Weekend Reading: A Classicist Christmas List

Well, the time has come: even I can’t deny that Christmas is approaching (and believe me, I’ve been trying!). The Christmas tree is up, and there will be camels parading past the end of my street tonight (apparently that’s a Christmas thing now). So, following on from the excellent Eidolon list of things to buy for the classicist in your life (see also this list, and this one), here’s my own list of the weird, wonderful and so-bad-they’re-good classical gifts out there. Feel free to print it out and leave it lying around, strategically, for a friend or family member to notice…

1. Interested in sensory studies or Roman experiences of death and dying? Try your hand at stabbing Julius Caesar in the back – with a pencil.  Not entirely an accurate recreation (Et tu, Biro?), but perhaps a reception…?!



2. Spread the festive misery with a Homeric Christmas Sweatshirt. A pretty special reworking of Santa and his sleigh – and you’ll have all the fun of explaining it, over and over again, to non-classicists.



3. Playmobil Romans have to be on the list. Because nobody’s too grown-up for plastic gladiators. Hours of fun for all the family, with the potential to recreate many grisly methods of execution with your four-year-old.



4. Also on my list this year is a personalised Rotten Romans book, as the next best thing to actually being a Rotten Roman.



5. I’m intrigued by the idea of Ovid-inspired tea. Slightly worried too: does it induce a change of form when you drink it, in the manner of Gremlins?



6. Harpy lapel pins, for those times when you really want to make a statement about vengeance and punishment. Should set the right tone for my family Christmas…



7. If you feel that Caligula gets a bad press (mad as a box of frogs, but a lovely chap underneath), show your support with a Caligula T-shirt 



8. …or if you think he deserved everything he got, you could use his head as a planter.  That’ll teach him.



9. Liven up your drinking with a Roman army tankard. The swords are pointing downwards so you don’t get stabbed in the nose, which sadly removes the element of danger.



10. Finally, who wouldn’t want to wear the Iliad? Particularly useful if you have a Greek exam looming: it’s a step up from writing the answers on your sleeve.





This week’s classical links



Denarii in Scotland – Current Archaeology 

The cycle of cultural change – News & Observer 

Emptying a sarcophagus for a dog – The Art Newspaper 

Decapitated skeletons – Haaretz

Recreating Mycenae in Germany – Greek Reporter 

Hellene Travel December newsletter – Hellene Travel 

Reviewing Megan Fox’s archaeology programme – Archaeological Fantasies 

What do classicists do? – Council of University Classical Departments Bulletin 

Elgin Marbles were a gift…? – IOL 

The race for scrolls – National Geographic 

Returning the Getty Bronze – The Guardian 

Conflict between engineers and archaeologists – ITV News 

Roman fort in Cumbria – Current Archaeology 

Archaeologists and bedazzled babes – Forbes 

Reviewing Ashurbanipal – Hyperallergic


Comment and opinion

Plato’s interpreters – The Caravan 

The perspective of not reading the Greek – Eidolon

Musing on Roman sausages – Sphinx 

Income inequalities in Classics – Sententiae Antiquae 

Men of bronze – Ancient World Magazine 

The Scylla and Charybdis Effect – The Epoch Times 

Thales of Miletus – Classical Wisdom Weekly 

Pausanias on Elvis…? – Eidolon 

A Christmas song for the Late Republic – Classics is the New Black

Arachne’s punishment – Ancient Pages 

Classical beer labels – Society for Classical Studies

Great commanders – Ancient History Encyclopaedia 

Helena the prostitute? – Writing Helena 

Ancient and modern demagogues – Fair Observer 

Imperial letter collections – CAHA Research 

Roman pollution – Eos 

Questioning Aristotle – Classical Wisdom Weekly 

Favourite artefacts – LSA Classics 

Roman forensic science – Forbes 

Virgilian watermarks – In Media Res 

Classics and identity politics – Classics at the Intersections 

On Pilate’s ring – The Daily Beast 


Podcasts, videos and other media

Talking about gods and robots – a16z Podcast 

Herculaneum – When in Rome 

Greek short swords – Ancient History Guy 

How hygienic were the Roman baths? – Ancient Blogger 

Mary Beard on speech – How to Own the Room 

Dying for a dream – Barry Strauss

The story of Little Boots – Ancient History Fangirl 

Saving artefacts in Syria – Today 

When Greeks flew kites – BBC Radio 4 



Free articles on Roman politics in December – Cambridge University Press 

2 thoughts on “Weekend Reading: A Classicist Christmas List

  1. I’m a particular fan of both the Playmobil & the Caligula T-shirt. Although I’m not sure it’s appropriate to buy Playmobil for a 36 year old???


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