistercian Women and Whiteness in Marco Polo’s India,” on Yvonne Seale: Making Women Matter, One Medieval Manuscript at a Time. 

Manuscript of Marco Polo’s Travels, ca. 1410-12; artwork attributed to the Maître de la Mazarine. Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, Français 2810, f. 80r. Image via

*okay, this one is not quite 2017, but I only read it in 2017.

I hope you have enjoyed the round-up and if there was an article or blog that made a huge impression on you, feel free to leave it in the comments.

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