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”

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”

A Short Bibliography For The Study Of Eunuchs, Marginality & Gender in The Pre-Modern World

A number of people asked me to expand on my Forbes column from last week, which addressed the long history of eunuchs around the world and in Game of Thrones. This is a short reading list focused on scholarship in English for those wishing to begin to read about the subject. I am neither anContinue reading “A Short Bibliography For The Study Of Eunuchs, Marginality & Gender in The Pre-Modern World”

The History Of Torches, Intimidation & Symbols of Violence

You may have noticed that I have been blogging less on my personal site. This certainly is a product of a busy summer with much travel and other publications to address, but I am afraid that–in part–I must admit that it was a reaction to receiving messages and tweets suggesting that certain white supremacist groupsContinue reading “The History Of Torches, Intimidation & Symbols of Violence”

Digital Palmyra: Resources for Researching the Ancient City

Yesterday on the Forbes blog, I discussed recent attempts to reconstruct the ancient busts of Palmyra damaged by ISIS and repatriate them back to Syria. As I suggested in the post, such efforts highlight the import of digital methodologies such as 3D printing and photogrammetry, but also underscore art as an umbilical cord that allows usContinue reading “Digital Palmyra: Resources for Researching the Ancient City”

Pass the Dormice: Breeding, Selling, And Eating Honeyed Dormice in Antiquity

Ponticuli etiamferruminati sustinebant glires melle ac papavere sparsos. “There were also dormice rolled in honey and poppy-seed, and supported on little bridges soldered to the plate” –Petronius, Satyricon, 31 (trans. Heseltine). Look, I know you may think mice are cute. I, myself, raised adorable hamsters as a child and thus have sympathy for all rodents. But weContinue reading “Pass the Dormice: Breeding, Selling, And Eating Honeyed Dormice in Antiquity”

January 10, 49 BCE: Revising The Tale Of Caesar’s Crossing of the Rubicon

It was a great trip to the combined annual meeting for the Society for Classical Studies and Archaeological Institute of America (SCS-AIA) in Toronto, but it definitely put me behind on my blogging schedule. No matter! Welcome to a new year, pious readers, and with it comes a reflection on immutable actions over at Forbes. ForContinue reading “January 10, 49 BCE: Revising The Tale Of Caesar’s Crossing of the Rubicon”

‘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”

‘The Eagle Huntress’ And The Ancient History Of Falconry

Over at the Forbes blog this week, I discuss the ancient and medieval history of falconry in the Mediterranean. After seeing the new documentary film ‘The Eagle Huntress,’ about a 13-year-old girl named Aisholpan learning to become an eagle hunter with her father in Mongolia, I went back to some class notes on Greco-Roman attitudes towards theContinue reading “‘The Eagle Huntress’ And The Ancient History Of Falconry”

Fictive Heroism: Westworld, the Colosseum, and the History of Elite Amusement Parks

Over on the Forbes Blog this week, I explore how the HBO show Westworld sheds light on the history of elite amusement parks. Although we should probably also reflect on the colonial penchant for “fish in a barrel” elephant safaris or perhaps analyze Marie Antoinette’s creation of a “peasant” village for her to visit at Versailles, IContinue reading “Fictive Heroism: Westworld, the Colosseum, and the History of Elite Amusement Parks”