My head’s spinning this week. I set up this weekly blog a year or so ago with the intention of commenting on Classics in the news: but for a long time there simply wasn’t much Classics in the news (which is why many of my posts have degenerated into random waffle). Now I’m suffering from Classics-in-the-news overload.
In the space of one week we’ve had Boris comparing his purges to Octavian/Augustus, Nigel Farage being compared to Icarus and Spartacus, mythical references popping up in political speeches, and Thucydides and Pericles being connected to today’s politics. And those are just the connections I noticed while spending the week redecorating my kitchen.
I have to admit, the Farage/Icarus analogy has been my favourite. Wednesday’s Telegraph article suggested that Nigel Farage should learn from Icarus’ fate – but the headline on social media gave the impression that the Telegraph had entirely missed the ending of the myth (compounded by the fact that, since the bulk of the article was behind a paywall, most people didn’t bother reading it all), and of course that set the Internet off. There’s nothing Twitter likes better than a headline that gets things wrong.
It’s been a joy to see so many hundreds of people leaping to demonstrate their superior knowledge of myth. I’m going to save all these tweets for the first tutorial of this year’s Myth module, when I usually get people talking about Icarus. It’s not often that I have the chance to ramble on about Ovid and be topical at the same time, so I plan to enjoy it.
But if I’m honest, I’m getting a bit tired of commenting on politics – even the sort of vague commenting that I usually do. So let me direct your attention instead to the article by Johanna Hanink in The Strategist, on how to achieve that Classics Professor “look” that all the cool kids are after.
I don’t have everything on that list (yet!): but now that I’ve started noticing, I’ve become rather alarmed at the number of engravings of ruins I have around the house. I’ve also come to realise that I don’t have nearly enough dorky Classics mugs, so I’m shopping for some to top up my stock. Here are my current favourites:
This week’s links from around the internet
Richard Hammond blamed for breaking Pompeii – Metro
Roman coin from Brampton – News and Star
Nigel Farage as the Brexit Icarus – The Telegraph
…or maybe he’s the Brexit Spartacus – The Telegraph
Myth and politics – The Guardian
The puzzle of the Dead Sea Scrolls – The Guardian
Comment and opinion
Epic cocktails – Eidolon
Toxic heroism – Sententiae Antiquae
Sexual violence in Ovid – Lapham’s Quarterly
The Thucydides virus – Sphinx
Romans and leprechauns – The Times
Interview with Andrew Birley – Chronicle Live
Why Boris should stick with Pericles – The Spectator
Roman explicit graffiti – The Third Eye
Poems inspired by the Odyssey – Emily Wilson
The value of stoicism – Sunday Observer
Boris and Augustus – A Don’s Life
Tacitus and his sources – The Spectator
How to look like a classicist – The Strategist
Podcasts, video and other media
Experimental archaeology – Coffee and Circuses
Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey – Archaeological Fantasies
The origins of oligarchy – Ancient Greece Declassified
Statius’ Thebaid – Literature and History
Vestal Virgins – Emperors of Rome
Interview with Caroline Lawrence – Audite
Athens for children – Delphi
Free article on Latin pronunciation – Oxford Classical Dictionary
‘Cultural Responses to the Persian Wars’ freely available online – Edith Hall
Oh, and finally… a warm welcome to all my new readers from the OU Latin and Roman Empire modules! Feel free to leave comments – we’re all pretty friendly here!