A Red Letter Way: Color, Writing, and Reading in Antiquity and the Middle Ages

Within most medieval books of hours, there were ecclesiastical calendars that had important holy days printed in red. This was a type of textual highlighting used to call attention to important festivals; a visual language that had long indicated significant textual features, paragraph organization, and wordplay (e.g. acrostics). The Latin word for red ochre and red coloring in general was rubrīca. As such, making a text red is called “rubrication” and influenced the original use for the word “rubric.” The practice of coloring significant dates in red is perhaps best known through the English idiom of a “red letter day.”

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”

In Libris Libertas: Open Access Monographs in Classics, Ancient History, Art History, and Archaeology

It is syllabus time for many once again. If you are like me, you want to save your students from spending too much on textbooks, but still want to have a rich array of current reading for students assigned on your syllabus. A few years ago, I put together a popular list of “Open AccessContinue reading “In Libris Libertas: Open Access Monographs in Classics, Ancient History, Art History, and Archaeology”

Consider the Anus Radish: Etymologies, Adultery, and the Defense of the Microhistory

Isidore was a learned scholar and the Bishop of the Spanish city of Seville from 600-636 CE. Thousands of manuscripts containing his Etymologiae (“The Etymologies,” also called the Origines, “The Origins”) survive today; the only work to surpass it in terms of extant manuscript copies in Western Europe is the Bible (Throop 2005: xii). The sheer number ofContinue reading “Consider the Anus Radish: Etymologies, Adultery, and the Defense of the Microhistory”

The Art of the Logographer: Ghostwriting from Antiquity to Trump

Many incorrectly imagine that the life of a Classicist involves a blind obsession with the particulars of the ancient Greek subjunctive or debates over the hexameters of Sulpicia. However, ancient historians who wish to access the everyday world of the past must also become astute ethnographers of the present. I spend most of my daysContinue reading “The Art of the Logographer: Ghostwriting from Antiquity to Trump”

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”

Book Review: Not All Dead White Men

Over on Ancient Jew Review, I have a review of Donna Zuckerberg’s new book, Not All Dead White Men.  The review was certainly not easy to write, but I do recommend buying, reading, and then sharing this important read. It is honestly the only time in the past two years or so that I have been happy toContinue reading “Book Review: Not All Dead White Men”

Digitization ≠ Repatriation: When Digital Humanities Provides Access But Not Restitution

This week over at Hyperallergic, I wrote about new exhibits at the British Library and the Victoria & Albert Museum which both engage with the cultural heritage of ancient and medieval Ethiopia. An examination of the Ethiopian cultural heritage held in the libraries and museums of Britain can perhaps demonstrate a seminal point about digitization andContinue reading “Digitization ≠ Repatriation: When Digital Humanities Provides Access But Not Restitution”

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”

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?”