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”

‘We Regret to Inform You’: Success, Failure, and the Shadow C.V.

Pinned to the board above my desk in my office is an Apollo 13 postcard that reads: “Failure is not an option.” This was the collective motto of the mission, despite the fact that, well, NASA had failed a lot during the course of the space race (1957-1975). I thought about this postcard a lot afterContinue reading “‘We Regret to Inform You’: Success, Failure, and the Shadow C.V.”

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””

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”

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”

Yes, Women Do Study Military History

In an important article over at Eidolon, Nadejda Williams discusses the visibility of female military historians within the field of ancient history. Prof. Williams is a Classicist whose main area of teaching and research is Greek and Roman military history. She is also is an Associate Professor of History at the University of West Georgia. I would urge youContinue reading “Yes, Women Do Study Military History”

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”

Purple, Indigo, And The Slave Labor That Produced Expensive Dyes

Those who read this blog are keenly aware of how much I think about and study color. This certainly extends to the production of ancient dyes used to paint frescoes, to dye wool and linen, and even those pigments used for makeup. And, yes, I do also think about what the absence of color says.Continue reading “Purple, Indigo, And The Slave Labor That Produced Expensive Dyes”

Were Pagan Temples All Smashed Or Just Converted Into Christian Churches?

This week over at the Forbes column [access it here], I discuss an article in the new volume of the Journal of Late Antiquity (10.1) It is a great piece of scholarship written by ancient historian Feyo L. Schuddeboom and is called “The Conversion of Temples in Rome.” The article effectively uses archaeological evidence for temple conversion within the cityContinue reading “Were Pagan Temples All Smashed Or Just Converted Into Christian Churches?”