Working Together to Transcribe Ancient Documents During COVID-19

As the pandemic known as COVID-19 grips the globe, thousands of instructors in the United States and elsewhere have been asked to transition their courses online for the remainder of the semester. To some instructors, such as the superb Classics professors at the Open University, distance learning has become a normalized pedagogy. To many othersContinue reading “Working Together to Transcribe Ancient Documents During COVID-19”

The Jewish Colosseum: Revising the Memory of Rome’s Flavian Amphitheater

Originally known as the Flavian Amphitheater, the Roman Colosseum is oftentimes directly associated with the death of Christians; however, as Keith Hopkins and Mary Beard point to in The Colosseum, there is no authentic evidence from the first century to support the notion that Christians were ever martyred within it: The fact is that there are noContinue reading “The Jewish Colosseum: Revising the Memory of Rome’s Flavian Amphitheater”

Taking a Sapphic Stanza: Papyri, Digital Humanities, and Reclaiming the Work of Ancient Women

This semester, I am teaching our department’s Archaic to Classical Greek Survey. I specialize in late antique Roman history and GIS, and thus this has been a departure from my normal research interests–and just one reason we are searching for a Homerist with DH skills right now. However, reading and teaching Greek does not mean thatContinue reading “Taking a Sapphic Stanza: Papyri, Digital Humanities, and Reclaiming the Work of Ancient Women”

Anno Domini: Computational Analysis, Antisemitism, and the Early Christian Debate Over Easter

This post was originally published at the SCS Classics blog on March 30, 2018.  In the 6th century CE, a Scythian monk named Dionysius Exiguus was sent to Rome. Dionysius may have taken the monastic nickname of “the small” (exiguus), but his humility sheathed both his incredible abilities as a translator of Greek and Latin andContinue reading “Anno Domini: Computational Analysis, Antisemitism, and the Early Christian Debate Over Easter”

Replacing the Squeeze? Teaching Classical Epigraphy With 3D Models

This semester, I am incorporating more epigraphy into my undergraduate and graduate level courses. The University of Iowa has a top-flight classics program (if I do say so myself), but we do not have a proper squeeze collection to work with (something I took for granted while at UNC-Chapel Hill). As such, in addition toContinue reading “Replacing the Squeeze? Teaching Classical Epigraphy With 3D Models”

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”

From Dissertation to Book: A Few Things I Learned Over the Past 10 Years

I don’t tend to get overly personal on this blog very often. Although I adore social media (clearly), the first person singular is an uncomfortable voice when I address the public as a historian. I have always used banter about ancient or medieval history as a kind of protective tortoise shell that makes me seem extroverted. However, IContinue reading “From Dissertation to Book: A Few Things I Learned Over the Past 10 Years”

‘Bind His Hands’: Curse Tablets and Charioteer Magic in Ancient Sports

Over on the Forbes blog this week, I wrote a bit about how social anxiety can be viewed through magic. In the case of curse tablets involving charioteers, we see an incredible amount of energy invested in sports. The culture of athletic competition and rivalry in chariot racing is not all that different from theContinue reading “‘Bind His Hands’: Curse Tablets and Charioteer Magic in Ancient Sports”

Tattoo Taboo? Exploring The History Of Religious Ink And Facial Tattoos

Over on my Forbes blog, I explore the history of religious tattoos. This post stems from my interest in the use of various stigmas–legal, social, and even corporal–against marginalized individuals. Tattoos in Greco-Roman antiquity were often linked to servility, but could also advertise one’s religious convictions. I spoke with tattoo historian Anna Felicity Friedman about pilgrimage tattoos inContinue reading “Tattoo Taboo? Exploring The History Of Religious Ink And Facial Tattoos”

‘Can I Get Your Autograph?’: A Short History of Signature Collecting

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with collecting the signatures of the Atlanta Braves baseball players. It was a point of pride to show my friends the signatures of John Smoltz or Greg Maddux, and they provided me with a little residual cachet. Turns out that Romans had much the same reaction. The naturalContinue reading “‘Can I Get Your Autograph?’: A Short History of Signature Collecting”