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’”

Building the Iron Gates of Alexander: The Migrant Caravan & Geographies of Fear

Thousands of refugees are currently standing at the US-Mexico border. In their 2,500 mile journey from Central America, these women, children, and men from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador have endured much in order to petition for a grant of asylum within the United States. As I have written about before, the concept of theContinue reading “Building the Iron Gates of Alexander: The Migrant Caravan & Geographies of Fear”

Signs of the Times: Ancient Symbols Reused by Hate Groups

For the past year and half, I have written extensively about the appropriation of ancient symbols, texts, and material culture as a rallying point for hate and marginalization within the U.S. and Europe. I wanted to take a moment to aggregate this work, to address how and why ancient historians are working to record thisContinue reading “Signs of the Times: Ancient Symbols Reused by Hate Groups”

Redesigning WOAH: Women of Ancient History

For a long time now, I have been interested in the ways in which digital humanities projects can be used to amplify, to visualize, and to give agency to underrepresented groups. Put another way: How can digital humanities contribute to social justice? One of the shining examples of this type of DH project is theContinue reading “Redesigning WOAH: Women of Ancient History”

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”

Teaching Ancient, Early Christian, And Medieval History in the Era of #MeToo: A Short Bibliography

I think we can all agree that sexual harassment and assault are not inventions of the 20th or 21st centuries. While the visibility of these issues have increased notably in the past 6 months, they have sadly been a part of the tapestry of history since the very beginning. The good news (and there hasContinue reading “Teaching Ancient, Early Christian, And Medieval History in the Era of #MeToo: A Short Bibliography”

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”