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”

Through the Eyes of Ruby: Discovering Color and Trade in ‘The World Between Empires’

Last week, Candida Moss and I were lucky enough to catch the tail end of The World between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East, an exhibition which opened March 18 and closes on June 23, 2019 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The 190 objects within the exhibition acquired fromContinue reading “Through the Eyes of Ruby: Discovering Color and Trade in ‘The World Between Empires’”

A Reversed Perspective: Looking at Greek and Roman Art from Behind(s)

A few weeks ago, I began to ponder the ways in which Greek and Roman art is presented within the modern museum context–and to ruminate on whether we put a bit too much emphasis on the perceived front of a piece of art rather than the side or back of it. This led to aContinue reading “A Reversed Perspective: Looking at Greek and Roman Art from Behind(s)”

The Color of the Other: Importing Multi-colored Marble and Roman Constructions of the “Barbarian”

This week over at Hyperallergic, Sean Burrus and I published a co-written article on the use of variegated marbles (which have particolored and mottled veins that give it color) in order to orientalize and illustrate Roman ideas of the “barbarian.” As per usual, I like to take to my own blog to discuss new essays, since it isContinue reading “The Color of the Other: Importing Multi-colored Marble and Roman Constructions of the “Barbarian””

Labeling Ancient and Modern Slavery within Museums

Over at Hyperallergic this week, I had an essay come out that was about four months in the making. It discusses how and why museums should use labels–those little tituli to the side–in order to engage with America’s history of slavery. The piece was inspired by a trip to the Worcester Art Museum (Worcester, MA) over the DecemberContinue reading “Labeling Ancient and Modern Slavery within Museums”

Before MAGA: Mithras, Phrygian Caps, and the Politics of Headwear

My latest piece for Hyperallergic addresses the long history of red caps as symbols of politics, ethnicity, and identity. From Mithras to the Smurfs, there is a rich history of using identifying hats. This article was also an opportunity for me to post some photos of Mithras I have taken over the years–and to include a fewContinue reading “Before MAGA: Mithras, Phrygian Caps, and the Politics of Headwear”

How Can Libraries and Digital Humanities Spaces Co-Exist?

Over at Hyperallergic, I have contributed a new article on the removal of books from the fine arts library at UT-Austin and the planned movement of books from the libraries at UW-Madison [Article Here]. The tales of these two libraries is an increasingly familiar one, wherein thousands of books are deaccessioned or moved into off-siteContinue reading “How Can Libraries and Digital Humanities Spaces Co-Exist?”

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, andContinue reading “Eating Nocturnal Fruits: A Round-Up Of My Favorite Ancient and Medieval Posts of 2017”

Purple, Indigo, And The Slave Labor That Produced Expensive Dyes

Those who read this blog are keenly aware of how much I think about and study color. This certainly extends to the production of ancient dyes used to paint frescoes, to dye wool and linen, and even those pigments used for makeup. And, yes, I do also think about what the absence of color says.Continue reading “Purple, Indigo, And The Slave Labor That Produced Expensive Dyes”

Were Pagan Temples All Smashed Or Just Converted Into Christian Churches?

This week over at the Forbes column [access it here], I discuss an article in the new volume of the Journal of Late Antiquity (10.1) It is a great piece of scholarship written by ancient historian Feyo L. Schuddeboom and is called “The Conversion of Temples in Rome.” The article effectively uses archaeological evidence for temple conversion within the cityContinue reading “Were Pagan Temples All Smashed Or Just Converted Into Christian Churches?”