Weekend Reading: Welcome, new Classicists!

This week I’ve been meeting new Open University students on A276, A330, A863 and A864 (Latin, Myth and the MA modules). I’ve been sending out welcome messages and hearing a little bit about people’s backgrounds and experiences. It’s always a humbling time, with stories about chronic illness, mental health challenges, the lives of student-carers, and all the shocking and devastating events which wreak havoc on the path we expected life to take. This year has been no exception. I often wish that other students could hear the stories that I hear, because the determination people show in pursuing their dream as a part-time learner is inspirational. Open University students really are remarkable, and I consider myself privileged to work with them!

Anyway… this post is aimed at those who are new to Classics this year, and who are feeling a bit like they’re walking into an unfamiliar room blindfolded. I thought it might be useful to offer a round-up of some places to start. If my more classically experienced readers have resources to add – or if you have any tips for new Classics students –  please do leave a comment at the bottom. And if you’re new to the OU, to Classics or to this website, feel free to leave a ‘hello’ too!

Here are my top places to start if you’re completely new to Classics:


Online: for thought-provoking stuff and the occasional giggle, check in on Eidolon from time to time; and for regular thoughts from ancient texts, read Sententiae Antiquae.

Books: Stephen Fry’s Mythos and Mary Beard’s SPQR are recent classical bestsellers. Female-centred retellings and translations have recently been hitting the headlines and prompting discussions about gender: books include Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls, Madeline Miller’s Circe and Emily Wilson’s translation of the Odyssey. If you’re interested in the wider context of Classics, you could check out Neville Morley’s Classics: Why it Matters or the recent compilation Forward with Classics.

Audio: BBC’s ‘In Our Time’ offers some really useful discussions on specific topics, like this recent episode on the Iliad. You’ll also find lots of links to regular podcasts in my Weekend Reading posts.

Television: Two of today’s high-profile TV classicists are Dame/Prof Mary Beard and Prof Michael Scott. Their programmes have inspired a lot of people to take up Classics – and they come with accompanying books!




This week’s links from around the internet


Classical Studies Support

If you’re new to my site and starting an OU module, here’s a quick roundup:

Material relating to A276 (Latin) here.

Material on A330 (Myth) here.

Some useful stuff for MA students here.

And a whole lot of random articles (some by fellow students) in the Library.


Below you’ll find my usually weekly collection of interesting things from around the internet; I post these every Friday night for you to read over breakfast during the weekend, instead of the Sunday papers!



Long-sought church under a lake? – The Daily Beast 

Finding a sphinx – BBC 

Lincolnshire building site discovery – BBC 

New universities website – The Guardian 

Greek stuff at Belsay Hall [I’ll be visiting this!] – Institute of Classical Studies 

Greek literature and feminism in fashion – The Guardian 


Comment and opinion

Trojan Women and refugees – Eidolon 

A racist vision of Greece – Pharos 

Reading the OdysseyCNN 

Unpicking culture and identity – Le Temps Revient 

Reviewing Rodin – Lytham St. Annes Classical Association 

Routines and cultural scripts – Classical Fix 

The legacy of Spartacus – The Conversation 

Remembering Rome – Sydney Morning Herald 

Reviewing the Bacchae – Daily Breeze 

Encountering wax babies – The Votives Project 

On redefining ‘Classics’ – The Times Literary Supplement 

Hadrian and Pompey – Following Hadrian 

Roman fire brigades – Wanted in Rome 

Old age and lonely Romans – The Petrified Muse 

Archers on an urn – Ancient World Magazine 

Reviewing a Latin movie – Carmenta 

Ancient burials of pets – The Crux 


A good introduction to language learning! From https://twitter.com/opietasanimi/status/1042527258987180033.


Podcasts, video and other media

Villa of the Papyri – When in Rome 

Talking about Amazons – Ancient History Fangirl 

On sophists and sophistry – Words for Granted 

Death, dying and killing – The History Network 

Hadrian, beards and murder – Our Fake History 

Talking about ancient slavery – The Partial Historians 

Martha C. Nussbaum on the history of fear – The Ezra Klein Show 

The history of automata – In Our Time


And finally…

I’m saving up for a ‘Flocci non facio’ stamp. That’s an expression I haven’t heard in some years! – Etsy 



9 thoughts on “Weekend Reading: Welcome, new Classicists!

  1. Not really a tip, but more of a welcome! I’m sure that you’ll love Classical Studies. It’s so far reaching that you can do almost anything with it.

    All the best and enjoy



  2. Thanks to you too Cora Beth! I’ve just added some more Latin Grammar & vocabulary sheets, they are free for anyone to use & if anyone has any feedback then feel free to get in touch!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hello to all new OU Classicists from this seasoned OU Classicist. You’re about to embark on a potentially life-changing, and certainly life-enhancing, voyage of thought-provoking experiences, adventures and excitement. Enjoy yourselves thoroughly!

    My top tip – sign up to this site IMMEDIATELY for your unmissable weekly Classical fix ✊😊


  4. Hi Cora Beth, this is also a farewell to your old students… (sniff 😪) Got an email yesterday from my new tutor and although I’m disappointed to lose you, like the dog attached to the back of Seneca’s bike I’m learning to accept my fate 😔 Thanks for all your support last year and good luck to your new students, you’ve got a great didaskalos!


    1. Sorry to lose you, Leigh – and the other 8 from our old A863 group who’ve gone on to other groups for A864. But I’m sure you’ll be well looked after! I have to admit, though, that I’d love to read your dissertation when it’s done…!

      Liked by 1 person

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