Through the Eyes of Ruby: Discovering Color and Trade in ‘The World Between Empires’

Last week, Candida Moss and I were lucky enough to catch the tail end of The World between Empires: Art and Identity in the Ancient Middle East, an exhibition which opened March 18 and closes on June 23, 2019 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The 190 objects within the exhibition acquired fromContinue reading “Through the Eyes of Ruby: Discovering Color and Trade in ‘The World Between Empires’”

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”

To The Black Sea And Back: The Late Antique Dura-Europos ‘Shield’ Map

  Dura-Europos is an ancient site on the Euphrates river in modern-day Syria. The objects excavated at the site by Yale University (later famously led by Mikhail Rostovtzeff), and the French Academy of Inscriptions and Letters during the 1920s and 1930s provide some of the most vivid wall paintings, mosaics, and material culture from the ancient worldContinue reading “To The Black Sea And Back: The Late Antique Dura-Europos ‘Shield’ Map”

The Argument Made By The Absence: On Whiteness, Polychromy, And Diversity In Classics

It has been a few days since I published a piece on my Forbes blog regarding the perception of whiteness and statues in antiquity. I knew when I started taking notes on the subject of polychromy many months ago that this column would likely cause a stir within the field, among colleagues, and online. I hadContinue reading “The Argument Made By The Absence: On Whiteness, Polychromy, And Diversity In Classics”

What Not To Wear: A Short History Of Regulating Female Dress From Ancient Sparta To The Burkini

Over on the Forbes blog, I talk about the history of dress codes for women. As anyone who reads this blog knows, I think a lot about clothing, color, and historical dress. This post is reacting to the recent burkini bans in towns along the French Riviera by mentioning the fact that Sparta, Rome, theContinue reading “What Not To Wear: A Short History Of Regulating Female Dress From Ancient Sparta To The Burkini”

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”