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”

The Decline and Fall of the All-Male Panel: Compiling a List of Female Ancient Historians

It was my pleasure to attend the annual meeting of the SCS-AIA in San Francisco from January 6-10. I just got back to Iowa City last night, and wanted to write while the thoughts about the conference were still fresh in my mind. First, I want to say that the SCS-AIA always serves as an annual pepContinue reading “The Decline and Fall of the All-Male Panel: Compiling a List of Female Ancient Historians”

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”

Mapping the Underworld: Space, Text, and Imaginary Landscapes in Antiquity

One of the foremost painters of the mid 5th century BCE, Polygnotus, was allegedly commissioned by the Cnidian people to paint a clubhouse at Delphi. One of the themes was Odysseus’ ascension into the underworld, described in Book 11 of Homer’s Odyssey (the so called  νέκυια). However, Pausanias (10.28-31) reports that the painter took many liberties and mixedContinue reading “Mapping the Underworld: Space, Text, and Imaginary Landscapes in Antiquity”

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”

Good Mourning: Roman Clothing, Courtrooms, and the Psychology of Color

Romans often reserved the dark colors of mourning for a trip to the courtroom. Usually it was the defendants who chose to clothe themselves in dark and ragged vestments–though some people broke with this habit. In a letter dated to 468 CE, the diplomat and bishop Sidonius Apollinaris discussed the treason trial of a friend and Praetorian prefect named ArvandusContinue reading “Good Mourning: Roman Clothing, Courtrooms, and the Psychology of Color”