Using Graphic Language: A Short History of Figure Poems

I miss Milwaukee sometimes. On warmer nights, I used to run along Lake Michigan and wait for the sunset, before jogging home to work on the book. One of the best things about those runs was looking at sculpture against the backdrop of the Wisconsin sunset. What always caught my eye was a piece by Catalan artist JaumeContinue reading “Using Graphic Language: A Short History of Figure Poems”

Encouraging the PhDivas: My Top 5 Posts for Dorothy King

An anthology of posts I wrote while blogging for PhDiva.blogspot.com on everything from Caligula in modern film to the danger of death by roof-tile in antiquity.

Sarcophagraphic Novels: Understanding the Classical Comics

Arguably the most well-known piece of early Christian relief is the Junius Bassus Sarcophagus. Dated to 359 CE, it is a visual mix tape all recorded in expensive marble. It depicts a number of biblical scenes both from the New Testament (e.g., the lives of Christ, Peter, and Paul) and the Old Testament (e.g., Isaac, Garden of Eden), and framesContinue reading “Sarcophagraphic Novels: Understanding the Classical Comics”

Power of the Palindrome: Writing, Reading, and Wordplay (Part II)

I first began writing about palindromes when blogging for PhDiva, a superb blog run by classicist and archaeologist Dorothy King [Post HERE]. I will always be grateful to Dorothy for encouraging me to begin blogging, and just as I have continued to write, I have continued to be interested in palindromes, acrostics, and the use of writingContinue reading “Power of the Palindrome: Writing, Reading, and Wordplay (Part II)”

Reforming the Map: Saint Paul, Sea Monsters, and Biblical Maps

T.E. Lawrence (i.e. Lawrence of Arabia) once commented that “the printing press is the greatest weapon in the armory of the modern commander.” This was as true in the 15th century, following the introduction of the printing press to Western Europe, as it would be during the Arab Revolt of 1916. During the Renaissance, the impact ofContinue reading “Reforming the Map: Saint Paul, Sea Monsters, and Biblical Maps”

The Fall of the Roman Umpire: A Short History of Ancient Referees

At the Australian Open in 2008, tennis player Andy Roddick famously unleashed a tirade against court umpire Emmanuel Joseph, telling the crowd at one point: “Stay in school kids or you’ll end up being an umpire!” During the MLB playoffs this week, there were similarly slanderous remarks against the umpires uttered either directly to them, or muttered under theContinue reading “The Fall of the Roman Umpire: A Short History of Ancient Referees”

Getting Sacked: Animals, Executions, and Roman Law

In my blogging, I have frequently discussed Roman approaches to crime and punishment (e.g., crucifixion and torture). However, as I sat prepping lectures for my Roman law course this week, I got distracted (it happens) and began to watch some clips from old James Bond movies (it happens a lot). After making a mental list of all the sharksContinue reading “Getting Sacked: Animals, Executions, and Roman Law”

Redrawing the Margins: Debating the Legalization of Prostitution

Amnesty International’s recent decision to support the legalization of sex work is a controversial one. The group reasoned that because these individuals lived outside of a licit society, they were more vulnerable to physical abuse: “Sex workers are one of the most marginalized groups in the world who in most instances face constant risk of discrimination, violenceContinue reading “Redrawing the Margins: Debating the Legalization of Prostitution”

The (Evil) Eyes Have It: Welcoming and Warning Ancient Visitors

Doorways and thresholds were an important locus of power in Greco-Roman antiquity–but we might also think of them as an epigraphic opportunity. Inscriptions often preceded ancient doorways, just as tabulae (inscribed tablets) could demarcate the sacred boundaries of temples. Writing was and is a means of delineating and mapping space. Additionally, certain words could serve to set the tone for guests entering a household,Continue reading “The (Evil) Eyes Have It: Welcoming and Warning Ancient Visitors”

Unlocking the Dark Ages: A Short History of Chastity Belts

I got the chance to catch a showing of the new Mad Max and was not disappointed. As I do with most everything in my life, I had my antennae up for any classical allusions or appropriations. Much like Harry Potter or Dune, the names borrowed heavily from antiquity (e.g., Imperator Furiosa, Nux, Rictus Erectus), but the storyline did asContinue reading “Unlocking the Dark Ages: A Short History of Chastity Belts”