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”

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”

‘Pie Zeses’: Toasting To A New Year

Another year of blogging is almost in the proverbial books and I must say that while 2016 was a wretched year socio-politically, it was professionally quite satisfying. My first book, Trade and Taboo was published and I even began writing for Forbes regularly. There is no doubt that I have much to be thankful for asContinue reading “‘Pie Zeses’: Toasting To A New Year”

‘Bind His Hands’: Curse Tablets and Charioteer Magic in Ancient Sports

Over on the Forbes blog this week, I wrote a bit about how social anxiety can be viewed through magic. In the case of curse tablets involving charioteers, we see an incredible amount of energy invested in sports. The culture of athletic competition and rivalry in chariot racing is not all that different from theContinue reading “‘Bind His Hands’: Curse Tablets and Charioteer Magic in Ancient Sports”

Tattoo Taboo? Exploring The History Of Religious Ink And Facial Tattoos

Over on my Forbes blog, I explore the history of religious tattoos. This post stems from my interest in the use of various stigmas–legal, social, and even corporal–against marginalized individuals. Tattoos in Greco-Roman antiquity were often linked to servility, but could also advertise one’s religious convictions. I spoke with tattoo historian Anna Felicity Friedman about pilgrimage tattoos inContinue reading “Tattoo Taboo? Exploring The History Of Religious Ink And Facial Tattoos”

‘Can I Get Your Autograph?’: A Short History of Signature Collecting

When I was a kid, I was obsessed with collecting the signatures of the Atlanta Braves baseball players. It was a point of pride to show my friends the signatures of John Smoltz or Greg Maddux, and they provided me with a little residual cachet. Turns out that Romans had much the same reaction. The naturalContinue reading “‘Can I Get Your Autograph?’: A Short History of Signature Collecting”

Times New Roman: Classical Inscriptions, Epigraphy Hunters, and Renaissance Fonts

The Renaissance (ca. 1330-1600) is often remembered for its revival of Classical literature. Modern books like The Swerve celebrate the Renaissance era book hunters such as Poggio Bracciolini, who travelled to hidden monasteries in search of Latin manuscripts of Virgil or Cicero, and uncovered lost works, such as Lucretius’ De rerum natura. However, the Renaissance was also a time for rediscovering Latin and GreekContinue reading “Times New Roman: Classical Inscriptions, Epigraphy Hunters, and Renaissance Fonts”

Amo, Amas, Amat: Greco-Roman School Exercises

The first line of Euripides’ Bacchae reads: ‘ἥκω Διὸς παῖς τήνδε Θηβαίων χθόνα‘ I, the child of Zeus, have come to the land of the Thebans Although it was written by the playwright at the end of the 5th c. BCE, while in Macedonia, the words of Euripides continued to echo in schoolrooms throughout the Mediterranean.Continue reading “Amo, Amas, Amat: Greco-Roman School Exercises”

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”

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”